7 October 2016

*** How American Companies Enable NSA Surveillance


Without the cooperation of American companies — both voluntary and compelled — the National Security Agency’s system of mass surveillance simply would not have been possible. And on Tuesday, Reutersadded the name of yet another American corporate giant to the list of those who have made it possible for American intelligence to intercept huge troves of information: Yahoo.

According to the news service, the American internet giant designed custom software to filter its users’ emails according to a set of search terms, and deliver those messages to the NSA. The decision to enable NSA surveillance was reportedly made by CEO Marissa Mayer and without the knowledge of the company’s security chief, who quit in protest when he learned of the program.

***Who Will Exit The EU Next?

The European Union's future has been up for debate since the Continent's economic crisis began nearly a decade ago. But questions about the bloc's path have multiplied in recent years as Greece came close to quitting the eurozone and the United Kingdom voted to relinquish its EU membership for good. "The bloc's demise is not a matter of if, but when," Euroskeptics insisted, to which their Europhile peers replied, "The union is irreversible."

Re-visiting India’s Northern Frontier

By K.N. Pandita

Home Minister Rajnath Singh led a contingent of parliamentarians drawn from different political parties on a two-day visit to Ladakh. This was in fulfillment of the promise he had made at the end of the parliamentary delegation’s visit to Srinagar and Jammu in July last.

…right from day one of present government assuming the reins of governance at the Centre, the subject of Ladakh’s strategic significance and security importance in the wake of hostile stance by China became more evident.

Ladakh, like Jammu region, has long standing complaint of discrimination by the Srinagar regimes over the years. The Centre never took serious cognizance of their complaints. That has been a recognized facet of Congress government’s policy for J&K.

Modi government is in harness for two years. It, too, did not evince extraordinary interest in Ladakh internal politics though BJP candidate won its parliamentary seat. It was less because of BJP’s activism in Ladakh and more because of long standing disgruntlement of the Ladakhis against biased Congress-NC rule.

The new Modi Doctrine for the Armed Forces

By Maj Gen Rajiv Narayanan, AVSM, VSM

During a TV discussions about the new Modi Doctrine for the Armed Forces, for operations across the Line of Control, on 02 Oct, the major points mentioned were,

• No more ‘pacifism’.

• Make Pak Army pay.

• Make Indian Army Officers accountable.

• ‘0 Infiltration’ Plan.

• Armed Forces Upgrade

One Professor also wrote an article in the Sunday Guardian, on 02 0ct, ‘PM Modi scripts an Army Reset’.

This time, by openly declaring it and launching a coordinated heavy strike against terrorist camps, the discourse and ground rules have been redefined.

Act against militants or face international isolation: Sharif to Pak army

In what could be seen as an unprecedented warning for the Pakistan military, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz-led government has informed the former about the growing international isolation of Islamabad and has sought consensus on several key actions by the state.

At least two sets of actions have been agreed as a result of the most recent meeting, an undisclosed one on the day of the All Parties' Conference, which took place on Monday.

As per Dawn, firstly, General Rizwan Akhtar Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence, accompanied by National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, is to travel to each of the four provinces with a message for provincial apex committees and ISI sector commanders.

The message, according to Dawn, is that military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups which are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action.

Who Benefits From China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative? – Analysis

By Felix K. Chang*

China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

(FPRI) — Under its Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road(commonly known as the “One Belt, One Road” initiative) China has sought to build a network of infrastructure projects across Eurasia to encourage trade. At first glance, it seems that all those involved should benefit. Chinese loans would kick start the construction of the infrastructure projects. Developing countries, in which the projects are built, would profit as transshipment points and from the development of new industries that could plug into international supply chains. Revenues from the resultant economic growth would then repay the Chinese loans, with interest.

China And Climate Change: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Analysis

BYBy Lara Lázaro and Mario Esteban* 
The exhaustion of China’s old economic model based on investment and manufacturing has had, at least, one positive outcome: a ‘new normal’ development pathway that is less energy and emissions intensive. Although much remains to be done by China (and others) to set the world on a climate-bearable path, China’s efforts are significant and its ratification of the Paris Agreement ahead of the G-20 meeting is a key step for the entry into force of Kyoto’s successor.

China’s double-digit economic growth rate of the past three decades has brought with it economic, social and environmental problems. In addition to fostering a profound restructuring of the Chinese economy, these problems are at the core of the country’s shift in domestic action against climate change. Arguably, they have also motivated, at least in part, China’s uptake of a prominent role in international climate negotiations. This paper will briefly discuss China’s climate-change policy. It will be argued that, although impressive in pace and scale, Chinese climate commitments are not consistent, at present, with limiting global mean temperatures to 2ºC compared with pre-industrial levels. Given this outlook, some policy recommendations for future action will also be suggested.

China’s Hegemonic Trajectory: Intimidating ASEAN? – Analysis

By Mushahid Ali*

Fierce criticism of Singapore by China’s spokespersons for allegedly stirring up tension over the South China Sea at international forums reflects a pattern of interference in ASEAN’s deliberations; this suggests that Beijing is embarked on a hegemonic trajectory in Asia.

Recent criticism of Singapore by Chinese scholars and pundits over South China Sea tensions further underscores a noticeable turning point in China’s assertiveness as a rising power. The turn is all the more significant because it involves a sharp dip in the highly publicised warm relationship between the two countries particularly in the economic and political domain as symbolised by their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

It is therefore incongruous that Beijing’s media pundits and defence scholars should deem it fit to take Singapore to task for allegedly stirring the pot of South China Sea tensions. They even cited fabricated reports of what Singapore was said to have done at the recent Non-Aligned Summit in Venezuela, contrary to the official record of what it stated, and threatened to punish Singapore for it.

The Visible Hand: The Role Of Government In China's Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution

China is undergoing its long-awaited industrial revolution. There is no shortage of commentary and opinion on this dramatic period, but few have attempted to provide a coherent, in-depth, political-economic framework that explains the fundamental mechanisms behind China's rapid industrialization.

This article reviews the New Stage Theory of economic development put forth by Wen (2016a). It illuminates the critical sequence of developmental stages since the reforms enacted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978: namely, small-scale commercialized agricultural production, proto-industrialization in the countryside, a formal industrial revolution based on mass production of labor-intensive light consumer goods, a sustainable "industrial trinity" boom in energy/motive power/infrastructure, and a second industrial revolution involving the mass production of heavy industrial goods.

Mapping The Dhaka Gulshan Attack: Who Was Tamim Chowdhary? – Analysis

By Angshuman Choudhury*

On 27 August 2016, Tamim Ahmed Chowdhary alias Abu Shaykh Al-Hanif – the mastermind of the recent Gulshan attack in Dhaka – was killed in a raid by Bangladeshi security forces in Narayanganj.

Chowdhary’s identification, and the statements made by Dhaka thereafter, strengthen the arguments presented in Parts I and II of this series; and corroborate the conclusion that the Gulshan attack reflects some degree of Islamic State (IS) penetration into Bangladesh.

This analysis looks deeper into Chowdhary’s role in the Gulshan attack, the nature of the new terror modules, and the significance of his killing. It outlines the contours of the new form of ‘hybridised’ terror in Bangladesh – a fusion global and localised terror modules – and identify the potential paths ahead.
Tamim Chowdhary and ‘New JMB’

Security Trends South Asia » Myanmar » Myanmar – Stability Projections and Trends

Myanmar – Stability Projections and Trends [1]


National League for Democracy (NLD) Government formation and functioning– Positive

Aung Suu Kyi – Role in Government – Positive

Post elections political stability - Positive.


Myanmar Army’s acceptance of rise of the NLD and accommodation – Positive in Short Term.

Effective implementation of Cease Fire Agreements with 8 groups on 15 October - Positive

Conduct of 21st Century Panglong Conference - Positive

Continued Negotiations with other groups – Uncertain.

NSA has lost some terrorists because of encryption, its top lawyer says

NSA has lost some terrorists because of encryption, its top lawyer says
Harriet Taylor
CNBC, October 5, 2016

The NSA has lost some terrorists because of their adoption of strong encryption, but the agency is supportive of the use of the technology, it’s top lawyer said Wednesday.
Glenn Gerstell, general counsel of the National Security Agency, made the comments at the Cambridge Cyber Summit at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Cindy Cohn (l), Glenn Gerstell © and Daniel Weitzner at the Cambridge Cyber Summit at M.I.T. on Oct. 5th, 2016.

“We are big supporters of encryption,” said Gerstell. “Encryption is more of a law enforcement issue.”
He said the NSA sees ISIS terrorists using end-to-end encryption, and that has prevented the agency from finding out the key information about those bad actors.
The widespread availability of encryption technology requires the government to employ additional resources to monitor terrorists, said Gerstell. He declined to elaborate on specific sources and methods.

Privacy advocate Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, listed some of the methods the government may use when encryption blocks access to information shared by suspects: They install key loggers on devices to discover passwords, stop computers on their way to being shipped and install backdoors or send fake messages masquerading as popular services likeFacebook to trick suspects to divulging passwords.
“We know they purchase vulnerabilities and don’t tell the companies their systems are vulnerable,” she said.
About 90 percent of the vulnerabilities the government discovers are in fact disclosed, but at times they choose not to share that information for national security reasons, said Gerstell.

Transnistria Primer – Analysis

(FPRI) — Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), exists unsure of its place in the world. To its west, across the Dniester River, lies the breakaway region’s parent state, Moldova, and, beyond that, European Union (EU) member Romania. To the east are Ukraine, Russian-occupied Crimea, and the Black Sea. Pulled between east and west, resurgent Russia and western-minded Moldova, the region is of significant strategic importance for a Western alliance looking to prevent the realization of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s imperialist goals. But how did we get to this point?

During the 19th century, present-day Moldova was part of the Russian Empire, which the Ottoman Empire had ceded to Russia. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Moldovan Parliament quickly formed and, in 1918, voted to join the Kingdom of Romania. The newly-formed Soviet Union (USSR) did not recognize Romania’s political control of what it considered Russian territory. In 1924, the USSR created the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic out of the territory that it still controlled: the land east of the Dniester, modern Transnistria. During and after the Second World War, the USSR regained control of all of present-day Moldova; it maintained control over this area until 1990.

Army Warns that Future War with Russia or China Would Be ‘Extremely Lethal and Fast’


Leaders say warfare in the coming decades will be fundamentally different from the past 25 years.

To envision the wars of the future, first remember those of the distant past, with their soul-numbing artillery barrages and unstinting waves of conventional enemy forces. Then speed up that mental newsreel and imagine a ground war accelerated by artificial intelligence and precision munitions, nested in a larger strategic sphere where everything is moving at Internet velocity.

That’s the picture that Army leaders are working from as they try to prepare their force to deter and defeat America’s enemies over the next few decades.

The nation faces existential threats from “modern nation-states acting aggressively in militarized competition,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and training. “Who does that sound like? Russia?” He spoke on a future-of-the-Army panel at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington on Tuesday.

Why Russia Is Threatening the US in Syria

By George Friedman

Moscow’s ability to back up its rhetoric is questionable.

Yesterday the United States announced that it was breaking off talks with Russia over implementing a cease-fire agreement on Syria. Washington accused Moscow of failing to live up to its commitments in the Sept. 9 deal. It has been a year since Russia intervened in Syria. During that year, combat has continued and intensified. Apart from saving President Bashar al-Assad’s regime from hypothetical defeat, the Russians have achieved nothing particularly decisive in Syria. The Russians’ drama in Syria has come from dealing with the United States and, even more, with Turkey. However, the balance of power now appears to be shifting in favor of Assad and his Russian supporters. A confrontation with the United States is no longer inconceivable.

Syrian troops backed by Russian airpower and special forces have been closing in on Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city and a stronghold of the opposition to what most still call the government of Syria. If Aleppo falls, the last major urban area of Syria will be back in the hands of the Assad regime. This is significant, but not as significant as it sounds as much of the non-urban areas are occupied by the opposition, including a substantial amount controlled by the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurds.

How 2008 Changed Everything

By George Friedman

The year is appearing to be a defining moment in history.

Over the last few years, the question of immigration has become a dominant issue in the West. In the United States, immigration has emerged as one of the pivot points in the presidential election. In Europe, as well, immigration has become a political pivot. Immigration has always been a contentious issue. In the United States, where immigration was indispensable for the construction of the nation, the arrival of Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1840s created a profound crisis. The dominant Protestants feared the loyalty of the Catholics. Similarly, the arrival of Jews from Russia into Central Europe in the 19th century generated fears of the Ostjuden (Jews from Eastern Europe) who were culturally different and seemed impossible to assimilate.

The European definition of the nation as one’s place of birth and one's culture made immigration particularly difficult. But in the United States as well, there is a serious fear that excessive immigration will cost the nation its culture. Those who trivialize or vilify this fear do not understand the centrality of culture to human life. Our community is what we are, and the shared values and beliefs are what make up the community. Immigration generates a reasonable fear that our shared culture will be lost, and with it, who we are. The fear that immigrants will not assimilate is the undertone of the immigration debate even in countries like the United States that were built on immigration.

Biden Demands the Impossible of Ukraine: End Corruption

By George Friedman

Sanctions against Russia aren’t working and the U.S. is forced to consider a new approach.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has said that unless Ukraine overcomes its problems with corruption soon, the United States might have no choice but to abandon sanctions against Russia, Reuters reported yesterday. He pointed out that five unnamed European countries were opposed to continued sanctions and that any one of them could veto sanctions by the European Union. Given that sanctions have to be renewed by the end of the year, this doesn’t give Ukraine much time to abandon a very old national tradition.

The problem for the United States is that it supported replacing the old Ukrainian regime precisely because it saw the old regime as corrupt. Whether the United States really expected a change depends on who you spoke to. From my point of view, corruption was so deeply embedded in Ukrainian culturethat it could better be called a way of life than a criminal deviation. But it was the major justification for backing demonstrators against the old regime and defending the new regime against Russia’s reaction.

The Essence Of NSG Elitism – OpEd


Generally speaking the functional utility, efficacy and relevance of Nuclear Supplier Group with today’s time and needs and its efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation, make it imperative for the states to actively pursue its membership. First and foremost it is believed to provide the member states with a receipt for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This also allows them to legally carry out nuclear related trade and commerce, since in doing so the NSG members are obligated to abide by the guidelines that have been suggested by the IAEA.

This particular aspect enhances the appeal of this elite group as once the member, not only these provisions can be exercised but it directly adds to the general profile of the state making it come across as a more responsible, capable, trustworthy, and dependable when it comes to the peaceful use and transfer of nuclear technology. One of the prerequisites for inclusion in this cartel is to be the member of the NPT. This further means that the member states voluntarily forego their right to develop, and agree to dismantle their already existing nuclear weapons, especially because the NSG itself commits to providing for ones’ such requirements. Hence this nuclear cartel of 48 states enjoys a unique privilege where the nuclear trade is freely being done among the members but at the same time the proliferation of nuclear weapons is curbed and remained under strict control and check.

Exclusive: Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence - sources

By Joseph Menn

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events. 

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time. 

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified. 

AUSA Head Carter Ham On Army’s Future, AUSA 2016


WASHINGTON: As the Army grapples with new concepts such as Multi-Domain Battle, Congress continues to avoid its constitutional responsibilities to pass spending bills, and the world grows ever more complex, the leaders of the Army gather here for the annual tribal event known as the Association of the US Army’s annual conference.

Retired Gen. Carter Ham, in his first year leading AUSA, sat down with me on the second day of the annual show and chatted about how AUSA has changed to respond to the challenges faced by the Army. Ham, who began his career as an enlisted soldier, rose to become head of Africa Command. In retirement, he led the highly regarded Commission on the Future of the Army, created by Congress to resolve a civil war between the regular Army leadership — to which AUSA has long been linked — and the National Guard.



Throughout history, one of the fundamental roles of naval forces has been the ability to get close to an adversary’s coast and have an effect on life ashore. From the raiding of Viking squadrons on the coasts of Europe and Great Britain to American island-hopping assaults in the Pacific in World War II, this created a need for a second element of maritime strategy traditionally termed coastal defense. Rarely a naval responsibility in its own right, coastal defense has been more decidedly “maritime” because of the involvement of not only navies but also armies, revenue services, and – in more recent history — air forces.

In the 21st century all of this history, and the writing and discussions of coastal defense as an element of maritime conflict, have largely been overlooked because instead of discussing modern challenges from a perspective based on past experience, today’s defense establishment relies on futurist “concept development” and the ubiquity of the associated buzzwords that result. Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson made an important counter-strike against this tendency at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this week when he questioned the usefulness of the term “A2AD” (Anti-Access, Area-Denial) and all but banned it from the navy’s lexicon. In Richardson’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” issued in January, he encouraged sailors and naval professionals more widely to consider their history and to work to understand strategy and think strategically. This effort to move beyond buzzwords is a critical step in the process.

Israeli SIGINT’s Secretive Battlefield Intelligence Unit

Yoav Zitun

A peek inside the IDF 8200’s combat intelligence unit

From listening to Hezbollah telephone conversations to going into battle to obtain real time information on Hamas in Gaza, the soldiers of the 8200 combat intelligence battalion are giving Israel an added technical edge in protecting the Jewish state. 
It’s only been around for five years, and still doesn’t have a name or insignia. They are the combat soldiers of the elite intelligence unit 8200. Although 8200 is more known for its glasses wearing computer geniuses, this section of the unit helps to gather field intelligence for the most elite combat units in the IDF – including Sayeret Matkal and the Israeli Navy’s Shayetet 13.

The soldiers of the unit primarily collect signals intelligence, or SIGINT. They are level 5 riflemen, but still undergo special forces style training.

Tactical Nuclear Weapons: A New Arms Race?

By Brendan Thomas-Noone

President Obama had a line in his speech at Hiroshima earlier this year that really zeros in on one of the themes of the modern nuclear era.

After describing World War II and the destruction caused by the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagaskai, the President said: 'Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.'

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, I argue that as the major nuclear powers Russia, the US and China continue to modernise their nuclear forces, technological advancement is making one element of their nuclear arsenals more precise and sophisticated: tactical nuclear weapons.

Tactical nuclear weapons are those intended for battlefield purposes and they generally possess low-yield nuclear warheads. More precise and capable versions of these weapons can strengthen deterrence. Theoretically they make nuclear arsenals more robust and dynamic, lending credibility to deterrence and help prevent conflict. But they also make nuclear weapons more 'useable' against a greater variety of targets and in a wider range of scenarios. This could harm strategic stability and eventually encourage arms races.

The climate after Paris

Being a large and fast growing economy gives India an additional responsibility, especially for climate change actions

MK. Gandhi famously said,

“The world has enough for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed.” It was most appropriate that on his birth anniversary, India announced its ratification of a global treaty signed in Paris last December. That global treaty signed by 191 parties will come into force only after at least 55 countries, representing 55% of global emissions of greenhouse gases, have ratified it. India became the 62nd country to ratify. It ratified ahead of the normally enthusiastic European Union. But India was behind the US and China, who jointly ratified it in Hangzhou, exactly a month ago.

Incidentally, the US had never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the earlier landmark global treaty with similar goals as the Paris treaty. The world has changed since Kyoto. The US under President Barack Obama took a leadership position on climate change. It is also at the forefront in trying to forge a global consensus around this issue, including cooperation in technology and financing. The Paris treaty, among other things, promises funding of $100 billion from developed countries to help developing countries switch to greener technologies. Much of this will have to originate from the US. Whether the next president will be equally keen and passionate about US leadership on climate change remains to be seen.


By: Mark Pomerleau

Cyber Mission Force Approaches Initial Operating Capacity n a major milestone, U.S. Cyber Command announced that the Cyber Mission Force is nearly initially operationally capable. A CYBERCOM spokesman said, as of Oct. 3, 99 percent of the CMF achieved initial operating capability with 132 of the total 133 teams reaching IOC by the end of fiscal 2016, Sept. 30.

“We set the bar for Initial Operating Capability (IOC) very high, both in terms of our standards and the time available,” Col Daniel J. W. King said. “Building a capability from scratch is an extraordinary challenge and we very nearly met our mark. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen answered that call and it is because of them that we continue to strengthen our Cyber Mission Force every day. This has always been about achieving rigorous standards in the shortest time available and I am confident that we will reach IOC very shortly.”

'Kill Bureaucracy To Keep The Country Alive'


An exhaustive analysis on what is wrong with our bureaucracy and what needs to be done to fix it

On Independence day, we heard the Prime Minister say his Government’s motto is to reform, perform and transform. Also, on September 1, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote, “India’s economy has grown rapidly in recent years, but the country’s bureaucratic quality is widely perceived to be either stagnant or in decline”.

A former Prime Minister had once said about the Indian Civil Service (ICS), the earlier avatar of IAS; “as neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service.”

I think it is time to take a relook at overhauling the bureaucracy.

We need speed, we need efficiency and we need effectiveness in our entire chain of command. We have had a mixed bag of experience with the bureaucracy in implementing some of the key announcements from the Prime Minister, and the commitment on budget announcements and schemes.



“In the United States especially, politics and economics don’t mix well. Politicians have all sorts of reasons to pass all sorts of laws that, as well-meaning as they may be, fail to account for the way real people respond to real-world incentives.”

Steven D. Levitt

It’s a simple fact that incentives often drive change. Some of the best examples are found in everyday life. The best way to encourage safer driving? Insurance discounts. The best way to convince your kid to take out the trash? An allowance.

The U.S. government recognizes that incentives could also be used to combat one of the nation’s greatest vulnerabilities: cybersecurity. According to President Obama’s Executive Order 13636 issued in early 2013, the government recognizes that incentives are necessary to convince private sector companies to invest in this area. However, in spite of years of discussion and coordination, no solution has yet been achieved.

Leadership and behavior: Mastering the mechanics of reason and emotion

A Nobel Prize winner and a leading behavioral economist offer common sense and counterintuitive insights on performance, collaboration, and innovation.

The confluence of economics, psychology, game theory, and neuroscience has opened new vistas—not just on how people think and behave, but also on how organizations function. Over the past two decades, academic insight and real-world experience have demonstrated, beyond much doubt, that when companies channel their competitive and collaborative instincts, embrace diversity, and recognize the needs and emotions of their employees, they can reap dividends in performance.

The pioneering work of Nobel laureate and Harvard professor Eric Maskin in mechanism design theory represents one powerful application. Combining game theory, behavioral economics, and engineering, his ideas help an organization’s leaders choose a desired result and then design game-like rules that can realize it by taking into account how different independently acting, intelligent people will behave. The work of Hebrew University professor Eyal Winter challenges and advances our understanding of what “intelligence” really means. In his latest book, Feeling Smart: Why Our Emotions Are More Rational Than We Think (PublicAffairs, 2014), Winter shows that although emotions are thought to be at odds with rationality, they’re actually a key factor in rational decision making.

Amid Deteriorating U.S.-Russia Relations, Questions Grow About Cyberwar

Source Link

Asked whether Russia is trying to hack the U.S. election, CIA Director John Brennan told the Washington Ideas Forum on Sept. 28 that the CIA tries to look at a country's capabilities, its track record "and determine whether something that certainly looks like a duck, smells like a duck and flies like a duck, whether it's a duck or not."Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Just when you thought U.S.-Russia relations couldn't get worse, diplomatic deals on both Syria and nuclear security fell apart this week.

Moscow went first, announcing that it was pulling out of a landmark agreement on plutonium. Russia's President Vladimir Putin blamed "unfriendly actions" by the United States.

Hours later, Washington said it was breaking off talks on a ceasefire in Syria. "This is not a decision that was taken lightly," State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote in a statement. "Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments."

Moscow and Washington aren't cooperating on much of anything these days. And that prompts a question: What might come next, in the way of cyberattacks?

VOICE Don’t buy the overpromises of cyber, because it consistently under-delivers


Over the last few years, I have been involved in numerous military wargames where players envisioned extravagant results from cyber-operations. I have heard former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Marty Dempsey both state that increasing cybercapabilities would compensate for reductions in conventional force structure.

I think it is time to do some expectation management about the cyberrealm. Exercising cyberpower will not be as easy as proponents claim. Offensive cyberattacks by states will always require rigorous centralized control, and will probably be far less prevalent than most scenarios project. I suspect we will spend much more effort responding to cyber barrages than inflicting them.

There are a number of reasons for this sobering truth. The first is that in the cyberrealm, the more capabilities you have, the more vulnerabilities you have. Hence, nation states are easier to attack, and easier to deter. Less sophisticated adversaries have much less to target, and often rely primarily on the mostly inviolate global commons. For example, during the Arab Spring, Egyptian government forces tried to neutralize the mobilization of opposition groups by shutting down the internet. To their chagrin, the government realized they needed it as much as their opponents, and had to turn it back on.

The Rise of Hypersonic Weapons

A hypersonic missile launched from mainland China could strike a U.S. carrier group located anywhere in the South China Sea in under 20 minutes. That’s a hypothetical right now, but hypersonics are poised to be the next big thing in defense technology. A hypersonic weapon is any projectile that is able to achieve and sustain speeds at or above Mach 5, which is to say, five times the speed of sound. Some weapons, like electromagnetic railguns, can fire munitions at these speeds – but the primary focus of current research efforts is the creation of hypersonic missiles.

Cruise missile type hypersonic weapons could be fired from planes or ships and would be relatively cheap, whereas hypersonic glide vehicles are the final stage of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which makes it both effective and accurate at very long ranges. Both types would be extremely fast and maneuverable, which makes them very difficult to intercept.


OCTOBER 4, 2016

Last week, ASEAN defense ministers met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in Hawaii to reaffirm their commitment to deepen cooperation and to strengthen the “Asia Pacific’s principled and inclusive security network.” The post-World War II “rules-based global order” has been shaped largely by the United States. Underwritten by U.S. naval power, this order long provided peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. The actions of China and others appear to undermine the extent to which the current rules-based global order will remain preeminent.

Figuring out the meaning of a “principled and inclusive security network” has become more difficult as the rules governing such a system increasingly come under sustained challenge. Nowhere has this challenge been clearer than in Chinese behavior in the South China Sea. Most recently, the country’s leadership declared its intent to ignore the findings handed down by the tribunal that ruled in July on the status of features contested by China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. This tribunal was authorized under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.



In 1965, a Defense Department memo observed that 70 percent of the justification for remaining in Vietnam was to protect America’s reputation, compared to just 30 percent for the direct strategic and humanitarian benefits of preventing South Vietnam’s falling to communism. Twenty years later, Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged concerns about the potential damage to Soviet reputation as one of the most important objections to withdrawing from Afghanistan. Yet how do we know that the reputations the superpowers were so intent on protecting were actually valuable? Were the lives lost in the effort to preserve reputation simply thrown away?

In a recent article, Dianne Pfundstein Chamberlain argues that critics of the Obama administration have been beguiled by an “American credibility myth” that overestimates the importance of protecting America’s reputation. Examining American crises since World War II, Pfundstein Chamberlain concludes that the success of American threats has not depended on whether the United States followed through on previous threats, a result contrary to the standard expectations of reputation theory. This finding joins existing studies by reputation skeptics who see little evidence that leaders rely on reputation when making policy.