3 March 2018

The Creation of SIOP-62

by William Burr

Since it was first created in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)--the U.S. plan for nuclear war--has been one of the most secret and sensitive issues in U.S. national security policy. The essence of the first SIOP was a massive nuclear strike on military and urban-industrial targets in the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. To make such an attack possible, U.S. war planners developed a complex organizational scheme involving the interaction of targeting, weapons delivery systems and their flight paths, nuclear detonations over targets, measurements of devastation, and defensive measures, among other elements, and successive SIOPs would become even more complex. Much of this information remains highly secret and may never be declassified; it is even possible that no civilian official has actually seen the SIOP (which one author suggests amounts to a stack of computer print-outs). To ensure tight secrecy, when the first SIOP was created, its architects established a special information category--Extremely Sensitive Information (ESI)--to ensure that only those with a need-to-know would have access to the documents.

2 March 2018

How India must deal with the all-powerful Xi Jinping

'The boundary dispute notwithstanding, China has always had leaders who have been, on the whole, positively disposed towards India.'

'Given the centrality of the Chinese Communist Party, we need to strengthen the linkages with the crucial personalities in the highest echelons of the Communist party and political leadership,' notes China expert Alka Acharya.

Malaysia-Pakistan Military Ties in the Headlines With Navy Chief Visit

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By Prashanth Parameswaran

Both sides continue to explore opportunities to advance their defense ties despite the challenges.

This week, Malaysia’s navy chief paid an official visit to Pakistan. The trip, which saw a long series of engagements and was widely covered in Pakistan media outlets, was indicative of longstanding efforts by both sides to explore opportunities to advance their defense ties even amid the challenges that remain.

Justice and the Bomb

By Michael Krepon

Appeals to justice resonate powerfully, as is evident in “The Verdict,” a must-see movie about a bedraggled, alcoholic lawyer arguing a life-redeeming case with the deck stacked against him. There’s a simple reason why most movies have happy endings: “We the People” want to believe that when the “System” is rigged by the wealthy and well connected, it’s still possible to win, at least some of the time.

America Needs to Reorient Its South Asia Policy

By Akhilesh Pillalamarri

South Asia is at the center of global geopolitical and economic trends. It is a rapidly developing region, containing a quarter of the world’s people. India, soon to be the world’s most populous country, is the fastest growing major economy in the world, having surpassed China last year. It also possesses nuclear weapons, as does neighboring Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country. The region is situated between China and the Middle East, and between Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. A prime geopolitical location, if there is one.

Globalization Has Created a Chinese Monster

Xi Jinping's dictatorship isn't what the end of history was supposed to look like.

On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee recommended ending the two-term limit on the presidency, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely. This surely marks the end of an era — and not just for China, but also for the West.

Welcome to the New Indian Ocean

By David Brewster

New players are creating a more multipolar and complex Indian Ocean environment 

The strategic environment in the Indian Ocean is changing fast. In the last few years we have seen growing strategic rivalry between major powers such as China and India as they expand their roles in the region. We are now also seeing new players competing to build their own areas of influence and blocs in the Indian Ocean.

Numbers Matter: China's Three 'Navies' Each Have the World's Most Ships

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Andrew S. Erickson

Numerical superiority allows China’s second and third sea forces to flood the maritime gray zone in ways that its neighbors, as well as the United States, may find very hard to counter.

As a friend’s five-year-old puts it, “China has three navies: the regular navy, the police navy and the sneaky navy.” Each of these three sea forces is the world’s largest of its type by number of ships—at least by some measures. China is truly a maritime power in its own right, and its sea forces’ numbers matter in important ways. In maritime “gray zone” operations, Beijing employs its enormous coast guard and maritime militia to further its disputed Yellow, East and South China Sea sovereignty claims using coercion short of warfare. This article, which is part one in a series, will focus on these quantitatively superior second and third sea forces.

China's Rise and the Future of Liberal International Order: Asking the Right Questions

By Robert Farley
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The United States failed to stop China’s rise; indeed, it didn’t even really try. Moreover, during the process of its rise China reformed its economy without substantially reforming its political system. Over the past 15 years, China has begun to convert economic power into military power, and now fields one of the world’s most formidable military establishments. The question has become “What impact will China’s rise have on the global order?” The best answers here seem to be that China will maintain some elements of that order, while changing others to its advantage.

Can Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear?

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Unless the U.S. military does something to stop it (and maybe even then), North Korea is going to become a full-fledged nuclear power, a fact that is stressing the U.S. alliance structure in Northeast Asia. Whether the U.S. decides to attack or learn to live with it, its decision could undermine America’s credibility with its two stalwart partners in the region, Japan and South Korea. And with North Korea on the path to being able to strike the U.S. mainland, the question is looming larger whether the U.S. can be trusted to respond to an attack on Japan or South Korea even when doing so puts U.S. cities at risk.

Russia's Business Leaders Prepare For U.S. Sanctions

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

The possibility that Washington will retaliate with sanctions against Russian meddling in U.S. elections has prompted many wealthy Russians to consider how they will protect their wealth.

Ukraine four years after the Maidan

Steven Pifer

In late February 2014, following three months of demonstrations on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), then-President Victor Yanukovych fled the Ukrainian capital on a tortuous path that ultimately took him to Russia. On February 22, 2014, Ukraine’s parliament appointed an acting president and acting prime minister, who promptly announced their intention to press reforms and bring Ukraine closer to Europe.

Four years later, Ukraine finds itself in a low-intensity but still very real war with Russia. Russia seized Crimea and has prosecuted a conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas that has claimed more than 10,000 lives. While President Petro Poroshenko and his governments have implemented serious reforms, the pace has slowed markedly. Many are particularly frustrated that more has not been done on the anti-corruption front.

North Korea Is Upping Its Offensive Cyber Operations


As Pyongyang runs out of money for missile tests, expect more hacking. 

North Korean offensive cyber activity — everything from spying on journalists to cryptocurrency heists — has been trending up, cybersecurity researchers say.

On Tuesday, network security researchers FireEye put out areport revealing a new hacker group called Reaper or APT37. Calling them “the overlooked North Korean actor,” the report says “the group’s operations are expanding in scope and sophistication, with a toolset that includes access to zero-day vulnerabilities and wiper malware.”

Russian Attack on US Troops in Syria Elicits Deafening Silence from Politicians and Press

by Michael J. Totten

Originally published under the title "The Russian Attack Against America You Didn't Hear About."

Russia committed an act of war against the United States a little more than a week ago. 

You probably didn't hear this because few media organizations have even mentioned it, but Russia committed an act of war against the United States a little more than a week ago. No, this is not about more social media and election shenanigans. Russia mounted an armed assault against American soldiers and our allies in Syria, including Kurdish security forces affiliated with the People's Protection Units, or YPG, at a military base in the city of Deir Ezzor, the largest in eastern Syria. Russian combatants fought alongside Assad regime fighters and Shia militias armed, funded and directed by Iran.

Russia Upgrades Long-Range Air Defenses in Pacific Region

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Russia has deployed two additional S-400 batteries to the Russian Far East, according to satellite imagery analysis.

In an ongoing effort to boost its so called anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability, the Russian military has deployed two additional S-400 Triumf advanced Air Defense System (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) batteries to the vicinity of Vladivostok, homeport of the Russian Pacific Fleet, in the country’s Far East, according to satellite imagery analysis, published by IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

New Report Notes Erosion of Pentagon’s Technological Advantage


The evidence ranges from a new long-range Chinese missile to ramped-up European defense spending, an annual assessment of the world’s militaries finds. 

The U.S.’s latest national security documents aren’t alone in warning that many of the technical military advantages America and its allies have taken for granted the last two decades are eroding. More evidence is marshalled in the latest edition of The Military Balance, an annual quantitative assessment of the world’s armed forces by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank.

How To Implement The National Defense Strategy In Pacific


The National Defense Strategy does a service by getting the diagnosis right. But that is only the first step. To get the right prescription—the defense program—we will have to develop the operational concepts that link the ends sought with the means we can procure to achieve them.

A Marine HIMARS missile launcher fires from the deck of the USS Anchorage during the Dawn Blitz 2017 exercises.

“Asian Century”: A Book Review

by Frank Li

1. "Asian century," really?

Calling the 21st century the "Asian century" is like calling the 20th century "the West's century" - It is correct, but inaccurate. Instead, we should call the 21st century "China's century", just like we call the (2nd half of the) 20th century "America's century" - It is correct and accurate!

Leaders Are Readers Part I: Why We Read

Leaders are learners, and learners are readers.

If you’re reading this, I consider you a “student of leadership.” As such, chances are you already understand the value (and really even necessity) of reading to further your personal and professional development. I truly believe that one’s commitment toward reading for learning and growth is a reflection of your professional maturity.

Here are some other wise words regarding the importance of reading for leaders:

'Low-Yield' Nukes Are a Very High Threat

In his brilliant book tracing the origins of the First World War, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” Christopher Clark says, “The protagonists were sleepwalkers, watchful but unseeing, haunted by dreams, yet blind to the reality of the horror they were about to bring into the world.” 

As the prestigious Munich Security Conference wrapped up over President’s Day weekend, the pervading feeling of many longtime observers is that we are again sleepwalking toward a conflict nobody wants or needs -- this time with nuclear weapons. The hallways of this conference were jammed as usual, resembling a policy-wonk mosh pit. The conversations on the platform ranged from Senator Lindsey Graham’s suggestion of a European version of Guantanamo Bay to take in the hundreds of Syrian jihadists, to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s question to the Iranian Foreign Minister as he waved around a piece of an Iranian drone: “Do you recognize this?”

A Celebrity Philosopher Explains the Populist Insurgency

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By Thomas Meaney

Peter Sloterdijk has spent decades railing against the pieties of liberal democracy. Now his ideas seem prophetic.

Peter Sloterdijk has emerged as his country’s most controversial public intellectual.Illustration by Mikkel Sommer

One weekend last June, in an auditorium in the German city of Karlsruhe, the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk celebrated his seventieth birthday by listening to twenty lectures about himself. A cluster of Europe’s leading intellectuals, academics, and artists, along with a smattering of billionaires, were paying tribute to Germany’s most controversial thinker, in the town where he was born and where he recently concluded a two-decade tenure as the rector of the State Academy for Design. 

Mitigating the Insider Cyberthreat: Tools to Defend Against Internal Data Breaches

The first steps involve classifying an organization's data and then controlling who can access what based on their need to know.

Blocking common channels used to leak data is the next step.

The final step involves improving visibility and alerting by setting up in-depth logging of most sensitive classes of data, and alert systems when users try to access that data.

India hopes to become an AI powerhouse, with inspiration from China

Ananya Bhattacharya

Artificial intelligence (AI) has finally caught the Indian government’s attention.

On Feb. 01, delivering his budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the government think-tank, Niti Aayog, will spearhead a national programme on AI, including research and development. The intent showed in the numbers: Budget allocation for Digital India, the government’s umbrella initiative to promote AI, machine learning, 3D printing, and other technologies, was almost doubled to Rs3,073 crore ($477 million) this year.

Cross Domain Concerns: Defeating a Hybrid State's Grand Strategy

By Victor Morris

The operational and strategic dilemmas associated with the contemporary operational environment, multinational alliances, and hybrid threat actors can be overcome. This article offers three recommendations designed to identify, mitigate and eventually overcome dilemmas which prevent NATO’s long-term mission success. Furthermore, this analysis offers a method for understanding a hybrid state’s grand strategy and its implications for NATO.

How The Top 10 Strongest Militaries Got There May Surprise You

The United States often brags about its military power, but how do we actually rank? World powers have gone to war over the centuries for a multitude of reasons, and we often use military strength to determine a country’s stability today. It’s harder to determine the best militaries in the world than you might think, but the Global Fire Power Index creates an annual ranking that takes a number of factors into account.

It adjusts data for firepower stockpiled and its diversity, geographical factors, population, natural resources, logistical flexibility, and other issues. Furthermore, it does not take current military or political standing into account, making its rankings some of the least biased around. Here’s the top ten militaries in the world, ranked from the bottom up.

Cold War II


A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the world unexpectedly finds itself in a second one. This state of affairs was anything but inevitable, and it is in neither side's interest to escalate tensions further. 

NEW YORK – The Cold War lasted four decades, in many ways both beginning and ending in Berlin. The good news is that it stayed cold – largely because nuclear weapons introduced a discipline missing from previous great-power rivalries – and that the United States, together with its European and Asian allies, emerged victorious, owing to sustained political, economic, and military effort that a top-heavy Soviet Union ultimately could not match.

1 March 2018

Bridging the Bay of Bengal: Toward a Stronger BIMSTEC

Constantino Xavier

Summary: India and other countries around the Bay of Bengal should invest greater resources in the multilateral institution BIMSTEC to promote regional connectivity and shared prosperity.

The Bay of Bengal is one of the world’s least integrated regions, with abysmal levels of trade, connectivity, and cooperation. The deep divide between India and other countries around the bay hinders their efforts to increase their economic and strategic interdependence.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), a regional multilateral organization founded in 1997, offers a well-positioned platform to help address these challenges. But BIMSTEC’s mission to deepen regionalism will stand a better chance of succeeding if its members (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) make the organization a priority, endow it with adequate resources, and enact reforms to strength its capabilities.

India inches ahead in the race to build a Hyperloop

Plenty of places have committed to exploring the economic viability of building a Hyperloop, but nobody has been brave enough to say they'll actually construct one. It's why the news coming out of India's latest announcement is such a big deal, because it includes a pledge to build a working test track.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sir Richard Branson announced the partnership between Virgin Hyperloop One and the Indian state of Maharashtra. The deal will see the pair look into developing a high-speed link between the cities of Pune and Mumbai, with the route going via Mumbai International Airport.

Is India opening up? Some good signs

The media has often mentioned the report prepared by Lt. Gen. Henderson-Brooks on the October-November 1962 debacle.

Is India changing? Political pundits will probably have diametrically opposite views on the subject.

It is a fact that India is rapidly emerging as an important economic pole; the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos and the hosting of the 10 Asean Heads of State or government for Republic Day are symbols of this new emergence.

Does Indian Army have a plan, or are we headed towards war with Pakistan?


Since the Partition of India in 1947, Kashmir has had to bear the burden of being India’s only Muslim majority state, a jewel in the divided crown left by the British, a testimony to the secular nature of the new Republic. It has also had the misfortune of being the battleground of India and Pakistan. Since the NDA government came to power in May 2014, India Today has done 10 cover stories on tensions between the two neighbours, many centred around Kashmir.

The stories have examined the relationship through many prisms, primarily one of terror attacks, which this time have been the worst since 2013.

Why US threats no longer perturb Pakistan

'If the US intention was to use the FATF platform to isolate Pakistan and impose sanctions against it, that is not going to work when influential countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia will not lend support to the US campaign,' says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.

A concerted move by the United States and its Western allies to bring Pakistan back into the 'watch list' of the so-called Financial Action Task Force -- FATF -- leaps out of a morality play from the Middle Ages -- an allegorical drama with Washington assuming moral attributes.

To win ‘hearts and minds’ in Afghanistan, some aid programs worked better than others

By Jason Lyall and Rebecca Wolfe

Budget crunchers are looking at all aspects of the fiscal 2019 White House budget, including how foreign assistance helps support U.S. security interests. Some of the $16.8 billion in the latest U.S. Agency for International Development budget, for instance, targets the agency’s No. 1 programming issue: reducing conflict. 

But what drives support for combatants in wartime? Governments, militaries and aid agencies have implemented dozens of economic interventions designed to win “hearts and minds” and reduce violence in settings as diverse as Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria and Somalia. These interventions include livelihood training, employment programs, cash-for-work opportunities and, increasingly, unconditional cash transfers to specific populations. 

China and India File Rival Claims Over Tibetan Medicine

By Mike Ives

HONG KONG — China and India have jockeyed for centuries over the Himalayas. The Chinese military invaded Tibet in 1950. India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, in 1959. Three years later, the two countries fought a border war. Now they are in a standoff over an area disputed by China and Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom whose claim is supported by India.

The two countries’ latest struggle is over which one will be able to formally tie the ancient practice of Tibetan medicine to its national patrimony. The prize: international cachet and the possibility of significant commercial rewards.

China wanted to split India, Bhutan through Doklam: Shivshankar Menon

NEW DELHI: China's political goal was to "split" India and Bhutan over the Doklamstandoff, former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said today while appreciating the way the government handled the issue.

Menon, who was NSA between 2010 and 2014 in the previous UPA rule, also said there was a need for an integrated approach in managing the country's borders.

"One reason why we saw that activity in Doklam last year was not because they (China) had a clear military option or superiority but they had the political goal of splitting us from the Bhutanese," he said at a conference here.

A Strategy Of Conquest, What Drives China's New Silk Road


PARIS — It's a plan of titanic proportions, with a budget of close to $1 trillion and transport projects, for both land and sea, on almost every continent. No single fund can finance it, and the development bank created for it brings together more than 60 countries. The "New Silk Road," and the figures involved, can make your head spin.

The plan, launched in 2013 by Beijing, wasn't an easy sell France. But since the arrival of a train from Wuhan to Lyon in February 2017, and the visit President Emmanuel Macron made last month to China, where the subject was officially discussed, interest has grown noticeably. More and more informational meetings are taking place, and participants are competing for the best arguments to encourage companies to take part in what they describe as an "astounding Marshall Plan."

Beyond Bitcoin: Could China Embrace Blockchain for Defense and Security Applications?

By: Wilson VornDick

Since January 2016, bitcoin (比特币) has skyrocketed from less than $1,000 and nearly peaking at $20,000 in December—a 2,100 percent increase. Despite its volatility, euphoria over bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies (加密数字货币) has spread across the globe and nowhere has this been more evident than China. The surge in trading volume of bitcoin reached such high levels in 2016 that it may have contributed to a major outflow in China’s foreign reserves when they shrank nearly 8 percent to $3 trillion. In the first half of 2016, up to $400 million worth in yuan was spent on initial coin offerings (ICOs) in China and it is estimated that over $20 billion around the globe was tied to bitcoin the whole year (People’s Bank of China, September 4, 2017; HBR; February 28, 2017).

Israel’s coming war with Hezbollah A new conflict may be inevitable

Mara Karlin

Although the next Israeli-Hezbollah war remains on the horizon for now, it is almost certain to occur eventually, argues Mara Karlin, given both the risks of accidental escalation and the two sides’ long-term strategic goals. When it does happen, it will be ugly and will almost surely drag in external actors, willingly or not. This piece originally appeared on Foreign Affairs.

Another war between Israel and Hezbollah is almost inevitable. Although neither side wants a conflict now, the shifting balance of power in the Levant and shrinking areas of contestation are indicators of a looming showdown. The real questions are how and where—not if—the impending conflagration will occur.

A Venezuelan Refugee Crisis

by Shannon K. O'Neil

In addition to a sharp economic downturn, Venezuela faces a humanitarian crisis. The United States can do little to prevent a downward spiral, but it should take measures to mitigate the political, economic, and humanitarian consequences of a potential mass emigration. 

Venezuela is in an economic free fall. As a result of government-led mismanagement and corruption, the currency value is plummeting, prices are hyperinflated, and gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen by over a third in the last five years. In an economy that produces little except oil, the government has cut imports by over 75 percent, choosing to use its hard currency to service the roughly $140 billion in debt and other obligations.

The New Separatism


As national governments are plunged into crisis, many are looking elsewhere for their identities.

As nation-states in Europe wipe away their borders and dilute the flavors of their national cultures in a European Union slumgullion, their peoples are adopting new identities. Instead of Spaniards, they will be Catalans. Instead of Italians, they will again become Venetians, Lombards, and Sicilians. A story in the October 18 New York Times quotes the newspaper Il Tempo’s Antonio Rapisarda, who tracks separatist movements, as saying, “In Italy, there has been a resurgence of separatist energies. From the South Tyrol to Sicily, passing through Rome, there are separatist movements.” The Times adds that “Separatist movements are also simmering in Britain…as well as France, Germany, Belgium and Romania.” Here at home the Left Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington host growing movements to separate from the conservative heartland they despise.

State Islam in France

Theodore Dalrymple

Asked once whether he believed in God, French president Emmanuel Macron replied, “That’s a real question, a complex question. I undoubtedly believe in a transcendence. I am not sure any more that I believe in a God. Yes, I believe in transcendence.”

Another real and complex question for him to answer is that regarding the relationship of the French Republic with Islam. France is a militantly secular country whose militancy has seemed only to grow stronger as the Church grows weaker. France rejects all connection between religion and state; in the mouth of a French intellectual, the words très catho (very Catholic) sound more like an accusation than a description. The ghost of Marshal Pétain—who replaced “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” with “Work, Family, Fatherland”—still rides.

Judy Asks: Is Russia Europe’s Biggest Threat?


A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.

Federiga BindiSenior fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Jean Monnet chair at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and D. German distinguished visiting chair at Appalachian State University

No, it is not. Times have changed since the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was indeed Europe’s biggest threat.

New ‘Hybrid’ Plots Revealed in Russian Anti-Western Policy

By: Pavel K. Baev

The central theme of the traditional Munich Security Conference last weekend was the current assessment of the Russian threat. The briefs prepared for the high-level participants, including US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, had, however, to undergo urgent revisions as at least three new developments in the week preceding the event revealed the growing complexity of this threat. First, the intelligence alliance known as “Five Eyes” (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) put the blame squarely on the Russian military for launching the destructive cyber-attack dubbed “NotPetya” in June 2017 (Newsru.com, February 16). Second, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian citizens for interfering in the 2016 US elections as a part of his on-going investigation (Kommersant, February 16). And third, it gradually becomes clear that a major direct clash between Russian and American forces happened in Syria on February 7, when a massive US air and artillery strike destroyed a battalion tactical group comprised of Russian mercenaries (New Times, February 15).

The Forgotten Benefits of Deterrence

Paul R. Pillar

During the Cold War, no concept was more central to U.S. national security strategy and to the relationship between the superpowers than deterrence. The concept long predates the Cold War, of course, but during that four-decade competition between the United States and USSR, strategists and scholars developed a detailed and still valid doctrine of deterrence. Nuclear weapons and a strategic arms race made that doctrine especially necessary and significant, but the complexities of deterrence extended to other levels of international conflict and competition, such as the confrontation in Europe between armies of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Can the nation state survive?

In his speech to the United Nations in September, Donald Trump called for a ‘great reawakening of nations’. How realistic is this? There is evidence to suggest that, far from a resurgence of the nation state, we may be nearing the end of the nation-state era. 

When I was in New York as ambassador to the UN, one of my favourite questions to ask American friends was, ‘Do you think that the United States will exist within its current borders in 100 years’ time?’ Without exception, the answer would come back, ‘Yes, of course – why wouldn’t it?’ In my view, however, it is almost inconceivable. 

We’ve Lost the Opening Info Battle against Russia; Let’s Not Lose the War


The United States has nearly a perfect track record in predicting the nature of the next conflict we will fight: always wrong. That military adage has unfortunately held true in the current conflict being fought in the information domain. The indictment of thirteen Russians by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just the most recent demonstration that our adversaries are constantly seeking to exploit to our detriment the nature of a more digitized, networked world. In an era where information has never been more plentiful, our adversaries understand that it has also never been more vulnerable to manipulation.

US Cyber Command: “When faced with a bully…hit him harder.”


In Washington, there may be division and confusion about how to deal with Russian cyber-based interference. But 25 miles north, at Fort Meade, home of U.S. Cyber Command, they are angry and ready.

Cyber Command’s new strategy demands that, “We must not cede cyberspace superiority.” The goal is “superiority” through “persistent, integrated operations [to] demonstrate our resolve” even at “below the threshold of armed conflict.”

Hello, quantum world

by Will Knight

Quantum computers are finally here. What are we going to do with them?

Inside a small laboratory in lush countryside about 50 miles north of New York City, an elaborate tangle of tubes and electronics dangles from the ceiling. This mess of equipment is a computer. Not just any computer, but one on the verge of passing what may, perhaps, go down as one of the most important milestones in the history of the field.

I Don’t Care About Net Neutrality Because I’m Fine Letting Greedy Telecom Companies Decide How I Use The Internet

Many people I know are talking about this thing called “Net Neutrality.” They’ve gone through painstaking explanations as to why I should care about a “free internet” or should care about the fact that large corporations may be able to “throttle” my internet.

And yet, I still don’t care.

There are numerous reasons that I, the typical American consumer, don’t give a shit.

We need a global cyberwar treaty, says the former head of GCHQ


There should be an international treaty on cyberwarfare that sets clear boundaries for nation states around hacking computer infrastructure, the former director of GCHQ has said.

In a wide-ranging interview, Robert Hannigan spelled-out the growing threats cyberwarfare, Russia, and artificial intelligence pose as well as calling for tighter regulation. "We should be looking at some kind of arms control for cyberspace," says Hannigan, who left GCHQ last year. "We do need to come to some kind of international agreement about what's acceptable and what isn't".

An Arms Race Toward Global Instability

By Omar Lamrani

The United States is shifting its focus to great power competition as it works to address the challenges of Russia's and China's growing confidence and capabilities.

Combined with this rivalry, weakening arms control regimes and the emergence of disruptive weapons technologies will erode global geopolitical stability.

Declining trust and increased competition will spark discord and conflict between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. 

Here Is How the Military Hopes to Be a More Effective Fighting Force

Dave Majumdar

The Pentagon is actively working to reduce the number of non-deployable troops on its rolls so that the burden of combat is shared more evenly amongst the force.

“The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness about a week ago came out, having defined the problem that initially was brought to his attention by the U.S. Army, where they had many nondeployables on their rolls,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters.

“You may say, what's this? People who've been injured and not returned to duty. People who have—and I'm not talking about combat injured now. That's a separate category. But people who are, just for one reason or another, are not able to deploy with their units. It was a significant number, and the Army brought their concerns forward. The other services also highlighted the concerns.”

Will feminizing the Marines win wars?

by Larry Kummer

Summary: The USMC has lowered the requirements in its 13-week Infantry Officer Course, following more drastic measures in the other services. More women to pass, but at what cost? This shows the powerful forces at work reshaping both the US military and US society. Here is the story plus speculation about the future.

The Combat Endurance Test was implemented in 2008 by the Marine Corps as a more combat oriented version of their standard Physical Fitness Test. Sometime afterwards passing it was made a requirement for infantry officers. This article about the new policy change is a triumph of modern propaganda.

28 February 2018

India in a corner: Beneath the foreign policy bluster is a great floundering

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Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The vigour of PM Narendra Modi’s travels can barely disguise the fact that in terms of India’s security objectives, he is looking very weak indeed.

India finds itself increasingly cornered into a strategic cul-de-sac. Even as its diplomacy expands, its political options seem to decrease; even as it reaches out to look east and look west, the strategic space to address its core concerns does not seem to be expanding; and even as its bluster about a strong state grows, doubts about its military capabilities are growing equally louder. So, paradoxically, India finds itself in this position that even as it is globally recognised, it looks more helpless in its own backyard.

Why India won’t intervene militarily in Maldives

Dr. Abdul Ruff

An Indian Ocean archipelago of 1,192 islands, the Maldives is a tourist paradise. The Maldives is a low-lying country that is expected to be among the first in the world to go under water as a result of climate change. While it may take a few more decades for rising sea levels to wreak havoc on the archipelago, there are more immediate and pressing problems tearing the country apart.

Tourism is the backbone of the country’s economy, and tour operators have reported hundreds of daily cancellations since the state of emergency was imposed on February 5. Following the state of emergency, Maldives has been in a tensed state of existence in as the archipelago is facing a sort of turmoil, ransacking its tourism based economy.