5 January 2017

** What can we expect in China in 2017?

By Gordon Orr

Provided geopolitical movement doesn’t derail his best laid predictions, Gordon Orr sees a year of slowing economic growth, headaches for multinationals, demographic anxiety, and buyer’s remorse for soccer tycoons. 

My base case for China’s outlook this year assumes increased trade friction with the United States, with tariffs raised on specific product categories (such as steel and some agricultural goods), and, while I don’t expect across-the-board disruptions, a few high-profile companies will be forced to choose between accommodating the demands of the Chinese or US government. 

Of course, if recent statements from US politicians translate into sweeping action on trade, 2017 could develop very differently. Tit-for-tat moves on specific companies and sectors could easily escalate, with many multinationals’ global supply chains caught in the middle and consumers around the world facing product shortages and, when products are available, material price increases. China’s government could implement sweeping actions to sustain employment, restrict further capital outflows, and stimulate the domestic economy. Market-oriented restructuring and reform would be off the table. Economic nationalism, food and energy security, and social stability would be paramount. 

** Understanding America's Global Role in the Age of Trump

By Rodger Baker

The New Year, of course, is a time when many reflect on the past and look toward the future. The past provides potential lessons and cautions for those who would seek to find tomorrow's solutions in yesterday's actions. In his 1994 book Diplomacy, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote: "The study of history offers no manual of instructions that can be applied automatically; history teaches by analogy, shedding light on the likely consequences of comparable situations. But each generation must determine for itself which circumstances are in fact comparable."

While Kissinger is explicit on the importance of studying and applying history to policy, he is as insistent that history not be misapplied, that the assessment of the past not lead to false conclusions for the present or the future. Today, the concept of "Peace Through Strength" popularized by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s is emerging as a mantra of the incoming Trump administration, its advisers and supporters. The risk of raising iconic personalities and policies from American history is that lessons may inadvertently be misapplied. The concepts may be sound, but the interpretation and application in a different context may lead to wildly different results.

* How should India respond to Russia-China-Pakistan triad?


Foreign Secretaries of Russia, China and Pakistan in their meeting on 27th Dec, 2016 at Moscow decided to seek “flexible approaches” including the lifting of UN sanctions against select Taliban leaders to broker peace with the group in Afghanistan.

The decision comes in the wake of recent attempts by Russia to engage directly with the Taliban amid growing worries about the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.

“Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, reaffirmed their readiness for flexible approaches to the prospect of excluding certain individuals from the list of sanctioned persons as part of efforts to promote a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement,” said a joint statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry on 27th Dec, 2016.

Most countries including India have long considered the Taliban as Pakistan-backed and supported militant group and have maintained that any distinction between “good” and “bad” Taliban is untenable and is fraught with risks for stability of the region.

The General’s Battles

by Sushant Singh

Organisational issues, equipment shortages await the attention of new army chief.

General Rawat is from the infantry and the lack of modern equipment for the foot-soldier ought to be his greatest concern.

The turbulence caused by the selection of General Bipin Rawat as the new army chief, superseding two army commanders senior to him, has seemingly calmed down within the first week of the changeover. This calm at the surface could be deceptive because the general inherits a set of challenges which have been exacerbated with the events surrounding his selection.

The first of his challenges is the modernisation of the army, which has been lagging for many years. The army had identified a total of 24 modernisation projects, and 11 of them were deemed as critical. Even the critical projects haven’t seen much progress. Although procurement of artillery guns, air defence assets and helicopters has been initiated, the infantry modernisation is in a rut. The infantry soldier today does not even have a modern basic assault rifle. Procurement of improved bullet proof jackets and ballistic helmets for the soldiers have been in the offing but neither has seen the light of day.

Running into the Chinese wall

Suhasini Haidar

The Masood Azhar case is a piece in the fragmenting jigsaw of global terror consensus

On December 30, China’s decision to veto India’s proposal to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar at the UN capped a terrible year in bilateral ties. China’s economic corridor through Pakistan, India’s invitations to Uighur, Falun Gong and Tibetan activists, the expulsion of Chinese journalists from Mumbai, the Chinese block on Nuclear Suppliers Group membership for India, and the rumblings over the South China Sea all added to tensions between the two countries; the Chinese decision to put a permanent block on the Azhar proposal aggravated them further.

An open-and-shut case

China’s decision, to put it bluntly, was outrageous and ill-advised. In the past, Beijing blocked India’s proposals at the UN to designate Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and Abdul Rehman Makki and Azam Cheema of the Lashkar-e-Taiba as terrorists, and blocked questions on how designated terrorists Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi accessed funds in Pakistan despite UN sanctions. But Azhar’s case is different from all of these, for reasons that should be obvious.

Despite history, geography

by Mahfuz Anam

India and Bangladesh have wasted opportunities for shared advantages. The mistake need not be repeated.

History is fine (and sometimes not so fine), but our main inspiration and most compelling reason for inter-state cooperation between India and Bangladesh lies in our location. Just as countries can be prisoners of geography, so can geography be our liberators — if we have the ability to see it. In the case of India and Bangladesh, we seem to have singularly failed to do so.

For Bangladesh, India is one of its two neighbours. But that does not tell the whole story. Given its huge all-round presence, it is practically the only neighbour, a giant one with enormous military and economic capabilities, potentially both for good and bad, depending on the nature of the relationship. For India, on the other hand, Bangladesh is one of six contiguous neighbours. Again, that does not tell the full story. Bangladesh is the only neighbour that is practically enveloped within India’s own borders, again with tremendous potential for good and bad.

Agni-IV: India’s Most Viable Deterrent Against China Today

Dr. Sanjay Badri-Maharaj

While the Agni V is yet to enter service, it is the Agni-IV which gives India a credible deterrent against China

The 2 January 2017 test of the Agni-IV missile will not garner either the headlines or the attention of the 26 December 2016 test of the Agni-V. However, from a practical and strategic standpoint, the Agni-IV represents India’s most viable deterrent weapon against China until the Agni-V enters service.

The Agni-IV entered service with the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in or around 2014, prior to its first user-associated trial in December 2014. Since that time, it may be assumed that the Agni-IV is in production and given its thus far trouble-free user-trials – three of which have now been conducted – it may also be inferred that the SFC is satisfied with the system and is increasingly comfortable with handling and operating the missile.

How far can it strike ?

The Agni-IV has a revealed range of 4000 km, and represents the successor to the Agni-II. Earlier known as the Agni-II Prime, the Agni-IV is no larger than its predecessor but has a significantly greater range. This reflects a greater use of lighter composites and improved solid-fuel propellants and improvements to the guidance system ensure that even at maximum range, the Agni-IV retains a “two-digit” CEP. The system, being both rail and road mobile, is even more flexible and survivable than the Agni-II. In fact, the Agni-IV is, by virtue of its weight and relative ease of transportation, a versatile delivery system which can be transported more easily than the larger (though much more capable) Agni-V.

India, Sri Lanka Revisit Palk Strait Fishing Dispute in Ministerial Talks

By Ankit Panda

India agreed to crack down on bottom trawling, an environmentally destructive and unsustainable fishing practice. 

On Monday, India and Sri Lanka held ministerial-level talks on their long-standing dispute over fishermen in the Palk Strait, the body of water running between India’s southeast coast and the northern tip of Sri Lanka.

Indian Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh met with Sri Lanka’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera.

According to an Indian readout of the meeting, the talks covered “possible mechanisms to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues.” The two sides each agreed to release fishermen in the other’s custody as well — a regular practice meant to establish goodwill, encouraging progress on the long-standing dispute.

The Indian side agreed to encourage Indian fishermen to avoid the practice of “bottom trawling” — an unsustainable mode of fishing that indiscriminately captures aquatic life, leading to overfishing.

Manipur: Troubles amidst Gains

Nijeesh N.

On December 20, 2016, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) announced that around 4,000 additional paramilitary personnel had been sent to the State of Manipur, which was experiencing increasing turmoil, as violent protests and an ‘indefinite economic blockade’ on the two National Highways (Imphal-Dimapur NH 2 and Imphal-Jiribam NH 37), that serve as lifelines to the State, completed almost two months. The economic blockade was launched on November 1, 2016, by the United Naga Council (UNC) – the apex body of the Naga community in Manipur – in protest against the State Government’s decision to carve out new Districts from the existing nine in the State, especially from the Naga-dominated hill areas of Manipur. Worse, the Meitei dominated valley people started a ‘counter-economic blockade’ in protest against the UNC’s economic blockade, leading to violence in the area. During the ongoing indefinite economic blockade, the State has recorded several violent incidents and a number of vehicles have been torched or vandalized by the protesters. The landlocked State has also been undergoing severe hardship in the supply of essential commodities as the main highways are blocked by protesters.

The protests had started on October 30, 2016, after the State Government decided to upgrade the Sub-divisions of Sadar Hills and Jiribam to full-fledged Districts. The Government subsequently reversed its decision on October 31, 2016, as it was opposed by the Naga organisations who felt that the upgrade would help form more non-Naga-dominated Districts in the State. However, on December 8, 2016, the Government surprisingly announced the creation of seven new Districts – Kangpokpi (conforming to the boundaries of the proposed Sadar Hills District and carved out from Senapati District), Noney (from Tamenglong District), Tengnoupal (from Chandel), Pherzol (from Churachandpur), Kamjong (from Ukhrul), Kakching (from Thoubal), and Jiribam (from Imphal East District).

Ballistic Missiles: Sheet Anchors of India’s Nuclear Deterrence

Brig Gurmeet Kanwal

On December 26, 2016, India tested the 5,000 plus km Agni-5 IRBM for the fourth time. The test that was conducted from Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal achieved all the mission parameters that had been stipulated. After user trials over the next 18 to 24 months, the nuclear capable Agni-5 missile will be inducted into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC). On its operationalisation, all targets in China will come within range from India.

India’s nuclear force structure is based on a triad: Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles and various versions of the Agni intermediate-range ballistic missile manned by the missile groups of the Indian Army; nuclear glide bombs carried on aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF); and, eventually, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) deployed on ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) with the Indian Navy. INS Arihant, the first indigenously designed SSBN, is undergoing sea trials as of 2016 and a second SSBN is reported to be under construction. However, nuclear-armed ballistic missiles are the sheet anchors of India’s nuclear deterrence at present and will remain so till all the SSBNs enter service with the SFC.

India: Troubles Amidst Gains In Manipur – Analysis

By Nijeesh N.

On December 20, 2016, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) announced that around 4,000 additional paramilitary personnel had been sent to the State of Manipur, which was experiencing increasing turmoil, as violent protests and an ‘indefinite economic blockade’ on the two National Highways (Imphal-Dimapur NH 2 and Imphal-Jiribam NH 37), that serve as lifelines to the State, completed almost two months. The economic blockade was launched on November 1, 2016, by the United Naga Council (UNC) – the apex body of the Naga community in Manipur – in protest against the State Government’s decision to carve out new Districts from the existing nine in the State, especially from the Naga-dominated hill areas of Manipur. Worse, the Meitei dominated valley people started a ‘counter-economic blockade’ in protest against the UNC’s economic blockade, leading to violence in the area. During the ongoing indefinite economic blockade, the State has recorded several violent incidents and a number of vehicles have been torched or vandalized by the protesters. The landlocked State has also been undergoing severe hardship in the supply of essential commodities as the main highways are blocked by protesters.

Andhra Pradesh and data-based governance

Rahul Bajoria

As cyclone Hudhud raged on 12 October 2014, a different storm was brewing within the leadership of the newly formed state. Andhra Pradesh was still recovering from an unsavoury separation with Telangana, along with a large revenue deficit. Despite such challenges, the vision set out by the chief minister and his team was ambitious. Around the same time as the cyclone, Nara Chandrababu Naidu announced his vision for Andhra Pradesh to become one of the three best states in India by 2022 and the best state in terms of inclusive development by 2029. In November 2014, Naidu visited Singapore, where the idea of an investment promotion and monitoring body like the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore was conceived. In addition, to better monitor the recovery process following Hudhud, the chief minister asked his state planning department to put together a real-time dashboard, which would evolve into the Core Dashboard, a one-stop portal for real-time tracking of almost everything that the government does in Andhra Pradesh.

The New York City Playwright Who Sneaked Into Afghanistan During the Soviet Invasion


In 1981, an American writer sneaked into Afghanistan following a dream. He survived — barely — and wrote a play that eventually became a movie. The Beast, which debuted in 1988, is about a Soviet tank crew that finds itself all alone in hostile Afghanistan.

It’s a masterpiece — one inspired by a terrible, terrible war.

The Soviet Union invaded landlocked Afghanistan in 1979. The campaign would last eight years and kill nearly 15,000 Russians … and more than 80,000 Afghans.

At the time of the invasion, New Jersey native William Mastrosimone was 34 years old and a playwright. He had graduated from Rutgers University a few years before. He didn’t know much about Afghanistan.

In 1980, a New York City theater staged his first play. The Woolgatherer is a dark comedy about two desperate people searching for love in South Philadelphia. Critics and audiences loved it.

Unrelenting Response

S. Binodkumar Singh

On December 24, 2016, two Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorists were killed during an operation, codenamed ‘Ripple 24’ at Ashkona in the Dakhkhin Khan area of the capital city, Dhaka. Two women, Jebunnahar Shila, wife of ex-army Major Zahid who was killed in a 'gunfight' with law enforcers at Roopnagar in the capital on September 2, 2016; and Trishna, wife of absconding JMB leader Musa, along with two children, surrendered to Police.

On October 8, 2016, a Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit killed seven JMB terrorists who were staying in a two-storey house in the Patartek area in Gazipur District. Police recovered three small arms and locally-made sharp weapons from the site.

On August 27, 2016, three terrorists including Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, the mastermind of Gulshan attack and his two close aides were killed in a Police raid in JMB den in Paikpara area under Narayanganj District. Police recovered an AK-22 rifle, one pistol, several magazines and four live grenades from the area.

On July 26, 2016, nine JMB terrorists were killed during a special drive of the joint forces in Dhaka city's Kalyanpur area. The joint force recovered 13 locally made grenades, around five kilograms of gelatin, 19 detonators, four 7.62mm pistols, seven magazines of 7.62mm pistols, 22 bullets, three commando knives, 12 guerrilla knives and two black flags with Arabic letters.

After the Syrian Regime Recaptures a Neighborhood, the Reconciliation Begins


In early November 2016, Syrian regime officials were clear. “Once Aleppo is retaken, there is going to be a turn in the war,” a source said on the sidelines of a conference organized by the British Syrian Society at Damascus University.

“President Bashar Al Assad is ready to start a peace process throughout the country,” the source continued.

The turning point for Al Assad came in September 2015, when Moscow decisively boosted its support of the Syrian regime. Without Russians troops, Al Assad would have lost the country.

Now it’s the opposite. Now he’s winning the war.

But to actually bring Syrian territory back under full state control, Al Assad must embark on some kind of political reunification process. It’s already beginning.

On Dec. 23, 2016, the Syrian Arab Army retook Aleppo. A week later, Moscow and Damascus brokered a new, albeit fragile, ceasefire with rebel forces. Russian president Vladimir Putin was even able to convince Turkey and Iran to back the ceasefire.

Marshall Plans, Not Martial Plans

by Chris Murphy

The carnage of the Syrian government’s assault on Aleppo, enabled by Russia and Iran, was unbearable to watch. Just as unbearable was the realization that the United States could not save the Syrian people from this horror.

That’s hard to admit, and harder for those in the middle of this humanitarian nightmare to hear. But the lessons of how Syria arrived at this moment of catastrophe, and how America arrived at this moment of helplessness, are clear. And if the United States does not learn from them, we will repeat them.

The first lessons come from our short-term mistakes, which have prolonged the conflict and misery and increased the human toll of the war. Civil wars tend to end by one of three means: One side eventually crushes the other; both sides fight so long that they reach the point of exhaustion; or an outside power steps in with overwhelming influence to force a settlement between the sides.

We most likely watched the first scenario play out when the army of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, together with Iranian militias and Russian forces, stormed Aleppo. Our primary mistake was miscalculating the lengths that Mr. Assad’s allies would go to prop up his rule, while believing our halfhearted measures would be enough to tip the balance.

Putin won 2016, but Russia has its limits as a superpower​

By David Filipov 

MOSCOW — In a New Year’s address that came off like a victory lap, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his country Saturday in the wake of a wildly successful 2016 that saw the Kremlin leader shore up Russia’s standing abroad and acquire a host of powerful geopolitical friends. 

Putin heads into 2017 on a strong note, having brokered a cease-fire in Syria that sidelined the United States and having won the praise of President-elect ­Donald Trump by declining to retaliate in response to the Obama administration’s decision to punish Moscow over its alleged interference in the U.S. election. 

“We are working, and working successfully, and we are achieving much,” Putin said in the nationally broadcast address. “I would like to thank you for the victories and achievements, for your understanding and trust, and for your true, sincere care for Russia.” 

Can Russia Make Peace as Well as War?

It was hard to greet the announcement last week of a new cease-fire in Syria without wariness. In six years of fighting, more than 400,000 people have been killed and entire cities devastated. This is a conflict that wouldn’t have happened, or lasted so long, save for the cynical brutality of President Bashar al-Assad and his chief allies, Russia and Iran.

The cease-fire took effect on Friday, and while violations have been reported, the world has to hope this one will outlast two previous cease-fires in 2016 and prove to be a turning point. One would think Mr. Assad would wonder what he could gain by fighting on. He evicted rebel groups from Aleppo last month and has strengthened his position. The countries guaranteeing the truce — Russia, Iran and Turkey — also wield considerable might on the battlefield.

For two years, while bolstering Mr. Assad’s brutal regime, President Vladimir Putin of Russia dabbled with the United States in efforts to arrange the earlier cease-fires and negotiate an end to the civil war. Now, during a fraught transition of power in Washington, Mr. Putin has effectively marginalized the United States and maneuvered into position as the dominant international player in Syria.

The GRU: Putin’s No-Longer-So-Secret Weapon


Long regarded as the understudy of the infamous KGB and its successor services, Russian military intelligence is now front and center in the Moscow-Washington showdown.

It says something about the ingrained rivalry between the various fiefdoms of Russian espionage that the founder of Soviet military intelligence, Leon Trotsky, had an ice-ax driven into his head in Mexico by an agent of Stalin’s foreign intelligence service.

Ever since, in the long dark history of Soviet and Russian spookery the military’s Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, has been overshadowed by a succession of more powerful, famous and infamous organizations known by a succession of acronyms, most famously as the KGB and, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the FSB and SVR.

But on Thursday the GRU suddenly emerged from the shadows when the waning Obama administration imposed sanctions on the four top-ranking GRU officers for their roles hacking the private email correspondence of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta. The entire spy agency, along with the FSB, was also sanctioned institutionally. 

Purgatory is preferable to hell

V. Anantha Nageswaran

Regardless of what the incoming US government does, it is hard to avoid the thought that both the American economy and financial markets are enjoying their last hurrah

Another year is upon us. Notwithstanding celebrations that are routine and unthinking for the most part—since the New Year is an artificial construct—many acknowledge that uncertainties and anxieties loom large on the horizon. Barry Eichengreen, in one of his last articles in the year 2016, said he thinks that John Kenneth Galbraith would have called the 1970s the age of assurance instead of the age of uncertainty, had he had the perfect foresight about current times.

In its closing weeks before a new government takes over in the US, the Barack Obama administration has shaken the kaleidoscope so much that it might be difficult for someone to rearrange the pieces. The sanctions on Russia and the abstention in the UN security council resolution on Israel have left the world scrambling to respond. It was left to Britain—America’s natural ally—to chide its bigger brother on the other side of the Atlantic for its attitude towards a democratically elected government in a friendly nation. Well done, Britain. In years to come, the presidency of Obama would be rightly judged to be not only economically unproductive but also destructive and divisive.

“America First” and Global Conflict Next

NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States does not just represent a mounting populist backlash against globalization. It may also portend the end of Pax Americana – the international order of free exchange and shared security that the US and its allies built after World War II.

That US-led global order has enabled 70 years of prosperity. It rests on market-oriented regimes of trade liberalization, increased capital mobility, and appropriate social-welfare policies; backed by American security guarantees in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, through NATO and various other alliances.

Trump, however, may pursue populist, anti-globalization, and protectionist policies that hinder trade and restrict the movement of labor and capital. And he has cast doubt on existing US security guarantees by suggesting that he will force America’s allies to pay for more of their own defense. If Trump is serious about putting “America first,” his administration will shift US geopolitical strategy toward isolationism and unilateralism, pursuing only the national interests of the homeland.

Is India's Military a Pawn On the National Chess Board?


MYSURU: CBI's arrest of Air Chief Marshal S.P.Tyagi, India's former Air chief, in connection with the Agusta Westland helicopter purchase deal is unprecedented. It raises some questions not only about the functioning of government (combination of the political leadership and the bureaucrat-police network), but also about hidden motivations and unintended compromise of national security due to its effect on the morale of India's military. 

Apart from the valid points made by the Court when granting ACM Tyagi bail, questions arise as to why he was arrested when others involved were not. Was it done deliberately to humiliate him and thereby India's military? Was this the handiwork of bureaucrats and/or the police, and who among the political hierarchy authorised the arrest? 

These questions are not about whether or not ACM Tyagi is guilty of receiving bribes or any other offence. That matter will be settled by the courts after examining all evidence. But when evidence is still being collected, when ACM Tyagi is cooperating with the CBI in collection of evidence, and there is no prima facie case against him, his arrest smacks of victimization. So, why was ACM Tyagi singled out for humiliation? 

U.S. Army taps DataPath as new lead contractor for military satcom support

by Phillip Swarts 

WASHINGTON — Georgia-based company DataPath will be the U.S. Army’s new lead support for satcom field services, as well as supporting the Pentagon’s Combatant Commands, after winning a more-than $300 million contract, the company announced.

“We’re providing the full range of support for basically every class of satcom terminal in the field, from a man-pack portable terminal to a vehicle mounted system to one that’s built into a trailer or a mobile command center,” said David Myers, DataPath’s president and CEO. “Every range, every mission type, if there’s satcom field equipment involved, DataPath is the primary support provider.”

Known as the Global Tactical Advanced Communication Systems services contract, it’s the Army’s main contracting vehicle for getting field support downrange for satcom terminals and controllers, including both hardware and software support.

The 2016 version of the contract is set to run for four and a half years and is estimated at $363 million. It also represents a unification of several previous existing agreements that operated as an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with multiple provides essentially pre-qualified to bid on specific tasks. Now the Army has put those efforts into a single contracting vehicle, which it awarded to DataPath.

UP NEXT: BGEN URIBE: THREE MORE MONTHS TO LIBERATE MOSULNOW READING: SATCOM: VITAL TO OUR NATION'S MILITARY AND NATIONAL SECURITY SATCOM: Vital to Our Nation's Military and National SecurityU.S. Army photo by SGT Kimberly Hackbarth SATCOM: Vital to Our Nation's Military and National Security

By Jim Bridenstine

What do satellite communications have in common with strip clubs, biofuel, and giant African rats? All represent examples of waste according to a stunning new report by Senator John McCain on indefensible defense spending. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain’s report highlights billions in Pentagon waste, including: 

$1 million for Department of Defense (DoD) personnel travel claim reimbursements for unauthorized spending at casinos and strip clubs 

$58 million for experimental biofuels to power Navy ships (at $30 per gallon!) 

$1.4 million for the Army to study the bomb sniffing capabilities of giant African rats 

Compared to these egregious examples, DoD’s purchase of satellite communications (SATCOM) is less likely to get the headlines. At an annual cost of $1 billion, however, Chairman McCain’s report identifies DoD’s SATCOM procurement policies as wasteful and inefficient. Congress should pay close attention to DoD’s upcoming SATCOM review – called an Analysis of Alternatives or AoA in Pentagon-speak – to ensure the warfighter (and the taxpayer) gets more value.

Strife Feature – A Beginners Guide to the Musical Scales of Cyberwar

By: Jessica “Zhanna” Malekos Smith

Musical scales of cyberwar: the graphic of a piano keyboard illustrates how the core principles of the law of war apply to cyberspace

Whether you are a cybersecurity professional, policymaker, or student, this article is a beginner’s guide to understanding the ‘musical scales’ of cyberwar. As such, it addresses what constitutes a use of force in cyberspace and how states may lawfully respond.

Understanding the legal confines of offensive and defensive cyber operations is a burgeoning area of study. In fact, as the former legal advisor to the U.S. State Department, Harold Koh, famously remarked at U.S. Cyber Command in 2012: “How do we apply old laws of war to new cyber-circumstances, staying faithful to enduring principles, while accounting for changing times and technologies?”[1]

Hiding Behind the Keyboard

The following is an excerpt from Hiding Behind the Keyboard by authors Brett Shavers and John Bair and published by Syngress. This section from chapter 2 explores the Tor Browser. 

Few Internet technologies have had more of an impact on anonymous Internet use than The Onion Router browser, commonly known as "Tor," Tor is simply an Internet browser modified from the popular Firefox Internet browser. The browser modifications hide the user's originating Internet Protocol (IP) address when surfing websites or sending e-mail. By hiding the true IP address of the user, attempts to trace or identify the user are nearly impossible without the use of extraordinary methods. 

Tor combines ease of use with effective anonymity in which practically anyone can use without technical instructions. The sheer ingenuity of the Tor browser combines ease of use without any requirement of how the software operates to operate effectively. Although there are other means of browsing the Internet anonymously, the Tor browser is by far one of the simplest to use and is freely downloaded. In theory, anyone with an Internet connection and the Tor browser can anonymously surf the Internet and communicate without being identified. 

The Web Is Turning Its Back On Flash

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

Making good on its promise from earlier this year, Google will start blocking Flash content in its Chrome browser and switch to HTML5 by default.

At first, the changes will only affect a small percentage of users and websites before gradually being rolled out to include all users and websites. Those affected by the change will no longer be able to see Flash content unless they choose to enable it manually for a specific website. Google has also stopped accepting Flash-based advertising across its ad networks and will stop displaying them entirely starting in January.

These days, Flash is widely regarded as a performance-hampering safety hazard and more and more companies are turning their back on what was once the industry standard for animated content. Slowly but surely, Flash’s footprint across the web is vanishing: In October 2016, just 10 percent of websites in the Alexa Top 10,000 used Flash, down from almost 50 percent five years ago.

Hacking Web Intelligence

The following is an excerpt from Hacking Web Intelligence: Open Source Intelligence and Web Reconnaissance Concepts and Techniques by authors Sudhanshu Chauhan and Nutan Panda and published by Syngress. This section from chapter 8 explores anonymity with a proxy. 

There are many ways to be anonymous and there are many aspects of being anonymous. Some might focus on the personal details to be hidden such as in social networking sites by using aliases, generic information or fake information, generic e-mail id, and other details. Some might want to be anonymous while browsing so that nobody can track what resource they are looking into. Some might want to hide their virtual identity address such as IP address etc. 

There are different ways to achieve the above conditions. But the major and popular solutions available are either proxy or virtual private network (VPN). Though there are other methods to be anonymous but still these two are widely used and we will focus on these majorly in this chapter.