15 September 2015

The Battle of "Dual Control"

By Gp Capt DC Bakshi
14 Sep , 2015

Public memory is very short. For the majority of us “mulki laat-jungi laat” would sound like a queer jumble of words. But just a hundred years ago, a mock battle was fought between the two-it was a corporate clash and there was no bloodshed. The Mulki Laat was Lord Curzon, the Governor­ General of India, and the Jungi Laat was Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief of India.

Who are their counterparts today? President, the Head of State and the Prime Minister, the Head of the Government–as “Mulki” and the three Service Chiefs as “Jungi”. It will be ridiculous to compare the status and protocol gradation enjoyed by the Commander-in-Chief of those days. He was virtually the NO.2 man in the Viceroy’s Council. In one of the rarest of the rare cases (which would cause consternation amongst the present-day highly protocol-conscious bureaucracy) the Governor-General (Lord Hardinge) fought under the overall command of the Commander-in-Chief (Lord Ghoh). This was during the Anglo-Sikh war-and of course the anomaly was by exception and never repeated again.

India’s Self-Reliance in Military Aerospace Industry

By Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja
14 Sep , 2015

Having learnt a lesson from the 1990s, the Government of India (GoI) has since laid emphasis on indigenisation of the defence industry with a number of measures initiated in this direction. The promulgation of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) and its subsequent refinements specifying the offset criteria, opening the market to the private sector and permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are some of the policies that have been formulated yet actualising procurement decisions into manufacturing have been relatively slow. As Air Marshal Vinod Patney (Retd), Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies, at a Seminar on ‘Energising Indian Aerospace Industry’ recently mentioned, “The silver lining is discernible, but barely.” An attempt, therefore, is being made to review the current status and trajectory of indigenisation in the aerospace industry.

The current status of India’s defence production sector, especially in the aerospace segment, leaves much to be desired…

India’s grand strategy for the 21st century

by Pranay Kotasthane
March 25, 2015

Piecing together the elements of India’s geostrategy since its independence.

A review of Beyond South Asia: India’s Strategic Evolution and the Reintegration of the Subcontinent.

The Indian Prime Minister made a whirlwind tour to the Indian Ocean island states of Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Mauritius a couple of weeks ago. While some analysts termed this visit as an attempt by India to reclaim its ‘backyard’, others saw it as an endeavour in pursuit of mutually beneficial partnerships between India and its neighbours. This confusion regarding regarding India’s role vis-a-vis the geopolitical actors in the Indian subcontinent is the central theme of Beyond South Asia: India’s Strategic Evolution and the Reintegration of the Subcontinent.

The author of the book, Neil Padukone is a strategic affairs analyst who has consistently explored the various facets of India’s strategic interests in his earlier writings. He concedes that while there is a huge body of work focusing on views from the world about India, India’s own conception of the world has seldom been articulated. The author seeks to bridge this divide by analysing the major strands of India’s strategic thought since its independence. In order to accomplish this task, the author employs perspectives from realist, liberalist and constructivist school of thought, alternating between them in an effort “to stay true to the factors that drive and have driven India’s strategic perspective at different junctures in history”. The book is backed by field interviews with Indian officials, activists, political analysts and journalists along with the analyses of primary and secondary documents on India’s strategic worldview.

The book is divided in three parts, each exploring a different era of India’s evolution as a geopolitical actor since its independence.

Inside Pakistan

By Jai Kumar Verma
12 Sep , 2015

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was a Shia and about 30–35 million people in Pakistan are Shias, but as fundamentalism has grown, a few extremist Sunni organisations, like the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jundullah, massacred many Shias. The Shias have also constituted a few organisations to counter the Sunnis. Hence the divide between both sects has augmented. Pakistan possesses nuclear warheads, and radicalism is increasing. Hence the whole world is worried that the nuclear warheads may fall in the hands of terrorist organisations. Sometimes back, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed that they are very near procuring nuclear warheads from Pakistan. The Pakistan government may not hand over nuclear weapons to terrorists, but extremists can procure these through some rogue employees.

The rulers of Pakistan, as well as the notorious ISI, also helped in enhancing fundamentalism and extremism in the country as they wanted to send religious fanatics to Afghanistan and India, especially Jammu and Kashmir, for terrorist attacks.

Rise of Fundamentalism and Terrorism

Deterrence on steroids: Pakistani strategists embrace nuclear option as answer to Indian threat

Credible minimum deterrence was simple, elegant ‒ and enough. But then, the boys decided it was not enough

The good thing about nuclear weapons is that they’re relatively simple to understand. None of that order of battle stuff and how one set of jets stacks up against another set of tanks and what not.

I have a bomb and if you invade me, I’m going to use the bomb, so you better not ever think of attacking me. Simple.

The Lashkar's empire of jihad

September 11, 2015 

How Pakistan's intelligence agency created a pliant proxy and implacable foe of India

In the beginning

In 1984 Zaki-ur-Rehman assembled a small group of Pakistani Ahl-e-Hadith adherents to wage jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. A year later, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zafar Iqbal, two professors from the Islamic studies department of Lahore Engineering University, formed the Jamaat-ul-Dawa (Organization for Preaching, JuD), a small group that was primarily focused upon tabligh (proselytization) or dawa (missionary work) aiming to propagate the Ahl-e-Hadith creed. In 1986, Lakhvi merged his militia with JuD to create the Markaz Daawat ul Irshad (MDI, Center for Preaching and Guidance). MDI had three functions: jihad; proselytization of the Ahl-e-Hadith maslak, and the creation of a new generation of Muslims committed to their ideology. Within one year of forming, MDI established its first militant training camp, Muaskar-e-Taiba, in the Afghan province of Paktia, and established another camp, Muaskar-e-Aqsa, in Kunar.

India’s Afghan Policy: Not Rebuff, But A Refrain from Reflexive Response

In recent weeks, there has been some puzzlement over India’s somewhat less than enthusiastic response to Afghan overtures for re-engaging and revitalizing the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the two countries in 2011. At a time when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s misplaced faith, or if you will Great Gamble, on Pakistan’s bonafides has started to unravel, many analysts imagined that India would be more than willing to step into the breach. But it appears that New Delhi is going to refrain from a reflexive response that everyone expected of it and will tread with extreme caution into what is clearly a very fluid, even treacherous, situation. In other words, anyone who calculated, as it seems Ashraf Ghani did, that he could afford to ignore India to flirt with Pakistan because India would in any case be ready to jump in the moment things between Afghanistan and Pakistan went awry, or that India would be not be averse to being used as a bargaining chip with Pakistan, had just not read the Indian policy correctly.

Pakistan’s tenuous relationship with violent non-state actors in Afghanistan

by Pranay Kotasthane 
September 4, 2015 

Understanding this dynamic is critical to a path to peace in Afghanistan.

Following the news confirming Mullah Omar’s death, analysts have evaluated that internal rifts in the Taliban would derail the on-going peace negotiations. However, little has been said about Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban factions or with militias outside the Taliban fold in Afghanistan. Also missing is an understanding of the direction each of the Taliban factions is likely to take in the changed environment.

Can China stabilise AfPak?

by Shakti Sinha 
September 4, 2015 

To be successful, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) needs a stable Afghanistan and normalisation of India-Pakistan links to achieve its potential. 

The eruption of a war of words between Afghanistan and Pakistan is seen as a setback to the peace process between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Though it was Afghanistan which took the lead on this with president Ashraf Ghani accusing Pakistan of sending out “messages of war”, the Afghans can hardly be blamed for the breakdown. This year has been the worst year for civilian causalities in Afghanistan since the United Nations started tracking them. Afghan security forces have also suffered huge casualties with over 4300 dead and 8000 injured since January. But what really upset president Ghani was a string of attacks in Kabul, three on Friday August 7th that led to over 50 deaths and one on August 10th at the entrance of Kabul airport that killed five persons. This spike in violence in fact immediately followed the first publicly acknowledged talks between the two sides at Murree. With public sentiments across Afghanistan running high against Pakistan’s perceived duplicity, Ashraf Ghani had no option left but to blame Pakistan.

Myanmar: Mechanics of the Elections

September 10, 2015

Previous elections in Myanmar have drawn criticism, but the military-dominated Union Election Commission appears to be trying to ensure the upcoming elections are more transparent and better run.

Myanmar's electoral process had a dramatic, if shaky, start when President Thein Sein -- with the support of the military -- forcibly ousted parliamentary Speaker Shwe Mann from the leadership of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, and moved his own loyal officials into place. 

While the president took a back seat during that tense evening at USDP headquarters in mid-August, the move sent a strong signal that military leaders intended to retain control of the pace and direction of democratic change -- and were unhappy about the ambitious speaker's challenges to their authority. 

The president and his military commander say they remain committed to holding a free and fair election. That should not be surprising. International approval of the election outcome is crucial to the country's future. It may explain why Shwe Mann -- an ex-general turned reformer who has openly courted Myanmar's democratic icon, Aung San Suu Kyi -- has been permitted to retain his seat in the legislature and his influential role as parliamentary speaker. He remains a potent political force, as seen in the defeat of a subsequent parliamentary bill that would have enabled his impeachment for failing to consult adequately on his legislative moves. Faced with serious internal rivalries, Myanmar's leaders clearly realize they can only go so far if they are to keep the elections on track and retain support of the international community.

Two stages 

Russia's PAK-FA Stealth Fighter vs. China's J-20: Who Wins?

September 12, 2015

Russia and China have recently moved closer together as they collaborate to limit U.S. influence around the globe. However, relations between the two great powers have not always been so cozy.

Indeed, the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union even fought a brief undeclared border war in 1969, shattering the illusion of a monolithic Communist bloc. While China and post-Soviet Russia have recently been drawn together, there is always the possibility that in the future their interests may diverge. In the event of conflict, air power would play a key role.

So how might Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fare against the Chinese Chengdu J-20? That would depend on the type of conflict. Indeed, as I have noted before, while the PAK-FA is definitely an air superiority fighter, it’s not clear that the J-20 is a fighter at all.

CIA IG Report and Changes at the Agency Since 9/11

Justin Rohrlich
September 13, 2015

‘Blind Spots and Inefficiencies’: The CIA Before and After 9/11

On a Friday night last June, the CIA quietly released an internal accountability report focusing on the lead-up to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The declassified report was not new. Titled “Office of Inspector General Report on Central Intelligence Agency Accountability Regarding Findings and Conclusions of the Report of the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” it had first been released in 2007 in a heavily redacted state. The version released last June, however, had far fewer redactions — and also included never-before-seen rebuttal letters from then-CIA Director George Tenet.

The new version of the report absolves Saudi Arabia for any complicity in the attacks. It also paints a fascinating picture of a corporate culture at the CIA in which backstabbing and turf wars were common. The relationship between the CIA and the FBI — specifically the one between the CIA’s Usama bin Laden station and the FBI’s New York Field Office, which was responsible for al Qaeda-related matters — was described as “troubled at best and dysfunctional at worst.” Additionally, the “significant differences” found to have existed between the CIA and the NSA “remained unresolved well into 2001 in spite of the fact that considerable management attention was devoted to the issue, including at the level of the Agency’s Deputy Executive Director.”

Obama's ISIL Strategy: Success or a Giant Failure?

September 14, 2015

Around this time last year, President Obama addressed the U.S. public to outline his administration’s policy towards the Islamic State. It was a speech that Obama was no doubt reluctant to make given his general preference that foreign-policy issues be kept off the domestic agenda. But ISIL’s dramatic territorial gains in Iraq and Syria meant that some sort of response was inevitable. Twelve months on, how is the president’s strategy holding up?

In his speech, Obama stressed that ISIL should be understood as a terrorist organization that could be dealt with using more-or-less conventional counter-terrorism tools. The U.S. need not put boots on the ground to defeat ISIL, he reassured Americans. Instead, the same techniques already being used against al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks would continue to suffice: airstrikes, financial sanctions, and the arming of allies in the region (in this case, the Iraqi government, Kurdish fighters, and “moderate” Syrian rebels).

Why Fighting Through Auxiliaries Usually Fails

September 13, 2015

The crisis over the so-called Islamic State (or, ISIS) has once again led policy makers and the national-security community to think very hard about relying on auxiliary forces, either paramilitary forces such as the Syrian Kurds’People’s Protection Units (YPG) or regional actors ranging from Turkey to Jordan (even the Assad regime or Iran), to deal with intricate challenges.

This is not surprising. While ISIS presents a challenge to the regional security and may potentially emerge as a breeding ground for terrorists with intentions to strike the West, the actual and potential costs of putting U.S. troops on the ground would be tremendous, not to mention a difficult sell to the domestic audiences in the aftermath of Afghanistan and Iraq.

What is surprising is that the Western analysts and policy makers, even after so many experiences gone bad, keep convincing themselves that relying on and/or empowering local actors can help the United States and its allies avoid costly options, while at the same time solving the problem in the way they want it solved.

Data shows drone attacks will not work against ISIL in Syria

David Alpher Adjunct professor, George Mason University
September 13, 2015

This week, the Washington Post published a story about a new US planto use lethal drone strikes in Syria to destroy ISIL capabilities on the ground.

The desire to do something—anything—to destroy the capabilities of a group so luridly destructive is understandable, but our haste to show results will likely result in a hollow victory at best.

Proponents of lethal drone strikes argue they are an effective way of reducing operational capabilities and that they make Americans safer.

Critics of the program argue that the risk of civilian casualties is too high and constitutes a human rights violation. They add that thesecondary effect of radicalizing bystanders outweighs any tactical successes.

I offer an additional, simpler critique, based on 14 years of experience analyzing and working with programs designed to reduce conflict, insurgency and violent extremism worldwide: there’s no evidence that drone strikes work.

Trends in Iraqi Violence, Casualties and Impact of War: 2003-2015

SEP 14, 2015 

The focus on the threat posed by ISIS has led to a dangerous tendency to ignore the overall patterns of violence in Iraq and the fact that any lasting peace and stability must address Iraq’s other causes of violence. A new analysis of the patterns of violence in Iraq by the Burke Chair at CSIS examines these issues in detail. It is entitled Trends in Iraqi Violence, Casualties and Impact of War: 2003-2015, and is available on the CSIS web site athttp://csis.org/files/publication/150914_Trends_in_Iraqi_Violence_Casualties.pdf, or by clicking on the above PDF.

This analysis focuses on the rising levels of violence after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and the impact of U.S. efforts to create effective Iraqi forces, the degree to which former Prime Minister Maliki’s actions triggered a new rise in civil conflict between 2011-2013, and the impact of the attacks by ISIL from later 2013 onwards.

It draws on a wide range of official U.S. reporting, Iraqi government reporting, UN reporting, and reporting by NGOs like Iraq Body Count. It shows in map and graphic form that sectarian fighting between Sunni and Shi’ite, and ethnic tension largely between Arab and Kurd, have been critical problems since 2003, and remain challenges that are as serious as ISIS.

A new Tahrir moment?

Iraqi riot police prevent protesters from storming the provincial council building during a demonstration against corruption in Basra.

Protests for civic services in Baghdad and Beirut bring hope, even as sectarianism rages in West Asia.

Just as the wild furies of sectarianism threaten to tear apart West Asia, massive protests on a civic basis took place in Baghdad and Beirut. In both cities, the populations rose up out of frustration over a lack of basic services and corruption. During the hot summer, power cuts plagued Baghdad, even as garbage piled up on the streets of Beirut. In both Iraq and Lebanon, leaders of various sectarian groups lived comfortable lives in their gated zones. The gap between their lavish existence and the privations suffered by ordinary people sent millions of Iraqis and Lebanese onto the streets. In Baghdad, a banner celebrated the street’s ethics, “From Baghdad to Beirut — Not Sunni, Not Shia. Ours is a Civil State.” This was wishful thinking, but it was nonetheless brought to life in the demonstrations.

South Korea’s Growing Ties With Uzbekistan

By Samuel Ramani
September 13, 2015

On August 31, 2015, South Korean diplomats held a grand celebration to commemorate the 24th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s declaration of independence from the USSR. This spectacle, which took place at Seoul’s Lotte Hotel, brought back to the spotlight the marked improvement in relations between South Korea and Uzbekistan in recent years. Uzbekistan highlighted its commitment to South Korea as a major partner, when Uzbek president Islam Karimov chose South Korea as his first travel destination following his rubber-stamp May 2015 reelection. Uzbekistan has also displaced Kazakhstan as South Korea’s primary trade partner in Central Asia, with $1.9 billion in trade linkages being recorded last year between the two countries.

South Korea’s rebalance towards Uzbekistan is intriguing, and can be explained by two primary factors. First, South Korea and Uzbekistan share many economic interests in the energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The ROK has deftly balanced its investment in these sectors to maximize its influence in the Uzbek economy. Second, South Korea and Uzbekistan have significant normative and cultural synergy. This synergy is a product of ROK’s respect for Uzbekistan’s economic sovereignty, Uzbekistan’s support for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, and the large Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan. These factors have driven the creation of a cooperative working relationship between the ROK and Uzbekistan.

Economic Cooperation

Introducing the Hellburner: The 16th Century 'Nuclear Weapon'

September 13, 2015

Some of the largest non-nuclear explosions on record — in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917, Port Chicago, California in 1944 and Texas City, Texas in 1947 — involved huge accidental blasts at harbors and aboard ships.

But what if a similar explosion occurred by intent rather than accident? A really powerful bomb, as big as a ship, could change history.

A bomb disguised as a shipping container — mixed in with the great volume of traffic and cargo passing through a major seaport — makes for a scenario that keeps U.S. Homeland Security officials awake at night. An entire ship converted into a floating bomb makes for nightmare fuel.

The really scary part? It wouldn’t be unprecedented.

Hundreds of years before the Manhattan Project, an Italian weapons expert in the pay of the English government created the 16th century equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon. After Federigo Giambelli’s offer of services to the Spanish court received a lukewarm reception, he moved to Antwerp and settled down.

The UN's Smart New Way to Increase Economic Growth and Security

September 14, 2015

An economy does not grow easily in the midst of a crossfire. The United Nations opens its 70th session on September 15, and later this month diplomats are poised to adopt a new approach to global development. If you thought that eradicating global poverty was about feeding the hungry, providing medicine to the sick and advancing women’s right in poorer parts of the world, think again. The new UN development agenda—known as the Sustainable Development Goals—asks countries to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime. This is a controversial but necessary addition. The United States should lead on implementing this new agenda—not only to make poverty history, but to increase our national security.

Security and development go hand and hand, just consider the negative consequences of insecurity around the world. Studies find that areas experiencing terrorism have 10 percent slower growth than surrounding areas ten years down the road. In the Middle East, the World Bank considers IS responsible for a 16-percent loss in welfare capital in Iraq and a 11 percent loss in Lebanon. In East Africa, Al Qaeda–influenced terrorist group Al Shabaab’s attacks in Kenya have hurt the tourist economy, for which it relies on for 12 percent of GDP. The attacks undoubtedly contributed to London-based Fitch Ratings Inc.’s recent downgrading of the country from “stable” to “negative.”

No Exit? Gaza & Israel Between Wars

In the year since the 2014 Gaza war, little has been done to alter the conditions that precipitated it. The so-called Palestinian government of national consensus, formed in June 2o14 and seated in the West Bank, has been reconstituted without Hamas’s consent. Viewing Gaza as a trap, it refuses responsibility for governing it. Though it lacks the ability and desire to exercise authority there, it continues to collect tax revenues on all Gaza imports as the internationally recognised power. The Hamas government relied on taxes from goods smuggled through Gaza-Egypt tunnels, but those, together with the sole border crossing with Egypt, were shut after President Abdelfattah el-Sisi took power in Cairo in July 2013. To forestall another conflict, Israel has loosened the closure regime somewhat. But this does not address Gaza’s needs: the acting government lacks funds; its economy is a shambles; and most Gazans have no access to the outside world. More must be done on these, or the next war is probably just a matter of time.

Energy101: Renewables

By Sarah O. Ladislaw, Michelle Melton and Annie Hudson 
SEP 10, 2015 

Renewable energy is a growing source of electricity around the world. While renewable costs continue to decline and technology improves, there are still significant hurdles to widespread adoption. 

Energy101: Oil

By Sarah O. Ladislaw, Michelle Melton and Annie Hudson 
SEP 10, 2015 

Crude oil, a fossil fuel, is the most widely used energy source in the world, accounting for 31 percent of total primary energy demand in 2012. Crude oil’s global role is primarily due to its importance in the transportation sector: transportation accounts for almost two-thirds of global petroleum consumption. As a result, oil and the economy are intimately linked. 

Energy101: Nuclear

By Sarah O. Ladislaw, Michelle Melton and Annie Hudson 
SEP 10, 2015 

Nuclear power is an important source of non-fossil base load electricity in 30 countries, and is often cited as a necessary component of a diverse, reliable electricity sector. Globally, the nuclear power sector continues to expand, although in recent years nuclear power has faced significant challenges. These challenges include the high cost of building new nuclear facilities, the economics of operating nuclear facilities in liberalized electricity markets, where nuclear power has had trouble competing in recent years, safety (as highlighted by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan), waste storage, and proliferation. 

Energy101: Natural Gas

By Sarah O. Ladislaw, Michelle Melton and Annie Hudson 
SEP 10, 2015 

Natural gas is a combustible, gaseous fossil fuel that is the third-most widely-used energy source in the world, accounting for approximately 21 percent of total primary energy demand in 2012. Natural gas plays a role in almost every economic sector and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions as compared to other fossil fuels, giving it a potentially larger role as climate regulations become more stringent. 

Energy101: Coal

By Sarah O. Ladislaw, Michelle Melton and Annie Hudson 
SEP 10, 2015 

Coal is an important fuel source, with a major role in the electricity generation sector and in industrial steel production. Coal’s dominant role in electricity generation is due to the fuel’s abundance, low price, and high energy content. But while coal demand continues to rise as the developing world industrializes, there are serious concerns about the environmental and climate consequences of its use. 


The mudslide of Third World immigrants pouring over Europe would seem to mark that continent’s end. They will come by the millions and tens of millions, so long as Europe’s door remains open. Few will ever acculturate. Instead of becoming Europeans, they will turn Europe into a duplicate of the hellholes they are trying to escape.

Europe’s culturally Marxist elites are incapable of stemming the tide. Their ideology forbids them to do so. German chancellor Merkel, who appears to be as fervent a cultural Marxist as Walther Ulbricht was an economic Marxist, was quoted in the September 1New York Times as saying, “If Europe fails on the question of refugees, if this close link with universal human rights is broken, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for.” If Frau Merkel’s “universal human rights”, which do not exist–rights belong only to a state’s own citizens–triumph, there won’t be a Europe at all.

Given the lock cultural Marxism has on all of Europe’s leadership, except perhaps Hungary’s, it would seem to be game over. Cultural Marxism will attain the goals it set in 1919, the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion, at least in the West’s heartland.

How a Secret Spy Satellite's Camera Found a Second Life Mapping the Moon

September 14, 2015

As the Cold War settled into a deadly balancing act after the Korean Armistice, the Soviet Union's hostile opacity coupled with its sheer size and remoteness presented a terrific challenge to American military planners and intelligence agencies.

Conventional aerial reconnaissance over the USSR proved too costly in blood and equipment. During the 1950s, engineers and analysts sought new ways to understand the size and shape of the Soviet threat. What they came up with—spy planes and spy sats—still serve us today.

Lockheed's U-2 surveillance aircraftheralded a breakthrough not only in espionage, but also in aerospace production. So secret was the plane that its design, fabrication and testing created the brand and the infrastructure of the U.S. hi-tech spy system. This kind of particularly American government-industry teamwork proved enormously successful.

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Edwin Land—the founder and CEO of Polaroid and one of Ike's scientific advisors—proposed a TV eye in the sky. From an Earth-orbiting satellite, a television camera hooked up to a powerful telescope pointed at the planet below could transmit what it saw in real time to waiting receivers on American soil.

Restoring America’s Foreign-Policy Debate

September 11, 2015

What’s wrong with America’s foreign-policy discussion? With increasing challenges in both Europe and East Asia and more than a decade of setbacks in the Middle East, suggested Richard Burt and Dimitri K. Simes at a Center for the National Interest luncheon on Friday, we’d expect a contentious and diverse debate, whether on the campaign trail, in think tanks, in government, or in the press. Yet the conversation, they say, remains shallow and predictable—it is, as they wrote in our recent thirtieth anniversary issue, foreign policy by bumper sticker.

Burt, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany, suggested Friday that the United States can move forward by answering three sets of questions.

First, what should its foreign-policy priorities be—and, in parallel, how can it be more selective and smarter in choosing among priorities?

Drones: In Technology We Trust?

September 13, 2015

Even if you weren’t aware, this was the summer of drones. Not surprisingly, their surge in use has prompted calls to both relax and in other cases bolster regulations on this new, still-emerging technology. However, until we actually quantify and understand the threat posed by small and miniature commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—or drones—we should hold off on erratic efforts to rapidly put in place ad hoc, local and state regulations.

Drones are undoubtedly a boon to many areas of society, from emergency response to industry to academia, yet they also present vulnerabilities and threats never before considered. We have heard about drones causingdangerous situations for manned aircraft and emergency responders. We have heard about drones becoming a tool of perverts, spies and criminals everywhere, as well as a hovering, disruptive expression of nationalism and team spirit. Much of the specious chatter conflates prescriptive societal risk with the actual risk impact from negligent or nefarious drones. In reality, the actual risk posed by recreational and commercial drones is unknown. We lack the data. So, while we must absolutely move forward to rapidly get ahead of the “drone threat” we must expend equal if not more effort trying to understand what the “drone threat” is. Furthermore, the potential counters to negligent and nefarious drone use are as varied and complicated as the uses of drones themselves.


September 10, 2015

Russian Hackers Hijack Satellite — To Steal Data From Thousands Of Hacked Computers


Swati Khandelwal, writes in the September 10, 2015 TheHackerNews.com, that “a group of Russian hackers, most notably the Turla APT (Advanced Persistent Threat), is hijacking commercial satellites to hide command-and-control operations,” according to the Moscow-based, security firm — Kaspersky Labs. According to Kapersky, Turla APT group, which was named after its notorious software — Epic Turla — is abusing satellite-based Internet connections to: 

— Siphon sensitive data from government, military, diplomatic, research, and educational organizations in the United States and Europe;

— Hide their command-and-control servers from law enforcement agencies.

“Despite some of their operations being discovered last year,” Mr. Khandelwal writes, “Turla APT group has been active for close to a decade, while remaining ‘invisible’ by cleverly hiding from law enforcement agencies and [cyber] security firms.” Kapersky Lab’s report notes that “the group disguised itself by using commercial satellite connections, to hide their command-and-control servers.”

What The Hack!

Our crucial computer systems are eminently breachable

In February 2014, a bunch of twentysomething cyber security researchers, slouched at their work stations in a decrepit highrise in central Delhi, were tapping away in the dead of the winter night. Their computer screens were aglow, the digits were dancing and the smell of warm pizza was in the air. Suddenly, one of the young men let out a loud war whoop, says an eyewitness. The hacker had cracked open the WiFi router at B-28, South Block, the office of the chief of naval staff on Raisina Hill, a stone’s throw from Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan. And, worse, also found that somebody a continent or two away was also looking at what he was.

In the Dilton Doiley world of computer geeks, it was a breakthrough moment, no question.

The 10 things you need to know about cyberconflict

By Brandon Valeriano and Ryan C. Maness 
September 11

Last spring, China apparently hacked into U.S. systems. Should you be afraid? (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) 

The cyber domain may offer a new direction in how nations threaten and act against one another. This threat’s immediacy became clear when China hacked the U.S. Office of Personal Management’s systems last June, leaking more than 4 million sensitive records. 

The U.S. government’s only viable response was economic sanctions against companies and individuals. It refrained from escalating the conflict so close to President Xi Jinping’s official state visit. In other words, although some hope that cyberconflict will revolutionize military and diplomatic interactions, governments are confronting this new threat through traditional methods. 

But what evidence is there about the reality of the cyber-threat? The first step to understanding cyberconflict is to define the domain. Here are 10 things to know about the cybersecurity debate, as taken from our recently released book from Oxford University Press, Cyber War versus Cyber Realities

1. Terminology is important 

Deficit or Direction?: Prudence in Defence Expenditure

By S.N. Mishra
12 Sep , 2015

Richard Musgrave, an acknowledged authority in public finance, had said that every Finance Minister must grapple with the three issues of Allocation, Distribution and Stabilisation. Arun Jaitley, while flagging the fiscal footprints of consolidation and prudence, seems to have echoed Musgrave’s mantras. Defence expenditure cannot be relegated to cosmetic discussions on its linkage with GDP. A definitive roadmap needs to be etched by the political leadership to ensure that this sector is in sync with national concern for fiscal prudence without compromising needs for modernisation and operational preparedness.

The defence budget for 2014-2015 has raised enormous curiosity regarding the directional change that will be ushered by the new Finance Minister who doubles up as Raksha Mantri. The big news is increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap to 49 per cent and the creation of a corpus of Rs 100 crore towards the Defence Technology Fund (DTF). The DTF concept was mooted in the Defence Production Policy 2011. Its activation is welcome as it would hopefully provide funds to universities, the private sector and institutions of repute such as the Indian Institute Science to pursue niche technology. The enhancement of the FDI ceiling with full management control has been bit of a dampener because it has to be routed through Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and full management control would remain with India. This will deter global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) from making investments in key technologies as they would not have majority rights.

Time for America to Get Serious about Its Arctic Policy

September 13, 2015

Washington is waking up to the fact that America is an Arctic nation. But, like a doomed polar expedition, the administration seems to be aimlessly wandering in the policy tundra. President Obama's recent trip to Alaska only raises more questions over whether the White House really has a serious Arctic agenda.

Shifts in the global climate are making the Arctic regions more accessible to human activity. From fishing and shipping to energy, mining and energy, expectations are high for the High North. And, from a U.S. perspective, the timing couldn’t be better. The chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotated over to the United States this April. An intergovernmental forum of the eight countries that own territory in the region, the council coordinates national policies and promotes international cooperation.

For the last two years, the Canadians held the chairman’s gavel. They used their tenure to focus on the lives and livelihoods of those who live above the Arctic Circle. That made sense. The people who populate the region will be most directly impacted by the problems and promise of development in the Arctic. Council members hoped that Washington would build on the momentum from Ontario.