8 June 2016

Cover: Reforming the American Military Officer Personnel SystemRead Online Reforming the American Military Officer Personnel System

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Document submitted on May 24, 2016 as an addendum to testimony presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee on December 2, 2015.

Race Row on Mount Everest: Sherpas Square Off Against Racist Western Climbers


The documentary ‘Sherpa’ captures an intense battle between Sherpas and entitled Western climbers—including one very racist American.

When disaster struck Mount Everest in 2014, an unprecedented avalanche wiped out 16 Sherpas but left dozens of wealthy Western climbers untouched. Mourning evolved into a Sherpa strike, and deep-rooted tensions erupted after more than half a century bubbling below the surface.

Who better to showcase the racial standoff than a privileged white American?

A race divide has separated Everest’s best-known conquerors and its unsung heroes ever since Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit together in 1953. From the global celebration of Hillary, right up to this year’s blockbuster movie Everest, it’s usually the white guys getting all the credit.

After last year’s devastating avalanche, a group of Sherpas decided they’d had enough. They refused to trample over the bodies of their fallen comrades—who had been entombed in an icefall—and the entire climbing season was brought to an abrupt halt.

NATO Prepares For War With Russia As If Inevitable

Since the conflict in Ukraine, Western military leaders are operating under the assumption that an armed conflict with Vladimir Putin's Russia will eventually happen. Signs of tension are everywhere.
Monica Perosino (2016-05-26)
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 At the Lask Air Force base in Poland


WARSAW — In the Baltic nations, Scandinavia, and across Eastern Europe, the question is no longer if there will be war with Russia, but when.

Since its intervention in Ukraine two years ago, Moscow hasn’t missed an opportunity to provoke its neighbors and escalate tensions. It has repeatedly violated the airspace shared by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and amassed troops on its western border. Russia has also deepened its cyber warfare campaign by intensifying its hacking, propaganda, and disinformation activities. Estonia alone saw a 200% increase in such attacks since last year.

12 Things No One Told You What Happened After The Mahabharata War Ended

Chaitanya Konduru 
May 15, 2016 

Mahabharata – The epic fusion of power, Dharma and respect is a nearly perfect example of how to go about your life except, of course, the war. The battle of Kurukshetra, the most crucial point in the epic, was so big on the scale that it marked the end of an epoch. The war which lasted for eighteen days is every bit as ugly as any war has ever been fought in human history. The battle culminated in the victory of Pandavas and the death of all Kauravas.

Ever wondered what happened after the Pandavas won? How long did they rule Hastinapur? How did they finally die or left the mortal world? What happened with Lord Krishna? Well, here are the probable answers.

1. The 18-day long battle ended with only the Pandavas and a handful of others survived

Aswathamma killed all the upa-pandavas (children of Pandava brothers with Draupadi), shikandi and dhristadhyumna and several others on the 18th night of the war. When confronted by the Pandavas, he launched a Brahmashira to kill Uttara’s womb (only to be saved by Krishna and to be named by him as Parikshit).
Hence, the 18-day long battle ended with only the Pandavas, Satyaki, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Kritavarma, Yuyutsu and Krishna as survivors.

General Montgomery's one-page D-Day plan revealed

Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent 
6 June 2016

Gen Montgomery and his D-Day battle plan 

It was one of the most complex military operations ever undertaken, with 160,000 troops crossing the Channel on a single day, accompanied by hundreds of warships and aircraft.

But a handwritten note believed to have been drafted a month or two before the D-Day landings shows that Gen Bernard Montgomery’s battle plan boiled down to a single piece of paper.

7 June 2016

*** The CIA’s New Directorate of Digital Innovation

Robert K. Ackerman
June 4, 2016

The CIA Accelerates Innovation

A new directorate focuses on digital technologies across the agency’s spectrum of operations and analysis. 

The CIA’s newest directorate consolidates several technology business units into one hub organization focused on deeply embracing innovative approaches and capabilities throughout the agency. As part of an effort to make digitization commonplace in both operations and analysis, the CIA also will work with industry to speed up the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. To start, the agency will add some of the latest data capabilities in the infosphere, and then it will nurture new technologies as they emerge from laboratories in government and industry.

Known as the Directorate of Digital Innovation, or DDI, this organization is concentrating on inherent capabilities at the core of agency activities, as opposed to generic intelligence functions. “Information is the agency’s lifeblood,” says Andrew Hallman, who leads the unit as deputy director of the CIA for digital innovation. “Our responsibility here is to nourish and develop that digital bloodstream in which we execute the mission.”

The main driver for forming the directorate was a recognition that the CIA’s digital environment pervaded all its business areas, and the agency needed to more deeply embrace technical approaches and capabilities throughout those areas, according to Hallman. Yet some of the agency’s most capable elements lacked the digital acumen to exploit new technologies, so that task needed to be consolidated in a hub organization.

** Migration – A New Form of “Hybrid Warfare”?

2 Jun 2016

By Peter Roell for Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung (ISPSW)

Given the variable nature of migration, we shouldn’t be surprised that it has been instrumentalized to aid and abet hybrid warfare, specifically by Russia in Eastern Ukraine and the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Today, Peter Roell fills in the blanks on how migration flows are being turned into “hostile asymmetrical actions.”

Preliminary Remarks

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to attend, now for the sixth consecutive occasion, the strategic dialogue organized by the Research Institute for National Security Affairs (RINSA), the Korea National Defense University (KNDU), and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, in Seoul.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in South Korea, Stefan Samse, for inviting our German team to this high-level conference.

While migration has many facets I shall focus here on its utilization as an instrument of “hybrid warfare”.

*Without solid training options, mysterious Cyber Command remains a work in progress

June 5, 2016

The military's demand for cyber capabilities is soaring. Defensive and offensive operations, including those targeting the Islamic State group, are occurring with greater frequency. There's talk of elevating U.S. Cyber Command's profile within the Defense Department. And yet six years after its creation, the organization does not have a training environment for large-scale exercises and to evaluate the readiness of its force.

Unlike other major military components, the mysterious CYBERCOM, which is headquartered at Fort Meade in Maryland, does not have a permanent interconnected range for units to practice new tactics, test new weaponry and fight hypothetical enemies in exercises designed to simulate real-world conflict. It's working to build one, officials say, suggesting — without offering much detail — that they're looking to engineer a network of facilities that replicates command-and-control systems and allows for large units to train with potentially catastrophic cyber weapons. Meanwhile, the definition of unit-level readiness remains a work in progress.

“We don’t have — but we need — an exercise environment where you do rehearsals, go against adversary networks, and figure out ways to better protect your own,” said Jim Keffer, a retired Air Force major general who served as a CYBERCOM's chief of staff in 2015. “For individual training, I think we’re really good. But the team training, the force-on-force training, that is primarily limited by a lack of a persistent training environment.”

Will Modi's Visit Kick off a New Era in U.S.-India Cooperation?

June 5, 2016

The upcoming visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States on June 7–8 at the invitation of Speaker Paul Ryan, to address a joint session of Congress, is being described as a historic movement in the bilateral ties between India and the United States. Modi will have an opportunity to reiterate to U.S. leaders that a resurgent India is committed to working together with the United States in ensuring peace, security and development in South Asia and other parts of the globe. He will also fulfill President Obama’s invitation for a bilateral visit and the two leaders will review the progress of bilateral ties.

The relationship between India and the United States was not so strong when Prime Minister Modi came to power in May 2014. In fact, bilateral ties between two largest democracies were remarkably low. At the same time, given Modi’s personal differences with the United States, diplomats and experts in both countries opined that relations between New Delhi and Washington would continue to face bad weather in the future. Surprisingly, however, showing his pragmatism and statesmanship, Modi decided to redirect efforts to sustain and deepen ties with the United States. This became soon evident when he made a state visit to the United States in September 2014, at President Obama’s invitation. Subsequently, Obama became the first U.S. president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade in January 2015. Since then, bilateral ties have progressed significantly, with the two countries having held two summit-level talks and signed many transformative agreements, including the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, to expand cooperation in all areas of common interest in the first two years of the Modi government.

Boost to India's Strategic Ambitions with Inking of Trilateral Project with Iran and Afghanistan

By Col (Dr) P K Vasudeva
06 Jun , 2016

A trilateral transport corridor project, inked in Tehran during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran on 23-24 May with the leaders of Iran and Afghanistan, altered the geopolitical map of South and Central Asia. Additionally, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trade and transit agreement including development of Chabahar port that will provide Indian goods with overland access to Afghanistan and Central Asia and vice versa. Hitherto, India’s role in Afghanistan and Central Asia has been limited, as Pakistan had denied it with overland access. The 12 agreements signed during Modi’s visit to Iran will change the scenario.

India’s role in Afghanistan and Central Asia has been limited, as Pakistan had denied it with overland access. The 12 agreements signed during Modi’s visit to Iran will change the scenario.

Strange as it might seem, the deal has now been made possible by tacit support from the same US which is keen on counterbalancing growing Chinese influence in the Central Asian region. For India, the Chabahar port, which is just 940 km from Mundra, Gujarat, is not just about facilitating trade with Afghanistan which has been affected by Pakistan’s refusal to allow transit of goods through its territory. Rather, the development of Chabahar is an important part of the country’s grand strategy to connect with Central Asia for trade circumventing Pakistan, and for tapping into the energy opportunities that are opening up in Iran.

Modi’s Visit to Tehran

The Forgotten Mutiny that Shook the British Empire

By Rakesh Krishnan Simha
06 Jun , 2016

The naval mutiny of 1946 was among the hardest blows the British received during their brutal 200 year occupation of India. The unexpected revolt by more than 25,000 ratings of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) achieved what two generations of nonviolent political struggle couldn’t – it drove a stake of fear through British hearts.

The mutiny proved the British could not continue to hold on to India with the help of Indian soldiers any longer. It started in Bombay on February 18 and spread like wildfire to naval establishments countrywide, ending on the 23rd. The following day the British started packing their bags.

Without the support of the navy, over 100,000 British troops, administrators and civilians and their families were in no position to make it to Britain safely. At the very least, a large number of them would have been slaughtered. The British knew this, and they quit India post-haste.

British caste system

Pakistan’s Double-Game Stands Exposed Again

By Jai Kumar Verma
05 Jun , 2016

Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the Afghan Taliban chief who was killed in a drone attack on May 21 in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan was a hardliner and averse to the idea of any negotiations. He refused to participate in the Quadrilateral Cooperation Group (QCG) constituted to initiate peaceful negotiations. In fact, instead of taking part in peace talks, under his leadership, the Afghan Taliban enhanced attacks on US and Afghan forces. 

According to reports, when he was killed, he had a Pakistani passport in the name of Mohammad Wali on him and had valid Iranian visa, along with a CNIC which is issued to ‘bonafide’ citizens of Pakistan. He was entering Pakistan from the Taftan check post on the Iran-Pakistan border from where he was ostensibly headed to the Afghan Taliban headquarters in Quetta. It has been reported that he had travelled out of Pakistan several times, especially to United Arab Emirates and Iran on Pakistani passport. All of this comes to indicate his close relationship with the Pakistani deep state.

Taliban spokesperson announced the appointment of Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, who was the deputy leader of slain leader Mansour as the chief of Taliban on May 25. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob son of Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani were declared as the deputy supreme leaders of Taliban.

Assessing Power Transition in Taiwan: From KMT to DPP

By Prashant Kumar Singh
05 Jun , 2016

On May 20, 2016, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was sworn in as the 14th President of Taiwan, or the Republic of China (ROC), recognised as a sovereign country only by 22 countries. She defeated her rival Eric Chu of the Kuomintang (KMT) by a huge margin of 25 per cent vote in the presidential election held in January this year, thus bringing the eight-year long rule of the KMT to an end.

Earlier in 2008, KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou had wrestled power from the DPP, which too had been in power for two consecutive terms since 2000.Tsai’s ascendency to the top post is an important development from the point of view of Taiwan’s domestic politics, cross-strait relations and over all regional security. Given India’s growing thrust on ‘Act East’, India too needs to take note of the political shift in Taiwan and its likely impact at the wider regional level.

Power Transition

The latest power transition is the third since 1996, the year Taiwan had its first direct presidential election on the basis of universal suffrage with multi-party system. Prior to it, during KMT’s single-party authoritarian rule, Taiwan was under Martial Law for almost forty years (1949-1987). It was President Lee Teng-hui (1988-2000), often referred to as ‘Mr. Democracy’, who finally ushered multi-party democracy in Taiwan and won the first election too.

India: Demanding Special Protection Laws For Journalists – OpEd

JUNE 6, 2016

As India has witnessed the murder of three journalists this year (eight since Jan 2015), the demand for special protection laws to journalists on duty is also mounting. Protesting rigorously against the killing of two scribes in Bihar and Jharkhand recently, the media fraternity across the country rose to the occasion for a national action plan for safeguarding the media.

Both the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Paris based Reporters Sans/Without Borders (RSF) strongly condemned
the killings and called for an authentic investigation into the incidents. They also expressed concerns that India is slipping down in the media freedom parameters turning the largest democracy into a worst place for working journalists.

Condemning the killings, the Vienna based International Press Institute (IPI) commented that it shows the failure of the province governments to provide basic protection to journalists to carry out their works. The forum also called the Indian authorities to conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation into their deaths to ensure justice to the victim families with an aim to end a growing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.

India Seeks Joint Development Of Oil, Gas Fields In Qatar – OpEd

JUNE 6, 2016

Having achieving fair amount of self reliance in military matters, missiles cum nuke arsenals inclusive, India is searching for sources for ensuring energy security. Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG and LPG to India.

Indian PM Narendra Modi, who has been on what is known as world tour ever since he assumed the high office in 2014, is now touring Qatar after his brief visit to Iran and held wide-ranging talks on June 05 with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatari leaders in Doha.

Like the USA and China, India is also focusing on ensuing energy security. The Indian visit to Iran recently in this regard apart from port issue.
During his visit, Indian leader India evinced interest in joint exploration of new oil and gas fields as well development of discovered assets in the energy-rich Qatar. India also invited the Gulf nation to invest in the country’s exploration and production sector by bidding for the blocks under the new ‘Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing’ Policy and take part in disinvestment of Indian PSUs.

The Dream Of Durable Peace – OpEd

JUNE 6, 2016

The constant efforts for an enduring peace in Afghanistan essential for the long term and plausible peace for the people has always been a collective effort of the Afghan government and the international community. The chaos and the conflict in Afghanistan has tried to be overcome through a political process by engaging the Afghan Taliban and the government in a series of negotiations. Previously, the regional powers as well as the United States backed the peace talks with the Afghan Taliban However, with the sudden revelation of Mullah Omar’s death, the over-delayed peace process between the two parties once again have fuelled the persistent tension in the country and encouraged other militant groups to make their place.

Pakistan had mediated a few rounds of peace talks, but after the Mullah Omar’s death the peace talks were halted.

Through a mediatory role Pakistan twice endeavored to engage the Afghan government and the Taliban in a process of peace talks. Further supported by China and the US, both parties were urged to reach at a consensus about a ceasefire and eventually engage in the confidence building measures (CBMs). However, the recent news of the killing of the Afghan Taliban’s supreme leader has once again put the goal of bringing peace in Afghanistan on the stakes. Under the leadership of Mullah Mansoor, the peace talks between the two parties were obscure, but yet there was a ray of hope that could move forward. The demands of Mullah Mansoor for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan was considered as an obstruction point since the US and its allies could not agree to a complete withdrawal of the ISAF forces therefore, the drag-on policy was never allowed toward a successful peace process for Afghanistan.

Profile: Abdul Rehman Rauf Of Jaish-e-Mohammad

By Partha Chakraborty*
JUNE 6, 2016

Abdul Rehman Rauf is the second in command in the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)’s power hierarchy and is arguably the most important person in charge of taking key decisions in the outfit. He has played key role in several terrorist attacks carried out on Indian soil and remains a key instrument of the Pakistan military’s anti-India subversive activities.

Abdul Rehman Rauf alias Mufti Abdul Rauf Ashgar was born on 1 January 1977 in Bhawalpur, Pakistan. Rauf is the younger brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the proscribed terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). He figures in the list of most wanted terrorists India wants deported from Pakistan.

Rauf is one of the 12 children (six daughters and six sons) born to Allah Bakhsh Shabir, a headmaster at a government-run school in Bhawalpur and his wife Ruqua Bibi. Shabir after his retirement ran a dairy and a poultry farm in Bhawalpur. After completing his education from Jamia Uloomul Islamia Banuri town in Karachi, a Deobandi learning centre, Rauf came in contact with the Harkat-ul-Ansar (aka Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, HuM) terrorist outfit, which had recruited a large number of its cadres from such institutions. Rauf is believed to have received armed training in HuA facilities in Pakistan after which he travelled to Afghanistan to fight alongside Mullah Omar, who became the chief of the Taliban, a connection that came to good use later in 1999.

Rauf’s involvement in terrorism is believed to have started with his 1995 plot to abduct foreign tourists in Jammu & Kashmir. On 4 July that year, two American and two British nationals were abducted during a trekking expedition in the Liddarwat area of Pahalgam in Anantnag district by Al-Faran, a front of the HuA. Four days later, two more foreigners, a German and a Norwegian were also abducted. While one American national John Childs managed to escape on 8 July, the other one was beheaded. The other four were never traced and were possibly killed by their abductors.

Fretting over Chabahar: Phobia or diversionary ploy by Pakistan?

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
06 Jun , 2016

It was downright amusing to read an article in a prominent Pakistani daily titled ‘Trade route linking Chabahar Port with Afghanistan’ a security threat’. The article refers to deliberations by two former Pakistani defence secretaries (Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik and Lt Gen Nadeem Lodhi) at a three-day workshop on ‘National Security, Deterrence and Regional Stability in South Asia’ hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute – a Pakistani think-tank. Asif Yasin Malik was reported to have said, “The alliance between India, Afghanistan and Iran is a security threat to Pakistan” and added that he feared that Pakistan is going into isolation. In view of the regional and global environment, I see Pakistan falling into an abyss of isolation primarily because of its own mistakes and partly due to the hostile policies of other states”. Nadeem Lodhi said the existence of such a “formidable bloc” in the neighbourhood had “ominous and far reaching implications”, adding, “We need to break out of this encircling move with help from friends… diplomatic manoeuvres and by forging a strong deterrence.” In this context, Lodhi said that of the three countries, Iran is most likely to pay heed to Pakistani concerns. 

Asif Yasin Malik blamed the situation on the “dysfunctional Foreign Office” and the absence of a full time foreign minister. Nadeem Lodhi feared the three-nation bloc will affect Pakistan’s plans for regional economic integration, restoration of internal peace and maintenance of peaceful borders, as also affect the CPEC timelines. He suggested Pakistan should use China’s influence for fixing problems, not alienate Iran further and Pakistan’s defence and strategic relationship with China be formalized instead of an unwritten understanding. Staff reporters of the paper authoring the article alluded to these above statements as “reflection of the opinion held in military circles, which have been deeply suspicious of the port and the trade route”. Interestingly, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz recently stated during a recent press conference that Pakistan did not see Iran’s Chabahar port as a rival and that Pakistan was in fact exploring the possibility of developing links with Gwadar. Mehdi Honardoost, Iran’s envoy to Islamabad recently stated that Pakistan and China should join in on the Chabahar agreement, stressing that Gwadar and Chabahar ports should not be seen as rivals.

A nuclear arms race in East Asia?

3 JUNE 2016

It is a place where most nations deeply distrust their neighbours, and where old-style nationalism still reigns supreme.
The eventual deployment of the North Korean nuclear-armed missiles might easily push South Korea towards acquiring its own nuclear deterrent, writes Lankov [The Associated 

Andrei Lankov is professor of Korean Studies at Kookmin University, Seoul. He is the author of "The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia".

Recently, news from the Korean Peninsula has been dominated by missiles: as satellite images confirmed, the North Koreans have been busy preparing another test launch of "BM-25 Musudan", their intermediate-range missile.

The launch ended in failure, the fourth such failure in this year. Nonetheless, North Korean engineers and scientists are busy developing both long-range and submarine-based ballistic missiles, capable of hitting the United States.

There has been much hype about the recent Musudan launch, but few people noticed another piece of news that came from South Korea a week earlier.

A Legal Imbroglio In The South China Sea – OpEd

JUNE 6, 2016

The rhetorical war between the China and the United States over the South China Sea dispute is increasing in tempo and magnitude by the week. The US is wasting no time, resource and effort in sponsoring seminars, talks and think tank confabs to drive a wedge between China and other claimant nations in the region. Ambitious young ASEAN scholars and diplomats, anxious to boost their resumes and post-retirement corporate prospects, are actively being lured towards this end via the offer of generous stints at prestigious American universities and think tanks.

Vietnam is the suitor du jour in America’s new carousel game called the “Asian Pivot.” While China is financing and building essential infrastructure in Vietnam, the US is ironically offering weapons to a nation it pummelled during a genocidal two-decade war that left two million Vietnamese citizens dead, as well as an untold number injured and maimed. This tally does not include the yet incalculable effects of Agent Orange on future generations of Vietnamese.

A New York Times report on May 11, 2014 noted that “the war has not ended for many of the 2.8 million” individuals who “are convinced that their cancers and nervous disorders and skin diseases — not to mention congenital maladies afflicting some of their children — are a result of their contact with Agent Orange.”