16 October 2015

A cyclone brews over Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Salman, 79, in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

By David Ignatius Opinion writer October 13 Follow @ignatiuspost

An internal political storm is roiling Saudi Arabia, as the crown prince and his deputy jockey for power under an aging King Salman — while some other members of the royal family agitate on behalf of a third senior prince who they claim would have wider family support.

For the secretive oil kingdom, whose internal debates are usually opaque to outsiders, the recent strife has been unusually open. The tension between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and his deputy, Mohammed bin Salman (the king’s son), is gossiped about across the Arab world. Dissenters from the royal family have begun circulating open letters that have drawn tens of thousands of readers online.

Succession worries were in the background in early September when Salman, 79, visited Washington , accompanied by son Mohammed bin Salman, 30. U.S. officials were eager to meet the young deputy crown prince. But they were concerned that “MBS,” as he’s known, might be challenging Mohammed bin Nayef, who is viewed in Washington as a reliable ally against al-Qaeda.

Mohammed bin Salman’s supporters argue that he’s an ambitious change agent in a kingdom that needs one — after suffering from decades of aging, defensive leaders. The young prince urges more diversification of the economy, greater privatization, and a future that’s closer to the more open model of the United Arab Emirates than to the conservative House of Saud. He is said to have engaged top U.S. consulting firms in framing his modernization plans.

"Quick Arrears Calculation Table for Officers"

Like the "Quick Arrears Calculation Table for Officers", is there one such Table for men. If there is one, kindly send me as it is required for my Bankers,Syndicate Bank IAF Campus, Hebbal,Bangalore - 560006. They are very thankful to you as they have done for all Officers.
Thanking you in anticipation & with warm regards & respect,
Dear Col Swaminathan Sir,
It is an honour for me to send the tables of Pension arrears from Jan 2006 to 23 Sep 2012 of JCOs and OR to Syndicate Bank, IAF campus Hebbal, Bengaluru.
Sir, please understand this simple fact. JCOs and OR were given pension hike thrice.
First time it is in Jan 2006 as per Min of Def letter No 17(4)/2008/ D(Pen/Policy) dated 11 Nov 2008 quoted in PCDA (Pensions) Circular No 397.
For a Sepoy of Group Y with 15 years’ service it is Rs 3,748 pm without Dearness Relief.
Second time it was enhanced w.e.f Jul 2009 vide Circular No 430. For Sepoy mentioned above the pension is Rs 4,603 pm without DR
Third time it was enhanced w.e.f. 24 Sep 2012. The pension of Sep (Y gp and 15 yrs service) is Rs 5102
So how much is his pension arrears?
Very simple:
Arrears for the period : Jan 2006 to 30 Jun 2009
(a) Jan 2006 to Jun 2006 : Rs (5102-3748) x 6 months + DR (0%) = Rs 8124
(b) Jul to Dec 2006 with DR @ 2% = (5102 - 3748) x 1.02 x 6 = 8286.48
(c) For the year 2006 = 8124+8286.5= 1641.05
Like this you calculate till 30 Jun 2006. This comes to Rs 62, 311.
Arrear for the Period from Jul 2009 to 23 Sep 2012
(a) For the period Jul to Dec 2009 = (5102-4603) x 6 x 1.27 (DR is 27%) = 3802.38
Do this in this manner from Jan 2010 to 23 Sep 2012 the arrears for this period of Jul 2009 to 23 Sep 2012 comes to Rs 28,755
Total arrears for Sep of Ygp of 15 years comes to Rs 91,066.
I have explained this to you so that you can further expalain to Bank manger.
If he has any doubts kindly speak to me from his office and I shall clarify to the best of my ability.
Here are 26 tables.
Pl ask them to check my calculations as there could some minor arithmetic mistakes.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)

Army wades into experimental cyber warfare


Amber Corrin, Senior Staff Writer  October 15, 2015

(Photo: Rob Curtis/Staff)

The Army is testing out the best ways to integrate cyber warfare into its operations, this year launching a series of experiments in offensive and defensive cyber operations at training centers across the country.

The experiments provide support to corps level and below, and involve brigade combat teams rotating through training centers such as the National Training Center in California, according to Army officials.

"The direction we received from the previous Army Chief of Staff, GEN Ray Odierno, in 2014 was…he wanted specifically to be working cyber as a maneuver and how we truly integrate that with our tactical forces," Ron Pontius, deputy to the commanding general at Army Cyber Command, told reporters Oct. 14 in a briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. "What we've really worked [on] is: How do we really begin to bring the full spectrum — the DODIN, the network operations piece along with offensive and defensive cyberspace capabilities? How do you really integrate cyber, signal, electronic warfare, information operations?"
Army Cyber Command is coordinating with Training and Doctrine Command and Army Forces Command to carry out the experiments, the first one involving members of the Third Brigade/25th Infantry division at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in May. The Army also did an exercise with the Ranger regiment and has an upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in January.

"We don't just deliver a capability without having a good foundation, so Army Cyber, with the operational force, is actually spending significant effort working with that brigade before they leave home station," said MG Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia. "I think what was really important is in the [brigade combat team], for the first time, they had the capability to defend their network. It's a defense in depth."

The Army will conduct "five or six" of these experiments over a 15-month period, then incorporate findings into the service's Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership & Education, Personnel, and Facilities (DOTMILPF), Pontius said.

What emerges from the exercises is subject to evolve over time — and that's something the Army really needs to get ahead of the curve and take advantage of emerging technologies and strategies, including open-source, according to Army Cyber Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Harris.

"Ultimately we're doing the pilots, trying to figure out what the team needs to look like, what kind of capabilities they need," Harris said. "The end state, the goal, is the same as it is for any other offensive capabilities: to deny, destroy, degrade, disrupt and deceive. And we have those capabilities that are out there, open source, right now. The fact that we're not using them is because we've [inhibited] ourselves while we try to figure out how to build our force."

Nehru sought US assistance during 1962 Indo-China war


Washington, Oct 14, 2015, (PTI)
Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had sought American assistance and wrote to the then US president John F Kennedy to provide India jet fighters to stem the Chinese tide of aggression during the 1962 Sino-India war, according to a new book.

The main objective of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, to attack India in 1962 was to "humiliate" Nehru who was emerging as a leader of the third world, it said.

"India's implementation of the Forward Policy served as a major provocation to China in September 1962," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official, wrote the book titled 'JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War'.

"Mao's focus was on Nehru, but a defeat of India would also be a setback for two of Mao's enemies: (Nikita) Khrushchev and Kennedy," Riedel wrote.

As India was losing its territory to China fast and suffering heavy casualty, Nehru in a letter to Kennedy in November 1962 said India needed "air transport and jet fighters to stem the Chinese tide of aggression."

"A lot more effort, both from us and from our friends will be required."

Nehru wrote another letter to Kennedy in quick succession, Riedel writes.
This letter written by Nehru in a state of panicky was hand delivered by the then Indian Ambassador to the US B K Nehru to Kennedy on November 19.

New Declassified Docs Reveal U.S. Knowledge of Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Program in 1984-85

The U.S. and the Pakistani Bomb, 1984-1985: General Zia, President Reagan, and Seymour Hersh

William Burr (ed.)

National Security Archive

October 14, 2015

Washington, D.C., 14 October 2015 - In July 1984, U.S. customs agents arrested a Pakistani national, Nazir Ahmed Vaid, at Houston International Airport for trying to purchase krytrons–useful for triggering nuclear weapons–and smuggle them out of the United States Some months later, Vaid was found guilty of violating export control laws, but a plea bargain produced a light penalty: deportation. Months later, journalist Seymour Hersh wrote a major article about the Vaid case for the New York Times and quoted a U.S. government official who said that the State Department had been “blase” about the case.

Declassified documents, published today by the National Security Archive for the first time, portray State Department officials on the defensive in their discussions with Hersh, denying his implication that the Department “had deliberately tried to soft-pedal” the case. Other officials were not so sure. Arch Turrentine, a senior official at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), conceded that State “may have been reluctant to push too hard … for fear of upsetting US-Pakistani relations.” According to Turrentine, “we should do better next time.”

Today’s posting thus explores important divisions within the U.S. government over Pakistani nuclear proliferation as it played out against the backdrop of the war in Afghanistan, exposing some difficult and controversial trade-offs in support of U.S. foreign policy interests. At the same time, the documents open a fascinating window into official attempts to manage outside scrutiny of a sensitive U.S. policy by one of America’s hardest-hitting investigative reporters.

Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive -http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb531-U.S.-Pakistan-Nuclear-Relations,-1984-1985/

Sign That Things Not Going Well in Afghanistan: Obama Orders Halt to Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Afghanistan

Obama to Announce Halt of U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan

Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, October 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — The United States will halt its military withdrawal fromAfghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of President Obama’s term in 2017, Mr. Obama will announce on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.

The current American force in Afghanistan of 9,800 troops will remain in place through most of 2016 under the Obama administration’s revised plans, before dropping to about 5,500 at the end of next year or in early 2017, senior administration officials said.

Some of the troops will continue to train and advise Afghan forces, while others will carry on the search for Qaeda fighters and militants from the Islamic Stateand other groups who have found a haven in Afghanistan, they said.

In abandoning his ambition to bring home almost all American troops before leaving office, Mr. Obama appears to be acknowledging that Afghan security forces are still not near ready to hold off the Taliban on their own.

The Taliban took the northern city of Kunduz on Monday after a year of advancing toward the area. It is the first major city to fall to their control since 2001, but the insurgents continue to attack other areas throughout rural Afghanistan. 

Heed the warning from Kunduz

Posted at: Oct 15 2015 , Suba Chandran


The fall of Kunduz should be seen as a warning of what has gone wrong. We know what the problems are. Fortunately, we also know the solutions. We need to look beyond the “resurgent” Taliban, which is only part of the problem.

The government troops, supported by the US air cover, are fighting to reclaim the city. Kunduz, one of the northern provinces, along with Balkh on its west and Badakshan on its east (along with Takhar province) borders Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The famous Amu darya (Amu river) separates the province from Tajikistan and it is populated with Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks. Unlike the southern provinces of Afghanistan, Kunduz does not have an absolute Pashtun majority. Importantly, it does not have a border with Pakistan. Given the above ethnic profile of the province and its distance from the heartland of Taliban insurgency, even if the city is under Taliban occupation for a brief period, it should be a serious warning. Answers have to be found merely beyond the theory of “Taliban resurgence”.

For those who were watching the developments in Kunduz (and its neighbouring Baghlan province), the fall of Kunduz city was not a surprise. Given the lack of military response and inadequate political will to meet the challenge, it was surprising that the Taliban took so much time to capture it. The first question should be related to the security: If reclaiming the city is taking weeks, even with American air support, how did the Taliban manage to capture it with a few hundred fighters and in few hours? According to eyewitnesses, the Taliban started fighting in the morning, and drove the security forces (army, police and the militias) to the airport side before lunch time and took over the city. 

China selling submarines to Pakistan helps demonstrate itssophisticated weapons


(People's Daily Online)   October 14, 20150

File photo of China's submarine

Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain recently announced thedeal to purchase 8 submarines from China. This makes the arms deal the biggest ever forChina.
The minister did not reveal which type of submarines China would transfer to Pakistan.Neither did he announce the exact date of the submarines being put into production.

China has been gaining ground in the global weapon market. The submarines made inChina have again entered into the global weapon market. Pakistan has finalized its long-negotiated submarine deal with China, with four to be built in China and four in Pakistan. 

Model of China's S-20 submarine

China now exports technology-intensive sophisticated weapons including submarine andair-defense missile systems while in the past it mainly exported low-cost weapons. Thisclearly shows it has made great advances in the arms industry. 

That China sold 8 submarines to Pakistan helps demonstrate its sophisticated weapons.After foreign customers really test Chinese weapons, it will help dispel their doubts aboutChina’s weaponry. The submarine sale is aimed to illustrate Chinese sophisticated brandsand lay a solid foundation for future weapons exports. 

This article was edited and translated from 《中国售巴潜艇最大价值不在钱 为中国武器树标杆》, source: Huanqiu.com, author: Liu Kun




A terrorist attack on a peace rally in the heart of Turkey’s capital Ankara left over a hundred dead and hundreds more injured three weeks before national elections. Rather than being a moment for national unity and mourning, it threatens to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back with a full-scale civil war in the offing, pitting Kurdish and Turkish nationalists against each other. Unfortunately, this is not the first attack of its type nor was it unexpected given the spillover from the Syrian conflict, but its scale and location came as a surprise. Previous attacks in Diyarbakir and Suruc led to increased cooperation with America in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but have still not been fully investigated nor their perpetrators prosecuted. All political parties are hungry for justice at the ballot boxes.

Turkey’s deadliest terrorist attack in its history comes at a critical moment in time in which American leadership is being questioned. Middle Eastern allies in Ankara, Jerusalem, Riyadh, and elsewhere are weighing their options. As the G-20 summit host this year, Turkey will be welcoming leaders from the world’s top economies in less than a month in Antalya, only two weeks after national elections scheduled for November 1. In all likelihood there will not be a formal government in place by the summit and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s first popularly elected leader but also its most polarizing, will play host. As the world’s attention turns to this critical NATO ally, European Union aspirant, and Muslim-majority democracy, there is a cloud of doubt and pessimism hanging over Turkey. Dark premonitions of Turkey’s future abound. But this prophecy will only come true if we in the West fulfill it by giving up on this critical nation. Both true friendship and smart geopolitics entail being able to see the longer-term potential that has always been the hallmark of the Turkish Republic.

Everyone is worried about the threat of the Islamic State and the ongoing Syrian civil war due to its spillover effects in the Middle East and the refugee crisis it has created for Europe, but Turkey is not just on the frontlines of this conflict. It is the epicenter. The nature of the proxy conflict in Syria has complicated U.S. interests in the region and frustrated Ankara to no end. Russia’s dramatic intervention in support of Assad and its violations of Turkish airspace have left Ankara feeling vulnerable at a moment in which the domestic situation has never looked bleaker. Concurrently, as the West calls for greater support of the Kurds, who have proven to be the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State, Turkey fears the emergence of a Kurdish state in northern Syria. This remains the largest stumbling block for enhanced cooperation and coordination in Syria. Ironically, the Kurds have also never felt more isolated but never been more necessary for stability in three countries: Syria, Iraq, and — of course — Turkey.

Bombs Away: This Is Why Russia's Air War in Syria Is So Impressive

October 14, 2015

The Russian air force in Syria seems to be generating close to the theoretical maximum number of sorties possible for thirty-two fixed-wing combat aircraft. That’s of course assuming the Russians are providing factually accurate information about their operations in Latakia.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Moscow’s forces flew eighty-eight combat sorties while hitting eighty-six ISIS targets in a twenty-four hour span. “In the course of the last 24 hours, Su-34, Su-24M and Su-25SM aircraft performed 88 combat sorties engaging 86 ISIS facilities located in the Raqqah, Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Aleppo provinces,” reads an Oct. 13 Russian Ministry of Defense statement.

While there might be some dispute over whether the Russians are hitting ISIS targets versus other Syrian rebel groups opposed to the Assad regime, if the sortie generation number is accurate—it is an extremely impressive feat. That would put the Vozdushno-KosmicheskieSily Rossii on par with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy in terms of turning aircraft. But while the Russian forces might be able to surge their sortie generation rate up to eighty-eight per day, it remains to be seen if they can maintain that pace for long.

The most optimistic U.S. military officials had predicted that the Russian forces would be able to generate a theoretical maximum of ninety-six sorties per day—but most officials dismissed that as wildly optimistic. “With thirty-two on the ramp, I think they'll probably be able to fly twenty-four jets per day,” one recently retired U.S. Air Force fighter pilot told me. “Depending on sortie duration and whether they're flying at night, they may get between two and four sorties per jet, per day. So I think the range is probably between forty-eight and ninety-six sorties per day.”

Cybersecurity Expert: Be Afraid, America. Be Very Afraid

Leading cybersecurity expert Joseph Weiss writes about how vulnerable America’s computer systems are. He features in the NOVA documentary CyberWar Threat, premiering October 14 on PBS.

When most people hear the term “cybersecurity” they usually expect to hear a story about loss of privacy or identity theft. Or worst-case—that some company or government agency has been hacked. As bad as those invasions may be, there’s a type of cyber-attack that is far more destructive and can have far more lasting effects and yet rarely makes the news. 

I’m talking about seizing control of industrial control systems. These ubiquitous hidden computers have gradually and quietly been put in charge of all manner of critical infrastructure—including nuclear power plants, the grid, water and gas pipelines, refineries, air traffic control, trains, factories, you name it. 

Unlike the computers we use in our daily lives, these computers are largely invisible. They don’t have screens or keyboards. Most people aren’t aware that they exist. And yet they are embedded in low-level processes. They are everywhere because they create tremendous efficiencies and cost savings, and because they exist almost as an afterthought, they are often completely insecure. They often don’t run anti-virus software and by and large no one bothers to scan them to see if they might be infected with malicious software. And guess what? They often are connected to the Internet where a clever hacker half a world away can get access to them!

The threat is not hypothetical. There have been almost 750 control system cyber events (including both malicious and unintentional incidents). They’ve had a global impact. Industries have included power companies, pipelines, dams, planes, and trains. Why hasn’t the public heard about them? Most often because the victims didn’t realize it since they didn’t have the right forensics. 



Since the Islamic State took the Middle East by storm in summer 2014, the international community has looked on in horror at its growing capabilities and seemingly endless appetite for violence. After tearing through northern Iraq and Syria and attempting to exterminate the Yezidi population of Sinjar, the Islamic State then set about provoking the United States and its allies with a spate of gruesome killings. Adversary populations and governments have become captive audiences, unable to look away from the Islamic State’s ever-worsening execution videos: Khmer Rouge-style killings by firing squad, Mohammed “Jihadi John” Emwazi’s infamous stream of beheadings, and mass decapitations of Syrian Arab Army soldiers. And that was just in the second half of 2014. More recently, the screens of our televisions and tablets have been filled with stories of prisoners strung upside down and burned to death,decapitated with explosives, and drowned in cages. With every video, the cinematography has improved; the shots became sharper and the story-board more nuanced.

This is instrumental violence, intended to demonstrate the group’s supremacy, satiate its hardest core of ideological supporters, and ensure ongoing attention from the international media. But the Islamic State’s brutality plays another, less obvious role. It derails mainstream understanding of the group and promotes damaging misconceptions in the discourse on radicalization and recruitment. Indeed, as a direct result of the unwavering media limelight shining on the group’s barbarity, confusion is rife surrounding the motivations of those thousands of foreign fighters who have left the West for the “caliphate.” Can they really be driven by a simple desire to rape, kill, and maim?

The answer is no. This I knew from past research. But to make the case even stronger, I created a comprehensive archive of all the Islamic State’s official messaging for the Islamic month of Shawwal, from July 17 to August 15. In just 30 days, its propagandists produced 1,146 separate “events” — videos, photos, news articles, magazines, radio bulletins, and even songs sung a cappella. I translated and analyzed each of these and compressed them into 892 items — 380 from Iraq, 301 from Syria, 141 from central outlets, 46 from Libya, four each from Afghanistan and Yemen, and two each from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and West Africa. I then categorized the refined set to lend the database granularity.

Yes, Putin Does Have a Strategy in Syria


Russia is doing quite well for itself in the Middle East...
Dov S. Zakheim,  October 15, 2015

It appears that a significant portion of the Washington policy community is dismissing Russia’s Vladimir Putin either as merely a tactician, rather than a strategist, or as President Obama would have it, a fool who has injected his forces into a quagmire. Neither assertion reflects the reality that is Russia’s position in the Middle East today.

While everyone acknowledges that Putin wants to retain Russia’s presence in Syria, few realize that Moscow is in a considerably stronger position in the Middle East than the Soviet Union ever was. Certainly, Syria was not the only friend of Communist Moscow. Saddam Hussein long enjoyed a close relationship with the Soviets, who backed him to the hilt right up to the day the USSR collapsed.

On the other hand, relations with Iran were not particularly close, even after the fall of the overtly anti-Communist Shah. During the course of the Iran-Iraq War, Moscow’s support for Saddam became increasingly overt, with the Soviets eventually providing active support to Iraq until the war’s end in 1989. The Soviet Union’s relations with Egypt were even worse; Anwar Sadat had expelled 20,000 Soviet military advisors in 1972 after which Cairo allied itself firmly with the West. Finally, despite its recognition of Israel soon after it declared independence, Moscow broke off relations with the Jewish state after the 1967 War and never reestablished them during the remaining years of the USSR’s existence.

The situation is far different today. To begin with, Iran and Russia are now Bashar Assad’s primary bulwarks, both of them determined to preserve an Alawi regime, if not Assad himself. Russia maintains its cordial relations with Iraq, which are becoming increasingly stronger as Iraq continues to fall under Tehran’s influence. Russia has strengthened its ties with Egypt, both economically and in what both Putin and the government of President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi call the “fight against terrorism.” The two presidents have exchanged state visits over the past two years.

Why America, India and Japan are Playing War Games at Sea


Suresh Bangara
Exercise Malabar
The latest Exercise Malabar will take place from October 14 to 19
It is one of the most advanced international naval exercises conducted by India and US
Malabar has become a high point of Indo-US defence cooperation at the operational level
Japan joining the ongoing exercise signals a new phase in the saga

In the early 1990s, our entry into the liberalised and globalised world also witnessed a quantum jump in the arena of maritime cooperation between US and India. A very modest beginning was made off the coast of Goa when an exercise code-named ‘Malabar’ was conducted in 1992. Not even General Kicklighter — who as Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) US Army Pacific Command, brought along a series of proposals to institutionalise cooperation among all wings of the two militaries — would have expected Exercise Malabar to sustain and grow in the manner it has. It would be fair to state that arrangements to institutionalise this effort to promote constructive maritime cooperation have now come of age.

Given that the Indian Navy now operates with navies of Brazil, France, Oman, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK, and recently with Japan and Australia, it would be instructive to analyse the progress made in Exercise Malabar, the latest of which will take place from October 14 to 19.

A realistic assessment would indicate that Exercise Malabar has progressed into one of the most advanced international naval exercises conducted by India and US. In this, some analysts who have projected the current exercise, in the Bay of Bengal, as a ‘slump’ in relation to the high of Modi-Obama agreements are off the mark. Malabar has, in fact, become a high point of Indo-US defence cooperation at the operational level, and with high strategic significance. The fact that advanced operational manoeuvres are being regularly undertaken by the participating ships, aircraft and submarines (which changes every year), is indicative of the high degree of inter-operability that has been achieved between the two navies.
Ships assigned to the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the Indian aircraft carrier Viraat (R 22) underway in formation during Exercise Malabar 2005. (Photo: wikimedia commons)

The Chinese objections to multilateral exercises, as opposed to bilateral ones, may be seen in this perspective. The 2005 and 2007 ones reflect the strategic dimensions of Malabar. The year 2005 saw Carriers of both navies operating together for the first time. In 2007, there were two sessions of Malabar. The first, off the coast of Japan, where India, US and Japan participated. The second in the Bay of Bengal, when Australia and Singapore joined as well. There were as many as three Carriers, a total of 26 ships and a number of shore-based strike aircraft. Given the nascent stages of Carrier operations of the Chinese Navy, which was focused on training and learning basic flying operations at sea, a display of Carrier and Anti-Submarine Warfare operations of an advanced nature between the leading navies in the region, probably unnerved China, prompting it to seek explanations.

America: What if China is Japan Times 10?

posted on 14 October 2015

Written by Frank Li

The 20th century was clearly America's! But who will have the 21st century and who deserves it? China, unless America changes as I have suggested (Solution for America (Version 3))!

In order for America to have any chance in her head-to-head competition with China, America must understand China much better (America: What is China, Anyway?) as well as herself (What is America, Anyway?). In this post, I will further explain to my fellow Americans what China is ("Communist China", Really?), by an easily understandable analogy: China is Japan times 10!

1. Introduction

During the last century, America faced two serious challenges from Japan:
Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Japan rapidly surged back from the ruins of WWII to become the #2 economy in the world, threatening the #1 America (Japan's 80s America Buying Spree).

In both cases, America prevailed! Now, China is said to be well positioned to unseat America as the #1 economy in the world. Will China fail in overtaking America, just as Japan did in the 1980s (China as number one? Remember Japan in the '80s)?

Highly unlikely! I believe China will not only unseat America as the #1 economy by 2030, but also continue to further distance herself from America after 2030, with no end in sight! Why? Because China is Japan times 10!

2. Japan vs. America

Japan and America could not be more different, as highlighted below:

Bottom line: no matter how hard the Japanese work and how "relaxed" Americans are, America's overwhelming richness in natural resources has won the head-on competition with Japan, twice, so far!

Unfortunately, most of America's advantages over Japan will no longer be true in our competition with China! Additionally, China has some key advantages over America ...

3. Japan vs. America vs. China

Here is a high-level comparison of Japan, America, and China:

I use a numerical scale (1 - bad; 10 - good) to quantitatively illustrate, very roughly and unscientifically, the differences among the three countries.

Paris Climate Change Agreement: First draft ignores India's demands


Elements to operationalise Prime Minister Modi's call for climate justice missing

Nitin Sethi | New Delhi October 14, 2015 

The draft of the Paris climate change agreement has left the Indian government and its negotiators upset: It ignores many submissions by developing countries, breaches India's non-negotiable red lines and is inimical to the country's interests at the talks, the negotiators have concluded in their preliminary assessment.

The wall of differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been broken in the draft agreement. The draft focuses deeply on mitigation or reducing emissions and is shallow on issues of finance, adaptation, technology-sharing, capacity-building and loss and damage.

Developed countries have been let off easy on their existing financial obligations, without a road map to deliver on their existing obligations or enhancing future commitments. Instead, developing countries such as India have been asked to also contribute to the global climate finance pool.

The principle of historical emissions and equity has been jettisoned out of the draft agreement to bring developed and developing countries on a par. The draft dilutes the existing obligations of developed countries to transfer clean technologies. It doesn't even acknowledge that the Paris agreement would operate under the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC.

These, among others, are the concerns that plague the draft, the Indian team has said.

China’s Air Force Can Now Launch Long-Range, Precision Strikes

Beijing’s bomber fleet is able to strike distant targets with precision ammunition, according to Chinese media.
October 15, 2015

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has extended its all-weather, long-range precision strike capabilities, according to a PLAAF aviation expert quoted in China Daily.

“The fact that our H-6K bombers have performed several long-distance drills far into the Pacific Ocean indicates that the H-6K fleet has become capable of conducting various operations such as long-range precision strikes,” Fu Qianshao, a PLAAF aviation equipment expert, told the state-run newspaper.

The H-6K is a derivative of the Soviet-era Tupolov Tu-16 twin-engined jet strategic bomber. However, the latest Chinese version of the bomber, first flown in 2007, has undergone major upgrades including new fuel efficient D-30-KP2 turbofans, lighter weight composites, and modern electronics.

Without refueling, the maximum range of the H-6K bomber is 1,900 miles; however, it can be extended to 3,100 miles with two mid-air refuels, according to War is Boring, while carrying a payload of up to 12 tons. There are currently around 36 H-6K strategic bombers in service with the PLAAF.

“In the past, our bombers could only deliver airdropped bombs and so were unable to conduct precision attacks, but the H-6K, with the adoption of some of our most advanced aeronautic technologies, is able to carry and launch air-to-surface cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles, which means it can take out multiple targets on the ground or at sea within one mission,” Fu stated.

South China Sea: What 12 Nautical Miles Does and Doesn’t Mean


What the United States actually hope to accomplish by sailing within 12 nm of Chinese claims in the South China Sea?
By Graham Webster, October 15, 2015

The U.S. Navy is reportedly preparing to conduct “freedom of navigation” (FON) operations, sending one or more surface ships within 12 nautical miles (nm) of Chinese-claimed features in the South China Sea. The administration has been pressured to go ahead with this demonstration of U.S. views on conduct at sea, but the terms of the public debate have failed to match the legal and political implications.

Though details are scarce, unnamed U.S. and Asian officials told The New York Times U.S. allies were being briefed on the plans, which reportedly involve traveling near one or more of China’s recently constructed or expanded outposts. Daniel Kritenbrink, the new senior director for Asian affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, reportedly told a closed-door meeting the decision to go ahead was already made.

Over the past several months, a media narrative had emerged that pitted the Department of Defense against the White House and the State Department, with the military pushing for FON operations within 12 nm and the civilians more cautious.

Senator John McCain summarized the increasingly heated rhetoric in favor of the demonstration neatly: “We continue to restrict our Navy from operating within a 12 nautical mile zone of China’s reclaimed islands, a dangerous mistake that grants de facto recognition of China’s man-made sovereignty claims.” Colin Clark ofBreaking Defense echoed McCain in what became something of a mantra among those favoring a stronger stance against Chinese construction in the Spratly Islands: “I understand that we have granted China de facto recognition of the temporary structures so far by ordering our maritime and air forces to observe a 12 nautical mile limit.”



October 14, 2015 · by RC Porter 
Oct. 13 2015 

Russia’s military intervention in Syria has firmly supplanted Ukraine in news headlines and Kremlin propaganda. That seems to even be reflected in the way President Vladimir Putin conducted himself during the recent “Normandy Four” meeting in Paris. The Russian president behaved differently in Paris than he did in Minsk in February. It is possible he has grown “bored” with Ukraine: nothing new is happening there. Syria is his new priority.

By joining the war in Syria, Moscow used the same psychological trick it played repeatedly in Ukraine over the last year: it raised the stakes, forcing its international partners to wonder what the Kremlin schemers are up to and what their next stunt would be. There are more “chips” on the table now — both Ukrainian and Syrian.

The first crisis remains far from resolution and the second threatens to escalate. What’s more, the second crisis involves far more players than the first, each of whom is pursuing their own interests.

However, Putin seems at ease with this type of situation: he has repeatedly proven himself a worthy tactician. He evinces cool confidence even as the ambitious and domineering Turkish President Recep Erdogan warns of worsening relations or as threats pour out from the capitals of Sunni monarchies led by Riyadh. What does that indicate — cold-blooded calculation or indifference born of despair over the fact that things could not get any worse anyway, so why not take a chance?

With Syria now at the fore, has the Kremlin surrendered Novorossia? That project did not pan out as planned back in the spring of 2014. Novorossia does not stretch from Odessa to Crimea, Ukraine did not break into pieces and, unexpectedly for many Russians, the “junta” in Kiev proved tenacious.

The Assasination Complex

Oct. 15 2015, 5:27 p.m.

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

DRONES ARE A TOOL, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is “near certainty” that the intended target will be eliminated. Those terms, however, appear to have been bluntly redefined to bear almost no resemblance to their commonly understood meanings.

The first drone strike outside of a declared war zone was conducted more than 12 years ago, yet it was not until May 2013 that the White House released a set of standards and procedures for conducting such strikes. Those guidelines offered little specificity, asserting that the U.S. would only conduct a lethal strike outside of an “area of active hostilities” if a target represents a “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons,” without providing any sense of the internal process used to determine whether a suspect should be killed without being indicted or tried. The implicit message on drone strikes from the Obama administration has been one oftrust, but don’t verify.

Cybersecurity Expert: Be Afraid, America. Be Very Afraid.


Leading cybersecurity expert Joseph Weiss writes about how vulnerable America’s computer systems are. He features in the NOVA documentary CyberWar Threat, premiering October 14 on PBS.

When most people hear the term “cybersecurity” they usually expect to hear a story about loss of privacy or identity theft. Or worst-case—that some company or government agency has been hacked. As bad as those invasions may be, there’s a type of cyber-attack that is far more destructive and can have far more lasting effects and yet rarely makes the news. 

I’m talking about seizing control of industrial control systems. These ubiquitous hidden computers have gradually and quietly been put in charge of all manner of critical infrastructure—including nuclear power plants, the grid, water and gas pipelines, refineries, air traffic control, trains, factories, you name it. 

Unlike the computers we use in our daily lives, these computers are largely invisible. They don’t have screens or keyboards. Most people aren’t aware that they exist. And yet they are embedded in low-level processes. They are everywhere because they create tremendous efficiencies and cost savings, and because they exist almost as an afterthought, they are often completely insecure. They often don’t run anti-virus software and by and large no one bothers to scan them to see if they might be infected with malicious software. And guess what? They often are connected to the Internet where a clever hacker half a world away can get access to them!

The threat is not hypothetical. There have been almost 750 control system cyber events (including both malicious and unintentional incidents). They’ve had a global impact. Industries have included power companies, pipelines, dams, planes, and trains. Why hasn’t the public heard about them? Most often because the victims didn’t realize it since they didn’t have the right forensics. 

But here’s actual data: Of those control systems incidents, more than 50 resulted in casualties—as many as 1,000 deaths combined. They caused more than 10 electric outages. There were more than 50 cases involving significant releases of environmentally hazardous materials. Attacks damaged physical equipment in more than 100 cases. And most worrisome of all, there have been at least 50 incidents at nuclear power plants (as mentioned in the recently issued Chatham House report on nuclear plant cybersecurity).

The total cost is conservatively estimated to be $40 billion. And it will only increase.


October 14, 2015 · 

By Stephen Blank

General George Marshall enters Harvard University to give his famous Marshall Plan speech on June 5, 1947. As Marshall told his team in 1947, we must avoid trivia while thinking big. It is critically important that President Obama and his team articulate the strategic urgency and desirability of undertaking a comprehensive strategy for Europe on behalf of US interests, values, and international security. Credit: Creative Commons/OECD

US President Barack Obama recently derided critics of his foreign policies as offering merely mumbo-jumbo. Yet everyone can plainly see the administration’s shocking degree of across-the-board strategic incomprehension and incompetence in Europe and the Middle East. In fact, European Union diplomats publicly admit that confidence in US policies is plummeting throughout Europe. Therefore, I offer a strategy for Europe that aims to restore Western cohesion under a revitalized US and European Atlanticism that meets today’s needs and responds to the linked challenges of Russia, Ukraine, immigration, the Middle East, and European economic-political stagnation. It also forthrightly asserts that absent US leadership, no adequate response to current crises will emerge.

First, Washington must send lethal defensive weapons and military trainers to Ukraine at once and in greater numbers, and the White House must push to boost defense spending to finance an upgraded conventional deterrent in Europe. This means increased Army, Navy, and Air Force spending, and related infrastructure. We should also demand this of our allies, but cannot do so without ending the travesty of sequestration and matching our words to our deeds—which is not the case today.

Second, we must invest heavily in intelligence and expertise on Russia and the post-Soviet space; such expertise is sorely lacking in quantity and quality, both here and in Europe.

Third, the West as a whole must undertake a program not of immediate loans but of outright assistance to Ukraine on a scale sufficient to ensure its long-term stability, growth, democratization, and integration into the West. There must also be a commensurate reform and, if necessary, expansion, of US information activities in all Russian-speaking areas of the former Soviet Union—including Russia—and much more public and constant pressure on Moscow for violating human rights. Such a program would deprive the Kremlin of an uncontested field of information warfare at home and in the West by telling the truth. Because Russia’s threats to Ukraine and other states are not merely military but also because it exploits failed governance throughout Eastern and Central Europe, this kind of multi-dimensional program must meet those threats.

Is War Becoming More Humane?

Devices like laser-guided bombs and nonlethal weapons have the potential to reduce civilian casualties and wanton suffering. But as these new technologies emerge, are humans actually becoming more ethical about waging war, or is killing just becoming easier?

The notion that technological advances can improve battlefield conditions may seem counterintutive, considering that historically weapons have had the tendency to make wars more deadly for all involved. Since the time of Napoleon, our capacity to kill each other has increased by an order of magnitude thanks to the introduction of quick-firing guns, grenades, bomber aircraft, and chemical weapons, to name just a few. 

Not to mention modern wars have become a scourge for civilian populations. Before the 20th century, noncombatants were able to steer clear of danger as the battlefields raged off in the distance. Since the First World War, however,serious conflicts (i.e. those involving roughly symmetric opposing forces) have produced civilian casualty levels that often match those incurred by the military.

An MQ-9 Reaper landing in Afghanistan (USAF/Public domain)

But with the advent of directed drone strikes, nonlethal weapons, precision bombing—and most recently the advancement of military robotics and autonomous killing machines—some argue that military forces have the potential to become more discriminate in their killing, not only minimizing noncombatant casualties but also increasingly putting soldiers out of harm’s way.

The potential may be there, but we haven’t seen a change yet. The 50/50 ratio of civilian and military casualties has largely remained intact over the past century—including the current conflict in Syria—despite the introduction of new military technologies like high-precision rifles, helicopters, and jet aircraft.

With these high-tech weapons comes the worry that it’s becoming too convenient to kill. A major criticism of drone strikes is that they kill at a distance without the public even knowing that innocent people are being murdered, or the soldiers issuing the kill commands ever seeing the outcome directly. If we humans can kill other humans with the push of a button hundreds of miles away, is that really making war more humane? 

Where the Digital Economy Is Moving the Fastest

FEBRUARY 19, 2015

The transition to a global digital economy in 2014 was sporadic – brisk in some countries, choppy in others. By year’s end, the seven biggest emerging markets were larger than the G7, in purchasing power parity terms. Plus, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region were expected to spend more online last year than consumers in North America. The opportunities to serve the e-consumer were growing – if you knew where to look.

These changing rhythms in digital commerce are more than a China, or even an Asia, story. Far from Silicon Valley, Shanghai, or Singapore, a German company, Rocket Internet, has been busy launching e-commerce start-ups across a wide range of emerging and frontier markets. Their stated mission: To become the world’s largest internet platform outside the U.S. and China. Many such “Rocket” companies are poised to become the Alibabas and Amazons for the rest of the world: Jumia, which operates in nine countries across Africa; Namshi in the Middle East; Lazada and Zalora in ASEAN; Jabong in India; and Kaymu in 33 markets across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Private equity and venture capital money have been concentrating in certain markets in ways that mimic the electronic gold rush in Silicon Valley. During the summer of 2014 alone $3 billion poured into India’s e-commerce sector, where, in addition to local innovators like Flipkart and Snapdeal, there are nearly 200 digital commerce startups flush with private investment and venture capital funds. This is happening in a country where online vendors largely operate on a cash-on-delivery (COD) basis. Credit cards or PayPal are rarely used; according to the Reserve Bank of India, 90% of all monetary transactions in India are in cash. Even Amazon localized its approach in India to offer COD as a service. India and other middle-income countries such as Indonesia and Colombia all have high cash dependence. But even where cash is still king, digital marketplaces are innovating at a remarkable pace. Nimble e-commerce players are simply working with and around the persistence of cash.



OCTOBER 15, 2015

At the end of a military career, it’s appropriate to reflect on your years of service and what they meant. This is a simple task for me in some ways; the course of my career was largely set by a small number of pivotal, personal events. Their importance to my time in the U.S. Army was not always clear while I was in the midst of them, but they are in retrospect.

I never specifically made a choice to serve a full career in the Army. It just kind of happened. In the back of my mind I always thought I had reserved a small sliver of a choice to step away, but it never really occurred to me to do so (… except maybe once or twice while I was on the Joint Staff!). Each key event or decision in my career seemed to re-validate the original, simple purpose: to be a soldier.

Of course, the first key decision was that initial decision to serve. For that, I have my father, mother, and uncles to thank. My dad was one of four brothers, and they all served: three in World War II and one in the brand new U.S. Air Force just after the war. One was badly wounded at Okinawa, one with Patton’s Third Army in Europe, and my father was an amphibious combat engineer who participated in 13 landings while island-hopping across the Pacific.

All the brothers were enlisted. They had very little good to say about officers (until I became one, of course). But they were my heroes. So that first decision was a no-brainer — I never really considered doing anything else. I grew up at a time when Army-Navy surplus stores were like the “Best Buy” and “GameStop” stores of the day, and a new helmet liner, an M1 cartridge belt, or leggings stamped “1943” were as delightful a gift as a Call of Duty video game is today.

I’ll be forever grateful to that generation of Jacobys — like that entire generation of Americans — for setting such a compelling example of service, sacrifice, and patriotism. They didn’t talk about it in those terms, they just lived it in those terms and I can only hope to have done it some justice.

My father was a hard man; he was a Depression-era kid. But he was a loving father. And I never doubted his love for all of us and his pride in my choice to serve. (He got past the officer problem once I was commissioned in 1978.) My mother was a beautiful, talented woman, ahead of her time. She poured herself into her kids until her last breath. I wish my parents could have seen how this all worked out; they did all the heavy lifting in building whatever values and character I had — the Army just gave me the opportunity to put it to work.

Air Force Cyber Mission Success Depends on Cultural Change

Students at the U.S. Air Force Network War Bridge Course learn modern cyber operations under the aegis of the Air Force Space Command. The Air Force risks losing the effectiveness, and the personnel, of its cyber force unless it addresses critical cultural issues in that domain. 


October 1, 2015

By Maj. John Chezem, USAFR

The service ignores this vital aspect at its own risk. 

As the U.S. Air Force develops its computer security forces, it finds itself caught in a web of ineffective policies and generational conflict. The arrival of people who have grown up in the information age exacerbates the 21st-century generation gap. Fortunately, a clear understanding of the root causes of problems illuminates sound models that can be evaluated and adopted to support the success of Air Force cyber.

The service has seen a mass exodus of talented cyber professionals over the past few years. Many leave because they are frustrated with Air Force cyber’s constraints and flawed policies. Although not typically the driving factor, pay for industry jobs is often better, further encouraging departure.

Those who do stay struggle to effect change. Often, they advocate good ideas, and their opinions are supported by peers and leadership, but generally people who can enact change cannot be identified. Ideas are floated from office to office, and seldom is action taken to resolve mission needs. The common policy modus operandi is a shortsighted checkbox mentality to appease leadership rather than to stop broken processes and evaluate where policies and procedures do not make sense or are barriers to mission needs.

At the heart of the military’s problems in cyber is culture. A careful look at effective cyber organizations, including an evaluation of how U.S. agencies can mimic their cultures, must be the first step in solving problems.
One Air Force cyber leader, Joy M. Kaczor, states, “With the introduction of the cyberspace domain, the Air Force culture must evolve to truly embrace cyberspace operations and integrate it into the full spectrum of operations.” Another leader, Capt. Robert M. Lee, USAF, states the U.S. Air Force cyber community is failing for a fundamental reason—the community does not exist (SIGNAL Magazine, November 2013, page 56, “The Failing …”). Kaczor and Capt. Lee identified the following: Few professionals within the military understand cyber technically. More fundamentally, they do not understand the culture.

The Hierarchy Of The European Mind


-- this post authored by Mark Fleming-Williams

Europe is in crisis. It has been in crisis for seven years, and while its inhabitants continue to calmly go about their daily lives it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that behind the scenes, the joints and hinges that hold the Continent together are under great stress. In 2008, the global financial crisis put an end to the dream ofeverlasting prosperity, and 2011 saw the arrival of financial panic on Europe's shores - a panic that has continued its disruptive work in Greece for much of this year.

Now, unprecedented quantities of immigrants are arriving in the Continent, further complicating the picture and putting even more stress on the bonds that tie the European Union together. The union is under threat, as so many political constructions in the annals of human history have been; some have survived their ordeals, others have succumbed. To discover which fate might await the European Union, perhaps it is useful to break the institution down to the most basic building blocks that make it up: Europeans themselves.
The Evolution of the Human Mind

In his 1990 book The Triune Brain in Evolution, American neuroscientist Dr. Paul MacLean outlined his theories on the evolution of the human brain and how its chronological development affects the thinking process in modern people. MacLean divided the brain into three sections - layers that had been added over time like sediments of rock. The basic core he dubbed the reptilian brain, and this was where the deepest-seated instincts and urges resided. Self-preservation, reproduction, territorial behavior and other such primal imperatives were found here, and thus it had the closest relationship with the rest of the body. Layered on top of this reptilian base was the mammalian mind, which was the source of emotions. With mammals becoming social animals, their brains needed to gain more of an understanding of interaction with others and so developed the ability to empathize and nurture. The top and final layer was the human brain, which evolved through primates' use of their dexterous fingers to shape and create tools and continued developing until it was capable of tackling concepts such as the existence of other dimensions or of structuring a synthetic asset-backed security.

Convergence Dominates Army Cyber Activities


Soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 780th Military Intelligence Brigade take part in a cyber development and mentorship exercise at Fort Meade, Maryland. Army cyber is experiencing a convergence of intelligence, electronics and communications disciplines. 

October 1, 2015

By Robert K. Ackerman
The broadening invisible threat requires a change in operational mindset. 

The U.S. Army is converging many of its communications, electronics and intelligence disciplines to combat a cyberthreat that already has eroded much of the competitive advantage the U.S. military has possessed in recent years. Countering this threat virtually mandates that cyber operations move into the realm of fully integrated operations.

When Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, USA, took command of Army cyber about two years ago, he admits that he was surprised at “the speed of the threat.” In addition, the operational and organizational concepts of cyber did not match other Army commands. Cyber issues had been approached from either a communications perspective or an intelligence perspective—not from an operational perspective, says the head of U.S. Army Cyber Command/2nd Army. But over the past two years, the Army now has a mission that can be task-organized within the service’s construct. The general adds that Army doctrine for elements such as fire maneuver and protection fits well with cyber.