14 November 2016

The big deal with Japan

When India conducted its nuclear tests in 1998, Japan was the country that took it the hardest: it put all political exchanges with India on hold, froze aid and announced economic sanctions within hours. A thaw in ties didn’t come until 2001, when sanctions were lifted. And then, in 2009, the two countries began an annual strategic dialogue. This has now come to fruition with the signing of the nuclear cooperation agreement in Tokyo during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. The deal is critical to India’s renewable energy plans. Japanese companies that produce cutting-edge reactor technology were previously not allowed to supply parts to India. In addition, Japanese companies have significant holdings in their U.S. and French partners negotiating for nuclear reactors now, and that would have held up the deals. This is Japan’s first nuclear deal with a non-signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, and it recognises India’s exemplary record in nuclear prudence. It is indeed a much-needed moral boost as New Delhi strives for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The move will boost the meagre, and dipping, bilateral trade of $15 billion, and lift the strategic military and defence relationship.

The forgotten war

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M. K. Narayanan
NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The Maoists are far from diminished. While operations like the one in Malkangiri last month help, the government needs to recognise that the movement cannot be approached only from the law and order perspective

On October 24, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) lost around 30 of its cadres in a covert operation jointly organised by the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and the Special Operations Group of Odisha. This occurred in the densely forested region of Malkangiri district in Odisha. Many in the establishment, including some among the security forces and the media, have since claimed that it marked the beginning of the end of the Naxalite movement in the country. Unfortunately, this may be far from true.

Euphoria of this kind is usually the result of a lack of understanding of the true nature of the Maoist movement. The phenomenon is much more than a mere militant movement. It partakes of an idea, pernicious though the idea might appear, which cannot be destroyed merely through a military-style setback. In the past half a century of its existence, the Naxalite (now Maoist) movement has weathered many such ‘setbacks’.

*** Tinker, tailor, hacker, spy

Who is benefiting more from the cyberisation of intelligence, the spooks or their foes?

“THE COMPUTER WAS born to spy,” says Gordon Corera, who covers intelligence for the BBC, Britain’s national broadcaster. The earliest computers, including Colossus and SEAC, were used by signals intelligence (known as SIGINT) in Britain and America to help break codes. But computers also happen to have become supremely good at storing information. Searching a database is a lot easier than searching shelves of files like those compiled by the East German secret police, the Stasi—which stretched for 100km.

The job used to be to discover what a hostile country was up to by attaching crocodile clips to telephone lines emerging from its embassy, intercepting communications, collecting data and decrypting them. It was an industrial process. Breaking code was laborious, but once you had succeeded, the results endured. “Twenty years ago we had a stable target, a stately pace of new technology and point-to-point communications,” says a senior intelligence officer. Cryptography evolved slowly, so “when you cracked a code it could last from ten to 30 years.”

Bound hand & foot, nuclear-wise in Tokyo and the cost of delaying Brahmos to Vietnam

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Bharat Karnad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is Tokyo-bound, there to sign a nuclear cooperation deal along the lines of a similar deal in 2008 with the United States. Have often wondered in my writings this incomprehensible desire of the Indian government headed by whosoever — Manmohan one year, Modi the next — to hamstring the country strategically. This deal with Japan too will have the clause of the deal-break in case India resumes nuclear testing at any time in the future. Because Japan has grown more hypocritical with the years even when compared to India, this anti-nuclear attitude of the Shinzo Abe regime occasions even less understanding, given Japan can become a nuclear weapon state quite literally over little more than a weekend.But the Japanese government, long in the American shadow, is habituated to aping the US.

However, this N-testing provision as deal breaker is sought to be kept hidden by GOI and, at Modi’s request, Tokyo agreed not to mention this conditionality in the public document, but rather in a separate “secret” document, as if this basis for the deal is a big secret. The Modi PMO, however, fears it will unnecessarily remind and rile up the few of us who remain concerned about GOI so easily surrendering its sovereign right to credible nuclear security, by postponing open ended N-tests and thereby persisting with untested and unproven fusion weapons arsenal.

Weighing the Benefits of Recalibrating India’s Nuclear Doctrine

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Any shift in India’s doctrine cannot be based on Pakistan’s actions and neither will the consequences remain confined to the Islamabad-New Delhi dyad. There is a more formidable nuclear state to consider – China.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement questioning India’s adherence to the no first use policy on nuclear weapons is, notably, not an example of his usual foot-in-mouth rhetoric. This is a carefully articulated statement, though we may ask whether it was prudent to have Parrikar, a member of the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA), make the statement.

Speaking at a book release, Parrikar said that there was often talk of India’s commitment to the no-first-use policy, “A lot of people say India has a no-first-use nuclear policy, but why should I bind myself? I should say I’m a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my thinking.”

US-India Strategic Partnership and incoming President Trump

By Dr Subhash Kapila

US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20 2017 ushers in a new era and a challenging one for the US-India Strategic Partnership and the personal diplomatic qualities of PM Narendra Modi.

The challenge is greater because little is known about the real foreign policy preferences of President-elect Trump. Nor can any assessment be presently made from the yet to be constituted Cabinet. During the election campaign, President-elect Trump made many laudatory references to India and India’s role in global affairs. But it remains to be seen whether the election campaign rhetoric gets translated into American policies which synergise with Indian national security interests and national aspirations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been able to strike an excellent personal relationship with outgoing US President Barrack Obama which helped in a substantial resuscitation of the US-India Strategic Partnership. It would therefore be fair to expect that PM Modi would be able to establish an equally beneficial personal rapport with incoming US President Trump.

Modi in Japan: Why China Should Be Worried

By Varun Tomar

Japan and India are expected to advance defense, economic, and even nuclear cooperation.

In August 1977, Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda emphasized on the “three main pillars” of his trip to Manila. Those “pillars” went on to become the major principles of Japan’s foreign policy toward Asia, known as the Fukuda Doctrine of “Heart to Heart Relations.” In particular, Fukuda pledged that Japan, while possessing the means and capability, would never walk the path of militarization ever again. This policy guided Japanese foreign policy toward the rest of Asia until very recently. The growing aggressive stance of China in the region and the coming to power of a revisionist prime-minister, Shinzo Abe, has marked a clear shift in Tokyo’s regional security policy.

Where Is India’s Baloch Policy Heading?

By Prateek Joshi 

Is India actually willing to lend support to Baloch separatists in Pakistan?

In response to the diplomatic, conventional, and unconventional hostilities faced from Pakistan over the Kashmir issue since independence, New Delhi recently adopted a new strategy: highlighting the Baloch cause for self-determination.

This “policy shift” marked its official beginning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech this year. Hinting of the ongoing separatist movements inside Pakistan, Modi stated: “Today from the ramparts of Red Fort, I want to greet and express my thanks to some people. In the last few days, people of Balochistan, Gilgit, [and] Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me, have expressed gratitude, and expressed good wishes for me.” Islamabad responded in no time, stating that this speech confirmed India’s involvement in the Baloch insurgency.

Can the India-Pakistan Ceasefire Survive?

By Sudha Ramachandran

The 2003 agreement is falling apart amid a sharp decline in India-Pakistan relations.

Thirteen years after it came into effect, the India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement is in serious trouble. Shelling and firing across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has increased sharply over the past 40 days and is showing no signs of abating.

This is “the most intense” ceasefire violation over the past 13 years, a senior Border Security Force (BSF) official based at the headquarters in New Delhi told The Diplomat, adding that only along the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) (the India-Pakistan frontier in the Siachen Glacier region) are “the guns silent now.” Elsewhere, the 2003 ceasefire agreement appears to be “in tatters.”

No-First-Use: Parrikar Has Opened Up Strategic Space In India’s N-Doctrine

R Jagannathan

With the post-Uri “surgical strikes” India shifted from a defensive-defence posture to offensive-defence. We need to do the same in our nuclear doctrine.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has a way of dropping a clanger when no one is expecting it. He did it yesterday (10 November), when he made off-the-cuff remarks on India’s no-first-use (NFU nuclear doctrine. “If a written-down strategy exists or you take a stand on a nuclear aspect, I think you are actually giving away your strength in nuclear,” The Times of India quoted him as saying.

He added, for good measure: “Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly.”

Chinese Put Their First Nuclear Attack Sub on Display

A Chinese Nuclear First
November 8, 2016
Three years after China featured its nuclear subs in the Chinese media for the first time they put their first nuclear sub (SSN or nuclear attack sub) on public display. This was only the third time any country had done this. Plans for this were revealed during their 2013 media campaign as well as the fact that the boat in question, the Type 091 Long March No. 1 had been demilitarized (taken apart to remove the nuclear reactor and then reassembled) and cleaned up for display. This is a very expensive process and so far only the United States (the USS Nautilus in 1965) and France (the SSBN Redoutable in 2002) have done this. The Nautilus was the first SSN (attack sub) in service and Redoutable was one of the early (1971) ballistic missile carrying subs.
This first Chinese Type 091 sub entered service in 1974 after being under construction for nearly a decade. This first Chinese SSN was retired in 2000 but three of the five o91 SSNs are still in service. The theme for the 2013 media promotion was that in 42 years of operation no Chinese nuclear sub has ever suffered a nuclear reactor accident. This was an indirect dig at the Russians, who are the only nation with nuclear subs to have suffered nuclear accidents in part because most nuclear subs ever built were Russian. During the first 60 years of existence several hundred billion dollars has been spent on developing and building nuclear powered submarines. Some 400 have been built so far, most of them Russian.

Nuclear subs have been used in combat only once (in 1982, when a British SSN sank an Argentinean cruiser). When the Cold War ended, Russia began scrapping its large nuclear sub fleet, which included dozens of older boats that were more trouble than they were worth to maintain. In 2000 China joined this club and retired it’s first “nuke.” With the demise of the Russian sub fleet the U.S. Navy submarine force, which peaked at 100 boats at the end of the Cold War, shrank to about 70 today. China currently has about a dozen nuclear subs in operation (eight SSNs and four SSBNs) and their track record since 1974 has been dismal. The Chinese SSNs are noisy (easy for Western sensors to detect) and unreliable. Chinese SSNs rarely go to sea, which is one reason they have had no nuclear accidents. Chinese SSBNs (ballistic missile carrying nuclear subs) are basically enlarged SSNs and have never been on a combat patrol, just brief training missions.

Could Trump Actually Start a Nuclear War?

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Examining the worst case and most likely scenarios when it comes to war under President Trump.

With Donald Trump ascending to the presidency in 2017, which will also make him the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, will the chances of the United States getting involved in another war increase? Will President Trump be more likely to use nuclear weapons than his predecessors? Like many other questions surrounding the president-elect and his future administration, this is difficult to answer. Here are some preliminary thoughts.

The President’s War Powers

The U.S. president’s powers to wage war are quite extensive. Most importantly, he can take military actions without specific congressional authorization, although the so-called War Powers Resolution from 1973 mandates that the president has to withdraw combat troops from foreign territory within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes their continuous deployment. However, no president — including Barack Obama back in 2011, when he did not seek congressional authorization 60 days into the Libyan intervention — has accepted the constitutionality of the 60-90 day limit

New CRS Report on U.S. Intelligence Spending

Steven Aftergood
Secrecy News, November 10, 2016
In a deeply fractured political environment, the work of the Congressional Research Service may be even more valuable than ever. Non-partisan to a fault, CRS provides the same policy analysis to Republicans and Democrats, to problem-solvers and to nihilists. CRS reports can therefore help to establish a common framework for debate, and a shared vocabulary for discussion. They are at least a place to start a conversation.

One newly updated CRS report “examines Intelligence Community (IC) funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017.” See Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues by Anne Daugherty Miles, November 8, 2016.

It was issued along with a new companion report on the structure and management of U.S. intelligence. See Intelligence Community Programs, Management, and Enduring Issues, also by Anne Miles, November 8, 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s Yemen Conundrum: No End in Sight

Md. Muddassir Quamar

One and a half years after it began a military intervention in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has not achieved any significant gains. The war in Yemen is proving to be costly for the Saudi economy which if facing serious financial strain due to low oil prices. The intervention is all the more problematic because it has failed to resolve the Yemeni stand-off while aggravating the humanitarian crisis. In March 2015, when Saudi Arabia along with eight Arab allies, namely Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan and the UAE, decided to intervene in Yemen, it aimed to achieve two short-term objectives – restoration of the Hadi government in Sana’a and forcing the Houthi rebels to return to the negotiations table. As of October 2016, neither the Houthi leadership has acceded to international pressures to resume negotiations nor have they withdrawn from Sana’a.

Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government


WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump said Friday that he was likely to abandon the American effort to support “moderate” opposition groups in Syria who are battling the government of President Bashar al-Assad, saying “we have no idea who these people are.”

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal that dealt largely with economic issues, including his willingness to retain parts of the Affordable Care Act, he repeated a position he took often during his campaign: that the United States should focus on defeating the Islamic State, and find common ground with the Syrians and their Russian backers.

“I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” Mr. Trump told The Journal. “My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria.”

Germany Plans to Build Its Own Spy Satellite

Deutsche Welle
November 10, 2016

German spy agency BND to get its own satellite

The German Intelligence Services are set to receive their own satellite for monitoring purposes. Until now, the agency sourced visual data from the German army and US satellites.

German news outlets, including the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” and public broadcasters WDR and NDR on Thursday published reports saying Germany’s budget commission had approved a sum for financing a satellite for the express use of the German Intelligence Services (BND). According to estimates, the satellite would cost around 400 million euros ($435.32 million) and would be ready by 2022. In addition, 400 new employees would be appointed to the agency.

Currently, the BND receives its data from the German army (Bundeswehr), which operates its own small satellites. It also buys information from the open market and works together with partner agencies, for example in the US, to acquire high-resolution imagery.

BND has been lobbying for years for its own satellite technology for better monitoring, saying this technology will enable the agency to better supervise conflict regions like the Ukraine or countries suspected of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Until now, the chancellor’s office refused to finance such a project, saying the costs were too high.

Berlin had also been engaged in talks with the US government for better spying methods under a project called “Hiros.” Under the program, Germany and the US would have stationed three satellites, each at a height of 500 kilometers.

How the United States and China Can Avoid Greater Tensions

During the campaign Donald Trump talked about China and the Asia-Pacific region, often in caustic language, but he only gave little snippets of his potential policy toward the region. Greater tensions are highly likely, but not guaranteed.

A review of his statements and a recent essay in Foreign Policy by two of his advisers suggests a three-pronged approach. Priority number one will be to achieve a fairer commercial relationship with China. Continued access to the U.S. market will likely be conditioned on expanded access in China to U.S. imports and investment. Trump highlighted China’s currency policies (and said he’d designate China as a currency manipulator), but he is equally concerned about the full range of Chinese industrial policies that put foreign firms at a disadvantage. Second, he will likely expand the U.S. naval fleet and press allies Japan and South Korea to provide greater financial support in order to continue receiving U.S. military protection. And third, Trump has shown little interest in nation building or in hinging the broader relationship with any country on its human rights record. He’s spoken little about human rights, but his criticism of the American media, defense of torture, and caricature of Islam suggests a weak commitment to civil liberties, at least domestically if not internationally.

A New Wave of Maritime Threats


Piracy will continue to decline worldwide.

However, maritime threats will still pose a considerable challenge to global shipping companies, especially in waterways in unstable regions.

If the maritime security threat around the Bab el-Mandeb strait shifts from financially motivated piracy attacks to ideologically motivated militant attacks, shipping companies will need to rethink their security measures. 


After three years of relative calm in the waters between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, a strait known as Bab el-Mandeb, at least seven security incidents were reported in October. Two of the attacks, one on an Emirati ship and the other on the USS Mason, a U.S. Navy destroyer, were confirmed to have been carried out by Yemeni militants with land-based anti-ship missiles. Two others, both on Oct. 22, were likely carried out by Somali pirates. Most concerning was an attempted attack on the Galicia Spirit, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, involving a skiff loaded with explosives. The skiff exploded prematurely, leaving the tanker unharmed, but the tactic harkens back al Qaeda attacks against USS Cole in 2000 and the MV Limburg in 2002. Finally, on Oct. 26, the oil tanker Melati Satu was targeted with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). 

Russian hackers accused of post-election attacks on U.S. think tanks

Russian hackers accused of post-election attacks on U.S. think tanks

A Russian hacking group began attacking U.S.-based policy think tanks within hours of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, according to cyber experts who suspect Moscow is seeking information on the incoming administration.

Three cyber security firms told Reuters that are tracking a spear-phishing campaign by a Russian-government linked group known as Cozy Bear, which is widely suspected of hacking the Democratic Party ahead of the election.

“Probably now they are trying to rush to gain access to certain targets where they can get a better understanding on what is going on in Washington after the election and during the transition period,” said Jaime Blasco, chief scientist with cyber security firm AlienVault.

Targets included the Council for Foreign Relations, said Adam Segal, a security expert with the think tank. His colleagues include former U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and former Reagan administration State Department official Elliott Abrams.

Official: Russians Flying Armed Sorties From Carrier Over Syria; Massive Strikes Likely Soon

By: Sam LaGrone

THE PENTAGON — Armed Russian fighters have sortied from carrier Admiral Kuznetsov for flights over Syria ahead of an anticipated combined arms strike on rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad near Aleppo, a U.S. defense official told USNI News on Tuesday.

While the fighters have not dropped ordnance in scouting out the approaches to Aleppo, signs point to the combination of Sukhoi Su-33s and Mikoyan MiG-29Ks as part of a larger force set to move on Aleppo as soon as this week, the official confirmed.

In a statement, the Pentagon chided Russian statement in the press telegraphing the impending assault on Aleppo but did not provide additional details.

The Lessons of Henry Kissinger


The legendary and controversial statesman criticizes the Obama Doctrine, talks about the main challenges for the next president, and explains how to avoid war with China.

Author’s note (November 10, 2016): Over the past several months, I’ve interviewed Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, numerous times on the subject of America’s role in the world. Our conversations took place before this week’s election, but were informed by the foreign-policy differences between the candidates. The December 2016 issue of The Atlantic includes my article on these conversations, which you will find published below. In addition, a full rendering of our several interviews, on subjects including the future of Russia, the rise of China, and the chaos of the Middle East, can be found here

On Wednesday, the day the country, and the world, were just beginning to absorb the shock of Donald Trump’s victory, I spoke with Kissinger by telephone to get his postelection thoughts. He told me that he was expecting other nations, particularly the great powers, to enter a period of intense study, in order to understand how they should respond to a Trump presidency. He also said he expected the Islamic State, or other similarly minded jihadist organizations, to test Trump early by launching attacks, in order to provoke a reaction (or, he suggested, an overreaction). 

How Important Is the US President – or Any Leader?

By George Friedman
Nov. 11, 2016 

Great leaders did not make history. History made them. 

An election is always followed by the elation and respect of supporters, and the despair and contempt of opponents. This is a natural part of democracy. When Barack Obama was elected, his supporters were rapturous, while opponents were convinced it meant disaster. When George W. Bush was first elected, and then re-elected, the same thing happened. The degree of worship and contempt varies, but it is a constant in not only U.S. democracy, but in most democracies.

This phenomenon is composed of two dimensions. The first is that voters are searching for a solution to their problems and unhappiness and look to the political sphere for solutions. In doing this, they imbue leaders with extraordinary powers. A leader becomes an icon of all the hopes and fears of a nation. The second dimension is that different sorts of leaders draw different sorts of followers. They differ by region, class, ethnicity and a host of other distinctions. Constant hostility very often occurs between these groups because all societies are divided. An election forces a confrontation between these different groups, their competing hopes and mutual contempt. The distinct groups want to elect a leader who will help them and punish the others. In the end, most of the political maneuvering entails convincing enough people that you speak for them and not the others. 

How California Is Protecting Its Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

Constance Douris

To protect power grid integration from cyber threats in California, the California Public Utilities Commission has funded a cyber information sharing program, California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES-21). According to Jamie Van Randwyck, project lead for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, “The CES-21 program has been a highly productive and collaborative initiative thus far. The research and development being pursued in this program has the potential to change the way utilities protect their critical assets.”

CES-21, launched in 2012, aims to provide accurate and fast communication of cyber threats and the development of automated response capabilities to be executed prior to critical infrastructure damage. This initiative includes a team of technical experts from California's three largest public utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric -- and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that will perform research in power grid cyber security.

The Danger of Ignoring the 'Espionage' in Cyber Espionage

By Scott Stewart

This week, I had the honor of delivering a keynote speech for the Global Cyber Security Leaders Conference in Berlin. The city, which decades ago was a hub of Cold War-era espionage, provided the perfect backdrop for my attempt to put its modern cousin — cyber espionage — into context.

One need only glance at the headlines to see that all things cyber are attracting quite a bit of attention these days. From vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things and distributed denial of service attacks to the hack of the Democratic National Committee, it is becoming increasingly clear that digital information is not as secure as it was once thought to be. Because of this, I'd like to share my thoughts on cyber espionage with Stratfor's readers.
One of Many Tools

First, I want to be clear about what I mean when I say "cyber espionage." As I am using it, the term simply refers to any espionage committed against a computer system. So, according to this definition, cyber attacks are just one tool in the espionage toolbox, alongside many other methods of attacking a computer system including human, signal and imagery intelligence. Cyber espionage's close link to these tactics is what sets it apart from more traditional forms of hacking. Hackers certainly use internet searches (open-source intelligence) to plan their attacks, and social engineering (human intelligence) to assist them, but their reliance on other tools of espionage is limited compared with that of the sophisticated state and non-state actors engaged in cyber espionage.

How to Defeat the Missile Defense of the Future

Leonid Nersisyan

Taking a good look at U.S. and Russian strategic missile defense systems’ capabilities, we have come to the conclusion that these systems will not be able, neither at this moment nor in the foreseeable future, to influence the results of a hypothetical global nuclear war. Thus, it is possible to say with a high degree of confidence that in the next fifteen to twenty years, threats of nuclear deterrence will not arise, and therefore there will be no global war. Nevertheless, strategic security issues require at least indicative long-term forecasting. To do so, one must consider what ways of dealing with current and future missile defense systems could emerge.

Hypersonic Maneuvering Gliders: Coming in Ten Years?

Is the U.S. Army Close to Creating Lethal 'Super' Soldiers?

Kris Osborn
Source Link

Lighter weight protective body armor and undergarments, newer uniform fabrics, conformal wearable computers and integrated sensors powered by emerging battery technologies --- are all part of the Army’s cutting-edge scientific initiative aimed at shaping, enhancing and sustaining the Soldier of the Future.

The U.S. Army has set up a special high-tech laboratory aimed at better identifying and integrating gear, equipment and weapons in order to reduce the current weight burden placed on Soldiers and give them more opportunities to successfully execute missions, service officials said.

Crises from Europe to the Asia-Pacific Await Donald Trump


The world has reacted to Trump’s victory. Soon Trump will have to react to the world.

Presidential elections tend to be all-consuming in America, overshadowing everything else that’s happening in the world for months on end. But the world has a way of marching on regardless. Below are five developments in international affairs that haven’t been getting much media coverage recently, but could reach inflection points during Donald Trump’s administration. (This is a non-exhaustive list—you could easily add, say, political turmoil in Venezuela, which could present Trump with a failed state just a three-hour flight from Miami, or an escalation of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, which would offer Trump a choice between defending Ukraine’s sovereignty and preserving good relations with Russia.)

I’ve framed the developments as questions because they are literally that. The next president of the United States has never held political office, so we can’t consult his track record in predicting how he will govern.

White House: $11.6B More Needed for ISIS Fight, Afghanistan


The request brings the expected 2017 price tag for both wars to $85.3 billion.

The White House told Congress Thursday that it needs an additional $11.6 billion to pay for the campaign against Islamic State militants and the war in Afghanistan.

The request raises the price tag for both wars to $85.3 billion in 2017.

The money “is vitally important for our national security, and I strongly urge Congress to adopt it,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Thursday evening.

Some $5.6 billion would go toward military operations against ISISin Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has been carrying out the bulk of the coalition airstrikes, and has been training and advising Iraqi security forces. Some of the funding would also help support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

Continuity in Indo-US Defense Ties Seen Under Trump

By: Vivek Raghuvanshi, 

NEW DELHI — Indo-US defense ties will continue with Donald Trump as the next US president, government officials here agree. 

"India had very good relations with earlier Republican presidents and also with President Barack Obama, and there will be continuity in strategic and defense ties with Trump as president as well," a senior official with the Ministry of External Affairs said. 

India has bought weapons and equipment worth $15 billion in the last 10 years. However, defense ties between the two countries have merely been of the buy-and-sell nature. Under Obama, efforts were made to increase the defense ties to co-production and co-development of weaponry, but no co-development project has yet to be signed. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Trump on his electoral victory on Twitter. "Congratulations @realDonaldTrump on being elected as the 45th US President." 

In a separate tweet, he added: "We look forward to working with you closely to take India-US bilateral ties to a new height." 

The British Army Secretly Sent Israeli Missiles to Iraq and Afghanistan


In 2011, the second episode of the BBC documentary series Bomb Squadshowed a missile strike obliterating a team of Taliban fighters laying improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Afterwards, the film crew captured bomb disposal specialists discussing on the situation.

“They got hit by an Exactor missile, I think, or Extractor missile?” one British soldier tells his comrades. “So there’s bits of Taliban spread liberally all over the area currently.”

Curiously, at the time, the British military did not have an “Exactor” or“Extractor” missile officially in service. The BBC had caught a glimpse of a secret weapon.

The United Kingdom only publicly admitted to the existence of Exactor in 2014. By the time the BBC special aired, the Exactor had already been in combat for more than three years.

Marines Do First-of-its-Kind Maintenance Test with F-35B on Ship

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To prove that the Marines’ new 5th-generation fighter could undergo maintenance during an at-sea deployment, air crew aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America took one of the aircraft apart–and put it back together again. In what officials said was a new milestone for the program, an F-35B underwent an at-sea power module and engine swap. In that procedure, the Pratt & Whitney/ Rolls Royce engine and power module were removed from the aircraft, a labor-intensive and involved process, and a replacement system was installed.

Aboard amphibious ships, which have less maneuvering room than aircraft carriers, it’s key that maintainers know how to complete such complex jobs. They did the Nov. 9 swap thanks to Marines from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, out of Yuma, Arizona, who developed a special engine removal and replacement process just for the F-35 at sea, according to a release from the USS America.

How The Marine Corps Builds an Innovation Culture

Steve Blank 

Jennifer Edgin is the Chief Technology Officer of the Intelligence Division at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps. As the Senior Technical Advisor to the Director of Intelligence, she is responsible for building and infusing new technologies within the Marine Corps Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISRE). Jennifer is one the "innovation insurgents" inside the Department of Defense driving rapid innovation. Here's her story of the Lean innovation accelerator she's built for the Marines.

If you asked 100 people to describe a United States Marine, they would probably use words such as “Warrior,” “Fierce,” “Patriot,” “Honorable,” and “Tough.” Marine Corps culture transcends generations and is rooted in the values of courage, honor, and commitment. Marines are known for adapting to change and overcoming obstacles and adversity to meet new mission requirements continuously. Three years ago, Marine Corps Intelligence outlined a mission to harness the disruptions occurring in the new frontier of warfare, the Electronic battlefield. To achieve this mission, we established a framework that leveraged Marine Corps tenacity, agility, and adaptability to create a persistent culture of innovation.

The Perils of Conventional Deterrence by Punishment

Michael Petersen
November 11, 2016

Too often, discussions of how to conventionally deter Chinese or Russian aggression occur in the absence of any thinking about whether a stated deterrence strategy is feasible if a war were to break out. In other words, there is frequently a disconnect between deterrence theory and real-world war fighting practice. Only very rarely do planners and strategists explicitly link the two in ways that are workable from the diplomatic, strategic, and operational viewpoints. Even then, they do so in incomplete ways. If conventional deterrence is to be credible and successful – if it is to mean anything – it must be tied to a realistic, workable military solution that is clearly communicated to a potential enemy. To deter an adversary, that adversary must understand that its enemy has a viable military answer to the adversarial challenge.