16 April 2016

India’s Rock ’n’ Roll Approach to Guarding Its Nuclear Sites

http://www.newsweek.com/india-nuclear-sites-rock-roll-426134?piano_t=1

By Adrian Levy and R. Jeffrey Smith On 2/14/16

This article first appeared on the Center for Public Integrity site.
On October 8, 2014, Head Constable Vijay Singh awoke before dawn in Kalpakkam, India, and scurried across the ocher gravel outside the constabulary barracks at the Madras Atomic Power Station, “looking like the monsoon was about to break,” as a grounds sweeper later recalled.
Singh was one of 620 paramilitary officers in the country’s Central Industrial Security Force assigned to protect the facility’s nuclear-related buildings and materials. But he did not have his usual tasks in mind that morning.
By 4:40 a.m., the 44-year-old officer reached the armory, where he signed out a 9 mm submachine gun and 60 rounds of ammunition in two magazines. Singh loaded one clip into his weapon, pocketed the other and entered the portico of a cream and red, three-story residential complex.
He climbed up one flight to the room where a senior colleague, Mohan Singh, dozed and abruptly opened fire at him in a controlled burst, to conserve rounds, just as he had been trained.
Then he jogged downstairs, where he shot dead two more men and seriously injured another two. With 10 rounds left in his magazine, and an unused 30-round clip in his pocket, he prowled unimpeded across the gravel, with no alert called.
A bystander shouted out to him, and suddenly Singh halted and dropped to his knees, an eyewitness recalled later. He was finally surrounded and led away, glassy-eyed, “as docile as anything, a neat guy, his hair still perfectly parted,” the witness said.
The episode was a fresh example of what officials here and outside India depict as serious shortcomings in the country’s nuclear guard force, tasked with defending one of the world’s largest stockpiles of fissile material and nuclear explosives.

An estimated 90 to 110 Indian nuclear bombs are stored in six or so government-run sites patrolled by the same security force, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent think tank, and Indian officials.
Within the next two decades, as many as 57 reactors could also be operating under the force’s protection, as well as four plants where spent nuclear fuel is dissolved in chemicals to separate out plutonium to make new fuel or be used in nuclear bombs.
The sites are spread out over vast distances: from the stony foothills of the Himalayas in the north down to the red earth of the tropical south. Shuttling hundreds of miles in between will be occasional convoys of lightly protected trucks laden with explosive and fissile materials—including plutonium and enriched uranium—that could be used in civilian and military reactors or to spark a nuclear blast.
As a result, the Kalpakkam shooting alarmed Indian and Western officials who question whether this country, which is surrounded by unstable neighbors and has a history of civil tumult, has taken adequate precautions to safeguard its sensitive facilities and keep the building blocks of a devastating nuclear bomb from being stolen by insiders with grievances, ill motives or, in the worst case, connections to terrorists.

Although experts say they regard the issue as urgent, Washington is not pressing India for quick reforms. The Obama administration is instead trying to avoid any dispute that might interrupt a planned expansion of U.S. military sales to New Delhi, several senior U.S. officials said in interviews.
The experts’ concerns are based in part on a series of documented nuclear security lapses in the past two decades, in addition to the shooting:
Several kilograms of what authorities described as semiprocessed uranium were stolen by a criminal gang, allegedly with Pakistani links, from a state mine in Meghalya, in northeastern India, in 1994. Four years later, a federal politician was arrested near the West Bengal border with 100 kilograms of uranium from India’s Jadugoda mining complex that he was allegedly attempting to sell to Pakistani sympathizers associated with the same gang. A police dossier seen by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) states that 10 more people connected with smuggling were arrested two years after this, in operations that recovered 57 pounds of stolen uranium.

US wants a stronger Indian military to deter, not provoke, conflict with China - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/#sthash.jdljHHBB.dpuf

US wants a stronger Indian military to deter, not provoke, conflict with China
If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so
Written by Benjamin Schwartz | Updated: April 12, 2016 
If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so. The US has other interests as well, such as maintaining its military edge and ensuring that its “crown jewel” defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia. But for the foreseeable future, the US has interest in a stronger Indian military. This was not always true. Indeed, this was not the case about 20 years ago. The most significant difference between now and then is the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military. Now, it is very important to be very clear about the very big difference between an interest in a stronger Indian military and an interest in an Indian military that is in conflict with China. America has no interest in the latter. In public, Americans often skirt around the topic of China in discussions of the US-Indian defence partnership. There are a number of good reasons for this, including the fact that this partnership is important for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with China. But one reason that mention of China is avoided is because of concern that public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China. Unfortunately, ambiguity seems to have fed the Indian public’s anxiety.

So it is important to highlight the widespread consensus among thought leaders in Washington DC that no one seeks a military conflict with China. And we don’t want to see India in a conflict either. In fact, this is precisely the reason why a stronger Indian military is in America’s interest. Relative military weakness is provocative. The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India. This is the kind of gap that increases the chance of conflict. And the US and India have an undeniable common interest in trying to prevent it from growing further.

Unfortunately, this common interest is often overshadowed and, instead, there is focus on the “foundational defence agreements”. As someone who worked on these issues while serving in the US government, it’s difficult to understand why this is the case because as Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently noted in this newspaper, these are “prosaic agreements” (‘The American hug’, April 2). They are basic arrangements that facilitate rather than compel military-to-military cooperation and certainly do not “prematurely foreclose” India’s options. They are a far cry from anything approaching a treaty or alliance, which suggests they are widely misunderstood or being criticised for political purposes. I hope that they are signed because they do help facilitate military cooperation, but they will not lead to some kind of military alliance.

* A billion-dollar digital opportunity for oil companies

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/a-billion-dollar-digital-opportunity-for-oil-companies?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1604
By Richard Ward

Making better use of existing technology can deliver serious returns—by increasing production, streamlining the supply chain, or reducing engineering time.
The computers in the offices of the average big oil company can find an additional $1 billion in value, if you let them.
Modern advanced-analytics programs are able to diagnose, sort, compare, and identify cost savings, or opportunities for increased production, in a manner beyond the capabilities of the average employee. The tools that allow you to do this have been available for several years, but adoption by the oil and gas industry has been slow. This is partly the result of the recent crash in oil prices, but competing internal IT projects and organizational reluctance to put in the effort required are also factors.
In this article, three stories are told. In each story, the average big oil company (AB Oil Co.)1 could realize $1 billion in cost savings or production increases by deploying technologies that exist today.
Finding $1 billion in the supply chain

The vendors have been brought in for meetings. AB Oil Co. has demanded discounts, and the vendors have agreed. What more can be done to save money?
For the past several years, hundreds of millions of design, procurement, and operational choices have been made by the organization. Valves have been sized and ordered, casing-team contracts awarded, and orders for cement placed, pretty much with the same vendors in the same way. In the meantime, some vendors were charging less in one field than another; some crews had fewer failures than others; one supplier had lowered the cost of an entire class of suitable products. But AB Oil’s engineers never took advantage of any of these opportunities. Why? Because there is too much of this type of information: there are too many dynamic variables in too many places for any single person to know everything, or enough to make optimal decisions. It is too much even for a team of professionals dedicated to the task.
But it is not too much for your computers.
The new generation of advanced-analytics programs are able to execute a massive analysis of all these data, normalize them, and identify opportunities for cost savings that can be leveraged across future operations.

In one case, a super-major drilling horizontal shale wells in North America found that its costs, as well as those of its competitors, varied highly across plays. The company assembled a data team and collected information from finance, operations, competitor investor presentations, and industry news stories. A software program did bottom-up analysis, churning through millions of records, normalizing, correlating, and seeking high-probability maximums and minimums, guided by an experienced team of engineers and procurement staff. At the end of this multiweek process, the team could confidently propose critical changes to casing design, procurement, and casing crew selection.
The savings came to $700,000 per well. As this company had about 1,300 future wells to drill, the total potential was $910 million—not quite a billion, but awfully close.
Saving $1 billion in engineering time

AB Oil Co. employs tens of thousands of engineers and technicians working on thousands of projects. They are scattered around offices and facilities in many locations and time zones. Instinctively, we know that not all those projects can be successful, or even efficient in how they operate. The challenge for oil and gas companies long has been how to quantify, and thereby identify, the poor performers. Project reviews inevitably surface unique circumstances that justify the status quo, and reviewers are rarely given the resources to drill down to the root causes of poor performance.

But your computers can.

A new analytical method to study this exact problem was developed in the world of Formula One racing, in which global racing teams have hundreds of engineers pursuing thousands of technical projects in parallel. Researchers gathered communications data (for example, email subject lines, dates, and names), interim work products (for example, meeting presentations), time sheets, staff locations, and travel expenses. Then, using analytical tools, they were able to gain comprehensive views of the efficiency and effectiveness of the different teams. Without the bias of any top-down assumptions (for example, that bigger teams are less efficient), the tools processed millions of correlations and hypotheses. Each step in the analysis highlighted high correlations with and predictions of high performance while eliminating low-value insights. After thousands of iterations, two clear sources of inefficiency became apparent.

Taliban Begin Their Spring Offensive Against Embattled Afghan Army

Tim Craig
Washington Post, April 13, 2016
KABUL — The Taliban on Tuesday signaled the start of its spring offensive in Afghanistan, vowing “large-scale attacks” while also attempting to challenge efforts by the rival Islamic State to emerge as a dominant militant force in the country.
The warm-weather surge in fighting has become something of an annual rite in Afghanistan. But the Taliban declaration this year prompts deeper questions, including about the ability of Afghan security forces to battle the insurgency largely on its own, with most U.S.-led troops having pulled out of the country in late 2014.
The coming months also could test the reach and resilience of the Islamic State in the country.
In a statement, the Taliban’s leadership council said its 2016 offensive will be called Operation Omari, named after the group’s former supreme leader,Mohammad Omar, whose death was publicly announced in July.


“The operation will employ all means at our disposal to bog the enemy down in a war of attrition that lowers the morale of the foreign invaders and their internal armed militias,” the statement said.
The Taliban has made such pronouncements nearly every year since 2001, when it was driven from power in Kabul. Fighting has traditionally subsided in the winter, when snow chokes mountain passes connecting Taliban strongholds in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.
This year, though, a relatively mild winter ensured that there was not much of a lull in the fighting. Still, military commanders and Western analysts think upcoming battles could be crucial in evaluating the strength of the Afghan security forces.
Last year, after the U.S.-led coalition withdrew all but 13,500 troops, the Talibanmade steady gains in southern, eastern and northern Afghanistan. At the same time, it faced an internal leadership struggle after news leaked that Omar had been dead for years.
The Taliban was also impeded by clashes that erupted against fighters aligned with the Islamic State, which is trying to gain a foothold in northeastern Afghanistan.
On Monday night, the Taliban released a letter that it claimed was written by several former Islamic State commanders pledging allegiance to the Taliban’s new supreme leader, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. The letter was obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant groups.

Afghanistan Threat Assessment

Institute for the Study of War
April 12, 2016
By Caitlin Forrest with Harleen Gambhir

The ANSF is unprepared to counter the Taliban militants’ summer campaign. Northern warlords will take advantage of Taliban militants’ gains to establish themselves as security providers and gain leverage against the fragile National Unity Government.
ISW last published its Afghanistan Partial Threat Assessment on February 23, 2016
Readiness gaps challenge the assumptions behind the U.S.’s current plan to draw down from 9,800 to 5,500 troops by the end of January 2017. General John W. Nicholson took command of U.S. and NATO Forces in Afghanistan from General John Campbell on March 2. On April 4, GEN Nicholson stated the U.S. is behind schedule to train a self-sufficient Afghan security force. The ANSF will be particularly pressed as the Taliban intensify their operations under the banner of their summer campaign, “Operation Omari,” which they announced on April 12. Taliban militants seek to degrade the ANSF, discourage foreign presence, and demonstrate the weakness of the unity government during Operation Omari. They will achieve these objectives through increased insider attacks, assassination campaigns, and attacks against Western and diplomatic targets in Kabul City and beyond. Taliban militants also seek to gain control of additional territory, for which they have already set conditions over the winter.

A U.S. Military Equal to the Threat

MAX BOOT / APR. 14, 2016
The U.S. Navy’s supremacy at sea — a reality since 1942 — is being challenged more than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Just a few days ago Russian Su-24 fighters and a KA-27 Helix helicopter repeatedly buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer steaming in international waters in the Baltic Sea. The Navy reports: “The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian. USS Donald Cook’s commanding officer deemed several of these maneuvers as unsafe and unprofessional.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, China is ramping up its offensive to secure control of the South China Sea. There is new evidence of how China is building up its military arsenal on Woody Island, part of the Paracel chain in the South China Sea about 250 miles southeast of China’s Hainan Island, home to a major Chinese naval base. Satellite imagery shows the presence on Woody Island of two J-11 fighter jets, comparable to the U.S. F-15 or F-18. There is also a new HQ-9 fire-control radar system on the island, comparable to Russia’s S-300, along with surface to air missile launchers that can target U.S. aircraft from 125 miles away.

China is also apparently planning to construct a new island at Scarborough Shoal that would allow it to create a military base only 120 miles from the main Philippine island of Luzon, where U.S. aircraft are now returning after having left Clark Air Force Base in the early 1990s.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has just visited the Philippines and he is working to strengthen military cooperation with our oldest ally in Asia. The U.S. will now rotate military forces back through the Philippines and conduct joint naval and air patrols with our Philippine partner, who lacks the resources to deal with the Chinese threat on their own. The U.S. Navy is also undertaking some freedom of navigation patrols through the South China Sea to make clear the U.S. doesn’t recognize China’s claims to sovereignty.
There is more that can and should be done on both counts — to strengthen the U.S. military presence in the Philippines and to more regularly challenge China’s claims. Two patrols in six months isn’t enough!

But the largest priority is one that nobody seems to be discussing in Washington: It is the urgent need to reverse budget cuts that have cut the end-strength of all of our armed forces. The Army has been particularly hard hit, which makes it harder to deal with the growing Russian conventional threat in Europe. But while the Navy hasn’t suffered the kind of drastic downsizing that the Army is undergoing, it has become much too small to handle all of its missions. There are currently only 272 deployable Navy ships. Based on exiting requirements the Navy should have 350 ships. Unless the Navy is increased in size, it will be increasingly difficult to counter China’s power-grab which is made possible by double-digit growth in China’s defense budget every year.
It is imperative that any increase in the size of the Navy not come out of the hide of the other services, which need to grow too. Can we afford to spend more on defense? Absolutely! We are currently spending only 16 percent of the federal budget and 3.5 percent of GDP — far less than we did for decades during the Cold War.

Report Calls for Dramatic Change to Rebuild Societies in Conflict Amid Refugee Crisis


SWJ Blog Post | April 13, 2016 
Report Calls for Dramatic Change to Rebuild Societies in Conflict Amid Refugee Crisis
The millions of people forced from their homes in the midst of the Middle East’s violent conflicts should be seen for the potential economic benefit they can bring, if the international community is to more effectively address the current crisis in the years to come, according to a report released today by a working group led by the U.S. Institute of Peace as part of an Atlantic Council-led task force.

The report, “Rebuilding Societies: Strategies for Resilience and Recovery in Times of Conflict” (Arabic-language executive summary), is the result of discussion in one of five working groups in the Middle East Strategy Task Force. The task force is an Atlantic Council initiative co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who is chairman of USIP’s board of directors.
Manal Omar, USIP’s associate vice president for the Middle East and Africa, and Elie Abouaoun, USIP’s Middle East director, co-convened the working group, which also includes other USIP and Atlantic Council staff among the U.S.-based experts as well as civil society leaders from the region who have successfully guided local-level negotiations to avert further violence.

The report proposes a shift away from the sequencing in crisis response characterized by a “day after” approach to a more innovative, sustainable and efficient effort to rebuild society “fromday one.” The “day one” approach asks what can be done now to plant the seeds for full recovery and social cohesion in societies that are in the midst of protracted conflict, and it provides more sustainable, coherent, and substantive answers to the refugee crisis.
“Radically changing the way in which the international community has been supporting millions of Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan, Yemenis and Palestinians is not only a matter of humanity,” Omar said. “It is good politics.”
The report, written with lead author Béatrice Pouligny, an independent consultant, identifies and provides examples of five key imperatives for the international community, including better responses across borders and supporting people on the ground to direct their own revitalization efforts.
“Helping people move beyond their day-to-day struggle for survival requires a long-term commitment on the part of the international community,” says Omar. “There will be no reconstruction and no development tomorrow if we don’t start investing in people’s resilience now.”

Why Xi is Purging the Chinese Military

China's president pulls a page from Mao's little red playbook.
April 15, 2016
Much has been made of the flurry of announcements in recent months by Xi Jinping—China’s president, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC)—signaling major structural reforms to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), scheduled for completion by 2020. Veteran China watchers have diligently catalogued what is known and unknown at this point from authoritative pronouncements, and what is speculated on the basis of unofficial sources. Observers, for example, have paid especially close attention to Xi’s establishment of the PLA Strategic Support Force and ruminated over its stature in the PLA vis-à-vis the services, as well as its precise role and mission. Analysts have also pondered questions such as the future membership of the CMC and how cooperative the traditionally army-dominated top levels of the PLA’s leadership will become under the reforms.

While understanding the details of Xi’s reforms is critical to assessing the direction of PLA modernization going forward, it is also necessary to consider the broader implications of Xi’s apparent relationship with the military. Many observers have stated the obvious: Xi is as “large and in charge” in military circles as he is in Chinese politics generally. This is true, but his control over the PLA deserves more attention than it has received. That is the subject of this article. We argue that Xi is reviving Maoist-style tactics—including purges of corrupt officers, forced public displays of respect for Mao and support of Maoist thinking, and a formidable internal monitoring system—to ensure his personal dominance over the military. Xi’s leadership style vis-à-vis the military will have profound implications for civilian-military relations in China.

Purging the Military
When Xi assumed power in November 2012, he vowed to fight both “tigers” and “flies”—a reference to taking on corrupt leaders as well as lower-level bureaucrats engaged in corrupt practices throughout the Chinese system. The PLA would be no exception.
The first warning shot was aimed toward the tigers. In 2014, Xi arrested a former CMC vice chairman, Xu Caihou, for participating in a “cash for ranks” scheme. After expelling Xu from the party, Xi followed up in 2015 with thearrest and purging of another former CMC vice chairman, Guo Boxiong, on similar charges. The arrests were unprecedented in that Xu and Guo were the two highest-ranking officers in China’s military when they served as CMC vice chairmen, and their arrests marked the first time the PLA’s highest-level retired officers faced corruption charges. As of early March 2016, Xi’s anticorruption campaign had resulted in the arrest of at least forty-four senior military officers, although the actual numbers could be higher.
Xi did not forget about the flies, either. At least sixteen lower-level military officers are facing punishment for corruption charges as well. The military anticorruption drive is part of a much broader dragnet: all told, nearly 1,600 individuals throughout China’s government are either under investigation for corruption, or have been arrested, purged or sentenced since Xi came to power.

* A Grain of Salt for China’s Export Growth



April 15, 2016
By Jacob L. Shapiro
Recently released data has been celebrated, despite explaining little about the Chinese economy.
Summary The reported growth in China's exports should not be taken as a sign that the Chinese economy is stabilizing. This single statistic is very misleading if not placed within its proper context. A deeper inspection of the recent growth actually reveals that the world's second largest economy continues to face serious and complex challenges.
New trade data released April 13 from China’s Bureau of Statistics has sent markets around the world trending upward. The news was greeted with confidence from investors, from the German DAX to the Japanese Nikkei, which were up over 3 percent and 6 percent respectively over the last two days. Reuters described the 11.5 percent year-on-year growth in exports as a “blistering” rate of increase. After nine straight months of decline in exports, the surprise numbers have been identified as a sign of potential stabilization in the Chinese economy. For a number of reasons, however, we tend to view such momentary market rallies with a certain degree of skepticism, particularly in this case.

The first reason we are skeptical is that, for the most part, we do not believe that any one data point by itself can reveal that much. A single month does not tell you if China is succeeding in its attempt to boost internal demand and consumption – in fact, even a year’s worth of export data in a vacuum can’t tell you about the underlying health of the Chinese economy. For one thing, it doesn’t take into account potential anomalies – such as a seasonal distortion due to the previous month’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
It also does not give you an answer to the more important question: Why have exports actually gone up? It is entirely within the realm of possibility (and perhaps probability) that China cut prices in order to boost exports. China does not include profits in these monthly reports, perhaps simply because such data is hard to collect from the entire economy, but also perhaps because it doesn’t want people to know. However, we do know for a fact that China has boosted its steel and steel product exports, much to the chagrin of an oversupplied global market. China exported more steel last year than any other country save Japan, and according to the Wall Street Journal, China’s steel companies would routinely undercut already deflated market prices by 20 percent to 50 percent. If China cutting prices is the reason its exports are up, suddenly what looks like a healing salve for the Chinese economy is actually indicative of much deeper problems.

Also, the particular statistic being cited as the most hopeful – the percentage change in exports on a year-on-year basis – is unhelpful in benchmarking how the Chinese economy is doing overall. Consider that at this time last year, China watchers opened the newspapers to reports of a 15 percent contraction in Chinese exports in March 2015, as compared to March 2014. So even if China’s exports increased by 11.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, we are still talking about an 11.5 percent increase on a total that declined by 15 percent the previous year.
A Reuters report pointed to the fact that imports decreased by less than expected, only 7.6 percent, as the real reason the numbers should be considered positive. But does that say more about outside expectations of a notoriously opaque economy or about the importance of a year-on-year percentage of import growth? Overall, Chinese imports are still declining, and it is not necessarily a positive sign that imports of copper and iron ore, for which there is an oversupply already in China, are not decreasing as quickly as projected. China may be oversupplied in these commodities because it is continuing to pour money into construction irrespective of actual demand.

March of an empire- China's aggression over land and water must be resisted

Ashok Sekhar Ganguly
Much of our earth is covered by the water in oceans, rivers, wells, underground reserves, snow on mountains and moisture in the atmosphere. Water is the principal source of life and commerce. Discovery of new lands in search of wealth and adventure across oceans is a part of history. National rights over oceans, major rivers and mountain ice-melts are well-defined and governed by international law and covenants. Yet, the pursuit of sovereign rights and predatory moves by nations over water is a part of peoples' past, present and that of the future.
Uncertainty of access to food and water, two essentials for all living beings and plants, is growing. Global warming and climate change are now critical factors affecting these elements. The rate of population growth in poor and emerging nations is exacerbating the availability challenges.

In India, we have instances in our post-Independence phase of sharing the Indus waters with Pakistan on the basis of treaties. On the other hand, the India-Bangladesh discussions on sharing the waters of Teesta river are yet to be resolved. Within India, a 50-year-old master plan for interconnecting rivers in order to facilitate riverine transport for commerce and conserving more water during seasonal monsoon rains has, sadly, remained on paper to this day. Constructing dams on some of the perennial as well as seasonal rivers, in turn, has delivered some benefits at the cost of serious environmental problems and troubles for downstream areas. Differences over riparian rights among the states of India are the reason for protracted disputes and legal battles that have, in some instances, led to violence and social unrest.

When it comes to flouting international riparian laws and coastal rights, China is the gorilla in the room. The two major rivers of Asia - the Mekong and the Brahmaputra - are primarily sourced from the Tibetan ice-melt and monsoon rains. The disputes between countries along the Mekong - Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam with China - are critical for livelihood matters in these nations. But they remain unresolved owing to China's stubbornness and its habit of flouting established laws. The problems are a combination of China's plans to build damns in the upstream regions of the Mekong by progressive diversion of the Tibetan ice-melt in order to promote power generation and the building of new waterways to direct water flows toward some of the most arid regions of the Chinese mainland.
Not very long ago, the government of India stated in Parliament that China was not planning to divert the water source of the Tibetan ice-melt that feeds the Brahmaputra. Sadly, satellite images and other evidence indicate the contrary. India must urgently seek to address this major violation by China at appropriate international fora before the situation becomes irreversible.

Dictators don’t stabilize the Middle East. They just create more terrorists.

I learned that firsthand working on the Middle East for the State Department.
By Lauren Kosa April 13 
Lauren Kosa worked at the State Department from 2008 to January 2016 and covered the Human Rights portfolio for the Egypt Desk from 2010 to 2012. She is working on her first novel, inspired by her experiences in the region. These views do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.
Egyptians celebrate on Tahrir Square in Cairo on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the “Arab Spring” uprising. (Khaled Elfiqi/EPA )
Lately, I’ve noticed an increased number of American politicians suggesting that the Arab Spring was a disaster and that the region needs strongmen to stabilize it. Ted Cruz famously insisted that the Middle East was safer when Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi were in power. Rand Paul said the current chaos stems from the toppling of dictators. Even Bernie Sandersargued on “Meet the Press” that while our ultimate goal is democracy, the region would be more stable under dictators.

But when I worked on Middle East policy at the State Department, I saw just how destabilizing dictators in the region are. I worked on Egypt and human rights as a human rights-focused country desk officer from 2010 to 2012. There, I saw the brutal tactics of President Hosni Mubarak’s government destabilize the country.
On the desk, I watched Mubarak’s government undermine and dismantle the very institutions that could have paved the way to a more stable and peaceful country. By restricting which new political parties could be established, controlling what they could say and engaging in election fraud, it prevented Egypt’s political opposition parties from gaining experience. And by attempting to control the activities and funding of organizations such as the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, it diminished Egyptians’ access to important political training in democratic processes.

At times, it resorted to a more direct approach. I met with liberal Egyptian activists who were arrested for their political beliefs, journalists who were jailed for their writing and others who had suffered violence at the hands of Egypt’s security forces. Most genuinely wanted to improve their government and help build bridges between their government and its people. They could have been partners for helping their government to address grievances, but too often they were met with harassment or worse. I will never forget my meeting with one brave blogger who had been threatened and detained by security forces. He told me his heart was broken because the country he loved and wanted to help was the same one persecuting him. Nor could I forget the politician who longed to run as a candidate on liberal democratic values but was a member of one of the many political parties denied the right to form under Mubarak’s government.

The Hell After ISIS

Even as the militant group loses ground in Iraq, many Sunnis say they have no hope for peace. One family’s story shows why. 
Falah sabar heard a knock at the door. It was just before midnight in western Baghdad last April and Falah was already in bed, so he sent his son Wissam to answer. Standing in the doorway was a tall young man in jeans who neither shook Wissam’s hand nor offered a greeting. “We don’t want you here,” he said. “Your family should be gone by noon tomorrow.” For weeks, Wissam, who was 23, had been expecting something like this, as he’d noticed a dark mood taking hold of the neighborhood. He went to get his father, but when they returned, the stranger was gone.

Falah is tall and broad-shouldered, with salt-and-pepper hair. At 48, he was the patriarch of a brood of sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. He sat down with Wissam to talk things through. They had been in Baghdad for just three months, but that was long enough for the abiding principle of refugee life to imprint itself on Falah’s psyche: Avoid trouble. When Wissam had managed to find a job at a construction firm, Falah had told him to be courteous, not to mix with strangers, and not to ask too many questions. If providence had granted them a new life in this unfamiliar city, it could snatch that life away just as easily.
Six months earlier, isis had seized their village, in Anbar province, the Sunni heartland of Iraq, blowing up houses and executing civilians as they fled. A few hundred families had managed to escape and were now scattered across Iraq. Many had wound up in squalid refugee camps near the front lines. The Sabars considered themselves lucky to have landed in Baghdad, a city solidly under the control of anti-isis forces.

But they soon realized that their new home offered little shelter from the conflicts erupting on distant battlefields. As the Islamic State spread its brand of Sunni extremism, their new Shiite neighbors seemed to cast blame on all Sunnis, even those who had lost homes or loved ones to isis. By March, when isis was battling Iraqi forces in Tikrit, 120 miles north, Falah could feel the city changing. In the market, neighbors began to look away from him. At police checkpoints, the family’s IDs were examined more closely. Sometimes, beige pickup trucks with burly Shiite militiamen in the back circled the block. Black banners proclaimingoh hussein!—the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, revered by Shias—began appearing on the storefronts of Sunni-owned businesses. Falah wondered whether the flags were taunts, or had been placed there for protection by the shopkeepers themselves.

Why ISIS wants a 'clash of civilizations' Extremist tracker sees language of group moving toward notion of revenge

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/brussels-europe-isis-jihadism-1.3529884?cmp=rss
By Adrienne Arsenault, Michelle Gagnon,  Apr 12, 2016
The rash of arrests in Brussels late last week may impress some, but don't expect showers of praise for Europe's intelligence agencies from Pieter Van Ostaeyen.
"They're like a bunch of blind men," he says in his spectacularly blunt way. "Nobody knows what they are looking for, where they should look for it, who to look for. It's like this network will basically only grow. It's not like they are even close, in my opinion, to stopping this."
This isn't a cheap shot from a man being glib. It's a sad warning from a man who should know.
Van Ostaeyen is a Middle East historian, an Arabist, a lover of Syria, a multilingual maestro. For years, from his tiny apartment in Mechelen, Belgium, he has tracked, studied and communicated with European jihadists who joined ISIS and other extremist groups.
His contacts are vast and eyebrow-raising. When we first met in November to talk about the network behind the Paris attacks, he had to break from the interview to read a text from an al-Qaeda contact. They often berate him, try to convert him and sometimes just answer his questions.
Pieter Van Ostayen says intelligence groups are failing in the fight against ISIS. 'Nobody knows what they are looking for, where they should look for it, who to look for,' he says. (CBC News)
Few understand ISIS like Van Ostaeyen. And what he sees now is a mutation in the group, in the rhetoric and the recruiting. He points out that the language is less about Islamic fundamentalism and is increasingly focussed on the notion of revenge.
"What they really want … is the clash of civilizations," he says. Revenge for what ISIS claims the West has done to Iraq and Syria. And the more ground ISIS loses there, the more the group lusts for bloodshed in Europe.
Along the railway line

The shift in language may coincide with recruiting patterns.
After the Paris attacks, Van Ostaeyen pulled out a map and pointed to a train line between Antwerp and Brussels. It was the towns along that line, he said, that were home to the bulk of the foreign fighters from Belgium.
Radical clerics used to preach in those towns, he said. They groomed dozens of young men. They turned them into fundamentalists and then into jihadists. And those young men were the ones investigators worried about. But it's different now.
"We have been looking at the wrong part of the country," Van Ostaeyen says. "We were looking north when we should have been looking south."

Except for UK, German and Netherlands, Most European Nations Refuse to Share Intelligence

NY Times Editorial Board
April 12, 2016
It took two weeks after the devastating attacks in Brussels for officials to discover that the plotters originally intended to hit Paris again or that the two attacks were carried out by a single network. Even now, authorities don’t know the full scale of the Islamic State’s operations in Europe, which involve criminal elements as well as terrorists.
Islamic State operatives have moved freely across borders and, investigators now assume, there may be terrorist cells in countries where violence has yet to occur, with Britain, Germany and Italy believed to be probable targets. All of which reinforces the urgent need to fix the problems in Europe’s flawed security and law enforcement systems.

On Friday, Belgium’s struggling law enforcement authorities arrested Mohamed Abrini, who confessed to being the third man in the Brussels Airport bombing. The arrest, while critically important, was also a reminder of the cross-border nature of the operations. Mr. Abrini is said to have played a logistical role in the Paris attacks in November, where he had gone unnoticed.
Since the Brussels attacks, there have been signs that Europe is taking the terrorist threat more seriously. Yet many governments still seem unwilling or unable to commit themselves to the reforms that are needed to protect their populations.
There are two obvious holes in Europe’s security system. Except for Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, European nations often refuse to share basic intelligence with one another and, in some cases, within their own governments. (Brussels alone has more than a dozen different police forces.) That makes it vastly harder to connect the dots between events and individuals and to figure out when terrorists might strike.

Cooperation is also hampered by differences in languages, budgets, intelligence capabilities and even judgments about the severity of the terrorism threat. From its inception, the European Union has been more about economic than political integration, which among other things means there is no central intelligence service. Indeed, most European governments rely heavily on the United States for intelligence and share data with the C.I.A. or the F.B.I. that they would not share with other Europeans.
The need for greater teamwork has been made all the more pressing by Europe’s porous borders, which once exemplified freedom of movement but now present a huge challenge at a time when thousands of Europeans are being recruited by the Islamic State and hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing the war in Syria for Europe.

It’s 2016 and you aren’t using encryption. Why?

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Passcode/2016/0413/It-s-2016-and-you-aren-t-using-encryption.-Why?cmpid=ema:nws:Daily%2520Newsletter%2520%2804-14-2016%29&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20160414_Newsletter:%20Daily&utm_term=Daily
All breaches aren’t created equally. Encryption, not breach prevention, separates damaging hacks from annoying intrusions.
By Jason Hart, CTO Data Protection, Gemalto April 13, 2016

Encryption sounds synonymous with complexity.
It's not. It's very, very simple.
There should be no reason why an organization shouldn't be encrypting its data in 2016. The technology is there. And the rationale for using it is simple: Breach prevention is dead.
Recommended:Sponsor Content 2015 in breaches: The year digital attacks got personal
Our 2015 Breach Level Index showed over 1,600 disclosed breaches worldwide. That lead to more than 700 million records being exposed.
To put it simply, blocking breaches isn’t working.
As we watch hackers hone in on data critical to our lives and our businesses, we need to develop a mindset that accepts attackers will find a way in — but that our critical data is protected so it doesn’t make its way out.
Where are hackers headed?

Attackers pursued and achieved more valuable and durable information in 2015, according to the same Breach Level Index. While bad guys pilfered less financial data, the main takeaway from the report was the focus on long-lasting information (think of your health records or massive, comprehensive government databases) that allows them to conduct other attacks.
Hackers, in short, understand that it’s way harder to change your Social Security Number than it is to cancel a credit card — and in some cases, such as with one’s medical history, that information can’t be altered at all.
Bad guys see the enduring value of this data. At a consumer level, if a hacker can capture key information on an individual, they can potentially attack not only that individual but the organization they work for and other organizations that the compromised person accesses online.
Compare that to what happens when a digital attacker steals your credit card information: if the credit card's compromised, it's comparatively extremely easy for that credit card to be rejected, stopped, and a new credit card issued.

FBI Paid Hackers to Crack Apple’s iPhone Encryption System Used by San Bernardino Terrorist, Report

FBI paid professional hackers one-time fee to crack San Bernardino iPhone
Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post, April 13, 2016
The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone’s four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said.
The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution.
Cracking the four-digit PIN, which the FBI had estimated would take 26 minutes, was not the hard part for the bureau. The challenge from the beginning was disabling a feature on the phone that wipes data stored on the device after 10 incorrect tries at guessing the code. A second feature also steadily increases the time allowed between attempts.

The bureau in this case did not need the services of the Israeli firm Cellebrite, as some earlier reports had suggested, people familiar with the matter said.
The U.S. government now has to weigh whether to disclose the flaws to Apple, a decision that probably will be made by a White House-led group.
The people who helped the U.S. government come from the sometimes shadowy world of hackers and security researchers who profit from finding flaws in companies’ software or systems.
Some hackers, known as “white hats,” disclose the vulnerabilities to the firms responsible for the software or to the public so they can be fixed and are generally regarded as ethical. Others, called “black hats,” use the information to hack networks and steal people’s personal information.
At least one of the people who helped the FBI in the San Bernardino case falls into a third category, often considered ethically murky: researchers who sell flaws — for instance, to governments or to companies that make surveillance tools.

This last group, dubbed “gray hats,” can be controversial. Critics say they might be helping governments spy on their own citizens. Their tools, however, might also be used to track terrorists or hack an adversary spying on the United States. These researchers do not disclose the flaws to the companies responsible for the software, as the exploits’ value depends on the software remaining vulnerable.
In the case of the San Bernardino iPhone, the solution brought to the bureau has limited shelf life.

Watchdog: Army didn't fully assess risks from planned cuts

thehill.com/policy/defense/276205-watchdog-army-didnt-fully-assess-risks-in-planned-cuts
By Rebecca Kheel - 04/13/16
The Government Accountability Office says the Army didn't properly look at all factors when deciding to make cuts to its force.
A report released Wednesday faults the Army for not considering "mission risk" when deciding how many positions to cut from so-called enabler units, which are groups with special tasks, such as the military police, explosives disposal and transportation.“The Army’s planned force structure is based on an incomplete assessment of mission risk across its combat and enabler force structure because it did not assess this type of risk for its enabler units,” the report says.
“As a result the Army did not comprehensively assess whether its force structure will be able to meet the missions specified in defense planning guidance and, in the absence of that risk assessment, was not well positioned to assess mitigation options when making recent force structure decisions.”

The Army plans to drop to 980,000 active and reserve soldiers by 2018, down about 132,000 positions from 2011.
Forty-four percent, or 58,000 positions, will be cut from enabler units, according to the GAO.
The percent of cuts coming from those units is proportionally high, the GAO says. For example, 22 percent of cuts are coming from combat units.
Combat units were prioritized over enabler units because it’s easier to resolve shortfalls in the specialized units, Army officials told the GAO. For example, it takes a minimum of 32 months to build an armored brigade combat team, compared to nine moths to build certain enabler units.
The Army though didn’t assess mission risk when deciding to cut enablers, which means mission demands could be missed, according to the GAO.

For example, other analyses done outside the process to decide the cuts found planned reductions in truck units could limit the Army’s ability to transport troops around the battlefield. As a result, the Army will actually add four medium truck companies to its force structure by the end of 2019, the report says.
In a written response included in the report, the Army said it agrees with the GAO’s findings.
“The Army recognizes the need to conduct a mission risk assessment of not only its combat forces, but also its planned enabler force structure as part of Total Army Analysis,” the response says, referring to the process used to identify cuts. “The Army has previously identified this need and now incorporates a comprehensive mission risk assessment and associated assessments of mitigation strategies for identified risk into Total Army Analysis.”

PLAY ON: SUPPORTING DECISION-MAKERS BY SUSTAINING WARGAMING

APRIL 15, 2016

“At 5 a.m. (EST) on September 29 a Soviet attack submarine a U.S. Benjamin Franklin-class Poseidon missile submarine. … U.S. nuclear forces are placed at readiness level DefCon II, one step below a wartime state. … At 7 a.m. Warsaw Pact forces cross the West German border at Hof, Fulda, and Lauenburg south of Hamburg. … The U.S. Seventh Army is driven back more than fifty kilometers, losing 20 percent of its forces and one third of its vehicles. The President gives authority for the release of tactical nuclear weapons.”

Across the Department of Defense, the use of wargaming to address difficult problems has been revived. Over the past year, DOD has called on wargaming to explore and develop innovative strategies and technologies in a variety of areas against a variety of opponents. It has identified some key challenges in both Europe and the Pacific. Fundamentally, wargames allow commanders and decision-makers to think through complex problems well before the shooting starts, when the most dangerous threat is a cup of coffee being spilled on the map rather than an incoming artillery barrage.
The revitalization of wargaming over the past year was no accident, and continued future emphasis on wargaming within the department is not a given. Driven by the personal interest of Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, wargaming has proven valuable because the leadership has insisted that decision-makers make the time, space, and effort to take advantage of what it offers. But as everyone knows, this is an election year, and with an election comes change. While the next leadership cohort will bring its own knowledge and expertise, they may not intuitively understand what wargaming has to offer.

For those who believe that wargaming is a useful and important tool in defense decision-making, we should think about how to best communicate its benefits to this next group of leaders. While those who see value in wargaming might hold different views of the various roles of wargaming, we likely agree that it matters, meaning that it can help DOD better accomplish its mission while minimizing the costs in lives, money, and time. To this end, there are three reasons why a senior DOD official should be interested in wargaming and willing to commit his or her precious time to the endeavor: It helps leaders make decisions, it reduces the number of “unknown unknowns,” and it can overcome stovepiping.
First, wargaming can help leaders make decisions. The ultimate responsibility of leaders is to make decisions, and for any decision that reaches the level of the secretary or deputy secretary, “difficult” is a given. Wargaming provides a sound basis from which to examine the strengths and weaknesses of various options presented to a leader because it is an iterative process that involves thinking opponents and that forces people to look at impacts and outcomes rather than just inputs. Wargames are one of the few methods that allow participants to truly analyze a problem holistically — for a leader responsible for the entire defense establishment, possessing a complete picture matters. Wargaming allows leaders to understand trade-offs, recognize consequences, and fully explore the decision space.
Second, wargaming can reduce the “unknown unknowns.” The best part about a Powerpoint brief is that everything seems to go exactly to plan; the worst part about a Powerpoint brief is that everything seems to go exactly as planned. The problem with this is that we are not forced, nor given the opportunity, to consider the unexpected — all of the obstacles, hurdles, and traps that seem to come out of nowhere. By contrast, these unknowns quickly make themselves evident when facing a thinking opponent in a wargame.
Third, wargaming can overcome stovepiping. One of the most difficult challenges of managing an organization the size of DOD is that people do not always talk to each other. This is rarely intentional; rather, it is an inconvenient and sometimes dangerous effect of the procedures and techniques developed to work within an extremely complex system. Yet at the top, leaders have to know how things work across the entire system and what kind of trade-offs must be made. Additionally, it is in working across boundaries that biases, blind spots, and incorrect assumptions become apparent. Wargaming becomes a forcing function to drive people out of their comfort zone and see things from the other side of the table.

Army's new leadership strategy: Replace PowerPoint with thoughtful discussion

http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2016/04/13/tradoc-leadership-adaptibility-methods-army-training-institutions/80456338/
Kyle Jahner, Army Times, April 14, 2016
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. — The Army needs "thinking soldiers" — not just troops who can blindly follow directions. Their commanders need to stop barking orders all the time and start listening to their subordinates. And it's time to cut out all those PowerPoint presentations.
These are some of the key takeaways from the service's new learning strategy, called Adaptive Soldier Leader Training and Education.
After years of Army research and development, ASLTE is finally rolling out across the Army schoolhouses that forge future leaders.
Under ASLTE principles — geared toward mid-level NCOs, but applicable to all — leaders should go beyond rigid, task-based instruction. According to Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, who attended a workshop here in February, the idea is to focus on the student rather than the instructor.
“How we’ve done it for years — you’ve had a set (program of instruction), you go one through ten, and that’s how it’s covered, and that’s how you evaluate it. We put a matrix on it,” said Turnbull, enlisted leader of the Combined Arms Center.

UnderASLTE, there is so set number of steps as long as the desired outcome is met.
If this sounds simple and obvious, perhaps that’s because the concept is thousands of years old.
“This is not new. This is the under-the-oak-tree training. This is Socrates,” said AWG commander Col. Michael Loos. “What we’re trying to do, what we have done, is create an exportable package. Because at the end of the day, it has to be scaleable and usable by large formations.”

The principles of ASLTE, Turnbull said, feed into Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley's top priority of readiness by giving officers and NCOs the flexibility to focus on that over processes. Leaders ask questions to engage soldiers (as opposed to lecturing to glazed-over blank stares), and use feedback to gauge what is and isn’t sticking so they can adjust accordingly.
“I’ve been a soldier who’s been doing this since I was a young sergeant back in 1995. It just wasn’t labeled or named this way," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Henry of Cadet Command, who oversees one of eight ROTC regions.
Marksmanship was a frequent example during the workshop. “If you’re only shooting to qualify, to satisfy a rubric, then we aren’t teaching what marksmanship should be, which is to get better at shooting to ultimately win,” Henry said.
So what differences will soldiers see under ASLTE?

Top Brass: Military Should Stay Out of Politics

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/04/13/top-brass-military-should-stay-out-of-politics.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page
 Nancy A. Youssef
 The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is ordering commanders to keep well clear of the political debates in the current presidential campaign.
The highest-ranking U.S. military officer is ordering commanders to tread carefully during the current presidential campaign—even if their expertise could correct misguided ideas about national security.
This presidential campaign has introduced some of the boldest—some would say craziest—national security proposals, including reinstituting torture, defunding NATO, and bombing the self-proclaimed Islamic State until “sand glows in the dark.”
For Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the increased call on the military to referee campaign ideas is such a problem that he has quietly urged commanders to stay out of the political fray. This week, he is expected to also issue a memo outlining to generals how to navigate the current political discourse.
He will remind generals that their assessments could become political fodder, even if they don’t intend it that way.
The military, Dunford argues, must retain its place as a non-political force that offers its best military advice to whatever party the commander in chief comes from.
There is an expectation that military commanders are supposed to give their honest assessment. And Americans say they see the military as the only apolitical, relatively honest arbiter on national security matters. Perhaps because of that, when the candidates fall short on specifics, it often falls to the military to provide the kind of measured nuance missing on the campaign trail.
Indeed, each time a general has nixed an idea that has popped up during the primaries, it has all but disappeared from the political discourse. On Feb. 1, for example, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the commander of the U.S. campaign against ISIS, rejected Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s idea of carpet-bombing ISIS.
“At the end of the day, it doesn't only matter whether or not you win, it matters how you win. And we're the United States of America and we have a set of guiding principles and those affect the way we as professional soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, conduct ourselves on the battlefield,” MacFarland told reporters. “So indiscriminate bombing, where we don't care if we're killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values.”
A month later, Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of U.S. Air Forces in the Middle East, was more direct:
“Carpet-bombing is not effective for the operation we’re actually executing because we’re using precision-guided munitions on a regular basis,” Brown told reporters at the time. “And, on top of that, as you look at the ... law of armed conflict and us trying to minimize civilian casualties, carpet-bombing is just, in my opinion, not the way to go.”

Reviewing The Army Officer's Guide to Mentoring

http://www.thestrategybridge.com/the-bridge/2016/4/13/reviewing-the-army-officers-guide-to-mentoring
The Army Officer's Guide to Mentoring. Raymond A. Kimball. West Point, New York: The Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning, 2015
“Mentoring matters! It matters because it shapes both the present and future of our Army. It matters because at our core, we are social beings who need the company of one another to blossom. It matters because, as steel sharpens steel, so professionals become more lethal and capable when they feed off one another.” The Army Officers Guide to Mentoring, p. 4
In The Army Officers Guide to Mentoring, Raymond Kimball comprehensively examines the roles, functions, phases, challenges, and benefits of mentoring and of being a mentor’s protégé. Kimball uses his own experiences and those of a variety of leaders to explore mentoring in detail, including recommendations for how to be a successful mentor in terms of the three functions of mentoring for career enhancement, for psychosocial connection, and for role-modeling. Recognizing that he is an officer and thus has no direct experience or complete understanding of mentoring within the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Corps, Kimball nonetheless provides glimpses into the role of mentoring for U.S. Army NCOs.

Serving at the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, Lieutenant Colonel Kimball is uniquely positioned to research and contribute to the development of mentorship for the officer corps. He is a graduate of USMA with a Bachelors in Russian and German studies and a Masters from Stanford University in History, Russian, Eastern, and Eurasian studies. Long a student of mentorship, Kimball’s work on the subject includes It Takes More than Rank to Make a Mentor, The Leader Challenge as Creative Tool, and Walking in the Woods: A Phenomenological Study of On-Line Communities of Practice and Army Mentoring, all of which can be found at http://usarmy.academia.edu/RaymondKimball.

Kimball organizes his guide to mentorship in three parts. The first addresses mentoring theory and definitions and is basically an overview and introduction to mentoring, to include differentiating between coaching and mentoring. The second focuses on the outcomes derived from the career, psychosocial, and role-model functions. The third provides suggestions for mentoring, oriented around various mentoring scenarios: chain of command, peer, and cross gender. He concludes with observations about other mentoring domains, including NCOs, other military services, and other professions. While drawn from the experiences of U.S. Army professionals, I believe Kimball’s insights can improve the effectiveness of mentors in other military services, U.S. government agencies outside the Department of Defense, and even in the private sector.

What I found interesting and informative was Kimball’s reference to and use of Dr. Kathy Kram’s four-phase model of mentorship. I had always thought about mentorship as simply a relationship, you either were a mentor or you weren’t. Kram suggests, and Kimball reinforces, that mentorship is more of a process or life cycle. Kimball notes the first phase of initiation, an enthusiastic period of up to a year in which both mentor and protégé explore their relationship. The second phase, that of cultivation, can last two to five years and can be both the most productive and most discomforting time in the relationship as expectations are met, or not. Separation, as the third phase, focuses on changing relationships between the mentor and the protégé. Kimball notes that no mentorship relationship is permanent and that the two gradually drift apart as the natural course of life. The last phase is redefinition, in which the protégé becomes a mentor to others or the mentor-protégé relationship is redefined for different purposes. Kimball observes that though the original mentor-protégé relationship changes and the mentor may no longer fill that role, many pairs stay in contact for years, full careers, or lifetimes.