3 January 2017

*** 2017 Global Forecast

Global Forecast is an annual collection of essays by CSIS experts focused on the critical issues facing the U.S. and the world in the year ahead. 

John J. Hamre 

Michael J. Green 

A conversation with Heather A. Conley, Matthew P. Goodman, and Scott Miller 

Olga Oliker 

A conversation with Christopher K. Johnson, Victor Cha, and Amy Searight 

Andrew Shearer 

A conversation with Todd Harrison, Andrew Hunter, and Mark Cancian 

* China’s military in 2016: Missiles, intelligence and the SCS


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China’s military advanced along several fronts in 2016 in its concerted program to develop new asymmetric and conventional warfare capabilities while continuing to challenge the United States for military control of key waterways in Asia.

As 2016 drew to a close, China flexed its military muscle with the high-profile dispatch of its lone aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to an area of the western Pacific in a carrier battle group formation. Seven warships accompanied the carrier – three destroyers, three frigates and a supply ship.

Contrary to many western China analysts’ who said the Chinese carrier would take many years to deploy, Chinese state media trumpeted naval drills as a sign the the carrier will ready for combat operation sooner than expected.

“Compared with other countries, China has progressed ahead of expectations,” Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told state-run media, adding “other countries’ aircraft carriers normally spent five to six years or even 10 years to gain combat capability.”

* Maldives: Should India Prefer ‘Surgical Strikes’ Of A Positive Kind? – Analysis

By N. Sathiya Moorthy

Every time Maldives is in an Indian discourse, question arises if the larger neighbour should go beyond incremental improvements in bilateral relations. In time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the refrain should be to prefer ‘surgical strikes’, but of a positive kind.

The question arises if PM Modi should consider going ahead with his proposed March 2015 visit to Maldives when smaller neighbour was going through early signs of domestic rife. One and half years down the line, there is no expectation of a ‘better time’ to arrive on the Maldivian domestic front, after making a few things clear to his hosts.

Today, there is no hope of ‘normalcy’ returning to Maldivian politics before the November 2018 presidential polls. It could prolong, not get shortened, in the current course. By hind sight, a timely visit in March 2015 as part of the unprecedented four-nation Indian Ocean tour by any Indian PM could help matters even on Maldivian domestic front.

Stand by Turkey in crisis

Among the 39 dead are more than 15 foreigners from many parts of the world, including two from India.

A police officer looks a photographs of the victims displayed a day after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul. (Photo: AP)

The perpetrator of the ghastly terrorist attack at an upscale nightclub in Istanbul, barely an hour after the new year commenced, has not yet been identified, although Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility. But hardly anything more is known so far about the attackers. Among the 39 dead are more than 15 foreigners from many parts of the world, including two from India.

Given the turmoil in Turkey’s domestic politics, which has been accentuated in the past year or so, and Ankara sending forces across the Syrian border to combat ISIS which it seemed earlier to be backing, it is anybody’s guess who could be behind the attack, the claim of ISIS notwithstanding.

The country has seen as many as 30 acts of terrorist violence in the past year, several of them spectacular and leaving a high death count. Less than a fortnight ago, the Russian ambassador in Turkey was killed by an off-duty policeman shouting Islamist slogans.

Expand partnership with US, limit rifts with China

by C. Raja Mohan 

India has a trade surplus with America, which has ended its pro-Pakistan tilt and supports India’s membership of the UNSC and NSG. Washington says it wants to see India emerge as a great power; China seems to block India’s rise.

In the last few years, India has struggled to cope with Beijing’s political expansion, military modernisation and power projection in India’s neighbourhood.

As a rising China challenges American primacy in Asia, navigating between Beijing and Washington is a major strategic challenge for us. India’s default option, many assume, is to reaffirm non-alignment — neither with Washington, nor Beijing. That conventional wisdom is under a cloud as India draws closer towards America, amidst a rather difficult phase with China.

Contrary to the mythology of non-alignment, tilting to one side or another has been very much part of the Indian diplomatic tradition and the Chinese. As he founded the People’s Republic of China, it is known Mao Zedong insisted Beijing must “lean one side” — towards the Soviet Union. But within a few years, he fought Moscow and leaned towards the other side, Washington.

India’s interests tilt eastwards, it walks a new tightrope

by Ram Madhav

India’s economic and strategic interests are hugely tied to the Indian Ocean, the 21st century’s theatre of huge rivalries. If Trump translates his rhetoric into reality, a harried China will be a nightmare there.

“Nations have no permanent friends or allies in diplomacy; they have only permanent interests,” said the famous English statesman Lord Palmerstone. One country that takes this seriously is America. Henry Kissinger, the man who affected a major shift in US foreign policy as secretary of state during the Nixon regime by allying with ideological arch rival China, amended the statement by stating, “America has no permanent friends or foes; it has only permanent interests.”

Nearly 45 years after the Nixon-Kissinger duo’s path-breaking friendship overtures to Mao’s China, the world is witnessing another American leader, president-elect Donald Trump, attempting to implement that formula, this time to say that China is no friend of America’s but a job-stealer and an enemy.After getting elected, Trump continued his tirade against China, giving enough indications that what he said during the campaign wasn’t just poll rhetoric.

Deterrence Against The Dragon: Why Agni’s Arc Worries China

Rakesh Krishnan Simha

The Agni-V test has set off Beijing’s deepest insecurities of being encircled, resulting in the dragon issuing petulant statements not befitting a country of its size and strength.

Without firing a shot in anger, India clearly has won the battle of the mind.

The shrill, disjointed and illogical rants emanating from Beijing after the fourth successful test of the Agni-V missile is an adequate proof that nothing succeeds like deterrence. By developing a missile designed solely for raining down nuclear warheads at the Han heartland, India has effectively neutralised the Chinese nuclear threat.

Deterrence is the threat of massive retaliation in order to prevent an enemy attack. It is a fundamental principle for India, which has declared a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons – and by extension ballistic missiles. The deterrence provided by the 5,500 km Agni-V will force Beijing to abandon attack and remain in a state of status quo or paralysis.

The missile was cold launched from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a tractor-erector-launcher (TEL). “Launch from a canister integrated with a TEL enables launch in minutes as compared with a silo – or open – launch. It also has advantages of higher reliability, longer shelf life, less maintenance and enhanced mobility,” says the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

Our generals failed in Afghanistan


The United States military failed America in Afghanistan. It wasn’t a tactical failure. It was a failure of leadership.

The ascent of David Petraeus and the Army’s rediscovery of counterinsurgency doctrine led many to believe that the military had dramatically adapted itself for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately the transformation was only skin deep. Petraeus was a myth, and the intellectual father of the Army only in the eyes of the national media. The institutional inertia of the military bureaucracy never caught up with the press releases. The result was a never-ending series of public pronouncements by senior leaders about the importance of counterinsurgency, accompanied by a continuation of Cold War-era personnel and rotation policies that explicitly short-changed the effort.

Upon taking command in Afghanistan in 2009, General Stanley McChrystal made the rounds of his subordinate units and asked each of us, “What would you do differently if you had to stay until we won?” At the time I was in charge of operations for a brigade in the middle of tough fight in eastern Afghanistan. It was absolutely the right question, but in retrospect it was also a trick question. The answer was to get the right people into the fight, keep them there long enough to develop an understanding of the environment, and hold them accountable for progress, but that was not something the military was interested in doing. Instead, we stuck with a policy that rotated leaders through the country like tourists.

Challenges and Opportunities for Afghanistan in 2017

By Aziz Amin Ahmadzai

2016 was a difficult year for Afghanistan and 2017 presents unique challenges.

For Afghanistan, 2016 was another year coupled with both ups and downs that tested the government, people, and the international community’s resolve to assist the country. Failures of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan (NUG) included the Taliban’s temporary re-capture of the strategic provincial capital of Kunduz for a second time, the reemergence of the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan, and the government’s inability to create employment opportunities to stop the exodus of Afghans into Europe. Meanwhile on the upside for the NUG, 2016 has seen the peace deal with Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, increased connectivity with China, the opening of the first rail connection between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, and successful efforts to isolate Pakistan at the regional and international level.

The Failures of 2016

The rise of insecurity across Afghanistan

The Rohingya Migrant Crisis

Eleanor Albert

Tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled Myanmar, many taking to the sea to try to reach Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The latest surge in refugees was prompted by a long-building crisis: the discriminatory policies of the Myanmar government in Rakhine state, which have caused hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee since the late 1970s. Their plight has been compounded by the responses of many of Myanmar’s neighbors, which have been slow to take in refugees for fear of a migrant influx they feel incapable of handling.

Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority group living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state; they practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. The estimated one million Rohingya in Myanmar account for nearly a third of Rakhine’s population. The Rohingya differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups ethnically, linguistically, and religiously.

China's Air Force is Growing in Size and Technological Edge


China Unveiled its New 5th-Generation J-31 Stealth Fighter in November of 2014

Tensions in the South China Sea and continued warnings about Chinese militarization of the disputed areas has led many Pentagon planners and analysts to sharpen focus on Chinese Air Force acquisitions and technological advances. 

The U.S. Air Force’s technological air power superiority over China is rapidly diminishing in light of rapid Chinese modernization of fighter jets, missiles, air-to-air weapons, cargo planes and stealth aircraft, according to analysts, Pentagon officials and a Congressional review released several years ago. 

The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that Congress appoint an outside panel of experts to assess the U.S.-Chinese military balance and make recommendations regarding U.S. military plans and budgets, among other things.Despite being released in 2014, the findings of the report - if slightly dated - offer a detailed and insightful window into Chinese Air Force technology, progress and development. 

The Commission compiled its report based upon testimony, various reports and analytical assessments along with available open-source information. An entire chapter is dedicated to Chinese military modernization.

U.S. And China On Collision Course

by James Rickards

China’s capital and currency markets are on a collision course with the U.S., and by extension, the entire world. Economists are fond of saying if something can’t go on forever, it won’t. That truism applies to China.

Huge profits will be made by those who see this China train wreck coming and act in time.

The idea of economic stress in China sounds strange to most ears. China has come from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution to the world’s largest economy measured on a purchasing power parity basis in just 35 years. Even using nominal GDP, my preferred metric, it is the world’s second largest economy.

China’s economy grew over 12% per year in 2006-2008, and again in 2010. Even at the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009, annual Chinese growth was still over 6%. Chinese growth ran between 8% and 6.7% from 2011 to 2016. These growth rates are extraordinary compared to the 0% to 2% annual growth achieved by the major developed economies since 2007.

But, beneath that glossy surface all is not well. Much of China’s growth was completely artificial. It would not be counted if China were subject to more rigorous accounting standards.

Should America Really Fear China's Growing Navy?

James Holmes

Contain yourselves, folks. Putting out to sea without mishap is a rather basic function for navies—not the apex of naval achievement. Grand geopolitical ambitions for China’s navy are likely to go unfulfilled for quite some time.

Prompting this outburst: the editorial staff at the Global Times is crowing about the latest voyage of the aircraft carrier Liaoning. Last week China’s lone flattop transited through the Ryukyu island chain into the Western Pacific, cruised past Taiwan, and entered the South China Sea. The Japanese Defense Ministry confirmed that this represented the ship’s first egress into the open ocean. Taiwanese spokesmen fretted publicly.

The Times’s Christmas Day victory lap is premature. Sailors hone their craft not by sitting pierside but by plying the briny main—a lot. While China’s navy goes to sea more now than in bygone years, its operational practices still can’t compare to the U.S. Navy’s. Even Asian rivals like the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force upstage China in the human dimension of seamanship and combat.

Inside the Economic War Against the Islamic State

By Joby Warrick

The Islamic State starts the new year with a drastically depleted bank account, counterterrorism officials say, following months of intensified efforts to deprive the Islamists of oil profits and other revenue used to finance military operations and terrorist attacks abroad.

Coalition aircraft in the past 15 months have destroyed more than 1,200 tanker trucks — including 168 vehicles struck in a single air raid in Syria in early December — while also using new weapons and tactics to inflict lasting damage on the terrorists’ remaining oil fields, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials say.

The military strikes are being paired with new measures intended to shut down financial networks used by the Islamic State to procure supplies and pay its fighters, the officials say. Two weeks ago, the U.S. and Iraqi governments announced the first coordinated effort to punish Iraqi and Syrian financial services companies used by the terrorists to conduct business.

The campaign has slashed profits from oil sales, traditionally the biggest revenue source for the Islamic State, U.S. officials say, and deepened the economic pain for a terrorist organization that until recently was regarded as the world’s wealthiest. One sign of the financial strain, the officials say, is a shrinking payroll: After cutting salaries by 50 percent a few months ago, the Islamic State now appears to be struggling to pay its workers and fighters at all.

Nuclear Time-Bomb At The Heart Of Eurasia – Analysis

By Javid Alisgandarli

What would happen if radical and extremist terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda or the PKK were to gain access to the nuclear and radioactive materials required to create nuclear bombs and chemical weapons? This question has been worrying the international community and world leaders for over a decade. According to the head of UN Atomic watchdog, “Nuclear Terrorism has become an alarming possibility and countries are not doing enough to prevent it”. But what are the chances of this happening, and where can terrorists access highly enriched uranium, plutonium or other radioactive materials needed for the building of a nuclear bomb? This threat is imminent, and in most instances its seriousness is underestimated as post-Soviet nuclear facilities functioning beyond their lifespan and having poor security and safety controls pose a significant risk in this regard.

One of these facilities is Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant, listed by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as one of the five most dangerous nuclear facilities in the world. Built in the 1970’s, Metsamor is located about 35 kilometers west of the capital Yerevan and 20 km from Iğdır (Turkey). According to the IAEA, nuclear power stations should be situated at least 90 km away from human settlements. Moreover, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has also expressed numerous concerns over Metsamor NPP’s location in a seismically active zone; the plant is a source of serious danger for the whole Caucasus region.

Syria Will Stain Obama’s Legacy Forever


Barack Obama’s impending departure from the White House has put many Americans in an elegiac mood. Despite an average approval rating of only 48 percent — the lowest, surprisingly, of our last five presidents — he has always been beloved, if not revered, by the scribbling classes. Just as many prematurely deemed Bush the worst president ever, so many are now ready to enshrine Obama as one of the all-time greats.

Or at least they were until the fall of Aleppo.

Since the Syrian uprising began in 2011, Americans have regarded the carnage there as essentially a humanitarian disaster. For Obama, contemplating his legacy, the awful death and destruction that Syria has suffered — the 400,000 deaths, the wholesale wasting of civilian neighborhoods, the wanton use of sarin gas and chlorine gas and barrel bombs, the untold atrocities — has raised the old question of how future generations will judge an American president’s passivity or ineffectuality in the face of mass slaughter.

Would South Korea Really Go Nuclear?

By Lami Kim

Since Donald Trump won the presidential election last month, concerns over a nuclear South Korea have intensified. Although President-elect Trump reassured President Park Geun-hye of the U.S. security commitment to South Korea, a strong fear of abandonment has arisen in South Korea in light of Trump’s campaign statements. When South Korea feared U.S. disengagement from Asia in the early 1970s, it responded by attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Today, the prospect of a nuclear South Korea, unthinkable since the 1970s, is more real than ever. The recent impeachment of Park by the National Assembly earlier this month adds to uncertainty for South Korea’s security policies. Could the next administration pursue nuclear weapons as a result of these fears?

The answer will heavily depend on whether the Trump administration reaffirms the strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. Otherwise, it is anyone’s guess what the policies of the next president will be, which could include “going nuclear.”

Ukraine Says Hit by 6,500 Hack Attacks, Sees Russian 'Cyberwar'

Hackers have targeted Ukrainian state institutions about 6,500 times in the past two months, including incidents that showed Russian security services were waging a cyberwar against the country, President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday.

In December, Ukraine suffered attacks on its finance and defense ministries and the State Treasury that allocates cash to government institutions. A suspected hack also wiped out part of Kyiv's power grid, causing a blackout in part of the capital.

"Acts of terrorism and sabotage on critical infrastructure facilities remain possible today," Poroshenko said during a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, according to a statement released by Poroshenko's office.

The statement said the president stressed that "the investigation of a number of incidents indicated the complicity directly or indirectly of Russian security services waging a cyberwar against our country".

Brexit: Pakistanization Finally Comes Home – OpEd


Ever since the end of the WWI, and especially since the end of the WWII, the UK’s official foreign policy line was nearly always the same, imperial – partition and division. Divide/atomise and rule (divide at impere)! Whether it was Asia, Latin America, Africa, Ukraine, Balkans or the Middle East – Pakistanization was the UK classical (colonial) concept, action and answer! Now with Brexit, it seems that the Pakistanization (finally) came home.

However, certain destructive UK quasi-intellectual circles are trying to postpone the inevitable. The following lines are about that ill-fated attempt.

Foreign Affairs, a renowned American foreign policy journal, recently published an article under the title Dysfunction in the Balkans, written by Timothy Less. In this article the author offers his advice to the new American Administration, suggesting that it should abandon the policy of support to the territorial integrity of the states created in the process of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

Doxycycline Treats A Host Of Human Plagues, But It Won't Work Forever

by Harin Karunajeewa,

Doxycycline is an antibiotic drug that kills a wide, weird and wonderful range of bugs that are often difficult to treat with other antibiotics. These include bacteria and parasites that take up residence inside our cells (called "intracellular organisms"), making them hard for most antibiotics to reach.

Unlike many other antibiotics,doxycycline penetrates deep into our tissues and ends up inside our cells, where it can kill these bugs.Examples of intracellular organisms susceptible to doxycycline include numerous "zoonotic infections" (infections that are spread from animals to humans), chlamydia, legionella (the cause of legionnaire's disease) and malaria.

Other susceptible microorganisms include "spirochaetes" (that can cause syphilis and Lyme disease) and the bacteria that cause acne, anthrax and cholera.


Doxycycline interferes with a microorganism's ability to manufacture proteins - the "building blocks" of life. Protein manufacture occurs in a part of the cell called the "ribosome" and is fundamental to any organism's survival.

The reason doxycycline kills bacteria and parasites, but not our own cells, is that ours have a different type of ribosome to these simpler organisms.


Patrick Tucker had a December 29, 2016 article on the defense and national security website, DefenseOne.com, with the title above. “Future nuclear missiles may be siloed; but, unlike their predecessors, they’ll exhibit some level of connectivity to the warfighting system,” according to Werner J.A. Dahm, the Chair of the U.S. Air Force Advisory Board. “That opens up new potential for nuclear missile mishaps [and vulnerabilities] that until now…..have never been part of Pentagon planning,” Mr. Tucker wrote. In that regard, the Air Force Advisory Board will undertake a study to see how to meet [address] those concerns.” “Obviously, the Air Force doesn’t conceptualize systems like that, without ideas for how to address those security concerns,” Dr. Dahm told DefenseOne.

This “is no simple, or straight-forward undertaking,” Mr. Tucker notes, as “the last time the United States designed an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),was 1975.” The Air Force Science Board announced this month, that in 2017, the service planned to “explore practical, and safety concerns for making a [nuclear] missile for the modern age, along with other nuclear weapons that fall under the command of the Air Force.”

Right-sizing the Trump defense buildup

Michael E. O’Hanlon

President-elect Donald Trump has called for a revitalization of the U.S. military, as well as better treatment of veterans. Lamenting the damage that 15 years of war and five years of budgetary shenanigans had done to the American armed forces, Trump said on the campaign trail that their condition was a “disgrace.” He promised to fix things if elected.

Trump is right about the general direction things should go. We need to halt government shutdowns, temporary spending bills, and the continued specter of a return to sequestration, which forced automatic cuts in 2013. A somewhat larger military budget is needed, too.

Yet in framing defense choices, it is important to understand our starting point. The U.S. armed forces are not a disgrace, and their readiness is not in shambles. With the annual federal deficit already on track to top $1 trillion again next decade, even without counting any Trumpian plans for big defense buildups, infrastructure initiatives, or tax cuts, we need a measured defense buildup, not a massive one. Unit by unit, today’s armed forces are strong; the main problem is that they are just somewhat too few in number.

Statement by the President on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017." This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries' use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

I note that section 923 of the Act requires that the President establish a unified combatant command for cyber operations forces, while section 1642 prohibits the Secretary of Defense from terminating the "dual-hat" arrangement under which the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) also serves as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), unless the Secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff jointly certify that ending this arrangement will not pose risks to the military effectiveness of CYBERCOM that are unacceptable to the national security interests of the United States. Although I appreciate the Congress's interest in strengthening our Nation's cyber capabilities and ensuring that the NSA and CYBERCOM are best positioned to confront the array of cyber

Hacking Against Cybercrime: The FBI's New Approach


What if the U.S. government could force entry—in other words, hack—into electronic devices around the world, using only one warrant, even if the owners of those devices were not suspected of any criminal activity - and it would be legal?

The U.S. Department of Justice has made new changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to do just that. These changes—made without meaningful congressional debate—allow the FBI to hack multiple devices under a single warrant.

The new provisions under the law—which went into effect this month—are intended to give the FBI the necessary tools to address cybercrime as they face the new world of borderless global Internet infrastructure. However, critics argue the new law gives the FBI sweeping powers that not only infringe on privacy rights of innocent people, but could also undermine overall cybersecurity.

But what is the rationale behind giving these new powers to law enforcement and what will its implementation look like? Why has the new provision drawn such criticism?

Outraged Obama will need to do more to worry our cyber enemies

By Brig. Gen. Eli Ben Muir

The intelligence reports alleging a Russian cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee have captured the public imagination like no other hack. The suggestion that the Kremlin’s cyber know-how succeeded in manipulating public debate, influencing results at the ballot box, is a throwback to the height of Cold War espionage.

Given the obvious diplomatic and political dimension, it is no wonder President Obama pledged a response to the meddling, which he announced Thursday and also why he announced a “full review” of what transpired. However, the possibility of such a breach should not be surprising.

State-sanctioned cyber combat has long since replaced tanks and airplanes at the cutting edge of warfare.

China’s cyber snooping on American companies, to secure a market edge was almost an open secret. So much so, that the U.S. and China reached a formal agreement last year to refrain from cyber-theft. Meanwhile, the North Korean regime brought the entertainment giant Sony to its knees two years ago, in order to make a political point over an upcoming movie.

A breach notification strategy for cyber attacks is needed

By Sandesh Anand

While a strong focus on preventing India’s cyber assets is required, it is a reasonable assumption to make that there will be more cyber attacks in 2017. These attacks will lead to sensitive information leakage, lack of availability of your favorite internet services and other disruptions common during a cyber attack. It is hence important to deliberate on a breach notification policy framework.

Currently, many regulators (such as RBI) and CERT-in lays down many rules to ensure companies report certain kinds of cyber incidents. However, there is no policy which requires entities to report breaches to you and I, the consumers. This means, if (say) a bank get’s hacked and that leads to leakage of consumer’s sensitive information (such as phone number, account balance), the bank is under no obligation to inform the consumers about the extent of the breach and explain what steps are being taken to prevent such incidents in the future. This means, consumers are in the dark about the status of their data and cannot take corrective steps. For instance, if a consumer knows that her credit card number is compromised, she can contact her bank, cancel the card and get a new one issued.

Hacking Into Future Nuclear Weapons: The US Military’s Next Worry


Warheads will be networked, and that presents unique challenges for the U.S. Air Force. 

Future nuclear missiles may be siloed but, unlike their predecessors, they’ll exhibit “some level of connectivity to the rest of the warfighting system,” according to Werner J.A. Dahm, the chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. That opens up new potential for nuclear mishaps that, until now, have never been a part of Pentagon planning. In 2017, the board will undertake a study to see how to meet those concerns. “Obviously the Air Force doesn’t conceptualize systems like that without ideas for how they would address those surety concerns,” said Dahm.

It’s no simple or straight-forward undertaking. The last time the United States designed an intercontinental ballistic missile was 1975. At the end of the December, the Air Force Science Board announced that in 2017 they would explore safety and practical concerns of making a missile for the modern age along with other nuclear weapons that fall under the command of the Air Force.

“We have a number of nuclear systems that are in need of recapitalization,” said Dahm, referring to LRSO, ICBMs and the B-21 stealth bomber. In the future, he said, “these systems are going to be quite different from the ones that they may replace. In particular, they will be much more like all systems today, network connected. They’ll be cyber enabled.” That connectivity will create new concerns in terms of safety and certification that will almost certainly require changes or additions to current DoD directives.

Role of Earth Observation Satellites in Counter-Infiltration

Amit Mukherjee

The declared use made of earth observation satellites (Cartosat Series) for facilitating the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in September 2016 represents a new precedent. India’s proactive action caught the infiltrators as well as the supporting Pakistani establishment by surprise, in both military and policy terms. However, with no subsequent change in the Pakistani establishment’s strategy of sponsoring and facilitating cross-border terrorism, sealing the Western border is being seen as the next counter step. The Home Minister has announced the government’s intent to seal the border by 2018.

Although sealing the entire border would be a significant challenge mainly due to variations in the terrain and topography, the use of remote sensing systems provides one of the more effective means to overcome it. Attempts at infiltration could be detected by using low earth orbit surveillance satellites, which would in turn enable the blocking of infiltrators through suitable force deployment. In this regard, the active deployment of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) which were reportedly used in Operation Ginger in 2011, and High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs that are currently under consideration for procurement, will improve India’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.