10 November 2018

New Gene-Editing Techniques Are Reshaping the Ethics of Biotechnology


The European Union's rigorous definition of genetic editing will limit the benefits that the Continent sees from the application of the technology to agriculture. In the United States, strict rules on embryonic research will cause it to fall behind other countries when it comes to applying the techniques to genetic medical disorders. China will continue to push against Western ethical norms on multiple international fronts, and the use of biotechnology will be no different.

Emerging gene-editing technology is raising questions around the world about the ethics of altering the structure of life: DNA. From Europe to the United States to China, cultural and societal influences shape how each country sees this biotechnology and how it should be regulated. These differences hinder international consensus, as well as the enforcement of any restrictions, especially when the long-term implications of a rapidly advancing technology are unclear. Gene-editing techniques, especially CRISPR, have improved immensely in a relatively short time, and CRISPR's ease of use and relatively low cost make its application to agriculture and medicine inevitable. In the end, the debate about its use may be shaped as much by economics as by ethics.

The Big Picture

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress



Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations and, in recent years, have been given greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has about 70,000 Active Duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel from all four services and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians assigned to its headquarters, its four service component commands, and eight subunified commands.

In 2013, based on a request from USSOCOM (with the concurrence of Geographic and Functional Combatant Commanders and the Military Service Chiefs and Secretaries), the Secretary of Defense assigned command of the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs) to USSOCOM. USSOCOM now has the responsibility to organize, train, and equip TSOCs. While USSOCOM is now responsible for the organizing, training, and equipping of TSOCs, the Geographic Combatant Commands will continue to have operational control over the TSOCs. Because the TSOCs are now classified as subunified commands, the services are responsible to provide non-SOF support to the TSOCs in the same manner in which they provide support to the Geographic Combatant Command headquarters. 

Armed and Dangerous

By Scott D. Sagan

There have always been good reasons to worry about nuclear weapons, but those reasons have changed over time. During the Cold War, U.S. national security experts fretted about an expensive nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. After the 9/11 attacks, specialists and the American public alike were afraid that terrorists might get their hands on highly enriched uranium and make a primitive nuclear device. Those dangers remain. But the first concern has been mitigated to some degree by strategic arms control agreements between the United States and Russia, which are still in place (although not always adhered to). And the second concern has been ameliorated through a significant reduction in the amount of highly enriched uranium used in research reactors around the world. 

Today, however, there is another reason to worry about nuclear weapons: the rise of personalist dictatorships in states that possess or could acquire the bomb. These dictatorships differ from other autocratic governments because their leaders have such dominant personal power that other state institutions—such as parties, politburos, or military officers—cannot overrule the decisions made at the top. Personalist dictators can make decisions on a whim, which creates a grave challenge to the concept of nuclear stability. The world has faced this particular nuclear danger only once before: between 1949 and 1953, when Joseph Stalin enjoyed unchallenged personal dominion over a nuclear-armed Soviet Union. 

9 November 2018

Even With a Waiver, Will Iran Sanctions Chill US-India Ties?

By Raymond E. Vickery Jr.

The United States has granted India a broad waiver to the second wave of reconstituted sanctions on Iran following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal. With this waiver, India will be back to dealing with Iran in much the same way it did before the Iran nuclear deal. This is important for India since it must import some 80 percent of its oil and Iran has historically been its third largest supplier. Under the U.S.-India waiver agreement, India will limit its imports to 1.25 million metric tons per month through March 2019. This is about 70 percent of what India had been importing from Iran prior to U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Tensions rise after kidnapping on Iran-Pakistan border

By FM SHAKIL

Tension is mounting along the Pakistan-Iran border in the volatile Baluchistan province after an anti-Shiite militant group kidnapped at least 14 Iranian Revolutionary Guards last week.

Iran has warned that if Pakistan does not “confront” the Sunni militants involved in cross-border attacks, Tehran will hit at bases inside the country.

The Guards were abducted from the border post at Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchistan province and taken to the Pakistan side of the border. The arid region in southwestern Asia consists of the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan, and the southern areas of Afghanistan.

Return From a Pakistan Dungeon

By Shah Meer Baloch and Rabia Bugti

KARACHI, PAKISTAN — This is a tale of every missing person who has borne the brunt of torture in a detention center. The torture is meant to be painful but more painful and damaging is the psychological effect on the missing persons and their family members. The experience damages them mentally and reshapes their personalities.

Spending just a few days in a detention center – more aptly a dungeon — with no window and proper space to lay down completely reshaped the life of Khalil Ahmed. He was abducted in June 2010. At the time of his abduction, he was a premedical student at Khuzdar Degree College in Balochistan. He left his studies after the incident.

When he was released after three days of harrowing torture, Ahmed reached home trussed and blindfolded. It seemed, however, that his abductors had uncovered his eyes.

The United States Cannot Force Stability on Afghanistan

by Jerrod A. Laber

Afghan officials have begun counting ballots from the country’s parliamentary elections, even as a suicide bomber targeted the election headquarters in Kabul early Monday morning. Voters in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan went to the polls this past Saturday, October 27, delayed by a week due to an insider attack that killed regional police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and intelligence chief Gen. Abdul Momin, while wounding Gen. Jeffrey Smiley, the head of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan. The rest of the country voted last weekend, and election day violence killed at least fifty people.

Despite these attacks on the heel of a very violent election season—in which ten candidates were killed—the Pentagon continues to insist that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan are working: “The ANDSF [Afghan defense forces] security is working,” Col. Rob Manning said last Monday, October 22. “By all accounts, our assessment is the South Asia strategy is working.” This is wrong, and no one should buy it. The strategy is not working and it’s long past time we end this war.

The South China Sea is fabled for its hidden energy reserves and China wants to block outsiders like the US from finding them

CHRISTIAN EDWARDS,CHRISTIAN EDWARDS,CHRISTIAN EDWARDS

China has a plan in motion to lock down potential oil and gas assets in the resource-rich, but hotly contested South China Seas. If successful, the move would effectively ban exploration by countries from outside the region, further isolating local powers from US support. China is using drawn-out negotiations over the issue to further divide its South East Asian neighbors on the issue. Premier Li Keqiang says he hopes talks will be completed in about three years from now.
China is preparing to lock down potential oil and gas assets in the resource-rich, but hotly contested South China Sea by effectively banning exploration by countries from outside the region.

America's Asian Allies Aren't Ready for a Cold War with China

by John S. Van Oudenaren

Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the Hudson Institute last month was a watershed in U.S.-China relations. Pence trumpeted what is obvious of late, that the relationship has shifted from competition mixed with guarded but extensive engagement to out-and-out strategic rivalry. Tellingly, the speech generated little pushback, including from Democrats. On the contrary it seemed to capture the zeitgeist of a growing consensus in Washington that it is time for a harder line on China.

Bipartisan Frustration with Beijing

Four reasons to manage China’s rise

BY Dhruva Jaishankar
Source Link

No other development has so profoundly transformed international relations in recent years as the rise of China. Over the past 35 years, China has pulled the largest number of people out of poverty in history and, with 39%, has made the largest contribution to global growth since 2008. It is now the world’s leader in manufacturing, exports, energy use, and urbanisation. With a growing middle class and national resources, it is only natural that China’s international influence should also have increased.

Today, China shapes almost every global issue of note, from climate change to trade, and from regional security in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to investment trends in Africa and Central Europe.

Xi Jinping promises to expand imports and lower tariffs


SHANGHAI -- President Xi Jinping on Monday promised to further open China to foreigners by expanding imports, lowering tariffs and relaxing market access -- an apparent bid to counter criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump and others regarding Beijing's trade and business practices.

In a speech at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo, Xi predicted the value of the country's "imported goods would reach $30 trillion, while imported services would top $10 trillion over the next 15 years."

Xi's remark comes amid heightened trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. The U.S. government has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth $250 billion. China has retaliated by imposing tariffs on American goods worth $110 billion.

China Prepares for Hot War and Long Struggle

Austin Bay

In retrospect, the June 1989 massacre in Beijing's Tiananmen Square signaled that China's rise would not be peaceful. In Tiananmen, the Communist government's security forces slaughtered more than 2,000 demonstrators.

Let's stipulate that China's four-decade rise from a hunger-plagued developing country to a great power with global clout ranks as one of history's more striking political-economic achievements.

As China's economy modernized, the U.S. bet political liberalization would follow. International integration would moderate China's Communists and a democracy focused on internal development and peaceful economic competition would emerge.

So much for optimism. The Communist dictatorship opted for imperial territorial expansion, most overtly in the South China Sea. However, its territorial aspirations in the Himalayas and the East China Sea are also aggressive.

China steps up preparation for war — with whom?

BY HARRY KAZIANIS

Although tensions continue to rise between the United States and China, most Americans don’t see the rising Asian superpower as a threat — at least for now. A recent Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll found only four in 10 Americans think “the development of China as a world power is a critical threat to U.S. vital interests.” An earlier poll by the group found slightly more Americans saw both nations as “mostly partners,” as opposed to “mostly rivals.”

Unfortunately, China’s leadership doesn’t seem to agree. In fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping, during an inspection of military forces, was quoted as saying that China must “step up combat-readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war.”

China Plays the Japan Card

By MICHAEL AUSLIN

The heralded meeting last week between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was touted by both leaders as opening a new era in Sino–Japanese relations. Asia’s two most powerful nations have been locked in a cold war for nearly a decade, largely over the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, but more broadly because of Japan’s discomfiture with China’s rise and Beijing’s concern over Tokyo’s military modernization.

Chinese attempts to intimidate Japan into giving up the Senkakus have failed, despite repeated incursions into waters around the islands by Chinese fishermen, maritime patrol vessels, and navy ships. Chinese bombers have also flown near Japanese airspace in record numbers in the past several years, occasioning hundreds of scrambles by Japan’s Air Self-Defense Forces. In 2010, Beijing instituted a temporary ban on the export to Japan of rare-earth minerals, which are vital to advanced industrial production. In 2012, anti-Japanese demonstrations in cities across China turned into riots that attacked Japanese businesses. When Abe last met Xi, in 2014, the two could barely look at each other.

What Underlies Long-Running Dispute In South China Sea? – Analysis

By Michael Hart

The South China Sea is a site of intense geostrategic importance located at the heart of the Asia-Pacific. It is the site of decades-old contestation between rival regional powers over territory, lucrative energy resources and economically-vital sea lanes. Given the sea’s location at the centre of the world’s most densely-populated and fastest-growing region, and considering the above-mentioned convergence of interests, the disputes represent a pressing and complex issue which is highly resistant to resolution.

The disputes first emerged in the aftermath of World War Two, when the six claimant states bordering the sea – China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines – scrambled to occupy islands following the withdrawal of colonial powers. In their early stages, the disputes centred primarily over the question of territorial sovereignty. China claimed almost the entire body of water according to its ‘nine-dash line’ map, originally released publicly in 1947. The map was based on historical claims of naval expeditions in the area dating back as far as the Han Dynasty. China views its claim to sovereignty as a major national interest comparable with its desire to incorporate Taiwan into the Chinese state.

The Ideologue’s Case Against Iran

By Jacob L. Shapiro

Imagine a country – a Muslim majority country, no less – that viewed the spread of jihadism as an existential threat, a threat so serious that it was willing to sacrifice its own people to defeat it. Assume that this country, with its large population, robust military and plentiful natural resources, was strong enough to keep the jihadists at bay. Assume, too, that this country was located in the heart of the Muslim world, ideally situated to project power into the Caucasus, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia – all of which are experiencing varying degrees of instability. Imagine finally that this country was also once a U.S. ally – a cornerstone of U.S. containment strategy against the Soviet Union during the Cold War – and could be again.

If it isn’t obvious yet, this is not an imaginary country. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It’s time to put the brakes on Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

Daniel L. Byman and Michael E. O’Hanlon

We should use the Khashoggi crisis as a chance to do what we should have been doing all along, write Daniel Byman and Michael O'Hanlon—namely, to force the Saudis to rethink their disastrous war in neighboring Yemen. This piece originally appeared in the Washington Post.

As the Trump White House comes to grips with the Saudi government’s role in the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi, it confronts a major dilemma that has bedeviled previous American administrations: How do we punish a country with which the United States is locked in a relationship of profound mutual dependence?

The kingdom needs American military protection, despite having the world’s third-largest military budget and lots of shiny Western weaponry. And the United States, despite the North American shale revolution, still relies on Saudi oil (in the sense that the world oil market cannot function without it). The Saudis are also a vital partner for counterterrorism. For these reasons, American punishment for the murder of Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, is likely to consist of the usual wrist-slapping: no high-level summits for a while, a bit less pomp in any official meetings for some time after that and maybe a visa ban or two for complicit individuals. Congress, for its part, may issue a resolution expressing its collective outrage.

Iran: Stuxnet Successor Silently Succeeds


November 2, 2018: Israel has developed and used a more powerful version of its decade old Stuxnet malware to infect and damage Iranian networks and strategic systems. The new Stuxnet has not received a name (as have earlier Stuxnet successors like Duqu, Gauss and Flame) but the impact was so serious and the rumors and gossip inside Iran so widespread and detailed that the Iranian government admitted at the end of October that there had been an attack but that it “was being controlled.” In Iran, that’s government-speak for “we got a major problem and we’d rather not talk about it.”

The original 2010 Stuxnet discovery in Iran elicited a similar response. The government bravado did not last and by 2012 the government warned Iranians to brace themselves for more Cyber War attacks by the U.S., Britain and Israel. This came after the U.S. admitted that several successful Cyber War attacks on Iran were indeed the product of a joint American-Israeli effort. Iran always includes Britain in these foreign conspiracies because Britain has been successfully interfering with Iranian diplomacy for several centuries and is greatly resented for this.

Erdogan points finger at Saudi 'puppet masters' in Khashoggi case


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government, but that he does not believe King Salman was to blame.

In an opinion piece published by US newspaper The Washington Post on Friday, Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to answer outstanding questions concerning the 59-year-old's assassination last month.

"We must reveal the identities of the puppet masters behind Khashoggi's killing," Erdogan said, adding that Ankara had "moved heaven and earth to shed light on all aspects of this case".

Should The United States Recognize Israel’s Claim Over Golan Heights? – Analysis

By Vincent Lofaso

American President Donald Trump handed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a significant victory when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated the US Embassy there. Now, Israeli lobby groups in the US are trying to get Republican lawmakers to recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights. Such an act would mark the first validation of forcefully acquired land since 1945, and it would have a dramatic impact on the interpretation of international law.

Located on the southwestern edge of the Aleppo plateau, the Golan Heights borders the Syrian desert to the east, the Yarmouk River to the south, Mount Hermon to the north, and the Sea of Galilee to the west. Furthermore, water traveling through the Golan heights into the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River account for a third of Israel’s freshwater resources. Thus, whoever controls the Golan Heights (overlooking missile/radar networks and water resources), will have the ability to monitor and shape the behavior of regional players. During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israeli troops captured most of the Golan Heights from the Syrians. Then, on 14 December, 1981, Israel de facto enforced the Golan Heights Law over the territory without physically annexing it. This move was later condemned in U.N Security Council Resolution 497.

AN EARTHQUAKE IS COMING IN THE MIDDLE EAST—AND IT'LL BE BIGGER THAN THE ARAB SPRING | OPINION

AMR DARRAG

Who was not heartened by the images of protests and demonstrations sweeping across the Arab world in 2011? Here, in the face of corruption and tyranny, was Arab civil society affirming the virtue of elective government in one of the era’s most positive and hopeful displays of popular action. The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia sent millions to the streets and catalyzed successive revolutions that brought down four dictators.

But the consequences were not those that were intended. Without consensus, without the eradication of the old deep state, chaos prevailed, and a new order emerged—one defined by paranoia, repression and financial might. The traditional Middle Eastern powers of Egypt, Iraq and Syria were replaced by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, whose regimes have long been defined by authoritarian politics and oil wealth. Today, while we are coming to terms with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, we can clearly see how Saudi Arabia, at least, is willing to exploit its new position.

Grappling With Globalization 4.0

KLAUS SCHWAB

The world is experiencing an economic and political upheaval that will not cease any time soon. The forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization, both of which demand new forms of governance to safeguard the public good.

GENEVA – After World War II, the international community came together to build a shared future. Now, it must do so again. Owing to the slow and uneven recovery in the decade since the global financial crisis, a substantial part of society has become disaffected and embittered, not only with politics and politicians, but also with globalization and the entire economic system it underpins. In an era of widespread insecurity and frustration, populism has become increasingly attractive as an alternative to the status quo.

New Players in a Dollarized World

Michał Romanowski

WARSAW: The offensive US trade policy as well as economic sanctions Washington imposes on its adversaries have triggered a shift in the global currency landscape – and, as a result, steady recession from the dollar-denominated system. Called “de-dollarization,” this phenomenon fits into the wider narrative of a multipolar world of which a monetary order would be an integral component. Countries like Russia and China, given their international heft – ranked as second and twelfth leading economies, respectively – lead this process. Others including Iran, Turkey and major European countries are not lagging far behind.

Transition from the US dollar-based environment is possible, but will be slow and the new reality will involve a competition from several pretenders for the status of the dominant currency.

U.S. Alerts Facebook About Foreign Content

By Sarah Frier,  Selina Wang, and  Gerrit De Vynck

U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday will determine whether the Republican Party keeps control of Congress for the next two years. While the political battle rages, internet and social-media companies are waging their own war online against trolls, bots, manipulation and misinformation designed to sway the results. There’s also concern about potential voting machine glitches and other disruptions, along with cyber-attacks and misuse of digital ads.

Here’s the latest activity, and what firms including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are doing about it:

U.S. Alerts Facebook About Foreign Content (10:31 p.m. ET)

Joseph Stiglitz: 'America should be a warning to other countries'

Gareth Hutchens

In the lead-up to his Australian visit, the renowned economist warns of the triple threat of rising inequality, the undermining of democracy and climate change Economist Joseph Stiglitz will be in Australia next week to receive the Sydney peace prize and talk about the lessons the rest of the world can learn from America’s mistakes. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

It’s a stark message from a Nobel-prize winning economist.

“We were a very different country 40 years ago,” he says. “The downhill slide has been pretty fast. America, I think, should be an important warning to other countries not to take for granted their institutions. I worry that things in the United States could get much worse.”

Joseph Stiglitz is coming to Australia next week. The renowned economist and Columbia University professor has been awarded the 2018 Sydney peace prize for leading one of the defining public policy discussions of our age – the crisis caused by economic inequality.

The Pentagon has prepared a cyber attack against Russia

By Zachary Fryer

The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have quietly agreed on the outlines of an offensive cyber attack that the United States would unleash if Russia electronically interferes with the 2018 midterm election on Nov. 6, according to current and former senior U.S. officials who are familiar with the plan.

In preparation for its potential use, U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cyber systems that they feel is needed to let the plan unfold quickly, the officials said.

The effort constitutes one of the first major cyber battle plans organized under a new government policy enabling potential offensive operations to proceed more quickly once the parameters have been worked out in advance and agreed among key agencies.

While U.S. national security officials have so far reported only intermittent efforts by Russian sources to compromise political organizations and campaigns, they have been worried – in the aftermath of Russia’s digital contact with U.S. election systems in 2016 – that Moscow might unleash more aggressive interference in the hours before voting begins, while the polls are open, or when the votes are being tabulated.

The Foreign-Policy Establishment Reeks of Desperation

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

If you’re a pundit defending a weak case, there are several familiar techniques you can employ. You can mischaracterize the views of those with whom you disagree to make it easier to criticize them. You can distort the historical record so that the so-called evidence appears to support your case more than it really does. Or you can rely on guilt by association and suggest that the views of people you disagree with are more or less identical to the views of people who are already regarded as dangerous or unsound.

In a recent column in Bloomberg, the historian Hal Brands displays an impressive mastery of all three techniques. His target is a group of scholars—John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and myself—who have published works that are critical of recent U.S. foreign policy and have highlighted some of the failings of the foreign-policy establishment. Brands points out that President Donald Trump has also been critical of past foreign-policy decisions and has heaped scorn on some parts of that same establishment. According to Brands, this congruence means we three scholars are actively aligned with the 45th president. In his words, “It is unusual to find academics at some of America’s most elite universities in enthusiastic agreement with Donald Trump.”

Hackers are using malware to find vulnerabilities in U.S. swing states. Expect cyberattacks.

By Kenneth Geers and Nadiya Kostyuk

The Pentagon has launched a preemptive strike against the Russian hackers who may have attacked the 2016 presidential election with social media influence campaigns. Numerous initiatives, including Harvard University’s Defending Digital Democracy Project, have educated officials on how to fortify elections against cyberattacks and encouraged social media companies to take down fake accounts. Despite these efforts, 67 percent of Americans consider that a foreign influence campaign, either by Russia or other governments, during the midterm elections is “very or somewhat” plausible.

Their worry might have some basis. There’s another threat that few have worked to defend against: malware, or malicious software, designed to steal, deny or alter information. And our research strongly suggests that these attacks are underway in U.S. swing states, as we explain below.

How the world’s first cyberattack set the stage for modern cybersecurity challenges

By: Scott Shackelford
Source Link

The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Back in November 1988, Robert Tappan Morris, son of the famous cryptographer Robert Morris Sr., was a 20-something graduate student at Cornell who wanted to know how bigthe internet was – that is, how many devices were connected to it. So he wrote a program that would travel from computer to computer and ask each machine to send a signal back to a control server, which would keep count.

The program worked well – too well, in fact. Morris had known that if it traveled too fast there might be problems, but the limits he built in weren’t enough to keep the program from clogging up large sections of the internet, both copying itself to new machines and sending those pings back. When he realized what was happening, even his messages warning system administrators about the problem couldn’t get through.

A new DoD task force addresses the growing threats to critical technology

By: Justin Lynch 

Amid an alleged campaign of hacking by the Chinese government, efforts are taking place to prevent the exfiltration of data and protect sensitive information that is stored in the U.S. government and the defense-industrial base. In a memo dated Oct. 24, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced the creation of the Protecting Critical Technology Task Force to safeguard critical American technology. “Each year, American businesses lose hundreds of billions of dollars while our military superiority is challenged,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said in a statement. “Together with our partners in industry, we will use every tool at our disposal to end the loss of intellectual property, technology and data critical to our national security.”

The PCTTF will report to Shanahan and Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the joint chief of staff. It includes representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Security Service, according to an industry official briefed on the matter.

Cyber security experts fear more attacks on defence contractors

by Brad Thompson

Cyber security experts have warned contractors involved in Australia's $89 billion naval shipbuilding program to brace for ever more sophisticated attacks, in the wake of extortionists targeting leading Royal Australian Navy and Border Force shipbuilder AustalProfessor Craig Valli said cyber criminals and foreign intelligence services would continue to target infrastructure providers, and the breach at Austal, Australia's biggest defence exporter and a major shipbuilder for the US Navy, served as a reminder for increased vigilance.

Future Army Brigades Will Fight for a Week Without Resupply, General Says

By Matthew Cox

The head of Army logistics said Tuesday he wants to make sure combat brigades of the future can operate on their own in combat for an entire week without resupply.

Currently, brigade combat teams can go about three days without needing to be resupplied with necessities such as fuel, water, food and ammunition, depending on battlefield conditions.

"Our goal [is] to have brigade combat teams sustain themselves for seven days without resupply," Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, who is responsible for Army logistical operations as deputy chief of staff for Army G4, told an audience at an Institute of Land Warfare breakfast sponsored by the Association of the United States Army. "That is significant. Seven days, that is a challenge."

To Better Halt Wars, Does America Need a ‘Crisis Command’?


A string of violent crises since the 1990s—from Somalia to Iraq to others—has underscored America’s need to coordinate better among military forces, relief and development organizations, diplomats and other responders, retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni said this week. The United States should consider creating a standing “interagency command” for such crises, Zinni told listeners at USIP.General (Ret.) Anthony Zinni at the U.S. Institute of Peace, October 24, 2018.

Zinni, who headed the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and later served as the U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace, spoke to PeaceCon 2018, a gathering of the peacebuilding community. USIP and the Alliance for Peacebuilding convene the conference each year among conflict resolution specialists, diplomats, scholars, military strategists and others. Many such conferences, Zinni noted, repeatedly have declared America’s need for better coordination of its governmental and non-governmental responses to crises from Afghanistan to Syria to Libya and elsewhere.

A U.S. Interagency ‘Crisis Command’?

The Army Signal Corps Must Change its Culture

James Torrence and Joseph Pishock

Background

The flexibility of the network allows scalability to support the commander’s requirements as additional units enter or leave an operational area. The Signal Corps expands, extends or contracts the network based on mission requirements. The signal element plans for the appropriate support based on commander’s intent and the environmental and mission variables.[i]

-- Army Field Manual 6-02, Signal Support to Operations

The Army Signal Corps is at a crossroads. Is the purpose of the Signal Corps to comply with network security directives or accomplish the mission while accepting prudent risk? The answer is not clear. The conflicting priorities of security and mission accomplishment create an environment where Signal Corps leaders are uncertain as to where they can assume risk. Leaders in the Signal Corps must contend[ii] with Command Cyber Operational Readiness Inspections (CCORIs) and Installation Campus Area Network (ICAN) accreditation checklists, while also trying to “provide seamless, secure, continuous, and dynamic communications” to the warfighter in garrison and combat environments.[iii] There is a running joke within the Signal Corps that it is acceptable to fail missions but not a CCORI (the networks must comply with security standards, but that does not mean that the networks need to work).[iv] In January 2018, Army Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6, Lieutenant General Bruce Crawford, argued that “cyber policy must move from a compliance to a readiness focus.”[v] Crawford recognizes that policy focused on “compliance with existing rules and regulations cannot deal well with novelty, complexity, and uncertainty.”[vi]

Foreign nationals to be allowed to join British army

Sarah Marsh

Foreign nationals will be allowed to join the British army despite never having lived in the country, ministers will reveal as part of plans to help stem a worsening recruitment crisis in the armed forces.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to announce on Monday that it will no longer require those joining the armed services from Commonwealth countries such as Australia, India, Canada, Kenya and Fiji to have lived in Britain for five years.

Under the policy, recruits will be considered for all forces including the Royal Navy and the RAF, with applications opening in early 2019. It is hoped the changes will lead to an extra 1,350 people joining every year. The army will begin the admissions process from early next year, while the navy and RAF will start immediately. Applications from citizens of countries outside the Commonwealth will not be accepted.

8 November 2018

Modi-Abe-Xi Jinping: A New Synergy Of Trilateral Relations In Asia In Wake Of Global Trade War – Analysis

By Subrata Majumder

Speculations sparked with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s visit to China , which sought Chinese cooperation for third country development works – a volte-face to China, while tying a strong knot with India for strategic partnership to maintain peace in Indo-Pacific region during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan in tandem, given the fact that China is long –term political rival to both countries. Concerns were raised about the impact on India- Japan relations, which has a long way to fulfill their role in Indo-Pacific region.

Nevertheless, Indian Foreign Secretary was quick to rule out any adverse impact on the relation with Japan. Instead, he was hopeful for a favourable impact of the Sino-Japan deal, believing that this would play an important role in spearheading India- Japan strategic partnership to sustain peace and tranquility in Indio – Pacific regime. He asserted that the core point of Modi’s visit to Japan was to establish a close strategic partnership with Japan by deepening security and defence cooperation and play a prime role in maintaining peace in Indo-Pacific region.

Can Saudi Package Resolve All Pakistan’s Woes? – OpEd

By Shabbir H. Kazmi

Reportedly, Saudi Arabia has finally agreed to offer Pakistan a US$6 billion support package to overcome its prevailing precarious current account deficit crisis. According to the details the Kingdom will transfer US$3 billion directly to Pakistan, while another one-year deferred payment facility of up to US$3 billion for oil import will be made available. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.

During the election campaign and even after taking oath as Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran khan has been expressing reluctance in approaching International Monetary Fund (IMF). Ever since coming to power, Khan has been trying to solicit financial support from friendly countries including China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but his efforts hardly yielded any result. From the day one, Finance Minister Asad Umar has been saying that Pakistan needs more than US$12 billion to keep imports and foreign debt servicing at sustainable level.

Can Russia Help Bring Peace to Afghanistan?

By Said Sabir Ibrahimi

In 2001, Russia backed the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, which led to the collapse of the Taliban regime and the creation of a new government. Since then, Russia has supported the new system and has made contributions to reconstruction efforts in the country, including training the Afghan security forces, supplying military equipment, supporting joint counternarcotics activities with the United States, and providing some level of development aid. The post-2001 phase of the conflict in Afghanistan has lingered for more than 17 years now, and the Taliban have re-emerged as a force that contest more than half of Afghan territory. With the war at a stalemate, Afghanistan, the United States, and regional powers are trying to seek a political solution. Russia, too, is trying to do its part by reaching out to the Taliban to help kickstart a peace process, however, there is confusion over Moscow’s overtures to the Taliban and the end goal of its efforts.

HOW DO WE WIN INFORMATION WARFARE IN AFGHANISTAN?

Abdul Rahman Rahmani and Noor Afshan Lawrence

On Oct 18, 2018, General Abdul Raziq, the Provincial Police Chief of Kandahar Province, along with the Provincial Intelligence Chief, Gen Momin, was killed in an insider attack. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was an, “attack carried [out] by an infiltrator.” The Taliban’s claim of responsibility did not surprise many in Afghanistan since the attack bore the hallmark brutality and insider betrayal so common with Taliban attacks. What surprised many Afghans was the simultaneous conspiracy theory that circled in social media mere hours after attack. The narrative of the conspiracy was that, “the attack was ordered by Gen. Austin Scott Miller the Resolute Support Mission Commander in Afghanistan and carried by his bodyguards.” This surprising counter claim gained such quick momentum that it forced Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, to take an immediate stand against it.

What have we learned from the conspiracy theory, and more importantly, from the social media prowess that buoyed its prevalence?