5 July 2014

Centring the Northeast

Published: July 5, 2014 
Hari Jaisingh

The Northeast needs a skilful person who can take the region out of its insurgency grip, mobilise leaders of substance and work out a decentralised multi-level development strategy

A vibrant Northeast? This is not Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s catch-all phrase for the seven northeastern States, though the region does figure in his list of priorities for economic rejuvenation, and strategic and infrastructural development.

I am not sure if General V.K. Singh’s choice as MoS (independent charge) for the development of the Northeast is right, even though he is knowledgeable about the region. He has the reputation of being straight-forward and a doer, but only in the realm of defence so far. The Northeast today needs a skilful politico-economic person who can take the region out of its insurgency grip, mobilise leaders of substance and work out a decentralised multi-level development strategy aimed at fostering the region’s growth.The Look East Policy

The land-locked region continues to be stuck in politico-bureaucratic status quo, even after Prime Minister Narasimha Rao placed it under special focus as part of the Look East Policy in 1991. This has since become an integral part of India’s foreign policy rhetoric, which has already travelled from phase one to phase two under various Prime Ministers without addressing basic infrastructure and all-inclusive growth.

Each Prime Minister has reiterated the country’s commitment to take the Look East Policy forward, but this has been done somewhat half-heartedly in view of strategic and logistical problems emanating from sporadic bursts of violence by terrorist and insurgent groups operating on both sides of the border. Today, the situation on the insurgency front is somewhat easier, especially along the Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. Still, “caution” has to be the mantra.

An Indian peace road map in Iraq

Published: July 5, 2014 
Satyabrata Pal

India should be urging both the U.S. and Iran not to intervene militarily in Iraq.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and its allies have made remarkable inroads into northern Iraq. The contingency plans announced by the government of India, including the dispatch of naval ships, assume that the ISIS advance will continue, leading to a collapse of state authority and an ensuing chaos from which our nationals will have to be extricated. This is the worst-case scenario, and it is always wise to be prepared for the worst, but it appears that the government believes this is the likeliest outcome, which India can do nothing to prevent. These assumptions need to be thought through.ISIS, tribes and sectarianism

The central assumption, implicit in our planning, is that the ISIS charge will continue unchecked, but this is unlikely. The whirligig of time brings in its revenges; paradoxically, ISIS is the beneficiary of the U.S. “surge,” which was directed at its earlier avatars and deployed in the areas and towns that most Indians are now hearing of. The Petraeus strategy was to choke off local support to the Baath diehards and al-Qaeda imports he was hunting. Since in the U.S. view, Iraq was primarily a tribal society, the tribes were the water in which its enemies swam. The tribes of the Sunni triangle, where the uprising was concentrated, were therefore given a choice to join the U.S. against the rebels or be pulverised. Most chose to join, for reasons of compelling self-interest.

These Sunni tribes of the north and west, which prospered under Saddam Hussein, suffered from the rise of Shia militias in the south and east, and were excluded from power in Baghdad after his fall. They knew the surge was temporary, the precursor to a complete withdrawal of the U.S. forces that had afforded them partial protection from Shia retribution. They saw two advantages in working with the U.S. during the surge. First, they thought that if they helped the U.S. when it needed help the most, it would in gratitude ensure that their interests were protected by the government in Baghdad. If the U.S. failed them, the money and arms it was promising for their help would give them the means to defend themselves should things fall apart after it left.

Unfortunately for the Sunnis, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is rigidly sectarian. Sunnis have been sidelined and persecuted, with the U.S. either helpless or indifferent to the plight of the tribes with whose help it declared the victory which permitted its troops to leave. Sunni fears and anger have soared; their tribes were ripe for rebellion. ISIS, strengthened by its successes in Syria, came along at just the right moment. The provinces it has swept through are those where the principal Sunni tribes live. These tribes are making common cause with a group whose predecessor they first befriended and then fought on behalf of the U.S., but their target remains now, as it was then, a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad that treats them, they believe, as the enemy.

Mindless populism — facts and remedies

Surjit S Bhalla | July 5, 2014
The need for the food security act was never there.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently stated that there was no room for mindless populism in Budget 2014. In this article, the first of two, mindless populism will be defined and estimates provided; the second will contain further facts, and remedies.

The following simple definition of populism may be considered representative. Populism means expenditure programmes aimed at subsidising a large, preferably majority, of the voting population. In many countries, populism would be social expenditures targeted at the middle class. In India, these schemes would be those targeted at the absolute poor. However, what the Congress party did not realise, or appreciate, is the simple fact that the absolute poor were less than a quarter of the population in 2011-12, and possibly less than a fifth at the time of the 2014 election.

There is another element to the “mindful” nature of populism. Indian politicians should be aware that as per capita incomes have increased manifold, so has the percentage of the population subject to income tax. So this financing class worries about the efficacy of the delivery of subsidies to the poor, and to themselves. Mindless populism is now a deep negative for getting elected in India. Don’t believe me, believe the Congress which, despite many populist programmes, has just managed to register the largest loss for any incumbent national government anywhere at any time. In 2009 it won 206 seats; in 2014, just over a fifth of the seats. That is a world record for the BJP and Narendra Modi to be proud of, and for mindless populists to beware.

The longest running, and most expensive, of the social programmes for the poor is the food subsidy programme populistically called the Public Distribution System (PDS) — a scheme that has been in operation since the late-1970s. The total expenditure on this policy in 2014-15, thanks to its having been enshrined as law by the Sonia Gandhi-led previous government, is slated to be Rs 1,25,000 crore. The Tendulkar-defined poor today are likely to be around 250 million. So per poor person, the populism of the Congress dictated that the government would spend Rs 5,000 on food subsidies alone — that is, not including NREGA (let us call it by its original name rather than introducing the Mahatma into the controversy), not including fertiliser, not including diesel, not including kerosene, and not including LPG.

Advent of Islamic Caliphate Propaganda coup changes geopolitical picture

S Nihal Singh

Shia volunteers secure the area from Sunni militants in the desert region between Kerbala and Najaf, south of Baghdad, on July 3. Reuters

WHILE the political stalemate in Iraq continues, the propaganda coup of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) by declaring the chunks of territory in Syria and Iraq it controls as the Islamic Caliphate is not lost upon the principal actors inside and outside the region.

The truth is that the three-year-old civil war in Syria and the rapid advances the Isis has made in Iraq by a former al-Qaida associate more fundamentalist and brutal than the traditional extremist forces have resulted in a frightening scenario. For one thing, it represents a failure of American policy, the adventurism of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in asserting the newly empowered Shia power at the cost of Sunnis and Kurds and the space these developments have given for a force such as the Isis to flex its muscles.

There is no doubt that the Isis has overreached itself and will ultimately lose. But the costs Iraqis, Syrians and regional and outside actors will have to pay are immense. Although the Iraqi army that turned tail and took flight, instead of fighting the Isis, has been bought back to the battlefield with a stiffening of Shia militias, the loss of face of an American-trained and equipped force will be difficult to live down.

Even while battles rage and the propaganda war on both sides of the Syrian equation intensifies, the political stalemate is far from resolution. Mr Maliki refuses to step aside while elements inside the Shia community, apart from Sunnis and Kurds and much of the rest of the world would like him to go before a more inclusive government can be formed.

Second, a reluctant US President Barack Obama seems to be going down the slippery slope of a military re-engagement in Iraq by adding more American military advisers, apart from seeking half a billion dollars to arm the moderate Syrian opposition, thus far receiving limited clandestine support from Washington.

President Obama, after all, was elected and re-elected on his promise to end the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has followed a cautious policy in Syria, despite the continuing carnage and the flight of millions of Syrians to neighbouring countries. But with the advent of the Isis and the declaration of the Caliphate, the first after the Ottoman Empire bit dust, has changed the geopolitical picture.

** China’s Most Dangerous Missile So Far

July 3, 2014 ·
China’s Most Dangerous Missile (So Far)
Robert Haddick 
July 2, 2014 · in Hasty Ambush

Buried on page 40 of the Pentagon’s latest annual report on China’s military power is a brief mention of the YJ-12, a recent addition to China’s portfolio of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM). The report notes that, “The new missile provides an increased threat to naval assets, due to its long range and supersonic speeds.” True, but in an understated way. In fact, the YJ-12 is the most dangerous anti-ship missile China has produced thus far, posing an even greater risk to the U.S. Navy’s surface forces in the Western Pacific than the much-discussed DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile. The arrival of the YJ-12 is one more indication of how the U.S. Navy is falling further behind in the missile competition against China, exposing flaws in operating concepts that U.S. and allied commanders and policymakers have relied on for years.

According to a 2011 study that appeared in Naval War College Review, the YJ-12 ASCM has a range of 400 kilometers, making it one of the longest-ranged ASCMs ever fielded (and much longer than the 124 kilometer limit of the U.S. Navy Harpoon). Crucially, at 400 kilometers, Chinese attack aircraft will be able to launch the YJ-12 beyond the engagement range of the Navy’s Aegis Combat System and the SM-2 surface-to-air missiles that protect U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups. In the past, when adversary ASCMs were limited to 100 kilometers or less, a carrier strike group had more time to react with its own aircraft and defensive missiles. It also had the option of engaging enemy aircraft before they launched their ASCMs, and more redundancy to cope with such attacks. With its 400 kilometer range, the YJ-12 will greatly erode these previous advantages.

A realistic future scenario is an attack on two or more axes by two Chinese Flanker regiments (totaling 48 Su-30 MKK or J-11B Flanker fighter-bomber variants). These Flankers (roughly corresponding to U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter-bombers, capable of supersonic speeds, and possessing a combat radius of 1,500 kilometers) could each be armed with two to four YJ-12 ASCMs. Although the carrier strike group’s combat air patrol could shoot down a few of the Flankers before they launched their missiles, the strike group would still face the prospect of defending against over a hundred supersonic ASCMs approaching from several directions at a wave-top height. The group’s close-in air defenses would have less than 45 seconds to engage the missiles after they appeared on the horizon. The YJ-12s would employ a variety of sensor types to find their targets and execute dramatic cork-screw turns to evade final defenses. A study from the Naval Postgraduate School concluded that in past engagements of anti-ship missiles against alerted surface warships, 32 percent of the attacking missiles scored hits. If only five percent of such a saturation YJ-12 attack impacted targets, it would still be a bad day for the carrier strike group.

What to Expect from Modi's India


Patrick Bratton

July 3, 2014
India's May 2014 election received far less attention from the U.S. media than it deserved. The landslide victory of Narendra Modi and the BJP is significant for both India and the Indo-Pacific region. Notwithstanding important achievements - like the Indo-US nuclear deal - the previous Congress-led coalition government of Manmohan Singh, seemed to the electorate like a decade of missed opportunities and drift. Internationally, many of India's friends and partners often found it too cautious. In contrast, Modi will have an increased focus on Asia, leveraging Indian diplomacy to increase Asian investment in India.

Internal Focus

Modi's priorities are internal and focus on returning to high growth. In recent years, the economy has grown just 5-6 percent annually instead of the 8-9 percent of a decade ago. The view in Delhi is that India needs 7-8 percent growth rates. Voters were concerned about issues like high commodity prices, job creation, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure. To achieve this growth, Modi seeks to develop infrastructure, build transit corridors, and increase the effectiveness of the Indian bureaucracy.

Internal security will be a priority for the government, as seen by the selection of veteran counter-terrorism intelligence chief, Ajit Doval, as National Security Advisor. In its election manifesto, the BJP stressed that it will have a "zero tolerance" policy toward terrorism, indicating that in the event of another terrorist attack, this government will take action unlike the passive response of Singh's government to the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Beyond responding to the domestic call for a more hawkish stance, this emphasis on domestic security is necessary for growth. It will prove difficult to attract needed investment if foreign investors feel India is unstable. In the 2000s, India was one of the countries most often struck by terrorist attacks, just after Iraq and Afghanistan.

Southern Asia

During his inauguration ceremony, Modi took the unprecedented step of inviting the heads of government from South Asia, including controversial guests like Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Mahindra Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, and Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsand Sangary. His first foreign visit was to Bhutan. Modi wants to be seen as the "leader of South Asia" to increase his status and expand regional economic ties. This will prove difficult: South Asia is one of the world's least economically integrated regions and the regional organization, SAARC, one of the most ineffective. In addition, China has invested heavily in both infrastructure development and military assistance to several of these states (in particular Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) so Modi will be playing catch up to balance Chinese influence in the region.


The most delicate relationship that the new government will have to manage is with China. Although bilateral trade has grown 30 percent annually in recent years, the trade imbalance (favoring China) is a source of irritation. China is India's largest trading partner, but India is only China's 10th largest. Modi's government would like to increase India's access to the Chinese market for its IT and pharmaceutical industries, and increase Chinese capital and capital goods investment in Indian infrastructure. The recent visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi focused on economic issues, in particular getting increased Chinese investment in India's industrial parks and railways. Beyond economics, there have been murmurs of India becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (which is unlikely).

Pakistan’s Third Plutonium Reactor Now Operational

  1. July 4, 2014
    Usman Ansari

    Defense News, July 3, 2014

    Pakistani Army soldiers guard nuclear-capable missiles at an exhibition in Karachi. Pakistan’s third plutonium producing nuclear reactor is operational. (Asif Hassan / AFP)

    ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s third plutonium-producing reactor is in service at its Khushab nuclear site, according to the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), and is likely to have already produced fuel.

    The IPFM is “an independent group of arms-control and nonproliferation experts from both nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states” and highlighted the latest developments in Pakistan’s plutonium program in a June 30 IPFM blog entry.

    Using commercial satellite imagery from March 2013 and December 2013, it says the Khushab III reactor now appears operational due to water vapor rising from its cooling towers, but the Khushab IV reactor is still under construction.

    It goes on to say, “If Khushab-III began operating in early 2013, the first batch of its spent fuel could have been taken out already, cooled and become available to be reprocessed in 2014 or possibly 2015.”

    It bases its assessments on the three operating reactors having a power of 40-50 megawatts, in which case, operating at 50 percent capacity, they could each produce 5.7 to 7.1 kilograms of weapon grade plutonium per year.

    At 80 percent capacity they could each produce 9 to 11.5 kilograms of plutonium.

    Based on these calculations, IPFM estimates Pakistan has accumulated about 170 kilograms of plutonium from the Khushab I and Khushab II reactors. It claims this would suffice for approximately 35-40 warheads of 4 to 5 kilograms of plutonium per warhead.

Pakistani Government Tells U.S. to Stop NSA Spying on Its Communications

July 4, 2014

Pakistan tells US envoy to stop secret surveillance

Mariana Baabar

The News International [Karachi]

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador Richard Olson was summoned on Thursday to the Foreign Office and clearly told by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry to impress upon his government to immediately stop subjecting Pakistan to secret intelligence surveillance as this breached the international lawand recognised diplomatic conduct, Western diplomatic sources confided to The News. The government made it clear that this matter would be taken up again in the future after Washington explained its position.

The issue was also raised during the weekly media briefing at the Foreign Office.The spokesperson, despite several queries, did not reveal the fact that Olson had been summoned but instead responded, “Pakistan has noted with concern the recent media reports indicating that it is among the countries subject to surveillance by US government departments. The US Embassy in Islamabad was conveyed today that such an action against Pakistani government departments or other organisations, entities and individuals is not in accord with international law and recognised diplomatic conduct.”

When asked about the PPP being a target during the surveillance, the spokesperson without naming the party said she found this “surprising”.“The US side was further conveyed that surveillance was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations between our two countries and in the interest of friendly and cooperative ties, we have urged the US to stop such activities,” added the spokesperson.

She said it was a violation of international law and the matter was also raised with the US in the past and Islamabad would continue to discuss this issue.“I can confirm to you that this issue is being raised with the US and I have already said that we are working on it,” added the spokesperson without giving further details.

As reports spoke about steps being taken in India to strengthen its cyber security, the spokesperson said that it was not her ministry which would take steps to further secure cyber security.

On Iraq, the spokesperson said so far all Pakistanis inside Iraq were safe, including those who were working with a Turkish company in Tikrit who were evacuated before the deterioration of the situation.

Pakistan Launches Decisive Battle Against Terrorism

Pakistan Launches Decisive Battle Against Terrorism
Image Credit: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
The government and the military must institute a comprehensive policy to eliminate terrorism root and branch.
By Deedar Hussain Samejo
July 04, 2014

After years of uncertainty over how to handle its militant insurgency, Pakistan’s army finally launched an all-out military offensive on June 15 against the local and foreign militants based in North Waziristan agency, the second largest tribal region of Pakistan’s seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas located along the Pakistani-Afghan border. The operation, named Zarb-e-Azb, (or the Strike of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sword) seems to be a crucial fight in Pakistan’s long war against terrorism and militancy, aimed at rooting out militant hideouts associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

For more than a decade North Waziristan has remained a safe haven for regional and global terrorist organizations. A place from which to plan and execute deadly attacks on their main targets, most importantly coalition troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s public places and security installments. Considered by many as the epicenter of terrorism, North Waziristan is the territory that militants used as a headquarters for planning and coordinating most of the terror acts that reportedly took the lives of 50,000 Pakistanis, including more than 5,000 security personnel, and cost more than $1 billion in financial losses.

There has always been demand for action against militants. Despite popular support, the military’s insistence on launching an operation, and the international community’s calls to eliminate the sanctuaries of terrorists in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s confused political leadership could not make up its mind about how to tackle the issue. Since September last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s civilian government pursued elusive peace talks instead of handling the issue militarily, while the Taliban resorted to acts of terrorism, targeting civilians, minorities and security forces.

With the formidable attack on the country’s biggest and busiest international airport in Karachi on June 8, the army lost patience and decided to launch a full-scale military offensive against the militants. Since the peace dialogue had already failed, a military operation became inevitable, compelling the political leadership and even the biggest critics of the use of force to accept it.


Isaac Baruffi 
July 3, 2014
Judging Jim Gant: Violence, Partiality, and Political Consolidation in Afghanistan

Several months ago — before the Bergdahl drama and Iraq’s abrupt meltdown — former Army Major Jim Gant received a brief flurry of attention due to the release of his biography American Spartan, authored by Ann Scott Tyson, which chronicles Gant’s turbulent career in Special Forces. It documents his dramatic rise to fame since 2009, when his strategy for Afghanistan, as described in a paper titled “One Tribe at a Time,” went viral among senior military leaders, subsequently becoming the basis for Village Stability Operations. It also details his precipitous fall from grace that followed from his alleged recklessness, substance abuse, and countless other infractions. Suffice it to say Gant is a polarizing figure who has both supporters and critics among those acquainted with his exploits.

But there are also more serious allegations; namely, that he perpetrated war crimes in Afghanistan, or at least supported their commission. In a 2010 blog post titled “Petraeus and McChrystal Drink Major Gant’s Snake Oil,” Central Asia specialist Christian Bleuer accused Gant of engaging in ethnic cleansing based on the following excerpt from “One Tribe at a Time:”

The highland people had taken and were using some land that belonged to the lowland people. The Malik told me the land had been given to his tribe by the ‘King Of Afghanistan’ many, many years ago and that he would show me the papers.[…] I made the decision to support him. ‘Malik, I am with you. My men and I will go with you and speak with the highlanders again. If they do not turn the land back over to you, we will fight with you against them.’[…] Without going into further detail…the dispute with the highlanders was resolved.

Additionally, on April 10 Adam Elkus, a War on the Rocks contributor,tweeted that “…it’s easy to judge. Particularly given that Gant facilitated ethnic cleansing.” Elkus is correct that it is easy to judge Jim Gant for his alleged crime. It is more productive, however, to attempt to understand the logic underpinning the act in question, and to assess its broader implications for counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.

Moving Beyond Pretense: Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation

Edited by Mr. Henry D. Sokolski.
Added June 17, 2014
Type: Book
526 Pages
Download Format: PDF
Cost: Free
Send this page to a colleague.
Alert me when similar studies are published

The U.S. President and nearly all his critics agree that the spread of nuclear weapons and the possibility of their seizure and potential use is the greatest danger facing the United States and the world. Looking at the way government and industry officials downplay the risks of civilian nuclear technology and materials being diverted to make bombs, one would get almost the opposite impression. In fact, most governments have made the promotion of nuclear power’s growth and global development a top priority. Throughout, they have insisted that the dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation are manageable either by making future nuclear plants more “proliferation-resistant” or by strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and acquiring more timely intelligence on proliferators. How sound is this view? How useful might civilian nuclear programs be for states that want to get nuclear weapons quickly? Are current International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear safeguards sufficient to block military nuclear diversions from civilian programs? Are there easy fixes to upgrade these controls? How much can we count on more timely intelligence on proliferators to stem the further spread of nuclear weapons? This volume taps the insights and analyses of 13 top security and nuclear experts to get the answers. What emerges is a comprehensive counternarrative to the prevailing wisdom and a series of innovative reforms to tighten existing nuclear nonproliferation controls. For any official, analyst, or party concerned about the spread of nuclear technology, this book is essential reading.

Sea Transportation: The Strait of Malacca Blues

July 3, 2014
The international effort to suppress Somali piracy halted and reversed the increased piracy off the coast of Somalia but at the same time there has been a major increase in attacks in the Straits of Malacca. Big as in a sevenfold increase from 2009 to 2013 (when there were 150 attacks). There was also a jump (to 50 attacks a year) off Nigeria. The big difference is that it was only off Somalia that ships and crews be taken and held for ransom for long periods. Everywhere else the pirates were usually only interested in robbing the crew and stealing anything portable that they could get into their small boats. Off the Nigerian coast pirates occasionally take some ship officers with them to hold for ransom. Another tactic is to turn off tracking devices and force the crew to move small tankers to remote locations where most of the cargo (of oil) can be transferred to another ship and later sold on the black market. But that sort of thing requires a lot of organization, nerve and luck. So most of the attacks are armed robbery. Given the amount of portable electronics on a seagoing ship (both company and personal), a half dozen armed pirates can net several thousand dollars per ship hit. There are fences on shore who pay cash for this stuff and quickly move it out of the country.

It’s not the theft aspect that worries shipping companies using the Malacca Strait, it’s the possibility of terrorists using the pirates or the pirates causing an accident that blocks these vital straits. Piracy in the vital (most of the world's oil exports pass through here) Strait of Malacca has gotten a lot worse and so has the risk for catastrophe.

For the pirates there are lots of targets, with over 50,000 large ships moving through the Strait of Malacca each year. That’s 120-150 a day. Lots of targets. The 800 kilometer long strait is between Malaysia and Indonesia and is 65 kilometers wide at its narrowest and depth are generally 27-37 meters (90-120 feet). The shallow and tricky waters in the strait forces the big ships to go slow enough (under 30 kilometers an hour) for speed boats to catch them. But if there’s a collision, especially one involving a loaded oil tanker, the oil spill could be huge and a large ship sinking in the strait could block or throttle traffic for months.

There’s no easy solution to the piracy in the Strait of Malacca. Pirates usually function on the margins of society, trying to get a cut of the good life in situations where there aren't many options. This is usually in areas where state control is weakest or absent, in failing and "flailed" states. A flailing state is something like Nigeria, Indonesia, or the Philippines, where the government is managing to keep things together but is faced with serious problems with regions that are sometimes out of control. In a failed state there are areas where there isn't much government at all and pirates can do whatever they want most of the time. With the Strait of Malacca the problem is that there are a lot of poor (or not so poor but very ambitious) people in the area with access to boats and experience using them in the ocean. Speeding along next to a huge tanker or container ship at night in the Strait of Malacca and using a grappling hook or very tall ladder to get aboard is not for the faint of heart or anyone with no experience on the water. But as more of these attacks succeed more people are tempted to try and more are doing that.

Myanmar: The Fear Of The Generals

July 2, 2014
Despite well publicized government efforts to work out peace deals with tribal rebels the army continues to attack Karen and Kachin rebels along the borders. The army believes it has to maintain an aggressive stance or else the tribal rebels will cause trouble. The tribes simply see the government continuing to break promises like they have been doing since 1948 when modern Burma was created by the departing British colonial officials. The British gave Burma control of remote tribal areas that the pre-colonial Burmese kingdoms had generally left alone and, at best, considered buffers with China and Thailand. The tribes and the ethnic Burmese down south have been fighting ever since.

There are still a lot of unresolved issues with the tribes that the government will not address. One in particular is the many (over 100,000) landmines the government has planted in the tribal territories since the 1960s. These were used to protect infrastructure (roads, electricity lines, bridges) and major bases or government controlled towns. Few of these mines were ever cleared and the government refuses to start work on that despite all the talk of peace. The mines are a constant hazard in the thinly populated tribal areas and make a lot of grazing and farm land too dangerous to use.

The government effort to negotiate peace with the tribes is hampered by distrust and the refusal of the tribes to disband the governmental institutions they have built. The government is particularly hostile to the tribes taking over police and taxation in the areas the tribal militias control. The taxation often includes road checkpoints by the tribal “police” that collect fees from any vehicles that wish to get through the area. The tribes don’t trust police or taxpayers from the south because the ethnic Burmese who work those jobs are seen as hopelessly corrupt and not very efficient either.

International banks and other lenders (like the IMF) are telling Burma some fundamental changes are necessary before Burma will see a lot of foreign investment. In particular something must be done about the extensive corruption. This makes it difficult for all businesses to operate. Then there is the lingering power of the army. The Burmese military must allow the 2008 constitution (created when the military government was still in control) to be modified to eliminate the excessive power of the military in the new democratic government. For example, the 2008 constitution guarantees the military have 25 percent of the seats in parliament and requires 75 percent of the votes in parliament to get the constitution changed. The generals are reluctant to allow these changes because so many Burmese are still angry at the decades of bad behavior by the military government. Without some control over the government the generals who ran the military dictatorship (and many of their subordinates) could be prosecuted for their crimes. The generals are under a lot of pressure over the constitutional reform issue. Burmese businessmen and foreign investors also back a reduction of military control, mainly because the military is the main source of the widespread corruption that cripples the economy.

What Britain will lose if Scotland goes

James Forsyth
July 2014
Our future disunited kingdom could be more of a mess than anyone has really grasped

On 19 September, people over all Britain could wake up in a diminished country, one that doesn’t bestride the world stage but hobbles instead. If Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom, it would be Britain’s greatest ever defeat: the nation would have voted to abolish itself.

The rump that would be left behind after a Scottish yes vote would become a global laughing stock. Whenever the Prime Minister of what remained of the United Kingdom raised his voice in the international arena, he would be met by a chorus of ‘You couldn’t even keep your own country together!’ If even the British don’t believe in the British way of doing things any more, then why would anybody else?

This problem would be particularly acute for David Cameron since the referendum would have been lost on his watch. But it would affect his successors too. One can almost hear Vladimir Putin deriding the idea of taking lectures from a country that couldn’t even hold itself together. Those whose job it is to assess threats to our security say that Scottish independence would make us infinitely more vulnerable. President Obama’s decision to intervene in this debate was a result of Washington’s fears about what would happen to its ally’s global role if Scotland left.

The worst thing about a yes vote is that Britain would have been lost in a fit of absence of mind. Scotland is not a colony speaking a separate language; the Scottish people are not discriminated against within the Union. Indeed, the last prime minister and chancellor were both Scots. Rather, the momentum for independence is being produced by a general anti-politics mood and a folk dislike of the Conservative party in Scotland.

It is a weak basis on which to try to rend asunder the most successful marriage of nations in human history, but it has gained traction because this country has forgotten how to talk about itself. We have said for so long that it’s just not British to discuss what makes you British that we have forgotten our raison d’être. If this referendum is defeated, it is imperative that we learn how to foster our sense of national identity again. If we do not, this plebiscite will not be the end of the matter but the beginning.

Already the Scottish vote is casting a long shadow over Britain’s international standing. It looks to the rest of the world as though Britain is having a national identity crisis. One cabinet minister exclaimed after a recent foreign trip, ‘I am fed up with going abroad and being lectured about how to keep my country together.’ What interests a foreign audience most is our two referendums: the one on whether Scotland stays in the United Kingdom and the subsequent one on whether the UK, or what’s left of it, will remain in the European Union.

The rest of the world has grasped something that too many people in this country have not: this September’s referendum isn’t just about Scotland’s future but about the rest of Britain’s too. If Scotland votes ‘yes’, Great Britain will become Little Britain.

One Labour frontbencher tells me that this country would be a ‘shitty Singapore’. This might be going too far, but he has a point. Think of almost any foreign policy or national security issue, and Scotland’s departure from the UK would affect it. Britain’s position in Europe would be weakened, its military forces cut down still further and its nuclear status threatened. But perhaps the most profound effect would be on the nation’s psyche. Scotland choosing to leave would be a Suez moment.

Many calculate that the departure of Scotland, one of the more pro-European parts of the Union, would strengthen Euroscepticism. But if Scotland went, the next thing to go would be any chance of a substantial renegotiation of Britain’s terms of EU membership.

In the aftermath of Scotland’s departure, what remained of the United Kingdom would hardly be in a position to demand concessions from Brussels. Instead, the attitude would be stay close to Nurse for fear of something worse. It would be 1975 all over again, as a fearful electorate concluded that it had no choice but to stay in Europe despite its misgivings.

If a prime minister did try to renegotiate, it is not hard to imagine how the rest of Europe would react. There would be warnings aplenty about how our prime minister of all people should know about the dangers of playing with referendums. EU leaders would also be far more inclined to call Little Britain’s bluff than they would be Great Britain’s bluff.

If Scotland left, she would take with it a chunk of Britain’s military. But partition would barely reduce the defence demands on the rest of the country, since very little of the forces’ focus is on territorial defence. The Ministry of Defence is so concerned about what Scottish independence would do to the military that it has simply refused to do any contingency planning on the subject. Instead, it is hoping that the jobs associated with Scotland’s defence industry will help swing support behind the Union. The Prime Minister’s presence at the launch of the new Queen Elizabeth carrier is designed to remind voters that these Royal Navy ships are built in Scotland because it is part of the United Kingdom.

The Scottish government’s independence white paper says that, on a population share, Scotland would be entitled to £7.8 billion of the United Kingdom’s £93 billion of defence assets (the 2007 figure). The white paper details what Edinburgh would ask for from each branch of the UK military in negotiations. From the Royal Navy, for instance, it would seek two frigates, four anti-mine boats, two offshore patrol vessels and between four and six patrol boats.

Considering that there are roles for all 13 of the Royal Navy’s frigates in the UK’s defence missions, the loss of these two frigates would reduce capability. What worries those who work for the Chief of the Defence Staff is that these losses would not be replaced. Instead, the Navy would simply be asked to carry on performing the same tasks but with less kit.

This fear is understandable. The United Kingdom is only just hitting the Nato target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. Research commissioned by the military top brass, and subsequently leaked to the Financial Times, shows that in 2017 the country will fail to hit even that target. In these circumstances, and with the defence personnel budget in line for further cuts after the election, it is hard to imagine us choosing to spend enough to make up for the capability lost to an independent Scotland.

But perhaps the greatest danger to the country’s military position from Scottish independence is that a shrunken Britain would simply decide to abandon its global role. As the House of Commons vote on Syria last summer revealed, an isolationist mood already pervades the land. This would be exacerbated by Scotland deciding to leave. After all, this would no longer be the same country that had fought on the winning side in two world wars and coloured half the globe pink. It would, instead, just be the successor state to that great nation.

Scottish independence would pose an immediate challenge to the rest of the kingdom’s nuclear status. The SNP has been campaigning on a promise that it would not accept the nuclear deterrent continuing to be based at Faslane and Coulport. Those familiar with SNP thinking on the matter are adamant that there is no deal to be done on Trident and a currency union: the nuclear weapons would have to go south of the border.

But where? No other base in Britain is equipped to house them and the alternatives that were looked at in the 1960s have become more unsuitable over time. In the best-case scenario, the weapons would be stored in Berkshire while the submarines that are supposed to carry them would be based three hours’ drive away in Plymouth.

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has already conceded that there would be a ‘huge cost’ in relocating the nuclear deterrent elsewhere in the no-longer-united kingdom. It would take 20 years or more to build a new home for Trident in England, according to the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. Indeed, we could end up with the rest of the UK’s nuclear warheads being stored by the French at Brest, something that would effectively end the independence of the deterrent.

It is also doubtful whether what remained of the United Kingdom would be prepared to spend the money necessary to build a new base for Trident. This ‘huge cost’, well into the tens of billions of pounds according to several estimates, might well tip the balance against renewing the nuclear deterrent.

If the remainder of the United Kingdom ceased to be a nuclear power, it would be much more difficult to justify its permanent presence on the Security Council of the United Nations. There would be clamour for this seat to be given up, handed over to the European Union, or its influence lessened by other states being given a permanent presence on the council. In the end, the rump state would probably retain it, as the Russian Federation kept the Soviet Union’s seat. But Britain’s influence would be further diluted.

If Scotland does decide to leave, the United Kingdom would be the first advanced industrialised democracy to separate in the postwar era. It would be an undignified end for a country that in its 307-year history has done more to shape the modern world than any other. The world we live in is one that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have, in large part, created together.

Scots must look to the horizon before they go into the voting booth. If they decide against reviving a border that was dissolved in the early modern era, it will show that the spirit of the Enlightenment that made Britain great lives on. But if they opt for separation, they will have managed something that no foreign foe has ever achieved. They will have ended Britain.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 5 July 2014

Obama’s Strategy of Using Proxies to Fight Our Wars Collides With Reality in Iraq

July 4, 2014

Mark Landler, Michael R. Gordon and Mark Mazzetti

New York Times
WASHINGTON — Speaking at West Point in May, President Obama laid out a blueprint for fighting terrorism that relies less on American soldiers, like the cadets in his audience that day, and more on training troops in countries where those threats had taken root.

But this indirect approach, intended to avoid costly, bloody wars like the one the United States waged in Iraq, immediately collided with reality when a lethal jihadi insurgency swept across the same Iraqi battlefields where thousands of Americans had lost their lives.

The seizing of large parts of Iraq by Sunni militants — an offensive hastened by the collapse of the American-trained Iraqi Army — stunned the White House and has laid bare the limitations of a policy that depends on the cooperation of often balky and overmatched partners.

While the militants from ISIS have moved swiftly to establish a caliphate from eastern Syria to central Iraq, the White House is struggling to repel them with measures that administration officials concede will take months or longer to be effective.

Image CreditGabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

At West Point, Mr. Obama spoke hopefully of a “network of partnerships from South Asia to the Sahel.” The reality, on chaotic display in Iraq, is likely to be far messier. The United States, constrained by a war-weary public, will have to rely on a constantly shifting cast of surrogates to confront the threats it once took on largely by itself — a trade-off that will require patience as well as a new determination at the White House to arm and train local forces.

Last week, Mr. Obama announced a plan to spend $500 million to train and equip rebels in Syria. But the Pentagon has only begun detailed planning for the program, and officials said it would be months, or even more than a year, before the fighters would be battle-ready.

“The Islamic State’s resources are increasing faster than the appropriations process back in Washington,” said Robert S. Ford, a former American ambassador to Syria who is now a resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. “The administration is going to have to think of some things to do in the short term.”

The Ukrainian Rebels’ New Weapon Is a World War II

The Ukrainian Rebels’ New Weapon Is a World War II Tank
Today, we advance on Kiev—tomorrow, Berlin

Ukraine’s anti-government rebels have been getting help from Russia. Now they may be getting help from Josef Stalin.

Or rather, a JS-3 Stalin heavy tank dating back to World War II.

The Stalin tank in question is a museum piece in more way than one. It’s actually sitting on a pedestal, apparently as some kind of monument in Ukraine to the Great Patriotic War.

In this Youtube video, released by a group called Anti-Maidan, white smoke billows from the tank’s engine.

JS-3 Stalin and Ukrainian rebels. Youtube video

“Today local MacGyvers from Kostiantynivka, Donetsk People’s Republic have taken [a] World War II-era monument JS-3 heavy tank and brought it back to life,” according to video caption. “Good Soviet engineering is still able to serve today, and will serve in fight against [the] Kiev junta.”

Unfortunately for the Donetsk People’s Republic armored corps and its talented mechanics, the tank doesn’t seem to do much. In the video, it remains solidly on its pedestal as it belches white smoke, raising the question of whether the rebels plan to resort to chemical warfare by asphyxiating their enemies with carbon monoxide.

Even if the tank were able to move—and move under its own power—there’s the small matter of finding ammunition for its 70-year-old cannon.

And while anything named Stalin is not to be trifled with—the Nazis certainly didn’t enjoy the output of that big 122-millimeter gun—we must point out that the Ukrainian government tanks it will face will not be Tigers or Shermans from 1945.

The 50-ton JS-3 has a maximum of around 19 centimeters of armor, and the quality of World War II Soviet armor plate wasn’t sterling. A Ukrainian army T-80UD is somewhat lighter at about 45 tons, but it has closer to 100 centimeters of high-tech armor plate plus explosive armor to detonate anti-tank weapons.

Which also reminds us that quite a few Stalin tanks fell victim to NaziPanzerfaust rockets, which suggests that the venerable JS-3 would not last long against Ukraine’s modern RPG-29 rockets.

On the other hand, the Youtube video solicits Paypal donations for Anti-Maidan. So perhaps the Stalin need only sit imposingly on its pedestal and belch hot air.

You can follow Michael Peck on Twitter at @Mipeck1 or on Facebook. Medium has an app! Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIB’s RSS feed here and follow the main page here.


Air & Space Power Journal - English

The July–August 2014 issue is now available at http://www.au.af.mil/au/afri/aspj/. To support today’s electronic reading devices, ASPJ makes all articles available in multiple formats.
In this issue. . . .

A New Era for Command and Control of Aerospace Operations
Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF, Retired
The Imperative to Integrate Air Force Command and Control Systems into Maritime Plans
Maj Gerrit H. Dalman, USAF

Capt Daniel M. Kopp, USAF

LT Gary A. Redman Jr., USN

Maj Damon Matlock, USAF

Maj Jonathan Gaustad, USAF

Maj Jason Scott, Georgia ANG

Capt Danielle J. Bales, USAF

Examining the Importance of the Tactical Air Coordinator (Airborne)

Maj Gregory M. Blom, USAF

Capt Matthew B. Chapman, USAF

Crossing the Streams: Integrating Stovepipes with Command and Control

Maj Matt "Radar" Gaetke, USAF

A Concept for Directing Combat Air Operations

Major General Sam J. Byerley

The Editor
Air and Space Power Journal

“Air and Space Power Journal” is published by Air University Press, part of the Air Force Research Institute.


Claude Berube 
July 3, 2014

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the latter states that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” What she fails to acknowledge, or perhaps she intentionally deceives her young and naïve paramour, is that while roses would have an olfactory appeal, they still have thorns. It is worth keeping this in mind when reading a recent article in Proceedings that advocates for a “global network of navies” – the most recent incarnation of the “1,000 ship navy” concept articulated in 2005 by then-Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen. The “1,000 ship navy” is a fleet-in-being of nations willing to respond to shared challenges, since no navy could “go it alone.” In the new Proceedingspiece, current Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert and Rear Admiral James Foggo argue that the United States Navy must be “compelled to strengthen the bonds of international maritime cooperation” because no country has sufficient forces to address the myriad of challenges on the high seas or the littorals. Partnerships, therefore, are necessary and would meet those growing global threats. The name may have changed from a 1,000 Ship Navy to a Global Network of Navies, but the arguments supporting the idea remain overly optimistic and neglect to account for other realities. The concept still has thorns.

Isolation, either in international relations or naval operations, remains an inadvisable and irresponsible path for the United States as the world’s largest military power and – for the time being – the largest economic power. Engagement is necessary in an increasingly connected global community. But that interconnectivity presents both opportunities and challenges. While the Navy and the country may hope more for the opportunities, they must however resign themselves to the inherent realities of regional and global challenges to partnerships.

As it has for more than two hundred years, the U.S. Navy works with other navies – whether in underway replenishment, patrols, or other operations. In the late eighteenth century, Thomas Jefferson suggested to John Adams that the U.S. should organize an “international task force comprised of all European nations whose shipping was being victimized” by the Barbary States, although Adams responded that it was an idea whose time had not yet come. During the Barbary War, both the U.S. and Swedish navies cooperated against Tripoli until the latter made peace in 1802 and left America to continue alone. In the early nineteenth century, the U.S. Navy sent warships to West Africa to suppress the slave trade at the same time the Royal Navy had its own Africa Squadron.

Today U.S. firms benefit from Foreign Military Sales. Intelligence officers from various nations in centers around the world cooperate on near-, mid- and long-term threats. Warships conduct bilateral and multi-lateral exercises. And just as travelling to foreign countries to experience different cultures can be an invaluable experience enhancing part of an American student’s education, training and educational exchanges are a vital part of naval engagement. The United States Naval Academy Class of 2014included international graduates from nine foreign nations, in a long-standing tradition that goes back to the graduating class of 1864. International officers can be found at the Naval War College, National Defense University, and elsewhere, just as U.S. Navy midshipmen and officers also study abroad.

This Was Your Week at War

Islamists attack Iran, air war over Iraq & Eritrean slavery
On June 19, suspected militant from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria attacked an Iranian border post, killing at least two guards. Jassem Al Salami broke the news after Tehran tried to suppress it.

Today ISIS is fighting in three countries—Syria, Iraq and Iran—and no fewer than four countries are fighting back with warplanes and helicopters, Al Salami reported.

Iraq’s air arms are in the thick of the fighting. Baghdad is running out of Hind gunship helicopters, as ISIS keeps shooting them down, Robert Beckhusen noted.

Iran and Syria have both launched bombing raids on ISIS forces inside Iraq. And the U.S. Air Force and Navy are flying armed surveillance flights to keep tabs on the Islamists’ advance.

In northern Iraq, the Kurds are mobilizing for war with ISIS—while also opening up their homes to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the Islamists’ brutality and the incessant air raids, as Kevin Knodell and photographer Matt Cetti-Roberts documented.
In Eritrea, thousands of people every year flee the government’s oppressive conscription practices … which are tantamount to slavery, according toPeter Dörrie. Peter also highlighted a deepening controversy in Germany over Berlin’s confused—and self-defeating—support of the troubled Malian army.

How Obama Lost the Middle East

JULY 3, 2014 
The president put politics and ideology ahead of preserving hard-won gains in the region.

In his first term, Barack Obama all but declared victory in America’s Middle East struggles.

As he precipitously pulled out all U.S. peacekeepers from Iraq, the president had his own “Mission Accomplished” moment when declaring the country “stable,” “self-reliant,” and an “extraordinary achievement.”

Those claims echoed Vice President Joe Biden’s earlier boast that Iraq somehow would prove Obama’s “greatest achievement.”

After the death of Osama bin Laden, and during Obama’s reelection campaign, the president also proclaimed that al-Qaeda was a spent force and “on the run.”

But what exactly was the new Obama strategy that supposedly had all but achieved a victory in the larger War on Terror amid Middle East hostility?

Fuzzy euphemisms replaced supposedly hurtful terms such as “terrorism,” “jihadist,” and “Islamist.” The administration gave well-meaning speeches exaggerating Islamic achievement while citing past American culpability.

Coming to You Live From the Government Military Offensive in Eastern Ukraine

JULY 3, 2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has wasted no time bringing the fight to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. This week, he halted a ceasefire and launched a military offensive to retake territory held by the rebels. As Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending vague signs that he hopes to de-escalate the conflict, Poroshenko is pushing forward, using his military to regain control of restive cities and border posts.

After being repeatedly humiliated by rebel forces, the Ukrainian military is starting to see some success, recapturing the Dolzhansky border post and taking areas around the eastern city of Slovyansk. There is intense fighting in eastern Ukraine as its army has unleashed heavy artillery.

The ongoing conflict continues unfolding in real time on social media, providing a fairly unfiltered snapshot of Europe's first military confrontation since the 1990s war in the Balkans. See government forces firing artillery outside the eastern city of Slovyansk in photo below. The Ukrainian government claims it has retaken several small villages in the surrounding area recently.

With Ukraine's army bearing down on rebel forces civilians are caught in the middle. According to Ukrainska Pravda, pro-Russian separatists blew up a civilian car close to Kryva Luka, a village by the city of Kramatorsk. According to the report, a 10-year-old girl was seriously injured and both her parents killed.

Army Doctrine on Geospatial Engineering

by Steven Aftergood
Jun. 2014 

Those who are involved (or merely interested) in the field of geospatial intelligence will want to know about a new Army doctrinal publication on the subject.

“Geospatial intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.”

The new publication provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of the field. SeeGeospatial Engineering, ATP 3-34.80, June 2014 (very large pdf).

How to Hunt a Chinese Hacker

Sam Frizell July 3, 2014
Private security firm Crowdstrike says alleged hacker Chen Ping was an avid photographer. CrowdStrike Intelligence Report
The private firm CrowdStrike followed an alleged Chinese hacker's footprints and uncovered a detailed picture of a menace to U.S. businesses

There are many photographs of Chen Ping. In one, he’s scarfing down pastries at a birthday party. In another, the camera catches him mid-laugh, standing in front of an ivy-covered wall. Chen photographed his dorm room, too, with bottles of rice liquor splayed across a desk next to a potted plant, clothes hanging in the corner. In a garden, he took photos of his girlfriend, catching a pleasant smile.

The photos are curious because Chen was supposed to be one of the faceless warriors in an emerging global cyber-war, according to researchers at the Internet security firm CrowdStrike. But the 35-year-old former resident of Shanghai left a trail of clues and photographs that researchers say led back to a People’s Liberation Army headquarters, where a covert team of Chinese hackers has been attacking telecommunications and satellite companies in the U.S. for at least seven years. The CrowdStrike researchers nicknamed Chen’s hacking ring “Putter Panda.”

Popular Among Subscribers

To the Chinese army, the hackers are known only as People’s Liberation Army Unit 61486 — a group that a U.S. government official confirmed in an interview with TIME was responsible for cyber-attacks on American companies. The group came to light in a recent New York Times story. And Project 2049, a nongovernmental think tank based in Arlington, Va., claimed in a 2011 report that Unit 61486 was involved in the interception of satellite communications, as well as the acquisition of research in satellite imagery. But it wasn’t until researchers at CrowdStrike tracked down the hacker called Chen that the world got an unprecedented inside look at one of China’s notorious cyber-attack units.

CrowdStrike is part of a fast-growing group of young companies including FireEye, Sourcefire, OpenDNS and others that are challenging more established players for a bigger claim to the $67 billion cyber-security industry. They’re doing that by tracking state-sponsored hackers like Unit 61486 and independent cyber-criminals alike, anticipating their attacks before they happen. According to research firm Gartner, the security-technology industry is expected to grow to $86 billion by 2016. As cyber-attacks from state-sponsored hackers simply become a cost of doing business for many American companies, security researchers are making money by stalking hackers through fiber-optic cables and web domains to their computers back home.

At CrowdStrike, a 20-person team of researchers used technology ranging from the cutting-edge to the prosaic to find Chen’s Shanghai office address, and then monitored him and his colleagues. Companies like CrowdStrike say they are the first line of defense for U.S. companies’ intellectual property. “This is like real-time warfare,” says George Kurtz, co-founder of CrowdStrike. “We’re able to see exactly what they’re trying to do, where they’re trying to go and able to stop them in their tracks.”

Digital Warfare

It’s become increasingly clear that the future of espionage will be played out through fiber-optic cables, web servers and other computer systems. Cyber-espionage costs U.S. companies $30 billion each year in lost intellectual property alone, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and that doesn’t include the cost of cleaning up and recovering information. The FBI notified 3,000 U.S. companies that they had been hacked in 2013 by cyber-criminals or Chinese state actors. “We remain concerned that Chinese authorities continue to use cyber-operations to steal information and intellectual property from U.S. entities for the purpose of giving Chinese companies a competitive advantage,” a senior administration official told TIME.