11 April 2017

*** A shift is emerging in Eastern Europe.

By George Friedman

As I have mentioned previously, I spent the past couple of weeks in Europe. I completed my trip last week with a visit to Warsaw and Budapest. Both places are concerned with economic issues, resistance to the European Union’s claims on their sovereignty and, most importantly, their long-term national security. What was interesting in my meetings was the subtle shift in how Warsaw and Budapest now view their main threats.

For the Poles, the Russians have long been the major issue. They see the potential for a Russian move against the Baltic states and are deeply concerned about NATO’s military weakness. In their view, should the Russians decide to move decisively, only the Americans would be in a position to bring significant force to bear, and that force would take months to arrive. It is not that they are expecting an attack. But if an attack happens, it will most likely take place in the Baltics, and the Poles will bear the major burden of resistance. The Poles have made substantial efforts in building a military, but they will be unable to hold back the Russians alone. Given the Europeans’ weakness and United States’ distance from the region, they feel isolated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán give a joint press conference at the parliament building in Budapest on Feb. 2, 2017. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

The Hungarians have taken a different view of the situation. They too distrust the Russians, having also lived through occupation. But they know that the Europeans are weak and the Americans are far away. Therefore, the Hungarian solution is to try to reach an understanding with the Russians. Hungary tries to reassure the Russians that its poses no threat by using the distance that former President Barack Obama’s administration created with Hungary as a guarantee to Russia. The United States under Obama was hostile to the Hungarian government for what it saw as human rights violations and what the Hungarian government saw as national self-determination. In either event, the result was that Hungary, alienated from the U.S. and distrustful of Russia, could show the Russians that Budapest should not be on Moscow’s radar.

On this visit, however, I noticed a subtle shift. The Hungarians, who had feigned their lack of concern about the Russians, were much less concerned. More surprisingly, so were the Poles. The primary reason is Russia’s long-term economic reality. With oil at $50 a barrel and no end in sight to Moscow’s economic problems, Russia’s ability to modernize its military is limited. Under any circumstances, the Russians will need more than two years to retrieve their military from its decline. The threat from the east is not gone, but it is diminished enough to look to other concerns and ways to protect this region from external threats.

One idea that was raised infrequently but authoritatively was replacing the Intermarium strategy with the Three Seas strategy, which includes the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. I have often written about the Intermarium. It begins with the assumption that Europe will not protect its eastern borders against a Russian threat. Therefore, Eastern European countries are left to their own capabilities and a distant United States. If they act separately, the Russians will pick them off. Therefore, an alliance must be formed from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, consisting of the Baltic countries, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. In its most logical form, it would include Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. That would contain most of European Russia.

I also predicted that Turkey would emerge as a major regional power. Given Turkey’s instability since the attempted coup, many would argue that this is no longer possible. In my view, the consequences of the coup attempt open the door to a more powerful Turkey. The country has had to address the reconciliation of its secular and Muslim population. This will not be a pleasant reconciliation, but the intent is to create a Turkey in which the huge secular and Muslim populations can forge a country together. Since that will not happen easily, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now in a position to try to compel it.

Regardless of my view, I got the sense, particularly in Hungary and in Romania during past trips, that they see a significant increase in Turkish power, which they perceive as a threat to the region. This leads to the idea of a Three Seas alliance. This initiative would expand the Intermarium concept by focusing on Turkey in addition to Russia. In some scenarios, the alliance would be extended westward to include the Czech Republic and even Austria. More importantly, this alliance would stretch southward into the Balkans.

The immediate motivation seems to be to create a force that could block the movement of Syrian refugees through the Balkans and into the rest of Europe. But the concept goes somewhat further. It seems Turkey is acquiring a desire to spread its power in several directions: south into the Arab world, west into the Mediterranean and northwest into the Balkans. This mirrors the Ottoman Empire, which did not extend into these regions by accident. When Turkey is a great power, geography causes it to expand this way.

Another concern underlying this alliance is that Turkey might use its commercial relations with Balkan countries that have large Muslim populations – particularly Albania and Bosnia – to create a political base in the region. If this were to happen, the Turks would have many potential options. For Hungary, which spent a century under Turkish domination and has a sense of history where centuries are mere days, this is a real threat. But the Poles also seem to share in this fear.

In the Three Seas strategy, Eastern European countries would shift from a passive stance waiting for Russian moves, to an active one of trying to integrate the Balkans into their alliance. This would draw in the Russians – allies of the Serbs – just as the Turks press their incursion. Russians, Turks and a region that roughly resembles the Habsburg Empire mixing it up in the Balkans is an old story with consistently bad endings.

The entire discussion in the region is theoretical. And since the core Intermarium hasn’t taken shape yet, with Hungary being particularly wary of it as an anti-Russian grouping, we can for the moment class this as geopolitical speculation. The view I took before is the one I take now: Such a group will emerge, but we are still at least a decade from it and, for that matter, from a Turkey ready to become a regional power. It has to settle many things internally before then.

However, there is a ferment in the region, and it is driven by the European Union’s weakening and Russia’s perceived decline. Eastern Europe countries have lost confidence that the Europeans will take risks on their behalf. They worry about Russia, but not quite as much as before. And they note how far the Turks, sitting at the table with Russia and the United States, have already come.

The major question is the American position. At the moment, the U.S. is hanging back from increasing foreign involvements and supporting this emerging concept is not on the table. Nor is it on the table for countries in the region. But the discussion’s evolution and what it tells us about Eastern Europe’s view of the world are noteworthy. The region is in many ways a hyper-sensitive seismograph of geopolitical shifts.

*** Journey's End: Warsaw and Budapest

Friedman's Weekly
By George Friedman

A shift is emerging in Eastern Europe.

As I have mentioned previously, I spent the past couple of weeks in Europe. I completed my trip last week with a visit to Warsaw and Budapest. Both places are concerned with economic issues, resistance to the European Union’s claims on their sovereignty and, most importantly, their long-term national security. What was interesting in my meetings was the subtle shift in how Warsaw and Budapest now view their main threats.

For the Poles, the Russians have long been the major issue. They see the potential for a Russian move against the Baltic states and are deeply concerned about NATO’s military weakness. In their view, should the Russians decide to move decisively, only the Americans would be in a position to bring significant force to bear, and that force would take months to arrive. It is not that they are expecting an attack. But if an attack happens, it will most likely take place in the Baltics, and the Poles will bear the major burden of resistance. The Poles have made substantial efforts in building a military, but they will be unable to hold back the Russians alone. Given the Europeans’ weakness and United States’ distance from the region, they feel isolated.

*** THE DEBATE OVER INDIAN NUCLEAR STRATEGY IS HEATING UP

SAMEER LALWANI AND HANNAH HAEGELAND

Most debates on South Asian security strategy tend to not attract much attention amongst U.S. policymakers except during the occasional crisis. Warnings about arms racing, belligerence, and nuclear risks between India and Pakistan have become so commonplace that they elicit yawns or eye rolls. Some aspects of the rivalry (namely the border ceremony) have even been parodied in a sitcom. It is noteworthy then that this past weekend The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both felt compelled to write about potential changes in India’s nuclear strategy and doctrine.

The impetus for these articles emerged from the recent Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., where MIT professor Vipin Narang suggested that India might be rethinking its current nuclear strategy and considering “preemptive nuclear counterforce.” Other notable analysts, Ajai Shukla, Shashank Joshi, and Ankit Panda, all lent support to this assessment. The status quo “retaliation only doctrine” is relatively uncontroversial and ostensibly defensive in nature because it proposes the use of nuclear weapons only in response to WMD use against India. However, Narang points out that recent statements from senior Indian government and defense officials suggest India could be shifting toward a counter-force strategy. Such a strategy would seek to target and disarm Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and related military infrastructure by destroying them with nuclear strikes. Whether in the form of a preemptive first strike or a massive second strike, this strategy is inherently more offensive than the current counter-value strategy, which targets Pakistani cities in response to a nuclear attack against India.

India-US ties: Need for innovative methods to engage with Trump

By Tridivesh Singh Maini

US President Donald Trump has a large number of supporters, as well as critics in India. Those sympathetic to Trump believe that he has been a victim of Left liberal propaganda and Washington insiders who are not comfortable with someone who is outside the ‘Beltway’ and wants to challenge the status quo. Some draw parallels between his predicament and that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially with regard to both leaders’ strained relations with the media. The latter, however, was an outsider to New Delhi but not the political system per se.

In addition to this, there are those who believe that Trump, given the support -- something which he acknowledged after the electoral verdict -- he received from groups like the ‘Republican Hindu Coalition for Trump’ would be well disposed towards India. Those who support Trump also believe that, unlike his predecessors, he will not treat Pakistan with kid gloves, given his tough stand on terrorism.

Finally, those favorably disposed towards Trump also believe that the US President will be firm in his dealings with China. The US President had spoken to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, and had also spoken about the possibility of US challenging the ‘One China Policy’. The US President was, however, quick to retreat from this position, realising that this position was unsustainable.

Looking both ways - India's old ties with Russia should continue to be nurtured

Kanwal Sibal 

The deputy prime minister of Russia, Yury Trutnev, with Sushma Swaraj, New Delhi, March 2017

The perception that India under the Narendra Modi government has not been paying enough attention to relations with Russia has developed because the dynamic growth of our relations with the United States of America in recent years is contrasted with the lack of vigour in our Russia ties. Overcoming past differences with the US, some deeply strategic, and forging new understandings have dominated opinion. Our relationship with Russia has remained largely problem-free strategically and, consequently, attracts limited public attention. The sense of comfort in our relationship with Russia is juxtaposed with the sense of opportunity in our US ties.

Other factors account for the impression - largely unjustified - that we have neglected our relations with Russia. Our points of contact with the US today at government, business, academic and other levels are far more numerous than with Russia. The number of our bilateral dialogue mechanisms with the US - over 50 - far exceeds that with any other country. Our emerging strong defence relationship - an area traditionally dominated by Russia - has fed perceptions that India is now leaning towards the US at Russia's expense. India's purchases of defence equipment from the US have jumped from virtually nothing to over $13 billion in the last few years. Our numerous bilateral military exercises with the US contrast with the very limited number held with Russia, even though most of our equipment is of Russian origin. Our bilateral trade with Russia is under eight billion dollars, whereas that with the US, including services, exceeds $100 billion. The Indian private sector, especially in areas of the knowledge economy, has close links with the US - which is not the case with Russia. Our young entrepreneurial class is captivated by the US. We have 1,30,000 Indian students pursuing advanced studies in the US compared to about 5,000 in Russia. At the people-to-people level, the India-US relationship is far deeper than the India-Russia one, even if public attitudes in Russia are more favourable towards India than in America. The 3.5-million-plus strong Indian American community has become a force in promoting bilateral India-US relations, whereas no such lobby exists in Russia. All this gets translated into extensive links at the social level and voluminous media coverage of US affairs in India. Worse, from the viewpoint of India-Russia relations, the Indian media carry news about Russia obtained from the US and Western sources that reflects the political temperature of State-level relations between the West and Russia and, therefore, detracts from developing an objective understanding of Russian affairs in India. The coverage of Russia currently in major organs of the Western press can hardly be considered balanced.

Sheikh Hasina's visit: Will India meet her more than half way?

By Tariq A Karim

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's last state visit to India was in January 2010. By all accounts, that was a game-changing visit. Relations between the two countries not only improved phenomenally but bilateral cooperation in multiple sectors took a quantum leap. Security cooperation is exemplary and closest ever. Land and maritime boundary disputes, casus belli for relations anywhere, were resolved amicably. 

India opened its markets to virtually all Bangladeshi goods on a duty-free and quota-free basis without demanding reciprocity. The web of road and rail connectivity saw revival and fresh impetus, while coastal shipping and direct maritime shipping agreements were signed and operationalised. Energy cooperation, with power flowing from India to power-strapped Bangladesh along linked grids is a brightly shining reality, while joint or stand-alone investments in the power generation sector are well underway. Bangladesh is sharing surplus bandwidth with India's northeastern region while the latter is providing petroleum products to Bangladesh. 

Is the Teesta river water controversy so intractable?

By Amitava Mukherjee

Change of crop patterns in the north-western part of Bangladesh and increasing cultivation of drought-resistant crops by both India and Bangladesh may hold the key to the solution of the so-long-intractable issue of the sharing of the Teesta river waters by India and Bangladesh.

The crux of the problem is paucity of water at the Gazoldoba barrage in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. Bangladesh has been demanding that water available at Gazoldoba should be shared on a 50:50 basis reserving 20 percent of the overall river water for an environmental flow in order to keep the Teesta in good health.

But it would be wrong to hold only West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee responsible for the logjam over the issue. The real reasons are twofold -- the streak of diplomatic one-upmanship on the part of Bangladesh and an amateurish approach so far adopted by the Indian government.

Let us consider the total quantum of water available in the Teesta after it leaves Sikkim, the place of its origin, and enters the plains of India and Bangladesh where it is basically a rain-fed river with an average annual flow of 60 billion cubic metres (BCM) -- quite a sufficient amount of water for providing irrigation to both sides of the international border. But the problem takes place during the lean season -- from October to April -- when the average flow comes down to 6 BCM.

Asia's Dilemma: China's Butter, Or America's Guns?


Flying into Singapore's Changi Airport, one is struck by the fleet of ships lined up off shore, the tendrils of a global trade network squeezing through the narrow Malacca Strait. Singapore is the hub, the connector between the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Pacific. Since the late 1970s, with little exception, trade has amounted to some 300 percent of Singapore's total gross domestic product, with exports making up between 150 and 230 percent of GDP. Singapore is the product of global trade, and the thriving multiethnic city-state can trace its trade role back centuries.

Image above: Trade is the lifeblood of the Asia-Pacific, and even as nationalism rises, the region still sees a globalized world as a greater reward than risk. (RODGER BAKER)

Having arrived in Singapore from Auckland, the contrast was stunning. It's not that New Zealand isn't heavily integrated into global trade networks - some 50 percent of its GDP is based on trade, and since its early days as a British colony it has been heavily dependent on distant trade partners. But whereas Singapore sits at the center of trade flows, New Zealand is at the far fringes, a remote outpost that has come to represent the leading edge of free trade agreements and calls for globally agreed-upon trade rules.

China’s Information Warriors Are Growing More Disciplined, Say US Cyber Leaders

BY PATRICK TUCKER

And some U.S. cyber leaders worry that the American military’s approach is too reactive and defensive.

When President Trump meets this week with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, he’ll be engaging with a leader who commands an increasingly disciplined and persistent information-warfare force.

In December 2015, the Chinese military stood up a Strategic Support Force as part of a larger series of reforms. Essentially a Chinese version of U.S. Cyber Command, the new force focuses on war in the electromagnetic spectrum, space, and cyberspace. “All these are the new fields that determine whether the PLA can win in the future battlefield,” Chinese officials told state media.

The new force’s key focus is building capabilities to disrupt U.S. military operations, according to Martin Libicki, who leads cybersecurity studies at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The move follows years of steady and incremental improvements in information operations, Vice Adm. Tim White, commander of the U.S. Cyber National Mission Force, said Tuesday at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference. “They are building what I would call campaigns. They are being very thoughtful about it and being purposeful in their approach and there is some design that they are organizing themselves,” he said of adversarial nations such as China but also Russia. “It’s not just a single mission, point of time, or place. It’s interwoven together to achieve a national purpose.”

New infrastructure developments in Tibet


Last week, Xinhua announced the construction of a new 'scientific' observation station in Metok, north of Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh: “The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) will build a new observation station in Tibet, to assist research and monitoring of the ecological system in the southeast of the Autonomous Region,” said an official release.

The station is located in Deshing village of Metok County, north of the McMahon Line.

It will cover 2,600 square meters and will be completed by October 2017.

Zhu Liping, a researcher with Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Institute (under the CAS) explained: “Rich in bio-diversity, Metok plays a special role in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau ecosystem."

It is also one of the most strategic places on the plateau.

Officially, it will be not only used for observing vegetation, glaciers, lakes and atmosphere, but also researching and monitoring bio-diversity and its impacts on climate change.

Options for the People’s Republic of China following the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1996

Captain Robert N. Hein is a career Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy. He previously commanded the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) and the USS Nitze (DDG-94). He can be found on Twitter @the_sailor_dog. Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group. 

“Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence, supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting, thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans.” -Sun Tzu 

National Security Situation: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is vying to establish itself as the Asian Hegemon. What caused this rapid shift in the PRC’s foreign Policy Why, after decades of growth, where the PRC was ascribed the long view, has it rapidly accelerated military growth, reorganization, and a diplomatic and economic expansion across the world stage in a scale not seen since Zheng He’s voyages of the 15th century?

China Developing Cyber Capabilities To Disrupt U.S. Military Operations

MARTIN LIBICKI 

China is a burgeoning great power. It is continually figuring out the various dimensions of power – not least of which is power in cyberspace – and putting them to use. Like other great powers dealing in an unknown medium, it is, to quote Deng Xiaoping, crossing the river by feeling the stones.

China’s external strategies in cyberspace – as distinct from its internal social control policies – can be divided into two parts: the first, before late 2015; the second, after that point. The most notable transition, from the U.S. perspective, has been the agreement to foreswear commercial cyberespionage.

Less well noted, but of comparable importance, has been the formation of its Strategic Support Force, which has combined the cyber warriors of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), its electronic warriors, and a large chunk of those conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, notably from space.

Around 2000, Chinese leaders viewed cyberspace as new and potentially threatening. For a while, it appeared as though China would use a People’s Army approach to cyberspace operations – letting motivated cadres of private hackers harass those identified as China’s enemies. Partially obscured by such well-noticed activity was a more systematic approach, in which state-paid hackers infiltrated foreign defense ministries and defense-oriented firms and harvested the business and technology secrets of commercial entities in developed countries.

China Pivots Its Hackers From Industrial Spies To Cyber Warriors

LEVI MAXEY 

China continues to deploy military equipment to contested islands in the South China Sea, raising concerns among regional players and U.S. forces stationed in the Pacific.

A Chinese government strategy document published last month by China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua signals that Beijing is building up its military cyber capabilities. It says that China will “expedite the development of a cyber force and enhance capabilities… to prevent major cyber crisis, safeguard cyberspace security and maintain national security and social stability.”

To be sure, the Chinese document acknowledges that its activities in cyberspace could aggravate tensions with the U.S. and other major powers. It says that “the tendency of militarization and deterrence buildup in cyberspace is not conducive to international security and mutual trust” – seemingly a direct response to the April 2015 Pentagon strategy report strongly emphasizing that the U.S. must build up its offensive capabilities to deter adversaries from engaging in malicious activity in cyberspace.

Given China’s past espionage in cyberspace, its move from economic theft towards militarization in the virtual domain represents a pivot that Washington could regard as threatening. What is China’s history in cyberspace in relation to the United States, and what has led to this change in policy?

China Pivots Its Hackers From Industrial Spies To Cyber Warriors

LEVI MAXEY 

China continues to deploy military equipment to contested islands in the South China Sea, raising concerns among regional players and U.S. forces stationed in the Pacific.

A Chinese government strategy document published last month by China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua signals that Beijing is building up its military cyber capabilities. It says that China will “expedite the development of a cyber force and enhance capabilities… to prevent major cyber crisis, safeguard cyberspace security and maintain national security and social stability.”

To be sure, the Chinese document acknowledges that its activities in cyberspace could aggravate tensions with the U.S. and other major powers. It says that “the tendency of militarization and deterrence buildup in cyberspace is not conducive to international security and mutual trust” – seemingly a direct response to the April 2015 Pentagon strategy report strongly emphasizing that the U.S. must build up its offensive capabilities to deter adversaries from engaging in malicious activity in cyberspace.

Given China’s past espionage in cyberspace, its move from economic theft towards militarization in the virtual domain represents a pivot that Washington could regard as threatening. What is China’s history in cyberspace in relation to the United States, and what has led to this change in policy?

The Information Battle: How Governments in the Former Soviet Union Promote their Agendas and Attack their Opponents Abroad

The essays in this publication zero in on 1) the present power and ubiquity of information; 2) the powerful and dubious impact Russian media has in the country’s former territories; 3) how pro-Russia propaganda outlets are masquerading as independent and objective news outlets; 4) how ex-Soviet states have weaponized media to promote their interests and attack their opponents abroad, and much more.

Hard Power’s Essential Soft Side

Joseph S. Nye Jr

The Trump administration’s proposal to build up the military with an additional $54 billion while making commensurate cuts across much of the rest of the discretionary federal budget would reshape the way the United States conducts its foreign policy. Calling for 29 percent reduction in funding to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mick Mulvaney, the director or the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), described the proposal as “a hard-power budget.” 

Mulvaney’s framing “shows a profound misunderstanding” of how “soft power” works, says Harvard Kennedy School’s Joseph S. Nye, who coined the term in 1990. In his formulation, soft power—how to reach desired outcomes without force or economic coercion—helps countries save on the resources they expend in pursuit of their objectives abroad. In that way, Nye says, cuts to exchange programs or humanitarian aid that bring the United States some savings now will carry greater costs down the road. 

What was your response when Mulvaney characterized the Trump administration’s proposed budget as a “hard-power budget” from a “strong-power administration”? 

NAVIGATING GREAT POWER RIVALRY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

MICHAEL MAZARR AND HAL BRANDS

The post-Cold War international system is coming to an end, and with it easy assumptions about the character of U.S. strategy toward the world’s great powers. After a period in which a dominant, U.S.-led Western coalition largely set and enforced the rules of the international order — and in which other major powers, such as Russia and China, largely acquiesced to U.S. leadership of that order — the global system is returning to a state of sharper and more explicit great-power competition. Russia and China are actively contesting U.S. primacy and alliances in Eastern Europe and East Asia. They are advancing their own vision of a multipolar order in which America is more constrained and its influence diluted. They are asserting their prerogatives as great powers more ambitiously than at any time in the past quarter-century. Other aspiring great powers — from Japan and Germany to India and Indonesia — are also stepping up their drive for influence, both in their immediate neighborhood and beyond. Great power rivalry is again becoming a principal theme of global politics.

Such rivalry is more the norm than the exception in the history of international relations. But, however “normal” it may be, great-power conflict is nonetheless disconcerting and dangerous. It raises the chance of a major, “systemic” war that could have cataclysmic consequences and it undermines the functioning of international institutions. It complicates international efforts to address a range of pressing problems that are inherently transnational in nature and thus require a broad, multilateral response. Climate change, jihadist terrorism, instability in the greater Middle East — these are just a few examples of issues than can only be resolved through effective international cooperation, and will only fester without such cooperation. In short, great power competition not only raises the odds of great-power war, it also raises the prospect of a more disordered, conflictual, and gridlocked international system.

New Nuclear C2 Should Be Distributed & Multi-Domain: STRATCOM Deputy

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.

NATIONAL HARBOR: Just like the individual ICBMs, bombers, and submarines it oversees, the nation’s nuclear command-and-control architecture is aging Cold War tech that needs replacement. But if we just build newer versions of today’s command posts, communications networks, satellites, and so on, we’ll miss a major opportunity. Instead, the deputy chief of Strategic Command said here today, the US could create a system that’s both more survivable and more seamless, one that can integrate operations around the world, with allies, and across the domains of land, sea, air, space, and cyber.

Strategic Command is “very much in lockstep” with initiatives like the Army’s Multi-Domain Battle concept and the Air Force’s Multi-Domain Command and Control, said Vice Adm. Charles Richard, although NC2 will remain a separate system. STRATCOM’s also “very supportive” of Air Force Global Strike Command‘s newly launched NC2 effort, he said.

Why is the nuclear force so interested in new concepts? Deterrence has evolved from the two-player chess game of the Cold War to a multi-player, multi-board monstrosity like the 3D chess from Star Trek, Richard told the Sea-Air-Space conference here today, and our command-and-control must evolve to keep up. The existing NC2 architecture was shaped by fundamental design choices “that made sense in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said. Today, US forces must “integrate timing and tempo of operations, in real time, across multiple domains and theaters, in synergy with allies and partners… Whoever does this first will win.”

Defence acquisition reform in limbo

With former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s return to the position of chief minister of Goa, the global defence industry is asking one big question: What will happen to the defence reforms announced by him?

India faces a significant shortage of critical defence equipment, including fighter aircraft, submarines and helicopters, which India’s defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) have been unable to address. This reality was publicly stressed yet again in March by a parliamentary standing committee on defence.

If the Indian military is to manage this challenge, critical policy issues such as defence procurement reform need to be finalized.

To address this issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parrikar introduced the concept of nominating “strategic partners” in defence production. The idea appears to be that the government should designate vetted private Indian companies to specific areas of national security importance, such as manufacture of fighter aircraft, tanks or submarines, to develop technologies and systems.

Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Chief Wants to See Networks of ‘Expendable’ Platforms

By Jon Harper

Teams of lower-cost, unmanned systems that don’t need to return from battle will be critical for future warfighting, the head of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office said March 28.

Potential adversaries are developing new military technologies that are putting expensive U.S. military platforms and personnel at greater risk, William Roper noted at an Air Force Association conference in Arlington, Virginia.

“Increasingly we’re going to ask our designers, including those in industry, to help us shift all of the dangerous jobs in combat — as many of them as we can do in an ethical way — to machines that can take the brunt of at least that initial edge of conflict so that … we have the maximum number of our operators returning home safely,” he said.

Much of the technology required already exists, he said.

The Strategic Capabilities Office, also known as the SCO, has partnered with Defense Department research laboratories and other organizations on a number of projects along these lines.