22 May 2016

*** India: One State, Many Countries

By Jacob L. Shapiro 
May 19, 2016 

As the rest of Eurasia slides further into crisis, the only thing getting in India’s way is India. 

India deployed four ships, including two stealth frigates and one guided missile corvette, into the South China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean, where they will remain for two and a half months, according to a statement released yesterday by the Press Information Bureau of India. The statement said that the Indian ships will participate in the annual Malabar exercises with the Japanese and U.S. navies and will make port calls in Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Malaysia. Meanwhile, Apple Inc.’s CEO Tim Cook arrived in Mumbai today. At the end of his five-day trip, Cook is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On the surface, these seem like impressive developments. From a military perspective, the ship deployments suggest India is feeling confident enough in its abilities to send warships into one of the most contested seascapes in the world. From an economic perspective, Apple, fresh off its first drop in quarterly sales in 13 years, may be looking at India as a possible solution for a 26 percent decline year over year in revenue in China. This seems to indicate that India may be well placed to take advantage of the exporter’s crisis. India is in a good strategic position today, but that doesn’t mean we should indulge in delusions of grandeur. The fundamental issues that have always held India back are still there – and they won’t be dissipating in the near future.

*** The Military and the Academy: Overcoming the Divide

May 18, 2016 

Christopher Sims’ “Academics in Foxholes: The Life and Death of the Human Terrain System” contributes to the ongoing debate about the U.S. military’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan and, more specifically, the relationship between the U.S. government and the academy. As the authors point out, there is much that both scholars and practitioners can learn from the successes and failures of the Human Terrain System (HTS), which brought together civilian academics and military personnel. Even more broadly, however, the experience reveals much about the relationship between the U.S. armed forces (primarily the army) on the one hand and academic social scientists (primarily anthropologists and sociologists) on the other.

HTS was created in 2007 as a response to the U.S. military’s need to better understand the cultural and ethnic geography of Iraq and Afghanistan. In part because of long-standing lack of institutional emphasis on cultural factors, U.S. forces had a poor understanding of the composition of Iraqi and Afghan society. At times they overlooked sources of support for insurgency; at other times they alienated potential allies. Addressing the shortcoming in the middle of a war inevitably came at a great expense and the process was less effective than diagnosing and remedying the problem in peacetime.

The effort to improve soldiers’ social and cultural understanding was further hampered by the U.S. military’s approach to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: even as the United States sought to fight a war “among the people”—that is, with and alongside them—it generally kept the local population at arm’s length, a reflection of a military organizational culture built around avoiding casualties and penalizing risk-taking. But a failure to work with local populations made it all the more difficult to understand the dynamics that perpetuated the conflicts.

** PLA Western Theatre Command: Challenge of Operational Management

Rahul Bhonsle 
May 19, 2016 

PLA Western Theatre Command: Challenge of Operational Management

China’s military reforms have received much traction in various mediums. These give the perception of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) emerging as a capability driven, joint force that can effectively fight and win modern wars post 2020.

Assuming that China is a status quo power and deterrence is the objective, the first battle portrayal of the PLA as an effectual and competent military has been achieved. Since intentions of nations change, the PLA’s offensive potential to intervene if not win, “informationised local wars,” is also on display. While transformation at this scale can hardly be unobtrusive transparency has a message which is being conveyed not so subtly.

The political objective of the reforms is to place the PLA firmly under the Communist Party of China with the Central Military Commission as an instrument which will have direct control over the theatre commands. This is much like the American system wherein theatre commanders report directly to the Pentagon, while the service chiefs Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are responsible for capacity building of their respective forces.

Under this rubric China has reorganised the theatre commands bringing down these from the erstwhile seven military regions to five theatres. On 1 February this year Chinese President Xi Jinping also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission conferred military flags to the five newly-established theater commanders of the PLA.

India Test Fires Prithvi-II Nuclear-Capable Missile

May 19, 2016

Prithvi-II test-fired successfully

India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the army from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha.

The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at around 0940 hrs, defence sources said.

2 more trials

Sources said there was plan for two trials of Prithvi-II in quick succession. However, after the successful trial of the first one, the second trial was abandoned due to technical problem, they said.

A similar twin trial was conducted on October 12, 2009 from the same base where both were successful.

With a strike range of 350 km, the Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.

The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by the specially formed strategic force command (SFC)and monitored by the scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise, a defence scientist said.

India On The E-Highway: Miles To Go, But Worth The Try – Analysis

By Manish Vaid and Sanjay Kumar Kar 
MAY 19, 2016

On March 27, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a target for 50% reduction in crude oil imports by 2030. This target got shot in the arm, when a year later, on March 26, 2016, Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal set a further goal to make India run on 100% e-vehicles by 2030. But to achieve these entwined goals, a coherent policy, largely driven by the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, is needed to significantly curb the oil dependence faced by the transport sector. This sector, being the key driver for Indian economy, is the second highest energy consumer after the industry and the single largest consumer of petroleum products. However, international markets, flooded with cheaper oil, continue to tests government’s renewed vigor to travel through e-highway.

India, which has set a target of bringing down its oil import dependency to 67% by 2022, has rather increased the same from 78.5% in 2014-15 to 81% in 2015-16. India’s oil import volumes increased by 7% from 189.4 metric tons (mt) in 2014-15 to 202 mt in 2015-16. Though, India ended up paying only $64 billion (bln) in 2015-16 against a whopping $112.7 bln in 2014-15, having saved around 43% of foreign reserves due to global crude oil price fall. The savings could increase manifold if its transport sector is electrified, significantly.

India’s SCO Membership: A Mutually Beneficial Partnership – OpEd

By Ashok Sajjanhar* 
MAY 19, 2016

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be holding its 16th Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan between June 23 and 24, 2016. India along with Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia became Observers to the Organisation at its 5th Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2005. At the twin BRICS and SCO Summits held in Ufa, Russia in July, 2015 it was decided to admit India (and Pakistan) as full members.

Over the last several years India had made it known subtly that it would be interested in playing a more substantive role in development of the organisation. It was also felt by most members, particularly Russia and Kazakhstan, that the organisation and individual countries would benefit hugely from India’s active association with the Institution.

India’s membership will be a win-win proposition for the organization as also for all members of the organization. Central Asia comprises the extended neighbourhood of India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded high priority to India’s neighbourhood since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power two years ago. He recognized the importance of Central Asia and became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit all five Central Asian States in July 2015. This has enthused the leaderships of these countries to strengthen partnership with India.

Pakistan: The Ever Present Civil-Military Acrimony – Analysis

By Sudhanshu Tripathi 
MAY 19, 2016

It certainly looks clear that all is not going well in Pakistan between its civilian government and an all-time powerful army. With the recent Panama Paper leaks having landed the sons and daughters of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s in the dock, the continuing war between the two centres of power as regards the claim to supremacy within the ruling circles of Pakistan has once again intensified. And, it is precisely the deepening chasm between the two that worries the entire world over the fear of a coup dislodging another civilian government from power in a country that has had a chequered political past.

With the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif having removed 12 of his senior military officers, including a lieutenant general and also a major general and five brigadiers on grounds of their proven involvement in corruption, his anti-corruption pitch has not only become louder, but it is also striking a right chord with the masses of Pakistan who have long suffered from corruption pervading into every aspect of their lives. It has also increased the pressure on Nawaz Sharif to come out clean on the charges that have been levelled against the members of his family, with the spectre of resignation already looming large.

Chinese Fighters Intercept US Recon Plane Over South China Sea

Thomas Gibbons-Neff
May 19, 2016

Chinese jets intercept U.S. recon plane, almost colliding over South China Sea

An EP-3E Aries, assigned to the “World Watchers” of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1, left, escorted by an EA-18G Growler, assigned to the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, performs a flyby over aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bobby J Siens)

Two Chinese tactical fighters intercepted a U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea earlier this week, a Pentagon spokeswoman announced Wednesday.

The U.S.EP-3E Aries, a propeller driven aircraft capable of intercepting radio communications, was flying in international airspace Tuesday when it was approached by two Chinese J-11 jets. The Chinese aircraft came within roughly 50 feet of the U.S. plane and were so close that the U.S. EP-3E was forced to descend to avoid collision, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The Pentagon described the incident as “unsafe.” In 2001, a U.S. EP-3 collided with a Chinese J-8, killing the pilot and forcing the American plane to make an emergency landing in China.

This Is How the U.S. Navy Plans to Deal with Enemy Missiles (Think China)

May 19, 2016

The Navy is building and testing a fleet of upgraded DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers with a series of next-generation technologies -- including an ability to detect and destroy incoming enemy anti-ship cruise missiles at farther ranges from beyond the horizon.

The new fire-control system, called Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA, was recently deployed on a Navy cruiser serving as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in the Arabian Gulf, Navy officials told Scout Warrior.

The technology enables ship-based radar to connect with an airborne sensor platform to detect approaching enemy anti-ship cruise missiles from beyond the horizon and, if needed, launch an SM-6 missile to intercept and destroy the incoming threat, Navy officials said.

“NIFC-CA presents the ability to extend the range of your missile and extend the reach of your sensors by netting different sensors of different platforms -- both sea-based and air-based together into one fire control system,” Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 program manager, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

NIFC-CA is part of an overall integrated air and missile defense high-tech upgrade now being installed and tested on existing and new DDG 51 ships called Aegis Baseline 9, Vandroff said.

Can cyberspace be mapped? NGA's working on it

May 18, 2016 

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, by its very charter and pedigree, is a mapping agency: providing geographic context that informs intelligence and high-level security decisions. But how can an agency map a domain that doesn’t physically exist like any other?

That’s a major challenge facing the intelligence and defense communities, according to the nation’s chief of intelligence. It’s also an area NGA is targeting with an infusion of investment and focus via new programs aimed at innovation.

“A revolution is afoot — it’s here now,” NGA Director Robert Cardillo said at the GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Florida, on May 16. “To put our money where our mouth is, we’ve doubled our In-Q-Tel investment to improve our effectiveness in areas like commercial space, visualization and cybersecurity.”

In-Q-Tel essentially is the CIA’s research, development and experimentation arm, and NGA’s No. 2, Sue Gordan, has a long history with both the CIA and In-Q-Tel. So it should come as no surprise to see renewed ties between the two, nor to see cyber as a target.

That’s just part of intelligence community efforts to turn cyberspace into something that’s easier to understand, manipulate and maneuver within, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at the event on May 17. In sum, intelligence agency officials hope to grasp cyberspace in a way similar to air, sea, space and land.

China aims to complete military reform by 2020

China Military Online 
May 18, 2016 

China aims to complete military reform by 2020

China aims to complete military reform and have armed forces capable of informationized warfare by 2020, according to a five-year military development plan published on Thursday.

In the next five years, China's armed forces will realize "a significant increase of key combat capabilities," said the 13th five-year military development plan (2016-2020), issued by the Central Military Commission (CMC).

By 2020, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will have finished mechanization of all forces and made important progress in incorporating information and computer technology, the document said.

The next five years will lay a solid foundation for the PLA to become a world-class military force, it said.

Priorities include the strategic restructuring of different services, the development of weaponry and logistics, IT facilities, combat training and international military cooperation.

More resources will be directed to projects that enhance combat readiness, facilitate major reforms and improve benefits for servicemen and women.

China's Weird Plans to Lure Muslims

Officially atheist China, the world's biggest pork consumer, isn't the most natural location for producing food in accordance with Islam's strict halal standards. But that didn't stop a delegation of Malaysians from traveling to China recently to consider investing in a government-sponsored "global halal park" capable of exporting food to the Muslim world.

The opportunity, theoretically, is immense: The halal food industry was worth $1.1 trillion in 2013, and Chinese producers make up a mere0.1 percent of it. But expanding that market share won't be easy.

Over the years, innumerable scandals have badly damaged China's reputation as a food producer. Meanwhile, government restrictions on religious practice call into question whether regulators and producers will sincerely follow halal guidelines, or tolerate some laxity. How the government addresses these issues will determine how successful its halal ambitions are -- and also help define China's relationship with the larger Muslim world.

China's nuclear submarine


Beijing will soon be able to launch nuclear missiles from the sea. And that’s going to make it harder to deter any future Chinese aggression.

China’s about to join an exclusive club for nuclear powers. After decades of development, 2016 could be the year the Chinese navy finally sends its ballistic-missile submarines—“SSBN” is the Pentagon’s designation—to sea for the first time for operational patrols with live, nuclear-tipped rockets.

If indeed the Jin-class subs head to sea this year, China will achieve a level of nuclear strike capability that, at present, just two countries—the United States and Russia—can match or exceed.

“China will probably conduct its first SSBN nuclear deterrence patrol sometime in 2016,” the Pentagon warned in the latest edition of its annual report on the Chinese military, published in mid-May (PDF). Once the Jins set sail, Beijing will command a nuclear “triad” composed of ground-, air-, and sea-launched nuclear weapons.

China Says Intercept of US Spy Plane Over South China Sea Was Not Unsafe

May 19, 2016

China Rejects US Claim of Unsafe Aerial Intercept

BEIJING — China on Thursday rejected U.S. claims that its fighter jets maneuvered unsafely when they intercepted an American Navy reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, and demanded that the U.S. end such missions close to Chinese territory.

The Chinese jets monitored the U.S. plane from an acceptable distance and operated in a safe and professional manner, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told journalists at a regularly scheduled news briefing.

“According to the related Chinese authorities, the U.S. allegation is not true,” Hong said.

Frequent reconnaissance missions by U.S. Navy vessels’ aircraft off the Chinese coast jeopardize China’s sea and air safety, Hong said. “We urge the U.S. to immediately stop spying activities and prevent such events from happening again,” he said.

The Pentagon said two Chinese J-11 fighters flew within about 15 meters (50 feet) of the U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft on Tuesday, forcing the U.S. pilot to descend sharply to avoid a collision. It said the U.S. plane was conducting routine operations in international airspace.

It characterized the incident as an unsafe intercept and said it is being reviewed.

Bhutan-China Boundary Negotiation: Should India Worry? – Analysis

By Amitava Mukherjee* 
MAY 19, 2016

In addition to the diplomatic retreat that India had to swallow over its relations with Nepal, especially with China gaining a new strategic depth in that Himalayan country in the wake of the blockade over the Madhesi issue, a more serious strategic threat to India may emerge if the Sino-Bhutan joint field survey over the Druk Kingdom’s disputed western border with China accedes to Beijing’s demands. Interestingly, a total silence is now being maintained by both China and Bhutan over the said field study which is supposed to have taken place in September 2015 after the conclusion of the 23rd round of Sino-Bhutan border negotiations.

India’s concern centres on the Chumbi valley, an arrow like protrusion of a part of southern Tibet separating Bhutan from the Indian state of Sikkim. It is a tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan and enjoys unparalleled strategic importance in the whole of eastern Himalayas. As it is situated very near to the Siliguri corridor, the only entry point to the north-eastern India, any Chinese thrust down the Chumbi valley and then taking control of the Siliguri corridor will cut off the north-eastern Indian states from the main land of the country. It will also mean grave threats to Kolkata and the north Bihar plains.

China’s Diesel Exports Put Downward Pressure On Asia-Pacific Crack Spreads – Analysis

MAY 19, 2016

Distillate crack spreads (the difference between the prices of wholesale distillate and crude oil) in the Asia-Pacific region are down 37% year-to-date compared with the same period in 2015 (January 4 to May 16). Several factors behind the decline in crack spreads in the Asia-Pacific market are consistent with those in other global markets—tepid demand growth, high distillate stocks, and increased refinery runs. Particularly relevant to the Asia-Pacific market, however, is the emergence of China as a growing net exporter of diesel (a type of distillate fuel), which puts more product into a well-supplied market.

Global distillate markets remain well-supplied from reduced winter heating demand in the United States and Europe resulting in high inventories, and from new or expanded refinery capacity in the Middle East geared to produce distillate.

China, which drove distillate demand growth over the past several decades, recently increased its net distillate exports, leading to fundamental changes in Asian distillate markets and representing a further indication of the current global distillate oversupply.

China Risks Rise With Shadow Bank Loans – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld 
MAY 19, 2016

China’s growing debt levels have continued to raise doubts about the country’s financial management after warnings that shadowy lending practices are putting banks and investors at risk.

The government has waged a publicity campaign to calm financial concerns since March, when two international bond rating agencies lowered outlooks for China to “negative” from “stable,” citing slow reforms and faster loan growth.

The findings by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P’s) and Moody’s Investors Service were followed by a warning from Fitch Ratings in April that debt levels had become “a mounting source of systemic vulnerability.”

The government dismissed the reports last month after announcing that China’s gross domestic product rose at a 6.7-percent rate in the first quarter, keeping within the official target range.

The Iran Deal: Myth and Reality

On Tuesday, in the latest challenge to the deal over Iran’s nuclear program reached last October, the House of Representatives held a hearing in which several Republicans accused the Obama administration of lying. This is part of a continuous effort over the last few months by members of Congress and by the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump to cast doubt on the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries and undermine its implementation. But these critics have done almost nothing to answer the most important questions: What has the nuclear deal actually achieved? And what are its potential shortcomings?

Trump shows no comprehension at all of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—as the deal is officially called. He discusses it as if was a financial arrangement in which we “gave” the Iranians $150 billion and got nothing back. In reality we gave back $150 billion that we had confiscated. Critics in Congress give the impression that they have no understanding of the technical aspects of the deal but that it must be bad because it involves Iran.

In fact, enough time has passed since the deal that one can begin to make a rational assessment about how successful it has been at limiting Iran’s nuclear capacity and bringing its program under international oversight. On February 26, for example, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its own such report. While it might be argued that the IAEA is a little too optimistic, the overall impression the report gives is that the nuclear arrangements agreed to by Iran are working well. My own view is that the deal has been more successful than I expected, although there are flaws.

Saudi Arabia Needs America Back in Its Corner

May 18, 2016

Saudi Arabia has just undertaken a large-scale reshuffle of its economic and social ministries as part of its “Saudi Vision 2030” plan to diversify the economy from its oil base. After over two decades of leading Saudi oil affairs, Ali al-Naimi has now been replaced by Khalid al-Falih, at the helm of a ministry that now includes industry as well as petroleum and mineral resources. Having risen to become an extremely capable CEO of Saudi Aramco before an interim assignment as health minister, Falih is a worthy successor to Naimi’s superlative leadership.

This cabinet reshuffle is part of a broader repositioning of Saudi Arabia under King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been entrusted with lead roles in both military and economic affairs. As defense minister, Prince Mohammed is responsible for the kingdom’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, whom the Saudi rulers see as proxies for Iran in the southern Arabian Peninsula.

Internationally, the contest with Iran and the divide between Sunnis and Shia overshadow Saudi policy. Domestically, job creation is the foremost imperative, with the challenge of unemployed or underemployed youth who are half of the kingdom’s population. For Saudi rulers, these are existential issues that command focused attention.

No, ISIS Isn't Helping Azerbaijan

May 18, 2016

During the recent escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, the neutral and discreet position of Russian officials drastically diverged from the position of some major Russian media outlets. Azerbaijan has confronted a full range of slanderous inventions and assault from a variety of specters of Russian media, policy community and experts. Moreover, popular Russian political TV showshave witnessed fierce debates, during which Baku has been accused ofconspiring with the West and Turkey against Armenia.

Among many ridiculous accusations, there have been claims about ISIS involvement on the Azerbaijani side in the recent escalation, which, it soon became clear, was a deliberate and systematic effort to create a new propaganda discourse.

For example, authors in the prominent journal Russia in Global Affairssuggested that it is expedient to collect the database of evidences on the possible involvement of ISIS fighters in the conflict and to deliver them the cochairs of the OSCE. Commenting on this piece, Azerbaijani MP Rasim Musabayov noted that these attempts are merely laying the groundwork of justification to intervene in the region.

How America Can Dominate Global Nuclear Energy

May 19, 2016

Today, the U.S. nuclear export industry is in decline. While the international nuclear export industry has grown over the past few years, U.S. exports have remained markedly flat. Declining competitiveness as other exporters master nuclear-power technology is a key component of the emerging market shift, but a lack of government support for the U.S. nuclear industry compared to the other exporting nations (Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, France and Canada) constitutes the central problem. For example, the United States’ high degree of regulation on its nuclear industry, difficulties for the United States in securing adequate cooperation agreements with importing partners, a lack of public funding for nuclear energy projects, waning research and development budgets, and partisan conflicts that have undermined a nuclear waste solution all hinder the U.S. nuclear energy industry—and all could be solved by improved federal policies.

The U.S. government’s heavy regulations and comparative lack of investment in the industry mean that U.S. projects tend to be slow-moving—leading nuclear energy importers to turn to other nuclear technology exporters, like Russia, whose governments have adopted more industry-favorable outlooks than the United States. While the main problem for the U.S. nuclear industry lies with exports, the domestic industry has also declined in recent decades. Even though billions have been put into designing and funding new domestic plants as well as rebooting old ones, no new plants have opened in the United States in the twenty-first century. In total, the United States is currently working on five projects, all of which have seen major delays. The Watts Barnuclear plant in Tennessee serves as the most cautionary tale—although the plant is now almost complete, a series of government flip-flops on the project has caused construction so far to take a whopping forty-three years. The story serves as a reminder of just what’s wrong with the U.S. industry. It takes not just government approval, but also sustained and robust commitment, to see through such an intensive project as the construction of a nuclear plant.

Russia's Hybrid-Warfare Victory in Syria

May 19, 2016

Dennis Ross rightly notes that Vladimir Putin now has the ears of Middle Eastern leaders despite the fact that Russia’s forces in the region are dwarfed in number by their U.S. counterparts. This is in large part because the Russians promoted the now prevailing perception that Moscow is willing to become involved in regional conflicts while America is pulling back. Most recently, Russia celebrated the retaking of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State/ISIS. Despite revelations that cast doubt on Russia’s military achievements in Palmyra, negative reports were overshadowed by Moscow’s resourceful use of public relations.

Although the future of the war in Syria is uncertain, what remains clear is that Russia is fighting a hybrid war, combining its military, diplomatic and media capabilities to achieve its goals using limited armed engagement.

It is true that Russia has experienced some successes on the Syrian battlefield, but these victories are far from establishing Moscow as the new power broker in the region. Russia’s achievement on the ground hinged mainly on the morale boost its backing gave the Syrian Arab Army. This allowed pro-regime forces to perform better in combat, while simultaneously weakening the resolve of rebel forces determined to depose the regime. By launching thousands of airstrikes, Russia has also effectively managed to stabilize a regime that was losing territory in the summer of 2015, and helped the Syrian regime push towards Aleppo and its surrounding towns by the end of the year.

Wassenaar Arrangement: The Case of India’s Membership

MAY 05 2016 

India is keen to join the world's export control regimes, all four of them including the Wassenaar Arrangement, as part of its efforts at integrating with the global non-proliferation architecture. While the Wassenaar Arrangement's predecessor, the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls, was established to control transfers of advanced dual-use technology in the North-South and East-West context, the Arrangement's objectives have moved beyond that, requiring it to be more democratic and inclusive. Meanwhile, India's own approach to these regimes has undergone a significant shift, and today India seeks to join the Wassenaar Arrangement and other export control regimes to find space that would allow it to actively contribute to global non-proliferation efforts. This paper makes an assessment of the prospects of India's inclusion in the Wassenaar Arrangement and analyses how it would benefit both India and the global nonproliferation architecture.

Russia-Japan: Onset Of A Thaw? – Analysis

On 6 May 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. During the meeting, Abe presented an eight-point plan on bilateral economic cooperation with Russia, which included cooperation on oil and gas development and modernisation of seaports and airports in Russia’s far east.

Relations between Russia and Japan had hit the skids after the Ukraine crisis in 2014. At a time when relations between Russia and China are at their closest in recent years, and the acrimony between Japan and China on one hand and Russia and the US on the other, are at their peak, why is Japan reaching out to Russia
Recent Parleys

Diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Moscow have remained strained due to a decade old dispute over a group of islands claimed by both. Both governments are yet to sign a peace treaty to end World War II after the erstwhile Soviets had seized four islands (Etorofu, Kunashiri and Shikotan, and the Habomai islets group) off Hokkaido, which is part of what Tokyo identifies as the Northern Territories and Moscow, as the Southern Kurils.

The current phase of Russo-Japanese relations can be traced to April 2013, when Abe became the first Japanese leader in a decade to make an official visit to Russia in a bid to resolve the territorial differences and expand energy ties. This was a special effort by Tokyo to open a new chapter in its relations with Moscow.

However, shortly after Abe visited Sochi in February 2014 for Winter Olympics, bilateral relations grew strained. Japan went on to join the US and the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia in order to penalise it for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Consequently, Russian president’s Tokyo visit that was scheduled for later that year, was put off.
Abe in Sochi: Round II

The False Neoconservative Claim of Consensus

May 18, 2016

The ululation among neoconservatives over their loss, at the hands of Donald Trump, of their control of the foreign policy of one of the two major American political parties continues with an op ed from one of the loudest grievers, Eliot Cohen. Cohen enumerates many valid reasons why the vulgar and erratic presumptive Republican presidential nominee would be an awful steward of U.S. foreign policy. Along with the valid reasons to oppose Trump, Cohen also delivers a few low blows, including a comment that Trump's “America first” slogan recalls the pre-World War II movement “that included not only traditional isolationists but also Nazi sympathizers.” One can always rely on neocons to work in a Nazi reference if at all possible.

A more fundamental deception in Cohen's piece involves his assertion that Trump's candidacy imperils a “two-generation-old American foreign policy consensus” that “has framed this country's work overseas since 1950.” It is true that there have been some depressingly persistent strains in American thinking about foreign relations in recent decades, the blatant and costly failures of whichhave had something to do with popular support for Trump (and, as Cohen correctly notes without acknowledging the failures, support for Bernie Sanders). But Cohen's overall argument is another example of neoconservatives striving to wrap themselves in a larger mantle of what Cohen calls “American global leadership” and general U.S. involvement in world affairs that is the antithesis of true isolationism. They have been able to do this partly because neoconservatism is in some respects a more muscular and militant form of some themes that can be found in broadly held American exceptionalism. But where the mantle-wrapping involves wool-pulling over eyes is that neoconservatism itself is a narrow agenda that has never reflected the kind of consensus that Cohen is claiming.

Here’s How One Navy ITTeam Is Teaching Sailors the Risks of Social Media

MAY 18, 2016

Islamic State uses it to compile lists of military members it wants followers to attack. Child predators use it to befriend potential victims. But most people just use it to update friends and family about the latest vacation or career move. 

Aliya Sternstein reports on cybersecurity and homeland security systems. She’s covered technology for more than a decade at such publications as National Journal's Technology Daily, Federal Computer Week and Forbes. Before joining Government Executive, Sternstein covered agriculture and derivatives ... Full Bio

Public social media is a potential safety threat to civilians and troops when individuals are not careful about the content they share. Now, some concerned Navy officers, who happen to be cyber pros, are helping defend their community against oversharing and online stalkers with a novel outreach approach.

Outside a Navy Exchange commissary in Spain, the IT team performed social media reconnaissance on—willing—sailors and relatives in front of their eyes. 

The Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic, Detachment Rota held two such demonstrations last October, in honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and has plans to engage the military base similarly this year. 

Government, Industry Studying Threat of Nuclear EMP Attack on Electric Grid

May 19, 2016 

The San Onofre nuclear power plant sits along Pacific Ocean coastline in San Onofre, Calif. 
American power companies are studying ways to protect electric grids against a high-altitude nuclear blast and other directed energy attacks that could severely disrupt electricity transmission, an industry representative told a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Scott Aaronson, managing director for cyber and infrastructure security at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), stated in testimony that a consortium of U.S. electric companies is working with the Energy Department to study how to protect power grids from a nuclear blast-produced electromagnetic pulse attack or solar flares that could damage transformers and other electric components and shut down power for millions of Americans.

“There are a lot of threats to the grid … from squirrels to nation states,” Aaronson said in testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “And frankly, there have been more blackouts as a result of squirrels [gnawing wire insulation] than there are from nation states.”

The hearing was called to examine threats to critical infrastructure ranging from cyber attacks and criminal activities to terrorist sabotage and nation state nuclear attacks.

RT-RG: NSA’s Vehicle to Push SIGINT to Warfighters on the Battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan

Catherine Herridge
May 18,2016

Inside the government’s secret NSA program to target terrorists

Relentless attacks on American military personnel at the height of the Iraq war made the U.S. intelligence community confront a dire problem: They needed real-time intelligence to take Al Qaeda off the battlefield and dismantle its bomb-making factories.

This realization was the start of a highly secretive program, developed by the National Security Agency, to put NSA specialists on the battlefield in order to send “near real-time” intelligence to the troops so they could avoid ambushes and root out insurgents. For the first time, going in depth with Fox News, senior NSA leadership is speaking publicly about that program, called the Real Time Regional Gateway or RT-RG.

“Starting in 2005, we started seeing a big uptick in casualties caused by IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and ambushes," NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett told Fox News. The RT-RG program created to combat those attacks, he said, “was really a complete change in how we provided signals intelligence support to the tactical war fighter.”

The program, parts of which were classified until now, has dispatched thousands of NSA experts into war zones since 9/11. It has put those experts – from an agency most-known for its controversial surveillance programs – at grave risk across multiple theatres. But in the process, officials say, RT-RG has saved the lives of fellow Americans.

In the Wrong Hands, Lots of Sensitive Personal Data Can Be Derived From Telephone Metadata

Bjorn Carey
May 18, 2016

Stanford computer scientists show telephone metadata can reveal surprisingly sensitive personal information

Most people might not give telephone metadata – the numbers you dial, the length of your calls – a second thought. Some government officials probably view it as similarly trivial, which is why this information can be obtained without a warrant.

A new Stanford study of information gathered by the National Security Agency shows that warrantless surveillance can reveal a surprising amount of personal information about individual Americans. (Image credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock)


MAY 19, 2016

Throughout history, American airmen have always sought to go over, not through, resistance to achieve victory — something today’s Air Force seems to have forgotten. The pursuit of an exquisite all-stealth force has diluted operations at the altitude extremes, relegating us to fight a flat war squarely in the “see me, shoot me, kill me” altitude block and placing the burden of survival on a rapidly diminishing technological advantage. Hope is not a tactic and surely not a strategy, but an overreliance on costly stealth is diminishing the long-term asymmetry of airpower. The U.S. Air Force must evolve the fight in the altitude extremes to go over and under, not through, resistance. This is however, easier said than done. It requires a clear understanding of the threat environment as it relates to the Air Force’s current capabilities, capacity, and resources. We can’t simply flip the switch and start doing low altitude again.

The Tyranny of Distance

Technology and globalization have fed both an evolution and proliferation of surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems that not only directly aim to counter stealth, but indirectly affect stealth by limiting the range from which the stealth platform can committed from. Two years after Desert Storm, Russia introduced the S-300 PMU (SA-10B) and its 81 NM 48N6 missile, doubling the engagement range over any previous system in the world and starting the era of “double digit SAMs.”* At that time, the Lockheed YF-22 had just won the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition, and the first developmental contract for the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) had yet to be written. By 1997, the first F-22 test flight was met by the introduction S-300 PMU2 (SA-20) and 108 NM 48N6E2 missile, which increased engagement range by 33 percent. And in 2010, the year the F-35B first flew, Russia introduced the S-400 (SA-21), boasting a range of 215 nautical miles. As comparable theater ballistic missiles and anti-ship weapons were also fielded, “anti-access/area denial” entered the lexicon. Today, there are hundreds of these systems. Tomorrow, there will be many more. Going through this threat environment is not viable in the long term, given the stealthy F-35 will be flying until 2070. For the highest-end fight, interdiction and SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) missions should seek the extreme low ground, while counter-air missions should seek the extreme high ground.**

Why Go Low?


MAY 20, 2016

Emblazoned in red on the magazine’s cover is a Red Army soldier, his bayonet at the ready and a large white mask with a small red star in its center draped across his back, superimposed over the revolutionary symbol of a large black star with a red border. The large star and soldier are flanked on the left by the simple but powerful slogan “Maskirovkais not only the shield but also the sword of the Red Army.” The magazine with this dramatic cover is entitled Krasnyi maskirovshchik [large pdf file], which roughly translates as the “Red deceiver.” It is an item from the Francis Lara Collection at the International Spy Museum. Its message is clear – the use of deception has been, is, and will continue to be a hallmark of the Soviet Union’s Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA). History has indeed confirmed the truth of this slogan with a vengeance, not only with regard to the Soviet Union, but also its successor state, Russia.

This copy of Krasnyi maskirovshchik, dated February 1923, was compiled and published by the Pedagogical-Club Council of the Higher Schools of Military Maskirovka. The word “maskirovka,” like its counterpart “razvedka,” which encompasses the broad realm from tactical reconnaissance to all levels of intelligence, is typically Russian in the sense that it describes a wide range of actions aimed at deceiving enemies in peacetime and wartime. As such, it encompasses every deceptive measure ranging from simple camouflage through sophisticated strategic deception. Even though later Soviet and Russian military theorists would supplement this term with broader new concepts such as obman [fraud] and zhitrost’ [cunning or ruse], at the time this magazine was published, “maskirovka” was the catch-all term applicable to anything done in peace or war to fool any real or imagined enemy.