9 November 2015



1. On retirement recently I have shifted to Dwarka from the comfort zone of Dhaula Kuan Part 1. Though one is mentally prepared for the paradigm shift, even then you feel the jhatka. You realize how thoroughly one has been spoiled by the great Indian Army where everything is catered for. Getting a plumber for a small repair job made my life no easier, On top of it staying inside the house 24 hours is not good for own health and family.

2. So I decided to attend some seminars/ round table discussions last week.

3. On Tuesday 5th Nov I went to Taj Mahal Hotel at Man Singh Road to attend a Panel Discussion on "Innovate in India" organized by ORF. It had an impressive array of speakers like Bibek Debroy, Kenneth Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck and Co, USA, Robert Shapiro, Senior Fellow, Georgetown University and former US Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, US Government, Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, TeamLease Services, India. Deb Roy gave the key note address and enthusiastically engaging in discussions. Innovation, IPR, WTO, Skill Development , …. The foreign speakers had their own agenda which was understandable. Deb Roy asserted that it is the Govt’s job to provide world class infrastructure. But let the market decide where the innovations should take place. Govt has no role in it. Something Gurcharan Das has been telling for a long time. I found Manish Sabharwal’s talk very interesting on skill development. Though I raised my hand during Q&A Session, understandably the foreign delegates were given chance to speak. I had following comments / questions in mind :
  • IPR is all right for money making, what happens for common good of the people. There are so many instances where inventors have shared their invention free for benefit of mankind. We have ongoing issues with Basmati Rice, Earlier we had problems with haldi, neem, ayurveda and even yoga!
  • Will the Govt consider education also as critical infrastructure. India is not Luyten’sDelhi. Please visit any district/ sub divisional towns in the heartland of India and see the state of education. People getting out from there are simply unemployable.
  • Lot of work is being done on skill development. It is too early to comment. How is the natural aptitude is being utilized for placing an individual to a particular skill set. It seems everything is market driven.

4. On 4th November there was as heavy duty seminar by CLAWS in conjunction with ARTRAC held at USI. All the hoi polloi of Army were there! The first session till lunch was chaired by Prof Gautam Sen. As his wont he handled the session deftly. Except one, speakers were excellent in their deliberations and there were some searching questions. I also decided to join the bandwagon and raised the following issues as comments and questions.
  • Everybody was talking of 2004 and 2010 doctrine. People have forgotten that the first IA doctrine was published by ARTRAC during Lt Gen Oberoi’s time as Army Commander ARTRAC. It had a red cover page. Requested ARTRAC when the new doctrine gets published they should at least supersede the older one which has not been done.
  • The process of strategy / doctrine making normally is : National Security Strategy( signed by head of the state in our case the PM to be made by NSCS) à National Defence Strategy to be made by MoD signed by RM à National Military Strategy made by HQ IDS followed by joint doctrine. The individual services doctrine should come out of the broad parameters of joint doctrine, so is the case of others eg. NDS should come out of NSS and so on. In our case we are all talking of NSS and Army Doctrine what about the other missing links.
  • We may also like to have a look at how Indian Navy has published National Maritime Doctrine though there is no NSS. MoD has neither approved it, nor rejected it. But it is there! In our case Army doctrine is made independently. Actually it does not matter as long as it is there. Strategies and doctrines are generic in nature. NSS covers all non traditional security issues like energy, health, economic, environment, water security etc . NSS of USA is only of 29 pages.
  • We need to be practical. Do we really believe that as per our newly formulated doctrine we will reorg our force structure, our capacity building, our training, our personal policies. We know how our procurement takes place, how we function. Come on, this is an academic exercise only. The chair interrupted and asked me what is my recommendations. I replied I had already forwarded that in the form of an e mail as Eliot Cohen gave his testimony in the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting on 22 Oct 2015 only. He said rather getting into fruitless periodic exercise of writing the QDR they should try to do the following :

Remake our system for selecting and promoting general officer

Renew professional military education at the top.

Re-discover mobilization

Overhaul the current system for producing strategy documents on a regular basis.
  • I drew the attention of a slide shown by Lt Gen Anil Chait where the recent statement of NSA was shown wherein for 4 GW police is being designated as lead agency. Have we already left that space for the police without contesting? We do not want to do CI Ops, govt keeps on increasing CAPF, we do not want to be the lead agency, NDRF has been created. We will still do riot control at the drop of a hat, recent example is there, there is no graduated response, no CAPF, Military became first responder. Same with Disaster Management. What is our take. Karna kya hai.

The most interesting observation came from a civilian a retired official from Finance. He asked has there been any study carried out about the effect of the doctrines published earlier in 5 years time frame. What are the financial effects. He also told me in lunch break, everybody is taliking about Arth shashtra but forgets it is the economy which drives everything! Understandably there was no response to his query from anybody.

5. On 5th Nov I attended CLAWS – Carnegie – Stimson Dialog org by CLAWS. It was an excellent one. The panel was very good. Walter Ladwig III was there. I had circulated his papers on India’s Strategic Options and earlier India’s cold start doctrine, both outstanding papers. It was nice to listen to ex SFC C in C and now Director CLAWS asserting that Indian Army will fight through Tac Nuc Weapons, if it happens, and willing to take on the casualty. The political leadership is aware of what is required to be done and will take action accordingly. One only wish, in view of the recent nuc saber rattling by Pak somebody responsible from the Govt does give some response and send signals across. After all signaling is very important.

6. Prof Gautam Sen before leaving gave some comments and not questions, as he emphasized. These were :
  • Is there any methodology to measure intent.
  • Capacity building, innovation, infrastructure development are of no significance unless there is intent to use it.
  • To Varun Sahney in an asymmetric conflict on nuc issues Pak can come to the red line. He should not stop there, please elaborate on what will happen in case of a nuc war.
  • What is the micro miniaturization that has been done to deliver a TNW through arty shell. What is the flexibility.
  • To Monica Chansoria : She began well with Marxist theory and Mao to Xi Jinping ’s thought of China producing capability of deterrence. She should postulate what the new regime going to do. Imposition of economic and strategic conglomeration through one road one belt and other means is not like to succeed because of political compulsions.
7. I raised the following points ;

No two democracies have ever fought war, no two nuc powered states have either. The closest that happened was in Kargil which was localized and IA and IAF did not cross LC. PAF was not in picture. It is the most potential nuc flash point where whole world is concerned.

I drew their attention to the Shasank Joshi’s paper in CSIS where he writes that there is a calculation by Ashley Tellis which suggests that Pakistan would need as many as 436 nuclear weapons of 15 kiloton yield to destroy at least half of a single Indian armored division. Since the size of the Nasr missile indicates it could only accommodate warheads of much smaller yield than this, these requirements grow more onerous still. Indians assume that two ordinary, non tactical nuclear weapons dropped from Pakistani F /16 aircraft could effectively halt an armored division/ the tanks could get through a nuclear battlefield but their supply lines could not, and Indian forces could not disperse quickly enough anyway. Indian armored divisions are assumed to move at a speed of approximately 20 kilometers per hour. In the several minutes it would take to target and drop a bomb, Indian tanks could not disperse more than a few kilometers. That would be within the range of, say, a 15 kiloton device. Every year our armd formations do exercises, the terrain is known, is there a study which can tell us how many TNWs will be required to stop, say one Armd Div. We have three, all poised against Pak. As per India what is the red line for Pak. Ladwig said that Zimmerman had carried out some analysis at Princeton and he will send the paper. And promptly he sent me that paper next day. Interested?

China very effectively has boxed in India by giving Pak nuc technology and delivery means of Missiles through North Korea. They are providing another reactor now. There is news of deployment of ballistic missiles in TAR. What is the chance of China giving DF 21 or DF 26 to Pak. It will be a complete game changer, our Career battle groups will be in range and will have grave repercussions.

China is a cyber super power. Is there any information whether China shares their cyber expertise with Pak.

8. George Perkovich made some very interesting observation. He said the questionof Pak use of TNW arises when IA fights within Pak territory. Can we take recourse to other means like international pressure, financial sanctions, other economic measures to attain the same objective.

9. On 7th Nov I attended an international conference on India and WW I org by Shiv Nader University and USI. It was for two days first day in USI and second day at SNU. Since SNU is beyond Greater Noida they provided us transport to go from USI and Arun Vihar Institute in NOIDA to SNU. I was highly impressed by this initiative where the academia was partnering such an event. There was enthusiastic participation from the students of SNU. The panels were excellent including scholars from France and Belgium I have been following the writing of Dr Kaushik Roy of Jadavpur University and it was nice to interact with him. One really gets impressed by their knowledge om matters military . I asked him about Apoorva Kundu who wrote a seminal book on India’s Martyr class system and Sunil Dasgupta. His observations on Combat Motivation interms of Pre Combat and In combat was extremely interesting. I picked up the word homo erotic bond of German soldiers. Some of the statistics like the number of casualties the allies, the Germans took proportional to their population was mind boggling

10. The Vice Chancellor of SNU very proudly in his inaugural address talked about 2/Lt Girish Narain Singh who joined IA in 1947 and fought in all the major wars. He emphasized that his father was from 3rd Kumaon Rifles not Regt and how Sharon Day used to be observed. 

11. Some of the facts which came out are ;
  • More than 50% soldiers were from the then Punjab consisting of Sikhs, Jats, Dogras, Ahirs and Punjabi Mussalmans.
  • At the outbreak of WWI strength of IA was 2, 39, 561 incl 77,000 Britishers, it was quickly increased to 1.4 million .
  • There was a very huge number of people who went as labour force.
  • Max number of people were in Middle East, Mesopotamia, but we get more coverage of European battlefields.

12. On 7th there was recitation of letters from Indian soldiers, an art exhibition by Sumantra Sengupta and a panel discussion.

13. I had given the following comments ;

In defence of why there was not much importance given to WWI post independence I drew the attention to the following;

For whatever reason mostly wrongly the political class wanted to keep armed forces away from mainstream. The happenings like military rule at Pak, Burma and other countries post WWII did not help.

Countries which got independence Post WW-II, there are not many countries which has done better than India.

In 1918, during the same time Jalianwala Bag massacre took place. It is Indian Army’s Gorkha soldiers who fired at the peaceful gathering. There were deep wounds which take time to heal.

After WW-II INA soldiers were put on trial, no less than Jawharlal Nehru probably for the first time wore the black coat and pleaded their case, but INA soldiers were not rehabilitated in Indian Army.

Requested them to put these excellent papers in the web so that everybody can read those.

14. Though it was Saturday when we went to SNU, it was worth the effort.

15. Who said, there is no free lunch? Every day of the week I had sumptuous lunch. To compensate I had to play tennis in the afternoons followed by getting caught in Delhi’s mad traffic jams of Diwali shopping. Driving to Dwarka specially approach to Dwarka fly over was a painstaking effort. And boy, after all these in the day what a sleep I had everyday.

16. I think I have to take a break from seminar hopping!

      -- PKM

The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare

NOV. 7, 2015 
Source Link

With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world’s third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country’s, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range nuclear missiles that can reach farther.

Arguments over caste spread from India to Britain

THE LIST of things on which Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the British Labour party, disagrees with David Cameron is, of course, very long. But here is one that you may not have thought about, unless you happen to be a politically active member of the Hindu or Sikh community in Britain. Mr Corbyn is a long-standing and passionate advocate of the Dalits, people from India who complain of being treated terribly by their compatriots because of their low status under the caste system; such discrimination was supposedly abolished by independent India's constitution but it remains a powerful social reality.

Indeed, advocates of the Dalits remember him gratefully as one of the first British politicians to take up their cause. Specifically, Mr Corbyn wants British law to prohibit discrimination on grounds of caste, a step which the government seems reluctant to take, and one which some prominent British Hindus adamantly oppose. These opponents insist that the existence of caste discrimination in Britain is unproven, and that outlawing it would be an insult to the Indian community. 

In 2012, Mr Corbyn told parliament:

How We Valued Value

Bibek Debroy
6 November 2015

Bibek Debroy is an economist and member of the NITI Aayog. He is the author of Mahabharata in 10 volumes 

Wealth is a neglected domain in our scriptures because they were written by brahmins and that is also why artha is intertwined with dharma

कर्मण्यवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन This is a famous shloka from the Bhagavad Gita. “You indeed have a right to the action, never to the fruits.” In advancing a proposition that Hinduism is concerned more about the world hereafter and is concerned relatively less with material prosperity in the present world, this shloka is also cited.[1] If the fruits are irrelevant, why should I be motivated to do anything? Why should I try to improve my material prosperity? Let me instead focus on the world hereafter. It so happens that this is not a shloka from the Bhagavad Gita, it is half of ashloka, from shloka 2.47, the 47th shloka in the 2nd Chapter. The remaining half of the shloka, often not quoted, is as follows. मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गः अस्त्वकर्मणि। “Never should action originate because of the fruits. Nor should you be attached to lack of action.” With both halves of the shloka taken together, one forms a slightly different impression. In discussing Hinduism, with its immensely huge corpus, and attitudes of Hinduism towards specific topics, one must therefore be careful in quoting selectively. What’s the point of quoting half a shloka, without considering the rest of the Bhagavad Gita? How can one quote from a text, ignoring the context of who it was composed for and by whom? Not to speak of issues about when it was composed.

What do historians do? A perfect lesson for Chetan Bhagat from the Indian Army

What inspires an Indian soldier to brave the odds in a battlefield? It is the history, the izzat, of his paltan.

So what do historians really do?

To Chetan Bhagat, a popular writer and a “five point someone”, the answer is not very obvious. He believes that they write this happened, then this happened and, ok, their work for the day is done. But this isn’t how others view the purpose of historians and history – for them it is history that defines the present, which creates traditions that define a nation and its fortunes. This is truer for the Indian Army.

Few people outside the military know what motivates the men of an infantry battalion of the Army to face impossible odds in battle. The soldiers call it izzat, the Urdu word for honour that motivates them to climb mountains under fire, in sub-zero temperatures where the exposed skin freezes and peels off.

History to live up to

Downstream concerns on the Brahmaputra

November 3, 2015

It is in India’s interests to start a serious conversation with China on some of the larger questions of benefit sharing, risk allocation and trade-offs on the Brahmaputra.

As China’s largest hydroelectric dam on the Brahmaputra, or Yarlung Tsangpo, became fully operational this month, it has once again evoked concerns in India. The $1.5 billion Zangmu hydroelectric dam has stoked a virtual paranoia over China’s resource choices and their likely downstream impact. But the debate has generated more heat than light. It has also unwittingly ended up being a single-issue debate, fixated on water diversion and its likely impact. But is that all there is to it?

An overwhelming focus on diversion has moved attention away from other critical issues such as water quality that India needs to raise with China. There are growing concerns over worsening environmental degradation facing Tibet’s ‘Three Rivers area’ comprising the Yarlung Tsangpo, Lhasa river and Nyangchu basins in central Tibet. One of the most intensely exploited areas in this region is the Gyama valley, situated south of the Lhasa river, with large polymetallic deposits of copper, molybdenum, gold, silver, lead and zinc. Studies by Chinese scientists are pointing to the possibility of a high content of heavy metals in the stream sediments and tailings that could pose a potential threat to downstream water users. Global warming could further accelerate the movement of these heavy metals besides projected spatial and temporal variations in water availability. By 2050, the annual runoff in the Brahmaputra is projected to decline by 14 per cent. This will have significant implications for food security and social stability, given the impact on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture.

The Road to a US-Pakistan Nuclear Deal Begins in Islamabad

By Saira Bano
November 06, 2015

Before the official visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, to the U.S. on October 22, the media inPakistan and India were buzzing with reports that the United States was exploring a nuclear deal with Pakistan in order to constrain its nuclear weapons program, believed to be the most rapidly expanding on earth. Pakistan, on the other hand, has ruled out any possibility of a deal that places conditions on its nuclear weapons program. Pakistan is looking for a deal similar to the one India got, in which New Delhi was given access to the international market for its civilian nuclear program without putting significant constraints on its nuclear weapons program.

Tomgram: Ann Jones, The Never-Ending War

by Ann Jones 
November 5, 2015.

In an effort to attack Taliban fighters, an air strike by a U.S. plane killed dozens of civilians in Kunduz, Afghanistan. In the wake of the attack, an American general responded in unequivocal fashion. “I take this possible loss of life or injury to innocent Afghans very seriously,” he said. “I have ordered a complete investigation into the reasons and results of this attack, which I will share with the Afghan people.”

In an effort to attack Taliban fighters, an air strike by a U.S. plane killed dozens of civilians in Kunduz, Afghanistan. In the wake of the attack, an American general responded in unequivocal fashion. “I want to offer my deepest condolences to those innocent civilians who were harmed and killed on Saturday,” he said. “I've ordered a thorough investigation into this tragic incident... we will share the results of the investigation once it is complete.”

Pakistan’s Increasing Nuclear Stockpile: India the only threat factor?

October 28, 2015 

In 2014, the Council of Foreign Relations reported that Pakistan now has the fastest growing nuclear program in the world, and estimates that by 2020, Islamabad could have as many as 200 nuclear weapons. Gregory Koblentz, an expert on arms control, has termed this development as “aggressive.” In 2011, reports suggested that Pakistan could overtake Britain as the fifth largest nuclear weapon state in the world. While a reportpublished in August 2015 by Michael Krepon and Toby Dalton, predicts that Pakistan could exceed the nuclear weapons capabilities of France and China, making it the third largest nuclear weapon state.

Krepon and Dalton further suggest that Pakistan should shift its focus from full spectrum deterrence to strategic deterrence. However, as recent as in September 2015, the National Command Authority on the other hand, made clear that Pakistan is working towards maintaining ‘full spectrum deterrence.’ Pakistan aspires to achieve ‘full spectrum deterrence’ and would potentially increase its nuclear stockpile as a road towards achieving this capability. In addition to this, is the issue of a possible nuclear deal between the U.S. and Pakistan, which further raises concerns. While it is being assumed that the deal, if fructifies, may check Pakistan’s growing fissile material, Pakistan could divert its nuclear program towards nuclear weapons.

China and the ‘Magna Carta Moment’

By Gabriel Collins
November 05, 2015

China’s leaders are keen historians, particularly when it comes to events that drained political power from authoritarian rulers. The Magna Carta, whichestablished for the first time the principle that all, including the king, were subject to legal restraints on the exercise of power, is one such event. This marked a pivotal moment in world history and the document’s message still clearly disturbs China’s leaders more than 800 years after its issuance. Indeed, consider theabrupt and unexplained cancellation of a public display of one of the actual surviving Magna Carta originals at Renmin University in early October 2015. To that end, the Party leaders seek to forestall a Chinese “Magna Carta Moment,” in part by curtailing the activities of China’s rights lawyers (“weiquan lushi”), who seek to uphold the rights of individuals against the arbitrary or improper exercise of state power.

In Beijing’s mind, allowing these lawyers to operate freely could risk eventually establishing a new social contract under which the power of the Party should be subjugated to the force of an independent rule of law. Governments naturally seek to minimize potential constraints on their exercise of power. And this is precisely why Beijing is striking hard against the rights lawyers. In July and August of 2015, police interrogated and/or detained nearly 300 rights lawyers and their support staff, across 24 provinces and administrative areas. Beijing led the way, with 17 persons detained and 42 others interrogated and/or travel restricted (Exhibit 1).

China and Taiwan Leaders Emphasize Kinship, 1992 Consensus in Historic Talks

November 07, 2015

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first time in Singapore on Saturday, marking the first-ever meeting between the top leaders of Taiwan and mainland China.As expected, the two men addressed each other as “mister” and spoke as the “leaders” (rather than the presidents) of Taiwan and China – a practical way of avoiding the fact that neither government officially recognizes its counterpart as legitimate.

There were no new agreements or joint statements issued at the meeting. Instead, the talks provided a way for Ma and Xi to look back at the past seven years of cross-strait relations, and to provide their blueprint for continuing the relationship under the next president. That president is likely to be Tsai Ing-wen, chair of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, and indeed Tsai and the DPP seemed to be the intended audience for much of what Ma and Xi said.

Xi’s Bottom Line

The US and China: Actions and Reactions

November 07, 2015

This week U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea,commenting that “our visit is a symbol of our commitment to our rebalance and the importance of the Asia-Pacific to the United States.”

This “rebalance,” or pivot to Asia, became a popular term following Hillary Clinton’s June 2013 essay, “America’s Pacific Century,” in which she emphasized the importance of the Asia-Pacific region and outlined a set of goals, including strengthening ties with China.

But not everyone is a fan of the pivot, including Beijing. Robert S. Ross, professor of political science at Boston College and an associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, wrote in “The Problem With the Pivot” that:

The new U.S. policy unnecessarily compounds Beijing’s insecurities and will only feed China’s aggressiveness, undermine regional stability, and decrease the possibility of cooperation between Beijing and Washington.

China, India, and closely connected dreams


The Hindu
“Rabindranath Tagore said, ‘China and India are very old and beloved brothers’”. Picture shows Chinese artistes performing a traditional dance of China at Tagore’s ancestral home at Jorasanko in Kolkata . —Photo: Arunangasu Roy Chowdhury

We advocate fostering a community of a shared future with neighbouring countries. In this context, we regard the China-India relationship as one of the most important bilateral relationships for us — Li Yuanchao, vice-president of china.

It is my pleasure to pay an official visit to India at the invitation of Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice President of the Republic of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. I would like to take the opportunity to extend my sincere greetings and best wishes to the great people of India.

Backgrounder on ISIS Global Order of Battle

Helia Ighani 
November 5, 2015

Since the self-proclaimed Islamic State captured territory in Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014, their network of affiliated groups has grown significantly. The Islamic State—known previously as al-Qaeda in Iraq—was disavowed from al-Qaeda in 2014 for its divergent philosophy and brutal tactics. Pre-existing terrorist groups in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere have declared their allegiance to the Islamic State, increasing the number of fighters to anywhere from twenty thousand to two hundred thousand in Iraq and Syria alone. Now, nearly thirty-five terrorist groups have declared their allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Islamic State’s affiliates have been deemed “provinces”, and their locations range from West Africa to Pakistan. Affiliates in three countries in particular—Libya, Egypt, and Nigeria—chose the Islamic State over al-Qaeda. Now, the United States has to consider how to effectively “degrade and ultimately destroy” an entire network with a more effective recruiting campaign, particularly targeting potential “lone wolf” terrorists, rather than just core-Islamic State. So outside of Iraq and Syria, what is the United States really up against? Here’s an overview of the three biggest “provinces” of the Islamic State.

Islamic State Libya 

Why the U.S. Hopes ISIS Didn’t Destroy the Russian Airliner

Nov. 5, 2015

The prospect that ISIS planted a bomb that blew a Russian airliner out of the sky last weekend raises the stakes for President Obama and the rest of the civilized world. While the evidence of the Islamic State’s culpability remains sketchy, confirmation would elevate the conflict to an entirely new level—a level neither Washington nor Moscow wants. Fingers are crossed in both capitals that some mechanical reason for the disaster will be found, and found soon.

But if the ongoing investigations, which killed all 224 aboard when the Airbus A321 crashed into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Saturday, increasing point to a bomb, the world’s war against ISIS will have to shift gears. It will go from being a distant religious conflict pursued by zealots to a major challenge to the international order that can no longer be handled with airpower—U.S., Russian or anyone else’s—alone.

Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. policy toward ISIS has not changed, despite Obama’s order last week to dispatch fewer than 50 U.S. troops to northern Syria to train Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State. He likened the anti-ISIS forces on the ground to “a pack of wolves [that] will hound, pursue, or wear down and ultimately kill its prey … while the coalition provides devastating air power all along the way.”

Revealed: Russia Test-Fired Nuclear Missiles

November 07, 2015

Last week, the Russian military conducted weapon drills involving its strategic nuclear forces and high-precision long-range weapons, according to TASS. The aim of the military exercise was to test the combat readiness of Russia’s nuclear triad.

A Russian Ministry of Defense press release stated that the war games tested “the reliability of relaying combat-training orders and signals along the entire command and control vertical, from the Russian national defense control center to the command posts of formations and military units.”

“In general, the results of the drills demonstrated high combat readiness of strategic nuclear forces and high-precision long-range weapons,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.

Units involved in the military exercise came from Russia’s Southern Military District, Northern and Pacific Fleets, Caspian Flotilla, Aerospace Defense Forces and Long Range Aviation.

Turbulent Times for Brazil’s Nuclear Projects

October 29, 2015 

Turbulent Times for Brazil’s Nuclear Projects

Just five years ago, Brazil shined brightly on the nuclear scene. Today, a high-level corruption investigation is shaking up the sector.

“Othon was arrested today” is a phrase I never expected to hear. I landed in Rio de Janeiro on July 27, the night before his arrest. For the next two months, I would join Brazilians in observing a political and economic crisis unfold in real time. 

Brazil has been struggling with a shrinking economy and political infighting. Since 2014, it has experienced the fallout from an all-encompassing high-level corruption investigation that has exacerbated structural challenges Brazil was already facing. Dubbed Operation Lava Jatoin Portuguese (Operation Car Wash) after a gas station in Brasília where some of the laundered money was exchanged, the investigation led to accusations of corruption leveled at leading figures. The list of the ensnared includes top executives of Brazil’s behemoth oil company Petrobras and of the country’s largest construction companies as well as politicians at the highest levels, extending all the way to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

What is the Russian military good for?

Pavel K. Baev 
November 4, 2015

The Russian military intervention in Syria—launched in a great rush just over a month ago—came as a surprise; perhaps not as shocking as the swift occupation and annexation of Crimea, but a surprise nevertheless. But does Russia’s ability to surprise and to project force in Syria prove, as Garret Campbell claims, that Western attempts “to discredit Russian military capabilities” were inaccurate?

In fact, the first month of the operation tells us little about Russian military capabilities. It does show that the Russian leadership is prepared to play with military instruments of policy way beyond the limit of, for Western politicians, acceptable risk. This readiness to face big risks constitutes a political advantage of sorts. But it remains unclear that the Russian military is up to the task. There are many looming disasters on the battlefield in Syria, and the Russian military will inevitably take the blame if they come to pass.
Reforms and rearmament

Free a Billion: A Way to Lead India from Economic Bondage to Prosperity

lity – that Indians are not yet economically free. “Under British rule, Indians suffered the ill effects of extractive and exploitative policies,” they note. “These policies did not change even after independence. What is worse is that socialist policies were added to an already toxic system. These need to be replaced with new, pro-growth, pro-economic freedom policies.”

Jain describes himself as a serial tech and political entrepreneur. He is founder and managing director of Mumbai-based Netcore Solutions, India’s leading provider of digital communications and marketing solutions via email and mobile. He also founded Niti (New Initiatives for Transforming India) Digital, which worked actively on the 2014 election campaign of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Dey, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, is the author of Transforming India, a book in which he explores the causes of India’s poverty and discusses what steps India would need to take in order to become a prosperous country by 2040.

Jain and Dey visited Wharton last month to discuss their new initiative named “Free a Billion,” which refers to gaining economic freedom for a large part of India’s population. Among other steps, they believe India needs a new Constitution, which can empower people rather than the government. 

How The Russian Crash Investigation Could Alter the War On Encryption

NOVEMBER 5, 2015

If intercepted communications prove an ISIS bomb caused crash in Egypt, it could be just the boost surveillance state advocates need. 

When U.S. intelligence officials said “intercepted communications” are a basis for the early assessment that a bomb planted by the Islamic State may have doomed a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, they also may have given a huge boost to efforts to expand government-led surveillance in the name of counterterrorism.

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

“I think there is a possibility that there was a bomb on board,” President Barack Obama said Thursday, lending the commander in chief’s credibility to the theory. It’s the president’s first characterization of the disaster since British Prime Minister David Cameronsaid it was “more likely than not” that a bomb destroyed the airliner.

The Secret Pentagon Push for Lethal Cyber Weapons

NOVEMBER 5, 2015

With nearly $500 million allotted, military contractors are competing for funds to develop the next big thing: computer code capable of killing.

Under a forthcoming nearly half-billion-dollar military contract, computer code capable of killing adversaries is expected to be developed and deployed if necessary, according to contractors vying for the work and former Pentagon officials.

DoD still 'working through' cyber strategy implementation

Amber Corrin, 
November 5, 2015 

The Defense Department's cyber strategy released earlier this year outlined several overarching goals, fleshed out narrower objectives and plans for implementation, and hit on a number of Pentagon cyber ambitions. Now, six months after the strategy's late-April release, DoD officials are working to carry out its directives.

One of the central parts of the strategy is the direction of significant authorities to a newly appointed principal cyber adviser (PCA). Mandated in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act and emphasized in the 2015 strategy as an integrator and supervisor for DoD's evolving cyber forces, policy and operations, the PCA is responsible for convening an interdepartmental cyber team and a senior executive forum, improving management of cyber budgets, developing cybersecurity policy and framework, and conducting an end-to-end assessment of DoD cyber capabilities.

The role is referred to numerous times in the document and plays a key oversight role for U.S. Cyber Command and Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks.

From Army of One to Band of Tweeters

NOV. 5, 2015

IT was the end of a long combat patrol near a district called Adhamiyah, in northwest Baghdad, in the fall of 2008. It started like most daily missions but ended with a hidden enemy throwing a grenade at a vehicle convoy, missing it but hitting a young Iraqi child instead. As the company commander, I met the soldiers at the site and after a few hours followed them back to our base. I left the men, went to stow my equipment and brief other officers.

When I went back to talk to the soldiers who had been on the patrol, I was surprised to find them not grouped in conversations about what had happened, as I’d come to expect during my career in the military. Instead, they were sitting silently in front of computer screens, posting about their day on Myspace and Facebook.

The term “band of brothers” has become almost a cliché to describe how the close personal bonds formed between soldiers translate into combat effectiveness. Yet my combat experience in Iraq suggests that the kind of unit cohesion we saw in past wars may be coming undone because of a new type of technological cohesion: social media, and too much connectivity.

The Closing Space Challenge: How Are Funders Responding?

Paper November 2, 2015 

An examination of the ways Western public and private funders are responding to the increasing restrictions on support for civil society around the world.

As restrictions on foreign funding for civil society continue to multiply around the world, Western public and private funders committed to supporting civil society development are diversifying and deepening their responses. Yet, as a result of continued internal divisions in outlook and approach, the international aid community is still struggling to define broader, collective approaches that match the depth and breadth of the problem. 
Restrictions on External Funding for Civil Society Intensify and Spread 

Continued closing space. Just in the past two years, China, India, and Russia, along with many smaller countries—such as Cambodia, Hungary, and Uganda—spanning all ideological, economic, and cultural lines, are stepping up efforts to block foreign support for domestic civil society organizations. 

Broader repression. Attacks on foreign funding for civil society are often the leading edge of wider crackdowns on civil society. Power holders justify broader sets of restrictive measures like limitations on freedom of assembly using the anti-foreign-intervention line.

Pentagon Farmed Out Its Coding to Russia

By Patrick Malone, Center for Public Integrity 

The Pentagon was tipped off in 2011 by a longtime Army contractor that Russian computer programmers were helping to write computer software for sensitive U.S. military communications systems, setting in motion a four-year federal investigation that ended this week with a multimillion-dollar fine against two firms involved in the work. 

The contractor, John C. Kingsley, said in court documents filed in the case that he discovered the Russians’ role after he was appointed to run one of the firms in 2010. He said the software they wrote had made it possible for the Pentagon’s communications systems to be infected with viruses. 

Greed drove the contractor to employ the Russian programmers, he said in his March 2011 complaint, which was sealed until late last week. He said they worked for one-third the rate that American programmers with the requisite security clearances could command. His accusations were denied by the firms that did the programming work. 

Lethal Cyber-Warfare: Pentagon Secretly Develops Cyber Weapons Able to Kill


Major US defense contractors are competing for nearly a half-billion-dollar military contract on development of a computer code and cyber-weapons, which would be capable of harming humans in a real world.

The US troops may soon have the power to launch so-called logic bombs, instead of traditional explosive projectiles, these would essentially be able to direct an enemy’s critical infrastructure to self-destruct, likely with the loss of human life, according to Nextgov, a web-based information resource which reports on technology used by the US federal government.

U.S. Navy: Time to Bring Back the S-3 Viking?

By Ben Ho Wan Beng
November 09, 2015

The boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Arizona may offer the solution – an interim one perhaps – to two critical capability gaps that carrier air wings (CVWs) of the United States Navy are facing for the foreseeable future. A Hudson Institute report, Sharpening the Spear: The Carrier, the Joint Force and High-End Conflict, which was released earlier this month highlights, among other issues, the relatively short range of the CVW’s strike aircraft and its limited anti-submarine warfare (ASW) repertoire. Also released this month was Retreat from Range: The Rise and Fall of Carrier Aviation, a hard-hitting analysis by Dr. Jerry Hendrix of the Center for a New American Century (CNAS) that alludes to the CVW’s lack of deep-strike capabilities.

The S-3 Viking, which was taken out of service in 2009 in the name of cost savings – a move that has been criticized as short-sighted – could arguably fill these two shortfalls. Eighty-seven S-3s are being kept in mothballs at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Resurrecting most of them could go some way towards addressing the aforementioned capability gaps. After all, the innocuous-looking aircraft had a diverse operational portfolio that included ASW and aerial tanking. Moreover, developing new aircraft, whether manned or otherwise, to address the two shortcomings would take time, and the Viking could serve as a stop-gap measure until these new platforms are brought into service; indeed, the S-3 is believed to be able to fly for another 10,000 to 12,000 hours.

Interview: Victor Robert Lee

By James Pach
November 06, 2015

Victor Robert Lee writes on the Asia-Pacific region and is the author of the well-received espionage novelPerformance Anomalies. He is perhaps best known to readers of The Diplomat for his very popular series ofarticles built around satellite imagery showing China’s island building program. His writing on the region has been widely cited in major news outlets. He recently spoke with The Diplomat’s editor James Pach about the tensions in the South China Sea.

In January 2013, your article “The Last Empire Expands” was published in Medium.com. In the article, you called Beijing’s “territory grab” in the South China Sea an imperial move. Do you still hold the view that China is the last empire?

Yes, and the closing sentence of that article is unfortunately pertinent today: “It is time to see the Beijing Empire for what it is: A hegemon that has been emboldened by America’s folly and is expanding.” Beijing’s ongoing annexation (no other word for it) of the South China Sea is the largest territorial grab since the expansion of the Soviet and Japanese empires. And Beijing has tightened its grip on restive Xinjiang and the Tibetan regions, flooding them with Han migrants and turning them into virtual police states. It is also pushing against India on its Himalayan borders. So “empire” is appropriate. China even has a self-anointed emperor, Xi Jinping, who holds absolute power and is assiduously building his own cult of personality. I think kowtowers like David Cameron and Mark Zuckerberg will come to regret their fawning.

South Korea Goes Indigenous for Its Missile Defense Needs

November 07, 2015

South Korea is going indigenous in its attempt to upgrade its missile defense capabilities. In 2006, the country announced that it would create the Korean Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD), an integrated air-land-sea structure for the detection and destruction of incoming North Korean missiles, including nuclear short-range ballistic missiles.

The hardware involved in KAMD currently consists mostly of U.S. and Israeli platforms. The U.S.-designed Patroit PAC-2 and 3, supported by the Israeli EL/M-2080 Green Pine radar, make up the mainstay of the South Korean land-based anti-missile arsenal. At sea, the Republic of Korea Navy’s (ROKN) Sejeong the Great-class frigates and the Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyers are equipped with the U.S. SM-2 Block IIIA/B missiles and AN/SPY-1 radar.

Can the US Military Win Wars If It Keeps Losing Talented Officers?

The Pentagon worries its rigid personnel system is driving away the leaders it will need for the conflicts of the 21st century.

When Defense Secretary Ash Carter took the reins of the Pentagon in February, he inherited a Pentagon coming out of two prolonged land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, navigating a budgetary drawdown threatened by sequestration, and wrestling with how to remain the dominant military in a fast-changing world. As one of his predecessors Robert Gates noted, since Vietnam, “our record has been perfect” about predicting future wars: “We have never once gotten it right.”

David Barno is a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Responsible Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. He served as commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005.Full Bio

Nora Bensahel is senior fellow and co-director of the Responsible Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. Full Bio

Revisiting the roles and missions of the armed forces

November 5, 2015

Note: Michael O'Hanlon testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, arguing in favor of the rough balance of resources that has characterized the U.S. armed forces in the past. O'Hanlon's comments focused on his latest book "The Future of Land Warfare."

Greetings, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, and other Senators on the Committee. It is an honor to testify today as we stretch our imaginations to postulate what the future of warfare may be like—and thus what demands may be placed on different elements of America’s military. I am here to argue in favor of the rough balance of resources that has characterized the U.S. armed forces in the past. My purpose is not to argue that landpower should be the preeminent military tool of the United States. Rather, I would like to challenge those who claim that its time has come and gone—and that the U.S. Army’s size and budget should decline accordingly. I strongly disagree. An Army of some million soldiers, active and Reserve and National Guard, remains roughly the right size for the United States going forward—and in fact, that is a rather small and economical force relative to the scale of challenges and threats that I foresee. Moreover, that Army should continue to prepare for a wide range of possible scenarios, challenges, and missions. We cannot opt out of certain categories of warfare based on some crystal ball we purport to possess; the United States has always been wrong when it tried to do so in the past. To paraphrase the old Trotsky’ism, we may not think we have an interest in large, messy, dangerous ground operations in the future—but they may have an interest in us.