22 March 2017

Drone Proliferation and the Use of Force: An Experimental Approach

By Michael C Horowitz, Paul Scharre and Ben FitzGerald

Introduction

As more countries acquire drones, will their widespread availability lead to greater military adventurism and conflict? Will countries be more willing to put a drone in harm’s way? If so, how will other nations respond? Would they be more willing to shoot down a drone than a human-inhabited aircraft? And if they did, are those incidents likely to escalate?

To help answer these questions, in 2016 the Center for a New American Security conducted a survey experiment to better understand how experts and the general public viewed the use of force with drones. The survey evaluated expert and public attitudes about the willingness to use force in three scenarios: (1) deploying an aircraft into a contested area; (2) shooting down another country’s aircraft in a contested area; and (3) escalating in response to one’s own aircraft being shot down. For each scenario, half of the survey respondents read questions where a drone was used and half of the survey respondents read questions where a human-inhabited aircraft was used.

This experimental design was intended to better understand how the introduction of drones into militaries’ arsenals might change expert and public attitudes about the use of force relative to human-inhabited aircraft. Given the continuing integration of robotics into national militaries, as well as the proliferation of drones, this is a critical question for global politics. Moreover, while several studie sapproach the topic by looking at public opinion in the United States, we know less about how communities of foreign policy experts view drones.

We’ve attacked yet another nation. How long until somebody hits back?



Summary: We feel big and bold, waging one-sided cyber attacks on other nations. Without warning. Shredding US and international law, including UN treaties signed and approved by the Senate. We are creating the precedents for this new form of war. Eventually we will become a target, vulnerable because of our extraordinary reliance on high-tech system. Probably we will whine afterwards about the unfairness of others doing to us as we did to them. (First of two posts today. A second on today’s job report will appear soon.)

First there was Stuxnet, attacking Iran’s legal nuclear program (despite claims, we have not shown that they were enriching uranium in violation of their obligations). Now we learn about America’s secret cyberwar against North Korean’s missile program.

“Three years ago, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea’s missile program in hopes of sabotaging test launches in their opening seconds.

“Soon a large number of the North’s military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea. Advocates of such efforts say they believe that targeted attacks have given American antimissile defenses a new edge and delayed by several years the day when North Korea will be able to threaten American cities with nuclear weapons launched atop intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Why the DOD is trying to focus more on software, big data


Samantha Ehlinger

‎The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office is focusing more on software than hardware, and trying to pivot the department to becoming a data-driven organization, SCO Director Will Roper said Monday at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. 

In a wide-ranging conversation about his office’s work and the future of warfare, Roper answered a question around how to handle the department’s newest weapons potentially falling in the hands of the Islamic State.

“We need to do a better job in the Defense Department of not over-designing things so that we can’t lose them,” Roper said. 

He said the DOD is good at designing exquisite systems, which use the best of government technology, but when it comes to autonomous weapons the department is trying to stay within the realm of commercial technology. While it may not be as high-performing as something highly-customized and built in-house, if its left behind on the battlefield there is not as much worry it could be turned on the U.S. 

Instead of focusing on hardware, then, SCO focuses on investing in the software underlying those commercial technologies that allows systems to collaborate, Roper said. And software, he said, is easier to protect than hardware.

How Intelligent Drones Are Shaping the Future of Warfare


By Benjamin Powers

The drones fell out of the sky over China Lake, California, like a colony of bats fleeing a cave in the night. Over 100 of them dropped from the bellies of three Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, their sharp angles cutting across the clear blue sky. As they encircled their target, the mechanical whir of their flight sounded like screaming. 

This was the world's largest micro-drone swarm test. Conducted in October 2016 by the Department of Defense's Strategic Capabilities Office and the Navy's Air Systems Command, the test was the latest step in what could be termed a swarm-drone arms race. China had previously been ahead when they tested a swarm of 67 drones flying together – calling their technology the "top in the world" – but with the latest test of 103 drones, the United States was once again ahead.What made this test intriguing, however, was the drones themselves – and what they might mean for the future of warfare. 

Drones have come a long way from their initial uses for surveillance. On February 4th, 2002, in the Paktia province of Afghanistan near the city of Khost, the CIA used an unmanned Predator drone in a strike for the first time. The target was Osama bin Laden. Though he turned out not to be there, the strike killed three men nonetheless. The CIA had used drones for surveillance before, but not in military operations, and not to kill. What had once merely been a flying camera in the sky was now weaponized.

Rumiyah: Jihadist Propaganda and Information Warfare in Cyberspace

By Remy Mahzam

Introduction

Recognising that wars are no longer confined to the physical battlefields, the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has since 2014 embarked on an aggressive propaganda campaign in cyberspace through the release of various online publications like Dabiq (discontinued since August 2016), Amaq News, Al-Naba and Rumiyah. Since its debut in September 2016, Rumiyah (‘Rome’ in Arabic), which draws its title from a Prophetic tradition foretelling the fall of the West, is a strategic distraction from the realities on the ground characterised by the considerable loss of territory and revenue, heavy casualties and low morale among fighters. The launch of Rumiyah came precisely at a time when the rhetoric to justify the final battle in Syria seemed counter-intuitive and signalled a strategic shift in IS’ modus operandi, with the battle against its enemies going not only beyond the Middle East but also into the realm of the digital.

The New Face of Terrorism Propaganda

In terms of substance, Rumiyah is not dissimilar to its predecessor Dabiq or other jihadist publications such as Al-Qaeda’s Inspire or Jabhat Al-Nusra’s Al-Risalah. It is however likely to be more influential in the realm of jihadist propaganda given its wider reach. Translated into 10 languages (English, Bahasa, Bosnian, French, German, Kurdish, Pashto, Russian, Turkish and Uyghur), IS’ narratives could easily be localised and tailored to fit the readership and dynamics of particular communities in the respective regions, from the Middle East to Xinjiang and Southeast Asia. Its availability in multi-lingual forms is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of adherents across the world compared to previous IS foreign language publications, like the Russian language Исtок (Istok), Turkish language Konstantiniyye, French language Dar Al Islam and Bahasa language Al-Fatihin which only catered to a specific demographic or locality.

The Graveyard of Empires and Big Data

BY SHARON WEINBERGER

The only tiki bar in eastern Afghanistan had an unusual payment program. A sign inside read simply, “If you supply data, you will get beer.” The idea was that anyone — or any foreigner, because Afghans were not allowed — could upload data on a one-terabyte hard drive kept at the bar, located in the Taj Mahal Guest House in Jalalabad. In exchange, they would get free beer courtesy of the Synergy Strike Force, the informal name of the American civilians who ran the establishment.

Patrons could contribute any sort of data — maps, PowerPoint slides, videos, or photographs. They could also copy data from the drive. The “Beer for Data” program, as the exchange was called, was about merging data from humanitarian workers, private security contractors, the military, and anyone else willing to contribute. The Synergy Strike Force was not a military unit, a government division, or even a private company; it was the self-chosen name of the odd assortment of Westerners who worked — or in some cases volunteered — on the development projects run out of the guest house.

The Synergy Strike Force’s Beer for Data exchange was a pure embodiment of the techno-utopian dream of free information and citizen empowerment that had emerged in recent years from the hacker community. Only no one would have guessed that this utopia was being created in the chaos of Afghanistan, let alone in Jalalabad, a city that had once been home to Osama bin Laden. Or even more unlikely, that the Synergy Strike Force would soon attract the attention of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

21 March 2017

** Why India must avoid falling into China's trap over disputed territory

By KANWAL SIBAL

Dai Bingguo id the former Special Representative for boundary talks with India

In characteristic Chinese subterfuge diplomacy, Dai Bingguo, the former Special Representative (SR) for boundary talks with India, in an interview with a Chinese magazine, holds India responsible for the existing impasse in negotiations.

'If the Indian side takes care of China's concerns in the eastern sector of their border, the Chinese side will address India's concerns elsewhere', he has said.

According to him, 'The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China's Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction.'

Jurisdiction

He claims, 'Even British colonialists who drew the illegal McMahon Line respected China's jurisdiction over Tawang and admitted that Tawang was part of China's Tibet'. 

He believes India is not acceding to China's 'reasonable requests' on border settlement.

By demanding that India cede Tawang, Dai Bingguo is repudiating Article VII of the 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of India-China Boundary Question.

This cardinal provision states, 'In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.'

** To Kill an Ideology


A few weeks ago I wrote about how uncannily similar today's jihadists are to the anarchists who came a century before them. At the time I focused on the resemblance between the two groups' ideologies, global reach and aspirations, propaganda, appeal to grassroots followers, and use of new technology to further their agendas. But as I've had a chance to reflect on the topic in the weeks since, I've come to realize that their likenesses don't end there.

Celebrity Endorsement

For one, both types of terrorists rely on celebrity ideologues to recruit and radicalize new followers. Consider the modern jihadist movement, which has trotted out a procession of thought leaders to fill its ranks and fundraise. Figures from Abdullah Azzam and Omar Abdul-Rahman, known as the Blind Sheikh, to Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have traveled the world to promote their particular brands of Islam. These men have gained a level of influence rivaling that of their anarchist predecessors. Celebrity figures such as France's Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Russians like Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman and Mikhail Bakunin were instrumental in spreading anarchism throughout their regions and the globe. And they, like today's jihadists, inspired and sometimes plotted countless attacks.

** Red China Goes Green


Forecast

Because stricter environmental policies align with its strategic goals, Beijing may be able to accelerate the pace of its environmental reforms.

Enforcing environmental policies across the country's diverse regions, however, will continue to pose a challenge for Beijing as each province and municipality weighs the risks and rewards of compliance.

The central government will use its growing role in international climate change policy and renewable technology to reinforce its position as a world leader.

Analysis

China's economic growth over the past four decades has been staggering. The environmental damage it has caused is no less impressive.

China is dealing with widespread pollution problems, from thick smog in the northeast to contaminated water and soil throughout the country. But now a combination of domestic pressures and geopolitical strategy has put environmental issues at the top of the Chinese government's priorities. In the past three years, and particularly since the release of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2016, Beijing has started rolling out stricter environmental policies. The transition is hardly surprising, following decades of rapid industrialization and coinciding with the emergence of a new middle class and a shift in the Chinese economy. It will, however, be challenging. The country's vast territory and regional diversity make enforcing national laws at the local level an uphill battle. Even so, the strategic gains that stricter environmental policies promise — both domestically and internationally — could help Beijing speed the process along.

** Where the Fed Goes, Other Central Banks May Not Follow


It has been a busy couple of days for the world's central banks. Since the U.S. Federal Reserve made its decision to hike interest rates, rate announcements have followed from the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of England. This confluence of activity from most of the key guardians of the global economy provides a good opportunity to take stock of where things stand.

The Federal Reserve had telegraphed its intent to raise its benchmark rate well before Wednesday's announcement, so it came as no surprise. In the past few weeks, various Fed governors had conducted a coordinated speaking campaign to prepare the markets, and Friday's report showing strong U.S. jobs numbers removed its last impediment to action. With recent U.S. economic data generally robust, the Fed wants to give itself room to boost rates two or possibly even three more times during the year.

Although the dollar dropped in the wake of the announcement, the hike should buoy the currency in the medium term as the divergence between U.S. interest rates and those of its peers brings money flowing into the United States. Other central banks are thus faced with a choice: Do they track U.S. actions to protect their currencies, or do they stand pat and take their chances?

Yogi Adityanath May Be A Risky Choice For UP, But He Ticks Many Of The Right Boxes For BJP


R Jagannathan

It is a risky choice, but the BJP is guaranteed high visibility in the national media all the way to 2019.

And, of course, if Adityanath delivers on some of the development and law and order agenda by rejuvenating the state administration, that will be a bonus.

The election of Yogi Adityanath as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) choice to head Uttar Pradesh may be a risky one, given his firebrand Hindutva credentials, but he ticks all the right boxes when it comes to delivering on Narendra Modi’s 2019 agenda and the development expectations of the state’s electorate.

First, Adityanath is his own man, and also has the blessings of Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Modi and Shah have deviated from the past pattern of choosing safe hands to head states. Adityanath is no M L Khattar or Raghubar Das or Devendra Fadnavis, who will kowtow to the central leadership. His choice for the chief ministership signals a realisation by Modi and Shah that UP cannot fully be run from Delhi. They want someone who is popular in his own right and also critical to furthering the Modi re-election agenda in 2019.

Second, UP is not the kind of state that can be run by namby-pamby politicians. It needs a tough cookie, someone who can bash heads together to get both politicians and bureaucrats to deliver on the development agenda. In the first half of his tenure, Akhilesh Yadav allowed the goons and toughs of the Samajwadi Party (SP) to push him around, thus losing him the high moral ground. It was only after the shock defeat of 2014 that Akhilesh came into his own, but it was too late. Adityanath is not going to be a pushover for anyone from Day One, though he will obviously be working closely with the Prime Minister’s Office to get his state started on the development race.

Pak’s Gilgit move a new test for Modi?

K C Singh

Over the years, India has erred in not forcefully voicing the Gilgit-Baltistan issue in international forums.

A Pakistani minister set the proverbial cat amongst India’s foreign policy establishment by announcing that Pakistan was thinking of constitutional changes to make Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province. What are the implications of this new fracas?

Gilgit and Baltistan were given on a 60-year lease by the Maharaja of Kashmir to the British in 1935. This is incontrovertible, thus implying it was a part of the kingdom. When the British paramountcy lapsed on August 15, 1947 under the Indian Independence Act, states which till then had not acceded to India or Pakistan had full control of their territories revert to them. The Maharaja of Kashmir promptly appointed Brig. Ghansara Singh as governor of Gilgit. Following the accession by Maharaja Hari Singh to India on October 26, 1947 after Pakistani tribals and troops in disguise invaded Kashmir, two British officers, led by Maj. William Brown, reporting to British superiors still commanding the Pakistan Army, allowed if not abetted Gilgit Scouts under their command to surround the governor’s residence and on November 1 hoist the Pakistani flag at Gilgit. After obtaining reinforcements from Pakistan, they then marched on and annexed Skardu and Kargil by mid-1948.

Over the years, India has diplomatically erred in not forcefully voicing the Gilgit-Baltistan issue in international forums. Pakistan thus first turned both regions into agencies, and then in 1970 into Northern Areas Council. The current move is a third transmutation, now in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi espousing the cause of persecuted minorities in Pakistan, including indigenous Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan, in his Republic Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

THREAT FROM ISLAMIC STATE IS NEAR AND REAL

Hiranmay Karlekar 

The Bhopal-Ujjain train incident and the events that followed warrant attention on two counts. First, they speak about the nature and dimension of the IS threat. Second, India must move resolutely to neutralise the threat

The explosion in the Bhopal-Ujjain train, which injured 10 persons, on March 7, and the events following in its wake, merit attention. Carried out by a group of young men owing allegiance to the Islamic State’s (IS) Khorasan module, the incident warrants reflection on two aspects. The first is what the incident indicates about the nature and dimension of the threat India faces from this Islamist terrorist outfit. The second is the devising of a strategy to neutralise it.

The IS has been targeting India for some time. On May 19, 2016, it had launched a video campaign in which half-a-dozen or so Muslim youths from India, purportedly fighting for the organisation in Syria, threatened to launch a jihad against this country. Earlier, in an interview with the group’s online magazine Dabiq in April, 2016, Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif, “Amir of Khilafah in Bengal (read Bangladesh)”, had said that once the outfit had managed to build bases in Bangladesh, it would conduct raids on the eastern and western parts of India. Shaykh who, according to Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion sources, died after jumping off a five-story building in Ashulia, in Dhaka’s suburbs on October 8, 2016, had also said during the interview that Wilayat Khurasan being to India’s west, and Bangladesh to the east, a strong jihad base in Bangladesh would enable the IS to simultaneously launch guerrilla attacks in India from both directions. This, with the help of local Mujahideen, would create fear and chaos in the country.

IORA SUMMIT – INDIA’S MARITIME OPPORTUNITY

By C Uday Bhaskar

The first summit meeting of the 21-member Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) concluded on March 7 with the assembled leaders issuing an inspirational vision document entitled the Jakarta Concord. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not among the leaders who were in Jakarta though India was represented by the Vice President Hamid Ansari, a former career diplomat. The domestic political compulsion related to the five assembly elections that included India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh was evidently the higher priority and the results declared on March 11 have consolidated Modi’s political stature in an emphatic manner.

The Modi-led NDA II government will soon complete three years in office and over the next two years the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will consolidate its position as India’s most credible political party. With the kind of numbers that the ‘lotus’ (BJP's political symbol) has won in Uttar Pradesh, both houses of parliament will have a decisive BJP majority and this kind of parliamentary strength and political capital is unprecedented in India’s recent history.

On the foreign policy and security front there are many issues that merit Modi's attention in the last two years of his tenure. And the IORA Summit that Modi was unable to attend draws attention to the maritime window of opportunity that must be prioritized by India. The maritime domain has a distinctive relevance in the calculus of a nation’s comprehensive national power. Spanning the trade and economic bandwidth, a country’s maritime affinity and competence extends to the military and strategic areas of relevance.

Terrorism and Violence in Pakistan: Understanding their Mind


During last month, there were a series of terror attacks in Punjab, Khyber Paktunkhwa and Sindh, claiming more than 100 lives.

Print and Social media were full of opinions on what the problems are in Pakistan and how could they be addressed. This commentary focuses on how the Pakistanis perceive terrorism, violence and the fallouts. What do they consider as the major cause and what do they see as a possible solution?

Afghanistan and Pakistan border problems: A major cause

Most in Pakistan consider failure to address the Afghanistan issue as a primary problem for violence and terror inside Pakistan.

A section consider that Afghan policies of Pakistan and supporting militants in the past as a reason for the recent attacks. A section also question the efficacy of the National Action Plan A commentator wrote: “For decades- dating back to the Mujahideen – our (Pakistan) chief export to Afghanistan has been militancy. The Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, whether by neglect or more likely design, were low on our list of priorities. Yet we managed to summon up outrage over the leadership of TTP finding safe refuge in Afghanistan. As ye sow, so shall ye reap?”

Developing Special Operations Forces in China and Russia

WILL EDWARDS

When Syrian government forces retook the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS for the second time in early March, they had the assistance of one of the world’s elite special operations forces: Russia’s Special Operations Command (SSO). In coordination with Russian air power, the combined forces killed or wounded 1,000 ISIS militants and destroyed more than 150 vehicles, according to a Russian military leader.

The development of the SSO is part of a larger shift by Russia to modernize and professionalize its military, and it is not the only one of the United States’ global competitors doing so. China is also in the midst of its own military modernization program, and chief among its goals is a larger and more capable complement of special operations-capable forces.

Both Russia and China have observed the successes of the United States’ Special Operations Forces (SOF) and have sought to incorporate successful elements into their own mission needs and concepts of warfare. While many of the missions and capabilities overlap with those of U.S. SOF, neither country can yet field SOF forces who can operate as robustly or independently as those of the United States.

Letting NSG and Masood Azhar get in the way of Indo-China ties. Is it worth it?

MANOJ JOSHI

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar recently visited Beijing for what was billed as a new round of the India-China Strategic dialogue. Expectations that the talks would lead to a reset of the troubled India-China relations have been belied. Only a hardened optimist expected forward movement on the issues bedeviling their relations, especially India’s demand that China support its Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) membership and effort to designate Masood Azhar a terrorist under UN rules. And now, the Chinese have signalled that if India goes ahead with the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang, things could get much worse.

The reason why Sino-Indian relations are in a bad state has a lot to do with the way India conducts its foreign policy, rather than their much talked up geopolitical rivalry.

The Chinese perspective is apparent from the comment of a Chinese diplomat that India was “behaving like a kid in a candy store” in loudly clamouring for membership of the NSG. He had a point. India already has a waiver on civil nuclear trade since 2008. And in 2011, the NSG added a rule which will deny us the one thing we want—enrichment and reprocessing technologies. Is this hollow prize worth the price we are paying in derailing our relations with China?

Exclusive: Taiwan says Chinese military threat grows, U.S. regional strategy unclear


By J.R. Wu

China's accelerated military development and recent activity by its military aircraft and ships around Taiwan pose an increased threat to the self-ruled island, according to a Taiwanese government defense report draft reviewed by Reuters. 

The 2017 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) also highlights the uncertainty over the future strategic direction of the United States in the region, the impact of Japan flexing its military capabilities and "conflict crisis" potential in the disputed South China Sea. 

"The recent activity of Chinese jets and ships around Taiwan shows the continued rise in (China's) military threat capabilities," highlighting the importance of Taiwan's need to defend itself, the review will say. 

"In addition to posing a military threat to our country, it also has a negative impact on regional stability." 

The document is due to be presented to parliament on Thursday by Taiwan defense minister Feng Shih-kuan. The defense ministry had no comment on the report on Wednesday. 

New priorities for the European Union at 60


Sixty years ago, on March 25, 1957, the heads of government of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands met in Rome to sign the treaty establishing the European Economic Community, the forerunner of today’s European Union (EU). The document is explicit about its objectives: the preamble announces that the treaty will “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” and improve living and working conditions through “common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe.” 

This group expanded from six initial members to 28 countries with a combined population of more than 500 million and GDP of €15 trillion (exhibit). That makes the European Union the second-largest economic entity in the world after the United States, representing about one-fifth of global GDP. The customs union for the free circulation of goods that the accord set up now includes free movement of people, capital, and services. Living and working conditions have improved in ways the treaty signatories may not have imagined. The EU has also played an essential geopolitical role during its six decades, ensuring peace and stability among European neighbors that had spent previous centuries at war. And it has helped shore up young democracies in countries including Greece, Portugal, and Spain, as well as in the ten Eastern European nations that have joined since 2004. 

U.S. Security Hinges on Getting Foggy Bottom Back In the Game

James Stavridis

Admiral Stavridis was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

In military parlance, a "missing man" formation is a poignant aerial tribute to a fallen comrade. A group of jets come flying toward the crowd, and suddenly one of them shears off into the sunset, leaving a symbolic empty spot in the formation. It is a sad reminder of the value of those we lose. 

Today's State Department is in danger of becoming a missing man in the interagency formation. We need to move quickly to shore up this absolutely vital element of our national security. Storm clouds are gathering: a new Secretary with no diplomatic experience being obviously marginalized by the White House; massive budget-cut proposals; empty positions across the department, from top to bottom; little to no visible consultation on key diplomatic issues, from a one-China policy to a two-state solution in the Middle East; a growing tendency of global leaders to go to the White House instead of State; and a plethora of reports that Foggy Bottom is in the grips of low morale and true malaise. How dangerous is this state of affairs, and how can we correct it before it gets worse? 

Redesigning Strategy for Irregular War

PDF file 0.5 MB 
by Ben Connable

This working paper derives from an ongoing research effort to improve U.S. strategic design to defeat the Islamic State (IS), a hybrid insurgent-terrorist group that currently holds territory in Iraq and Syria, and has affiliates across the world. The current strategy to degrade, defeat, and destroy the Islamic State, and American strategies to succeed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, reveal serious flaws in the Western approach to strategic design: ends are unclear, yet it seems hard to envision clean and concise ending to such complex problems. Simple yet substantive modifications to terms and design processes can greatly improve the viability of long-term military campaigns targeting irregular, or hybrid adversaries. In this working paper I argue that selection of strategy should derive immediately from a policymaker's broader vision for the world and then a region, and only then to defeat a specific group like IS. I offer a simple yet practical interpretation of terms to facilitate this selection. The central argument in this working paper is that the American "ends, ways, and means" approach to military strategy should be modified to address complex irregular warfare problems like the one posed by IS. It is unrealistic to imagine irregular wars ending on clear, finite terms, so American strategist should stop trying to shoehorn irregular war planning into an ill-fitting ends, ways, and means paradigm designed for conventional war. Once ends, ways, and means are modified for irregular war, the U.S. and its allies should consider similar modifications to the strategic design process writ large, with the intent of improving military and governmental effectiveness, reducing costs, and avoiding the kind of political backlash that often undermines long-term military operations. To focus this argument, I offer changes within the context of the counter-IS strategy. Examples in this working paper center on IS and the Middle East. However, findings and recommendations are intended to have broader relevance.

Is Small Beautiful For The Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle?

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: The robotic war machines of the future are strangely cute. Here at the Association of the US Army winter conference, BAE Systems is showing off a 12-ton robot mini-tank that looks like a baby M1 Abrams. There’s serious lesson here which the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle effort is taking to heart. Automation, by replacing bulky humans with compact electronics, can make for smaller combat vehicles that are not only cheaper and more fuel-efficient, but harder to hit.

“The key to survival on the battlefield is not being seen,” said David Johnson, a leading scholar and former top advisor to the Chief of Army Staff. “If you saw the BAE autonomous tank… it is radically smaller than anything we have now, and smaller for a vehicle on the battlefield is a good thing.”

You don’t have to replace the entire crew to benefit, either. The Russians have long been obsessed with smaller tanks, to the point of having height limits for tank crewmen, and starting with their T-64 in the 1960s, they replaced the main gun’s human loader with a mechanical one, allowing for a smaller turret. (The M1’s designers didn’t do this because Cold War autoloaders were not only unreliable but slower than a well-trained human). Today, Russia’s new T-14 Armata tank has a completely automated turret, with the entire three-man crew in the heavily armored hull. The US Army tried a similar configuration with its cancelled Future Combat Systems, a program to build much lighter armored vehicles. BAE’s Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle mini-tank was also originally built for FCS.

AUSA: Open architecture and multi-domain battle

By: Mark Pomerleau

One of the key challenges in getting after solutions surrounding so-called multi-domain battle, as outlined by Army Training and Doctrine Command chief Gen. David Perkins, is that in years past the force would solve problems in their respective domains, creating a federated series of solutions. Later on, these systems would have to be strung together and modified for broader use.

One way to bridge this gap, while the military looks to “bake in” multi-domain and multi-functional systems from the start, as Perkins said, is employing open systems architectures.

“The idea behind an open systems architecture is to create opportunities where you don’t have stovepiped, proprietary systems that don’t allow for things to plug in,” said Daniel Verwiel, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “It’s very important for us to create an interface where someone can take a system and design an interface around the edge device.”

The military has been imploring industry to take an open architecture approach to afford greater flexibility in applying systems that can essentially plug and play regardless of the configuration.

Generals describe challenges, characteristics of a multi-domain battle

By: Mark Pomerleau

After 15 years of war in a permissive environment against a technologically inferior adversary, the U.S. military now stands at a crossroads.

So-called near-peer adversaries have observed the U.S. and are making investments in new technologies and concepts to disrupt the U.S. in future conflict. This combined with rapid technological innovations in the commercial sector such as cyber and small unmanned vehicles has the military questioning its operating procedures.

The armed forces are beginning to adopt a cross- or multi-domain approach on the battlefield. The Army is developing a multi-domain battle white paper — in concert with the Marine Corps — which has been the primary focus of the 2017 Global Force Symposium hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army in Huntsville, Alabama.

The multi-domain battle

Initially discussed at the annual fall AUSA gathering, Gen. David Perkins, commander of Training and Doctrine Command — flanked by members of the joint force during his March 13 panel discussion — unveiled the Army's effort to develop a multi-domain battle concept.

How Intelligent Drones Are Shaping the Future of Warfare

By Benjamin Powers

The drones fell out of the sky over China Lake, California, like a colony of bats fleeing a cave in the night. Over 100 of them dropped from the bellies of three Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, their sharp angles cutting across the clear blue sky. As they encircled their target, the mechanical whir of their flight sounded like screaming.

This was the world’s largest micro-drone swarm test. Conducted in October 2016 by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office and the Navy’s Air Systems Command, the test was the latest step in what could be termed a swarm-drone arms race. China had previously been ahead when they tested a swarm of 67 drones flying together – calling their technology the “top in the world” – but with the latest test of 103 drones, the United States was once again ahead.What made this test intriguing, however, was the drones themselves – and what they might mean for the future of warfare.

Armed forces long prohibited gay people from service – but that only encouraged their communities and cause

Drones have come a long way from their initial uses for surveillance. On February 4th, 2002, in the Paktia province of Afghanistan near the city of Khost, the CIA used an unmanned Predator drone in a strike for the first time. The target was Osama bin Laden. Though he turned out not to be there, the strike killed three men nonetheless. The CIA had used drones for surveillance before, but not in military operations, and not to kill. What had once merely been a flying camera in the sky was now weaponized.

Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

by Andrew Radin PDF file 1.3 MB 

Many policymakers and analysts have expressed concerns about Russian use of "hybrid warfare," especially against Estonia and Latvia, which have significant Russian-speaking populations. The author of this report analyzes the hybrid threat to the Baltics by dividing potential Russian aggression in three categories: nonviolent subversion, covert violent action, and conventional warfare supported by subversion. The author finds that, given the growing integration of Russian speakers and high capacity of the Baltic states, Russia will have difficulty using nonviolent or covert action to subvert the Baltics absent the use of conventional force, and hence the Baltics' main vulnerability stems from Russia's local superiority in conventional forces. While improving the conventional deterrent in the region is important, the United States and its NATO allies should also address the potential for all forms of Russian aggression across the conflict spectrum. To this end, the author recommends an improved strategic communications campaign aimed at Russian speakers, measures to strengthen the Baltic states' security forces, and ensuring that any NATO deployment in the region does not unintentionally increase the potential for Russian subversion or miscalculation.

The case for digital reinvention

By Jacques Bughin, Laura LaBerge, and Anette Mellbye

Digital technology, despite its seeming ubiquity, has only begun to penetrate industries. As it continues its advance, the implications for revenues, profits, and opportunities will be dramatic. 

As new markets emerge, profit pools shift, and digital technologies pervade more of everyday life, it’s easy to assume that the economy’s digitization is already far advanced. According to our latest research, however, the forces of digital have yet to become fully mainstream. On average, industries are less than 40 percent digitized, despite the relatively deep penetration of these technologies in media, retail, and high tech. 

As digitization penetrates more fully, it will dampen revenue and profit growth for some, particularly the bottom quartile of companies, according to our research, while the top quartile captures disproportionate gains. Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions. Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organizational health won’t be far behind. 

The bots vs the Transformers [Commentary]


by Joshua Douglas

Most power outages can be traced to such mundane threats as squirrels and ice storms, but a well-coordinated cyberattack on America’s electrical grid is much more threatening. Even with its sophisticated cyber defenses, the U.S. isn’t immune to attack.

“It’s only a matter of the when, not the if, you are going to see a nation state, a group or an actor engage in destructive behavior against critical infrastructure of the United States,” said NSA Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers, addressing the RSA Conference, an annual gathering of security professionals, in 2016. “That isn’t the last we are going to see of this, and that worries me.”

The fact is that we’re making great strides to shore up our defenses and prevent attacks. Recently, Raytheon and Utilidata formed a strategic alliance to deliver next-generation, defense-grade cybersecurity to protect utility companies. The partnership is offering services such as assessments, digital forensics and proactive threat hunting through its Virtual Security Operations Center, all aligned to short and long-term strategic capabilities that will limit risks and reduce dwell time.

WikiLeaks Dump Shines Light on Government’s Shadowy Zero-Day Policy

BY JOSEPH MARKS

The documents shed little light on how many unknown vulnerabilities the intelligence agency retains and how well it vets the damage they might cause.

WikiLeaks’ massive release of CIA cyber exploits this week produced more questions than answers about the government’s shadowy procedure for hoarding damaging digital vulnerabilities that remain unknown even to a system’s manufacturer.

These bugs—called zero days because industry has had zero days to create and promulgate a software patch—can be goldmines for U.S. intelligence agencies looking to sneak undetected into the computers, phones and other electronic devices of terrorists and officials of adversary nation-states.

These glitches can be extremely dangerous, however, if those same terrorists or other nations’ intelligence agencies discover them independently and use them to spy on Americans. If discovered by cyber criminals, they might also be used to steal money or information from American citizens or U.S. companies.

How Many Zero Days Does the Government Have?

Cybersecurity in seven minutes

MARCH 15, 2017 —Knowing about cybersecurity risks isn’t the same as protecting against them.

For instance, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that just 12 percent of Americans use a password manager, and only 3 percent use it regularly – even though that’s how security pros recommend everyone keep track of passwords. It takes time and effort to stay on top of best security practices, so all too often, people cut corners.

Threat Data, Information, and Intelligence: What’s the Difference?


Key Takeaways 

There’s a huge difference between threat data, information, and intelligence, and understanding the difference is essential to getting the most out of your threat intelligence platform. 

As we progress from data to information to intelligence, the volume of outputs reduces while the value of those outputs increases. 
Threat intelligence platforms produce data and information, which human analysts can use to produce actionable threat intelligence. 

A computer can never produce threat intelligence, but humans are unsuited to the task of collecting and processing huge volumes of threat data. 

Action must always be the end goal. Threat intelligence is useless unless it can be used to improve security. 

When investing in a threat intelligence platform, most organizations make one huge error, and unfortunately, don’t realize their mistake until after they’ve finished implementing the solution.

20 March 2017

*** Stratfor looks at the power of social media to tilt politics



Summary: New media mark the chapters in the history of politics. Newspaper, radio, TV, and now social media — each generation of media transformed politics. Those who mastered the new media thrived; those that didn’t, failed. Here Stratfor brings in experts to discuss the Arab Spring, Campaign 2016, and what happens next.

Over the past few months, a swell of isolationist rhetoric from some of the world’s newest leaders has given investors and trade partners across the globe pause. Many have pointed to the newfound rise of populism as evidence of the criticism mounting against globalization. And in some ways they might be right; maybe the world truly is fed up with the style of internationalism that the Bretton Woods system of global finance has promoted for the past half-century or so.

But surely this isn’t the whole picture. After all, movements rarely disrupt the modern political order in a vacuum. As we have seen in the past decade — consider the spread of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movement — the ways in which we build communities and share information have begun to fundamentally change, thanks in large part to the rise of social technologies. These technologies have given savvy political actors a means of reaching new audiences in unprecedented ways, and perhaps it is their impact on society’s stability and hope that we are now finding difficult to ignore.

*** The Surprising Things Algorithms Can Glean About You From Photos


By Andreas Weigend

More than three-quarters of American adults own a smartphone, and on average, they spend about two hours each day on it. In fact, it’s estimated that we touch our phones between 200 and 300 times a day—for many of us, far more often than we touch our partners.

That means that when we’re on our phones, we aren’t just killing time or keeping in touch. We’re “sensorizing” the world in ways that we may not yet fully comprehend.

There are now networked cameras and microphones everywhere—there are more than 1 billion smartphones out there, each presumably equipped with a camera. Most of the photos shared online are taken with a phone, with about 1 billion photos uploaded each day to Facebook alone, according to my calculations.

Even if you do not tag the people in an image, photo recognition systems can do so. Facebook’s DeepFace algorithm can match a face to one that has appeared in previously uploaded images, including photos taken in dramatically different lighting and from dramatically different points of view. Using identified profile photos and tagged photos and social-graph relationships, a very probable name can be attached to the face.