22 December 2016

*** More Than Meets the Eye in the South China Sea

By Stratfor

China and the United States are finalizing details for the return, perhaps as early as Tuesday, of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) picked up Dec. 15 by a Chinese naval ship in the South China Sea. The diplomatic conclusion to the incident may end the uproar it has caused but will do little to resolve the larger long-standing differences between Washington and Beijing.

According to the U.S. Defense Department, the USNS Bowditch was 50 nautical miles from Subic Bay, well within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, and was in the process of retrieving the UUV, a Slocum G2 Glider. Notably, the Bowditch was outside China's nine-dash line, an intentionally ambiguous mark on the map that has delineated China's maritime claims in the waters for more than half a century. The Bowditch was within 450 meters (500 yards) of the UUV when a boat dispatched by the Nanjiu 510, a People's Liberation Army Navy submarine rescue and salvage ship that had been shadowing the Bowditch, took possession of the glider. The Bowditch radioed the Nanjiu, which acknowledged transmission but ignored the message.

The Bowditch, a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy, is operated by its Military Sealift Command as a hybrid military and civilian vessel. It is crewed primarily by civilian contractors and conducts maritime surveys that provide data valuable for both civilian research and military applications. The glider it was retrieving is a model commercially available from Teledyne Systems that was programmed and operated via satellite by the Naval Oceanographic Office in Mississippi. The gliders are given a preprogrammed set of instructions and conduct their missions by using dead reckoning underwater, with course adjustments made by periodically surfacing to check GPS coordinates.

** Maintaining Perspective About Adversaries

By George Friedman

The United States has difficulty evaluating the threat posed by adversaries. Before World War II the U.S. massively underestimated the Japanese. In Vietnam, the U.S. underestimated both the resiliency and will of North Vietnam. In Iraq, the U.S. underestimated the response to the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime. In each case, the U.S. assumed that the adversary viewed our strength the same way we did. More precisely, the U.S. believed that having viewed our strength, adversaries would not be able to identify our vulnerabilities.

The U.S. sometimes vastly overestimates its adversary. World War II wrecked the Soviet Union and it would take a long time to recover. The Soviet Union had numerous weapons available, but its training, command structure morale and, above all, logistical system lacked the robustness needed to fight a high-intensity war. The Soviets knew this, which is why despite our conviction of their overwhelming strength, they never attacked. Instead, they conducted psychological operations to undermine our confidence by supporting terrorist groups in Europe in the 1970s and ’80s in an attempt to create pro-Soviet opposition groups around the world. The U.S. never clearly grasped that rather than representing Soviet strength, these operations were designed to hit American confidence. The Soviets were far weaker than imagined, and the Soviets helped us overestimate their strength.

** Special Operations Forces in the Gray Zone

By Phillip Lohaus
An Operational Framework for Employing Special Operations Forces in the Space Between War and Peace

Key Points 

Current operational models do not adequately reflect the challenges of “gray zone” warfare, leading to a misallocation of the instruments of national power to address nonconventional threats. 

As the US military’s primary tool for addressing conflict “outside of war,” special operations forces (SOF) are at particular risk for misuse if current operational models are used as a guide. 

SOF are useful at a variety of transition points along the escalatory spectrum, but as threats become more defined and pervasive, they are better addressed by a mass application of skills normally thought of as endemic to relatively smaller special operations units. 

US military doctrine, if not reformed to adequately account for conflict outside of the traditional peace/war duality, is not sufficient to advance national security interests against adversaries whose understanding of warfare encompasses competition outside of kinetic conflict. 

* Donald Trump’s Post-Cold War Vision of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Uri Friedman

In 2000, as Donald Trump toyed with the idea of running for president on the Reform Party ticket, the businessman co-authored a campaign book with the writer Dave Shiflett. It’s a long-forgotten work, vastly overshadowed by The Art of the Deal. But one passage illustrates just how profoundly U.S. foreign policy could change under President Trump.

During the Cold War, Trump wrote, “foreign policy was a big chess game” between the Soviet Union and the United States and its allies, with every other country a “bystander.” But the fall of the U.S.S.R. had changed the game, he argued: “We deal with all the other nations of the world on a case-by-case basis. And a lot of those bystanders don’t look so innocent.” As Trump saw it, “the day of the chess player is over … American foreign policy has to be put in the hands of a dealmaker.” There was precedent for this, he asserted. In recent memory, two great dealmakers had served as president: Franklin Roosevelt, who wheeled and dealed his way through World War II, and Richard Nixon, who initiated diplomatic relations with the Chinese and negotiated nuclear-arms reductions with the Russians.

“A true dealmaker,” Trump wrote, “can keep many balls in the air, weigh the competing interests of other nations, and, above all, constantly put America’s best interests first. The true dealmaker knows when to be tough and when to back off. He knows when to bluff and he knows when to threaten, understanding that you threaten only when prepared to carry out the threat. The dealmaker is cunning, secretive, focused, and never settles for less than he wants. It’s been a long time since America had a president like that.”

* How Does Terrorism Affect Trade?

by Subhayu Bandyopadhyay

trade and terrorismA major current threat to the U.S. and the global economy is terrorism. In their 2012 book The Political Economy of Terrorism, economists Walter Enders and Todd Sandler define “terrorism" as premeditated use of or threat to use violence by individuals or subnational groups to obtain a political or social objective through the intimidation of a large audience beyond that of the immediate victims.1

Among other effects, such threats reduce investments in affected nations and impact both capital formation and employment. To gain international attention to their activities, terrorists often disproportionately target tourism, transportation or foreign direct investment (FDI). In turn, this affects a targeted nation’s exports and imports.
How Does Terrorism Affect Trade?

There are a few central channels through which terrorism may affect trade: 

Terrorism increases uncertainty, which raises the cost of traded goods, especially relative to similar goods produced in a terrorism-free country. 

Terrorism increases the cost of doing business by raising both insurance premiums and security costs, which decreases the competitiveness of goods. 

Govt’s thinking over Army ‘merit’ flawed

Shankar Roychowdhury

The selection of the Indian Army’s Chief of Staff is undoubtedly the exclusive prerogative of the government of the day.

“The Army’s promotion structure is not a **** pyramid! It’s a **** Eiffel Tower!”
— Exasperated
outburst, popularly ascribed to late Gen. K. Sundarji, former Chief of Army Staff

The announcement of the promotion of the Army’s vice-chief as the next Chief of Army Staff with effect from December 31, superseding two Army commanders senior to him, has set a precedent that appears troubling to many in the veterans’ community. Well-wishers of the fauj are asking: Could such contretemps be avoided? The answer is yes, if the well-established, guiding principle of seniority-cum-merit was maintained, and the seniormost eligible candidate (an Army commander from the Armoured Corps) had been promoted.

This time, the three seniormost eligible generals for being elevated to Army Chief on the present chief’s retirement on December 31 comprise two Army commanders and the Army’s vice-chief of staff. The first two are from the Armoured Corps and Mechanised Infantry, and the vice-chief is from the more ubiquitous standard infantry.

Succession woes

The seniority principle should be sacrosanct in top government appointments.

In appointing an Army Chief by superseding the two seniormost and competent Army commanders, the government could set a dangerous precedent. The armed forces are among the handful of apolitical institutions. Cherry-picking from amongst the top commanders for appointment of a chief can set in motion a process of politicisation of our armed forces, which must remain neutral.

The argument trotted out that the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff is the outcome of a well-considered “deep-selection” process does not wash. At the Army commander’s level, having gone through a rigorous churning process and fierce competition, each one of them is competent.

Supersession in the armed forces will also lead to politicking at the top level and demoralisation among the ranks. Whatever the professional competence of the selected COAS, due to a widespread perception of his proximity to the political leadership, his image, as a non-partisan officer, as well as credibility will suffer. This, in turn, will affect his authority and effectiveness.

In offering justification for the recent appointment of the COAS, the incumbent’s “nuts and bolts” experience in counter-insurgency has been cited. Nobody has questioned the calibre and experience of the new COAS. However, his two superseded seniors are reported to be equally competent. In the circumstances, the supersession has led to unhealthy speculation and rumour-mongering. Many officers are convinced that the appointment was motivated by extraneous considerations. Some even allege regional parochialism in his selection. This could lead to divisiveness in the armed forces’ officer cadre, adversely impacting its efficiency.

A year of living dangerously

Happymon Jacob

Along with a disturbing rise in attacks on Army camps across Jammu and Kashmir, the Line of Control and the International Boundary in the State are also alarmingly tense today.

Pakistan’s decision not to respond to India’s surgical strikes after the terrorist attack on the Army base in Uri may have seemed at the time like a major political victory for the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi. But it is increasingly becoming evident that not only was the political victory short-lived, the country is paying a heavy price for the cross-LoC strike on September 29. While the Pakistan Army refused to admit that the surgical strikes ever took place, it has since been retaliating: unstated, surreptitiously and through proxies. Consider this: with Saturday’s attack on an Indian army convoy in Kashmir’s Pampore, the armed forces in Kashmir have lost over 60 men this year alone.

Along with this disturbing rise in the attacks on Army camps across Jammu and Kashmir, the LoC and International Boundary (IB) in the State are also alarmingly tense today. Ceasefire violation-related military casualties on the Indian side itself are 12 so far, highest since the ceasefire agreement — which has all but collapsed now — was arrived at in 2003.

A brief history of the Aleppo battle

Stanly Johny

AS SEEN: “The dominant narrative in the international media about Aleppo in particular and Syria in general is that a rogue regime is massacring civilians while fighting a political opposition, of ‘moderate rebels’.” Picture shows Syrian pro-government forces after a military operation against rebels, in a part of Aleppo on December 7. 

The battle for the city has brought Syria to a critical crossroads: how the world deals with Bashar al-Assad may well define the country’s future.

Bashar al-Assad has just clinched his greatest victory in the almost six-year-old Syrian civil war. Aleppo, which was the country’s largest city before the civil war broke out, was one of his early and biggest losses. But having recapturing the rebel-held parts of the city, his regime now controls all major population centres in Syria, stretching from the Druze city of Suwayda to the Sunni-majority Aleppo.


Kushan Mitra

Hacking is a reality of today's digital world. However, there are moral and ethical questions that are rightly raised about how the media should treat information from hacking. There can be motives behind the move, or it could be driven by a genuine desire to inform

Hacking happens. Let us get that irritating truism out of the way. In this digital world, espionage is increasingly about peering into your enemies (and even your friends) computer infrastructure. Future wars will be fought, indeed some undeclared wars have already been fought online. And now we have a question posed before us: Has one nation actually hacked the democratic process of another to ensure the victory of someone aligned to their interests?

But, these issues of cybersecurity and cyber-warfare while excruciatingly important are not the agenda for this column. This column wants to deal with the very important question of how to deal with the information from such hacking attacks. Particularly, how do journalists deal with that information? Is the information leaked by such hacker attacks in the public good? Does the public need to know the machinations of diplomacy and ostensibly private conversations? Yet, we live in a time where traditional media houses, like this newspaper, are not the only game in town. Information is released, and has been released, in the public domain for all to see.

Deconstructing The Half-Fiasco Of Note-Badli: Where Things Went Wrong

R Jagannathan

Half the hardships to the people could have been avoided by implementing a two-stage demonetisation, and with a better understanding of cash handling logistics post 8 November.

But not all the problems could have been foreseen.

With just over a week to go before we bring the curtains down on note-badli – the exchange of demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for new ones – we now have enough facts from which we can deduce how the Narendra Modi government nearly ended up with a fiasco. One uses the word “nearly” because it is apparent that at least some of the pain could have been avoided with more careful planning and phasing of demonetisation. One also assumes that 20-30 experts couldn’t have been assembled to sort out all issues in advance for reasons of maintaining secrecy. But it also seems likely that some pain was unavoidable, no matter how well one planned.

The four starting facts we have to work on are the following: the number of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with the public as given out by the Finance Ministry in parliament (Rs 15.44 lakh crore as on 8 November); the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) reply to an RTI query, where it stated that it already had Rs 4.94 lakh crore of the new Rs 2,000 currency notes printed and ready on 8 November; the central bank also said that Rs 20.51 lakh crore was the value in these notes, Rs 11.38 lakh crore in Rs 500 notes and the balance Rs 9.13 lakh crore in Rs 1,000.

The Real Reason Bajwa Was Appointed Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff

By Bahauddin Foizee

Is the selection of General Bajwa intended to fulfill China’s CPEC dream? 

As General Raheel Sharif retired from the post of Pakistan’s army chief, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed as the 16th chief of army staff (COAS) in Pakistan. While his professionalism as an army person and the resumption of India-Pakistan border tensions made headlines as reasons for his appointment, those headlines failed to shed a light on the major driving factor: the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

There is a widespread view that Bajwa was appointed for his reputation of being a professional army person and that his appointment was made in order to check decades of India-Pakistan regular border issues in Kashmir. It is widely thought that, considering Pakistan’s history of military coups, Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff believed that an army professional like Bajwa would be the right person as the army chief, since he would be less interested in hopping into state politics. Although this analysis was not wrong, this is not the major reason behind Bajwa’s appointment.

Pakistan to Receive 4 Attack Helicopters From Russia

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The four helicopter gunships are slated for delivery next year. 

Pakistan’s military will receive four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters in 2017, Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain told local media on December 19.

According to the media report, the purchasing price for the helicopters was $153 million.

Pakistan and Russia agreed to the helicopter deal during then-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Russia in June 2015. A preliminary agreement was signed between Pakistani and Russian representatives at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in August 2015. Pakistani media in August of this year quoted Hussain saying that the helicopter deal would be finalized in “two months.”

It is unclear when or if the contract was concluded.

The Mi-35M helicopter is slated to replace Pakistan’s fleet of obsolete U.S.-made AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. According to some reports, Pakistan plans to procure a total of 20 Mi-35Ms over the next years. Given the cost of building the necessary Mi-35M logistics and maintenance infrastructure, expanding the fleet beyond four aircraft would financially be a sound decision for the Pakistani military.

How Pakistan Is Fighting Crime and Corruption With Technology

By Umair Jamal

Pakistan has successfully been using new technology to improve good governance and combat crime in the country. 

The Information Technology sector of Pakistan, supported by some smart high-tech professionals and entrepreneurs, has created a global stir. Within the public sector, the government of Punjab has taken a lead role in this regard. The provincial government’s recent quick shift to use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve governance and public services, has attracted a lot of attention lately.

One of the noted aspects of these interventions is that things have shifted into overdrive as far as the accessibility of public service and delivery time is concerned. At policy level, the objective behind this paradigm shift appears to be aimed at cutting down protracted and frustrating bureaucratic structures whose malfunction have largely been blamed for the “performance handicap” in the public sector.

Infrastructure and Irregular Warfare: A Good Year for Afghan Dams

By Jeff Goodson

There are few elements of strategic infrastructure more important in irregular warfare than hydroelectric dams. They address two of the three biggest development priorities in most countries—power and water—and they have huge, multigenerational social and economic impacts. Dams also help legitimize the government that operates them, since they provide key basic services to the people at the same time that they raise revenue through the sale of electricity. Because of that, some dams are aggressively targeted by insurgents. 

Afghanistan imports around 80 percent of their available grid power from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. Most of the rest comes from seventeen existing Afghan dams. Fourteen are in the northeast; the other three are the Kajaki and Gereshk dams in Helmand, and the newly operational Salma dam in Herat. Another eleven dams are proposed or under construction. 

Six Landmark Projects

It’s been a banner year for Afghanistan’s hydroelectric dams, with major progress on six large projects, as well as on a massive dam in Tajikistan that will provide power to northeastern Afghanistan. 

Is China a Playground Bully, or a Calculating State?

Jared McKinney

China, Salvatore Babones tells us, has disrespected “Superman”—that is, America—by tugging on his cape—that is, its unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Babones suggests three explanations for China’s behavior: a desire to test President-elect Trump, a move on the part of the PLAN to turn the South China Sea into an “internal Chinese lake” and/or a belligerent action flowing out of China’s larger “bully” disposition. Such audacious bullying will continue, he asserts, unless the United States assertively puts China back into its place. Only then can America’s leaders vindicate, “truth, justice, and the American way.”

Babones’s analysis has the virtue of being comforting. Everyone knows that bullies just pick on the weak, and so by standing up to them once, brave resistors can deter future misbehavior. A simple problem has a simple solution.

Yet what if international politics has more to it than some hackneyed playground analogy? What if it involves complex layers of action and reaction, and if there is more to this story than mere “bullying”?

The ASEAN Crisis, Part 1: Why the South China Sea Is a Critical Test

By Linh Tong

The South China Sea dispute is a threat to the unity of ASEAN as a regional organization. 

In the age of globalization, there is a trend of international organizations proliferating worldwide. On one hand, this trend positively shows countries being active in their foreign policies, trying to enhance their international status through multilateral forums. On the other hand, the fast-rising number of international organizations also reflects the dissatisfaction of countries toward the existing system of international organizations. In fact, the number of crises among international organizations is growing day by day; notable recent examples include Brexit and the immigration crisis in the European Union, South Africa and Burundi’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, postponement of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Pakistan, and the disunity of ASEAN in the South China Sea dispute.

In such a context, it is important to thoroughly investigate the causes and impacts of fundamental crises in the existing organizations so as to learn some lessons. In this series of three articles, the focus is on the ASEAN crisis, trying to answer the three questions of why the South China Sea dispute could pose a threat to the unity of ASEAN as a regional organization, what the root causes of the crisis are, and what ASEAN could do to overcome it.

Islamic Militants Strike In Turkey & Germany: If The West Doesn’t Get More Serious & Aggressive In Excising This Cancer From Existence — A 9/11 On Steroids Is Coming

With their dreams of an Islamic Caliphate in tatters, and the Islamic State leader hiding like a coward, the militant Islamic group is left with few options to try and keep their ‘organization’ relevant among jihadist circles. So, these darker angels of our nature resort to committing spectacular acts of barbarism such as what occurred today. Sadly more, and worse are coming.

In Ankara, Turkey today, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art exhibit, by a lone Turkish gunman yelling ni Arabic, Allahu Akabar, ‘God Is Great!,’ To Those Who Pledge Allegiance to Muhammad.’ The gunman then switched to Turkish and shouted, ‘Don’t Forget Alleppo,’ ‘Don’t Forget About Syria,’ also in Arabic. The assailant, a Turkish police officer, wounded three others before Turkish special forces killed him. The New York Times reported on its website this afternoon that the assassination of the Russian ambassador, comes after days of protests by Turks, angry over Russia’s support for the Assad regime; and, Moscow’s role in the bombings in Aleppo, which have killed hundreds, if not thousands of men, women, and children.

While this assassination appears to be in revenge of what the Islamic militants claim is the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria — by Assad’s forces and/or, Russian military elements — there is another, less talked about Russian assassination campaign against anti-Russian/pro-Chechen Islamist elements in Turkey. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC), reported in its December 13, 2016 edition, that Russian hit-men have been systematically assassinating anti-Russian, Chechen, Islamist refugees who fled the Chechen – Russian conflict, and made their way to Turkey. The BBC noted that Russian hit men have carried out at least 12 assassinations over the past couple of men [Islamists], from the former Soviet Union — Chechen, Uzbeks, and Tajiks.


Harleen Gambhir

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) poses an evolving threat to the U.S., its allies, and its broader interests. Its approach to information warfare has represented a key component of its overall strategy, including during the period it has faced sustained pressure. ISIS has suffered significant setbacks on the ground, yet has demonstrated the ability to adapt.

ISIS will likely maintain the capacity to align its military and information operations (IO) in the coming years. Continuing conflicts and the plodding effort to address the underlying conditions where it has taken root will likely help ISIS retain physical sanctuary and command and control capability in Iraq, Syria, and North Africa, even if it loses control of major cities.

ISIS’s IO campaign has supported multiple objectives, including control over territory, coercion of populations, and recruitment. This campaign has enabled ISIS’s survival and execution of international terror attacks. It may ultimately usher in a “Virtual Caliphate” – a radicalized community organized online – that empowers the global Salafi-jihadi movement and that could operate independently of ISIS.

This “Virtual Caliphate,” the emergence of which becomes more likely the longer ISIS’s physical caliphate exists, would represent a unique challenge to American national security. Other hostile actors, beyond ISIS and the global Salafi-jihadi movement, are also adopting elements of a broader IO campaign, highlighting the requirement for the U.S. to formulate a determined response.

The election result was not decided in the Kremlin

WHY is it unsettling to see Republicans and Democrats squabbling afresh about Russian meddling in last month’s presidential election? After all, the allegation being debated has been known for months: namely, that in 2015 and again in 2016 at least two groups of hackers with known links to Russian intelligence broke into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, as that party’s national headquarters is known, and into the private e-mail system of such figures as John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, then released a slew of embarrassing e-mails to WikiLeaks. Before the election a joint public statement by the director of national intelligence and secretary of homeland security said that intelligence agencies were “confident” that the Russian government directed the hacking.

All that has changed is that—thanks to reporting by the Washington Post and New York Times—we now know that the CIA briefed senior members of Congress before and after the election that, in the consensus view of intelligence analysts, the Russians’ motive was not just to undermine confidence in American democracy, but to seek Mrs Clinton’s defeat. Outside Washington, Americans (who mostly dislike President Vladimir Putin according to polls) seem to have shrugged off the news. President-elect Trump was cheered by spectators when he turned up in Baltimore to watch the Army-Navy football game, an annual pageant of patriotism.

2,900 explosions in a day. Heavy artillery and tank fire returns to the front lines in Ukraine.

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff

A soldier of the separatist self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic walks in a field near the line of contact with the Ukrainian army at the so-called Svitlodarsk bulge in the Luhansk region.

An early morning artillery barrage started the latest bloody scrap in eastern Ukraine Sunday as Russian-backed militants and government troops clashed near the town of Svitlodarsk. 

A spokesman for the Ukrainian military, Col. Andriy Lysenko, said that five soldiers were killed and 16 wounded during the day-long battle and that Russian-backed separatist forces had attempted to break through government lines. It was the largest single loss of life for Ukrainian troops in five months. 

A resident in a nearby separatist-controlled town, who asked not to be identified for personal security reasons, dismissed the idea that any separatist troops had attempted to attack and said the fighting was merely “rocket-tennis” between the two sides. 

Donald Trump Must Not Banish Europe

Richard Burt

There is perhaps no more effective and efficient way for Washington to project strength than from the platform of a robust and united NATO alliance.

PERHAPS NO item on President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign-policy agenda is as unclear as his new administration’s approach to the American relationship with Europe. There are some obvious reasons for this. At various moments in the campaign, he appeared to call into question the Atlanticist consensus over security and economic policy supported by U.S. administrations and European governments for nearly seventy years. Among other things, he questioned the relevance of the NATO alliance and his commitment to abiding by the Article Five obligation to come to the aid of allies under attack. At the same time, he underscored his disdain for the European Union by openly supporting Brexit while also singling out Chancellor Angela Merkel for her open-door policy towards migrants from conflicts in the Middle East. Meanwhile, European governments are unnerved by President-elect Trump’s call for scuttling the Iran deal and walking away from the Paris agreement on climate change.

Tactical and Strategic Interdependence

By Olivia Garard
Source Link

Carl von Clausewitz’s On War is oft quoted, but rarely with a holistic understanding. Therefore, many Clausewitzian aphorisms take on a meaning based on context independent of the text. Conceptual confusion ensues and terms like tactics and strategy are thrown around without any real grasp of their theoretical underpinnings or their complex relationship. What, then, are tactics and strategy and what is the nature of their relationship?

Appealing to the text, Clausewitz explains, “Tactics and strategy are two activities mutually permeating each other in time and space, at the same time essentially different activities, the inner laws and mutual relations, of which cannot be intelligible at all to the mind until a clear conception of the nature of each activity is established.”[1] Although this exposition might seem wanting, and unduly complicated, there is a nested relationship that is greater than a simple means and ends. Moreover, three key points are introduced that form the backbone of the relationship: “essential difference,” “inner laws,” and “mutual relations.” Two seemingly conflicting forces are at work: strategy and tactics are fundamentally different concepts that share a spatiotemporal context, yet they are interdependent. How is this possible? Turning back to Clausewitz, we are reminded that the tactical and strategic understanding is not possible without an eye towards the whole, war.


Liberal democracies and hybrid war

By Kaan Sahin

Whenever academic and government circles in Europe discuss hybrid warfare they focus on defending against it. Efforts to strengthen resilience have been identified in national defence white papers, EU strategies and NATO summit communiqués as the most important response in this regard.

Hybrid warfare is seen as something that happens to democracies, with authoritarian or non-state actors being the hybrid attackers. The overriding assumption is that Western democracies cannot wage hybrid war themselves, at least not as a full-spectrum activity combining defence and offence.

Interestingly, Russian policy makers and strategists have a different view. For them, the West has waged offensive hybrid warfare against Russia and others for years; this has been claimed by Russian military chief Valery Gerasimov. From this perspective the Russians – not the West – are the ones who have to defend themselves.

In an article for Foreign Policy Max Boot even calls for the West, and in particular the United States, to wage hybrid war on the Kremlin – to revive the 'political warfare skills it once possessed and that have since atrophied.' But are today’s democracies equipped with the tools to do so?

The US Is Vulnerable to Drone Attacks. Here’s How to Stop Them

IN OCTOBER, FRENCH forces were training Kurdish fighters outside the Iraqi town of Dohuk when a drone crashed to the ground. As they inspected the device, it exploded, killing two Kurdish soldiers and wounding many others. A Kurdish official later reported that the drone had been “booby-trapped” with a bomb disguised as a battery case. 

With little fanfare, ISIS has debuted a new, easy-to-obtain weaponized drone employable by terror groups and other non-state actors. No doubt ISIS’s magazine Dabiq will soon include instructions for how to make one. But there’s little need: cheap, commercially available drones are a problem and are now a tool for terrorists. We need an effective counter-strategy, yesterday. 

We might have seen this coming. In 2011, a Massachusetts man was arrested before he could fly a model airplane rigged with explosives into the Pentagon. Since then, drones have come within inches of crashing into important targets. They’ve landed on the White House lawn, on top of the Sydney Opera House, and flown over packed stadiums. And last year, in an eerie anti-nuclear power protest, a man landed a drone carrying radioactive sand from Fukushima on the Japanese prime minister’s residence. 

British Army to form first strike brigade, cut MBT numbers

The British Army is to create an experimental group to trial the concepts of operation for its new 'strike brigades' and bring the new General Dynamics Ajax family of armoured vehicles into service.

Announced to Parliament by UK defence secretary Michael Fallon on 15 December, the move will however see the British Army lose one of its three Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) regiments. The unit will instead convert to the Ajax vehicle.

Under what Fallon called the "Army 2020 Refine" process, four infantry battalions will become specialised advisory units for the experimental group. He also said that two new army reserve infantry battalions and a reserve explosive ordnance disposal regiment would be formed from 2017.

"The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) significantly increased the readiness levels required of the army, underpinned by investment in new capability and a war-fighting division as part of Joint Force 2025," Fallon said in a written ministerial statement announcing the start of the strike brigade project.

Cybersecurity's Next Phase: Cyber-Deterrence

Cyberattackers pose many threats to a wide range of targets. Russia, for example, was accused of hacking Democratic Party computers throughout the year, interfering with the U.S. presidential election. Then there was the unknown attacker who, on a single October day, used thousands of internet-connected devices, such as digital video recorders and cameras compromised by Mirai malware, to take down several high-profile websites, including Twitter.

From 2005 to 2015, federal agencies reported a 1,300 percent jump in cybersecurity incidents. Clearly, we need better ways of addressing this broad category of threats. Some of us in the cybersecurity field are asking whether cyber deterrence might help.

Deterrence focuses on making potential adversaries think twice about attacking, forcing them to consider the costs of doing so, as well as the consequences that might come from a counterattack. There are two main principles of deterrence. The first, denial, involves convincing would-be attackers that they won't succeed, at least without enormous effort and cost beyond what they are willing to invest. The second is punishment: Making sure the adversaries know there will be a strong response that might inflict more harm than they are willing to bear.

Marines to get upgraded smartphones for close-air support

By: Mark Pomerleau
Source Link

The Marine Corps announced this fiscal year they’ll receive smartphones for faster, easier and more accurate fire support, the service said in a release.

Forward observers, air controllers and joint terminal attack controllers will receive an upgraded Target Handoff System (THS), which is a portable system designed for use by dismounted Marines to locate targets, pinpoint GPS coordinates and call for close-air support facilitated through secure digital communications. The system includes a laser range finder, video downlink receiver and a combat net radio, according to the Marine Corps, and the upgrade enables forces to more precisely coordinate fire support missions to minimize collateral damage.

“Our current THS, though capable, needed to be smaller and lighter to better support dismounted operations,” said Capt. Jesse Hume, THS version 2 project officer for Marine Corps Systems Command. “With the new version, Marines will obtain a lightweight device equipped to provide immediate situational awareness on where friendly and enemy locations are, and the ability to hand off target data to fire support to get quick effects on the battlefield.”

Historian Max Hastings On The World Entering The ‘Age Of Internet Warfare,’ & ‘Why We Ain’t Seen Anything Yet’

Noted British historian and author Max Hastings, had an thoughtful article on the world entering the ‘Age of Internet Warfare,’ and why it may be worse than what we think.

In a December 16, 2016 article in London’s the DailyMailOnline, British historian Max Hastings observed that “in the month since the election of Donald Trump as the next POTUS last month, America has become an embittered battlefield. [But] few issues are causing fiercer controversy than the role of Russia,” during the presidential campaign.

But, according to Mr. Hastings, ‘we ain’t seen anything yet.’ “The speed at which cyber conflict is evolving — is chilling,” he writes. “America’s Information Operational Technology Center (IOTC), was created in 1998 to spy on actual, and potential enemies, corrupt their digital networks, and, even control their computers. It’s early operations were unimpressive. During the 1999 bombing of Kosovo, its geeks made Serbian President, Slobadan Milosevic’s telephone ring incessantly, which seems merely to have annoyed him,” Mr. Hastings wrote.

Fourteen years later, and one year after the 9/11 attacks, Mr Hastings writes that “the U.S. took down al Qaeda’s website and blocked the planned release of an Osama bin Laden propaganda broadcast. But afterwards, [U.S.] counter-terror chiefs complained bitterly that all it [the cyber attack] was to alert al Qaeda to the vulnerability of its communications. Others [cyber offensive operations] however were much more successful, [noting] that in 2008, the Israelis allegedly disabled the Syrian air defense system, allowing Israeli aircraft to bomb President Assad’s [nascent attempt] to [build a suspected] nuclear [weapons] facility.”

Developing a Proportionate Response to a Cyber Incident

Tobias Feakin

As offensive cyber activity becomes more prevalent, policymakers will be challenged to develop proportionate responses to disruptive or destructive attacks. Already, there has been significant pressure to "do something" in light of the allegedly state-sponsored attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Sands Casino. But finding a timely, proportionate, legal, and discriminatory response is complicated by the difficulty in assessing the damage to national interests and the frequent use of proxies. Perpetrators have plausible deniability, frustrating efforts to assign responsibility. Past experience suggests that most policy responses have been ad hoc.

In determining the appropriate response to a state-sponsored cyber incident, policymakers will need to consider three variables: the intelligence community's confidence in its attribution of responsibility, the impact of the incident, and the levers of national power at a state's disposal.

While these variables will help guide responses to a disruptive or destructive cyberattack, policymakers will also need to take two steps before an incident occurs. First, policymakers will need to work with the private sector to determine the effect of an incident on their operations. Second, governments need to develop a menu of preplanned response options and assess the potential impact of any response on political, economic, intelligence, and military interests.