15 January 2017

*** Taking ‘Cold Start’ out of the freezer?

Vipin Narang, Walter C. Ladwig III

General Bipin Rawat’s reference to Cold Start raises vital questions about what he means by the phrase and whether he was authorised to speak on the matter by the government

In a wide-ranging interview with India Today, the new Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, appeared to drop a bombshell by acknowledging the existence of the army’s Cold Start strategy. Many defence analysts presumed the army had abandoned this limited war concept altogether, or narrowly focussed on streamlining mobilisation while still maintaining the fundamental Strike Corps organisation and doctrinal concept. Either Gen. Rawat has dispensed with 15 years of semantic gymnastics and simply referred to these “proactive strategy options” by their more common nomenclature, Cold Start, or, the Indian Army has been quietly reorganising its limited war concept along more aggressive, and offensive, lines with little fanfare. The government would be wise to clarify Gen. Rawat’s statements. Ambiguity surrounding Cold Start, which incurred real diplomatic and security costs for India without delivering deterrence benefits, did not advance the country’s interests when it was first announced, and such uncertainty is unhelpful today.

Pakistan-centric retaliatory option

*** 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2017

By Jean-Marie Guéhenno

It’s going to be another bloody year, says the ICG’s Jean-Marie Guéhenno. Whether the carnage is in Syria and Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, the Greater Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, and elsewhere, the problem is that the sharp uptick in violence over the recent past is outstripping our ability to cope with its consequences. As a result, a “politics of fear” is spreading and leading to dangerous polarization and demagoguery.

From Turkey to Mexico, the world’s most volatile flashpoints will get a lot more unpredictable this year.

The world is entering its most dangerous chapter in decades. The sharp uptick in war over recent years is outstripping our ability to cope with the consequences. From the global refugee crisis to the spread of terrorism, our collective failure to resolve conflict is giving birth to new threats and emergencies. Even in peaceful societies, the politics of fear is leading to dangerous polarization and demagoguery.

It is against this backdrop that Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States — unquestionably the most important event of last year and one with far-reaching geopolitical implications for the future. Much has been said about the unknowns of Trump’s foreign-policy agenda. But one thing we do know is that uncertainty itself can be profoundly destabilizing, especially when it involves the most powerful actor on the global stage. Already, jittery allies from Europe to East Asia are parsing Trump’s tweets and casual bluster. Will he cut a deal with Russia over the heads of Europeans? Will he try to undo the Iran nuclear accord? Is he seriously proposing a new arms race?

*** Iran, Mattis, and the Real Threat to U.S. Strategic Interests in the Middle East

Anthony H. Cordesman

The events in Iran and the Gulf during the last week have been a grim reminder that Iran remains the major threat to U.S. strategic interests in the Gulf and the Middle East, and that General James Mattis has been all too correct in singling out Iran as such a threat. Islamist extremism and terrorism are very real threats—but they are limited in scope and lethality.

In contrast, Iran has the ability to trigger a major war in the region, and to threaten the world's main source of oil and gas exports—the 17 million barrels of oil a day that flow through the Strait of Hormuz. Any such Iranian action threatens the stability of the entire global economy, the global (and U.S. domestic) price of oil and of transportation fuels, and the import and export capabilities of America's key trading partners in Asia—more than a third of U.S. manufactured imports.

There is nothing theoretical about this threat. On January 8, four Iranian Revolutionary Guards fast patrol boats came within 900 yards of the U.S.S. Mahan, a guided missile destroyer that was providing an escort to an amphibious warship with 1,000 Marines on board, and a Navy oiler making passage through international waters in the Gulf. They were heading directly towards U.S. vessels, and the U.S.S. Mahan had to fire warning shots to keep them at safe distance. Moreover, this is only the latest incident in a sustained pattern of harassment and provocation in the Gulf. The New York Times reports that there were 35 close encounters between American and Iranian vessels in 2016, most of which occurred during the first half of the year, and 23 encounters in 2015. [i]

** 2017 Preview: Southeast Asia is set to embrace more volatility

by Qingzhen Chen

Southeast Asia in 2016 has been marked by busy political agendas, challenges by ethnic tensions, religious conflicts, and regional stability marred by external developments, most notably the US presidential election. As the region embraces for more volatility in 2017, we take a look at some of the key trends and events that happened over the last 12 months, and how they might continue to shape 2017.

A disengaged US administration

Trump has promised to abandon the high profile trade agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are members of. The death of TPP could well mark the beginning of a slow death of globalisation and free trade. While the TPP is just one of the many global and regional trade treaties that the US is not a part of, the country has greatly upheld its liberal values and a retreat from such a high profile treaty is hardly conducive to the free flow of capital and goods. Many of the Southeast Asian TPP members had hoped that the TPP would help them to carry out reforms such as liberalisations and regulations, but have been let down by Trump’s election victory.

* Neighbourhood watch - India's foreign policy last year and the challenges of 2017

Kanwal Sibal 

The vigour of the Indian prime minister's diplomacy did not abate in 2016. Ties with the United States of America received particular attention, with five meetings with Barack Obama during the year that signified a convergence of interests in a changing global environment. In his address to the US Congress in June, Narendra Modi called the US India's "indispensable partner" and extolled it in terms that would have surprised and delighted those with memories of conflicting visions of the two countries in the past. Defence ties expanded during the year with the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement that broke with traditional Indian thinking on military relations with a foreign power and India's designation as a major defence partner, the practical content of which was finalized during the visit of the US defence secretary, Ashton Carter, to India in December. Under pressure on climate change issues, Modi found a way of working constructively with the US, drawing acclaim from Obama. By initiating the global solar alliance and adopting the hugely ambitious renewable energy targets for India, Modi took a leadership role in an area where India had been on the defensive.

Why India's nuclear missile tests are giving sleepless nights to China


Two back-to-back Agni IV and Agni V missile tests with ranges of 3,500-5,000km have rattled China, particularly the growing prowess of the India's Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) development programme.

Reacting to the Indian missile tests, Global Times, the English language mouthpiece of China's Communist Party, gratuitously advised "India to cool its missile fever".

It further went on to chastise India for attempting to develop an intercontinental missile capability, adding that owning a few missiles does not mean India has become a nuclear power, and that "it will be a long time before it can show off its strength to the world".

The underlying reason for the Chinese outburst is Indian attempts at seeking strategic equivalence with China, through its intercontinental missile development programme that can pose a threat to China as also upset the existing strategic balance in Asia.

Obviously stung by the development, Global Times went on to rant about maintaining a strategic balance in South Asia by helping Pakistan to develop missiles of similar or longer ranges, acknowledging in effect China's support to Pakistan's nuclear programme, something the world has known for long but is rarely acknowledged by China.

How an Indian military expert sank Pakistan's 'fake nuclear missile test'

1. On January 9, 2017 evening, DG ISPR official twitter handle @OfficialDGISPR put out a video congratulating the country - Pakistan - for successful test of new submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM) Babur-3.

2. At a cursory glance, the video appears to be a successful test with missile exiting water surface, cruising along the coastline and finally hitting its target a red flag with a cliff faced background. The ISPR had done well to hide the missile's start, cruising journey and the target hit. But alas, it was not to be so.

Taliban Target Afghan Parliament in Suicide Bombing

By Catherine Putz

A pair of blasts disrupted the afternoon commute in Kabul, killing at least 30 and injuring 80 according to initial reports. The attack is the first major incident in Kabul this year, touching off what many expect to be another difficult year in the country.

According to Tolonews, a suicide bomber detonated himself near the entrance to the parliament compound at around 4 pm Tuesday. That explosion was followed by another — likely a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device — which seemed to target a convoy of vehicles escorting parliamentarians and other government officials home but also caught those responding to the first blast.

The BBC reports that, according to Afghan sources, among the dead is an National Directorate of Security (NDS) head and Tolonews reports that a female MP from Herat is among the injured.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement, “a mini bus ferrying workers of NDS 5th Directorate was targeted by a martyrdom seeker with an explosives vest in Darul Aman area of the capital city Kabul, followed by another martyrdom seeker detonating a car bomb on the enemy troops that gathered at the first blast site.”

Afghanistan's Militias: The Enemy Within?

By Laura Cesaretti

KABUL — It has been over 15 years since U.S.-led international troops arrived in Afghanistan. Today, beauty salons fill the streets of Kabul and Indian music plays loudly during traffic jams. Yet the news from the provinces is distressing. Afghan security forces are currently engaged in active battle across at least 26 of the country’s 34 provinces. Occasional attacks interrupt the normal daily routine of the chaotic capital, once the center of the secular Afghan aristocracy, now an architectural landmark of the war business.

Just a few kilometers outside the concrete maze of Kabul, the state has little control. “This is a no-law land: we do what we please, and we ensure that our friends are safe,” says a local regional commander, a former mujahedeen, now head of a militia who ensure his American contractor partners can move safely through the area.

Afghanistan, despite the disarmament program run by the United Nations, is still run and regulated by local commanders, which have given part of their arms to the government, but kept a conspicuous amount for themselves. “A militia commander registered with the government will tell you that they have four weapons with him, but he is actually carrying 200 weapons and he has 200 men,” explains Juma Hamdard, former governor and a senior commander of Hizb-e Islami, and the current security adviser of President Ashraf Ghani.

Why China Should Fear India's Arms Sales to Vietnam (Think South China Sea)

Helen Clark

India is poised to sell its sophisticated Akash missile defense system to Vietnam, the latest development in a broad strategic relationship that has grown rapidly in recent years and added a new twist to the spiraling power contest in the South China Sea. The talks, consistent with India’s ambition to be a major arms supplier, were first reported this week by the Times of India.

The medium range surface-to-air missile, produced by New Delhi’s Ministry of Defense, can target aircraft, helicopters and drones up to 25 kilometers away at a time when China is building up aerial defenses over fixtures it claims in the contested maritime area. India has also offered to sell its Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes to Vietnam amid heightened tensions with China.

Vietnam has steadily built up its military capabilities over the past decade, including a surge in new foreign procurements with applicability in the hotly contested South China Sea. Beijing reacted with irritation to last year’s lifting of the US’ long-held arms embargo against Vietnam. It has not yet responded to reports of the proposed Akash missile system sale.

How China wins the South China Sea war without firing a shot


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China is engaged in a broad-ranging information warfare campaign as part of a covert effort to take control of the South China Sea — in the words of ancient strategist Sun Tzu, without firing a shot.

The Chinese cyber attacks have been carried out extensively on regional states along with political influence operations designed to falsely convince the international community that the waters of the sea are and have been China’s sovereign maritime territory.

James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told a Senate hearing last week that aggressive Chinese cyber attacks were continuing. ” China continues to succeed in conducting cyber espionage against the US government, our allies, and US companies,” he said.

In the South China Sea, the covert effort remained at low levels over the past 10 years as China built up more than 3,000 acres of new islands and in recent months began militarizing the islands in the takeover campaign.

Another goal of the information operation was to play down the significance of Beijing’s South China Sea activities in a calculated bid to avoid provoking the United States.

Responding to the Chinese Space Challenge, http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/01/10/responding_to_the_chinese_space_challenge_110612.html

As 2016 drew to a close, China published its third space white paper, sustaining the pattern of publishing one every five years.[1] This is consistent with the cycle of Five Year Plans that are central to Chinese economic and social planning efforts. China’s Space Activities in 2016 provides both an overview of China’s space achievements over the past five years and an outline of key projects and milestones for the next five years.

Chinese Aims in Space

Much has been made of the white paper’s discussion of Chinese lunar, deep space, and manned space efforts. According to the white paper, a major focus during the next five years will be conducting several landings on the Moon. These missions, parts of the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP), build on the experience of deploying lunar orbiters and a rover, Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”), over the past several years. The immediate goal is to obtain and retrieve lunar soil samples (Chang’e-5) and to land a probe on the far side of the Moon (Chang’e-4). Chang’e-4 would make China the first nation to land an object on that side of the Moon.

In addition, Chinese space authorities expect to begin exploring the larger solar system. Thus far, China has not ventured beyond the Earth–Moon system. Its one attempt to do so (as a part of the Russian Phobos-GRUNT mission) was when the Russian mission failed during launch. The white paper states that China intends to launch a probe to Mars by 2020 and is also interested in dispatching probes to Jupiter and the asteroid belt.

Iran to Increase Military Spending on Missiles, Drones and Cyber Warfare

Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country's long-range missile programme which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.

The vote is a boost to Iran's military establishment - the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defence ministry - which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.

But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran's recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran.

The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities, calls onIran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.

Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favour of an article in Iran's five-year development plan that "requires government to increase Iran's defence capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country's national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget" to military affairs.

The Virtual Caliphate: ISIS´s Information Warfare

Harleen Gambhir 

This paper examines the information operations and strategy of the so-called Islamic State (IS), to include how it administers its media activities, the reasons behind IS’ ‘virtual’ successes, and the potential long-term impact of its approach to information warfare (IW). Some of the author’s specific findings include the following: 1) IW has been absolutely integral to IS’ overall strategy; 2) the group will most likely continue to align its military and information operations in the future; and 3) the current information campaign has enabled IS to survive and execute wide-ranging terror attacks. Indeed, the campaign has been successful enough that a ‘Virtual Caliphate’ that operates independently of the group may come about.


Wary of Russian Cyber Threat, France Plans to Bolster its Army of ‘Digital Soldiers’


Bracing for the new cyber front in warfare, French Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said France is ramping up its defenses and doubling its ranks of “digital soldiers.” In a nod to Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections, he also acknowledged France’s infrastructure, media, and democracy are vulnerable to cyber incursions.

In an interview this week with Le Journal du Dimanche, Le Drian said France must respond to an unprecedented level of cyber attacks seeking to “[tarnish] the image of the ministry as well as strategic attacks,” such as espionage and attempts to disrupt France’s drone system.
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France, says Le Drian, is prepared to respond to cyber attacks with more traditional military means. “France reserves the right to respond by all means it deems appropriate,” he said. “That could be through the cyber arsenal at our disposal but also by conventional means. Everything would depend on the effects of the attack.”

To bolster its cyber capabilities, Le Drian said the French army will double the number of “digital solders” to 2,600 and recruit 600 additional cyber experts by 2019. France will also establish a new cyber command, following in the footsteps of neighboring Germany and the United States, which established its own cyber command in 2009.



The election of Donald Trump has produced no small amount of anxiety around the globe. President-elect Trump has alarmed longstanding partners by suggesting that he was more interested in building walls than defending America’s friends, that NATO was obsolete, and that nuclear proliferation might be a good thing. Judging just from the headlines of foreign newspapers, you would think that the extant world order had already been shattered.

For example, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer writes that the U.S. election means goodbye to the West and America’s global leadership. Carl Bildt, former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, wrote before the election that it’s time to head for the bunkers. Former British governor and now Oxford Chancellor Chris Patten thinks the United States has abdicated its leadership role: He writes, “The Western order cannot exist without the US playing this crucial role. As a result, the future of the West itself is now at stake.” The global order is unravelling in Martin Wolf’s assessment at The Financial Times.

Europe is no longer safe, according to one analyst on the other side of the Atlantic. To another, unpredictability is dangerous, and since “Donald Trump’s victory has buried NATO, collective defence and deterrence can only work if they are not subject to speculation.” Robin Niblett of Chatham House laments the combination of Brexit and Trump’s election because they “signal the end of Anglo-American leadership of the global economy.” Anne Applebaum bemoans a world in which America’s automatic response to every crisis is not assured and “The West as we know it is nearing the end of its life.”

Obama's last chance to reduce the risk of nuclear disaster


Before President Barack Obama leaves the White House, he could close a particularly dangerous door he left open – and fulfill a campaign pledge.

Obama will give his farewell address Tuesday and there is no indication that he will say anything of significance on nuclear policy. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden will give a speech in Washington announcing some modest changes to our nuclear posture. Biden will almost certainly be drowned out by the surge of nomination hearings, Senate budget votes and President-elect Donald Trump’s expected press conference that same day.

Unlike Trump, neither man is prone to big statements and bold actions. In these last weeks, both are hesitant to do something on national security that would “box in” the new president.

Here’s why they should.

As soon as Trump is sworn into office on January 20, a military officer will start to follow him everywhere he goes. He will sit just outside the Oval Office while Trump works and just outside his bedroom while Trump sleeps and tweets. He will travel with him to Mar-a-Lago, and up to Trump Tower. When he gets into an elevator, the officer will squeeze in beside him.

Flynn Appears To Hint At Cutting NSC Staff; Rice Says Size Matters Less


WASHINGTON: Incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn issued a ringing endorsement today of American exceptionalism and declared, “we have always been the indispensable nation and we always will be.”

Flynn also appeared to hint at plans, supported by most GOP defense lawmakers, to reduce the size of the National Security Council staff. Without providing any details, Flynn said he is “absolutely committed to carrying out necessary reforms carried out by previous administrations.”

He spoke after his colleague, Susan Rice, the outgoing NSA, defended the current size of the NSC staff. After saying she was “struck” by how much the staff had grown between her two stints on the NSC, Rice noted the administration had cut staff by 15 percent. And she noted that 90 percent of the staff are “career national security professionals,” rather than political appointees.

Rice also argued that size was not the primary issue. Instead, she said, the role of the NSC is what matters, and “every president will decide that for himself, or herself.”

Correcting the Course of Future Defense Spending

By Peter Huessy

A new President is going to take office in a just a few weeks, and the Washington Post is worried that his promises to repair the state of our national defense is going to make the deficit worse. Given that the total debt over the past eight years grew roughly equal to the entire debt accumulated in the first 220 years of our nation’s history, this is an odd focus for the Post.

In a recent editorial discussing the newly nominated director of the Office of Management and Budget (Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina), the Washington Post urges the new administration to inform OMB of the need to raise more “revenue” to pay for what they anticipate to be calls for more defense spending.

In the view of the Post, “. . . achieving fiscal stability necessarily involves increased revenue as opposed to the spending-cuts-only orthodoxy” which they believe dominates the thinking of the current Congressional majority.

To support their view, the Post explains that the nominated OMB Director argued in 2015 that any Pentagon spending increases had to then be “offset with spending cuts” including in other defense programs. That probably will not be what is proposed next year.

Leon Panetta On Why Civilian Control Of The Military Is Important


In an exclusive interview with Task & Purpose, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explains why it’s important for civilians to maintain control of the military.

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a slew of generals to serve in his cabinet, calling into the question the long-held U.S. tradition of civilian control of both the government and the military. His selection of legendary retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of Defense has made lawmakers and constituents uneasy about how much influence the military will have in policymaking.

We talked to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who also worked as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Obama Administration. He told Task & Purpose that it’s not about keeping the military out of power — it is about understanding our nation’s history and balancing it with the needs of the whole country.

“I go back to George Washington on that,” he said. “When he resigned his military commission in order to become president of the United States, he made it very clear that our government ought to be headed by civilian leadership.”

Does the U.S. Military Actually Protect Middle East Oil?

John Glaser

America’s experience in the Middle East over the past fifteen years has been bruising, to say the least. For his part, President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly, if inconsistently, exploited Americans’ frustration with what are widely viewed as foreign policy failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. At a rally last month, Trump promised to “stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about,” adding that “this destructive cycle of intervention and chaos must finally come to an end.” On the other hand, Trump has also used brazenly hawkish rhetoric and has filled his cabinet with people not at all averse to bold U.S. interventionism.

Trump’s inconsistencies aside, it seems voters welcomed his blunt criticisms of U.S. military action in the Middle East. But scrutiny of U.S. foreign policy in the region should go beyond a potent skepticism of regime change or exasperation with chasing after terrorists. In addition to our ill-fated nation-building effort in Afghanistan and the fight against ISIS, the traditional rationale boils down to oil. As it turns out, though, forward deployment isn’t all that useful in securing the free flow of oil.

To Pay Ransom or Not to Pay Ransom? An Examination of Western Hostage Policies

Authors: Christopher MellonPeter Bergen and David Sterman

In 2014, the world looked on in horror as ISIS murdered its American hostages in Syria. The beheadings were among the most widely followed news stories in recent history; more than nine out of 10 Americans had heard of them by September of 2014. 1 The ISIS cases were the latest in a long history of international hostage-taking incidents. Since 2001—the year of the 9/11 attacks—at least 1,185 Westerners from 32 countries have been taken hostage overseas by terrorist, militant, and pirate groups.

Some of the families of the Americans abducted and murdered by ISIS have questioned the U.S. government’s handling of their cases, saying that the lack of a well-coordinated, effective hostage policy contributed to their distress and possibly to the deaths of their loved ones. Their concerns were echoed by current and former government officials who called for the United States to formulate a more effective and humane hostage policy.2

Indeed, American hostages have suffered disproportionately bad outcomes compared to other Western hostages. Ninety Western hostages have been murdered since 2001; Americans accounted for around one in five of all Western hostages taken since 2001, but almost half of those who were murdered. A total of 41 Americans were killed by their captors.

While these outcomes are likely due in part to the United States’ prominent international role and the target it places on American citizens, the United States’ strict adherence to its no-concessions policy has also contributed to the failure of American efforts to recover hostages.

Rules complicate the execution of cyberattacks

By: Mark Pomerleau

Despite the recognition five years ago of cyberspace as an operational domain of warfare, the military and U.S. government as a whole are still experiencing growing pains; one in particular surrounds the rules for cyber effects. 

Authorities for offensive cyber operations currently trigger an approval process that goes as high as the president. Part of the problem — both for the U.S. and the international community — is developing terms and norms for cyberspace that in many cases use a traditional military and kinetic effects lens to examine cyberspace. 

For example, James McGhee, the legal adviser for Special Operations Command North, outlines the difficulties of cyber operations relative to kinetic operations in a realistic hypothetical situation in an essay published in the Strategic Studies Quarterly, a journal sponsored by the Air Force. A joint force commander can disrupt power in a particular area, if desired, by attacking a power plant being used by the enemy either by sending a team to sabotage it, hitting it with an airstrike or missile, or through cyber means, McGhee wrote. 

Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017: The Experts Speak

By Joseph Steinberg

A panel of industry insiders and experts share their cybersecurity predictions for 2017.

2017 has arrived, and, with it, many big cybersecurity issues. Hacking has even been a trending news topic every day since Jan 1st.

So, what will 2017 have in store for us vis-a-vis cybersecurity? Here are the predictions of a panel of respected industry insiders and experts. While the forecasts are not identical, several concepts were mentioned by multiple folks - so take notice. Also, while this article is longer than my typical piece, readers who read it in its entirety will get a robust, broad view of what cybersecurity industry experts think that everyone needs to think about in 2017.

2017 will bring more of the same problems that we saw in 2016, because this past year's attacks delivered great results for hackers. Last year, I predicted that in 2016 "criminals, nations, and anyone else seeking to hack will continue to exploit social engineering as a primary means of digital 'breaking and entering'" - why would anyone stop doing so when that is exactly how, according to the CIA, FBI, and NSA, Russia breached the DNC? Why would anyone stop using techniques that work so well? As part of the social engineering trend, we will continue to see oversharing on social media leading to spear phishing leading to breaches - hopefully, businesses understand this risk well enough to take proactive action. Likewise, Internet of Things (IoT) security - which clearly became an undeniable problem with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks this past year - will continue to be a big issue; with so many people buying cheap, insecure devices, there will ultimately be a price to pay. On another note, women continue to make growing inroads in the cybersecurity profession - hopefully this trend will continue. We still have a long way to go.

The Pentagon Needs Its Own Google For All Its Data, Says Eric Schmidt


The Alphabet chairman says a giant data warehouse would give the military Google-like capability. It would also create the richest intelligence target ever conceived. 

The U.S. military needs an entirely new system for storing and managing data if front-line troops are to be able to find and act on information as easily as any of us can search Google, according to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, legendary Google CEO, and chair of the Defense Innovation Advisory Board.

Schmidt also chairs the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board, a panel of technology giants that includes Jeff Bezos and Neil deGrasse Tyson. At the board’s meeting on Monday, Schmidt discussed the creation of a data storing and delivery system that sounds uncannily Google-esque.

Though no individual board member contributes specific recommendations, Schmidt was clearly personally connected to this one. He explained that it rose from the group’s international discussions about future artificial intelligence capabilities and discussions with commanders across the U.S. military.