19 June 2018

How Can India Reform Its Civil Service?

By Himanil Raina
“…in no other democracy do generalists so comprehensively corner the top jobs at the higher levels of the administration. In no other modern society does a person, who got a high rank in an examination 35 years ago, automatically go on and be allotted a high-status, high-impact, and vastly important government job, based only or largely on that exam rank.”


The Indian Civil Service functioned through most of British rule in India as the steel frame that kept the Raj aloft. Post-independence, the role of manning the most important administrative positions in both the central and state governments fell to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). It is hard to overstate the range and degree of influence that this cadre of officials exercises in India. One hundred and eighty individuals are accepted into the IAS each year from over a million applicants following a multistage examination. While this process results in the recruitment of some incredibly bright young men and women, it has also resulted in a situation where, as one commentator observes, “a potato expert is looking after defense, a veterinary doctor is supervising engineers, and a history graduate is dictating the health policy.”

Mobile App Developers in India Are Always Fighting Losing Battles

By Ashraff Hathibelagal

Android, the most popular mobile operating system today, is free and open source. So are almost all libraries and toolchains related to Android application development. Given these facts, one would assume that developers all over the world, no matter how poor a country they come from, have an equal chance at making it big on Google Play, the official marketplace for Android apps. Yet, developers living in India, despite their numbers, rarely manage to develop apps or games that go on to achieve wide international acclaim.

‘Britain Would Collapse If It Tried to Pay Back the Money it Drained From India’


Britain would collapse if it tried to pay back the money it drained from India, eminent economist Utsa Patnaik said at a conference at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on Wednesday. Delivering the inaugural lecture at the three-day Sam Moyo Memorial Conference on “Land and Labour Questions in the Global South”, Utsa Patnaik said that the estimated drain from India to Britain over the period from 1765 to 1938 was a whopping 9.184 trillion pounds, several times the size of the UK’s GDP today.

Are We Finally Seeing a Breakthrough in Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations?

By Daud Khattak

Nothing can be more reassuring, if taken at face value, than a tweet in Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan, by the director-general of the Pakistan military’s media wing congratulating the Afghan cricket squad for its victory against Bangladesh. “We congratulate the Afghan cricket team winning the series against Bangladesh, which also played well,” said the tweet, from Major-General Asif Ghafoor’s personal Twitter account on June 7. Another tweet, again both in English and Pashto, from his official twitter account on June 12 stated that “Pakistan wishes to see National Unity Government and US/NATO succeeding to bring peace in Afghanistan.”

China’s New Missiles in the Spratlys May be a Turning Point

By Steven Stashwick

In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping oversaw the PLA Navy’s largest-ever display of warships, submarines, and aircraft in a massive naval review in the South China Sea. Last month, U.S. intelligence sources revealed that around the same time as that show of overt might, China quietly deployed advanced anti-ship cruise missiles and anti-air missiles to bases on three disputed features in the Spratly Islands. In contrast to China’s earlier incremental moves in the South China Sea, this deployment motivated the United States and an expanding coalition of partners to impose new consequences on China and commit to a greater military presence in the region.

Here Come the US-China Tariffs

By Shannon Tiezzi

It’s official: the U.S.-China trade war will kick off on July 6. That’s the date U.S. tariffs on a lengthy list of Chinese imports will take effect, with China’s retaliatory tariffs are expected to launch the same day. Back in April, the U.S. Commerce Department had announced that $50 billion worth of Chinese goods would be hit with 25 percent tariffs “in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises.” June 15 marked the deadline for the United States to release its list of products to be targeted for tariffs, after a public comment process concluded. In that sense, today was also an important drop-dead date for calling off the trade war without any “casualties” (ie actual sanctions being levied).

A West in Crisis, an East Rising? Comparing the G7 and the SCO

By Catherine Putz

While much of the world watched the tense G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada from June 8 to 9 and chattered about the rapidly approaching June 12 Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Qingdao, China on June 9-10 the leaders of eight other nations also gathered in concert. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual summit returned to China at the opening of a new chapter. Not only has the organization expanded — this summit was India and Pakistan’s first as full-fledged members — but the global order itself appears to be sliding from West to East. The slide may not be new, but the two summits side-by-side display the dissonance: a West breaking apart and an East consolidating.

China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands

BY: Bill Gertz
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China’s military has stepped up militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea by deploying advanced missile systems on the Spratly islands, according to the Pentagon. Defense officials disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that the militarization has raised alarm bells about China’s creeping takeover of the strategic waterway used for some $5 trillion annually in international trade. The officials previewed Defense Department concerns detailed in the forthcoming China military power report. The annual report to Congress is expected to be made public in the near future. “China is continuing its gradual deployment of military equipment to its Spratly Islands outposts in the disputed South China Sea,” said one senior official.

Iran, Russia: What’s at Stake in the Syrian Civil War

By Xander Snyder

This article was originally published by Geopolitical Futures (GPF) on 23 May 2018.

The era of foreign intervention in Syria is coming to an end – at least that’s what Russian President Vladimir Putin said when Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, visited Sochi last week. Granted, Putin’s statement was ambiguous – “in connection with the significant victories … of the Syrian army … foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic” – but Russia’s Syria envoy clarified the next day that Putin was, in fact, calling on all militaries to vacate the country.

Grading the Singapore Summit: Compared to What?

Graham Allison
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In the hyperpolarized state of American politics and policy debate, both critics and supporters of the Trump administration have become so predictable that they are now background noise. If required to summarize my assessment of the Trump-Kim summit in one line, it would be: oversold and undervalued. Despite their best efforts, his critics haven’t come close to matching Trump’s preposterous claim that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” The critical test in assessing moves on the international chessboard is the question: “compared to what?” Against the bottom line of American national interests, how does the sum of what we just witnessed in Singapore compare to all the feasible alternatives?

Is NATO Pushing Russia Towards Retaliation?

Ted Galen Carpenter
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The United States and its NATO allies continue to find ways to antagonize Russia. The latest provocation is a request from Norway to more than double the number of U.S. troops stationed on its territory and deploy them even closer to the border with Russia. Granted, the numbers involved are not large. There are currently 330 American military personnel in the country on a “rotational” basis. Oslo’s new request would increase the number to seven hundred. If the Norwegian government gets its way, the new troops would be stationed in the far north, barely 260 miles from Russia, in contrast to the existing unit in central Norway, several hundred miles from Russian territory.

No War But Trade War

By Robert Farley

Trade war has been joined. This morning, the United States Trade Representative released a list of sanctions against Chinese goods. China immediately replied with a promise of counter-sanctions against U.S. goods. The reasoning behind the sanctions mostly revolves around the threat posed by China to American intellectual property, manifest in Chinese industrial policy, technology transfer policy, and industrial espionage. This action represents an abrupt reversal of the May 20 declaration that the United States and China would “put the trade war on hold.” But then unpredictability is a hallmark of the Trump administration; indeed, there is good reason to believe that Trump thinks unpredictability is an asset in international negotiations. But it’s worth wondering precisely how the United States is thinking about this trade war. Wars should have a point; it makes it so much more interesting for the participants. And there’s some question as to whether the goal of this war is to make trade with China more fair, or simply to inflict pain on the PRC.

Russia’s Electronic Warfare Advances Offers Stealth Capability for Fighter Aircraft

By: Roger McDermott
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An underlying driver in the reform of the Russian Armed Forces, first initiated in the fall of 2009, has proved to be the adoption and adaption of “command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” (C4ISR) capabilities to offer conventional options against a high-technology adversary. A key factor in the introduction of a Russian variant of the concept of network-centric warfare is the complete overhaul and modernization of its Electronic Warfare (Radioelektronnaya Borba—EW) inventory (see EDM, April 17, May 17). While considerable progress was made in this effort during 2009–2014, advances in Russian C4ISR and EW were exponentially boosted following Russia’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria. Not only have Russian pilots and various specialists benefitted from the combat experience in Syria, but research and development (R&D) into EW has reaped massive rewards from the opportunity to trial and test an array of advanced systems in a complex operational warfighting environment. In this process, one of the chief benefactors has been the Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS), similarly tried and tested in combat over the past three years in operations over Syria. And now, evidence has emerged of a technological breakthrough for Russian EW capability that, when applied to airpower, offers a de facto stealth capability for some of its most modern fighter platforms (Pravda-tv.ru, June 9; see EDM, December 12, 2017).

Training Cyberspace Maneuver

Andrew Schoka
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Introduction

The principle of maneuver in military operations has dominated strategic military thinking for over two thousand years. Foundational to the understanding of maneuver theory is the concept of warfighting domains, the fundamental environments in which military forces engage in warfare. As the development of ships heralded the introduction of the ocean as a warfighting domain, maneuver theory evolved to incorporate the employment of naval forces. Likewise, the development of aviation necessitated the inclusion of the atmosphere as a warfighting domain and brought about the consideration of aerial assets into maneuver thinking. Space followed, presenting a highly technical domain to be considered within the context of military operations. Maneuver theory has now evolved to consider the first man-and-machine-made domain, in which cyberspace, as an artificial information domain, overlaps, intersects, and engages with the four other warfighting domains. The unique nature of the cyberspace warfighting domain presents a host of distinct challenges and considerations to maneuver thinking, requiring a change to the approach of training maneuver warfare principles for military cyberspace leaders.

Has the FBI Created a Constitutional Crisis?

Daniel McCarthy
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James Comey was a wildcat FBI director who acted outside the chain of command when the bureau was involved in politically sensitive investigations. That’s one conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s conduct in investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for official and sensitive email. Comey was “insubordinate” for failing to clear his public remarks about the case with the Justice Department. The attorney general at the time, Loretta Lynch, also acted improperly by meeting with Bill Clinton in June 2016 on her plane while it was on the tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona.

Stalin Falsified the Data, Then Killed the Statisticians


The painful history between Russia and Ukraine did not begin with Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union’s policies led to a famine that killed more than 3 million Ukrainians. Joseph Stalin, who directed his paranoia and brutality particularly at Ukrainians, sent his henchmen to confiscate food and block roads. Later, he falsified documents to keep the famine from being written into history. The story is told in Anne Applebaum’s recent book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. Applebaum, who has won a Pulitzer Prize, joins us this week on our podcast, The ER.

BLOCKCHAIN ALL THE RAGE — BUT, IT COMES WITH NUMEROUS RISKS


The title above is from Kelly Sheridan’s June 13, 2018 article she posted on the security and technology website, DarkReading.com. And, she’s right, as being associated with blockchain has become a cottage industry on Wall Street. “If you haven’t jumped into the blockchain frenzy, chances are – you at least know about it,” Ms.Sheridan begins. “The Internet is flooded with talk about the up-and-coming technology….though little of it mentions security.” Sound familiar? Sounds like the early days of the Internet, when ease of use and access were paramount and security was an after-thought.

BAE to develop first-of-its-kind war gaming software for DARPA to model conflicts

By George Allison

The modelling software is intended to help military planners explore the causes of a conflict and assess potential approaches. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring BAE Systems to develop software that will aid military planners in understanding and addressing the complex dynamics that drive conflicts around the world. Under a $4.2 million Phase 1 contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments program seeks to develop technology to model different political, territorial, and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts, helping planners to avoid unexpected outcomes.

According to the company:

The Wounds of the Drone Warrior

By Eyal Press

In the spring of 2006, Christopher Aaron started working 12-hour shifts in a windowless room at the Counterterrorism Airborne Analysis Center in Langley, Va. He sat before a wall of flat-screen monitors that beamed live, classified video feeds from drones hovering in distant war zones. On some days, Aaron discovered, little of interest appeared on the screens, either because a blanket of clouds obscured visibility or because what was visible — goats grazing on an Afghan hillside, for instance — was mundane, even serene. Other times, what unspooled before Aaron’s eyes was jarringly intimate: coffins being carried through the streets after drone strikes; a man squatting in a field to defecate after a meal (the excrement generated a heat signature that glowed on infrared); an imam speaking to a group of 15 young boys in the courtyard of his madrasa. If a Hellfire missile killed the target, it occurred to Aaron as he stared at the screen, everything the imam might have told his pupils about America’s war with their faith would be confirmed.

The 12 Critical Areas That Require Addressing: An Army General Officer’s (Retired) Perspective

Donald C. Bolduc

There are 12 critical areas that must be addressed to ensure the Army is successful in the future. None of what appears here has to do with technology, but rather people, our most important asset. The 12 critical areas are as follows:
Leadership
Mission Command
Investigations
Awards
Counseling and Mentoring
Talent Management
Senior Leader Selection
Get Public Affairs Right
Get Multi-Generation Communication Right
Military Service and Veterans Heath, Morale, and Welfare:
Revise the Education System
Mandatory Service