16 January 2017

*** Trump, the Presidency and Policymaking

By George Friedman 

What makes a president great isn’t what you think. 

There are four classes of people in Washington. There are those who research policy papers. There are those who write policy papers. There are those who present policy papers. There are those who throw away policy papers. Political power is in the hands of the latter. For those climbing the hierarchy of the policy-production industry – the think tanks, universities and government departments – writing policy papers is a serious attempt to create deep and comprehensive guidance for leaders. The issue is the relationship between policymaking and the presidency. On the surface, they are the same. In my view, they are at most indirectly connected.

One of the accusations against President-elect Donald Trump is that he is inconsistent or disengaged from the complexities of policymaking. That is probably true. However, it gives me an opportunity to consider the relationship between policymaking and the American presidency and, by extension, other political systems. I would argue that the idea that policy optimization is at the core of the presidency is incorrect. The president is not the U.S.’ chief administrative officer. He is a leader and manager of the political process. His job is to be a symbol around which a democratic society draws the battle lines of who we are. He must express his vision as something aesthetic, not prosaic. The president cannot spare time from his real job to craft policies. Successful presidents know that and hide it. Trump doesn’t try to hide it. 

*** Retired Gen. Johnnie Wilson discusses talent management

By Arpi Dilanian and Taiwo Akiwowo

As he rose through the ranks, from a 17-year-old private to a four-star general, retired Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson earned a reputation as a gifted sustainment leader who knew how to manage talent. We sat down with him to get his impressions on how the Army manages talent, to learn leadership lessons from his 38-year career that culminated with him being the commanding general of Army Materiel Command, and to find out what he tells future Army recruits. 

What kind of challenges did you face in managing talent?

Throughout the force, we always had a tremendous amount of talent, just as the Army does today. My biggest challenge was to identify, out of that huge pool, the individuals who would perform best in the myriad of positions in our authorizations document. 

I would spend a considerable amount of time going to our operational divisions to receive briefings, not just from the senior leaders but their subordinates as well. This allowed me to assess talent resident within my organizations. Face-to-face discussion often revealed skills not captured in personnel files. During my quarterly discussions, I always would have commanders determine who the talented people were that we needed to put in specific positions or deploy to a combat zone area.

*** Al Qaeda in 2017: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The aftermath of a car bomb that detonated near the Peace Hotel in Mogadishu, Jan. 2. Al Qaeda has survived against the odds, and in places such as Somalia could surge back to power if African Union troops withdraw. (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

Editor's Note: For the past several years Stratfor has provided an annual forecast for the jihadist movement in a series of Security Weekly pieces. With the launch of Stratfor's Threat Lens product, the way this forecast is presented has changed. Stratfor will still publish three Security Weeklies covering the Islamic State camp, the al Qaeda camp and grassroots jihadists. However, an additional in-depth report will be made available to Threat Lens subscribers. This will contain the entirety of our forecast for the jihadist movement in 2017, of which the weeklies are excerpts.

In 2016, al Qaeda defied expectations and managed to hang on. Last year, we wrote that the al Qaeda core organization led by Ayman al-Zawahiri was weak. That assessment was based on the fact that the core group had mounted no attacks, and statements by leaders of franchises such as Jabhat al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula appeared to carry more weight than those of the central leadership.

** 2017 Preview: The lira and Turkey’s risky debt

by Robert Veldhuizen

2016 was a difficult year for Turkey. The country faced multiple political and economic problems, ranging from a failed coup in June to long-standing structural economic problems. In the coming year, Turkey is likely to face problems in the same areas it did in 2016 – volatile growth rates, high-levels of international debt, and political fights over monetary policy.

The year 2016 was marked by a dramatic increase in security risk for Turkey, with threats emanating at both a domestic and regional level. The military coup attempt in July 2016 did much to harm the country’s stability, with the ensuing crackdown not only limited to opposition members within Turkish civil society, having purged thousands of government workers, military personnel, academics and businesses — resulting in condemnation and increasing doubtful accessions talks with the European Union.

The subsequent security vacuum from the widespread purges, alongside Turkey’s increased presence in Syria, have resulted in an ever-increasing number of attacks from ISIS and PKK militants, intensifying instability in the country’s southeast, and resulting in numerous attacks across its major cities — most recently the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Ankara, and the mass shooting at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Day.

** China´s Future SSBN Command and Control Structure

By David C Logan

China is developing a credible nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force. That is both an opportunity and a problem for the country, observes David Logan. The problem is that Beijing has historically favored tight, centralized control over its nuclear deterrent, which is suboptimal for SSBNs. So what should China do? Should it opt for 1 of 3 broad command and control models or align on a hybrid approach?

Key Points 

China is developing its first credible sea-based nuclear forces. This emergent nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force will pose unique challenges to a country that has favored tightly centralized control over its nuclear deterrent. The choices China makes about SSBN command and control will have important implications for strategic stability. 

Despite claims that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force will be responsible for all Chinese nuclear forces, Chinese SSBNs currently appear to be under the control of the PLA Navy. However, China may choose to revise its command and control structures as its SSBNs begin armed deterrent patrols. There are three broad command and control models, allocating varying degrees of authority to the PLA Navy or the Rocket Force. 

China’s decisions about SSBN command and control will be mediated by operational, bureaucratic, and political considerations. A hybrid approach to command and control, with authority divided between the navy and the Rocket Force, would be most conducive to supporting strategic stability. 

* North Korea: A Problem Without A Solution

Since the end of the Cold War, paradox has characterized the United States' perception of North Korea. Pyongyang is at once a constant threat and a continual joke, its leaders a source of as much fear for the American public as derision. North Korea's missile and nuclear program is presented simultaneously as a dangerous example of the failure of nonproliferation regimes and as a duct-tape-and-bailing-wire operation, notwithstanding the flurry of missile tests and accomplishments that Pyongyang has touted recently.

In his latest New Year's address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described the achievements that the country's nuclear and missile program had made over the past year and those that it would make in the year to come. His remarks proclaimed a country that had attained the status of a nuclear power in 2016 and was now prepared to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Yet the dual view of North Korea as fearsome and farcical - as a present danger and a recalcitrant remnant of a bygone era - endures. More and more, this contradictory assessment seems to reflect the lack of viable options that Washington has for dealing with Pyongyang. Despite the power disparity between the United States and North Korea, Washington has little ability to alter Pyongyang's behavior without accepting significant political or military repercussions in return. And because of this disparity, North Korea does not feel that it can abandon its nuclear and missile program and still be secure from the United States' whims. Each side has its own viewpoint and its own legitimate concerns, making compromise difficult if not impossible. Herein lies one of the dirty secrets of international relations: Rarely do countries achieve all their imperatives, and when interests clash, the solution is often managing the reality, not resolving the conflict.

Lost in the din of a BSF constable's viral videos – a serious breach of service rules

Saikat Datta
On Sunday, Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav of the 29 battalion of the Border Security Force posted a series of videos on his Facebook account, complaining about the food he and his fellow soldiers were being given. By Tuesday, one of his videos had over 7.3 million views and over 300,000 shares. As they began to find their way to larger audiences, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh swiftly ordered an inquiry.

The 42-year-old Yadav, a resident of Mahendragarh district in Haryana, joined the BSF in 1996. Posted on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri sector, he released the videos in which he spoke about the poor quality of food served to troops – a tasteless, watery dal and undercooked roots, which he said had been a constant for the past 10 days – and alleged pilferage of their rations. Yadav asked how such little nutrition could sustain them through over 10 hours of field duty every day.

The issues raised by Yadav are sensitive for various reasons. The videos come just two months after the government demonetised 86% of the currency in circulation, rationalising the subsequent cash crunch as a temporary hardship, unlike the hardships faced by soldiers guarding the country’s borders. The Centre has also used the surgical strikes carried out by the military across the Line of Control in September to buttress its image as a government that won’t hesitate to use force in pursuit of it strategic interests. The soldier and his commitment to the nation have become a popular refrain of the government each time someone has questioned its policies and actions. Each time, the government and its supporters have thrown the soldier’s hardships at their critics.

Expanding India’s nuclear options


Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was roundly criticised when he ruminated out loud about generating greater uncertainty about India’s nuclear doctrine as a way of bolstering India’s nuclear deterrence. Parrikar was complaining about India’s No First Use (NFU) policy, which in his view and the view of a number of analysts, ties India’s hand by assuring its adversaries that India will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

There are strong reasons for retaining the NFU, but there are also strong reasons for expanding India’s nuclear options. Doing so could increase uncertainty about India’s nuclear responses and strengthen some elements of India’s nuclear deterrence. And there are ways of expanding India’s nuclear options without giving up NFU. The most pressing challenge that India faces is in finding a nuclear deterrence response to Pakistan’s threat to use tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). This is one area where India can expand its options, to deter this threat and expand India’s conventional military options.

The NFU policy is definitely one rigid element in India’s nuclear policy. It is rigid because it limits India only to responding to a nuclear attack rather than taking the initiative. Still, there are good reasons for retaining the NFU because there are no plausible contingencies where India might need to initiate a nuclear attack. There might be some deterrence benefit to creating uncertainty by keeping open the option to initiate a nuclear attack rather than just respond to a nuclear attack. But any such benefit is far outweighed by the dangers of maintaining a first-use posture, including in terms of command and control and safety and security.

Why India Is Not A Great Power

by Bharat Karnad

In Why India Is Not A Great Power (Yet), Bharat Karnad’s majestic breadth of national ambition surpasses even the wildest interpretation of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Karnad, Bharat. Why India Is Not A Great Power (Yet). New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. 564 pp

If India were to ever look for a Kautilya in the 21st century, Bharat Karnad would undoubtedly be at the top of a very short list. Some have compared him to Niccolo Machiavelli, the Renaissance Florentine political thinker, but that would be a grave injustice to Karnad, whose majestic breadth of national ambition in Why India Is Not A Great Power (Yet) surpasses even the wildest interpretation of The Prince. In his latest book, now marginally over a year old (but reviewed again because it simply has not got the attention it deserves), Karnad asks the question a whole new generation of young Indians are also wondering – why is their country not counted as among the major powers of the world?

The question is not the fatuous pretension of a strategist born in the wrong country or era, but a potent one. Consider, for example, that India has detonated nuclear devices, sent missions to the Earth’s closest neighbours, the moon and Mars, developed missiles that can strike anywhere from Japan to Austria, built nuclear-powered submarines, satellites, and once the first jet fighter outside the West, and has an advanced nuclear energy programme that includes an indigenously designed and built fast breeder nuclear reactor that is about to go critical as well as a thorium reactor in the wings. Yet Delhi also appears to lack the power to dissuade its tiny South Asian neighbours such as the Maldives, Nepal, or Sri Lanka from adopting policies that potentially put Indian national security in jeopardy; India has generally shied away from ever taking a clear stance on world issues, even when its own interests are at stake, such as over Iran or joint training operations in the Indian Ocean and its environs with friendly navies; and Delhi just cannot learn to use its increasing economic clout to influence bilateral trade terms or global commercial regimes in its favour.

Think-tanker as US ambassador

by Bharat Karnad

Newspapers have already mentioned Ashley Tellis as possible US Ambassador to India. Tellis, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and formerly Special Assistant to US President George W Bush and, earlier still, Special Adviser to US Ambassador Robert Blackwill, in which capacity he was, over a decade back,the prime American driver in New Delhi of the nuclear deal. He is the most likely appointee, not little because he has enormous traction with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government. His advice apparently is so prized he has ready access to prime minister Narendra Modi that few other Americans and fewer Indians enjoy. The affable Tellis’ best attribute is a keen mind, smooth and convincing manner, and the gift of gab. He can make what’s essentially in the US’ interest appear — even when it is patently not — to be even more in India’s! That’s a tested and proven talent which Washington no doubt considers an invaluable diplomatic asset, not to be wasted. As far as the Indian government is concerned, Tellis apparently manifests “the brain gain”, not “brain drain”, that Modi said at the annual pravasi diwas celebrations in Bangalore the NRIs/PIOs represent. Except (in this case), the gain is America’s. But why quibble, “gain” is gain.

Tellis may get a nod for yet another reason. With him as US ambassador, Carnegie will have a one-two punch in Delhi, with the C. Raja Mohan-led chapter of that Washington thinktank cultivating a bedrock of support in this country for the US line, which makes any US ambassador’s job that much easier.

China’s Hidden Massacres: An Interview with Tan Hecheng

Ian Johnson 

Tan Hecheng, author of The Killing Wind, on China’s Cultural Revolution, at Widow’s Bridge where many were murdered in the fall of 1967, November 2016

Tan Hecheng might seem an unlikely person to expose one of the most shocking crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. A congenial sixty-seven-year-old who spent most of his life in southern Hunan province away from the seats of power, Tan is no dissident. In fact, he has spent his career working for official state media and trying to believe in Communism. 

But in a meticulously detailed five-hundred-page book released in English this week, he lays out in devastating detail one of the darkest, and least known, episodes in Communist Chinese history: the mass murder of nine thousand Chinese citizens by explicit order of regional Party officials during the height of the Cultural Revolution. Tan’s subject is specific to one county, but documents suggest that similar such massacres in the countryside were widespread, leading to as many as 1.5 million deaths

ISIS Has a New Weapon: Fire


“With some simple and readily accessible materials (i.e. flammables), one can easily terrorize an entire nation,” the magazine advises.

Issue #5 of Rumiyah has flames on the cover and a “Just Terror Tactics” section that has in the past called for mass shootings and the use of vehicles to mow down pedestrians. A lengthy article begins with a tribute to the “brothers” inspired by a previous issue of Rumiyah to employ vehicles at Ohio State and in Berlin. It then proceeds to detail an added method to murder innocents. 

“ARSON ATTACKS,” the headline reads.

America's Show of Force Towards Russia Has Changed. Here's How.


Operation Atlantic Resolve started in 2015, billed as an "ongoing response" to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Designed to reassure our NATO allies, particularly those closest to the Russian bear, the exercise occurs in cycles. In each, different U.S. Army units deploy from their home stations in the United States for months at a time, first into Germany and then eastward, making visits and conducting joint training operations with some of the eastern member-states of NATO. In particular, much of their time is spent in Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

In the past couple of days, the latest iteration rolled off the transport ships in the German port of Bremerhaven, onto cargo trains, and then linked up with American combat troops who flew in via strategic airlift from their base in the US. In total, about 4,000 Army personnel are involved in this iteration—a single mechanized brigade of U.S. soldiers. In this case, it is the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division who are doing the moving and shaking. I do not doubt that these soldiers, one and all, will do a helluva job. But to these older eyes, this whole operation leaves a little bit to be desired. You see, it seems difficult to reconcile this version of deterrence with what we used to do.

The Requirement for a Nuclear Triad: Strategic Stability and the Critical Value of America’s ICBMs

By Peter Huessy

Russia and China are both markedly improving their nuclear forces at a pace not seen even during the height of the Cold War. Russian President Putin has called for continued such modernization, describing Russian nuclear forces as already sixty percent modernized and the strongest in the world. Russia also has a multi-thousand advantage in tactical or theater nuclear weapons (not subject to arms control limits) which further complicates U.S. and allied deterrent policy. 

What then should be the U.S. response? One former Secretary of Defense has argued that the U.S. should not seek to match the Russian modernization even though both countries are parties to the New Start treaty that caps strategic nuclear weapons at 1550. Other disarmers argue that despite the dramatic drop in casualties from conventional war in the Post World War II era, there is nothing definitive to conclude that nuclear deterrence has kept the nuclear-armed superpowers from major war for the past seventy years, compared to the 1914-1945 period. Still, others have concluded that nuclear deterrence plays a minor role in today’s strategic stability and a fully modernized force is not needed.

Are these assertions true? My analysis points to the need for a full modernization of our nuclear enterprise especially going forward with the ground-based strategic deterrent or ICBM modernization effort. Despite much wishful thinking, nuclear weapons remain critical to deterrence, and as such, the new administration should definitely “greatly strengthen and expand” the capability of our nuclear deterrent forces as called for by the President-elect.

As U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy


A jet fighter drops a mock B61 model 12 bomb that zeroes in on the target zone, as part of a $10 billion United States government program that seeks to build a smart atom bomb of great precision.

As North Korea dug tunnels at its nuclear test site last fall, watched by American spy satellites, the Obama administration was preparing a test of its own in the Nevada desert.

A fighter jet took off with a mock version of the nation’s first precision-guided atom bomb. Adapted from an older weapon, it was designed with problems like North Korea in mind: Its computer brain and four maneuverable fins let it zero in on deeply buried targets like testing tunnels and weapon sites. And its yield, the bomb’s explosive force, can be dialed up or down depending on the target, to minimize collateral damage.

In short, while the North Koreans have been thinking big — claiming to have built a hydrogen bomb, a boast that experts dismiss as wildly exaggerated — the Energy Department and the Pentagon have been readying a line of weapons that head in the opposite direction.

The build-it-smaller approach has set off a philosophical clash among those in Washington who think about the unthinkable.

Mr. Obama has long advocated a “nuclear-free world.” His lieutenants argue that modernizing existing weapons can produce a smaller and more reliable arsenal while making their use less likely because of the threat they can pose. The changes, they say, are improvements rather than wholesale redesigns, fulfilling the president’s pledge to make no new nuclear arms.



Over the last decade, would-be adversaries have been busy acquiring and fielding capabilities to preclude U.S. and allied forces from freely operating around the world. This buildup of military capabilities in the Pacific, Europe, and even in Syria and Iran, poses a complex operational problem for U.S. and allied forces across a range of missions, including in the fight for control of the air. Losing the ability to operate freely at the tactical and operational level has strategic-level impacts. If we do not respond to this trend, we will ultimately lose the ability to deter and, if necessary, defeat our adversaries in conventional conflicts. Having a credible ability to attack an enemy – especially those enemy capabilities that threaten our homeland or our deployed forces – is essential to regaining and retaining the ability to achieve strategic success.

The second installment of this series explained how the Air Superiority 2030 Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team (ECCT) attempted to solve this problem and bridge the air superiority gaps facing the U.S. Air Force in 2030. While none of our original four frameworks would suffice in the face of expected future threats, we did learn several key lessons from our analysis. We learned that while modernization of current forces alone could not solve the 2030 problem, key upgrades could keep this force relevant at the operational level and increase its overall fighting capacity. We learned that increased reliance on stand-off weapons would be technically feasible if we could figure out how to provide the right degree of targeting information. We learned that capabilities with persistence, range, and survivability were key. And, perhaps most instructively, we learned that the Air Force needs to move from an air domain-centric perspective to one that complements our air assets with cyberspace- and space-based capabilities.

Hub for Cyber Command defensive ops fully operational by 2018

By: Mark Pomerleau

Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner, deputy commander of JFHQ-DoDIN told C4ISRNET that Cyber Command Chief Admiral Mike Rogers set a Jan. 1 target for full operational capability.

Skinner noted during a Jan. 15 AFCEA panel that this year marks the two year anniversary JFHQ-DoDIN stood up. Officials at JFHQ-DoDIN have maintained that FOC would be conditions-based. Skinner told C4ISRNET in August that as the command grows and gains more personnel, they will be able to perform a larger range of functions taking them to FOC. “We are working with our higher headquarters to actually determine what the specific mission function and tasks that are required that will determine what that date will be,” he said at the time.

Reaching initial operational capability in October, Cyber Command’s cyber mission force is slated for FOC in 2018 as well, though Skinner said the JFHQ-DoDIN deadline is not aligned with the cyber mission force. “They’re moving along, I’ll say, there’s some dependency there but it’s not mutually dependent,” he said of the CMF and JFHQ-DoDIN FOC timelines.

Mountain Strike Corp : Army’s Mechanised Forces to focus on High Altitude Warfare

In the process of raising 17 mountain strike corps to counter China threats, the mechanised forces of the Indian Army are making changes to its training curriculum to operate effectively in mountain regions, top Army officers said on Tuesday.

The corps, which will be the Army's fourth strike corps and first for the mountains, will comprise two independent infantry brigades, two infantry divisions and two independent armoured brigades that will be provided with all the supporting arms of the force, the officer said. They were interacting with the media on the sidelines of a firepower exercise organised by the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S) and Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre (MIRC) at KK Range in Ahmednagar.

What You Need to Know About Escalation of Force


Today we learned that Iran is the latest nation to lean-in early in its testing of the president-elect. On Sunday, Iranian speedboats made for the USS Mahan in the Persian Gulf, and things became dicey enough that the Mahan actually locked, cocked, and fired off warning shots. This sort of event falls generally under the realm of "Rules of Engagement," and more specifically beneath the subset of actions known as "Escalation of Force." In other words, these are the instructions for when you can shoot, where you can shoot, and, in some cases, how you can shoot.

Baghdad, Iraq, was not the easiest place to travel when I was there from 2005 to 2006. One stretch of road, which I took on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, was a particular problem. Known to journalists (and therefore most other people) as the "Highway of Death," Route Irish had the dubious distinction of being the bit of roadway most likely to result in contact. This, of course, made our turret gunners particularly inclined to fire sooner rather than later. At the same time, we were beginning to appreciate that more gunfire was not necessarily the solution. It came down to some split-second decisions—life-and-death decisions—that the youngest soldiers we had on hand had to be make.

How Russia's Military Plans to Counter the Pentagon's Drone Swarms

Samuel Bendett

Over the past decade, Russian armed forces and Russian defense industry have made strides in developing, testing and fielding domestically produced unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs). While lagging behind their Western and East Asian counterparts in reach, distance and strike capability, Russia nonetheless was successful in using smaller and lighter UAV concepts for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) purposes, both at home and in conflicts abroad. In fact, Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) officially states that ISR remains the primary purpose for its various UAV platforms. More specifically, the war in Eastern Ukraine showcased Russia's use of unmanned aerial systems that enhanced Russian-allied forces' ability to more accurately target Ukrainian opposition and gain significant advantage on the battlefield. This success was more remarkable considering that Moscow's allies used less sophisticated UAV technology than is currently in service with Western armies, prompting carefulreviews of emerging new tactics, techniques and procedures across Russian armed forces.

The Operational Planning Team

Josh Powers

As a Major, we’re focused on those important (and painful) “KD years,” time well spent as a key leader at the battalion or brigade level. That said, the majority of our time is often spent on higher level staffs, toiling away at a project that no one else seems to care about until it becomes a crisis. Given the time spent in such positions, its interesting that we invest little energy thinking about and preparing for success. After arriving at JBLM in 2012 I was certain I’d get to an S3 job quickly, but instead found myself on the Corps staff for a year where I led several planning efforts as a member of the Future Operations Section, or G35.

As an OPT leader, your job is to constructively frame the team’s thinking. This implies a significant amount of background work to line up the right people, information, time, and space for creative thinking. Before providing a few lessons learned, let me first describe what an OPT usually looks like.

The Operational Planning Team is an interesting mixing pot of talent, experience, indifference, and confusion. Though the size and scope of an OPT may vary, there are often common organizational attributes. First, members don’t usually work for the OPT leader. Though the leader synchronizes effort around the commander’s vision, OPT members must include the perspective of their direct supervisor or staff primary. Next, the OPT is often not the singular focus of its members. Often, these planners take part in two to three simultaneous planning efforts. Finally, the OPT’s usable time is usually a scarce resource requiring efficient budging and management.

WW II On Speed: Joint Staff Fears Long War


ARLINGTON: Military officers and analysts are increasingly worried that if a war breaks out with a major power — meaning China, Russia or both — the conflict would escalate faster, spread more broadly, and drag on longer than anything in recent history. Think World War II on speed, with no front lines or clear demarcations between the European and Pacific theaters.

“The history of short-war predictions is one of repeated disappointment, and it would be profoundly unwise to risk our security by preparing only for wars of limited duration,” warned Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe, assistant to Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Pandolfe represents the chairman on interagency bodies and particularly to the State Department). Dunford has pushed for a new trans-regional planning staff that transcends the current geographic combatant commands, arguing that new threats — like the Islamic State — sprawl too broadly in space for the current structure. Pandolfe is arguing threats may extend too long in time as well.

Since 9/11, policymakers and the American people have learned to endure a long war against global terrorism, Pandolfe said, but a long war against well-armed great powers would be very different. Sophisticated cyber and electronic warfare attacks would precede large salvos of smart weapons, “an unprecedented blending of mass and precision,” he said. Instead of the steady movement of front lines that gave America time to mobilize in World War II, fighting would leap like a wildfire over a firebreak, from one theater into another. Instead of World War II-era censorship or even Vietnam-era nightly newscasts, he said, leaks, propaganda, and fake news would pour over the Internet, “a torrent of real and false information transmitted in near real-time,” to attack the American people’s will to fight.


This year, the international scene will witness, if not global ‘impermanence’, at least a sea of changes. World leaders, be it Chinese, Russian, French or American, will have to learn to live with anitya (impermanence)

More than 2,500 years ago, Lord Buddha spoke of ‘impermanence’ oranitya in Sanskrit. For the sage, conditioned existence is without exception “transient, evanescent, inconstant”; all temporal things, whether material or mental, are objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction, taught the Buddha.

This is true for politics too, though in this sphere, things seem to move faster than in other realms. Take for example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For several years, he was the devil personified; he was a ‘criminal’; no name was bad enough to define the Gujarat Chief Minister; it went so far that foreign embassies in India forbade their diplomats to undertake projects in Gujarat or even visit the State.

Army Looks to Change the Conversation With Defense Industry

By Sandra I. Erwin

The storyline on the Army’s bid to modernize its aging equipment has been one of fits and starts.

A litany of fruitless weapon development efforts over the past decade has cost the Army billions of dollars but delivered little in the way of advanced equipment. Congressional leaders have hammered Army officials amid fears that U.S. forces are losing technological ground to adversaries.

Army leaders insist they are forging a new path forward, and promise to get more bang for their limited procurement bucks. Notably, they have concluded that past failures partly were brought on by poor communications with defense contractors.

“We have identified several problems,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, deputy director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, who discussed the Army’s latest thinking on how it plans to recover from its modernization slump.

Dyess summed up the situation in blunt terms: “Industry doesn’t know what the Army wants. There is no forum to address these needs. And small businesses don’t have a chance to present their ideas to the government.”

Data Analytics Can Improve DoD Decision Support

You don’t need to tell government organizations twice that they have limited resources—or, for that matter, that they have big decisions to make. And those decisions, each an irrevocable allocation of resources, must be made carefully using all available information.

There was a time when decisions made by leaders in government and defense organizations were more straightforward than they are today. But with the rapid evolution of information, technology and global interdependencies, the complexity of federal decisions has doubled many times over, creating the need for a new posture.

“Missions and capabilities are now so complex that decisions aren’t just about a single platform or a single system anymore,” says Raymond L. Coutley, Senior Consultant at Coutley Consulting, LLC and former Technical Director within the Naval Aviation System Command (NAVAIR) Department of Warfare Analysis and Integration. “They’re about systems—and systems of systems delivering a wide range of effects. Decisions today are being made across multiple objectives and metrics.”

The IPhone Still Is Apple's Cash Cow Despite Declining Sales

by Felix Richter

It has been ten years since the iPhone was released in 2007 by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

It has been an outright success story. Even though sales are in decline they still are going strong.

This chart shows Apple iPhone sales worldwide in million units per fiscal year.

Cyber war has a new weapon: Your smartphone


Wars and conflict have always advanced the state of spying technology. In the past, it was airplanes, radar, and the bombe, Alan Turing’s code breaking machine known as the “original computer.” Today, microphones, cameras and apps on our phones have made mobile devices the latest new weapon for cyber war.

With enterprise app development exploding, people are using mobile devices to consume, create, and share just as much sensitive data, if not more, than they do on their laptops or desktops. Mobile apps represent more than half of internet use today.

Because of the combination of features only available on mobile — connected via Wi-Fi or cellular networks with voice, camera, email, location, passwords, contact lists, and more — these devices have become an attractive target for cyber criminals and nation-states looking to spy on government agencies, infrastructure providers, companies, and individuals.

Given the reliance on mobile apps for everything from buying products to corresponding with friends to getting work done on the go, if an enemy or criminal gains access to someone’s cellphone, they gain access to all aspects of that person’s life — both work and personal.

Why We Are Losing the Cyber War

by Steve King 

For the better part of the last 10 years, we have been unwillingly engaged in a developing set of battles on several cyber-fronts, including business, healthcare, industry, education and government.

These have been largely a disorganized set of skirmishes that usually result in the attackers making off with valuable personal information, ransom attacks where money is extorted in exchange for abducted information or computing assets, the co-opting of business processes that have led to outright financial theft, and hacktivism that delivers havoc to political processes.

Lacking a unity of purpose, we compound our imbalances. We have no idea who the enemy is, and we possess only a vague notion of why we should be engaged.

Each industry sector has tried to defend against these attacks in a variety of ways from upgrading cybersecurity technologies to increased training and staffing to the hardening of assets and the adoption of new policies and strategies. Yet, in spite of sometimes extravagant efforts, the bad guys keep winning.

Why? It’s because we are fighting an asymmetrical war with expanding attack surfaces and we lack a unifying purpose.


Mohit Kumar has a January 10, 2017 article in the HackersNews.com webpage with the title above. He begins: “The Shadow Brokers, who previously stole and leaked a portion of NSA hacking tools and exploits — is back…with a bang!” He notes that Shadow Brokers “is now selling another package of hacking tools, “Equation Group Windows Warez,” which includes Windows exploits and antivirus bypass tools — stolen from the NSA-linked hacking unit, The Equation Group.”

This past weekend (Sat.), “the Shadow Brokers posted a message on their ZeroNet-based website, announcing the sale of the entire ‘Windows Warez’ collection for 750 Bitcoin,” near, or over $1M based on latest value of one bitcoin.”

The following NSA Hacking Tools Up For Sale — According To The Hacker News — Are:

— Fuzzing Tools (used to discover errors & security loopholes);

— Exploit Framework;

— Network Implants;

— Remote Administration Tools (RATs);

— Remote Code Execution Exploits for IIS, RDP, RPC, SMB Protocols (Some Zero-Days);

— SMB BackDoor (Implant).

Dark social: A growing cyber intel concern

By: Kevin Coleman

Have you ever heard the term "dark social"? If you haven’t, relax — you are not alone. The term was coined back in 2012 by the editor of The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal. It refers to social media traffic (posting, messaging, etc.) that is not traceable.

In fact, many of the social media site interactions are completely encrypted and/or disappear once that specific interaction has ended, leaving no trace. One troubling dark social stat came out early in 2016. In that report, it clearly stated that a whopping69 percent of social media sharing activities occur over dark social globally. Add to that the fact that it is the dominant sharing method on mobile platforms.

In a separate study, mobile activity was estimated at 82 percent of total dark social interactions. Some have even gone so far as to call dark social “the future of social media,” and with stats like this, it is easy to see why.

There are many legitimate uses of dark social, and it is receiving a growing amount of attention from businesses and marketing organizations. However, some are concerned about its many other uses. Stop for a moment and consider the challenges dark social creates. Many feel we are not able to fully track dark social traffic. Could it or has it become a major source of communications among covert operatives, terrorists, activists and criminals? It is easy to see that the active identification of individuals and organizations messaging via dark social is incredibly hard.