17 February 2016

* How Xi Jinping sees the world ... and why

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has gone through a series of phases marked by sharply differing conceptions of what its leaders believe the international order should look like. These changing views reflect an underlying ambivalence toward the existing order. China is currently undergoing a new phase, whose meaning can be understood more fully by understanding how China’s leaders got to where they are today in their thinking about the global order. By examining the continuity and the changes of the last seven decades, what is genuinely new and different and what is familiar can be better distinguished.

There is a temptation to see the changes in China’s trajectory as reflecting the vision of President Xi Jinping. Xi has already demonstrated that he is a decisive leader, stronger than his predecessor and determined to not only manage China, but to transform it to meet huge unsolved challenges, primarily at home but also abroad. Actions like the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and island-building in the South China Sea reflect the temperament of a man not afraid to lead, for better or worse. But large national transformations are more often the product of historical forces than the writ of one powerful leader. Understanding how Chinese views of international order since 1949 have evolved should help to clarify Xi Jinping’s particular contributions to the way China sees and wishes to interact with the world.

Dogs of War

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
16 Feb , 2016

As Indian Army’s 36 Labradors and German Shepherds walked down Raj Path during the Republic Day Parade without missing a step in livery of the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC), wonder how many in the audience knew they had been practicing three times a day since the last four months for the parade. Joining the parade 26 years after similar previous participation, their movements were immaculate despite the fact these dogs are trained for combat situations, not ceremonials. Not many would know their contribution to India’s security albeit some may have noticed in the media that avalanche rescue dogs Dot and Misha were part of the massive operation mounted by the Indian Army at Sonam post located in northern glacier at a height exceeding 20,000 feet, post the massive avalanche that buried 10 personnel of 19 Madras under 25-30 feet of ice. They actually are the real ‘Dogs of War’ even as the phrase was used by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar in different context or the Hollywood movie of that name was about a wild pack of soldiers.

Taking Off Contrary to official claims, Tejas is a winner

Feb 15, 2016

Tejas, a 4.5 generation aircraft like Rafale, has always been underfunded by government and undermined by the IAF with periodic rewriting of ASRs.

For an indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) disparaged by the Indian Air Force brass as “overweight”, “underpowered”, “obsolete”, “a three-legged cheetah” and, in technical terms, as a plane that “cannot fly without telemetry, pull more than 6G or an angle-of-attack (AoA) greater than 20 degrees” and “with an air intake that starves the engine”, is supposedly afflicted with “53 identified shortfalls”, and fails to meet the “minimum air staff requirements (ASRs)”, the Tejas, entirely unreported by the Indian media, performed phenomenally well at the recent Bahrain International Air Show. It has silenced the naysayers. The minimum that this success ought to do is get the government to reconsider the deal with France, because the fact is Tejas’ future will be inversely affected by the Rafale deal. If one is up, the other is out.

The LCA’s composites-built airframe and small size enhance its stealth features, translating into a small radar signature and the greatest difficulty for enemy aircraft to detect it. Bahrain proved that fighting quality. There can be no complaints.

Pakistan: What Stands in CPEC’s Way?

By Muhammad Daim Fazil
February 15, 2016

When Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the blueprint for the enormous $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project last year, Pakistan was understandably pleased. The Pakistani government considers the project a game changer for its fragile economic structure. This exhilaration partly stems from the country’s wobbly economic performance in recent years, which has seen it fall short of GDP and other financial targets. The project has also elevated Islamabad’s strategic partnership with the regional superpower. CPEC is viewed as a lifeline for Pakistan, yet three potential obstacles could yet derail this multifaceted project.

Provincial Resentment in Pakistan

ISI and the Islamic State smokescreen

By Divya Kumar Soti
Date : 16 Feb , 2016

On September 12, 2014, the streets of Western Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor city were abuzz with political gossip as the constituency was slated to go for assembly by-polls the very next day. But near noon, the old city’s Jataan locality was rocked by a big explosion in a house. Neighbors saw few youngsters rushing out of a rented house with two of them having serious burns. Investigators on reaching the blast site recovered a laptop, mobile phones, Jihadist literature, made in Pakistan daily-use products apart from some Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in-the-making (they were being made by filling empty LPG cylinders with explosives, one of which had exploded while being manufactured injuring the youths). 

However, the most interesting recovery was that of large quantities of matchboxes which were being used to extract Potassium Chlorate to manufacture those IEDs. An investigation of the CCTV footage from the adjoining areas and mobile phones recovered from the room clarified the identities of terrorists- Amjad Ramzaan, Islam Ayyub, Zakir Badrul, Aizazuddin, Mehboob and Abu Faisal. All these were members of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) wanted in multiple terror related cases across India and had escaped from Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa jail in 2013.

Afghan IG Finds Afghan Army and National Police Forces Still Not Capable of Standing On Their Own

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)

February 12, 2016

Today, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Armed Services U.S. House of Representatives.

The testimony notes:

– Congress has appropriated more than $68 billion towards building self-sufficient Afghan security forces, 61% of the $113 billion in U.S. reconstruction funding.

– Security is the most critical component of U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan.

– If recent developments are indicators of what is to come, we may not be on course to achieve and sustain for the long term the U.S. national security objectives in Afghanistan.

– SIGAR has found many instances when U.S. funding dedicated to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) was wasted, whether inefficiently spent on worthwhile endeavors or squandered on activities that delivered no apparent benefit.

Obama's Sunnylands Summit Does ASEAN Really Matter?

February 15, 2016

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders pose for an official picture at the 27th ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 21, 2015. From left to right are: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III; Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong; Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha; Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung; Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak; Laos’ Prime Minister, Thongsing Thammavong; Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen; Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo; and Myanmar’s President, Thein Sein. US President Barack Obama will host the ASEAN leaders at a summit in Sunnylands in California on February 15-16. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

OK, OK, I get the symbolism, but it is a measure of how devalued the language of diplomacy can be that US President Barack Obama would hold an unprecedented summit at Sunnylands in California with ten heads of state whose countries comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to talk of a “strategic partnership.” 

Confirmed: China is Upgrading ICBMs With Multiple Warheads

February 15, 2016

For the past several months, China has been upgrading single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), according to U.S. intelligence agencies, The Washington Times reports.

“China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads,” the head of U.S. Strategic Command Admiral Cecil D. Haney said in a January 22 speech.

On February 9, the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper noted that China “continues to modernize its nuclear forces by adding more survivable road-mobile systems and enhancing its silo-based systems.”

U.S. defense officials revealed that the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) has upgraded its older liquid-fuelled, silo-based Dongfeng 5A ICBM with MIRVs containing three (some sources say eight) warheads.

Top US Spy Chief: China Still Successful in Cyber Espionage Against US

February 16, 2016

Last week, the Director of National Intelligence Admiral James R. Clapper delivered his annual threat briefing to the Senate Armed Forces Committee noting that China remains engaged in malicious activities in cyberspace against the United States, despite a U.S.-Chinese bilateral agreement to refrain from conducting or knowingly supporting commercial cyber-espionage.

“China continues to have success in cyber espionage against the U.S. government, our allies, and U.S. companies,” Clapper emphasized. “Beijing also selectively uses cyberattacks against targets it believes threaten Chinese domestic stability or regime legitimacy.”

Clapper goes on to say that U.S. intelligence agencies will monitor China’s compliance with the September 2015 bilateral agreement to refrain from conducting or knowingly supporting cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property with the intent of providing competitive advantage to companies or commercial sectors.“Private-sector security experts have identified limited ongoing cyber activity from China but have not verified state sponsorship or the use of exfiltrated data for commercial gain,” he added.

Rocking the Boat: South China Sea Imbroglio

By Radhakrishna Rao
16 Feb , 2016

It is in the fitness of things that the US State Department has denied plans for Indo-US joint naval patrols in South China Sea over which China has claimed total sovereignty. But then the US naval officials did confirm that both the sides had held discussions for a joint naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea region, one of the vital oceanic stretches of the world through which more than US$5-trillion in world trade moves. As it is, last year India and US had signed a joint Vision statement that stressed the need for “safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight “all through the Asia Pacific region.

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman commenting on the agency report that India and US are mulling a joint naval patrol in South China Sea said, ”The United States and India do have a shared vision of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia. At this time, there are no plans for any joint naval patrols”. Interestingly, the Indian official position on such disputes are clear and unequivocal: it would not form a part of any military coalition except under the UN mandate. In keeping with stance, Indian navy has never carried out any joint operations with another country. On its part, India’s Defence Ministry has described reports appearing in a section of the media on the move for a joint Indo-US naval patrols in South China Sea region as “speculative”.


FEBRUARY 15, 2016

The biggest overseas purchase in Chinese history is meant to ensure the world’s largest country can keep feeding its people.

China’s biggest-ever overseas acquisition, announced this month, isn’t about gobbling up resources to feed its industrial maw, broadening its financial leverage, or enhancing its strategic position. Rather, the $43 billion bid for Swiss agricultural company Syngenta is about something a lot more basic and a lot more important: ensuring that its farms will be able to produce enough food to keep pace with the country’s still-growing population, already the world’s largest.

Beijing today faces a variation of the dilemma that has bedeviled leaders there for thousands of years: how to feed so many people with so little arable land. China today accounts for about 19 percent of the global population, yet has just 8 percent of its arable land. And unlike other countries with growing populations, there’s no land left to till; indeed, given years of chemical abuse in the countryside and industrial pollution that sowed heavy metals through rice paddies, China’s available farmland is actually shrinking.

Understanding Youth Radicalization in the Age of ISIS: A Psychosocial Analysis

By Kumar Ramakrishna
12 February 2016 

In December 2015, Malaysian police reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had set up camps in Kazakhstan and Syria to train and indoctrinate children as young as two years old to become militants. It was alleged that the camps were training children from all over the world in the use of firearms, as well as immersing them in what one senior Malaysian police officer called a ‘ false jihad’.

While the Kazakh ambassador in Singapore swiftly issued a rebuttal of the Malaysian claim, it is worth noting nevertheless that news is available – including apparently video evidence produced by ISIS itself- of Kazakh children being trained by ISIS. More generally, terrorism researchers have confirmed that ISIS ‘actively recruits children’ to engage in ‘combat, including suicide missions’ (Stern and Berger 2015: 210). In any case, Southeast Asian authorities were hardly surprised at the latest allegations of ISIS targeting youth for Islamist indoctrination. Since September 2014, it has been known that ISIS has set up a Southeast Asian unit of Malay-speaking militants, drawn from mainly Indonesia but also Malaysia. According to some estimates, the unit called Katibah Nusantara (KN), or the Malay Archipelago Unit, held sway amongst 450 Indonesian and Malaysian fighters and their families in the Syrian/Iraq region, as of November 2015 (Arianti and Singh, 2015).

Jihad & a Geopolitical G-X: Winning the War and Building the Peace

By Daniel J. Arbess and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
FEB 12, 2016

The civilized world is still being caught flat-footed by global Jihad, but at least we’re now realizing that our societies are engaged in a whole new kind of conflict—with a decentralized nonstate enemy, fueled by an archaic-techno mix of messianic theology and social media outreach. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) is of course not a legitimate nation-state, but it still proclaims its goal to establish a caliphate governing Islam, while al Qaeda and numerous other jihadist groups position for the same goals. What’s needed next is an allied military strategy for reversing the jihadists’ recent shift toward territorial conquest, then, more challenging still, a coherent diplomatic process for stabilizing the Muslim world that offers its populations a path to better economic prospects and more participatory governance alternatives than they’ve enjoyed to date.

Let’s acknowledge that this will be a multidecade undertaking across the globe. It calls for an unprecedented diplomatic effort to replace over a century of colonialism and self-interested exploitation—by both foreign and local powers—with a genuine foundation for peaceful self-governance, a real alternative to the recent historically exploitive model that offers economic benefit and participation to Muslim populations that have been impoverished, uneducated, and oppressed for generations. We call on the G-20 and majority Eurasian Muslim nations to convene an international summit and working group, a “Geopolitical G-X,” with the goal of working toward consensus on the geographic, political, and economic arrangements for restoring stability to the Middle East and in due course the rest of the Muslim world.

The Strategic Impact of Iran’s Rising Petroleum Exports After Sanctions

FEB 15, 2016

The decades since the first major oil embargo in 1973 have shown all too clearly that no one can predict oil and gas prices and petroleum export revenues. This is particularly true when oil supply is so high, key exporters like Iraq and Libya are at war, production is partly driven by the tensions between Iran and its Arab neighbors, new sources of production are coming on line, and the world seems be headed for a China-driven collapse in the growth of petroleum demand.

There are important new estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, that indicate that Iran is not going to see the kind of windfall from the lifting of sanctions as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions that some expected at the time the agreement was signed.

Iran’s petroleum exports will increase, but they will do so at a time when oil and gas prices are far lower than at the time when sanctions became truly effective, and when they are far lower than most experts predicted at the time the JCPOA was negotiated and signed.

Unshackling Nuclear Proliferation

On Sunday, North Korea successfully launched a satellite into space for what it called peaceful purposes, triggering the perfunctory denunciations of its neighbors. South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch a challenge to world peace, and Japan vowed to resolutely take measures in response to the provocation. Likewise, the United Nations condemned the test in an emergency Security Council session, affirming that a clear threat to international security continues to exist -- particularly in the context of nuclear security.

The international community's response to Pyongyang's satellite launch shows how the threat of nuclear proliferation typically enters the Western policy discourse in reference to countries hostile to U.S. interests. Rarely, if ever, do policymakers worry that a friendly nation might draw the nuclear card. Until recently, an ally acquiring threshold nuclear capabilities had been a fairly remote possibility. What is known as a non-proliferation Gold Standard requires countries to forgo uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing in exchange for U.S. civil nuclear assistance.

Are the Saudis ready to fight in Syria?

Saudi soldiers march during Abdullah's Sword military drill in Hafar al-Batin, near the border with Kuwait, April 29, 2014. 

On Feb. 4, Saudi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri announced that Saudi Arabia is now ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State (IS). Saudi Arabia is part of the international anti-IS coalition led by the United States since September 2014. However, when it launched the war in Yemen to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels almost a year ago, its priorities shifted and its airstrikes on IS subsided. In December, it launched a new Muslim anti-IS coalition, but this, too, remains ambiguous as a strategy and may be interpreted as yet another attempt by the Saudi regime to seek Islamic backing against its rival and archenemy, namely Iran. It is important to understand why the Saudis announced they are now willing to venture into the troubled waters of Syria with ground troops, allegedly to fight IS.
Summary⎙ Print With no end in sight to Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, is Riyadh ready to risk major casualties by sending ground troops to Syria?
Author Madawi Al-RasheedPosted February 10, 2016

Why Leonardo Da Vinci Was A Genius

-- this post authored by Martin Kemp, University of Oxford

Leonardo da Vinci, as we know, was the epitome of the Renaissance man. We know that he was a genius, a polymath, a pioneer in fields as diverse as anatomy and hydrodynamics. We know that Leonardo invented the tank, the helicopter, the flying machine, the parachute, and the self-powered vehicle. We know that he was a "man ahead of his time" and that his visionary inventions weren't to be realised for centuries.

Well, not exactly. Leonardo the inventor is subject to legends in much the same way as the Mona Lisa. But the reality beneath the stories is no less exciting, as the Science Museum's new exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Geniusmakes abundantly clear.

He was trained in Florence in the 1470s, when the workshops of some major artists not only took on art in every kind of medium but also tasks that we would now classify as engineering - both civil and military. His master, Andrea del Verrocchio, was famed chiefly as a sculptor, but was also responsible for the soldering and erection of the great copper ball on top of the dome of Florence's cathedral. This brought the young engineer into direct contact with the lifting and construction devices of the great Filippo Brunelleschi, architect of the dome.

Will Merkel Pay for Doing the Right Thing?

BERLIN — A former German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, recently calledAngela Merkel’s decision to open the door to an unlimited number of refugees a “mistake” and offered this verdict: Merkel had a “heart, but no plan.”

This view of the German leader, who is beloved but now begrudged, is gaining ground as refugees from a ravaged Syria and elsewhere pour in. Local authorities are strained to the limit. Billions of euros have been spent with no end in sight. Many people came in whose identities are unknown; they have to register if they want handouts, but some have not and there are security concerns. Cologne has become a byword for concern over how a large influx of Muslim men will affect the place and security of women in German society.

Three important state elections loom next month. It seems inevitable the far-right Alternative for Germany Party will surge. Merkel will be blamed. Her support has already tumbled. One poll this month showed 46 percent of Germans support her, compared with 75 percent in April last year — and that’s with a strong economy. She could be vulnerable if her Christian Democratic Party turns on her. Europe without Merkel will sink.

Technocrats Are Not the Answer to Ukraine's Woes

February 15, 2016

WASHINGTON - Just over a week ago, the dramatic resignation of Ukraine's respected economy minister, Aivaras Abramovicius - and his accusation that the country's leaders continue to tolerate corruption - led many Western analysts and officials to call for non-political technocrats to play an expanded role in Ukraine's government.

True, technocrats such as Abramovicius, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, Infrastructure Minister Andrii Pivovarsky, and others are among the most capable officials in Ukraine. They entered politics after the Maidan Revolution, so are untainted by the corruption that has long polluted Ukrainian politics. Each came from the private sector, bringing managerial capability and new ideas into Ukraine's sclerotic bureaucracy. So it is easy to see why many people in the West think that empowering people like them is the best way to improve Ukraine's government.

Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault Europeans should look to Brussels — not Moscow — for the source of their extremism problem.

FEBRUARY 13, 2016 

It was recently reported that in June 2015, the U.S. Congress directed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to investigate possible funding of European political parties and non-governmental organizations by the Kremlin. The directive alleges that Russia seeks to weaken European unity, with the goal of ending sanctions levied for its involvement in eastern Ukraine and undermining NATO’s missile defense plans.

This is only the latest chapter in an ongoing effort to expose Russia’s meddling in European politics. Allegations of Russian infiltration have beenmade by leading publications, politicians, and think tanks. They warn that bankrolling like-minded parties is only one component of Russia’s operations meant to manipulate public opinion in its favor. The Kremlin has also worked to shape attitudes through the slick and compelling — and conspiracy-filled — programming on its global news channel. Some analysts have even consider Russia’s propaganda and lobbying campaign to be an aspect of “hybrid warfare” alongside its more muscular actions in Ukraine. The new wrinkle is that, for the first time, the U.S. government is conducting its own investigation.

Leader: Europe and the long shadow of war

11 FEBRUARY 2016 

Amid the rancour, it is easy to forget what drove European integration in the first place: the two great wars in the first half of the 20th century. 

Amid all the claims and counterclaims about David Cameron’s so-called renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the European Union, it is often forgotten, or conveniently ignored, just how successful the European project has been in helping to create and maintain the post-Second World War peace order.

We support continued British membership of the EU but are sceptical of the imperial ambitions of the European elites. We opposed British membership of the single currency, a decision that the eurozone crisis has vindicated. It is obvious that the Schengen Agreement is unravelling and in all likelihood is unsustainable, as embattled nation states reimpose emergency border controls and the continent grapples with its worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War. Like the British government, we are opposed to further political and economic integration and to the creation of a federal or quasi-federal superstate.

West Point cadets go online, undercover to fight ISIS

By Lindsey Johnson 

Now Playing Spend whatever it takes to end ISIS recruiting effort?

A team of West Point cadets has found a better use for social media than posting selfies and 140-character witticisms: going undercover and online to steer young Muslims away from terrorist recruiters.

The cadets crafted an online strategy to stem the flow of disaffected young people to Islamic State as an entry in an international contest sponsored by a group of federal agencies and tech companies. Unlike the competing teams from universities all over the world, the West Point contingent, which took second place, worked undercover.

“We post after Friday prayer, when many people would be home and at their computers.”

- Cadet C.J. Drew

“Since our website was targeting what we called ‘fence-sitters,’ I think if individuals who visited our social media platforms knew that they were being produced by anyone in the U.S. government, then the site would lose credibility,” Lt. Col. Bryan Price, director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, told FoxNews.com in an email.

Pentagon Kills Its Killer Drone Fleet

The U.S. military spent billions developing an armed drone that could take off from an aircraft carrier. But now, the Pentagon says it doesn’t want that kind of flying robot at all.

Cutting-edge killer drones will not be flying over the world’s oceans any time soon. The Defense Department’s budget proposal for 2017, released on Feb. 9, terminates an on-again, off-again program dating back to the late 1990s that aimed to develop a bomb-hauling robotic jet capable of launching from and landing on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers.

The decision to cancel the so-called Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike is reflected in the Defense Department’s 2017 budget proposal, released on Feb. 9. The proposal shows a combined $818 million in funding for the UCLASS killer drone program in 2015 and 2016 and, abruptly, no money at all in 2017.

Instead, there’s a new budget line for 2017—a meager $89 million for a so-called “Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System.” In other words: Goodbye, drone death from above. Hello, flying robot gas stations.

Social Media Is Changing The Face Of Politics And It's Not Good News

Most people across the developed world still get most of their news via television - and traditional news brands, produced by journalists, still top the rankings for the most read news on the internet. But a growing number of people have stoppedturning on the TV, buying a paper or even visiting a news website.

They are reading their news - filtered for them by more assiduous friends - on their Facebook feeds or having it provided for them by organisations or politicians that are paying Facebook for their attention. Researchers have already noted a growing division between "news junkies" who read widely (but usually only from sources they agree with) and a growing band of "news avoiders" who are opting out of news that seems aggressively polarised.

Number of Iranian Cyber Attacks on Israel Growing

Iran Hammers Israel
February 15, 2016

Israel recently revealed that in the last few months it has been subject to a growing number of Internet based attacks from Iran. Some of the attacks were “serious” but Israel would not reveal the extent of the damage done and much about these attacks is still under investigation. While Israel has some of the best Internet defenses on the planet, many of the recent Iranian attacks relied more on psychology than software skill. This method of attack is known as spear fishing (“phishing” as hackers spell it). Spear fishing is a fishing operation where targets are carefully chosen and researched before putting together the attack. Despite the Israeli Defense Ministry having software and user rules in place to block spear fishing attacks there are so many email accounts to attack and you only have to get one victim to respond to a bogus email with a “vital attachment” that must be “opened immediately”. Among the targets for these attacks were over a thousand active duty and retired generals as well as senior civilian officials in the government and the Internet security industry.

Most of these spear fishing attacks sought to quietly get spyware on the receiving PC so that future message traffic would be passed on to the hackers along with details of all over activities on the infected computer. Spear fishing begins with an email purporting to be from someone the recipient would expect to hear from. Unlike older spear fishing efforts that include an attachment the recent ones infect the recipients PC if the email is simply opened. The automated defenses are supposed to block the actions of the hacker software that is triggered when the victim clicks on the email or an attachment, but hackers keep finding exploitable vulnerabilities to these defenses and this creates an opening, as least until that vulnerability is recognized and patched. This is what the Iranians are doing and Israel is hustling to keep up.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 

Industrial control systems are a profoundly important part of the critical infrastructure of the United States, but they are also increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The Cipher Brief spoke to former National Security Agency official Rhea Siers about the growing threat to these systems. Siers says the U.S. is getting better at protecting these systems, but there are still a number of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

The Cipher Brief: Some of our readers may not be familiar with industrial control systems (ICS), could you briefly explain what they are and why they are important?

Rhea Siers: ICS is the technology that monitors and maintains industrial processes from the power grid to manufacturing to nuclear power. It includes computers and cyber technologies that keep things running, including parts of our critical infrastructure. The cyber threat to ICS could cause tremendous harm; consider the consequences if dam controls or utility operations are disabled or disrupted by a hostile actor. In this context, you may also hear the term SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), which is an industrial control system that figures prominently in everything from manufacturing to water treatment plants to electrical power.

8 Useful Tips For Polishing Up Your Resume

February 15, 2016

As a veteran, your resume can be an incredibly strong tool in the hiring process.

Getting your resume ready to send to employers? Make sure you follow these eight pieces of advice.

1. Make sure the top of your resume includes the necessary information to contact you.

This includes your full name, address (city and state as a minimum), contact phone number (indicate cell or home), and a professional e-mail address.

Bonus tip: Ensure you have a personal greeting set up on your voicemail.

2. Add a brief summary of your qualifications following your personal information.

This should include no more than four sentences explaining your work history, background knowledge, and experience.

High-Tech Army Device Helps Mobile Infantry in Combat


Nett Warrior has already been deployed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Army is upgrading and more widely deploying a cutting-edge battlefield force-tracking technology for dismounted Soldiers, enabling them to know the locations of their fellow Soldiers and more quickly find, identify, target and destroy enemy fighters.

Called Nett Warrior, the technology is a cell-phone-like device showing graphics on a small, digital moving map identifying fast-moving combat information.

“The power of this is to network the Soldier,” Lt. Col. Adrian Marsh, Product Manager, Ground Soldier System, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

The Army plans to more-widely deploy Nett Warrior, which has already been fielded with operational units, Marsh said.

Nett Warrior has greatly helped forward-deployed mobile infantry units who often find themselves in fast-moving firefights with enemy fighters, Marsh said.