4 June 2018

Japan’s Plans to Build a “Free and Open” Indian Ocean​

By David Brewster
While many eyes are on China’s port investments in the Indian Ocean, Japan has also been busy. The scale of its infrastructure investments in the region rivals, and sometimes exceeds, that of China. But Japan argues that its growing presence in the Indian Ocean is qualitatively different, focused on transparency, economic sustainability, and a rules-based order that should become part of regional norms. Australia must consider the role in can play in these projects. Compared with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Japan’s investment activities in the Indian Ocean are barely promoted, and as a result its projects often fly under the radar. This obscures the fact that Japan has been very active in building infrastructure and “connectivity” across the region.

Optimizing America’s Interests in Afghanistan

Thomas P. Cavanna

President Trump’s August 2017 decision to increase U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan alleviated the prospect of an immediate meltdown of Kabul’s government and security forces. However, it risks luring Washington again into its recurrent temptation to apprehend this campaign as a mere question of capabilities and dedication, thereby perpetuating the appeal of military occupation and eluding much deeper problems. For this decision to yield strategic results, the U.S. must clearly signal it does not envision any permanent military presence in Afghanistan, initiate direct negotiations with the Taliban, and capitalize on its regional competitors’ interest in countering radical Islamism.

Turkey, Pakistan reach their largest-ever defense contract

By: Burak Ege Bekdil

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey and Pakistan have agreed on the sale of a batch of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopters, Turkish officials have said. A government election manifesto revealed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Pakistan “just recently” agreed on the contract, which is the largest-ever Turkish-Pakistani defense contract.  The two countries have been negotiating a T129 deal since 2014. This is the first export contract for the helicopter. Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, maker of the T129 under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland, has so far delivered 35 T129s to the Turkish Army and the Gendarmerie force.

U.S. Attacks Taliban’s Source of Funds in Afghanistan

by Michael M. Phillips

KABUL, Afghanistan - The U.S. has retooled its aerial bombing campaign in Afghanistan to target the Taliban’s sources of money, not just its fighters. Since the strategic bombing campaign began in November, U.S. aircraft have conducted 113 strikes aimed at cutting off revenue the Taliban allegedly receive from opium poppies and roadside taxes, a major shift in war strategy intended to drive the insurgents to the negotiating table. The strategy is to “go after the Taliban in a way that they had never been pressured before,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch. The air campaign is modeled on the successful fight waged in recent years against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, where U.S. aircraft regularly attacked refineries, tanker trucks and other infrastructure that provided the militants millions of dollars in oil revenue. It even harks back to World War II, when Allied bombers went after German and Japanese industry.

Afghan Narcotics: 2000-2018: From Control and Elimination Efforts to a Drug Economy and Bombings Labs

By Anthony H. Cordesman

If the Afghan government is going to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent and extremist elements, it must win at both the military and civil levels. At present, it at best faces a military stalemate and the situation may well be worse at the civil level. Far too many elements of the Afghan government and economy remain the equivalent of a kleptocracy. Despite repeated promises of reform, the World Bank and Transparency International rate the Afghan government as one of the most corrupt and least effective in the world. Senior officials like President Ghani do continue to pursue reform with integrity, but the Afghan power structure is still filled with corrupt politicians, officials, and senior officers. Its political leadership is too divided to function effectively, and the central government in "Kabulstan" has limited or no real control over many power brokers, warlords, and local officials even in the areas nominally under government control while the Taliban controls much of the key areas for opium growing in the south.

INDOPACOM, it is: US Pacific Command gets renamed

By: Tara Copp 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Wednesday that U.S. Pacific Command would now be called U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in the latest move to counter Chinese economic and military pressure in the region. Mattis said he directed the name change in recognition that “all nations large and small are essential to the region, in order to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to global peace.” The withdrawn invite follows a directive by the Pentagon to remove Chinese cellphones, other devices from exchanges over espionage fears.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Needs More Indian Ocean

by Alyssa Ayres

The Donald J. Trump administration has adopted the term Indo-Pacific to describe its larger strategic area of interest across the pan-Asian region. Fully realizing this strategy’s potential will require reconciling differences over the boundaries of the Indo-Pacific and what can and should be done across this enormous geography. As important, the Indo-Pacific framework inherently places India at the heart, rather than as an appendage to a concept of Asia focused on East Asia. Indeed, as Carnegie India’s C. Raja Mohan has written, the concept of Indian centrality revives a colonial-era framework that situated India in the middle of a larger maritime strategic space. This larger maritime area, described as the “confluence of the two seas” by Japanese Prime Minister Abe during a 2007 speech to the Indian parliament, has important implications.

Mekong River nations face the hidden costs of China's dams

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia -- Sam In, a 48-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia's northeastern province of Stung Treng, never knew that people paid for water until he was forced to move out of his home on the banks of a Mekong River tributary two years ago. Along with hundreds of other households, Sam In and his 10-member family were relocated to make way for a dam development that left his entire village, Sre Sronok, underwater. Now they live in a newly created village where government-funded houses with identical blue rooftops are neatly lined up on a spacious, dusty plot of land. Instead of a river, a national road runs alongside the village.

POLITICO INVESTIGATION How China acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of U.S. technology


The U.S. government was well aware of China’s aggressive strategy of leveraging private investors to buy up the latest American technology when, early last year, a company called Avatar Integrated Systems showed up at a bankruptcy court in Delaware hoping to buy the California chip-designer ATop Tech. ATop’s product was potentially groundbreaking — an automated designer capable of making microchips that could power anything from smartphones to high-tech weapons systems. It’s the type of product that a U.S. government report had recently cited as “critical to defense systems and U.S. military strength.” And the source of the money behind the buyer, Avatar, was an eye-opener: Its board chairman and sole officer was a Chinese steel magnate whose Hong Kong-based company was a major shareholder.

China pushing new generation of nuclear weapons: report


China is reportedly stepping up its development of next-generation nuclear weapons, holding tests to simulate blasts more often than the United States is. The United States carries out less than one such test a month on average, while China’s average is five tests a month. China conducted about 200 nuclear blast simulations between September 2014 and December 2017, according to the China Academy of Engineering Physics, a major Chinese weapons research institute. The United States, in comparison, carried out only 50 such tests between 2012 and 2017, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, an American federal research facility in California used to aid national security.

Trump's China Deal is the Worst Ever

by Edward Alden

If nothing further is done, the U.S.-China trade deal reached this month will be remembered, to quote a phrase coined by the current president of the United States, as "the single worst trade deal" ever negotiated. Instead of tackling Chinese industrial policy practices that have distorted many sectors of the global economy, Donald Trump has enthusiastically embraced a quick fix that economist Brad Setser, of the Council for Foreign Relations, has called nothing more than "a commitment on China's part to buy more of the things that it likely would buy more of no matter what: agricultural products and energy." This deal will almost certainly not be the last between the Trump administration and China. But nearly 18 months into the Trump presidency, it highlights how little the U.S. has to show for its new approach on trade.

The Many Sides of Tentative Sino-Japanese Rapprochement

By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam

A recent, unexpected rapprochement between China and Japan has emerged more quickly than many observers thought possible. And unlike previous instances since the two countries recognized each other in 1972, the initiative this time seems to have come from the Chinese side. It must be noted, however, that links between Asia’s two richest countries are still far from the previous high point in relations reached during former president Hu Jintao’s landmark visit to Japan in 2008. Moreover, the major reasons behind the warming up of ties have to do with the deteriorating relationship between China and the US as well as dramatic developments in the Korean Peninsula.

China’s Evolving Naval Force Structure: Beyond Sino-US Rivalry

By: Christopher Yung

During a recent discussion with PLA analysts, one interlocutor observed to the author that American strategists are slaves of their own history. That is, in interpreting the facts on the ground Americans cannot help but look to their own history to interpret the nature of strategic threats. By this he meant that Americans necessarily see China’s naval force structure development through the lens of the US’s own rise to maritime supremacy, and imagine the PRC on an inexorable rise to naval power. While we could dismiss this as a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) talking point, it is an assertion that is worth examining, because it does contain an element of truth. A closer examination of the PLA Navy (PLAN) force structure over the past two decades reveals not an unstoppable march towards a fixed objective, but an evolving set of objectives designed to partially address a number of national security threats.

Chinese-Russian Defense and Security Ties: Countering US Encirclement

By: Annie Kowalewski

China recently announced plans to contribute to Russian support of the Assad regime in Syria, just one of many ways in which Chinese-Russian security ties have strengthened over the past five years (MOFA, May 14). Since the early 2010s, the two countries have been brought together by common threat perceptions and similar outlooks on the international security environment. Both claim to share a similar political ideology that centers on state sovereignty and non-interference, and each fears encirclement by the United States. These shared threat perceptions have led to an increased number of combined military exercises, more advanced military-technical cooperation, frequent high-level military-to-military contact, and unified stances on regional security issues across Asia.

The Complicated Geopolitics of U.S. Oil Sanctions on Iran

by Amy Myers Jaffe

It is often said, perhaps with some hyperbole, that Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers was the best hope for conflict resolution in the Middle East. Its architect John Kerry argues instead that the 2015 deal’s limited parameter of closing Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon is sufficient on the merits. The Trump administration is taking a different view, focusing on Iran’s escalating threats to U.S. allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Those threats, which have included missile, drone, and cyberattacks on Saudi oil facilities, are looming large over the global economy because they are squarely influencing the volatility of the price of oil. One could argue that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iranian deal, referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has injected an even higher degree of risk into oil markets, where traders now feel that the chances of Mideast conflict resolution are lower.

The World Wants You to Think Like a Realist


One of the ironies of contemporary U.S. thinking about foreign policy is the odd status of realism. On the one hand, realist theory remains a staple of college teaching on international relations (along with many other approaches), and government officials often claim that their actions are based on some sort of “realist” approach. But Washington remains for the most part a realism-free zone, with few genuine realists in positions of influence. Moreover, the realist perspective is almost entirely absent from the commanding heights of U.S. punditry. This column, and the consistently insightful writings of people such as Paul Pillar or Jacob Heilbrunn, does not make up for realism’s exclusion from the New York Times,Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal.

World Cup 2018 and Russia’s Air-Defense Bubbles

By: Roger McDermott

Russia’s air-defense capabilities received heightened international scrutiny due to the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria as well as Moscow’s efforts to form anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) bubbles in several strategically important areas. This was especially highlighted in Syria, as Moscow tried to offer greater force and infrastructure protection for its bases and military deployments in the country. Notably, numerous Russian air-defense systems were deployed to safeguard Russia’s airbase near Latakia and its naval logistics facility in Tartus as well as to offer protection during operations to assist the Syrian Arab Army. Defense experts have repeatedly questioned the capabilities offered by these systems due to their lack of engagement during multiple air strikes on Syrian regime targets conducted by the United States and its allies. Many official and expert comments in Moscow pointedly presented the message that these air-defense systems are reliable and robust and that they can protect against high-technology strikes (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, May 15). A true evaluation of these assets’ capabilities will be important because air defenses will form part of Russia’s overall massive security arrangements for the 2018 World Cup, which it will host this summer (see EDM, April 24), including closing its airspace in key locations and deploying air-defense units (360.tv.ru, May 29).

Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Enhancing Deterrence in the New Cold War

By Louis René Beres

By definition, as long as particular countries regard their nuclear status as an asset, every state that is a member of the so-called nuclear club is a direct beneficiary of the Cold War. This is because all core elements of any national nuclear strategy, whether actual or still-contemplated, were originally conceptualized, shaped, and even codified within the earlier bipolar struggles of post World War II international relations.[1] Nonetheless, as the world now enters into a more-or-less resurrected form of this initial struggle the strategic postures of each extant nuclear weapons state are being modified within the still-developing parameters of Cold War II.

The Problems With Hacking Back

By Don Maclean

Whether a Social Security number from an individual, or financial information from a company, hackers continue to find ways to steal data from millions of Americans. To combat these crimes, the idea of active cyber defense has arisen on Capitol Hill with the introduction of the Active Cyber Defense Certainty (ACDC) ActIn January, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen voiced measured support for empowering companies to be more active in their approach to cybersecurity. These active measures would allow companies to access other computer networks in order to thwart cyber attacks, monitor the hackers, collect evidence or destroy stolen files.


Jason Scott

According to the British Spy Service, MI5, espionage is “the process of obtaining information that is not normally publicly available, using human sources (agents) or technical means (like hacking into computer systems). It may also involve seeking to influence decision-makers and opinion-influencers to benefit the interests of a foreign power”. The collection of unclassified publicly available information can be considered espionage but is generally not thought of as damaging unlike the collection of classified data. This type of information can be harmful to the national security and economic well-being of countries. 

How Low Can Oil Go?

by Rick Ackerman,

This has been a very significant correction so far, for sure, but it looks like it has farther to go - presumably into the high $50s or low $60s.

New Joint Tasks Require a Great Deal of Coordination

This graphic outlines the multi-level stakeholder coordination utilized by Switzerland to address security threats- both physical and cyber. For more on subsidiarity and the evolution of Swiss security policy, see Matthias Bieri and Andreas Wenger’s newest addition to the CSS’ Analyses in Security Policy here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics, click here.

The West is ill-prepared for the wave of “deep fakes” that artificial intelligence could unleash

By Alina Polyakova, Chris Meserole
Source Link

Russian disinformation has become a problem for European governments. In the last two years, Kremlin-backed campaigns have spread false stories alleging that French President Emmanuel Macron was backed by the “gay lobby,” fabricated a story of a Russian-German girl raped by Arab migrants, and spread a litany of conspiracy theoriesabout the Catalan independence referendum, among other efforts. Europe is finally taking action. In January, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act came into effect. Designed to limit hate speech and fake news online, the law prompted both France and Spain to consider counterdisinformation legislation of their own. More important, in April the European Union unveiled a new strategy for tackling online disinformation. The EU plan focuses on several sensible responses: promoting media literacy, funding a third-party fact-checking service, and pushing Facebook and others to highlight news from credible media outlets, among others. Although the plan itself stops short of regulation, EU officials have not been shy about hinting that regulation may be forthcoming. Indeed, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared at an EU hearing this week, lawmakers reminded him of their regulatory power after he appeared to dodge their questions on fake news and extremist content.

Special Operations Command Takes Aim At Enemies Hiding Files Inside Seized Electronics


Terror groups are using new techniques to reduce the intel value of seized laptops and cellphones. Terror groups are using new and better techniques to hide files and data in computers and phones, undermining the devices’ value as intelligence bonanzas. Special operators rely on data ripped from acquired phones and laptops their operations. ISIS, for example, rode its mastery of information technology to power and prominence, but found that digital records could also be an Achilles heel. Coalition forces soon exploited seized electronics to find and hit ISIS targets, and shared the information with global law enforcement agencies tracking the group’s plots in other countries. So ISIS turned to steganography — hiding secret information inside ordinary-looking digital records — but that trick no longer works against coalition investigators, said Nicholas D. Anderson, who works as an engineer and technical support aide for U.S. Special Operations Command.

Revolutionizing the Institutional Army

By Arnel DavidShawn Walsh

In the summer of 2017, the Army Future Studies Group (AFSG) was tasked to analyze the state of the Army’s current modernization enterprise. Studies show the Army is approximately $9 billion below historical funding levels for modernization and 80% of its current spending goes to programs conceived before 9/11. Past incremental changes to address organizational, process and regulatory issues are insufficient for the Army to maintain overmatch, limit surprise, or operate in multiple domains with a decisive edge over rising competitors. The Army required a radical change and that change is underway thanks to the leadership of Lieutenant General Ed Cardon. These decisions represent a revolutionary change in the Army’s modernization enterprise and parallel efforts must anchor the change into a credible and transparent organizational culture.

Navigating the Way Ahead for a Fifth Generation-Enabled Combat Force: The Perspective of Maj. General Morten Klever

By Robbin Laird
Source Link

The Royal Norwegian Air Force is transitioning from an F-16 to an all F-35 air combat force as part of both Air Force modernization and overall defense transformation for the Norwegian forces. The coming of the F-35 and the interaction between the standup of the F-35 and shaping a way ahead for the RNoAF was laid out and discussed. In my conversation with the Norwegian head of the F-35 program, Major General Morten Klever, we had a chance to discuss key elements of shaping a way ahead, which would optimize the contributions of the air system to the transformation process.

3 June 2018

India-US-China: Aligning Interests or Managing Threats?

By Monish Tourangbam and Pooja Bhatt

All eyes and ears will be tuned to India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives the keynote speech at the upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue next month in Singapore. The dialogue first convened in 2002 and soon became the flagship annual meeting for issues relating to security of the Asia-Pacific, later coinciding with the Obama-era Asia rebalancing strategy. However, the increasing salience of the Indo-Pacific as an emerging geopolitical construct, and the Trump administration’s embrace of the same, means that the Shangri-La Dialogue will also mirror this shift of focus from the Asia-Pacific to the larger Indo-Pacific.

From Cyber Warfare To Anti-Satellite Weapons, India Has All Capabilities: Defence Research Chief

by Pallava Bagla
Source Link

NEW DELHI: India's defence research chief Dr S Christopher has explained the various stages of development of the country's array of sophisticated weapons and where they stand currently. India already has anti-satellite capability. However, Dr Christopher says any ballistic missile that flies for a 1,000-plus km height can be designed in such a way that it becomes an anti-satellite weapon. "You do not necessarily need to specially use Agni-V (ballistic missile)," he told NDTV in an exclusive interview. The defence scientist says unmanned warfare is going to be the order of the day, with drone development taking centre stage.

Thermal Power Plant at the Khushab Plutonium Complex is Nearly Complete

by David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Claire Chopin, and Frank Pabian

In a previous Khushab Update,1 the Institute identified major new construction in the southwest corner of Pakistan’s Khushab Plutonium Production Complex (also known as “KCP”). This construction was most likely being done for a new coal-fired thermal power plant to augment the electric power requirements of the complex. Recently acquired commercial satellite imagery from March 2018 now confirms that assessment, as does corroborative information gleaned from open source reporting. In the last Khushab report released by the Institute in September 2017, we addressed the issue of the ongoing construction as possibly being the early stages of a tritium extraction facility. However, we also suggested that the construction was more likely for a coal-fired thermal power plant. Now that construction of the facility is almost finalized, it is even more evident that the facility under construction is indeed a twin-boiler coal-fired thermal power plant (TPP). Information published by the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) underlines this conclusion.

White House move raises trade tensions with China


The White House announced Tuesday it will move forward with plans to punish China with hefty tariffs and investment restrictions, steps that ramped up tensions between Washington and Beijing on trade. The administration said it will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese technology imports, and that it will implement limits on investment in U.S. high-technology sectors. The decision builds on the announcement Trump made in March to take several major steps against China to protect U.S. domestic technology and intellectual property from theft.

China’s looming financial crisis

BY Stephen Joske
Source Link

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Philip Lowe’s speech last week highlighting the risks to the Chinese financial system from shadow banks – non-bank financial institutions often operating in more lightly regulated wholesale markets – has once again drawn attention to the major economic risk in China. As Lowe pointed out, most countries with rapid credit growth have a financial crisis and a recession. While China has started to recognise its credit problem and is addressing it, its responses are too late and too slow to avert a crisis. The main debate should be over when, and not if, a Chinese financial crisis will hit.  The official propaganda line from China, echoed by financial market commentators keen to sell Chinese assets to investors, is that it cannot have a financial crisis because of high savings, low foreign debt, and government control over financial institutions. Yet the first two just mean that China’s financial crisis will be driven by domestic markets.

US Needs New Strategy Vs. Russian, Chinese ‘Political Warfare’: CSBA


WASHINGTON: Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections is just the tip of an iceberg of ongoing, systematic subversion, argues a new report. From Beijing’s bullying of Chinese students abroad, forcing them to lobby for the regime on matters like Taiwan and Tibet, to Moscow’s online support for radicals in Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, both Russia and China are waging political warfare worldwide in ways democracies are ill-equipped to deal with, says the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments.


China’s Wang Qishan vows to deepen ties with Russia, takes veiled swipe at US

Vice-president tells forum in St Petersburg there will be no winners from a trade war between China and America, and Beijing has to be ready Wang Qishan vowed to deepen cooperation with Russia and made a veiled attack on US protectionism on Saturday during his first overseas trip since he became Chinese vice-president in March. He told an economic forum in St Petersburg that China had been in frequent talks with the administration of US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to slap tariffs on numerous Chinese imports and wants to narrow the trade gap between the two countries. The vice-president said there would be no winners if there was a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, but Beijing had to be ready for any turn of events.

Was Merkel’s Visit to China Successful?

By Charlotte Gao

On May 25, German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrapped up her two-day visit to China. This visit — coming immediately after her visits to the United States and to Russia in recent weeks — was short yet fruitful for Merkel. As various media outlets noted earlier, the Iran nuclear deal (from which U.S. President Donald Trump just withdrew) and human rights issues (traditionally Beijing’s most hated topic) were the top two priorities on Merkel’s agenda. Merkel’s visit showed that she made a successful balance this time by achieving a united front with China on Iran deal on the one hand, and standing firm on human rights on the other.

These Documents Reveal a Bizarre War Game Being Played by the Pentagon

By Nick Turse

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com. Ready To Join The Resistance?Sign up for Take Action Now and we’ll send you three actions every Tuesday. You will receive occasional promotional offers for programs that support The Nation’s journalism. You can read our Privacy Policy here. For almost 20 years, US drone warfare was largely one-sided. Unlike Afghans and Yemenis, Iraqis and Somalis, Americans never had to worry about lethal robots hovering overhead and raining down missiles. Until, that is, one appeared in the skies above Florida.

The Complicated Geopolitics of U.S. Oil Sanctions on Iran

by Amy Myers Jaffe
Source Link

It is often said, perhaps with some hyperbole, that Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers was the best hope for conflict resolution in the Middle East. Its architect John Kerry argues instead that the 2015 deal’s limited parameter of closing Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon is sufficient on the merits. The Trump administration is taking a different view, focusing on Iran’s escalating threats to U.S. allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Those threats, which have included missile, drone, and cyberattacks on Saudi oil facilities, are looming large over the global economy because they are squarely influencing the volatility of the price of oil. One could argue that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iranian deal, referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has injected an even higher degree of risk into oil markets, where traders now feel that the chances of Mideast conflict resolution are lower.

With CAATSA, the U.S. is Trying to Make Russia Hurt

Middling powers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East will face increasing pressure from Washington on their ties with Russia because of the United States' new sanctions legislation. Germany, Vietnam and Turkey are some of the major states most likely to defy U.S. pressure on their Russia relations. In Asia, India may struggle to cope with the U.S. sanctions, while Indonesia could go either way. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will find it easier to comply thanks to their limited links to Russia and deep defense relationships with Washington. Measures such as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act will encourage U.S. partners to adopt a more multilateral strategy in an emerging world of great power competition.

Russian Election Interference: Europe’s Counter to Fake News and Cyber Attacks

Source Link

Russia’s aggressive campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election revealed not only the extent to which information and communications technologies are being used to undermine democratic processes but also the weaknesses of protection measures. The U.S. government was effectively caught off guard, once again highlighting that such interference presents a rising global threat. Comprehensive strategies and tools are clearly needed as part of a long-term, holistic approach to building resilience, but to be effective, they should be informed by the regular sharing of best practices and lessons learned between countries.

Threat Report 2018: Russia’s Military Doctrine of Deception and Deniability

Bottom Line: Moscow’s increasingly assertive military activity in Eastern Europe and the Middle East seeks to project the power of a resurgent Russia in relation to a retreating United States, while concealing its economic and political fragility at home. In doing so, the Kremlin walks a fine line between escalation with the West and the gradual growth of influence abroad. These realities have required the Kremlin to pursue unconventional and deniable means, sometimes complimented with a small overt military footprint to accomplish its political and military objectives.

Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Enhancing Deterrence in the New Cold War

By Louis René Beres

By definition, as long as particular countries regard their nuclear status as an asset, every state that is a member of the so-called nuclear club is a direct beneficiary of the Cold War. This is because all core elements of any national nuclear strategy, whether actual or still-contemplated, were originally conceptualized, shaped, and even codified within the earlier bipolar struggles of post World War II international relations.[1] Nonetheless, as the world now enters into a more-or-less resurrected form of this initial struggle the strategic postures of each extant nuclear weapons state are being modified within the still-developing parameters of Cold War II.

Iran and Israel are Racing toward Confrontation in Syria

By Mona Yacoubian

Israel has long been wary of Iran’s power projection in the Levant, particularly in Syria. Ties between Tehran and Damascus have been close since the 1979 revolution, but the relationship deepened after Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011. With the Assad regime’s survival at stake, Tehran doubled down on its support, providing critical military assistance—fighters and strategists—and economic aid estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Syria and Iran now have a partnership with existential stakes—for the Assad regime’s longevity and Iran’s enduring position in Syria, the most strategic property in the Levant. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian looks at Iran and Israel’s goals and concerns in Syria and the potential of their shadow war spilling over into a regional conflagration.

Thucydides in the Data Warfare Era

By Anastasios Arampatzis, Justin Sherman

“Once again, the historian who wishes to understand this difficult period must try to read between the lines.” —Donald Kagan, A New History of the Peloponnesian War

While Thucydides may not have predicted smartphones or the Internet of Things, the Athenian general’s theories are still relevant in the age of cyber. The digital technologies rapidly changing our planet certainly raise compelling and difficult questions—around such issues as proportionality, attribution, and deterrence—but that doesn’t mean old principles are useless. These are not revolutionary nor novel statements—not by any means. But these ideas are at the crux of Thucydides’ three principles, and they still have important strategic value. While his writings were about battles fought with spears and swords, we can still leverage his views of honor, fear, and interest to better understand cyber conflict.

Here are the top 5 issues on the docket for NATO’s 2018 summit

By: Daniel Cebul 
Source Link

WASHINGTON ― Following along the same vein as the 2016 Warsaw summit, this year’s meeting of NATO leadership in Brussels will focus on reinforcing the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe as part of its deterrence mission. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined the five main topics for the July 2018 summit during a speech before the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on May 28.

1. Deterrence and defense

Here’s how the Navy is developing information warfare ‘Top Guns’

By: Mark Pomerleau 
The Navy is looking to develop better information warfare personnel and improve doctrine such as intelligence experts in over the horizon targeting. The Navy recently celebrated the one-year mark of its development center aimed at growing more robust information warfare personnel for 21st century battlefronts. In order to meet evolving threats and challenges, the Navy is standing up a center to train warfighters.

Lessons from Strengthening Capacity in Countering Violent Extremism

BY: Jeff Krentel; Nathaniel L. Wilson

An evaluation of a three-year USIP program to strengthen capacity in the field to counter violent extremism revealed that effective project design, thoughtful recruitment strategies, and tailored course content are critical. Participants reported applying what they learned to either adjust existing CVE programs or develop new programs altogether. This report explores the lessons from the project for funders and practitioners to develop more effective projects. 



Indeed, information is—to adapt Thucydides’ wisdom—the modern money that fuels war. Those who have the fastest Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) data loop will be able to dominate the cyber battlespace. Better information means more comprehensive threat intelligence, faster response times, and more robust offensive capabilities. Thucydides is a relevant lens through which to understand modern data and information warfare, but he is just one such example. Cyber raises many new questions that strategists never could have exactly foreseen. That does not mean, however, that old theories are irrelevant. From Sun Tzu’s Art of War to Thomas Schelling’s Strategy of Conflict, we should look to the breadth of complex, thought-out strategies that others have laid before us to answer the complex questions of our digital age.

When Less is More: Cognition and the Outcome of Cyber Coercion

By Miguel Alberto Gomez for Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)

The rise of offensive interstate cyber interactions continues to fan interest in the coercive potential of cyber operations. However, empirical evidence from past cases suggests that such operations often perform poorly, with adversaries opting to resist rather than comply with an aggressor’s demands. Miguel Alberto Gomez contends that this does not necessarily mean the coercive potential of cyber operations can be dismissed. Instead, he argues for a shift in how we explain state behavior, suggesting a move away from prevailing normative interpretations and towards approaches that use cognitive heuristics.

Robotics and Military Operations

Edited by Prof. William G. Braun III, Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky, Dr. Kim Richard Nossal.

In the wake of two extended wars, Western militaries find themselves looking to the future while confronting amorphous nonstate threats and shrinking defense budgets. The 2015 Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) examined how robotics and autonomous systems that enhance soldier effectiveness may offer attractive investment opportunities for developing a more efficient force capable of operating effectively in the future environment. This monograph offers 3 chapters derived from the KCIS and explores the drivers influencing strategic choices associated with these technologies and offers preliminary policy recommendations geared to advance a comprehensive technology investment strategy. In addition, the publication offers insight into the ethical challenges and potential positive moral implications of using robots on the modern battlefield.

Winning Wars and Military Education: Crossing Both Spans of the Strategy Bridge

Frank G. Hoffman
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This essay reflects the author’s own views and does not reflect the policy or position of the Department of Defense or U.S. Government. Does anyone remember how to win wars? One distressing aspect of U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years has been the general lack of interest in coming to grips with the evident flaws in American policy and strategy formulation. While there have been numerous efforts by U.S. allies to identify why various policies have failed, including the Chilcot Inquiry and scholarly and objective books in the United Kingdom about British Generals and Military Strategy, examinations about why the United States has not achieved its objectives at desired costs are few. General Daniel Bolger’s Why We Lost is a rare exception.

2 June 2018

Modi Needs to Show India Has Teeth


Asia’s premier security meeting is this week, and all eyes will be on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he gives his keynote speech — the first for an Indian leader. The defense chiefs and diplomats at the Shangri-La Dialogue are eager to see whether Modi — and India — have the chops to take on an increasingly critical regional role. Asia’s uncertain political and economic climate presents an opportunity for Modi. U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies, including the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and a purely transactional approach to longtime alliances, have contributed to strategic drift in the region as China grows assertive and authoritarian. The situation calls for steady leadership — and the United States and its Pacific allies better hope that New Delhi can deliver.