29 December 2013

Afghan Mujahideen and J&K: How real is the threat?

27 December 2013

D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS

There has been a serious concern, at times even a threat perception, that after the American withdrawal in 2014, the Afghan mujahideen would enter into J&K, as they did after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. How real is the threat? How relevant is the previous example to the contemporary situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and J&K? Does the contemporary political and security situation in these three regions along with the attention of international community provide a space conducive for the Afghan mujahideen to enter (on their own) or being pushed (by Pakistan) into Kashmir?

Much of the Afghan mujahideen threat perception to J&K emanates from a perception that Afghanistan would unravel after 2014. In fact, it was the instability within Afghanistan in the early 1990s after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, which made the country unstable. This instability across the Durand Line also left Pakistan with a huge refugee population including a substantial mujahideen residue. A section within the Pakistani Establishment and ISI saw this as an opportunity to support the militant struggle taking roots at that time in J&K in the early 1990s. 

It was the opportunist use and abuse of the Afghans within Pakistan by the Establishment and its ISI which resulted in J&K witnessing the mujahideen. During that time, neither the mujahideen were infused with a jihadi spirit to establish a caliphate all over the region, nor did they want to fight for the cause of an independent Kashmir. They were used and abused by the Pakistani Establishment as mercenaries. 

In retrospect, it would also appear that the pumping of Afghan mujahideen into J&K did not support what Pakistan wanted to do; in fact, it became counterproductive, as there was at that time and in fact even today a substantial section within J&K that would abhor what the Afghan mujahideen did to the social fabric at that time.

Second, is Afghanistan likely to be unstable after the withdrawal of international security forces (ISAF) after 2014? In this context, there is a mis-percpetion or cynicism that Afghanistan would collapse after the American withdrawal. Such a perception does not reflect the improved situation at the ground level. Today the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are much better trained and equipped than they were in the early 1990s. In fact, this is the best force that Afghanistan could have had in the recent decade in terms of numbers, training, equipment and more importantly motivation. 

On the other hand, ever since their inception, the Taliban today is perhaps at its weakest position in terms of numbers, second tier leadership, infrastructural support and motivation. Unlike the 1990s, there is no Taliban wave, that could sweep province after province. In fact, the Taliban is using suicide attacks and IEDs as a major strategy against the ANSF, rather than any coordinated conventional offensive. Clearly, the Taliban is on a defensive and is unlikely to run over the ANSF militarily after 2014.

The above does not mean the ANSF would succeed to completely remove the presence of Taliban from the Afghan soil. Taliban would still remain an important threat for Karzai and any future President; but this threat from the Taliban to the government in Kabul may not be as grave as it was in the 1990s. Afghanistan is likely to witness an ugly stability and not an all out civil war between every factions.

First Person Second Draft: Diplomatic, undiplomatic... My very Indian Foreign Service

Shekhar Gupta : Sat Dec 28 2013,

Afghan strongman Najibullah — in the course of a routine interview — took me aside and asked if I would take a message to my prime minister...

RAW farewell in DC, bailed out in Bucharest, a sulking Bollywood star, Talbott waiting for a taxi: My very Indian Foreign Service. 

It is a matter of printed record that I had promised this instalment of First Person, Second Draft along with the National Interest last week, questioning the ministry of external affairs' over-the-top reaction to their diplomat-versus-her-maid issue in New York. So I can't be accused of indulging myself with a convenient afterthought, given the sharp reaction from the Indian Foreign Service community. Let me admit that I have spent much of my working life with wonderful members of the same service. We journalists, particularly reporters, get a free ride on other people's brilliance. Most of them were, in any case, civil servants, and given the kind of stories I pursued, so many were from the IFS. It is therefore that I count some of the finest members of the service as my closest personal friends. I spent many wonderfully productive hours with so many of them, and such fun evenings too. But I also argued with them, which sometimes upset some. There was a cover story in India Today ('India's Foreign Policy: Losing Direction', December 15, 1991), which I reported with Shahnaz Anklesaria Aiyar, and considerably more recently, 'Indian Fossil Service' (National Interest, IE, June 28, 2003) and last week's 'Our Indian Feudal Service' (National Interest, IE, December 21), the casus belli for now. 

I can list many stories of brilliance as well as monumental errors of judgement, of sacrifice as well as greed, of pompous misuse of privilege as well as utterly humble propriety. But of all the services, if the IFS is the most thin-skinned (the IPS is obviously the most thick-skinned), there is reason for it. The fault lies, as usual, with us journalists. For decades, the MEA has had a most loyal press corps dutifully reporting all its diplomatic conquests. Every foreign visit by an Indian prime minister is a stunning success, every trouble with the neighbours invariably their fault. But the growth of media post-1977 slowly began challenging this. It is still a work in progress.

Pakistan: The Military Shuffle and Consolidation under the New Chief

26 December 2013

Rana Banerji
Distinguished Fellow, IPCS

Even as new Army Chief, Gen Raheel Sharif settles down to his powerful job, recent military appointments in Pakistan indicate it is business as usual as far as senior level placements are concerned. Raheel presided over his first Corps Commanders conference on December 06, 2013, which apparently went through the routine of approving promotions of Brigadiers and Major Generals. Three Major Generals were promoted and nine superseded, leaving 2 full Generals, 26 Lieutenant Generals and over 150 Major Generals in place.

Among one of the first important changes has been the shifting of Lt. Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed from the post of Director General Military Operations (DGMO) as the new Chief of General Staff (CGS), a key staff slot which had fallen vacant after Rashad Mahmood missed the bus and was elevated as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC). Ishfaq Nadeem is an Azad Kashmir regiment officer who earned Kayani’s confidence and was generally well regarded by peers. Maj Gen Aamer Riaz, a Piffers (Frontier Force regiment- new Chief’s arm too) officer is the new DGMO. He served as GOC, 11 Div Lahore earlier. While as Brigadier, he came into limelight deposing about the Hizb ut Tahrir plot in the court martial proceedings against Brig Ali, who wanted an Islamic take-over. Maj Gen Sarfraz Sattar, Armoured Corps, who was Defence Attache in India till recently has been appointed Director General, Military Intelligence.

Another interesting change is the easing out, finally, of Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Kidwai as Director General, Strategic Plans Directorate (SPD), which has been overseeing Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) for years. Kidwai has been the key interlocutor for Pakistan Army’s interaction with Western nuclear safeguard officials and had a major role to play to reassure them about the post- AQ Khan nuclear safety mechanisms put in place. He has been replaced by Lt Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, a serving Artillery officer who was Corps Commander at Bahawalpur (XXXI Corps) till recently.

Fifteen years later

Published: December 26, 2013

The writer is the co-founder of the Stimson Centre. Stimson’s new book, Deterrence Stability and Escalation Control in South Asia, can be accessed at http://www.stimson.org

India and Pakistan have travelled a long distance since testing nuclear devices in 1998. Back then, government officials and leading strategic thinkers on the subcontinent expressed confidence that these tests would have stabilising effects. Going public with the Bomb would relieve anxieties and facilitate diplomatic efforts to normalise relations. In countries where many lived in poverty that placed a premium on economic growth, all that was needed was minimum, credible deterrence.

It’s worth recalling these aspirations 15 years later, during which Pakistan and India have fought one limited war and have experienced two severe crises. Their nuclear arsenals have grown steadily as diplomacy has faltered. JN Dixit, former Indian foreign secretary and national security adviser, was wrong when he wrote that nuclear testing “removes complexes, suspicions, and uncertainties about each other’s nuclear capabilities … [and] could persuade the governments of India and Pakistan to discuss bilateral disputes in a more rational manner”.

General K Sundarji, India’s most daring military strategist was also wrong when he wrotethat, “A mutual minimum nuclear deterrent will act as a stabilising factor.” Air Commodore Jasjit Singh felt similarly. He predicted that, “Deterrence will continue, but on a higher level. I don’t think we are going to see a slide toward instability.”

While Diplomacy Dawdles

December 19, 2013

By Michael Krepon and Julia Thompson - While diplomacy between Pakistan and India dawdles, nuclear capabilities are moving forward at a brisk pace. Since testing nuclear devices in 1998, both countries have flight-tested no fewer than 17 types of missiles that are capable of delivering nuclear weapons - a pace of more than one per year. New families of cruise missiles are joining expanded families of ballistic missiles. Nuclear weapon delivery systems are moving out to sea.

No other state possessing nuclear weapons has proceeded at a faster pace since 1998 than Pakistan and India.

In contrast, nuclear risk reduction agreements appear paltry by comparison. Efforts by New Delhi and Islamabad to seek more normal relations have proceeded at a snail's pace. There have been modest overtures, such as the release of fishermen captured in contested waters, and promises to do more, but little has come of them.

To read the full op-ed. click here.

Click here to download a copy of the book.


This op-ed first appeared in Dawn on December 19, 2013

Political Crisis in Bangladesh: A Question of National Identity

Bangladeshi politics are currently mired in crisis around questions of national identity. 
December 27, 2013 

In August this year, when I was in Bangladesh, a common theme of concern among the people I spoke to was the looming uncertainty in the country. Masud Rana, an informational technology professional, had started preparing for the hard days ahead. He bought a second-hand motorcycle to commute from his home to his office, to avoid taking the risk of traveling by his own car during the protests. In 2007, his new car was torched by protesters when he was driving down to his office during a week-long general strike. 

Rana’s fear was not unfounded. 

The capital Dhaka and other parts of the country have been witnessing a series of shutdowns and violent protests in the past few months. Violent protests and large scale destruction have claimed more than 100 lives so far across the country and the crisis shows no signs of abating. 

At the center of the continuous political crisis is the 10th parliamentary election, but a larger issue is at hand: the fight between moderate and secular forces on the one hand and radical Islamic forces on the other. 

Ever since democracy was restored in Bangladesh in the early 1990s, the country has been marred by a deep distrust between the two main political parties – the Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). This distrust stands in the way of strengthening democratic institutions, such as the Electoral Commission (EC). As a result the main opposition does not want to run for elections while the ruling party controls the EC and is demanding the formation of a neutral government to oversee the poll. This issue led to a logjam in 1995 and 2001 and the suspension of democratic processes between 2006 to 2008. When the Awami League government, led by Sheikh Hasina, came to power in 2008 with an overwhelming majority, it nullified the system of caretaker government despite opposition from rival political parties. 

Despite the constitutional amendment, the BNP is not willing to participate in elections unless its demand for a caretaker government is met. Intervention from the international community and the United Nations has failed to bring any kind of reconciliation between the major political parties. The general elections on January 5 would be held without any participation from the largest opposition party and its alliance partners, thereby raising serious question about the legitimacy of the electoral process and the future of Bangladesh’s nascent democracy. 

The ruling party has already won more than 150 seats unopposed in the House, out of 300 total, and the polling in early January will be a mere formality. 

“The legitimacy of elections is at stake,” says Dr. A.S.M. Aman, a political scientist at Dhaka University. In an interview with The Diplomat, he says that “some senior leaders of the ruling party have raised concern over the electoral process. The 10th parliamentary election is reduced to a mere formality and the buzz in political circles is that within next 6 month a new elections would be held under a caretaker regime to give the important democratic exercise the greater legitimacy it deserves. Otherwise the country will remain mired in chaos.” 

Delhi is losing the plot in Dhaka

A stable, moderate Bangladesh is in the long-term interest of India
Harsh V. Pant

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York. India has failed to capitalise on the propitious political circumstances in Bangladesh. Photo: PTI

AS Bangladesh enters a turbulent phase with the controversial general elections on January 5 and with continuing violence following the execution of Islamist leader Abdul Quader Molla, New Delhi needs to pay special attention to its neighbour. The fallout from continuing instability in Bangladesh will have significant implications for India as well as the larger South Asian region.

Mollah had a key role in Jamaat-e-Islami, which is an ally of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). This has underscored the explosive political tensions in Bangladesh between the ruling party, the Awami League, and the Opposition. BNP leader Khaleda Zia had asked the government to shelve the elections, arguing that “it could be last nail in the coffin of democracy” and accusing her arch-rival Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of “killing democracy to consolidate power forever.” More than half of the candidates in the 300-seat parliament were set to be elected unopposed in the absence of rival candidates as BNP and its allies, including the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, have decided to boycott the January 5 polls.

As tensions rise in Dhaka, New Delhi has had a rather weak hand to play, given its inability to strengthen Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s hands. Though India has repeatedly signalled that it remains committed to an early solution on the sharing of the Teesta waters and the long-pending boundary issue, it has not been able to generate sufficient political consensus on these issues. And by not signing the deals that matter most to Dhaka, it has alienated pro-India forces in the country. While the UPA government has not been able to display leadership on this critical bilateral relationship, the BJP had been playing petty politics with complete disregard for larger national imperatives.

China adapts to new Myanmar reality

By Yun Sun

As Myanmar experiments with a new democratic system, several new political forces have emerged that are shifting the country's previous military-dominated course. Beyond the myriad ethnic minority groups, four different mainstream forces are redefining the country's international relations, perhaps most crucially with neighboring China.

The new political power centers include the government led by President Thein Sein; the Union Solidarity and Development

Party (USDP) steered by parliamentary head Shwe Mann; the military commanded by senior general Min Aung Hlaing, and the democratic opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

China is now building separate and distinct relations with each of the four mentioned groups. Understanding China's policies toward each group is thus key to accurately assessing Beijing's broader country strategy and internal calculations.

On the formal government level, China and Myanmar seem to have smoothed over many of their previous problems. Those issues came to the fore in 2011, coincident with a warming trend in diplomatic relations with the West. Now, after China's strong intervention on the Kachin rebel issue in early 2013, border tranquility has been mostly restored. Thein Sein's government has meanwhile agreed to the resumption of the locally opposed Letpadaung copper mine, while a solution to the suspended US$3.6 billion Myitsone dam is under negotiation.

China and Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)

New Rail Links to Boost China’s Western Access

By Rashad Karimov 
December 27, 2013 

This new Silk Road is to be made of steel, with overland connections energizing Central Asia. 

In the late 20th century, the acceleration of globalization, and especially the end of the Cold War, which had hindered exchange between East and West, created the necessary conditions for the revival of the famed Silk Road. Since the 1990s, many railways, roads and pipelines have been put into operation or under construction along that ancient route, not only contributing to economic, trade and cultural exchange among the countries of the region, but also having a significant impact on the geopolitics of Eurasia. 

Rail, in particular, is expected to nurture trade between China and countries far to the west, such as Azerbaijan, as well as within Central Asia, bolstering China’s presence there and benefiting the region. 

Take the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) project. On November 21, 2007, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey inaugurated the construction of a new rail link between Kars and Baku, via Tbilisi. The project is designed to facilitate shipping of cargo between Asia and Europe, and will connect the railway networks of Central Asia, the Caucasus and China with those of Azerbaijan and Europe. 

The BTK railway will have an international impact, as it transports goods from Asia to Europe. It is expected totransport 1.5 million passengers and 3 million tons of freight per year. Forecasts predict that by 2034 it will transport 3 million people and more than 16 million tons of goods. 

The BTK railway is slated for completion in 2014, at an estimated total cost of $500 million. Connecting China, Central Asia and Europe, it will create a transport corridor and one continuous connection from Shanghai to London. The new line should bolster the transportation capacity of the South Caucasus and diversify the nature of the goods that are shipped through these three countries to world markets. 

Terror and Violence in China

ByDr Sudhir Hindwan
IssueNet Edition| Date : 26 Dec , 2013

Ethnic Uighurs look on as Chinese security forces stand by the entrance to the Uighurs neighborhood in Urumqi in China's Xinjiang autonomous region (Photo © www.voanews.com)

The recent skirmishes between the Chinese security forces and the separatist Uygur Muslims in the Xinjiang province on Tuesday have once again created vulnerable ground for serious ethnic crisis in China. Earlier in 2009 the province has already witnessed deadly ethnic conflict between the Uygurs ( Sunni Muslims of Turkish roots ) and the natives Hans. The roots of conflict lies in the historical inner dynamics of China. According to official Chinese data there are 56 minority nationalities comprising 8.2 percent of China’s total population scattered over 64.5 per cent of total land area, mainly in the north east, north-west, and south west. The main nationalities are some 15 million Zhuang in Guangxi, 10 million Manchu in Liaoning, 8 million Hui in Ningxia, Gansu, 7 million Miao in Guizhou and 7 million Uygur in Xinjiang.

Chinese occupation of Xinjiang was primarily aimed at keeping the non-Chinese inhabitants under control and protecting China’s core territories in Gansu and Shanxi provinces.

The Uygurs are Sunni Muslims and constitute 46 per cent of Xinjiang’s population, with smaller percentages of Han (36 per cent) Kazakh (7.7 percent) Hui (4 per cent) Tajiks (2 percent) and Kyrgyz (1 percent).Xinjiang, formerly known as Turkestan is China’s largest administrative unit covering about one-sixth of the total area of the country. The presence of Taklamakan desert in southern Xinjiang makes much of the region uninhabitable. Another formidable barrier to human habitation is the Tian Shan range, at the centre of this vast territory. Towards the north of the Tian Shan are the towns of Urumqi (Capital of Xinjiang), Turfan and Kudia, and towards further north there are Dzungarian Steppelands. Northern Xinjiang shares borders with the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Tajikistan. To the south are the oases and towns of the Tarim River Basin, Yarkhand, Khotan and others. The southern boundary is clearly delineated by the Kuniun mountains which separate Xinjiang from Kashmir.

Japan as a Unique Bulwark to Chinese Hegemony in Asia

I recently joined Newsweek Japan in a more official capacity as a regular contributor. I am pleased to do so, as I increasingly think that Japan is the primary bulwark to Chinese hegemony in Asia. So more and more, my research interest is drifting toward the Sino-Japanese competition as weightier than the inter-Korean competition.

In that vein, I wrote the following story for the current volume of Newsweek Japan. In brief, I argue that only Japan has the strength to really block China’s rise to hegemony in east Asia. Russia is too weak, especially out here. India just can’t seem to get its act together (I used to push India really hard as an obstacle, but it just doesn’t seem up to it.) I am a skeptic of the US pivot, and sheer distance alone means the US need not confront China unless it wants to. The US will never be under a Chinese ‘Monroe Doctrine’ as Asia might be in the future. That leaves Japan as a unique bulwark – a front-line state with the wealth and state/bureaucratic capacity to give China a real run for its money. Indeed, one way to see the current tension is as another round of Sino-Japanese competition for Asian leadership going back to the mid-19th century. (As always, I’d love to hear from the Japan mil-tech guys on all this.)

Elsewhere I have argued that China’s rise to hegemony is unlikely, in part because I think Japan will vigorously balance China. (Indeed, it probably is already.) So this essay is an expansion of that previous argument. The essay follows the jump.

“The recent declaration of an expanded ‘air defense identification zone’ (ADIZ) by China in the East China Sea has exposed the emerging fault line of Asian politics for all to see. Sino-Japanese competition is now broadly accepted by observers. Japan today is almost certainly balancing against China as an emerging threat. The days of accommodating China’s rise are closing.

The Sino-Japanese split will be the central divide in East Asia for the next several decades, and it will suck in states as far away as the United States and India. But given the contemporary weakness of Russia and India, and the sheer distance of the United States from the region, Japan will emerge as the primary obstacle to Chinese regional dominance. Japanese opinion is deeply divided on this role, but China’s inexorable rise will force this choice on Tokyo in the coming years. The recent ADIZ expansion is just one example of the uncomfortable choices to come.

The International Misrule of Law

by Brahma C 25/12/13

Brahma C examines two recent cases indicating that China and the United States are the world’s leading rogue states.
A Project Syndicate column internationally syndicated.
On the face of it, China’s recent declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) extending to territories that it does not control has nothing in common with America’s arrest and strip-search of a New York-based Indian diplomat for allegedly underpaying a housekeeper she had brought with her from India. In fact, these episodes epitomize both powers’ unilateralist approach to international law.

A just, rules-based global order has long been touted by powerful states as essential for international peace and security. Yet there is a long history of major powers flouting international law while using it against other states. The League of Nations failed because it could not punish or deter such behavior. Today, the United States and China serve as prime examples of a unilateralist approach to international relations, even as they aver support for strengthening global rules and institutions.

Consider the US, which has refused to join key international treaties – for example, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (which has not yet entered into force), and the 1998 International Criminal Court Statute. Indeed, unilateralism remains the leitmotif of US foreign policy, and this is also reflected in its international interventions, whether cyber warfare and surveillance, drone attacks, or efforts to bring about regime change.

Meanwhile, China’s growing geopolitical heft has led to muscle-flexing and territorial claims in Asia that disregard international norms. China rejects some of the same treaties that the US has declined to join, including the International Criminal Court Statute and the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (the first law to establish rules on the shared resources of transnational rivers, lakes, and aquifers).

Somali piracy was reduced to zero this year

By David Yanofsky @YAN0 December 27, 2013
The sun is setting on Somali piracy Reuters/U.S. Navy photo
Not a single vessel was hijacked this year off the Horn of Africa, where piracy waged by Somalis was once rampant, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence.

It’s the fourth annual decline in Indian Ocean piracy, following a peak of 52 vessels in 2009—the year Richard Phillip’s ship, the Maersk Alabama, was commandeered by Somalis. That hijacking was the subject of a major motion picture this year.
As we noted in May, the disappearance of Somali piracy follows

an increased presence of international navies in and around the Indian Ocean;
Kenyan military intervention against al-Shabab strongholds in Somalia;
and vigilance among vessel owners, who have rerouted and fortified ships to combat piracy threats.

In all of 2013, only nine vessels were attacked by pirates off the Horn of Africa, 4 in the final 2 months of the year. None were successfully hijacked.

Ships on the west coast of Africa were less fortunate in 2013. Pirates there fired on 31 vessels and seized 9 this year in the Gulf of Guinea.

Finding Strategic Balance

Journal Article | December 23, 2013 

Finding Strategic Balance: How Should the USAF Balance Continuing Irregular Requirements with High-end A2/AD[i] Requirements?

Peter Garretson

How should the USAF balance continuing irregular requirements with high-end A2/AD requirements? Should the USAF:

Continue on the current path, purchasing an exquisite force of the most capable high-end platforms (F-35) able to penetrate and survive in a contested environment, assuming they can handle air operations in a more benign environment as a lesser included case, or
Commit to a balanced force, trading some of our niche high-end fighter forces to finance investment in low-end aircraft more appropriate for irregular operations and shaping?

Fundamentally, is it better for the nation to seek to acquire 1,763[ii] exquisite F-35s, or should we accept small reductions in the F-35 program of record to invest in low-end forces used to build partnerships and carry the load of the Nation’s many “low intensity” military missions. Is the nation in a better position with 1,763 F-35’s and no low-end forces, or to acquire 1,739 F-35’s and a balanced fleet of low-cost, daily employable IW-relevant aircraft (224 light attack aircraft + 115 light mobility aircraft)?

Two Force Structures Illustrated[iii]

This paper argues that the balanced force enables the USAF to better execute its range of global missions than the exquisite force. It further argues that balanced investment in an IW-capable low-end force actually is a more comprehensive strategy to counter A2/AD. 

The balanced force enables a broader strategy of shaping and setting strategic conditions, opening up new avenues for engaging partner nations with developing air forces on the periphery of states of concern. Moreover it protects and preserves our nation’s investment in the high-dollar, low-observable aircraft in the likely event that the USAF may be required to bring airpower effects in a more permissive environment. 

In contrast, pursuing an all high-end, exquisite force undermines the USAF’s global geo-strategy, reduces its freedom of action, perceived relevance, usability, and imposes significant costs on the USAF.

Review of A2/AD and IW Requirements

In the latest defense strategic guidance (DSG), “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense” the President and Secretary of Defense lay out Department’s efforts to rebalance and reform--in the context of an imperative of deficit reduction--through a lower level of defense spending and move from an emphasis on today’s wars to preparing for future challenges. It directs that:

“[t]he Joint Force will need to recalibrate its capabilities and make selective additional investments to succeed in the following missions:
Counter Terrorism and Irregular Warfare.
Deter and Defeat Aggression.
Project Power Despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges.
Provide a Stabilizing Presence.
Conduct Stability and Counterinsurgency Operations.
Conduct Humanitarian, Disaster Relief, and Other Operations.”[iv]

Cyberwar, high-tech weapons take center stage in defense budget

Published December 27, 2013

July 17, 2007: Capt. Jason Simmons and Staff Sgt. Clinton Tips update anti-virus software for Air Force units to assist in the prevention of cyberspace hackers at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

The $552.1 billion defense budget approved by Congress calls for new regulations on cyberweapons -- an effort to prevent the pervasive digital bombs from further spreading throughout the world -- at the same time that it dramatically boosts spending on them.

Section 940 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, signed into law by President Obama Thursday night, calls for “Control of the Proliferation of Cyber Weapons” following increases in the clear and present danger from cyberbombs such as Stuxnet and growing teams of hackers in foreign countries.

“The President shall establish an interagency process to provide for the establishment of an integrated policy to control the proliferation of cyber weapons through unilateral and cooperative law enforcement activities, financial means, diplomatic engagement, and such other means as the President considers appropriate,” the act declares. The goal of the $2 million Cyber Security Initiative: suppressing the trade in cyber tools and infrastructure that can be used for criminal, terrorist and military activities, while still allowing governments to use those tools in legitimate self-defense.

Cyber is just one aspect of the military’s high-tech arsenal, which has been rapidly transformed to deal with the growing threat. (Indeed, the bill calls for a fresh report to take place in the next year on how secure the country’s major weapons and communications systems are from such attacks.)

Georgetown Security Studies Review

December 28, 2013

Georgetown Security Studies Review

The latest issue (fourth) of the student run peer–reviewed Georgetown Security Studies Review can bedownloaded here.

Table of Contents:

Opinion: Unsustainable Peace in Mali

Whit Miller argues that regional pressures will break the ceasefire signed between the Malian government and the Tuareg rebels. 

Reevaluating U.S. Defense Conversion Assistance to Russia

Lisa Bergstrom analyzes post-Cold War U.S. defense conversion assistance to Russia. The article shows that, while defense conversion has economic, political, and social benefits, and may even promote the peaceful resolutions of conflicts, the Department of Defense approach to conversion assistance was flawed and unsustainable. The article concludes that, if the United States provides defense conversion assistance to other overly militarized states, Washington should adopt a less centrally-managed approach. 

Morality in Intelligence Practice

Natasia Kalajdziovski analyzes morality in domestic counterterrorism intelligence activities through a historical analysis of the moral questions encountered by the British intelligence services throughout the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This case study highlights three important considerations: the complexity of the threatscape as it emerged, the length of the conflict and its many phases, and the level of public scrutiny for the security establishment as the conflict protracted. The article concludes that, with proper oversight and review mechanisms, domestic intelligence requires a “different morality” than what exists in civilian life. 

Evolving Civil-Military Relations

Faiqa Mahmood analyzes the role of the Egyptian military in politics and considers how civil-military relations may be improved. This article traces the historical development of civil-military relations in Egypt and then compares the situation in Egypt with those of Turkey and Pakistan. The analysis demonstrates that, while the militaries of neither Turkey nor Pakistan can boast the levels of civilian control present in some Western governments, Egypt can still draw lessons from the evolutionary paths of both militaries. 

Winning Minds: The Role of Education in Securing Afghanistan

Elizabeth Royall questions the effectiveness of education in the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. Both the Coalition and the Taliban claimed a correlation between Afghan education and their strategic goals. This article addresses whether Afghan education content and provision affect security. It reviews the history of education in Afghanistan, examines the Taliban’s evolving view of education, and analyzes existing metrics of security and education.

Strategist Kilcullen: Warfare Is Changing In 3 Ways

December 27, 2013

In these last days of the year, Morning Edition is having conversations that look ahead. Co-host Steve Inskeep talks to David Kilcullen, who spent 22 years in the Australian amy and advised U.S. Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, about how warfare is different than it used to be.

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In these last days of the year, we're airing conversations about the future. Today, we turn to David Kilcullen, who imagines future wars in his book, "Out of the Mountains." Kilcullen served in the Australian Army then went on to advise U.S. General David Patraeus in Iraq. Kilcullen told my colleague Steve Inskeep that warfare is chanting in three ways. First, it's becoming more urban. Second, technology is changing warfare; he notes how quickly news spread of Moammar Gadhafi's death in Libya in 2011.

DAVID KILCULLEN: Gadhafi gets killed at about seven o'clock in the morning. Forty minutes later, Al Jazeera gets the cell phone video, 90 minutes later it's with every major news organization on the planet - the same day his organization collapses. Right? That's pretty much unheard of.


Does that mean war is moving faster? Or just that the response to war, the public and political reaction to war what...

KILCULLEN: Well, actually this ties to my third point which is that we're starting to see a real democratization of technology. So technology that used to be the preserve of nation-states and big, powerful countries is now available to individuals. We see, for example, in Syria, people using backyard factories to make multi-barrel rocket launchers. And then downloading from the Internet, the kinds of firing tables that are needed to calculate, you know, where you're going to fire the weapon.

And we're starting to see this kind of this kind of tech savvy population of urban environments that are very connected, having access to all kinds of military capability that just wasn't there even 10 years ago.

INSKEEP: Was the war in Iraq, in a country that was relatively urbanized, a trial run for some of these things?

KILCULLEN: To some extent. Iraq itself is not actually as urbanized as a lot of the countries that we are now seeing conflict in. But it so happens that the conflict in Iraq happened to be very heavily concentrated in the Baghdad city area. So when I deployed to Iraq for the second time - in February of 2007, as part of the surge - of the entire combat action of the war in Iraq, 50 percent of it was happening within Baghdad city limits.

USAF Updates Its Irregular Warfare Strategy to Address Strategic Guidance

Journal Article | December 23, 2013 

USAF Updates Its Irregular Warfare Strategy to Address Strategic Guidance

The Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force recently signed an updated United States Air Force (USAF) Irregular Warfare (IW) Strategy to provide direction for the USAF to organize, train, and equip to provide capabilities necessary to meet strategic guidance. The USAF published the initial version of its IW Strategy in 2009. Since then, however, strategic guidance has sought to rebalance IW:

From large-scale operations to low-cost, small footprint approaches
From direct U.S. operations to indirect actions by, with, and through partner nations
From large-scale counterinsurgency and stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to a more distributed, though carefully prioritized, global effort focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region
From crisis response, near-term focused efforts to more deliberate, long-term efforts closely tied to enduring U.S. strategic interests
From predominantly a special operations force mission to one institutionalized across the general purpose force

Also since its publication, several studies by the Joint Staff and the USAF have highlighted critical shortfalls and challenges affecting USAF conduct of IW that need to be fixed to address this strategic guidance. They include: the lack of a coordinated U.S. Government strategy and execution; authorities that do not support long-term planning and execution timelines; capability and manpower shortfalls; the lack of “right tech” USAF platforms to transfer to partner nations; limited funding; and inadequate IW education and training.

The new USAF IW Strategy replaces the initial version to remain consistent with these developments. It first provides the context underlying this strategy by briefly summarizing: (1) what IW is; (2) how airpower contributes to IW-related operations and activities; (3) the changes in strategic guidance related to IW relevant to the USAF; and (4) documented shortfalls and challenges facing USAF IW operations before describing the USAF’s IW strategy to organize, train, and equip to address the new guidance and challenges. 

The USAF IW Strategy has nine initiatives: