2 April 2015

Asian Participation in the London Process

Cherian Samuel
March 31, 2015
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The Hague Global Cyber Security Conference, the fourth in the series of the eponymously named London Process Conferences, is set to take place on the 16th and 17th of April 2015. The London Process has had a chequered history. Begun in 2011 as a mechanism to propagate the values and ideals of an open and global cyberspace, it was conceived as a state-sponsored summit that gave fair and adequate representation to all participants to discuss issues at the intersection of security, economic growth and human rights. Positioned as a forum midway between the two extremes of the multi-stakeholder centric Internet Governance Forum and state-dominated fora such as the International Telecommunications Union, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, it has struggled to get traction. The last iteration of the conference was held in Seoul in 2013. Since there were no takers to host a conference the next year, the Dutch took on the mantle of hosting the Conference in 2015.

Up In Arms: The Army officers’ promotion case

By Sushant Singh
April 2, 2015 
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The numbers of Brigadiers, Maj Generals and Lt Generals in various arms is decided on a pro rata basis from the number of Colonels in each arm.

The dispute is over the distribution of vacancies of Colonels to various branches (arms and services) of the Army, viz. Infantry, Artillery, Armoured Corps, Engineers, Signals, Mechanised Infantry, etc. Before 2009, the number of Colonels in each branch was pro rata, i.e., proportional to the number of officers in the rank of Lt Col and below. After 2009, the Army switched to a Command Exit policy, which has benefitted the Infantry and Artillery at the cost of other arms and services. Five officers approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) against the policy. Last month, the AFT upheld their contention, and ruled that the Command Exit policy violated Article 14. The government filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the AFT judgment. On March 25, the SC stayed the AFT ruling. The next hearing is on 15 April. 

Barefoot solar engineers

By Bunker Roy
April 2, 2015  
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"Let Bharat adopt a demystified decentralised model where poor rural people without formal education are trained to fabricate, install, repair and maintain their own solar systems," writes Roy.

 What we definitely don’t need are $1,000-a-day consultants from the World Bank and international donor agencies producing voluminous reports to tell India the infinite advantages of business models. What Bharat, and the rural poor, need is an indigenous Gandhian solution where the control, management and ownership of the technology lie in the hands of the people themselves. This argument is entirely based on common sense. It is absurd to force an urban solution on a rural problem. If we don’t involve the people in decision-making from the very beginning, top-down multi-million dollar solar projects currently being planned in India will become colossal failures.

Saudi strikes fuel Gulf strife

Patrick Cockburn
Apr 2 2015 
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FOREIGN states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen in Yemen, rather than what will actually occur.

Confrontations between Sunni and Shia, and between Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran and its allies, are becoming deeper and more militarised. Conflicts cross-infect and exacerbate each other, preventing solutions to individual issues. The Saudi intervention in Yemen reduces the chance of a US-Iranian agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme and sanctions. As these conflicts and divisions spread, the chances of creating a common front that is capable of destroying the Isis are getting fewer by the day. — The Independent

Vietnam and Great Power Rivalries

By Nhina Le and Koh Swee Lean Collin
March 31, 2015

It all began with apparently innocuous activity reported in both the Russian and Vietnamese press citing the Russian Defense Ministry on January 4. According to the reports, Russian Air Force Il-78 Midas tanker planes were granted access last year to Vietnam’s aerodrome facilities in Cam Ranh Bay, located in the southern Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa. The Il-78s enabled the refueling of Russian Tu-95 “Bear” strategic bombers, which coincided with intensified Russian military flights in the Asia-Pacific, including “Bear” sorties that circled the major U.S. military redoubt in Guam.

Is China's Economy Doomed?

March 30, 2015 

There has been much fretting about China's growth over the past five years. Onespecial focus for hand-wringing has been the Chinese financial system and its non-banking component—the shadow banking system—in particular.

Financial growth in China has certainly been rapid since 2007, a classic warning of impending trouble. In the decade before 2007, credit grew only a little faster than GDP, reaching 187 percent of GDP, which is about normal for an emerging economy.

China’s proposed 21st century trade route has many blind curves

Bhaswati Mukherjee
Mar 31, 2015 

Among the ancient routes shrouded in myth and legend, the Silk Route played a predominant role in connecting Europe with Asia through the exchange of goods, culture and civilisation. The specific designation of the Silk Route is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating from the mid-19th century, when German geologist Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen named the route Die Seidenstrasse (the Silk Road). Since then this route continues to stir imaginations globally with its evocative mystery.

The Silk Route comprises a strategic initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose ambition is to link Central Asia and Europe with the Chinese economy through the Silk Road Economic Belt and expand China’s trade and strategic reach in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean stretching to East Africa. Given recent developments where China has been making claims and counter-claims with its neighbours in the South China Sea over exclusive rights on important waterways and islands, there is growing concern regarding China’s motive and agenda behind the project.

Information Warfare: China Takes A Victory Lap

March 31, 2015: After years of denying any involvement in Cyber War or having organized units for that sort of thing, China suddenly admitted that it was all true. This was all laid out in the latest (March 2015) issue of a Chinese military publication (The Science of Military Strategy). This unclassified journal comes out about once a year and makes it possible for all Chinese military and political leaders to freely discuss new military strategies. The March edition went into a lot of detail about Chinese Cyber War operations. Most of these details were already known for those who could read Western media. Many details of Chinese Cyber War activities are published in the West, if only to warn as many organizations as possible of the nature and seriousness of the threat. Apparently the Chinese leadership decided that the secrecy about their Cyber War activities was being stripped away by foreigners anyway so why bother continuing to deny. Publish and take a victory lap.

What could happen in China in 2015?

By Gordon Orr
December 2014 

What do you get when you add slower economic growth, greater volatility, and rising competition to more international flights and genuine Chinese innovation? McKinsey director Gordon Orr’s annual predictions.

It seemed harder to prepare my “look ahead” this year. On reflection, I believe this is because political and economic leaders in China have clear plans and supporting policies that they are sticking to. You can debate the pace at which actions are being taken, but not really the direction in which the country is traveling. This means a number of the themes I highlighted for this year will remain relevant in 2015:

What Will Xi Do Next in the South China Sea?

March 30, 2015

The South China Sea, a small part of the ocean is causing a big international dispute. The region is situated in the middle of vital shipping routs, and some estimates say that there are more oil reserves than all of Saudi Arabia, giving China the ability to fuel itself for a century. Accordingly, China has claimed it as part of their maritime border, called their nine-dash line, which also overlaps with the claims of Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It’s become a flashpoint in the region, and the cause of military build up amongst all of these nations. The islands are also a test for the new Chinese foreign policy. How will they use their rising military and economic power?

The Real Reason for China's Massive Military Buildup

March 30, 2015

Over several different articles, I have been exploring the dynamics of the budding U.S.-China security dilemma—a high-tech drama pitting anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) against what we used to refer to as Air-Sea Battle (ASB)—and have offered several different ways to lessen the possibility of such a dynamic from becoming cemented into the Asia-Pacific’s security architecture. However, China’s development and implementation of A2/AD clearly has various origins. One such origin that deserves to be explored is the “historical nightmare” of China’s subjugation at the hands of various colonial and Asian powers.

Should U.S. Be Concerned About the Growing Size of the Chinese Navy?

March 31, 2015

China’s navy chief, Adm. Wu Shengli, strolled the Harvard University campusn a tweed blazer and slacks during a visit to the U.S. last fall, joking with students and quizzing school officials about enrolling some of his officers.

A few days earlier, he became the first Chinese navy chief to attend a 113-nation naval forum in Rhode Island, where he hailed U.S.-China military ties and discussed working together on global maritime challenges.

Shortly after his U.S. visit, Adm. Wu took another trip—this time to the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in the South China Sea where his country appears to be building a network of artificial island fortresses in contested waters. It was his first known visit to facilities U.S. officials fear could be used to enforce Chinese control of nearly all the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Why China Shouldn't Get Too Invested in Latin America

By Xue Li and Xu Yanzhuo
March 31, 2015

The First Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum, held in Beijing in early January 2015, was undoubtedly a successful one. More than 40 ministerial-level officials from 33 member states of CELAC participated in the meeting, while the heads of Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama attended the opening ceremony. Panama’s President, Juan Carlos Varela, suggested elevating the next meeting to heads of state and government level.

The meeting launched three outcome agreements, including the China-Latin American Countries and Caribbean States Cooperation Plan (2015-2019). China signed a $20 billion joint project loan agreement with Venezuela and a $5.3 billion loan agreement with Ecuador. 

How to Decipher Yemen, Where the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Also Your Enemy


Yemen, like Afghanistan, has a long reputation as a quagmire for foreign invaders. Saudi Arabia could break its teeth there if the U.S. does not constrain it. Astonishingly, Yemeni events have now conspired to bring about the supposed intervention of some 10 regional powers in one of the most hyped events in the Arabian Peninsula of recent times.

Most of this proxy war makes little sense: the threats emanating from Yemen are distorted and exaggerated, the stakes are actually relatively low (except for Yemenis), any imposed settlement is highly elusive, and the costs to those engaged may be high. For the U.S., it can be once again something of a lose-lose situation, where the enemy of my enemy is often also my enemy.

Revealed: Saudi Arabia's Plan to Transform the Middle East

April 1, 2015
Almost immediately after the death of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia on January 22 and the ascension of his half-brother, Salman, to the throne, Saudis and Saudi-watchers in the West began speculating about the contours of Saudi domestic and foreign policy under the new king. While thefirst speech delivered by Salman within hours of becoming monarch stressed continuity, some seemed convinced that Saudi foreign policy in particular might experience an important shift under his watch. A mere two months after assuming the crown, it is becoming clear that King Salman has a different vision than did his predecessor Abdullah, and perhaps all those who came before him. Between restructuring some of the country’s most important political and economic institutions and launching an unprecedented, large-scale military operation in a neighboring country on the verge of a civil war, we could be witnessing the beginning of a completely new Saudi way of thinking. We could be on the verge of a Saudi perestroika.

Sorry, Obama: The Arab World No Longer Needs America

April 1, 2015 

Saudi Arabia's attack on Yemen demonstrates Arab autonomy.

Operation Decisive Storm, the new coalition led by Saudi Arabia to roll back the takeover of Yemen by the Houthis is seen as an awakening by most of the Arabs, a new page that restores the strategic balance between them and Iran. There is a sense of relief and euphoria in many capitals that after a long hiatus, there is a new dynamism, new Arab spirit, and a resolve to roll back what they see as Iran’s “coup” in the region. There is a sense of regained dignity for the Arabs and a trust that the Arab world can take a stand. This new Arab reaction is also a warning to Iran that it has crossed “red lines” and overreached in its meddling in Arab affairs. Throughout the region, one hears and sees the belief that the Middle East before Operation Decisive Storm is not the same as it will be after it.

Make No Mistake — the United States Is at War in Yemen

MARCH 30, 2015

The Obama administration revealed that the United States was participating in yet another Middle East military intervention via a press release from the spokesperson of the National Security Council (NSC). This time, it’s Yemen. Late Wednesday evening, March 25, the White House posted a statement declaring: “President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]-led military operations.”

The Age-Old Sunni-Shia War Is Sucking America In


Naiveté led Bush to invade Iraq, and Obama to portray a nuke deal with Iran as a panacea. But all Washington is doing is making things worse.

In blunt language back in 2004 Jordan’s King Abdullah raised the alarm about what he called a “Shia crescent” taking shape from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. 

The king was warning about the consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq the year before — an invasion he had advised against, fearing it would end up boosting the regional clout and stir the imperial ambitions of Tehran, as it did, and that it would roil the Middle East’s oldest conflict, between Sunni and Shia Islam, dating back to the year 632 and the death of the Prophet Mohamed. 

What Is the Future of Palestinian-Israeli Intelligence Cooperation After Bibi’s ‘No Palestinian State’ Pledge?

Daniella Cheslow
March 31, 2015

JAMAIN, West Bank — Khawla Zeitawi is pregnant with twins, and her husband is not at her side.

Instead, her husband, Jasser Abu Omar, is in an Israeli prison, accused of being part of a terrorist cell that crafted explosives in a Nablus apartment. Zeitawi asserts that her husband is innocent, jailed on bad information from Palestinian law enforcement as part of ongoing security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“Security coordination is treason,” Zeitawi said in her home in Jamain, a village near Nablus in the West Bank. “The Palestinian Authority is giving Israel a service for free.”

Since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, its security organizations have worked closely with Israel to share intelligence, arrest suspected militants and limit demonstrations in the West Bank. That cooperation was suspended during a Palestinian uprising known as the second Intifada, but has been a robust part of life in the West Bank since 2007 – and a lightning rod for complaints among the Palestinian public for almost as long.

Syrian Military Hits Rebel-Held City of Idlib With Missiles and Airstrikes

March 31, 2015

BEIRUT — Syrian government forces fired surface-to-surface missiles and conducted airstrikes on the northwestern city of Idlib days after it was seized by Islamic militants, killing more than a dozen people, activists said Tuesday.

State media said “tens” of fighters were killed in a “military operation” in Idlib, and a pro-government newspaper said the army is preparing to retake the city, adding that government forces will “soon” broadcast a statement announcing its re-capture.

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria and the ultra-conservative Ahrar al-Sham group seized control of Idlib on Saturday after four days of intense shelling and fighting. Its capture was a major blow to President Bashar Assad’s government, which has retained control of almost all the country’s major urban areas through four years of unrest.

Idlib, with a population of around 165,000 people, became the second provincial capital to fall to the opposition after Raqqa, which is now a stronghold of the Islamic State group. Its capture underscores the growing power of extremist groups in Syria, which now control about half the country.

Rejected: Why Obama Snubs Europe

April 1, 2015

Recent headlines chronicling the breakdown in U.S.-Israeli affairs and the personal loathing between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have overshadowed the continuing ructions in Washington’s relations with its traditional allies in Europe.

Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View has reported that Mr. Obama delivered what can only be regarded as an extraordinary slight to Jens Stoltenberg, who became the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization six months ago. Obama is one of the few Western leaders who has not yet met with Stoltenberg and in fact deliberately passed up an opportunity to see him last week when Stoltenberg was in Washington. Rogin noted that the NATO chief was finally able to secure a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, but that Stoltenberg requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit but never heard back from the White House.

Just Say No Why the United States can’t kick the bad habit of repeating failed campaigns in its war against terror.

MARCH 31, 2015

Pardon my cynicism, but the “war on terror” (aka “war on violent extremism”) is reminding me more and more of the disastrous U.S. “war on drugs.” That latter campaign, we now know, has been a costly and counterproductive debacle. The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to interdict drug shipments, eradicate poppy and coca fields in foreign countries, and round up drug dealers and users here at home, with hardly any lasting or meaningful successes. Narcotics producers just relocate to new areas or develop new products, and smugglers find new routes to bring drugs into the United States, leaving the level of drug abuse largely unchanged. After four decades, the main achievement of the war on drugs was giving the “Land of the Free” the world’s largest prison population.

Russian Military to Unveil At Least 4 New Surveillance Drones in June

March 31, 2015

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Eleron, Orlan-10, Forpost and Gorizont drones, will be unveiled at the inaugural Army-2105 international forum scheduled for June 2015, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"Complexes with unmanned aerial vehicles, both short and medium range, as well as helicopter drones will be presented as part of the first Army-2015 International Forum," the ministry’s press release read.

In December 2014, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Russian military received 179 new UAVs in 2014, which was “almost as many as we received in all the previous years.”

On Iran, Obama Should Have Listened to Mad Dog Mattis

March 30, 2015

With John Kerry currently working to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran in Lausanne before tomorrow’s deadline, consider just how much the White House has been willing to sacrifice to get to this point. Even those supportive of the White House concede that some sort of general collapse is underway in the Middle East. They avoid those words like “collapse” or “chaos,” preferring metaphors like the “shifting” of “tectonic plates” (this example from the Center for American Progress’s Brian Katulis) implying that, as with volcanos and earthquakes, the Obama administration didn’t cause what is happening, and can’t do a darn thing about it anyway.

How America Spied on French Nuke Blasts

March 30, 2015

During the early years of the Cold War, the United States had a problem.

The U.S. had quickly lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon was most concerned about Soviet and Chinese weapons, but France was also building a nuclear bomb.

France was — and is — a U.S. ally. But still, it was reason enough for America to send in its spy planes.

In the 1960s, two specially modified KC-135R Stratotankers joined the U.S. Air Force’s 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. The aircraft had special gear to covertly gather data on French detonations in the South Pacific.

Debt and (not much) deleveraging

By Richard Dobbs, Susan Lund, Jonathan Woetzel, and Mina Mutafchieva
February 2015

Executive SummaryPDF–763KB 
Full ReportPDF–3MB 

Seven years after the bursting of a global credit bubble resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, debt continues to grow. In fact, rather than reducing indebtedness, or deleveraging, all major economies today have higher levels of borrowing relative to GDP than they did in 2007. Global debt in these years has grown by $57 trillion, raising the ratio of debt to GDP by 17 percentage points (Exhibit 1). That poses new risks to financial stability and may undermine global economic growth.

A cheat sheet on lower oil prices

By Scott Nyquist
February 2015

Oil prices have plunged, helping consumers but worrying energy-reliant countries and companies. Here’s a cheat sheet on what’s happening and its implications.

A little background: over the past seven-plus months, the price of a barrel of oil dropped from $107 to less than $50. This took prices to 2009 levels and surprised just about everyone. Stock markets do not like surprises, and many global indexes have dropped, adding another wrinkle of worry to an already wobbly global economic recovery. Let’s consider some of the implications.
The good news

For US consumers, the drop in oil prices is excellent. A two-car family that drives 2,000 miles a month might have to buy 100 gallons of gas. With the average price per gallon now $1.25 less than it was at its 2014 peak, that adds up, essentially, to a $125-a-month raise. For American households, spending on gas is on track to be the lowest since 2003.

Is GDP the best measure of growth?

By Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, Jaana Remes, and Jonathan Woetzel
January 2015

No matter how we measure economic growth, it needs to be pursued in a smart way.

The extraordinary economic expansion of the past 50 years was clearly a success in terms of GDP: the world economy is six times larger, and average per capita income has almost tripled. But what about the environmental impact of sustained high economic growth? Or growing concern in the developed world about stagnating median incomes and widening inequality?

There is almost universal agreement that GDP alone is an imperfect metric for growth and prosperity. So we did not take lightly our decision to define growth using GDP in our new report, Global Growth: Can productivity save the day in an aging world? But limitations on data across a large number of countries and a long historical time frame meant GDP was the metric that made sense. As the Financial Times put it, “GDP may be anachronistic and misleading. It may fail entirely to capture the complex trade-offs between present and future, work and leisure, ‘good’ growth and ‘bad’ growth. Its great virtue, however, remains that it is a single, concrete number. For the time being, we may be stuck with it.”

Can long-term global growth be saved?

ByJames Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, Richard Dobbs, Jaana Remes, Eric Labaye
January 2015| 

Executive SummaryPDF–727KB 
Full ReportPDF–2MB 

Over the past 50 years, global economic growth was exceptionally rapid. The world economy expanded sixfold. Average per capita income almost tripled. Hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty. Yet unless we can dramatically improve productivity, the next half century will look very different. The rapid expansion of the past five decades will be seen as an aberration of history, and the world economy will slide back toward its relatively sluggish long-term growth rate (Exhibit 1).

China-Pakistan-India Economic Trilateral: A Realistic Proposition or Pipe Dream?

In recent years, China’s economic engagement with India has substantially increased. Provinces in China and states in India have become important stakeholders in this process. Recently, there have been efforts by the state of Punjabin India to reach out to China, seeking investment and cooperation in the sphere of agriculture. In November 2014, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal visited Jiangsu province, which has made impressive strides in the sphere of agriculture. During the meeting between Badal and the governor of Jiangsu, Li Xueyong, it was proposed that the latter will assist Punjab in the sphere of fisheries, and that the two will build a sister province relationship.

Recently, the Chinese ambassador to India, Le Yucheng, visited the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab, which is also emerging as a trade hub with Pakistan. Trade through the Wagah (Pakistan)-Attari (India) border rose to $2.6 billion, from less than $400 million in 2004. One of the important reasons for this rise has been theIntegrated Check Post (ICP) inaugurated in April 2012. The business community on both sides of the border believes that the level of trade could increase to $8 billionannually in the next two years.

Does Israel Really Have a Thermonuclear Weapon?

MARCH 31, 2015 

And did the Pentagon really just declassify a document admitting knowledge of this?

We all know Israel has the bomb, but does it have the hydrogen bomb?

The idea that Israel’s nuclear arsenal might comprise thermonuclear weapons has long been a subject of discussion. It popped back in the popular conscience a few weeks ago when Grant Smith — who runs an organization called the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy that has some views about Israel that I find pretty awful — released a redacted version of a 1987 report published by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). Smith had sued to get the document, then posted it online claiming it was “confirmation of Israel’s advanced nuclear weapons” — with “advanced” meaning thermonuclear weapons.

Asia's Coming Nuclear Nightmare

March 31, 2015

While the world focuses on the dangers that a nuclear-armed Iran could present in the Middle East, a potentially more dangerous and unstable nuclear proliferation is occurring in the Indian Ocean.

In the coming years India, Pakistan, and perhaps China will likely deploy a significant number of nuclear weapons at sea in the Indian Ocean. This could further destabilize already unstable nuclear relationships, creating a real risk of a sea-based exchange of nuclear weapons.

Poll: Clear majority supports nuclear deal with Iran

March 30 

By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds. 

But the survey — released hours before Tuesday’s negotiating deadline — also finds few Americans are hopeful that such an agreement will be effective. Nearly six in 10 say they are not confident that a deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, unchanged from 15 months ago, when the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia reached an interim agreement with Iran aimed at sealing a long-term deal. 

Overall, the poll finds 59 percent support an agreement in which the United States and its negotiating partners lift major economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Thirty-one percent oppose a deal.

Israel Displays New Sub Reportedly Armed With Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles

Abraham Rabinovich
March 31, 2015

JERUSALEM—With a possible agreement on Iran’s nuclear program approaching, the Israeli navy today hosted military reporters on a tour of its latest submarine, part of an underwater fleet reportedly armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that will serve as Israel’s major deterrent against a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic.

The submarine, the INS Tanin (in English, “Crocodile”) is one of five acquired from Germany in the past two decades.

According to foreign reports, cruise missiles aboard the vessels have a range of close to 1,000 miles and can carry nuclear warheads. Capable of extended stays at sea, one or more of submarines would likely always be within range of Iran.

Although Israel is reported to have some 80 nuclear weapons, these are seen only as “doomsday” options.

Cyber Attack Countermeasures Cyber Security Control Tower Centered on Office of National Security -

Mary Park
31 March 2015

Korea's presidential office plans to set up a cyber security control tower inside its National Security Office to deal with cyber attacks. Spokesman Min Kyung-wook says that the move is aimed to strengthen the top office's role in cyber security and to respond more effectively to cyber attacks. And the Cabinet today approved the creation of a new presidential post to handle cyber security.

The move came after a series of cyber attacks in South Korea and the United States in recent months. North Korea has a track record of waging cyber attacks on both countries, though it has denied any involvement in these high-profile cases.

How Google breaks through

February 2015

Lorraine Twohill, Google’s senior vice president of global marketing, describes what has and hasn’t changed for marketers trying to connect with customers.

Lorraine Twohill has made a career of pushing frontiers and forging connections. A 1992 graduate of Dublin City University, she spent a decade building brands for organizations across Europe. In 2003, Google tapped Twohill for its growing EMEA business, and in the process made her their first non-US marketing hire. Twohill advanced steadily from there; in 2009, she was named global head of marketing and then, in 2014, senior vice president of global marketing.

Twohill recently sat down with McKinsey’s Jonathan Gordon to share her views on a new inflection point in marketing. What new technologies are arising, which best practices are emerging, and what fundamentals still hold true since marketing’s first golden age?

Getting big impact from big data

By David Court
January 2015 

New technology tools are making adoption by the front line much easier, and that’s accelerating the organizational adaptation needed to produce results.

The world has become excited about big data and advanced analytics not just because the data are big but also because the potential for impact is big. Our colleagues at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) caught many people’s attention several years ago when they estimated that retailers exploiting data analytics at scale across their organizations could increase their operating margins by more than 60 percent and that the US healthcare sector could reduce costs by 8 percent through data-analytics efficiency and quality improvements.

Surveillance Showdown: U-2 Spy Plane vs. Drones

March 30, 2015

The history of the mighty U-2 Dragon Lady surveillance plane, and its future, is so tightly intertwined with drones that the death of one has often meant the survival of the other.

In fact, today’s modern U-2 fleet was born of a dead drone project in the 1970s called Compass Cope, a first-generation remotely-piloted aircraft program designed to replace the Dragon Lady with an unmanned alternative.

The U-2 first flew in 1955, and versions of that original spy plane — built to peek behind the Iron Curtain — continue to be the Air Force’s go-to plane for high-altitude photographic and signals intelligence gathering.

World’s Top Spy Agencies In High-Tech Arms Race to Stay Ahead of Targets

March 31, 2015

Spy agencies are caught in a “technology arms race” with terrorists and criminals, the new head of Britain’s MI6 said on Monday in his first public comments since becoming chief.

Alex Younger defended the use of data by the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, after the release of documents by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden sparked criticism of sweeping mass surveillance by intelligence agencies.

"Using data appropriately and proportionately offers us a priceless opportunity to be even more deliberate and targeted in what we do, and so to be better at protecting our agents and this country," Younger said.

"The bad news is the same technology in opposition hands, an opposition often unconstrained by consideration of ethics and law, allows them to see what we are doing and to put our people and agents at risk," he said.

Peru’s Prime Minister Fired Over Spying on Opposition Parties

March 31, 2015

Peru’s Congress has sacked the prime minister, Ana Jara, over alleged spying against lawmakers, reporters, business leaders and other citizens.

Supreme executive power in Peru is held by the president, in this case Ollanta Humala. It is the biggest crisis in his four years in power.

This is the first time the congress of Peru has deposed a prime minister since 1968. With a year left of his term, Humala must now name a prime minister for the seventh time.

The censure vote against Jara was 72 to 42, with two abstentions.

On March 19, the magazine Correo Semanal published a list of Peruvians who had allegedly been investigated by the National Intelligence Directorate, or DINI.

Lobbying Campaign Begins to Keep Western HQ of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Missouri

Nicholas J.C. Pistor
March 31, 2015

U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt have written a letter to the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency showcasing their “strong support” of keeping the agency’s western headquarters in Missouri. 

The agency is replacing its facility south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. They are choosing between four potential sites (three in Missouri, one in Illinois): Fenton (the site of the old Chrysler plant along Interstate 44); Mehlville (at the Met Life facility on Tesson Ferry Road, between Interstate 270 and Highway 141); north St. Louis (the site of the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex near Cass and Jefferson avenues); and St. Clair County (site adjacent to Scott Air Force Base along Interstate 64).

Taiwan: A Useful Ally Against China's Cyber Warriors?

March 31, 2015

This Monday, Taiwanese Vice Premier Simon Chang stated in an interview that he wants his country to establish a closer partnership on cybersecurity with the United States, according to Reuters. The reason behind the Vice Premier’s remarks is the steady increase in the number of cyberattacks on Taiwan’s critical information infrastructure originating from mainland China.

“Taiwan has no enemy in the international community except you-know-who. Who in the world would try to hack Taiwan?,” Chang rhetorically asked. He furthermore emphasized that Taiwan is used as a testing ground for future sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored attacks on U.S. targets.