6 March 2016

*** The Significance of US, Indian and Japanse Naval Exercises

Reality Check
A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics.
March 4, 2016
By George Friedman
While most joint drills are routine gestures, these signal an interesting shift.
U.S. Navy officials announced on March 3 that a U.S. aircraft carrier group arrived in the South China Sea on March 1. However, more important was the U.S. military’s announcement also on March 3 that the United States, India and Japan will hold naval exercises in the Philippine Sea, northeast of the Philippines, in 2016. In many ways, the alliance emerging between these three countries is more significant than the presence of a new carrier group.
The naval exercises are not in the South China Sea, where there have been tensions, but it is near enough to draw China’s attention without crossing a Chinese red line. The Chinese Foreign Ministry gave a mild response to the announcement: “We hope the cooperation of relevant countries will benefit regional peace and security and not harm the interests of third parties.” This means that China has no basis for condemning these exercises since they are outside the area in which China claims an interest, but also implies that they better not be targeted at China because that would quickly change Beijing’s attitude.

U.S.-Indian and U.S.-Japanese exercises are nothing new, but tripartite naval exercises have not taken place for quite a while. There was an exercise in the Bay of Bengal last year, but this is the first time the three have held exercises near the South China Sea. There are two elements we need to consider. The first is the kind of exercises that can be carried out in those waters. The second is India’s willingness to not only hold exercises with the U.S. and Japan, but to conduct those exercises in a place that is bound to make China unhappy.
The South China Sea is an enclosed body of water. An archipelago of islands from the Strait of Malacca to the Philippines creates an enclosure with only narrow passages to the Pacific and Indian oceans. China depends on maritime trade, much of which passes through the South China Sea. China’s dread is that it might face a blockade of the passages through the archipelago. A blockade, which the U.S. could readily impose, would be economically disastrous for China. This is not a likely scenario at the moment, but China must assume it is a possibility – a possibility of low likelihood, but massive impact.

There is one major gap in the archipelago between the Philippines and Taiwan. That gap is wide enough that it would require a major force to seal off, and it is the place where the Chinese could theoretically make a fight of it using land-based anti-ship missiles, submarines and aircraft. There is room for maneuver there, and the Chinese need that room to even think of breaking out.
And naturally, in such a scenario, that is where the maneuvers will take place. It would be one of the places a main battle would be fought. It would not be fought in the South China Sea, within range of Chinese aircraft and missiles, but at a distance, because sealing off the South China Sea is achieved along the periphery. Anti-Chinese naval forces would fight from the east. And the most likely place the Chinese would try to break out is in the Philippine Sea.
The maneuvers there are mostly for show. But India and Japan have substantial navies, and they would provide additional strength to any U.S. interdiction force, which would be welcomed, as the U.S. Navy would be spread thin trying to hold all the choke points. There would be a political benefit of Japanese and Indian participation. But this particular exercise is not merely a gesture. It has some reality behind it.
The interesting thing is that India has chosen to participate in this. There has been much talk of a Chinese-Indian rivalry. It has been mostly nonsense. China and India live on different planets. China’s planet is north of the Himalayas, India’s to the south. Neither can make war on the other because the Himalayas are impassable for substantial military forces. You can have skirmishes there but not a significant war.

The Chinese and Indians are kind of rivals economically, but not really. Their economies are sufficiently different that it is not a zero sum game between them. China gives aid to Pakistan and supports pro-Chinese elements in Nepal, which bothers India. And India supports Tibetans. That said, they won’t go to war over these issues, so the rivalry is much overblown. They have no issues to fight over and couldn’t fight even if they wanted to.
But going fishing in the Philippines-Taiwan gap will annoy the Chinese. The Indians know this, yet they are going to do it. One reason may have nothing to do with China. A few years ago, U.S.-Indian relations deteriorated. Russia and India have historically been allies, and the strengthening of Russia gave India an alternative to the United States, with whom India has never been fully comfortable.
Russia looks very different than it did a few years ago, and what appeared to be a viable alternative to the U.S. is now more of a long shot. If India wants to cement relations with the United States, it is not enough to simply let Indo-Russian relations deteriorate. They have to do something the Americans would like. And since India is not sending troops to fight the Islamic State, the next best thing is to join the U.S. in maneuvers in the Philippine Sea. A good part of this is signaling cooperation with the U.S. without any real commitment. The even better part is that this move allows India to warn China that its occasional presence in the Indian Ocean will be resisted. As with many of these gestures, it is not all that impressive. A couple of ships east of Singapore says nothing about what will happen west of Singapore. But as far as signals go, this is not as meaningless as most.
Another reason India might want to participate in these exercises is that China is weakening. India is not. The weakening of the Chinese economy, which seems now unstoppable, will inevitably have an impact on Chinese military capabilities. And when it does, India may well be interested in seeking opportunity in formally Chinese regions. For that, India will need both American and Japanese acquiescence.

Japan is still the major power in East Asia. It is the third largest economy in the world, and it does not have hundreds of millions of impoverished people to cope with, nor impending waves of unemployment. Japan has an interest in containing China within its basins, but it also is going to emerge as the dominant power in Asia, as China declines. If India wants to be a part of that, assuming it can sustain its economic position, it will need to work with Japan. India’s internal divisions, poverty and population level (which will soon exceed China’s) prevent the Indians from playing major league geopolitics on their own.
Therefore, this particular exercise, unlike most others, is fraught with significance. It might signal a geopolitical evolution. I cannot stop thinking about where they chose to stage it. And I suspect neither can the Chinese. Call this a post-China exercise in the full sense of the term. Post-Russia too, for that matter.

Soldier’s silence

Bhopinder Singh
Posted at: Mar 4 2016 
Institutionally and almost instinctively, defence forces in India emerge out of their bunkers, barracks, or cantonments, only on the orders of the civilian administration. A unique code of operational conduct and law mandates a certain silence on expressing either an individual’s or the organization’s point of view pertaining to issues of defence or any other national matter. This deliberate insulation has protected the defence forces from political and societal interference and degradation. This has ensured combat sharpness for its core operational role and the status of ‘ultimate-call’ in the event of a natural calamity or during civil disturbances, most recently the Jat agitation in Haryana. The increased urgency of requisitioning the defence forces during any crisis is symptomatic of the shortcomings of the police and general administration to do what is ideally, not the responsibility of the military, which ought to be the last resort as there are other mandated government entities for such intervention. 

However, since Independence the potent combination of the high operational efficacy of the armed forces and the mandated organizational silence has been consistently abused. The result is the unabated slide of the head of the armed forces from the Number Two position before independence (Commander-in-Chief) to Number 12 (Chief of the respective services) in the official warrant of precedence. Brief standoffs like the dispute between one of the finest Generals of the Indian Army, KS Thimayya, and the irrepressible Defence Minister, VK Menon, in 1959 was hurriedly hushed up. Even the unprecedented glory of the 1971 war was ironically the setting for the present OROP issue with the downward revision from 70 per cent of the basic pay to 50 per cent in 1973 for the defence forces. The forces stayed the course and faced the wrath of political decisions and indecisions in such places as Mizoram, Manipur, Assam, Punjab, Kashmir to external commitments like the IPKF in Sri Lanka, Maldives and the targeted areas like Siachen, Kargil and the other perennial fires on the Indo-Chinese and Indo-Pakistani borders. This laundry-list does not include the natural disasters or civil disturbances that fetched the blood and sweat of the military. While, perception and prestige rose for the uniformed fraternity to uphold the nation’s honour by paying the ultimate price, a steady stranglehold of the civilian bureaucracy aided by a disinterested political class ensured the consistent decline of real clout and voice, even on matters military or concerning the welfare of military personnel. 

In 1992, the Army Chief General Rodrigues was made to apologise in writing for calling some foreign countries ‘bandicoots’. In 1998 the Naval Chief, Vishnu Bhagwat was sacked after his run-ins with the Defence Secretary and the Defence Minister. In 2014 a truly cavalier and honourable move of owning moral responsibility led to the resignation of the Naval Chief DK Joshi. Despite such developments, the soldiers discharged their duties without a question on their lips, as trained and morally mandated. Unnoticed to most was the unique spirit of the fighting forces as evident from the unprecedented level of ‘officer’ casualties, alluding to the ethos of ‘leading from the front’, one that differentiates this band of brothers from the rest. If Colonel Rai and Colonel Mahadik were martyred as Commanding Officers in J&K last year, young Captains Pawan Kumar and Tushar Mahajan laid down their lives in the Pampore operations this year. Unknown to most is the fact that the armed forces deliberately chose not to carpet-blast and flatten the building where the militants were holed up so as to minimize the collateral damage and civilian destruction. The forces silently heard out the lazy questions on the abilities of the defence forces to flush out the militants at Pampore. Banal public platitudes on the working conditions of the soldiers in Siachen -- where ten military personnel perished recently -- should be contextualized against the brazen demands to ‘maintain the supremacy’ of the IAS in the 7th Pay Commission and the fact that IAS officers are entitled to a much higher ‘hardship’ allowance in Guwahati in comparison to the Army officer operating in minus 50 degrees in the Siachen Glacier. 

*** Pakistan's War on Scholars

02/24/2016 Feb 24, 2016
C. Christine Fair, Associate professor, Georgetown University; Author, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War

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 louts disappear, 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.
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.

At first, I was incredulous that this email was sent by the "deep state" and I did not immediately call off my travel. Serendipitously, my flight to Dubai was cancelled. While I rebooked my travel, Pakistan's then ambassador Husain Haqqani reached out to me to tell me simply "You have to cancel your trip. The crew cuts are after you." Other embassy officials told me privately that the ISI distributed a circular about me at the Pakistan embassy. One officer asked me "You are in trouble. What did you do?" I was sickened by the situation. Officials from the embassy were, and presumably are, not allowed to meet with me.
When I confronted Brigadier Butt, the then ISI station chief at the Pakistan Embassy and Defense Attaché --it became clear that he was personally angry with me because he had seen or had heard about my book proposal from a small number of persons who had seen it. He said that he felt let down because the army had given me considerable access yet I was writing, what he called, an anti-army book. I explained to him that I was doing my job by being willing to go to Pakistan through various grants--despite the security environment--to hear their side of the story. I also told him that granting interviews to scholars is not tantamount to buying scholars
Since 2011 I have inspired several "planted" stories that have appeared in Pakistani papers and obscure blogs alike. These artless rants would be amusing if they were not dangerous. On one occasion, an article actually gave information about where I was staying in Pakistan which was a clear intent to cause me harm or signal the ability to cause me harm.
On one occasion, an article actually gave information about where I was staying in Pakistan which was a clear intent to cause me harm or signal the ability to cause me harm.

In the fall of 2014, two videos were circulated about me that had the imprimatur of the army's media-management organization, the ISPR. The videos included (not very danceable) sound tracks which were taken from ISPR-produced entertainment. Since these videos were published on Youtube, which is banned in Pakistan, the obvious audience of these productions was Pakistanis outside the United States. (Both of these videos have since been removed.).
In early February, The News, published an article that alleged that I have nefarious links with Baloch insurgents. The Baloch are an ethnic group in Pakistan whichresists inclusion into the state and its reliance upon Islam as a tool to blunt Baloch ethnic aspirations. Pakistan's security forces have waged five waves of brutal military oppression, sometimes with U.S. weapons systems, which has been widely decried by international as well as Pakistani human rights organizations.
Despite these well-documented abuses--which includes disappearances, torture and murder by Pakistan's security forces--the United States has not levied Leahy Sanctions as required by U.S. law. The ISI has worked tirelessly to keep its actions in Balochistan a dark secret.

External observers mooted in military promotion boards

While the Defence Ministry wanted to make a civilian officer member of the promotion board, the suggestion has not been accepted by a panel of experts.
Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina, Published:Mar 4, 2016,

IN A move to address complaints of lack of transparency in promotion boards in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, the Ministry of Defence is working to install independent observers in these selection boards who would either be civilian officers or from one of the sister services.
While the Defence Ministry wanted to make a civilian officer member of the promotion board, which comprises entirely military officers, the suggestion has not been accepted by a panel of experts that looked into the matter of opaqueness in military promotion procedures.

The Defence Ministry was of the the view that concerns have been expressed by officers of the defence services that a closed-door system of conducting selection boards leads to dissatisfaction and lack of transparency giving rise to doubts and also rumour-mongering at times.
The ministry asked the committee to ensure the presence of a senior civilian officer, either from the MoD or the DoPT to become a member of the military promotion board. The committee, which recently submitted its report to the Defence Minister, did not agree to having civilian members of selection boards. However, it has recommended that a minimum of two observers in selection boards must be compulsorily from outside the service, that is either from the sister services or civilians. The MoD has now sought action taken report on the recommendations of the panel.
“The observers must truthfully pen down their observations on board proceedings without influence, fear or favour,” the panel says. It added that besides ensuring greater transparency, this would also ensure more faith in a closed door system of selection. “There should be no reason for any objection on this arrangement, since, as projected, if all correct practices and procedures are being followed in all boards, then such methods of more transparency should be rather welcomed to dispel all doubts of the environment,” the report said.


Saturday, 05 March 2016 | Hiranmay Karlekar
India must make Pakistan pay an increasingly steep price for its mischief, happening not just in this country but also elsewhere like Afghanistan, until Islamabad realises the folly of the course it has been pursuing
The attack on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad on March 2, in which nine persons were killed and 19 wounded and the chancery was damaged, deserves more than passing attention. No less a person than Mr Hamid Karzai, a former President of Afghanistan and a staunch friend of India, has said in a recent interview to Ms Suhasini Haider of The Hindu that it was a part of a trend of such attacks launched from Pakistan. He has added, “They are simply attacking India’s presence in Afghanistan, whenever they get the opportunity. The whole spectrum of the India-Afghan relations, the relationship itself, is the target of the attacks.” Elaborating, he had further stated, “Each of those attacks has originated from across the border, from neighbouring Pakistan. That’s where the origin of this trouble is: The Lashkar-e-Tayyeba is from there, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e- Mohammad, all these outfits are from Pakistan. So, the sanctuaries, the training grounds, the financial factors and the motivating factors are all inside Pakistan, and come from across the border.”
Some may argue that Pakistan is unlikely to have triggered the attack because the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and the organisation is locked in a violent conflict with the Taliban for the control of large tracts of Afghanistan, and the Taliban are the creatures of Pakistan. Such an argument will ignore the fact that Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies suspect Islamabad's hand behind the attack which, it says, bears the stamp of methods associated with Pakistan. Besides, Ms Carlotta Gall wrote in her dispatch published in The New York Times of February 6 under the heading, ‘Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad’, “Ahead of Pakistan’s 2014 operation in North Waziristan, scores, even hundreds, of foreign fighters left the tribal areas to fight against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Tribesmen and Taliban members from the area say fighters travelled to Quetta, and then flew to Qatar. There they received new passports and passage to Turkey, from where they could cross into Syria. Others travelled overland along well-worn smuggling routes from Pakistan through Iran and Iraq.”

* Apple and the FBI: A Tale of Mutual Incomprehension

Geopolitical Pulse
George Friedman's take on the week in geopolitics.
March 4, 2016
By George Friedman
The debate between national security interests and privacy rights is more complex than either side admits.
The controversy involving Apple and the FBI has died down to a dull roar. It is difficult to think with all the shouting but it is quiet enough to consider the issues and the possible consequences — and above all to consider how important this is.
The facts of the case are simple. A pair of jihadists attacked a building in San Bernardino, California and killed 14 people. An obvious question arose. Did they act alone or were there others like them, also planning to kill people, with whom they were in contact? If there were, how do you find out? Since they are dead, you can't question them. You can question others, but they don't have to talk to you, and they will probably not say openly, "We are jihadist warriors preparing to kill infidels." Chances are that, like the two shooters, others involved in the crime haven't advertised it. The issue is not trivial. Lives are at stake and finding out if this is a group of jihadists planning to strike again is a matter of life and death.

There is one piece of evidence that can possibly provide leads for investigators: the cell phone belonging to the male shooter. It is not certain to provide leads because these might have been lone wolves or because they may have been careful not to use their phones to communicate. But they might have. And there are other means to track their phone calls, like subpoenaing phone company records. But there might be something on the phone that provides a hint — a photo, a note to himself, a map he viewed. Who knows. It is along shot. But this is a matter of life and death, and checking out the cell phone might just reveal something that could save lives. It might be a long shot, but 14 people are dead, and long shots ought to be taken to prevent more.
The problem is that Apple has made it impossible for the FBI – or anyone else without passwords – to access the information on a phone. A court ruled that the company had to help the FBI access the phone. Apple refused. Their refusal was based on the right to privacy. Once they created the tools for accessing the phone, it would inevitably leak or be reverse engineered. There are a lot of smart people out there who like to do this. Therefore, once Apple accessed the material, it would be likely that, in remarkably rapid time, the iPhone would become vulnerable, and all of the emails, texts and pictures that its customers have could become public.
The Apple argument was that while the Constitution speaks of making people secure from unreasonable search and seizure, and this may well be reasonable search, a private company is not compelled by the Constitution to assist authorities. And while this might be useful information to have, the further use of this technology would not only make hackers able to penetrate phones, but the government would then have the key to access phones without warrant, making them vulnerable to unreasonable search and seizure.


Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 5
March 3, 2016 

Bus from Safoora Goth incident (source: AFP)
Alexander Sehmer
Pakistani police arrested a Karachi-based dentist named Usman Khan on February 14 in connection with last year’s Safoora bus attack, which killed 45 and wounded 13 more. Under interrogation, Khan reportedly told the authorities that he had links to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and has been working for them since 2008 (Dunya News, February 15, 2016).
He was arrested following a clash with police – who later said they recovered a Kalashnikov rifle from the scene (The News, February 14, 2016). Khan’s alleged role, however, appears to have been in fundraising. According to the police, he collected in the region of $2,000-3,000 a month for the group (Geo, February 14, 2016).
Khan ran a private dental clinic in in the Ayesha Manzil neighborhood after graduating from the Fatima Jinnah Dental College, which is connected to the University of Karachi (Dental News, February 15, 2016). There is no suggestion that Khan is a “big name” in the Pakistani militant scene or that authorities have sufficient evidence backing their accusations against him (beyond his alleged confession). Reports of his arrest have stressed Khan’s status as “another highly educated professional” (Daily Capital, February 15, 2016), following the trend of those accused of involvement in the Safoora attack, many of whom have turned out to be well-educated.

The attack, which occurred on May 13, 2015, saw six gunmen riding motorcycles stop a bus carrying members of the Shia Ismaili community at Safoora Goth in Karachi; they then opened fire on the passengers (Dawn, May 14, 2015). Those alleged to have been behind the attack include Saad Aziz, a young graduate from the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, who authorities accuse of involvement in up to 20 incidents of terrorism, including the attack on United States national Debra Lobo (Dawn, July 10, 2015), as well as Khalid Yusuf Bari, a former engineer with Pakistan’s national airline (Dawn, October 31, 2015). Adil Masood Butt, described as a business associate of Aziz that studied in the U.S. and had set up his own educational institution in Karachi, was arrested in December, accused of financing the attack (Dawn, December 19, 2015).
It should no longer be surprising that those attracted to militant causes may be drawn from among the ranks of well-educated, financially secure individuals. It has become increasingly well established that there is a far weaker correlation between poverty and support for militant politics in Pakistan than Western policymakers initially believed. [1]

** The View From Olympus: Closing the Toy Store


A friend of mine recently sent me some back issues of a prominent defense magazine, IHS Jane’s International Defence Review, which I enjoyed going through. Jane’s Fighting Ships was one of my favorite books when I was young, though I find warships have become less interesting as they have grown more hi-tech. If only Germany would complete the Mackensen-class battle cruisers…
But as I looked through the magazines, two thoughts came irrepressibly to mind. The first was that virtually none of the systems discussed or advertised have anything to do with real war, which is to say Fourth Generation war. They are useful only against other state armed forces, which is to say for jousts.
The second thought was that these weapons, sensors, etc. represent enormous amounts of money. Just as the knights’ armor became most elaborate and expensive when the knight was passing out of war, so the equipment of state armed forces has reached its highest prices just as those forces themselves become militarily irrelevant.
Here we see two serious threats to the state itself and to a world made up of states. On the one hand, the state’s armed forces cannot defend the state against Fourth Generation entities, which leaves states defenseless against their most dangerous threats. On the other hand, maintaining those armed forces has become so expensive that doing so is a major contributor to the bankruptcy of states.
The world economy is now a bubble of bubbles, public and private debt piled to the sky as politicians seek to give clients something for nothing, ordinary people try to hold on to shreds of a middle-class existence as real wages fall and central banks create ever more liquidity. We have seennthis pattern before, and it always ends up in the same place: a major, long-lasting debt crisis, a great fall in both public and private resources, and, in the end, hyper-inflation.
Soon, very soon I expect, no state will be able to go to the toy store anymore. The hyper-priced military systems we read about in Jane’s will be unaffordable. Governments will simultaneously face two facts they can no longer ignore: defense budgets must be cut drastically (along with the rest of the state’s budget) and their armed forces cannot win the wars that count.
Wise governments, and wise leaders of state armed forces, would not wait until the full crisis is upon them. They would begin now the reforms that must come later. Institutions do better when they can follow a plan rather than having to respond to panic.

Chinese Influence Faces Uncertain Future in Myanmar

Publication: China Brief Volume: 16 Issue: 4
February 23, 2016 
NLD Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi visits with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June of 2015. The NLD has since won a major electoral victory.
At the beginning of February, members of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) took their seats in the national parliament (People’s Daily, February 2). Though the transition was peaceful, Myanmar’s neighbors are anticipating political instability and ethnic unrest to escalate in the coming months, and Myanmar’s neighbors, including China, are anxious that the resulting population flows across borders could inflame ethnic insurgencies in volatile border areas. As the new government navigates these domestic and international currents, China is watching to see if the NLD will rush to embrace the West, or adopt a more cautious approach.
The NLD’s connections to Western nations are well established. Since its founding in 1988, the NLD has had a warm relationship with Western countries and received full support for its struggle against military rule in Myanmar. Indeed, the United States’ policy toward Myanmar, especially its decisions to impose, extend, and lift economic sanctions were reportedly influenced, even determined by the views of Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD’s chairperson (Mizzima, January 23, 2012). In contrast, there was little engagement between the West and Myanmar’s military rulers, pushing the latter to build relations with China, India and member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), who rarely criticized the generals for suppressing democracy in Myanmar. China in particular strongly backed military rule in Myanmar and provided it with generous political, diplomatic, economic and military support. This support helped the generals not only survive the West’s sanctions, but also consolidate their iron-grip over the country, prolonging the NLD’s struggle against military rule.
China seems “clearly anxious” that the Westward shift in Myanmar’s foreign policy was set in motion under President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government could “go even further in that direction” under the civilian and pro-West NLD government (Myanmar Times, January 8). However, the NLD cannot ignore the “logic of geography” stemming from the lengthy border Myanmar shares with China (Indian Express, June 14, 2015). While diversifying its partners to correct the extreme pro-China tilt of the past 25 years in Myanmar’s foreign policy, the NLD can be expected to avoid entering into a close relationship with the West. China will have to contend with competition from other countries, though it will remain a major source of investment and trade for Myanmar.

China’s Concerns
In 1988, Myanmar abandoned roughly four decades of non-alignment to become a close ally of China. The ruling junta, which was ostracized by the West for its violent suppression of protests in Yangon and other cities that year, turned to China for economic aid to help weather a crippling economic crisis and weapons to deal with domestic unrest and the threat of a Western invasion. The “explicitly close partnership” between the military rulers and China in the period between 1988–2010 saw China emerge as Myanmar’s largest foreign investor, its second largest trade partner and top military supplier. [1]Chinese cumulative investment in Myanmar in this period reached $9.6 billion, a third of which went into oil, natural gas and hydropower projects (Mizzima, February 22, 2011). China’s heavy investment in natural resources and transport infrastructure in Myanmar has facilitated extraction and import of its electricity, oil, gas, timber, and gems and has enabled it to acquire enormous influence over Myanmar’s economy. Myanmar’s value to China goes beyond its natural resources. Like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Myanmar provides an alternate overland route to the Indian Ocean, reducing threats to its energy supply lines through the South China Sea (China Brief, July 31, 2015; China Brief, April 12, 2006). Several of Myanmar’s ports were modernized by China and Chinese naval ships have docked in Myanmar’s ports in recent years (Youku, August 30, 2010).

‘Two Sessions’ And Chinese Economy: Communication Gap And Middle Income Trap – OpEd

China's flag. Source: Wikipedia Commons.
As analysts have predicted, the Two Sessions will focus and deliberate on the need of supply side reforms and structural changes facing China. This comes at an interesting time, when China’s growth concerns are under global spotlight. Chinese administration last year highlighted the fact that supply side reforms are the key to renew, consolidate and stabilize growth potentials with an array of measures which have plagued Chinese economy. The problems faced were reducing overcapacity, reducing a dependence on the export driven model, reducing costs and also destocking. It also underscored a need to identify growth areas.
Chinese economy, grew rapidly, for more than three decades. It was based on strong exports, and massive energy oriented growth, on the back of manufacturing base. This growth lifted millions out of poverty, and transformed China from a agro based economy, to an industrial one. However, naturally as one gets from an industrial manufacturing economy, there were structural problems which came alongside, problems like labour mobility, and clean environment, and equity stagnation. Recognising these structural difficulties were key, and subsequent strategy was needed to mature Chinese economy while not neglecting traditional competitive advantages, like skills, productivity, and export orientation.

So, here are some things Chinese policy makers need to keep in mind.
Chinese city planning need to focus more on sustainable energy saving, which will include plans for a radically different transport system. As the Chinese President mentioned, if living standards are to be improved, the first priority should be on livable cities. Pollution needs to be tackled urgently, and improving the energy consumption would be a primary goal. Also, we have seen coal consumption has went down from the start of this decade, and it needs to keep going down. China needs to also invest in innovative research on green energy, and have a plan on how to shift from oil and gas to green which would be a major challenge and there needs to be a plan for it. China had over 4.44 million companies and startups established, up 21.6 percent from 2014. That’s a start and it needs to keep growing.
There is a consensus among Chinese supply side economists that the shortage of supply is what generating the domestic consumption trap, as people need to even go distances to buy good toilet lids, for example. In line with Say’s law, which states supply creates its own demand, the Chinese economists figured, the essential of boosting domestic consumption is by trying to boost supply rather than control demand. “The root of excessive production capacity lies in mismatch of supply and demand, and even the adoption of Keynesian theory won’t work. In the view of supply-side economists, supply-and-demand mismatch could only be broke from the supply front, instead of resorting to demand management policy.”, a report in Xinhua stated earlier this year.

China increases defence budget by 7.6 per cent

Mar 5, 2016, 
China today increased its defence budget by 7.6 per cent to $146 billion for this year, citing militarisation of the Asia-Pacific, especially the disputed South China Sea, and deepening tensions with the US.
The increase is the lowest in defence spending in six years in the wake of economic slowdown. China's GDP growth last year declined to the lowest in 26 years to 6.9 per cent.
Defending the increase in defence budget, National People's Congress (NPC) spokesperson Fu Ying blamed US for the militarisation of the Asia-Pacific, especially the South China Sea (SCS), which in recent months has become new theatre of conflict between the two countries.
Some people have connected China with SCS issue and militarisation of the region. The issue of militarisation has been hyped up and misleading, she said.
China claims almost the whole of the resource-rich South China Sea (SCS). Its claim, however, is strongly contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

In October, USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island China is building in the Spratly Islands.
China strongly protested the move, saying the US act severely violated Chinese law, sabotaged the peace, security and good order of the waters, and undermined the region's peace and stability.
According to a budget report to the national legislature annual session, the government plans to raise the 2016 defence budget by 7.6 per cent to 954 billion yuan (about $146 billion).
The new increase, lower than last year's 10.1 per cent, widens the gap further with the Indian defence budget which stood around $40 billion.


Jeffrey Lin, P.W. Singer, and John Costello 
QUESS Satellite
In the age of relentless cyberattacks and global electronic surveillance, nations and citizens are looking for any means to secure their communications. China is poised to launch a project that may provide the path to an uncrackable communications system, by turning messages quantum and taking them into space. The new Quantum Space Satellite (QUESS) program is no mere science experiment. China is already becoming a world leader in quantum communications technology; a satellite that delivers quantum communications will be a cornerstone for translating cutting-edge research into a strategic asset for Chinese power worldwide.
Cryptography operates through the use of an encryption key (such as a numbers pad), which, when applied to an encryption algorithm, can be used to decrypt or encrypt a message. Quantum entanglement is the act of fusing two or more particles into complementary “quantum states.” In such states, no particle can be independently described, instead the particles exist in a hazy shared quantum state that “collapses” when observed. Quantum encryption thus takes advantage of this feature, using it to detect would-be eavesdroppers, whose presence causes quantum states to collapse and reveal their spying to legitimate parties. Additionally, the complexity of quantum mechanics makes it virtually impossible to reverse engineer the quantum key generated through quantum entanglement.
Quantum keys are thus theoretically impossible to crack by even quantum computing -- a theoretical form of supercomputing that promises to defeat traditional forms of encryption. (It is important to note, however, that all is not perfectly secure. Quantum secured communications, like other forms of encryption, are vulnerable to denial of service, physically tampering of the quantum communications device, human failures in operational security and impersonation of sender).

Quantum keys are theoretically impossible to crack.
The Quantum Space Satellite, aka Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), will seek to turn this theory into reality. It will be launched in July 2016. Chief scientist Pan Jianwei remarks that QUESS will complete China's growing quantum communications network, which includes a 2,000-kilometer-long network between Beijing and Shanghai.
QUESS's function is to test the phenomena of quantum entanglement. Operated by the China Academy of Sciences, this 500kg satellite contains a quantum key communicator, quantum entanglement emitter, entanglement source, processing unit, and a laser communicator. QUESS will relay transmissions between two ground stations (one in China, and the other in Europe) transmitting quantum keys. Pan remarked that the distances involved (the QUESS orbits at an altitude of 1,000km) is ideal for testing quantum teleportation of photons. Additionally, the Austrian Academy of Sciences will provide the optical receivers for the European ground stations.

China Defense Buildup Slows as Xi Focuses on Military Revamp

March 4, 2016 
PBOC Pulls $129 Billion in Biggest Weekly Withdrawal Since 2013
The pace of China’s defense spending growth will slow to between 7 and 8 percent this year as President Xi Jinping carries out the most sweeping military overhaul in decades in an effort to improve the ability of the nation’s armed forces to fight and win wars.
The spending increase, announced before Saturday’s start of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, will be the smallest since at least 2010, when outlays climbed 7.7 percent, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That 2016 projected increase in defense spending by the central and local governments compared with a 10 percent rise last year. The pace of growth in the military budget is still higher than the expected 6.5 percent to 7 percent expansion of China’s economy.
Xi’s revamp is aimed at unifying the People’s Liberation Army, Navy, Air Force and a new Rocket Force under a U.S.-style joint command system, enabling the armed forces to better defend China’s sovereignty at home and its growing interests abroad. The transformation of the large, mostly land-based army that hasn’t fought a conflict since 1979 has implications for militaries in the Asia-Pacific that is rife with territorial disputes, and for the U.S., which is beefing up its engagement in Asia.

International Audience
“One reason for the slowdown is the slowing Chinese economy,” said Collin Koh Swee Lean, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. China’s economy last year expanded 6.9 percent, the slowest pace in a quarter century. “It isn’t a drastic cut. They don’t want to send the wrong signal to the domestic and international audiences about the military modernization program.”
Though China’s defense budget has more than doubled over the past decade, it is still dwarfed by U.S. defense spending. The Pentagon’s $585 billion budget for 2016, partly shaped by a need to counter China’s advancing military capability, is more than four times what China intends to spend. China’s military outlays as a share of its economy will likely be about 1.3 percent in 2016, similar to that of recent years and less than 3.1 percent for the U.S.
China may be spending much more than official budget numbers, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates. China’s actual military spending is about 55 percent above the official figure if you take into account items including military research and development, arms imports, military construction and PLA pension costs. Sipri put China’s defense spending at 2.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2014, higher than the 1.3 percent based on the official estimate.
Territorial Disputes

Tensions between with the U.S. have been rising over China’s efforts to assert its claims to 80 percent of the South China Sea by building military facilities on islands it controls in one of the world’s busiest waterways. The U.S. has begun sailing Navy ships near some of the islands in so-called freedom of navigation operations to challenge the claims.
In presenting the spending numbers, NPC spokeswoman Fu Ying called the U.S. deployment of additional naval forces in the region under the Obama administration’s rebalance to Asia a form of militarization and said China’s deployment of missiles and radars on its islands were for defensive purposes.
Regional Spending
“Defense capability is not the same as militarization,” Fu said. “If the U.S. is indeed interested in upholding peace and stability in the region, it should support China’s effort to settle issues through negotiations.”
China’s military growth combined with heightened territorial tensions will propel the Asia-Pacific region to the top rank of global military spending by the end of the decade, accounting for one in every three dollars spent on defense by the end of 2020, up from one in five in 2010, IHS Jane’s forecast last month.
The Philippines and Vietnam -- spooked by China’s island-reclamation program in the disputed South China Sea -- are both increasing defense spending. India plans to spend at least $61 billion to expand its navy, eyeing Chinese submarine patrols in the Indian Ocean. Australia will boost defense spending by more than 81 percent over the next decade to A$58.7 billion ($42.9 billion) in 2025-26. Japan will increase its defense budget this year by 1.5 percent to a record 5.1 trillion yen ($47 billion).

Chechens Fighting in Syria Increasingly Joining Forces With Islamic State

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 43
March 3, 2016 0
Chechen militants in Syria have been going through organizational changes since last summer. The position of the Chechen militants in the Middle East was especially damaged by a conflict within the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar group and the difficult situation inside the Junud al-Sham group. Those militant organizations have been led, respectively, by Salahudin Shishani (Paizulla Margoshvili) and Muslim Shishani (Murad Margoshvili). Both men are ethnic Chechens from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.
In the summer of 2015, Amir Salahudin left Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, one of the best known groups comprised of citizens of countries of the former Soviet Union (Infochechen.com, June 6, 2015), and formed another group, Jaish al-Usrah. The new group again tried to recruit members from the Caucasus. The former Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar brigade, which no longer had Chechens or Amir Salahudin, allied itself with the al-Nusra Front and lost the high status it had enjoyed in Syria when it was led by Chechen commanders (Justpaste.it, June 2015).
Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar once had 1,500 to 2,000 militants, while Amir Salahudin’s current group has only of about 200 members—those militants who decided to stay with him to the end. Many of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar’s militants left the group after Amir Salahudin was removed as its commander and joined the so-called Islamic State. The rest of the group became an al-Nusra Front affiliate, which Salahudin had not agreed with (Kavkazsky Uzel, October 3, 2015).
Amir Salahudin still wears the Caucasus Emirate’s logo on his clothes, which means he remains faithful to the organization. He still considers himself to be the Caucasus Emirate’s representative in Syria. Even though the Caucasus Emirate has been significantly transformed in the North Caucasus, Amir Salahudin can claim partial credit for the fact that it still exists. Salahudin’s group in Syria is bigger than all the militants in the underground movement of the North Caucasus put together.

Netanyahu and IDF Are Split on the Iran Nuclear Deal

Israel's leadership is far from unified.
Leore Ben-Chorin,  March 2, 2016

Last Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that because of the Iran nuclear deal “there is no longer an existential threat to Israel from Iran.” He asserted that even Israel believed this was true. Kerry was referring to a speech last month by Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in which the Israeli general explained that the deal had “many risks but also opportunities.” Eizenkot also quipped that assuming the worst case scenarios was “as dangerous as imagining the best case scenarios”—a veiled jab at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who previously asserted that the deal is a “historic mistake for the world.”
Many Americans may be surprised by the disconnect between the political leaders and the security establishment in Israel. However, this disagreement over how to approach the Iran nuclear deal and, before that, Iran’s nuclear ambitions is long-running and indicative of spirited debate in Israel that gets little attention in the United States.

Disagreement over how to handle Iranian nuclear ambitions began several years ago. In 2010 Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barakclashed with then-IDF head Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and intelligence head Maj. Gen. Meir Dagan over an order to have the military ready in case a decision was made to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. An Israeli investigative television program revealed that Ashkenazi and Dagan had vehemently objected to the order. Ashkenazi had apparently warned that an attack would be a “strategic mistake,” while Dagan cautioned, “You may end up going to war based on an illegal decision.”
Ashkenazi and Dagan are two of a growing cadre of security establishment leaders who have attempted to temper the forceful rhetoric against the nuclear deal coming from Netanyahu and other politicians. Former intelligence head Efraim Halevy, for example, wrote “what is the point in annulling an agreement which keeps Iran away from the bomb in order to try and insert clauses regarding terror, which is definitely not an existential threat to Israel?”

Completion of Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway Project Postponed Again

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 42
March 2, 2016 04:49 PM Age: 1 day
On February 19, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey held their fifth trilateral meeting, during which they agreed on the completion date for the construction of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars (BTK) railway. The BTK railroad will eventually connect the three countries (Civil Georgia, February 19).
This project started back in 2007, and was initially supposed to have been completed by 2010. However, it has been marred by a number of problems: financial, political and geographic, which repeatedly caused delays in the construction (Amerikis Khma, October 20, 2015). The latest meeting postponed the completion date once again, this time to 2017.
The importance of the BTK transit project is difficult to underestimate. First of all, the railway project will be a huge geopolitical and economic boon for Turkey, as it will help Ankara extend its political and economic influence from the Black Sea region to the shores of Caspian Sea and even further into Central Asia, where Turkic-speaking nations of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are located.

Azerbaijan is also set to benefit greatly, acquiring a fast transportation link to its Turkic kin in the west. Moreover, by hosting a portion of the railway, Georgia will be gaining additional leverage as a transit country, which will certainly increase Tbilisi’s political significance in the region, not to mention bring economic benefits to this impoverished country.
And as for the whole of the South Caucasus, the railway project promises to bring the entire region closer to Europe and its 500-million-person market, making it much faster for the South Caucasus countries and their goods to reach the European continent.
On the other hand, this project represents everything that Russia opposes: it solidifies Turkey’s position in the region, strengthens Baku’s links with Ankara, and entrenches Georgia’s position as a regional transit country. In order to neutralize the BTK project, Moscow has tried to promote the alternative North-South railway (also referred to as the Sochi–Yerevan railway), which would run from Russia, through Georgia, to Armenia and eventually connect to Iran (Thearmenite.com, October 15, 2014). However, a section of the North-South Railway runs through the Russian-occupied separatist Georgian region of Abkhazia. Subsequently, talks about opening up the Abkhazian segment of the railway have gone nowhere. Tbilisi deems it impossible to allow the railway to become operational as long as Abkhazia remains under Russian occupation (see EDM, November 12, 2012; Georgiatoday.ge, August 27, 2015).

Shifting U.S. interests in the Middle East

March 2, 2016 
Regardless of the administration, the United States has long reiterated a consistent set of interests in the Middle East that have guided U.S. policy in the region. The Middle East is in turmoil, and now U.S. interests are in flux as well. As a result, and despite what you might hear on the campaign trail, future administrations might follow the President Obama’s path and be wary of greater intervention.
The world that was

The most commonly cited U.S. interest is oil, and in the past, spikes in oil prices have hurt the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Middle East produces 30 percent of the global market and some countries, above all Saudi Arabia, still possess significant spare production capacity. Yet despite this central role, the stability of foreign oil producers is less important to the United States than in the past (though still a real interest). The United States itself has reemerged as a major oil player, going from 8 million barrels per day in 2004 to a world-leading 14 million barrels per day in 2014. In addition, the world itself has an oil glut, with prices having plunged from a West Texas Intermediate (WTI) peak of $133.88 per barrel in June 2008 to $31.68 per barrel in January 2016. A higher price helps U.S. producers, a significant part of the U.S. economy, while the glut makes the Middle East’s spare capacity less important. Predicting the oil market is a fool’s game (if I could, I’d be happy now on my own island), but it seems likely that for the near- and medium-term at least, the world will not return to a tight oil market. 
Israel is another central U.S. interest, often linked to a desire to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This interest is not likely to change, but Israel today faces little conventional military threat or any need for U.S. military intervention. Rather, support for Israel involves a mix of arms sales, intelligence and security cooperation, and diplomatic support. The peace process, moreover, is dead for now. Palestinians and Israelis seem more skeptical than ever—a skepticism shared by U.S. officials. Thus, for the foreseeable future, high-level diplomacy to bring peace seems unlikely.

Is Britain Safer In Or Out Of The European Union? This One's A No Brainer

Ever since the Islamic State assault on Paris in November 2015, Brexit campaigners have sought to draw a link between Britain's partnership with Europe, and the vulnerability of its cities to similar attacks.
n the days after the atrocities, prominent Leave proponent Richard Tice took direct aim at In campaigners when he said:
"never again should they say the United Kingdom is safer in the European Union."
Until Britain takes back control of its borders, argues UKIP's Nigel Farage, it cannot be "isolated" from the threat posed by Islamic extremists. The use of the word "isolated" should not be overlooked - it holds a special place in history, and reveals the fantasy in the thinking of those advocating the UK's exit.
The belief that, in an ever-more interconnected world, Britain's geography could somehow allow its government to pull up the drawbridge, as if Britain is some sort of impenetrable fortress, is simplistic and old-fashioned.
It's a mindset reminiscent of American isolationism before Pearl Harbor. People felt assured their great oceans and friendly neighbours would keep them safe. When the Japanese attacked, the US had to adjust its conceptions of national security, and what it takes to achieve it. US strategists decided to push America's interests and assets out into the world to interdict future attacks from afar.
Britain's own history of European isolationism in the first half of the 20th century also failed to provide security. Efforts to play a balancing role between France and Germany from offshore failed twice to prevent the emergence of a major rival on the continent. Britain was unwilling to station troops in Europe, or at least rapidly deploy sufficient forces in an emergency. This led to German calculations that decisive military force either could not, or would not, arrive in time to prevent aggressive expansion.

Russia’s Arctic Militarization: Words Versus Actions

January 13, 2016
By Alden Wahlstrom
Russia has no plans to militarize the Arctic. At least, that is a according to Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister charged with overseeing Russia’s defense industry. Speaking in St. Petersburg, on December 7, at the opening of the forum “Arctic: Today and the Future,” Rogozin emphasized that Russia’s rebuilding of military infrastructure in the Arctic is focused on creating the conditions necessary for Russians to live and work peacefully in the region (Kommersant, December 8, 2015). Just two days after this, however, Russia announced the opening of a major new military installation on the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya.

The Novaya Zemlya facility is home to the first full regiment of Russia’s Northern Fleet located on Russia’s Arctic islands. Previously, deployments had been limited to smaller individual units. Its primary role is to secure Russian airspace on the country’s northern borders. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, modernized S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems have been deployed to Novaya Zemlya to achieve this. These systems, which have been modified to be able to work in Arctic conditions, are capable of intercepting aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) within a 400-kilometer perimeter around the site (Mil.ru, December 9, 10, 2015; TVRain.ru, December 9, 2015). This marks a return of anti-aircraft/anti-ballistic missile capabilities to Novaya Zemlya, last present on the island in the early 1990s (Interfax, December 12, 2015).

In addition to the S-300s, the installation on Novaya Zemlya is reportedly outfitted with weapons systems to defend from both air and sea attack. The Pantsir-S1 (NATO name: SA-22 “Greyhound”) is a combination weapons system that includes short- to medium-range surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. This system is capable of engaging aircraft and missiles flying at lower altitudes and has a 20 km range, providing air defense for the area immediately surrounding the installation. Likewise, the Bastion-P Costal Defense System (NATO name: SSC-5) is capable of defending the area from surface-level ships. This system uses Oniks supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO name: SS-N-26 “Strobile”; also known as the “Yakhont” in export markets). Traveling at a speed of Mach 2.5, these missiles have a range of 120–300 km and are capable of engaging various surfaces ships, carrier battle groups, convoys and landing crafts. Beyond providing for the general defense of the installation on Novaya Zemlya, the range of the Oniks missiles allows the Russians to create a choke point, preventing the passage of ships from the Barents Sea to the Pechora Sea and onward along the Northern Sea Route.

From Sanctuary to Battlefield: A Framework for a U.S. Defense and Deterrence Strategy for Space

JANUARY 27, 2016 
Elbridge Colby 

Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow Elbridge Colby takes on the challenge laid out by senior U.S. defense officials to help develop a new defense and deterrence strategy for space in light of the growing challenges to the U.S. space architecture. In the report, Colby argues that the United States must prepare to fight and prevail in a limited war in and affecting space, and lays out a framework for how the United States can best do so in ways that are both effective and also stabilizing. 

Opinion: Cybersecurity needs less talk, more action

As this year's RSA Conference, the world's largest cybersecurity gathering, comes to an end, it's time for the digital security industry to start sharing threat intelligence information in earnest and training the next generation of cybersecurity workers.
By Chris Young, Contributor MARCH 4, 2016
We've grown accustomed to a steady flow of bad cybersecurity news. Scarcely a month goes by without another massive data breach, but they attract less attention as they grow more common.
While headlines question whether critical national infrastructure – the power grid, transport, or financial systems – is vulnerable to cyberattack, those news stories quickly fade.
At this year's RSA Conference, the world's largest annual cybersecurity industry gathering, industry professionals regularly challenge one another to think different and innovate in order to conquer a new world of worries. It's good, if sometimes predictable, rhetoric.
But our cyberadversaries aren't giving keynotes at elaborate industry conferences. Instead, they are busy giving us more than 500,000 new varieties of malware every day. We need to take real, tangible action. Many options lie before us, but here are two that are already working – action plans my industry can embrace more fully right now.

First, we can take more action in the area of threat intelligence sharing. We have a great pilot program in the two-year-old Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), where competitors pool resources to analyze threat intelligence. The CTA's first successful campaign was waged against CryptoWall v.3, a family of ransomware that cost innocent users $325 million last year.
In a fairly cutthroat business, this kind of collaboration is not a natural impulse. Nobody wants to cede a proprietary advantage. But I say we must set aside the notion that cybersecurity competitors gain power by hoarding threat data. The CTA proves collective knowledge is more powerful. When everyone shares, we’re all more secure. And we can still distinguish ourselves from one another – by acting more creatively on shared intelligence, serving different customers, and securing different parts of the infrastructure. 

Fighting smart – the top 10 military apps

19 January 2016
From simple navigation utilities to educational and information sharing tools, mobile technology is improving the life for those in the battlefield and their families by providing useful information and contacts at the touch of a screen. Army-technology lists ten of the best military apps based on utility and features.
Tactical NAV
Tactical NAV is a military-grade GPS navigation application developed for military, first responders, search-and-rescue (SAR) and law enforcement personnel. It uses the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) to enable the users to map and plot waypoints and military graphics with high-accuracy. The app also allows for secured transfer of location and waypoint data through email, text and Facebook.
The app was created by a US Army soldier during his deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Currently sold by AppDaddy Technologies, the app is available in App Store and Google Play.

MilGPS is a premium navigation application developed for soldiers, search-and-rescue personnel and other professional navigators worldwide. It uses MGRS & United States National Grid (USNG) for mapping locations. The military-grade features of the premium land navigator include real-time display of current location even without a cellular signal. The app also enables the user to create and navigate unlimited waypoints.
Developed by Karl Urdevics, an Australian software developer, the application is sold through his company Cascode Labs. It is compatible with iPad and iPhone and requires iOS 8.0 or later versions.


iSurvive is a military-grade survival manual that provides important information on areas such as evasion, navigation, communication and signalling, recovery, medical aid, personal protection, water and food procurement and induced conditions. The application lists educational material in an army survival manual style.
iSurvive has been developed by DMBC and is marketed by Roger Lichfield. It is supported by iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and requires iOS 2.2 or later versions.
Army First Aid

Army First Aid application provides a manual of critical medical information for soldiers to be used in instances where medical aid might not be readily available. It is useful in the battlefield where knowledge of life-sustaining methods is required for survival. It contains useful information on first aid basics, rescue breathing techniques, stopping bleeding, checking for shock, dressings and bandages, bites and heat and cold injuries.
Information available on the application can be shared through email or AirPrint. Double Dog Studios is the developer and marketer of the app, which is available for download on the iTunes App Store.