13 December 2016

** OBOR on the Ground

By Jonathan Hillman

This essay was prepared for the Naval War College Workshop on China’s Silk Road Initiative. 

Asia’s Infrastructure Push 

A massive infrastructure push is underway across Asia. The region’s infrastructure market could grow by 8 percent annually over the next decade, rising to nearly 60 percent of the global total. All told, the region’s infrastructure needs are estimated to exceed $1 trillion annually.

China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative is at the center of this push. Estimates vary, but all point toward an ambitious endeavor. Geographically, OBOR could span 65 countries responsible for roughly 70 percent of the world’s population. Economically, it could include Chinese investments approaching $4 trillion.

Behind these big numbers are some big questions. To begin with, how is this mega-initiative manifesting itself on the ground? Are new projects economically viable? Looking further ahead, how might these new connections reshape flows of goods, people, data and ideas? What new economic and political realities might emerge? 

** A New American Grand Strategy

by General Jim Mattis

The world is awash in change. The international order, so painstakingly put together by the greatest generation coming home from mankind’s bloodiest conflict, is under increasing stress. It was created with elements we take for granted: the United Nations, NATO, the Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods and more. The constructed order reflected the wisdom of those who recognized no nation lived as an island and we needed new ways to deal with challenges that for better or worse impacted all nations. Like it or not, today we are part of this larger world and must carry out our part. We cannot wait for problems to arrive here or it will be too late; rather we must remain strongly engaged in this complex world.

The international order built on the state system is not self-sustaining. It demands tending by an America that leads wisely, standing unapologetically for the freedoms each of us in this room have enjoyed. The hearing today addresses the need for America to adapt to changing circumstances, to come out now from its reactive crouch and to take a firm strategic stance in defense of our values.

Don’t pause war on ISIS

It appeared the war against one of modern civilisation’s worst challengers was being gradually won.

The world has reason to worry afresh as Islamic State, the dreaded terrorist outfit, recaptured historic Palmyra as Syrian troops withdrew after pitched battles on Sunday, and the treasures of a heritage site may be lost forever. As ISIS’ “soldiers” rampaged again through the historic ruins and museums, from which artefacts have already been stolen or destroyed mindlessly by crazed men unmindful of their link to an ancient civilisation, it’s clear that war-weary Syrian troops, though buttressed by Russian help in air power, aren’t up to the task of retaining the territories won back from ISIS at huge cost few months ago.

A relapse of violence and bloodletting is likely with ISIS executing thousands in Palmyra’s historic amphitheatre. It appeared the war against one of modern civilisation’s worst challengers was being gradually won, with gains in major cities like Mosul and Raqqa. Major ISIS figures had also been killed in well-planned drone attacks, but the resolve of ideologically-driven zealots should not be underestimated.

India-US ties: Going to a whole new level?

“Major defence partner” and “major non-Nato ally” are the same in practical terms.

Although of uncertain value, India-US relations took a mammoth stride last week when the US Senate cleared a bill which characterises India as a “major defence partner”, a description which President Barack Obama already conferred on this country during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June. On that visit, Mr Modi had waxed eloquent about the need to “overcome the hesitations of history”, in the process making his disavowal known of the history of India-US ties, which was rooted in India’s pronounced hesitation to accept any country’s hegemony.

Mr Modi also laid out his agenda for ties with America. He can now be said to have delivered. The joint statement signed when US secretary of state John Kerry was here in August had noted that robust defence ties were the “bedrock” of bilateral strategic and commercial ties. In this context, it made a reference to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (Lemoa), a “foundational” defence agreement that defence minister Manohar Parrikar and US defence secretary Ashton Carter had just signed, and the title of “major defence partner” that President Obama envisaged.

Battling the bots

Harsh Manglik

As India goes digital, experts must recognise the huge threat to the internet from hackers using armies of ‘bots’, low-end devices from security cameras to medical implants.

Alarm bells rang out on October 21 when large chunks of the internet in the United States and Europe were made inoperable. This happened because of a specific type of hostile attack, termed “Denial of Service”; this paralyses an organisation’s internet-facing servers (computers) by flooding them with artificially created traffic that has been dramatically scaled up.

Here, the pin-point objective was to paralyse an online directory service organisation, Dyn, central to successful internet operation. The attackers hacked and took control of an estimated 100,000 low-end devices that can autonomously access the internet, directing them to overwhelm Dyn — and consequentially paralyse the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) was involved because the attack exploited very large numbers of ubiquitous low-end devices connected to the internet. This event was a chilling demonstration of the new vulnerabilities that attend the astounding growth of the IoT, and the central role of the internet as the digital nervous system of the interconnected machine and human experience. Technology, and the exploding range of services it enables, has consistently outpaced our understanding of the internet’s evolution and the systems designed to protect it.

POKE ME: GoI has succumbed to bureaucratic politics to deny ‘real’ OROP to exservicemen

This week's "Poke Me" invites your comments on "GoI has succumbed to bureaucratic politics to deny ‘real’ OROP to  exservicemen?". The feature will be reproduced on the edit page of the Saturday edition of the newspaper with a pick of readers' best comments. So be poked and fire in your comments to us right away. Comments reproduced in the paper will be the ones that support or oppose the views expressed here intelligently. Feel free to add reference links etc, in support of your comments.

Defending the Indefensible
By Manoj Joshi

In September 2013, in the heat of electioneering, Narendra Modi promised to give retired military personnel the grail they had been seeking for so long: One Rank One Pension (OROP). Initially, he insisted that he would follow up his promise. But two years later, when its implications began to sink in, he began to backpedal and say that, maybe, the
term OROP needed to be defined and that the exservicemen needed to be a bit more patient.

Finally, in September 2015, the government announced that they were implementing the OROP scheme. The problem was that it was OROP only by the government’s own definition.


Afghan and American officials are increasingly worried about deepening political ties between Russia and Taliban militants. 

Putin Says US 'Hysteria' Over Russia Is An Election Ploy

Afghan and American officials are increasingly worried that any deepening of ties between Russia and Taliban militants fighting to topple the government in Kabul could complicate an already precarious security situation.

Russian officials have denied they provide aid to the insurgents, who are contesting large swathes of territory and inflicting heavy casualties, and say their limited contacts are aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Leaders in Kabul say Russian support for the Afghan Taliban appears to be mostly political so far.

But a series of recent meetings they say has taken place in Moscow and Tajikistan has made Afghan intelligence and defense officials nervous about more direct support including weapons or funding.

A senior Afghan security official called Russian support for the Taliban a "dangerous new trend", an analysis echoed by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson.



Mr. President-Elect:

Neither you nor Secretary Clinton said much in the campaign about the war in Afghanistan. I don’t blame you. It’s a complex issue, and there was no electoral payoff in it. Progress in our 15-year war has been halting. Neither advocating “staying the course” nor arguing for a full withdrawal would have won any votes. Soon, however, this issue will be in your inbox. I am betting that you don’t want to be the president who loses a winnable contest.

In the last four years, America’s policy in practice has been to “not lose” in Afghanistan with the least amount of expenditures possible. Washington’s uncertain trumpet has encouraged the Taliban to fight harder and for Pakistan to help them. In the ensuing chaos, both al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State have stronger positions in Afghanistan than they did just a few years ago. This is, in part, due to the success of Pakistani military forces against militants in the border regions of their country. Their success pushed bad actors into Afghanistan, adding to an already perilous situation. Our only ace in the hole has been the Afghan security forces who are fighting hard with minimal assistance. The Afghan government under President Ashraf Ghani is dedicated to the fight, but faces daunting levels of economic and corruption challenges. There is also an internal political struggle with the legislature and local critics – the stuff of a budding democracy.

The Chinese Military Report You Missed (But Need to Read, Now)

Harry J. Kazianis

Okay, so coming in at a beefy 631 pages, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s (USCC) annual report might not exactly be a light read. However, for those of us on the hunt for the latest non-classified, open-source material on China’s military there appear to be several important data points worth seeking out.

Truth be told, the entire report is not about Beijing’s mighty military, with the bulk of the report detailing U.S.-China trade relations as well as Beijing’s interactions around the world. However, Chapter 2 is where Chinese military geeks need to pay attention. Below are some of the highlights that I found of most interest:

Point #1 - Chinese Nuclear Submarines Are Advancing:

“China launched three new Type 093 SHANG-class nuclear attack submarines in May, according to Chinese media reports. The new submarines are reportedly the first SHANGs to carry a vertical missile launch system capable of firing the long-range YJ–18 anti-ship cruise missile. The increasing number of Chinese submarines and the growing range of Chinese submarine-launched munitions will greatly complicate the threat environment for U.S. ships operating near China.”

More Roads to the Tibet Borders

By Claude Arpi

China actively continues to invest on infrastructure towards Tibet’s borders with its neighbours.

According to Kangba TV, a new Yunnan-Tibet highway is under construction. The project will eventually cost 2.34-billion-yuan.

Starting from Bingzhongluo Township in Yunnan Province, it will proceed towards Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture. The road will then pass through Tshabarong (pinyin: Cawarong Township) and ends up in Zhowago (the Tibetan rendering is not clear) in Zayul County of Nyingchi Township of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Bingzhongluo Township in Yunnan is famed for the coexistence of different religions including Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism and Christian.

The village of Tshabarong lies at the relatively altitude of 2,003 meters. Formerly known as Tsarung, it was traditionally on a southern trade route running from Yunnan to Tibet; it was also part of the fame tea-horse road. Wikipedia describes the road thus: “An unsealed road cut into the cliffs above the Nu River links it to Bingzhongluo in Yunnan.”

Decoding China’s Approach to Data Security

By Nick Marro

With its restrictions on cross-border data movement, China is fracturing the global internet. 

For centuries, an essential part of statecraft has been keeping sensitive information away from prying eyes. Though the type and quantity of information has changed as nations and their citizens enter the digital age, the desire to manage information remains. Starkly different visions for the regulation and flow of data are taking shape as the world shifts into the digital economy and grapples with governing data usage. Though the debate within and between countries is ongoing, no country is set to have a greater impact on data policy than China, home to the world’s largest number of netizens at 712 million.

Headline news on China’s activities in cyberspace have overshadowed much of the discussion on data policy. Cyber espionage, whether targeted at governments or for commercial gain, is a major issue on the U.S.-China bilateral agenda. While hacking is one aspect of concern, an equally important (and less discussed) area is China’s fracturing of the global internet, and how this behavior can damage safeguards to global information security.

These are the 9 Killer Weapons China and Taiwan Would Use in a War

After Donald Trump’s now historic call with the President of Taiwan, it seems relations between Beijing and Taipei are now back as one the most important international issues of the day.

And so it should be.

With China and Taiwan seeing a spike in tensions after years of relative calm—with the Asia-Pacific region already swimming in its own sea of troubles thanks to tensions in the South and East China Seas—there is once again the danger of a crisis that could bring Washington and Beijing to blows. And as both nations are armed with nuclear weapons, the stakes could not get any higher.

But what would happen if Taipei and Beijing actually ended up in some sort of conflict? What would be the military systems and strategies used? What weapons in China's arsenal would Taiwan fear the most? What would Beijing fear? And most importantly: who would win?

We have explored this issue in depth and have packaged together in this one post articles by Michal Thim and J. Michael Cole, written back in 2014, that should help answer these important questions. Let the debate begin. 

Why the World Should Fear a 'Thucydidean' China

James Holmes

"A China of Athenian inclinations would be a domineering China, apt to bully Asian neighbors that can’t match up to Chinese diplomatic, economic, or military might." 

“We don’t care about your stupid FONOPs.” That’s what a group of retired People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officers told an American interlocutor recently. They referred, of course, to the “freedom-of-navigation” patrols the U.S. Navy has undertaken in the South China Sea of late. Most recently the destroyer USS Decatur mounted a challenge in the Paracel Islands. But if not FONOPs, what does get Chinese blood pumping? “We care about our ability to project power,” quoth the doughty seafarers. “Law is only as good as it can be enforced.”

How refreshingly Thucydidean! Or, more precisely, how refreshingly Athenian. Odd, isn’t it, how politics makes strange bedfellows? And few bedfellows could be stranger than the compact democratic city-state from Greek antiquity and the sprawling one-party authoritarian state that is contemporary China. But however radically they differ in domestic rule, classical Athens and present-day China operate from similar principles in the international realm.

Global Leadership Doesn't Mean Another Vietnam or Iraq

James F. Jeffrey

U.S. engagement to deter and repel aggression has been extraordinarily successful.

In a recent National Interest essay, “Don’t Let the DC Blob Guide Trump’s Foreign Policy,” Gordon Adams and Richard Sokolsky argue that the new administration shouldn’t follow what the Obama administration dismissively termed the foreign affairs “blob” of ex-officials, think tankers, NGO leaders and media commentators who allegedly press for an interventionist foreign policy. So far so good, who wants another Iraq or Vietnam? But in writing this important piece, they appear to advocate not just ending regime change efforts, but seemingly the substance of America’s global security leadership role. This would truly be the “revolutionary change” they urge, but an extremely dangerous one, especially since Donald Trump, Bernie Saunders, at times President Obama, and as the authors cite, much of American public opinion, seem open to their arguments and similar ones by Hugh White, Jonathan Rauch and John Mearsheimer.

The danger begins with imprecision in describing the policies against which the two authors argue. At various points they take to task using force “to topple governments, influence the outcome of civil wars, and promote democracy and human rights.”

The Kremlin’s ‘New Generation Warfare’ Is Just Getting Started


Whether or not you believe the CIA’s claim that Russia hacked into the Democratic Party’s servers to help Donald Trump get elected — and you should be skeptical of anonymous sources — it should be blindingly obvious that we’re in the middle of a new kind of conflict.

This kind of conflict doesn’t rely on bullets or conquest of territory, but control of information. So be skeptical, but also remember the Kremlin barely hides its embrace of propaganda-driven hybrid warfare, expounded at length in Russian military publications, and which has accelerated in intensity during the past several years.

And don’t just take the CIA’s word for it.

According to the German BfV domestic intelligence agency, Russian tactics have extended to “automated opinion-shaping” methods via social networks.

Methods include “propaganda and disinformation, often executed as ‘false flags,’” the BfV noted. “This methodology represents a previously unobserved MO in campaigns that are controlled by Russia. In these cases government agencies execute cyber-attacks under the false cover … of alleged hacktivists.”

Did Communism Ever Have a Shot at Winning the Cold War?


Could the Soviets have won the Cold War? In retrospect, Soviet defeat seems overdetermined. The USSR suffered from a backwards economy, an unappealing political system, and unfortunate geography. But even into the 1980s, many Cold Warriors in the West worried that Red Victory was imminent.

We can think of Red Victory in two ways — first, if the fundamental rules of the competition between the United States and the USSR had operated differently, and second if Moscow and Washington had made different strategic decisions along the way.

Changing the rules

The idea of socio-political “rules” that dictate how the world works runs counter to a lot of work in the social sciences. Still, certain social and political experiments initiated at the start of the Cold War ran aground on the shoals of social and human capacity.

If we imagine the loosening of some of these “rules” then the Soviet and American experiments might have performed differently.

Americans Need a Demon, Even if it Isn't Russia

Paul R. Pillar

That the Russian government evidently hacked and leaked to influence the U.S. presidential election, and to influence it in favor of the candidate who is now the president-elect, is disturbing on multiple levels. The compromise to the integrity and independence of the U.S. electoral process is the most fundamental level. President Obama and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are right in seeing the need to investigate the matter further.

To see other possible repercussions, consider the fact that Russia is widely perceived in the United States, by many members of both political parties, as an adversary. Although this year’s GOP nominee was the reported beneficiary of the Russian meddling, the Republican presidential nominee four years ago, Mitt Romney, declared Russia to be America’s primary geopolitical foe. So this isn’t just a matter of an ally preferring one potential partner over another. Whatever the Trump administration does regarding Russia will be under a cloud of doubt regarding the motivations. There will be somewhat of a parallel with the doubts about motivations that stem from Trump’s refusal to shed his worldwide business interests, with people understandably asking to what extent the president’s official actions will derive from U.S. interests or from Donald Trump’s interests, relationships, and personal debts.

These are the 10 Killer Weapons Russia and NATO Would Use in a War

Tensions between NATO and Russia continue to hold steady at the highest levels since the collapse of the old Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union (25 years ago this month).

From the neverending crisis in Ukraine to the ongoing nightmarish civil war in Syria to lingering challenges in the Baltics and beyond, the spectre of a showdown looms over these rival camps. And massive nuclear weapons arsenals on both sides only complicates this dangerous dynamic.

But what would happen if tensions ever escalated to all out military conflict? Who would have the advantage?

Indeed, Russia has built up its military might considerably over the last decade--but would it be enough?

NATO, thanks to Washington’s massive arsenal, is considered the most powerful alliance ever created. But does it have the tools it needs to win in a conflict against the dangerous Russian bear?

Reports: CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win White House

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full review of “hacking-related activity aimed at disrupting the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

After his announcement Friday, two leading U.S. newspapers — The New York Times and The Washington Post — reported Russia intervened in the recent U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

The Times reported Russians hacked the computers of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, but only released damaging material from the DNC.

The Democrats were plagued with leaked DNC emails as the presidential election drew near. The Times says intelligence agencies “have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.”

“We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC and the RNC and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC, an unnamed senior Obama administration official speaking about the Russians, told The Times.

US Space Command Chief: China Eyeing Space War Dominance

Li Bao

A top U.S. military official says the U.S. is actively pursuing abilities to deter Russia and China from waging a conflict in space.

Speaking at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Arlington on Friday, General Jay Raymond, Commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command, said some of China's military modernization is aimed at weakening the U.S. advantage in space and other domains.

"China's military modernization has the potential to reduce core U.S. military technological advantage," he said, citing an annual report to Congress by Defense Secretary Ash Carter. "Moreover, China is investing in capabilities designed to defeat adversary power projection and counter intervention during a crisis or conflict."

U.S. efforts to strengthen space deterrence include working with allies, Raymond added.

"Our coalition partnerships have evolved from just information sharing to joint war fighting," he said. "They provide an incredible deterrence value. We must leverage the growing space capabilities of our allies."

Air Force representatives from Japan and Brazil at the event told VOA that their countries are actively seeking to work with the U.S. in space cooperation in the face of growing threats in that domain.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin Service.

The U.S. Navy Is Trying to Track Down ‘Carrier-Killer’ Russian Nuclear Submarines in Mediterranean

Dave Majumdar

U.S. Navy and NATO force are attempting to track down one—possibly two—Russian nuclear powered submarines in the Mediterranean. At least one of the submarines is thought to be a Project 949A Antey—perhaps better known by its NATO codename Oscar II—guided missile submarine.

According to David Cenciotti—who founded The Aviationist blog—a number of U.S. Navy and NATO maritime patrol aircraft including Boeing P-8 Poseidon are trying to track down the Russian vessels. “What makes the news even more interesting is the fact that the Russian Navy submarine would be an Oscar II Class, that is to say a ‘carrier killer’ sub, designed with the primary mission of countering aircraft carrier battlegroups. Among the NATO vessels in proximity of the Oscar II there is also the French Charles De Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the USS Eisenhower is not too far away either,” Cenciotti writes. “Therefore a massive Cold War-style hide-and-seek in underway, keeping both sides quite busy.”

Russian Military Draws Lessons From Ukraine and Syria Ops


The Syrian army and its allies are close to pushing anti-government rebels out of Aleppo as thousands of civilians flee the fighting, leaving the regime of Bashar al-Assad close to taking the smoking ruins of the country’s second-largest city.

Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the Syrian army was holding fire Thursday, allowing civilians to leave the city before government forces fight their way through the last remaining rebel neighborhoods, with Russian aircraft providing cover overhead. Activists in the city reportedcontinuing airstrikes and rocket assaults on Friday however, despite the Russian claims.

The fall of Aleppo will mark a major victory for both Assad and and his ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose 15-month intervention in the Syrian civil war was launched to prop up the faltering Assad regime under the guise of fighting the Islamic State.

But there was another reason for the campaign of Russian air strikes and special operations support: providing Moscow with a venue to show off its newly modernized military hardware.

Why America’s War On Terror Is Turning Out To Be Ineffective

Daniel DePetris 

The axiom that terrorism is a tactic and that a nation cannot win a war against a tactic is a prescient observation, based on the data that the Global Terrorism Index provides.

The key takeaway from the Global Terrorism Report is that an increase in US defence spending has not ended, and will not end, terrorism 

For the past 15 years, the US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and sacrificed the lives and welfare of tens of thousands of its soldiers to fight a war against terrorism.

Tactically speaking, the US intelligence community and the US military have certainly had their fair share of triumphs. Hundreds of terrorist leaders within the Al Qaeda network have been killed on the battlefield, including Osama bin Laden; international financial institutions have become far more knowledgeable about interrupting and freezing terrorist transactions; and more states in the Middle East and Asia understand that when it comes to keeping their people safe, nipping terrorism in the bud within their own societies is as important as dropping bombs.

The Marine Corps Is Looking For A Few Good Nerds: Gen. Neller


WASHINGTON: No thank you, Donald Trump. While the President-Elect wants to boost Marine Corps combat units by 50 percent — with 12 new battalions of infantry and one of tanks — the Commandant of the Marine Corps respectfully suggested that there are other additions the Marines need more. Don’t think good old-fashioned grunts: Think warrior nerds.

So what’s on General Robert Neller‘s Christmas list? Cyber specialists, electronic warfare troops, intelligence analysts, targeteers, engineers, anti-aircraft troops, and artillerymen with anti-ship missiles. The Marine Corps grew to 202,000 for Iraq and Afghanistan by adding combat troops, Neller told the US Naval Institute conference on Wednesday, but for a future war against increasingly sophisticated adversaries — try Russia or China — what the Marines need more of is high-tech support troops. That’s the portion of the force Neller plans to plus up with the 3,000 extra Marines in the latest draft of the annual defense bill, and that’s what he wants to keep adding to, even if he has to take Marines out of other jobs to do it.

“First things first, before we start growing more infantry or armor or things like that, y’know, the battlefield has changed,” Neller told reporters after his USNI remarks. “If we were still fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, in a stability/insurgency operation, I’d say, yeah, we’d probably need more infantry battalions….But if we’re looking down the road of the future, the capabilities we need more of now, in my mind, are those areas that I talked about: information, cyber, intelligence analysis, communication, air defense, deception, engineering….things like that.”

The U.S. Army's Radical Idea to Save Its Tanks from Enemy Missiles

Michael Peck

Remember that shield that Captain America uses? The one that deflect bullets?

Well, the U.S. Army wants the same kind of shield. But not for the infantry. It's a shield for tanks.

The Army is asking industry to to develop moveable tank armor that, like Captain America's shield, can stop an incoming missile.

The specifications call for a mechanism that can move an armor panel, at least 1-foot-square in size, to a distance of 10 inches horizontally. And do so within less than five seconds. The armored panel would be an extra layer of protection attached to the outside of the vehicle, and remotely controlled by the crew.

The proposal is somewhat vague, but the idea appears to be armor that can be rearranged like a puzzle. So that, for example, a tank attacked from the sides or rear can shift additional armor to shield its vulnerable flanks.

How tech titans plan on fighting terrorism

Nathaniel Mott

DECEMBER 9, 2016 —This week a coalition of some of the biggest tech companies in the world said they were teaming up to fight terrorist propaganda on their networks.

Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft, and Twitter announced plans to create a shared database of digital fingerprints – called "hashes" – to help them identify terrorist-related content, create unique identifiers for that material, and share the information among themselves.

For instance, the new plan would let a social media platform such as Twitter, a favorite among Islamic State (IS) supporters and recruiters, share details about terrorist propaganda on its network with YouTube or Facebook, letting those networks quickly find and take down that content.

While Silicon Valley has come under growing pressure from political leaders in Washington as well as Europe to do more to rid their platforms of IS propaganda, they've resisted calls to automatically share information with intelligence agencies.

Despite a White House meeting in January with executives from Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube (which is owned by Google) aimed at developing strategies to stop the spread of radical Islam on social media, tech companies have turned toward internal efforts such as Google's so-called "Redirect Method," which aimed to dissuade would-be adherents by placing IS-linked search results next to ads that linked to videos denouncing the group. 

Unconventional Strategy Needed for Cyber War Win

By Van Hipp

When President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States, he will inherit many challenges. These range from radical Islamic terrorism at home and abroad, unsecured borders, a military readiness crisis, the need for good paying American jobs, and more.

None, however, is more daunting and complex than winning the cyber war.

Cyber-attacks are inflicting real harm on America, from both a national security and economic standpoint. After air, land, sea, and space, it is the fifth dimension of warfare and is the most complex national security challenge a U.S. President has ever faced.

In recent years, Iran has hacked into the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and even conducted a cyber-attack on a U.S. drone, which disabled its communication system and brought it down in almost perfect condition. China, on the other hand, has conducted cyber-attacks against the Pentagon, and was responsible for a massive attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) where hackers stole social security numbers and compromised the personal data of approximately 22 million current and former federal employees.

Recently, we have seen a massive spike in cyber-attacks on our nation’s critical infrastructure. There have been numerous cyber-attacks on Wall Street which are constantly damaging the American economy. In fact, every year we lose more intellectual property on government, university, and business networks then all of the intellectual property in the Library of Congress.

Information Warfare: Israel Turns Threats Into An Edge

December 10, 2016: Israel has long been a dominant producer of innovative, effective and proven exportable computer security software and hardware. “Exportable” is a key factor because many other software security powerhouses try to keep the best stuff away from everyone else. For Israel export sales are a matter of life or death and when it comes to high-tech stuff, like security software, business has been growing rapidly of late. For 2014 Israeli security software exports were $3.2 billion and that increased 25 percent to $4 billion in 2015 and is headed for another 25 percent jump in 2016 to $5 billion. The United States and Israel together dominate this market and none else even comes close. In addition to having a lot of the best products Israeli firms have an export advantage because the rate of innovation is so rapid in Israel that what is the “best stuff” there now will be replaced in a few months. This sales edge enables Israel to be a powerhouse in an industry where their main competition, the United States, has 40 times as many people and an economy that is more than fifty times larger.

American electronic warfare, communications and computer security experts long recognized that Israel was a major player in software development. That’s why U.S. worked closely with Israeli Cyber War organizations after 2001 to produce Stuxnet, Duqu, and several other even more powerful and little known Cyber War weapons. These were secret military projects (to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat and lesser maladies) that did not become public until after 2010. At that point a lot more major users of Internet security products became aware of how effective the Israelis were in this area, especially those trying to hack into Israeli networks.

Infographic Of The Day: Identity Theft: You Should Be Worried