18 January 2017

*** The New Age Whatsapp Soldier

January 16, 2017
By Sameer Sharan Kartikeya

It all started with a BSF soldier complaining of poor quality of rations, food and equipment. He also categorically stated that government was doing everything but officers were responsible for the poor state of affairs and the soldiers were being denied their basic dues. The media was quick to take note and it was everywhere – whatsapp groups, face book, print and electronic media. The hierarchy of the organization took note so did the PMO and the Home Minister. The quick march to fame is toxic and contagious. Soon a CRPF jawan was complaining about disparity between the Central Armed Police Force and the Armed Forces in pay and perks, allowances, facilities etc. It was a matter of time before some soldiers from the Army also started putting up their perceived grievances and more are sure to follow. Suddenly, it appears as if nothing is right in any of the uniformed services and if these videos supplemented by the energetic first past the post news deliverance electronic media were to be believed, the security forces were dusting themselves to din. The cyber warriors of our adversaries must be rejoicing at the flurry of self degrading messages and also not wasting any time in grapping another handle to leverage in future. While one should not shoot the messenger, there is a need to address this issue in a poised and purposeful manner rather than manifesting a knee jerk reaction.

A couple of months back, one of the famous hosts of a comedy show had tweeted to the Prime Minister that he was paying 15 crore income tax for the last 5 years, yet he needed to pay 5 lacs bribe to BMC office for making his office, questioning the idea of Achhe Din. He has a mass following and as expected created a flutter amongst the twitteraties as well in the government machinery. It was left to our Prime Minister to give a much nuanced reaction. He alluded that some opinion makers want answer from the PM for anything happening in a village panchayat, district council or in any state. While every citizen has a right to communicate with the PM bypassing all available structures, but therein lays the danger of these structures to feel and become redundant.

** Redefining Pakistan

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Of late, Pakistan has struggled with its image in the West (notwithstanding U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s “fantastic” assessment of the country). This image problem is not, as has been the case in recent years, a product of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, nor its links to terrorists attacking Western targets—but because of cross-border terrorism that India lays at Pakistan’s feet and India’s insistence, because of that, that Pakistan be labeled a terrorist state. Pakistan’s response has been less than imaginative. It has issued denials and sent out image “restorers” in the form of a senator and a member of parliament to Washington, D.C. It also seeks to convince the world that India, too, sponsors terrorism in Pakistan. But words and public relations are not the answer. Pakistan needs to fix reality, not just its image.

That Pakistan needs to end its preferential treatment of anti-India jihadists and the Afghan Taliban, whose presence in Pakistan makes the country deeply unpopular in Afghanistan, is clear, at least to analysts. We understand that there are no good jihadis, that the lines between militant groups are blurred, and that militant foot soldiers migrate across groups with different objectives. But it’s worth understanding that ending Pakistan’s good-Taliban, bad-Taliban policy alone—if and when it happens—won’t fix things. That policy is only a symptom of the actual, far deeper problem—Pakistan’s national narrative.

*** Is Modi’s Technocracy India’s Future?

Parag Khanna

Parag Khanna is a Senior Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and author of Technocracy in America: Rise of the Info-State (2017), Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization (2016) and The Second World (2008)

Indian elites can surely recall the 1990s and 2000s when the country’s international brand rested on the twin pillars of being ‘the world’s largest democracy’ and the ‘India Shining’ campaign. The former was animated by post-Cold War American triumphalism and the Clinton administration’s efforts to assemble a ‘Community of Democracies’ with India as a crucial anchor. The latter simply equated India’s long overdue economic liberalisation with the promise of a billion consumers. 

But back then, neither the marketplace of ideas nor the economic marketplace took the bait. India was big, but not yet important. Even membership in the so-called ‘BRICS’ club failed to garner India any specific foreign policy objectives such as a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. 

indo pak war 1965

With due respect I beg to differ on some of your contentions on INDO PAK War of 1965.

I have been writing and drawing attention to some of the facts of this war for a long time. Recently I had sent some detailed papers on the same subject. I had drawn attention to the special issue of Outlook Magazine which came out with an issue on 65 War. It is available at my blog site also at : 

There is no doubt that Indian Army has displayed excellent standards of courage, valour, gallantry and steadfastness under extreme duress. For example the battle of Asal Utar will remain as one of the finest example of classic mech warfare in defence after Second World War. In fact, possibly with the exception of the performance of Israeli 7 Armd Bde and Barrack Bde at Golan Heights in 73 War of Atonement, there is no other example which can match the performance of 2 (I) Armd Bde. The nation will remain eternally grateful for that. I often wonder how come much has not been heard about the Commander of the concerned Commander, 2(Independent) Armoured Brigade Brig TK Theogaraj. . However, there has been some weaknesses which need to be addressed.

During the War lot of euphoria, high claims and counter claims are made. We, after 50 years of Indo Pak War of 1965 should be able to look at this War dispassionately, analyse the issues correctly and should be able to take correct remedial measures.

Hundreds of Tibetans defy China, gather at birthplace of Buddhism in India

By Annie Gowen

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is assisted by his aides as he prepares to perform rituals during the inauguration of a Mongolian Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, India, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Manish Bhandari)

The young Tibetan monk was taking his elderly aunt and uncle on the trip of a lifetime — a tour of holy Buddhist sites in India and a chance to meet the Dalai Lama. But halfway through, word came from China: The family was to return right away. 

Chinese police had descended on the monk’s home five times in December, fingerprinting his parents and forcing them to sign documents guaranteeing his return. 

But the monk and his family were determined to see the Dalai Lama speak at Bodh Gaya, the Indian city that many consider the birthplace of Buddhism. So they defied Chinese authorities and continued their journey, risking imprisonment, harsh questioning or loss of identity cards on their return home. 

The Limits of China's 'Silk Road' to Europe

By Shang-su Wu

The latest rail link between Beijing and London joins 38 lines already connecting about 30 cities in China and Europe. The expansion of rail links reflects several motivations on China’s part. First, China is actively promoting industrialization in China’s poorer inland provinces, both to balance development and to avoid rising costs in the coastal areas, thus keeping Chinese products competitive in the global market. In contrast to coastal locations, however, sea transport is more expensive and time-consuming for exporting goods produced in inland China. Thus, rail links across the Eurasian continent become a reasonable means of connecting with European markets. Those rail links also serve as part of the “One Belt, One Road (OBOR)” initiative to form economic corridors in Central Asia or even to East Europe.

Economic development in the Eurasian continent’s landlocked states in the continent has fallen behind, thanks to their lack of ocean access as well as the lingering impact of political barriers put up in the Soviet era. To accelerate their economic growth, railways would be the most efficient means to strengthen their trade with the rest of the world. Based on those states’ limited financial capacity, prices are a crucial factor in their ability to invest in rail transport, and the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) is seen as an affordable source, evidenced in the CRRC’s rapidly expanding business in East European and Central Asian states. In other words, the rail links also create demand for Chinese rail industry.

The Drones of ISIS


Islamic State fighters are launching an ever-wider assortment of deadly drones, even as their UAV factories come under heavy attack. 

Grenade launchers, kamikaze bombers, flying decoys, eyes-in-the-sky, and soapbox-derby dinosaurs: as the Islamic State group loses neighborhood after Mosul neighborhood, it is still dispatching a wide variety of UAVs on deadly missions.

“Over the last two months, coalition forces have observed about one adversary drone every day around Mosul,” a U.S. Central Command official told Defense One.

And they’re doing more to counter it: coalition aircraft have hitISIS-made drones, launch sites, or production facilities in Iraq and Syria every day since Jan. 7, including four strikes west of Mosul on Jan. 10 alone, according to CENTCOM releases.

“The Coalition has struck a number of what we believed to be unmanned aerial vehicle facilities in Mosul,” the official said. “We spend considerable time researching and developing target lists to ensure maximum effects against” ISIS.

* CNAS Releases Report by CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel on Defeating the Virtual Caliphate

By The Center for a New American Security

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Middle East Security Program today released a new report by United States Central Command Commander General Joseph L. Votel and a number of contributing authors, “#Virtual Caliphate: Defeating ISIL on the Battlefield Is Not Enough.” In the report, Gen. Votel makes the case that even after it loses its territory, ISIL will still retain a virtual safe haven, and that it is critical to pursue a long-term strategy to defeat ISIL online, as well as on the physical battlefield.

“The brutal attack on the Berlin Christmas market is just the latest example of ISIL’s ability to inspire and embolden its disillusioned sympathizers and supporters,” said Gen. Votel. “Our military and Coalition partners are successfully dismantling ISIL’s physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but it will require dedicated U.S. interagency collaboration and international political, economic, information, and law enforcement efforts to prevail against the ‘virtual caliphate’.”

Lessons From Stabilizing Fallujah

by Octavian Manea

Daniel R. Green is a Defense Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He served in Fallujah, Iraq with the U.S. Navy from April to October 2007 as a tribal and leadership engagement officer and deployed again to Iraq from October 2015 to May 2016 as a tribal and leadership engagement officer in Baghdad. He is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, completed his Ph.D. in Political Science in 2012, and is the co-author with BGen William F. Mullen III of Fallujah Redux: The Anbar Awakening and the Struggle with al-Qaeda. His next book is titled In the Warlords’ Shadow: Special Operations Forces, the Afghans, and their Fight with the Taliban which will be published by the Naval Institute Press in July 2017.

Brig. Gen. William F. Mullen III (USMC) is a thirty year veteran infantry officer in the Marine Corps and has served on in various staff, training and combat assignments. His firsthand experience with Fallujah, Iraq, began with his service there as the operations officer for the Regimental Combat Team 8 from February 2005 to February 2006. He returned to Fallujah in 2007 as an infantry battalion commander in charge of the city from March to October 2007. He then returned to Iraq again from June 2015 to June 2016 where he assisted the Iraqi government in turning back the ISIL tide and retaking several of their key cities and towns.

Tribal engagement and diplomacy, as well as COIN operations in general, require special skill-sets that are not usually associated with a conventional military approach. Let’s talk about the mindset that prepared you for the work required to stabilize Fallujah?

How America Can Beat Russia in Cyber War, Despite Trump

P.W. Singer

This is not the kind of cyber war imagined in the past, with power grids going down in fiery cyber Pearl Harbors. Instead, it is a competition more akin to the Cold War’s pre-digital battles that crossed influence operations with espionage. Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, both to defend the nation as well as keep an ongoing conflict from escalating into physical damage and destruction. 

While Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied this campaign exists, the US intelligence community, FBI, and allied intelligence agencies have all identified these activities. What’s more, five different well-regarded cybersecurity firms (CrowdStrike, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Mandiant, ThreatConnect, and SecureWorks) have reported Russia’s role, which is notable, as such firms are competitors and have an incentive to debunk each other’s work. Russia’s cyber aggression is real, and it is spectacular that anyone would keep denying it. 

While there is ongoing debate as to whether Trump has been compromised (or rather kompromat) by Russian compromise operations and investments, what is not debatable is that his position on this effort has been mystifying, to say the least. For months, Trump denied that the hacks had even occurred, then claimed they could have been anyone (such as his infamous “400-pound” hacker), and refused to acknowledge Russia’s efforts. In Trump’s press conference this week, he finally acknowledged Russia’s role, but yet again held back, not criticizing the attacks and not identifying a government response. Instead he blamed one of the victims, the DNC, and shrugged off that attack’s significance. (“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,” he said, asserting that the real problem was the DNC’s poor “hacking defense.”) 

Harnessing automation for a future that works

By James Manyika, Michael Chui, Mehdi Miremadi, Jacques Bughin, Katy George, Paul Willmott, and Martin Dewhurst

Automation is happening, and it will bring substantial benefits to businesses and economies worldwide, but it won’t arrive overnight. A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds realizing automation’s full potential requires people and technology to work hand in hand. 

Recent developments in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have put us on the cusp of a new automation age. Robots and computers can not only perform a range of routine physical work activities better and more cheaply than humans, but they are also increasingly capable of accomplishing activities that include cognitive capabilities once considered too difficult to automate successfully, such as making tacit judgments, sensing emotion, or even driving. Automation will change the daily work activities of everyone, from miners and landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders, and CEOs. But how quickly will these automation technologies become a reality in the workplace? And what will their impact be on employment and productivity in the global economy? 

Getting to deep de-carbonization: What role for nuclear power?

Stover is a science writer based in the Pacific Northwest and is a contributing editor at the Bulletin. Her work has appeared in...

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists devoted its 2016 Clock Symposium to the question of what role nuclear power can and should play in achieving the deep de-carbonization required to halt global warming. Read the report.


MWI Staff

How should modern militaries adapt when they discover that their adversaries are literally tunneling beneath them? How does the pervasiveness of social media on the battlefield affect the way wars are fought? What impact will increasingly autonomous systems, 3-D printing, and cutting-edge off-the-shelf technology have on tomorrow’s battlefield? These were among the questions discussed by Brig. Gen. Nechemya Sokal, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces’ Technology Branch, at an event organized by the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point on November 29. 

MWI Director Col. Liam Collins first asked Sokal about Israeli forces’ experiences with subterranean warfare. Tunnels have long been used for smuggling purposes in the region, Sokal said. Many of the buildings in Gaza are connected by these underground passageways. But tunnels have also been used for more offensive purposes: In 2006, IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by attackers who tunneled from Gaza into Israeli territory. Sokal pointed to an increase in the number of these infiltration tunnels encountered during the Israel–Gaza conflict in the summer of 2014. Because these tunnels were deep underground, were up to 1.5 miles long, and emerged in many cases near Israeli towns, Sokal described them as a new threat for which the IDF needed to find a solution. 

The Right To Wear Beards And Turbans Is A Victory For More Than Sikhs


The change to grooming standards for religious minorities is a victory for all Americans and will strengthen the armed forces.

In 1675, Tegh Bahadur, the ninth spiritual master of the Sikhs and a brilliant military leader, was actively pushing back against the Mughal empire’s intolerant policies of forced religious conversion. After Hindus from the Kashmir region implored him for help, Tegh Bahadur sent the Moghul emperor, Aurangzeb, a challenge: “If you can convert me to Islam, then all of the Hindus in Kashmir will also convert to Islam. But if you can not convert me, then you must let them practice their religion in peace.”

The Mughals tortured Tegh Bahadur’s followers and killed them in order to compel him to convert. Ultimately, they beheaded Tegh Bahadur when he refused to give up his Sikh identity, and with that sacrifice the Kashmiri Hindus were spared forced religious conversion.

This is a story that Sikh children grow up listening to. It teaches us lessons of sacrifice, bravery, and social justice. It taught me to stand up for the practice of all religions.

3 Must-Watch Moments From Mattis’ Confirmation Hearing


Gen. James Mattis testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee and handled it like a pro.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis faced the Senate today in his Defense secretary confirmation hearing. Though it lasted more than three hours, Task & Purpose whittled the hearing down to three key moments where Mattis showed the country exactly why he is called the “Warrior Monk,” and even more so why he is the best man for the job.

Whzn he talked truth about the state of international security.

Cyber/EW, Aviation, Air Defense, Artillery: CSA Milley’s Priorities


Gen. Mark Milley addresses the Association of the US Army. At left is a restored M1 Garand rifle belonging to a fallen soldier from World War II.

ARLINGTON: The Army needs new weapons to fight for the air, the airwaves and cyberspace against a high-end adversary such as Russia or China, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said today. While the Army’s near-term readiness to “fight tonight” remains Milley’s top priority, there’s enough progress on readiness — and enough potential for a budget boost under Trump — to spend more time and money on long-term modernization, which determines the Army’s readiness to fight tomorrow.

Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) barrage

So I asked Gen. Milley at an Association of the US Army breakfast this morning to list his modernization priorities, the areas where he’s most concerned about a shortfall. Almost everything he named was meant for a high-intensity, high-tech war against a great-power adversary. That’s no surprise, coming from a general who’s named Russia as the No. 1 threat. It also aligns nicely with prospective Defense Secretary James Mattis, who testified today that “we must field a decisive conventional force,” a priority Mattis put second only to the nuclear deterrent — and ahead of irregular warfare (COIN) against guerrillas and terrorists. Milley’s priorities are clearly about conventional war. 
Air defense was the first shortfall Milley listed. The Army is used to Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots securing the airspace overhead — no American soldier has died from air attack since the Korean War — but advanced anti-aircraft missiles might keep American aircraft at bay. That means Army units must rebuild the capability to defend themselves from enemy aircraft, particularly low-flying drones, which have become so common even Daesh (Islamic State) has successfully used them to kill. 
A high-end adversary will possess its own air defenses, which means Army helicopters need better protection to survive. “Aviation is very vulnerable against a near-peer, high-end threat,” Milley said. “It’s one thing to fight guerrillas and terrorists where you have almost exclusive freedom of the air.” Milley mentioned not only defensive systems but upgraded engines — presumably the Improved Turbine Engine Program, or ITEP — to improve helicopter performance. 
A high-end adversary will also have artillery, a particular specialty of the Russians and the Chinese 2nd Artillery rocket force. Milley said the service was investing both in “non-traditional” weapons like lasers — whose chief value is defensive, shooting down incoming drones, shells, and rockets — and in extended-range munitions for conventional artillery, both cannon and missile
One priority relevant to both conventional and irregular warfare is ground vehicles. “Ground mobility is a big deal,” Milley said, “especially with our light force.” The Army is developing an air-droppable off-road truck to transport foot troops over long distances, the Ground Mobility Vehicle, as well as an air-deployable light tank, the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle. The added firepower and mobility still wouldn’t let a light infantry brigade go head-to-head with Russian tank divisions, but it would be valuable on the flanks of a mechanized battle or against a lightly armed foe such as the Islamic State. 
Milley’s most complex priority: cyber and electronic warfare, the battle to keep our own command-and-control networks up and running while bringing the enemy’s down. Again, this is mainly a big-war issue: While the Islamic State is tech-savvy, for terrorists, it can’t attack US battle networks the way Russia and China can. 


August Cole

The major general had forged his 31-year career in the British Army by sheer will, be it through SAS selection, stultifying desk jobs, Iraq, Afghanistan, a PhD in Russian literature, and much more. But just getting his fork from the plate to his mouth required more strength than he’d ever had. Two peas, nested in cold mashed potatoes, perched upon the tines. The room’s sole candle cast a long shadow across the tabletop, the mobile phone flipped screen-down next to an untouched, perfectly creased paper napkin. An inch off the plate was as far as he could get. It had been 18 hours since he’d last eaten but there was just no room in his stomach for food anymore. The profound need to prevail would sustain him until this was all over.

“Sir, you have a few more minutes,” said his aide, an American Army colonel, Shane Williams. “I can see if the kitchen can make something else, have them send it back.”

Maj. Gen. Hugh Fessenden shook his sizeable head and stood up, brushing non-existent crumbs from his jeans and thick brown sweater. He clutched his phone in his bony right hand. The totem of his anxiety. He stood a head shorter than Williams, yet the American looked at him with real admiration. The Cotswold countryside English pub, the Eagle Inn, was older than the United States. In another hundred years, this would be seen as a historic place and moment. Fessenden was the man making it happen. Williams was one of the few American uniformed military advisors still working with NATO since the United States pulled all of its land forces out of Europe two years ago. He would have a front-row seat to history, which was why he had joined the military more than 20 years ago.

To win at war, make America fit again


The incoming Trump administration has pledged to boost defense spending and rebuild the military. While this is a welcome sign, there is another more cost-effective way to increase our readiness: improve the fitness of the eligible pool of recruits the Army and other services can draw from.

All the military spending in the world will not matter if our troops are physically unfit to serve. Nearly 8 percent of all military personnel are clinically overweight. That figure is up from 1.8 percent in 2001, when the war in Afghanistan kicked off. The Pentagon estimates that 71% of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. today would fail to qualify to serve in uniform based mostly on physical health disqualifications - obesity being the biggest. All signs show that this problem will only grow.

In 2017, the Department of Defense is expected to announce new standards to determine who's "too fat to serve" by looking at more than just service members' body mass index, which admittedly can misdiagnosis a soldier's body type. But there is concern among many in uniform that fitness standards may be made more lax.

So You Want to Learn About Maneuver Warfare?

By Jim Greer

After 15 years devoted to low intensity conflict in the form of counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism and foreign internal defense the U.S. military, and more specifically the U.S. Army, is now focused on restoring the lost capability to conduct mid-to-high intensity maneuver warfare. Restoring capabilities for maneuver warfare is only possible through the leader development, training and cultural adaptation that enables leaders, Soldiers and organizations to think, plan, analyze, decide, communicate and act effectively in combat situations that are incredibly complex, conducted at extremely high tempos and far more lethal than the operations of the last fifteen years. Recognizing that future maneuver warfare will not be the same as that of the latter half of the 20th Century, the following reading list is offered as a start point for those who wish to educate and prepare themselves to lead our Army in preparing for and if necessary conducting large-scale maneuver warfare in the future. Each of these books shaped my own thinking and understanding about maneuver warfare and enabled me to prepare leaders, Soldiers and units to plan and conduct successful combat operations employing maneuver warfare in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.


John Chambers

The gray zone is an operating environment in which aggressors use ambiguity and leverage non-attribution to achieve strategic objectives while limiting counter-actions by other nation states. Inside the gray zone, aggressors use hybrid tactics to achieve their strategic objectives. While hybrid threats have historically been associated with irregular and conventional warfare, their use in the gray zone leads to a dichotomy between two types of hybrid threats that can mainly be attributed to the need for ambiguity and non-attribution in the gray zone. The two types of hybrid threats are “open-warfare hybrid threats” and “gray-zone hybrid threats.” A case in point is Russia’s military actions in eastern Ukraine, part of what the Kremlin calls its “New Generation Warfare.” In this MWI report, Capt. John Chambers draws on this case study to recommend ways the US Army can improve its capacity to counter ongoing as well as future gray-zone hybrid threats. 

NWC Fall 2016 Volume - Ukraine

By SWJ Editors

In this Fall 2016 Volume, US Naval War College Joint Maritime Operations Students present their thoughts and approaches to one of the world’s most pressing national security problems - Ukraine.

For the century ahead, the use of military and naval power and their inter-relationships with the political, diplomatic, economic, and informational instruments of national power will remain essential to achieving desired end states. During the Fall 2016 trimester 209 Joint Military Operations students representing all five United States military services, 12 government agencies, and 49 countries studied how to wield the military instrument of power, in peace and in war, to achieve national policy goals. They examined relationships of national power at two levels—operational and theater-strategic, including the varying perspectives of the Executive Branch leadership, Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders, Joint Task Force commanders, and component commanders. 

The Joint Military Operations trimester refines students’ critical and creative thinking skills under the aegis of military problem solving. As such, the course is presented in a series of integrated sessions, each drawing on the preceding sessions and reinforcing those that follow. The trimester flows from the simple to the more complex and culminates in a synthesis event where students display their understanding of the course concepts and demonstrate critical and creative thinking skills. 

Israel says Hamas hacked Facebook accounts, cellphones of army recruits

By Ruth Eglash 

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military said Wednesday that its archenemy Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, used a series of fake Facebook accounts to connect with young recruits in an attempt to gain access to sensitive army information. 

A senior intelligence officer, who could not be identified under Israeli army rules, told journalists that over the past few months, dozens of soldiers, mostly from combat units, were enticed into chatting with people they believed were young, attractive women in Israel and abroad. 

Using Facebook as the main medium to engage the soldiers in intimate conversations, those running the fake accounts encouraged the soldiers to download a “chat” application to their cellphones. 

The app, for both Android and iPhone, was used by Hamas to access vital data on the phones — contacts, personal text messages and photographs. The app also allowed Hamas operatives to listen to conversations and take covert photos, the officer said. 

What If Deep Learning Was Given Command Of A Botnet?

Kalev Leetaru

Not a day goes by without some fascinating new advance in deep learning, yet most of the conversation around deep learning in the cybersecurity realm has focused on its defensive capabilities, using AI algorithms to hunt through network and server logs to ferret out anomalous activity. This raises the fascinating question of what deep learning might be capable of as an offensive weapon of cyberwarfare.

In the leadup to the US presidential election, the US Government proudly proclaimed that it had deployed its cyber warriors to burrow deep inside of Russian infrastructure systems in preparation for possible retaliatory strikes: “U.S. military hackers … penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary.” Such widespread infiltration likely took immense resources and preparation from a massive team of cyber experts. What if an organization like the NSA could instead simply fire up a deep learning algorithm, point it at the Kremlin and let the tool take it from there?

While we’re not quite at the point where deep learning is capable of the complex open-ended problem solving needed to launch its own autonomous cyberattack, we’re getting exceptionally close to having all of the necessary building blocks in place to start seeing autonomous cyber weaponry in action.

There Is a Cure for Fake News and Dangerous Leaders


Rudyard Kipling must have been a member of the press pool covering the incoming Donald Trump administration. In his enduring poem “If,” he captured the guidelines for covering the new administration with great directness and accuracy:

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Of course, some of these admonitions, like the last two, are easier for some of us to follow than others. But in the midst of the welter of stunning rumors and unsubstantiated accusations and true scandals and profoundly dangerous behaviors that emerge daily from the orbit of the incoming president of the United States, it is vitally important that we all keep our heads, avoid dealing in lies or hating, be patient, and in the end build trust by founding our judgments on experience and facts tempered with humility.

The Information Doppelgänger in Psychological Warfare

By Jessica Malekos Smith

The Russian military’s conception of psychological operations is eerily similar to Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky’s 1866 novella, The Double. In fact, this story is an insightful teaching device for anyone who wishes to understand Reflexive Control

Reflexive Control is a psychological warfare technique that was developed by the Soviet military to influence enemy commanders in their decision-making processes. To promote an understanding of this technique across the U.S. armed services, this article offers a creative approach. And why not? According to this Soviet military doctrine, “[c]ontrol of an opponent’s actions is of a creative character.” 

But first, let’s begin with the story

Dostoyevsky was a 19th-century Russian novelist who possessed a remarkable talent for probing the depths of human psychology. His novella, The Double, is about a government bureaucrat, Mr. Golyadkin, whom one day encounters his sinister doppelgänger (“a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person”). Shortly after befriending his double, Mr. Golyadkin is incessantly plagued by him and has difficulty distinguishing between reality and his paranoid fantasies. In the end, he is overtaken by his madness. So how does this relate to psychological operations?