10 January 2017

***** 5 maps that explain China's strategy

George Friedman

The sharp decline in Chinese stock markets on Monday is a reminder of two things. The first is the continued fragility of the Chinese market. The second is that any economic dysfunction has political implications, both in Chinese domestic and foreign policy. This, in turn, will affect Chinese economic performance. It is essential, therefore, to understand Chinese national strategy.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been portrayed as an increasingly aggressive country prepared to challenge the United States. At the same time, aside from relatively minor forays into the South and East China Seas, China has avoided significant involvement in the troubles roiling in the rest of Eurasia. There is a gap between what is generally expected of China and what China actually does. To understand what China’s actual national strategy is, it is helpful to follow the logic inherent in the following five maps. 

Ethnolinguistic groups

Geopolitical Futures

Let’s begin by defining what we mean by China. First, there is the China we see on maps. But there is also the China inhabited by the Han Chinese, the main Chinese ethnic group. Maps of the Chinese state and the ethnic group would look very different.

*** Al Qaeda In 2017: Slow And Steady Wins The Race


In 2016, al Qaeda defied expectations and managed to hang on. Last year, we wrote that the al Qaeda core organization led by Ayman al-Zawahiri was weak. That assessment was based on the fact that the core group had mounted no attacks, and statements by leaders of franchises such as Jabhat al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula appeared to carry more weight than those of the central leadership.

However, the course of events in 2016 made it clear that this assessment was misguided. We noted in June 2015 that al Qaeda had managed to gain some small advantage by maintaining a low profile, portraying itself as a moderate jihadist alternative to the Islamic State and viewing its struggle through the lens of insurgent strategy as a "long war." Al Qaeda's game plan worked in 2016 and will continue to pay dividends in 2017, enabling the group to make inroads with militants at the local and regional level.

*** Major New Report: The Trump Transition and the Afghan War: The Need for Decisive Action

It provides a detailed analysis of the problems caused by both the failures of past U.S. Administrations to properly structure and resource the U.S. combat support forces, and military and civil aid missions necessary to support Afghanistan, and of the critical failures in the Afghan government that threaten its survival and military success. It includes a detailed analysis of key weaknesses in U.S. allied train and assist, counterterrorism, and combat air support missions, and in the security efforts of the Afghan government. It also addresses key problems in the Afghan civil sector, in politics, governance, corruption, the economy and winning Afghan popular support.

The report suggests significant changes to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan that shift from a deadline-driven withdrawal strategy to a conditions-based strategy that provide the resources needed to help Afghan forces until they are truly ready for transition. It also suggests a major shift in the U.S. civil efforts from one focused on development to one focused on addressing the key weaknesses in Afghan politics and governance, and meeting critical Afghan civil needs and winning popular support.

At the same time, the report suggests that any such U.S. and allied effort must be made firmly conditional on actual Afghan reforms and performance, and that continued Afghan failure should lead the United States and other outside states to seriously consider ending aid and withdrawing from Afghanistan.

*** Department of Defense Accomplishments Taking the Long View, Investing for the Future

Ash Carter

As this Administration took office in early 2009, the country had just experienced another deadly year in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Defense (DoD) was therefore necessarily focused on large-scale counterinsurgency operations to defeat extremist networks in those countries. In the years since, this Administration effectively adjusted its defense strategy, shifting from a focus on irregular warfare and counterterrorism to a return to full-spectrum combat readiness and directing a responsive and versatile military that can prevail across the full spectrum of operations. This shift was accompanied by an $800 billion reduction in planned future defense spending, following the 2011 Budget Control Act and subsequent automatic sequestration spending caps. The combination of these two circumstances has led to the pursuit of a smaller yet more technologically advanced and capable military that is ready for the threats of today and the challenges of tomorrow. 

Today, the Department must prepare for and meet five major, unique, and rapidly evolving challenges. We’re managing historic change in the Asia-Pacific — the single most consequential region for America’s future. We’re countering the prospect of Russian aggression and coercion, especially in Europe. In the face of North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile provocations, we’re improving our nuclear and conventional deterrent capabilities. We’re checking Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf, and protecting our friends and allies in the Middle East. And we’re conducting an aggressive global campaign against terrorists and other violent extremists, while accelerating the certain and lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), destroying its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, and everywhere else it metastasizes around the world — even as we help protect our homeland and our people. 

** The Joint Force — Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

Gen. Joe 

The Joint Force — Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

Without understating the challenges of readiness and the erosion of our competitive advantage — which is very real, and has occurred over the last few years — I want you to know that I have absolute confidence that the joint force today can defend the homeland and our way of life, meet our alliance commitments, and possesses a competitive advantage over any potential adversary.

It’s important that our Allies, potential adversaries, and the American and international public understands they we have the most competent, professional and capable military force in the world.

My confidence in the Joint Force comes from three fundamental sources. First, the United States Congress continues to ensure that our service men and women are properly resourced. Second, our partners in industry continue to deliver world-class warfighting solutions to the Joint Force. Third, and most importantly, the extraordinary quality of the young men and women that we are fortunate enough to recruit and retain.

Tackle Beijing juggernaut in the sea

Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Despite its 7,830 nautical mile coastline, China, unlike Japan, was never a naval power, attempted commercial maritime voyages (sans serious military mission) by a few Chinese in the past notwithstanding. The reason for this non-naval tradition of China is due to land-fixative mindset of its rulers as they had to deal with innumerable foreign infantry and cavalry invasions through the northwest frontier, thereof, specially the well-known Gansu/Kansu corridor.

Thus when China attained its modern statehood in 1949, it continued to carry a historical baggage that was hard to shed. It was again the post-1949 Chinese Army that was repeatedly called upon to fight first in the northeast, with Americans in Korea (1950s), attack India in the remote Himalayas in the extreme southwest (1960s) and assault Vietnam in the southern plains (1970s).

These made China continuously fight land wars with foreigners. Thus, in the first half of the 20th century, when internal turmoil and political turbulence led to a long struggle (for supremacy) between the Communists and the Kuomintang — a civil war based on land. Understandably, therefore, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) got the place of pride and precedence in the new China of post-October 1, 1949. PLA commanders and comrades were all over the new China; from political commissars to district administrators to chairman, all running the government from highest level. Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai, Lin Piao to Deng Xiaoping, all were part of the Chinese PLA. No Air Force or Navy could ever break the monopoly of the “old boy tie” camaraderie of serving and ex-comrades of PLA.

The myth of a political bond

by C. Raja Mohan

India’s problem with China is that Delhi’s ideas of shared global interest in the multilateral domain have run into Beijing’s calculus on the regional balance of power in the Subcontinent.

As India’s relations with China continue to head south, Delhi will find it difficult to sustain a core belief about its engagement with Beijing. India has long insisted that Delhi has shared global interests with Beijing and must build on them despite enduring differences on the bilateral level. Three multilateral developments during 2016 have shattered that persistent illusion.

The first was Beijing’s ferocious opposition to Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group that regulates international nuclear commerce. The second was China’s unyielding determination to block Indian efforts to get the UN Security Council to designate Masood Azhar of the Jaish-e-Mohammed a terrorist. In the third, China has dredged up a long forgotten UN Security Council resolution to declare India’s nuclear deterrent illegitimate; in the same breath, it warned that it will boost Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme.

The UNSC resolution 1172 was passed in June 1998 in the wake of Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in May that year. The resolution called on India and Pakistan to sign the NPT and CTBT, freeze their strategic programmes and desist from developing and deploying nuclear weapons. Delhi might have thought much water had flown down New York’s East River since then, including the historic civil nuclear initiative between Delhi and Washington that ended the ban against international atomic energy cooperation with India, lent legitimacy to its nuclear weapons programme and began the integration of India into the global non-proliferation order.

A Slip of the Tongue on India's Once-Hyped 'Cold Start' Doctrine?

By Ankit Panda

Is this India finally acknowledging Cold Start as sanctioned and ready for use, or something else altogether? 

India’s new chief of army staff, General Bipin Rawat, spoke to India Today this week. The interview offers interesting insight into the man in charge of leading India’s armed forces as tensions remain uneasy along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Notably, Rawat, in the interview, acknowledges the “Cold Start doctrine” — a formally unofficial and politically unsanctioned doctrine of limited war developed by the Indian army in the mid-2000s to allow for conventional action against Pakistan without risking nuclear retaliation.

Rawat specifically says that the “Cold Start doctrine exists for conventional military operations.” That statement in itself makes him the first actively serving Indian official — military or civilian — to acknowledge the existence of the doctrine, vindicating Pakistani concern about Indian plans to use rapid-mobilization limited war operations in a future conflict with Pakistan.

What a Trump Presidency Means for Pakistan

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Trump’s election could trigger a geopolitical restructuring of the Af-Pak region. 

Unlike his recent predecessors, Donald Trump spent very little time discussing Pakistan during his successful presidential campaign. This is an indication of U.S. interest in the Af-Pak region – or lack thereof – and Washington’s almost complete shift of focus toward the Middle East, more specifically Iraq and Levant. This also provides insight into the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, which for the past five decades has been defined with respect to the Afghanistan security situation.

Even so, on the rare occasions that Trump did mention Pakistan in the build-up to becoming America’s 45th president, it was almost always through the Indian prism – the framework that Islamabad uses to define its relations with everyone. From Pakistan’s nuclear program, to the jihadist groups that are given state patronage, to the overbearing influence of the Army, Trump maintained that “India is the check to Pakistan. You have to get India involved.”

Trump’s only semi-positive statement related to Pakistan has been his desire to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir issue last month, which Pakistan’s Foreign Office appreciated.

The Rise of Religious Extremism in Balochistan

By Muhammad Akbar Notezai

“Once you unleash these monsters, as you know from Afghanistan, you cannot control them.” 

Religious extremism is on the rise in Balochistan. Several factors are driving this, but undoubtedly one concerns Balochistan’s northern regions, specifically Zhob district, which adjoins the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Following Operation Zarb-i-Azb in Fata, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters and other banned religious outfits penetrated deep inside Balochistan, where they are reportedly regrouping. As a result, Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, has been witnessing deadly assaults. A case in point is the August bombing at Quetta Civil Hospital, which killed more than 70 people, the majority of them lawyers.

This was followed in October by an attack on the Police Training College (PTC), involving heavily armed militants. More than 60 police cadets were killed. ISIS has claimed credit for both attacks.

Yet another act of terrorism took place the following month in Khuzdar District of Balochistan at Sufi Shrine of Shah Norani, where more than 50 pilgrims were killed. Again, ISIS claimed responsibility. This marked the third major attack carried out by ISIS in Balochistan in three months. It was an ominous development for Pakistan, and one that sent shockwaves around the world.

China’s Trouble With Pakistan’s Turbulent Democracy

By Abdur Rehman Shah

The real stumbling block to CPEC? The differences in political systems between China and Pakistan. 

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the coming together of two entirely different political cultures and systems. Even though this bilateral relationship has been termed as “higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, sweeter than honey, and stronger than steel,” the core of this bond is limited to the politico-diplomatic and military domains. In other words, it is a state-to-state relationship managed by specific institutions such as the top government officials (heads of state and government), diplomats, and of course, the two militaries. Thus free from of their respective public and cultural strictures, the two neighbors have sustained an apparently impeccable relationship. However, with the coming of CPEC, the things are changing.

Apart from security concerns in Pakistan, China seems to have trouble accepting the way Pakistan’s media and political parties have handled this multi-billion project. Since this debate relates to the working together of two distinct political systems, looking back at how the structure of each country functions would be pertinent.

What Do China’s Military Reforms Mean For Taiwan? – Analysis

By Joel Wuthnow

In late 2015 and early 2016, China announced a sweeping set of reforms to the organizational structure of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).1 Key changes included the following: 

The 4 semiautonomous general departments (responsible for operations, political work, logistics, and armaments) were replaced by 15 departments directly under the Central Military Commission (CMC). 

At the service level, a new Strategic Support Force was set up to provide support in the electromagnetic, space, and cyber domains; a separate headquarters was established for the ground forces (which were previously collectively led by the general departments); and the Second Artillery Force, an independent branch responsible for China’s conventional and nuclear missiles, was upgraded to a full-fledged service and renamed the PLA Rocket Force. 

The seven military regions, responsible for administering forces at the regional level, were replaced with five “theater commands” aligned against specific land and maritime threats on China’s periphery. 


By P K Ghosh

The likely announcement by Philippine President Duterte of the Scarborough Shoal as an environmental marine sanctuary and off limits to fishermen could prove to be the first incremental step towards defusing the South China Sea disputes and in the process endow considerable strategic advantages to Beijing.


ONE OF the most sensitive potential international flashpoints in the world — the turbulent South China Sea — was witness to a significant development which largely went unnoticed but may reduce the prevailing tension in the region. For some it may even sow the seeds of a long-term solution to this intensely complex imbroglio, though an incremental one.

On 12 Jul 2016, the Arbitration Court at the Hague had ruled with the damning verdict against China in a case brought about by the Philippines. Manila had lodged the suit against Beijing in 2013, saying that after 17 years of negotiations it had exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues to resolve the issue. The International Arbitral Court had concluded amongst others that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights” within the sea areas falling within China’s ‘nine-dash line’ which essentially claimed nearly 80% of the South China Sea.

PLA’s hacking hotel

U.S. military intelligence has identified a headquarters for a Chinese military hacking unit — inside two Beijing hotels.

According to an open-source intelligence report produced by the Army’s Asian Studies Detachment, “the Headquarters/Jintang and Seasons Hotel appear to be located in the same or at least adjacent buildings, both of which are, according to available information, owned by or connected to the People’s Liberation Army 4th Department.”

The Fourth Department, known as 4PLA, until recently was part of the military’s General Staff Department and is also known as the Electronic Countermeasures and Radar Department. The unit was reorganized into a new PLA service called the Strategic Support Force. The roll of the department is to conduct offensive electronic warfare and information warfare, including offensive cyberattacks.

The electronic and information warfare are among China’s most secret operations, and the location of the headquarters at the hotels appears to be following the strategic dictum of hiding in plain sight.

The 4PLA is considered one of China’s most threatening spy agencies because of its mandate for high-technology warfare and intelligence-gathering.

Its capabilities extend into space and include disrupting enemy communications, navigation and synthetic aperture radar satellites.

How Russia wields cyberpower

Source Link
Jack Detsch

Cyberattacks around the world linked to Russia – including hacking US political groups – expose a growing sophistication for leveraging the internet's speed and scale to exert influence. 

JANUARY 5, 2017 —Though President-elect Donald Trump called for the American public to "move on" from suspected Russian hacks that marred November’s election, the Obama administration isn't letting go.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, US intelligence officials said they will release a report early next week that promises to reveal direct evidence supporting the government's claims the Kremlin orchestrated sophisticated cyberattacks to expose Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents and attempt to undermine the presidential campaign.

While Director of National Intelligence James Clapper refused to reveal details of the report, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the intelligence community was "even more resolute" than ever that Russia carried out the operation, which involved "classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news" during the election. "Whatever crack they could fissure in our tapestry, they would exploit it," he said.

Stop overestimating the threat posed by Russia’s ‘new’ form of warfare

The term hybrid warfare – where a “wide range of overt and covert military, paramilitary, and civilian measures are employed in a highly integrated design” – seems to be popping up all over the place, all the more so in the wake of the US elections and Russia’s alleged involvement in influencing the result.

This new form of warfare has at times been described as an existential threat, and at others as nothing more than an elusive, catch-all term for something that has existed for a long time. What exactly does it mean, and is any of the alarm justified?
New terms for old concepts

When strategic concepts such as hybrid warfare suddenly come into vogue, there’s a risk that they’re given more coherence and a greater range of potential applications than warranted.

Two decades ago the term “asymmetric warfare” began to be used to describe the means by which weak states, along with insurgents and terrorists, might counter the superior conventional military capabilities of the West.

Should Washington Strike North Korea's Dangerous ICBMs Before It's Too Late?

Daniel R. DePetris

Imagine this hypothetical for a moment. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un takes to the Korean Central News Agency and begins his speech with the usual invective and inflammatory rhetoric about how evil and duplicitous the United States is. After about twenty minutes of this, he boldly declares that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has finally completed preparations for launching the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, which is scheduled in one week. After the speech, the U.S. intelligence community comes to the conclusion that Kim is deadly serious about launching the ICBM towards the Pacific. The administration makes the determination that the only way to stop the impending launch is through a U.S. military strike; two days later, U.S. Air Force and Navy assets are ordered to do exactly that.

This scenario may resemble a Hollywood thriller, but a growing number of people in the Washington foreign-policy community are increasingly of the belief that the use of force will likely be the only way the United States and the international community can prevent Pyongyang from further menacing its region and perhaps America’s West Coast. Sen. Lindsey Graham is one of those people. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in December, Graham revealed that he will be introducing an authorization for the use of military force to provide the president with the statutory approval to preemptively stop Pyongyang from finishing the development of its ICBM.

Germany’s terror divide The splits within the ruling coalition in Berlin over how best to protect the public from terror attacks.


BERLIN — Last month’s truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin has exposed a deep divide within the ruling coalition in Germany over how to protect the public from terror, stoking fears that authorities are ill-prepared to head off another massacre in Europe’s largest country.

At issue is whether the federal government should take control of police and domestic intelligence, functions that have been the purview of regional authorities for decades.

Critics view Germany’s decentralized security architecture — prescribed by the Allies after World War II to prevent a relapse into Nazism — as a relic of the postwar order.

But a proposal this week by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, to centralize authority for security in Berlin was met with howls of protest, including from his fellow conservatives. Regional leaders vowed to fight any attempt to rob them of control of security in their jurisdictions.

The Countries Worrying The Most About Terrorism

by Felix Richter

Every month, Ipsos conducts a survey to find out what the world is worrying about.

Our infographic below shows that in November, worries about terrorism were most prevalent in Turkey where 66 percent of respondents selected it as one of three 'most worrying topics'. Turkey has been hit by a series of devastating terror attacks in 2016.

In Germany, police are currently investigating a 'suspected terrorist attack' in the country's capital, Berlin. On the evening of December 19, a lorry was driven into a Christmas market killing twelve people and injuring 48. The driver of the vehicle has been detained. As is the case for a number of European countries, terrorism has been among the main worries of German citizens this year. In November, 34 percent listed it as one of their top concerns.

This chart shows the places in which the largest share of the population consider terrorism to be one of the most worrying issues in their country as of November 2016.

The Age of Fake Policy

Paul Krugman

Trivial interventions won’t do much to change a $19 trillion economy, despite the public relations hype.CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

On Thursday, at a rough estimate, 75,000 Americans were laid off or fired by their employers. Some of those workers will find good new jobs, but many will end up earning less, and some will remain unemployed for months or years.

If that sounds terrible to you, and you’re asking what economic catastrophe just happened, the answer is, none. In fact, I’m just assuming that Thursday was a normal day in the job market.

The U.S. economy is, after all, huge, employing 145 million people. It’s also ever-changing: Industries and companies rise and fall, and there are always losers as well as winners. The result is constant “churn,” with many jobs disappearing even as still more new jobs are created. In an average month, there are 1.5 million “involuntary” job separations (as opposed to voluntary quits), or 75,000 per working day. Hence my number.

America's Military Has a Big Problem: It's Dead Broke

Tom Spoehr

George Bailey: “A good year? Uh, well, between you and me, Mr. Carter, we're broke.” — It’s a Wonderful Life

“We’re broke.” In essence, that’s the message Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work delivered to Defense-Secretary-in-Waiting James Mattis at the December 5 Future Strategy Forum.

Mr. Work admitted that DoD has breathtaking liabilities—as much as $88 billion a year—that ought to be addressed before procuring a single additional plane, ship or tank. Unfortunately, the situation is even worse than that.

Military leaders have testified to the problems caused by five straight years of budget cuts and how these cuts, combined with an extraordinarily high operational tempo, have resulted in a smaller, less capable military force.

What has received less attention is the degree to which the Pentagon’s future plans bank on questionable assumptions and budgetary sleight-of-hand to balance the books for 2018 and beyond. These gimmicks include: relying on rosy future estimates for the cost of labor, fuel and currency exchange; pushing the costs of large modernization programs like the nuclear triad into the ill-defined “out years,” and using Overseas Contingency Operations funds to help cover normal DoD operating costs. Taken together, these liabilities, combined with the administration’s decision to submit budgets in excess of the Budget Control Act caps, constitute about $100 billion dollars per year of unbudgeted liabilities or risk—a staggering sum that will severely limit the new administration’s ability to quickly rebuild the U.S. military.

Nick Turse, Special Ops, Shadow Wars, and the Golden Age of the Gray Zone

Don’t think the fad for “draining the swamp” began on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. It didn’t, although the “swamp” to be drained in the days after the 9/11 attacks wasn’t in Washington; it was a global one. Of course, that’s ancient history, more than 15 years old. Who even remembers that moment, though we still live with its fallout -- with the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions of refugees, with Islamophobia and ISIS, with President-elect Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and so much more?

In the never-ending wake of one of the most disastrous wars in American history, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, it’s hard to imagine any world but the one we have, which makes it easy to forget what the top officials of the Bush administration thought they would accomplish with their “Global War on Terror.” Who remembers now just how quickly and enthusiastically they leapt into the project of draining that global swamp of terror groups (while taking out the Taliban and then “decapitating” the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein)? Their grandiose goal: an American imperium in the Greater Middle East (and later assumedly a global Pax Americana). They were, in other words, geopolitical dreamers of the first order.

Barely a week after 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already swearing that the global campaign to come would "drain the swamp they live in." Only a week later, at a NATO meeting, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that, "while we'll try to find every snake in the swamp, the essence of the strategy is draining the swamp [itself]." By the following June, in a commencement address at West Point, President George W. Bush would speak proudly of his administration’s desire to drain that swamp of “terror cells” in a staggering “60 or more countries.”

Process Makes Perfect Best Practices in the Art of National Security Policymaking

By Kori Schake and William F. Wechsler

Bad process beats good policy, and presidents get the process they deserve. This report provides lessons for the next president from past administrations on mistakes to avoid and best practices to follow in the way national security policy is made. 

Introduction and summary 

Most modern presidents have found that the transition from campaigning to governing presents a unique set of challenges, especially regarding their newfound national security responsibilities. Regardless of their party affiliation or preferred diplomatic priorities, presidents have invariably come to appreciate that they cannot afford to make foreign policy decisions in the same manner as they did when they were a candidate. 

The requirements of managing an enormous and complex national security bureaucracy reward careful deliberation and strategic consistency, while sharply punishing the kind of policy shifts that are more common on the campaign trail. Statements by the president are taken far more seriously abroad than are promises by a candidate, by both allies and adversaries alike. And while policy mistakes made before entering office can damage a candidate’s personal political prospects, a serious misstep made once in office can put the country itself at risk. 

Hebrew U sets up team to tackle complex world of cyber-law


Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem has set up a team of legal and technology experts to tackle the challenges posed by the new digital world and cyber-warfare to legal systems around the world. The aim will be to come up with new legal blueprints that can be adapted by Israel and countries worldwide.

The team is part of the Hebrew University’s international cybersecurity center, which was set up in 2015 to advance cyber-research and cybersecurity in Israel and the world. The center, which received an NIS 5 million ($1.3 million) grant for the task, is funded jointly by the university, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

The aim of the project is to enhance Israel’s leading position in the world not only in cybersecurity but in cyber-law as well.

Legal systems globally have been created on the assumption that each state legislates and enforces the rule of law within its own boundaries. However, with the advent of the digital age, legal systems around the world need reform, said Prof. Yuval Shany, a former dean of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an expert in international law and international human rights law, who will lead the team of 12 researchers.

Most Countries Overestimate Their Muslim Population

by Felix Richter

Out of every 100 people in your country, how many do you think are Muslim?

Ipsos MORI recently released a survey gauging the gap between perception and reality on a whole host of topics. The above question found that the vast majority of countries around the world grossly overestimate their Muslim population.

The largest percentage point difference was recorded in France where respondents guessed that their country has 31 Muslims for every 100 people. In reality, however, the correct number is 7.5. In Germany where Angela Merkel recently called for a burqa ban, people overestimated the Muslim population to the tune of 16 percentage points. People in the U.S. guessed that there are 17 Muslims per 100 people whereas the actual number is just 1.

This chart shows responses to the question "out of every 100 people in your country, how many do you think are Muslim?"

The Countries With The Fastest Internet

by Felix Richter

-- this post authored by Martin Armstrong

According to Akamai, South Korea is well ahead of the pack when it comes to fast internet.

With an average connection speed of 26.3 Mbps, 10 more than the U.S., no country even comes close. The UK has even less to shout about than the States, with a paltry 14.9 Mbps. For an advanced country with a small geographical area to cover, you would be excused for expecting to see the island nation significantly higher up in the rankings.

This chart shows the countries with the highest average internet connection speed in Q3 2016.

The Perils of Connectivity: Cyber Insecurity in 2016


From disruptive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks rendering entire swathes of the Internet including Netflix, Twitter, PayPal, CNN, The New York Times, and Amazon hosting services inaccessible, to nation-states inserting themselves into the democratic process of other countries’ self-determination, it has truly been a landmark year for cybersecurity—or lack thereof.

Nations are desperately attempting to exert national sovereignty over cyberspace via controversial new laws, massive breaches compromising the personal data of millions continue, and the stalemate over encryption technology endures as the rift between Washington and Silicon Valley only grows.

Cybercriminals are as prevalent as ever, and Nation-states have been emboldened in cyberspace. While both China and Russia use cyberspace to conduct all forms of espionage, China focuses on furthering its economic goals while Russia uses its toolset for influence operations to further its foreign policy objectives.

Perhaps most importantly, the reliability of attribution has come under increasing scrutiny, particularly because many states outsource their cyber operations to proxy outfits making the last mile of attribution even more challenging. As a result, the political will to respond to state-sponsored hacking is often lacking—a major hindrance to any hope of deterrence in cyber space.

Army testing 3-D printed drones for on-demand recon

By: Meghann Myers

Say you're on deployment and you're planning tomorrow's patrol. Wouldn't it be neat to have a customized drone to fly overhead to take video or survey the area around you?

A team at the Army Research Laboratory is working to make that happen, with the 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, which can fly up to 55 mph and takes just a day to whip up downrange.

"Drones or quadcopters are really getting big right now," said Jim Gerdes, a project engineer, in a Dec. 30 Army release. "I mean, in particular just the commercial and hobby markets have shown what can be done with a small amount of money."

3-D printing has also exploded in recent years, and the military is looking at ways to leverage lower costs and streamlined printing machines.

The team went to Fort Benning, Georgia, in early December to show off the ODSUAS at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments for Training and Doctrine Command, according to the release.