16 November 2015

Hope and clarity in Paris

November 16, 2015

AP"For better or for worse, Paris has become another site in a global conflict that stretches from Mumbai and Peshawar to Bali and Beirut."

The French will hopefully find positive ways to understand what has just happened to them. A history of racism has not stopped France from becoming a multicultural society. Despite Islamophobia, the French have welcomed and lived with Europe’s largest Muslim population

Parisians are no strangers to violence. During the French Revolution in late 1793, the Reign of Terror swept across the city, killing more than 2,000 supposed ‘enemies of the revolution’. In 1871, the city played host to the largest European urban insurrection of the nineteenth century — the Paris Commune — in which nearly 10,000 Parisians were slaughtered.

Take charge of OROP

November 16, 2015

An army may march on its stomach, but for the force at large, izzat (dignity) has been a highly held ideal as well. In a country that boasts one of the world’s largest military forces that operates on the principle of voluntary enlistment, the government should try to resolve the current stand-off over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue with a realisation of this fact. Some of the responses heard from various quarters of the government so far do not indicate they appreciate that. Among other aspects, the latest OROP notification issued by the government goes against the spirit of encouraging younger officers by allowing premature retirement. It is a serious anomaly that goes against the post-Kargil military reforms that have helped bring down the average age of field commanders. In seeking a solution to the outstanding issues, appointing yet another committee to look into the grievances will amount to nothing but a travesty. The military has a core function in a democracy, and ensuring its apolitical nature is critical to the future of a maturing nation. Indeed, strained ties with the larger military community could have unintended fallouts in the long term. The widespread protests could contribute to disaffection against the government, going far beyond the cantonments.

Narendra Modi's UK Visit: Major Takeaways

November 14, 2015

Fresh out of his party’s defeat in the Bihar elections — a result that may have shaken foreign investor faith in his government’s ability to pursue swift reform — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent the better part of this week in the United Kingdom for his first state visit there as India’s head of government. Modi and his counterpart, David Cameron, issued a joint statement on their “global partnership.” Additionally, Modi and Cameron issued a joint statement (PDF) outlining a range of agreements between the two countries, specifically on the issue of climate change. Modi also addressed the British parliament, becoming the first Indian head of government to do so.

Lessons from the 1962 Sino-Indian War in Ladakh

By Brig Amar Cheema
14 Nov , 2015

This is the third and concluding part of the Sino-Indian war, and although, it covers the wider canvas of the war, it focuses on Ladakh. The previous parts of the extracts from the book: The Crimson Chinar – The Kashmir Conflict: A Politico-Military Perspective that form this series, posted on this site before this: The Overview of the War and Occuparion of Tibet and the American Secret War are recommended to be read prior to reading this part. 

…these are as relevant in the current strategic Sino-India strategic discourse, as they were in the bleak autumn of 1962.

Before coming to the lessons of the war, since, there remains a major controversy on why did India not employ Air Power in 1962, the extract of the relevant part is being covered prior to highlighting the macro lessons from the war – these are as relevant in the current strategic Sino-India strategic discourse, as they were in the bleak autumn of 1962.

The Employment of the Air Force

Save India from 'key-communicators'

Before the advent of democracy in India, and more so the system of nation-states, the people of the country; as in most parts of the world; had no choice with regard to their rulers. India had its own share of enlightened and despotic rulers.

Not one activist supporting the Maoists has condemned the terrorism, extortion, child recruitment and narcotics trade in the name of revolution.

There were many savage invaders, who brutalized India. The most brutalized land of this country till independence was arguably Kashmir. Delving in Kashmir’s history, the fact that from 1947 to this day has been the most benign period cannot be disputed. The elderly separatist leaders have only to introspect honestly on Kashmir’s past and the ubiquitous ‘One Book Wonder’ has to read about the reign of blood and terror of Sikandar Butshikan (1389-1413), who destroyed the religious and secular fabric of the culturally rich Kashmir Valley.


11 NOVEMBER 2015

On 11 November, former Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran delivered the 2015 Owen Harries Lecture on India's role in the new global order.

Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute, Members of the Faculty of the Institute, Mr Owen Harries, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I wish to thank the Lowy Institute for inviting me to deliver the prestigious Owen Harries lecture this year. It is an even greater privilege to have Mr Harries personally present in this very distinguished audience. As the founding editor of The National Interest journal from 1985 to 2001, he was one of the most influential voices in the US and across the world on issues relating to international security and foreign policy. His writings and speeches reflect realism, but tempered by prudence and sagacity born out of a lifetime of scholarship, deep historical insight and hands-on experience. These qualities mark his valuable contributions to the discourse on international relations. Thank you, Sir, for your presence here today which makes this a special occasion for me.

‘Indian Machiavelli’ Urges Confronting China

November 12, 2015

US and Indian officers

WASHINGTON: Forget Gandhi and satyagraha. India needs to be more strategically assertive and take China on, a longtime national security advisor to New Delhi said today. And if the US doesn’t like it, then “screw you.”

But Washington should like a more aggressive India, said the American-educated Bharat Karnad, because it’s the only thing that can hold the line against a rising China.

“A very strong, pugnacious India is going to help you guys in some sense breathe easy, which you won’t be able to do otherwise,” Karnad told me after his remarks this morning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Chinese Spy Ship Detected Operating in Disputed Waters in East China Sea

November 13, 2015

Japan spots Chinese spy ship near disputed islands

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan said on Friday (Nov 13) it was monitoring waters near islands disputed with China in the East China Sea after it spotted a naval intelligence ship from the country operating in a new area for the first time.

Japan’s Defence Ministry said late on Thursday that a P-3C patrol aircraft observed the Dongdiao-class intelligence vessel near territorial waters of the Islands that Japan administers and calls the Senkakus, but China claims as the Diaoyus.

The ship repeatedly moved back and forth in the area until Thursday evening before departing, never breaching Japan’s 12-nautical-mile territorial waters, the ministry statement said.

Japanese Defence Minister Nakatani called the ship’s moves “unusual” at a regular press conference Friday, saying it made “repeated eastward and westward moves in one day”.

Russia Selling Advanced S-400 Air Defense Missiles to China

L. Todd Wood
November 13, 2015

China to receive advanced Russian weapons

China is getting in on the Russian air defense systems act and will accept delivery of multiple S-400 anti-aircraft missile units in the coming years, with the first unit to be delivered within 18 months.

TASS, the Russian state news agency reports, the signing of a contract for the supply of S-400 to Beijing was officially announced in the spring of 2015. “I would not disclose the contract details, but yes, China has indeed become the first buyer of the Russian newest air defence system, which only emphasizes the strategic level of our relations,” Director General of arms exporter Rosoboronexport Anatoly Isaykin said in April.

The S-400 is an extremely sophisticated system that uses multiple different range missiles to engage targets from a distance of 2 to 400 km and can detect targets out to 600 km. The system also can engage targets at very high altitude and up to 80 targets at once while controlling 160 missiles in flight.

China's Potential Pitfalls #5: The United States

By Xue Li
November 14, 2015

After enjoying rapid development for nearly 40 years, China is at a turning point in terms of both economic growth and social development. In this series, Dr. Xue Li examines the five most critical challenges and potential pitfalls China faces today. See his previous pieces on Pitfall #1, Pitfall #2, Pitfall #3, and Pitfall #4 as well.

China’s final potential pitfall is the foreign threat, which comes principally from the United States. Westernizing China remains the long-term goal of the United States, and the medium-term goal of dragging China into the current world order is also a westernization tactic.

Over the short term, Americans are working hard to establish win-win cooperation with China. But if China should fall into difficulties, the U.S. will adjust its policy goals. If economic stagnation and mass social unrest should appear in China, the forces aiming to divide the mainland will grow stronger, and those in the U.S. who want to westernize China (and fundamentally obliterate China’s capacity to challenge the United States) will see their goals as more realistic.

Did China Try Restricting US Bombers in the South China Sea?

November 13, 2015

On Thursday, U.S. officials confirmed that two U.S. B-52 Stratofortress long-range strategic bombers were contacted by Chinese air traffic controllers earlier this week while flying over the South China Sea, near disputed islands. Reuters reports that the U.S. bombers continued undeterred.

The report comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China after the U.S. Navy carried out a freedom of navigation patrol near a Chinese man-made island. The B-52s were reportedly “in the area” of the Spratly Islands and there are conflicting reports regarding whether their passage took them within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the Spratlys.

Statements from Commander Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, suggest that the mission was a routine transit flight. ”The B-52s were on a routine mission in the [South China Sea],” he said. ”We conduct B-52 flights in international air space in that part of the world all the time,” Peter Cook, another Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters.

Will the Ma-Xi Meeting Backfire for Taiwan's KMT?

By Phoebe Benich
November 14, 2015

The data is in: less than a week after the meeting between Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a plurality of Taiwanese believe Ma does not reflect their views and that he failed to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity.

Any objective observer would agree last week’s summit was a historic event. However, the lack of progressive or meaningful joint agreements between the two, combined with merely the reiteration of preexisting policies, reveal the domestic interests that drove Ma and Xi to hold the meeting and the desperation that forced Ma to conduct it as he did. Unfortunately for all parties involved, the Taiwanese response to the meeting has thus far not only failed to validate Ma’s political gamble, but also underlined the political weakness of his bargaining position.

The Next Big U.S.-China Military Challenge: Beijing's Underwater Nukes

November 14, 2015

How vulnerable are China’s nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs, or boomers), and what does that vulnerability mean for US strategy?

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has devoted considerable time and expense to developing a maritime nuclear deterrent. The United States Navy, on the other hand, has forty years of experience in hunting down Russian boomers. Chinese boomers present no major problem.

But the paradox of nuclear weapons is that one player’s insecurity can make the other player less secure. If the United States can credibly threaten the Chinese nuclear deterrent, Beijing’s paranoia might become more risk acceptant, rather than less. This makes the decision to exploit the vulnerability of China’s boomers fraught with danger.

China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: October 2015 Update

S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal
October 24, 2015 

With the recent launches of the Yaogan 26 and Yaogan 27 satellites China has demonstrated its ability to routinely identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up.

The current operational satellite constellation consists of ELINT satellites, satellites carrying Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors as well as satellites carrying optical imaging sensors.

Based on the orbit characteristics, their local time of equatorial crossing and other related parameters, these satellites can be grouped into different categories that perform the various functions for identifying, locating and tracking the ACG.

Yaogan 9 (Yaogan 9A, 9B, 9C), Yaogan 16 (16A, 16B, 16C), Yaogan 17 (17A, 17B, 17C), Yaogan 20 (20A, 20B, 20C) and Yaogan25 (25A, 25B, 25C) are the five triplet cluster equipped with ELINT sensors that provide broad area surveillance over the Oceans. With a coverage radius of about 3500 Km, they provide the first coarse fix for identifying and locating an ACG in the Pacific Ocean. Yaogan 20 and Yaogan 25 may be replacements for the Yaogan 9 and the Yaogan 16 that may be nearing the end of their lives.

Backgrounder: New Details of the Hunt for ‘Jihadi John’ in Syria

November 13, 2015

Strike on ‘Jihadi John’ Unfolded Quickly, but Hunt Took Months

WASHINGTON — The U.S.-British missile strike believed to have killed “Jihadi John” came together at lightning speed, but was months in preparation.

Shortly before midnight Thursday, two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones and one British MQ-9 cruised above Raqqa, the Syrian heart of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate that stretches deep into Iraq, U.S. officials said.

The aircraft’s controllers monitored two people who had entered a car.

One, they were certain, was Mohammed Emwazi, the British computer programming graduate who catapulted to infamy in August 2014 when he presented the beheading of American journalist James Foley, the first of several grisly videos in which he presided over the beheadings of foreign hostages.

Brandishing a knife, dressed head to toe in black, and speaking with a London accent, Emwazi became known as “Jihadi John”, the most potent symbol of the group’s brutality and a high-value target for U.S. and British intelligence agencies.

Pentagon Says It Is “Reasonably Certain” That “Jihadi John” Was Killed in U.S. Airstrike in Syria Yesterday

November 13, 2015

Pentagon Says ‘Jihadi John’ Was Probably Killed in Airstrike

The Pentagon said on Friday that it was “reasonably certain” that an American airstrike killed Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State’s most notorious executioner. 

Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the American-led coalition fighting the militant group, told reporters at a news briefing that the airstrike on Thursday took place near the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. He said the Pentagon was still seeking final verification that Mr. Emwazi, a 27-year-old British citizen who became known as Jihadi John, was killed in the strike. 

Speaking from Baghdad over a webcast, Colonel Warren said a Reaper drone fired Hellfire missiles at a car in which Mr. Emwazi and another militant were believed to be traveling. “We know for a fact that the weapon system hit its intended target, and that the personnel who were on the receiving end of that weapons system were in fact killed,” he said, but it remained necessary to confirm that “those personnel were specifically who we thought they were.”

Breaking: Iraqi Kurdish Forces Have Captured Town of Sinjar From ISIS, Eyewitness Report

November 13, 2015

Kurdish forces seize Iraq’s Sinjar town from Islamic State

Kurdish peshmerga forces backed by U.S. air strikes seized the Iraqi town of Sinjar from Islamic State on Friday, a Reuters witness said, in one of the most significant counter-attacks since the militants swept through the north last year.

“ISIL defeated and on the run,” the Kurdistan regional security council said in a tweet, using an acronym for Islamic State. It said the peshmerga had secured Sinjar’s wheat silo, cement factory, hospital and several other public buildings. 

Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani also declared victory in an offensive that could provide critical momentum in efforts to capture the western provincial capital Ramadi, and Mosul in the north, an Islamic State bastion. 

“The liberation of Sinjar will have a big impact on liberating Mosul,” Barzani told reporters atop Mount Sinjar, overlooking the town.

The recapture of Sinjar from Islamic State came as evidence grew that the group had suffered another setback with the probable death in an air strike in northern Syria of Jihadi John, a Briton who had appeared in videos showing the beheadings of American and British hostages.

ISIS Threatens to Attack Targets in Russia

November 13, 2015

IS video threatens attacks in Russia, Moscow

CAIRO Nov 12 (Reuters) - Islamic State has released a video threatening attacks in Russia “very soon” in revenge for Russian bombing in Syria, the SITE monitoring group said on Thursday, and the Kremlin said Russian state security services would study the material.

Al-Hayat Media Center, the militant group’s foreign language media division, released a video in Russian with chants of “Soon, very soon, the blood will spill like an ocean”, SITE reported.

Islamic State has previously called for attacks on Russia and the United States in revenge for strikes by their warplanes on its fighters in Syria.

Western intelligence officials suspect the ultra-hardline Sunni group of planting a bomb in a Russian passenger plane which crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, killing all 224 passengers and crew.

US Airstrikes in Syria Target ISIS Executioner and British Citizen “Jihadi John”

November 13, 2015

US airstrike targets ‘Jihadi John’ from IS slaying videos

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John” on Thursday, according to American officials. Whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages was not known, officials said.

Mohammed Emwazi was the target of an airstrike in Raqqa, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. Officials were assessing the results of the strike, he said.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that a drone had targeted a vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Emwazi, believed to be in his mid-20s, has been described by a former hostage as a bloodthirsty psychopath who enjoyed threatening Western hostages. Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who had been held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said Emwazi would explain precisely how the militants would carry out a beheading.

Don't Be Too Hopeful: Iraqi Kurdistan is No Better than Its Neighbors

November 14, 2015

U.S. policy in Iraq since the early 1990s has been a cascade of disasters. Not only did Washington’s campaign against Saddam Hussein remove the principal regional strategic counterweight to Iran, but it set into motion developments that have turned Iraq into a cauldron of chaos. The rise of ISIS is only the most recent and devastating manifestation. Less obvious, but still depressing, developments include the evisceration of Iraq’s once-vibrant Christian community and the erosion of women’s rights in the portion of the country controlled by the Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad.

One consistent bright spot in this wreckage of a policy was the emergence of what appeared to be a prosperous, democratic Kurdish region in northern Iraq. True, the notion that Iraqi Kurdistan was merely a semi-autonomous region within a united Iraq was little more than a convenient diplomatic fiction. The reality was that Kurdistan was an independent state in everything but name, with its own military force (the Peshmerga), its own flag and its own currency. As time went on, the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) in Erbil increasingly bypassed the central government to strike lucrative deals with foreign corporations, especially to sell oil on the international market—often over Baghdad’s explicit objections.

The Coming Crackdown in Iran

November 13, 2015

The recent arrests of Iranian journalists and businessmen have sent chills through Tehran. Are the string of detentions merely a coincidence, or the beginning a larger crackdown? The arrests occur against the backdrop of a larger, more dangerous, political drama centered on the character of a post-nuclear deal Iran, yet the conflict remains far from settled.

The heart of the current fight is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s campaign against foreign influence, or nafooz in Persian. Khamenei blessed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in order to resolve Iran’s standoff with the world powers over its nuclear program. For the ayatollah, however, the deal is a double edge sword. With sanctions relief comes eventual re-integration into the global economy. The consequent flood of international investment and consumer goods may also bring political and cultural ideas the Islamic Republic’s leaders fear will undermine the strength and legitimacy of their regime.

A 'Nuclear Pearl Harbor': America's Master Plan to Nuke Japan's Navy

November 13, 2015

Less than a year after the formal end of World War II the United States tested its new superweapons in peacetime. Operation Crossroads in 1946 at Bikini Atoll tested the effects of nuclear weapons on naval fleets and harbors.

While burrowing through the vast Manhattan Project archives historian Alex Wellerstein turned up evidence that Bikini wasn’t the first Pacific island in the atomic crosshairs. Another atoll may have been the earliest target considered by the Manhattan Project.

For a time before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States considered nuking the Japanese fleet at anchor — a kind of reverse,radioactive Pearl Harbor.

When the Manhattan Project got off the ground in 1943, both the atomic bomb and the defeat of Japan looked like a long time and a lot of work away.

Hard fighting that year in New Guinea, Bougainville, the Solomons and Tarawa showed just how much time and work. But U.S. Navy planners thought the biggest target and the hardest nut in the Pacific was the huge Japanese naval base at the remote Micronesian atoll of Chuuk, once known as Truk.

Russia's Syria Operation Reveals Significant Improvement in Military Capability

November 12, 2015

Although relatively small in scale, Russia's military operation in Syria has highlighted some major improvements in Russian military capabilities.

Compared to the 2008 Georgia War, which was the last time the Russian Air Force operated in a combat environment, the Russian military appears to have made great strides in increasing operational tempo and improving inter-service integration. It has also made significant advances in its ability to carry out expeditionary operations and showcased its recently developed stand-off strike capability.

The initial air strike campaign successfully targeted weapons and equipment depots that opposition forces had captured from government forces earlier in the conflict. Once these targets were eliminated, Russian air forces then coordinated with Syrian and Iranian forces conducting ground operations against opposition forces in the northwestern part of the country.

American intelligence and national defense 2.0

10 November 2015

An Open Source (Technologies) Agency, far removed from the secret intelligence world, would radically reduce wars and illegal immigration, increase trade and shared prosperity, and convert the USA into a “Smart Nation”.

The Pentagon, 1980's. Wikicommons/ "DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force.". Public domain.On 06/17/11, I wrote the first instalment of National intelligence and national defense, published at the Campaign for Liberty, suggesting that we could both cut the secret intelligence budget by three quarters, and radically increase the amount of open source decision-support (as opposed to secret mass surveillance).

Campaign for Liberty: Steele on IC and DoD

By Robert David Steele Vivas

Right up front, here is the value proposition: a revolution in national security affairs can immediately deliver three things:

1. Permit the rapid (four years) reduction of the secret intelligence community budget from $80 billion to under $20 billion and permit the rapid (four years) reduction of the active and reserve military budget from over $1 trillion a year (which is how much the US Government borrows every year “in our name”) to under $250 billion a year, with a strict focus on defense against real modern threats instead of fabricated or exaggerated threats;

2. Provide the public intelligence (decision-support) necessary to document, evaluate, and recommend the reduction of the federal government by at least one-half over four years; and

American intelligence and national defense 2.0

10 November 2015

An Open Source (Technologies) Agency, far removed from the secret intelligence world, would radically reduce wars and illegal immigration, increase trade and shared prosperity, and convert the USA into a “Smart Nation”.

The Pentagon, 1980's. Wikicommons/ "DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force.". Public domain.On 06/17/11, I wrote the first instalment of National intelligence and national defense, published at the Campaign for Liberty, suggesting that we could both cut the secret intelligence budget by three quarters, and radically increase the amount of open source decision-support (as opposed to secret mass surveillance).

Cybersecurity: A Millisecond Defense

NOVEMBER 12, 2015

From access to activation, we pass through multiple digital ecosystems with devices that can be used to hack unrelated digital system processes in a millisecond.

When it comes to recent cybersecurity talks, the prevalent theme seemed to be, “We know we need to do something, but what?”

The recurring questions are: Where do we start, and how fast do we need to react to stop cyberattacks? What's become quite clear is that if we are to secure our digital world, we need to do it with technologies that run as fast as the networks and applications in which they operate — in milliseconds.

Repeated time and again in recent discussions is the need for proactive defensive measures in cybersecurity — and how quickly they must react to stop today's hacker. Even the language in the new cybersecurity billseems to fall short of true cybersecurity protection, as it is more based on the sharing of information to assist in the detection and recovery of a cyberattack rather than a proactive cybersecurity solution that would stop the attack.

How the Internet was born, 25 years ago

November 13, 2015 

November 12 marked 25 years of the beginning of the World Wide Web. Shivanand Kanavi gives us the story of how it all began.

'Great Cloud. Please help me. I am away from my beloved and miss her very much. Please go to the city called Alaka where my beloved lives in our moonlit house.'

--From Meghadoot(messenger cloud) by Kalidasa, the Sanskrit poet- playwright, fourth century AD

Twenty five years ago on November 12, 1990, particle physicist Tim Berners Lee, working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, at Geneva submitted a note to his bosses on Hyper Text (http) and thus started a chain of events that led to the information revolution of the World Wide Web (see a copy of Tim Berners Lee's note; external link).

Lots of SIGINT in Declassified PDB Documents

November 12, 2015

I finally got around to going through the seven and one-half years worth (June 1961 - January 1969) of President’s Intelligence Checklist/President’s Daily Brief documents that the CIA declassified back in September. For those of you who have not had a chance to go through them, you can access the complete collection here.

Bear in mind that the CIA’s redactors deleted somewhere between 25-30% of all the items in these Top Secret Codeword daily intelligence briefs, so it is hard to make a complete judgement as to how important signals intelligence (SIGINT) was in terms of keeping Presidents Kennedy and Johnson apprised of what was going on around the world. But what I did find was surprising. Virtually every day there was at least one, and in some cases up to three briefing items based in part or in whole on SIGINT.

Below are the items from the declassified PICKL/PDB documents that I found that were based on SIGINT::

June 17, 1961 The CIA discontinued sending President Kennedy the daily Top Secret Codeword Current Intelligence Bulletin, and instead created a new daily Top Secret publication called The President’s Intelligence Checklist (PICKL), the first edition of which went to the White House on June 17, 1961. Six months later, President Kennedy ordered that the report be given on a daily basis to the Secretaries of State and Defense, but that was the full extent of the document’s distribution. (Michael Douglas Smith, “CIA Publications: Serving the President with Daily Intelligence,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Summer 1999, pp. 203-204.)

GOP Debate #4: Presidential vs. Personal

By Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang
November 14, 2015

In a shift away from a personality-driven contest, the fourth Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin served to separate electable presidential contenders from political aspirants. Conversant on the U.S. economy and foreign policy, candidates with presidential leadership character and vision for the country’s future prevailed in this round. Debate winners will attract new, deep-pocket donors and expand their support base – a key indicator of transitioning from a viable to formidable candidacy. Coalescing constituencies around their electability is another critical indicator of securing a competitive advantage before the first-in-nation primaries in February 2016.

We ask and answer six questions on the implications of this fourth debate, marking a new phase in testing candidates’ substance, style and stamina.

Who most clearly articulated a vision of U.S. foreign policy?

"Secular Stagnation": The Shaky New Financial Landscape

November 14, 2015

The term “secular stagnation” is an attention-grabbing headline. When economists posit that slow growth is here to stay, it peaks people’s interest—and for economists, this is a rarity.

Secular stagnation is ill-defined (it has a definition, but no one has stuck to it), and by being somewhat ambiguous it can mean different things to different people. Broadly, secular stagnation is the theory that economic overhangs will slow global growth, resulting in slower growth for an extended period of time.

But, like many professions, macroeconomists tend to fall into the fallacy of extrapolating broad trends into sweeping statements. These “stylized” versions of an economy are useful in some cases. In the case of secular stagnation, the characterizations are misleading. There are subtleties worth noting.

Wearable Military Technologies

Ajey Lele
October 30, 2015 

This paper discusses Wearable Technologies and their relevance for a country’s overall security architecture. It attempts to identify and analyze the present and potential importance of these technologies for the 21st century warfare.


Wearable Technologies are those technologies/instruments/equipment/gadgets which could help humans to carry out some of their functions more freely. Also, at times the safety aspect could be built into such instruments which offer some form of security, protection to the individuals wearing such equipment. Probably, even a doctor’s stethoscope, or a collar mike used while speaking to a large audience or a helmet used for protection while driving/playing could be viewed as a Wearable Technology.

There is no standard definition of wearable technologies. The selection of technology would depend on the purpose for which it has been used for. For example for a person working in mines would have a helmet, other protective gears, tools for working underground, camera and communication gadgets on his/her body as wearable technologies while for an electrician, protective hand gloves and specialized footwear could be viewed as Wearable Technologies.


November 12, 2015 

It's 2020 and Russian forces are seizing the Arctic, partly by hacking the FedEx networks that handle shipping orders for U.S. troops. 

Not a far cry from reality, if one’s been following Defense Department warnings that cyberspace will be a part of any future war. 

And apparently, some U.S. lawmakers want to project more power in the newest military domain.

In an unprecedented move, Congress just ordered U.S. Cyber Command to carry out simulated "war games" against, specifically, Russia, along with China, Iran and North Korea. The drills are expected to run uniformed service members, civilians and contractors through the motions of staving off a cyber assault the likes of which each nation state will be equipped for -- five to 10 years from now. 

Groundhog Day: China-Pakistan JF-17 Fighter Has its First Buyer

November 13, 2015

China and Pakistan may finally have their first customer for the jointly developed Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (PAC/CAC) JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft.

According to Chinese media reports, a deal was signed during the Dubai Air Show this month with an unidentified Asian country.

It remains unknown when the contract was signed or how many aircraft were sold. Khaleej Times quotes Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood, head of sales and marketing for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, who once more noted that “a contract has been signed with an Asian country.”

However, the Pakistani officer made the exact same announcement during the Paris Air Show in June 2015 (See: “Confirmed: Sino-Pak JF-17 Fighter Jet Has its First Buyer”).

Need a Cheap Fighter Aircraft? The JF-17 Might Work

November 13, 2015

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and its and its partner, the Pakistan Aeronautical complex (PAC) Kamra, is once-again reiterating that it has signed a deal to sell the JF-17 Thunder to an unnamed customer at the Dubai airshow.

Pakistan and China had previously made similar statements at the Paris airshow earlier in the year. China has geared the lightweight fighter—which is also known as the FC-1 Xiaolong—to aim for the low-end of the international fighter market.

“After several years’ co-development and marketing, China and Pakistan have signed a contract with third party customer for the purchase of JF-17 Thunder,” reads a statement released by AVIC. “As China and Pakistan improve their ability and skills in co-developing JF-17 Thunder, the aircraft is becoming a ‘Blue Ocean product’ with much market potentials as an ideal replacement for second-generation fighters in many countries’ air force.”