26 January 2018

Are google and Facebook monopolies?


Zingales: Most people don’t perceive that as a problem. The perceived price [for using Google or Facebook] is zero. It’s not really zero, because we are giving up our data in exchange. Google and Facebook’s market power in advertising increases the cost of advertising, which eventually will be reflected in the price of goods. In addition, Facebook and Google are in the media business, a very important business for our democracy. The risk of their dominance is the affect on our political system.

Why Are There No Cyber Arms Control Agreements?

BY ERICA D. BORGHARDRE.SHAWN W. LONERGANRE

With the emergence of a militarized cyber domain that creates the conditions for misperceptions that could lead to inadvertent conflict, why are there no cyber arms control regimes?  During the Cold War, when nuclear-armed superpowers faced concerns regarding crisis instability and escalation, they entered into arms controls agreements. Arms control regimes can alter the military incentives for the use of offensive technologies; limit the damage to states in the event these technologies are used; and generally contribute to stable interstate relations, even between adversaries. With the emergence of a militarized cyber domain that creates the conditions for misperceptions that could lead to inadvertent conflict, why are there no cyber arms control regimes?

THE NEXT NEW MILITARY SPECIALTY SHOULD BE SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS

JIM PERKINS

The words “soldier” and “airman” do not immediately evoke the image of workers in grease-stained coveralls turning wrenches on tanks, personnel carriers, trucks, and aircraft. Most people predictably imagine an infantryman or pilot, even though the U.S. military’s “tooth-to-tail” ratio — the number of direct combat forces compared to support personnel — is around 1:5. Despite this common misconception, it’s easy to understand why vehicle and aircraft mechanics are critical members of the military team. These support roles and countless others enable our military to be constantly ready to “fight tonight.”

The Army wants to ensure its command posts aren’t an easy target


The Army wants to modernize its command posts to ensure they survive future conflicts and don’t become an easy target for enemies. Army leaders believe the big, largely static command posts used in the last 16 years have electromagnetic and power signatures that can be too easily targeted by advanced adversaries. “In the future, we predict command posts will have to move every 30 to 60 minutes to be survivable,” Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, said during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in October. “We’ve already seen what’s happened over in Europe. Those command posts that did not move rapidly were targeted through non-kinetic and then eventually very, very kinetic long range precision fires and the casualties were catastrophic.”

WAR BOOKS: “THE MANAGEMENT OF VIOLENCE”

Colin Steele

In The Soldier and the State, Samuel Huntington famously adopted the phrase “the management of violence” to encapsulate the military officer’s art. Although I am not a military officer and have never managed the application of violence in the Huntingtonian sense, the more I have studied war, the more interested I have become in the management aspect versus the violent one. To be clear, I don’t dispute the violent character of war, the utility of violence skillfully applied, or the need to manage its application as judiciously and effectively as possible. However, war’s nature is at least as much human as it is violent: from the highest levels of politics to the soldier on the ground, war is a contest of wills and chance directed and conducted by human beings.

The Marine Corps Wants to Make Cyber More Like Special Ops

By Hope Hodge Seck 

"Anybody in here a hacker?" Gen. Robert Neller asked, looking around the basketball court at Marines crowded into a semi-circle, as afternoon sunlight streamed in. "If you are, come see me, because I'll give you a re-enlistment bonus. I'm serious. I'm looking for people who know how to do that."  No hands go up, but the offer stands, and the Marines know Neller will be back later that evening for one-on-one conversations. Marine leaders have been vocal about their desire to build more cyber capabilities into the force. An expected 1,000-Marine increase built into the Fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act is earmarked for the cyber and electronic warfare communities and other skilled specialties.

25 January 2018

Five months on, understanding Doklam ‘disengagement’, a few other issues


On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a clarification on Doklam: “It may be recalled that last year, the faceoff situation that had arisen in the Doklam region was resolved following diplomatic discussions between India and China, based on which both sides arrived at an understanding for the disengagement of their border personnel at the faceoff site.” The careful choice of words echoed the Ministry’s statement issued on August 28, 2017, when the “disengagement” ended the 73-day face-off in the Dolam plateau of Doklam area.

The future of U.S.-Pakistani Relations

Madiha Afzal

In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news. THE ISSUE: President Trump’s first tweet of 2018 was a surprising and scathing attack on Pakistan. In it, Trump called out Pakistan for the aid it has received from the United States over the past few years, while accusing the country of providing only “lies and deceit” in return. Since then, the Trump administration has suspended military and security assistance to Pakistan. To win the war in Afghanistan, America needs Pakistan for supply routes as well as to negotiate a lasting settlement and peace in Afghanistan

China declared world’s largest producer of scientific articles

Jeff Tollefson

The agency’s report, released on 18 January, documents the United States’ increasing competition from China and other developing countries that are stepping up their investments in science and technology. Nonetheless, the report suggests that the United States remains a scientific powerhouse, pumping out high-profile research, attracting international students and translating science into valuable intellectual property. “The US continues to be the global leader in science and technology, but the world is changing,” says Maria Zuber, a geophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. As other nations increase their output, the United States’ relative share of global science activity is declining, says Zuber, who chairs the National Science Board, which oversees the NSF and produced the report. “We can’t be asleep at the wheel.”

As North Korea Goes Nuclear, U.S.-China Relations Sour

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The decision to attack North Korea or to allow its government to acquire nuclear weapons was always a choice between the lesser of two evils. One option brings with it the death and destruction that come with war. The other option brings with it the chance, however remote, that the United States could be nuked by an enemy state. Both options bring an additional consequence that must be taken into account: a worsening of U.S.-China relations. China promised to help with North Korea so that the U.S. wouldn’t have to choose either evil. China has failed, and the U.S. appears to be moving toward a decision to accept a nuclear North Korea. That, in turn, creates yet another decision the U.S. must make: whether to hold China accountable.

China's Xinjiang to build 'Great Wall' to protect border: governor

Reuters Staff

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang will build a “Great Wall” around its borders to prevent the infiltration of militants from outside the country, state media reported on Tuesday citing the regional governor. Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur southern part of Xinjiang. China blames the violence in Xinjiang on Islamist extremists and separatists, some of whom it says have links to groups outside the country.

China Building Multi-sensor Ocean Surveillance System to Cover South China Sea

Chinese Ocean Surveillance System

China has begun building a multi-sensor system for obtaining constant data on the precise location of surface and submarine vessels in the South China Sea. Surface surveillance would be carried out by a constellation of ten remote sensing satellites so that the South China Sea is under constant surveillance. Satellites at an altitude of 600 kilometers would be equipped with SAR (synthetic aperture radar) and digital cameras. A typical SAR can produce photo quality images at different resolutions. At medium resolution (3 meters) the radar covers an area 40x40 kilometers. Low resolution (20 meters) covers 100x100 kilometers. This takes care of surface ships (including diesel-electric subs when surfaced). Since 2010 China has been experimenting with such an array, using three satellites moving in formation over the western Pacific. China announced that the first South China Sea satellite will be launched in 2019 and all will be in orbit by 2025. By 2030 the Chinese Navy will have 260 ships, 30 percent more than the American fleet. Those satellites and the rest of the sensors will add to that numerical superiority and make the South China Sea a very dangerous place for anyone the Chinese do not want there.

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble

By STEVEN JOHNSON

The sequence of words is meaningless: a random array strung together by an algorithm let loose in an English dictionary. What makes them valuable is that they’ve been generated exclusively for me, by a software tool called MetaMask. In the lingo of cryptography, they’re known as my seed phrase. They might read like an incoherent stream of consciousness, but these words can be transformed into a key that unlocks a digital bank account, or even an online identity. It just takes a few more steps. On the screen, I’m instructed to keep my seed phrase secure: Write it down, or keep it in a secure place on your computer. I scribble the 12 words onto a notepad, click a button and my seed phrase is transformed into a string of 64 seemingly patternless characters:

Surf and Turf: China Ramps Up Navy to Challenge U.S. Dominance

BENNETT SEFTEL
Source Link

Bottom Line: As part of its ambitious strategy to evolve into a leading global power by 2050, China has spent considerable resources upgrading its naval capabilities. Through such undertakings, China has significantly enhanced its force projection in East Asia, where it has staked claim to disputed islands and waters as a means of expanding its sovereignty and procuring additional resources. China’s emphasis on upgrading its navy represents a worrying trend for the U.S. and its regional allies, as it threatens their territorial integrity and may ultimately enable China to challenge U.S. naval supremacy in the region.

Mattis: Pentagon Shifting Focus to Great Power Competition — ‘Not Terrorism’

BY KEVIN BARON

The Trump administration’s long-awaited National Defense Strategy declares a decisive shift in America’s security priorities, away from the age of ISIS-level terrorism and toward a return to great-power competition with regional giants China and Russia. This shift, Pentagon planners say, will require a “more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating” military that can regain the overwhelming advantage the United States once held over those rivals and lesser adversaries such as Iran and North Korea. The NDS is the military-specific follow-up to the White House’s National Security Strategy, released in December. The 11-page unclassified version released to reporters on Thursday lays out the world’s threats as the Trump administration sees them. Compared to previous administrations’ strategy documents, the new one focuses far more on reacting to those threats, and far less on what American defense leaders want the world to look like afterwards

Distrust and Anger Inside Germany's Rocky Coalition Talks

By Melanie Amann, Veit Medick, Ralf Neukirch and René Pfister

On Dec. 20, four men and two women met at the Reichstag in Berlin, the building where Germany's parliament meets, for exploratory talks on the forming of a new government. It could have been a pleasant meeting. Martin Schulz, the head of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), was celebrating his birthday -- he turned 62 that day. Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, was looking forward to setting off on her annual vacation in Engadin, Switzerland, just two days later. The pre-Christmas quiet had already settled in over the capital city's government quarter.

Thaw in the Winter Olympics


Certainly, the reduced tension between the warring Koreas is a welcome development and not just for those countries that are within firing distance of Kim Jong-un's missiles. But it may be too early to declare a victory for sports diplomacy, as some might wish for. Good optics should not be a substitute for real progress, especially when it comes to peace and stability in the region. Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, North and South Korean officials are talking for the first time in two years. North Korean athletes will presumably participate in the games and may even march with their fellow Korean Olympians from south of the 38th parallel in the opening ceremonies.

Germany and the Green Power Revolution

Germany plans to boost renewable energy sources and to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and most fossil fuels by 2050. Through this transformation, dubbed Energiewende, Germany was able to produce 38.5 percent of its power from wind, solar and other renewable sources during 2017. Among the larger economies, only China is close to matching Germany in the energy transition. Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, is leading the way in a global transition to renewable energy. Through its own transformation, dubbed Energiewende, Germany was able to produce 38.5 percent of its power from wind, solar and other renewable sources during 2017. That figure is well ahead of the progress made by any other country among the world's rich and developing nations, and Germany showed that it could be done while maintaining strong economic growth over the past 15 years. And though this green revolution has helped make renewable energy into a major global business, it hasn't come without mistakes. But even those missteps can serve as signposts for the countries that want to follow the trail blazed by Germany.

Looking Beyond Trump

By Jack Thompson for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

In this Strategic Trends 2017 chapter, Jack Thompson argues that the election of Donald Trump, and the emergence of his America First credo, promises a world where the US will not pursue an internationalist foreign policy. As a result, Europe would do well to begin planning for a future in which the US is more skeptical of alliances and trade agreements and less willing to assume a leadership role in resolving international problems.

Trade Profile: The U.S. Struggles to Break Its Fetters


Global trade is changing. The kinds of multilateral agreements that characterized the postwar years have stalled over the past two decades, prompting countries and economic blocs to try to negotiate smaller deals with fewer partners. Nations and blocs have more leeway under this new model to negotiate the trade agreements that best suit their interests and to avoid those that don't. Now, more than ever, the future of international trade depends on a country or bloc's defensive interests, offensive interests and underlying factors of production. Our fortnightly Trade Profiles aim to break down these factors to facilitate an understanding of where global trade stands today and where it's headed.

Diminished at Home, Durable Boko Haram May Go Global

LEVI MAXEY
Source Link

Bottom Line: Terrorist group Boko Haram has lost most of the territory it claimed as a “caliphate” within Nigeria back in 2014. But group still strikes government officials, troops and civilians from its few remaining safe havens in the northeast of the country, and is positioning itself to take terrorism global. The group’s closer alignment with international terrorist organizations, such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to the north, suggest that Boko Haram is looking to internationalize its attacks by targeting Western interests in the region. While the Nigerian military may still be able to make headway in ejecting Boko Haram from the last of its strongholds, the state will continue to struggle to control the country’s vast northeast territory.

Understanding Culture Requires a New Approach to Its Analysis

by Bryan Leese

“The most difficult thing is to get into the head of somebody and try to figure out what that person’s going to decide.”

–Leon Panetta, CIA Director

The need to understand North Korea’s “theory of victory”, what they believe is necessary to deter adversaries and secure their national interests, looms large for the United States. Understanding how North Korea views escalation and reacts to U.S. action should frame the approach used to compel them to conform to international norms. This is not the first time the U.S. has paused to evaluate what it understands about North Korea. On April 15, 1969, North Korea shot down an American EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft killing 31 American airmen. To this day, no one is sure why North Korea shot the plane down. What is clear is that the U.S. did not fully understand how North Korea viewed their future and what they were willing to pay to secure it. Recently released Russian documents make it clear that North Korea’s beliefs about force, deterrence, and compellence during the Cold War resulted in a “firm belief in reciprocal, automatic violence when attacked, on the grounds that failing to retaliate will cause one to suffer future attacks.” For the U.S., this lesson cost them 31 lives and international prestige. Other failures in understanding an adversary’s culture have likely cost the U.S. far more over the last two decades.

Mobilizing for a resource revolution

By Richard Dobbs, Jeremy Oppenheim, and Fraser Thompson

Over the next quarter century, the rise of three billion more middle-class consumers will strain natural resources. Progressively cheaper natural resources underpinned 20th-century global economic growth. But the 21st century could be different. Indeed, over the past ten years, rapid economic development in emerging markets has wiped out all of the previous century’s declines in real commodity prices. And in the next two decades, up to three billion people (and their spending power) will be added to the global middle class. Is the world entering an era of sustained high resource prices, leading to increased economic, social, and geopolitical risk?

The Art In Artificial Intelligence: Make The Robots Serve The Public Good


Over the past few years, artificial intelligence has rapidly matured as a viable field of technology. Machines that learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform tasks once uniquely the domain of humans, have entered our daily lives in ways seen and unseen. Given the current breakneck pace of change and innovation, the question for governments and policymakers is how to harness the benefits of artificial intelligence, and not be trampled by the robot takeover of our nightmares. The answer is simple: make them work for us.

Who’s Behind Newly Discovered Lebanese Cyberspying Operation

Kaveh Waddell

BEIRUT—Just north of a perennially jammed arterial, sandwiched between the French embassy complex and a university administration building, a beige monolith with a vertical slash of reflective windows is set back from the road, guarded by a row of high barriers and men in fatigues with long guns. The building belongs to Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, one of the country’s several security agencies, which is in charge of national-security intelligence. According to a bombshell new report, this building is also the home base for a wide-ranging spying operation that spanned five years and more than 20 countries.

Online Information Laundering: The Role of Social Media

Bret Schafer

Russia’s ability to successfully conduct hybrid warfare is predicated on the creation of a fog of ambiguity between the Kremlin’s actions and the Kremlin itself. By conducting operations through an ad hoc network of proxies, carve-outs, and cutouts — whose connection to the Kremlin is difficult to definitively establish — the Russian government is able to maintain plausible deniability and thus lower the diplomatic and military costs of its actions. It is a strategy with deep roots: maskirovka — a Soviet-era military doctrine that translates as “mask” or “masquerade” — established operational deceit as a core tenet of both conventional and irregular warfare. While modern maskirovka is most commonly associated with the use of “little green men” to occupy Crimea, it is a tactic that is also deeply ingrained in the Kremlin’s ongoing disinformation campaign against the United States and Europe. This presents an obvious challenge: How can the West respond to an adversary who denies even being present on the battlefield?

Machines can’t dream


Bill McDermott,

People are concerned about robots. Ever since a computer system defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov 20 years ago, public perceptions of progress in artificial intelligence (AI) research have been defined in terms of high-profile competitions pitting human against thinking machine. Anxiety is high about what the ultimate consequences could be. In the wake of Deep Blue’s triumph, other machines powered by AI have racked up momentous victories against human opponents in the game show Jeopardy and, most recently, against the world champion Go player. The latest version of Google’s AlphaGo software taught itself to play the strategy board game without any human help at all.

Who’s Behind Newly Discovered Lebanese Cyberspying Operation

Kaveh Waddell

BEIRUT—Just north of a perennially jammed arterial, sandwiched between the French embassy complex and a university administration building, a beige monolith with a vertical slash of reflective windows is set back from the road, guarded by a row of high barriers and men in fatigues with long guns. The building belongs to Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, one of the country’s several security agencies, which is in charge of national-security intelligence. According to a bombshell new report, this building is also the home base for a wide-ranging spying operation that spanned five years and more than 20 countries.

How Smartphone Users Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

by Felix Richter
Source Link
As we’re surrounded by smartphones, smart homes, smart cities and many more supposedly smart things, artificial intelligence and machine learning are already helping us in ways that we may not even realize. According to Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 65 percent of smartphone owners across 16 developed markets have used an application featuring machine learning in the past. Many of these applications, think predictive text and route suggestions for example, are designed to make our mobile experience feel more personalized and convenient; and as algorithms, hardware and the underlying data sets improve over time, we can expect AI-infused services to get a lot smarter going forward.

The Future of Military Technology

SPONSOR CONTENT

Warfare is evolving. As the technology surrounding unmanned vehicles, cyberattacks and multi-domain assets develops and advances, the military’s tools and strategies need to evolve too. Understanding how individuals in the Department of Defense and the military perceive these threats — and how to best address them — can give their priorities context. With this in mind, Government Business Council (GBC) polled 111 senior employees in the defense, military and intelligence communities to help anticipate the future needs of U.S warfighters in the battlefield.

THE ARMY DOESN’T EFFECTIVELY MENTOR NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS. IT NEEDS TO START.

Eddie Jackson

If so, that backbone is at its strongest with a robust program of leader development. Unfortunately, the Army does not do this well for its senior NCOs. Professional development is too often episodic, disjointed, based on—or disrupted by—operational requirements and assignment cycles, and lacks expert oversight. Although it isn’t necessarily intrinsic to any of the three pillars of leader development—education, training, and experience—mentorship as a vital component of development. Better mentorship, especially for NCOs, would be an important step toward addressing the Army’s development shortfalls.

24 January 2018

Has India Done Enough For Tibet’s Cause? – OpEd

By N. S. Venkataraman

More than six decades have gone after China forcibly entered Tibet and occupied the land and unjustifiably claimed that Tibet belongs to it. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had no alternative other than leaving Tibet with his disciples and he entered Indian territory on 31st March, 1959. When China occupied Tibet India led by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru just kept watching and did nothing to stop China from its aggressive move. Obviously, Nehru was very friendly at that time with Chinese government and he did not want to upset China by commenting on China’s occupation of Tibet. While Nehru took such stand, there were many sane voices in India who felt concerned about the inaction of Jawaharlal Nehru and reminded him that he was doing historical mistake.

Five months on, understanding Doklam ‘disengagement’, a few other issues


On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a clarification on Doklam: “It may be recalled that last year, the faceoff situation that had arisen in the Doklam region was resolved following diplomatic discussions between India and China, based on which both sides arrived at an understanding for the disengagement of their border personnel at the faceoff site.” The careful choice of words echoed the Ministry’s statement issued on August 28, 2017, when the “disengagement” ended the 73-day face-off in the Dolam plateau of Doklam area.

XI JINPING AND HIS GENERALS: CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

DEAN CHENG

It was reported this week that Chinese general Fang Fenghui was “transferred to the military prosecution authority on suspicion of offering and accepting bribes.” Fang had reportedly been under investigation since late last year. Gen. Fang had been a senior member of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Central Military Commission – the entity that heads China’s armed forces. Before that, he led the Joint Staff Department – an organization that succeeded the General Staff Department and is effectively in charge of China’s warfighting and war-planning organizations.

PUTTING THE U.S. SHALE REVOLUTION IN PERSPECTIVE FOR AN AUDIENCE FROM CHINA



The PowerPoint PDF below accompanied a presentation by fellow Gabriel Collins at an Oct. 25, 2017 briefing on the U.S. shale revolution.

Investigating Crises: South Asia's Lessons, Evolving Dynamics, and Trajectories


South Asia remains one of the most crisis-prone regions in the world with some of the highest levels of contested borders, militarized interstate disputes, and terrorist attacks. India and Pakistan's continued expansion of their fissile material stockpiles and nuclear arsenals and modernizations of their conventional forces add layers of risk, especially in periods of power transitions. For over 25 years, the Stimson Center has closely studied the cadence and dynamics of South Asian crises to better inform policymakers in New Delhi, Islamabad, Washington, D.C., and even Beijing.

Tracking Global Terrorism in 2018


With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers. In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology — and, in some cases, both.

SPECIAL REPORT: In Shattered Raqqa, Top US General Calls for the World’s Help

BY KEVIN BARON
Source Link

Votel assures SDF fighters the U.S. will remain committed to them, but bringing this Syrian city back to life will take more than the troops who liberated it can give. The calm. When Gen. Joseph Votel emerged from the dank tunnels where ISIS tortured its victims before executing them in the soccer stadium above, he walked somberly back to his convoy of grimy pickup trucks. The leader of U.S. Central Command was struck, he said, by the calm and industriousness of people who have come back to Raqqa to rebuild “some semblance of a normal life.”

The Islamic Republic’s Power Centers

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Who calls the shots in Iran on economic policy, security, and responding to domestic calls for reform? A look at the government's organization chart indicates how complicated the answer is. At the start of 2018, Iran experienced the largest nationwide protests since the 2009 Green Revolution, provoked initially by anger over economic stagnation and the government’s failure to act. Their calls for improved welfare are a test for the Islamic Republic, which was founded in 1979 on the principle of delivering social justice but has been dogged by charges of abusing civil and human rights and abetting corruption.

Turkey, the Arab World Is Just Not That into You

by Burak Bekdil

He runs around in a fake fire extinguisher's outfit, holding a silly hose in his hands and knocking on neighbors' doors to put out the fire in their homes. "Go away," his neighbors keep telling him. "There is no fire here!" I am the person to put out that fire, he insists, as doors keep shutting on his face. That was more or less how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's neo-Ottoman, pro-ummah (Islamic community), "Big Brother" game has looked in the Middle East.

Europe’s economy: Three pathways to rebuilding trust and sustaining momentum

By Jacques Bughin, Eric Labaye, Sven Smit, Eckart Windhagen, Jan Mischke

Europe has an opportunity to ensure that growth and well-being continue in the long term, and to strengthen trust in its institutions. Europe is bouncing back after a “lost” decade. Business and citizen optimism has returned and eurozone GDP in 2017 expanded at its fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis. This changing mood creates an opportunity for European political and business leaders to take the action needed to ensure that growth and well-being are sustained in the long term, and that trust in Europe’s institutions is strengthened. Rebuilding trust is critical: even in a time of economic recovery, divergent forces linger, anti-globalization sentiment is gaining ground in a number of countries, and distrust of politicians and political institutions is rife. Business leaders, meanwhile, tell us that they favor “more Europe” but still worry about the fragility of the eurozone. Drawing on research by the McKinsey Global Institute, this briefing explores three pathways where Europe could take concrete action to begin restoring trust while sustaining economic momentum:

It’s No Longer About ISIS: US Government Is Moving the Goalposts By Changing the Rationale/Excuse for Keeping US Troops in Syria

Paul R. Pillar

Behind a façade of continuity, the deployment of U.S. armed forces in Syria for the purposes that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described in a speech [3] this week represents a departure from what such forces were originally sent to Syria to do. The Trump administration is having U.S. troops participate indefinitely in someone else’s civil war, for reasons that are quite different from the original stated objective of helping to quash the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS). The new reasons do not stand up to scrutiny in terms of defending any threatened U.S. interests. The administration has in effect made a decision to immerse the United States in yet another foreign war.

The Necessity and Impossibility of “Strategic Autonomy”

Hans Kundnani

WASHINGTON, DC — As the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States approaches, Europeans are still debating how to respond. The most fundamental question is about the U.S. security guarantee toward Europe, which Trump had radically questioned during the election campaign and even after winning it. After conspicuously failing to commit to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty at the NATO leaders meeting in Brussels in May, he finally did so a month later in the Rose Garden at the White House. So should Europeans now feel reassured that the uncertainty about Article 5 is over? Or should they quickly move toward “strategic autonomy” — just in case it turns out that they can no longer depend on the United States?

North Korea and Cyber Catastrophe—Don’t Hold Your Breath


BY: JAMES A. LEWIS

The heightened tension over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, combined with growing DPRK cyber capabilities and their use for coercion or theft, has led some to conclude that the North may launch cyber-attacks against US critical infrastructure, perhaps with catastrophic result.[1] We can best assess this risk by placing it in a larger strategic context, and in this context, a major cyber-attack by the North is unlikely.[2]

Fake News: Defining and Defeating



Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to present his media critics with so-called “fake news awards,” it is more important than ever to define what “fake news” actually is, and what it is not. President Trump’s repeated accusations of fake news are dangerous both for journalists around the world, and for the integrity of free and fair democratic discourse in America.

How to be a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Jennifer Artley

We often underestimate the scale and speed of change that occurred in the 20th century. Wave upon wave of scientific discovery and technological advance has transformed many aspects of our daily and working lives. As we strike out into the digital age it is our responsibility as business leaders to navigate these changes with integrity and to provide positive, impactful leadership as the business landscape takes a new shape.

Russia and the Limits of Power


By George Friedman

The government of Belarus has announced that it will not permit more than two foreign military bases on its territory. There are now two Russian military bases in Belarus, and it is unlikely that any other country has suggested placing bases there. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the Russians have asked Belarus for additional facilities and that the Belarusians have turned them down. The reason for Russia’s interest in Belarus is obvious. The Baltics are part of NATO, Ukraine has a pro-Western government, and Belarus is the last piece of the Russian buffer zone that is not overtly anti-Russian. If Belarus were to shift its stance and turn against Russia, the entire buffer zone would be gone and with it the strategic depth Russia has depended on. Obviously, more bases would strengthen Russia’s position in Belarus.

National Defense Strategy a ‘Good Fit for Our Times,’ Mattis Says

By Jim Garamone

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis announces the new National Defense Strategy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, Jan. 19, 2018. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm The secretary unveiled the strategy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and stressed that the strategy is not merely a defense strategy, but an American strategy. The school is a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington.

The New National Defense Strategy: Some Good Broad Goals, and Bad Buzzwords, But No Clear Strategy

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The unclassified summary of new National Defense Strategy (NDS) is just that: An unclassified summary. It sets goals and objectives that do build on the National Security Strategy (NSS) announced in December, and it raises many of the same themes: the need to adapt to new forms of war and to engage in “long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia as emerging potential threats.” It talks about an increasingly complex global security environment, characterized by overt challenges to the free and open international order and the re-emergence of long-term, strategic competition between nations. These changes require a clear-eyed appraisal of the threats we face, acknowledgement of the changing character of warfare, and a transformation of how the Department of Defense conducts business.

U.S. MILITARY PLANS NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS, MAKING WAR WITH RUSSIA AND CHINA MORE LIKELY, EXPERTS SAY


BY JOHN HALTIWANGER 

The Pentagon plans to build two new nuclear weapons to keep up with the modernizing arsenals of Russia and China, according to a comprehensive Department of Defense review on the U.S. military’s nuclear capabilities, sparking heated debate about the strategy: Will it bolster the U.S. military's ability to deter threats, or make a nuclear war more likely?  "While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction," an unclassified draft of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states. "The United States must be capable of developing and deploying new capabilities, if necessary, to deter, assure, achieve U.S. objectives if deterrence fails, and hedge against uncertainty."

Defense Dept. blocks 36M malicious emails daily, fends off 600 Gbps DDoS attacks


by Teri Robinson

That the Defense Department blocks 36 million malicious emails daily aimed at accessing U.S. military systems, as Defense Information Systems Agency Director of Operations David Bennett recently said, underscores that attackers continue to consider email an attractive attack vector and highlights the stresses that security pros face daily trying to sort through threats. "Our threat labs have observed cybercriminals recently migrating to email as the most common attack vector. As the tension between nations is increasing, more of the conflict is being fought online. They use email because it is effective,” said Nick Bilogorskiy, cybersecurity strategist at Juniper Networks, noting that he wasn't surprised that the Defense Department had seen an uptick in email attacks. "While most such attacks are simple phishing scams, the most dangerous ones are usually the work of rogue nation states and can be political in nature.”

FINDING YOUR VOICE Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification, the “NSA Reigns Supreme”

Ava Kofman

AT THE HEIGHT of the Cold War, during the winter of 1980, FBI agents recorded a phone call in which a man arranged a secret meeting with the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. On the day of his appointment, however, agents were unable to catch sight of the man entering the embassy. At the time, they had no way to put a name to the caller from just the sound of his voice, so the spy remained anonymous. Over the next five years, he sold details about several secret U.S. programs to the USSR. It wasn’t until 1985 that the FBI, thanks to intelligence provided by a Russian defector, was able to establish the caller as Ronald Pelton, a former analyst at the National Security Agency. The next year, Pelton was convicted of espionage.

How Smartphone Users Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

by Felix Richter

As we’re surrounded by smartphones, smart homes, smart cities and many more supposedly smart things, artificial intelligence and machine learning are already helping us in ways that we may not even realize. According to Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 65 percent of smartphone owners across 16 developed markets have used an application featuring machine learning in the past. Many of these applications, think predictive text and route suggestions for example, are designed to make our mobile experience feel more personalized and convenient; and as algorithms, hardware and the underlying data sets improve over time, we can expect AI-infused services to get a lot smarter going forward.

Four new ‘superpowers’ changing our world

Pat Gelsinger

The term ‘superpowers’ conjures an image of major nations shaping the course of global history. But in the digital era, I believe it’s time we expanded that definition to include four extraordinary technological superpowers that promise to wield as much influence over the next 20 years as any nation state: mobile technology, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). Each of these capabilities is transformative in its own right, but together they unlock game-changing opportunities that have not been available to us until this moment in history. And we are just beginning to tap their full potential.

5th Generation Air C2 and ISR

Author:Bart A Hoeben 

5th Generation Air C2 and ISR provides tangible recommendations about improving Air C2 and ISR systems, their integration, collaboration and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) at the tactical level, including the possible application of a combat cloud, and towards F-35 employment and follow-on development. It furthermore explores the possibility for distribution of control towards the tactical edge, concluding that RAAF and RNLAF should further pursue this concept. The paper also looks at command and ISR at the operational level and strategic employment of F-35 and draws two conclusions: first, that new concepts for Air C2 and ISR related to F-35 employment deserve increased attention from RAAF and RNLAF, and second, that successfully employing F-35 requires strong(er) influence of RAAF and RNLAF at the operational and strategic level. Overall, the paper recommends possible ways in which RAAF and RNLAF could cooperate to face the Air C2 and ISR challenges and opportunities that come with the transition to a 5th Generation Air Force. This could involve stimulation and facilitating international discussion on new concepts for Air C2 and ISR. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF LAND WARFARE: THIS KIND OF WAR REDUX


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. 

23 January 2018

The future belongs to biopharma. Can India catch up with China?


China and India together account for close to 40 per cent of the global population. They are among the three largest economies -- on a purchasing power parity or PPP basis -- in the world, and are the two fastest growing emerging economies in the world. They are also the two countries that will most likely be the world’s largest hubs for manufacturing biological drugs. It’s been evident for a decade now that biological drugs are the future of medicine. (A biopharmaceutical, also known as a biologic(al) medical product or a biological or a biologic, Wikipedia says is "any pharmaceutical drug product manufactured in, extracted from, or semisynthesised from biological sources -- therefore different from totally synthesized pharmaceuticals -- they include vaccines, blood, blood components, allergenics, somatic cells, gene therapies, living cells or tissues, recombinant therapeutic protein, and living cells used in cell therapy).

Five months on, understanding Doklam ‘disengagement’, a few other issues

Written by Sushant Singh 
Source Link

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a clarification on Doklam: “It may be recalled that last year, the faceoff situation that had arisen in the Doklam region was resolved following diplomatic discussions between India and China, based on which both sides arrived at an understanding for the disengagement of their border personnel at the faceoff site.” The careful choice of words echoed the Ministry’s statement issued on August 28, 2017, when the “disengagement” ended the 73-day face-off in the Dolam plateau of Doklam area.

‘China pursuing missile defenses; Indian nukes are main worry’

By DOUG TSURUOKA EDITOR AT LARGE

India conducted a successful test of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a nuclear-capable Agni-5, on Thursday, underscoring a potential threat to China as well as Pakistan. China is also within range of nuclear-armed North Korean missiles and Japan is mulling whether it should develop similar capabilities. But there has been surprisingly little focus on Chinese efforts to develop a missile defense against these threats.