4 July 2015

Tribal alienation in an unequal India

July 4, 2015

Thanks to the caste system, India has always been an unequal society. What is even more worrying is that inequality appears to have deepened in the past two decades

The Boston Consulting Group’s 15th annual report, “Winning the Growth Game: Global Wealth 2015”, has received extensive coverage in the Indian media. The report comes on top of the Global Wealth Databook 2014 from Credit Suisse, which provides a much more accurate and comprehensive picture of the trends in global inequality.

The Global Wealth Databook reveals some startling facts. The richest 1 per cent of Indians today own nearly half (49 per cent) of India’s personal wealth. The rest of us 99 per cent are left to share the remainder among ourselves. And that too is very unequally shared. The top 10 per cent Indians own nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of the country’s personal wealth. The remaining 90 per cent share a meagre quarter. At the other end of the spectrum, of the world’s poorest 20 per cent people, nearly one in four are Indians. Just to show by contrast, China’s share is a mere 3 per cent.

Narendra Modi's Agenda in Central Asia: Energy, Terrorism, and China

July 02, 2015

The Indian Prime Minister is making his first regional visit, with counterterrorism and energy at the top of the agenda. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Central Asia and Russia for the first time next week–with counterterrorism and energy topping the agenda. The eight-day trip (July 6-13) will kick off with state visits to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan July 6 and 7. Then Modi will head north to the Russian city of Ufa for the combined BRICS/SCO summit from July 8 to 10. After the two day summit, Modi will return to Central Asia, visiting Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan before heading back to New Delhi on July 13.

This will be Modi’s first visit to the region but follows an initiative first mentioned in 2012–the Connect Central Asia policy. The policy is aimed at building up political, security, economic and cultural ties between India and Central Asia. Although there have been high-level visits–Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh also traveled through the region and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee was in Moscow in May to celebrate Victory Day–multilateral organizations have been the policy’s linchpin. Just as the BRICS/SCO summits anchor the upcoming trip, they anchor India’s involvement and aspirations in the region.

Why the Indian soldiers of WW1 were forgotten

2 July 2015 

Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War One, and over 74,000 of them lost their lives. But history has mostly forgotten these sacrifices, which were rewarded with broken promises of Indian independence from the British government, writes Shashi Tharoor.

Exactly 100 years after the "guns of August" boomed across the European continent, the world has been extensively commemorating that seminal event. The Great War, as it was called then, was described at the time as "the war to end all wars". Ironically, the eruption of an even more destructive conflict 20 years after the end of this one meant that it is now known as the First World War. Those who fought and died in the First World War would have had little idea that there would so soon be a Second.

But while the war took the flower of Europe's youth to its premature grave, snuffing out the lives of a generation of talented poets, artists, cricketers and others whose genius bled into the trenches, it also involved soldiers from faraway lands that had little to do with Europe's bitter traditional hatreds.

Could India's Military Really Crush Pakistan?

India's conventional military superiority over Pakistan is exaggerated.

Following a raid by Indian special forces into Myanmar early this month, increasing attention has been given to the prospect that India might use similar means against Pakistan to pressure it to end support for anti-Indian militant groups. India’s on-going military modernization and headline-grabbing increases in defense spending have already raised concerns that it threatens to upset the delicate conventional military balance in the region and make military action a more attractive prospect for New Delhi. Taken at face value, there appears to be some validity to this line of thinking. Indian defense spending has doubled in real terms since 1997, growing at an average of 6.3 percent per year. The Modi announced a further 11 percent hike, raising the 2015–2016 military budget to $39.8 billion. Moreover, India is presently the world’s largest buyer of conventional weapons, with upwards of $100 billionexpected to be spent on modernizing its defense forces over the next decade.

Report on Drone Strikes in Pakistan and Yemen During First Half of 2015

Jack Serle
July 2, 2015

Drone war report, January – June 2015: controversial ‘signature strikes’ hit Yemen and Pakistan

Bureau of Investigative Journalism

i. Key points: 
Signature strikes return to Pakistan and Yemen. 
First confirmed civilian casualties since 2012 in Pakistan
Drone strikes persist in Yemen despite catastrophic civil war. 
More than 100 people killed in US air strikes in Afghanistan
Al Shabaab attacks continue in Somalia despite losing leaders in drone strikes. 

To read the full report which is richly illustrated with detailed charts and figures,click here.

South China Sea: China’s HD-981 Oil Rig Is Back

The return of the oil rig and rapid land reclamation belie China’s South China Sea rhetoric. 

The latest oil rig gesturing shows an inconsistency between rhetoric and action in China’s policy in the South China Sea. Together with its mass reclamation activities, the use of the oil rig is part and parcel of coercive diplomacy. It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic seawater. Still, though, it is hard to see the situation escalating to the point of conflict.

China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig is back, following on from last year’s headline dispute with Vietnam. Only this time, the rig is being reintroduced in timely fashion, just weeks before the first visit by the general secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party to Washington. According to reports, the platform is currently located 17°03’75’’ North latitude and 109°59’05’’ East longitude.

China talks Money – only Money !

Speaking at the China-India Industrial Cooperation Seminar organized recently by FICCI, Le Yucheng, China’s ambassador to India spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to China, summarizing the visit with three supers: super high-level reception, super friendly atmosphere and super fruitful results; 26 business agreements were signed covering a wide range of areas involving US $22 billion.

He said that China’s newly released strategy of ‘Made in China 2025’, featuring innovation and high-end manufacturing among others, and Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ strategy are compatible and complementary. He outlined three keys to advance mutual industrial cooperation between the two countries: first, infrastructure and manufacturing, infrastructure being the very foundation of connectivity and manufacturing being another important area of cooperation for economic development. He cited railway cooperation wherein China has provided heavy haul transportation training to more than 100 Indian engineers, setting up a railway ministry jointly is under discussion, speed raising of Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore railway and redevelopment of railway stations are underway, feasibility study of the 1754 km high speed rail from Delhi to Chennai has commenced, besides joint work is also on for smart city projects; second, the key focus of China-India industrial cooperation is at the local level, as this is where the greatest potential lies; sub-national cooperation is an effective way to tap into the full potential of different regions.

Portraying World War 3 Between The U.S. And China: Ghost Fleet

July 01, 2015

Tuesday saw the release of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, written by Peter Singer and co-authored by August Cole. This book portrays a global conflict, essentially World War III with the Chinese and Russians squaring off with the U.S. in the near future. Already the book is receiving rave reviews and is apparently circulating around the Pentagon in pre-published form. From what is already known of the book, it presents a realistic conflict scenario akin to those produced by one of the greatest geo-political, techno-thriller writers of the late 20th century, the late Tom Clancy. The book should provide a lesson to policy makers by providing a realistic depiction of a future conflict that one can connect to better than a government produced policy brief or academic analysis. It is the horrid nature of the conflict spelled out in a novel with human characters that should serve to reinforce the idea that conflict is not a possibility that should be taken lightly.

The Book

Don’t Be Too Quick to Count Out China

by Martin Hutchinson
July 2nd, 2015 
With the Shanghai Composite index up 130% in the past year and China's economy slowing, most commentators are calling for a bursting of what they see as the Chinese stock market bubble-the "biggest since the dot-com boom" as theWashington Post called it.

But that may be a myopic view. Looked at over the long-term, the market run-up looks largely justified, and considering the strong cash flow, there's little to stop it from continuing. While we shouldn't devote too much of our portfolio to such a volatile market, our holding of the Guggenheim China Small-cap ETF (NYSE: HAO) not only allows us to ride this bull market, but may also benefit from China's capital markets opening.

Just How Strong Will China's Military Be in 2025?

July 2, 2015 

The big question Asia—and the world—needs an answer to.
The People’s Liberation Army and its constituent branches have undergone extraordinary change over the last fifteen years. Doctrine, equipment, training, and strategic orientation have all evolved to the point that the PLA, the PLAN, and the PLAAF have become nearly unrecognizable from the vantage of the 1990s, when they used antiquated equipment, concentrated on making money rather than preparing to fight, and still looked for threats from the north rather than from the east.

The PLA has taken great steps forward over the past decade, just as it took great steps forward in the previous decade. What might it look like ten years from today? What trends do we expect to continue?

Increased Operational Experience:

Confronting China’s 'New' Military Challenge in the South China Sea

July 02, 2015

Beijing is just getting started, and its actions demand a response. 

Earlier this week, China announced that it had completed some of its land reclamation activities on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. As I have written previously, what these announcements really mean is that as we suspected, Beijing is shifting the focus from building new illegal islands to constructing military facilities on them (See: “The Truth About China’s South China Sea Land Reclamation Announcement”). Needless to say, these provocative acts risk further damaging regional peace and stability and undermining U.S. interests. As the emphasis moves to this dimension of China’s challenge in the South China Sea it is worth thinking about what this means and how Washington and other actors can begin to confront it.

The Truth About China's New National Security Law

July 01, 2015

China’s new national security law is vague, but it’s precisely the kind of legal wallpaper Xi Jinping needs. 

The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China’s national legislature, announced Wednesday morning that a controversial and broad national security law had passed. The law will go into effect across the People’s Republic, but will exclude the Special Administration Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The new law will affect almost every domain of public life in China—the law’s mandate covers politics, the military, finance, religion, cyberspace, and even ideology and religion. According to Chinese officials, the new law passed in the NPC with 154 votes in favor, none against, and a single abstention.

China’s Proposed Non-Governmental Organization Law: Cooperation or Coercion?

By Jared Genser and Julia Kuperminc
July 02, 2015

The language of the Overseas NGO Management Law must be amended to protect freedom of expression and association. 

It is no secret that thousands of people in China are currently imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs. Many have voiced unfavorable opinions in a peaceful manner and found themselves charged with subverting state power. Others have publicly discussed pertinent national issues and saw their words relabeled as treason, spying, or defamation. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their personnel operating in China already face harassment and intimidation. A proposed Overseas NGO Management Law threatens to provide the Chinese government with a new toolkit for state control and open a new front of persecution against civil society in China.

China already spends more than $130 billion annually on its domestic security budget. The draft of the new NGO law is part of a wave of proposed legislation, which also includes a new counter-espionage law and counter-terrorism law, intended to give a veneer of legality over China’s increasing and arbitrary repression of its own population in the name of national security.


July 2, 2015

The theft of the SF-86 security clearance records of millions of current, former, and prospective U.S. government employees and contractors from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) probably has the Chinese government doing a happy dance. This data breach may affect up to 6 percent of the entire U.S. population. What use can the data be to China? Here are nine things that can now be done on an industrial scale.

1. Identify undercover officers. It is unclear if Chinese intelligence could have gained access to information about intelligence agency personnel through OPM. It may not matter much. Some particularly security-conscious agencies do no not process their clearances through OPM, but with a complete list of people whom the OPM has investigated, it is child’s play to identify people who work for those particularly interesting agencies. If the Chinese Ministry of State Security wants to know whether Jane Doe is a CIA officer, it can check whether she shows up in the OPM data. If not, she probably is. This is precisely why the State Department stopped publishing its Biographic Register of Foreign Service Officers in 1974.

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia - (Text Only)

Disclaimer - Yes, this article is written by a former MI-6 Agent. Yes, it is written by someone whose establishment, it can be argued, were directly responsible for the ascendancy of political Wahabbism in the Arabian Peninsula. None of that takes away from the fact that it is factual, and serves as a good history lesson for the uninitiated or a decent refresher for those of us with lagging memories. He gives a great early history, yet glosses over events after WWI. Not to mention it is somewhat of an admission of the West's use of Wahabbism as a policy tool to counter adversarial influence. It is well worth your time and effort to read through it.

Exclusive: U.S. Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia

JULY 2, 2015

Two decades after “Black Hawk Down,” U.S. special operations forces are back in East Africa’s most troubled nation. FP provides a rare window into their shadowy operations.

KISMAYO, Somalia — Some say the Americans are everywhere. Some say they are nowhere. Still others say they are everywhere and nowhere at once. But the shadowy U.S. presence in this strategic port city in war-torn southern Somalia has clear consequences for anyone with a share of power here. That includes Somali regional officials who are quick to praise American counterterrorism efforts, African Union forces who rely on U.S. intelligence as they battle back al-Shabab, and even the al Qaeda-linked militants themselves, who are increasingly hemmed in by a lethal combination of AU-led counterinsurgency, airstrikes, and raids by U.S. special operators.

Russia's Deadliest Sub Will Have a New Home by October

July 03, 2015

Construction at the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base is moving according to plan, a Russian official tells the press. 

New Russian submarine facilities currently under construction on the Kamchatka Peninsula could be completed by the end of October USNI News reports.

The Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base, located nine miles (15 kilometers) across Avacha Bay from the region’s capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is home to most of Russia’s Pacific nuclear submarine fleet and will be the homeport of the Russian Navy’s new Borei-class (aka Dolgorukiy-class), Project 955, fourth generation SSBN (Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear) submarines.

According to the Russian Navy’s Commander in Chief, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, the construction on the base, which includes recreation facilities, warehouses, and a new crane used to install missiles on the subs, is moving according to plan:

The New Dilemmas of Nuclear Deterrence

By Rod Lyon
July 03, 2015

With nuclear modernisation programs under way across a range of countries, Russia asserting its rightto deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimea, NATO reviewing the role of nuclear weapons in the alliance, and a recent report in the US arguing for a more versatile arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, it’s clear the world’s revisiting an old problem: how to build effective nuclear deterrence arrangements.

Since the end of the Cold War, thinking about deterrence issues has been mainly confined to the academic and think-tank world. But policymakers are now having to re-engage with those issues. And the problem has a new twist: we no longer enjoy the luxury of a bipolar world. Indeed, as Therese Delpech observed in her RAND monograph Nuclear deterrence in the 21st century, nowadays ‘the actors are more diverse, more opaque, and sometimes more reckless’.

Done properly, deterrence is a contest in threats and nerve, or—to use Thomas Schelling’s phraseology—‘the manipulation of risk’. (The chapter so titled in Schelling’s Arms and influence is a great starting point for anyone wanting to think through the broader deterrence problem.) That helps explain why some thought the concept ‘ugly’. It’s hard to make a policy threatening massive damage to societies and civilians sound noble and aspirational. Still, the bad news is that the alternatives are worse. And if deterrence is going to remain the dominant approach in nuclear weapon strategy, we need to fit the strategy to the contemporary geopolitical environment.

‘US alienation game to spark WW3, not China’s economic failures’

US billionaire investor George Soros warns the world is on the brink of WWIII unless the US financial system opens up to China. But a former US diplomat told RT that it has nothing to do with the economy, but everything with bad US geopolitical policy.

"If there is conflict between China and a military ally of the United States, like Japan, then it is not an exaggeration to say that we are on the threshold of a third world war," Soros was quoted as saying by MarketWatch at the Bretton Woods conference at the World Bank.

Soros added that if China’s efforts to establish a domestic-driven economy fail, it could turn to launching an external conflict to distract its population.

To avoid disaster, Washington needs to strengthen its economic ties with Beijing, according to Soros.

UK universities revise computer course guidelines to boost ranks of cyber warriors

01 Jul 2015 

UK universities revise course guidelines to transform computing degree courses and ensure that undergraduates learn cyber security skills 

IN THE CURRENT ISSUE:– The hidden complexity that awaits the next generation of banking IT leaders– Is HMRC making tax more taxing for non-digital taxpayers?– Why the CIO should loosen the grip on enterprise ITDownload Current Issue

IT security certification body (ISC)2 has published accreditation criteria for teaching cyber security to more than 20,000 UK undergraduates a year from September 2015.

The UK’s first higher education leaning guidelines for undergraduate computing degrees will now form part of the accreditation criteria referenced by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Union sues OPM — Second breach, of security clearance material, to be announced next week

With help from Joseph Marks, David Perera, Shaun Waterman and Caroline Cullen Barker

UNION SUES OPM — The largest union representing federal employees is seeking class action status for a lawsuit filed against the Office of Personnel Management over the massive breach at the agency. Dave reported the American Federation of Government Employees lawsuit late Monday. The action against OPM and federal contractor KeyPoint alleges that OPM violated the Privacy Act and Administrative Procedure Act — by failing to comply with Federal Information Security Management Act procedures to document cybersecurity measures. KeyPoint, a background investigation contractor whose credential was used to compromise OPM database, is accused of negligence.

AFGE is seeking damages for current and future losses related to the compromise of employee personal information, “adequate” credit monitoring for a “sufficient” length of time and ID theft insurance and repair services. It also seeks a court order that KeyPoint and OPM improve their cybersecurity. "AFGE will not sit idly by while OPM fails to comply with the most basic requests for information or provide an adequate response. Even after this historic security breach, OPM has continued to use poor data security practices and inferior private-sector strategies to solve its security woes," AFGE National President J. David Cox said in a statement. AFGE will hold a conference call on the lawsuit this morning, and we’ll be tracking. The complaint:http://bit.ly/1SZmsDT

The Worst-Case Scenario for the Global Economy

JULY 2, 2015 

If Greece and China both falter, here’s how it could all come tumbling down. 

Let me start by saying that I have no idea what the worst-case scenario looks like, as indeed no one does. Because of unexpected events — black swans, unknown unknowns, or, to use the term of the moment,Knightian uncertainty — it’s impossible to know just how bad things could get in the global economy. But a few dominoes could fall that might make things very uncomfortable in the markets, and it’s worth considering what the world would look like then.

The most obvious risks are in the eurozone and China. If Greece defaults and eventually has to abandon the euro, the currency’s sheen of invulnerability will disappear. The impossible will have become possible, and investors will be forced to consider the fact that other countries — Portugal may be next in line — might someday exit the eurozone as well.

Europe's Dangerous Distraction: Pipelines

July 2, 2015 

"Pipelines distract us from reality."
The pipeline games in Europe never end. South Stream is dead, but it was soon resurrected as Turkish Stream, dealing a “heavy blow” to Brussels (this project has since hit a snag); the new government in Greece immediately saw an opening, and so Greek Stream was born, a pipeline that seems to have everything going for it except a clear purpose. And just to make sure that Northern Europe is not left behind, Russia is mulling an expansion to Nord Stream, the pipeline that connects Russia to Germany.

Not to be outdone, other dead pipelines are returning: there is talk of resurrecting Nabucco and the Italy-Greece Interconnector, both of which vanished when Azerbaijan decided to ship its gas to Europe through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Pipelines that have been on life-support are also getting a jolt: the Trans-Caspian pipeline with Turkmenistan is getting a few nods recently, and Europe’s focus on North Africa means that Galsi, a proposed pipeline from Algeria to Sardinia and then Italy, might resurface soon.

The Hidden Monster Behind the Greek and Puerto Rican Crises

The consistent if unstated theme of cases like Greece and Puerto Rico is the lack of economic growth necessary to support the debt load.

This week’s default by Greece is a considerable failure for the International Monetary Fund and the leadership of the European Union. In 2010, Greece signed an agreement with the IMF with respect to its growing foreign debt, which provided for additional financial assistance in return for economic reforms. The IMF program provided for measures to stabilize the Greek economy, but instead Greek GDP has shrunk by 25 percent and the country’s debt has grown. By October 2011, EU banks were forced to take a large haircut on Greek debt and began to transfer these exposures to the EU states.

5 Reasons America Should Fear the Global Middle Class

July 2, 2015 

The rise of the global middle class could prove to be even more harmful than climate change...

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama made a pitch for “middle class economics” to help America’s beleaguered middle class, which continues to face stagnant wages, job displacement and soaring college costs and debt. His stated goal was to provide Americans with the requisite tools to get ahead in a fast-paced, constantly changing global economy. Of course, the United States middle class is not alone. Those in other advanced industrial countries are suffering similar or worse fates.

Meanwhile, an opposing trend is sweeping the developing world. Both the size and spending of the middle class in emerging market and developing countries are surging, particularly in China and India. By 2030, Asia-Pacific countries will comprise nearly two-thirds of the global middle class, dwarfing the projected one-fifth for Europe and North America combined. Seized by the dramatic eastward shift of global consumption, a growing number of analysts are examining the potential economic and political consequences of the rising global middle class.

Why Russia Shouldn't Fear NATO

"Far from threatening Russia, a strong NATO has a much greater incentive to act with self-restraint toward Russia than individual countries."

President Putin and many other Russians have complained bitterly about the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltics after the end of the Cold War. Putin in particular has been determined to stop NATO from expanding into any other former Soviet republics, including those such as Georgia and Ukraine whose leaders have expressed interest in joining. Indeed, many Russians are indignant that NATO was not dissolved like the Warsaw Pact was at the end of the Cold War. Putin in particular sees NATO’s expansion as directed against Russia. With this as his premise, it is clearly in Russia’s interest not only to prevent NATO’s further expansion, but to undermine the Atlantic alliance and even promote its dissolution.

The US Doesn't Need Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Asia

July 02, 2015

The risks and consequences far outweigh any potential benefits. 

Should U.S. tactical nukes Return to Asia? Probably not. A new Project Atom report (of which several of my esteemed colleagues are co-authors) includes among its recommendations the U.S. forward deployment of “tactical” nuclear weapons.

I can think of very few reasons why redeploying tactical nuclear weapons to Asia would be a good idea, and many reasons why it would be a terrible one.

There’s no consensus definition of what constitutes a tactical nuclear weapon, but considering the various things it’s used to describe—suitcase nuclear bombs, nuclear artillery, short-range nuclear missiles, nuclear depth charges, or “battlefield” nuclear weapons—it’s clear that tactical nuclear weapons are considered eminently usable nuclear weapons in the context of military planning.

As a brief historical primer, the United States first moved to adopt tactical nuclear weapons during the Cold War, initially deployed to Europe as a means of offsetting Soviet superiority in conventional ground forces. They gained strategic relevance in U.S. military circles at the height of the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, and by the 1970s the United States had more than 7,300 tactical nuclear weapons in the European theater alone. All that came to an end in 1991 when President George H.W. Bush unilaterally announced the near total global withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, including from Asia. By 1994, some 90% of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons had been decommissioned.

Japan’s South China Sea Strategy

July 01, 2015

Tokyo doesn’t have a claim to the sea, but it certainly cares about what happens there. 

In recent weeks, the world has turned its collective attention to China’s intensive artificial island building activity in the South China Sea, where the Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands, the Scarborough Shoal and a number of other features are disputed territory. Although Japan is not directly involved in the disputes – China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei have overlapping claims – it is nonetheless an interested party.

Japanese policymakers closely monitor developments in the South China Sea and seek to shape both actual Chinese behavior and the global discourse about such behavior. For Japan, a major concern is that the handling of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea could set a precedent with the potential to negatively affect how China will act vis-à-vis Japan in the East China Sea, where the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are disputed between Japan and China.


July 1, 2015 

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the White House has just finished an extensive internal review and developed a plan to reshape the National Security Council (NSC). The review was applauded by many in Washington, given the growing consensus that America’s national security apparatus is in need of an upgrade. However, recognizing that this administration is well into its “fourth quarter,” the heavy lifting on reform will largely fall to the next administration.

As we discuss in our new report for the Center for a New American Security, improving the NSC starts with accurately diagnosing its problems. Four big issues are holding back the NSC today. First, today’s interagency decision-making process pushes too many decisions up to the Principals Committee (an NSC meeting chaired by the national security advisor rather than the president) and the formal National Security Council. It is common to witness cabinet secretaries, the vice president, and even the president debating what are arguably tactical issues, which steals time and focus from tackling the more fundamental strategic questions and detracts from their broader missions at their home agencies. It also means the number of meetings has skyrocketed out of control. This atmosphere leads to a common lament among cabinet officials and their deputies that they do not get to start their jobs until a full regular workday’s worth of meetings concludes.

How America and China Have Different Visions of International Order

By Alek Chance
July 03, 2015

One man’s leadership is another man’s hegemony. 

This May, China’s Ministry of Defense published a white paper, “China’s Military Strategy,” only a few months after the United States’ most recent National Security Strategy (NSS) was released. It is revealing to compare the two documents, both to see how each nation envisions the other in a strategic context, and because it adds to our understanding of both countries’ self-conceptions.

The United States’ NSS focuses on a panoply of functional threats to national security—proliferation, climate change, terrorism—before moving on to discuss strengthening America’s economy and promoting state-building and human development in troubled countries. Only the final section of the document discusses the question of “order,” including the “rebalance” of American attention to Asia.

UK universities revise computer course guidelines to boost ranks of cyber warriors

UK universities revise course guidelines to transform computing degree courses and ensure that undergraduates learn cyber security skills

IN THE CURRENT ISSUE:– The hidden complexity that awaits the next generation of banking IT leaders– Is HMRC making tax more taxing for non-digital taxpayers?– Why the CIO should loosen the grip on enterprise ITDownload Current Issue

IT security certification body (ISC)2 has published accreditation criteria for teaching cyber security to more than 20,000 UK undergraduates a year from September 2015.

The UK’s first higher education leaning guidelines for undergraduate computing degrees will now form part of the accreditation criteria referenced by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Bill Mitchell, director of education at BCS, said the guidelines will provide additional direction on cyber security elements to complement the existing information security criteria for computing-related degrees accredited by the BCS.

Digital India: what you need to know

July 1, 2015

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the Digital India Week on Wednesday, following are the projects and products that have been launched, or are ready for deployment, as part of the initiative:

– Digital locker system to minimize usage of physical documents and enable their e-sharing via registered repositories.

– MyGov.in as an an online platform to engage citizens in governance through a “Discuss, Do and Disseminate” approach.

– Swachh Bharat Mission Mobile app to achieve the goals set by this mission.

– e-Sign framework to allow citizens to digitally sign documents online using Aadhaar.

– e-Hospital system for important healthcare services such as online registration, fee payment, fixing doctors’ appointments, online diagnostics and checking blood availability online.

Digital India: Who's investing $75 billion

July 1, 2015

Digital India will see $75 billion investment from several companies.

As usual, there is no specific time frame set for this massive investment.

The industry leaders who promised investments were:

Reliance Group’s Anil Ambani — Rs 10,000 crore

Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani — Rs 250,000 crore

Aditya Vikram Birla Group’s Kumarmangalam Birla – Rs.420 billion ($7 bn) in the next five years of which they will invest Rs 120 billion ($2 bn) in Digital India areas

Bharti Group’s Sunil Mittal – Rs.1 lakh crore ($16 billion)

Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal – Rs 40,000 crore

Delta Electronics’ Ping Cheng – Rs 30 billion ($500 million)

Nidec Corporation’s Mikio Katayama – Rs 60 billion ($1 billion)

Both Koreas Invited to Beijing For World War II Anniversary

Will both Koreas send ceremonial units to China’s parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end?

The Chinese government may have invited the militaries of both South and North Korea to participate in a Chinese military parade toward the end of September to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Asia. South Korea’s Yonhap News noted that a South Korean diplomatic source with knowledge of the matter notes that the parade is scheduled on September 3. Additionally, China has invited North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to visit Beijing for the commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the war.

This will be the first time that foreign militaries are invited to participate in the Chinese parade. Though the participation of the Korean militaries remains uncertain, it is highly likely that Russia will send troops. Chinese President Xi Jinping went to Moscow in May at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to commemorate the war’s anniversary in Russia. Though North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was originally expected in Moscow—the trip would have been his first abroad in an official capacity since he took the reins in North Korea—he did not end up going.

Australia’s Direction on Defense

By Claire Corbett
July 02, 2015

The Chief of the Australian Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell answers questions during a Q&A session at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Australian Army Future Force Structure Options Conference held at the QT hotel Canberra on June 25-26.

Military and political leaders discuss the direction for the ADF at a recent conference. 

It was telling that the important announcements in Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s speech last week at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) conference on the future structure of the Australian Army were all to do with the Navy. This is because, despite the Army’s near-constant deployment overseas and high tempo of operations over the past fifteen years, Australian military strategy defines the frontline defense of the continent as the role of the Navy and Air Force. And frontline defense is certainly on the minds of Australian politicians and military personnel: Anxiety over the situation in the South China Sea was palpable during this conference, both from speakers and within the audience.


Recently published NATO defense statistics reveal the poor state of European defense capabilities and spending. Only four out of 26 European NATO member-states spend the minimum level needed to train and equip a credible fighting force — namely 2 percent of annual GDP. Faced with the Russian revival and the ongoing crisis over Ukraine, NATO’s European member-states are spending too little on defense to even start rebuilding the military capability lost over the last 20 years, during which NATO has focused on military operations of choice out-of-area. Particularly the European member-states of NATO lack the capability to deter a large-scale military attack against one or more member-states. And should such an attack take place, “European NATO” lacks the capability to counter such an attack.