25 December 2017

Worldwide Military Drone Production to Swell Over Next Decade

By Vivienne Machi

Unmanned aerial vehicles will experience the most dynamic growth in the global aerospace industry over the next 10 years, with military production driving the demand, according to a recent report. 

Analysts from the Teal Group predicted that worldwide UAV production will increase from $4.2 billion annually in 2017 to $10.3 billion in 2026, totaling over $80 billion during that period. Military UAV research spending would contribute another $26 billion in that timeframe, according to the firm’s annual World Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems: Market Profile and Forecast.

What if we lost GPS? That's one thing worrying the Air Force secretary

By SAMANTHA MASUNAGA

Space has become an increasingly important area of operations for commercial industry and the U.S. military.

Plummeting launch costs and the miniaturization of powerful technology have encouraged more countries and companies to venture into space, making it a “common domain for human endeavor,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. On the ground, industries have risen around the use of GPS, or Global Positioning System, the space-based navigational system pioneered by the U.S. military.

How the Blockchain Revolution Will Decentralize Power and End Corruption

Brian Behlendorf

When the world has gone corrupt, who can you trust? Blockchain is stepping up. The word might ring a bell for its connection with Bitcoin, but internet pioneer Brian Behlendorf is looking at this technology beyond its use in cryptocurrency. Blockchain is an open ledger system where transactions are irreversibly recorded and immediately shared to a distributed network of witnesses (companies, agencies, individuals). 

24 December 2017

India tops list of migrants living abroad at 17 million: UN


India has topped the list of people living abroad at 17 million with about 5 million Indians residing in the Gulf region alone, according to a new UN report.

Mexico, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Syria, Pakistan and Ukraine also have large migrant populations living abroad, ranging from 6 to 11 million each, according to the 2017 International Migration Report released here.

In 2017, India was the largest country of origin of international migrants at 17 million, followed by Mexico at 13 million.

NITI Aayog proposes scheme for saving jobs from automation

Jatin Gandhi and Gireesh Chandra Prasad

Federal think tank NITI Aayog has proposed that the government set up a labour utilisation fund that will make the country’s workforce more skilled and cost-competitive, encouraging businesses to hire more at a time when automation and the use of artificial intelligence are making low-skill labour redundant.

NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said in an interview that the government should consider setting up the fund, which will foot the bill for skilling workers and providing them social security, making workforce more cost-competitive for the industry to employ.

India to Arm 40 Su-30 Fighter Jets With BrahMos Cruise Missile By 2020

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Work has begun to integrate the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on 40 Indian Air Force fighter jets. India has kicked off the process of integrating the air-launched BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile on 40 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multirole air superiority fighter jets, according to local media reports.

The retrofitting of the aircraft is expected to be completed by 2020, Indian Air Force (IAF) sources revealed. “It is a very important project considering IAF’s evolving requirement to boost air power when the possibility of a two-front war cannot be ruled out,” an Indian government official said.

China’s Belt and Road Meets Trump’s Afghanistan Plan

By Yu Fu

Could China play the good cop while the U.S. plays the bad cop?

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy. Featuring an extra 4,000 U.S. soldiers and additional NATO troops in Afghanistan, the new policy was tough on the issue of tackling terrorism. Even military autonomy is improved under the plan, enhancing the authority for U.S. armed forces to target terrorists and criminal networks as well as expanding the scope of unmanned aircraft and special operations.

A FAMILIAR STRUGGLE: CONNECTING RURAL AFGHANS WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT

Source Link
WILL SELBER

When I joined the United States Air Force, I never thought I’d be advising a homeless, illiterate Afghan district governor in one of the most isolated districts in southern Afghanistan. However, with tours on an Iraq and Afghanistan Provincial Reconstruction Team under my belt, in 2011 that became precisely my job. I was responsible for the governance effort in Ghorak, Kandahar, under Special Operation Task Force-South’s Village Stability Operations. These operations, led by United States special operations forces, were designed to provide security, governance, and development to rural districts in Afghanistan. Special operations forces elements were responsible for raising and training Afghan Local Police to defend the village, while other enablers and civilians focused on governance and development. In theory, I was supposed to work alongside a State Department/USAID. But in reality, I was a one-man operation. I became responsible for connecting the Ghorak district (county) government with the Kandahar provincial (state) government and, ultimately, the national government in Kabul.

The Mysterious Chinese Company Worrying the World


For a company regularly in the news, China’s HNA Group Co. remains shrouded in mystery. American government officials are seeking more information about the conglomerate’s ownership, the Chinese government has been asking questions and the European Central Bank is considering a review of its own. Once a little-known airline operator, HNA took on billions of dollars in debt as it made more than $40 billion of acquisitions over six continents since the start of 2016. With interests in tourism, logistics and financial services, it’s now the biggest shareholder of such well-known names as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. It’s also facing mounting costs to finance its spending habits.

The New Era of Global Stability The grand ideological conflicts that began in 1917 are giving way to old-fashioned geopolitics.

Arthur Herman

After a century of chaos and mass death driven by conflicting ideologies, the world is entering a new era of stability. This new period of history is defined by the balance-of-power geopolitics embraced by Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The White House National Security Strategy published Monday appears to reflect this reality.

The previous era was inaugurated by two momentous events: President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to intervene in World War I and Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. Both occurred in 1917 and left overlapping legacies. In Lenin’s case, Russia’s communist revolution would spawn countless ideological imitators, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

How Iran, the Mideast's new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means


Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach? 

DECEMBER 17, 2017 BAGHDAD; AND KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier.

IN DEFENSE OF NOTHING

JEREMY SHAPIRO AND ANDREW MILLER

Nothing is like anything else. You can do nothing well or you can do nothing badly. Some people excel at nothing. Others have more difficulty with it. They grow restless, resent the loss of initiative and control, and, more deeply, they feel that “something” is inherently, even morally, superior to nothing.

The U.S. government national security apparatus, for better or for worse, sucks at nothing. In the policy process, the saying goes, something always beats nothing. As a bureaucratic fact, this is clearly true. But, from a policy perspective, is nothing always the wrong choice?

Germany's Secret Plan to Win World War I: Super 'Guns'


World War I’s stalemate on the Western Front ushered up varied solutions. The Allies developed tanks for traversing no man’s land to get at the enemy. But tanks had faults: Artillery could stop them, so could mechanical problems and difficult terrain; and they could not get the job done without lots of infantry.

Across the trenches, Germans had little regard for tanks and produced but few models. The main effort by the Germans lay in the application of the Hutier Taktik, the forerunner of the Blitzkrieg of 1939-1940. The Hutier demanded a narrow front, advancing without regard to the security of the flanks. Follow-up troops were detailed to deal with strong points that had been by-passed. It was an approach that worked well on the Eastern Front, but less so against the entrenchments in the West because the French and British armies were more stable and because the Germans could never amass enough stormtroopers.

Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine

By Josh Rogin

Correction: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly reported that the Trump administration had approved the first-ever commercial sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It stated that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had publicly supported arms sales to Ukraine; Mattis did not explicitly do so. This post has been updated. 

The Trump administration has approved the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. The move was heavily supported by top Trump national security Cabinet officials and Congress but may complicate President Trump’s stated ambition to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Egypt Girds Itself for a Loss of Power Over the Nile


Egypt will continue to maintain an aggressive tone against Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in an attempt to force Ethiopia to capitulate to Cairo's demands, but the dam will be completed.

Over the past decade, upstream states have shifted the balance of power in Nile River politics and are beginning to challenge Egypt's leverage over the use of the river's resources.

Egypt will be forced to come back to the negotiating table with Ethiopia because once the dam is built, Egypt must coordinate its dam operations with Ethiopia's as the new reservoir is filled.

Trump’s National Security Strategy Is a Farce


Roger Cohen 

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, presented what she said was evidence that Iran was violating one of its international agreements.

The Trump Administration has put out its new national security strategy. This is a farce. On any one issue, President Trump and his team have several contradictory positions. That’s what happens when your priority as president is to use foreign policy to throw red meat to your base while other cabinet members are scrambling to stop Armageddon.

Why the United States Is Wary of the WTO


It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

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.

Trump and Bannon’s 'Pivot to Asia'?

Curt Mills

The former White House chief strategist talks the “valley of decision” in Japan; the White House unveils a bellicosely anti-China National Security Strategy.

For all that has been made of the contrasts between President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, there are a number of similarities. For one, both were outsider presidents who inherited a remarkably similar portfolio in their first year: proliferation threats in North Korea and Iran, a flagging healthcare system, a somewhat undefined desire to end America’s permawar in the Middle East, and near-unprecedented partisan division and national unease about the U.S. economic future. History will judge whether the fact that Trump has inherited a strikingly similar slate of challenges speaks poorly of Obama, or rather, attests to the long-term nature or even outright implacability of the challenges at hand.

The Pentagon’s New Artificial Intelligence Is Already Hunting Terrorists

BY MARCUS WEISGERBER

After less than eight months of development, the algorithms are helping intel analysts exploit drove video over the battlefield.
Earlier this month at an undisclosed location in the Middle East, computers using special algorithms helped intelligence analysts identify objects in a video feed from a small ScanEagle drone over the battlefield.

A few days into the trials, the computer identified objects — people, cars, types of building — correctly about 60 percent of the time. Just over a week on the job — and a handful of on-the-fly software updates later — the machine’s accuracy improved to around 80 percent. Next month, when its creators send the technology back to war with more software and hardware updates, they believe it will become even more accurate.

The FBI and CIA need more political management, not less

BY JAMES DURSO

The Bolsheviks were wrong about everything except the need to defeat (real) fascism, and the necessity for firm control of the Cheka, the secret police.

Michael Morell, the former Acting Director of the CIA, recently confessedthat maybe it was a mistake for himself, the former chief of the CIA and NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, and the then-Director of the CIA, John Brennan, to criticize candidate Donald Trump. He admitted that he failed to understand how Trump would interpret their campaign criticism, which is pretty damning coming from someone who briefed presidents on how foreign leaders think.

Here’s Why the Trump Administration Called Out North Korea’s Cyberattacks

BY JOSEPH MARKSSENIOR

The attribution announcement made three big arguments and North Korea’s culpability was only one of them.

Trump Homeland Security officials put policy into practice Tuesday when they attributed a massive, transnational ransomware attack to the North Korean regime.

During a 30-minute press briefing, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert and Homeland Security Department cyber official Jeanette Manfra repeatedly hammered on key pillars of the administration’s cybersecurity strategy and touted the administration’s cyber priorities.

US short of options to punish NKorea for WannaCry cyberattack

By: Matthew Pennington and Ken Thomas 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration vowed Tuesday that North Korea would be held accountable for a May cyberattack that affected 150 countries, but it didn’t say how, highlighting the difficulty of punishing a pariah nation already sanctioned to the hilt for its nuclear weapons program.

The WannaCry ransomware attack infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service. It was the highest-profile cyberattack North Korea has been blamed for since the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures after it produced “The Interview,” a satirical movie imagining a CIA plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un.

Feds officially pin WannaCry ransomware attack on North Korea

By: Jessie Bur 

Seven months after the WannaCry malware attack infected and held ransom thousands of computers worldwide, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert announced Tuesday that the U.S. is officially attributing the cyberattack to the North Korean government.

“After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea. We do not make this allegation lightly. We do so with evidence and we do so with partners,” said Bossert, adding that the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and Japan have seen the analysis and agree with the attribution.

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.

US Military tests system for on-demand 3D-printed drones

David Lumb

The US military has used drones in combat zones for over a decade to scout and support infantry. Now they're testing a way to give ground troops another edge: The capability to build UAVs themselves. What's more, the US Army is partnering with the Marine Corps on a test project that lets troops 3D-print particular drone parts from a tablet-based catalog, which could eventually lead to manufacturing UAVs customized to the mission.

The concept is promising, and so is the flexibility: The software catalog setup lets military units print out an unmanned aircraft system for specific missions. The Army Research Laboratory expects the turnaround time to create UAV parts to be anywhere from minutes to hours, rather than days or weeks.

23 December 2017

** Making India Great Again?

Sumit Ganguly, Rajan Menon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is merely the champion of a larger movement that seeks to push India in a more nationalist direction.

NATIONALISM HAS become a formidable force in India, the world’s most populous democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, or Indian People’s Party) portrays India as a once-glorious Hindu civilization whose identity and power were eroded—first by successive Muslim invasions that culminated in the establishment of the Mughal Empire (1526–1857), and thereafter, until 1947, by British colonialism. For more than half a millennium, in the BJP’s telling, many Hindus were forcibly converted to, or duped into adopting, Islam and Christianity. English became the intelligentsia’s lingua franca. Civilizational self-confidence gave way to feelings of weakness and inferiority—or so goes the Hindu nationalists’ narrative.

India must stop ignoring the Andamans


'The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are an asset that any country aspiring to become a major power would give anything to own.'

'It is disappointing that India has not capitalised on this potential,' says Vice Admiral Premvir Das (retd).

In the last few days, the armed forces have carried out a tri-lateral joint exercise off the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands.

Such exercises, structured to 'defend' this part of India, are not new, having been carried out over several decades. What has changed, however, is the scope.

Operations like night slithering by commandos and participation of more sophisticated ships and aircraft are being pursued.

Why the Taliban Is Winning in Pakistan

Sabera Azizi

The conflict in Afghanistan demands a new approach. Giving Pakistan another opportunity to target the Taliban is a false hope.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Pakistan in early December. The purpose of his trip was to give the Pakistani government a final opportunity to target the terrorist groups that are attacking Afghanistan and coalition forces, according to Voice of America. On October, Secretary Mattis told the House Armed Service Committee that the United States needed “to try one more time” to make its strategy work “by, with and through the Pakistanis.” If, in the end, its best efforts failed, then President Trump would be “prepared to take whatever steps are necessary,” he said. In response to the secretary’s remark, a Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today, an English-language Pakistani newspaper, that Pakistan has taken action against all terror groups inside Pakistan. However, the official’s statement is false. Gen. John Nicholson, head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has noted that the Taliban are still living comfortably in Pakistan. Pakistan hasn’t taken action against the Taliban.

China's Belt and Road Initiative Faces New Security Challenges in 2018

By Chuchu Zhang and Chaowei Xiao

Terrorism, political instability, and geopolitical rivalries threaten to complicate China’s BRI in 2018.

With more than 140 countries and 80 international organizations supporting and participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the concept initiated by China is expected to enter a new stage in 2018. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently claimed at the opening ceremony of the Seminar on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy in 2017 that China is ready to work with each party to “strengthen new driving forces for and further upgrade Belt and Road cooperation.”

THE CHINESE DREAM AND BEIJING’S GRAND STRATEGY

By Tuan N. Pham

At the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping opened the assembly by delivering a seminal report to its members. The three hour-long speechemphatically reaffirmed a strategic roadmap for national rejuvenation and officially heralded a new era in Chinese national development. Beijing now seems, more than ever, determined to move forward from Mao Zedong’s revolutionary legacy and Deng Xiaoping’s iconic dictum (“observe calmly, secure our position, cope with affairs calmly, hide our capacities and bide our time, be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership”). Beijing also appears poised to expand its global power and influence through the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, expansive build-up and modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), assertive foreign policy, and forceful public diplomacy. Underpinning these strategic activities are various ancillary strategies – maritime, space, and cyberspace – all interlinked with the grand strategy of the Chinese Dream.

Putin’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ Moment in Syria

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The day was May 1, 2003. Spring was giving way to summer in San Diego, California, in whose waters sat the USS Abraham Lincoln en route to its home port in Washington state. The carrier had just returned from the Persian Gulf, where it had been deployed to support U.S. combat operations in Iraq. Less than two months after hostilities began, then-President George W. Bush would declare those operations over. It was political theater, plain and simple, and the Abraham was his stage. Behind the lectern from which he gave his speech hung a now-infamous banner that read, tersely, “Mission Accomplished.” Fifteen years later, U.S. troops are still in Iraq.

The Concept of Countering Violent Extremism

By Owen Frazer and Christian Nünlist

How has the concept of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) developed in conjunction with other ‘soft’ approaches to terrorism, such as peace and development efforts? In this analysis, Owen Frazer and Christian Nünlist respond, before going on to explore 1) five reasons why those who work in the human rights, development and peacebuilding fields have concerns about CVE; and 2) the possibility of Switzerland creating its own national Countering Violent Extremism strategy.

The Concept of Countering Violent Extremism

HAMAS IS ARRESTING AND TORTURING JIHADIS TO PREVENT WAR WITH ISRAEL

BY JACK MOORE 

Palestinian militant group Hamas has arrested and tortured jihadis in the Gaza Strip, the blockaded territory it presides over, in a bid to prevent rocket fire into Israel and a new round of conflict.

President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, setting off protests among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Hamas arrested jihadis who it believed were responsible for the rocket launches, and it is likely they had been tortured by Hamas security forces.

The US National Security Strategy: Implications for the Indo-Pacific

By Yuki Tatsumi

The Trump administration makes clear the Indo-Pacific is at the top of its strategic agenda.

On December 18, 2017, the Trump administration issued its National Security Strategy (NSS). Organized under four main principles — protect the homeland, promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance American influence — the document provides a much-needed window into the administration’s vision of how it wants to shape U.S. engagement with the rest of the world. Referring to itself as “America First National Security Strategy,” the document is also the very first attempt to translate President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of “America First” into national strategic goals.

Trump Unveils His New National Security Strategy

Dave Majumdar

To retain America’s advantage over its rivals, the Trump administration believes that it should maintain an overmatch against competing powers. President Donald Trump’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) names Russia and China as revisionist powers that want to challenge the American-led liberal international world order.

In what is perhaps a recognition that the international system is actually a “liberal hegemony” as John Ikenberry wrote, the document couches itself in the language of the realist school of international relations. Nonetheless, the central theme of the document is to preserve the rules-based international order that the United States has built since the end of the Second World War. Indeed, the Trump administration frames the struggle as a “political contest” between repressive systems and free societies.

Decoding Trump's New National Security Strategy

Jacob Heilbrunn

What the document reveals most clearly is the mental scaffolding of the Trump administration, which is to seek American dominance.

In speaking at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington today, President Trump sought to delineate a new foreign-policy strategy for America. Trump alluded to his election victory, noting that “you spoke loud and you spoke clear. On November 8, you voted to make America great again. You embraced new leadership and new strategies and also a glorious new hope.” The most interesting part of the speech may be the fact that Trump delivered one at all, in contrast to his predecessors. If his administration uses the strategy as a true lodestar, then it would mark a break with a liberal internationalism based on the idea that economic and political cooperation, not confrontation, is the best way to protect American interests.

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


By 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

Beyond maximum pressure: A pathway to North Korean denuclearization

Jung H. Pak and Ryan Hass

President Donald Trump’s speech in Seoul on November 7 and his success in persuading nations to support the U.S. campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea provide a compelling framework for addressing the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. This brief assesses North Korea’s strategic intentions, evaluates risks and benefits of potential U.S. policy responses, and lays out a framework for an executable, whole-of-government strategy, using the president’s recent Asia trip as a launching pad.

Five Takeaways From Trump’s National Security Strategy

BY PETER FEAVER
President Donald Trump unveils his National Security Strategy (NSS) today in a big set-piece speech at the Reagan Center. There is a lively debate about the utility of these documents among experts and I am squarely on the side of those who argue that they provide an important window into the thinking of an administration. As I explain below, such windows may be especially important for this administration and so this is a document worth studying. Such deeper reflection may change my assessment, but I have a more-positive-than-expected reaction, however, as reflected in five quick takeaways:

What Putin Really Wants Russia's strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He's really just a gambler who won big.


I. The Hack The large, sunny room at Volgograd State University smelled like its contents: 45 college students, all but one of them male, hunched over keyboards, whispering and quietly clacking away among empty cans of Juicy energy drink. “It looks like they’re just picking at their screens, but the battle is intense,” Victor Minin said as we sat watching them.

5 Key Artificial Intelligence Predictions For 2018: How Machine Learning Will Change Everything

By Bernard Marr

During 2017 it was hard to escape predictions that artificial intelligence is about to change the world. In 2018, this is unlikely to change. However, an increased focus on repeatable and quantifiable results is likely to ground some of the “big picture” thinking in reality.

Don’t get me wrong – in 2018 AI and machine learning will still be making headlines, and there are likely to be more sensationalized claims about robots wanting to take our jobs or even destroy us. However, stories about real innovation and progress should start to receive more prominence as the promise of the smart, learning machines increasingly begins to bear fruit.

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2017

By James M. Lindsay

Last year a lot of people were asking if 2016 was the worst year ever. (It wasn’t.) I haven’t seen anyone making similar claims about 2017, but that doesn’t mean that this year didn’t produce its share of significant world events. It has. Below is my top ten, listed in descending order. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories will continue into 2018.

How to combat fake news and disinformation

Darrell M. West

Journalism is in a state of considerable flux. New digital platforms have unleashed innovative journalistic practices that enable novel forms of communication and greater global reach than at any point in human history. But on the other hand, disinformation and hoaxes that are popularly referred to as “fake news” are accelerating and affecting the way individuals interpret daily developments. Driven by foreign actors, citizen journalism, and the proliferation of talk radio and cable news, many information systems have become more polarized and contentious, and there has been a precipitous decline in public trust in traditional journalism.

Army’s new cyber requirements will be based on battlefield needs

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Army is changing the way it buys cyber solutions as a way to get new technologies – especially those based on battlefield needs - into soldiers’ hands faster.

“There’s been a fundamental shift inside the Army on the way we try to do acquisition,” Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, said during an event hosted Dec. 13 by the Association of the U.S. Army in Arlington, Virginia.

In the past, requirements for new solutions were too prescriptive and technical, often outlining maximum and minimum standards solutions had to meet at the extreme ends of each spectrum.

U.S. blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has publicly blamed North Korea for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year.

“The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible,” Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, wrote in a piece published on Monday night in the Wall Street Journal.

“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious,” Bossert wrote. “WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless.”

You Can Be Easily Tracked — Even Without The Use Of GPS


Cyber security guru Bruce Schneier posted a December 15, 2017 article with the title above on his blog, www.schneier.com, about how you can be tracked without those tracking you — having to use of a global positioning system (GPS) device. “The trick in accurately tracking a person [without the use of a GPS tracking device], is finding out what kind of [daily] activity they are performing,” Mr. Schneier wrote — what is typically referred to as someone’s ‘pattern of life.’ “Whether they’re walking, driving a car, riding on a train or airplane, it’s pretty easy to figure out, when you know what you’re looking for.”

In a Second Korean War, U.S. Troops Will Fight Underground

by Kris Osborn


U.S. Army war planners and weapons developers have been increasing efforts to fast-track networking technologies for soldiers operating underground in tunnel complexes and in dense urban environments.

While the Army created entities such as its Rapid Equipping Force to address fast-emerging threats, the prospect of major ground war on the Korean peninsula has taken on increased urgency in recent months.

“We have been looking at Korean peninsula ops,” Col. John Lanier Ward, REF director, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

Building a Future: Integrated Human-Machine Military Organization

Mick Ryan

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.

"In the early twenty-first century the train of progress is again pulling out of the station—and this will probably be the last train ever to leave the station called Homo Sapiens. Those who miss this train will never get a second chance. In order to get a seat on it you need to understand twenty-first century technology, and in particular the powers of biotechnology and computer algorithms…those left behind will face extinction."

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.