21 January 2017

** The Debate Over Brexit

James McBride

For decades, the United Kingdom has had an ambivalent and sometimes contentious relationship with the European Union. London has kept its distance from Brussels's authority by negotiating opt-outs from some of the EU's central policies, including the common euro currency and the border-free Schengen area. Even still, the EU's faltering response to recent crises has fueled a renewed euroscepticism. Advocates for a British exit, or Brexit, from the union argued that by reclaiming its national sovereignty, the UK would be better able to manage immigration, free itself from onerous regulations, and spark more dynamic growth.

The victory of the Leave campaign in a June 2016 referendum on the UK's future in the bloc led to tumult in financial markets and the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron. Now led by Prime Minister Theresa May, the UK must negotiate a new relationship with the EU. With May committing in January 2017 to leaving the EU Single Market, the UK may face the loss of preferential access to its largest trading partner, the disruption of its large financial sector, a protracted period of political uncertainty, and the breakup of the UK itself. Meanwhile, Brexit could accelerate nationalist movements across the continent, from Scotland to Hungary, with unpredictable consequences for the EU. 

** Thinking About Propaganda

By Jacob L. Shapiro

On Jan. 6, the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency released findings about Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election. One of the report’s conclusions is that Russia used “overt propaganda” in an influence campaign designed to destabilize the American election and put Donald Trump in the White House. This type of psychological warfare is not novel. Opposing sides in conflicts have tried to use information to weaken their opponents for millennia. The advent of newspapers, radio and television increased the potential potency of propaganda to such an extent that it became one of the key instruments that nation-states used in the 20th century to achieve foreign policy goals, alongside diplomacy and military force. The emergence of the internet and social media have cast that net even wider, and with so much concern about the potential deleterious effects of propaganda and “false news,” it is worth taking some time to understand the inherent complexity around this battlefield for hearts and minds.


Brahma Chellaney, Nikkei Asian Review

Whie it has become fashionable to pair China and India as if they were joined at the hip, it is often forgotten that the two have little in common politically, economically or culturally.

Comparatively speaking, the countries are new neighbors. The vast Tibetan plateau, encompassing an area greater than Western Europe, separated the two civilizations throughout history, limiting interaction to sporadic cultural and religious contacts.

It was only after China’s annexation of Tibet in 1951 that Chinese army units appeared for the first time on India’s Himalayan frontiers. This was followed 11 years later by a war in which China’s battlefield triumph sowed the seeds of greater rivalry.

Today, Tibet remains at the center of the China-India divide, fueling territorial disputes, diplomatic tensions and feuds over river-water flows. For example, Beijing was harshly critical of New Delhi in December for allowing the exiled Dalai Lama — who has lived in India since fleeing Tibet in 1959 — to visit the presidential palace for a public event and meet President Pranab Mukherjee, India’s head of state.

How to Win in Afghanistan

Dana Rohrabacher

Fifteen years, thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars later, the United States has failed to meet most of its key objectives in Afghanistan. Mission failed.

Now what? Our current approach, if allowed to continue, guarantees a chaotic future for Afghanistan and an open door for radical Islamists in Central Asia.

Such a state of affairs would herald a major strategic defeat for the United States. Islamists ultimately seek to seize control in both Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and then expand into Central Asia.

A debacle in Afghanistan means we may face another global conflict. Turkey has morphed into an Islamic state, and the Gulf states are financing radical Sunni terror groups meant to encircle and contain the mullahs in Iran—including extremists in Afghanistan.

Will the Islamists achieve their objectives? No, and we do not want to find out. They need to be defeated now, while the situation is still manageable. An alternative strategy can avert a strategic catastrophe later.

India-Pakistan Winter Preparation-Strategy Is Not a Plan

By Prateek Kapil 

After an eventful year for India-Pakistan relations, the Governor of J&K delivered[1] the address to the budget session of the J&K assembly, contents of which could prove critical for the coming year. The address covered all areas of governance. He insisted on holding the Panchayat elections by March 2017 followed by election for local urban bodies as soon as possible. The initial issues around elected panchs indirectly electing the sarpanch delayed the passing of the bill. But the Governor gave his consent to the bill and the matter is now for the government to implement. Therefore, successful conduct of elections is a priority.

“A worrying concern is that the younger generation, especially in the Valley, is less engaged civically, exhibits less social trust and confidence and, consequently, have a weaker commitment to the inherited value systems,” Mr Vohra said[2], adding that addressing this serious issue had to receive very high priority and they needed to urgently go forward to engage the youth. “While it is important that the Indo-Pak dialogue gets resumed early, it is equally important that conversations happen within families, across villages, in towns and cities to build a social and moral consensus so that a congenial atmosphere is created for the government to take the required initiatives for securing peace and development,” he said[3]

Sustained Optimism

S. Binodkumar Singh

Articulating new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation, President Maithripala Sirisena, in his New Year message on January 1, 2017, declared, “The year 2017 dawns with new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation in our hearts. It is imperative that we overcome the challenges ahead of us. The progress of the human race was pioneered by people who faced challenges with confidence, utmost courage and determination amidst obstacles. Our goals could be achieved if we manage our work efficiently and productively, and do the right thing at the right time with unwavering commitment to serve the greater good.” Similarly, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan, in his message of greetings for the New Year, noted, “2017 will be a crucial year in the history of our country. Our expectation is that we should find a permanent and lasting solution to the national question. The new Constitution in the New Year should bring about this achievement.”

On March 9, 2016, the Sri Lankan Parliament unanimously and without a vote, approved the change of the Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly (CA) to draft a new Constitution for the island nation. The new Constitution is expected to replace the current executive President-headed Constitution adopted in 1978 and to replace it with a Parliamentary system. It could also partially replace the Proportional Representation system by the First Past the Post System. District-wise constituencies are also likely to be partially replaced by smaller constituencies and preferential votes for candidates in a party list could be abolished entirely.

*** The battle for Mosul in maps

By Paul Torpey, Pablo Gutiérrez and Paul Scruton

In June 2014, when the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate, he did it from Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Isis rapidly expanded its territory in Iraq and Syria throughout that year, but has since been gradually pushed back, partly due to US-led airstrikes. Losing Mosul now could spell the end of the jihadi group’s ability to control large swaths of Iraq.

The long-awaited operation to take back Mosul began on 16 October, involving a coalition of more than 30,000 troops drawn from Iraqi army forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shia militias, supported by airstrikes from a US-led coalition. Turkish forces are also involved despite Iraqi government opposition.

Independent Russian Analysts Argue Moscow Secretly Cooperating With the Islamic State -

In seeking to extract benefits from a disaster, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly been willing to actually manufacture such disasters so that their time, place and nature give him maximum advantage for action. Indeed, he has repeatedly demonstrated this tendency since 1999, when the Russian security services allegedly orchestrated the Moscow apartment bombings that brought him to power (John B. Dunlop, The Moscow Bombings of September 1999: Examinations of Russian Terrorist Attacks at the Onset of Vladimir Putin’s Rule, Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2012; David Satter, Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State, Yale University Press, 2003; Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky, Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within, London: Gibson Square Books, 2007; “Putin’s Way,” Frontline, PBS, January 13, 2015). The West’s collective unwillingness to recognize this pattern has prevented many from seeing Putin for who he is or recognizing why it would be entirely out of character for him not to be actively involved with the Islamic State terrorist organization, a group he claims he is fighting. This controversial Kremlin–Islamic State connection is being increasingly asserted by various Russian analysts (Gordon, September 11, 2016; Graniru.org, December 30, 2016; Nv.ua), December 31, 2016).

The Simple Reason Russia and America Keep Inching towards Crisis

Ted Galen Carpenter

Tensions between the United States and Russia rose rapidly during the final months of the Obama administration. Symbolizing that trend is the new deployment of three thousand U.S. troops along with tanks and other military hardware in eastern Poland, directly on that country’s border with Russia. That decision drew an angry rebuke from Moscow.

Long gone was the hope Obama expressed early in his presidency for a “reset” of relations with Russia. Equally obsolete was the president’s ridicule of GOP nominee Mitt Romney for stating that Russia was America’s principal adversary. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back,” Obama mocked his opponent in a presidential debate.

Since then, bilateral relations have deteriorated rapidly. The United States led the charge to impose economic sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine. In its waning weeks in office, the Obama administration imposed a new round of sanctions for Russia’s alleged cyber hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other supposed interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Vice President Joe Biden epitomized Washington’s hard-line attitude when he branded Russia as the most serious threat to the global order.

Populism is reshaping the West. Here’s what we can expect to get.

By Timothy Garton Ash.

Summary: Suppressed for generations, the greed and incompetence of the West’s elites allowed populism to re-emerge. But few understand it. Many confuse it with progressivism. Elites consider it “the bad thing”, when the proles slip their leash. Populism is reshaping western nations. We should understand it. To help us, here is a clear introduction in which a professor at Oxford reviews a new book about populism by a professor at Princeton.

I have used the word “populist” several times without pausing to define it. But isn’t it just a woolly, catch-all term for parties, movements, and presidential candidates we don’t like? What is populism? This is the question addressed in an excellent short book by Jan-Werner Müller, a German scholar who now teaches at Princeton. Müller recalls that Richard Hofstadter once gave a talk titled “Everyone Is Talking about Populism, but No One Can Define It” {at the London School of Economics, 1967}, yet he makes the best effort I have seen to give the term a coherent contemporary meaning.

Populists speak in the name of “the people,” and claim that their direct legitimation from “the people” trumps (the verb has acquired a new connotation) all other sources of legitimate political authority, be it constitutional court, head of state, parliament, or local and state government. Donald Trump’s “I am your voice” is a classic populist statement. But so is the Turkish prime minister’s riposte to EU assertions that a red line had been crossed by his government’s clampdown on media freedom: “The people draw the red lines.” So is the Daily Mail’s front-page headline denouncing three British High Court judges who ruled that Parliament must have a vote on Brexit as “Enemies of the People.” Meanwhile, Polish right-wing nationalists justify an ongoing attempt to neuter Poland’s constitutional court on the grounds that the people are “the sovereign.”

Trump Might Cause ‘the Death of Think Tanks as We Know Them’

By The Washington Post

For decades, Washington think tanks have been holding pens for senior government officials waiting for their next appointments and avenues of influence for sponsors of their research. Donald Trump’s incoming administration is bent on breaking that model.

Trump’s appointments have so far have been heavy on business executives and former military leaders. Transition sources tell me the next series of nominations — deputy-level officials at top agencies — will also largely come from business rather than the think tank or policy communities. For example, neither the American Enterprise Institute’s John Bolton nor the Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard Haass is likely to be chosen for deputy secretary of state, while hedge fund manager David McCormick is on the shortlist. Philip Bilden, a private equity investment firm executive with no government experience, is expected to be named secretary of the Navy.

The president-elect favors people who have been successful in the private sector and amassed personal wealth over those who have achieved prominence in academic or policy fields. Those close to him, including chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner, see think tanks as part of a Washington culture that has failed to implement good governance, while becoming beholden to donors…

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Russia, military modernisation and lowering the nuclear threshold

Malcolm Davis

Russia faces real challenges in sustaining its military modernisation efforts, given low oil prices, Western sanctions and the cost of operations in Ukraine and Syria. Despite that, Moscow looks set to continue the program. At its heart is nuclear weapons modernisation. Russia’s most recent military doctrine, released in 2014, continues to emphasise the primacy of nuclear weapons in Russian defence policy, stating:

‘Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a use of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction against her and (or) her allies, and in the case of an aggression against her with conventional weapons that would put in danger the very existence of the state.’

Three developments suggest a willingness by Russia to use nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks in a manner that lowers the threshold of nuclear war. First, the concept of preventative de-escalation is important. A recent IISS analysis explained de-escalation in which limited nuclear war could be used to:

What Is The Relationship Between Rate of Fire and Military Effectiveness?

By Shawn Woodford

Rate of fire doesn’t seem to be important in today’s militaries. I mean, everyone can go “full auto.” Rather, the problem seems to me firing too much and running out of ammunition.

I wonder if this affects how contemporary military historians look at the tactical level of war. Throughout most of history, the problem, it seems to me, was how many rocks, spears, arrows or bullets you could get off. Hence the importance of drill, which was designed to increase the volume of infantry fire (and to reduce people walking off the battlefield when they moved back to reload).

There are several ways to address this question from a historical perspective, but one place to start is to look at how rate of fire relates historically to combat.

Rate of fire is one of several measures of a weapon’s ability to inflict damage, i.e. its lethality. In the early 1960s, Trevor Dupuy and his associates at the Historical Evaluation Research Organization (HERO) assessed whether historical trends in increasing weapon lethality were changing the nature of combat. To measure this, they developed a methodology for scoring the inherent lethality of a given weapon, the Theoretical Lethality Index (TLI). TLI is the product of five factors: 



We will require fresh thinking to control the skies of the future. Gaining and maintaining air superiority in 2030 will require new concepts of operation. It will require a rejection of platform-based thinking that yearns for a “silver bullet” solution. And it will require airmen and joint leaders able to apply operational art across domains. While these intellectual foundations are certainly the most critical aspects of success in 2030, it is also true that concepts of operation dependent on outdated technology will fail. Any family of capabilities able to solve the 2030 problem will ultimately be comprised of platforms across all domains and from all services. If airmen and joint leaders in 2030 lack key capabilities, it will not matter how skilled they are in warfighting or operational art. The most brilliant commander today, equipped only with the technologies of yesterday, is doomed to fail in combat.

With that in mind, this final installment of this series expands on previous discussions regarding the key attributes of the air superiority 2030 family of capabilities. It will also discuss some of the recommendations our team made with respect to force development and acquisition methodologies.

One of the attributes discussed in the last installment of this series was autonomy. The ECCT saw several uses for autonomous systems in assisting with data and network management. Many readers likely noted that I did not discuss autonomy more broadly, nor did I discuss whether or not our team foresaw future platforms in our air superiority force structure being manned or unmanned. The reason for this is relatively simple: Whether something is manned or unmanned does not provide capability in and of itself. Sometimes it makes sense to have a human present, sometimes it does not. In short, we were agnostic on the topic. If having a human onboard a particular platform makes it more effective, it should have a human on board. If humans limit the capability of a platform, they should be engineered out. Detailed analysis prior to and during the development of each particular capability within the air superiority family should determine the answer to the manned versus unmanned question. Nonetheless, some broad considerations and perspectives on this topic are worth discussing in slightly more detail to inform future assessments.

McCain’s Excellent White Paper: Smaller Carriers, High-Low Weapons Mix, Frigates, Cheap Fighters


Sen. John McCain issued a provocative and comprehensive alternative budget for the Pentagon on Monday, Restoring American Power: Recommendations for the FY 2018-FY 2022 Defense Budget. Jerry Hendrix, a strategy and naval expert at the Center for New American Security, crunched the numbers from McCain’s White Paper and authored this analysis for our readers. Read on. The Editor.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s new White Paper positions the committee as a leader in the Pentagon’s effort to rebuild and reform. The SASC offers a road map with key decision destinations for the new Trump Administration to follow as it pursues its goal of strengthening the nation’s military. The document is both broad and deep in its treatment of defense issues, ranging from the need for a new national grand defense strategy to recommendations on needed investments in cyber security.

Of particular interest and importance is the SASC’s advocacy for the U.S. to buy a high-low mix of weapons systems, a concept that I have advocated for years, as a means of advancing the force technologically for the high-end fight, while also buying cheaper systems in bulk to keep the force size up while addressing day-to-day threats.

Moscow Pursues Enhanced Precision-Strike Capability - See more at: https://jamestown.org/program/moscow-pursues-enhanced-precision-strike-capability/#sthash.V45mcuu6.dpuf

By: Roger McDermott

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin at the defense ministry collegium, December 22, 2016 (Source: kremlin.ru)

Moscow’s defense establishment annually reflects on achievements in modernizing and enhancing combat capability and readiness levels in the Russian Armed Forces. Late last year (December 22, 2016), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu offered such detail with an upbeat message on the Russian military’s operations and exercises as well as the defense ministry’s targets for modernization and improving the personnel system. President Vladimir Putin’s own statement to the defense ministry’s collegium, where Shoigu was speaking, also conveyed this sense of renewed confidence in the military (Kremlin.ru, TASS, December 22, 2016). Public statements by Russia’s top brass and political leadership increasingly link future force development and perspectives on defense requirements to lessons drawn from the country’s involvement in military operations in Syria. And Shoigu confirmed the fruits of such thinking the following month by highlighting plans to boost Russian conventional strike capability by 2021 (see below). The significance of these comments should not be underestimated, reinforcing the idea that Moscow has used the Syria conflict to experiment with various assets and recast some of its future defense plans on this basis.

Shoigu additionally set out the priorities for the Russian defense ministry in 2017. Center place will involve continuing to raise the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces and strengthening the military in all strategic directions. Shoigu said the target for the state defense order will be fully implemented to reach 60 percent modern within the table of organization and equipment (TOE). The strategic rocket forces (RVSN) will receive three missile regiments equipped with modern systems; strategic aircraft will be modernized; while the ministry will procure an additional two brigade sets of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system. The Army will receive more tanks and armored vehicles; air defense will be strengthened by adding S-400 sets; and the Navy will see eight surface ships enter service (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, January 11, 2017).

Swarming the Battlefield: Combat Evolves Toward Lethal Autonomous Weapons


War, often rationalized as an extension of policy by violent means, has always been a deeply human experience. It defines much of human history and, unsurprisingly, changes in technology accompany—and are often driven by—adaptations in the conduct of warfare. Battles are increasingly fought at distance, progressing from the thrust of a spear to the click of a button that launches a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone flying thousands of miles away.

Already, decisions of war are reliant on fixed lines of code marching to the tune of predetermined algorithms, swaying the perceptions of military commanders and soldiers alike with their outputs. New advances in artificial intelligence and deep machine learning are further pushing limits of augmenting command and control toward autonomous robotics capable of their own decision-making.

But what has spurred the military development of these autonomous systems and at what point does their advancement create dangers that outweigh the strategic opportunities they present?

Scaling Up the Defence Budget Will Not Make India Combat Ready or Fix Systemic Inefficiencies


The Shekatkar committee report represents a starting point and makes a valuable suggestion – non-combat organisations must be reviewed and restructured. 

Capital expenditure utilisation doesn’t always translate to capital acquisition. Credit: Reuters 

The recommendations of the Shekatkar committee, constituted in May by the defence ministry, were presented in a report to defence minister Manohar Parrikar on December 21, 2016. The report is said to be voluminous, clocking in at over 500 pages and has supposedly made 120 recommendations. 

The 11-member committee, headed by Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar, was meant to provide recommendations for rebalancing the revenue and capital expenditure allocations for defence, for the current budget cycle, and while it is certainly in time for the penultimate Budget of the current government, it may come perhaps a tad too late for implementation in this Budget. 

The committee was set up with the objective of making India’s armed forces combat ready and to specifically “cut the flab” in the revenue expenditure so that more money can be spent on capital expenditure and capital acquisition. 

The State of Economic Decision Making Within India’s Armed Forces is Deteriorating


An analysis of the country’s defence budget allocations not only suggests a lack of integrated planning, but worse, a deterioration in coordination. 

Indian army officers stand on vehicles displaying missiles during the Republic Day parade. Credit: Reuters 

India’s security concerns mandate a strong army, navy and air force where the three wings work cohesively for maximum tactical and operational efficiency. The three wings of India’s armed forces began operating in synergy, owing to the willingness of the respective chiefs, since the war of 1971. The then capability to engage in hybrid warfare gave India the edge that led to victory. However it was only after the Kargil war that the immediate need for an integrated defence staff, chief of defence staff and for a long-term integrated perspective plan (LTIPP) was felt. The establishment of all three was recommended by the Arun Singh Committee in 2000. Despite this, it took twelve years for the first LTIPP (2012-2027) to be drafted. 

In this LTIPP, the armed forces have laid out a 15-year plan for modernisation, strategic engagement and procurement. The technology perspective and capability roadmap (TPCR) is a summary document of the technology and capability requirements of the forces as laid down in LTIPP. The TPCR acknowledges the need for self-reliance in the defence sector and technological development that will help maintain military capability at desired levels. In fact, its focus is on “newly emerging areas of warfare that have been identified as essential for joint war fighting”. The TPCR details the necessity for advancement of joint war technologies and lists the products and weapons platforms that would be required by the different services. Notwithstanding these reports and plans, an analysis of the defence budget allocations not only suggests a lack of integrated planning, but worse, a deterioration in coordination. 

Public Diplomacy and National Security in 2017

Throughout the world, citizens are increasingly flexing their muscles and shaping their governments’ decisionmaking on domestic and foreign affairs. Expanded access to information, facilitated by new media and communication technologies, has greatly empowered nonstate actors and strengthened their role in international politics. In this environment, the U.S. government cannot afford to engage solely in state-to-state diplomacy. The new global landscape requires foreign ministries and diplomats to go beyond bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and broaden and deepen relationships with a broad and diverse range of actors. The public diplomacy (PD) toolkit of informational, educational, and cultural programs is central to this objective by creating and maintaining relationships with influential leaders and opinion-makers in civil society, commerce, media, politics, and faith communities worldwide. This paper attempts to capture the lessons that the U.S. government and PD experts have learned over the past eight years in applying PD tools in order to chart an effective course for the incoming 

administration.Download PDF file of "Public Diplomacy and National Security in 2017" 

Entering the Era of ‘Unmanned Terrorism’

By: Scott N. Romaniuk, Tobias J. Burgers

Over the past four decades, suicide attacks has become the weapon of choice for terrorist organizations from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the Islamist fundamentalists of Islamic State (IS). However, with the advent of consumer drone use by terrorists groups in the Middle East – which has risen significantly in the past year, particularly on the part of IS militants – that may now be on the brink of changing.

Data collected by the Chicago Project on Security & Terrorism (CPOST) on suicide attacks over the past 40 years shows how more than 100 militant groups have experimented with and adapted this form of assault. The data shows how, at different times, different methods have found favor among terrorist groups. Crucially, it also demonstrates a willingness by militant groups to experiment. [1]

Adaptation and Experimentation

Suicide attacks have been undertaken by individuals using various types of devices and methods of delivery. Some examples include wearable devices such as belt bombs, car bombs and other vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) and explosive devices taken on board airplanes.

India Tackles Terror Financing

By: Roger McDermott

Moscow’s defense establishment annually reflects on achievements in modernizing and enhancing combat capability and readiness levels in the Russian Armed Forces. Late last year (December 22, 2016), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu offered such detail with an upbeat message on the Russian military’s operations and exercises as well as the defense ministry’s targets for modernization and improving the personnel system. President Vladimir Putin’s own statement to the defense ministry’s collegium, where Shoigu was speaking, also conveyed this sense of renewed confidence in the military (Kremlin.ru, TASS, December 22, 2016). Public statements by Russia’s top brass and political leadership increasingly link future force development and perspectives on defense requirements to lessons drawn from the country’s involvement in military operations in Syria. And Shoigu confirmed the fruits of such thinking the following month by highlighting plans to boost Russian conventional strike capability by 2021 (see below). The significance of these comments should not be underestimated, reinforcing the idea that Moscow has used the Syria conflict to experiment with various assets and recast some of its future defense plans on this basis.

Pair of Air Force cyber weapons systems ready for war

By: Mark Pomerleau, 

Late last year, the Air Force declared one of its newest cyber weapons tools initially operationally capable. The tool, the Automated Remediation Asset Discovery (ARAD), is a modification to the Air Force Cyber Security and Control System (CSCS), which was itself declared IOC by Air Force Space Command in 2014.

CSCS, according to an Air Force fact sheet, is a weapons system that is designed to provide 24/7 network operations and management functions enabling key enterprise services within both classified and unclassified Air Force networks as well as supporting defensive cyber operations on those networks.

As outlined in a recent release from 24 th Air Force – home to Air Force’s Cyber – ARAD leverages leading-edge technology to comprehensively modernize and efficiently improve vulnerability management execution, defensive cyber operations, system health, asset management and situational awareness capabilities.

“ARAD brings improved speed and precision across the enterprise. We are excited about the potential ARAD holds to improve our situational awareness and cyberspace defense,” said Brig. Gen. Mitchel Butikofer, 24th Air Force vice commander.

Modern Science: Cooperative Swarmboats

Back in the day, port and harbor defense units were a cooperative venture between manned surveillance units (Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Units or MIUWUs) and manned boats - sometimes Coast Guard Port Security Units (PSUs), sometimes Navy Inshore Boat Units. While the manned boats have proven their worth, they do expose crews to the variety of dangers of both normal operations as well as risks posed by an aggressor.

Now this mission may be assigned to elements of the Naval Maritime Expeditionary Force. In any event, as as been noted here before, the Navy's Office of Naval Research has been pursuing the use of unmanned platforms to take on part of the water work and the capability seems to be getting smarter, as reported by ONI in "Autonomous Swarmboats: New Missions, Safe Harbors":

Using a unique combination of software, radar and other sensors, officials from the Office of Naval Research (ONR)—together with partners from industry, academia and other government organizations—were able to get a “swarm” of rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and other small boats to collectively perform patrol missions autonomously, with only remote human supervision, rather than direct human operation, as they performed their missions.

“This demonstration showed some remarkable advances in autonomous capabilities,” said Cmdr. Luis Molina, military deputy for ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Dept. “While previous work had focused on autonomous protection of high-value ships, this time we were focused on harbor approach defense.”