25 March 2015

Wading too far out - Did India need to get into the South China Sea dispute?

March 25 , 2015 

With the nation's attention focused on the controversial land acquisition bill, it is hardly being noticed that all round, the ground is being cut, in diplomatic terms, from under the feet of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. His macho foreign policy of the initial months after taking office is giving way to a grim realization that the realities of the world, after all, are very different from what he would like them to be.

When Modi raised the issue of the maritime dispute in the South China Sea both at the summit between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and at the East Asia Summit in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar in November, he had obviously been briefed that the dispute was going to blow up - or, at least, that the issue was going to figure in a big way at both the summits. Here is what he said on November 12: "There is wave of change in the world. New realities are emerging in the changed world. Globalization is a fact of life... therefore, maritime security has become even more important. We all have the responsibility that we all follow international law and norms on maritime issues, as we do in the realm of air passage. In future, we will also need this in space. For peace and stability in South China Sea, everyone should follow international norms and law."

India, China agree to keep border peace

K V Prasad
Mar 25 2015 

India and China underscored the importance of taking measures to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas emphasising it as a pre-requisite for continued growth of bilateral relations while deciding to expand contacts between border forces.

The iteration came at the end of the first-ever boundary talks under the Modi Government between the Special Representatives (SR) of India Ajit Doval and Yang Jeichi of China held here on Monday.

Need for comprehensive national security policy, says Lt Gen Mehta

Tribune News Service
Mar 25 2015

Explaining the need to have a comprehensive national security policy Lt Gen SS Mehta (retd) listed water, energy, food security, access to technology, climate change, education not being linked to employment and gender issues as aspects that could affect national security that is very different from national defence.

Lt Gen Mehta pointed that Subrahmanyam was especially critical of successive governments' antipathy to long-term strategic planning and absence of specialised positions and resources. He said we would be perpetuating Subrahmanyam's iconic and tireless lead in making our country safer by a comprehensive and flexible national security outlook reflecting all national security concerns and providing an actionable blueprint for tackling them. Lt Gen Mehta also wanted better utilisation of existing resources in the defence sector such as the trained, disciplined and still physically fit 70,000 service personnel retiring every year.

How India Fools Itself

24 Mar , 2015

It was amazing how much President Obama figured in the headlines of daily newspapers in India for virtually 2-3 days. India was over the top because Obama was watching India’s most beloved Republic Day Parade; Michelle Obama’s dress was designed by an Indian fashion designer; and so we felt we had the first couple cornered. It felt like a great achievement for India, having hooked the world’s biggest and most coveted fish from out of international diplomacy. It was the icing on the cake to Modi’s tour of the USA, where he impressed everyone by going through a grueling meeting schedule while fasting. After so many world leaders have been chief guest at the Republic Day Parade – of Japan, Russia, Britain – even Pakistan and China – that having USA was the pinnacle of achievement.

Narendra Modi’s Active Indian Ocean Diplomacy

By SK Chatterji
March 23, 2015

The power equations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) have implications not only for the littoral states but for the entire Asia-Pacific region. Through the Indian Ocean run some of the busiest sea lanes globally, as oil and natural resources traverse from west to east to feed the burgeoning needs of the world’s second largest economy, China, and the country it dislodged from that slot, Japan. By virtue of its size, geographic location, and economic and military potential India is expected to play a leading role in keeping the sea lanes of communication through the Indian Ocean safe for international trade and commerce.

What to Expect From India-China Border Talks in the Modi-Xi Era

March 24, 2015

India and China will hold direct negotiations about their border dispute this week — the first such talks since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in India’s general elections last May. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval are meeting this week, just six months after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited New Delhi. During Xi’s trip to India, both he and Modi indicated their seriousness about beginning talks in earnest on resolving the border dispute between the two countries. India and China, Asia’s two largest states, share a 3,380-kilometer border. There are currently two major disputed territories: Aksai Chin, which China administers but India claims, and Arunachal Pradesh, which India administers as a state in the India Union but China claims.


The first round of boundary talks with China under the Narendra Modi government, taking place this week, is an opportunity for New Delhi to explore the territorial compromises necessary to resolve the longstanding dispute. With strong leaders at the helm in Delhi and Beijing, there are rising expectations that the two special representatives – Ajit Doval and Yang Jiechi – will be able to find an early breakthrough on the boundary dispute. By their very nature, territorial compromises are not easy, despite the strong political will in Delhi and Beijing. Even the simplest of solutions to the boundary dispute – turning the status quo into a legitimate border – involves a notional exchange of territories and changing the way the two countries have long drawn their maps.

India’s Geopolitical Pirouette

There is no doubt that India will have to change; literally pull itself up by its boot laces. A changed India would imply transformation in the way things function in this country. It will imply accountability of those in authority; transparency in all functions of the government; on time delivery; a great measure of responsibility by those in authority and answerability for failure in providing service. Finally, it will imply the demolition of the VIP culture and the ushering in of a consultative format by the people’s representatives for inclusion of the voters in the national decision making process.

Has the Caliphate Come to Kabul?

MARCH 23, 2015

Fear of the Islamic State is making for strange bedfellows in the land of warlords and the Taliban.

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Feb. 24, Ismail Keyhan arrived at Kabul’s central bus station to pick up his father, Amini, a day laborer working on construction sites in Iran. It had been nearly a year since the 20-year-old university student had last seen his dad, and as the evening sun inched toward the western mountains ringing the Afghan capital, Keyhan kept a close watch for the bus.

Amini had boarded the bus in the western Afghan city of Herat earlier that day and had called his son around noon, when the convoy of two buses he was traveling in arrived in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. From there, the Kabul-Kandahar highway passes through the badlands of rural Kandahar, Zabul, Ghazni, and Wardak provinces — areas best passed at breakneck speed.


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While the highly publicized U.S. reset with Russia ended with the annexation of Crimea, this week the United States will reset another important international relationship that portends a much more positive outcome. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, are visiting Washington to meet with President Obama, Congress, and other policymakers and strategists. This is the first visit by an Afghan president since former President Hamid Karzai’s final trip in January 2013, and offers a much-needed opportunity to improve the often-troubled relationship between the United States and Afghanistan.

With Military Parade, Pakistan Sends Message to India, Taliban

March 24, 2015

Today, Pakistan held its first military parade after a seven-year suspension due to “security concerns” amidst an escalating conflict with the Pakistani Taliban. The last parade was held on March 23, 2008 and reviewed by then-President Pervez Musharraf.

March 23 holds special importance in Pakistan. On that date in 1940, the All-India Muslim league adopted a resolution for the creation of “independent states” for Muslims in northwestern and eastern British India. The resolution was later interpreted to have been a specific call for the creation of Pakistan.


By Vikram Rajakumar

The discovery of groups and individuals in south India pledging allegiance to various militant factions in Syria’s civil war has led to a deterioration of security of that region. What is the implication of this new phenomenon for Southeast Asia?

Tamil Nadu in south India, which comprise 65 million people (88% Hindu, 5.5% Muslims, 5.4% Christians), has enjoyed relative peace in recent years despite historical tensions between its various ethnic and religious communities. The last major incidents of communal violence were the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1993 and 1998. Yet the threat of terrorism by contemporary jihadist groups — rife in other parts of India — never gained traction there. The northern states of Jammu and Kashmir have been hotbeds of jihadist militancy fighting for independence from India. There have also been pockets of Islamic insurgent groups in the Northeast and the ‘national’ jihadi groups such as the Indian Mujahideen.

Could Thailand Become the Transport Hub of Indochina?

By Shang-su Wu
March 24, 2015

Thailand has signed bilateral agreements with China and Japan to build two railway trunk lines across the country. One line, to be built with Chinese loans and technology, will link Bangkok and Map Ta Phut in the south through Laos to Kunming, Yunnan, in the north. The second line, to be built with Japanese capital and technology, will cross several countries on the west to east axis, from Dawei in Myanmar through Bangkok to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and possibly Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau in Vietnam. The two rail systems, plus other international lines currently being planned, will turn Bangkok into a major transportation hub while enhancing Thailand’s connectivity with China, Japan and ASEAN.

Lee Kuan Yew: The Father of Modern China?

With the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and one of the most influential Asian politicians, leaders and media outlets all over the world have put in their two cents on his legacy. In the Western world, analysis of his influence is generally mixed; the Washington Post, for example, led off its piece by calling Lee “the democratic world’s favorite dictator.” But in China, where Lee’s mix of authoritarian governance and economic reform proved hugely influential, reflections are far more glowing.

China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on March 23 saying that “the Chinese side deeply mourns the loss of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.” The statement praised Lee as “a uniquely influential statesman in Asia and a strategist embodying oriental values and international vision.”

Why Islam Needs a Reformation : To defeat the extremists for good, Muslims must reject those aspects of their tradition that prompt some believers to resort to oppression and holy war

March 20, 2015 

“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.

But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.

Mitt Romney Is Wrong on Iran

Think you’ve heard the last from Mitt Romney after he bowed out from running for president for a third consecutive cycle? Think again. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee and the former governor of Massachusetts is by far a spent figure in American politics – he’s making his voice known on the op-ed pages of America, and he is a key political powerbroker in determining which Republican presidential hopeful for 2016 will get his endorsement, his former campaign staff, and his hefty monetary resources.

Romney’s stature and appeal across the country have grown since he lost the election to President Barack Obama in November 2012. He’s undoubtedly more popular today than he was when he was campaigning for the presidency. The 2014 Netflix documentary Mitt softened his image beyond the robotic, cut-throat corporate man label Obama’s campaign successfully stuck to him, and his appeal within the Republican Party has gotten stronger as Obama’s approval ratings have gotten weaker. Like it or not, Mitt Romney is now playing the role of the elder in the Republican Party, a figure that other presidential hopefuls look up to for support, advice, and encouragement.

North Korea’s March to Nuclear Relevance

While all eyes remain fixed on March 24 to see if the United States can prevent Iran from getting the bomb, a new report from the Johns Hopkins U.S.-Korea Institute warns that North Korea could possibly have 100 of them by 2020. Of course, that’s the upper-limit estimate, with the report noting that a 50-bomb arsenal is more likely. Still, the functional difference between 50 and 100 bombs is like that between $50 million and $100 million – with either, you’ve got power and you’re treated seriously. Clearly, North Korea is on the verge of nuclear breakout.

The consequences of a full-blown nuclear North Korea would be every bit as destabilizing to regional and world order as a nuclear Iran. It would call into question the U.S. rebalance to East Asia and commitment to allies in Seoul and Tokyo, potentially unleash a volatile regional nuclear arms race, and enable the Kim regime to continue its crimes against humanity behind a fortified nuclear shield. For all that Beijing worries about the ensuing chaos of a regime collapse in Pyongyang, a fully nuclear North Korea would be a veritable bull in a China shop.

How to Fix the Syrian Mess

March 24, 2015

Six easy steps to solve the Syria crisis.

The bloody conflict in Syria since early 2011—whether we call it a civil war or by any other name—has brought in its wake actual disaster with vast destruction of the country and its infrastructure and over 200,000 dead, 6.7 million internally displaced, 3.8 million refugees and 13 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Arms Reductions Treaty Between US, Russia Unlikely in Near Future

By Staff Writers
Mar 23, 2015

Russia and the United States are unlikely to achieve a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in the near future, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Tuesday.

"A new deal on strategic arms reduction between Russia and the United States will be difficult to achieve in the near future, if it is ever achievable," Antonov said.

The deputy defense minister added that Russia's security depends not only on strategic nuclear balance, but also on many other factors, including the development of US missile defense system, current use of sea-launched cruise missiles and other long-range high-accuracy systems.

"Among important issues are the balance of conventional armed forces, placement of numerous military bases with developing military infrastructure close to the Russian territory," Antonov said.

Obama Declares War on Israel

March 24, 2015 

Instead of congratulating the Israeli people for being one of the few countries in the Middle East to hold real free and democratic elections, Obama has decided to inflict collective punishment not on Netanyahu, but on all Israelis, even its Muslim and Christian citizens, for having an election that came out not the way he wanted it to.

The terrorists have also been following with great enthusiasm reports that the Obama Administration is considering reassessing its policy -- that the U.S. no longer considers Israel a strategic ally in the Middle East.

In short, Obama's anti-Israel stance is the best gift the Americans could have given to Muslim terrorists and radical Arabs.

Obama also seems not to want to face the fact that because of his withdrawals and neglect, the situation in the Middle East today, with the rise of Islamic State and other terror groups, is not the same as it was even five years ago.

Thanks to Obama's policies, the Iranians and their friends are now in control of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, and much of Bahrain, and have surrounded the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile the U.S. has been forced to close down its embassies in three Arab countries -- Syria, Libya and Yemen.

In Washington, the Real Power Lies With the Spooks, Eavesdroppers and Assassins


A review of Michael Glennon’s ‘National Security and Double Government’

Almost two months after the first stories about whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared in June 2013, libertarian-minded Rep. Justin Amas — a Michigan Republican — and liberal Democrat Rep. John Conyers, also of Michigan, co-sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s call records program.

What looked like a Hail Mary of democratic accountability for the spy agency nearly passed, losing by a vote of 217 to 205 after the White Houselobbied hard for its defeat. While the close vote demonstrated a revulsion against the NSA’s secret surveillance of Americans, it also showed where true power resides in Washington when it comes to national security.

Israel Spied on U.S.-Iran Nuclear Talks in Switzerland Then Used Data to Try to Sink Deal With Tehran

Adam Entous
March 24, 2015

Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S.

Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.

The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said.

US and Vietnam: From Foes to Friends

People who doubt that bitter foes can become good friends should look at the United States and Vietnam.

When I served on Vietnam’s delegation to the United Nations, from 1987 through 1990, I found most Americans warm and friendly, even though many Americans, understandably, could not look beyond the legacy of war.

But, in 1995, the U.S. and Vietnam established diplomatic relations. Now, as the Ambassador of Vietnam to the U.S., I find Americans focused on the future and what we can accomplish together, from creating jobs through trade to building mutual understanding through education.

Reassuring America's Gulf Arab Partners

March 24, 2015

After a deal is made with Iran, assuring our Arab allies will be a top priority.

Now is the time for the United States to upgrade its partnership with the Arab Gulf states into a real alliance.

Should a nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S.-led group of nations known as the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany) be reached, it will have significant implications for the security and stability of a strategically vital region for the United States and the global economy.

Japan: Lessons from a hyperaging society

by Misato Adachi, Ryo Ishida, and Genki Oka

Japan is the world’s oldest country—25 percent of its people are aged 65 or over. By 2040, that ratio is estimated to rise to the historically unprecedented level of 36 percent. The population of Japan nearly tripled in the 20th century, peaking at 128 million in 2010. But with a falling birth rate, one of the world’s longest life expectancies, and close to zero net immigration, the country is headed for not only a uniquely high ratio of seniors but also a sharp downturn in its total population (Exhibit 1). All that will put increasing strains on Japan’s ability to manage its rising debt and social-security obligations and will create growing shortages of skills.

How a private-sector transformation could revive Japan

by Georges Desvaux, Jonathan Woetzel, Tasuku Kuwabara, Michael Chui, Asta Fjeldsted, and Salvador Guzman-Herrera
March 2015 

Executive SummaryPDF–687KB 
Full ReportPDF–2MB 

Two lost decades have taken a toll on Japan’s competitiveness, but the nation has a window of opportunity to shift its trajectory. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, The future of Japan: Reigniting productivity and growth, highlights potential avenues for growth and renewal, emphasizing areas where the private sector can take the lead. With its working-age population shrinking, Japan will have to rely on productivity as the main catalyst for economic momentum. While continued policy reform is necessary, the private sector is critical to capturing new growth opportunities. If individual companies take action to improve their performance, they could add trillions of dollars of value annually to the world’s third-largest economy.

DoD Works to Build Competition Into Space Launches

By Cheryl Pellerin
Mar 24, 2015

Space capability is critical to national security, and the Defense Department is working to make its launch program more competitive and end its longtime use of a Russian rocket engine on the Atlas launch system, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said this week.

Katrina G. McFarland testified before the House Armed Services Committee's strategic forces subcommittee March 17 on options for assuring domestic space access.

Joining her were Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, and William A. LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

Our Solar System May Have Once Harbored Super-Earths

By Kimm Fesenmaier
Mar 24, 2015

Long before Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars formed, it seems that the inner solar system may have harbored a number of super-Earths - planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. If so, those planets are long gone - broken up and fallen into the Sun billions of years ago largely due to a great inward-and-then-outward journey that Jupiter made early in the solar system's history.

This possible scenario has been suggested by Konstantin Batygin, a Caltech planetary scientist, and Gregory Laughlin of UC Santa Cruz in a paper that appears the week of March 23 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Search for extraterrestrial intelligence extends to new realms

By Staff Writers
Mar 24, 2015

Astronomers have expanded the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light. Their new instrument has just begun to scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

"Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication," said Shelley Wright, an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto's Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from greater distances. It also takes less energy to send the same amount of information using infrared signals than it would with visible light.

Unfurlable Mesh Antennas Deployed On Third MUOS Satellite

By Staff Writers
Mar 23, 2015

Two unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors developed by Harris Corporation (HRS) have successfully deployed onboard the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin (LMT). This represents the fifth and sixth successful Harris reflector deployments in the planned 5-satellite MUOS system. The announcement was made during Satellite 2015 being held March 16-19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The MUOS satellite constellation operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move.

Cases of Satellites Hitting Space Junk Rising

March 24, 2015

The Growing Satellite Menace

An American space satellite exploded in orbit on February 3rd. This one was a twenty year old weather satellite that experienced an equipment failure that showed up to ground monitors as a rapid increase in internal temperature followed by the satellite exploding into 43 pieces. This was not catastrophic for weather monitoring since this satellite, because of its age, was relegated to backup duty in 2006. Eventually, when it failed, it would have been maneuvered into a lower orbit where it would eventually burn up in the atmosphere and leave no debris in orbit. 

As soon as signs of malfunctioning in the satellite were detected plans were made to maneuver the satellite into the lower orbit, but the satellite soon became uncontrollable and exploded. At this point the air force is still trying to find any additional pieces of the satellite in orbit so that these can be tracked and the owners of other satellites warned if the debris will get too close.

‘ISIS Hackers’ Googled Their Hit List; Troops’ Names Were Already on Public Websites

They swore they ‘hacked military servers’ to threaten U.S. troops. Actually, these self-proclaimed ISIS whiz kids basically cobbled together information that was already online.

So much for ISIS’s super-sophisticated hacker army.

A group calling itself the “Islamic State Hacking Division” posted the names, addresses, and photos of 100 U.S. service members on Saturday, claiming it had obtained the information by breaching military security.

As it turns out, the group didn’t need to hack the Pentagon. At least two-thirds of the troops on the ISIS “hit list” had been featured on public Defense Department websites designed to promote the military, The Daily Beast has learned.

Did Vigilantes Knock North Korea Offline?

U.S. cyberspies swear they didn’t take down the Hermit Kingdom’s Internet after the Sony hack. And those spies weren’t the only ones rooting around Pyongyang’s servers.

A variety of hackers—some working for the United States government, others operating independently—attacked and probed key portions of the North Korean Internet after the targeting of Sony Pictures Entertainment last year. Some of these hackers, including U.S. government employees, were acting in retaliation for the Sony attack; others, The Daily Beast has learned, were apparently driven by sheer curiosity about how the Hermit Kingdom’s fragile computer networks are connected to the outside world. And some of those independent actors claim that they are the ones who took North Korea offline.

Why the PLA Revealed Its Secret Plans for Cyber War

March 24, 2015

Much has been made about China’s first public acknowledgement of cyber warriors within the People’s Liberation Army and their alleged capability to conduct offensive military operations in cyberspace.

“This is the first time we’ve seen an explicit acknowledgement of the existence of China’s secretive cyber-warfare forces from the Chinese side,” one expert asserted.

However, these revelations are not groundbreaking (e.g., see the revelations on China’s Blue Army a while back), nor do they constitute a formal strategic doctrine for cyber or military applications of information technology in the event of war. It has been declared Chinese doctrine since 2003 to develop capabilities for information war.

Preparing for Cyber War: A Clarion Call

March 23, 2015 

This post is the latest installment of our “Monday Reflections” feature, in which a different Just Security editor examines the big stories from the previous week or looks ahead to key developments on the horizon.

Honeypots: An Overlooked Cyberweapon

March 23, 2015
Most discussions of the use of ‘cyber’ as ‘fires’ supporting conventional forces focus on penetrating an enemy’s systems or networks to ‘see’ or manipulate what he ‘sees,’ disrupt or corrupt his communications, disable or damage select systems, and so on. However, there is no assurance that the specific system or network vulnerabilities attacks are designed to exploit will still be available when needed during combat. Vulnerabilities are discovered and patched all the time (though practically speaking, it is impossible to identify every single vulnerability that actually exists in a complex system). An adversary can also change his network topology or close off access points needed by the attacker at inopportune times. Lastly, an exploit is a precious thing: a single use may alert the adversary to a particular vulnerability and may even help the adversary discover new techniques or components that he can reuse in his own arsenal of exploits. Penetrative cyberattacks cannot be assured under all conditions, and may not be worth burning a relevant exploit under some conditions. This hardly means that they are impossible or not worth the costs. It does mean that we must be sober about their combat potential.

Russia to Deploy 10 Strategic Bombers to Crimea for Snap Drills

By Staff Writers
Mar 23, 2015

Tu-22M3 is a long-range strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The Russian military will deploy ten Tu-22M3 Backfire C supersonic strategic bombers to Crimea as part of the current large-scale snap inspection of combat readiness, a source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

"In the framework of the snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Northern Fleet and some units of the Western Military District, 10 TU-22M3 strategic bombers will be deployed to the Crimean Peninsula," the source said.

Tu-22M3 is a long-range strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Shot Down in Hostile Territory? Try Escaping in an Inflatable Plane


But Goodyear’s ‘Inflatoplane’ was a flight of fancy

Military fliers generally don’t have many options—and even fewer good ones—when they get shot down. In the late 1950s, the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation thought up an idea that would let stranded pilots do more than just hide and wait for a rescue party.

In 1952, Goodyear designed a small escape plane. To keep the overall size and weight down, the company built the simple aircraft out of large inflatable parts—like an air mattress.

“The need exists for a better means of escape for fliers down in enemy territory,” the company explained in a report sent to the U.S. Navy five years later. “Present methods are generally limited in range, involve considerable risk to a number of persons other than the downed flier and require perfect coordination between the rescuer and the rescued.”

An Iraqi Shi’ite Militia Now Has Ground Combat Robots


Fighters show off armed battle ’bots

A new propaganda video from an Iraqi Shi’ite militia depicts ground combat robots in Iraq.

Yep, Iran’s proxies have killer ground robots.

The video, dated March 23, shows two remotely-operated ground vehicles moving and firing their weapons. One has a 7.62-millimeter PKM machine gun, and the other packs a heavier 12.7 x 108-millimeter DShK machine gun.

It’s not hard to spot who’s responsible. Prominent flags with the symbol ofSaraya Al Salam — or the Peace Brigades — fly from each robot. The group is a Shi’ite militia with close ties to Iraqi cleric Muqtada Al Sadr.

The Ultimate Cold War Weapon Fantasy: Ballistic Troop Transport

March 23, 2015

In the early Space Age, everything seemed possible — no matter how crazy.

Which is why, in the 1960s, one American engineer seriously designed a space rocket to transport troops wearing jetpacks. This far-out concept aimed to lob Marine jet-battalions into space and land them on the other side of the world in less than an hour.

It was all about ending what the U.S. military calls the “tyranny of distance.” That is, moving soldiers and material overseas in a short amount of time.

Today, the Pentagon invests billions of dollars in bases, cargo ships and heavy transport planes to give the military unmatched global reach. But it still takes hours — even weeks — to transport troops and equipment around the world.

Rockets and ballistic missiles cross those distances in minutes. What if — instead of warheads — they carried soldiers into battle?


March 24, 2015 

Since 2010, the Department of Defense has been stuck grappling with a rising tide of uncertainty, as changing events continually throw carefully laid plans into chaos. Unfortunately for the Pentagon, the source of this uncertainty isn’t China or the Islamic State, but Capitol Hill. The past several years have seen government dominated by a Congress unable or unwilling to pass funding legislation absent some sort of crisis or looming deadline. Congress’s failure to provide predictable spending and planning information has created uncertainty that has put unnecessary strain on the defense industrial base. This failure has stymied competition and innovation by making doing business with the Department of Defense less attractive. It has driven up costs through delayed and disrupted delivery schedules. Finally, Congress’s inability to work through regular legislative procedures and agree to levels of funding through a normal budget and appropriations process led to the implementation of the 2011 Budget Control Act and, eventually, sequestration. In the aftermath of the 2014 elections, leadership in both the House and the Senate seemed committed to restoring “regular order” and working through the normal budget process. However, internal tensions in the Republican caucus in both chambers, combined with a Democratic White House, make it extremely difficult to see how a budget resolution and all twelve appropriations bills will make it through the legislative process and be signed into law.


March 24, 2015 

The use of chlorine improvised explosive devices against Syrian civilians, as a weapon of war, seems to be a subject of heated commentary. Although the United States successfully led an effort to destroy Syria’s existing chemical warfare agents and associated production facilities, Assad’s field commanders are now allegedly using chlorine tanks inside of “barrel bombs” to kill and panic the Syrian people. The State Department has expressed its dismay at this behavior, stating that, if verified, such a violation would have consequences. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), believes that chlorine was “systematically and repeatedly” used as a weapon in northern Syria, without blaming the government directly for those actions. However, as the victims have tended to be Syrian civilians and not government forces, and the mode of delivery has been by helicopter, the list of probable suspects is pretty short.

Exposed: America Can't Blow Up Iran's Nukes

March 24, 2015

Attacking Iran is a terrible idea, but the sheer terribleness of it won’t prevent it from happening.

We are a few days away from the latest deadline in the Iran-U.S. nuclear talks. Much of the case on whether we need a deal depends on this question: what does the Middle East look like if Tehran and Washington don’t come to an accord? Is war between the United States and Iran inevitable? If U.S. hawks succeed in scuttling a nuclear deal, then those same hawks will shift, in short order, to insisting on war as the only remedy.

Battleground Metropolis: The Future of Urban Warfare

March 24, 2015

How will the militaries of the world prepare?

With so many crises in the world, why should the United States care about the future of urban warfare?

Simply put, that is where people—to both protect and fight—and most of American interests will be. As the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 report noted, 60 percent of the world will live in cities by 2030, a marked increase from the 47 percent at the end of the twentieth century. Where the people go, so will the centers of gravity for “government, commerce, communications, and transportation activity.” In other words, if the United States wants to secure its interests in the future, it must do so in cities.