16 August 2016

The time has come for a programme to reduce the risks of a fifth Indo-Pak war

Gopalkrishna Gandhi | Updated: Aug 14, 2016 

In this photograph taken September 22, 1947, Mahatma Gandhi visits Muslim refugees at Purana Qila in New Delhi, as they prepare to depart to Pakistan (AFP/Getty Images) 

Indian nationalism has been partial to August. It has been for our country a month of great births. Also, of tragic deaths. 
Aurobindo Ghose was born on August 15, 1872; Annie Besant launched the Indian Home Rule League on August 1, 1916; Lokamanya Tilak died on August 1, 1920; On August 9, 1925 bravehearts from the Hindustan Republican Association carried out the great train heist in Kakori, Uttar Pradesh. 
Gandhi gave the Indian nation, restless as never before to be free of the British Raj, the slogan ‘Do or Die’ on August 8, 1942. 
The Congress passed its momentous Quit India Resolution at its historic session in Bombay the next day, August 9, 1942, with the Congress leadership being arrested immediately and a wave of oppression ensuing. 

Many refuse to believe that the aircraft carrying Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to Manchuria crashed on August 18, 1945. But that is the date cited in records indicating he succumbed to third degree burns in Taiwan that day. 
And on a very red August, in 1947, united India demised even as it gave birth to a divided India and a new Pakistan. 
On August 7, 1947, Mohammed Ali Jinnah flew quietly out of Delhi to Karachi where, on the 14th of the month, he became Governor General of the newly-created Pakistan. 
Gandhi, on that day, hurtled away on a train in the opposite direction – from Lahore to Patna and then to Bengal to quell the communal frenzy. 

** Russian Hacker Releases More Democratic Party Documents Online

New York Times, August 13, 2016
WASHINGTON — A hacker believed to be tied to the Russian intelligence services made public another set of internal Democratic Party documents on Friday, including the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of nearly 200 lawmakers.
The files appeared to be less politically embarrassing and damaging than the hacker’s initial trove, which came from the Democratic National Committee. Those documents, released by WikiLeaks last month on the eve of the party’s convention, led to the resignation of the committee’s leader, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
But the emergence of another set of leaked documents threatened to intensify international tensions over Russia’s suspected meddling in United States politics.
The hacker claiming responsibility for the breach — working under the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0, which American intelligence officials believe is an alias for a Russian intelligence hacker — appeared eager to taunt Democrats in releasing the latest files. Those documents came from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats.
“It’s time for new revelations now,” the hacker wrote in posting the files. “All of you may have heard about the DCCC hack. As you see I wasn’t wasting my time! It was even easier than in the case of the DNC breach.”

On Friday night, the hacker indicated that more leaks would follow, writing on Twitter that “the major trove” of the House committee documents would be sent to WikiLeaks. “Keep following,” the hacker wrote.
While it became known last month that the House committee had been hacked along with the D.N.C., this was the first time its files had become public.
In a statement, the House committee said it was investigating the authenticity of the documents and was working with federal law enforcement officials. The F.B.I. is leading the investigation.
American intelligence officials said they are virtually certain that Russian intelligence officials were behind the attack. They said that the breach appears to have extended beyond the two Democratic groups to include the personal email accounts of at least 100 Democratic officials.
Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House subcommittee on the National Security Agency and cybersecurity, said he was not overly concerned that his personal information was released.
“If it’s simply my email being sent around, half my constituents have my email,” he said. “If it were to turn out that someone was hacking into emails, it would be a different situation. Worse comes to worst I can get a different email or cell number.”
Mr. Himes dismissed the idea that the leak could affect his, or anyone else’s, election campaign this year.
“It’s hard for me to imagine how just having a bunch of numbers, cellphones and emails would in any way affect the election,” he said. “It wasn’t totally unexpected.”

*** Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright: Why Kursk is the Most Overhyped Battle in History

Kursk is the Santa Claus and Easter Bunny of World War II battles.
August 13, 2016
The Tigers are Burning.
The title of Martin Caidin's 1974 history of the Battle of Kursk is still evocative, with its imagery of Nazi Germany's vaunted Tiger tanks in flames. Tigers burning brightly are just one legend of the epic July 1943 battle between Germany and Russia. There are many more: The Greatest Tank Battle in History, the Turning Point of World War II, The Death Ride of the Panzers, Russian tanks ramming German tanks in a mechanized orgy of destruction....

All very colorful, and all mostly or partly untrue.
Kursk is the Santa Claus and Easter Bunny of World War II battles, whose popular history was constructed from German and Soviet propaganda, and based on early accounts lacking vital information buried in Russian archives until after the fall of the Soviet Union. Kursk was indeed an epic battle, that pitted 3 million German and Soviet soldiers and 8,000 tanks, all crammed into a small portion of southern Russia.
After the disaster at Stalingrad in February 1943, the Red Army pushed the Germans back all the way across southern Russia, until a Panzer counteroffensive in March halted the Russian advance. As spring mud and mutual exhaustion brought operations to a close, the front lines solidified with a 120-mile-wide Russian salient bulging into German lines near the city of Kursk.

Germany had a choice: wait to be hammered by another offensive from the Russian steamroller, or take the initiative by launching its own offensive. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking after the November 1942 Western Allied landings in North Africa signaled that Germany would soon be forced to split its armies between Eastern and Western Europe.
In 1941, Germany had been strong enough to attack on a thousand-mile-front from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Now the Germans could only muster enough troops to concentrate on a narrow sector. An obvious target was the Kursk salient, so obvious in fact that any Russian general with a map could guess the German target (in addition, Moscow was tipped off by the "Lucy"). In effect, Kursk was the first Battle of the Bulge, but on a much larger scale than the Americans faced in December 1944.

Top commanders such as Erich Von Manstein wanted to attack in May, before the Soviets had time to dig in and reinforce the salient. But a nervous and indecisive Hitler decided to postpone Operation Citadel until July, to allow time to deploy his vaunted new Panther, Tiger and Elefant tanks. While the big cats lumbered off the railroad cars near the front lines, the Germans managed to amass nearly 800,000 men, 3,000 tanks, 10,000 guns and mortars, and 2,000 aircraft. It would be the last time the Germans could concentrate such an attack force (by comparison, at the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans had 400,000 men and 600 tanks). Yet as usual, the Germans were outnumbered. They faced 1.9 million Soviet soldiers, 5,000 tanks, 25,000 guns and mortars and more than 3,000 aircraft.
Citadel was a prophetic name for the German offensive. The Soviets used the extra time to build an incredibly dense defense system of multiple layers of fortifications, including trenches, bunkers, tank traps and machine gun nests 25 miles deep, as well as minefields that averaged more than 3,000 mines per kilometer.
Kursk was not an imaginative battle. The Germans attacked an obvious target, the Soviets fortified the obvious target, and the German offensive on July 4, 1943 was a traditional pincer move against the north and south base of the salient to cut off the defenders inside. Despite support by 89 Elefants (a Porsche version of the Tiger that the German army rejected), the northern pincer quickly bogged down after advancing just a few miles. But the southern pincer, led by the II SS Panzer Corps, managed to advance 20 miles to the town of Prokhorovka, until its advance was checked by the Soviet Fifth Guards Tank Army.

** The Fog of Forever War

In a world where a weapon can be a roadside bomb or a computer virus, confusion reigns. Do the laws of war or peacetime apply?


Was the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States a crime or an act of war? In 2009, Rosa Brooks, a professor of law at Georgetown, was brought into Barack Obama’s Pentagon to ponder that question and others like it. Her conclusion about the 9/11 attack: Its legal status is “effectively indeterminate.”
That is a lawyerly finding and not one that is especially useful to policy makers. But such maddening ambiguity is precisely the problem we now face, argues Ms. Brooks in “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything.” Many of the categories with which we think about national security, she says, have become obsolete.
In a world where our enemies do not belong to armies or wear uniforms—where a weapon can be a roadside bomb or a computer virus—confusion reigns. Do the laws of war apply, allowing for the liberal use of force? Or must we adhere to the laws of peacetime, which constrict the application of force within a web of legal procedures? “We don’t know,” Ms. Brooks writes, “if drone strikes are lawful wartime acts, or murders.” We don’t know “when it is acceptable for the U.S. government to lock someone up indefinitely, without charge or trial.” We don’t know “if mass government surveillance is reasonable or unjustifiable.”

By Rosa Brooks 
Simon & Schuster, 438 pages, $29.95

Thanks to the haziness of our present situation, Ms. Brooks concludes, we are losing “our collective ability to place meaningful restraints on power and violence.” Decisions taken first by George W. Bush and then by Barack Obama, she writes, “have allowed the rules and habits of wartime to pervade ordinary life.” She cites “the militarization of U.S. police forces,” evident in the proliferation of SWAT teams armed with equipment intended for war zones; the blanket of secrecy thrown over court proceedings; and intensified surveillance that can have “chilling effects” on the exercise of constitutional rights.
Such domestic troubles are matched by what Ms. Brooks sees as a disastrous record abroad. Our invasion of Iraq in 2003 brought chaos, she says; our departure in 2011 brought more. In Afghanistan, “we caused untold suffering for the very population we so earnestly tried to help.” The more we try to fix things around the world, she laments, “the more we end up shattering them into jagged little pieces.”

Despite such harsh criticisms of our post 9/11 record, Ms. Brooks’s book is not intended as a polemic. Her aim, she says, is to help America become a force for good in the world, and to that end she proposes reforms. Unfortunately, they are often vague or utopian. She urges us to “develop new rules and institutions to manage the paradoxes of perpetual war.” Her most specific proposal is to embrace more “transparency” and “better mechanisms to prevent arbitrariness, mistakes and abuse” in conducting drone warfare. To avoid setting precedents that hostile states might follow, she suggests that the U.S. accept a “further loss of sovereignty” and establish “robust” international governance, “a strong global referee committed both to stability and human dignity.”

India and China: Playing 'Go' in the Indian Ocean

12 August 2016
China and India are fast emerging as major maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific as part of long-term shifts in the regional balance of power. As their wealth, interests, and power expand, the two countries are also increasingly coming into contact with each other in the maritime domain. How India and China get along in the shared maritime space, particularly in the Indian Ocean, may be a major strategic challenge of coming years.
The Sino-Indian relationship is quite a difficult one: security relations remain relatively volatile and are complicated by numerous unresolved issues, including their border dispute in the Himalayas and China's de facto alliance with Pakistan. Then there is China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi perceives Beijing as attempting to reshape the strategic environment in its favour, including by forming alignments with countries in the Indian Ocean region that could be used against India.

Indian analysts have long claimed that China was pursuing a policy of 'encirclement' of India through building a 'String of Pearls' – a string of ports across the northern Indian Ocean that would be available for use by the Chinese navy. Chinese port developments in Myanmar (Kyaukpyu), Bangladesh (Chittagong), Sri Lanka (Hambantota and Colombo) and Pakistan (Gwadar) are often held up as putative Chinese naval bases. The utility of these ports as full scale naval bases in the event of major conflict has been questioned by naval experts , but there can be little doubt that they could be useful logistics points for Chinese naval vessels. For its part, Beijing long derided claims that it planned to build foreign military bases, things that are apparently useful only for Western imperialists.
These debates over China's intentions, which were once mainly the province of strategic commentators, are now becoming reality as China and India each move to position themselves for a new strategic order in the Indian Ocean.
Last December, China crossed its own Rubicon when it announced its intention to build naval facilities at Obock in Djibouti, ostensibly to support China's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and peacekeeping operations in Africa. Beijing is also pushing ahead with plans to construct overland links between western China and the Pakistani port of Gwadar as part of its One Belt One Road initiative. The developments at both Obock and Gwadar will include air bases which could significantly extend China's reach.

Kashmir- The Long Road Ahead

Rahul Bhonsle, Aug 13, 2016 

The All Party Meeting on Jammu and Kashmir is done and gone so to say on 12 August. There was much hope of a concrete initiative to diffuse the mood of drift in the Valley both political and security.
All parties spoke in one voice on pain for victims of violence in the Valley, the need for return to peace and calm, territorial sovereignty and role of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself expressed distress at the losses and said, “Like every Indian, I have been deeply hurt by the recent incidents in Jammu & Kashmir”.
He reassured commitment to peace and stability indicating, “We are committed to a permanent and peaceful solution to the issue of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with the basic principles of the Constitution. We have an open mind and our doors are always open. We are committed to the welfare of every citizen of the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir. We have been following the path shown by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to find a solution”.

A large part of the Prime Minister’s statement was also devoted to Pakistan’s role in instigating violence and the manner in which that country has dealt with its own militancy causing death and devastating lives.
The Prime Minister’s statement and briefing of the media by the Home and Finance Minister indicates the government seems to have concluded that the security forces will be able to control the situation hereafter and the cycle of protests can be broken.
Given that the Centre has possibly more diverse inputs from various agencies including the State government which is led by the People’s Democratic Party, this assessment may well be correct. That the Amarnath Yatra has gone unhindered except for brief interruption is one positive.
With the Army called in to carry out Highway Domination and Corridor Protection (HIDCOP) the State and Central police is being relieved to control the civilian space with additional forces moved in from other parts of the country.

Afghanistan government in crisis amid political standoff

Associated Press
August 12, 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Afghanistan’s long-running political crisis took a new turn on Friday when key allies of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah threatened to withdraw their support for the government unless President Ashraf Ghani meets key demands just weeks before a U.S.-brokered power-sharing agreement between the two men is due to expire.
The deal, negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, followed the fractious 2014 elections in which both men claimed victory, and resulted in a unity government of the two Afghan leaders, in which Abdullah reluctantly accepted the secondary role.
As the deal nears its conclusion next month, Abdullah’s supporters say he will no longer tolerate being marginalized by a president he hasn’t met one-on-one for three months.
Abdullahs’ own frustration boiled over publicly on Thursday when he said Ghani was not fit to be president. On Friday, one of his high-profile supporters telephoned media to put the case that Ghani risked losing the cooperation of Abdullah and his backers unless he introduced reforms contained in a two-year timeline in the national unity government agreement.

The NUG was originally expected to expire next month - a date set on the assumption that a number of other steps, including electoral reforms, parliamentary elections and a constitutional change to establish Abdullah as the prime minister, would render the unity government obsolete. Few of those steps have been taken and Ghani, backed by Kerry, has insisted the NUG has no expiration date.
Amrullah Saleh, a former head of the national intelligence agency who now leads the grassroots Green Trend party, told The Associated Press that Abdullah’s allies are standing firm on their demands. They are seeking sweeping reforms and want Ghani to stop “micro-managing” the government and “consolidating personal power,” Saleh said.
He said his camp also accused Ghani of side-lining Abdullah from the decision-making process. “If President Ghani thinks that he (Abdullah) will continue to tolerate this, he will not,” Saleh said.
The relationship between Ghani and Abdullah has been tense since they formed the unity government, with each vetoing the other’s Cabinet choices. Delays in appointments became excuses for non-compliance with the terms of the NUG agreement.

Alleged Chinese hackers compromise Vietnam's airports, airline website

A team of self-proclaimed Chinese hacker has compromised the announcement screen systems at many major airports in Vietnam, and hacked the website of the country’s national flag carrier, the Ministry of Transport confirmed on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, some flight information screens at both Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City have been compromised to display offensive messages toward Vietnam and the Philippines, along with distorted information about the East Vietnam Sea.

The Da Nang International Airport, the largest of its kind in central Vietnam, did not have the announcement system compromised, but the computer system experienced repeated glitches.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat confirmed to Tuoi Tre(Youth) newspaper at 6:00pm that relevant authorities have stopped the hackers from attacking the systems at both airports.
Airlines at the terminals had to shut down some check-in counters and switched to manual procedure completion, which may lead to flight delays.
Competent agencies are looking into the incidents to identify their causes, deputy minister Nhat said.
As of 6:30 pm, many out of 21 airports across Vietnam have had to switch to complete check-in procedures for passengers manually, instead of using computers.
“All Internet systems have been switched off so we had to do everything by hands,” an airline attendant at Tan Son Nhat airport said.

A video posted on Facebook on Friday afternoon also shows the loudspeaker system at the same airport delivers an announcement in English, with the same offensive messages.
Some Vietnamese internet security experts also posted on their Facebook photos showing that the VIP passenger section on the website of Vietnam Airlines had also been hacked and defaced.
According to a screenshot, the hackers said they are China 1937CN Team, and the hacking is “a warning message” for Vietnam and the Philippines.
A Vietnam Airlines later confirmed that its website had been hacked, but did not know how long it had been under control of the hackers.

War between US and China would be regional, fought with conventional weapons

Posted on : Aug.10,2016 

RAND corporation report analyzes possibility of war in the western Pacific between the two powersIf war were to break out between the US and China, it would be a regional war fought with conventional weapons in the western Pacific, a new report says. The report concludes that China would suffer considerable harm and the US would have the advantage but fail to achieve a decisive victory.
“As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war [with China] would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory,” said the report, which was prepared by the RAND Corporation, an American think tank specializing in national defense. Anti-access and area-denial refers to China‘s military ability to prevent foes from reaching its coastal areas.
The report, titled “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable,” was released on Aug. 5. It outlines scenarios for a war that could break out between the two countries between 2015 and 2025.

“Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored,” the report warned.
The fighting in a hypothetical war between China and the US “would start and remain in East Asia,” turning the Western Pacific into a “war zone,” the report predicted.
The report said that the war “would be waged mainly by ships on and beneath the sea, by aircraft and missiles of many sorts, and in space (against satellites) and cyberspace (against computer systems).”
It is very unlikely that nuclear weapons would be used. “Neither side would regard its losses as so serious [. . .] that it would run the risk of devastating nuclear retaliation by using nuclear weapons first,” the report says.http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html

Estimated economic costs after one year of severe war

Book Review: China’s Cyber Power

Written by Jonathan Katzenellenbogen, Friday, 12 August 2016

The cyber domain has become central to the struggle for strategic advantage between the US and the West on the one hand, and China and other authoritarian states on the other. 
If there is any outsider, who can present a coherent view of China’s rise as a cyber power, it is the author of this short book. Nigel Inkster was the deputy chief of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, speaks Mandarain, is well versed in the country’s history and seems to show a good understanding of the psyche of Beijing’s leadership and its options. He is currently the Director of Future Conflict and Cyber Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
Informing China’s stance is the Soviet era doctrine of information warfare as a tool to ensure internal political control and a favourable external narrative. The US, of course, has its own cyber war capacity, and its efficacy may have been damaged by Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the US's extensive snooping programme. Where the West and the East importantly differ is the degree of liberty they are willing to tolerate in the cybersphere. 

China’s Cyber Power argues that state control of the cyber domain is a critical factor in China’s pursuit of military strength and protection from internal and external threats. “What the leadership fear most of all is the prospect of an irrecoverable breakdown in internal order,” writes Inkster.
“There are signs that the Party’s ideologues may be developing a vision for the Chinese cyber domain that enables it to exercise control over citizens by both filtering the information they access and compiling such detailed electronic data on individuals – including their entire browsing history and all their social-media posts – that any perceived infractions can be used as leverage against them,” he writes.
“For now, China appears to believe that it can have its cake and eat it: gaining the economic benefits that come from with global connectivity while excluding information as seen as detrimental to political and social stability,” Inkster writes.

The Pictures Coming Out Of A Town Liberated From ISIS Are Stunning

Manbij, a city in the Aleppo province of Syria, fell under the control of rebels backed by the United States on Friday after heavy fighting. posted on Aug. 13, 2016, at 3:20 a.m.

US-backed Syrian rebels on Friday claimed that they had seized total control of a town that had been under ISIS control since 2014.

Rodi Said / Reuters

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of mostly Kurdish fighters with some Arabs among their ranks that receives US support, had been campaigning to remove ISIS from the city for the last 73 days.

Rodi Said / Reuters

Most of ISIS was repelled from the city last week, but dozens of fighters remained, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at the time.

Both Russian and Ukrainian Militaries Moving Troops Toward the Border

Military Escalation by Russia in Crimea Against Ukraine
Institute for the Study of War
August 11, 2016
By Franklin Holcomb and Kathleen Weinberger
Preparations for conventional conflict between Russia and Ukraine are accelerating and the likelihood of open war is increasing rapidly. Russia has prepositioned military forces along all of its common borders with Ukraine: to the north in Bryansk district, to the east near Rostov, to the south in Crimea, and to the west in separatist-controlled Moldovan territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin has escalated hostilities after claiming that Ukrainian forces entered Crimea on 07 AUG. On 11 AUG, he mobilized additional forces in the separatist republics and to the south in Crimea. In response, Ukraine is beginning to redeploy forces to adjust to Russia’s deployments, which may leave Ukrainian forces engaged in combat with Russian proxy forces in Donbas without access to adequate support and vulnerable to offensive operations. Russia has not yet articulated any clear political objectives or demands, making it impossible to determine on what negotiated basis the looming conflict might be resolved. Putin may be seeking to trigger a political crisis in Kyiv designed to topple Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The situation for now, however, is moving clearly in the direction of open conflict between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Donbas or elsewhere in Ukraine.

Russia began rapidly moving forces into Crimea and the Black Sea on 11 AUG:
The Ukrainian Armed forces claimed that Russian troops stationed along the de-facto Ukraine-Crimea border have been reinforced by additional men and vehicles and have begun digging trenches. 
There have been reports of Russian convoys moving through Kerch at the crossing point between Russian and Crimea, in Krasnodar, and moving north through Krymsk towards Crimea. 
Bastion-P coastal defense systems were spotted heading towards Crimea from Russia.
Russia announced that the Black Sea Fleet will hold drills in the Black Sea from 11-13 AUG.
Russian naval and air units have been reported entering the Black Sea.
Russia continued efforts to disrupt internet access in northern Crimea.
Russia has been engaged in a steady buildup around Ukraine:

Russia escalated its military buildup on Ukraine’s northern, eastern, and southern borders in August.
The Moldovan Foreign Ministry strongly condemned aggressive military exercises held on Ukraine’s western border with Russian regular forces and separatist troops in the pro-Russia separatist region of Transnistria on 08 AUG. 
Ukraine took steps to adjust to Russia’s redeployments as the international community examines the sides’ competing claims on 11 AUG:
Ukrainian troops are being deployed to the de-facto Crimean border and are on high alert.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is increasing the readiness of forces in Donbas and on the de-facto border with Crimea.
Ukrainian Naval Infantry and coastal artillery systems began live fire drills.
The UN Security Council is hosting an emergency meeting on Crimea.
U.S. and EU officials noted the lack of independent verification of Russia’s claims about the alleged 07-08 AUG infiltration.

The Russian Military Buildup Along the Ukrainian Border

Map - Russian Build-Up In and Around Ukraine
Institute for the Study of War
August 12, 2016

An ongoing Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders may indicate preparations for conventional military conflict. It certainly marks a dramatic escalation of tensions that will have significant repercussions in Ukraine. Russia has deployed additional military forces and systems to Ukraine’s northern, eastern, and southern borders. Russian military activity around Ukraine has increased since May 2016 when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the creation of three new divisions in the Western and Southern Military Districts. The current crisis escalated following August 8th when Russia accused Ukrainian special-forces of attempting to infiltrate Crimea on August 7th. Russia has used the allegation to engage in a rapid military buildup on the peninsula and in the separatist regions of Donbas. 
In a five-day period August 7-12th, Russia has deployed additional naval and air units, ground forces and military hardware, as well as the S-400 air defense system on August 12th. Russia also conducted provocative exercises in Transnistria on Ukraine’s western border. These new deployments constitute a significant expansion of Russia’s force projection capabilities and may signal preparations for a large-scale military conflict. Russia’s current force posture allows it to threaten or conduct military operations into Ukraine from multiple directions, increasing Ukraine’s vulnerability to Russian or Russia-backed separatist forces. It thereby compels the Ukrainian military to divide its own forces to address multiple threats. It has also predictably triggered Ukrainian military alerts and mobilizations, which will tax Ukraine’s finances and military capabilities and may also further weaken Ukraine’s fragile political situation.

Crimea tension: What is Russia's end game?

By Sarah RainsfordBBC News, Moscow
14 August 2016 
When it comes to recent events in Crimea, there are still more questions than answers.
Russian state TV channels have broadcast footage of men confessing to a plot to carry out terror attacks on the peninsula, that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The suspected saboteurs tell interrogators they were acting on orders from Kiev. Ukraine denies any involvement and calls it a provocation.
Local residents near the scene do report hearing shots fired last Saturday night, when the FSB security service says it intercepted the first group of men.

But the FSB statement describes a second attempted incursion of Crimea accompanied by "massive fire from the neighbouring state and armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian armed force".
No video footage or independent confirmation of that incident has yet emerged.
What actually took place therefore remains a mystery. But it is what happens next that matters most, as the incident raises tensions between Moscow and Kiev to dangerous heights.
Image copyrightAPImage captionRussia's FSB security service said it had recovered explosives and ammunition from the "saboteurs"
So is Moscow planning to retaliate militarily against what it is describing as an act of terror masterminded by Kiev?
Vladimir Putin has already pledged that he will "not let such things pass".
In that context, the subsequent deployment of S400 air defence missiles to Crimea could well seem menacing. Russia's Defence Ministry has also announced military exercises on the peninsula next week.
It all underlines Russia's intent to defend the territory it annexed from Ukraine two years ago in a move condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West.
'Nothing to gain'

Don’t Weaken the U.S.–Japan Alliance, Strengthen It

August 12, 2016
The threat environment in Northeast Asia has been shifting in recent years as China’s military modernization and assertiveness, North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations, and Russia’s turn towards hostility against the United States are fueling a rise in the risk of armed conflict between major powers. Confronting threats as varied as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Iran, and Ebola, some might wonder if the United States has the resources and will to stay engaged and shape the future of security in the Asia-Pacific, including offering extended deterrent guarantees to its Japanese, South Korean, Filipino, Australian, and Thai allies. Others are asking whether U.S. allies are even worth defending. Are they?

I believe that the answer is yes, the U.S. has the resources to shape the future of the Asia-Pacific, and yes, its allies are worth defending. To abandon U.S. alliances would not only be more costly but also ultimately make America less safe at home. While U.S. defense budgets will remain constrained for some years to come, the U.S. military still retains very substantial hardware, training, doctrinal, operational experience, and human capital advantages. In addition, the United States enjoys the support of major allies who provide basing and access, logistical support, and critical enabling capabilities that ultimately make them important force multipliers for the defense of the U.S. homeland as well as its overseas interests and core values. As the largest status quo power allied with the United States in East Asia, no country plays a more important role than Japan in supporting the rule of law-based international order. If the United States wants to meet the challenges posed by increasingly well-armed, hostile and autocratic governments bent on intimidating the free world, it needs to continue to broaden and deepen its defense cooperation with Japan and states like it. Below I suggest four urgent priority areas for continued improvements: planning and joint training for a variety of contingencies; additional types of military hardware to bolster deterrence; addressing the basing of U.S. forces in Okinawa; and closer cooperation on innovative thinking about deterrence and war-fighting concepts.

Forward, Together
To date, the two allies have taken a number of important steps both separately and together, but much more work remains to be done. Japan, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has reinterpreted Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution to engage in collective self-defense. The Abe administration has also established a National Security Secrets Act; set up a National Security Secretariat to assist with decision-making; lifted restrictions on defense exports; shifted the focus of defense planning scenarios from a ground invasion from the north to an air and naval threat from the southwest; and increased the country’s defense budget to approximately $40 billion. It has added critical hardware to the inventory of its Self-Defense Forces, including RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and advanced F-35 Lightning II fighters. Tokyo has also inducted helicopter carriers into the Maritime Self-Defense Forces, brought on-line new P1 maritime patrol aircraft, and expanded its submarine fleet from 16 to 22 boats, all while developing a 4000-man rapid reaction amphibious capability and emplacing radar and anti-ship cruise missiles along the coasts of remote islands in the country’s southwest. In November 2015 it announced plans to send 500 Ground Self Defense Force troops to one of these islands, Ishigaki, and in March it activated a radar station on another, Yonaguni Island, to be staffed by 160 Ground Self-Defense soldiers. Both islands are close to the Senkakus that China claims and is seeking to undermine Japanese control over. Ultimately, Tokyo plans to station approximately 10,000 troops across the southwest islands chain to meet this threat.

DoD Releases Update of Manual Governing Defense Intelligence Activities

DoD Releases Update of Manual Governing Defense Intelligence Activities
Cheryl Pellerin
DOD News
August 10, 2016
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2016 — The Defense Department has released an update of procedures, first published in 1982, that govern the conduct of DoD intelligence activities.
The boundaries between traditional cyber threats and traditional electronic warfare threats have blurred. The Integrated Cyber and Electronic Warfare program at the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center looks to leverage cyber and electronic warfare capabilities as an integrated system to increase situational awareness of commanders. Army illustration

DoD Manual 5240.01, “Procedures Governing the Conduct of DoD Intelligence Activities,” is put into effect following Executive Order 12333, which authorizes certain members of the intelligence community to collect, retain or disseminate information about U.S. persons.
“The procedures set out rules governing how DoD intelligence elements will conduct activities supporting their missions while safeguarding legal rights and protections guaranteed by the Constitution to all U.S. persons,” Michael Mahar, the DoD senior intelligence oversight official, told DoD News in a recent interview.
The manual defines U.S. persons as U.S. citizens, lawful permanent resident aliens, and unincorporated associations substantially composed of U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, and U.S. corporations.

“The procedures were carefully and methodically developed in 1982 and they’ve served us well for the many years since then,” Mahar said. “But we’ve reached the point now that, due to changes in technology, law, and intelligence-collection practices, we were compelled to do a significant overhaul.”
Mahar, who is also deputy director for oversight and compliance in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, said similar guidelines are being updated across the IC.
In accordance with EO 12333, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Attorney General Loretta Lynch have approved the updated manual after consultation with the director of national intelligence.

NSA and the Growing Use of Advanced Analytics

Advanced Analytics Help National Security Intelligence Analysts Detect Threats
Phillip Britt
August 12, 2016
National security forces’ intelligence analysts are increasingly utilizing advanced analytics to keep up with the growing number of threats against the U.S. This technology supports the human-led process of combining advanced analytics and intelligence analysis capabilities to recognize and take action against potential threats. These tools have proven to be invaluable when it comes to identifying homegrown and external threats tonational security.
The number of information security incidents impacting the federal government has grown more than 1,100 percent since 2006, according to statistics from the Government Accountability Office reported by Network World
Additionally, the number of security incidents involving personally identifiable information reported by federal agencies has jumped from 10,481 in 2009 to 27,624 in 2014, an increase of more than 163 percent. Growth rates for both types of incidents show no signs of slowing.

Intelligence analysts must rely on a variety of techniques to detect and thwart potential threats. According to CIO, the National Security Agency (NSA) has turned to analytics to assist in this effort.
The agency currently uses behavioral analytics that seek out anomalous behavior. If a user typically accesses sensitive information from his U.S. office during standard business hours, for instance, analytics will flag his request to access the same data from an international network at 2 a.m.
The NSA also uses real-time forensic analysis of cybersecurity software and appliances, including logs and firewalls on network devices, and layered, redundant techniques that leverage different resources to deepen defenses. For example, different intelligence analysts may review the same data and reports because one analyst may detect a threatthat the first analyst overlooks.

Internal threats are a serious problem for many government agencies. Signal Magazinenoted that internal actors are responsible for 43 percent of data losses following security breaches. However, advanced analytics can aid in the fight against insider threats.
For example, Signal Magazine explained that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) uses predictive analytics to help track real-time data streams and identify indications of insider threats. The department’s predictive analytics efforts coincide with another government effort, the National Insider Threat Task Force, which incorporates automated predictive analytics solutions into process for discovering and stopping government employees who could pose security threats. 
Predictive analytics can produce risk profiles on employees based on a combination of work-related behavior, personal conduct and other current data. The system can then determine if an employee might pose a threat to the organization or to other people by tracking elements including marital or legal issues. This enables officials to respond accordingly before an incident occurs.

Do Mobile Phones Give You Brain Cancer?

It is a question any mobile phone user would be keen to have answered - and science does offer some clues. In 2011, for example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone radiation as a possible human carcinogen, group 2B.
The classification was based predominantly on evidence from population studies. Astudy by the European Union-funded INTERPHONE group and another led by L. Hardell, a Swedish epidemiologist, showed an increased risk (40-170%) of developing glioma, a malignant brain cancer, in people who used a mobile phone for 30 minutes a day over ten years.

The idea of mobile phone radiation increasing the risk of cancer was strengthened by two other studies. The Cerenat study, published in 2013, confirmed observations of the INTERPHONE and Hardell studies. And an animal study in 2015 showed cell phone radiation enhanced the carcinogenic effects of chemicals.
This evidence indicates that mobile phone radiation might indeed be "possibly carcinogenic" (IARC's group 2B) or even "probably carcinogenic" (IARC's group 2A) to humans.
IARC classifies agents as carcinogenic (group 1), probably carcinogenic (group 2A), possibly carcinogenic (group 2B), not classifiable as carcinogen (group 3), probably not carcinogenic (group 4).
However, other studies show the number of people getting brain cancer has remained unchanged or only slightly increased. This is in spite of the dramatic increase in the number of users of mobile phones over the last ten to twenty years.

And so there is a contradiction between the evidence that shows an increased risk ofbrain cancer and the studies that show that the rate of brain cancer in populations "saturated" by mobile phones is fairly constant.
Which view is right?
Those who believe the case-control studies that indicate a causal link between brain cancer and mobile phone radiation to be correct suggest it is still too early to see the clear increase in brain cancer in the general population. There is, after all, a long latency for this cancer (tens of years) and it's only during the last ten to 15 years that people have begun to use mobile phones intensively. Before that, they were too expensive.
Those who favour the studies that show no particular increase in brain cancer in populations with dramatically increased phone usage, meanwhile, consider the evidence from the case-control studies to be a statistical "glitch".
But what if both views are correct? What if mobile phone radiation does not itself cause cancer but long-term exposure increases the risk of developing cancer from other causes?

The Hacking Teams: who they are, what they want, and how they hack

Using remote malware, keyloggers, and DDoS attacks, hacking is a collaborative enterprise, and the sinister six can knock you offline and swipe your data.
By Dan Patterson | August 9, 2016, 

2016 is the summer hacking went mainstream. Critical network systems were crippled, and piles of valuable documents, ranging from confidential email to health records to financial data, were exposed. Game company Blizzard Entertainment was slammed with a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack backed by Lizard Squad. For a brief period CNN and Fox News were disrupted by a similar attack from Ghost Squad. The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca was cracked open and nearly 12 million documents about governments and corporations were leaked. The DNC was allegedly targeted by Russian kompromats.

Of course, governments, enterprise companies, and SMBs are constantly attacked by other governments, organized cyber-criminals, and loose-knit groups. Attack sophistication varies. Some groups, intent only on disruption and chaos, launch crude-but-effective DDoS attacks, intended to take a target's servers, websites, and other functionality offline. Other attackers are more nuanced and refined.

Some attackers hack for fun, others for disruption. The vast majority of attacks are for data, and for profit. According to Bloomberg data, the most common targets for hackers are data-rich companies in retail and ecommerce, financial services, and private and government healthcare providers. If your company is attacked, it's critical to understand the organization—or type of organization—responsible for the attack. It's likely you won't be directly targeted by one of these groups, but it is reasonable to assume at some point your company will be attacked by, exposed to, or be the victim of a hack by a similar squad.

These are some the world's most notable and notorious hacking teams.

Chinese cyber blitzkrieg against the Philippines and Vietnam-lessons for India

August 8, 2016,  SD Pradhan in Chanakya Code | World | TOI

A worrisome development is taking place in the South China Sea region amidst the rising tension in the area, particularly between China on the one side and Vietnam and the Philippines on the other side. Since the declaration of the verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, China has been expressing her anger over the decision and has made clear that she has no intention of recognising this judgement. On predictable lines, China has criticised the verdict on several grounds-the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no jurisdiction over the issues considered by it, the composition of judges was flawed and no objective decision could be accepted by them, that the Philippines’ approaching the Permanent Court for the ruling was wrong, etc.
The behaviour of China is understandable as her several decades of efforts to establish hegemony in this region has been nullified by this verdict. Not only the Chinese claim in the region under the nine dash lines was declared as having no legal basis but it was also clarified that the features occupied by China cannot be considered islands under the UNCLOS Article 121 and therefore are not eligible for claiming extra limit of territorial waters and placed the blame on China for spoiling the maritime environment by her activities.

The recent Chinese cyber-attacks against the Philippines and Vietnam presage a grim picture. These attacks needs to be seen in a wider perspective of the Chinese game plan to bolster her claims in the area in the nine-dash line, reject the demand for the implementation of the verdict, conveying a strong message to those are pressing for its implementation and indicating that China would go to war if need be to protect her claims. The cyber-attacks by China against the Philippines and Vietnam are not a new thing. In the past these countries were subjected to the Chinese cyber-attacks and were linked to episodes like Scarborough Shoal crisis, Oil rig deployment in the Vietnamese EEZ region.

However the intensity and the selection of targets suggest that this was the biggest attack on these two countries. This time the Chinese hackers attacked the website of the national airline at two biggest airports of Vietnam (Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City) and placed statement as well as spoke against the stance of Vietnam and the Philippines on the South China Sea after taking over control over the speaker system at the Hanoi airport. An insulting message against the two countries was posted crossing all limits of decency. Earlier, 68 websites national and local government websites of the Philippines were attacked soon after the verdict was announced. These suggest a centralised plan for cyber-attacks.

This hush-hush hacker group has been quietly spying since 2011

Strider hackers reference the all-seeing eye of Sauron in their 'nation-state level' malware, which has been used to steal files from organisations across the globe.
By Danny Palmer | August 8, 2016
Hackers are casting the eye of Sauron on selected targets.Image: iStock
Cybersecurity researchers at Symantec have discovered a previously-unknown hacker group they have dubbed 'Strider', which has been infecting organisations and individuals that would be of potential interest to a nation state's intelligence services.

The group's Remsec malware appears to mainly target organisations and individuals in Russia, but has also infiltrated the systems of an airline in China, an embassy in Belgium, and an unspecified organisation in Sweden. The malware is very much designed to spy on its targets: once it has infected a system, it opens a backdoor through which it can log keystrokes and steal files.
It's thought the highly-targeted malware -- only 36 infections in five years -- has been in operation since October 2011, avoiding detection by the vast majority of antivirus systems for almost five years through a number of features designed to ensure stealth.
Several of the components which make up Remsec are built in the form of a Binary Large Object (BLOB), collections of binary data which are difficult for security software to detect. In addition, the malware's functionality is deployed across a network which means it isn't stored on disk, another factor which makes it difficult to detect.

Could the US Navy Really Hunt Down Russian or Chinese Submarines?

August 12, 2016
While the U.S. Navy has been sounding the alarm about a resurgent Russian and growing Chinese submarine threat, much of the problem stems the service’s much diminished anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. Even the combined might of today’s Russian and Chinese submarine fleet does not come close to matching the capabilities or threat posed by the once-mighty Soviet Navy—which boasted roughly 240 submarines before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
During the late Cold War-era, Soviet designers and a number of Western analysts believed that the Soviet Union was starting to pull ahead of American designs in terms of acoustical stealth—according to a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report titled Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe. But Russian technological progress came to a virtual standstill in aftermath of the Soviet collapse. Nonetheless, since 1991, while Moscow has tried to push forward with late Soviet-era innovations, the social, economic and political upheaval of the 1990s essentially resulted in a lost decade for the Russian submarine force as funding slowed to a trickle.

“The Russians have continued to move forward with a series of technological improvements that emerged at the end of the Soviet Union but the new Russia was unable to capitalize on due to a small budget,” said retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jerry Hendrix, director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security. “However, the United States and its alliance partners, distracted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have allowed their ASW abilities to atrophy.”
As the CSIS report notes, the present day Russian Federation Navy has about 56 submarines in total—which is roughly one-fifth of the size of the Soviet undersea force. Moreover, as CNA Corporation research scientist Mike Kofman has noted, at best, half of Russia’s submarine fleet is operational at any one time. One example cited in the CSIS study is the Russian Northern Fleet, which nominally operates 42 submarines but only 22 to perhaps 31 are operational vessels. “One of the most puzzling things you’ll ever hear is when people say the Russian submarines are operating at Cold War levels,” Kofman told The National Interest. “That's frankly impossible. How can one-fifth the submarine force of the Soviet Union, with barely 50 percent operational readiness - and I think that's very generous - could be operating at a level of activity of what was the largest submarine force in the world?”

The Long Telegram of 2050


Journal Article | August 14, 2016
E Ring, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C., 1730hrs, December 7th, 2049

I arrived at the Pentagon’s main entrance on a bleak, cold and snowy evening. The sun’s last rays lit the building’s façade in an unearthly light. Pulling the collar of my overcoat up over my neck, I grabbed my travel worn leather briefcase and opened the limousine’s door against the cold. Thanking the driver, I stepped out of the vehicle and ascended the hard marble stairs to an entrance normally reserved for the military’s most senior leadership. As I hastened up the stairs to the doors, I wondered why was I, a passed over about to retire Army lieutenant colonel, doing here. The phone call from the Pentagon was cryptic enough – an anonymous voice ordered me to “report to the Chairman’s office immediately in the provided car.” I barely had time to throw on my dress uniform before the driver arrived at my apartment. The short ride afforded a few moments to contemplate the purpose of my visit. I knew the Chairman by reputation alone. Amongst those in the know, the Chairman was invariably described as an honest and brilliant man who suffered no fools. My normal duties as an Army staff planner were well outside his usual orbit. What could he want from me? But here I was, handing over my Biometric and Retina Identification Card (BRIC) to a Marine guard. As the Marine scanned my BRIC, I threw a glance as his companion sentry, a vaguely dog shaped robot nicknamed the Kaiser. Capable of running at nearly 80 kilometers per hour over uneven terrain while carrying 150 kilograms of gear, the Kaiser was DARPA’s latest contribution to the military. This model sported a number of non-lethal weapons systems including sonic disrupters, microwave emitters and a high voltage Taser. Their sensor suite was equally impressive given its ability to see more broadly across the electromagnetic spectrum than even the new bionic eye enhancements tested at the 75th Ranger Regiment. First reports from operations in Afghanistan, a renewal of my Dad’s own war after 9/11, indicated the Kaiser was also an effective counter IED system. The sentry returned my BRIC, saluted and buzzed me into the building’s foyer where another impeccably dressed Marine directed me to follow her to the Chairman’s office.

Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington D.C., 1743hrs, December 7th, 2049
The Chairman lived up to his reputation. He was seated behind a large oak desk in his surprisingly Spartan office. He did not shake hands nor ask me to sit.
“Do you know why you’re here, Colonel?” he asked.
“No sir,” I replied.

“What I am about to tell you is a little known secret. Three hours ago, I was in the Tank with the service chiefs. The Chinese military overthrew their Premier in Beijing. Early reports indicate they were unhappy with his attempts at détente with our own government. We believe one of the senior PLA generals, likely an old school hardliner, is leading the coup. It looks like the Chinese are mobilizing their military on a global scale. We may be facing a major conflict. The media are just beginning to get word from their own sources in country. The White House will expect us to provide options. We are still neck deep in Afghanistan… will that war ever end… and have several smaller operations in Africa and the Pacific. I am fighting another battle with Congress over funding on the Hill. You wrote a paper on the future of warfare a few years ago while you were at Leavenworth, right?”

“Sir, I wrote a brief monograph on the subject. That was some years ago. The strategic environment has changed. But Sir, you have a staff of experts with access to better information. Why me?”

The Chairman ran a hand over his chin in contemplation. “Frankly, I need an independent look at our national security situation untainted by politics… or my own influence on the staff. You retire in less than two months so you’re fireproof. It’s time for a second edition of that paper. I want you to focus your update on two key questions. First, I need to know the fundamental changes in demographics, economics and geopolitical conditions that will radically change the conduct of military operations. Second, I want you to analyze the fundamental changes in the character of war and warfighting technologies that will radically change the conduct of military operations. My aide will show you to an office. You have two hours to make your report.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Resists Calls to Cut Number of Top Brass

Military.com | Aug 13, 2016 | by Richard Sisk

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford pushed back Friday at critics who think there are too many people like him -- generals and admirals -- taking up space in a downsizing military.
"No, right now it is not my sense that we have too many general officers," Dunford said in a wide-ranging interview with Breaking Defense.
Proposals in Congress to cut the number of general and flag officers are part of what's holding up passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.
The White House recently cited a plan by Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to cut the number of generals and admirals by 25 percent as one reason for a threatened veto.
Dunford appeared open to working out a compromise with McCain and others on the size of the general officer corps in coming years, while maintaining that the current number of generals and admirals was not excessive.

"We're still working with both the Senate Armed Services and House Armed Services Committees to come up with a proposal that meets their requirements for reform, right-sizes the force to include our general officer population, and at the same time allows us to maintain military effectiveness," Dunford said in the interview.
"So we're going to go back and look at this issue, and work with Senator McCain and others to make sure we get it right," Dunford said of the dispute over how many generals and admirals the military actually needs, which dates back to World War II.
For that war, there were about 2,000 generals and admirals overseeing 12.2 million military personnel by 1945, according to the National World War II Museum. Now there are more than 900 generals and admirals for an active-duty force of about 1.3 million.

As of June this year, there were 418 one stars, 315 two stars, 136 three stars, and 37 four-star active generals and admirals -- or a total of 906, according to Pentagon personnel statistics.
In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee charged that the military was becoming top heavy with high-ranking officers and proposed cutting 222 of the 886 generals and admirals, or about 25 percent.
The committee recommended that the number of four-star billets be reduced from the authorized 41 to 27. Under the proposal, four-star officers would be limited to the chairman, vice chairman and other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the head of the National Guard Bureau.
Four-star rank under the committee's proposal would also go to combatant commanders; the commander of U.S. Forces-Korea; one additional billet the president could nominate as a four-star joint command (such as the current mission in Afghanistan); and three four-star billets each for the Army, Navyand Air Force, to be filled as they choose.