9 November 2016

India: Residual Disturbances In Manipur – Analysis

By Nijeesh N.* 
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The Chief Minister (CM) of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh came under gun attack when suspected National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) militants opened fire at him and his associates as they were getting out of their helicopter at the Pakshi Ground Helipad in Ukhrul District on October 24, 2016. Singh was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei, Commerce and Industries Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Forest Minister I. Hemochandra Singh, Deputy Speaker M.K. Preshow Shimray and Parliamentary Secretary Victor Keishing. Soon after the chopper landed, the militants started firing, which last for more than ten minutes and in which one Manipur Rifles (MR) trooper, identified as William Tarao, sustained severe injuries. The ambush on the CM and his team came amidst protests and a boycott call issued by the native Naga tribal group, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL). Singh and his Ministers were on their way to inaugurate development projects in the Districts. With heightened security concerns, the Chief Minister and his team had to cancel their programme and fly back to Imphal. The Security Forces (SFs) could not apprehend a single militant involved in the attack.

Violent protests by Naga outfits had started in the late night of October 23, 2016, as suspected NSCN-IM militants triggered four bomb explosions in which two Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel were injured. Of the four explosions in quick succession, one occurred in the early morning of October 24, 2016, near the newly constructed Ukhrul District Hospital at Hungpung, The Hospital was supposed to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister. The attack completely destroyed the space where the public meeting was to be held.

India: SIMI’s Fatal Jailbreak – Analysis

By Ajit Kumar Singh*
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

Eight cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) fled from the Bhopal Central Jail in Madhya Pradesh (MP) at around 2 to 3am in the morning of October 31, 2016, after killing a security guard, Head Constable Ramashankar, by slitting his throat with steel plate and glass after overpowering him. The escapees were identified as Mohammad Aqeel Khilji aka Abdullah, Sheikh Mehboob aka Guddu aka Malik, Amazad Khan aka Pappu aka Daud aka Umer, Zakir Hussain Sadiq aka Vicky Don aka Vinay Kumar, Mohammad Salik aka Sallu, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad, Mujeeb Sheikh aka Akram aka Wasim aka Nawed aka Nitin aka Faizan aka Chintoo aka Yusuf, and Abdul Majid.

Just hours later, between 10.30and 11.30am, all the eight escapees were killed in an encounter by the Security Forces (SFs) near Manikheda Pathar at Eintkhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal. News media, opposition political parties and civil society organisations have raised questions about the genuineness of the encounter after the leak of a succession of videos showing stages of the alleged encounter. Suspicions were compounded by contradictory positions adopted by different Government agencies and officials. With mounting media furor, a judicial probe into the jailbreak and subsequent encounter was then ordered by MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the night of November 3, 2016.

In the meantime, Sanjeev Shami, the head of MP’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), which led the encounter, asserted that the escapees’ killing was necessary because of the danger they posed. He added, without giving further details, that “the police has the right to use excessive force in some situations.”

Trade Vs Terror: Time For China To Choose – Analysis

By Sanjay Kumar Kar* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

India-China relations have been severely impacted by China’s open support for Pakistan on many fronts. One of the important areas where China seems to be least worried is cross-border terrorism affecting countries like India and Afghanistan. India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for many years — the most recent being the September 18, 2016 Uri attack sponsored by its neighbouring country Pakistan.

China’s stand on terrorism is baffling and it pains India more than any other country. New Delhi has been pressing the United Nations (UN) to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar — operating from Pakistan — as an international terrorist who poses serious threat to humanity and disrupts peace and tranquility in the subcontinent. Unfortunately, Beijing has consistently blocked the Indian move. On technical ground, China has succeeded twice in delaying the UN’s decision on Masood Azhar.

China’s deliberate tactics of blocking India’s progress in international fora is quite evident. In June 2016 at Seoul, Beijing successfully blocked New Delhi’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Pakistan may be China’s natural ally but India is one of the biggest trade partners of China. While China-Pakistan total trade stood at $12 billion in 2014-15, China-India trade was valued at $72 billion in the same year. During the period under consideration, China’s export value to Pakistan reached just $10 billion compared to export value of $60.4 billion to India. In short, for all practical purposes, India is 6 times valuable for the Chinese economy than Pakistan.

The Reality Of India-Pakistan: The Hyphen Can’t Go Anywhere – OpEd

By Minu Jain* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

One man, seven, maybe eight minutes of screen time and a society in thrall. It is a measure of the fraught equation between two neighbouring nations, bound by history, culture and animus, that Pakistani actor Fawad Khan and his very brief role in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil should have become the touchstone of frenzied patriotism for self-proclaimed nationalists on the Indian side of the border.

That the actor’s fleeting presence in the film, which released this week and is reportedly well on its way to becoming a hit, evoked barely any response from audiences other than a stupefied “is that it?” is further evidence of the Kafkaesque edge to anything, even the most minor of issues, related to India and Pakistan.

Because the clamour for action against the film – along with the still-in-the-making Raees starring another Pakistani actor Mahira Khan – should be as minor an issue as it can get given the troubled trough that the two countries again find themselves in. With LoC strikes, civilians being killed, allegations of soldiers being mutilated and six Pakistan High Commission staffers, including at least four diplomats, being recalled, this is a treadmill of ceaseless tension from which there’s no getting off.

Incidentally, and unnoticed by those same self-proclaimed nationalists, another Pakistani actor, Imran Abbas, slipped scrutiny with a brief role in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Clearly, some more homework needed to be done!

Controlling The News Agencies: Draconian Or Necessary? – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has expressed “deep concern” over the one-day ban imposed on NDTV India by the interministerial committee set up by the Union information and broadcasting ministry. The NBA, which represents private television news and current affairs broadcasters in India, said the Hindi news channel had been “singled out when the rest of the media also did cover the (Pathankot) terror attack, and all such reports were available in the public domain”. The committee has ordered that the channel go off air for 24 hours from 00:01hrs on November 9 as it found its coverage of the January terrorist attack to be in violation of broadcasting norms.

The recent ban on NDTV, a private news channel in India over Pathankot terrorist attack coverage has received a lot of criticism from the journalistic fraternity. However when it comes to jeopardising National Security, the Government has the right to censor content shown on national television. The purpose of any censorship on the media should be pragmatic and not draconian in nature. Globally, the same set of parameters work for any censorship law, or body – Regulation of broadcast, print and all media services, creating acceptable code of conduct and ethics, ensuring complaint and feedback mechanism are in place, monitoring of digital spaces etc. Censorship does not mean suppressing all that is happening in the political arena, or the security arena or any arena for that matter. It simply means doing away with any kind of “Breaking News and Exclusives Phenomenon” which could create chaos and insecurity endangering National security. Whether it is an autocratic regime or a democratic establishment the currents and undercurrents in the media landscape are almost the same.

Have the Western Powers Decided to give up Afghanistan to the Taliban?

By EN Rammohan
08 Nov , 2016

I have been following the situation in Afghanistan for the last many years and I have written papers on the developing situation in Afghanistan from time to time. For the last few years, I had an uneasy feeling that the Western powers were going to concede the ground situation in Afghanistan to the Taliban. This feeling was confirmed after the surprise attack on Kunduz by the Taliban a year ago, when they overran the town. I think, that was a turning point, when the local people, who did not want an extremist group like the Taliban ruling them, lost confidence that the government could protect them.

Pakistan’s role in the Afghan Insurgency.

It is not that the West has reduced the aid to the Afghan Government. The Afghan Government has received one of the highest amounts of foreign assistance per capita on a par with the West Bank, Gaza and Liberia. The United States alone has spent five hundred billion dollars on its Afghanistan mission since 2002, most of it on military operations. About a fifth of this amount — one hundred and thirteen million dollars was on reconstruction. Yet, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world — more than ten million people live below the poverty line and three quarters of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.

In the beginning when operations started against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, they fled in disarray. Thousands of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters surrendered in Northern Afghanistan. They had lost the support of the local population. All of them fled to Pakistan and there, they were allowed to regroup and the Pakistan Army trained the young Afghan men, in how to make pressure cooker bombs, filled with ball bearings and suicide belts and later truck bombs and sent them back to Afghanistan by the hundreds.

Can Shaking Hands With ‘Butchers’ Bring Peace To Afghanistan? – OpEd

By Chayanika Saxena* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

In the background of flaring violence and spiralling insecurity, peace in Afghanistan continues to be an elusive desire. However far it might appear from the reach of a country that has been at the centre of imperialist (Tsarist Russia and Imperial Britain), ideological (Communist USSR and Capitalist US) and regional (India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and China) ‘great games’, peace is a desire harboured by the common man and woman in Afghanistan nevertheless.

The recent signing of the peace deal between the National Unity Government of Afghanistan and the militant organization, Hezb-e-Islami (Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) (HIG) has been touted as country’s first step towards peace. However, many would like to disagree with the ring that has been given to this deal by the government and its (increasingly weary) international patrons. The people of Afghanistan have registered their protest against the deal which the government and the country stand to gain less from. Instead, it is being seen as a ‘sellout’; one that has given exceedingly high privileges (and amnesty) to ‘the butcher of Kabul’ and his coterie. Yes, that is what Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of HIG is called. Or, as the alternative goes, ‘Rocketyaar’ for the sheer number of rockets he had sent raining down on Kabul in the bid to capture it between 1992 and 1996.

The deal is being addressed as a ‘precedent setter’, however exactly what kind of ‘precedent’ it is supposed to set is yet to become clear. It needs to be considered that HIG was (is?) a relatively small militant organization, incomparable to the resources, strength and even the might Taliban enjoys. In this light, a peace deal with HIG might not create the desired domino effect. On the contrary, it has managed to miff the Taliban further which has declared the peace deal an ‘act of treachery’ to the ‘cause of jihad’. An unwanted precedent it has set, at least according to the people of Afghanistan, is that even the most heinous of atrocities and their perpetrators can be let off the hook.

Pakistan-Russia Joint Military Exercise Suggests New Windows Of Opportunities – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

The diplomatic and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russian Federation were first developed on May 1, 1948.

History has witnessed that the relationship between Pakistan and Soviet Union, and then with Russia, has been marked by many ups and downs. In the past, there were numerous disturbing issues that even for some time divided both the countries, but, a true diplomatic relationship has always been preferred because of the geographical proximity, historical linkages and common developmental interests in Asia. The recent initiative of Joint Pakistan-Russia Military Exercises is a new brick in the wall to strengthen the relations a bit more.

From the early years (1948 to the late 1950s), relations between the two countries were affable and of responsive nature. Nevertheless, due to some conflicting issues the ties between both the countries took a u-turn and deteriorated. However, in 1965 after President Mohammad Ayub Khan made numerous efforts relations between the two became warm again. Furthermore, in the mid-1970s Pakistan–Soviet ties improved and Mr. Bhutto influenced the then Soviet regime to establish steel mills in Pakistan and invest billions of dollars. Cultural, economic and trade ties were developed immensely between the two.

Pakistan was the first country to recognize Russia as a successor of the Soviet Union in the wake of the disintegration of the USSR. Nevertheless, economic and political ties were somewhat cold during the 1990s because of the internal issues of both the countries — Russia was busy in reshaping and managing its economic and political issues and Pakistan was also suffering from many problems including economic, political and social.

Terrorism In Pakistan And South Asia – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

Pakistan is one of the worst victims of terrorism perpetrated by religious extremist groups claiming their adherence to what they call “pure” Islam. According to Global Terrorism Index the top 5 countries affected by terrorism include Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria accounting for 78 percent of global terrorism related deaths in 2015.

In fact, Pakistan is paying the price of fighting the US’ proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The madrasas established in Pakistan during 1980s for indoctrination of Afghan refugees to fight a ‘holy war’ against the ‘Soviet infidels’ who had started ruling the country through their puppets in Kabul have played a very important role in developing a cult of romanticized violence in Pak-Afghan region. The cult of gun and suicide bombings has significantly marginalized a vibrant progressive community in Pakistan and the country is on the verge of virtual collapse thanks to a sinister nexus between the ruling elite in the army and political circle on the one hand and the religious zealots on the other.

It is not only in Pakistan alone, but the rise of religious extremism in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar poses a real threat to minorities inhabiting these countries is a matter of concern for all peace-loving people of this region. It seems that if effective counter narratives to the religious extremist forces are not developed and strengthened, the region will become a hot bed of terrorism and violence resembling today’s Middle East. We should remember that the globalization has not only made the export of goods and services very easy, but it has also made it easier to export ideas and narratives, problems and grievances. Therefore, an ideology of hate and bloodshed near ones borders must ring an alarm bell for all.

The reign of terror unleashed in India by the self-declared cow protectors and other rightist groups, horrible attacks on minorities and independent bloggers in Bangladesh, the genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar by Buddhist extremists are all examples of marking the rise of the ‘Majoritarian Right’ in South Asia.

India Will Have To Fight Battle Against Pakistan-Backed Terror Alone – OpEd

By Gaurav Dixit* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

Ideological obligations had enormous impact on the foreign policy of many countries during the Cold War era and maintain their impact even today in some countries. It has been true for many countries, including Pakistan, which was born out of an ideology of the two-nation theory.

Underneath the excessive depth of impact ideological politics have on Pakistan’s policy lay the ideological superstructure of Islam and tendency to support Islamic militants which are perennial determinant of its policies. The Pakistan state has all the incentive to back terrorist groups acting against India as it serves a broader range of objectives — including domestic and ideological as well as international.

Pakistan’s identity, its existence and its survival are linked to India. An ideological nation, born on the idea of Islam, it sees India as an existential threat. Pakistan, South Asia expert Aparna Pande says, needs to threaten India and feel threatened by it to maintain its national identity. India has to remain the enemy — and Kashmir must continue to be the casus belli to mobilise Pakistani nationalism.

Its national security imperative is to bleed India through a thousand cuts.

China: Government Tightens Already Repressive Internet Restrictions

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The Chinese government is set to adopt the Cybersecurity Law, a regressive measure that strengthens censorship, surveillance, and other controls over the internet, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Nov.7. China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee was expected to pass the law by the end of its Oct. 31-Nov. 7 session.

“Despite widespread international concern from corporations and rights advocates for more than a year, Chinese authorities pressed ahead with this restrictive law without making meaningful changes,” said Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China Director. “The already heavily censored internet in China needs more freedom, not less.”

While many of these measures are not new, most were previously only informally applied or defined in lower-level regulation. Elevating these powers in the Cybersecurity Law sends a signal that the government may enforce the requirements more strictly, leaving less leeway for tech companies to avoid implementation.

The Chinese government has a long record of tightly controlling online speech through censorship, harsh punishments, and the use of restrictive technologies. But internet control has reached new heights since President Xi Jinping assumed power in March 2013.

How The Next U.S. President Can Contain China In Cyberspace

OCT 31, 2016 

How The Next U.S. President Can Contain China In Cyberspace

This piece will appear in the Winter 2016 issue of the Journal of International Affairs. 

The next president should keep the pressure on China, but that requires following the Obama administration playbook. 

When transition planning gets underway in earnest this fall, one of the hardest memos to write will be the outbrief from the current National Security Council (NSC) team on what to do about China’s ongoing campaign of cyber espionage targeting the intellectual property of U.S. companies. While long a focus of both the president’s cyber and China teams, there is little chance that in the coming months the issue is going to be brought to any type of resolution. Instead, the next president will inherit a partially implemented plan that has produced positive results in the short term, but its long-term sustainability remains uncertain. He or she would be wise to follow the playbook left by the Obama administration, with a redoubled focus on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime.

Critics of the administration on this topic generally fall into two camps. One, summed up nicely by the title of a book by Peter Kiernan, is the Becoming China’s Bitch camp.[1] In this view, the United States is so dependent on China that the Chinese can do what they want and there is little Americans can do to stop them. They hold U.S. debt, Americans can’t manufacture anything without them, Chinese students are leaps and bounds smarter than American students, and there are millions more of them studying science and math. The Chinese are strategic, looking around the corner of history and shaping it in their interests. They are playing three-dimensional chess and President Obama has been playing checkers. They put the blame on what they would characterize as Obama’s willingness to “lead from behind.” They then quote Sun Tzu, reference Unrestricted Warfare, and drop the mic.[2]

Report: China's Military Capabilities Are Growing at a Shocking Speed

November 7, 2016 

China’s military is developing ships, submarines, aircraft, intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to become a global military power, according to a forthcoming congressional China commission report.

The late draft of the annual report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission contains a chapter on Beijing’s power projection development and warns that once fully developed, the weapons and forces could contribute to a regional conflict in places like the South China and East China seas.

“China is building military capabilities to deal with hostile air, surface, and subsurface operational environments in the ‘far seas,’” the report states, noting that the operations expand the focus beyond the two island chains off China’s eastern and southern coasts.

The new military capabilities will “expand or improve the ability of the People’s Liberation Army to conduct a range of externally focused operations, to include combat insertion, island landing operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, noncombatant evacuation operations, and peacekeeping missions,” states the report.

The report also warns that expanded military power projection capabilities could “also strengthen China’s traditional war-fighting capabilities against weaker neighbors.”

“Given its enhanced strategic lift capability, strengthened employment of special operations forces, increasing capabilities of surface vessels and aircraft, and more frequent and sophisticated experience operating abroad, China may also be more inclined to use force to protect its core interests,” the report says.

Deep Web: The ‘Dark’ Side Of Islamic State – Analysis

By Shahzeb Ali Rathore*
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The so-called Islamic State (IS) is the most innovative terrorist group the world has seen. In the backdrop of its loss on the ground, IS is expanding its cyber capabilities to conduct more cyber-attacks and hacking. This and its migration into the ‘darknet’ will make IS more dangerous than before.

Terrorist and non-state actors have used different modes and mediums to spread their message and communicate with their comrades. The dawn of the Internet has also provided such groups with unparalleled opportunities to establish communications and operational links that were not possible before. Starting from websites, terrorist groups moved to more interactive mediums like chatrooms and forums. It was social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter that truly revolutionised how militants, terrorists and non-state actors communicated with each other, recruited sympathisers and supporters and disseminated their propaganda.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) perfected the use of social media, which became the preferred source for the so-called ‘jihadists’ or ‘soldiers of the Caliphate’. In response, tech companies have been compelled to take down Facebook and Twitter accounts affiliated with IS. The unintended cost of this policy is that supporters, sympathisers and members of jihadist groups have moved into the deep web and the darknet.
What is Deep Web and Darknet?

ISIS Can be Contained

Containment would place the burden of statehood on ISIS—forcing it to either moderate itself or risk implosion from within.

Two years in, the Obama administration’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been criticized for its overall failure to articulate an ideal end state, especially for Syria. Despite a kill-ratio of “15,000-to-1,” tactical gains have not translated into strategic success. Critics contend that current efforts to defeat ISIS are unsustainable and ill-conceived given the half-measures employed. Yet, the more salient but neglected issue is what happens after the group’s demise. Even if ISIS is defeated, the cost of stabilizing former ISIS-controlled areas promises to outweigh the current commitment to destroy the group both in blood and treasure.

Indeed, in a region rife with sectarian conflict and poor governance, the rise of ISIS is a manifestation of state-failure in Syria and Iraq. This reality presents policymakers with a stark dilemma. Dislodging ISIS from Syria would only reopen a power vacuum that could possibly be filled by worse alternatives, but vacillating on ISIS would result in the caliphate's institutions becoming more entrenched and a rogue state more likely. With the growing certainty of Mosul’s liberation, the world optimistically anticipates Raqqa to be next.

But can Raqqa be the second Mosul? Given the complexity of the Syrian conflict, it is all the more necessary to reevaluate this strategy of annihilation which has dominated the policy discourse. Instead, a strategy of containment would seek to contest the fundamental nature of ISIS’ worldview by throwing down the gauntlet of de facto (but not de jure) statehood. Paralleling George Kennan’s 1947 formulation, containing ISIS in the Middle East today would recognize the multi-generational nature of this conflict and patiently maintain the territorial status quo against the group. Contra the preferred goal of driving ISIS out of Raqqa, containment challenges the group’s ideology by permitting it to run its full course and be found wanting in its areas of control. Two pathways are possible under this strategy. Licking its battle wounds, ISIS would either seek to re-consolidate its territorial control and moderate itself, or it would, in its revolutionary fervor, continue the struggle, thereby putting it at risk of implosion.

NATO Needs Realistic Goals Toward Russia

November 08, 2016

The next U.S. administration needs to recognize that the lack of consensus in Europe vis-à-vis Russia remains a key obstacle to crafting a workable strategy.

These days, Europe is a place where uncertainty seems to be the norm. Regional differences over how to deal with Russia are fast becoming enduring rifts, with fissures emerging across Europe’s political map. While this fragmentation could be blamed in part on the renationalization of politics across the continent, the most potent external factor is the resurgence of Russia and Europe’s inability to reach a consensus on how to respond to Moscow’s ambitions.

Russia’s pressure along NATO’s Eastern flank has generated different threat perceptions across Europe, and it continues to test the limits of allied solidarity. NATO’s response has so far addressed only partly the military dimension of this challenge, and absent a larger strategy, the current regime of rotational exercises and deployments may prove to be a temporary fix.

Europe’s internal divisions over how to respond to Russia’s challenge have stoked national resentments and reawakened historical narratives thought by many to be a thing of the past. This is bad news for NATO, for if this trend accelerates, there is a risk that the larger commitment to collective defense will be called into question.

So far, the debate over how to deal with Russia has not moved beyond the immediate need to augment deterrence and strengthen NATO defenses, and even this has been constrained by competing priorities and limited resources. NATO has not fully articulated the political dimension of its Russia strategy, for condemnations and expressions of outrage do not make it any more likely for Russia to return Crimea, which it annexed in March 2014, to Ukraine or terminate its operations in Syria.

Education In India: Skill Development Is The Key – Analysis

By Sudip Bhattacharyya* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

According to Hindu philosophy, everyone is born with the duty and obligation of ‘Pitririn’, ‘Rishirin’ and ‘Devarin’. The first means obligation to the family and ancestry, the second means obligation to the heritage and tradition and the last, formulated in modern terms, will boil down to obligation to the environment. The overall obligation is to repay more than what one has got so that the family, the heritage and the environment get more rich. And to be able to repay adequately, individuals need to be imparted required education and skill.

To the Western educated, the undertaking of education is necessary in a society to make a person productive so as to be useful to society and thereby earn his or her livelihood.

True education is one that is experienced, tasted and digested so that it becomes one with the blood, and not an external establishment. The central purpose of all education is that the nation as a whole should become self-sufficient in clear thinking and appropriate skills.

Most definitions of education essentially speak of building of character comprising sincerity, honesty and integrity and then acquiring skill in order to earn livelihood. It is really the parental education that can teach and help character-building whereas the institutional education does skill building. Responsibility towards the state and the nature are to be learnt in both the platforms.

‘Realists’ On Russia – Analysis

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

In the US, the establishment Foreign Policy.com (FP) isn’t as realist geared as its establishment counterpart The National Interest, which is affiliated with the Center For The National Interest (CFTNI).

The Thomas Graham-Matthew Rojansky October 13 FP article “America’s Russia Policy Has Failed“, is a prime example of US foreign policy establishment articulated realism. Ideally, realists don’t engage in hypocritically negative and inaccurate characterizations, that can be easily thrown back at the other party to an issue.

In their FP article, Rojansky and Graham highlight Russia as “undemocratic” and characterize “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine…”, while sidestepping the cavalier Western foreign policy establishment attitude towards the overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, followed by a series of anti-Russian acts, that are opposed by a sizeable number on the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. (On a comparative point, imagine FP accepting an article, that wrote of US aggression against Yugoslavia.)

The US government’s support for regimes less democratic than Russia puts into question the emphasis of portraying Russia as being undemocratic. For the better, (in terms of overall human rights) post-Soviet Russia isn’t the Soviet Union or Saudi Arabia. The democratic USA sees a mass media that regularly gives negatively inaccurate impressions of Russia. Those opposing that reality are subject to being caricatured and kept out of high profile situations.

Water scarcity Liquidity crisis

As water becomes ever more scant the world needs to conserve it, use it more efficiently and establish clear rights over who owns the stuff Nov 5th 2016 

“NOTHING is more useful than water,” observed Adam Smith, but “scarcely anything can be had in exchange for it.” The father of free-market economics noted this paradox in 18th-century Scotland, as rain-sodden and damp then as it is today. Where water is in ample supply his words still hold true. But around the world billions of people already struggle during dry seasons. Drought and deluge are a costly threat in many countries. If water is not managed better, today’s crisis will become a catastrophe. By the middle of the century more than half of the planet will live in areas of “water stress”, where supplies cannot sustainably meet demand. Lush pastures will turn to barren desert and millions will be forced to flee in search of fresh water.

Where water is available, when and in what condition matters hugely. About 97% of the water on earth is salty; the rest is replenished through seasonal rainfall or is stored in underground wells known as aquifers. Humans, who once settled where water was plentiful, are now inclined to shift around to places that are less well endowed, pulled by other economic forces. 

Climate change is making some parts of the planet much drier and others far wetter. As people get richer, they use more water. They also “consume” more of it, which means using it in such a way that it is not quickly returned to the source from which it was extracted. (For example, if it is lost through evaporation or turned into a tomato.) The big drivers of this are the world’s increased desire for grain, meat, manufactured goods and electricity. Crops, cows, power stations and factories all need lots of water.

Army assesses emerging tech to meet critical gaps

By: Mark Pomerleau
October 25, 2016

Part of the Army's planning to adapt to an increasingly contested and congested battle space involving a wide array of actors involves testing and evaluating how emerging technologies integrate with units. This was the thinking behind the Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA) 17.1, which began earlier this month.

Maj. Gen. Terry McKenrick, commander of the Army's Brigade Modernization Command, told C4ISRNET that AWA exercises seek to meet three key objectives or focuses — training for joint and multinational partners, improving interoperability with them, and continuing the assessment of concepts and capabilities for future forced development for the Army.

The exercise came out of the Network Integration Evaluations (NIE), which are focused on fielding and developing the mission command network out to the divisions and brigades across the Army over a number of years. McKenrick said the NIEs were somewhat of a restrictive environment as they don’t include joint or multinational partners given that their capabilities might be different and thus skew test results.

Understanding that the Army's joint deployments will always be relevant, McKenrick said they had to devise a training exercise with allies, in this case one focused more on innovation as opposed to integration, test and evaluation, as is the case with NIE. AWA, by contrast, will be examining innovative technologies and how they interoperate with units and partners in scenarios.

Army general: Don't just focus on 'the network'

By: Mark Pomerleau, 
November 2, 2016

The Army has been undertaking a significant effort focused on modernizing its information network, which provides a variety of services in the way of communication and online services, among others. The assistant program executive officer for operations, readiness and fielding at PEO C3T cautioned against taking a binary view of “the network.” 

“Let’s not talk just about 'the network,' " Gen. Karl Gingrich said, as the Army doesn’t view it as “the network.” 

Speaking during a panel discussion at the annual MilCom conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday, Gingrich said the vision for PEO C3T is dominance through seamless mission command. By solely focusing on the network, it becomes a binary discussion — it’s either the network or not the network; the network’s on or the network’s up — he said, calling this a simplistic view. 

His shop ensures commanders at all echelons on the operational or tactical level all the way down to the squad leader have the ability to seamlessly execute mission command, he said, whether in involves air-ground, satellite-based terrestrial, voice or data. 

Gingrich said this is a joint effort and joint challenge, explaining that his team works tirelessly with the joint community to partner on numerous programs. 

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

November 2, 2016 

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

The Army's taking notice of the changing operational landscapes emerging. Part of this recognition involves the new push toward a multi-domain battle concept, one that recognizes the force must move beyond its traditional air-land battle to fight in air, land, littoral space and cyberspace.

This notion and recognition is where Army’s top leadership believes warfare is headed, William Lasher, deputy chief of staff, G6, Army Forces Command, said during a panel at the annual MILCOM conference in Baltimore Nov. 2. Lasher was referencing the rollout of the new battle concept at the annual AUSA conference in October. Multi-domain battle is substantially more complicated than air-land battle, he said.

The Army previously took steps toward such a construct as it recognized the need to build cyber capacity, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commanding general of the Cyber Center of Excellence and commanding general at Fort Gordon, said at the same panel. The cyber forces provide organic cyber capabilities to enhance unified land operations.

Lasher explained that in the future adversaries will intentionally and frequently try to take down Army networks as an asymmetric means to undermine combat power. “We’re watching our adversaries do this in other areas,” he said.

The Dark Web isn’t all dark

NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Researchers who combed through the Dark Web, a portion of the internet masked by anonymizing software, found that a majority of the content there is legal. 

While the so-called Dark Web is often characterized as the digital domain for drug bazaars and illegal black markets, a new study indicates the majority of content available on this hidden portion of the internet is legal.

An analysis from from cybersecurity firm Terbium Labs that monitors Dark Web sites for stolen intellectual property or customer's personal data found that much of the Dark Web consists of ordinary sites, including graphic design services, personal blog posts, and Scandinavian political parties.

While criminals do take advantage of the Dark Web's cloak of anonymity, the study underscores its value for people and organizations that want to communicate without the risk of monitoring by government agencies on the open web.

The most commonly used tool for accessing Dark Web sites is the Tor anonymous web browser, which masks users' specific internet protocol addresses to hide their identity. Many of the hidden sites that Terbium analyzed aren't any less legal than destinations on the open web, which is much larger than the Tor network. 

According to the Tor Project, the nonprofit that manages the network, there are roughly 60,000 active Tor hidden services (or websites and chat services available only through the anonymous browser) as of Nov. 1. Terbium Labs analyzed 400 randomly chosen sites in its survey.

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A Personal Reflection on Introducing Design to the U.S. Army

Teaching Systemic Design at the School of Advanced Military Studies in 2010, Kansas, Ft. Leavenworth.

In this blog, I explain how I accidentally became involved in a major transformation in U.S. military thinking, and reflect on some lessons from my experience.

This is a preprint of an article that will appear in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies.
The Australian Army: Complexity Theory and Adaptive Campaigning

Every two years, the Chief of Army Exercise convenes the Australian Army’s Generals for professional deliberation. In 2006, there were three Exercise themes: mission command, a systems approach to problem solving, and the land-air partnership. The organizers of the Exercise, led by Colonel Damian Cantwell and Lieutenant Colonel David Wainwright, were also the authors of Adaptive Campaigning. Adaptive Campaigning was the Australian Army’s new capstone doctrine, which drew on insights from complex adaptive systems theory to address the challenges of complex warfighting.

As a defence scientist working deep in a defence research lab in Edinburgh, South Australia, receiving one of only three invitations to civilians to attend the Exercise was a rare opportunity to observe and interact with the top brass. At the time, I was leading a basic research project on complex adaptive systems for defence, while also completing my PhD thesis on a multidisciplinary approach to complex systems design. My Research Leader Anne-Marie Grisogono and I had contributed to the conceptual development of Adaptive Campaigning, and we were asked to help run a workshop on Systems Thinking.


NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Mike Grimm’s first startup had just failed. He’d just blown his entire annual budget in a single day. His sole investor wasn’t happy.

Mike was a mid-level manager in the army, a major. He was responsible for planning and resourcing training events for army forces stationed in Hawaii. His “investor” was his boss, the commander of all army forces in the state. Mike’s “startup” was really an idea.

It was 1977. A spate of terrorist attacks and hostage crises had rocked the world over the past several years. Like most innovators, Mike’s idea was borne of a problem — one that he had the imagination to solve. He was a helicopter pilot, yet Mike could see that helicopters weren’t relevant to this new type of conflict. Terrorist attacks and hostage crises unfolded over mere hours, often on far-flung corners of the globe. Helicopters were slow and carried little fuel, making it impossible for them to reach a remote crisis before it was too late.

Mike wanted to make helicopters relevant again, by training crews to load their helicopters on airplanes for transport to distant locales, where they would rapidly unload, reorient themselves, and fly ground troops to conduct precise rescue missions.

With the fearless aplomb of of an entrepreneur, Mike planned a complex, unprecedented training event to demonstrate his concept — a dramatic, simulated hostage rescue on another of Hawaii’s islands. He pitched his idea to disparate groups, convincing an Air Force squadron to provide transport airplanes and a local infantry unit to act as the rescuers. With short notice, the helicopter crews and rescue force would be alerted to the breaking “crisis.” With minimal time to plan, the helicopters, crews, and rescue force would load onto transport aircraft and fly to an airfield on the embattled island. There, they would quickly unload, reorganize with the ground troops on the helicopters, and fly to the hostages’ remote location for the thrilling rescue.

How Effective is Your Leadership Narrative?

By: Drew Steadman
NOVEMBER 13, 2015

This guest post is from Drew Steadman, who created the top online resource for military professionals to develop their leadership skills. Read more from Drew at The Military Leader or follow him on Twitter @mil_Leader

What methods are best for inspiring the team after failure?

How long are you willing to wait for information after an initial report?

How long should a leader wait before jumping in to resolve internal team conflict?

What kind of failure would cause you to relieve a subordinate?

When is micromanagement appropriate?

And one more question:

How did you meet your spouse?

The last question should be much easier to answer. Why is that? It’s not like the other questions aren’t important. They’re just a bit nebulous, contextual, and abstract…and you probably don’t think about them very often.

The story of meeting your spouse, however, is clear, memorable, and specific. You lived the experience with anticipation and emotion permanency, recounting the story many times since. You know how to tell that story, complete with suspense and inflection to make it enjoyable. It’s a familiar narrative.

How Army's Archaic Evaluation System is Hurting the Service

November 2, 2016

There is an old saying that generals prepare for the last war they fought.

For the past decade and a half, the U.S. has been fighting a war in the Middle East against a lesser adversary, an enemy that in no way parallels the United States’ military might.

As cyber becomes more prominent and Russia flexes its muscles in Europe, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and senior military leaders realize the enemy is changing, which is why they are signaling for a shift in the talent makeup in the military.

The Army’s guidance given to promotion boards in 2016 reflected Carter’s call for a different kind of soldier; one that is creative and has advanced civilian degrees and broad experiences.

In that case, it would seem that Capt. Jim Perkins, executive director of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, an innovation engine of emerging defense leaders, would be a shoe-in for promotion. Perkins, also earned his M.B.A. from Georgetown University while in the Army.

Not only is he a high achiever, but he’s willing to pass up a much higher salary in the private sector in order to serve the public good.

As part of Federal News Radio’s special report The Army is Shortchanging its Future Force, Perkins said his experience is one example of how the Army is forcing out talented, promising and innovative officers from its ranks.

There are systemic and cultural issues keeping Perkins and his peers from being promoted.

Developing a Learning Institution: Entrenched Culture, Building the Foundation, and Asking the Right Questions

November 2, 2016

Developing a Learning Institution: Entrenched Culture, Building the Foundation, and Asking the Right Questions


Contemporary management literature espouses the need for an organization to be agile, adaptable, and flexible. Many organizations are trying to figure out how to best adapt to become the coveted learning institution that can learn from its mistakes and continually improve in the face of changes in the operating environment. I think the answer lies in applying the principles that make a military successful in defeating a counterinsurgency to the business environment. Successful counterinsurgency campaigns require that a military becomes a learning institution, which means the same methods used by militaries to successfully combat a counterinsurgency can be replicated (with some modifications specific to the business environment) in any organization. Before addressing the principles of counterinsurgency, it is first necessary to understand the challenges associated with shifting an organization into a learning institution. The biggest hurdle in the development of a learning organization is an entrenched culture. Once one understands what leads to an entrenched culture one can then work on the application of counterinsurgency principles to improve his/her organization and turn it into a learning institution.

Entrenched culture is well known to many leaders and is something that exists in every organization. Entrenched culture acts as a roadblock in the face of an attempt at organizational change. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric captures the idea of an entrenched culture as follows:

In big companies calls for change are often greeted with a nice head fake. People nod at your presentations and pleasantly agree that, given all the data, it sure looks like change is necessary. Then they go back to doing everything they always did. If the company has been through enough change programs, employees consider you like gas pains. You’ll go away if they just wait long enough.[i]