17 January 2018

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State


It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

Behind North Korea´s Olive Branch: An Alternative View

By Graham Ong-Webb

IN A televised New Year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivered a two-prong message of trepidation and hope. He warned the United States of the “reality” of North Korea’s nuclear deterrent. He also called for peace on the Korean peninsula, adding that his representatives should start talks with their South Korean counterparts “as soon as possible”. The purpose would be to discuss sending a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics, to be hosted in South Korea next month.

Military Quietly Prepares for a Last Resort: War With North Korea

Across the military, officers and troops are quietly preparing for a war they hope will not come. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets. Two days later, in the skies above Nevada, 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion. Next month, at Army posts across the United States, more than 1,000 reserve soldiers will practice how to set up so-called mobilization centers that move military forces overseas in a hurry. And beginning next month with the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang, the Pentagon plans to send more Special Operations troops to the Korean Peninsula, an initial step toward what some officials said ultimately could be the formation of a Korea-based task force similar to the types that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. Others said the plan was strictly related to counterterrorism efforts.

Who's Got The Biggest Nuclear Button?

At the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation Of American Scientists (FAS), are of course Russia and the U.S. With a combined arsenal of over 13,000, this particular hangover from the Cold War is still plain to see. Up to now the two have been undergoing programmes of disarmament - of this 13,400, over 5,000 are officially retired and awaiting dismantlement. In Kim Jong-un's New Year's Day speech, he claimed that North Korea's nuclear forces are now "completed", stating that the nuclear launch button is always within his reach. The FAS does indeed estimate that the country is in possession of between 10 to 20 warheads. In response to the claim, U.S. President Trump fired back, pointing out that his button is "much bigger & more powerful" - something which can not be disputed, as our infographic shows.


Source Link

Every day, the Defense Department thwarts 36 million emails full of malware, viruses and phishing schemes from hackers, terrorists and foreign adversaries trying to gain unauthorized access to military systems. Extrapolated over one year, the Pentagon’s receives 13 billion such emails, which are automatically scanned for suspicious content and other telltale signatures and “dumped on the floor” before they ever reach an inbox, according to David Bennett, director of operations for the Defense Information Systems Agency.

16 January 2018

A Delhi traffic circle, a faraway port, and a tale of rare heroism, gallantry

by Sushant Singh

In September 1918, the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers won one of the most celebrated battles of World War I, capturing the present-day Israeli city of Haifa from the Ottoman Army. A century on, neither the Indian Army nor the children of Haifa have forgotten the bravery of the ‘Teen Murti’. The controversy around the renaming of Teen Murti Marg and Teen Murti circle in the heart of New Delhi — the New Delhi Municipal Council moved last week to include ‘Haifa’ in the names, but subsequently deferred the decision — has had an unintended consequence: it has reminded people of a slice of recent Indian history which has been all but forgotten now. It is the history of the armies of the princely states in British India, which contributed to the war effort of the British Empire.

For A Second Term Please Do The Right Things, Mr Prime Minister!

by Minhaz Merchant

This year will be crucial for the Narendra Modi government. His strategy must take into account the complex electoral math that will confront him in April-May 2019 and at the same time focus on a strong economic and governance agenda in the final year of his tenure.  The 2019 Lok Sabha election will set India’s political and economic agenda for the next decade. If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is returned to office, it can execute many of the reforms it has begun. If the Congress, buoyed by its resurgence in the Gujarat assembly election, manages to stitch together a coalition government, India could be in for a spell of political instability.

A More Radical Way for Trump to Confront Pakistan

By David Rohde

Last week, President Trump conducted an extraordinary week-long public rebuke of a country that he has previously ignored. At 7:12 a.m., on Monday, January 1st, Trump made Pakistan the focus of his first tweet of the New Year, accusing that nation’s leaders of giving the United States “nothing but lies & deceit” in return for thirty-three billion dollars in aid since 2001, and of providing “safe havens for the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” He added, “No more!” On Friday, at 11:19 p.m., he ended the week with a retweet of a proposal by Senator Rand Paul, calling on the United States to cut off all aid to Pakistan and to spend that money on building roads and bridges in this country. “Good idea Rand!” Trump wrote.

The C.I.A.’s Maddening Relationship with Pakistan

Nicholas Schmidle

Thirteen years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Pakistan with a list. He pulled it from his shirt pocket during a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf, and told the general how, during a recent Oval Office gathering, President George W. Bush had expressed bewilderment and annoyance that most of the terrorists on the list were suspected of hiding out in Pakistan—an ostensible American ally. Musharraf promised to look into the matter, according to a participant in the meeting. And, less than a month later, Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or I.S.I., arrested one of the men atop the list. “Here’s the truth,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told me. Pakistan has been “in many ways” America’s best counterterrorism partner, the official said. “Nobody had taken more bad guys off the battlefield than the Pakistanis.”

Ask Huawei About The "Coming" U.S.-China Trade War

Dan Ikenson,

Speculation is rampant that President Trump will soon announce sanctions against China for its heavy-handed intellectual property and technology transfer policies, cavalierly thrusting us into a deleterious trade war. Huawei Technologies has news for these speculators: For over a decade, Washington and Beijing have been waging a tit-for-tat technology trade war, which is escalating and claiming victims as you read. The latest hostilities occurred Monday when AT&T, poised to deliver its longgestating plan to sell smart phones produced by Chinese technology giant Huawei, instead abruptly announced that it was aborting that plan. If history is any guide, AT&T likely was compelled to change course by U.S. policymakers with leverage to affect the telecom’s fortunes.

Africa is changing China as much as China is changing Africa

Lily Kuo

Eight years ago I watched the movie “2012,” named after the year the Mayan calendar supposedly ends. In the film an American geologist learns that a solar flare is heating the core of the earth and causing its tectonic plates to shift drastically. Before long, mass earthquakes and tsunamis are annihilating mankind. Los Angeles slips into the Pacific Ocean. The White House gets wiped out by a giant wave, with the president still inside. Soon, most of the earth is submerged in water.

China's Great Awakening How the People's Republic Got Religion

By Ian Johnson

For decades, outsiders have thought of China as a country where religion and faith play marginal roles. Images of Chinese people overwhelmingly involve economics or politics: massive cities sprouting up, diligent workers laboring in vast factories, nouveaux riches flaunting their wealth, farmers toiling in polluted fields, dissidents languishing in prison. The stories about faith in China that do exist tend to involve victims, such as Chinese Christians forced to worship underground or groups such as Falun Gong being repressed by the government.

Danish intelligence: al-Qaida could grow as IS weakens

Danish intelligence: al-Qaida could grow as IS weakens 

Danish intelligence officials say al-Qaida “still has ambitions to attack the West,” adding that support for the extremist network may increase as the Islamic State group weakens. Finn Borch Andersen, head of Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service, says al-Qaida’s capability primarily lies in North, West and East Africa and in Yemen but the network has also “a significant presence” in Syria that may pose a threat to the West. Borch Andersen says foreign fighters who have left Syria and Iraq represent “a terror threat” but added access to Europe is “restricted by increased security measures,” such as border controls within the European Union. In the agency’s terror threat assessment for Denmark, presented Friday, he said the threat to the country remains significant and “is primarily posed by militant Islamism.”

From Bad To Worse? 5 Things 2018 Will Bring To The Middle East

by James L. Gelvin

After all, few experts foresaw Anwar al-Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem in 1977, which led to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state, nor did they predict the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab uprisings of 2010-11. Having taught and written about the Middle East for three decades, however, I feel confident in making the following forecast for the region in 2018.

1. The Syrian conflict will drag on without resolution.

Are Jihadi Motives Really a Mystery?

by Raymond Ibrahim

The mainstream media would have us believe that Akayed Ullah's bombing of a New York City subway on December 11 was motivated by concern for Muslim refugees in Bangladesh. The so-called mainstream media's approach to and apologias for Islamic terrorism have become as predictable as they are farcical. In a recent piece titled, "A Mysterious Act of Mercy by the Subway Bombing Suspect," the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman portrays would-be suicide bomber Akayed Ullah—whose foiled attempt at Times Square subway last month could have massacred countless Americans—as just another Muslim youth angered at and responding to the mistreatment of Muslims, that is, a Muslim with legitimate "grievances." This is clear from the opening sentences:

MILITARY AND POLICE Putin’s New Cyber Weapon May Be GPS Spoofing

By Bart Marcois 

Imagine the chaos and destruction that can be caused in modern warfare if a guided missile can be misdirected by a false GPS signal. That may well be the goal of Russian cyber warfare engineers, as they aim to nullify a longtime U.S. advantage. It’s called GPS Spoofing, and it may be about to arrive on the battlefield.The issue received attention this week because Russian taxi passengers have been tweeting about comically high fares in taxicabs in Moscow. Some were presented fares as high as $5,000 for rides from the suburbs to downtown. The taxi meters use GPS to determine fares, and they had registered signals indicating the cars were in distant provinces or countries. One car registered as being in Romania.

North Korea Plans to Defeat the U.S. Army in a War. Here's How.

Michael Peck

Normal military doctrine says that an attacker should outnumber the defender by at least three to one at the point of attack. But since when is North Korea normal? The Korean People's Army (KPA) believes that it only needs to amass a two to one edge on the battlefield to defeat U.S. and South Korean troops. What's more, North Korea seems to believe that it can win using the same tactics that Chinese troops successfully employed in the Korean War.

Why Is Japan Populist-Free?

Contemporary Japan may have its flaws, but it is now much more egalitarian than the United States, India, or many countries in Europe. By remaining a country of, by, and for the middle class, where the most affluent tend to be discreet, Japan has avoided the dangerous politics roiling developed and developing countries alike. TOKYO – Even as a wave of right-wing populism is sweeping Europe, the United States, India, and parts of Southeast Asia, Japan has so far appeared to be immune. There are no Japanese demagogues, like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, or Rodrigo Duterte, who have exploited pent-up resentments against cultural or political elites. Why?2

Shake-Up at Pentagon Intelligence Agency Sparks Concern


The director of the agency responsible for analyzing satellite imagery says he wants to modernize the work. Some employees fear they’re being replaced by artificial intelligence. When Kim Jong Un gears up to launch a ballistic missile, analysts at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency comb through satellite imagery, looking for distinct signs on the the ground in North Korea indicating test preparations are underway.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

by Dan Steinbock

Despite continued nuclear threats, all US postwar presidents have failed to reset relations with Russia. Why? The “New Cold War" between the US and Russia began a decade ago. The elevated tensions in the Korean Peninsula are only a part of the collateral damage around the world. But what led to the new friction? The simple response is the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

North Korea's Nuclear Infrastructure

by Martin Armstrong

At a time when tensions between the United States and North Korea are only getting higher, the threat of an armed conflict erupting has arguably not been greater since the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island in 2010. Two major differences between 2010 and 2017 though, are a somewhat unpredictable president sitting in Washington and the apparent advancement of North Korea's nuclear programme. In this new climate, our infographic uses information from Nuclear Threat Initiative to show where Kim Jong-un's nuclear infrastructure is located.

Draft Nuke Review: Big NC3 Changes, LRSO OK’d, Small Yield Nukes Back


That’s the most essential message of the leaked Nuclear Posture Review. (Kudos to my colleague Ashley Feinberg at Huffington Post for getting this one.) The Pentagon immediately issued a statement saying it’s pre-decisional and they don’t comment on such documents and it could change, etc. etc. However, as one who has read a number of such documents over the years, this appears to be a very mature draft since it includes the Defense Secretary’s introduction, has no spelling mistakes I could find and is well written in a consistent voice.To our readers, the biggest news is that it charges Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to deliver a plan to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on to change how the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) “to ensure its effective functioning and modernization.”

The Euro in Decline How the Currency Could Spoil the Global Financial System

By Kathleen R. McNamara

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency of choice. But the euro’s guardian, the European Central Bank (ECB), had little appetite for such a role. Likewise, foreign exchange markets showed little support for supplanting the dollar’s hegemony with the euro, despite a move into euro-denominated bonds and a strengthening of the value of the euro over the 2000s. This has meant that the EU has, in large part, played a “helper” role in U.S. financial hegemony throughout the postwar era to today.

How do we make the electrical grid more resilient?

Jeff Terry

This week, a US federal commission said “no” to a proposed rule that would have paid a premium to coal and nuclear power plants. The rule, put forward by Energy Secretary Rick Perry with the goal of protecting the electricity grid from power outages, was controversial. Critics said it unfairly favored two flailing industries over renewable energy. Perry argued, though, that only power plants capable of storing at least 90 days’ worth of fuel onsite—in other words, coal and nuclear—are reliable enough to keep the US grid resilient through the worst winter storms.

Pentagon Panel Urges Trump Team to Expand Nuclear Options

John M. Donnelly

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.m The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.” The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon. Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.

US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence


The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch. The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

How the Eurozone Might Split

By Mark Blyth and Simon Tilford

In February 2016, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development opined that developed country growth prospects had “practically flat-lined” and that only a stronger “commitment to raising public investment would boost demand and help support future growth.” Fast-forward some 24 months, and despite Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the rise of the populist Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the euro seems to be a much better bet than it has been in a long time. But has the euro really weathered the crisis and come out stronger? In this article, we make two interrelated arguments about the future of the eurozone.

Those Who Wrote Off Merkel Were Wrong Again

Leonid Bershidsky 

How many world leaders can go 24 hours non-stop, debating policy minutiae with bitter rivals and truculent allies -- and hammer out a deal more or less on their own terms? Certainly not many, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them. For the umpteenth time, she proved she was being written off too early by reaching a preliminary coalition deal with the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

This is already the longest post-World War II period in which 

Amazon Vs. Google - The Battle For Smart Speaker Market Share

Steve Rabuchin, the VP of Amazon Alexa, has a vision.

He dreams of customers having a conversation – not just with voice-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, but with appliances, cars, and everything in between. Though that dream may not be realized in the short term, sales of smart speakers are increasing as people warm up to the idea of using voice-assisted devices in their homes. 

Don’t fear the robopocalypse: Autonomous weapons expert Paul Scharre

Lucien Crowder

Paul Scharre, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, has pretty good credentials when it comes to autonomous weapons. If you’ve ever heard of Directive 3000.09, which established the Defense Department’s guidelines for autonomous weapons, Scharre led the working group that drafted it. And he’s got a relevant book due out in April: Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of WarFor what it’s worth, Scharre also led a Defense Department team that established guidelines on directed energy technologies. And another on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Prior to his time in the Pentagon, he served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan and as a civil affairs specialist in Iraq.

15 January 2018

The Indian Army’s Role in Nation Building : Part - III

The Indian Army’s Role in Nation Building
Part - III

- Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

Military Diplomacy 

Military diplomacy is an important adjunct of diplomacy. The military has earned tremendous good will of armies the world over for their professionalism. Over the recent past, armies of the US, the UK, France, Russia and a host of others have conducted joint training exercises to exchange military tactics and gain from experience of the Indian Armed Forces. In United Nations peace keeping operations the Indian Army has earned much appreciation of the local populations and armies of different countries for their helpful attitude, humane approach and expertise in WHAM operations. 

However, whenever the need arose to battle any rogue elements they have resorted to minimum force despite suffering casualties. Examples of their valour are many; the award of the Param Vir Chakra to Captain G S Salaria (posthumously), in Congo for his daredevil action is one such of many others. The military training imparted at the officers' academies and various schools of instruction are most sought after and subscribed by a host of foreign countries. The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun has to date, trained 1397 cadets from over 15 friendly foreign countries. In addition, with our expertise a number of military training academies have been raised in different countries. The professional courses at the Army War College, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the National Defence College, New Delhi and other defence institutes are reputed internationally.

We are being wooed by both the US and its allies and China with both sides trying to align us with themselves. In such a situation, military diplomacy, which is an extension of diplomacy by other means, has a crucial role in furthering our national interests. Carrying out joint military training with important players in the arena sends out signals which are most keenly watched and interpreted by the others. While we are keen to stay non aligned and preserve our autonomous decision making capability, it should not stop us from assuming the mantle of leadership in protecting common regional interests. Drug trafficking, piracy, protection of global commons and disaster relief are areas wherein the smaller nations of the region are hoping that India will take the lead. Our contribution to UN peacekeeping operations has enhanced our image in the eyes of the world. In all the peacekeeping missions across the globe, our military has acquitted itself admirably, resulting in greater demand for Indian troops wherever trouble has erupted lately and the UN decides to send its troops. Indian forces are seen as firm, fair, just and balanced in their approach, thus enhancing the image of the Country.

National Integration

There are few countries in the world that can boast of the kind of cultural, religious, regional, ethnic, linguistic, historical, economic and social diversity that is the hallmark of India. Every few miles one notices a change in topography associated with a change in dialect, custom and lifestyle. Throughout history, India has been known for being exposed to and for being able to assimilate within itself a plethora of socio-cultural impulses. 

Right from its inception, primarily in the form of British forces, the Indian army has been a symbol of multiculturalism and pluralism beautifully held together by the bonds of camaraderie in times of danger and an inherent discipline that flows from the highest to the lowest echelons. They have been known to safeguard the life and honour of people who are neither their kith nor their kin. Those that they protect they love not, those that they fight they hate not, yet they perform their duty without question, without complaint. In the line of their duty, they stand together with people who come from a variety of social, cultural, economic and ideological backgrounds, yet they come across as one uniform force with the singular aim of standing on sentinel duty to protect the integrity of their motherland.

The structure, the placement and the movement of the forces within the country ensures that the pan Indian identity within the forces is promoted and the regional identities are subdued albeit in a positive manner. The stationing of forces from the South in the rigorous terrain of Jammu and Kashmir, for instance, exposes them to the culture of the beautiful State. The help and service that they render to the people of the region endears them to the local populace who in turn become more accepting of people from other regions. All this promotes national integration.

The soldier of the Indian army is taught to respect the sentiments and traditions of all religions and regions of the country. No matter what part of the country the soldiers are posted to, they have no problems whatsoever in adapting to their local customs and traditions. This ability is also exhibited during the routine practice of the “Mandir Parade” wherein rituals of all religions are practiced and observed under the guidance of trained religious teachers. Promotion of national integration among the people of the country is one of the primary aims of the Indian Army since peace and development within the country is also a mandate given to the security forces.

The Sainik Schools that have been opened all over the country and activities carried out under the ambit of the National Cadet Corps, bring young boys and girls of different parts of the country together on a single platform in a fairly cohesive manner. The experience gained and the exposure received by the youth in the course of such activities opens their minds to new vistas and possibilities; it also instills in them pride for their country, its ideology and its achievements. Their horizons are broadened and they view themselves as citizens of a strong Nation rather than a small peripheral state or an obscure village. The Indian army thus serves as a vehicle for the promotion of national integration among the people of the country at large.


Chanakya told the Emperor of Magadh:

“The Mauryan soldier is the very basis, the silent and barely visible cornerstone, of our fame, culture, physical well-being and prosperity; in short, of the entire nation building activity.”

It is apparent that the military’s role in nation building is inherent in the fulfillment of its primary function. The spin offs from the role are many and varied with a fairly extensive coverage. The Army has always in the past and also in the future will continue to play a pivotal role in the Nation Building and for that it must emerge as a national symbol that represents the nation's unique characteristic which is “Unity in Diversity”. The military virtues of sacrifice, loyalty and discipline have always remained and must serve as objects of veneration for the rest of the nation.

The Army has and will continue to remain a steadfast partner in nation building with contribution in the spheres of security, infrastructural development, disaster management, aid to civil authorities, ecology and education.

India’s opportunity in a multiconceptual world

Our world is undergoing a series of transformational shifts occurring at an exponential speed. These shifts bear promise as well as peril. Galloping progress in science and the advent of cutting-edge technological developments have made our environment more intelligent and interconnected than ever. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created a unique inflection point for the world and smart innovations have enabled us to attain unprecedented accuracy and speed in information flow.

America's Forgotten Wars

Emma Sky

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan discusses the November/December 2017 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine with contributors Emma Sky and Lisa Monaco. The latest issue puts U.S. interventions under serious scrutiny to sketch where things are, where they are going, and what the United States should do next.  I am Dan Kurtz-Phelan. I’m the executive editor of Foreign Affairs. I have been at the magazine for about two months, so I can take no credit for the issue that we’re talking about today. (Laughter.) But nor can you blame me for anything at this point, so save your complaints for my colleagues when you see them.

The Pakistan Conundrum


The big US error after 9/11 was to treat Pakistan as if it were an ally with which it is possible to assume a large degree of policy overlap. In fact, even a more calculated, transactional relationship will not bring the US and Pakistan closer together. Harold Brown, the US defense secretary under President Jimmy Carter, was reported to have described the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union in these terms: “When we build, they build. And when we don’t build, they build.”

The ‘Indo-Pacific’: Redrawing the Map to Counter China


President Donald Trump, national security advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have begun using the term “Indo-Pacific” in recent months to refer to the region that extends from the west coast of the U.S. to the west coast of India. For decades previously, American leaders had called this swath of the globe the “Asia-Pacific,” or more recently as the “Indo-Asia-Pacific.” The new turn of phrases is significant, and it calls for strategic communications practices to reinforce this strategic concept. The shift reflects the Trump administration’s acknowledgement of several key factors: It treats India as a regional power and not just an isolated country on the southern tip of the continent. It emphasizes the contiguous maritime nature of this vast space, which spans two of the world’s three largest oceans, four of the of world’s seven largest economies, and the world’s five most populous countries.

Can the ‘Indo-Pacific’ compete with China?


The old but new geographical term “Indo-Pacific” is now increasingly used to replace “Asia-Pacific.” In August 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled his regional vision called the “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.” U.S. President Donald Trump echoed the phrase “free and open Indo-Pacific” during his first Asia tour in November and in his administration’s national security strategy released in December. Australia, which referred to the Indo-Pacific in its 2013 defense white paper, again cited the phrase in its 2017 foreign policy white paper. India’s strategic community also understands the geostrategic importance of the Indo-Pacific to their country. In November, senior diplomats from Japan, Australia, India and the United States met in Manila and agreed to ensure a free and open international order in the Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law.


by Matt Williams

It’s no secret that China’s growth in the past few decades has been reflected in space. In addition to the country’s growing economic power and international influence, it has also made some very impressive strides in terms of its space program. This includes the development of the Long March rocket family, the deployment of their first space station, and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) – aka. the Chang’e program. Given all that, one would not be surprised to learn that China has some big plans for 2018. But as the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced last Tuesday (on January 2nd, 2018), they intend to double the number of launches they conducted in 2017. In total, the CASC plans to mount over 40 launches, which will include the Long March 5 returning to flight, the Chang’e 4mission, and the deployment of multiple satellites.

U.S. Turns Military Focus to Afghanistan as ISIS Battles Ebb

The Pentagon is planning to double down on the Trump administration’s new approach in Afghanistan by reallocating drones and other hardware while sending in approximately 1,000 new combat advisers, according to U.S. and military officials. The idea is to bulk up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by the time the traditional fighting season begins in the spring. The military will send a larger number of drones, both armed and unarmed, to Afghanistan for air support as well as for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The Pentagon also plans to bolster capabilities such as helicopters, ground vehicles, artillery and related materiel, according to U.S. officials, moves made possible by a reduction of combat operations in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group.


Since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland on 11 September 2001, the United States has been engaged in worldwide military operations. The initial campaigns during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom demonstrated the unmatched conventional capabilities of the U.S. military, developed mostly during the Cold War, as they rapidly toppled the regimes of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. These rapid victories soon turned into protracted irregular wars, for which the United States and its allies and partners were not fully prepared. In the years that followed, new concepts and capabilities rapidly evolved to fight these wars. Nowhere were these adaptations more profound—and costly—than in U.S. land forces. 

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State

by Azadeh Moaveni 

It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

Finding A Path To A Post-Revolutionary Iran

by Matthew Bey

Almost four decades after the toppling of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a revolutionary ideology continues to underpin the Iranian state. As the years have passed, the relevance of its governing philosophy risks being lost on the country's younger generations, and the internal and external challenges to its government continue to mount. The recent spate of demonstrations that quickly spread across the country highlighted one of the revolutionary state's largest shortcomings: It is a 40-year-old revolution that has not arrived at a sustainable economic model.

Russian military was behind ‘NotPetya’ cyberattack in Ukraine, CIA concludes

Ellen Nakashima

The CIA has attributed to Russian military hackers a cyberattack that crippled computers in Ukraine last year, an effort to disrupt that country’s financial system amid its ongoing war with separatists loyal to the Kremlin. The June 2017 attack, delivered through a mock ransomware virus dubbed NotPetya, wiped data from the computers of banks, energy firms, senior government officials and an airport.The GRU military spy agency created NotPetya, the CIA concluded with “high confidence” in November, according to classified reports cited by U.S. intelligence officials.

Nuclear Posture Review draft leaks; new weapons coming amid strategic shift

Aaron Mehta

A leaked copy of the Pentagon’s upcoming Nuclear Posture Review includes the development of a new low-yield warhead for America’s submarines, pushing for the creation of a new sub-launched, nuclear-capable cruise missile and a shift in America’s stance on when nuclear weapons may be used. A draft of the review was posted online Friday by the Huffington Post. The Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, is scheduled to be formally released in February, and so the document may change somewhat between now and then. In a statement, the Pentagon did not deny that the draft is authentic, instead saying “Our discussion has been robust and several draft have been written.

The Myth of the Limited Strike on North Korea

By Abraham M. Denmark

Faced with the rapid advance of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capabilities, Americans have begun to debate the possibility of a limited, preventive U.S. strike against North Korea—one that could deter the regime from further testing while avoiding a full-blown war. One possibility is a so-called bloody nose strike, which would involve destroying a North Korean missile launch site (bloodying the regime’s nose, as it were) in order to demonstrate the United States’ resolve. Some have gone even further, calling for “air and missile strike[s] against all known DPRK nuclear test facilities and missile launching and support facilities” in the event of a North Korean atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean.

Could the UK Join the TPP?

By Li Jie Sheng

Earlier this month, as uncertainty lingers over the exact nature of Brexit, U.K. Secretary of State Liam Fox announced that the United Kingdom could join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This announcement is a significant move, coming after the foreign secretary’s comments that the U.K. is returning “East of Suez” and an announcement that more British military assets would be deploying to the region. The TPP comment thus appears to seal the economic presence of Britain in Asia as it attempts to leave the European Union.

Turkey Breaks With Iran and Russia

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The “Astana troika” is in danger of breaking up. After meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, in mid-September, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed to serve as guarantors of a cease-fire agreement in Syria. Four “de-escalation zones” were established with the goal of a six-month pause (subject to further extension) in fighting between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and anti-government rebels in these zones. The problem with this arrangement is that these countries don’t see eye to eye. Turkey supports the anti-government rebels. Russia and Iran support Assad’s regime. Now the two sides are accusing each other of supporting their favorites rather than keeping the peace.

Trump’s Netherlands ambassador struggles to answer for past remarks at grilling by Dutch journalists

Louis Nelson

U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra struggled Wednesday, in his first news conference with Dutch journalists, to explain previous remarks he had made about the Netherlands and the supposed danger brought there by the “Islamic movement.”  According to a report from The Washington Post, reporters repeatedly asked Hoekstra to offer proof of his claim that politicians and cars have been burned and that there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands and represented Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District for 18 years, was unable or unwilling to offer such proof Wednesday, promising only that he would be “revisiting the issue.” Pressed further by Dutch reporters, the U.S. ambassador simply refused to answer. At one point, a reporter referenced a quote from John Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, who wished that only “honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

Russian military shows drones it says came from Syria raid

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday displayed a pair of drones that it said were captured following attacks on two Russian military bases in Syria, saying the attack required know-how indicating it was carried out with outside assistance. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused outside powers he wouldn’t name of staging the attack to derail a deal between Russia, Turkey and Iran that is intended to reduce hostilities in Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday’s raid on the Hemeimeem air base in the province of Lattakia and Russia’s naval facility in the port of Tartus involved 13 drones. It said seven were downed by air defense systems and the remaining six were forced to land by Russian electronic warfare units. Of the latter, three exploded when they hit the ground and three more were captured intact, the ministry said.


United States ground forces are and will be significantly vulnerable in present and future conflicts due to a dangerous reliance on satellite communication (SATCOM) and a degraded readiness to fight in the face of a growing counter-space and communications electronic warfare (EW) threat. Although SATCOM provides significant advantages over terrestrial communication systems, it carries liabilities for which the U.S. Army is ill-prepared. 


Nearly two decades into the 21st Century, the United States finds itself immersed in a security environment of unprecedented complexity; one defined by re-emerging nationalism, religious radicalism, uncertainty and volatility. America faces a number of existential threats, ranging from the emergence of several capable regional peer competitors to the extension of war into cyber and space domains. The offensive cyber capabilities of America’s enemies continue to evolve and have now reached the point that the Army’s weapon systems, the industrial controls used to manufacture them and the supply chain employed to sustain them are vulnerable to compromise.



The advent of cyber conflict should push us to reassess and update the ethics of war. The ethical rules that have informed political and military leaders for generations do not provide adequate moral guidance on cyber operations in war because those rules are based on assumptions that no longer apply. The existing ethics of war can be summarized as follows: A country is justified in waging war only in response to aggression that has violated its rights (primarily, its territory) or those of another country. War should be waged only after less lethal approaches have been tried and failed, and after the country’s legitimate political authority has publicly declared its decision. A just war’s aims must be limited to resisting the aggression, restoring the victim country’s rights and taking reasonable steps to prevent a recurrence of the aggression. The rights of countries that choose to remain neutral in a conflict should be respected.

Cybersecurity firm: US Senate in Russian government hackers’ crosshairs

The same Russian government-aligned hackers who penetrated the Democratic Party have spent the past few months laying the groundwork for an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate, a cybersecurity firm said Friday. The revelation suggests the group often nicknamed Fancy Bear, whose hacking campaign scrambled the 2016 U.S. electoral contest, is still busy trying to gather the emails of America’s political elite. “They’re still very active — in making preparations at least — to influence public opinion again,” said Feike Hacquebord, a security researcher at Trend Micro Inc., which published the report . “They are looking for information they might leak later.”  The Senate Sergeant at Arms office, which is responsible for the upper house’s security, declined to comment.

Update on Pawn Storm: New Targets and Politically Motivated Campaigns

Feike Hacquebord (Senior Threat Researcher)

In the second half of 2017 Pawn Storm, an extremely active espionage actor group, didn’t shy away from continuing their brazen attacks. Usually, the group’s attacks are not isolated incidents, and we can often relate them to earlier attacks by carefully looking at both technical indicators and motives. Pawn Storm has been attacking political organizations in France, Germany, Montenegro, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States since 2015. We saw attacks against political organizations again in the second half of 2017. These attacks don’t show much technical innovation over time, but they are well prepared, persistent, and often hard to defend against. Pawn Storm has a large toolset full of social engineering tricks, malware and exploits, and therefore doesn’t need much innovation apart from occasionally using their own zero-days and quickly abusing software vulnerabilities shortly after a security patch is released.

Cyber weapons Now A ‘Core Tool’ Of Iranian Statecraft

A new report by the Carnegie Endowment says Iran’s cyberoperations have become increasingly sophisticated and damaging to its adversaries and are now a prime policy tool for its security agencies. The report, released on January 4, said Tehran has used offensive cyberoperations to influence regional affairs, thwart opponents and rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United States, and conduct espionage. “Iran has demonstrated how militarily weaker countries can use [cybertools] to contend with more advanced adversaries,” the report said.


U.S. military dominance is no longer guaranteed as near-peer competitors have quietly worked to close the gap while the United States was preoccupied with two low-intensity wars in the Middle East. Recognizing that warfighters might no longer have a guaranteed technological advantage, the Department of Defense (DoD) is in the midst of an ambitious modernization program that seeks to ensure superiority in the future battlespace. The Third Offset Strategy, a successor to the Second Offset Strategy of the Cold War (which saw the development of the Army’s current big-five platforms to counter numerically superior Soviet conventional forces) is focused on leveraging emerging and disruptive technologies. In particular, human–machine teaming, also referred to as manned–unmanned teaming, will integrate people with autonomous systems or artificial intelligence to enhance decisionmaking speed. This will enable U.S. forces to react faster than future threats and achieve decision dominance.


Twenty years ago, the Officer Personnel Management System (OPMS) XXI Task Force published its final report, launching landmark personnel reform for the Army officer corps. The year-long task force—commissioned by then Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) General Dennis J. Reimer and chaired by then Major General David H. Ohle in 1996—opened its report with the argument that the existing OPMS required “field-grade officers to do too many things today for them to excel at any one of them.” Today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.