26 February 2016

Indian components used in IS explosives: report

February 25, 2016

APA Syrian Kurdish sniper surveys the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani. Though components made by Indian firms were used in explosives used by the extremists, there was no illegality on the part of the companies, the CAR report says. File photo.

51 firms produced, sold or received 700 components used by jihadists

Products from at least seven Indian companies figure in a large supply of components that have ended up in explosives used by Islamic State terrorists, according to a study released on Thursday.

The European Union-funded 20-month-long study by the Conflict Armament Research (CAR) states that the seven Indian companies “manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented” by their field investigation teams. However, there was no illegality on the part of the Indian companies, the report says.

** “Follow the Yellow Brick Wall: The Reasons Why Military Officers Do Not Write”

Matt Cavanaugh
Feb 23, 2016
Source Link

Why don’t military officers write? I recently suggested that more professional wordsmithing would be a positive development, and found myself derided in response by another officer who dismissed the opinion as “publicationism.” But as professionals holding an arsenal of ideas and equipped with experience – shouldn’t we want to be Publicationists? Warfare is ever changing, and so it is the military professional’s obligation to share novel and useful ideas about war. Indeed, the quality of the professional hinges on this point – would you willingly choose a doctor or lawyer who doesn’t regularly, personally engage with cutting edge, expert knowledge? Equally, officers who do not meaningfully participate in this idea-exchanging process fail the spirit of their military commission.
And, let’s be clear: Writing matters. It is still the best way to share ideas, orders of magnitude beyond the limitedness of Power[less&]Point[less]: Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster accurately calls overreliance on PowerPoint “dangerous” because the world’s problems “are not bullet-izable.” Real writing, thoughtful words coherently splashed across paragraphs and pages, is crucial to the rapid spread of military ideas (i.e. the Army’s 2006 counterinsurgency manual release). Novelist Stephen King describes this as a sort of “telepathy,” ideal for the “meeting of the minds.” Wider ranging than the most powerful radio, T.E. Lawrence wrote in 1920, “The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander.” Words are weapons.

The power of the written word is considerable, yet it cannot smash through three bricks in the wall that too often separate new ideas from the Profession of Arms. These yellow bricks happen to mirror Dorothy’s three traveling companions from L. Frank Baum’s tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – representing three characteristics that effectively stop experience-writing and idea-sharing. What follows will briefly sketch these out, their typologies, tendencies, and the thought process that drives the shirking of professional responsibility in three ways: the failure to wield the pen, the failure to wield the mind, and the failure to wield the heart.

Real writing, thoughtful words coherently splashed across paragraphs and pages, is crucial to the rapid spread of military ideas (i.e. the Army’s 2006 counterinsurgency manual release).

* The View From Olympus: Can the Russians Do What We Cannot?

William S. Lind 

At the moment, the joint Russian-Syrian-Iranian offensive in Syria appears to be succeeding. That may change. But if Russian intervention does succeed in doing something at which the U.S. has consistently failed–returning an area lost to 4GW to state control–why might that be the case?

The most important reason is strategic. Russia is supporting an established state, not trying to create a state. The Syrian state retains substantial legitimacy. It is strongly supported by virtually all non-Sunni Moslems in Syria and all non-Moslems. Why? Because if the Syrian state disappears, their choices will be conversion, flight, or death. A “democratic, inclusive, pluralistic” Syria can exist only in the minds of the fools who make America’s foreign policy.

I suspect a growing number of Syrian Sunnis would also at least accept, and perhaps welcome, the return of the Syrian sate, even under its current government. Tyranny is preferable to anarchy, and the Assad family’s tyranny is mild compared to that of ISIS. To enable Sunnis who have rebelled to again accept the state, the Syrian government will need to offer them generous terms, i.e., forgive and forget. I suspect Moscow, run by realists, knows this.

Siachen Dilemma

By Brig Pillalmarri Subramanyam
25 Feb , 2016

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Siachen Glacier which had taken the lives of ten brave soldiers of the Indian Army, the voices for demilitarization of Glacier have once again grown in intensity not only in India but more so from across the border; particularly after the unfortunate incident of Gayari which killed 130 troops of Pakistan’s Northern Light Infantry in an avalanche.

In fact, the Chinese strategic interests in demilitarization are far more predominant than that of Pakistan.

In fact, the Track II channels seem more vocal in this regard. Apart from the oft repeated reasons projected for demilitarization such as avoidable loss of human lives on both sides more due to nature’s fury, high economic costs of maintenance and damages to the ecology of glaciers, the Protagonists of demilitarization are down to questioning the strategic value of Siachen. Some of these alleged that the idea of strategic importance was an invention by the Indian Strategic Community and is a fig of fanciful thinking. In this whole gamut of demilitarization, Pakistan seems to be eager to make it a trilateral issue with China included in the dialogue process.

India: A Continental and Maritime Power

By Himanil Raina
25 Feb , 2016

It is therefore ignorance that was responsible for India’s political downfall, ignorance combined with a lack of appreciation of geographical factors within India itself. India had neither a continental view like China or Persia, or a oceanic view like Japan. Today what we require is both a continental view and an appreciation of seapower. - KM Pannikar[1]

“The Chinese annexation of Tibet as a buffer state then presents India with a landward dilemma on two fronts as it has never experienced before. And this is the reason than even today the Army is the biggest stakeholder in the defence budget…”[2]

As highlighted by me in my response to Daanish Inder Gill’s article,[3] India’s foremost concerns are to be found on its land borders; a fact that escapes Daanish’s attention in his diatribe[4] where he in any case fails to see the wood for the trees. As the International Fleet Review 2016 (only the second one in Indian history) just concluded, apparently Daanish was party to some information that eluded the collective Indian establishment (ranging from its political leadership, to the defence services (including the Army) and even the bureaucracy). As noted by Admiral Arun Prakash:

Why Jats And JNU Are Least Of Modi’s Problems; India Is On The Verge Of ‘A Million Mutinies’

As complaints mount from all sections of society, many will look to turn Modi into a scapegoat.

Modi has to start a dialogue with various interest groups, explain the limits of what he can and can’t do, and propose amendments for accountable governance.

Indian society is in churn, and this needs leadership of the highest order at every level, if Modi isn’t to end up as a mere footnote in history.

If 2015 was annus horribilis for the Narendra Modi government, 2016 and beyond could be worse. The Jat agitation and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with student protestors are surely being fanned to make it difficult for Modi to govern, but these are merely sideshows invented by politicians seeking to gain from the underlying rage in society.

The reality is that India is again ready for a “million mutinies”, to use VS Naipaul’s evocative expression, as the various tectonic plates of caste, class, gender, religion, ethnicity and language start moving and clashing with one another. The upsurge is not about this government or that issue, but about the fact that our politicians, social leaders and economic pundits have refused to look at fundamental problems and find real solutions to them.

*** Unlearn fast to fight Kashmir’s new battle

Arun Joshi
Feb 25, 2016

It is high time that the counter-terrorism strategy in J&K. is reviewed to factor in militancy’s changing face. The terrorists, equipped with the latest techniques, are now prepared for the long haul.Old tactics cannot work.

Smoke billowing out of the JKEDI building, where militants reportedly took refuge after launching an attack on a CRPF convoy at Sempora Pampore, near Srinagar. PTI

The encounter at the multi-storey building at Sempora, just a kilometre outside Srinagar, which lasted for more than 48 hours from Saturday to Monday afternoon, (from February 20 to 22) is a perfect lesson on how not to conduct an anti-terrorism operation in Kashmir. The sanitisation of the massive building with 44 rooms was still on as the security forces disposed of unexploded explosives and searched for the booby traps left by the slain trio.

Over the years, lulled by the obsolete battalion approach, the Army has not devised any new strategy to deal with new threats. It has also ignored the growing challenges on the ground in a self-delusion that its “Sadhbhavana” or goodwill operations, granting computers to schools or sponsoring all-India tours of children and the aged, have generated new sources of information and the pro-militancy sentiment has retreated. Contrary to that, the fact is that the situation on the ground has worsened. If there were any doubts, the Saturday to Monday gun battle offered ample proof of the worsening situation.Acute complacency about the situation, despite claims to the contrary, and declining interaction between the top Army leadership and the men in the field, is hampering the emergence of new counter-terrorism strategies. Rather than devoting adequate time at map-reading in operation rooms, much time is consumed in projecting themselves before the cameras. 


25 February 2016

Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif Government is bending over backwards to start talks with India because it desires some say in Pakistan's foreign policy, which has been hijacked by its Army's leadership. Even the Government’s NSA is from the Army

This (proxy) war must stop. Many soldiers are sacrificing their lives and I don’t know when this Government will take some concrete decisions… There are forces who have vested interests”, said retired lecturer Devraj Gupta, father of Captain Tushar Mahajan, who died fighting terrorists on February 22 in Pampore in south Kashmir.

Few are asking the question that Mr Gupta has raised; certainly not the Government, nor the Army leadership. Since both have their reasons, the proxy war, unfortunately, will continue, with the likelihood of — at Pakistan Army’s initiative — snowballing into a limited conventional war.

Talking with Pakistan is getting difficult for India; more difficult would be what to talk that abates, if not stops, the proxy war. The Modi Government has made it clear that the Kashmir resolution is not on the table. While Jammu & Kashmir is a part of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue agreed to by both sides in December 2015, from India’s viewpoint there are numerous issues associated with it that could be discussed. For example, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and so on.

A deep malaise Pampore shows why India needs counter-terrorism institutions, not more martyrs

Feb 25, 2016

Late one night in 2008, a warning message flashed on a computer screen at the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB’s) counter-terrorism unit’s Delhi office: One of hundreds of cellphone numbers on a counter-terrorism watchlist had just come alive. There was just one single officer on duty, charged with scanning through dozens of simultaneous calls, in the hope of catching a useful conversation. Idly, he switched to the new call — and began listening in to the first minutes of the tragedy we now call 26/11.

It was pure, blind luck: The SIM cards used by the Lashkar-e-Taiba had been planted on the group by a Jammu and Kashmir Police intelligence asset. Had the 26/11 attackers been given different SIM cards, the conversations that saved dozens of lives and exposed the perpetrators may never have been detected.

Thousands of kilometres away in Cheltenham, the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had enjoyed a ringside view of the plot for months — culled directly from the Lashkar’s own computers. Though they warned India of imminent attack, the GCHQ provided few details, fearful of embarrassing their ally, Pakistan. India found out the truth only because the dice rolled its way.

Anatomy of US Plan to Sell F-16s to Pakistan

By Radhakrishna Rao
25 Feb , 2016

The short sighted US foreign policy initiative and flawed diplomatic strategy have proved to be instrumental in creating Frankenstein. Beginning from the covert intervention in Afghanistan in 1980s to counteract growing Soviet presence in this backward, mountainous country to the 2003 outright, naked aggression on Iraq, presumably to locate weapons of “mass destruction”, US has only succeeded in creating conditions conducive for the rapid growth of fundamentalist forces that continue to wreak havoc on the world.

The US justification that Pakistan needs F-16 to fight terrorism appears ridiculous and disingenuous… By all means, an advanced combat jet like F-16s equipped with a range of state of art weapons systems cannot be an ideal choice to hit terrorist hideouts.

Verily, the dreaded Taliban was an illegitimate, psychological offspring of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) joining hands with the Pakistani political and military establishment to train a militia of fighters inspired by the religious teachings to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. At the end of the day, Taliban proved to be the nemesis of US, as proven by the 9/11 devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, in which more than 300 people were killed.

Pakistan's War on Scholars


Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies are waging a nasty war on U.S.-based scholars whose writings and public statements undermine cherished narratives promulgated by the army that has dominated Pakistan's governance for most of the state's existence. These agencies aim to intimidate, discredit, and silence us. Their tools are crude and include: outright threats; slanderous articles in Pakistani papers and other on-line forums; an army of trolls on twitter and other social media who hound us; and embassy officials who attend and report on our speaking events on Pakistan. But we are lucky to be in the United States: Pakistan's khaki loutsdisappear, kidnap and/or kill their critics within Pakistan

My own experience with Pakistan's harassment techniques began in May of 2011 when I received an email threatening me with gang-rape by an entire regiment. I had received a grant from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies to complete research for my book "Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War" and had intended to spend the summer of 2011 in Islamabad and Lahore. As I already had a valid, multiple-entry visa they could not use visa denial as an instrument of coercion to influence my writings before my planned visit. So, they tried to intimidate me with this threat of physical harm.


The dramatic escalation of the Saudi–Iran rift in early January has triggered renewed speculation that Pakistan will be forced to pick sides and join its longtime Saudi ally to militarily balance Iran. As much as some might welcome, even hope for this development, Pakistan has good reason to be wary of such an alignment against Iran due to an assortment of interests related to security, economics, and domestic public opinion.

Mounting Pressures and Expectations

Recent joint military exercises, reaffirmations to defend Saudi territory, continuous speculation of a de facto extended deterrence relationship, and behind-the-scenes pressure have led some analysts to forecast or seriously worry that Pakistan may eventually be compelled to side with Saudi Arabia in its competition against Iran. Concern is evident in the number of recent questions posed on the issue by the National Assembly to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister. A flurry of high-level diplomatic visits between the countries, including by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman andForeign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Pakistan in early January, have added to speculation by media, analysts, anddiplomats of a Saudi full-court press — raising expectations of deepening military cooperation. The reasons cited for this eventuality are familiar, including: past military cooperation in Afghanistan and Pakistani troop deployments to Saudi territory; shared ideological and economic interests based on years of funding from Saudi Arabia; active Saudi involvement in Pakistan’s internal affairs; personal relationships between the Saudi royal family and Pakistani political leadership; and an actual history of the Saudis delivering on economic promises and Pakistan caving in to Saudi demands.

Cosying up to Sri Lanka New Delhi and Colombo should together address strategic concerns

G Parthasarathy
Feb 25, 2016

PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi struck an emotional chord in his address to Sri Lanka’s parliament when he proclaimed: “For India, the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka are paramount.” Referring to the “shared heritage and shared future” of the two countries, Mr Modi averred: “I bring the blessings from the land of Bodh Gaya to the land of Anuradhapura.” Referring to the realities of the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Region, where India and Sri Lanka occupy centre stage, India’s Prime Minister noted: “We should expand maritime security cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, to include others in the Indian Ocean area.” Fortuitously, the atmosphere for India-Sri Lanka relations has changed substantially, with the election of Maithripala Sirisena as President and Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, heading a coalition of both national political parties — UNP and SLFP. This coalition enjoys the support of the charismatic and politically influential former President, Chandrika Kumaratunga. 


25 February 2016

Tourism in China not only brings revenue to the regional Government, but also helps to ‘stabilise the plateau'. Unfortunately in India, the Nehruvian approach is still prevalent. Old mindsets need to be changed

The Chinese leadership is clever; much more than its Indian counterpart, at least as far as the defence budget is concerned. Let me explain. In China, large chunks of the expenditures for the border infrastructure development are taken care of by another budget, namely tourism.

The Tibetan Autonomous Region received 20 million Chinese tourists in 2015. Qinghai Province (the most picturesque parts are inhabited by Tibetans) welcomed 23 million visitors. If one adds the Tibetan areas in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, the number of Chinese visiting the plateau probably reaches around 60 million.

At least three issues explain the infrastructure frenzy in Tibet: The tourism boom, the (in)stability of the restive region and more importantly for India, ‘guarding the border’. Today, China loves Tibet; the Roof of the World has become the new paradise for mainlanders frustrated with the pollution at home. But tourism has also become the pretext for hurriedly constructing roads and airports — leading to India.


FEBRUARY 25, 2016

John Bew, Realpolitik: A History (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“It is never a waste of time to study the history of words.”

“No modern nation has ever constructed a foreign policy that was acceptable to its intellectuals.”

Due to its occasionally harsh and guttural sonorities, German has gotten an unfair rap over the years. In addition to constituting one of the main languages of opera and literature, the Teutonic tongue’s predilection for compound word structures has provided the English-speaking world with a set of wonderfully evocative terms, ranging from zeitgeist, to schadenfreude, to wanderlust. And as Sen. Ted Cruz’s former roommate recently reminded us, there are a number of other Germanic words, such as backpfeifengesicht, that could prove equally catchy, were it not for the pronunciation difficulties involved.

The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Duel of the Islamic States

February 18, 2016 

The struggle between Saudi Arabia and the self-proclaimed Islamic State is also a contest for the soul of Wahhabism.

Cole Bunzel

Cole Bunzel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where his research focuses on the history of the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia. Since late 2014 the Islamic State has declared war on Saudi Arabia and launched a series of terrorist attacks on Saudi soil intended to start an uprising. In a further attack on the Saudi kingdom, the self-declared caliphate has claimed to be the true representative of the severe form of Islam indigenous to Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. These two very different versions of an Islamic state are at war over a shared religious heritage and territory.
Heritage and Homeland Under Siege 

The Islamic State, which draws on the teachings of the Wahhabi school of Islam, finds inspiration in the example of the first Saudi-Wahhabi state (1744–1818), which engaged in expansionary jihad and cultivated a sectarian animus toward the Shia.

The Islamic State has declared three so-called provinces in Saudi Arabia and carried out some fifteen attacks there since November 2014.

Is Traditional College Education an Endangered Species?

North America
Feb 19, 2016
Source Link

MIT electrical engineering and computer science professor Anant Agarwal was a guest on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” a few years ago. He told host Stephen Colbert about his online learning site, edX, saying, “You can take these great courses from MIT, from Harvard … and it’s free.”

The comedian quipped, “[If] I go to an elite university — let’s say I go to your Harvards or your MITs or your Berkeleys out there — I get to say ‘I went to Harvard.’ That’s half of what you’re paying for!”

Humor aside, the exchange touched on a controversy that has been raging for years now about distance learning programs.

About a decade ago, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) generated tremendous excitement over the idea that anyone with an Internet connection could learn anything they wanted for free. The hype eventually gave way to hard questions about quality and effectiveness. Studies done in 2013 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and by the U.K.’s Open University reported MOOC course completion rates at only around 4% to 7%. But more recently, pundits have been opining that the low completion rates don’t really matter if people are still benefitting from substantial amounts of the content.

Intel Agencies Explain How They Determined That Some of Hillary’s Emails Were Taken Verbatim From Classified Documents

February 25, 2016

Spy agencies say Clinton emails closely matched top secret documents: sources

U.S. spy agencies have told Congress that Hillary Clinton’s home computer server contained some emails that should have been treated as “top secret” because their wording matched sections of some of the government’s most highly classified documents, four sources familiar with the agency reports said.

The two reports are the first formal declarations by U.S. spy agencies detailing how they believe Clinton violated government rules when highly classified information in at least 22 email messages passed through her unsecured home server.

The State Department has already acknowledged that the emails contained top secret intelligence, though it says they were not marked that way. It has not previously been clear if the emails contained full classified documents or only some information from them.

The agencies did not find any top secret documents that passed through Clinton’s server in their full version, the sources from Congress and the government’s executive branch said.


by RC Porter 
February 24, 2016

Swati Khandelwal writes on the February 23, 2016 website, The Hacker News, about a technique hackers can use to breach your laptop and mobile device from as far as 100 meters away — with no Internet access, and no Bluetooth devices. “That innocent-looking tiny dongle plugged into your USB port to transmit between your wireless mouse, and the computer is not as innocent as it pretends to be,” she warns.

What’s The Vulnerability?

“Security researchers from the Internet of Things (IoT) [cyber] security firm Bastille, have warned that wireless keyboards and mice from seven popular manufacturers including Logitech, Dell, Microsoft, HP, and Lenovo are…..vulnerable to so-called Mousejack attacks, leaving BILLIONS of computers vulnerable to hackers,” Ms. Khandelwal writes.

“The flaw actually resides in the way these wireless mice and their corresponding radio receivers handle encryption.”

How To Hijack A Wireless Mouse & Hack A Mobile Device, Laptop, Computer


by RC Porter 
February 23, 2016 

The Big-Data Future Has Arrived — ‘The Greatest Hindrance To Progress Is Not Ignorance, But………..The Illusion Of Knowledge” 

John Malone, who writes often for The Wall Street Journal, and author of “The Intel Trinity,” published by Harper Collins on 2014, has an Op-Ed in this morning’s WSJ, (February 23, 2016) discussing the promise of big data mining. Mr. Malone writes that “big data, the tech story of a few years ago, is now beginning to show big results. The science of using powerful computers, ubiquitous sensors, and the Web to crunch mountains of raw data — to uncover previously invisible insights, is increasingly used in big businesses [Wall Street, etc.], universities, and government agencies. It is transforming our understanding of everything — from fetal development, to cosmology.”

“Already,” Mr. Malone writes, “thanks to big data, we have learned that toddlers learn language, not from repetition — which we’ve thought for centuries, but by hearing words used in multiple contexts. We’ve also found that premature babies are at greatest risk, when their heartbeats are stable (healthy babies’s hearts are more erratic).”

One of the most extraordinary features of big data,” Mr. Malone argues, “is that it signals the end of the reign of statistics. For 400 years, we’ve been forced to sample complex systems, and extrapolate. Now, with big data, it is possible to measure everything, from the movement of billions of stars, to every beat of the human heart.”

Cyberwar is here to stay

February 24, 2016

Last week, The New York Times revealed that the Obama administration had prepared a cyberattack plan to be carried out against Iran in the event diplomatic negotiations failed to limit that country’s nuclear weapons development.

The plan, code-named Nitro Zeus, was said to be capable of disabling Iran’s air defenses, communications system and parts of its electric grid. It also included an option to introduce a computer worm into the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, to disrupt the creation of nuclear weapons. In anticipation of the need, U.S. Cyber Command placed hidden computer code in Iranian computer networks. According to The New York Times, President Obama saw Nitro Zeus as an option for confronting Iran that was “short of a full-scale war.”

The reports, if true (to be fair, they have not been confirmed by any official sources), reflect a growing trend in the use of computers and networks to conduct military activity.

Not just a physical invasion: Russia’s dispute with Ukraine extended beyond sending soldiers to Crimea, as pictured here. Digital attacks believed to be from Russia disabled parts of Ukraine’s electricity grid. Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

how the ten commandments of cyber security can enhance safety

Feb 24, 2016
Source Link

Hacker attacks such as the one on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center show how easily digital platforms can be turned against organizations, but taking 10 steps can augment security, write RANE founder David Lawrence and his co-authors in this opinion piece.

Imagine you are admitted to a hospital for treatment of a serious but treatable illness, and then your records are stolen. The medical staff is now at a complete loss about your care. While the doctors are scrambling to figure out what to do, they soon realize that all the hospital’s records are missing and that someone is demanding that the hospital pay a ransom in exchange for their release. Now imagine further that the hospital has no alternative but to pay the demand (in Bitcoins) in order to ensure the safety of its patients.

One has to look no further than the recent attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and other headlines to realize how quickly and easily our digital platforms can be used against us. While the Internet has delivered on its promise of global access and efficiency, it also accelerates and scales the darker forms of human activity — theft, fraud, extortion, blackmail, espionage (state and corporate), terrorism, insider trading, property destruction and criminal mischief. Soon, the Internet of Things (IoT) will even more seamlessly connect our devices to everything we need — as well as everything we need to fear.

Australian Defence Force: More than $100 billion will be spent on a major upgrade, including cyber defence

February 23, 2016

$25 billion for cyber, satellite and electronic warfare assets.

MORE than $25 billion will be spent on state-of-the-art cyber, satellite and electronic warfare assets as part of a radical upgrading of Australia’s defence capabilities.

Defence force ranks will also reportedly swell by 5000 uniformed troops, recruited to run new aircraft, warships and equipment.

And for the first time, the Australian Defence Force will seek to develop its own drone program, with long-term plans to acquire missile-capable tactical drones and long range unmanned surveillance aircraft.

But the bulk of a $100 billion-plus military modernisation program, believed to be contained in the government’s Defence White Paper, to be ­released later this week, focuses on a beefed-up naval ­capacity, with up to nine anti-submarine warfare frigates and 12 submarines.

Critical infrastructure is a growing cyber target

FEB 23, 2016 

Eduardo Cabrera is Trend Micro’s vice-president for Cybersecurity Strategy. He directs studies into emerging cyber threats, and develops risk management strategies for the company’s strategic partners like Interpol, the FBI and others. Cabrera is a former Chief Information Security Officer of the U.S. Secret Service.

In an interview with Defense Systems, he broadly addressed the critical infrastructure (CI) threat environment, and urged collaboration—getting governments and their commercial sectors on the same cybersecurity page. 

Trend Micro has been instrumental in bringing down several hostile cyber operations, including, with U.K. partner The National Crime Agency, Refud.me and Cryptex Reborn. Working with Interpol, Kaspersky Lab, Microsoft and the Cyber Defense Institute, the SIMDA botnet was also eliminated.

Defense Systems: With CI threats spiraling, there’s a ramped-up urgency to gear up for what some now call “cyberwar.”

Military-Funded Study Predicts When You’ll Protest on Twitter

FEBRUARY 23, 2016

Who tweets at you, what you tweet back, and why can predict your next protest act on social media.
Ever get angry, go to Twitter, and shoot off a protest tweet tagged #Arabspring, #AppleVsFBI, #syrianconflict or something else in solidarity with a cause? Whether the tweet is part of a violent movement, a peaceful action, or simply a response to a debate, military and national security types have an interest in predicting how big any given protest movement might become. A new study by researchers at Arizona State University, Texas A&M, and Yahoo, funded in part by the Office of Naval Research, can predict with 70 percent accuracy the likelihood that your next tweet will be part of a protest.

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


By LCDR Chuck Hall and LCDR David T. Spalding

The U.S. Navy’s Surface Force is undergoing a cultural shift. Known as “Distributed Lethality,” this strategy calls for our naval combatants to seize the initiative, operate in dispersed formations known as “hunter-killer” surface action groups (SAG), and employ naval combat power in a more offensive manner. After years of enjoying maritime dominance, and focusing on power projection ashore, the U.S. Navy is now planning to face a peer competitor in an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) environment. Long overdue, Distributed Lethality shifts the focus to one priority – warfighting. Far from a surface warfare problem alone, achieving victory against a peer enemy in an A2AD environment will require leveraging all aspects of naval warfare, including naval cryptology.

What Role Should Silicon Valley Play in Fighting Terrorism?

February 23, 2016 

Politicians are trying to recruit technology companies to help fight ISIS. Does it make sense? 

On Friday, January 8, several high-level officials from the Obama administration—including the attorney general, the White House chief of staff, and the directors of the FBI and the NSA—met at a federal office in San Jose with senior executives from Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Apple (including CEO Tim Cook himself). On the agenda for the discussion, according to a one-page memo widely leaked to the press, was this question: “How can we make it harder for terrorists to [use] the Internet to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize followers to violence?”

For the previous month, since the ISIS-inspired shootings in San Bernardino, California, President Obama, as well as some of the candidates vying to succeed him, had been calling on Silicon Valley to join the government in this fight. As Hillary Clinton put it in a campaign speech, “We need to put ‘the great disrupters’ at work disrupting ISIS.” In one of the Republican presidential debates, Donald Trump said he would ask “our brilliant people from Silicon Valley” to keep ISIS from using the Internet—a notion that reflected a misunderstanding of how the Internet works but also a widespread desperation for Silicon Valley to do something.

The FBI’s War on Phones Is Bigger Than You Think

FEBRUARY 23, 2016

Apple’s lawyers revealed the feds want access to about a dozen devices after San Bernardino.
James Comey, the director of the FBI, has insisted that his agency’s ongoing conflict with Apple over a terrorist’s phone is just that: a conflict over one phone. In a letter posted to the Lawfare blog over the weekend, Comey called the legal issue at hand “quite narrow,” and said the FBI sought only “limited” help. Experts say the small scope of the FBI’s ask bolsters its case.

Kaveh Waddell is an associate editor at The Atlantic. Full Bio

But in fact, the iPhone 5c that belonged to Syed Farook—one of the perpetrators of December’s mass shooting in San Bernadino, California—is only one of at least a dozen of Apple devices the FBI is seeking to access, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

In a letter addressed to a federal judge in New York, a lawyer for Apple said that federal law enforcement has recently requested that the company access information on 12 other iOS devices. The list is likely not a complete tally of the FBI’s requests, and does not include similar requests from state or local police.


FEBRUARY 24, 2016

Twenty-five years ago this month, the conclusion of the First Gulf War inaugurated the post-Cold War global order. Militarily, U.S. forces dramatically outperformed pre-war expectations. Diplomatically, Washington assembled a coalition that shouldered the financial burden of the war. Domestically, the American public rallied around the flag. Meanwhile, the war exposed Iraq, the erstwhile Soviet client with the world’s fourth-largest military, as a paper tiger. By the end of 40 days of aerial bombing and 100 hours of ground combat operations, on February 28, 1991, it was clear to the Bush administration that the United States possessed the military edge and the political support to stand alone as the sole superpower that would set the terms of the post-Cold War world.

Although frequently overshadowed by the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s and the Global War on Terror of the 2000s, it was the Gulf War that fundamentally structured the geopolitical context in which the United States has operated since the Cold War.

The Cold War’s Death Knell


FEBRUARY 25, 2016

Few subjects have sparked as much political upheaval or disagreement as conscription. From draft riots during the Civil War to draft-fueled protests of the Vietnam War, conscription has galvanized political action like few other things in our nation’s history.

So it should be no surprise that the recent suggestion by military leaders to open conscription to women would spark some debate. Even though we haven’t used the draft since 1972, and even though it arguably ranks below nuclear weapons for likelihood of use, conscription arouses great passion because it represents a great clash of American ideals: deprivation of liberty on the one hand versus the need to band together for our common defense.

Enter my erstwhile colleagues Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel. They answer draft critics by arguing that the admittedly remote possibility of potential conscription must be preserved as the last thin thread binding America to its military. They also point to a series of myths about the draft that, in their opinion, are actually arguments in favor of keeping conscription on the table. However, their argument does more harm than good by resurrecting and adding more zombie myths, instead of relying on data and experience to make judgments about the best manpower system to serve our nation.


FEBRUARY 25, 2016

War on the Rocks has already had much astute commentary about the content of the final report from the National Commission on the Future of the Army. I would first like to echo the praise from those who have emphasized how much work went into producing the report. It is obvious that the members took their duties seriously and applied themselves diligently. With that said, I’d like to provide my observations about some issues that could have benefitted from more analysis.

1) Once cut, the Army is not easily expansible

The myth of expansibility, that ground forces are especially easy and quick to reconstitute after significant reductions, is an enduring one, which ignores the inherent difficulties in growing the force in the current environment. One of the big things the commission got right, as Maj. Gen. Bob Scales has already pointed out, is the focus on better integration of the reserve components. The large section dealing with Apache helicopter transfersreflects a sincere effort to balance active and reserve equities in a Solomon-like effort to split that baby. The report correctly emphasizes the importance of Total Force policies while hinting at the immense obstacles against expanding the active force any other way. I would like to have seen a more thorough analysis of cost and benefits of adraft, especially after the bleak discussion of the diminishing pool of eligible recruits available for service, and some thoughts about including women in a future draft.

Biggest Change For Infantry Since WWII: XM25

February 24, 2016 

WASHINGTON: Buried in a bleak Army budget is a bright nugget of revolution: a precision-guided grenade launcher called the XM25. In difficult development for over a decade, the XM25 will finally enter limited production in 2017. It will be the first radically new small arms technology since 1943.

“This has the potential to be a huge game changer for infantry combat. Once it gets into the hands of more troops, they can start experimenting and adapting tactics,” military futurist Paul Scharre believes.

Germany fielded the first mass-produced assault rifle, the StG 44, in 1943 putting the power of a (scaled down) machinegun in the hands of a rank-and-file rifleman. The Russians followed with their AK-47, the Americans with the M-16. Against such ever-increasing firepower, the best defense was simply to take cover.

The German StG44, the first mass-produced assault rifle