17 November 2016

*** Lieutenant did you die in vain?

By Sarvar Bali
15 Nov , 2016

I learnt about your demise from the ticker tape on one of the news channels, last evening. It was a big encounter and a very fierce one at that. A feeling of deep saddness enveloped me as I reflected on your youth which had been sacrificed in Gurez Sector, in the line of duty. What does your death mean?

Your name will not be read out in any obituary reference in Parliament, as is done in the UK for all soldiers who fall in combat in the line of duty.

By now your mortal body would be lying embalmed at the Base Hospital and will be flown out of Srinagar later in the day, on its final journey to the cremation ground in your native town or village.

You were too young to die, far too young! For whom and for what did you die then? This question haunted me last night and I will attempt to answer you.

You were probably from a village or a small town of India. You were perhaps the son of an army officer or JCO, or from an urban or rural civilian background. You could not be from one of the big cities where iron has entered the soul of our youth and where the only driving motivator is quest for money in the surreal environment of the corporate world.

Why did you join the army? Ofcourse to get a job. But then that is over simpliying the question. You were possibly motivated by the traditions in your family and clan, you were probably enthused by the sight of your elder brothers, uncles or other men from your community in uniform, you were perhaps enchanted by the cantonment life where you may have spent your growing years.

***Stratfor looks at the growing monster of Russian ultra-nationalism

Source Link 

Summary: Far right movements are on the march again. In the US, Europe, and Russia. Here Stratfor looks at the disturbing political developments in the one-time superpower as it copes with rapid social change, their lost status as a superpower, and the economic stress from the collapse in oil prices.


The rise of Russia’s far right will undermine the Kremlin’s attempts to overcome the country’s deepening ethnic, class and religious divides. 

The ultra-conservative movement will continue only to grow, thanks to its media influence and militant youth groups. 

Moscow will work to curb the forces it has long supported in an effort to ensure that they do not challenge the Kremlin’s writ. 


Since taking power some 16 years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked tirelessly to bring about the return of conservative and nationalist values. His government has enthusiastically promoted the Russian Orthodox Church, depicting its patriarchs as the state’s moral compass. After suffering a period of neglect under the Soviet Union, over 25,000 churches and 800 monasteries have been built or refurbished during Putin’s reign. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has also launched a series of youth programs, the largest being Nashi, that teach conservative courses on politics, foreign policy and family values. Finally, after consolidating strategic economic sectors under its control, the government has presented itself as the people’s savior from the liberal, decadent oligarchs who once controlled the country’s resources.


By Shannon N. Green,Keith Proctor
NOVEMBER 14, 2016

The CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) was formed to develop a comprehensive and actionable blueprint on how to effectively combat the growing appeal of violent extremism within the United States and abroad. Specifically, the Commission considered what the next U.S. administration must do, in close collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental partners, to diminish the appeal of extremist ideologies and narratives. 

This bipartisan Commission was composed of 23 public- and private-sector leaders from technology companies, civil society, the faith community, and academia. Since its public launch in February 2016, the Commission met six times and consulted with more than a hundred experts and practitioners throughout the United States, Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. 

The Commission’s consultations were augmented by extensive research and a survey conducted in China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. 

This report is the culmination of the Commission’s deliberations. It outlines a comprehensive strategy for the incoming U.S. president, combining bolstered investments in soft power alongside sustained military and law enforcement efforts, strong and steady U.S. leadership, and an expansion of public-private partnerships to scale up proven CVE interventions. 

The CVE Commission and this report were made possible by generous support from founding member Mark Penn, as well as from Fred Khosravi. 

This interactive report is an abbreviated version of the full report. DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

** Pakistani nuclear forces, 2016


Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of...

Norris is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. A former senior research...

Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 130–140 warheads and appears to have plans to increase its arsenal further. With several delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and expansion of uranium enrichment facilities, the country’s stockpile will likely increase over the next 10 years, but by how much will depend on many things. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Islamabad plans to deploy, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows. Based on Pakistan’s performance over the past 20 years and its current and anticipated weapons deployments, the authors estimate that its stockpile could potentially grow to 220–250 warheads by 2025, making it the world’s fifth-largest nuclear weapon state. Pakistan’s deployment of short-range, so-called tactical nuclear weapons is causing considerable concern in South Asia and in the US Government about warhead security and lowering of the threshold for nuclear weapons use.

Greater Balochistan: A Quiet Frontier set to Explode

By Alexander Murray
15 Nov , 2016

As infrastructure projects in Greater Balochistan come to be, governments across South and Central Asia should prepare for what will most likely turn into the region’s next hotbed of violence. Baloch across the region must be included in regional governments’ decision making processes or investors should prepare for the rural ethnic Baloch to thrust their projects into the dustbins of history.

Until they are afforded influential autonomous positions within national, provincial, and local political institutions; until ethnic Baloch can confidently see themselves as equal partners in directing regional development initiatives; until they are tangibly integrated within all growing goods/service distribution networks, direct foreign investment will continues to be a very dangerous undertaking.

Historical Context

Greater Balochistan – southwestern Afghanistan, southeastern Iran, and western Pakistan – has recently encountered a windfall of infrastructure development. As China assists their Pakistani counterparts in constructing and operating the deep-water port of Gwadar, less than 200 kilometers away India and Afghanistan have begun constructing their Iranian equivalent at Chabahar. Both of these projects, and the infrastructure networks emanating from them, are laying the groundwork for a movement of peoples yet unseen in the region.

Though home to a diverse number of ethnicities, this region is populated most heavily by ethnic Baloch, who harbor near no representation in any of the three governments aforementioned. Having waged a rebellion in Pakistan for decades, usually beyond the view of international news media, ethnic Baloch in Afghanistan and Iran have retreated as refugees to foreign lands or faced bleak economic prospects that is their desolate corner of the world.

Japan-India Special Strategic Partnership and China

By Dr Subhash Kapila
16 Nov , 2016

Japan –India Special Strategic Partnership which stood further concretised with Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan in mid-November 2016 has been a pointed eyesore for China going by the statements that emanated from China both prior and after the visit.

Expectedly so, because what stands in between China’s efforts to establish full hegemony over the Asia Pacific are the other two major Asian Powers, namely, Japan and India. Adding salt to the Chinese wounds on this score is the over-riding strategic reality that both Japan and India have sound strategic convergences with the United States on the subject of security and stability of the Asia Pacific and so also the wider Indo Pacific Asia in which India has a predominant role.

China would also be painfully aware that should ever the United States ever waver on its resolve to uphold Asia Pacific security against Chinese hegemonistic assaults, there is no reason to doubt that Japan and India put together could rig up an Asian coalition with other Asian nations on China’s periphery to checkmate China. This may not be easily visible presently but when the critical moment come such Asian nations would strategically coalesce around Japan and India.

China’s temerity needs to be noted when it warned Japan and India before the Abe-Modi Summit Meet that both Japan and India should keep aloof and not meddle in the South China Sea dispute. It is worth noting that in the Joint Statement there were implicit references to China’s flouting international conventions on this issue. Some may argue that the references should have been more direct but then in international diplomacy some things are best said less directly. That China should have resorted to warning Japan and India in the run-up to the Summit Meet itself indicates that China was well aware that such references would be forthcoming.

Who Gains, Who Loses In Government’s Demonetisation Of Rs 500 & Rs 1,000

November 14, 2016

How will demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes impact the various sectors, institutions and levels of the Indian economy? A complete guide.

Macroeconomists and financial accountants are having a ball with demonetisation. Neither group is certain how demonetised notes which don't come back for destruction will impact the Reserve Bank's balance-sheet, and, more importantly, its profit and loss account. Profits can be transferred to the government as dividends.

If some notes remain outstanding (a 100 percent exchange is most unlikely), the RBI's liabilities surely will come down. Does this mean it can declare a profit on the amount it does not owe to old currency note holders, and adjust its books accordingly, declare a profit and transfer the bonanza to the government? Or will it merely adjust the drop in its liabilities by showing an increase in its non-monetary liabilities, or make a balancing reduction in assets to yield no direct benefit to the government? At best the RBI can return the government bonds it holds back to government to reduce its assets, and the latter can reduce its borrowing costs by paring down its future borrowing requirements this fiscal.

And how will demonetisation impact the growth rate, the government’s coffers, banks’ balance-sheets, interest rates, the exchange rate, corporate profits, the stock markets, and specific sectors? Here are our best guesses. But demonetisation is a complex issue, and will take some time to play out. So don’t rule out unexpected outcomes.

GDP growth: In the short term, due to the cash crunch and downtrend in everyday transactions, one can expect a quarter or two of slower growth. Let’s also remember, tax-evaded money boosts demand. Now that cash-based black money is in decline, consumption demand will weaken. The October-December quarter growth will certainly be impacted aversely by demonetisation. And maybe even the January-March quarter.

10 Things Modi Sarkar Can Do To Ease The Post-Demonetisation Cash Crisis

November 14, 2016

The goodwill generated by deciding to go after black money through demonetisation can quickly turn into public disenchantment.

Here are 10 ways to push money into the economy without damaging the larger goal of flushing black money out of the system.

The winding queues before banks and ATMs should tell the Narendra Modi government one thing: the only way to stem the panic and rising public anger is to push as much cash as possible into people’s hands before things get out of hand. The goodwill generated by deciding to go after black money through demonetisation can quickly turn into public disenchantment. More so when rival political parties are willing to fish in troubled waters.

The key takeout for the government is that the cash crisis is self-fulfilling. If cash is short, people will hoard it. Even if the banks and ATMs are spewing more cash, people will draw more of it for a while till they visibly see queues shortening. The only way to defeat this hoarding instinct is to make money available in plenty.

Here are 10 ways to push money into the economy without damaging the larger goal of flushing black money out of the system.

#1: Salary date in the organised sector is just a fortnight away. The government can make available, say, Rs 4,000-5,000 in cash to public sector and large private companies for payment to employees, which can then be deducted from their salaries. Sending cash to organised sector employees will reduce queues at ATMs and banks and the money will be distributed in an orderly way at the corporate level. To prevent this facility from being misused, companies can be asked to give the PAN, ID and mobile number details of employees receiving this money. This will prevent employers from distributing their own black money to employees.


By Abhijit Singh NOVEMBER 11, 2016 

The following article was originally featured by the Pacific Forum-CSIS’s PacNet series and is republished with permission. Read it in its original form here

Recently, editorial columns in Indian newspapers have become a battleground for strategic commentators to debate the merits of India’s defense logistics pact with the United States. Despite a public declaration by the Indian government regarding the “non-military” nature of the Logistics Exchange Memoranda of Agreement (LEMOA), the pact hasn’t resonated favorably with a section of India’s strategic elite, who reject the idea of providing the US military with operational access to Indian facilities. New Delhi might have much to gain from the LEMOA, which could be critical in establishing a favorable balance of power in Asia.

The critics argue that the arrangement does not benefit India in the same way that it advantages the US military. As a leading Indian defense analyst put it, “the government seems to have been guided more by the fear of being accused of succumbing to pressure from Washington and less by an evaluation of whether this might benefit India’s military.” As a result, Indian defense ministry officials find themselves under pressure to explain why they believe an agreement with the US on military logistics is in India’s best interests.

New Delhi’s stock response has been that the pact is strictly “conditional,” and allows access to supplies and services to the military forces of both countries only when engaged in a specific set of predetermined activities. At a press conference in Washington after the signing of the agreement, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar was at pains to explain that the agreement has nothing to do with the setting up of a military base. “It’s only about logistics support to each other’s fleet” he averred, “like supply of fuel, supply of many other things which are required for joint operations, humanitarian assistance and many other relief operations.”

Ratan Tata Vs Cyrus Mistry Round Two: Why This Battle Is Going To Be Tougher

November 15, 2016

In the ultimate analysis, whether Tata wins or not, the solutions he needs for his debt-laden group may not be substantially different from what Cyrus Mistry may have had to offer.

Old soldiers, they say, are always preparing for the last war. And so would seem to be the case with Ratan Tata’s fight to rescue the Tata Group from the clutches of Cyrus Mistry, recently ousted Chairman of Tata Sons. The battle has now shifted from Tata Sons to the various Tata company boards where Mistry remains chairman.

This battle is likely to be substantially different from the one he waged in the early 1990s, when Ratan Tata was chosen to succeed JRD Tata as Tata Sons Chairman. At that time, the people he had to fight to gain control of the group were senior CEOs who had already been well-entrenched in the group – Russi Mody at Tata Steel, Sumant Moolgaokar at Tata Motors, Darbari Seth at Tata Chemicals, Ajit Kerkar at Indian Hotels, and AH Tobaccowala at Voltas. But they were all ageing satraps. Ratan Tata had time on his side.

Tata managed to see them off by imposing a new age limit for executive directors in 1992. But even so, it took him five years to oust Ajit Kerkar at Indian Hotels, which happened only in 1997. In 2002, the age group for non-executive directors was lowered from 75 to 70, but was raised again in 2005, possibly to accommodate Rata Tata, who would have had to retire much sooner had it been retained. Tata turned 70 in December 2007, but actually retired as Chairman of Tata Sons only in 2012.

But unlike the 1990s, when the financial institutions backed him and independent directors were more old retainers than directors with real independence, today’s scenario is different. And time is not on Tata’s side. He will be 79 next month. Perhaps the only high cards he holds relate to the group’s crossholdings, which are higher now than in the 1990s. If the battle moves to shareholders, Tatas will have the votes to dispel most challenges.

Indians Spend Nearly $2.4 Million To Publish Research In Open Access Journals, Says Study

15 Nov, 2016

Indians spend close to $2.4 million annually to get their scientific research output published in different open access (OA) journals, authors of a new study say, raising concerns that scientists often have to cough up two months’ salary to get their work into those journals.

"We estimate that India is potentially spending about $2.4 million annually on Article Processing Charges (APCs) levied by those journals. To publish a paper in OA, some journals levy a charge that is equivalent to two months' salary of an assistant professor in India," Muthu Madhan of DST Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, told IANS.

Digital Dividend: Framing the Problem

November 01, 2016 

Summary: Technology is evolving at a fast pace today and its promises and concerns keep shifting. There is a need to outline a path to think through technological change and to shed light on the values that technology regulation ought to promote in order to encourage innovation.

Innovation and creative re-engineering are pivotal to the well-being of people and advancement of nation states. Developing nations, with fewer legacy systems in place, provide greater avenues for technology enabled change, and India is no exception. However, for innovation to achieve its intended outcome, important background conditions such as training and guidance to think up creative solutions, a wider ecosystem to finance and incentivize innovation, and a state willing to take chances, as well as promote private entrepreneurship, are required. Unfortunately, post-independent India subscribed to an economic philosophy where the state assumed central authority to decide the allocation of resources and the direction and scale of private sector activity. This centralization of decision-making proved harmful to the ushering in of a paradigm shift in the way goods and services were delivered, prompting former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to famously remark that only 17 paise of every rupee earmarked for various welfare packages reached the citizen.

Under the guidance of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, slow changes were initiated, resulting in a more vibrant role for the private sector and more avenues to raise capital. Simultaneously, regulatory institutions emerged to replace the license-permit Raj and regulate the interaction between private players, consumers and the state, in vital sectors such as capital markets, electricity, telecommunications, and insurance.

These developments coincided with a revolutionary technological shift, as a project incubated in the 1960s in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) came into its own, and the internet era commenced in right earnest. Witnessing exponential growth that put Moore’s Law to shame, the Internet soon became a powerful tool for finding and sharing information, learning new skills, facilitating the delivery of public goods and services, seamless cash transfers, and a host of other applications. More importantly for India, devices capable of Internet access have kept shrinking in size and cost; currently all smartphones and other mobile devices come equipped with capabilities to access the net. The Internet and Mobile Association of India recently estimated 371 million mobile Internet users by June 2016.

Greater Balochistan: A Quiet Frontier Set To Explode – Analysis

By Alexander Murray* 
NOVEMBER 16, 2016

As infrastructure projects in Greater Balochistan come to be, governments across South and Central Asia should prepare for what will most likely turn into the region’s next hotbed of violence. Baloch across the region must be included in regional governments’ decision making processes or investors should prepare for the rural ethnic Baloch to thrust their projects into the dustbins of history.

Until they are afforded influential autonomous positions within national, provincial, and local political institutions; until ethnic Baloch can confidently see themselves as equal partners in directing regional development initiatives; until they are tangibly integrated within all growing goods/service distribution networks, direct foreign investment will continues to be a very dangerous undertaking.

Historical Context

Greater Balochistan – southwestern Afghanistan, southeastern Iran, and western Pakistan – has recently encountered a windfall of infrastructure development. As China assists their Pakistani counterparts in constructing and operating the deep-water port of Gwadar, less than 200 kilometers away India and Afghanistan have begun constructing their Iranian equivalent at Chabahar. Both of these projects, and the infrastructure networks emanating from them, are laying the groundwork for a movement of peoples yet unseen in the region.

Though home to a diverse number of ethnicities, this region is populated most heavily by ethnic Baloch, who harbor near no representation in any of the three governments aforementioned. Having waged a rebellion in Pakistan for decades, usually beyond the view of international news media, ethnic Baloch in Afghanistan and Iran have retreated as refugees to foreign lands or faced bleak economic prospects that is their desolate corner of the world.

Devised Leadership Crisis in Taliban: Takeover by Haqqanies

By Shreyas Deshmukh
16 Nov , 2016

Since American offensive started in Afghanistan against Taliban regime in 2001, the entity remained homogeneous without any serious fractionalisation in exile till June 18, 2013 when Taliban political office in Qatar was inaugurated. According to Mullah Rasoul, leader of one of the breakaway faction of Taliban, Mullah Omar was killed one day before the opening ceremony of Qatar office. However despite the fact that leadership continues to change after this event, the organisational structure of Taliban remains more or less intact. 

2013-14 was an important year for insurgency in Afghanistan, because of a host of reasons, most notable being; withdrawal of majority of the Coalition Forces, Mullah Mansour’s unofficially takingover of Taliban operations, Dr Ghani’s selection as Afghan President and new military and political leadership take over in Pakistan. These changes were followed by the resurgence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Pakistan’s military operations in North Waziristan area which forced many disgruntled groups to move from Miramshah, Bannu, DattaKhel and Orkazai region to border provinces of Afghanistan, including Kunar, Nagrahar and Pakhtia etc. Further this migration of militants gave birth to so called Islamic State (IS) in those provinces. Amidst all this, Taliban continues to redefine its approach towards changing scenario in Afghanistan and according to that it has reorganised its leadership and continued to mount heavy casualties on Afghan forces by adopting new tactics.

How Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica Can Teach the U.S. Navy to Defeat China

James Holmes

How would you punk the U.S. Navy if the lords of naval warfare handed you the keys to, say, China’s navy? Well, you might do the obvious thing: read or watch some science fiction!

In the latest Star Trek flick, for instance, a new foe harnesses swarm tactics to eviscerate the starship Enterprise. A coordinated stream of small craft overpowers the starship’s defenses through the simple expedient of presenting more targets than the Enterprise crew can shoot down. Its overseer then concentrates fire at vital nodes to dismember the ship’s structure.

Such tactics are an otherworldly counterpart to saturation missile barrages meant to overwhelm U.S. surface combatants’ Aegis combat systems. Rather than try to evade Aegis defenses, attackers simply aim more rounds at this combination radar, fire-control and surface-to-air missile system than it can handle. Some get through—and sow havoc. Life imitates sci-fi.

Creating a Stable Asia: An Agenda for a U.S.-China Balance of Power

Published October 26, 2016 

The Western Pacific is experiencing a fundamental and potentially destabilizing military and economic power transition driven primarily by China’s economic and military rise and a corresponding relative decline in American power

The Western Pacific is experiencing a fundamental and potentially destabilizing military and economic power transition driven primarily by China’s economic and military rise and a corresponding relative decline in American power. Efforts by the United States or China to secure future predominance will prove futile and dangerous, given a host of security, economic, and diplomatic factors. Instead, creating a stable de facto balance of power is necessary and feasible for both countries. This shift could take the form of a more durable balance that would necessitate major regional changes that would be difficult to achieve, or a more feasible but less stable balance involving more modest adjustments. The incremental, conditional process this would entail involves developing domestic consensus, securing allied and friendly support, deepening U.S.-China dialogue, and achieving interlinked changes in several existing regional security policies.


This trend of power transition and heightened instability is highly likely to deepen. China will almost certainly manage to significantly increase its economic and military capabilities vis-à-vis the United States and its allies. Moreover, Washington and Beijing handle volatile regional issues very differently, and their respective offense-oriented escalatory military doctrines are likely to persist under existing conditions, increasing the likelihood of severe crises. Key U.S. allies will probably remain unwilling and unable to compensate for America’s relative decline. 

An Interview with Christopher A. Ford

By Mengjia Wan
November 1, 2016

While material resources lay the foundation for national power, ideational factors play a key role in influencing how nations perceive and pursue power. The 2016–17 edition of Strategic Asia examines the sources of strategic culture for the major powers in the Asia-Pacific and assesses how each country’s strategic culture shapes its decision-making.

In this Q&A, Christopher A. Ford, chief legislative counsel for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discusses the idiosyncratic characteristics of Chinese strategic culture. He argues that although the Chinese Communist Party’s official narrative depicts China’s strategic culture as essentially pacifistic and disinclined toward violence, its basic orientation is fundamentally realist.

Why is strategic culture important to understand the Chinese regime’s aims and behavior?

Humans are social animals, and they have cultures. It is important to understand the elements of a culture if you wish to know how its adherents will behave, and if you want to be able to interact with them more effectively. Strategic culture is not any less valid a concept than “ordinary” culture, and it can indeed shape behavior in characteristic ways that we should try to understand. This is especially true if we are to avoid simply mirror-imaging a strategic “other” by reflexively assuming that its decision-makers will react to events just as we ourselves would react. They may actually react differently, and in the foreign policy and national security arena, such miscalculation could have grave consequences.

That said, I think it’s also a mistake to reify the concept of culture, as if cultural differences were all-important, and as if they were deterministic influences on behavior. They’re not. How much one culture differs from the next can vary enormously, and cultures can be highly malleable, especially over time. The challenge is to identify whether, and the degree to which, particular groups really do have different strategic cultures, and to assess how much such differences matter in behavior.

China's Army Reform Will Result in a 'Capable, Always Combat Ready' Force

Saudi Arabia Doesn't Fear the 9/11 Victims' Bill

Thomas W. Lippman

When Congress voted overwhelmingly last month to override a veto by President Obama and pass a law allowing victims and survivors’ families of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, foreign policy experts in both countries predicted a new crisis in Saudi-U.S. relations.

In addition to violating the long-standing principle of international law that insulates governments from suits by individuals, critics said, the bill was insulting in its suggestion that the Saudi government was somehow responsible for the attacks. While official statements in Washington and Riyadh were restrained, independent analysts said the measure would exacerbate existing tensions in the bilateral relationship and might lead the Saudis to reduce their cooperation on antiterrorism activities. Saudi citizens lit up social media with outrage, calling for drastic retaliatory action. Some rallied around a call to boycott American products and services.

A year after Paris attacks, Europe’s extremism problem shows no signs of going away

Rick Noack and Jennifer Amur
November 14, 2016

A year after Paris attacks, Europe’s extremism problem shows no signs of going away

PARIS — In a series of attacks on “precisely chosen targets,” nine Islamic State militants wrought devastation in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, killing at least 130 people.

A year later, the world is still grappling with violence exported from Iraq and Syria and carried out by those influenced by the missive to build an Islamic caliphate, even as the group’s footprint shrinks.

How did Europe get to this point? And why is it so hard for authorities to stop it? This is a look back at The Post’s reporting on a year of attacks, and an attempt to explain how we got there.

How it began

The attacks in Paris began at just after 9 p.m. Nov. 13, a Friday night that began like any other. More than 80,000 packed the Stade de France to watch the French national soccer team take on Germany. The City of Love, home to 2.2 million, was bustling.

Donald Trump And Potential Russia-West Break Points – Analysis


The state of challenged Russia-West (especially US-Russia) relations is something questioned by Western realists and some alternative others. Donald Trump made it to the US presidency, despite saying some things that run counter to the biases against Russia, evident in the American political establishment.

Among these elites, Trump faces noticeable Democratic and Republican opposition towards his realist stated views on Russia. He has exhibited a will to do things his way. A US president has the power to keep a lid on aggressive tendencies. Two examples come to mind. During the Cuban missile crisis, John F. Kennedy opposed some of those under him, who favored a more confrontational approach. Barack Obama nixed some of the aggressive positions sought by individuals in his administration.

Trump, Putin Speak On Telephone; Vow To Improve Relations – OpEd

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

After a rancorous presidential campaign in which the Hillary Clinton team actually accused President-elect Donald Trump of being a Russian agent, a new tone is being set by the next US president. Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone this afternoon with the incoming Republican and both men agreed to work toward “constructive cooperation” between the US and Russia. According to the Kremlin website, the two agreed to “return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation, which would address the interests of both countries as well as stability and safety the world over.”

It would not be unrealistic to see the removal of some US sanctions on Russia (and Russian counter-sanctions) as one of the early acts of President Trump.

Has the “Cold War II” crowd been silence by this surprise move toward a thaw in US/Russian relations? We can only hope that this surprise move has put a monkey wrench in their plans. For the neocons, who have few actual salable skills, survival and prosperity depends on them finding and promoting the next “Hitler” of the day. They had their Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, etc. But turning the US against Russia and Putin should have kept them on easy street for many years to come.

The Triadic Nexus: Energy Factor, National Security And Foreign Policy – Analysis

By Nargiz Hajiyeva* 
NOVEMBER 15, 2016

“Safety and certainty in oil lie in variety and variety alone” — Winston Churchill

There is a doctrine in classical geopolitics: “Who controls Eurasia, (Heartland) eventually, he will be able to run the world. In subsequent times, historical development resulted in the pivotal changes in the foreign policies, in particular, political interests of states. Hence, the doctrine was changed into a new dogma in terms of the historical and geopolitical changes in the contemporary world order. “Who possesses energy resources sooner or later he can put the world under his control.

In today’s globalized world, maintenance of energy security stands on the agenda of states. Ostensibly, states clearly comprehend the pivotal impact of energy on both national security and foreign policy. Therefore, they can be considered as an indispensable “triangle” within the policy of states. In order to realize the importance of energy security, it could be better to trace back to the historical period.

On the threshold of the World War I, First Lord of Admiralty, Winston Churchill made a historical move that he transferred the main power source of British Navy from Welsh coal to oil; because of the fact that he had in mind to make the Royal armada much faster than its German counterpart. This historical switch from coal to oil meant that not only did Royal navy not depend on Welsh coal, but also he clearly expressed the diversification of supply as a fundamental principle of energy security. This pivotal decision had formed the course of the war against counterparts. As a consequence of this historically important footstep, today national security, in particular, homeland security lies in the hands of energy factor. Afterward, since Churchill’s crucial answer, energy security has been the number one issue on the agenda of states that nowadays, they strive to answer these questions regarding what are the key principles of energy security and how they can preserve the energy resources within national security?! It is undeniable fact that the fervent interests of states over energy enhanced amid the World War II. As a result, the major powers and allies lacking meaningful resources strived to gain access to wealthy energy resources in particular areas; Middle East, Caspian Sea and Romania. Indeed, the main concerns on energy consisted of gaining broad access to energy-rich areas in order to not only did ensure their energy demands and preserve energy resources within their national security. Basically, if energy security puts the question on national strategy, first and foremost, national security and then foreign policy have to be taken into account in order to realize the key principles of energy security. Between the threshold of the two wars, energy was used as an effective response to military power.

Army honing in on cyber defense

November 11, 2016

Army officials have seen the growth in cyber defense coming down the pike. This is in part to its Defensive Cyberspace Operation infrastructure program. For its part, the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems is tasked with providing DCO the non-tactical, enterprise network.

PEO EIS is executing a four pronged approach based upon an operational needs statement for DCO, which includes DCO infrastructure, cyber protection team tools, web vulnerability, and the big data platform – developed by DISA and Army Cyber Command.

To augment DCO, the Army is undertaking a new effort to acquire defensive cyber tools for cyber protection teams (CPT) falling under the cyber protection team tools prong of the DCO program. “It’s designed to deploy tools and an infrastructure to defend the network and do some forensic operations and analysis to identify trends and catch the bad guys,” Ralph Ocasio, the deputy program manager for installation information infrastructure communications and capabilities, was quoted as saying to Federal News Radio. “It’s not so much for offensive operations, but that first line of defense across the network.”

Ocasio also reportedly said that rather than having teams procure cyber tools from industry under previous models, which he termed “a hodgepodge from an acquisition perspective,” a new process would be more formalized and break some of the impediments related to purchasing cyber capabilities in a quick manner.

According to talking points on the program obtained by C4ISRNET, this DCO tool suite, as it’s called, will be a critical element of the DCO and facilitate a CPT maneuver baseline, the ability to run software packages that defend the network. The tool suite will provide CPTs sensors, active detection network analysis, threat emulation, forensic analysis, web scanning, planning and visualization tools for conducting defensive cyberspace operations, according to talking points.

A ‘Highly Lethal’ War Of ‘Fleeting’ Advantages: Multi-Domain Battle

November 14, 2016 

M1 tank at the National Training Center in 2015.

ARLINGTON: The US Army isn’t counting on airpower in the next war. Without that cover, there won’t be supply drops, recon drones or medevac helicopters picking up your casualties — and you will have casualties.

“Land-based forces now are going to have to penetrate denied areas to facilitate air and naval forces. This is the exact opposite of what we have done for the last 70 years, where air and naval forces have enabled ground forces,” Gen. Mark Milley, the Army Chief of Staff, said last month.

Gen. Mark Milley

Milley’s referring to a modern American way of war that emerged at least as early as 1944, with the landings at Normandy in France and on Tinian in the Pacific. The US first secured control of sea and sky, then bombarded enemy ground forces, and only then landed ground troops, followed by waves of reinforcements and supplies. But every step in this process is now threatened by the proliferation of long-range precision missiles, along with the sensors to target them and the networks to command them — a combination known as Anti-Access/Area Denial.

So as bad as Iraq and Afghanistan have been, a war against a well-armed adversary like Russia, China, or their customers would be worse — worse in ways that overturn longstanding assumptions about how America fights. Above all, long-range missiles targeting US aircraft, aircraft carriers, and airbases may disrupt the air support on which US ground troops have depended since the Second World War. Hacking and jamming will disrupt communications and blind sensors. Anti-tank missiles, artillery rockets, and roadside bombs will disrupt supply convoys and devastate static bases.

How Special Operators Trained for Psychological Warfare Before the Mosul Fight

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 

At a two-day exercise in April, U.S. troops practiced waging warfare on an invisible yet vital battlefield. 

There are two battles occurring in Mosul today. One is in the streets, where coalition forces are exchanging fire with ISISremnants entrenched around Iraq’s second-largest city. The second is taking place on screens, on Twitter, and in the minds of residents and of fighters on both sides. Mosul is an information battlespace as much as it is physical location, and you can’t achieve victory on one battlefield without achieving it on the other.

So in the months leading up to the Mosul offensive, the Joint Staff hosted a highly unusual war game. The goal: train Special Forces operators to disrupt ISIS’s ability to command and control forces and “neutralize its ability to increase morale,” according to a Defense Department official.

Defense One obtained a writeup of the exercise, which provides a rare glimpse into psychological operations, or PSYOPS.

“Focusing on PSYOP as the main activity of a wargame, rather than as part of a full spectrum of Diplomatic Information Military and Economic, DIME, activities, is quite rare within the professional defense community,” the writeup notes.

“This was a training opportunity for guys doing information operation stuff. They don’t usually have an opportunity to practice that in an environment where lives aren’t lost,” said Devin Hayes Ellis, who works on the University of Maryland’s ICONS project, which provided the framework and digital platform for the exercise. Importantly the official noted that the Pentagon does not think of the exercise as training SOF to fight ISIS computer systems. The Defense official described the purpose of the exercise as “enhancing Military Information Support Operations (MISO) training and effectiveness and pre-test narrative space options for degrading the effectiveness of ISIL propaganda to key population constituencies in a controlled environment.” 

The Most Effective Weapon on the Modern Battlefield is Concrete

November 15, 2016

Ask any Iraq War veteran about Jersey, Alaska, Texas, and Colorado and you will be surprised to get stories not about states, but about concrete barriers. Many soldiers deployed to Iraq became experts in concrete during their combat tours. Concrete is as symbolic to their deployments as the weapons they carried. No other weapon or technology has done more to contribute to achieving strategic goals of providing security, protecting populations, establishing stability, and eliminating terrorist threats. This was most evident in the complex urban terrain of Baghdad, Iraq. Increasing urbanization and its consequent influence on global patterns of conflict mean that the US military is almost certain to be fighting in cities again in our future wars. Military planners would be derelict in their duty if they allowed the hard-won lessons about concrete learned on Baghdad’s streets to be forgotten.

When I deployed to Iraq as an infantry soldier in 2008 I never imagined I would become a pseudo-expert in concrete. But that is what happened—from small concrete barriers used for traffic control points to giant ones to protect against deadly threats like improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and indirect fire from rockets and mortars. Miniature concrete barriers were given out by senior leaders as gifts to represent entire tours. By the end my deployment, I could tell you how much each concrete barrier weighed. How much each barrier cost. What crane was needed to lift different types. How many could be emplaced in a single night. How many could be moved with a military vehicle before its hydraulics failed.

Baghdad was strewn with concrete—barriers, walls, and guard towers. Each type was named for a state, denoting their relative sizes and weights. There were small barriers like the Jersey (three feet tall; two tons), medium ones like the Colorado (six feet tall; 3.5 tons) and Texas (six feet, eight inches tall; six tons) and large ones like the Alaska (twelve feet tall; seven tons). And there were T-walls (twelve feet tall; six tons), and actual structures such as bunkers (six feet tall; eight tons) and guard towers (fifteen to twenty-eight feet tall).


NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Last month, Houthi rebels in Yemen twice fired anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) at the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, forcing the ship to take defensive measures. In September, the same rebel group attacked a former U.S. high-speed vessel, burning it to the waterline. These events highlight the ease with which potential adversaries, including stateless terrorists, can obtain and use capable long-range weapons. In the words of Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for the integration of capabilities and resources, “in the next few years, everywhere the Navy goes, if you’re not in a submarine, you better watch out because every…country will be able to launch high-speed missiles at you.”

Traditional amphibious operations will be particularly vulnerable to ASCMs and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that can reach hundreds of miles away. A large assault like Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal would involve capital ships operating close to hostile shores for hours to offload Marines and their equipment using helicopters, short-range armored vehicles, and unprotected hovercraft and boats. These kinds of large-scale operations will likely not be viable in future conflicts.

Moreover, big amphibious assaults may not be necessary in the future, thanks to the same precision weapons technologies. Much smaller ground units and capabilities dispersed over wide areas can themselves use surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), ASCMs, and other weapons to achieve outsized effects. This increases the importance of amphibious raids against enemy weapons installations and the value of small expeditionary bases for U.S. forces to employ SAMs and ASCMs to contest the enemy’s access and constrain its options.

Over the last two decades, the Marine Corps and Navy acquired a slew of new platforms to improve their amphibious capabilities in recognition of these trends. The Corps introduced both the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), while the Navy commissioned new classes of small-deck and big-deck amphibious ships.

UAVs As Mobile IEDs

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Drones have traditionally been used by Western militaries as a tool in counterterrorism efforts, but insurgent and terrorist groups are increasingly turning to small hobby drones to bolster their own efforts. The Cipher Brief spoke with Robert Bunker of the Strategic Studies Institute on how insurgents can incorporate this new limited form of airpower into their operational playbooks.

The Cipher Brief: How common is it for non-state groups to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology?

Robert Bunker: Insurgent and terrorist groups have been looking into and experimenting with UAS since the early 2000s. The Aum Shinrikyo cult even looked into using remote controlled helicopters to spray the sarin nerve agent in the pre-June of 1994 period. Quite a number of notional and ill-conceived al Qaeda UAS plots then took place with little to show for them but the arrest of some of its affinity members in the United States.

The main groups initially attempting—or actually utilizing—UAS were Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah, with the latter having the most success. Hezbollah—drawing upon its ties to Iran—utilized military grade UAS rather than commercial systems employed by the various Sunni Jihadi groups. UAS use by Jihadi insurgents has steadily increased since 2010, with the Islamic State dominating the scene since 2014.

Russian separatists in the Ukraine—undoubtedly backed by Russia—are also heavily invested in UAS. They have been using them primarily for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) purposes in order to coordinate artillery and rocket strikes on Ukrainian forces.

TCB: What are some innovative ways insurgents have incorporated UAS into their tactics?