16 December 2016

** The End of the Anglo-American Order


For decades, the United States and Britain’s vision of democracy and freedom defined the postwar world. What will happen in an age of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage?

One of the strangest episodes in Donald Trump’s very weird campaign was the appearance of an Englishman looking rather pleased with himself at a rally on Aug. 24 in Jackson, Miss. The Englishman was Nigel Farage, introduced by Trump as “the Man Behind Brexit.” Most people in the crowd probably didn’t have a clue who Farage — the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party — actually was. Yet there he stood, grinning and hollering about “our independence day” and the “real people,” the “decent people,” the “ordinary people” who took on the banks, the liberal media and the political establishment. Trump pulled his face into a crocodile smile, clapped his hands and promised, “Brexit plus plus plus!”

Brexit itself — the decision to withdraw Britain from the European Union, notwithstanding the almost universal opposition from British banking, business, political and intellectual elites — was not the main point here. In his rasping delivery, Trump roared about Farage’s great victory, “despite horrible name-calling, despite all obstacles.” Quite what name-calling he had in mind was fuzzy, but the message was clear. His own victory would be like that of the Brexiteers, only more so. He even called himself Mr. Brexit.

** Terrorists want to destroy our cities. We can’t let them

Katherine Aguirre

Cities are the new frontline of terrorism. The goal of today’s terrorist is not only to target civilians and spread fear, but also to turn city residents against each other.

Whether in Baghdad, Brussels, Kabul or Paris, violent extremists are looking to suppress normal city life, separate people from one another, and drive residents into mental fortresses. Once physically and psychologically segregated, this makes it easier to sow mistrust and dissent.

There is a perverse logic to 21st-century terrorism. By goading governments and majority groups into retaliation, terrorists draw new recruits to their cause(s). In extreme cases, as the fall-out from 9/11 shows, the strategy works a charm.
Why cities matter

That terrorists target cities makes sense. Cities are under assault precisely because they are centres of political, economic and cultural power.

For centuries, diverse communities have assembled in cities. Cities instinctively accommodate difference and disagreement. They require sophisticated forms of accommodation and co-existence to survive. Yet even the most plural cities are vulnerable to rupture.

India-Pakistan war of 1971: 13 days that shook the subcontinent

by Sushant Singh 

Sushant Singh writes a brief history of the birth of Bangladesh — the revolt of Bengali nationalism against Pakistani repression, midwifed by India.

On June 20, 1947, the Bengal legislative assembly voted overwhelmingly to break away from India. A referendum on July 7 in Sylhet decided in favour of Pakistan, and on August 15, 1947, East Pakistan was a reality. More than half of Pakistan’s population lived in its eastern wing, separated from its western wing by 1,300 miles of Indian territory, but united by a common faith. “…That fantastic bird of a place, two Wings without a body, sundered by the landmass of its greatest foe, joined by nothing but God,” wrote Salman Rushdie in Shame.

The differences between the East and West were visible early. On February 25, 1948, Dhirendranath Datta spoke passionately in Pakistan’s National Assembly seeking national language status for Bengali along with English and Urdu — only to have his amendment defeated, and suffer a rebuke from Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. The next month, student protesters in East Pakistan shouted down Mohammed Ali Jinnah himself after he rejected their demand for recognising Bengali as an official language. On February 21, 1952, police shot dead agitating student protesters; it was this day — declared International Mother Language Day by UNESCO in 1999 — that most Bengali intellectuals say “signified the shattering of the dream of Pakistan”.

Vulnerable in cyberspace

Arun Mohan Sukumar

The ‘Legion’ hacks expose the dire state of cybersecurity in India. Frequent data breaches will steadily erode the confidence of Internet users and deter them from using digital gateways

An expansive cyberattack on critical information infrastructure in India — communications, banking technologies, healthcare services — may be currently under way. What’s worse, many of these operations have likely attained their objective.

If that sounds hyperbolic, sample the comments made to news outlets by a representative of the group ‘Legion’, which has claimed responsibility for hacking emails and Twitter accounts belonging to the Indian National Congress, the industrialist Vijay Mallya, and journalists Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar. Buried in their profanity-laced correspondence with The Washington Post and FactorDaily, this group has claimed access to “over 40,000 servers” in India, “encryption keys and certificates” used by some Indian banks, and confidential medical data housed in “servers of private hospital chains”.

General’s first gambit

Rana Banerji

Pakistan army chief’s choice of officers reflects dynamics within the army — and with civilian administration.

It has taken almost two weeks for Pakistan’s newly appointed army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to affect his first major reshuffle of senior generals, filling key slots that had fallen vacant, where he would like to have trusted aides of his own choice. This would indicate he was forced to proceed cautiously, given the manner of his elevation to the top post on November 28, 2016, superseding at least two other eligible contenders from the rather top-heavy cohort of the 62nd PMA Long Course — Lt. General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Corps Commander, 2 Corps, Multan, and Lt. General Javed Iqbal Ramday, till lately Corps Commander, 31 Corps, Bahawalpur.

The main issue here was whether the superseded lieutenant generals would follow well-established military tradition, asking for premature retirement once they were overlooked, or if they would complete their normal tenures till their retirement slated for August, 2017. The latter option may have constrained Bajwa’s freedom to act. But after initial foot-dragging, both Ishfaq Nadeem and Javed Iqbal Ramday decided to hang up their boots. In the postings and promotions announced, newly promoted Lt. General Sher Afghan, erstwhile IG, Frontier Corps in Baluchistan, has been posted as Corps Commander to 31 Corps, Bahawalpur. Lt. General Sarfraz Sattar, formerly DGMI and erstwhile defence attache in India, promoted earlier in Raheel’s time, goes as corps commander to 2 Corps, Multan. This is usually headed by officers from the Armoured Corps and slotting Sattar, an Armoured Corps officer, is reverting to form. This posting was not announced publicly initially — which could indicate that Bajwa faced some resistance.

Aleppo falls, no end to conflict in Syria

Talmiz Ahmad

The situation changed when rebel forces from the neighbouring villages penetrated Aleppo.

On Tuesday, the military leadership of the Bashar al-Assad regime announced that government forces had captured most of Aleppo. This ends a four-year conflict that has witnessed extraordinary carnage, systemic killings of civilians, gross human rights abuses and the destruction of one of the great cities in world history. All of this has taken place while the international community has stood by, apparently helpless in the face of such wanton rampages against human values. Syria’s “Stalingrad” has succumbed to the powerful forces deployed against it.

The small and sporadic uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad, in the wake of the Arab Spring in early 2011, were nearly a year old before Aleppo, Syria’s largest city of two and a half million, experienced the first agitations for political change in July 2012. Till then Aleppo, Syria’s commercial centre, had been largely supportive of the Assad government. The situation changed when rebel forces from the neighbouring villages penetrated Aleppo.

The rebels included home-grown jihadis, militants from the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Nusra, buttressed by Libyan, Chechen and French jihadis and Syrian Kurds, who together constituted a formidable international force. Rebel forces occupied eastern Aleppo, while the pro-government population of a million and a half people lived in the west.

India to Test Fire Nuclear Missile Capable of Hitting China

By Franz-Stefan Gady

India is reportedly preparing to test-launch the nuclear-capable Agni-V ICBM in late December or early January. 

India’s Strategic Forces Command is reportedly getting ready to test launch the Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its final operational configuration from Wheeler Island, off the coast of the eastern Indian state of Odisha, in late December or early January, according to local media reports.

The Strategic Forces Command has previously conducted three test-launches of India’s first ICBM, the last of which occurred in January 2015. While two of the previous launches, taking place in April 2012 and September 2013 respectively, had the Agni-V tested in “open configuration,” the January 2015 test involved the launch of ICBM from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a mobile transporter erector launcher in so-called “deliverable configuration.”

The upcoming test had to be delayed due to some technical issues. “There were some minor technical snags in Agni-V, which required tweaking of its internal battery and electronic configurations after its last test in January 2015,” an unnamed source told The Times of India. “This will be the final test of the three-stage Agni-V, which will be tested for its full range, before the Strategic Forces Command begins its user trials,” the source added.

India outguns Russia to become 4th largest defence spender

India now belongs to the list of top five defence spenders in the world with more than $50 billion devoted to its military budget, placing the South Asian country in fourth place, according to the annual Jane’s Defense Budgets Report.

“Defence spending returned to a healthy rate of growth in 2016, kicking off what we expect to be a decade of stronger global defence spending,” said Fenella McGerty, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s. “Defence spending should recover to pre-financial crisis levels by 2018.”

According to the report, global defence spending rose by 1 per cent to $1.6 trillion (Rs 108 lakh crore) in 2016, against a 0.6 per cent increase in 2015. The report also revealed that the United States was still king with its expenditure representing about 40 per cent of the total Global Defence budget. India overtook Saudi Arabia and Russia to become one of the top five defence spenders globally.

'We fought the battle as if it was the last thing we'd ever do'

'Each soldier was my brother in arms.'

'We fought together and achieved glory for India.'

'We fought on with only one thing in the mind -- that that this is a national battle and we must not let the Pakistanis get the better of us,' says Major General Shamsher Singh, who was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for fighting one of the bloodiest battles the Indian Army has ever fought.

Major General Shamsher Singh was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for his courage in the 1971 War.

Decorated with the Mahavir Chakra, the second highest medal for courage during war, Major General Shamsher Singh is a gentleman soldier. He is modest about the hard fought victory that he and his men accomplished in spite of enormous casualties in the 1971 War.

"Each soldier was my brother in arms. We fought together and achieved glory for India," says General Singh, so distinctly proud of his troops that his eyes glint with pride just as they get moist with emotion thinking about them.

As commanding officer of the 8 Guards, his battalion was chosen to launch the first attack on Pakistan on the night of November 22-23 even before the war was officially declared.

The decisiveness of 1971

Praveen Davar

Looking back at the restraint and planning that stood India well in the Bangladesh War

December 16, 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of Vijay Diwas, the day the Pakistan Army in East Bengal surrendered before Lt. Gen. J.S. Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command, in 1971. A new nation was born after a struggle which lasted but a few months and had its roots in the Pakistan general election of December 1970.
The run-up to war

The Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won a massive majority in the provincial legislature and in all but two of East Pakistan’s quota of seats in the new National Assembly, thus gaining a clear majority. The largest party in West Pakistan was the Pakistan Peoples’ Party headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who threatened to boycott the assembly and oppose the government if Mujib was invited by Gen. Yahya Khan, then President of Pakistan, to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister despite the fact that he had won an overall majority. Mujib was left with no option but to start a civil disobedience movement; he was soon arrested.

Is India Prepared for a Post-America Afghanistan?

By Kabir Taneja

“It simply makes good sense in general for India and the EU to partake in dialogue over Afghanistan.” 

Even as America’s new president-elect, Donald J. Trump, works on creating his “dream team,” which in turn will work towards making “America great again,” understanding what foreign policy changes will take place under what is very likely to be an unorthodox presidency is currently a matter of conjecture at best.

In theory, Afghanistan is perhaps too important a relationship to hastily forego, notwithstanding the few palatial statements Trump has made about America’s traditional role as the world’s police, and the costs that the country incurs, both economic and human. In July, Trump challenged the very notion of NATO’s existence, suggesting that fellow NATO members reliant on American security blanket may have to pay to retain these services in the future. This sent many American allies not just in Europe, but across the world into a tizzy, leaving an open question on the security umbrella upon which so many states rely. For New Delhi, however, any further and sudden depletion in Western military influence would mean a forced escalation over India’s policies in Afghanistan, where it is critical that the Taliban is prevented from gaining any strong foothold over national politics. In fact, it is questionable whether India has the capacity and range to play a leading role in holding fort on foreign land.

Pakistan Terrorism and Counter Terrorism Review

Pakistan is the South Asian country which on numerous occasions has failed to hide its dysfunctional relationship with terrorism. Pakistan remains a critical partner in counter-terrorism as per the US Country Report on Terrorism 2015. Throughout the year 2015 Pakistan remained a target for various terrorist attacks on its civilians, officials, or members of other religious sects. The terrorist attacks continued to challenge the government’s massive security preparations. In 2015, terrorists used both stationary and vehicle-borne remote-controlled IEDs (VBIEDs); suicide bombings; targeted assassinations; rocket-propelled grenades; and other combat tactics to attack individuals, schools, markets, government institutions, mosques, and other places of worship. Attacks by sectarian groups against minorities continued.

In 2015 Pakistan witnessed the third highest number of terrorist incidents globally as indicated in the Statistical Appendix of US Country Report on Terrorism 2015 with 1009 incidents and 1081 fatalities. Major Terrorist Incidents occurred in every month of 2015.A few representative examples include:

• On January 30, a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque in the northern Sindh district of Shikarpur. According to Dunya News, at least 61 people were killed and provincial government officials claimed that suspects arrested in the case were affiliated with the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist groups.

• On March 15, suicide bombers struck two churches in Lahore’s majority-Christian Youhanabad neighborhood, killing 17 people according to government figures reported in the media. Following the attack, a mob killed two bystanders whom they believed to have been involved in the bombing.

China’s Emerging Arctic Policy

By Nengye Liu

China has a clear (though as yet unwritten) strategy for the Arctic. 

China’s recent construction of a research station in Iceland has once again generated interest as to what China’s Arctic ambitions are. Indeed, the Chinese government has yet to publish its official Arctic policy, in contrast to other major players in the Arctic, such as the United States and the European Union. Consequently there has been much speculation as to what China’s plans are for the Arctic.

Given China’s growing Arctic interests, it ought to articulate its objectives. To allay the concerns of Arctic States, high-level Chinese diplomats have started to publicly articulate what China sees as its role in the region.

At the third Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2015, Zhang Ming, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs, delivered a keynote speech titled “China in the Arctic: Practices and Policies.” The following year, Gao Feng, China’s chief negotiator for climate change, gave another speech about China’s view on Arctic cooperation at the fourth Arctic Circle Assembly. Furthermore, Xu Hong, head of the Department of Legal Affairs in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, talked about China’s view on Arctic economic development at the sixth International Meeting of Representatives of Arctic Council Member States, Observer States, and Foreign Scientific Community, hosted by the Russian Federation between August 29 and September 2 of this year. Though not published in a single document, these speeches evidence an emerging Chinese Arctic Policy.

China Will Receive 4 Su-35 Fighter Jets From Russia

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The four fighter jets will be transferred to China by December 25, according to a Russian defense industry official. 

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will receive its first batch of four Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter jets earlier than expected, according to a Russian defense industry source, TASS news agency reports on December 14. “The first four Sukhoi-35 are to fly over to China by December 25,” according to the unnamed source.

The first deliveries were initially scheduled for 2017. It is unclear why the delivery schedule has now been sped up. There is also no official statement from the Chinese side confirming the transfer. Furthermore, as of November last month, The National Interest reported that no contract had been formally signed between China and Russia over the Su-35 aircraft.

“First of all, let’s be accurate. We have not sold yet,” retired Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinsky (Ret.), chairman of the executive board of the Moscow-based PIR Center, said on November 15. “We are in the process of very tough and very difficult negotiations on these issues.”

Why Abe Is Seeking a Settlement with Russia

Tomohiko Taniguchi

In Asia's unstable regional context, it makes more strategic sense than at any time for Japan to forge a peace treaty with Russia.

Vladimir Putin is slated to visit Japan on December 15 and 16. He will arrive at a small airport on the western edge of Japan's main island and stay at a traditional onsen (hot spring) inn located in the hometown of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. There, Messrs. Putin and Abe will hold an unusual tête-à-tête — one between two middle-aged, naked men, bathing in the warm waters of Nagato city.

The ultimate goal of the prime minister is to forge, at long last, a bilateral peace treaty formally ending World War II, something that has eluded the two sides due to a dispute over the sovereignty of four islands north of Japan that the Red Army seized two weeks after the war ended. The task is formidable, but if the two leaders can resolve the territorial dispute, the path to a peace treaty will be cleared.

Were this a sumo match, this would be the first time since Mr. Putin returned to power that Tokyo had a wrestler both heavy enough and sufficiently resolved to fight Moscow. A Japanese premier in office only for a year or two would never be able to enter the ring. Shinzo Abe has accrued political muscle over nearly four years in office and is the most important new factor in helping to break the long stalemate between the two sides.

The United States And Russia Are Already At War

by Alexander Velez-Green

The United States and Russia are already at war. At least, that’s what many in Moscow seem to think. This war is not fought like past conflicts. It’s prosecuted today primarily by non-military means. But, the secondary role of military operations does not lessen the danger it poses to U.S. strategic interests. Moscow is targeting the United States in ways that sidestep America’s traditional understanding of warfare. Its seeks to cripple the United States, shatter NATO, and fill the void left by America’s absence. President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration may offer opportunities to de-escalate the confrontation. But doing so successfully will depend on Washington’s ability to adapt to Moscow’s novel way of war.

War By Other Means

U.S. policymakers tend to view war as being limited to the military arena. Their counterparts in Moscow increasingly see things differently. There is in Russia a rising awareness that non-military means can be used with devastating effect. These non-military tools range from cyber-attacks to information campaigns to economic sanctions. Russian strategists no longer define warfare solely-or even primarily-by the deployment, distribution, and maneuver of troops in the field. They see warfare instead as the combined use of political, diplomatic, informational, economic, and-to a lesser extent-military efforts to destabilize the enemy, undermine their ability to respond in a timely manner, and exploitasymmetries to nullify any adversary military advantages.

World War II Is Still 'Raging' in Asia. Can Putin and Abe End It?

Jonathan E. Hillman

On December 15, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin will try to end World War II. For over seven decades, a dispute over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories, has prevented a formal peace agreement.

New research underscores their herculean task. A team of political scientists at the University of North Texas examined every territorial dispute involving two or more states between 1816 and 2001. To estimate the importance of territory to competitors, researchers evaluated the presence of valuable resources, ethnic ties and other factors. Japan and Russia’s island row received the highest score possible.

The historical record for resolving these “perfect storm” disputes is sobering. Current quarrels include the Golan Heights, Kashmir, and Taiwan, among others. Of those disputes that have been resolved, one third have ended through violence.

Only twice did bilateral negotiations peacefully and permanently calm a perfect storm. Both cases involve Poland, which settled border disputes with Czechoslovakia and West Germany in 1957 and 1972, respectively. Beyond looking west for inspiration, what might Abe and Putin learn from these outliers?

How to Wage Hybrid War on the Kremlin


President Obama has been shamefully derelict in making Putin pay a price for his aggression. It’s time to give Vladimir a taste of his own medicine. 

Vladimir Putin’s tenure as Russia’s dictator has been dedicated to twin interlocking goals: to enhance his own power and wealth and that of the country he controls. The more powerful Russia becomes, after all, the more powerful its president becomes, too. In pursuit of more influence, Putin has tried to rebuild the Russian armed forces from a force of low-quality conscripts equipped with weapons that don’t work to a high-quality professional force with cutting-edge weapons. That transformation, only partially complete, has been shown off in Syria, which Putin has used as a showcase for systems including sleek Kalibr cruise missiles and the smoke-belching aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. But as befits an old KGB man, Putin’s heart appears to lie more with “deniable” covert operations rather than with overt muscle-flexing.

Putin has become notorious for using “little green men” — Russian intelligence operatives and Spetsnaz (special forces) in civilian clothing — to infiltrate Ukrainian territory and start an uprising among the Russian-speaking population. And it worked: Russia annexed Crimea and has gained de facto control over much of eastern Ukraine. This tactic of undertaking barely disguised aggression has become known as “hybrid warfare,” and it has consistently left the West wrong-footed because Putin is careful to avoid crossing the normal red lines.

When Daily Intelligence Briefings Prevented a Nuclear War


When Daily Intelligence Briefings Prevented a Nuclear War 

Before he does away with the ritual, Trump should consider what happened in 1962, when JFK made sure he knew as much as his generals did. 

On Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump said he doesn’t need to get daily intelligence briefings—now or after his inauguration on January 20—because he is, “like, a smart person.”

Before he does away with the ritual, he might want to consider a particular time in history when a president did his homework, took his briefings, paid attention to the details and in so doing averted a nuclear war.

It was October 19, 1962—the fourth day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union seemed more likely by the hour—and John F. Kennedy was hosting a tense, 45-minute conversation with his Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had since the very beginning of the confrontation urged a massive airstrike against Cuban targets.

Preventive Priorities Survey: 2017

A serious military confrontation between Russia and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state or a severe crisis in North Korea are among top international concerns for 2017 cited by a new survey of experts. The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) ninth annual Preventive Priorities Survey identified seven top potential flashpoints for the United States in the year ahead.

The survey, conducted by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), asked foreign policy experts to rank conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating and their potential impact on U.S. national interests.

“With a new presidential administration assuming office, it is important to help policymakers anticipate and avert potential crises that could arise and threaten U.S. interests. Our annual survey aims to highlight the most likely sources of instability and conflict around the world so that the government can prioritize its efforts appropriately,” said Paul B. Stares, General John W. Vessey senior fellow for conflict prevention and CPA director.

important papers

Why Trump Should Reject the Convention On Cluster Munitions

Dan Goure

Insanity is commonly defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. The label “certifiably crazy” can be applied to the habit of various U.S. Administrations to enter into ill-advised arms control agreements that do little or nothing to enhance American security, but make presidents and their senior advisors feel morally virtuous. The term “bat poop” crazy must be reserved for those instances in which the U.S. government decides to adhere to an arms control agreement which the Senate has not ratified and to which this country’s major adversaries do not adhere. This is simply baring one’s throat to the enemy’s knife.

An example of such really crazy behavior is the decision by the Obama Administration to adhere to the Ottawa Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) which entered into force in 2008. A cluster munition is an air-delivered weapon, missile warhead or artillery projectile that contains smaller bomblets or submunitions which are dispersed in the air to expand their area of coverage. Cluster munitions allow a military force to cover targets spread over a relatively large area (dispersed or mobile ground forces, air defense sites, airfields, logistics centers) while expending a minimum number of bombs, missiles or rockets.

Is the Battle for Mosul Doomed?

Daniel L. Davis

Since the battle to retake Mosul began in mid-October, Iraqi and coalition spokesmen have touted the significant number of villages retaken around the periphery of Mosul by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and the fact that they reportedly recaptured Mosul’s al-Salam hospital, barely a mile from the Tigris. Yet an examination of the battlefield reveals that from the perspective of ISIS, it could be argued that the fight is going better than expected. Such a belief is not without substance.

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi claimed last week that he was very pleased with his troops’ progress. “We have seen the whole organization collapsing in terms of standing in the face of our own armed forces,” he said, adding that the “success of liberating a huge area indicates that Daesh does not have the gut[s]” to stand and fight. Yet the number of villages and square kilometers of land retaken tells only part of the story, and may be deceptive by itself.

Mosul is a city with a population close to two million. ISIS is alleged to have begun the battle with no more than ten thousand fighters. Unless they are militarily inept—which doesn’t appear to be the case—they never planned to even attempt to hold the entire city from the coalition, so the rapid capture of scores of villages should not surprise anyone. The only plan that ever made any sense from a military perspective was to conduct a fighting withdrawal to a prearranged and secure position deep within Mosul.

Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack

Steve Twomey

As the Ward was plying through the second hour of Outerbridge’s first day, a civilian scampered to the second deck of the Submarine Building, leaving his wife waiting in a rental car below. He probably noticed the array of seven states in their Battleship Row; observing was what he did in life. Joseph C. Harsch was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor with a Gump-like knack for popping up where big events were about to happen. His memoirs would be called At the Hinge of History. For a good portion of the last two years, Harsch’s turf had been western Europe, writing of Nazi conquest and fascist rallies. Now his newspaper wanted him in Moscow to record the Soviet side of the Eastern Front, and he was taking the long way, west across the United States, then to Oahu, then to Tokyo, then on.

Harsch, who was thirty-six, had arrived Wednesday aboard the Lurlinewith his wife, Anne. Their goal was a few days of Hawaiian interlude, but after just two, the journalist in Harsch had stirred. There had to be a good interview at that naval base down the coast from his hotel at Waikiki Beach, and when he called Kimmel’s headquarters, he was told to stop by the very next morning.

Opinion: Cybersecurity needs an offensive playbook

David Brumley

December 13, 2016 —What do recent political hacks, the massive cyberattacks that took down a wide swath of the internet, and digital assaults on a portion of the Ukrainian power grid have in common?

All of them reveal that attackers are far ahead of defenders when it comes to digital security. But with global investment in cybersecurity expected to top $1 trillion over the next five years, why are the government agencies and companies charged with defending public networks and corporate systems so far behind?

It's simple: Cybersecurity defenders aren't playing enough offense.

The traditional way of thinking about cybersecurity has been that you can only have good a digital defense if you "build secure from the ground up." But this approach assumes a perfect world where everyone constructs bulletproof computer programs. That's a fantasyland.

Instead, cybersecurity is more like sports. You have to excel at both offensive and defensive strategies to win.

This doesn't mean that information security firms and independent researchers should start launching attacks on adversaries. But the good guys need to be more aggressive about finding and fixing vulnerabilities in systems and networks before malicious hackers uncover and exploit them.

Conceptualizing Emerging Strategic Challenges in the Cyber Age

Spencer Bakich

How can governments, in partnership with each other and with their societies, create conditions for enduring security in the cyber age?[1] In various ways, this question was posed repeatedly—and urgently—at the inaugural CyConUS conference held in Washington, D.C., in October 2016. This event, co-sponsored by the Army Cyber Institute at West Point and NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) headquartered in Tallin, Estonia, convened the best and the brightest in the world of cyber affairs, including leaders in government, industry, academia, and the media. While no consensus answer to the question was on offer, the assembled cyber luminaries contributed to an overarching theme: we are all living through, and participating in, a revolution in human affairs with significant consequences for how states achieve their core national security objectives. The characteristics of this revolution include exponentially accelerating social action-reaction times, dramatic increases in the complexity of the interactions among people and their environments, and the emergence of new tools and techniques that are readily available to actors both old and new.

Oft-Neglected Cost Drivers of Cyber Weapons

Max Smeets’ take on the cost of cyber weapons is a thoughtful piece about the economics of cyber warfare, and the article is a useful point of departure on this topic. However, a few additional points not discussed by Smeets are worth considering, and they all point in the direction of higher costs that his piece might predict. 

Begin with the fact that the economics for cyber weapons usable in a military context are fundamentally different than for kinetic weapons. With the latter, military power is highly correlated with number—specifically, the number of identical units of a given weapon. One hundred tanks (with crews, logistics, etc.) provides more military power than one tank. That is, for kinetic weapons, military power accrues as the result of procurement processes. 

Not so for cyber weapons. No one would argue that a nation has more cyber power in a military sense if it has 100 identical CD-ROMs with a software-based cyber weapon on it. For cyber weapons, military power accrues as the result of research and development (R&D) processes. 

Cryptocurrency + WikiLeaks = Big concerns

By: Kevin Coleman

Another activity was recently measured, and that measurement clearly illustrates the increase in the degree of difficulty addressing the theft and distribution of stolen information assets. The recent measurement was the magnitude of bitcoin donations to WikiLeaks!

For those of you that may not be aware, WikiLeaks is an international organization that publishes sensitive information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources. Who could forget the WikiLeaks activities during this past presidential election? Here is a hint: all of the hacked emails!

In economic terms, WikiLeaks is a nonprofit entity that has gained a substantial following. The organization’s official Facebook page has more than 3.6 million likes! All of that has resulted in donations of a reported $2.9 million. 

Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies in circulation today that is created and held electronically. Its recent price (per unit) was equal to $738.11. The total value of Bitcoins in circulation today is more than $11.75 billion.

Worried by hacker threat, France prepares army response

France announced its first cyber-warfare army unit on Monday, aimed at increasing the country's hacking skills as concerns grow in Europe and the United States about Russian capabilities. 

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian likened the impact of hacking on warfare to the effect of the first aircraft on conflicts in the early 20th century. 

"The emergence of a new area, a new cyber-battlefield, must make us rethink profoundly our way of approaching the art of war," Le Drian said as he unveiled a new doctrine for the army in northwest France. 

Le Drian said that under the new approach a cyberattack could constitute an act of war, which would require an appropriate response from a new specialised unit known as Cybercom. 

If hackers were identified as coming from a country that had failed to stop them, "the responsibility of this state could be called into question," he said. 

"Our offensive cyber-capabilities must allow us to breach the systems and networks of our enemies to cause damage, service suspensions or temporary or definitive neutralisations," he added. 

Infographic Of The Day: History Of The Universe

After studying today's graphic you'll be reminded that your existence is such a small blip on time's radar that you might feel a little blue.

Humbled is more like it. Our universe has had billions of years to shape its beautiful stars, vast emptiness and a variety of planets. We only get about a century if we’re lucky.

This graphic is interesting as it goes into the foreseeable future of our universe as well. In relative terms for the universe, the earth will soon have its axial tilt reverse, switching our poles. Later, our c02 levels will balance out, but it could be too late. Earth could very well be uninhabitable by then.

Although, as our universe evolves, so will we. If the will to live isn’t apparent enough in our past evolution, just wait until we need to continue life off-planet. The responsibility for continuing the human race is a huge one, one we need to start thinking about today. [click here to enlarge infographic]