10 April 2014


By Michael Lelyveld

Western pressure on Russia over its annexation of Crimea has raised expectations that it will offer China better terms on a long-delayed gas deal in time for President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit in May.

The takeover of the region from Ukraine has heightened the risk that European countries will reduce their reliance on Russia for energy, increasing the importance of exporting its resources to China instead.

The threat of European sanctions is seen as driving Russia’s Gazprom to reach an agreement in its decade-old talks with China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) for Siberian gas supplies by offering lower prices.

“With Western sanctions, the atmosphere could change quickly in favor of China,” said Brian Zimbler, managing partner in the Moscow office of Morgan Lewis, an international law firm, in comments cited by Reuters.

Western nations have made clear that they are considering energy penalties as a next step.

At a press conference in The Hague on March 25, President Barack Obama warned that Washington could join Brussels in imposing sanctions to “include areas potentially like energy, or finance, or arms sales, or trade that exists between Europe and the United States and Russia.”

The energy option would strike at the heart of a critical source of Russian income, as well as European interests.

Last year, Europe imported 167.2 billion cubic meters (5.9 trillion cubic feet) of gas from Russia, valued at some U.S. $57 billion, Platts energy news service reported.

Russia supplied one-third of Europe’s gas demand and 36 percent of its crude oil imports, Platts said.

But Europe may now be seeking ways to ease its dependence, giving it a freer hand in responding to Russian expansion moves.
Energy leverage

U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

APRIL 8, 2014

Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive regimes. After 9/11, many began speaking of asymmetric warfare and "the long war." Under this model, the United States would be engaged in counterterrorism activities in a broad area of the Islamic world for a very long time. Peer-to-peer conflict seemed obsolete.

There was a profoundly radical idea embedded in this line of thought. Wars between nations or dynastic powers had been a constant condition in Europe, and the rest of the world had been no less violent. Every century had had systemic wars in which the entire international system (increasingly dominated by Europe since the 16th century) had participated. In the 20th century, there were the two World Wars, in the 19th century the Napoleonic Wars, in the 18th century the Seven Years' War, and in the 17th century the Thirty Years' War.

Those who argued that U.S. defense policy had to shift its focus away from peer-to-peer and systemic conflict were in effect arguing that the world had entered a new era in which what had been previously commonplace would now be rare or nonexistent. What warfare there was would not involve nations but subnational groups and would not be systemic. The radical nature of this argument was rarely recognized by those who made it, and the evolving American defense policy that followed this reasoning was rarely seen as inappropriate. If the United States was going to be involved primarily in counterterrorism operations in the Islamic world for the next 50 years, we obviously needed a very different military than the one we had.

There were two reasons for this argument. Military planners are always obsessed with the war they are fighting. It is only human to see the immediate task as a permanent task. During the Cold War, it was impossible for anyone to imagine how it would end. During World War I, it was obvious that static warfare dominated by the defense was the new permanent model. That generals always fight the last war must be amended to say that generals always believe the war they are fighting is the permanent war. It is, after all, the war that was the culmination of their careers, and imagining other wars when they are fighting this one, and indeed will not be fighting future ones, appeared frivolous.

What Have We Learned from Crimea?

What have we learned from the Russian seizure of Crimea and the Western reaction to it? President Obama seems to have learned nothing; he is more obstinate in pursuing failed policies than Jimmy Carter or Neville Chamberlain. Informed discussion of foreign policy has now expanded to include wide and valuable questioning of Obama’s indecisive, yielding tactics—and his general vision of a world without enemies. But something in the middle is still missing, and that something is important. What have we learned about the former Soviet bloc, and about ourselves? NATO-Ukraine Foreign Affairs Meeting in Brussels, April 1, 2014

Like France and Britain in the years between the great wars, 1919-1939, we have committed ourselves to the defense of an international order in Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union, that we don’t really have the energy or will to defend. The two epochs are very different, of course. For all Putin’s hostility to the West and its aspirations, and despite his skillful manipulation of Russian populist sympathies, his are nothing like the volcanic energies of a Hitler or Mussolini, and his people are nothing like the eager, war-hungry Germans and Italians of that time. 

Nevertheless, there remains an important historical echo of the interwar period: what the West, defender of the status quo, is actually defending, and how we are going about the task. The order that the victorious allies could effortlessly impose at Versailles depended on the temporary disappearance of half the European great powers (who were bound to come back), and on the continued cooperation and sustained will of the victors. But as America and Britain retreated from Europe, responsibility for this effort fell more and more to France—a France that was uncertain and weary deep in its bones. In short, the Great War’s victorious allies genuinely preferred their new order—just as we do the Eastern Europe left by the Soviet Collapse—but they turned out not tocare about it as a fundamental matter. As a result, when an aggressor eventually challenged that order, it collapsed with astonishing speed, like a house eaten from within by termites. 


APRIL 8, 2014

Of all the modern genocides, the mass slaughter of two million Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 was probably the least understood at the time of the killing. Cambodia was cut off from the world. With the war in Vietnam over, the United States and other great powers stopped paying attention to Indochina, as did most of the international press. After the Vietnamese Army overthrew the Khmer Rouge, in January, 1979, the United Nations continued to recognize the deposed regime as the legitimate government of Cambodia. The Vietnamese liberators-turned-occupiers lacked credibility on the subject of human-rights abuses, although they had put an end to the worst of them in Cambodia. Cold War thinking led Western and Southeast Asian countries and China to back the Khmer Rouge for years. 

Reports by survivors came out in bits and pieces, almost all of them after the killing was over. The survivors had few international advocates, and many people around the world, especially on the left, didn’t believe them. It took a Hollywood movie, “The Killing Fields,” to bring the destruction of a quarter of Cambodia’s population to the world’s attention. The Cambodian genocide was an overlooked historical moment between the epic horror of the Holocaust and the more recent genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia that took place under the world’s gaze. 

Thirty years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, in 2009, a joint Cambodian-U.N. tribunal in Phnom Penh began to hear cases against the handful of alleged perpetrators who are still living. The first defendant was Kaing Guek Eav, whose revolutionary name was Duch (pronounced Doik). Duch was the director of S-21, the Khmer Rouge’s central interrogation center and death camp, from which very few people emerged alive. “The Master of Confessions: The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer,” by the French journalist Thierry Cruvellier, has just been published in translation here in the United States. Cruvellier (who is a friend of mine) has covered all the contemporary international courts for war crimes and crimes against humanity, spending the past fifteen years immersed in the details of the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and the atrocities of the civil war in Sierra Leone. It’s not a job most people would volunteer for, but Cruvellier, a gentle and philosophical soul, has something steely and relentless in him. If journalism were not so parochial, he’d be well known in this country.

The Real Trouble With Russia

Moscow Might Have Violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty -- Here's How to Respond
APRIL 7, 2014

Russian servicemen take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square, November 5, 2012. (Sergei Karpukhin / Courtesy Reuters)

At the moment, Russia’s march on Crimea tops the United States’ list of issues with its onetime foe. But it is hardly the whole list. Rather, as The New York Times reported in January, Washington apparently believes that Moscow has also been busy violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a pact between the two banning the use of both nuclear and conventionally armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles within a certain range. This is no minor matter. When the treaty was signed in 1987, it was taken as a signal that the Cold War was finally thawing and, since then, it has been a been a defining element in U.S.-Russian relations, the United States and NATO’s deterrent posture, and the broader architecture of global arms control.

Despite this legacy, Russia has apparently developed a cruise missile designed to operate in the treaty’s prohibited range of 500 to 5,550 kilometers and has reportedly developed an RS-26 ballistic missile that also appears to have been designed for intermediate ranges; the latter missile has just barely reached beyond 5,500 kilometers with a minimal payload in testing. With much of the data about these issues withheld, it is impossible to make a final judgment about whether Moscow has broken the INF pact. But it does seem fairly clear that Moscow is determined to do end-run on INF, something backed up by the many reports, for instance in former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ recent memoirs, that Moscow -- and particularly its military -- has been keen to escape the INF straightjacket for years. Indeed, there are some indications that the country is just waiting for the United States to do it the favor of terminating INF.

In the wake of the tests, some observers, including at the Heritage Foundation, have been calling for the United States to do just that. And terminating the INF would certainly send a strong message. But, at this stage, it would be rash and ill-advised.

That is because the United States still benefits from the treaty. Despite Moscow’s apparent recent bad-faith activities, the agreement nonetheless constrains Russia. The pact, after all, prohibits one of the world’s largest land powers from deploying land-based missiles that could reach key American allies in Europe and East Asia, as well as a host of other countries in the band between 500 and 5,500 kilometers from Russia’s borders. This is an onerous restraint for a country that has become increasingly reliant on missiles for its military striking power. The United States, in contrast, has traditionally relied much more on aerial and naval power for its strike capabilities, and was content in the 1980s to give up its ground-based INF-range missiles. In fact, the “zero option” that eventually became INF was originally proposed as a poisoned pill to kill any arms control pact because it was thought to be totally unacceptable to Moscow.

Commentary: Uphill Battle in Gulf Strategy

GCC Resists Collective Approach by US
Apr. 7, 2014 

While the recent diplomatic strains within the Arabian Gulf will no doubt make US security cooperation efforts more challenging, these concerns are overstated. In truth, US-Gulf security cooperation has always been difficult, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) dispute will do little to derail Washington’s long-term strategy.

The recent US-GCC summit in Riyadh during President Obama’s visit has done little to assuage concerns about the future of the relationship. Already on shaky ground after vocal complaints of US inaction over Syria and Egypt and “misguided” policies on Iran, US relations with the gulf states could be further complicated by the rift in the GCC.

And while the recent US effort to sell arms to the GCC as a bloc will be more difficult, Washington’s strategy to increase multilateral security cooperation in the gulf will remain unchanged.

By design, the GCC is meant to be a political and economic union. It is not a security pact, and its founding charter lacks any mention of security. Differing perceptions of external threats and national interests, intra-gulf rivalries, conflicting regional priorities and a desire to maintain sovereignty have failed to transform the GCC into a meaningful political union and security apparatus.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, member states’ focus on internal threats has rarely led to GCC security coordination, with the exception of the controversial Peninsula Shield Force intervention in Bahrain in 2011.

The gulf states have exhibited a deeply ingrained preference for engaging with the US bilaterally on security issues. While the US has pushed for the GCC to act as a collective security organization, it has recognized the gulf states’ need for US security assurances, and has, at times, reinforced the gulf state preference for bilateralism.

Engaging bilaterally with the gulf states over highly charged issues or when reassurance is needed, US officials have been dispatched, for instance, to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi after each round of the P5+1 negotiations with Iran.


By Nick Turse

Lion Forward Teams? Echo Casemate? Juniper Micron?

You could be forgiven if this jumble of words looks like nonsense to you. It isn’t. It’s the language of the U.S. military’s simmering African interventions; the patois that goes with a set of missions carried out in countries most Americans couldn’t locate on a map; the argot of conflicts now primarily fought by proxies and a former colonial power on a continent that the U.S. military views as a hotbed of instability and that hawkish pundits increasingly see as a growth area for future armed interventions.

Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network. Despite repeated assurances by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) that military activities on the continent were minuscule, a 2013 investigation by TomDispatch exposed surprisingly large and expanding U.S. operations — including recent military involvement with no fewer than 49 of 54 nations on the continent. Washington’s goal continues to be building these nations into stable partners with robust, capable militaries, as well as creating regional bulwarks favorable to its strategic interests in Africa. Yet over the last years, the results have often confounded the planning — with American operations serving as a catalyst for blowback (to use a term of CIA tradecraft).

A U.S.-backed uprising in Libya, for instance, helped spawn hundreds of militias that have increasingly caused chaos in that country, leading to repeated attacks on Western interests and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. [url=]Tunisia[/url] has become ever more destabilized, according to a top U.S. commander in the region. Kenya and Algeria were hit by spectacular, large-scale terrorist attacks that left Americans dead or wounded. South Sudan, a fledgling nation Washington recently midwifed into being that has been slipping into civil war, now has more than 870,000 displaced persons, is facing an imminent hunger crisis, and has recently been the site of mass atrocities, including rapes and killings. Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed military of Mali was repeatedly defeated by insurgent forces after managing to overthrow the elected government, and the U.S.-supported forces of the Central African Republic (CAR) failed to stop a ragtag rebel group from ousting the president.

America’s New Anti-Strategy

Our allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands.
By Victor Davis Hanson

It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009. It was largely bipartisan advocacy, most ambitiously, for nations to have the freedom of adopting constitutional governments that respected human rights, favored free markets, and abided by the rule of law. And at the least, we sought a world in which states could have any odious ideology they wished as long as they kept it within their own borders. There were several general strategic goals as we calculated our specific aims, both utopian and realistic.

(1) The strategic cornerstone was the protection of a small group of allies that, as we did, embraced consensual government and free markets, and were more likely to avoid human-rights abuses. That eventually meant partnerships with Western and later parts of Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and much of its former Empire, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In Asia, the American focus was on Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. The U.S. military essentially guaranteed the security of these Asian nations, and they developed safely, shielded from Soviet or Chinese Communist aggression, and more recently from Russian or Chinese provocations.

(2) The U.S. also sought a stable, globalized world, predicated on free commerce, communications, and travel. This commitment on occasion involved ostracism of, or outright military action against, rogue regimes of the sort run by thugs like Moammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega, or the Taliban. There was no predictable rule about what offenses would earn U.S. intervention, and there was plenty of argument domestically over what should properly prompt such action. Perhaps a general observation was that rogue dictatorships that began killing Americans or lots of their own people, or that invaded their neighbors or threatened U.S. interests were most likely to be targeted.

(3) The U.S. tried to combat terrorism, whether, as in the past, Communist-inspired or, more recently, prompted by radical Islam. In the latter regard, the U.S. sought to make the world unsafe for al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and various terrorist groups funded by Iran and, more stealthily, by opulent Persian Gulf autocracies and rogue Middle East regimes like that of the Assads in Syria. Without the American war on terror, the world would have been an even more dangerous place.

Leadership: India Wins One Over China

April 8, 2014: The recent appointment of an Indian born executive to run Microsoft Corporation caused quite a stir in China. That’s because there are more Indians running major American corporations than there are Chinese. Nationalism and ethnocentrism (“we are better than you”) are big in China these days, in part because that sort of thing has become official government policy. 

The Microsoft appointment promptly led to the emergence of some official, and unofficial, explanations for this shocking imbalance. The first culprit, and one everyone could agree on, was that there are far more Indian managers and executives spoke English. India is united, at least at the top (as in all college graduates and most senior officials) because everyone speaks English. True, it’s a unique South Asian dialect (or dialects) but Indians also know how to speak “proper” (as heard on Indian radio and TV) English and that version is as comprehensible as similar versions in all English speaking countries. This is the version senior managers in corporations tend to use most of the time. Only about ten percent of Chinese college grads know any English and don’t speak it nearly as well as their Indian counterparts. 

More pragmatic reasons for more Indian managers making their fortune in the United States (and the West in general) is that there are more management opportunities in China these days and they pay about four times more than similar jobs in India. So more of the Chinese talent stays home. 

There are also reasons that get less public discussions. This includes racism and loyalty. Both Indians and Chinese look “different” in the United States, but that’s a place where everyone is a minority and if you’re smart and can make yourself useful, the different looks suddenly becomes fashionable and an asset. 

The loyalty issue is more sensitive. China does have a large-scale espionage program in which many ethnic Chinese outside China with any access to data or tech China could use are approached and asked to help out. If often starts, and ends, with nothing illegal, just relating what one had seen in a university or as the user of some new American tech. That can easily escalate into illegal and even treasonous conduct and on many occasions it does. A lot more Chinese than Indians have been prosecuted for this sort of banned behavior in America. One side effect is that it brings undeserved suspicion on the many Chinese who will not betray the United States. 

Cyberwar is War

Journal Article | April 6, 2014
Cyberwar is War: A Critique of “Hacking Can Reduce Real-World Violence”

The latest issue of Foreign Affairs includes an article critical of the “hype” concerning cyberwar. It says that there are “three basic truths: cyberwar has never happened in the past, it is not occurring in the present, and it is highly unlikely that it will disturb the future”, adding that instead we can observe “the opposite trend: a computer-enabled assault on political violence” since “Cyberattacks diminish rather than accentuate political violence by making it easier for states, groups, and individuals to engage in two kinds of aggression that do not rise to the level of war: sabotage and espionage”. This is because “Weaponized computer code and computer-based sabotage operations make it possible to carry out highly targeted attacks on an adversary’s technical systems without directly and physically harming human operators and managers. Computer-assisted attacks make it possible to steal data without placing operatives in dangerous environments, thus reducing the level of personal and political risk”.[i]

The text dismisses the idea that “computer-assisted attacks will usher in a profoundly new era”, adding that “No known cyberattack has met Clausewitz’s definition of an act of war”. The text explicitly refers to three well-known incidents, namely “a massive pipeline explosion in the Soviet Union in June 1982”, the 2007 cyber campaign against Estonia following the removal of a monument to Soviet WWII soldiers, and a “cyber-sabotage” campaign against Georgian Government websites right before the 2008 August War. It considers that none fits with Clausewitz's “three main criteria that any aggressive or defensive action must meet in order to qualify as an act of war”, being first “violent or potentially violent”, second “always instrumental: physical violence or the threat of force is a means to compel the enemy to accept the attacker’s will”, and third “some kind of political goal or intention” by the attacker. For this last reason, “acts of war must be attributable to one side at some point during a confrontation”.[ii]

The purpose of this paper is to provide an alternative reading of Clausewitz,[iii] supporting the view that cyberwarfare can, and will sooner or later, amount to an act of war. This will become an increasingly distinct possibility as the line between the virtual and the real worlds becomes gradually blurred. That is, as the “Internet of Things” becomes a reality.[iv] As a result, it is necessary for countries to develop not only the necessary capabilities to operate in this mixed real-cyber environment, but also to lay down the required doctrinal principles. This is very important in order to reduce the scope for miscalculation. By laying down what kind of cyber attacks, and in what circumstances, would be considered to be an act of war, and the scope of the resulting response, there should be fewer chances of would-be aggressors failing to predict the likely response. 


April 7, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner

BIG data is suddenly everywhere. Everyone seems to be collecting it, analyzing it, making money from it and celebrating (or fearing) its powers. Whether we’re talking about analyzing zillions of Google search queries to predict flu outbreaks, or zillions of phone records to detect signs of terrorist activity, or zillions of airline stats to find the best time to buy plane tickets, big data is on the case. By combining the power of modern computing with the plentiful data of the digital era, it promises to solve virtually any problem – crime, public health, the evolution of grammar, the perils of dating – just by crunching the numbers.

Or so its champions allege. “In the next two decades,” the journalist Patrick Tucker writes in the latest big data manifesto, “The Naked Future,” “we will be able to predict huge areas of the future with far greater accuracy than ever before in human history, including events long thought to be beyond the realm of human inference.” Statistical correlations have never sounded so good.

Is big data really all it’s cracked up to be? There is no doubt that big data is a valuable tool that has already had a critical impact in certain areas. For instance, almost every successful artificial intelligence computer program in the last 20 years, from Google’s search engine to the I.B.M. “Jeopardy!” champion Watson, has involved the substantial crunching of large bodies of data. But precisely because of its newfound popularity and growing use, we need to be levelheaded about what big data can – and can’t – do.

The first thing to note is that although big data is very good at detecting correlations, especially subtle correlations that an analysis of smaller data sets might miss, it never tells us which correlations are meaningful. A big data analysis might reveal, for instance, that from 2006 to 2011 the United States murder rate was well correlated with the market share of Internet Explorer: Both went down sharply. But it’s hard to imagine there is any causal relationship between the two. Likewise, from 1998 to 2007 the number of new cases of autism diagnosed was extremely well correlated with sales of organic food (both went up sharply), but identifying the correlation won’t by itself tell us whether diet has anything to do with autism.

Second, big data can work well as an adjunct to scientific inquiry but rarely succeeds as a wholesale replacement. Molecular biologists, for example, would very much like to be able to infer the three-dimensional structure of proteins from their underlying DNA sequence, and scientists working on the problem use big data as one tool among many. But no scientist thinks you can solve this problem by crunching data alone, no matter how powerful the statistical analysis; you will always need to start with an analysis that relies on an understanding of physics and biochemistry.

Cyberwarfare Goes Wireless

Cyberwarfare is changing rapidly and the U.S. military has to change with it. 

The field of cyberoperations is expanding, and the U.S. military must adapt. 
By Isaac R. Porche IIIApril 4, 2014One comment SHARE 

Recent reports indicate that Russian forces used hacking to intercept a U.S. surveillance drone flying over the Crimea region of Ukraine in March. Allegedly, hackers were able to sever the connection between the drone and its operator using “complex radio-electronic technology.”

Additional coverage indicates a wide range of cyberactivities under way during the standoff, from primitive vandalism of Russian websites by Ukrainian hackers to more sophisticated operations, such as the possible Russian use of “Snake” malware to stealthily siphon information from various networks.

For American audiences and policymakers alike, reports like these provide chilling reminders that cyberspace is emerging as a 21st-century global battlefield. They also point to a critical need for the U.S. military to redefine “information warfare” for a wireless world to defend against such threats This is one reason for the recent U.S. budget increases for cybercapabilities.

Among the most significant challenges now facing the U.S. military is the increasingly blurred boundary between wired and wireless technologies.

In the military and commercial worlds, “cyberoperations” long referred to attacking and defending networks and connected devices. Nefarious hacking is typically thought of as an intrusion into remote computers through wired channels. But cyberoperators have gone “wireless.” Radio and other frequencies that span the electromagnetic spectrum are the new contested domain. Sometimes this contest involves keeping these wireless channels up and running. At other times, it involves seeking to shut them down through jamming.


April 7, 2014 · 
Jam. Bomb. Hack? New U.S. Cyber Capabilities and the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses

By Shane Quinlan 

U.S. plans to bring cyber capabilities into the cockpit with systems like the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) represent expanded options for military planners, but the question many are still left with is: what can these new cyber capabilities do? And perhaps more important, what can they not do? While many of these airborne cyber capabilities are classified, there are clear indicators that the U.S. military wants to use cyber for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), protecting aircraft threatened by increasingly high-tech anti-air defenses.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) may have already shown how this could work. In 2007, a small flight of IAF fighter aircraft entered Syrian airspace undetected, dropped 17-tons of munitions on a military facility that reportedly housed fissile nuclear materials, and escaped unscathed.[1] The IAF strike, titled Operation Orchard, quickly led to rumors that the IAF was able to execute this strike despite the existence of Syria’s formidable air defense network – the same defenses that worried US policymakers in 2011 – by using a U.S.-developed cyber capability.[2] Aviation Week’s David Fulghum suggested the IAF made use of “a technology like the U.S.-developed ‘Suter’ airborne network attack system.” Suter, though highly classified and officially unacknowledged, is thought to be a combination of airborne electronic warfare and computer network hacking that accesses the communications between the networked sensors and weapon systems that compose an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS).[3] Suter penetrates the information flows between networked systems and allows its user to both see the communications of enemy systems and insert false information.[4]

The US Navy’s NGJ system and EA-18G Growler airborne platform – long overdue replacements for America’s aging arsenal of EA-6B tactical electronic warfare aircraft and the AN/ALQ-99 jammer – are expressly intended to combine traditional SEAD capabilities with the sort of “electronic warfare-delivered computer network attack” witnessed in Operation Orchard.[5] The NGJ, in concert with its jamming and electronic intelligence capabilities, would act as a delivery mechanism for electronic information designed to suppress enemy air defenses. This Suter-esque cyber attack capability would complement the enhanced EW capabilities and kinetic weapon systems of the EA-18G and NGJ, ideally giving U.S military planners a choice between and among three SEAD options: jamming, bombing, and hacking.

The reality of that decision is radically more complicated, and the addition of a third cyber capability to SEAD requires a careful examination of its uses and effects, particularly its costs and limitations. Cyber attacks are innately unique and discrete; they are only capable of being used against particular systems, programs, or networks and exist as compilations of computed logic-based code and programs designed to access specific computer networks and the information within them.[6] There is no universally-applicable cyber weapon; each is tailored to the composition of the particular program, system, platform, or network it is targeted against. While systems like the NGJ act as universal delivery platforms, each attack must be carefully constructed in advance.


April 8, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner 
Cyber Warfare Research Institute to Open at West Point

West Point cadets work inside a cyber lab. West Point is forming a cyber warfare brain trust at the academy.
(U.S. Military Academy at West Point)
By Joe Gould
Staff writer

The Army’s academy has established a cyber warfare research institute to groom elite cyber troops and solve thorny problems for the Army and the nation in this new warfighting domain.

The U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., plans to build a cyber brain trust unprecedented within the service academies, filling 75 positions over the next three years — including scholars in technology, psychology, history and law, among other fields.

The chairman of the organization, called the Army Cyber Institute, will be retired Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, the first chief of Army Cyber Command, according to Col. Greg Conti, the organization’s director.

The institution, which aims to take on national policy questions and develop a bench of top-tier experts for the Pentagon, will be defining how cyber warfare is waged, to steer and inform the direction of the Army.

“It’s a very exciting time,” Conti said. “It feels a bit like we’re at the birth of the Air Force, like we’re that kind of historic era.”

The institute’s interdisciplinary approach will join civilian doctorate-level experts in cybersecurity and cyber operations with psychologists, attorneys, policy experts, mathematics experts and historians within its walls.

Developments in Iranian Cyber Warfare, 2013-2014

INSS Insight No. 536, April 3, 2014

Gabi Siboni, Sami Kronenfeld

Over the course of 2013, Iran became one of the most active players in the international cyber arena. Iran’s progress can be attributed to a combination of two elements: a certain easing of the restraints on offensive activity in cyberspace by Iranian decision makers, and a qualitative leap by the Iranian cyber warfare system. The rapid development of Iran’s cyber warfare capability means that Israel and other Western countries must work decisively and systematically to maintain qualitative and operational superiority in cyberspace. The importance of cyberspace for Israel’s security concept and the urgency of creating a “digital Iron Dome” were well expressed by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz: “Israel must be on a superpower level in cyberspace…we must not wait with this.”

In early 2013, a senior official from the cyber security company CrowdStrike described Iran as a “third tier” country in terms of its cyber capabilities, and estimated that they lagged significantly behind the capabilities of leading countries such as the United States, Russia, Great Britain, and China. The perception was that Iran had the ability to be a nuisance to Western information security systems, but that it lacked the knowledge and means to carry out a strategic cyber attack. These assumptions largely dissolved over the course of 2013, when Iran became one of the most active players in the international cyber arena. Iran’s progress can be attributed to a combination of two elements: a certain easing of the restraints on offensive activity in cyberspace by Iranian decision makers, and a qualitative leap by the Iranian cyber warfare system. This major advance by Iran has surprised many Western experts in terms of its scope, its professional sophistication, and the ambitious choice of targets.

The Defense Concept: Cutting Iran Off from the World

From its past experience with events such as the Stuxnet virus and the post-election riots in June 2009, Iran learned the importance of an effective cyber defense system and effective control of the internet. To this end, Iran has worked on three main tracks to create a multi-dimensional cyber-defense system: (1) creating a defense envelope against cyber attacks on critical infrastructures and sensitive information; (2) neutralizing cyber operations by opposition elements and regime opponents; 3) keeping Western ideas and content, which could contribute to the development of a “soft revolution” that would harm the stability of the regime, out of Iranian cyberspace.

Is India Caught In the US-Russia Cyber Warfare Crossfire?

Source : Bindiya Thomas ~ Dated : Monday, April 7, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

Is India Caught In the US-Russia cyber warfare Crossfire?

There could be more to it than meets the eye in the recent downpour of leaked information on the Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKIs. Anti-Russia hackers, either acting independently or working for the US NSA and other western powers may have targeted Moscow because of the latter’s reunion with Crimea and due to Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia.

In the first week of March 2014, hackers calling themselves the “Russian Cyber Command” (RCC) announced that they hacked into the Indian embassy in Moscow and through that accessed the Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport stealing 100 GB of data. Of this they posted online a few copies of letters exchanged between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Rosoboronexport where problems concerning maintenance of Su-30MKI were highlighted. The communication was lapped up by a section of the Indian media.

However, questions are being raised regarding the timing of release of these documents.

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April 7, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner
The Autonomy Question: Where Humans Should Step Aside And Let Machines Take Over?

Rebecca Grant has an online article in the April 2014 Air Force Magazine, with the title above. She writes that “remotely piloted aircraft such as the MQ-9 Reaper, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk are manned by squadrons of pilots and sensor operators on the ground.” “Five or ten years from now however,” she writes, “that may no longer be the case, as full autonomy for air vehicles is well within the Air Force’s reach. According to USAF officials, artificial intelligence and other technology advances will enable unmanned systems to make and execute complex decisions required for full autonomy — sometime in the decade after 2015.”

“Advances in information management, vehicles, and weapons have opened the door to highly complex applications of autonomy — with far less human intervention in the mission timeline. Threat is a driver too: Technical advances in autonomy can improve reaction time and chances for mission success in a contested or denied airspace,” she adds. “The Pentagon says full speed ahead. In November 2012, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton issued new guidelines on autonomous weapons development. The guidelines authorized Combatant Commanders to incorporate more weapons systems with autonomy — into operational missions.”

“The intent,” she writes, “was to pursue operational advantages and “allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment in the use of force,” according to the policy directive. “Two more thumbs up came,” she writes, “came from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Frank Kendall III, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ADM James Winnfield, when they released an updated, unmanned systems roadmap in 2013.”

“Autonomy,” she notes, “in unmanned systems will be critical to future conflicts that will be fought and won with technology,” the roadmap said. Autonomy refers to what the machine can do by itself. The concept started out as a way to reduce the workload of human operators — by transferring partial operations to a machine process-e.g., an airplanes autopilot mode.”


April 7, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner
The 34 page report can be downloaded at this link: http://www.rand.org/ content/dam/rand/pubs/ research_reports/RR400/RR449/ RAND_RR449.pdf

Armed and Dangerous?
UAVs and U.S. Security

http://www.rand.org/pubs/ research_reports/RR449.html

by Lynn E. Davis, Michael J. McNerney, James S. Chow, Thomas Hamilton, Sarah Harting, Daniel Byman

Are armed drones transformative weapons?
Will armed drones proliferate and create global security dangers?
Are new arms control agreements needed to cover armed drones?
Can the United States influence future use of armed drones by others?


Armed drones are making the headlines, especially in their role in targeted killings. In this report, RAND researchers stepped back and asked whether these weapons are transformative. The answer is no, though they offer significant capabilities to their users, especially in counterterrorism operations as has been the case for the United States. Will they proliferate? Yes, but upon a closer look at the types of systems, only a few rich countries will be in a position to develop the higher technology and longer range systems. U.S. adversaries and others will likely find weapons such as aircraft and air defenses more cost and militarily effective. Their proliferation will not create the kinds of global dangers that call for new arms control efforts, but the risks to regional stability cannot be dismissed entirely, as is the case of any conventional weapon. How the United States will use these weapons today and into the future will be important in shaping a broader set of international norms that discourage their misuse by others.

Key Findings

Longer-Range Armed Drones Are Unlikely to Spread Broadly

•The complexity and expense of long-range armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quite different from short-range systems, which make them difficult to develop and even to operate.

Armed and Dangerous? UAVs and U.S. Security

PDF file1.2 MB 

Technical Details 
Research Questions 
Are armed drones transformative weapons? 
Will armed drones proliferate and create global security dangers? 
Are new arms control agreements needed to cover armed drones? 
Can the United States influence future use of armed drones by others? 


Armed drones are making the headlines, especially in their role in targeted killings. In this report, RAND researchers stepped back and asked whether these weapons are transformative. The answer is no, though they offer significant capabilities to their users, especially in counterterrorism operations as has been the case for the United States. Will they proliferate? Yes, but upon a closer look at the types of systems, only a few rich countries will be in a position to develop the higher technology and longer range systems. U.S. adversaries and others will likely find weapons such as aircraft and air defenses more cost and militarily effective. Their proliferation will not create the kinds of global dangers that call for new arms control efforts, but the risks to regional stability cannot be dismissed entirely, as is the case of any conventional weapon. How the United States will use these weapons today and into the future will be important in shaping a broader set of international norms that discourage their misuse by others.

Key Findings

Longer-Range Armed Drones Are Unlikely to Spread Broadly 

The complexity and expense of long-range armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quite different from short-range systems, which make them difficult to develop and even to operate. 
Many countries are developing and acquiring drones. Short-range drones are going to spread, because they have attractive civilian uses. Only a few rich and technologically advanced countries will be in a position to develop the higher-technology and longer-range armed systems. 

El Nino Could Grow Into a Monster, New Data Show

The odds are increasing that an El Nio is in the works for 2014—and recent forecasts show it might be a big one.

As we learned from Chris Farley, El Niños can boost the odds of extreme weather (droughts, typhoons, heat waves) across much of the planet. But the most important thing about El Niño is that it is predictable, sometimes six months to a year in advance.

That’s an incredibly powerful tool, especially if you are one of the billions who live where El Niño tends to hit hardest—Asia and the Americas. If current forecasts stay on track, El Niño might end up being the biggest global weather story of 2014.

The most commonly accepted definition of an El Niño is a persistent warming of the so-called “Niño3.4” region of the tropical Pacific Ocean south of Hawaii, lasting for at least five consecutive three-month “seasons.” A recent reversal in the direction of the Pacific trade winds appears to have kicked off a warming trend during the last month or two. That was enough to prompt U.S. government forecasters to issue an El Niño watch last month.

Forecasters are increasingly confident in a particularly big El Niño this time around because, deep below the Pacific Ocean’s surface, off-the-charts warm water is lurking:

Lessons from the Post 9/11 Campaigns

by Octavian Manea

Journal Article | April 8, 2014

Lessons from the Post 9/11 Campaigns: Small Wars Journal Discussion with General John R. Allen

General John R. Allen, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) is a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policyprogram at Brookings, working within the Center on 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Prior to joining Brookings, Allen commanded the NATO International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013.

“The outcome in Afghanistan was not going to be decided by military operations alone. It was to create the security platform operating in the hard end of the hard-power spectrum that then permitted us to leverage those outcomes in governance, economic development and civil society, which was going to deliver the knockout blow to the Taliban.”

SWJ: In the past, the US military trained for high-end maneuver warfare and intensive firepower - historical key ingredients of the American way of war. Since 9/11 we’ve seen a totally different approach. What has changed, in your experience, in the nature and the character of war, in how you wage war?

General John R. Allen: War is fundamentally a human endeavor; the character of war may change, but not its nature. Conflict may be characterized by high intensity firepower and maneuver dominated operations and campaigns or we may find that the character of war is dominated by counterinsurgency operations, or even cyber operations. But the nature of war still continues to remain the same, a human endeavor. What was unique about Iraq and Afghanistan was what we undertook after the decisive phase of the campaign, because both of them were seen as part of a paradigm that emphasized the traditional application of the American way of war. In the aftermath of those campaigns we ultimately undertook the kind of capacity building and nation-building that would be necessary for that state to endure. We wanted to make sure that what emerged after the destruction of both central governments is something that we could live with. That required and caused us fundamentally to change the manner in which we conduct operations in both theaters.

SWJ: What are the core questions a military commander needs to answer and guide his decisions in a counterinsurgency battlefield?

General John R. Allen: I think there are three very large questions.

The first question when you are involved in any counterinsurgency is how do we marshal the right combination of our forces necessary to limit and shape the insurgency? Being involved in a counterinsurgency campaign would seem to indicate that the host nation at its core has limited or no capacity ultimately to address fundamental issues. So the foreign intervention has to be one that shapes the insurgency while you are doing the next thing which is extraordinarily important, building the capabilities and capacities of the indigenous force to take over from the foreign expeditionary force. Frankly, recognizing when this moment has come and orchestrating the rebalancing of the foreign forces, with moving the indigenous forces into the lead to take over operations is critically important. The commander needs to recognize that moment and be prepared to reshape and rebalance the foreign force from an essentially conventional unit into a force with strong advisory and support capabilities. This is a very significant undertaking.


April 8, 2014 ·

The past three years have seen drastic change sweep across the Sahel and Maghreb. The Arab Awakening in 2011 and the subsequent collapse of the Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Qadhafi regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, respectively, left a security vacuum across a region whose police states had provided a bulwark against the spread of terrorism and violent extremism. The Tuareg uprising in Mali and the subsequent coup that disrupted the country’s 20-year-old democracy in 2012 created a permissive environment for the jihadist occupation of northern Mali. Exacerbated by the government’s heavy-handed tactics, the bubbling Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria surged in 2012, with militants attacking police stations and army barracks, as well as soft targets like schools, mosques, and churches.

As the terrorist threat continues to evolve in North and West Africa, the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) has been, and continues to be one of the United States’ primary tools of engagement in these regions. However, because TSCTP is a rather opaque program, its scope, and indeed, its limitations are not very well understood. Last week, I published The Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership: Building Partner Capacity to Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism—a study that is the outcome of extensive interviews across the interagency and fieldwork in the Sahel and Maghreb. This study offers clarity and insight on TSCTP, dissecting the “anatomy” of the program—interagency stakeholders, partner nation counterparts, categories of TSCTP engagement—and derives planning and implementation challenges from the strategic to the tactical level, as well as offers recommendations to strengthen the program.

In order to entice you to read said paper, I’ve compiled answers to the nine questions about TSCTP you were too embarrassed to ask, a play on aseries of articles by former Washington Post columnist (and friend of War on the Rocks) Max Fisher.

1. What is the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership?

The Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership is the U.S. government’s multi-year, interagency program to counter violent extremism and terrorism across ten countries in the Sahel and Maghreb: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. In order to understand the program outside of traditional agency-specific stovepipes and illuminate areas in which the roles and missions of interagency stakeholders overlap, the study derived six broad functional categories of TSCTP engagement: military capacity-building, law enforcement anti-terrorism capacity-building, justice sector counterterrorism capacity-building, public diplomacy and information operations, community engagement, and vocational training.