24 October 2015

Return of Kashmiri Pandits: How Long ?

By Prof.A.N. Sadhu
Date : 23 Oct , 2015

In an interactive session organized by some Kashmiri Pandits, discussion was held on the following questions facing the community. The first question was, “How long will it take the powers that be to address the genuine concerns of the displaced community? The second question was, “How long will the Govt. of India and the State Government take to come out with concrete plans regarding the return and rehabilitation of the displaced community in the valley of Kashmir? The third question was,” How long will it take for the displaced community to realize their responsibility towards their progeny for safeguarding their identity and heritage?

How long will it take to the Govt. of India and the state government to formulate definite plans of return and rehabitation.? Twenty five years is not a small time. It is almost one generation.

Letter by Maharaja Hari Singh to Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten

By Danvir Singh
22 Oct , 2015

Appendix – A

Dated: 26 October 1947

My dear Lord Mountbatten,

I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request immediate assistance of your Government.

As your Excellency is aware the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to the Dominion of India or to Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous to both the Dominions. It has vital economical and cultural links with both of them. Besides my State has a common boundary with the Soviet Republic and China. In their external relations the Dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.

I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede, or whether it is not in the best interests of both the Dominions and my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both.

Single point advice on military matters

By Harsha Kakar
22 Oct , 2015

The recent announcement by the defence minister to the air force, that it cannot have any more Rafale fighter aircraft but should plan to induct the modified and indigenously developed Tejas due to paucity of funds, was logical. The current financial year has seen the ministry of defence approving military hardware for all the three services, not only from abroad but also from domestic producers. The procurements are presently in the pipe line; to be inducted over the next couple of years, thereby enhancing the capabilities of the services. These capabilities would be best employed when the services are employed jointly in operations as one force.

…all futuristic planning and procurements should be based on a common platform of joint threat and joint capabilities.

In the present system of procurement, each service carries out its own assessment of the future battle field milieu and emerging threats, as it pertains to that service and its present capability shortfalls to deal with them. This is then projected as procurement requirements over the next five years. Therefore each service plans and projects what it requires for itself. However, what is missing in the entire system is that the future environment is common for all and would entail joint employment. Therefore all futuristic planning and procurements should be based on a common platform of joint threat and joint capabilities. Ideally therefore all procurement planning should be done under the aegis of one central organization. This should be an organization of service personnel but by protocol senior to the service headquarters and a part of the ministry.

Do the BRICS Still Matter?

By Marcos Degaut 
OCT 21, 2015 

The report provides a critical account of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as an analytical category, examining some of its constitutive dimensions, to see whether the possibilities of an effective intra-group cooperation could lead to a major change in world power distribution, or whether social disparities, diplomatic divergences, and political and economic differences could prevent the BRICS from forming a coherent and effective strategic alliance. It examines some of the group’s common features and their differences, putting into perspective their relative weaknesses and strengths, their strategic culture, and how it has shaped their foreign policies.

Marcos Degaut is a political adviser at the Brazilian House of Representatives and former intelligence officer at the Brazilian Intelligence Agency. He is also co-president of the Kalout-Degaut Institute for Politics and Strategy, a private consulting firm in Brazil. 

KPS Gill: Why obvious religious provocation has succeeded in bringing Punjab to the boil

An analysis of why cycles of violent protest in the state have been quickening over the past few years.

There is an enveloping atmosphere of political mischief across the country, an active effort to polarise communities for partisan political gains. This is deepened enormously by growing perceptions of the failure of governments to deliver on their promises, and efforts, on the one hand, by parties in power to distract attention from their own deficiencies and malfeasance, and on the other, by those who seek to destabilise the wider political and security situation, by orchestrating incidents that are intended to cause communal strife. This is particularly the case in Punjab, where the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine has been enormously discredited by years of non-performance and corruption.

The sequence of events in the present desecration crisis in Punjab clearly demonstrates that these have been planned and coordinated. Seven such incidents have abruptly been conjured virtually out of the blue, in a situation that manifested no precedent indicators. There have, of course, been rare isolated incidents of alleged desecration of the Granth Sahib in the remote past, but these were explicable in terms of individual wrongdoing or specific local factors. There was nothing in the present manner, where the pages are intentionally torn out of the holy book and strewn in highly visible public places in obvious acts of provocation.

Where is India's fracking revolution?

Siddharth Singh 
October 21, 2015

Shale oil and gas revolutionised the energy economy in the USA. Is something similar possible in India

There’s an important conversation we are not having right now. There are screaming headlines we have not had to read over the past few years. Iran, Mexico, Norway and Venezuela, four of the ten largest producers of oil until a decade ago, have seen enough production drops in the past decade to have alarm bells ring among traders and analysts, leading to oil prices spikes and supply shortages. 

In such circumstances, news TV channels and newspapers would have normally hosted heated debates on energy security, energy independence and the impact of high oil prices on macroeconomic fundamentals – but none of it happened. An unlikely ‘saviour’ emerged in the form of the American ‘Shale Revolution’. Oil (and gas) production in the United States from ‘shale deposits’ has spiked since 2008, matching one-for-one the drop by other countries, ensuring the stability of global supplies. In this process, the US has become the world’s largest producer of crude oil. That’s correct, the United States now produces more oil than even Saudi Arabia. The availability of oil and gas from shale formations has permitted the US to reduce oil imports and to move from coal to gas (which is far cleaner) for electricity production. 

India: Why Modi’s Small Steps May Add Up

here’s the beef? Modi has returned to the hurly-burly of Indian politics where the beef catchphrase – an advertising slogan for Wendy’s fast-food franchise in the U.S. and Canada — has acquired a dangerous life of its own.

It started in the western state of Maharashtra, where members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met the President of India to seek his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill. The bill was cleared by the state assembly in 1995 but has become law only two decades later. Under it, consumption and storage of beef is a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. Several other states have introduced their own beef bans.

Consuming beef is an emotive issue in India, where the majority regards the cow as a holy animal. Soon there were beef vigilantes out on the streets. In Bisada village, Dadri district, right next to Delhi, a mob broke into the house of a man suspected to have stored beef and consumed it. They battered him to death. Politicians of all hues have taken one side or the other. This is what has come to be known as beef politics.

There are no elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) where Bisada is situated. But neighboring Bihar is in the midst of a poll to the state assembly. The second-largest state in the country after UP, it has 50 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament (UP has 80). The five-phase elections started on October 12 and will end on November 5. The counting is on November 8.

Deepening India-U.S. Cooperation on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific Regions

By Richard M. Rossow, C. Raja Mohan 
OCT 21, 2015 

This paper summarizes the discussion and recommendations arising out of a workshop organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 27, 2015. The workshop included officials from the governments of India and the United States, though the views are not considered “official policy” by either government. The paper presents both governments with a possible path forward to strengthen cooperation on humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR).

Nuclear Pakistan – Incessant Tail Wagging

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
Issue: Net Edition | Date : 23 Oct , 2015

As Nawaz Sharif began preparations to travel to Washington to meet Obama, it was certain that Pakistan will start wagging her nuclear tail furiously, much to the delight of indigenous Pakistan media and that of the West. So you first had Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary stating that Pakistan needed tactical nuclear weapons because of India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine. Then you had the well timed release of the report on ‘Pakistani nuclear forces 2015’ from the Nuclear Notebook by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists coinciding with Nawaz Sharif’s US visit.

The Evolution of Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

in 'A Transatlantic Pakistan Policy', German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2014.

The roots of Pakistan’s nuclear program go back to the 1950s, when the country was one of the early beneficiaries of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. [1] Pakistan, like India, was also an early recipient of civilian assistance from Canada, which helped it establish a nuclear power plant in Karachi. [2] The seeds of a weapons program came about in the 1960s, well before India declared its capability with a test in 1974. Anticipating the fact that India would eventually follow China’s successful 1964 nuclear test, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — who was later to become prime minister — famously stated in 1965 that Pakistan would produce a bomb “even if we have to feed on grass and leaves.” [3]

Pakistan’s nuclear efforts accelerated in 1972, after its defeat at the hands of India and the loss of its eastern wing (which became the newly independent country of Bangladesh). The initial effort, under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), focused on plutonium production, an enterprise that initially experienced limited success and some setbacks. Then, in December 1975, A.Q. Khan — a scientist working in the Netherlands for nuclear engineering company FDO — stole designs for centrifuges to be used in uranium enrichment, and returned to Pakistan to establish a parallel program. [4]

Can Afghanistan Hold On?

Afghan National Police on patrol in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, November 2009

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to break his promise and keep thousands of US forces in Afghanistan when he leaves office is a stark indication of how quickly the country has slid back into crisis. The White House’s reassessment has been prompted by the Taliban’s dramatic gains of territory in recent weeks and the Afghan government’s inability to stop it. 

But Obama’s plan to retain 5,500 troops beyond 2017 will do little to address those severe military setbacks. Nor will it be able to end the acute economic and political paralysis of the leadership in Kabul, which has already caused tens of thousands of Afghans to flee to Europe, and a steady erosion of support for President Ashraf Ghani. Can the Afghan government hold on? 

On October 1, the Taliban captured their first city since losing the country to US forces in 2001. Kunduz, with a population of 300,000 and strategically situated on the border with Central Asia, had been under siege by the Taliban for much of this year, but a surprise attack by a few hundred Taliban just after a religious holiday overran its defenses and the security forces needed two weeks to retake the city. 

Afghan Government Names Notorious Former Warlord to Lead Effort to Oust Taliban From Northern Afghanistan

October 20, 2015

Afghanistan Looks to Former Warlord to Drive Out Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government has tapped a notorious former warlord to lead a mission to retake a remote northwestern district captured by the Taliban over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has no formal position in the military, but has a “bodyguard” of 640 men. He and other former warlords are assuming a larger role in the battle against the Taliban as troops have struggled to take on the insurgents without the aid of U.S. and NATO combat troops.

Dostum’s spokesman, Sultan Faizy, said he would assess the situation in Ghormach district, in the Faryab province, and submit recommendations to President Ashraf Ghani and the National Security Council. He will then implement their decision, only leading men into battle with their permission, the spokesman said.

Dostum, a prominent mujahedeen commander who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and took part in the civil war that erupted after their withdrawal, is expected to lead a combined force of army, police and his own militiamen. Government reinforcements are already being dispatched to Faryab.

Washington Doesn’t Help Pakistani Democracy

OCTOBER 20, 2015

U.S. policy toward Islamabad exacerbates Pakistan’s widening civil-military imbalance.

Back in October 2013, I argued in an op-ed that President Obama should use a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to bolster the Pakistani government’s role relative to the military. The imbalance in civil-military relations, I contended at the time, was indicative of an incomplete democracy. I called on Washington to help strengthen civilian institutions such as Parliament and the police. “In a true democracy,” I wrote, “no institution, no matter how essential, should enjoy such unchecked power.”

Two years later, Sharif is back in Washington. Unfortunately, democracy in his country not only remains incomplete, but has also grown increasingly imperiled. In Pakistan, the idea of any semblance of a civil-military balance is a sham — and U.S. policy, unfortunately, helps widen the divide.

From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation

OCTOBER 19, 2015

Vigil (left) with members of his team and members of the Northern Alliance west of Konduz Afghanistan in late 2001. 

On 28 September, 2015, the Taliban launched a major offensive in northern Afghanistan, capturing the city of Kunduz. The fact that some hundred Taliban fighters took over a major urban centre, an area which was held by 7,000 regular Afghan troops, in less than 24 hours, is not only a military debacle for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and an embarrassment for the provincial authorities, it also marks the greatest success for the Taliban at an open battlefield and an extraordinary ‘propaganda coup’.

The accidental circumstance that the temporary fall of Kunduz coincided with the first anniversary of the inauguration of Presidency Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the creation of a joint government with Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah underpins the political paramountcy and dramatic exposure of the security dimension of this event. Subsequently, the Afghan Army supported by NATO special forces comprised of US, British, and German troops, spent tremendous effort to regain control over Afghanistan’s sixth largest city with its 300,000 inhabitants. As one of the provincial capitals in the country’s north, Kunduz is of major geostrategic importance. The city is linked by highways to Kabul in the south, with Mazar-e-Sharif in the west and Tajikistan in the north, Afghanistan’s most significant gateway to Central Asia. Controlling Kunduz means controlling not only formal trade but also the most lucrative informal one: the smuggling of drugs. But even if the Taliban are not able to hold Kunduz for long, the ongoing battle over this important city and its hinterland points at various new developments on Afghanistan’s battlefield.

Nuclear tango in Afghan shadow

A 2013 file photo of U.S. President Barack Obama meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Oval Office at the White House.

The discussions over a possible U.S.-Pak. nuclear deal reminds us of the 1980s, when the Reagan administration deliberately overlooked Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear activities. Notwithstanding its current troubles in Afghanistan, Washington should steer clear of repeating past mistakes.

As Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits the U.S., it is clear that the U.S. and Pakistan are looking for some kind of a ‘nuclear deal’ and that the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan once again provides the strategic justification. There is a sense of déjà vu, this exercise is reminiscent of the time of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The outcome then proved to be counterproductive in the long run: by the time Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan and the U.S. re-imposed nuclear sanctions in 1990, Pakistan was already in possession of nuclear weapons, U.S.-Pakistan relations had gone into a downward spiral and, within Pakistan, thejihadi-sectarian virus was taking root.

Pakistani nuclear forces, 2015


Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 110 to 130 warheads, an increase from an estimated 90 to 110 warheads in 2011. With several delivery systems in development, four operating plutonium production reactors, and uranium facilities, the country’s stockpile will likely increase over the next 10 years, but by how much will depend on many things. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Islamabad plans to deploy, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. Based on Pakistan’s performance over the past 20 years and its current and anticipated weapons deployments, the authors estimate that its stockpile could realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, making it the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapon state. Pakistan appears to have six types of currently operational nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, plus at least two more under development: the short-range Shaheen-1A and medium-range Shaheen-3. Pakistan is also developing two new cruise missiles, the ground-launched Babur (Hatf-7) and the air-launched Ra’ad (Hatf-8). 

Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal and is growing its fissile materials production industry. Since our last Nuclear Notebook on the country in 2011 (Kristensen and Norris, 2011), it has deployed two new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and a new medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), and is developing two extended-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and two new nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

Promises and Pitfalls: Sino-Afghan Relations

October 20, 2015


China’s relationship with Afghanistan dates back to 4 B.C. The two have been connected by the old “Silk Road,” Buddhism, Islam, trade, border issues, Russian and Indian hegemony, their bilateral relationships with Pakistan, and finally cooperation and competition with the United States. Sino- Afghan relations cannot be studied in a vacuum. The vast area stretching from the steppes of Central Asia, to the shores of the Indian Ocean, from Iran to the teak forests of Burma is like a giant organism where an incision in any one part affects every other part. Any developments, positive or negative are likely to affect and be affected by China’s relationships with other regional players. Lately, as evidenced by the Aynak copper project and arrangement of peace talks with the Taliban, China seems to have abandoned its cautiously courteous policies in Afghanistan in favor of a more hands on approach. 

“Promises and Pitfalls,” refers to, China’s relationship with Afghanistan, which has come to a fork in the road. It can deliver on the potential of its promises or present an impassable pitfall. The promises are mutually beneficial economic and technological exchanges. Afghanistan can benefit from China’s agricultural, engineering, mineralogy, and industrial know how. China can benefit from a proximate consumer market and nearby minerals that she needs. This will create a framework of economic prosperity, which will give the Afghan government the means to fight the insurgency more effectively by deterring the populace from waging war by enabling them to engage in productive activities. It will also prevent the spread of Islamic extremism to China’s tumultuous western provinces. “Pitfalls” refers to the notion that should China support the official and unofficial Pakistani stance and paranoid view towards Afghanistan and India, and insist on rapprochement with the Taliban, instead of their total annihilation, it will produce a failed state that will negatively impact the region, such as it did in the 1990s.

It’s Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif who Pulls Strings in Pakistan

Gurmeet Kanwal

Gen Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief seems to be keen for a fifty-fifty partnership in governance 

Chief of Army Staff overrules Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on several occasions 
After talks with Taliban lose momentum, even Afghanistan seems to be disillusioned 
In the backdrop of a weak civilian government, even the US believes in backing the army in Pakistan 

Pakistan is in news again – and, once again, for all the wrong reasons. US analysts investigating the bombing of the Kunduz hospital discovered that an ISI operative was directing operations of the Taliban from the hospital. Also, Afghan officials have accused Pakistan’s ISI of playing a key role in Taliban’s seizure of Kunduz.

Lt Gen Nasir Khan Janjua, formerly chief of Pakistan’s Southern Army, will soon replace Sartaj Aziz as Pakistan’s National Security Advisor. He was expected to accompany Nawaz Sharif on his forthcoming visit to Washington and act as Pakistan’s point man to discuss a nuclear deal with the US, but this has been officially denied.

Are We Losing Afghanistan Again?

October 22, 20154 

Are We Losing Afghanistan Again? 

“ALLAH has promised us victory and America has promised us defeat,” Mullah Muhammad Omar, the first head of the Taliban, once said, “so we shall see which of the two promises will be fulfilled.” When his colleagues admitted this summer that Mullah Omar had died, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups around the globe remembered those words — victory is a divine certainty — in their eulogies. And in Afghanistan today, though the majority of Afghans still do not identify with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, Mullah Omar’s bold defiance in the face of a superpower is beginning to look prescient. 

Since early September, the Taliban have swept through Afghanistan’s north, seizing numerous districts and even, briefly, the provincial capital Kunduz. The United Nations has determined that the Taliban threat to approximately half of the country’s 398 districts is either “high” or “extreme.” Indeed, by our count, more than 30 districts are already under Taliban control. And the insurgents are currently threatening provincial capitals in both northern and southern Afghanistan. 

U.K., China Cement Growing Friendship With Big Nuclear Deal

OCTOBER 21, 201

China and its new “best friend” signed billions of dollars worth of deals during Xi’s state visit, including funding for a controversial nuclear power plant, further consolidating what many see as London’s troubling lurch toward Beijing.

Britain’s increasingly warm relationship with China is getting radioactive.

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron shook hands on a $9 billion Chinese investment to help build the first nuclear power plant in the U.K. in a generation. It was the shiny centerpiece of a $46 billion investment package the two countries agreed to during Xi’s four-day, red-carpet visit to his new “best partner in the West.”

Britain hopes to ingratiate itself with the world’s second-largest economy, while China hopes the deals, especially the massive investment in the controversial and hugely expensive Hinkley Point nuclear power station, will serve as a bridgehead for more multibillion-dollar nuclear deals. The two countries are talking about Chinese investment in two additional nuclear plants, including one that will use Chinese-built reactors.

The Great Wall and China

Written by Frank Li
21 October 2015

Hello from China!

Most Westerners, especially Americans, know China by two things (1) "communist China" and (2) The Great Wall. Since I have already pointedly addressed (1) ("Communist China", Really?), now let me address (2), revealing the real China inside, as well as outside of, the Great Wall!

1. The Great Wall

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - The Great Wall of China:

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick,tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect theChinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BCE;[3] these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall.[4] Especially famous is the wall built 220 - 206 BCE by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.

Gauging the strength of Chinese innovation

byErik Roth, Jeongmin Seong, and Jonathan Woetzel
October 2015 

The events of 2015 have shown that China is passing through a challenging transition: the labor-force expansion and surging investment that propelled three decades of growth are now weakening. This is a natural stage in the country’s economic development. Yet it raises questions such as how drastically the expansion of GDP will slow down and whether the country can tap new sources of growth.

New research1 by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) suggests that to realize consensus growth forecasts—5.5 to 6.5 percent a year—during the coming decade, China must generate two to three percentage points of annual GDP growth through innovation, broadly defined. If it does, innovation could contribute much of the $3 trillion to $5 trillion a year to GDP by 2025.2 China will have evolved from an “innovation sponge,” absorbing and adapting existing technology and knowledge from around the world, into a global innovation leader. Our analysis suggests that this transformation is possible, though far from inevitable.

To date, when we have evaluated how well Chinese companies commercialize new ideas and use them to raise market share and profits and to compete around the world, the picture has been decidedly mixed. China has become a strong innovator in areas such as consumer electronics and construction equipment. Yet in others—creating new drugs or designing automobile engines, for example—the country still isn’t globally competitive. That’s true even though every year it spends more than $200 billion on research (second only to the United States), turns out close to 30,000 PhDs in science and engineering, and leads the world in patent applications (more than 820,000 in 2013).

China dams the Brahmaputra: Why India should worry

October 21, 2015

The Chinese dam at Zangmu in Tibet on the Brahmaputra is now fully operational. Given China's history in the region, the construction and operationalisation of the dam has worrisome implications for India, says Sana Hashmi.

On October 13, China operationalised its first hydropower dam on the Brahmaputra river, known locally as Yarlung Tsangpo. By 2016, five other sections of the dam would also be completed, making a chain of hydro projects on the river intended to exploit the waters for hydropower generation.

The Zangmu Hydropower Station, which is one of the largest such stations in China, is located in Gyaca county of the Lhoka (Shannan) prefecture in South-eastern Tibet.

The station, believed to be positioned at the world's highest altitude, is expected to produce 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

The overall cost of the project borne by the Chinese government is a whopping $1.5 billion (approximately Rs 974 crore/Rs 9.74 billion).

A Chinese general sees a ruthless America striving to contain his nation’s growth

Summary: This series of posts provides excerpts from a recent speech by Qiao Liang, a Major General in the People’s Liberation Army. These give a glimpse into the thinking of China’s elites, unlike the US-centric perspective provided by our news media. In part 3 he gives his big picture view of the decade’s global geopolitics. As in part 2, he sees the US as a ruthless hegemon in decline — fighting to maintain its control over the world by containing its greatest rival: China. There’s enough truth in this to worry everybody; these struggles often end badly. 

It was as precise as the tide; the U.S. dollar was strong for six years. Then, in 2002, it started getting weak. Following the same pattern, it stayed weak for ten years. In 2012, the Americans started to prepare to make it strong. They used the same approach: create a regional crisis for other people.

Therefore, we saw that several events happened in relation to China: the Cheonan sinking event{2010}, the dispute over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese), and the dispute overScarborough Shoal (the Huangyan Island in Chinese). {The latter two are long-standing disputes.} All these happened during this period. The conflict between China and the Philippians over Huangyan Island and the conflict between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, might not appear to have much to do with the U.S. dollar index, but was it really that case? Why did it happen exactly in the tenth year of the U.S. dollar being weak?

America Must Prepare for 'Limited War'

October 21, 2015 

Mere primacy is still enough for security—but Washington will need to relearn the art of fighting under restraint.

AMERICA’S MILITARY preeminence is eroding. As the Pentagon and defense experts are becoming increasingly fervent in insisting, there are growing challenges to the dominance of America’s armed forces. The chief culprit behind this trend is the exertion of potential U.S. adversaries, which have—in the phrase one so often hears from defense officials and military officers—“gone to school” on U.S. military technology and the contemporary American “way of war.” And they have made a good deal of progress in preparing to counter it.

China and Russia are the two major powers with which the United States might most plausibly come to blows, and both have undertaken ambitious and sophisticated military buildups specifically designed to undermine American advantages. Both took note of the awing prowess of the U.S. military machine in the Persian Gulf War and the other regional wars of the post–Cold War era. China’s resolve to narrow and eventually negate America’s edge in armed might and the coercive leverage it provided was especially spurred by the Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1995–1996; Russia’s, meanwhile, was catalyzed by the Kosovo conflict of 1999 and accelerated starting with the Georgian War of 2008. Both countries’ buildups are increasingly challenging the U.S. military’s ability to project decisive power into the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe.

Cooperation in Counterterrorism: Rhetoric vs. Reality

OCT 20, 2015 

The rhetoric of cooperation in counterterrorism comes easily. The reality comes hard. Nations have very different views of who is a terrorist and who is a legitimate opponent to a given government. While all nations at least claim to oppose terrorism as they individually define it, they do not agree on who should be called a terrorist, on the relative priority for counterterrorism over human rights and civil liberties, or the priorities that should be given to a specific threat.

This is why sweeping agreements and broad statements of good intentions are sometimes possible, but only because no one takes them seriously. Like many exercises in diplomatic rhetoric, they survive the meeting that produces them and the public relations office that publicizes them, but die upon engagement with reality.

Cooperation in Rhetoric versus Cooperation in Action

It may not always be true that one country’s terrorist is another country’s freedom fighter, but it is true often enough to place serious limits on real world cooperation. Experience has also shown that debating serious differences over how to define a terrorist under these conditions does little more than highlight these differences and repeat past arguments.

SCARY! 8 Nuclear Weapons the U.S. Has Lost…

Sep 14, 2015

During the Cold War the United States military misplaced at least eight nuclear weapons permanently. These are the stories of what the Department of Defense calls “broken arrows”—America’s stray nukes, with a combined explosive force 2,200 times the Hiroshima bomb.

Gates: Come Up With A Syria Strategy, Then Tell Putin ‘Stay Out of the Way’

In his return to Washington, the former defense secretary says the Russian chief knows just what he’s doing.

The Obama administration needs to come up with a plan for Syria and then tell Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay “out of the way,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a rare Washington appearance.

Marcus Weisgerber is the global business reporter for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for nearly a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of ...Full Bio

CIA Cybersecurity Guru Dan Geer Doesnt Use a Cell Phone

WHY DOESN’T CYBERSECURITY icon Dan Geer carry a cell phone? If he doesn’t understand how something works in detail, he says, he won’t use it. Yet he’s no Luddite: as chief information security officer at In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit venture arm of the CIA, Geer has one of the clearest views of the future of security technology. His personal vision? To put those technologies (as well as new laws and policies) to work in ways that governments and corporations around the world today are too feeble, dysfunctional, or corrupt to implement themselves.

Geer argues that the EU’s “right to be forgotten” doesn’t go far enough, that software needs liability policies, and that governments should buy and disclose all zero-day vulnerabilities to prevent countries from stockpiling cyber weapons. Geer’s ideas (outlined in 10 points

he proposed in his keynote at the Black Hat USA 2014 conference) don’t win him many friends in policy or software development, but they’re certainly aligned to a core belief that is tough to argue: Sticking with the current status quo is a dangerous path to follow. #MakeTechHuman talked to Geer about what the better road might look like.

CIA Cybersecurity Guru Dan Geer Doesnt Use a Cell Phone

WHY DOESN’T CYBERSECURITY icon Dan Geer carry a cell phone? If he doesn’t understand how something works in detail, he says, he won’t use it. Yet he’s no Luddite: as chief information security officer at In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit venture arm of the CIA, Geer has one of the clearest views of the future of security technology. His personal vision? To put those technologies (as well as new laws and policies) to work in ways that governments and corporations around the world today are too feeble, dysfunctional, or corrupt to implement themselves.

Geer argues that the EU’s “right to be forgotten” doesn’t go far enough, that software needs liability policies, and that governments should buy and disclose all zero-day vulnerabilities to prevent countries from stockpiling cyber weapons. Geer’s ideas (outlined in 10 points

he proposed in his keynote at the Black Hat USA 2014 conference) don’t win him many friends in policy or software development, but they’re certainly aligned to a core belief that is tough to argue: Sticking with the current status quo is a dangerous path to follow. #MakeTechHuman talked to Geer about what the better road might look like.

Teen Who Hacked CIA Director’s Email Tells How He Did It

CIA director John Brennan

A HACKER WHO claims to have broken into the AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan says he obtained access by posing as a Verizon worker to trick another employee into revealing the spy chief’s personal information. 

Using information like the four digits of Brennan’s bank card, which Verizon easily relinquished, the hacker and his associates were able to reset the password on Brennan’s AOL account repeatedly as the spy chief fought to regain control of it. 

News of the hack was first reported by the New York Postafter the hacker contacted the newspaper last week. The hackers described how they were able to access sensitive government documents stored as attachments in Brennan’s personal account because the spy chief had forwarded them from his work email. 

The documents they accessed included the sensitive 47-page SF-86 application that Brennan had filled out to obtain his top-secret government security clearance. Millions of SF86 applications were obtained recently by hackers who broke into networks belonging to the Office of Personnel Management. The applications, which are used by the government to conduct a background check, contain a wealth of sensitive data not only about workers seeking security clearance, but also about their friends, spouses and other family members. They also include criminal history, psychological records and information about past drug use as well as potentially sensitive information about the applicant’s interactions with foreign nationals—information that can be used against those nationals in their own country. 

Don’t Be Shocked the CIA Head Was Hacked

OCTOBER 20, 2015

How can a random teenager break into the CIA director’s private email? The problem isn’t technical.

The Defense Department will spend more than $5 billion this year to keep digital information from Iran, Russia, and China. But can it withstand the wily intelligence-gathering jujitsu of a stoned American teenager who goes by the name “Cracka”? That remains to be seen. The teen in question, who may have broken into the personal AOL account of CIA director John Brennan, today threatened to do the same to Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work: to “Jack his account, leak his call logs, and, if there’s an email connected to it, we’ll just jack that, too,” the New York Post reports.

Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The ...Full Bio

The Pentagon’s response: Worry not for Mr. Work. “At this time, nothing has been found that substantiates [the] claims,” said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson from Bob Work’s office, “We will monitor the networks for signs of suspicious activity and continue to mitigate any identified risks as we continue to work with law enforcement.”

Facebook Says It Will Warn Users if NSA, GCHQ or Anyone Else Is Spying on You

Alex Hern 
October 19, 2015 

Victim of state spying? Facebook will tell you 

Facebook will explicitly notify users it believes have been targeted by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation state, the company has announced

Users whose accounts are targeted or compromised by state-sponsored hackers will now receive a notification upon login, warning them that “we believe yourFacebook account and your other online accounts may be the target of attacks from state-sponsored actors”. 

The user is then prompted to turn on Facebook’s “login approvals”, a form of two-factor authorisation which texts a login code to the user when they (or anyone else) tries to access the app using their phone. 

The company’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, explains that the warning is necessary because government-sponsored attacks “tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others”, necessitating active defence on the part of the target. He also emphasised that being the target of such an attack may indicate that other devices have already been compromised. “Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace [their computers or mobile devices] if possible.” 

Even DHS Doesn’t Want the Power It Would Get Under CISA

OCTOBER 21, 2015

The Senate bill to improve cyber information sharing would route data through an agency that doesn’t want the job.

The Senate is currently debating a bill to give Department of Homeland Security unprecedented access to personal information, a measure intended to help to protect the nation from cyber attacks. Yes, that DHS, whose director just had hisComcast account hacked. Even stranger: DHS doesn’t even want the power it would be granted.

Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The ...Full Bio

Bell Helicopter appoints Lisa Atherton as Executive Vice President of Military Business

By IDR News Network
23 Oct , 2015

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that Lisa Atherton has been named executive vice president of military business. In this role, Atherton will be responsible for providing strategic direction, overall management and performance for all government programs and business development efforts. Atherton succeeds Mitch Snyder who was recently appointed Bell Helicopter president and CEO.

Atherton joined Bell Helicopter in 2012 and has held several leadership positions within military programs, including V-22 program manager for the V-22 program office and director of military programs. Prior to her new role, Atherton served as Bell Helicopter’s vice president of global military business development, where she led the combined domestic and international military business development activities, culminating in this year’s landmark foreign military sales agreements for both the V-22 and H-1 programs.

“Lisa has been integral in the great success we’ve achieved with the V-22 and H-1 programs and the growing momentum of the V-280 Valor tiltrotor,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell Helicopter president and CEO. “Under her leadership and guidance, I know the success will only continue and increase for our military programs.”

Prior to joining Bell Helicopter, Atherton was the vice president of Area Attack at Textron Defense Systems. Before joining Textron in 2007, she spent eight years at Air Combat Command’s Directorate of Requirements helping shape the budget and operational requirements and needs for the Combat Air Forces.