14 November 2017

HYBRID WARFARE – OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE

US Army is very fond of using new terminologies. Remember LICO, SASO. MOOTW, Asymmetric, irregular, unconventional, long, small then came 4GW and now Hybrid. Add to it Chinese unrestricted warfare and our copy of Israeli sub conventional warfare.

What is wrong with good old CI Ops. Of course there will be different hues of it. J&K and NE and Punjab all will be different. It will change with time also.

Please tell me what do you call operations in J&K. Proxy, subconventional, 4GW, Hybrid or CI/CT Ops?

Let us not imitate Uncle Sam blindly. Please tell me when did they successfully fight a CI Ops. Granada? 

There are not many success stories of fighting CI Ops. We in Indian Army can rightfully claim some notable victories like Punjab, Mizoram. Nagaland is under control. There are others which are kept under reasonable control. Which country can have such success stories.

Time to articulate out strategies, tactics, even jugad properly. This we singularly lack, our Cat A ests , ARTRAC, DGMT have failed miserably. Can you tell me what was the strategy adapted in Punjab, anywhere well articulated for future. 

I am waiting when some smart alecs start propagating Gray Area Warfare in India which is being written about by US Army War Colleges or Multi Domain Battle propagated by US Army. It takes generally couple of years to imbibe these terminologies by us.

We must have respect on our own abilities, we must have our own terminologies, if we can articulate our strategy, tactics, techniques and procedures the whole world would come to us. Nobody has more success stories in CI Ops in this world than us. When Lt Gen Arjun Ray was thrusting down our throats SADBHAVNA many of us did not like. Later the yanks took a cue and said WHAM! Lo and behold we also started talking about WHAM. My contention is at least terminologies we use should be Make in India. If one wants to be called soldier scholar, I have no issue on that. But why copy yanks, coin an Indian term! West Point says : It's all about honoring the school's "soldier scholars."

The United States Army and West Point are indivisible. To separate the Army from West Point is to take away the purpose of the United States Military Academy. Since its founding in 1802, West Point has produced soldier scholars for America. The best education in the nation hones the intellect, while the tough physical and military training creates the warrior. The Army West Point primary mark perfectly portrays the soldier scholar ideal. Athena's helmet symbolizes wisdom while the sword represents the warrior ready for battle.

Here is my take on Hybrid Warfare.


HYBRID WARFARE – OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE

- Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

The concept of Hybrid Warfare is about decade old. A retd Lt Col Frank Hoffman from US Marine Corps floated this concept. One of those initial papers is available at : http://www.potomacinstitute.org/images/stories/publications/potomac_hybridwar_0108.pdf. The other papers were : Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis and Frank Hoffman, “Future Warfare: The Rise of Hybrid Warfare,” Naval Institute Proceedings, November 2005, pp. 30-32; Frank G. Hoffman, “How the Marines are Preparing for Hybrid Wars,” Armed Forces Journal, April 2006; Frank G. Hoffman “Preparing for Hybrid Wars,” Marine Corps Gazette, March 2007. Thisconcept came up after the 2006 summer conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Since I was following this development those days I had kept 60 odd papers on Hybrid Warfare in my warfare page of Knowledge on Line available at : http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/_viewresult_warfare.php?t=Hybrid%20Warfare

I had given three star rating to one of the 24 page presentations titled Irregular Warfare, COIN, Hybrid, Asymmetric Warfare, and "COIN next available at : http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/web/DIRIWCSCBriefv3.pdf. Request read it.

Since those days Fourtg Generation Warfare was the toast of any discussion on counterinsurgency I flagged two more papers on the relationship between 4GW anf Hybrid warfare. You may like to read FROM FOURTH GENERATION WARFARE TO HYBRID WAR available at http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/web/FROM%20FOURTH%20GENERATION%20to%20hybrid.pdf

I found an excellent paper on The real threat of hybrid conflict which was also put dutifully on my knowledge on line site available at : http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/web/real-threat-of-hybrid-conflict.pdf. The author writes and I quote : The challenge of so-called hybrid war is that it's reminded us of the need to consider these two questions together: firepower and maneuver, attack and defense, target identification and force protection. Artillery and air power are used in close combination with ground forces to pin down the enemy, force him to keep his head down and allow friendly ground forces to maneuver on his position. But how to separate him from the population, to force him to come out and fight? Well-trained infantry must be capable of meeting the enemy in his sanctuaries – whether forests or mountains or urban areas – to identify, isolate, and fix him for destruction. These are the fundamentals of combined-arms land warfare, as useful for Americans in 2018 as for Germans in 1918.

I also recommend reading the following : 

Confessions of a Hybrid Warfare Skeptic available at : http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/confessions-of-a-hybrid-warfare-skeptic

Assessing Russian Hybrid Warfare: A Successful Tool for Limited War available at : http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/assessing-russian-hybrid-warfare-a-successful-tool-for-limited-war

US Department of Defense (DOD) officials had discussed the need to counter the continuum of threats that U.S. forces could face from nonstate and state-sponsored adversaries, including computer network and satellite attacks; portable surface-to-air missiles; improvised explosive devices; information and media manipulation; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosive devices. In light of references to “hybrid warfare” by senior military officials and possible implications it could have for DOD’s strategic planning, DOD requested US Government Accounting Office(GAO) to examine: 

Whether DOD has defined hybrid warfare and how hybrid warfare differs from other types of warfare. 

The extent to which DOD is considering the implications of hybrid warfare in its overarching strategic planning documents.

The GAO findings are: DOD has not officially defined hybrid warfare at this time and has no plans to do so because DOD does not consider it a new form of warfare. Rather, officials from OSD, the Joint Staff, the four military services, and U.S. Joint Forces Command told us that their use of the term hybrid warfare describes the increasing complexity of future conflicts as well as the nature of the threat. Moreover, the DOD organizations we met with differed on their descriptions of hybrid warfare. For example, according to Air Force officials, hybrid warfare is a potent, complex variation of irregular warfare. U.S. Special Operations Command officials, though, do not use the term hybrid warfare, stating that current doctrine on traditional and irregular warfare is sufficient to describe the current and future operational environment. Although hybrid warfare is not an official term, we found references to “hybrid” and hybrid-related concepts in some DOD strategic planning documents; however, “hybrid warfare” has not been incorporated into DOD doctrine. For example, according to OSD officials, hybrid was used in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report to draw attention to the increasing complexity of future conflicts and the need for adaptable, resilient U.S. forces, and not to introduce a new form of warfare. The military services and U.S. Joint Forces Command also use the term “hybrid” in some of their strategic planning documents to articulate how each is addressing current and future threats, such as the cyber threat; however, the term full spectrum often is used in addition to or in lieu of hybrid. DOD concurred with the report. You may read the report at : http://www.gao.gov/assets/100/97053.pdf. I thought this should bury the debate.

Same thing happened with 4GW. I do not find much reference to 4GW in official documents of DOD or the Armed Forces.

Since the beginning of the Russian operation in Crimea in 2014, Hybrid warfare became a buzzword used in all transatlantic security policy circles. For many in the West, the Crimea operation came as a surprise and the term “hybrid warfare” was meant to intellectually embrace this shock. I recommend the following papers :

Nothing 'Hybrid' About Russia's War in Ukraine available at https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/nothing-hybrid-about-russias-war-in-ukraine-46913

HYBRID WARFARE: WHERE’S THE BEEF? AVAILABLE AT : HTTP://WARONTHEROCKS.COM/2015/04/HYBRID-WARFARE-WHERES-THE-BEEF/

Hybrid Warfare: A Known Unknown? available at : http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2016/07/18/hybrid-warfare-known-unknown/


I would go by a recent paper on the topic by NATO, Hybrid war – does it even exist? available at : 


Where it states : 

At a recent event sponsored by NATO and organized by the Atlantic Council, attendees were told that “there is no agreed definition of terms related to hybrid warfare.” In other words, the 28 members of the North Atlantic Alliance cannot agree on a clear definition of what they are facing. How can NATO leaders expect to develop an effective military strategy if they cannot define what they believe is the threat of the day?

So my recommendation is that NATO, and other Western decision-makers, should forget about everything “hybrid” and focus on the specificity and the interconnectedness of the threats they face. Warfare, whether it be ancient or modern, hybrid or not, is always complex and can hardly be subsumed into a single adjective. Any effective strategy should take this complex environment into account and find ways to navigate it without oversimplifying.

In 2009 CLAWS organised an international seminar on insurgency or terrorism I don't exactly remeber. Lt Col Thomas X. Hammes, again of US Marine Corps who had been writing extensively on 4GW and authored a much talked about book The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century came to deliver a talk. I asked him the same question, why is US Armed Forces reinventing the wheel. What is wrong with good old Counter Insurgency Operations. He was candid enough to reply that after the first gulf war, everybody was gaga about technology. RMA, System of Systems and all that. The very important aspect of counterinsurgency were being forgotten. They had to find a sexy terminology. He agreed essentially there is not much difference. Lt Gen Rostum Nanavatty who was chairing a session, in his own inimitable, soft, measured, crisp tone echoed the same sentiment of mine, I thought.

I can bet on one thing. Within a couple of years CLAWS will organise a seminar on Grey Zone Warfare and Multi Domain Battle. Please read the following papers : http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1303.pdf






Why Vallabhbhai Patel strongly opposed Nehru's 'suicidal policy' of appeasement over China and Tibet

By Claude Arpi

For several reasons, very little scholarly research has been done on the internal history of the Congress party. The main cause is probably that a section of the party would prefer to keep its history under wraps. Even the acute difference of opinion between Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru hasn't reached the public. Royal Tour to India, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, are pictured with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru (left) and Krishna Menon

CHINA IS REINFORCING ITS BORDER WITH INDIA

Claude Arpi 

The Middle Kingdom is winning the trust of the locals to safeguard its border. This must worry India. But can China win over the Tibetans who have largely been sympathetic towards India? At the end of the 19th Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping appears to emerge the winner on most fronts. First and foremost, the 19th Congress approved an amendment to the Party Constitution, enshrining ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Er’.

Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan

BY ALEX VATANKA

Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, "Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan."

However, Tehran is focused on short-term tactical gains at the expense of a sustainable, holistic strategy, reflected in its use of Shia Afghans as a proxy elsewhere in the region, and it is generating concern in Kabul about rising sectarian tensions in Afghanistan.

Read the Publication (PDF)

Closure of Pak terror sanctuaries key to maritime security in IOR

M. ASHRAF HAIDARI

Maritime security — on which much else depends — is interconnected with events in landlocked countries. Afghanistan is a prime example: Over the past 40 years, geopolitical tensions have imposed destructive conflicts on what is one of the most naturally endowed countries at the heart of rising Asia.

Recently, this author participated in an international maritime conference — SAGAR Dialogue organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) — that discussed “security and growth for all” in the Indian Ocean region. The conference aptly took place in India’s coastal city of Goa with a long history of maritime trade and commercial exchange among different civilisations of the South, East and West. Coming from a landlocked country, Afghanistan, it was a unique learning experience for the author, as he listened to speaker after speaker on the challenges and opportunities that involve blue oceans.

The Sino-Indian Clash and the New Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific

BY BHARATH GOPALASWAMY AND ROBERT MANNING

On June 18, 2017, an Indian patrol disrupted construction of a Chinese road along the disputed border of Sikkim, a remote state in northeast India, reigniting a border conflict between China and India. This incident rapidly evolved into a standoff, with the apparent threat of militarized escalation between the two countries. The tension dissipated without consensus on the substantive issues, but under an interim diplomatic arrangement whereby India withdrew troops and China halted its road building, thus ending a seventy-one-day impasse. Read the Publication (PDF)

Xi’s new PLA strategy: Implications for India

MANOJ JOSHI

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), that concluded on October 24, was about electing a new Central Committee (CC), Politburo (PB), and Politburo Standing Committee(PBSC). But an important ancillary function was to select new military members of the Central Military Commission, which is chaired by General Secretary Xi Jinping, who is the Commander-in-chief of China’s armed forces. The other body selected at the same time is the Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection (CCDI), the party’s top-most anticorruption outfit which has a significant role in Xi Jinping’s strategy in keeping the PLA close to himself.

Is China Marching Towards The Worst World War In History? British Historian Max Hastings Examines How The New Superpower Became Emboldened And Embittered — And How Its Leaders’ Desire For Global Domination May Lead To A Conflict With America


As POTUS Trump engages in perhaps his most important foreign trip of his presidency, eminent British historian Max Hastings recently wrote an article in London’s the DailyMailOnline, articulating a thoughtful, but worrisome outlook regarding a potential military clash between the U.S. and China. In an October 20, 2017 article posted on the publication’s website, Mr. Hastings warned about Chinese leader Xi’s consolidation of power; and, his elevation to ‘extraordinary heights,” making President Xi China’s most powerful leader since the reign of Mao. Mr. Hastings wrote that Xi “wields absolute authority, amid ever more draconian restrictions on dissent and free speech, even within the [Communist] Party hierarchy. ‘China needs heroes,’ he [Xi] has written,” Mr. Hastings noted, ‘such as Mao Tse-Tung.’

China Takes an Expansionist View of Geopolitics


Former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski managed to capture thousands of years of Chinese history in about 10 words. In his seminal work, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski characterized China's geopolitics through the ages as "cycles of reunifications and expansions, followed by decay and fragmentations." The assessment gets at the heart of the the country's recurring struggle to unify an insurmountably vast landmass under a centralized authority — a struggle that continues to this day. Nearly 70 years after its most recent unification, following more than two centuries of decay and five decades of fragmentation, China is now on the verge of another period of expansion. And as its influence on the global stage increases, China will have to adapt to a new view of geopolitics.

What the End of ISIS Means

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

Unless you’re someone who thinks beheading people is an appropriate way to advance a repressive political cause, the imminent demise of the Islamic State is welcome news. But we should be wary of a premature “Mission Accomplished” moment and be judicious in drawing lessons from an outcome that otherwise merits celebration.

Toward that end, here is a preliminary assessment of what the defeat of the Islamic State means, in the form of five questions and some provisional answers.

Was the Islamic State a genuine “revolutionary state”?

Profiling Lebanon: The Western Front of a Proxy War


By Kamran Bokhari

If the Middle East is at least in part a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, then Lebanon may be called its western front. For nearly two generations, Riyadh and Tehran have vied for influence there, as the country has been, with a few interruptions of stability, at once a hostage to and the object of their competition. The competition resumed this week, and it appears that Saudi Arabia is losing.

Entanglement: Chinese and Russian Perspectives on Non-nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Risks


The entanglement of non-nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons and their enabling capabilities is exacerbating the risk of inadvertent escalation. Yet so far, the debate about the severity of this risk has been almost exclusively limited to American participants. So Carnegie teams from Russia and China set out to examine the issue and answer two questions: How serious are the escalation risks arising from entanglement? And, how do the authors’ views compare to those of their countries’ strategic communities?

Defining Entanglement

Entanglement has various dimensions: dual-use delivery systems that can be armed with nuclear and non-nuclear warheads; the commingling of nuclear and non-nuclear forces and their support structures; and non-nuclear threats to nuclear weapons and their associated command, control, communication, and information (C3I) systems. Technological developments are currently increasing the entanglement of non-nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons and their enabling capabilities.

Russia’s Unlikely Withdrawal from Syria

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian civil war boosted the reputation of the Russian military, afforded it valuable training, and enhanced Moscow’s political clout in both the conflict zone itself and the Middle East more generally. With that said, Syria threatens to become a quagmire for Russia, and Moscow is looking for an exit. This will be difficult to pull off as Russia faces considerable geopolitical constraints.


A War Plan Orange For Climate Change


Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark promulgated his guidance through a famous cable: “EXECUTE AGAINST JAPAN UNRESTRICTED AIR AND SUBMARINE WARFARE.” Although the attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise, the idea of war with Japan was not. The war in the Pacific was guided by War Plan Orange, a secret strategy the U.S. military had been developing, refining, and updating since 1906.

Can Two Nuclear Powers Fight a Conventional War?

BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
Source Link

The Pentagon just wargamed that scenario as part of its effort to determine what it needs for 21st-century deterrence. As the U.S. military reviews the makeup of its nuclear arsenal, among the questions being asked is: Can two nuclear powers fight a conventional war without going nuclear? Just last week, this scenario was among the mock battles when U.S. Strategic Command ran its annual Global Thunder nuclear wargame, Army Brig. Gen. Greg Bowen, the command’s deputy director of global operations, said Thursday at the Defense One Summit.

Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) – Volume 9, Issue 11



The recent territorial losses and defeat of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria signify a tactical win in the long-term battle against the group. IS will however continue to recruit and conduct attacks through its wilayats, affiliates and supporters in parts of the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. Part of this was seen in the recent truck attack in New York City which killed eight people and injured 11 others. IS has claimed responsibility for this attack and many others such as the vehicular attack in Barcelona, Spain (14 killed), and the suicide bombing in Quetta, Pakistan (15 killed) in August, and the bomb explosion in London (30 injured) in September. IS continues to pose not only a significant terrorist threat, but also a long-term ideological challenge, which is evident in the traction for its diverse online propaganda (magazines, newspapers, videos and statements) that continues to call for the establishment of the ‘caliphate’, and war against non-believers. It is therefore necessary to neutralise IS on both the terrorist and ideological fronts by preventing its armed attacks as well as negating key Islamic concepts that IS has manipulated to win supporters, sympathisers and legitimacy amongst its followers.

The Civilian-Military Gap Closes in a War-Weary Nation

By David Craig

“Many Americans believe that the military instrument of power is currently playing a disproportionately large role in U.S. foreign and security policy.”

–Barry R. McCaffrey, “American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era,” edited by Suzanne C. Nielsen, Don M. Snider

October 7, 2001 marked the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and the first of the wars in response to the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. The U.S. is now in its 17th year of war, which has expanded well beyond the originally targeted hotbed of terrorism and Osama bin Laden’s base of operations. Most recently, the loss of American lives during operations in Niger has brought heightened attention to the extent of the U.S. military’s role in conflicts under the auspices of Congress’s authorization for use of military force (AUMF), also in its 17th year.

Why NATO’s Cyber Operations Center is a Big Deal

By Rachel Ansley

NATO’s newly announced cyber operations center will allow the Alliance to “respond more effectively” to cyber attacks by integrating cyber measures with conventional military capabilities, according to an Atlantic Council analyst. 

The Alliance has “always had significant conventional capabilities—land, air, and sea—now cyber can be included,” said Franklin D. Kramer, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and an Atlantic Council board member. 

“The value of the cyber operations center is that it will integrate the cyber capabilities with all of the rest of NATO’s military capabilities,” he said. 

The Rise Of Super-Stealthy, Digitally Signed Malware — Thanks To The Dark Web


“It’s digital code-signing certificates,” he wrote.

“A recent study conducted by the Cyber Security Research Institute (CSRI) this week revealed that digital code-signing certificates are available for anyone to purchase on the Dark Web for $1,200,” Mr. Khandelwal wrote. “As many of you know,” he adds, “digital certificates issued by a Trusted Certificate Authority (CA) are used to cryptographically sign computer applications and software; and, are trusted by your computer [device] for execution of those programs without any warning messages. However,” he notes, “malware author[s] and hackers are always in search of advanced techniques to bypass security solutions have been abusing trusted digital certificates [especially] during recent years.”

Cyber and electronic warfare an increasing global challenge

by Guy Martin

Cyber and electronic attacks are increasingly factors in warfare, such as the sabotaging of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the attack on the Ukraine’s electricity grid. This, according to defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman, begs the question of when is an electronic attack an act of war and how should a nation respond?

Heitman, at the Aardvark Roost Electronic Warfare South Africa 2017 International Conference and Exhibition on 7 November, looked at some of the key trends in electronic and cyber warfare. He said that electronic warfare, in all its forms, from intelligence gathering through jamming to electronic or digital attack, is increasingly a factor in war. This has long been understood in the conventional warfare environment – including communications disruption and more recently jamming of GPS signals and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) command lines – but today challenges are arising from irregular forces, disabling attacks on electronic systems and remote attacks on non-military systems.

Google's 10 Biggest Acquisitions

by Niall McCarthy

By taking over the division that develops Pixel smartphones, Google will gain 2,000 HTC employees including half its research and development team, roughly equivalent to a fifth of HTC's total workforce.

Even though Google is not acquiring HTC's manufacturing assets, the move does illustrate the company's push to become more innovative in order to compete against Apple and Samsung. The following infographic shows where the partial HTC purchase ranks on the list of Google's largest acquisitions. Google will be hoping to avoid repeating the mistake of buying Motorola mobility for $12.5 billion before being forced to sell it off to Lenova for $3 billion just two years later.

13 November 2017

Why the Time Is Right to Talk to the Taliban

Source Link

A peace process with the Taliban is almost certainly the best way to end the war in Afghanistan, and arguments for postponing efforts to get one underway overlook the costs of prolonging the conflict. October marked the sixteen-year anniversary of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of a new South Asia strategy in August 2017 affirmed an open-ended U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan, raising questions about ending the United States’ longest war. Meanwhile, the Taliban has increased its territorial and population control in the past year; the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported [PDF] in October that the Taliban influences or controls more than 13 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts and contests another 30 percent.

Afghanistan: A Practical Way To Fight Back


November 8, 2017: The Taliban and drug gangs have, after two years of strenuous efforts come to control six percent of Afghan territory and about two percent of the population. The gangs and Islamic terrorists are a growing presence in another 14 percent of the territory (containing about nine percent of the population).

All this presence and control is in rural areas important to the production and movement of heroin and opium. Thus most of the enemy controlled or influenced areas are in the south (Helmand and Kandahar, where most of the heroin is produced), the east (where many Pakistan/ISI supported Islamic terrorist groups operate) and the ancient northern trade routes (that go through Kunduz).

We're Losing Afghanistan By Every Metric That Matters

By Joe Pappalardo

The national conversation has been focused on North Korea and Russia lately, while talk about counterinsurgency tactics has centered on fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and northern Africa. Meanwhile, you hardly hear anything about the centerpiece of the counterinsurgency strategy that kicked off this Global War on Terror: Afghanistan.

Chinese theft of sensitive US military technology is still a 'huge problem,' says defense analyst

Jeff Daniels

One of the reasons China is narrowing the military-technology gap with the U.S. is because of the theft of designs and other sensitive data, analysts say resident Donald Trump may bring up China's theft of American intellectual property during his talks with his Chinese counterpart this week U.S.-China cyber-warfare truce is in place, but experts say it's likely Beijing isstill up to its old tricks and using various ways to "camouflage" it 

Xi’s newfound strength obscures China’s internal risks

BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY

China, the world’s communist behemoth, is at a turning point in its history, one that will have profound implications for the rest of the world, but especially for Asia. Neighboring countries, from Japan to India, are already bearing the brunt of China’s recidivist policies. The just-concluded 19th Chinese Communist Party congress put its imprimatur on President Xi Jinping’s centralization of power by naming no clear successor to him and signaling the quiet demise of the collective leadership system that has governed China for more than a quarter century. The congress, in essence, was about Xi’s coronation as China’s new emperor.

Chinese “KeyBoy” hacking group returns with new tactics for espionage campaign


A Chinese hacking operation is back with new malware attack techniques and has switched its focus to conducting espionage on western corporations, having previously targeted organisations and individuals in Taiwan, Tibet, and the Philippines.

Dubbed KeyBoy, the advanced persistent threat actor has been operating out of China since at least 2013 and in that time has mainly focused its campaigns against targets in South East Asia region.

The last publicly known actively by KeyBoy saw it target the Tibetan Parliament between August and October 2016, according to researchers, but following that the group appeared to cease activity – or at least managed to get off the radar.

Has Xi Jinping Become “Emperor for Life”?

By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam

The just-ended 19th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress has confirmed Xi Jinping’s status as China’s “Emperor for Life.” The 64-year-old “core leader” has filled the country’s highest-ruling councils—the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC)—with his cronies and loyalists. No cadres from younger generations were inducted to the PBSC, lending credence to the widely held belief that the 64-year-old Xi will remain China’s top leader until the 21st Party Congress in 2027 or beyond (Apple Daily [Hong Kong], October 26; HK01.com, October 25). Moreover, the fact that “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” has been enshrined in the CCP Constitution has buttressed Xi’s status as a Mao-like “Great Helmsman” for the Party and country. Projects planned for the “New Era” run into the 2030s and 2040s, which could provide Xi with a rationale to stay at the helm beyond the usual ten years. In a startling parallel to French King Louis XIV’s famous pronouncement that “I am the state” (“l’etat, c’est mois”), Xi’s near-total command of the levers of power is his way of telling all Chinese that “The Party? It is me!”

Power Flows Downstream: Sino-Vietnamese Relations and the Lancang-Mekong River


China’s international rivers are becoming a focal point for contests over control of natural resources—and potentially international conflict. China, in its powerful position as headwater nation, continues to actively promote hydropower development domestically and internationally. When downstream nations rely on un-dammed rivers for fisheries and irrigation, this puts pressure on an increasingly strained natural resource and introduces additional potential for tension into bilateral relations. Nowhere is this more clear than in the relationship between China and Vietnam, the nations that bookend the flow of the Lancang-Mekong river.

Reckoning in Saudi Arabia

Aaron David Miller Richard Sokolsky

Pundits are describing recent events in Saudi Arabia as a Saudi version of Game of Thrones; and King Salman’s bloodless purges—orchestrated by his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)—have many of the hallmarks of palace and royal intrigue; a kind of Shakespearean trifecta of Hamlet, Lear and Macbeth without the blood and gore. But the purges conducted in the Saudi style (the reported use of the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh as a venue for house arrests is one of the lighter aspects of the affair) should not mask its deadly seriousness. A young thirtysomething with limited experience in governance is making an unprecedented bid for control. And if he succeeds, which is impossible to know at this point, the impact could very well change Saudi Arabia and its regional role for years to come. Still, the United States would be wise not to attach itself to MBS like a barnacle to the side of a boat lest its own Middle East policy goes down with the ship.

The FBI Blindly Hacked Computers in Russia, China, and Iran

By Joseph Cox

During a hacking operation in which U.S. authorities broke into thousands of computers around the world to investigate child pornography, the FBI hacked a number of targets in Russia, China, and Iran, The Daily Beast has learned.

The news signals the bold future of policing on the so-called dark web, where investigators are increasingly deploying malware without first knowing which country their suspect is located in. Legal experts and commentators say the approach of blindly kicking down digital doors in countries not allied with the U.S. could lead to geopolitical fallout.

Russia’s Changing Military-Strategic Perceptions of Kaliningrad Oblast Between 2013 and 2017

Source Link 
By: Sergey Sukhankin

Last September’s massive strategic-level Zapad 2017 exercise provided analysts and observers with a number of important conclusions about the state of Russia’s military readiness, capabilities and Russian military thought (see EDM, September 14, 20, October 3, 6); though the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is reportedly still parsing through the lessons learned (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 26). Yet, relatively little attention has focused specifically on the role, place and perception of Kaliningrad Oblast in Russian military strategy, which has undergone at least three important changes between Zapad 2013 and Zapad 2017.

A Grand Tour of the Crisis in Europe

By SHERI BERMAN

The collapse of the Soviet Empire left Europe more united than ever before. Most of its countries shared a political (democratic) and economic (capitalist) system; Germany and Russia — the great powers that had caused so much instability in the past — were no longer threats, and the European Union was on the verge of incorporating much of Eastern Europe and creating a single currency. At the end of the 20th century, the view that a “united Europe” was on its way to becoming “the next global superpower,” and the West was at the dawn of a new golden era, was widespread.

LOW-YIELD NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE WORTH A NEW LOOK

JOHN R. HARVEY

In the 2010 review of U.S. nuclear posture, President Barack Obama’s administration, based on advice from military commanders and the extant global threat environment, concluded that the United States could ensure effective nuclear deterrence without fielding new nuclear warheads or warheads with new military capabilities. But even while foreclosing such options for the Obama administration, the 2010 review made clear, as did the nuclear posture reviews of the two previous administrations, that the nation must retain a capability to develop and field such warheads if they are required in the future.

What Russia’s Middle East Strategy Is Really About

By Xander Snyder

A new balance of power is solidifying in Syria. Iran, Turkey and Russia have all played a role in the conflict there – jockeying for position and even agreeing in September to set up zones of control. But Russia in particular has deftly managed the game up to this point, and it is emerging from the Syrian civil war with a strong hand. Ultimately, Russia’s goal is to parlay its position in the Middle East into advantages in areas that matter more to Moscow. To some degree, it has achieved this, but it’s still unclear whether its strategy will be successful enough to score Russia an advantage in the area it cares about the most: Ukraine.

The Computer Scientist Who Prefers Paper

John Cuneo

For years, Barbara Simons was the loneliest of Cassandras—a technologist who feared what technology had wrought. Her cause was voting: Specifically, she believed that the electronic systems that had gained favor in the United States after the 2000 presidential election were shoddy, and eminently hackable. She spent years publishing opinion pieces in obscure journals with titles like Municipal World and sending hectoring letters to state officials, always written with the same clipped intensity. Simons, who is now 76, had been a pioneer in computer science at IBM Research at a time when few women not in the secretarial pool walked its halls. In her retirement, however, she was coming off as a crank. Fellow computer scientists might have heard her out, but to the public officials she needed to win over, the idea that software could be manipulated to rig elections remained a fringe preoccupation. Simons was not dissuaded. “They didn’t know what they were talking about and I did,” she told me.

A Blessing and a Curse: The Politics of Cybersecurity in the Age of Technological Innovation

Emily Skahil

Technological advancement follows a rapid upward trajectory, and from its windfall, we are vested with an incredible and terrifying amount of power. As our capabilities continue to expand, a morbid fascination with the ‘dark side’ of technology prevails among pop culture, through media content steeped with dystopian images of society on the verge of collapse. This deep-seated fear of technological abuse is perhaps best evinced by popular TV series like Mr. Robot and Black Mirror, which portend what can happen when specialized knowledge falls into the wrong hands. As such, this sensational fixation with the coming of a ‘technological doomsday,’ so to speak, frames a collective mentality rooted in paranoia and hypervigilance. Mr. Robot, in particular, reflects a chronic and pervasive social anxiety that a massive hacking operation could lead to the breakdown of the financial system. Accordingly, popular discourse regarding cyber security revolves around identity theft and preemptive measures by responsible corporations, specifically as they relate to securing the financial industry.

Cyber and electronic warfare an increasing global challenge

by Guy Martin

Cyber and electronic attacks are increasingly factors in warfare, such as the sabotaging of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the attack on the Ukraine’s electricity grid. This, according to defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman, begs the question of when is an electronic attack an act of war and how should a nation respond?

Heitman, at the Aardvark Roost Electronic Warfare South Africa 2017 International Conference and Exhibition on 7 November, looked at some of the key trends in electronic and cyber warfare. He said that electronic warfare, in all its forms, from intelligence gathering through jamming to electronic or digital attack, is increasingly a factor in war. This has long been understood in the conventional warfare environment – including communications disruption and more recently jamming of GPS signals and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) command lines – but today challenges are arising from irregular forces, disabling attacks on electronic systems and remote attacks on non-military systems.

Infographic Of The Day: 63 Trillion Dollars Of World Debt


In an ideal situation, governments are just borrowing this money to cover short-term budget deficits or to finance mission critical projects. However, around the globe, countries have taken to the idea of running constant deficits as the normal course of business, and too much accumulation of debt is not healthy for countries or the global economy as a whole.

The U.S. is a prime example of “debt creep” – the country hasn’t posted an annual budget surplus since 2001, when the federal debt was only $6.9 trillion (54% of GDP). Fast forward to today, and the debt has ballooned to roughly $20 trillion (107% of GDP), which is equal to 31.8% of the world’s sovereign debt nominally.

The World Debt Leaderboard

In today’s infographic, we look at two major measures: (1) Share of global debt as a percentage, and (2) Debt-to-GDP.


How the military is making it hard to remember our wars

By John Spencer 

I often wonder what people will say about the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan decades from now. What I will tell my children when they are able to understand the answers to questions about what happened “over there.” I am afraid I will forget. As every day passes, I struggle more and more to remember all the names of the soldiers in my platoon, the hard-to-pronounce places we fought, the day-to-day things we did during my two year-long combat tours in Iraq.

But what worries me most is that we, as a nation, will forget.

The Attack on U.S Special Forces in Niger: A Preliminary Assessment

By: Jacob Zenn

Of all the potential terrorist hotspots in the world today, Niger is an unlikely country to take center stage. However, the killing of four members of U.S. Special Forces in Niger, near the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, on October 4, has forced the U.S. military, Congress and foreign policy community to ask many questions: one such question is “who did it”? This Hot Issue explores the various militant actors present in the area where the attack on U.S. Special Forces took place, assesses which actor was most likely involved in the attack, and offers an explanation as to why there has been no claim of the attack despite the high profile of the operation.

Introduction

12 November 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE CHANGE
                                                               - Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)
                                        
As New Delhi is suffering from acute air pollution, two important documents have been published last week regarding Climate Change. These have very significant relevance to India.

The Lancet report

The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most widely cited medical journalshas published a report Lancet Countdown’s 2017. The report states that climate change is already afflicting human health worldwide, exposing tens of millions of elderly people to excess heat while possibly reducing the ability of hundreds of millions of workers to do their jobs. The report examines dozens of statistics from around the planet and finds that the long-predicted effects of climate change have already become a reality in many places. Heat waves now last longer, reaching more people and broiling more territory, than they did in the 1980s and 1990s. In the United States, this spike in warmth is lengthening the allergy season, sometimes by weeks, and helping infectious diseases to spread.

The Lancet report finds that many more older people experience heat waves now than did two or three decades ago. On average, 125 million more older adults are exposed to heat than were in previous decades. The Lancet Countdown tracks progress on health and climate change and provides an independent assessment of the health effects of climate change, the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and the health implications of these actions.

The key messages from the 40 indicators in the Lancet Countdown’s 2017 report are summarised below.

The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible—affecting the health of populations around the world today

The impacts of climate change are disproportionately affecting the health of vulnerable populations and people in low-income and middle-income countries. By undermining the social and environmental determinants that underpin good health, climate change exacerbates social, economic, and demographic inequalities, with the impacts eventually felt by all populations.

The delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardised human life and livelihoods

The voice of the health profession is essential in driving forward progress on climate change and realising the health benefits of this response.

Although progress has been historically slow, the past 5 years have seen an accelerated response, and in 2017, momentum is building across a number of sectors; the direction of travel is set, with clear and unprecedented opportunities for public health

U.S. Global Change - Research Program Climate Science Special Report

Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.

This assessment concludes, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.

For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.

Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. 

Changes in the characteristics of extreme events are particularly important for human safety, infrastructure, agriculture, water quality and quantity, and natural ecosystems. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the United States and globally and is expected to continue to increase.

Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent. Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.8°F (1.0°C) for the period 1901–2016; over the next few decades (2021–2050), annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F for the United States, relative to the recent past (average from 1976–2005), under all plausible future climate scenarios.

The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate changes, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.

Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States and these trends are expected to continue. Under higher scenarios, and assuming no change to current water resources management, chronic, long-duration hydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century.

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally. Without major reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature relative to preindustrial times could reach 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century. With significant reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature could be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) or less.

The global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has now passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continued growth in CO2 emissions over this century and beyond would lead to an atmospheric concentration not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years. There is broad consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some of which are potentially large and irreversible.

The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, the three warmest years on record for the globe, and continued decline in arctic sea ice. These trends are expected to continue in the future over climate timescales. Significant advances have also been made in our understanding of extreme weather events and how they relate to increasing global temperatures and associated climate changes. Since 1980, the cost of extreme events for the United States has exceeded $1.1 trillion; therefore, better understanding of the frequency and severity of these events in the context of a changing climate is warranted.

Global and U.S. Temperatures Continue to Rise

Long-term temperature observations are among the most consistent and widespread evidence of a warming planet. Temperature (and, above all, its local averages and extremes) affects agricultural productivity, energy use, human health, water resources, infrastructure, natural ecosystems, and many other essential aspects of society and the natural environment. Recent data add to the weight of evidence for rapid global-scale warming, the dominance of human causes, and the expected continuation of increasing temperatures, including more record-setting extremes. (Ch. 1)

Changes in Observed and Projected Global Temperature

The global, long-term, and unambiguous warming trend has continued during recent years. Since the last National Climate Assessment was published, 2014 became the warmest year on record globally; 2015 surpassed 2014 by a wide margin; and 2016 surpassed 2015. Sixteen of the warmest years on record for the globe occurred in the last 17 years (1998 was the exception). Global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.2°F (0.65°C) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960; the linear regression change over the entire period from 1901–2016 is 1.8°F (1.0°C) 


(left) Global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.2°F (0.7°C) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960. Red bars show temperatures that were above the 1901–1960 average, and blue bars indicate temperatures below the average. (right) Surface temperature change (in °F) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960. Gray indicates missing data. 

How one wishes this type of research and reports are made for Indian conditions.