14 April 2017

*** Victory as a Strategic Objective: An Ambiguous and Counter-Productive Concept for the High Command

By Jennie Carignan for Canadian Military Journal (CMJ)

What exactly constitutes victory in war? Is such an end state possible, or was Kenneth Waltz right to once opine that “[I]n war, there is no victory but only varying degrees of defeat.” In this article, Jennie Carignan wrestles with these questions by 1) reviewing the contributions of various theorists to the cult of victory in military thinking; 2) explaining how the concept dominates the day-to-day narratives of political decision makers; and 3) speculating on how current notions of victory might be redefined.


Inspiration often arrives unexpectedly. The idea for this article was sparked by a discussion I had with one of my demining specialists at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, in 2009. He described the tactical situation he faced daily in the Kandahar City area, where he was required to neutralize up to nine or ten explosive devices in a single day. The devices were often found in the same places he had cleared a few days earlier. He summed up our discussion by telling me, “Look, Madame, we’re not winning this war.” Clearly, this is alarming and disappointing considering the effort expended, the lives lost, and the Canadian Armed Forces’ intent to fight that battle until victory was achieved. This raises a question: What, exactly, is victory? What does it mean to “win a war”? Why did my demining specialist – despite his total commitment, the many sacrifices he had made for his country and the risks to his life – have the perception that his actions would not lead to victory?

The Return to Mons, by Inglis Sheldon-Williams. Mons was the site of the first major battle fought by the British Army in 1914. Millions of lives later, the Canadian Corps liberated the city during the final days of the war. 

A number of eminent military experts have stated that the primary objective in war is to win,2 or that, “In war there is no substitute for victory.”3 The concept of victory plagues the military. Because an armed force is employed as a last resort, it must win its battles to ensure the survival of its country. The perception of victory as an end in itself – and as synonymous with strategic success – is therefore ever present in the minds of senior military commanders. But what are the implications of victory as a strategic objective for the high command and for military personnel deployed on the ground?

*** A Rising China Eyes the Middle East



China has historically played a minimal diplomatic and security role in the Middle East, and as a rising power today Beijing maintains the unique position of friend to all nations in the region and enemy to none.

China is now the largest importer of oil from the Middle East, and the largest exporter of goods to the region.

Construction is underway on China’s first overseas military base, strategically located in the tiny African nation of Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden just twenty miles across from the coast of Yemen.

The United States is the largest weapons supplier in the Middle East by far, but China is increasing sales of weapons the United States refuses to sell there, plans to build a drone factory in Saudi Arabia, and (along with Russia) provides arms to U.S. adversaries Syria and Iran.

China has stepped up joint counterterrorism drills in response to what it says is a growing threat from militants and separatists particularly from its Uyghur Muslim population, members of which have fought alongside ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

In a speech before the Arab League in Cairo last January, Chinese President Xi Jinping described his view of China’s role in the Middle East: “Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace talks; instead of seeking any sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road Initiative; instead of attempting to fill the “vacuum,” we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes.”1

** Energy Fact & Opinion: China's Net Oil Import Problem

Crude oil shipments to China from the Americas hit an all-time high in March, with the region’s share of the Chinese market reaching 14 percent. China was the largest foreign purchaser of U.S. crude in February and also made its first-ever U.S. strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) purchase in March. 

U.S., Canadian, and Brazilian oil has made up for a large part of the growth in exports to China, which continue to climb as net oil imports in the largest oil demand growth market in the world continue to grow. 

Driven by the combination of sustained oil demand growth and declining levels of production, Chinese net imports of crude oil grew by a staggering 0.7 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2016 and are estimated to grow by a further 0.5 mb/d in 2017 and 0.4 mb/d in 2018. 

In 2016, Chinese oil and other liquid fuel production stood at 4.9 mb/d, falling by 0.3 mb/d from output levels in 2015, while demand grew by 0.3 mb/d. This trend of slowing production is expected to continue with a further 0.2 mb/d decline in 2017 and 0.1 mb/d drop in 2018. 
Domestic Chinese oil production has been hit particularly hard by the oil price collapse. Even with government supports, capital expenditure and production levels have been curbed because of the relatively high break-even costs of its maturing fields. 

** Europe and U.S. Move to Fight Russian Hybrid Warfare


On Tuesday, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, a sign of just how seriously world leaders are taking Moscow’s attempts at destabilizing Europe.

Since the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine in 2014, things have gotten tense between Moscow and the West: Russian jets have probed Finnish and Swedish airspace; a barrage of Russian disinformation has targeted Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; and France, Germany, and the United States have all accused the Kremlin of interfering in their domestic politics. It’s part of Russia’s embrace of so-called “hybrid war,” or the use of politics, diplomacy, the media, and cyberspace to destabilize opponents without necessarily having to resort to tanks and artillery.

Trending Articles

Sessions Announces ‘New Era’ in Treatment of Undocumented…

The United States will go after undocumented immigrants for identify theft and document fraud and will prosecute…

The combination of military posturing and disinformation has become the backbone of Moscow’s modern day military doctrine as it tries to reassert itself along its borders and beyond. Violations and provocations near borders are meant to test a neighbor’s resolve, while information attacks are meant to inflame internal problems and sow discord. Other operations, such as Russia’s cybermeddling in the U.S. election, were meant to boost Donald Trump, who as a candidate denigrated NATO, the European Union, and the liberal international order.

* Clean energy can continue to grow

Richard Somerville

The biggest unknown about future climate is human behavior. Everything depends on what humanity does. Those of us who are alive today have our hands on the thermostat that controls the climate of our children and grandchildren. Carbon dioxide is the most serious of the heat-trapping gases that human activities emit into the atmosphere. A considerable portion of the carbon dioxide we emit can remain in the atmosphere for many centuries. It accumulates.

Deciding how much global warming is tolerable is a political decision. It depends on priorities, values, risk tolerance, economics, and so forth. That’s how we got the 2-degree Celsius target of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This target is an international commitment to take actions that will limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average pre-industrial temperature of the Earth. We’ve already experienced about half that much warming.

Now that the nations of the world have agreed in Paris on how much warming is to be allowed, climate science can tell us approximately how much more carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases and particles can be emitted. To have a reasonable chance of meeting the 2-degree Celsius target, the science shows clearly that emissions need to be reduced drastically and quickly. Science is based on facts and evidence. Politics sets the target, but the urgency of reducing emissions arises directly from the physics and chemistry of the climate system. It has nothing to do with politics.


Ashok K Mehta

As Defence Minister, with one leg in Goa and the other in South Block, Parrikar’s party interests prevailed over national interest. The defence portfolio has been given to Jaitley. This says something about the Modi regime

Changing India’s Defence Minister seems to have become a new normal for this Government. For a second time in three years, a Defence Minister has been replaced with impunity.

Commenting on Manohar Parrikar’s legacy as the Defence Minister, a reputed defence commentator noted that he had to be moved from New Delhi to Goa as Chief Minister due to ‘party interest’ but said nothing about national interest. In fact, it was Prakash Kamat’s interview with Parrikar (The Hindu March 29), which hit the bull’s eye, calling him “the reluctant politician in Delhi durbar, Manohar Parrikar is back where he always wanted to be’’.

When asked was it in national interest to leave (the Defence Ministry) abruptly, Parrikar said, “It is not appropriate to discuss this”, adding “whatever circumstances evolved, I took the best decision’’ without qualifying whose interest was best served.

During the three years Narendra Modi has been the Prime Minister, he has treated defence ‘step-motherly’, giving the Ministry ab initio to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as additional charge. But Modi started his own innings with the military with a bang, spending a large chunk of his first 100 days in office sailing on INS Vikramaditya, commissioning INS Kolkata, visiting Leh and reassuring soldiers on award of the vote-winning One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP). Modi would then meet the Service Chiefs once a month to hear their Mann ki Baat.

Fighting Kleptocrats in Afghanistan: The Case for Unexplained Wealth Orders

By Sayed Mushtaq Sadat

The real war in Afghanistan is between the people and corrupt members of the ruling elite — in short, the kleptocrats. On March 27, the Afghan parliament summoned security officials over deteriorating security situation across the country only to show confidence in their ability to serve. This is not the first time the public officials have gotten away after brokering deals. This massive and ever powerful network of kleptocrats has jeopardized any prospects of enduring peace and economic prosperity in Afghanistan. The unprecedented level of corruption is a product of the last few decades of war and the injections of billions of dollars of aid without sufficient oversight, resulting in fractured state institutions.

Government corruption has compromised the security, economic growth prospects, and overall state cohesion in Afghanistan. Therefore, the actual battle does not start on the mountains, but the streets of Wazir Akbar Khan. For that, we need an army of professionals more than an army of soldiers. The weapon of this fight are not guns but introducing what are called unexplained wealth orders.

CPEC: How Pakistan is losing out to China

'The accusation that Pakistan risks losing sovereignty to China is emotive and has the potential to spread.'

'China will, however, remain intent on achieving its strategic ambitions of acquiring Gwadar port and securing a large chunk of Pakistan occupied Kashmir,' says former RA&W officer Jayadeva Ranade.

Criticism, differences and doubts regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor have increased in Pakistan over the past year.

The singular central thread that runs through all of them is that Pakistan's sovereignty is increasingly at risk!

As Pakistan realises that the CPEC -- with investment now raised to an estimated $54 billion -- cannot be viewed as a silver bullet that will lift Pakistan out of its dire economic difficulties or solve issues afflicting its society, doubts are magnified by the fundamental divergence in how both countries view the CPEC.

While for Beijing it is part of a larger strategic objective which it views as an essential stepping stone towards global leadership, Islamabad sees it as a solution for its economic difficulties.

Endorsed by the Pakistan army, politicians of the ruling party and some Pakistani diplomats, the CPEC has been projected as an opportunity that would ensure a 2.5 per cent rise in growth, add over 26,000 MW of energy and provide at least 700,000 jobs for Pakistanis.

Chinese Consumers Will Change the Global Economy

By Matthias Lomas

The media is full of talk of China’s economic slowdown, as its GDP growth, in double figures for decades, now hovers at around 6-7 percent according to official figures. But while China’s economic slowdown is real, the growth of the Chinese consumer as a powerful force on the world stage shows little sign of abating and in fact will become more pronounced in the future. By 2020 there will be almost 400 million of what management consultants McKinsey call “mainstream consumers” – consumers with household incomes of $16,000 to $34,000 and therefore part of the “middle class.” It is these consumers that will shake the world.

China’s government is committed to transitioning the country’s economy from an investment-led to consumption-led. Beijing knows that the sources from which it has achieved such impressive growth in the last few decades – investment, cheap exports, and rural-to-urban migration – can no longer drive GDP growth as much as they once could and that it must find new sources of economic activity.

Chasing the Dragon: 25 of the Best Books on China


The way we conceptualize China in the West is a bit like the country’s Great Wall: our views are monolithic, defensive, and fairly impenetrable. The West’s existential fears of communism, coupled with China’s rising military and economic clout, suggests there’s little chance we’ll see the country as anything but a threat in the years to come.

China certainly hasn’t made it easy to dispel our one-dimensional ways, however: The country’s rule of law often runs counter to countless principles democracies hold dear, they maintain close ties to North Korea, and their Great Firewall is an affront to free speech.

Then again, heaven knows a country’s political reputation in no way represents the will and intent of its people, and it’s always hard to empathize when you look at the mass and not the individual. So in an effort to better understand China — politically, historically, culturally, personally — Signature is holding up twenty-five books as important entryways into a country whose global influence demands that you pay a little more attention and care to your own preconceived notions.

~The History~

Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice

Richard Bernstein

Mao Zhedong. Chiang Kai-shek. General George Marshall. These are just some of the characters present in the odd, unpredictable, honyemoon year of 1945 when China and the US emerged from WWII with high hopes for strong ties, only to see those ties nosedive by year’s end. If you’re looking to better understand the rivalry between the US and China today, look no further than Richard Bernstein’s China 1945.

Caught Between Worlds

By Mohsin Hamid 

There is a particular kind of gnawing at the soul that happens when you live in a city under political duress. The sort of place that dictates how you act and who you get to be. A city that forces you to curb or conceal desires, swallow and suppress ideas, hide beliefs, stand in the shadow of who, elsewhere, you might be. It is a matter of survival, fitting in. In these cities, such as Cairo or Lahore, the desire to leave is constant. Imagining a life elsewhere occupies you, even as you know, if only from literature, that exile will be equally fraught. 

These conflicting desires frame and permeate Mohsin Hamid’s new novel, Exit West, set in an unnamed city that begins to crack under years of oppression, to the brink of civil war. The two main characters, Nadia and Saeed, meet just as a political status quo is becoming unhinged. They get to know each other in the period of transition when a city that offers relative freedoms, or at least clear boundaries on what can or cannot be done, begins to shift into territory where everything, eventually, is at stake. Walking streets, running errands, going to work, or meeting a lover becomes a gamble. At any moment a shot might be fired, a bomb may explode. 

Saeed is a moderately conservative employee at an agency that places outdoor advertising. A twenty-something who sports “studiously maintained stubble” and “as was the case in those days in his city with most independent-minded, grown men, unmarried, with decent posts and good educations,” he still lives with his parents, one a former schoolteacher, the other a university professor. Nadia, breaking from tradition, lives alone, in a studio atop a townhouse. An employee at an insurance company, she navigates the city on a trail bike wearing a black robe (“so men don’t fuck with me”) and a helmet—fiercely independent, and something of an anomaly. Completely cut off by her family for moving out (something they regretted “but which none of them would ever act to repair”), she learns “how best to deal with aggressive men and with the police, and with aggressive men who were the police.” While Saeed spends evenings at home with his parents, looking out at the sky even though it had “become too polluted for much in the way of stargazing,” Nadia frequents underground concerts and jam sessions. 

Can Military Might Alone Defeat al-Shabaab?

By Mustafa Bananay

Developing a “security pact” to tackle insurgent jihadists al-Shabaab, who continue to stifle state-building efforts, is one of the key agenda items at the upcoming high-level conference on Somalia scheduled for May this year in London. This complex challenge first depends on identifying what makes al-Shabaab such a resilient movement. Despite some success on the battlefield, this is an understanding that has largely escaped Somalia’s various security forces—and their international supporters—until now.

Donors such as the United Kingdom, European Union, and United States have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Somalia’s security services, including 1.8 billion euros pledged in September 2013 as part of the “New Deal Compact.” Yet al-Shabaab remains a potent force throughout most of the country. The London conference thus presents an opportunity to develop security architecture—and associated justice mechanisms—more in line with previous political progress in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab continues to demonstrate sophisticated organizational planning and execution of attacks. While the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali army have made significant military gains in liberating areas previously under the group’s control, this has brought little overall stability. This is largely because systems of governance and delivery of basic services to citizens have often failed to follow military operations. In addition, the retaking of major towns by AMISOM and government forces often leaves swaths of rural areas in the hands of al-Shabaab, which in turn shifts strategy to attacking main supply routes, rendering towns isolated. At the same time, the federal government has yet to establish a broad, predictable, and consistent policy framework of governance that appeals to communities.

US Airstrikes in Syria: Impact on China, Israel and the Middle East

By Mercy A. Kuo

A Trump-Putin deal on S-400 not firing in Syria?

By Bharat Karnad

After President Donald Trump ordered an air strike on the Syrian Shayrat Air Force Base in retaliation for the Syrian chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Shiekhoun, one of the biggest concerns for the USAF ops planners was the presence in the area of the deadly Russian S-400 air defence system. Well, the slow-moving, low flying Tomahawk cruise missiles could have been shot out of the sky by the S-400. the question is why weren’t they fired?

One can speculate that there was a deal struck between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that permitted the US to carry out the strikes by 59 Tomahawks unmolested by the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles so long as the cruise missiles did not target the tarmac nor overly inconvenience the Syrian Air Force. Sure enough, as the Independent newspaper of London reports, Syrian attack aircraft, parked in hardened shelters dotting the air field, or flown out for the duration of the US attack, began staging out of this base the day after the cruise strikes. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/syria-air-strikes-us-bashar-al-assad-regime-air-base-bombed-shayrat-f-you-donald-trump-lindsey-a7675851.html)

In fact Trump lamely explained that other than the runways were targeted because modern technology facilitated very fast repairs and recovery and, implicitly, that the cruise missiles would be wasted. This raises the question: What exactly did the Tomahawks take out?

Apparently not the runways, nor the ATC paraphernalia. That leaves only the radar and communications systems. Perhaps, these were was knocked off but without destroying them fully. Otherwise, the air activity out of Shayrat couldn’t have resumed so quickly and without a decent interval for capability restoration.

Something smells here! And the odour is of a Trump-Putin deal — the US cries retribution and is allowed by Russia a minor score against Shayrat even as the Trump-Putin communications line is not endangered, kept open for future mutually beneficial transactions. There’s no other explanation that so many cruise missile with great terminal accuracy do so little damage.

The U.S. Attacks on Syria: What Comes Next?

By Anthony H. Cordesman

No one should underestimate the value of the cruise missile strikes the United States launched on April 7, 2017. Attacking a single air base will scarcely cripple the Syrian Air Force, nor will it limit Syria's ability to use its remaining chemical weapons. The strikes have, however, sent a very important signal to both America's friends, its critics, and its enemies.

One key message is that in the first real crisis of his Presidency, President Donald J. Trump listened to his expert advisors, proved to be flexible in changing his position, chose an option proportionate to the task, communicated effectively with Russia to avoid Russian losses, and acted quickly. He neither failed to act, nor did he overreact, and he sent a clear message that the United States would not only confront a localized threat—but would act in spite of Russian pressure.

The U.S. strikes will not, by themselves, alter the course of the Syrian civil war, nor will they reduce the overall level of civilian suffering. The strikes may well, however, have set a precedent that will keep Assad from using chemical weapons again, as well as send a broader message that the United States will stand up to Russia. They have also shown that the United States will still use force when necessary—something many states in the Middle East and outside it had come to question—along with U.S. willingness to establish real-world "red lines" in dealing with any power that uses weapons of mass destruction.

Fighting in Megacities - The Army’s Next Challenge

By Gary Anderson

When General Charles Krulak directed the Marine Corps to study the problems of urban warfare in the late 90s of the last century, he had considerable support in the Corps because many Marines were veterans of urban combat in Somalia. In addition, many Marines were aware of a brief done by a highly respected retired Marin General Officer, Mike Myatt. CHAOS IN THE LITTORALS showed how rural populations in the Third World are gravitating to cities, most of which lay on the seacoasts or close to them. When they get to the cities, many of these former farmers find their expectations dashed by the conditions they find in the urban areas; this will increasingly lead to conflict as it already has. The events of 9/11 and the wars it spawned overshadowed the Marine Corps’ urban studies and experiments as the Army and Marine Corps turned to fighting the wars they were given. Recently, the current Army Chief of Staff (General Mark Milley) has pushed the Army to study the future of combat in the world’s fast growing megacities.

Unlike General Krulak, General Milley is getting some pushback from within his own organization. Some senior Army officers have concluded that megacities are “too hard to do” and they should be bypassed. The problem here is obvious. If the enemy knows that we don’t want to fight someplace, which is where he will go. Consequently, I am squarely in General Milley’s corner on this subject.

Reclaiming Strategic Initiative in the Not-So-Gray Zone: Winning Big Conflicts Inside Small Ones

By Spencer B. Meredith III

The Gray Zone is becoming less gray. Not because US adversaries are adhering more to the laws of war, quite the opposite in fact. Nor are they becoming less hostile or less prone to provocative actions under the threat of overt violence. Instead, the Gray Zone is becoming less opaque, less undefined because emerging analytical frameworks are finding their footing in the Department of Defense. The enterprise that is tasked with countering Gray Zone threats from states and non-state actors alike is building a solid knowledge base that taps into a wealth of scholarly research and practitioner experience. The results have been a growing body of realistic assessments of the problems facing the United States and its allies. These then lay the foundation for feasible policy recommendations to address emerging threats, whether from Russian Hybrid Warfare, Chinese Unrestricted Warfare, Iranian influence operations in Latin America, or the likely emergence of ISIS 2.0 after the current iteration fades to the background. At the center of those efforts are two types of initiatives. Both highlight the effectiveness of the Department of Defense’s growing analytical clarity on the Gray Zone, and help the United States reclaim the strategic initiative from rivals across the spectrum of international conflicts.

The first example occurred during a recent US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Senior Leader Seminar looking at competition short of armed conflict. Framed as a wargame, this seminar simulated several scenarios where traditional power politics and violent extremism collided. Participants were asked to dig deeply into the underlying causes of threats, and how perceptions shape everything from core interests to immediate grievances. Yet the event did much more than explain why stability is so elusive, and peace even more so. It also raised several key areas where the United States and its partner nations can mutually support each other.

Marine Corps Combat Strategy Changes to Adjust to Enemy Drone Threats

Mike Fabey

With more technologically advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) buzzing about than ever, some military leaders are starting to rethink the way they look at air superiority.

That is especially true for the U.S. Marine Corps – often the first U.S. force to face UAV threats on foreign soil.

Before, air superiority pretty much controlling the skies above the ground or water on or through which forces intended to operate. But now, with UAVs operating at all different heights and depths, that kind of thinking is proving to be inadequate.

“There are different kinds of layers for air superiority,” says Lt. Col. Noah "Spool" Spataro, the UAS Capabilities Integration/Requirements officer for the Fires and Maneuver Integration Division in the Capabilities Development Directorate (CDD) at Marine Corps Combat Development Command

“We have to think about in multi-domains and consider what’s operating in those domains and we have to account for those. It changes the mindset of how we approach those layers of defense.”

Indeed, he says, “Air superiority is not a good assumption anymore from the ground.”

Lockheed Holds Classified War Game To Test Multi-Domain Concepts


Lockheed Martin Innovation Center

WASHINGTON: Lockheed Martin views the multi-domain warfare concept as so important it is funding and holding a series of classified war games to explore strategies, Concepts of Operation and weapons to see how they might perform taking on an A2/AD opponent. The second game begins today and ends Thursday.

As Breaking D readers know, the Multi-Domain approach is relatively simple in concept: use data from below and above the sea, from the land, from the air and from cyber and space, gather it together, analyze it at incredible speed and then attack the enemy from whatever domains and in whatever ways a combination of machines and humans decide will work best. The Air Force is in the early stages of pursuing a Multi Domain Command and Control system (MDC2) to help make this possible. The results of this war game will be provided to Brig. Gen. Chance Saltzman, who leads the MDC2 Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team (ECCT).

The game, with 40 players and 12 observers from the Defense Department and FFRDCs such as Mitre and the Aerospace Corp., is being held at Lockheed’s Center for Innovation in Suffolk, Va., Lockheed Martin’s C4ISR vice president Rob Smith says. The exercise will use one team designed to reflect the integrated nature of multi domain warfare. The other will be a more traditional team.

Lessons from Insurgent Warfare

By Octavian Manea

SWJ discussion with Seth G. Jones, Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, as well as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His latest book is Waging Insurgent Warfare: Lessons from the Vietcong to the Islamic State, published by Oxford University Press, November 2016.

We tend to identify historical COIN principles that are applicable over time. But let’s ask the question from the perspective of the other side, the insurgent. What is old and new in concerning insurgent warfare? What are the continuities, the unchanged guiding principles of insurgency?

One issue that has been consistent across time is the range of strategies available to insurgents. In particular, insurgents have three main options. One was made famous by Mao: the use of guerilla warfare. Guerilla campaigns involve the use of ambushes, raids, and targeted assassinations. Their goal is not to defeat an opposing army or a government in battle, but to undermine the political will of the government. An essential pillar of guerrilla warfare is the political apparatus, which is important to mobilize the population. A second is a conventional strategy, which involves taking governments on in set-piece battles and defeating government forces on the battlefield. Third, some insurgent groups have used a punishment strategy, which involves targeting the civilian population. We do see insurgents at various points target non-combatants in specific villages or regions, often because they assess that these populations are supporting the government in various ways. Over time, insurgent groups have used some combination of guerilla warfare, conventional warfare, and punishment during a campaign. These are some of the tried and generally well-used strategy options available to insurgent groups.

Sweden’s Wisdom on Terrorism


Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of Sweden paying his respects to those killed in the terrorist attack in Stockholm last week. CreditOdd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Each terrorist attack tests anew the values of openness and tolerance essential to free societies. Stockholm became the scene of another such attack on Friday when a barreling truck was turned, yet again, into a deadly weapon. This time four were killed and 15 were injured.

Though details are still being investigated, the attacker was apparently an Uzbek man who had been denied asylum and ordered to leave Sweden. This will no doubt add grist to the arguments of those — the autocrat Viktor Orban, the French right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen — who conflate terrorists with immigrants in search of a better life and refugees fleeing deadly conflict.

Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter

Aadhaar: In the eye of the privacy storm

Anil Padmanabhan

For the last few weeks, Aadhaar, or India’s unique identity number programme, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

First, there was the news about some business correspondents illegally storing biometric data and misusing it.

Second, there was a (orchestrated) backlash against the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing of income tax returns as well as for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN); which among other things will make it very difficult to elude the radar of the tax sleuth. Just remember that some 250 million PAN numbers have been issued so far and yet, there are only 40 million taxpayers.

The privacy warriors have used this moment to argue their long-standing case against Aadhaar. While no one can dispute their concerns on privacy, it is unfair to pick on Aadhaar as the sole example of such breach of privacy; indeed it has its shortcomings, as the Telangana example showed, but they don’t fall in the realm of privacy breaches.

Risk of cyberattack on US power grid ‘palpable,’ experts tell Congress

By Mackenzie Wolf

A warning issued during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday said the potential for a major cyberattack against the nation’s power grid is “at an all time high,” reports FuelFix.

Gerry Cauley, president of the grid operators group North American Electric Reliability Corporation, testified during the hearing. Cauley noted that hackers had yet to shut down the U.S. power grid, but he referenced a 2015 attack that cut power to 225,000 customers in Ukraine.

“We will never be complacent. The risk is very real,” he said.

Tuesday’s hearing was part of a long-term effort to increase security for the nation’s power plants to prevent cyberattacks akin to the ones that have recently struck Europe. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), recently awarded BAE Systems a contract under the Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) program to develop technology that will enable power to be quickly restored following a cyberattack.

Per Patricia Hoffman, acting assistant secretary at the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the department is working on “an ecosystem of resilience.”

Senior cyber and energy strategist at Idaho National Laboratory, Andrew Bochman, testified that the presence of automated technology is enabling hackers to develop more paths on which to attack.

“Cyber risk futurists, myself included, are experiencing a palpable sense of foreboding,” Bochman said during his testimony.

Next Steps for U.S. Cyber Command after Split with NSA


We all know it’s coming, and soon. There is significant momentum for elevating U.S. Cyber Command to a full combatant command. We should expect that soon. Bifurcating Cyber Command’s and the National Security Agency’s leadership from one leader to separate leaders for each organization also has strong momentum and should happen by October 2018 or sooner. Why that date? The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act states a requirement that “The Cyber Mission Force has achieved full operational capability” before the “dual-hat” arrangement can be terminated, and the Cyber Command commander testified that goal will be reached by the end of Fiscal Year 2018.

With the impending elevation and “dual-hat” split, it’s time to turn the focus on what Cyber Command needs to better deliver for our nation. As Cyber Command stands on its own – or as former NSA Director General Michael Hayden puts it, the “umbilical cord” is cut from NSA – Cyber Command has a critical need for enabling capabilities. But what are these enabling capabilities?

First, Cyber Command needs people – not at the tactical level but at the strategic and operational levels. Cyber Command’s headquarters was created in 2010, primarily by combining the Joint Task Force – consisting of the Global Network Operations and the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare. Its joint service components were created by dual-hatting and triple-hatting operational service organizations and assigning them to support up to three combatant commands. Cyber Command headquarters staff has up to 75 percent fewer personnel than other combatant commands, and the joint components staffs are short as well.

Based on these shortfalls, an estimated additional 1500 billets, or position options, are needed for Cyber Command headquarters and its joint service components for analyzing and reporting intelligence, planning and directing operations, ensuring cyber operations are integrated into global combatant command operational planning documents, conducting and planning exercise events, managing resources, and performing acquisition.

At the tactical level, herculean efforts by the military services are placing 6187 cyber warriors to fill out Cyber Command’s 133 teams. That process is going well, and all teams are expected to reach full operational capability by the end of FY18. 

Free Wi-Fi & Security: Why It Matters

by James Torrence

The internet is an essential part of both personal and professional life. People use the internet to complete tasks ranging from banking to buying groceries. Organizations use the internet to afford their employees access to networks/information whether in the office, working from home, or working on-the-move. In order to accommodate the growing need for internet access, there has been a 4,414 percent increase in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States since 2013 (Covington, 2016). There are roughly “54 million Wi-Fi hotspots” (Covington, 2016) in 2016, with the number growing daily. The increase in internet availability creates more opportunities to be connected if one is outside the home or office, has limits on cell phone data, or is out of cellphone coverage. Though there are more opportunities to be connected, there are also more risks; public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure. 

David Maimon, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Maryland, sums it up as follows:

The major hazard with public Wi-Fi is the fact that all the information you’re transferring between your computer and the computer that you’re accessing is available to everybody on the network (Hill, 2015).

The risks of Wi-Fi hotspots are compounded when users do not understand how Wi-Fi networks work, and thus do not comprehend the risks associated with connecting to a free hotspot. In a 2016 study, it was determined that “the level of ignorance” (Schlesinger, 2016), with regard to the understanding of free Wi-Fi networks, is “somewhat alarming” (Schlesinger, 2016), and that “more than 60% of consumers think their information is safe when using public internet…” (Schlesinger, 2016). This is an important topic not just because of ramifications of personal information that could be exposed, but also for organizations whose employees access organizational information on networks that are not secure. It is evident that a new method of educating and informing employees about the dangers of free Wi-Fi is necessary to help protect both personal and organizational information. The author will put forth a framework that can be integrated into existing employee ecosystems, augment existing policy, and better protect organizational and personal information. Before introducing the framework, it is first necessary to understand why public Wi-Fi is insecure, why the problem will continue to persist, and how organizations can successfully implement a new framework.