31 October 2017

*** In China, Innovation Cuts Both Ways

By Matthew Bey

China is in a bind. The heavy industry that propelled the country's economy through three decades of dizzying growth has reached its limits. To escape the dreaded middle-income trap, China will need to shift its focus from low-end manufacturing to other economic industries, namely the technology sector. Beijing has put tech at the center of its long-term economic strategy through campaigns such as Made in China 2025 and Internet Plus. But these initiatives alone won't push the Chinese economy past its current plateau. The tech sector is notorious for relentless innovation. And innovation requires flexibility.

Army finalises mega procurement plan to replace ageing weapons

A large number of light machine guns (LMG), battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons. The broad process to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines has been finalised and the defence ministry is on the same page with the army in moving ahead with the procurement, official sources said.

Arming India’s response to Xi Jinping thought

Narayan Ramachandran

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC) held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing came to a conclusion last week. The NCCPC is held every five years in the fourth calendar quarter and is technically the apex body of the single party that has ruled China since the Communist revolution in 1949. In recent years, the NCCPC has lasted about a week each time and it is commonly understood that all important decisions are taken before the meeting convenes. The NCCPC is a giant career-defining body that shifts people upwards, laterally or out. Younger members are inducted every five years and older members are retired. 

India ships wheat to Afghanistan via Chabahar

Kallol Bhattacherjee

New route being used for first time to send consignment

Days after hosting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, India on Sunday began shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Iranian port of Chabahar.

A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) noted that the consignment would be the first to use the new route via Chabahar to access Afghanistan, even as India plans similar transfers in the coming months.

The Chinese Juggernaut Continues To Run Strong, Leaving The US, Europe Behind

Manish Singh

They have to lower tariffs. They open up telecommunications for investment. They allow us to sell cars made in America in China at much lower tariffs. They allow us to put our own distributorships there. They allow us to put our own parts there. We don’t have to transfer technology or do joint manufacturing in China anymore. This a hundred-to-nothing deal for America when it comes to the economic consequences.

Chinese Internet Law: What the West Doesn’t See

By Jan Fell

The People’s Republic of China entered the Internet age in 1994; 23 years on, China is considered to have the largest online population worldwide, with 731 million active users. At the same time, China has one of the world’s strictest online legal frameworks. One could easily assume that an online ecosphere as vibrant and active as China’s would lead to many differentiated approaches to interpreting Chinese Internet law. Instead, China researchers, legal scholars, and observers of the Chinese internet industry have engaged in ever-repeating, entrenched, and constricted narratives focused on human rights abuses, censorship, and political oppression. Simultaneously and largely unnoticed, China has devised a strategy of innovation security as part of its internet law.

ISIS post caliphate: who's left, and where they are

The rapid territorial losses in Iraq and Syria will likely drive the jihadists underground there, but ISIS 'provinces' and expatriates are scattered broadly, and the resilient organization remains a threat even without its caliphate. 

Can ISIS Survive Defeat in Raqqa?

As the last remaining ISIS fighters are hunted down in Raqqa after a four-month Kurdish-led and US-backed offensive, some are heralding the group’s final defeat, three years and four months after it declared its ‘Caliphate’ across Syria and northern Iraq. But while its impending territorial defeat is significant, reports of ISIS’s death are wrong. You can’t kill an idea. Especially when the group has laid down deep ideological roots through its “Islamic state,” building a flourishing global network and a considerable online presence.

America’s love affair with uniformed men is problematic

A POIGNANT feature of American bases in Iraq were their walls of Thank You cards sent by American schoolchildren. Often displayed outside the chow-hall, where the troops gathered to eat, they typically thanked them for “being over there to keep us safe”. Hardly any of the soldiers Lexington spoke to, during several trips to Iraq, believed that to be the case. Their Iraqi enemies were fighting a defensive war, not trying to launch one against America. Yet the soldiers accepted the sentiment unblushingly. No soldier expects the beloved chumps back home to understand what he gets up to. He just needs to feel appreciated.

America Asleep at the Keyboard as Cyber Warfare Gets Real Dmitri Alperovitch on Russian hacks at the DNC

by Christine Parrish

It took Dmitri Alperovitch and the CrowdStrike cybersecurity team a few minutes on May 6, 2016, to find two hacks into the Democratic National Committee computer network. They recognized one, Fancy Bear, as being affiliated with Russian military intelligence. Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, is an expert in detecting and stopping hacks that can undermine financial systems and governments.



Kiev, Ukraine—Since 2014, Russia has used Ukraine as a testing ground for its hybrid warfare doctrine, underscoring what some security experts say is a case study for the new kinds of security threats the U.S. and its Western allies can anticipate from Moscow. “The threats Ukraine faces are harbingers of things to come for the U.S. and its other allies,” said Junaid Islam, chief technology officer and president of Vidder, a California-based cyber security firm that does work in Ukraine.

Can Kim Jong-un Control His Nukes?

Michael Auslin 
Any travelers waiting for the few flights out of Pyongyang International Airport early on August 29 were treated to the spectacle of a North Korean intermediate-range missile blasting off only a few miles beyond the runways. Just before six in the morning, a Hwasong-12 missile, also known as the KN-17, with a purported range of nearly four thousand miles, arced northeastward over North Korea and the Sea of Japan. Eight minutes later, it passed over Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four home islands. Roughly six minutes after that, and approximately 730 miles east of Hokkaido, it broke apart and fell into the Pacific Ocean.

Infographic Of The Day: 3D Printing Is Finally Changing The Manufacturing Landscape

Today's infographic highlights a most recent snapshot of the 3D printing industry. Importantly, it shows that the technology is still chugging along in a way that is changing how things are made - just at a less hype-worthy pace.

Cyber Defense Must Be Global

by Emanuel Kopp, Lincoln Kaffenberger, and Christopher Wilson

Cyberattacks on financial institutions are becoming more common and considerably more sophisticated. High-profile cases like the Equifax breach, which compromised the confidentiality of 143 million Americans’ credit information, and the theft of US$81 million from Bangladesh Bank, are just two examples of recent cyber breaches in the financial industry.

Where Fiber Broadband Is Most Prevalent

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Although South Korea is well ahead of the pack with 30 percent of inhabitants enjoying a superfast internet subscription, other developed countries such as the U.S. and Germany can boast a mere 3.7 and 0.7 percent, respectively.

We Must Listen to Clausewitz

By Daniel DePetris

As the foreign policy establishment in Washington should have learned over the last 16 years, nothing in the Middle East is straightforward or clean. There simply isn't a black-and-white, good vs. evil paradigm that Americans can use to navigate the treacherous and complicated politics of the region. Sure, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is undeniably a war criminal whose forces have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, wiped out entire city districts through merciless bombing, and sent over 11 million Syrians to leave their homes. Assad is a bloodthirsty authoritarian, but his opponents in the Syrian civil war are not angels either.

Why America Could Lose a War with Russia or China

William Adler

Incremental improvements in doctrine, global basing, and force structure are all steps in the right direction, but they are fundamentally insufficient to allow the United States to prevail in a large-scale conventional war. Political and military leaders seek solutions in sterile funding debates, vociferous force size comparisons and acquisition deliberations, but then fail to address one of the elements critical to success in warfare – endurance. The ability to regenerate expended war-fighting capability is essential to maintain military staying power in a protracted war. The United States must build this kind of endurance into future force design and emphasize those military means that can be regenerated quickly and affordably to preserve military options.

Challenge of rapid equipping in a technology-centric world

Mark Pomerleau

“With ready availability of these commercial drones, ISIS and other groups have taken advantage of that…and have adapted it for everything from the intended purpose of some of these drones to conduct reconnaissance because they’re camera-equipped,” said Tim Clauss, an intelligence analyst with the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, during an event at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on Oct. 17. “But in some instances…they’ve adapted them and dropped some small munitions,”

How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War

By David Fitzgerald

In a recent interview reflecting on his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus recalled an incident that took place during the invasion of Iraq. Petraeus, then commanding the 101st Airborne, recounted that after a tough fight to take the city of Najaf, he called the V Corps Commander, General William Wallace to say, “Hey boss, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we own Najaf...The bad news is the same as the good news: we own Najaf. What do you want us to do with it?”

Street Sense: The Urban Battlefields of the Future


Conflict follows humanity wherever it goes, and the world’s population is increasingly living in cities. Waning are the days of the Maoist blueprint of rural insurgents pillaging small peripheral villages and seeking refuge in the hard terrain of mountainous caverns, dense forests, or expansive deserts. Soon terrorist and insurgent groups will mount operations from crowded slums and ritzy skyscrapers – not just in a dense urban landscape, but in coastal megacities that pose a unique challenge for which the U.S. military largely remains unprepared.

30 October 2017

Future Operating Environment 2035

Predicting the future is always a difficult proposition. One can go drastically wrong. However, you have to anticipate the future. Based on future operating environments the strategy, force structure, weapon and equipment, profile, doctrine, training and human resources management are made. This is a dynamic process. Depending on changes in the security environment mid course corrections can always be made.

This is why advanced countries of the world publish their envisaged future operating environment.

Let’s have a look at “Strategic Trends Programme Future Operating Environment 2035” as given out by the Govt of UK. The gist is given succeeding paragraphs. 

Strategic Context

Increased globalisation may mean that states and individuals have significantly less time to plan for, and respond to, global and regional events that emerge rapidly. Faster and more agile military responses may be called for, posing a challenge for policy- and decision-makers.

The US is likely to remain the world’s leading military power in 2035, although its military advantage is likely to be challenged increasingly by China.

By 2035 the majority of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, with many located on or near the coast. These areas will often be prone to natural disasters. Failed or failing cities could become sources of major security issues: such cities may lack resilience due to poor infrastructure, lack of resources and ineffective or absent institutions and emergency services.

The effects of climate change are likely to drive an increased need for humanitarian assistance to address greater suffering, suggesting that the military will more frequently be used to provide assistance – albeit in a supporting role – alongside capable non-governmental organisations.

The need to protect lines of communication, as well as to guarantee access to resources, may increase competition and act as a catalyst for intra- and inter-state conflict. This will be important to the UK, which will remain heavily reliant on imported energy, food and industrial resources.

There will be an increasing range of empowered actors in 2035, although the state will continue to play a dominant role in international affairs.

Growing proliferation will allow a wider range of actors to access more sophisticated weapons, while the previous technological advantage enjoyed by Western militaries will continue to be reduced.

The UK’s relative influence could decline out to 2035, as it competes within a larger peer group.

UK Defence is likely to have a broader role in supporting the Government’s wider interests and contributing to the nation’s prosperity and stability by applying both hard and soft power.

Events abroad are likely to have a more direct impact at home, and military operations overseas may be influenced increasingly by UK mainland security needs.

Critical UK infrastructure may become increasingly vulnerable to remote attack, particularly from cyberspace.

Characteristics of the future operating environment


In 2035 there is likely to be growing competition between states for access to, and influence over, ever-scarcer resources.

Traditional state-on-state conflict cannot be ruled out over the next 20 years, but state-sponsored terror attacks, use of proxies and cyber attacks are more likely.

Three-way engagement between militaries, non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations will become increasingly important out to 2035. For urban operations, engagement with city authorities will be particularly relevant.

Extremist non-state actors will be more able to exploit a wider array of military capabilities, using innovative tactics that exploit our inherent vulnerabilities, including any institutional inertia. They are likely to develop ever-higher levels of lethality to counter our protection systems and may even have access to weapons of mass effect.


For the UK, NATO will remain the defence alliance of choice – providing the continued commitment to Article 5 but also the means of interoperability with a wide range of nations that could form coalitions of the willing.

In 2035, the UN is likely to work through regional organisations to achieve its aims, including a greater role in upstream conflict prevention. The need for large-scale UN operations – perhaps in Africa – and the UK’s involvement in (and possible leadership of) them should not be discounted.

Culture and identity

The growth and proliferation of social media is likely to create new forms of identity-based ‘turbulence’ or volatility, which gain strength by their associations. This is likely to intensify and complicate battlespaces by broadening audiences and energising ‘causes’ for which people fight, making pragmatic compromise harder to accept.

Social media’s readily-available open-source intelligence-gathering advantages are likely to be used for control, manipulation and targeting.

Faith-based ideologies will continue to shape many conflicts around the world in 2035.

Tensions arising from differences of nationality and culture and a rise in ‘identity politics’ will carry a high risk of sectarian or communal violence.

Analysis and predictive modelling of social behaviour will increasingly support operations.


The UK and other Western militaries, probably with the exception of the US, will almost certainly have been overtaken in some technologies by 2035, and may need to become accustomed to being overmatched by derived military capabilities.

By 2035, a diverse range of actors will be able to access capabilities once restricted to just a few states. Illicit and unregulated technology transfer will exacerbate the threat to the UK.

Technological change will accelerate, serving to highlight inadequacies in less adaptable procurement processes within Defence.

By 2035, proliferation will enable a wider range of our potential adversaries to deploy weapons to deny our access to, and freedom of movement within, operational areas. The aim of our adversaries is likely to be to deter Western powers by raising the potential cost of action.

Automated systems, including those that are armed, will proliferate over the next 20 years. Advances in technology will almost certainly enable swarm attacks, allowing numerous devices to act in concert. This may serve to counter the advantage of high-end systems.

Additive manufacturing may make our logistics chain lighter. This will be key to operating in non-permissive environments, especially when the support chain is long, expensive or threatened. It may also allow individuals, non-state actors and developing states the capability to produce very large numbers of cheap, precision weapons.

By 2035, physical and cognitive performance will be artificially enhanced via biomechanical systems such as exo-skeletons or prosthetics, wearable devices and sensors, and memory-enhancing drugs.

Synthetic biological components may lead to new pathogens being deliberately or accidently created and released, potentially causing or exacerbating pandemics. By 2035, it may even be possible to create genetic weapons.

Defence will need to understand the impact on privacy, assurance, jurisdiction and security for data stored on any foreign based servers. Such data servers will become an important part of critical national infrastructure, but may not have the type of protection afforded by UK sovereignty.

By 2035, persistent real-time, multi-sensor surveillance capabilities will be ubiquitous, cheap and passive, offering considerable advantage to a range of actors. This will have significant implications for operational security.


Cyberspace will be ubiquitous by 2035, pervading every aspect of the physical environments to a far higher degree than today.

Dominance of global cyberspace will be impossible: states will struggle to control cyberspace, because its infrastructure is so widely dispersed.

Cyber activity may offer a credible way to provide deterrent effect that complies with the principle of distinction, perhaps by threatening a state’s critical infrastructure, rendering that state open to coercion.

Electromagnetic environment

Advanced electronic warfare capabilities will be ubiquitous and proliferate to less capable adversaries, creating a broad range of electronic warfare threats.

Countermeasures and mitigation to electronic warfare attack will be important. Reinvigorating and exploiting attack capabilities could ensure Defence possesses operational advantage.

Physical environment

Maintaining UK access to the global commons will be essential for ensuring global reach, national prosperity and to deliver strategic effect.

Increasing reliance on space-based technologies will increase our electromagnetic spectrum vulnerability, partly because enabling capabilities are often hosted by non-UK space service providers. Every part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure relies to some extent on space capabilities, and this dependency will increase greatly out to 2035.

Technological advances, by 2035, will allow flight at ever-higher altitudes, blurring further the distinction between air and space. These technologies may stretch our ability to police international airspace and defend our sovereign territory from the air.

For our Armed Forces, the urban environment will be one of the most challenging areas in which to operate. Cities will be complex and multi-dimensional. Armed forces operating in future cities will have to consider aspects of the environment as diverse as subterranean spaces and cyberspace. The scale of this challenge will be potentially overwhelming andevery urban centre will be unique, requiring a bespoke understanding.

The effects of climate change will be most keenly felt in densely populated coastal cities, leading to instability and suffering.

Where cities are located on the littoral, the inherent complexities of the urban operating environment will be amplified.

Future legal aspects

The precise understanding and applicability of the Law of Armed Conflict may present challenges in keeping pace with technological developments, such as wider use of more sophisticated automated systems.

Implications for Defence

The proliferation of military technology amongst potential adversaries means that our key systems may be vulnerable to technical exploitation or capability overmatch.

Understanding will be fundamental in underpinning conventional and nuclear deterrence as well as coercion.

The UK mainland will face a broad range of natural and man-made threats. It will be increasingly difficult to distinguish between threats from state and non-state actors.

In the unlikely event that an existential threat to the UK emerges, mechanisms will need to be in place to provide warning and rapidly reconstitute sufficient forces to respond.

Achieving a nuanced understanding of the operating environment will be more challenging – and more important – out to 2035.

Future systems must be able to operate and survive, at range, against more sophisticated anti-access and area denial capabilities.

Interoperability and adaptability will be crucial as bespoke alliances and partnerships become more important, both between nations and with non-state actors.

Very long-term, inflexible procurement processes will no longer be sustainable.

Increasingly, military strength will be expressed in terms of human capability across the Whole Force, and establishing the right mix of regulars, reserves, civilians and contractors will be critical.

The confluence of two seas

by C. Raja Mohan 
Source Link

Three developments in the last few days have set the stage for some real competition for promoting connectivity in Asia and opened up fresh opportunities for India to shape the outcomes. Only a few months ago, Delhi seemed alone in opposing China’s trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has been viewed with awe around the world and enthusiastically embraced by most of its neighbours in the region. Now Delhi may be in a position to work with its partners — especially Japan and the US — to offer a credible alternative to the BRI.

Right to privacy is deeply linked to national security

In his 266-page order as part of the 9-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, Justice Dr D Y Chandrachud records how this case came before the Bench.

“A Bench of three judges of this court, while considering the constitutional challenge to the Aadhaar card scheme of the Union government, noted in its order dated 11 August 2015 that the norms for and compilation of demographic biometric data by government was questioned on the ground that it violates the right to privacy.

China’s $62 Billion Bet on Pakistan

By Arif Rafiq

When Maqbool Afridi, now a retired colonel, was stationed with the Pakistani army in Gwadar in the 1990s, he would sit along the coast and stare into the expanse of the Arabian Sea, imagining what the natural deep-sea port could become. He was inspired not only to write romantic Urdu poetry but also to purchase some land in what was then, and largely remains, a fishing village. His family ridiculed him for it, telling him that he was wasting his savings.



Over the years, I’ve had the occasion to meet various officials from the Indian Embassy in Washington. They have all at one point or another asked the same questions: “How do the Pakistanis keep beguiling you Americans? How does this rogue state continue to receive billions of dollars of aid and military assistance while supporting terrorism and being an irresponsible nuclear weapons state?” The short answer is that the Pakistanis can extract such resources from the Americans precisely because it is a nuclear-armed menace perpetrating terrorism through its varied proxies. 

China stretches its long arm to Djibouti

Nizar Manek

The People’s Liberation Army’s overseas garrison conducted its first live-fire drills from China’s base inDjibouti last month. The base on the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean, was inaugurated in July, and is embedded in Djibouti’s new Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port. At the port’s opening ceremony two months earlier, two vessels, one owned by Ethiopian Logistics & Shipping Enterprise (ESLSE) and the other by China’s state-owned COSCO Shipping Lines, berthed at the port, and fêted Djibouti’s President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh with a long whistle.

Is China the Future of Bitcoin, or Its Past?

Huang, a 25-year-old manager of a bitcoin mine, inspects a malfunctioning mining machine during his night shift, in Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, September 26, 2016.

Is China the Future of Bitcoin, or Its Past?

Is Xi Jinping's Star Burning Too Bright?

By David Ignatius

Xi dominated the stage, literally and figuratively, at the party's 19th Congress, which ended this week in Beijing. His consolidation of power has nearly erased the collective leadership style of his recent predecessors and vaulted him into a Chinese pantheon occupied only by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. "Xi Jinping Thought" is now celebrated as the guide to a "new era" for China.

How Xi plans China's world domination

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, crucial for Xi Jinping achieving his agenda for 'national rejuvenation', opened on October 18, 2017, amidst stringent security in Beijing and other major Chinese cities including the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. Xi, who holds 14 formal positions -- more than any other Chinese Communist leader till now -- has positioned himself to emerge stronger from the Congress.

Economist: Western firms are coining it along China’s One Belt, One Road

“MUTUAL benefit, joint responsibility and shared destiny,” sings a choir of enthusiastic schoolgirls in a music video called “The Belt and Road, Sing Along” from Xinhua, a news service run by the Chinese government, that mixes shots of cranes and shipping containers with people enjoying foreign landmarks. Western firms are scarcely less optimistic. Launched by China in 2013, the One Belt, One Road policy, known as OBOR, has two parts. There is a land-based “belt” from China to Europe, evoking old Silk Road trade paths, then a “road” referring to ancient maritime routes.

Terrorism and Just War

By Russell Worth Parker

The years since 2001 leave the United States in a strategic fog. What began as an effort to destroy Al Qaeda in Afghanistan spread to South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Levant in a war that seems long on how and short on why. Civil war in Syria and continued unrest in Iraq made the fertile crescent ready ground for the rise of the Islamic State. Subsequent population displacement in extant warzones and radicalization of native populations gave rise to attacks in Europe. Even the United States, long reliant on geography as a bulwark, has seen militant Islamic violence, revealing the shallow thought behind the bumper sticker notion that we have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here, and reinforcing the impetus for an ever widening, vaguely defined war reliant on aging authorizations disconnected from classic Just War Theory.

Welcome Home, ISIS Fighters, All Is Forgiven

European security services are disturbingly unconcerned with the threat posed by thousands of returning Islamist fighters. Ah, the folly of youth. Some drive too fast in their parents cars. Some fall in love with the wrong person. And some leave their hometown to fly the black flag of ISIS in Syria, perhaps beheading a few apostates or raping and enslaving some Yazidis. Young people are so idealistic and headstrong, aren’t they? So conclude British authorities, as more ISIS fighters return to the U.K. after the caliphate was routed in Raqqa. 

The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda

By Colin P. Clarke

And although the rebranding was regarded as a bald-faced feint by many counterterrorism scholars, it just might have worked to recast al Qaeda’s image within Syria. Al Qaeda in Syria’s carefully calculated decision to distance itself from its parent organization was an effort to portray itself as a legitimate, capable, and independent force in the ongoing Syrian civil war. Another objective was to prove that the militants were dedicated to helping Syrians prevail in their struggle. Finally, it would give al Qaeda central a modicum of plausible deniability as it paves the way for its erstwhile allies to gain eligibility for military aid from a collection of external nations.

STAYING POWER: The Missing Element of National Military Power

By William Adler

Incremental improvements in doctrine, global basing, and force structure are all steps in the right direction, but they are fundamentally insufficient to allow the United States to prevail in a large-scale conventional war. Political and military leaders seek solutions in sterile funding debates, vociferous force size comparisons and acquisition deliberations, but then fail to address one of the elements critical to success in warfare – endurance. The ability to regenerate expended war-fighting capability is essential to maintain military staying power in a protracted war. The United States must build this kind of endurance into future force design and emphasize those military means that can be regenerated quickly and affordably to preserve military options.

Europe’s Border Problem

By George Friedman

For centuries Europe has fought wars over borders. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Europe’s borders shifted wildly, as empires fragmented, new nations arose and wars were waged. After 1945 and the beginning of the Cold War, a new principle emerged on the Continent. The borders that existed at the end of World War II were deemed sacrosanct, not to be changed. The confrontation of the United States and the Soviet Union in Europe was enormously dangerous. It was understood that border disputes had been one of the origins of the two world wars and that even raising the legitimacy of post-war borders risked igniting passions that led to violence.

U.S. Searches for Cyber Doctrine With Russians “Ten Years Ahead”


In the nearly seven years since the U.S. Department of Defense declared cyberspace a “domain” of warfare – alongside land, air, sea, and space – the Pentagon has developed an overarching Cyber Strategy to guide their efforts in the new domain and raised a Cyber Command that has grown from 700 military and civilian employees to an expected 6,200 personnel by October 2018.

Looming Digital Black Swan? New, Rapidly Growing Internet-Of-Things (IoT) Botnet — Threatens To Take Down Entire Internet; 10,000 Devices Per Day Being Infected’ +2 Million Devices Already Infected

Cyber security researchers are growing increasingly concerned that a new Internet-Of-Things (IoT) botnet could pose a threat to take down the entire Internet. Wang Wei reported Friday, October 20, 2017, on the website the HackerNews.com, that just a year after/2016 the Mirai malware burst onto the scene, causing widespread Internet outages by launching massive Distributed-Denial-Of-Service (DDoS) attacks — a new IoT botnet has researchers worried about a potential digital Black Swan-type event. 

How NATO Is Preparing to Fight Tomorrow’s Information Wars

MONS, Belgium — NATO officials are boosting funding and forging new partnerships to strengthen their members’ network defenses. But some friends of NATO say bureaucratic obstacles and policy disputes are hindering the effort. All of that is occurring against a backdrop of daily low-level information attacks — and occasionally much more serious ones — from an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Quantum, darknet could solve energy sector’s cybersecurity problems

By: Jessie Bur

Protecting the U.S. energy grid from cyberattack requires the migration to cutting-edge technological tools such as dark fiber and quantum computing, according to experts who spoke at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing on Thursday. According to Richard Raines, director of the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, darknet systems rely on unused fiber optic cables to keep the communications of a particular electronic system off the public internet.

Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook

Zeynep Tufekci

Responding to President Trump’s tweet this week that “Facebook was always anti-Trump,” Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, defended the company by noting that Mr. Trump’s opponents also criticize it — as having aided Mr. Trump. If everyone is upset with you, Mr. Zuckerberg suggested, you must be doing something right.

After The Siege Of Marawi, Another Fight Plays Out

by Ben West

The military operation in Marawi City is officially over. After six months of urban combat that killed hundreds of Philippine troops and hundreds more militants - including Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and at least one of the brothers behind the namesake Maute group - President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi "liberated." A few days later on Oct. 23, the Philippine defense minister announced that security forces had cleared the last militants from the city. The siege of Marawi City was arguably the most ambitious and successful exploit to date for jihadists in the southern Philippines, and its end represents an important benchmark in the country's centurieslong struggle against insurgency. Though Philippine security forces have won the battle in Marawi, their war on militancy is far from finished.

29 October 2017

A World in Flux: The Atlantic Community, West Asia, Indo Pacific at Brooking India

On 27 October 2017 I attended a discussion on A World in Flux: The Atlantic Community, West Asia, Indo Pacific at Brooking India. The Panelists were Gen John R Allen, former Commander of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and the newly appointed President of Brookings Institution and Strobe Talbott, recently retired President of Brookings. The discussion was moderated by Dhruv Jaishankar adroitly. I was impressed by the plain speaking and depth of knowledge of the Ex Marine Corps General.

Discussions were on Europe, West Asia and Asia Pacific with an interesting ‘Q’ & ‘A’ session. The gist in reproduced below.


Does Altantic community Exist? As per Talbott it still exists. However it is like a see saw, sometimes up, other times down. Now it is in downswing. Earlier it was all about integration in Europe. Now it is disintegration on the avail : Catalonia in Spain, Brexit and UK out of EU, UK itself may not be united. Russia is reintegrating, expanding, using geopolitical instruments of hard power. It is influencing the minds of responsible leaders of Europe. US is particularly concerned as it is committed to 70 years old legacy in Europe. Regarding Ukraine US never changed the goal past in between. There was lot of support in NATO specially in Germany that NATO should move East. After disintegration of Soviet Russia number of countries wanted open society, democracy based on values. Earlier they were frightened. President Clinton’s policy was not to contain Russia but maintain stability and allow growth of democracy. I felt Friedman and Kaplan’s hypothesis were correct. The geopolitical compulsions would never allow Russia to have NATO right at its doorstep where he is most vulnerable.

Did Ukraine make a mistake in giving up nuclear weapons? Talbott felt that Ukraine’s refusal to let go nuclear weapons would not have stopped Russia do what it did after Sochi Olympics. Russia have lots of assets to make nuclear weapons unusable by the Ukraine Govt.

Personally I would differ. Till date no two nuclear powered nation have gone to war. Look at North Korea. Certainly it would have been a great deterrence. 


Russian economy is presently approximately half of Indian economy. Why give too much of credence to Russia?

Russia territorially is the largest state on planet. Qualitatively and quantitatively it is a great military power. It has a large number of nuclear weapons. Bad news is, Russia is going back to failed reforms of earlier Soviet Union days. It’s economy is totally reliant on hydrocarbon resources. It has no sophisticated service industry. Its manufacturing base cannot even service Russian people. President Putin is going to leave a fatal legacy to his successor.

Demography. Russian population is 75 to 80% Slovaks. They have negative growth rate in population. There is a sizeable Muslim population, mostly Sunni, who have different ethnicity, high degree of Arab negativism. This population is booming. Location of this population is also important. Sooner than later Russia will have to address this issue.

If you look at the map of Russia and try to see from where the threat is coming, the least threat would be form West. Move of Polar ice cap, Arctic are not such big issues.
Russia is actively involved in fighting in Syria. Number of ISIS fighters from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc are expected to go back to Russia and create problems. 

The greatest geopolitical threat to Russia is China. The eastern provinces are rich with resources and poor with people. China needs resources, land. Is hungry for these. This is recipe for big trouble for Russia. 

Middle East

There has been no external policy in Middle East which has been a total success, there have been spectacular failures. Today there is a new Cold War between Saudi led Sunni elements Vs Persian led Shia elements. Almost all problems in Middle East region would have some elements of the new Cold War.

After about 100 years of collapse of Ottoman empire and aftermath of Arab Spring the structural weaknesses in Middle East is apparent. System of governance is weak or non existent, was never put into place. The people of Middle East never chose the borders, it was always imposed by colonial powers from outside keeping their interests in the forefront. European powers did not do any better in controlling the region considering their history, culture, faith, tribe, type of governance etc. The region continued to simmer and in December 2010/early 2011 there was an uprising of youthful elements specially in dictatorial/tribal regimes. Al Qaeda quickly got into the act and justified jehadi salafis. The social media accelerated the revolts as never seen before. The European Governments failed miserably in controlling the situation. 

Today look at the region. There are civil wars going on. Syria symbolizes how bad it can be. Situations at Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Libya have stabilized.

The enormous number of refugees destabilizes Europe. The polarization of extreme right wing politics is taking place aided by highly sophisticated influence operations by Russia. The situation is likely to get worse.


Both sides may reach exhaustion. USA is friend of both sides. Qatar may be moving closer to Iran. There is a reintroduction of Turkey’s influence. The Arabs may not be very happy with that. The GCC is permanently wounded in this conflict. 

The USA must have a policy soon which gives its friends in this region some hope in the community of nations. There are human factors, faith of Islam, Jihad, governance, no equal right to women, zero economic prospects, absence of leaders etc. The nations in this region cannot solve the problem themselves. There is a chance of massive radicalization of young people in the region. We have to swim upstream, identify causal factors. The issues of governance say in tribal societies, and other generational issues are complicated but must be addressed. 

Iraq. Is a complex issue. Prime Minister of Iraq wants increased federalism. The Kurd issue was explained in great details. Thanks to my paper in my blog on Kurds available at : http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/10/the-time-of-kurds.html I could understand the complexities.

Abadi wants to demobilize Shia groups in the North and absorb the rest. Mosul could not have been liberated without the help of Shia groups and Kurds. Iraqi army was missing in action. Now with Daesh demolished if we do not get the political outcome right very soon shooting will start again.

Independence of Kurds may take some time. Now is not the time.

US Armed forces are continuously at war since 9/11 for last 17 years in multiple theatres ain stressful conditions.

Even when Daesh is defeated physically it will spread out in small groups to different parts of the world, is a big worry. Daesh has symbiotic relations with highly sophisticated criminal gangs. It is the phase four peace. Example of Germany, Korea, Japan, Europe after second world war. For a considerable time Govt of South Korea was corrupt. Look at the powerful economy of South Korea now. It still has 28000 American soldiers there. 

You can win war but lose peace. It is the political and economic outcomes post decisive wars which are most important.


America was one and half year away from handing over responsibility of Afganistan. The training of the Afghan forces were under way. But a political decision was taken. From 1.5 lakh soldiers it came down to less than 10,000. From 835 bases it it was 12 bases. 

There was a question on changing nature of warfare. You could see it was the Marine Corps General’s turf. It was a fascinating expose. Nature and character of war – their interplay. Character is associated with technology, when nature and character of war is in synch coherent military strategy is created. How the Germans got the Blitzkrieg right by integration of capabilities of fast moving armd vehicles, radios, dive bombers, how the British decimated the Italian fleet, using old slow aircrafts swordfish, how the Japanese learned from this British attack to plan on Pearl Harbour on 7th December and how the US Navy refused to learn from the Taranto attack. Those interested in Taranto may like to read : http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/year-before-pearl-harbor-the-british-sank-enemy-battleships-18693?page=show

Russians are showing how to adapt. Their influence operations are remarkable undermining confidence of population. They are influencing the Presidential elections in USA!

Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Autonomous systems are posing difficult questions how the warfare would be fought in future. Interested people can read my blog article on fourth industrial revolution and military implications at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/10/defence-implications-of-emerging.html

China has already invested $ 150 billion on research of AI. These emerging technologies are going to change the character of warfare. 

Hyper war was also discussed.

Shri Manoj Joshi of ORF asked a very interesting question. India’s 70% hydrocarbon comes from West Asia/ Middle East, we have a huge population in these areas, we have great interest here. But USA does not collaborate with us in this region. Gen Allen was remarkably candid in answering. He finds no reason why the task force in this region is headed by Pak Navy when Indian Navy has its presence for anti piracy operations.

Taking a cue I asked the General the following :

The inter command boundary between US Central command ( CENTCOM) and Pacific command(PACOM) is along Indo Pak border. We come under PACOM which is far from us, the action is here in our western neighbourhood and western sea board. Can the inter command boundary between CENTCOM and PACOM be shifted eastword so that India comes under the influence of CENTCOM.

Robert Gates as Secy Defense while addressing US Military Academy stated that US Armed Forces has been consistently correct in only one thing ; Failing to predict the nature of next war, they always prepared for the last war. Today the leaders of US Armed forces are wary of their unpreparedness to fight under intense EW environment, the Russians are way ahead, their communication networks may not work, GPS may malfunction. At the same time the present counterinsurgency and counter terrorism operations will also continue. Is there any dichotomy inpreparing for the next war. The response of Gen Allen was fascinating.

On the whole a very good discussion. I was enriched.