23 December 2017

Looking Back to the Future: The Beginnings of Drones and Manned Aerial Warfare

Ulrike Franke

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy.

On 8 December 1909, British Army Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell was invited to give a talk at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Baden-Powell had been among the first soldiers to see the use of military aviation. He experimented with flying kites and built an aircraft with his sister Agnes, and he had just stepped down as President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the oldest aeronautical society in the world. On that Wednesday afternoon in December 1909, he spoke about “How Airships are Likely to Affect War.”

Autonomous Weapons: Man’s Best Friend

Matthew Hipple

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy.

“Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.”

As early as 1599, Shakespeare’s turn of phrase for Anthony in his play Julius Caesar tacitly acknowledged a 2000-year-old human acceptance of autonomous war machines. What is a militarily employed dog other than, as autonomous weapons are defined by DOD Directive 3000.09, “a weapon system that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator.” As modern-day ethicists agonize over the autonomy’s ascendance, they ignore 2,600 years of wartime employment of autonomous, self-replicating killing machines that are by popular opinion still our best friend.

22 December 2017

India’s jobless growth is a myth

R. GopalanM.C. Singhi

We see two major concerns on employment generation in India. The first relates to regular availability of information on employment generation and the second, to its quality, particularly its ability to capture fully the data on employment generation from the new initiatives taken by the government.




Terrorist Violence Escalates Across Afghanistan And Pakistan


Security forces guard the site of a clash between gunmen and security forces in Kabul on Monday. Gunmen stormed a partially constructed building near an intelligence training center, triggering a gun battle with security forces as detonations and shooting reverberated from the area.Massoud Hossaini/AP

Deadly attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan are highlighting the escalation of the longest foreign war in U.S. history as American and Afghan forces continue to fight a growing presence of ISIS and Taliban insurgents in the region.

Pak NSA blames US on Kashmir: 'Nuclear war a real possibility'

Omer Farooq Khan

The Pak NSA accused India of stockpiling a range of dangerous weapons and threatning Pak of conventional warfare. He criticised the US role in the region, and said that Washington was "speaking India’s language" He said the US was willing to give India a bigger role in Afghanistan, a claim most Pakistani authorities have been making. ISLAMABAD: Peeved at the US for backing India on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan's National Security Advisor (NSA) Lt Gen (retired) Nasser Khan Janjua, warned on Monday that nuclear war in South Asia was a real possibility.

Russia and China Object to New ‘America First’ Security Doctrine

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

MOSCOW — Officials in Russia and China pushed back on Tuesday against the characterization of their countries as threats to the United States in a new national security doctrine published by the White House a day earlier.A spokesman for the Kremlin criticized Mr. Trump’s foreign policy strategy as having an “imperialist character” while the Chinese Embassy in Washington suggested that the document’s theme of “America First” reflected “outdated, zero-sum thinking.”

The Human Factor in the “Unmanned” Systems of the People's Liberation Army

Elsa B. Kania

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy. Even as the character of conflict is transformed by the advent of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) on the battlefield, the human factor is no less important in this machine age of warfare. However, the typical terminological characterization of military drones as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) reflects a tendency to neglect those responsible for the operation of these uninhabited systems.[1] Ironically, the use of highly automated weapons and most larger UAVs, such as the Predator, often require the involvement of more humans than the typical manned aircraft.[2] Even while adopting the parlance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), the U.S. military initially struggled with the underlying human capital challenges associated with these systems.

The Chinese World Order


Andrew J. Nathan

Ten years ago the journalist James Mann published a book called The China Fantasy, in which he criticized American policymakers for using something he called “the Soothing Scenario” to justify the policy of diplomatic and economic engagement with China. According to this view, China’s exposure to the benefits of globalization would lead the country to embrace democratic institutions and support the American-led world order. Instead, Mann predicted, China would remain an authoritarian country, and its success would encourage other authoritarian regimes to resist pressures to change.

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

By Josh Meyer

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation. The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Can't Kill Enough to Win? Think Again


When is the United States going to do the killing necessary to beat its terrorist enemies or eliminate them entirely?

Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.

‘North Korea is a time bomb’: government advisers urge China to prepare for war

Wendy Wu
Source Link

“Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” said Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong, who also advises the State Council, China’s cabinet.Shi said US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were locked in a vicious cycle of threats and it was already too late for China to avert it. At best, Beijing could stall a full-blown conflict. “North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,” Shi said on the sidelines of a Beijing conference on the crisis.

Trump’s Security Strategy and the New Nuclear World

By Evan Moore

The Trump administration will release its National Security Strategy on Monday, December 18. This white paper, required by the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, is the most authoritative guide to America’s allies and adversaries alike about the administration’s approach to foreign policy. Likewise, the Pentagon is also scheduled to release its Nuclear Posture Review by the end of the year, which outlines what the role of America’s nuclear weapons in its overall strategy should be. These reports will shed critical light on the White House’s strategic worldview and how the administration will seek to address the rapid deterioration of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Without the big picture, the details don’t make sense.


Every day the media produces an overwhelming amount of material, projected through the biases of whatever interests pay their bills. A recent Gallup poll found that 62 percent of Americans think the news media favors a political party. If you’re in that 62 percent, you feel increasingly frustrated searching for the truth. It’s impossible to understand complex geopolitical problems and make informed decisions if the news you get is spun to serve someone else’s interests. Let’s face it – major media outlets need reader clicks and eyeballs. They get those clicks through worry-inducing headlines. Their bottom line is your anxiety.

Drones in Counterterrorism: The Primacy of Politics Over Technology

Asfandyar Mir

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy. Policymakers, analysts, and scholars have long worried that drones make counterterrorismdangerously easy. With no American lives on the line, drone-centric counterterrorism is considered unconstrained by domestic political costs. As criticism of drone use on ethical grounds has not become a major electoral issue, some analysts worry that political leaders have limited reason to be cautious when considering counterterrorism options. Even President Barack Obama –– whose Presidency was marked by a prolific use of drones for counterterrorism –– recognized drone use as “what looks like a pretty antiseptic way of disposing of [our] enemies” while also expressing concerns that, without sufficient Congressional oversight, “you [could] end up with a president who can carry on perpetual wars all over the world.”

Why the United States Is Wary of the WTO


The end of the Cold War brought about a different view of free trade in the United States. Through almost 50 years of negotiations, the United States spearheaded the establishment of the World Trade Organization as Washington sought to shape the global trading regime — and the trading order in the West — as a bulwark against communism. But times have changed, and amid a frontal assault by the United States this week, the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference came to an undignified end Dec. 13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Britain faces serious questions on its defence capability

LAWRENCE FREEDMAN 

Most of the controversies surrounding Britain’s national security capability review have focused on the mismatch between the Ministry of Defence’s forward commitments and the available budget. The result is a funding gap said to be £20bn over the coming decade. The origins of that gap lie in familiar problems of managing large defence projects, a failure to make efficiency savings promised in the past and a decline in the value of the pound. Yet much else has also happened since the last comprehensive spending review in 2015 — not least the EU referendum, the election of Donald Trump and demonstrations of the potential of social media as an instrument of conflict (notably in Russia’s interference in western political processes). Some fundamental questions are starting to come into view about Britain’s international role

German spy agency warns of Chinese LinkedIn espionage


China is using fake LinkedIn profiles to gather information on German officials and politicians, the German intelligence agency (BfV) has said. The agency alleges that Chinese intelligence used the networking site to target at least 10,000 Germans, possibly to recruit them as informants. It released a number of fake profiles allegedly used for this purpose. BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen said the accounts show China's efforts to subvert top-level German politics.

Explaining a Dictator: Kim Jong-un’s Hard Upbringing With a Father Who Did Not Like Him

Kim Jong Un may never have had the chance to enrage President Donald Trump, threaten the world with nuclear war or lead the charge in dozens of human rights violations if not for his complicated relationship with his father, Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il died six years ago on December 17, 2011, of a suspected heart attack. He should have been succeeded by one of his eldest two sons, Kim Jong Nam or Kim Jong Chul, but the former was assassinated after attempting to go to Tokyo Disneyland and the latter was reportedly considered too “feminine” to be considered as ruler. Kim Jong Un stepped into power as the underdog, after years of reports showed Kim Jong Nam to be the favorite of their father’s.

The Internet Is Not Going Completely to Plan

By Oliver Marguleas

Originally envisioned as a democratic tool to connect the world, the internet is not going completely to plan. The last year alone provides data points aplenty. Surveillance software sold to the Mexican government was used to spy on anti-corruption activists; a Rohingya group was banned from a social media platformamid ethnic cleansing; and Russian trolls and bots continue to tear at the United States’ democratic fabric. With global freedom in decline, most significantly freedom of expression, the internet has not necessarily made us better informed, nor has it left us able to better express ourselves. 

What can cyber do for you, the commander?

By: Mark Pomerleau   

The Army is focusing on commanders as it continues to work on cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) Support to Corps and Below pilot, which is gaming what types of cyber, electronic warfare and information capabilities should exist at what echelons.“Being able to have the [brigade combat team] commanders lay out for us … what effects you want to achieve, don’t worry about the buttonology and the capability and all that, tell me what it is you want [from] effects in the battlefield and let some of the CEMA experts be able to figure out what those things are,” Maj. (P) Wayne A. Sanders, branch chief at CEMA Support to Corps and Below ARCYBER G39, said during an AUSA-hosted event in Arlington, Virgina on Dec. 13.

The future of connectivity: Enabling the Internet of Things

By Daniel Alsén, Mark Patel, and Jason Shangkuan

With new connectivity technologies unlocking opportunities along the IoT value chain, companies must create detailed plans to harness their potential.The Internet of Things (IoT)—the network of connected “smart” devices that communicate seamlessly over the Internet—is transforming how we live and work. At farms, wireless IoT sensors can transmit information about soil moisture and nutrients to agricultural experts across the country. IoT alarm systems, equipped with batteries that last for years, provide homeowners with long-term protection. Wearable fitness devices—for both people and pets—can monitor activity levels and provide feedback on heart rate and respiration. Although these applications serve different purposes, they all share one characteristic: dependence on strong connectivity.

Here’s how the Army is trying to integrate information operations

By: Mark Pomerleau

A soldier from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division uses a Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit Manpack radio to communicate while conducting dismounted operations at the Army's Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 on Nov. 9, 2012. The Manpack allows small units in austere environments to exchange voice and data information with their higher headquarters, without having to rely on a fixed infrastructure.  The Army wants to give battlefield commanders the ability to drill down into local social media feeds and identify potential communication tools such as Wi-Fi networks and cellphone towers as a way to help slow the flow of information.

What can cyber do for you, the commander?

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Army is focusing on commanders as it continues to work on cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) Support to Corps and Below pilot, which is gaming what types of cyber, electronic warfare and information capabilities should exist at what echelons. “Being able to have the [brigade combat team] commanders lay out for us … what effects you want to achieve, don’t worry about the buttonology and the capability and all that, tell me what it is you want [from] effects in the battlefield and let some of the CEMA experts be able to figure out what those things are,” Maj. (P) Wayne A. Sanders, branch chief at CEMA Support to Corps and Below ARCYBER G39, said during an AUSA-hosted event in Arlington, Virgina on Dec. 13.

Army eyeing options for long-range electronic attack

By: Amber Corrin 

The Army may not currently have a traditional program of record for long-range electronic attack, but that’s not stopping officials from moving ahead to meet operational needs from the field.Leaders are evaluating different options to meet those needs, including different ways of fielding capabilities in spirals and coordinating with coalition partners that do have such tools already, officials said at an Association of the U.S. Army event held Dec. 13 in Arlington, Virginia.

Ajit Pai Is Wrong for the Right Reasons


Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on party lines to reverse the 2015 net neutrality rules put in place by former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. All three of FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s arguments for his decision are technically correct. He just chose the wrong solution to the right problems. Pai’s decision to eliminate Title II protections against internet service providers (ISPs) throttling traffic or blocking content on the internet will not lead to the demise of the internet as we know it, but it does raise the risk that they will migrate over time toward unfair or anticompetitive practices in order to boost their flagging profits. And neither Pai nor Wheeler’s approach does anything to address the fact that the internet is not and has not been neutral. Major technology companies, not ISPs, control virtually all of the content we see on the internet in exchange for providing us with free, personalized services, and consumers seem happy with this.

The Strategic Implications of Non-State #WarBots

Mark Jacobsen

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy. Over the past year, a primitive type of WarBot has become a formidable battlefield weapon: the small unmanned aerial system. The threat materialized in October 2016 when a drone booby-trapped by the Islamic State killed two Kurdish soldiers. Within a few months, the Islamic State was flying tens of aerial bombardment missions each day, displayed the capability to drop grenades down the hatches of tanks, and reportedly flew up to a dozen aircraft at a time. The threat was so severe that the Mosul offensive nearly stalled.

Why We Should Be Worried about a War in Space

THOMAS GONZÁLEZ ROBERTS

One hundred miles above the Earth’s surface, orbiting the planet at thousands of miles per hour, the six people aboard the International Space Station enjoy a perfect isolation from the chaos of earthly conflict. Outer space has never been a military battleground. But that may not last forever. The debate in Congress over whether to create a Space Corps comes at a time when governments around the world are engaged in a bigger international struggle over how militaries should operate in space. Fundamental changes are already underway. No longer confined to the fiction shelf, space warfare is likely on the horizon.

21 December 2017

Time for Pakistan to Apologize to Bangladesh

By Uzair Younus

On December 16, 1971, almost 100,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered in Dhaka, leading to the creation of the sovereign nation-state of Bangladesh. Relations between both countries remain frosty 46 years after the Pakistani armed forces surrendered in Dhaka. While some attempts were made by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government to normalize ties, the current government in Pakistan has made little to no effort in reaching out to Bangladesh. The PPP sent Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Dhaka in 2012 and invited Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the D-8 summit in Islamabad. However, the PPP was unwilling to meet Bangladesh’s decades-long demand of an unconditional apology for the atrocities committed in 1971, leading to the rejection of the invitation. Despite this, there was hope that both countries were making progress and would normalize relations in the near future.

What Caused the Left Alliance's Landslide Victory in Nepal?

By Kamal Dev Bhattarai

In the recently concluded elections for the House of Representatives (Nepal’s lower house) and provincial assemblies of Nepal, the two communist parties, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) and CPN (Maoist Center) — which joined forces for the elections under the banner of a left alliance — won a landslide victory. The left alliance has now secured overwhelming majorities in both the federal bicameral legislature (the House of Representatives and National Assembly) and the provincial assemblies. The left alliance is also likely to form governments in six out of seven provinces.

CHINA AND RUSSIA TRAIN FOR WAR WITH U.S. IF TRUMP INVADES NORTH KOREA

BY TOM O'CONNOR

China and Russia may be devising a plan to attack U.S. forces in the event of an imminent war breaking out on the neighboring Korean Peninsula, according to two former military officials.Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang, the former deputy commander of the western Nanjing Military Region, warned "the war on the Korean Peninsula might break out anytime between now and March next year"; his comments came during a conference hosted Saturday by ruling Communist Party newspaper The Global Times. The following day, the nationalist outlet expanded on the retired general's remarks with insight from Chinese military expert, commentator and author Song Zhongping, who said China could potentially engage U.S. forces if they posed a threat.

The Great Leap Forward: China’s Pursuit of a Strategic Breakthrough

By Roncevert Ganan Almond

On February 25, 1956, in a closed session of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave his “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin and his cult of personality. The political tremors from this questioning of Communist doctrine traveled across the border to Beijing where Chinese-leader Mao Zedong initially responded with an invitation for criticism (“Let a thousand flowers bloom”), only to double down on his relentless pursuit of internal enemies and continuous revolution. In search of a strategic breakthrough, Mao embarked on the Great Leap Forward, a sweeping, terrifying and, ultimately, catastrophic economic program designed to surpass the achievements of Western industrialization in an accelerated timeframe (in one “big bang”).

Chinese have turned restive western China into a Police State

Nobody knows what happened to the Uighur student after he returned to China from Egypt and was taken away by police. Not his village neighbors in China’s far west, who haven’t seen him in months. Not his former classmates, who fear Chinese authorities beat him to death. Not his mother, who lives in a two-story house at the far end of a country road, alone behind walls bleached by the desert sun. She opened the door one afternoon for an unexpected visit by Associated Press reporters, who showed her a picture of a handsome young man posing in a park, one arm in the wind.

A Constructive Year for Chinese Base Building


International attention has shifted away from the slow-moving crisis in the South China Sea over the course of 2017, but the situation on the water has not remained static. While pursuing diplomatic outreach toward its Southeast Asian neighbors, Beijing continued substantial construction activities on its dual-use outposts in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. China completed the dredging and landfilling operations to create its seven new islands in the Spratlys by early 2016, and seems to have halted such operations to expand islets in the Paracels by mid-2017. But Beijing remains committed to advancing the next phase of its build-up—construction of the infrastructure necessary for fully-functioning air and naval bases on the larger outposts.

How the Pentagon’s cyber offensive against ISIS could shape the future for elite U.S. forces

Dan Lamothe

The U.S. military has conducted cyber attacks against the Islamic State for more than a year, and its record of success when those attacks are coordinated with elite Special Operations troops is such that the Pentagon is likely carry out similar operations with greater frequency, according to current and former U.S. defense officials. The cyber offensive against ISIS, an acronym for the Islamic State, was a first and included the creation of a unit named Joint Task Force Ares. It focused on destroying or disrupting computer networks used by the militant group to recruit fighters and communicate inside the organization. Such offensive weapons are more commonly associated with U.S. intelligence agencies, but they were brought into the open in 2016 after then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter pressured U.S. Cyber Command to become more involved in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State.

Flight MH370 didn’t just "disappear": Historian suggests mystery was first case of remote skyjacking and 'was diverted to prevent delivery of secret cargo to China

Claire Carter

Missing Malaysia airlines plane MH370 has still not be found after searches close to Australia - but theorists suggest the plane may be buried under sheets of ice in the Antarctic
All that has been found so far of the ill-fated flight MH370 is a handful of parts, such as part of a wing, washed up on remote islands across the world.Data shows the strange path taken by the Malaysia Airlines plane as it suddenly jerked from east to west, away from its destination of China on March 8, 2014 - but no one has been able to explain why it took this strange path, or where it lay now.

Middle East, Russia Seems to Be Everywhere


Russia's growing prominence in the Middle East was on full display Dec. 11 when Vladimir Putin visited three key Middle Eastern countries in one day. The Russian president followed a surprise trip to Syria with a quick stop in Egypt before ending his day's travels in Turkey. He met with his presidential counterparts in all three countries, and the economic deals, military agreements and political settlements he discussed highlighted Russia's role in the region. While Russia has its own reasons for bolstering its relationships with Syria, Egypt and Turkey, it also benefits from being visible where its regional rival, the United States, is not.

Tell me how Trump’s North Korea gambit ends

By Daniel W. Drezner 

The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts does not live inside the Beltway. That can be a very good thing, as it prevents insider gossip color my read of trends within American foreign policy. Occasionally, however, it means I am slower on the draw to shifts that matter. Take North Korea. My position for most of this year has been that for all the Trump administration’s bluster on the DPRK, the lack of any decent military option rendered much of the war talk to be overblown wishcasting. As I wrote in September: “The current status quo is not great. Changing the status quo is not likely to make the situation any better and very likely to make things worse.”

Russia, N. Korea Eye Bitcoin for Money Laundering, Putting It on a Crash Course with Regulators

BY PATRICK TUCKER

Thieves and sanctioned countries are targeting the digital currency’s exchanges, setting up a fight between governments and cryptocurrency powerhouses. Bitcoin’s rising value got a further boost last week with the debut of the first futures trading. But the digital currency has also attracted the attention the interest of U.S. adversaries. A report out this week says that Russia is eying the currency as a means to bypass harsh sanctions levied by the United States and European governments, while North Koreans are suspected of trying to steal Bitcoins from South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. All this puts pressure on the U.S. government – and may ultimately hurt the cryptocurrency’s value.

North Korean hackers behind attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, South Korean newspaper reports

North Korean hackers behind attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, South Korean newspaper reports South Korea’s spy agency said North Korean hackers were behind attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges this year in which some 7.6 billion won ($6.99 million) worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen, a newspaper reported on Saturday. The cyber attacks attributed to North Korean hackers also included the leaking of personal information from 36,000 accounts from the world’s busiest cryptocurrency exchange Bitthumb in June, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported, citing the country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS).

U.S. MILITARY AND NATO MAY NOW TARGET RUSSIA WITH CYBERWEAPONS, MARKING HUGE POLICY CHANGE

BY TOM O'CONNOR 

Western military alliance NATO’s recent decision to integrate cyber warfare into its command could be its biggest policy shift in decades and represents a stark 21st-century warning to foes, especially Russia, according to one of the leading officials to help draft the new strategy. Capitalizing on the multinational coalition’s recognition of cyberspace as a theater of operations at last year’s Warsaw Summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced last month the creation of Cyber Operations Center as part of an overall effort to update and adopt a more expansive and efficient command structure. Last week, retired Air Force Colonel Rizwan Ali revealed how the decision, which he helped write and implement, could affect the way NATO conducts operations and counterthreats from abroad.

Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel?


Theodor Fontane, the master of the nineteenth-German novel, published Before the Storm in 1876. Set during the winter of 1812-13 in and around Berlin, it explores the decisive historical moment when Prussia changed sides—breaking out of its forced alliance with France in order to join with Russia in the anti-Napoleonic war. Yet the dialectic of that historical moment was such that Germans could participate in the rout of the French army, while nonetheless embracing aspects of their revolutionary legacy. Even as they fought against Napoleon in their “war of liberation,” they also integrated some of the social consequences of the revolution that had begun with the storming of the Bastille. 

why-russia-punches-above-its-weight-in-global-affairs

Steven Metz 

You can punch above your weight in statecraft as in boxing, and in today’s global security system, Russia is like an aggressive bantamweight. For the United States and the rest of the West, containing or moderating Russia’s sometimes damaging actions depends on understanding why Moscow can punch above its weight, and how that shapes its behavior.

Until the late 1940s, Americans had never thought much about Russia and thus were deeply perplexed when the World War II alliance between Washington and Moscow devolved into the Cold War. In a famous Foreign Affairs article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” career diplomat George Kennan, who was one of the foremost Russia experts in the State Department at the time, explained that Russia’s history of being invaded, plus its size and geographic location, gave it immense power, but also imbued it with a combination of paranoia and ambition. That gave Russia a deep sense of national mission, seeing itself as a bulwark of the West against hostile outside forces, and as the rightful hegemon in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. ...

German public says ‘jein’ to European security

Ulrike Esther Franke 

A new poll shows that the German public is increasingly concerned with security, but is dismissive of its American security guarantor and unwilling to pay more to help Europe replace it. ‘Jein’ has always been one of my favourite German words. It is a mix of yes (ja) and no (nein), which may sound meaningless, but is often surprisingly useful. For instance, when talking about German attitudes to their country’s foreign and security policy. Each year the German Koerber foundation publishes a poll on the German public’s viewson foreign policy. This week the 2017 edition was presented to the public. It includes a host of interesting stats: 74% think accession talks with Turkey should be broken off; 56% judge the current relationship with the US as bad or very bad; 37% think Brexit will have no particular impact on the EU. 

India should secure infrastructure against cyber threats, says Kaspersky Labs founder


India needs to worry about terror groups attacking critical infrastructure such as power plants, telecom and banking systems, says Eugene Kaspersky, founder of the world’s biggest private cybersecurity firm. Is India particularly vulnerable or a target for cyberattacks, especially from adversarial neighbours such as China and Pakistan? India is one of the most important countries from a cybersecurity aspect because of its large population, Internet literacy, and as a growing economy. I hope and believe we will never have an inter-state cyberwar, simply because all nations are equally vulnerable. Cyberweapons are like a nuclear weapon now, a deterrent. But I am worried about cyberterrorism. There are many groups that are responsible to no one and they are the worst case scenario for us.

Dark Web NightmaresWeak in attack and defence, India walks blind down an unseen war

ARUSHI BEDI

Think national security and the first thing that comes to mind is the soldier sitting at the border, arms in hand, firing shell after shell to protect his sovereign country come what may. The images might be largely correct, but then long gone are the days of mechanised warfare fought on land with guns and tanks alone. Armed forces throughout the world are now equipping themselves to fight a new kind of unseen war. These are ones fought behind computer screens, but those that have the ability to disrupt countries in ways that don’t just lead to bloodshed of a few at the border. They can trigger mass shutdowns, affecting the lives of common people in ways unim­aginable a decade ago.

IRAN’S CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM IS NOW A MAJOR THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES

BY DOROTHY DENNING 

Iran is one of the leading cyberspace adversaries of the United States. It emerged as a cyber threat a few years later than Russia and China and has so far demonstrated less skill. Nevertheless, it has conducted several highly damaging cyberattacks and become a major threat that will only get worse.But unlike these other countries, Iran openly encourages its hackers to launch cyberattacks against its enemies.The government not only recruits hackers into its cyber forces but supports their independent operations.

Infographic Of The Day: Inventions That Were Discovered By Accident


One day in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming returned to his lab in London after a two-week vacation to find that mold had developed on a contaminated staphylococcus culture plate. The scientist was searching for a “wonder drug” to cure a wide variety of diseases. A moldy Petri dish was not a part of the plan, but Fleming noticed the culture had prevented the growth of staphylococci. Further examination revealed penicillin, a powerful antibiotic that could be used to treat everything from tonsillitis to syphilis.

NIST’s lead cryptographer talks encryption’s paradigm shifts

By: Brad D. Williams 

Cryptography has long attracted research into novel applications for secret messages between parties. For nearly 4,000 years, cryptographic methods have slowly advanced, with notable contributions from many ancient civilizations and modern nations. Since the advent of the internet age, cryptographic applications have rapidly expanded. The ongoing evolution has continued this year, with recent breakthroughs that some experts say could fundamentally transform one of the oldest subfields of contemporary cybersecurity.

The End of Net Neutrality: Implications for National Security

LEVI MAXEY 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on Thursday to dismantle their authorities to enforce net neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, from interfering in the traffic streams that take place over their infrastructure. The reversal of the FCC’s 2015 decision means the federal government will no longer be able to regulate ISPs as if they were a utility, allowing ISPs to privilege some traffic over others and perhaps even throttle or block content they independently decide to – such as controversial political opinions. 

The Strategic Implications of Non-State #WarBots

By Mark Jacobsen

This essay is part of the #WarBots series, which asked a group of academics and national security professionals to provide their thoughts on the confluence of automation and unmanned technologies and their impact in the conduct of war. We hope this launches a debate that may one day shape policy. Over the past year, a primitive type of WarBot has become a formidable battlefield weapon: the small unmanned aerial system. The threat materialized in October 2016 when a drone booby-trapped by the Islamic State killed two Kurdish soldiers. Within a few months, the Islamic State was flying tens of aerial bombardment missions each day, displayed the capability to drop grenades down the hatches of tanks, and reportedly flew up to a dozen aircraft at a time. The threat was so severe that the Mosul offensive nearly stalled.

INVISIBLE DOOMSDAY MACHINES: THE CHALLENGE OF CLANDESTINE CAPABILITIES AND DETERRENCE

Brendan Rittenhouse Green and Austin Long

Stanley Kubrick’s iconic black comedy Dr. Strangelove remains one of the most insightful works on deterrence. The film revolves around the Doomsday Machine, which will automatically destroy all life on earth if the United States ever launches a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. After a rogue American general does precisely that, the Soviet ambassador reveals the machine’s existence and explains what is about to happen. American General Buck Turgidson is skeptical, claiming the machine is “an obvious commie trick, Mr. President!” The titular Dr. Strangelove subsequently delivers the film’s biting satirical punch line: “The … whole point of the Doomsday Machine … is lost … if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?”

Impact of Sequestration and the Drawdown on the Different Sectors of the Industrial Base


The United States has long recognized the importance of supporting and sustaining an advanced defense industrial base for maintaining global technological superiority. However, the implementation of the 2011 Budget Control Act's (BCA) enforced reductions to the federal budget has prompted Congressional, DOD, government oversight, and industry officials all to express concerns over the health and future of the defense industrial base. The empirical data presented in this report show that the effect of the defense drawdown on industry was substantial; and that defense contract obligations fell across all platform portfolios (planes, land vehicles, ships, etc.). However, the impact of the drawdown on the different sectors of the defense industrial base varied widely and the varying consequences are discussed herein.

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20 December 2017

THE TIES THAT BIND: FAMILIES, CLANS, AND HIZBALLAH’S MILITARY EFFECTIVENESS

MICHAEL EISENSTADT AND KENDALL BIANCHI

A recent article in a pro-Hizballah media site tells the “Story of Two Martyrs,” Ibrahim and Ahmad Shihab, cousins who grew up together in the town of Baraachit in southern Lebanon. The two were close and went on “jihad” together in June 2016, fighting in the “same trench” in Syria. They were killed in action shortly thereafter, along with another lifelong friend from their hometown who was also a member of the extended Shihab clan. The story of the two cousins and their friendship sheds light on the workings of organizations like Hizballah, which has morphed from a shadowy underground resistance movement and communal militia into a large, quasi-regular military force. In many cases, members belong to the same family or clan, or are close friends. Indeed, this is true of many local and foreign militias that have participated in Syria’s civil war. These social solidarities may contribute to the effectiveness of these militias, as well as organizations like Hizballah, whose institutional DNA still bears the imprint of its militia origins.

Opium Trade Not Only Funding the Taliban, But Also a Big Contributor to Growing Violence and Corruption in Afghanistan

The additional American ground forces sent to Afghanistan this year are concentrating on Taliban logistics and that means attacks on the drug gang infrastructure. There are thirteen drug gangs in Afghanistan and most rely on Helmand for something. Most of these gangs have a major part of their heroin production in Helmand and all depend on the Helmand access to Pakistan where the military has sufficient authority to make sure chemicals and lab equipment (required to turn the bulky opium into the more compact and much more valuable heroin) get across the border and into Helmand. Half of the opium and heroin leaves the country via Pakistan. Helmand is the key to drug gang operations and the bulk of Taliban income.

Religious extremism poses threat to ASEAN's growth

GWEN ROBINSON, Chief editor, and SIMON ROUGHNEEN

YANGON/JAKARTA -- With Mt. Agung billowing volcanic ash into the sky above his home in Bali, Khairy Susanto was unsure if he could fly back after joining tens of thousands of fellow Indonesian Islamists at a rally near the presidential palace in Jakarta."Inshallah, we can fly, but it doesn't matter, we will be OK," Susanto said. "We are happy to be here today to celebrate our victory."