30 June 2016

Playing it Big or a Proxy?: Bangladesh’s Growing Closeness to China

By Amitava Mukherjee
29 Jun , 2016

In the last week of May 2016, Bangladesh had hosted the Chinese Defence Minister, General Chang Wanguan, in a quiet manner. But, the visit must have raised eyebrows in the corridors of power in New Delhi because it has signaled the possibility of China and Bangladesh serving each other’s strategic and military needs in near future which may go against India’s interests in South Asia. 

A subterranean tension between India and Bangladesh over the latter’s foreign policy initiatives exists, but this may get a new dimension after Chang Wanguan’s visit. Welcoming the Chinese Defence Minister, Abdul Hamid, the President of Bangladesh, had said that his country totally supports China so far as the latter’s core interests are concerned including Beijing’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative and its interests in the South China Sea.

Nothing can be more provocative for India as China considers control over the Indian Ocean a matter of core interest and its increasing forays into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean have raised the prospect of the region’s militarization. Equally interesting is the attitude of the Bangladesh army which is now showing signs of transgressing into areas which are traditionally reserved for political executives in a parliamentary form of government. During his last visit to Beijing, Abu Belal Mohammed Shafiul Huq, the Bangladesh army chief, had not only expressed his desire for training of Bangladesh army personnel by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China but had also talked about broader and deeper cooperation between the armies of China and Bangladesh.


JUNE 28, 2016

In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing for a summit with Xi Jinping, the reaction in the Western media has been predictably skeptical. Snickering about the Russia-China axis has been a fixture in Washington and most European capitals for far too long. Western media and policymakers commonly react to the Kremlin’s “pivot to China” in the wake of the Ukraine crisis with derision.

The dominant view in these circles is that there is much more dividing China and Russia than uniting them. Moscow is afraid of its giant neighbor, which increasingly holds the dominant position in the relationship, according to thestandard line of argument. With a gross domestic product that dwarfs that of Russia and an army growing progressively more capable and assertive, China seems to present a threat with which the Kremlin is ill-equipped to deal. Further, China depends far more on the West for markets and technology, and its trade with the European Union and the United States is nearly ten times larger than trade with neighboring Russia. In short, the argument goes, the partnership between Moscow and Beijing is a shallow one, so the West shouldn’t fret too much about it.

Chinese Warships Now Training with U.S. Carrier Strike Group

June 27, 2016 

Chinese and U.S. ships on June 25, 2016. Chinese Ministry of Defense Photo

Five ships from the People’s Liberation Army Navy are training with a U.S. carrier strike group ahead of next month’s Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercises, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News on Monday.

Last week the five ship PLAN flotilla linked up with the strike group – centered on carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) — met near Guam and steamed toward Hawaii ahead of July’s international exercises.

According to a list of ships China intended to send to the exercise released by U.S. 3rd Fleet, the PLAN flotilla includes Type 052C guided missile destroyer Xi’an (153), Type 054A guided missile frigate Hengshui(572), fleet oiler Gaoyouhui, the hospital ship Peace Ark and the submarine logistics vessel Changxingdao.

The Stennis CSG includes one Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser and several Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and has mostly been operating in the South China Sea since April before heading to Hawaii.

While underway, the close to a dozen ships conducted low-intensity division tactics (DIVTACS) –ships maneuvering in large formations — the official said.

After Orlando: How to Confront the New Face of Terror

June 27, 2016

Even before Orlando, there was a case to be made for another 9/11 Commission. A particular reason for that recommendation is that America no longer faces the terrorists of 9/11. There was plenty of evidence to suggest the face of the global Islamist insurgency had come to look very different from what confronted the world over a decade ago. The list is long—from ISIS getting a state to Al Qaeda on the internet, and terrorist travel in an age of refugees and foreign fighters.

When it comes to the threat we are seeing on the American homeland, we have a lot of evidence of what works and what doesn’t against this new wave of global Islamist terrorism.

The New Face of Terror

The United States has a unique terrorist profile all of its own.

An assessment of the threat to the United States drawn from a database and timeline maintained by The Heritage Foundation tracks known Islamist-related terrorist plots aimed at the United States since 9/11 according to publicly available records. All the statistics provided below are drawn from an analysis of this data.

A Look at Iraq's War Against ISIL After Fallujah

June 27, 2016
Source Link

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi forces say they have completely liberated the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group after a monthlong operation, marking one of their biggest victories since the extremists swept across large parts of the country in 2014.

But the IS group still controls parts of northern and western Iraq, including the country's second largest city, Mosul. And the militants have shown they can still launch large-scale suicide bombings and other attacks. Here's a look at what lies ahead for Iraq and the U.S.-led military coalition battling the extremists.


Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to IS, in January 2014, and the group's last major stronghold in the sprawling Anbar province, a largely tribal Sunni region where distrust of the post-2003 Shiite-led government runs deep. A key task will be to prevent militants from returning to the city, as they did after two major U.S.-led assaults on Fallujah in 2004, when American soldiers saw their deadliest urban combat since Vietnam.

Iraqi authorities will also need to ensure that residents can return to their homes and rebuild, and that powerful Sunni tribes in the area stay on the government's side. Those efforts could be complicated by the ballooning humanitarian crisis in Anbar and the presence of government-allied Shiite militias. The Iran-backed forces kept to the outskirts of Fallujah during the military operation, but could assert their power as the army moves on to other fronts.

ADF capability snapshot 2016: C4ISR—winning in the networked battlespace

By: Andrew Davies and Malcolm Davis
21 June 2016

This paper provides an assessment and overview of the ADF’s command, control, computing, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (known commonly as ‘C4ISR’) capabilities in the context of the ADF’s goal of pursuing a network-centric warfare capability. The paper is the final part of a series of ADF ‘capability snapshots’. The previous three (Navy, Armyand Air Force) were released by ASPI in late 2015.

How the Kurds Drove Turkey Back to Israel (and Two Other Reasons for the Deal)

JUNE 27, 2016

The Turks want to forestall any Israeli declaration of support for Syrian Kurdish independence aspirations, but distrust and resentment remain. 

News came over the weekend that Israel and Turkey are making up. There have been on and off rumors to this effect over the last three or four years, but the expected rapprochement never came. There was some hope that Jerusalem and Ankara would patch things up quickly after President Barack Obama visited Israel in March 2013, and as a party favor—a “deliverable,” as it is known in the awful jargon of Washington wonkery—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was Turkey’s prime minister at the time before ascending to the presidency in August 2014, to apologize for the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. It was not to be, however. Negotiations dragged on with varying degrees of intensity between Turkish and Israeli diplomats in the ensuing years with episodic rumors and press report of imminent breakthroughs. Yet because the foreign ministries in both countries actually have limited influence on foreign policy, it was up to the leaders, and neither Netanyahu nor Erdogan seemed all that interested in a rapprochement. All that said, today’s official announcement that Israel and Turkey are restoring full diplomatic relations was not that much of a surprise. But as important a development as the deal may be, this is unlikely to be the dawn of a new day in Israeli-Turkish relations. 

The Denouement 

How Brexit shattered progressives' dearest illusions

June 27, 2016

It's perfectly reasonable to worry about what will happen after Britain's historic vote to break up with the European Union. Will Brexit provoke Scotland and Northern Ireland to secede from the United Kingdom, leading to its dissolution? Will it embolden other members of the EU to bolt? And will those secessionist movements empower unsavory characters who end up being seduced by Vladimir Putin and modeling themselves on his form of authoritarian populism? Will the dire short-term economic consequences of Brexit create chaos and recession in the long term, too?

As I said, lots of reasons to worry.

But what we've seen from a wide range of writers and analysts in the dayssince the Brexit vote is not necessarily worry. It is shock. Fury. Disgust.Despair. A faith has been shaken, illusions shattered, pieties punctured. This is what happens when a life-orienting system of belief gets smashed on the rocks of history.

The name of that shattered system of belief? Progressivism.

I used to be a conservative. I now consider myself a liberal. But I have never called myself a progressive. There's a reason why, and it has nothing to do with policy.


By Sean J. Miller
Jun 24, 2016 

British elections have until recently been pitting American consultants from the same party against each other. In 2015, Jim Messina worked with the Conservative Party while David Axelrod consulted for Labour. But for the European Union referendum, U.S consultants were on the same team. Strategists ranging from Messina to digital consultant Ian Patrick Hines, worked for the Remain side, which suffered a historic 52-48 loss in Thursday’s vote.

The Vote Leave camp, meanwhile, “kept away from overseas consultants,” Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Leave, told C&E in an interview following the vote. “We put together a bespoke team and brought in different people from different agencies. Basically, we didn’t have any U.S. consultants working for us.”

Of course that didn’t necessarily make it easier to line up against Messina and company.

“We were fearful because he had so much success with the Conservative Party victory in 2015,” said Elliott. “He knew how to target and microtarget through social media in the U.K. He had developed all of the techniques for the 2015 general election. Also, we were staffing up our operation from scratch from last October to yesterday, so we had a very short space of time to actually build things up. It was formidable, but we felt that with the right team, and the right strategy we could do it.”

When the referendum question was set last September, Elliott said the Leave camp started off as underdogs.

Britain's Jewel in the Crown Now Looks Precious

JUNE 26, 2016 

In the days following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, a perceptible gloom settled over its capital. In Underground stations, over a beer after work, in sandwich shops at lunch, I could hear dismayed Londoners wonder how Brexit could be good news for anyone.

Well it is good news, in the long run, for some people. Indian companies and exporters are at the top of that list.

True, some Indian companies are seriously overexposed to the British economy. And investors’ predictable flight to safety after an epochal event like Brexit certainly hits emerging markets such as India: The Sensex dropped like a stone after news broke of the result.

Indian information technology companies like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services -- which rely on Europe for perhaps 30 percentof their export revenue -- might now have to set up dual headquarters, in Britain and in Europe. For the kind of low-margin projects they typically take on, this sort of increase in costs is a serious problem. Existing contracts denominated in British pounds might have to bereworked in order to stay profitable, according to Indian IT industry lobby Nasscom.

For other companies, uncertainty is going to make strategic planning difficult. Tata Steel, controlled by Tata Sons out of Mumbai, is in the process of working out what to do with its European plants. One recent report claimed the company was close to combining its European operations with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp. It’s unclear whether such a merger would now go forward.

Brexit: A Tale of ‘Ancient Ethnic Hatreds’

You can learn everything you need to know about the EU referendum in the United Kingdom by talking to just two people in London: the taxi driver and the millennial entrepreneur-type person. They’ve never met—the taxi driver doesn’t hang out in trendy places and the millennial entrepreneur-type person uses Uber instead of traditional London cabs—but by talking to each for 10 minutes I gathered enough quotes to allow me to write knowledgeably about this debate that has inflamed passions on this small island. And I’m confident to declare that the hatreds underlying the debate are too deep-rooted for the United Kingdom—an arbitrary amalgamation of tribes that have existed in tension for centuries—to remain united.

The taxi driver, John—I will call him John because I forgot to ask him his name and he looked like a John to me—was disenfranchised with modern politics. He didn’t use the word disenfranchised, but I felt it would work well for my sophisticated cosmopolitan audience. He was angry about something he called the “24-country format in the Euros,” a clear indictment of the remote machinations of European bureaucrats and their detachment from common people.

John was ranting about “Roy tinkering with the system,” a common phrase in the local Cockney dialect which denotes discontent with the opaqueness of modern European politics, particularly in the post-Treaty of Rome context. While I am personally a big fan of the European Union and its achievements, it looks good if I point out in a condescending way that I do genuinely understand why the working classes are dissatisfied with it.

Russia is harassing U.S. diplomats all over Europe

By Josh Rogin 
June 27 2016
Source Link

A Russian policeman stands in front of an entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 2013. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

At a recent meeting of U.S. ambassadors from Russia and Europe in Washington, U.S. ambassadors to several European countries complained that Russian intelligence officials were constantly perpetrating acts of harassment against their diplomatic staff that ranged from the weird to the downright scary. Some of the intimidation has been routine: following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited or paying reporters to write negative stories about them.

But many of the recent acts of intimidation by Russian security services have crossed the line into apparent criminality. In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them, diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.

imp papers

o Leading and Managing High-Performance Army Organizations

o Cyberspace Situational Understanding for Tactical Army Commanders

o Professional Case for Force Management

o The Relevance of Culture

o Colombia and the War-to-Peace Transition

o Commanding General of the [Brazilian] Army Denies Possibility of Military Intervention

o NATO Special Operations Forces, Counterterrorism and the Resurgence of Terrorism in Europe

o 20th CBRNE Command

o Reinventing the Wheel: Operational Lessons Learned by the 101st Division Artillery during Two Warfighter Exercises

o The Mud of Verdum

imp papers

Harvard Law School

· National Security Journal, 2016, v.7, no. 2 http://harvardnsj.org/volume-7/

o Detect, Disrupt, Deter: A Whole-of-Government Approach to National Security Cyber Threats

o U.S.-Hired Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict: Indirect Participation and its Consequences

o The Irony of the Iron Dome: Intelligent Defense Systems, Law, and Security

o Traditional Military Activities in Cyberspace: The Scope of Conventional Military Authorities in the Unconventional Battlespace

o Proportionality Decision Making in Targeting: Heuristics, Cognitive Biases, and the Law

imp papers

Trends in world nuclear forces, 2016 

As of January 2016, nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea)—possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear weapons are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons, compared to approximately 15,850 in 2015. While the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to decline, none of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are prepared to give up their nuclear arsenals for the foreseeable future.

This Fact Sheet estimates the nuclear weapon inventory of the nine nuclear-weapon possessing states and highlights some key aspects of the states’ recent nuclear-force developments. 


Hans M. Kristensen is an Associate Senior Fellow with the SIPRI Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

Shannon N. Kile is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme. 

Answering the military’s spectrum challenge

Maj. Gen. Dennis Moran, Harris Corp
June 24, 2016

There is little disagreement that electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) is vital to both the nation’s economic growth and national security, and that more and more demands are being placed on this finite resource. Radio frequency bands form the over-the-air “circulatory system” for a wireless world that is growing exponentially, delivering everything from secure national defense communications to mobile communications for consumers and powering the Internet of Things.

The broad challenge facing governments and industry is how to meet such rapidly growing demands for a finite national resource. This includes, of course, the coveted AWS-3 spectrum bands that are prized by business and consumer uses, and at the same time needed to ensure the U.S. retains electromagnetic dominance in what is being studied as a new domain of warfare.

Military operations are increasingly dependent upon access to spectrum to execute their missions, ranging from maintaining reliable and secure communications among deployed forces – on the ground, in the air and at sea – with those assessing the tactical environment, exercising command and control authority, and relaying vital information in real time.


JUNE 28, 2016

Recent years have seen a steady evolution in the sophistication and aims of cyberattacks. While cyberespionage continues to threaten the sanctity of government and private sector data, cyberattacks have also been used to support real-world military operations; Georgia and Crimea easily spring to mind. Now, a new class of cyberattacks is being carried out in the absence of military campaigns. Cyber prophets have long discussed how independent cyberattacks could target critical infrastructure. A recent hack of Ukraine’s power grid brought these predictions to life.

Given increases in the ability and willingness of various actors to target a nation’s critical infrastructure, David Gompert and Hans Binnendijk have argued that the United States should use cyber operations to “amp up the power to coerce.” This is a reasonable objective, but it ignores the conventional wisdom about cyber coercion that says it doesn’t work. A major component of successful coercion is detailing the pain your enemy may endure. Communicating that capability in the cyber realm is likely to induce your enemy to “patch” the vulnerability you were hoping to exploit. How can actors ever coerce targets with cyber weapons if threatening them effectively neutralizes their utility?

Drone Defense: Army Anti-Artillery Radar Tracks UAVs

June 27, 2016 

From lasers to jammers to snipers, the US military has tried lots of technologies and tactics to get rid of enemy drones. But before you can shoot it, you have to see it — preferably far away, before its cameras spot your troops and, say, dive-bomb them or relay their positionto a battery of rocket launchers. So the Army is also experimenting with drone-detecting radar.

Enter Lockheed Martin’s AN/TPQ-53. This truck-mounted radar was originally designed to track incoming fire — rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds — and calculate its origin point for retaliatory “counter-battery” shots. Drones are dramatically different targets: Tactical drones operate at roughly the same altitudes as artillery but maneuver, often slowly, or outright hover in the air, rather than streaking along an undeviating trajectory. But modern AESA radars (Active Electronically Scanned Array) are considerably more versatile than traditional radars.

So in a recent test, the AN/TPQ-53 proved itself able to track and identifying multiple drones, passing the data via an unspecified network to a “command and control node.” (Lockheed wouldn’t tell me what network was used, but the most intriguing possibility is something called IBCS, designed to connect all the Army’s air and missile defense systems). At the same time, the AN/TPQ-53 multi-tasked by tracking incoming “rockets, artillery, and mortars” — which mean adding the counter-drone capability did not interfere with its original function.

5 Badass Quotes From Marine General James Mattis

June 24, 2016

Marine Gen. James Mattis is a legend in the Corps, as much for his intellect as his candor. Here are the 5 best quotes from the iconic Marine leader.

Marines love Gen. James Mattis, and with good reason. He’s a Marine’s Marine, which means he always speaks his mind.

A former enlisted Marine who entered the Corps in 1969, Mattis received his commission as an infantry officer in 1972. He served in the Persian Gulf War, where he commanded 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. Mattis led Task Force 58 into southern Afghanistan at the onset of the war. In Iraq, he commanded troops during the first and second Battles of Fallujah, and alongside now-retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, oversaw the development of the Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency doctrine that would come to define and shape both wars.

In 2013 Mattis left his post as commanding general of United States Central Command and retired from the Marine Corps after 44 years of service.

Widely admired for his keen intellect and fairness — Mattis has been referred to as the “Warrior Monk” — his frankness has endeared him to post-9/11 Marines and veterans, with whom he holds an almost legendary cult-status. Many modern military veterans, like this author, can recall seeing his quotes — often referred to as“Mattis-isms” — on the walls at MOS school, in the hallways of headquarters buildings, or piling up in Facebook newsfeeds as memes.

Army Preps for Massive, Great Power Land War

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After more than a decade of counterinsurgency warfare, the Army is now emphasizing major force-on-force mechanized warfare against "near-peer" adversaries such as Russia or China.

The Army’s “live-fire” combat exercises involve large-scale battalion-on-battalion war scenarios wherein mechanized forces often clash with make-shift, “near-peer” enemies using new technologies, drones, tanks, artillery, missiles and armored vehicles.

The Army is expanding its training and “live-fire” weapons focus to include a renewed ability to fight a massive, enemy force in an effort to transition from its decade-and-a-half of tested combat experience with dismounted infantry and counterinsurgency.

Recent ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created an experienced and combat-tested force able to track, attack and kill small groups of enemies -- often blended into civilian populations, speeding in pick-up trucks or hiding within different types of terrain to stage ambushes.

“The Army has a tremendous amount of experience right now. It has depth but needs more breadth. We’re good at counterinsurgency and operations employing wide area security. Now, we may have to focus on 'Mounted Maneuver' operations over larger distances,” Rickey Smith, Deputy Chief of Staff, Training and Doctrine Command, told Scout Warrior in an interview.