31 January 2016

The Kao files

Written by Vappala Balachandran
Jan 23, 2016,

Government must publish the official chronicle of the role of intelligence before and during the 1971 war that was prepared under R.N. Kao.

Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, former director general of military operations, had made a strong plea in 2011 to declassify the records of our 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. One year earlier, the late S.N. Prasad, the doyen of our military historians, had criticised our bureaucracy for standing in the way of prompt publication of our war histories. Since then, The India-Pakistan War of 1971: A History, edited by the late Prasad, has been released in 2015 by a Delhi think-tank with the tag: “Sponsored by the ministry of defence”. Is this our official 1971 war history?

The major lacuna in this book is that it has had no access to intelligence records.

It is a mere chronicle of military operations. Srinath Raghavan’s 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh gives a better account of the role of intelligence in this war. No history of a major war is complete without an official account of how intelligence helped. The World War II history compiled by the British government has five volumes describing their intelligence services’ contributions. We have waged four wars with Pakistan and one with China. Of these, the 1971 war was the most decisive.

Other books about 1971 give only fragmented pictures of our operations. Some are hagiographies. Brigadier Behram Panthaki’s biography of his boss, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the hero of the 1971 war, only casually refers to the role of intelligence. One month after the war, then PM Indira Gandhi handed over a RAW file to Manekshaw that documented transgressions by a handful of senior Indian army officers in East Pakistan. He took prompt action. This would give the wrong impression that the RAW acted only as a vigilance department during the war.

Our intelligence was active in East Pakistan well before 1971 and much before our composite intelligence structure was divided into separate internal and external organisations in 1968. The late R.N. Kao had led these silent operations. Our armed forces came into active mode only after the Pakistan army’s March 25, 1971 crackdown. In fact, our army took advantage of the ground conditions created by our intelligence, which facilitated their operations during the war. Their important role was mentioned in several books, including the memoirs of the late P.N. Dhar, the PM’s advisor and later principal secretary. He mentioned that Kao was trusted by all East Pakistan leaders, just as they had full faith in Gandhi.

Humiliation of a general

January 24, 2016

Disciplined days: From the day he had taken charge, General K.S. Thimayya had been focused on redressing the various problems that faced the Indian Army | Getty Images 

Why Indian E-commerce Is A Ponzi Scheme

Vivek Kaul is the author of the 'Easy Money' trilogy. He tweets @kaul_vivek 

Many of today’s fledgling e-commerce companies will shut down in the years to come as investors pull the plug. 

It is that time of the year when the business media is publishing the financial results of Indian e-commerce companies for the financial year 2014-2015(i.e. the period between 1 April , 2014 and 31 March, 2015). The numbers are being taken from the filings that the e-commerce companies have made with the Registrar of Companies(RoC).

And the results make for a very interesting reading. As can be seen from the accompanying table compiled from various media reports, the losses of the major e-commerce companies have gone up multiple times during the course of the year.

The Challenges of the "Now" and Their Implications for the U.S.

January 21, 2016 

The U.S. Army has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq almost continuously for more than a decade. While this experience has honed the Army's ability to fight irregular adversaries, these may not be the adversaries the Army will need to fight in the future. This perspective reviews the spectrum of military adversaries and operations the nation currently faces, how it has adapted to irregular challenges and the consequences of that adaptation, and the lessons of other recent conflicts. The aim here is not so much to learn about the current conflicts but to help understand battles the United States has not yet fought but likely will in the future — to learn how to address the recurring Army pattern of ignoring potential conflicts while focusing intently on a current one. To counterbalance this focus, the author has synthesized prior RAND research and drawn on personal experience and discussions with current Army personnel. He notes that our country's potential adversaries know U.S. military capabilities and vulnerabilities and are adapting. The Army needs to prepare for the full range of adversaries it is likely to confront, some of whom will be armed with weapons that are now superior to some of its own.

Key Findings

Potential Adversaries Know U.S. Military Capabilities and Vulnerabilities 
These adversaries are adapting. 
The Army needs to prepare for the full range of adversaries it is likely to confront, some of whom will be armed with weapons that are now superior to some of its own. 

TAPI – good start but rejoice with caution

JANUARY 27, 2016 

When Vice President Hamid Ansari pressed the button for the ground breaking ceremony of the ambitious $10 billion (original estimate $7.6 billion) Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in Turkmenistan last year conjointly with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, it opened a new chapter for Central and South Asia. Conservative estimates add another $4-5 billions as cost overruns. Completion of the 1,735-km pipeline project would better energy security for the region and help better relations. Aided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), TAPI is a natural gas pipeline that is to transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and onwards to India. Turkmenistan’s state company ‘Turkmengas’ will lead the consortium for building the TAPI pipeline. The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period and is targeted to be operational in 2018-2019. India and Pakistan were get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd were to be supplied to Afghanistan. India’s state gas utility GAIL has signed a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with TurkmenGas for import of 38 mmscmd of natural gas for 30 years. However, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Rajya Sabha in December 2015 that with Afghanistan agreeing to take approx 1.5-4 mmscmd against the original agreed volume of 14mmscmd, the Indian volumes may increase to 43-44.25 mmscmd. Incidentally, Afghanistan’s estimated mean volumes of undiscovered petroleum is 1,596 million barrels (Mbbl) of crude oil, 444 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 562 Mbbl of natural gas liquids including 3.8 billion barrels of oil between Balkh and Jazwan in north. China’s CNPC has been commercial drilling 1.5 million barrels of oil annually in Afghanistan since 2012 while Afghanistan only consumes 5,000 barrels per day.

OPINION | From Dhaka to Singapore: The Growing Involvement of Bangladesh in the "World of Global Jihad"

By Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf
January 26, 2016

Against the persistently recurrent official statements that Bangladesh has no links with internationally acting terrorist organisations like Islamic State (IS) or al-Qaeda, there are more and more indications how deeply the Islamic fundamentalists of the South Asian country are involved in the "world of the global jihad". 

One of the latest examples of such is 2015 detention of 14 Bangladeshi nationals, who were part of a group of 26 construction workers in Singapore. The authorities of the city-state found clear evidence that these Bangladeshi nationals were supporting armed jihadist ideology of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), and planned to take part in extremist activities elsewhere, and also shared jihadist material. Already in 2013, the 14 formed a growing terrorist group but not in order to carry out attacks on the island but to ‘wage holy war’ oversea, especially in their home country. The arrest of these radical Islamists under the Internal Security Act (ISA) is a decisive moment since it was the first time that a jihadist terror cell comprising foreigners has been uncovered in Singapore. Furthermore, there is also a compounded threat that the South East Asian State could also move into the focus of terrorists as a target.

Jihadi rivalry: The Islamic State challenges al-Qaida

January 27, 2016
By: Charles Lister
International jihad has undergone a wholesale internal revolution in recent years. The dramatic emergence of the Islamic State (IS) and its proclamation of a Caliphate means that the world no longer faces one Sunni jihadi threat, but two, as IS and al-Qaida compete on the global stage. What is the relationship between the groups and how do their models differ? Is IS’s rapid organizational expansion sustainable? Can al-Qaida adapt and respond?

In a new Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, Charles Lister explores al-Qaida and IS’s respective evolutions and strategies. He argues that al-Qaida and its affiliates are now playing a long game by seeking to build alliances and develop deep roots within unstable and repressed societies. IS, on the other hand, looks to destabilize local dynamics so it can quickly seize control over territory.

Lister finds that the competition between IS and al-Qaida for jihadi supremacy will continue, and will likely include more terrorist attacks on the West. Accordingly, he calls for the continued targeting of al-Qaida leaders, the disruption of jihadi financial activities, and greater domestic intelligence and counter-radicalization efforts. Lister concludes, however, that state instability across the Muslim world must be addressed or jihadis will continue to thrive.

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The Decline and Fall of China’s Long View

January 21, 2016 

China is often credited with taking the long view to achieve its strategic goals; however, that luxury may be coming to an end. There is an oft-quoted story about former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, who, when asked about the effects of the French Revolution on China, demonstrated the Chinese long view by answering, “It is too soon to tell.” U.S. strategists, on the other hand are often limited in their ability to plan beyond the current administration. They have watched China slowly grow in power, both militarily and economically, over the last few decades with an arguable long-term goal of displacing the United States as the dominant global power, all the while focusing their own efforts on wars in the Middle East. China has remained in the shadows of global security, rarely venturing out to address even regional challenges, hoping their gradual, long-term, hegemonicrise would become a fait accompli. That hope may now be at risk.


India, China and Arunachal Pradesh.


The Chinese have never been quite explicit on how much of Arunachal they seek. Recently I saw an official map displayed in a travel agents office in Lhasa that showed only the Tawang tract as Chinese territory. In other maps they have their border running along the foothills, which means all of Arunachal.

The Chinese have based their specific claim on the territory on the premise that Tawang was administered from Lhasa, and the contiguous areas owed allegiance to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet. Then the Chinese must also consider this. Sikkim till into the 19th century a vassal of Tibet and Darjeeling was forcibly taken from it by the British! By extending this logic could they realistically stake a claim for Sikkim and Darjeeling? Of course not. It would be preposterous. History has moved on. The times have changed. For the 21st century to be stable 20th century borders must be stable, whatever be our yearnings.

The Future of ISIS: Al Qaeda 2.0?

President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address spent a couple of paragraphs discussing the terrorist threat to the American homeland. In the wake of the San Bernardino attack, he felt obliged to say what is obvious: that while the Islamic State group "can do a lot of damage" to civilians and property in the United States, "they do not threaten our national existence." On the other hand, new terrorist attacks would surely disrupt American life.

How powerful is the Islamic State really? Is it still expanding? Will its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq endure? Will its government territory become a permanent fact of international life? Is its jihadist ideology still as convincing as it once was? Here's an evaluation of the situation.

The Islamic State/ISIS should be seen as a combination of two phenomena. For clarity, let's use the acronym ISIS to refer to the jihadist movement in general, and Islamic State for the territorial so-called caliphate it holds in Syria and Iraq. Evidence is accumulating in Iraq and Syria that the Islamic State is losing, being pushed back and progressively dismantled. Its defeat is slow and painstaking, but it is also unmistakable. On the other hand, beyond Syria and Iraq, ISIS remains a grave terrorist threat that may well be multiplying.

Geopolitically, the Islamic State has lost a lot of its conquered territory - about 40 percent in Iraq, and approaching half that in Syria. It will surely shrink further in the coming months. Important resources - military, financial, and personnel - have been destroyed. The early excitement for and credibility of the caliphate ideology must be wavering among many ISIS fighters and potential recruits - although this is hard to measure. We know that life inside caliphate territory today is anything but a glorious advent. Terrorist attacks abroad might suggest global enthusiasm remains strong. Yet it stands to reason that, like any movement based on fanatical enthusiasm, the longer ISIS is stymied and the more senseless violence it commits, the less convincing are its claims to be the vanguard of a new world. The number of foreign fighters arriving in Syria may be decreasing, even as terrorist recruits in foreign affiliates may be increasing.

Jihadist organizations in perhaps 20 countries - though not many recently - have pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But this apparent spread of the Islamic State's reach is not what it seems to be; it's not militarily substantive, strategically reinforcing, or contiguous territory. Terrorist attacks seem to have increased across the Greater Middle East and within Europe in addition to the attack in the United States, at San Bernardino. But their frequency and intensity (and whether ISIS actually organizes them) are far from what most people once expected. No war is won by terrorism alone, and the menace posed by the Islamic State is different if ISIS is basically a loose terrorist network.

The Real Reason Why Iran Backs Syria

January 24, 2016 

Iran’s Syrian strategy derives less from spurious religious ties than it does from geopolitics.

The execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia and the burning of Riyadh’s embassy in Iran has one again flamed Sunni-Shiite tensions and set the tiny Arab oil sheikhdoms on edge. Leaders from Lebanon to Yemen are fretting about Iranian machinations in Arab countries. But it is Tehran’s involvement in Syria that worries them the most. Tehran has bolstered its client state by dispatching senior military figures, pressing its Lebanese client Hezbollah to send fighters, providing much-needed petroleum products and extending Syria a hefty line of credit.

Without Iran’s help, the regime would likely have collapsed. Some believe Tehran has backed Syria to the hilt because of their common religious roots. Both ruling cliques claim affinity with the heterodox Shia, who are a minority in an Islamic world populated by orthodox Sunnis.

Indonesia’s Call To Tackle Islamism

Indonesia is uniquely placed to lead the world’s propaganda war against ISIS and must unite the world’s reformist and moderate Muslim voices.

Mohamed Zeeshan is a policy analyst based in Bangalore, India. He also writes for The Diplomat and The Huffington Post. 

Indonesia is uniquely placed to lead the world’s propaganda war against ISIS and must unite the world’s reformist and moderate Muslim voices.

The horrifying terror attack in Jakarta earlier on 14 January, 2016 has shaken the world, coming only a week after the Paris police station attacks. Early statements from Jakarta Police have blamed the Islamic State (ISIS) for perpetrating the attacks and the terror group has itself claimed responsibility for it.

Most analysts didn’t see this coming. ISIS’s previous few attacks have been against those striking their cadre – France, Russia, Turkey and so on. But Indonesia isn’t a member of the anti-ISIS bombing coalition and it wasn’t expected to join in anytime soon. Yet, the attacks shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Infographic Of The Day: Social Workers Assisting Those In Need

There are thousands of social workers who make a diference and an impact on people's lives every day. These are just a few of the many who work hard to improve the world around them.

Russia Pushes Hard to Capture South Caucasus’ Energy Markets

January 20, 2016

Participant in Tbilisi protest against the Georgian government's negotiations with Gazprom 

Tbilisi and Moscow’s negotiations over the expansion of Russian Gazprom’s share of the Georgian energy market heightened the political fever in the country over the last several weeks. The negotiations that started largely in secrecy in September 2015 (seeEDM, October 21, 2015), have continued in January of this year.

The opposition accused the Georgian government of collaborating with Moscow by opening the door for the state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom to significantly boost its operations in Georgia and allegedly again make the country dependent on the Russian energy company (Rustavi 2 TV, Imedi TV, January 8–18). Some even held a protest in front of the government headquarters, in Tbilisi, demanding a stop to the negotiations (Argumenti.ge, January 16).

Russia Bargains and Bluffs for Breakthrough in Ukraine

January 18, 2016 

For months, the various negotiations formats on conflict management in Ukraine appeared deadlocked. But suddenly, in mid-January 2016, signs of a breakthrough in the making have multiplied—bringing both hopes and concerns to all the parties involved. The most meaningful of these signs was United States President Barack Obama’s telephone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin last Wednesday (January 13), in which Ukraine was the starting topic of the “open and business-like conversation” (Rbc.ru, January 13). The follow-up came on Friday, in the meeting between Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov, in a cozy presidential residence in the Kaliningrad region (Kommersant, January 15). Surkov described the six-hour-long meeting as a “brainstorm.” And while his official status is low and the list of his rivals in the Kremlin is quite long, Surkov is indeed a person who can invent complex compromises and then sell them to his boss.

Statecraft, Strategy, and Ethics: A Noetic Trinity

January 26, 2016

In his classic 1832 treatise, On War, Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz described war as “a remarkable trinity – composed of primordial violence, hatred, and enmity, which are to be regarded as a blind natural force; of the play of chance and probability within which the creative spirit is free to roam; and of its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to reason alone.” He then linked this remarkable (or “fascinating” or “paradoxical”) trinity – emotion, chance, rationality – to an associated social trinity of actors: “The first of these three aspects mainly concerns the people; the second the commander and his army; the third the government.”

War – this trinity of forces and actors – was, to Clausewitz, not an end in itself but an instrumentality, a “continuation of politics by other means.” As it was, so it is and always shall be: in matters of state, everything is a continuation of politics by various means – including what we rightly should call statecraft. But though statecraft may be an extension of politics, it isn’t politics. Statecraft stands apart as a more elevated undertaking than politics and therefore is the starting point for the recognition that statecraft is fundamentally a strategic enterprise, while strategy in turn is, in central measure, an ethical enterprise. All are interrelated and converge intellectually, thus constituting another trinity – a noetic trinity – of greater importance even than that proffered by Clausewitz.

Statecraft vs. Politics

Ten Takeaways From Davos 2016


Davos is officially done. I have to say it was a particularly exhausting but productive trip. Without further ado, here are my key takeaways from Davos 2016.

1. IMF growth downgrades kept coming for China, and the China delegation at Davos… wasn’t saying much of anything. There was even less government participation this year than usual. China is the voice that isn’t there at Davos. That said, Beijing ultimately has the tools to get through this... and the will to use them.

2. Everyone at Davos would be happy if the world hit the IMF’s 3.4% global growth forecast for 2016. Most don't think it’s likely.

Muhammad Yunus on How to Change the World: Do the Reverse


AshokaLargest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide 

Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, the pioneering Dhaka-based organization that spread microcredit and microfinance globally. Professor Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his transformative impact. Ashoka had a chance to catch up with him just before the 2016 World Economic Forum.

Ashoka: You've been a global defining force in several spheres, including microcredit and more recently, social business. What's got your attention right now?

Professor Yunus: We're in a moment of tremendous change - not linear but exponential - and we need to bring our society through a transition process to one of more evenly distributed wealth and power. This is summed up in my three focus areas that are foundational to everything else: zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions.

The White House Asked Social Media Companies to Look for Terrorists. Here’s Why They’d #Fail.

Jan. 20 2016

The White House asked internet companies during a counterterrorism summit earlier this month to consider using their technology to help “detect and measure radicalization.”

“Should we explore ways to more quickly and comprehensively identify terrorist content online so that online service providers can remove it if it violates their terms of service?” asked a White House briefing document that outlined the main topics of conversation for the meeting. The document, which was obtained by The Intercept, is now posted online.

The briefing suggested that the algorithm Facebook uses to spot and prevent possible suicides might be a helpful model for a technology to locate terrorists, asking: “Are there other areas where online providers have used technology to identify harmful content and remove it? … Something like Facebook’s suicide process flow?”

Government officials also want to use such an algorithm for law enforcement purposes. “Are there technologies that could make it harder for terrorists to use the internet … or easier for us to find them when they do?” read the briefing.

Trends for 2016 by Gartner [CHART]

Still Three Minutes to Midnight

JANUARY 26, 2016

The Doomsday Clock in 2002, when it was set at 11:53.CREDITPHOTOGRAPH BY TIM BOYLE / GETTY 

In 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published, on its cover, a “Doomsday Clock.” The clock was designed to represent the existential threat to humanity posed by nuclear weapons. That year, it was set at 11:53, or “seven minutes to midnight.” In 1953, following American and Soviet tests of the hydrogen bomb, the clock reached 11:58, or two minutes to midnight (the closest to doomsday it’s ever been). At the end of the Cold War, in 1991, it was turned back to 11:43, or seventeen minutes to midnight (its furthest from doomsday). In total, in the past sixty-nine years, the clock has been changed twenty-two times, giving the world an easy way to gauge the likelihood that our species will destroy itself. 

Analysis of NSA’s Former Bulk Telephone Metadata Program

Peter Koop
January 22, 2016

Section 215 bulk telephone records and the MAINWAY database

One of the most controversial NSA programs was the bulk collection of domestic telepone records (metadata) under authority of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. 

The Snowden revelations provided hardly any information about this program, but many details became available from documents that were declassified by the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Because in these declassified documents all codenames are redacted, it was a mystery which NSA systems were used to store and analyse these metadata.

By combining many separate pieces from both the Snowden-documents, as well as those declassified by the government, it now has become clear that NSA put the domestic phone records in its central contact chaining database MAINWAY, which also contains all sorts of metadata collected overseas.

Leaders, Your Facebook Phobia is Holding You Back

Let’s start off by coming to an agreement that your Facebook feed probably looks like most people’s…vacation photos, social quizzes, kitten videos, weddings, parties, and babies. You might post a few thoughts about the latest political buzz, but you’re not writing to change anyone’s opinion or move them in a new direction. Facebook is a window to the social You, not theprofessional You. Am I right?

Now a question…where is your largest connected network? Is it at your workplace? Your gym? Through your family? Or is it through Facebook?

If you’re not in the business of influence, then this discussion is irrelevant. But if you are a leader, then its worthwhile to consider how you use your most expansive network. If you care about changing people in positive ways, then you need to rethink Facebook.

Hostile drones: The hostile use of drones by non-state actors against British targets

Author: Chris Abbott, Matthew Clarke, Steve Hathorn and Scott Hickie 
11 January 2016 

Ever-more advanced drones capable of carrying sophisticated imaging equipment and significant payloads are readily available to the civilian market.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) currently present the greatest risk because of their capabilities and widespread availability, but developments in unmanned ground (UGVs) and marine vehicles (UMVs) are opening up new avenues for hostile groups to exploit.

DNI Publishes Unclassified SIGINT Reform Plan Progress Report

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
January 26, 2016

Last year, one year after the President signed Presidential Policy Directive-28, Signals IntelligenceActivities (PPD-28), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a public report on the Intelligence Community’s changes to signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities.
The 2015 report detailed the significant progress the U.S. Government made in strengthening privacy and civil liberty protections, increasing transparency, and setting new limits on signals intelligence collection and use. That work has continued over the past year and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is now reporting on the Intelligence Community’s continued progress in implementing the requirements of PPD-28 as well as other transparency efforts discussed in theprevious report.
This past year, the Intelligence Community continued to strengthen privacy protections of personal information, to enhance and institutionalize transparency, to declassify and release more information to the general public, to encourage dialogue with the American people and our foreign partners on our collection activities and transparency efforts, and to work with Congress to secure the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act. The impact and results of these efforts are described in this report.

PPD-28 Policies and Procedures
In last year’s report, we emphasized our commitment to strengthen privacy protections of personal information for all people, regardless of nationality. In the 2015 report, the Director of National Intelligence reported that, as required by PPD-28, all Intelligence Community elements reviewed and updated their existing policies and procedures, or issued new policies or procedures, to enhance safeguards for personal information collected through SIGINT, regardless of nationality and consistent with national security, technical capabilities, and operational needs. These policies were released publicly.

Israel About to Impose Limits on Cyber Technology Exports

Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News
January 26, 2016
Israeli Gov’t Reaches Out Before Clamping Down on Cyber Exports

TEL AVIV, Israel — In an attempt to balance pressure from Israel’s security establishment with his desire for a competitive market unburdened by over-regulation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his National Cyber Bureau (NCB) are soliciting industrial and private-sector feedback before the government moves to codify new cyber-related, dual-use export controls.
Comments regarding proposed amendments to Israel’s defense and dual-use licensing policy were originally due Feb. 7, but were extended Tuesday to March 3 due to enormous pressure from nearly all quarters of Israel’s growing cyber industry.
“The unprecedented nature of this move for public cooperation pertaining to dual use and defense export controls attests to the high awareness … of the sensitivities of this matter and the importance of implementing the process in a most reasoned and cautious manner,” Israel’s NCB noted on its website.
As it now stands, draft amendments call for restricting four distinct categories of products, technologies and services: intrusion software, vulnerability detection, defense of strategic networks and facilities, and advanced forensics.

** Strategic Discontent, Political Literacy, and Professional Military Education

By Celestino Perez, Jr.
January 14, 2016

“Here is the issue I learned over the last 10 years or so…It's about sustainable outcomes…We've had outcomes, but they have been only short-term outcomes. Because we haven't properly looked at the political and economic side of this…And if you don't do that, it will not solve the problem.” 
— General Raymond Odierno, August 12, 2015

“Simply the application of force rarely produces and, in fact, maybe never produces the outcome we seek.”— General Martin Dempsey, ABC News Interview, August 4, 2013 [2]
Top military leaders instruct officers to attend more closely to the tangled connections between a military unit's actions, its armed adversaries, and the sociopolitical landscape on which conflicts unfold. Insofar as these causal connections elude military professionals, armed interventions will tend to induce unwelcome consequences and, thereby, strategic discontent. Educators can help. The skilled integration of political science in the classroom provides a way for educators to squarely address these leaders’ concerns. But we first have to rethink fundamentals. Namely, what does military expertise and advice entail? 

Top Army general outlines plans for new brigades, new technologies

Michelle Tan, Army Times
January 21, 2016
Source Link

The Army must look to the future — and new, emerging technologies that could change the way soldiers fight — even as it continues to build its readiness to fight today, the service’s top general said.

“The near future, in terms of readiness, is a pretty straightforward affair,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. “From now to 2020, more or less, what you see is what you’ve got.”

Any advancements or improvements in equipment or technology will be marginal in the near-term, he said.

“You’re not going to see going from a smoothbore musket to a rifled musket,” Milley said. “That kind of leap ahead is unlikely [in the near-term]. But that kind of leap ahead is likely in 2025 to 2050.”

That period, which Milley refers to as the deeper future, is something the Army must already be working on, he said.

Winning the War We’ve Got, Not the One We Want

By Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, U.S. Army retired

We need some hard thinking. We are not winning the war against al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in Iraq or Syria, or elsewhere across North and East Africa, the greater Middle East, South Asia and beyond. At best, one might argue that we are holding our own, but this is far from winning. The sooner we come to realize this, the more likely we are to identify a successful way forward. Calls for reassessment and new options with respect to the U.S. approach to this problem—especially in light of the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., Paris and Lebanon, and the downing of the Russian civilian airliner in Sinai—have yielded little so far.

The first step to any solution is to recognize the problem for what it is. The next is to recognize what has not worked. Only then can the outlines of probable solutions emerge. Neither the “lash out, do something” approach nor the “stay the course; it’s a long war” approach will do.

We are facing a global revolutionary war, with a narrative that resonates with many. Most strategists are familiar with revolutions within a state; the near-global dimension of this revolution makes it different and more complex. Our enemies are not mere criminals. They have conquered, controlled and now govern territory. As their own strategic documents describe, their intent is to eject Western influence from the region, depose apostate (in their view) governments and redraw boundaries—as they already have between Iraq and Syria, ultimately remaking the map and adjusting the international order by creating a caliphate along the lines of the former Ottoman Empire. This is part of the context within which to understand our enemies’ ongoing operations and activities, whether in one of their regional theaters of operations or against those they consider the “far enemy”; that is, Europe, the U.S. and now, Russia.

Other parts of this global revolution include several power struggles: one between the Arabs and Persians; another between Sunni and Shia. Further, this revolution is an intra-Sunni struggle between the very small percentage of radical and violent Sunni Muslims seeking to redefine the faith of the vast majority of other Sunni Muslims. While the broad dimensions of this power struggle are important to understand, as in any revolution, the microdynamics of how it unfolds in each particular area are perhaps more important. And again, like all revolutions, this one has not only political but also social and religious dimensions to it. The violence our enemies use is a means to further their revolutionary ends and prevail in the regional power struggles.

Ignoring War Authorization Widens the Civil-Military Divide

January 25, 2016 

Congress owes U.S. service members honest engagment on an AUMF.

Fifteen years after the last Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and one week before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address, yet another service member was killed in Afghanistan: a new father who was a Green beret and serving with the Washington National Guard. The incident serves as a stark reminder that today, we are coming face to face with one of the unintended consequences of an All-Volunteer Force (AVF): the compartmentalization of the military as a separate entity from the rest of society.

As this civil-military divide grows, we as a nation have lowered the threshold for the use of military force. In his most recent State of the Union, President Obama implored, “If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, authorize the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote. Take a vote.” Though not a new phenomenon, the lack of legislative forcing mechanism and the ease with which military force is used must continue to warrant consideration. When the deployment of troops becomes a burden only felt and understood by a small minority of the country, we as a nation need to ask some very hard questions about the cost of going to war—and whether for many of us it's currently too low.


JANUARY 26, 2016
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Wargaming is enjoying a renaissance within the Department of Defense, thanks to high-level interest in wargaming as a way to foster innovation. However, for this surge of wargaming to have a positive impact, these wargames must be designed well and used appropriately. For decision-makers with limited wargaming experience, this can be a daunting challenge. Wargames can be deceptively simple — many do not even use complicated computer models — so it is all too easy to assume that no specialized skills are needed for success. At the same time, wargames are hugely diverse: interagency decision-making seminars that involve conflict without fighting, crisis simulations adjudicated by subject matter experts, and operational warfare in which outcomes are determined by complex computer models. For sponsors who may have only seen one or two games, it can be hard to understand the full range of wargaming possibilities and the common approaches that underpin them all. How can a sponsor discern whether wargames and the resulting recommendations are actually worthwhile?