21 September 2015

How a small-town media war transformed one Gumnami Baba into Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

Long after the Mukherjee Commission discredited the idea that a sadhu from Faizabad was actually the freedom fighter living under an assumed identity, the myth persists.

Three decades ago, a sensational story emerged out of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. A sadhu, Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji, who had died on September 16, 1985, was said to have actually been freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It would take more than two decades before this claim was categorically dismissed by the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry in 2006 .

The Prisoner of Yakutsk

By Yatish Yadav
20th December 2014

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 

When he was alive, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was an enigma. His death in an alleged plane crash on August 18, 1945, in Taiwan remains a mystery wrapped in enigma. Sixty-nine years later, declassified files on the inquiries into Bose’s death indicate that he died alone in a Soviet prison in Siberia where over 516,841 perished under Joseph Stalin’s rule. The evidence, presented by a whistle-blower and now deceased Congress MP and diplomat Dr Satyanarayan Sinha in 1952, throws up too many uncomfortable questions, which could upset the established notion that Bose died in that crash and it is his ashes that rest in Renkoji Temple in Japan. Two inquiry reports by Shah Nawaz Committee and one-man GD Khosla Commission, set up in 1956 and 1970 by the Congress governments led by Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi respectively, concluded that Bose died in a plane crash at Taihoku airport.

India's New Source Of Clean Water: Desalination

Sep 18, 2015 

In this series, Sramana Mitra shares chapters from her book Vision India 2020, that outlines 45 interesting ideas for start-up companies with the potential to become billion-dollar enterprises. These articles are written as business fiction, as if we’re in 2020, reflecting back on building these businesses over the previous decade. We hope to spark ideas for building successful start-ups of your own. 

In 2008, I wrote in my Forbes column: “Alchemy refers to a medieval science that turns metals into gold. As our planet depletes natural resources at a frantic pace, one brand of alchemy that will become critical to humanity’s survival is technology that turns seawater into drinking water.”

The column profiled a small San Leandro, California, company, Energy Recovery Inc. (ERI) that was at the heart of our hydro-alchemy venture, Gangotri. Dominique had joined their board right before the IPO in July 2008. As a result, through numerous meals with H. P. Michelet, the Norwegian entrepreneur behind this fascinating venture, I got to learn an enormous amount about the water industry.

Politicising the Military

September 19, 2015 

Political missteps and administrative mismanagement have opened a Pandora's box.

The recent political battles over the one-rank-one-pension (OROP) demand of retired military personnel have been commented upon widely in the press, largely around issues of giving retired members of the armed forces their due and the fiscal cost of doing so. One significant aspect should have received more attention: the politicisation of the military.

One of the achievements of the Indian republic has been that its military has not been allowed to dabble in politics. The only reason why this can be counted as an achievement is because so many postcolonial states have slipped on this point, and not just in our neighbourhood. This has remained so despite the executive often involving the military in domestic political matters, particularly when politics turns violent and the writ of the state seems to fray—in the face of communal violence or insurgencies. It would be more appropriate to say that the military has remained outside domestic politics and the nation state too has had a political consensus on such a role and position of the armed forces.

The Vohra Committee Report on the Mafia that runs India parallel Governments:



l. l Government had (through its Order No.S/7937/SS(ISP)/93 dated 9th July '93) established a Committee, comprised as below, to take stock of all available information about the activities of crime Syndicates/Mafia organisations which had developed links with and were being protected by Government functionaries and political personalities. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, Government shall determine the need, if any, to establish a special organisation/agency to regularly collect information and pursue cases against such elements:

(i) Home Secretary Chairman

(ii) Secretary (R) Member

(iii) DIB Member

(iv) Director CBI Member

(v) JS (PP) MHA Member Secy.

1.2 The Committee was authorised to invite senior officers of various concerned Departments to gather the required information.

Taliban Expanding Areas of Operations Inside Afghanistan

September 19, 2015

Militant Attack and Support Zones in Afghanistan: April - September 2015

Taliban elements and other militant groups are conducting operations across Afghanistan, including spectacular attacks against major population centers and U.S. bases. The Haqqa¬ni Network, a Taliban aligned-group, continues to pressure the ANSF and NATO forces with spectacular attacks in Kabul and Khost. Taliban elements are also conducting numerous ground assaults to seize district centers, especially in northern and southern Afghanistan. These campaigns comprised the 2015 warm weather from April 2015- September 2015. There have been several notable developments following the announcement of the death of Mullah Omar onJuly 29. First, Taliban militants have claimed control of two district cen¬ters in Helmand on August II and August 26. Second, ISIS’s Wilayat Khorasan have claimed control of seven district centers in Nangarhar over the course of July and September. Third, Taliban infighting has escalated as different factions compete and express varying positions on who should lead the Taliban movement.

Taliban factions are clashing in Zabul province, a historic safe haven for multiple groups including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and al-Qaeda. ISIS is reportedly rein¬forcing one faction under the leadership of Mullah Mohammed Dadullah, in a likely attempt to encourage the faction to defect. ISIS has already received pledges of allegiance from the (IMU), which is likely also active in the area. Drone strikes against al-Qaeda in neighboring Paktika province in September indicate that al-Qaeda may also be reinforcing the opposing Mullah Akhtar Mansour faction of the Taliban, which increases the stakes of Taliban infighting as well as the overall threat level in Afghanistan. 

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?

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.

Leaving Afghanistan at the end of 2016 would be a tragic mistake

By Mac Thornberry 
September 17

A NATO soldier stands guard last month under the wing of a C-130 Hercules aircraft that belongs to the Afghan National Army in Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. (Massoud Hossaini/Associated Press)

Mac Thornberry, a Republican, represents Texas’s 13th Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Armed Services Committee. 

Fourteen years ago, America’s longest war began. The plot that led to the murder of 2,977 people on Sept. 11, 2001, originated in Afghanistan. Since then, more than 2,350 U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to help ensure that no more innocent Americans are victims of such savagery. Now, the results of that sacrifice and the future of Afghanistan, as well as the extent of the ongoing terrorist threat to our homeland, hang on crucial decisions about to be made as President Obama decides how many troops, if any, will stay in Afghanistan through 2016. 

Russia’s New Game Plan

September 18, 2015

On September 9, geopolitics unexpectedly hit the news headlines when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made an important statement about the ongoing talks between Moscow and Islamabad on the delivery of Russian multirole Mi-35M attack helicopters and the latest Su-35 fighter jets. Ryabkov said Pakistan is Russia's “closest partner” and the ties between the two countries are evolving beyond the military sphere to include other sectors such as energy. At the same time, he also suggested that this will not have a negative impact on relations between Moscow and New Delhi.

Coming from a top Russian official, these statements cannot be considered as a mere kite flying stunt by the Russian media. Such a tectonic strategic shift may not have come as a pleasant news to Indian ears, but before we react to this startling change in the Russian position, it is important to first understand the deeper and nuanced aspects of Russia’s motives.

Interestingly, within days of Ryabkov’s statement, a prominent Russian political analyst Andrew Korybko provocatively detailed why Pakistan is gaining pivotal importance in the Russian geo-strategic calculus. The article, titled “Pakistan is the “Zipper” of Pan-Eurasian Integration”, appeared on 15 September on the website of the Russian government funded think-tank – Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) established by the President of the Russian Federation. The RISS puts up policy papers to the President’s office, the Federation Council, the State Duma and the Security Council as well as to Government offices, ministries and departments. (The RISS has closely interacted with IDSA in the past and the two institutions have signed a MoU for joint research. However, the Russian think-tank has not shown much interest for cooperation with IDSA in the past few years).

US-China-Burma Relations

Since 1988, when Burma appeared to abandon its strictly neutral foreign policy and drew closer to China, contacts between the two countries have been watched closely. Bilateral ties have developed and matured, as has their analysis, which has begun to include consideration of the US’s interests and possible role.

Questions as to how Burma’s relations with China have changed over the past 25 years, and what factors may have played a role in this process, were highlighted at a conference staged last week by the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. 

Before the advent of President Thein Sein’s reformist Government in 2011, Western studies of Burma-China relations fell into three broad schools of thought. There were many areas of agreement, but they were distinguished by some key differences of view. For the sake of argument, they can be called the domination school, the partnership school and the rejectionist school. 

China Has a Plan to Take Over Central Asia — and America Loves It


An FP special report from the front lines of Beijing's aggressive push into Pakistan and beyond.

LAHORE, Pakistan — Moments after landing at Lahore’s international airport one ordinary day in September, crowds of Chinese professionals jockeyed for position in an immigration line that was as long as it was slow. For airport officials in Pakistan’s second-largest city, the sudden influx of Chinese nationals was unremarkable: The same thing is happening in cities and towns across the country.

In the southwestern town of Gwadar, Chinese nationals run a deep-sea port offering direct access to the Indian Ocean. In the Gilgit-Baltistan region near Kashmir, Chinese laborers just finished the restoration of five tunnels on a critical 500-mile highway that connects Pakistan to China. And at a hill town resort near the capital of Islamabad, Chinese diplomats recently dove headfirst into the kind of messy internal politics they’ve long sought to avoid, rolling up their sleeves and taking part in peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025

Roy Kamphausen and David Lai, eds., The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025(Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College and National Bureau of Asian Research, 2015).

This excellent book examining possible PLA futures has only become more important in light of Xi Jinping’s recently-announced military restructuring! It was an honor for me to serve as a discussant at the conference at which this book’s chapters were originally presented as draft papers, and I can attest that this volume is a worthy product of that great PLA watching community event. For anyone who hasn’t yet had a chance to read them, I highly recommend the other conference reports and books in this series as well.

This volume is of special relevance in light of the profound changes occurring within the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). China’s desire to develop a military commensurate with its diverse interests is both legitimate and understandable. The challenge for U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) is to understand how China will employ this growing military capability in support of its interests. The book addresses the uncertainty surrounding the potential direction of the PLA by examining three distinct focus areas: domestic, external, and technological drivers of PLA modernization; alternative futures for the PLA; and, implications for the region, world, and U.S.-China relations. The analysis provides an insightful perspective into the factors shaping and propelling the PLA’s modernization, its potential future orientation ranging from internally focused to globally focused, and how the PLA’s choices may impact China’s relations with its neighbors and the world.

For a summary of the conference on which this edited volume is based, see:


September 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to the US later this month is important and comes amidst escalating testiness in the Sino-US bilateral relationship and growing wariness in the higher echelons of the Chinese leadership about US intentions. Cyber security, Yuan appreciation, China’s maritime claims, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea and human rights are among the issues creating turbulence and will be on the agenda. Viewed in Beijing as China’s most important bilateral relationship, the visit will be carefully monitored inside China and other world capitals. Countries around the South China Sea and particularly Taiwan and Japan will evaluate it with an added sense of immediacy.

The visit is slated to begin in Seattle on September 23, 2015, with a series of engagements after which Xi Jinping will proceed to Washington for summit talks and a formal state banquet with US President Obama on September 24-25. He will conclude his sojourn in the US with a speech at the United Nations on September 28.

Prior to commencement of the visit and to restore some of the sheen lost by the rout in the Shanghai stock market which highlighted the vulnerabilities in the Chinese economy, Xi Jinping has taken care to project that China’s economy is sound and the leadership is strong. China’s maritime ambitions have also been unambiguously spelt out. Beijing is also putting a positive spin on the visit with influential Chinese analysts and academics asserting that “Xi’s visit is as important as the US visit of Deng Xiaoping in 1979, which changed American views on the Chinese overnight.” China’s Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, also told reporters that the outcomes of Xi Jinping's visit would be "a pleasant surprise when made public".

Islamic State: dealing with an atomised, resurgent terrorist threat

28 Jul 2015

In a recent post, I argued that the western strategy against ISIS is failing and described the group as a state-like entity destabilising the greater Middle East, embedded within a loose ‘Internationale’ that presents a global terrorism and subversion threat. In this interpretation, ISIS isn’t a traditional terrorist group, but a state-building enterprise using terror (alongside open warfare, civil governance, and economic tools) to further an aggressive, expansionist agenda. A future post will return to that side of the Islamic State; this one will address the terrorist aspect.

2015 Global Peace Index

Recent report of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) on the Global Peace Index (2015) shows that the world is becoming increasingly divided with some countries enjoying unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity while others spiral further into violence and conflict.

“This is the ninth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks the nations of the world according to their level of peacefulness. The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population. The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent ofdomestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.” -IEP.

Violence costs 13.4% of World GDP

The Kremlin’s Secret and Very Dirty War in the Ukraine

September 18, 2015

An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine

Ivan, Get Your Gun: Evidence of Russian Military Equipment in Ukraine

– In March 2014, Russian soldiers spread out across the Crimean peninsula, taking control of government offices and key checkpoints. At the time, the Russian government claimed that these armed militants were local activists, not Russian soldiers, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. Months later, Russian president Vladimir Putin admitted that these individuals had in fact been Russian soldiers.

– Weeks after the illegal annexation of Crimea, armed militants began to capture police stations and government buildings in various towns and cities across the Donbass region of southeastern Ukraine.

– Some of the militants operated with elite precision reminiscent of special forces units in conducting raids on police stations. Several important commanders of the separatist fighters were reserve officers in the Russian military with ties to the GRU (the Russian military intelligence agency). The separatists also received direct support from several high-profile ultra-nationalists who had direct ties to the Russian military and the Russian president.
Tipping Points on the Road to Europe's Refugee Crisis

Europe is only now being forced to take seriously the refugee crisis that’s been roiling the Mideast and North Africa since civil conflict gathered pace with the Arab Spring fall of despots and the bid to topple others, like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who decided to hang on.

For years, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have been struggling to cope with a huge refugee influx that’s been straining their resources — and complaining vociferously about the insufficiency of aid from outside the region and about what they saw as an-out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude by Western governments.

Wave Was Coming

Weeks before photographs of a Syrian toddler drowned at sea prompted a political and media firestorm in the West, Turkish officials warned they were unable to cope with another major influx of refugees.

“Turkey has reached its total capacity for refugees. Now, there is talk that a new wave of refugees may emerge … and it would put the EU face to face with more migrants," Turkey’s European Union Affairs minister, Volkan Bozkir, cautioned.

Subramanian Swamy Warns Modi Of Impending Doom In Indian Economy


NEW DELHI -- In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has warned that India's economy could crash somewhere between the coming November and February, 2016 if corrective measures are not taken.

"Based on my reading of the various indicators of Indian economy, I feel compelled to inform you that the economy is in its early phase of a tailspin. If curative measures are not taken then a major crash is inevitable between the coming November and February, 2016," he w

Beyond Partisan Bickering: Key Questions About U.S. Strategy in Syria

SEP 17, 2015 

The second debate between Republican presidential candidates, recent testimonies by the Administration, testimony to bodies like the Senate Armed Service Committee, and statements by more neutral voices like General John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and General Lloyd Austin III, the Commander of USCENTCOM, at first appear to have little in common. In fact, however, they all find ways to ignore the key issues shaping U.S. strategy in Syria.

The Administration ignores the issues by putting a positive spin on a steadily deteriorating situation. Republican candidates and members of Congress ignore them by blaming the Administration for problems that are now beyond its control and by offering half-defined solutions that cannot work. General Allen and General Austin focus on parts of the problem with few public specifics and no clear picture of an overall U.S. strategy and the issues it raises.

So what are the issues that U.S. strategy in Syria should address? They are not the issues covered by the media, nor are they addressed in the questions raised by members of Congress from either party. The most critical issues raise far more serious questions about the options available to the United States with regard to one of the worst civil wars in recent history, and one that will soon enter its fifth year.

A War of Four Major Factions, Not a War Against ISIS


September 18, 2015 

That’s the headline of Bradley Olson’s September 17, 2015 article in Bloomberg News, noting that debt for 30 companies in the U.S. shale oil industry have a debt level exceeding 40 percent of enterprise value. “As much as 400K barrels a day of [domestic] oil production is at risk — as oil companies like Samsung Resources Co run out of money and are forced to slow drilling,” Mr. Olson writes. “Total debt for half of the companies in the Bloomberg Index, of more than 60 producers — has risen to a level that represents 40 percent of their enterprise value.” “It’s a sign of distress that shows equity values falling in the face of oil’s crash,” said Rob Thummel, a Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC., who helps manage $15.6B

“Companies facing high debt loads, which include EnCana Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., produced 1.1M barrels of oil a day, in the second quarter of this year,” according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “If more companies file for bankruptcy as Samson did Wednesday, or embrace the kinds of draconian cuts needed to survive, output could fall by 200K – 400K barrels,” Thummel added. And, no doubt lots of jobs. “That’s about the amount of oil from Oklahoma, the sixth-largest producing state, which pumped 356K barrels a day in June, government data show.

Counterterrorism: trying to predict the future

17 September 2015 

In the fight against terrorism, defence and security agencies are turning to behaviour prediction software - but just how far can this technology go and will it ever be able to truly predict the unpredictable?

The use of prediction software as a security tool has been labelled 'predictive policing'. This form of counterterrorism has increasingly been on the up, with US-based Intelligent Software Solutions' (ISS) behaviour analysis tool used in more than 40 countries to help determine where the next terror attack might be.

Known as Dfuze, the software was used to investigate the bombings in Boston in April 2013, and also at the London 2012 Olympics - where UK police forces increased the security presence at areas that the software indicated could be at risk of attack.

Dfuze works by analysing past attacks to give an idea of where attack hotspots might be in the future, as well as the types of explosive devices that might be used and how.

Europe’s Refugee Crisis Isn’t Only About Syria

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015

TOVARNIK, Croatia — Rajab Ali, a 16-year-old Hazara boy from Afghanistan’s Bamyan province, was silently weeping when we found him standing at the last remaining opening in the 12-foot-high razor-wire border fence Hungary has constructed on its border with Serbia. (Rajab’s name has been changed to protect his identity.) When my photographer, Zalmai, an Afghan refugee from the Soviet war of the 1980s, asked the boy what was wrong, he seemed temporarily stunned. He had been in tears for the last six hours and no one addressed him in his native language, let alone asked him what was wrong.

Six hours before, Rajab had been separated from his parents and siblings as Serbian authorities pushed the family onto buses and sent them toward the Hungarian border. For hours, he waited by the border as thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans walked along the railway tracks, desperately looking for any sign of his family. He was penniless, didn’t know the phone number of any of his relatives. Finally, he saw someone he knew and went with them to seek his family.

A Conversation With Francis Fukuyama : John B. Hurford Memorial Lecture

Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Author, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University


Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, joins Michael Mandelbaum, professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, to discuss political development. Fukuyama discusses monopolies of power, rule of law, and democratic accountabilty, and how they apply around the globe, including in the United States, China, and the Middle East.

The John B. Hurford Memorial Lecture was inaugurated in 2002 in memory of Council member John B. Hurford and features individuals who represent critical new thinking in international affairs and foreign policy.

Social media can bring down politicians, but can it also make politics better?

Social media like Twitter could help improve politics by providing 'government in public'.

The enormous impact of social media on politics is undeniable: from fomenting political upheavals such as during the Arab Spring, to career-ending tweets such as those by British MP Emily Thornberry or US congressman Anthony Weiner, to providing the medium around which political tribes grow, from the Milifans to the indignados. Social media has become a channel through which information spreads, creating a new way of participating in politics for those not typically politically engaged. Facebook can even affect voter turnout which, while small, could be decisive.

The truth about spectrum shortage in India

September 17, 2015

If spectrum is so scarce in India, why did 52.7 MHz (11.19 per cent of auctioned inventory) of airwaves find no takers?
The telecom ministry and operators have been sparring over call drops for a while now.

While operators have been citing the lack of adequate spectrum and disappearing mobile towers, the government is of the opinion that there’s plenty of spectrum available.

So much so, 11.19 per cent of the 470.75 MHz spectrum auctioned in March 2015 across frequencies had no takers.

If spectrum is so scarce in India, why did 52.7 MHz (11.19 per cent of auctioned inventory) of airwaves find no takers?

Company officials and industry experts claim there are several factors that led to spectrum going abegging in the 2015 auctions, which earned the government Rs 1.1 lakh crore (Rs 1.1 trillion) in revenues.

There are two broad reasons why 52.7 MHz of spectrum remained unsold in the auctions.

Military Battles to Man its Developing Cyber Force

Sep 16, 2015

Besieged by constant cyberattacks, the U.S. Defense Department is scrambling to assemble 133 Cyber Mission Force teams to defend military networks, protect critical U.S. infrastructure, and strike back in cyberspace when necessary.

But two years into the effort, the military is barely halfway to its goal of 6,244 cyber troops, and senior military cyber leaders already worry that they will have a hard time retaining cyber specialists as demand – and salaries – in the civilian sector.

Already the hiring pace is slowing. Originally, the 133 cyber teams were to be in place by the end of 2016. Now, says Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Pentagon spokeswoman, “the cyber mission force will be fully manned, trained, and equipped by fiscal year 2018.”

U.S. Continues to Focus on Diplomacy to Try to Get China to Stop Cyber Attacks

September 17, 2015

U.S., China: Diplomatic Solutions to Cyber Security Problems

The United States will continue relying on foreign policy to guard against industrial espionage carried out through cyber attacks. 
Recognizing the importance of the U.S. private sector in network security matters, China will reach out to U.S. technology companies on the issue — an action that will do nothing to promote the multilateral model of Internet governance that China wants. 
Diplomacy will remain the only tool for the United States to safeguard the private sector against espionage. 


At the beginning of September, the White House was reportedly deciding whether to deploy sanctions ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to Washington. The sanctions would have targeted Chinese entities involved in industrial espionage, particularly cyber espionage, against U.S. companies. Now, the White House has reportedly decided against plans to impose sanctions before Xi’s arrival in Washington.

Leveraging the Internet of Things for a More Efficient and Effective Military

By Denise E. Zheng, William A. Carter 
SEP 17, 2015 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way organizations communicate, collaborate, and coordinate everyday business and industrial processes. Adoption of IoT technologies has proven beneficial to organizations that manage large numbers of assets and coordinate complex and distributed processes. Decades ago, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) pioneered the sensor, computer networking, and communications technology that serve as the foundation of IoT, but today the U.S. military is struggling to equip its workforce with the basic functions provided by commercial smartphones. DoD continues to drive innovation in advanced sensors and control systems, but it is falling behind in deployment of IoT technologies that have the potential to deliver new capabilities and cost savings. Based on in-depth research and interviews with 29 government and industry executives and subject matter experts, this report suggests ways in which the U.S. military could better leverage IoT technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness. 

Silicon Valley and "Disruptive" War Research

September 17, 2015

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently organized a conference, “Wait. What?”, intended to serve as “a crucible for generating ideas that can stretch current conceptual horizons and accelerate the development of novel capabilities in the years and decades ahead.” Wait. What? 

Will closer ties between the Pentagon, the world’s largest military machine, and Silicon Valley, arguably the world’s greatest engine for technology innovation, make the world safer? 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Darpa, recently sponsored a three-day conference in St. Louis with the cute title, “Wait. What? A Future Technology Forum.” Darpa organized the conference to “consider current and future advances in the physical and information sciences, engineering and mathematics through the lens of current and future national and global security dynamics, to reveal potentially attractive avenues of technological pursuit and to catalyze non-obvious synergies among participants.” 

DARPA Memex: How It Works and What It’s Up To — Really

DARPA Memex is a super tech tool for deeply searching the Darknet. Jim Kelly does a deep dive on Memex, its projects and the tech at hand. [analysis]

 In the famous 19th century novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo plunged in his daring excursion to the dark depths in order to reach the bottom of the sea.

The Pentagon, similarly, has grandiose and profound plans for the development of the most advanced domain-specific Internet search engine and tools in history. That’s DARPA Memex. It will, in short,be capable of tracking and tracing everything that everyone is doing. It’ll do that, DARPA says, via the Dark Internet, or Dark Net.
Hacks, Cyberwarfare and Memex

To truly understand DARPA Memex and the Pentagon’s goals for it, you have to first talk cyberwarefare. The two are of course related, and Memex’s greatest asset will be to scour the deepest depths of the Darknet, a topic I covered awhile back.

It’s been said, in intelligence communities, that data breaches “are like waves in the ocean. They constantly batter at our shores until the water level slowly overtakes the country.” Following recent breaches of the Pentagon, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and major governmental and private sector infrastructures, it’s clear that cyberwarefare and the security needed to defend against it are paramount.

The Tao of Boyd: How to Master the OODA Loop

September 15, 2014

John Boyd is described by some as the greatest military strategist in history that no one knows. He began his military career as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, but he slowly transformed himself into one of the greatest philosopher-warriors to ever live.

In 1961, at age 33, he wrote “Aerial Attack Study,” which codified the best dogfighting tactics for the first time, became the “bible of air combat,” and revolutionized the methods of every air force in the world.

His Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) Theory helped give birth to the legendary F-15, F-16, and A-10 aircraft.

As Conflicts Multiply, Peacekeeping Confronts an Identity Crisis

SEPT. 16, 2015 

A United Nations helicopter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where troops have been accused of slow responses to atrocities. CreditPete Muller for The New York Times

UNITED NATIONS — In Darfur, United Nations peacekeepers have covered up evidence of government-led attacks against civilians and, on occasion, even attacks on themselves.

In Mali’s northern badlands, attacks on blue-helmeted peacekeepers have killed 42 of them in the last two years alone, making it hard for the peacekeepers there to resupply their bases.

In the Golan Heights, United Nations soldiers have pulled out of most of their posts on the Syrian side of the territory, which has been overrun by an affiliate of Al Qaeda. And in the Central African Republic, peacekeepers have faced one sordid allegation of sexual abuse after another.

Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations, peacekeeping is bigger and costlier than ever — and confronting an identity crisis.

DRDO exists to protect the nation and not the other way around

SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 

It is not in India’s national interest to continue to run public sector organisations like DRDO if they are inefficient and not meeting their objectives

– Varun Ramachandra and Nitin Pai

Recently, the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research — a Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) laboratory — inked an agreement with Patanjali Ayurveda Limited for a non-exclusive license through transfer of technology on nutritional products.

The agreement was signed under the DRDO – FICCI Accelerated Technology Assessment & Commercialisation programme which “aims to create a commercial pathway to deliver technologies developed by DRDO for appropriate commercial markets for use in civilian products and services.” Previous deals under the programme have been with business houses like Dabur Ltd, Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd, Bhilai Engineering Corporation to name a few.

The effective implementation of OROP

by Mukul Asher and Azad Singh Bali 
September 19, 2015 

To effectively implement OROP, the MoD needs to depart from its current practices.

The decision by the current government to implement One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) for military personnel is a welcome move as it reduces the long-standing unfairness in pension arrangements between uniformed military personnel and employees of the Union Government. India is one of the few countries where military personnel have lower pension benefits relative to the civil service. While many design details of OROP are not yet fully clear, the OROP decision can only be effectively implemented and its fiscal implications managed if complementary reforms in three broad areas are sustained: Improving Professionalism In Administering OROP, Sustaining Economic Growth, and Creating Fiscal Space.

The first, Improving professionalism (i.e. the competence and quality of services provided) with which current military pensions programs are administered is an urgent necessity. Four specific initiatives in this regard are outlined.