26 January 2017



Pakistan continues to burnish its credentials as a state sponsor of terrorism abroad and as a repressive, murderous environment for dissidents at home. It is a well-known fact that Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies provide a full suite of state support to a deadly menagerie of militant groups proscribed by the United Nations, the United States, and others. Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies fete terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Afghan Taliban, and the Haqqani Network, among numerous other groups with state protection as well as financial, diplomatic, political, and military assistance. The leaders of these groups are free to assemble and address large groups, under the protection of security forces. They are free to disseminate their views on a variety of social media without any restraint. They appear on Pakistan’s various television shows as popular “talking heads.” While Pakistan disingenuously claims it is waging a war on terrorists with its National Action Plan (known more appropriately as “NAP”) for purposes of receiving assistance from the United State and other partners, Pakistan is waging a real war on its critics at home and abroad. The United States needs to hold this state accountable. It should apply sanctions, deny security assistance payments, and limit the provision of military equipment and training to those that are narrowly suited for internal security operations while offering Islamabad no advantages in its incessant warmongering towards India.

War on Civil Society

Pakistani civil society has borne the brunt of the state’s predations for decades. Since 2005, ethnic dissidents have renewed their insurgency in the western province of Balochistan, following the rape of a Baloch doctor by a military man, which the army tried to cover up. While the rape triggered the current phase of the insurgency, the people of Balochistan have also been disquieted by Pakistan’s efforts to make the province ripe for Chinese exploitation under the guise of the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Since 2005, the Pakistani state has waged a conventional war against the Baloch and has disappeared, tortured, and murdered Baloch ethnics who oppose the state’s policies. Pakistan claims that these Baloch activists are terrorists who enjoy support from India. While some of the Baloch dissidents do engage in terrorism (i.e. targeting Punjabi teachers and other civilians), Pakistan has not marshalled convincing evidence for its claim that India is behind the unrest in the province. (Pakistan claims that it captured an Indian spy in Balochistan in March 2016. Indian intelligence claim that the former naval officer — turned businessman — was abducted from Iran and that he was not actually a spy.)


By Dexter Filkins

The Pakistani students killed and wounded in the Bacha Khan University attack were victims of the Pakistani military’s long collaboration with the Taliban.Photograph courtesy A. Majeed / AFP / Getty.

In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the eponymous scientist, saddened by the death of his mother, sets out to create a human replicant in his laboratory. But instead of a human, a giant grotesque emerges, with yellow eyes, over-stretched skin, and a volatile disposition. Victor Frankenstein refers to it as “the Monster” and “the Creature.’’ His creation runs wild, killing Victor’s bride and his best friend, driving its creator to torment and sadness.

The tale of Frankenstein is the proper lens through which to view the attack by Taliban gunmen this week on a school in Pakistan. The assault, at Bacha Khan University in the city of Charsadda, killed at least twenty-two people and wounded at least nineteen. In this case, Victor Frankenstein, the scientist, resembles the generals of the Pakistani military, whose Creature is the out-of-control Pakistani Taliban.

The attack in Charsadda could have been worse: guards at the university killed a man before he could detonate an explosive vest that he’d wrapped around his body. Last year, there was an even more horrific assault on a school in the nearby city of Peshawar, where Taliban gunmen killed a hundred and forty-five people, most of them children.



Gen. Peter Schoomaker, then-Army chief of staff, castigated military bloggers in a 2005 memorandum, citing security risks. As if to underscore Schoomaker’s message, a 2006 cartoon published by the office of the Army’s Chief Information Officer depicted the “Insurgent of the Month” winner thanking military bloggers for leaking valuable secrets on the internet. Soon after, Army policies threatened to squash military blogs altogether as influential military bloggers went offline, including Army Capt. Matt Gallagher, whose blog later served as the basis for the war memoir Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War.

The Pentagon has since done an about-face, becoming a major social media adopter. The U.S. Army alone has millions of followers on Facebook and Twitter—a number that doesn’t include countless more fans of Army units, installations and agencies. Top Army leaders have jumped on the social media bandwagon, too; hardly a day goes by without a picture of Undersecretary Patrick J. Murphy doing pushups with cadets or Secretary Eric Fanning’s clever memes.

Blogs and social media are having a major effect on military operations, leadership and culture. Here are just three ways.

Beijing Is No Champion of Globalization The Myth of Chinese Leadership

By Elizabeth C. Economy

Chinese President Xi Jinping is treading on dangerous ground. In his speech before the World Economic Forum’s annual conclave of political and economic luminaries in Davos, Xi set out to establish himself as the standard-bearer for globalization and China as a beneficiary from globalization in the past and a leader in the future. Many observers have been quick to support China’s claim to a leadership position, not only because China wants the job but also because the United States appears not to. Rhetoric from the incoming U.S. leadership, with its threat of high tariffs and trade wars, has a distinct antiglobalization flavor. Yet whatever path Washington elects moving forward, anointing China as the world’s “champion of globalization” would be a mistake. 

Certainly China has already assumed many of the trappings of global leadership. It is the world’s largest trading power, it boasts the largest standing army, and it behaves like a global leader, proposing new international institutions and arrangements such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the huge connectivity project One Belt, One Road. China’s military has likewise gone global, establishing its first logistics base in Djibouti; and more such bases will likely follow. There is also talk in China’s foreign policy community of the need for the country to build formal alliances, further cementing its position not simply as an emerging or regional leader but as a global power. And, of course, China has embraced opportunities to showcase its leadership potential by hosting prestigious international gatherings such as the G-20 and the Olympics.

The Campaign for Mosul: January 19-23, 2017

By Emily Anagnostos and the ISW Iraq Team

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) stormed the last neighborhood in eastern Mosul on January 23, nearing the end of a nearly three month long battle to clear the eastern half of the city. The ISF is preparing to enter the smaller, but denser and heavily populated, western half within the coming days.

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued its momentum in northern Mosul from January 19 to 23, as the Iraqi Army (IA) pushed into the last ISIS-held neighborhood in east Mosul, Rashidiyah, on January 23. The complete recapture of the city east of the Tigris River is expected within a day. Units from the 9th IA Armored Division and 1st IA Division, previously operating in now-recaptured southeastern Mosul, deployed to and recaptured Tel Kayyaf District on January 19, then extended the ISF’s northern control to encompass the main Dohuk-Mosul road. Units from the 16th Iraqi Army Division had isolated but bypassed Tel Kayyaf in late October 2016 in order to keep apace with other axes already nearing the city limits. Meanwhile, the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) expanded control along the Tigris River in central Mosul, gaining control of all five bridges on the eastern side on January 19. The recent gain in momentum follows increased Coalition and ISF efforts to reinforce and synchronize ground efforts across the city and block ISIS’s cross-city mobility. 

Both the ISF and ISIS are preparing for operations in western Mosul. Sources reported on January 22 that engineering units had begun to assemble five pontoon bridges, provided by the Coalition to replace the destroyed bridges, in order to cross the Tigris River into western Mosul. ISIS, meanwhile, destroyed the landmark Mosul Hotel, situated on the river bank near the northernmost Third Bridge, in order to deny the ISF a strategic base. ISIS will likely use the density of western Mosul to attrite the ISF in an urban fight and limit the ISF’s ability to call in air support or heavy artillery.

Opinion: Don’t Get Into Bed With Russia in the War Against Terrorism

Daniel Benjamin

Since early in his campaign, President Trump has made counterterrorism cooperation a pillar of his argument for improving relations with Russia. On the face of it, that idea might seem attractive: two of the world’s largest militaries and intelligence communities working together against the Islamic State and other jihadist networks to achieve progress that neither could alone.

But it’s a bad idea. A partnership with Russia of the kind Mr. Trump proposes has the potential to profoundly undermine the United States’ counterterrorism progress and shred our relationships with Sunni Muslims around the world. Moreover, it’s doubtful such an alliance could actually be forged.

Mr. Trump suggested in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that counterterrorism cooperation would be reason enough to lift the sanctions the Obama administration has levied for Russian interference in the presidential election. As he put it, “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”

Russian counterterrorism has never been about doing “really great things.” It has been principally about indiscriminate violence — targeting a few terrorists and recklessly slaughtering civilians in the hope that no one will dare continue to plot attacks. If you’re not sentimental about human rights, that may have some effect on a limited, confined population. But it’s the opposite of American counterterrorism, which aims to remove dangerous terrorists while causing as few civilian deaths as possible.

Trump’s Cyber-Appeasement Policy Might Encourage More Hacks


Casting doubt on security experts’ ability to identify the culprits behind cyberattacks could make it hard to deter the next one. 

Since well before he was elected president, Donald Trump has been casting doubt on the accuracy and integrity of investigations that assign blame for cyberattacks. His statements have created an atmosphere of mistrust around forensic analyses, like the one focused on Russia that three top spy agencies briefed him on last week.

This confusion benefits Trump by deflecting uncomfortable questions about Russia’s role in shifting public opinion about him and his opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton. But it’s also a boon to state-sponsored hackers, for whom uncertainty is the ideal camouflage.

That’s why the Obama administration made a habit of publicly attributing cyberattacks, like North Korea’s attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, or, less formally, China’s theft of sensitive records from the Office of Personnel Management. For the past several years, the Justice Department also has brought charges against a bevy of state-sponsored hackers from places like China, Iran, and Syria, in a name-and-shame campaign aimed at outing the perpetrators of smaller hacks.



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Some Thoughts on the McCain White Paper

Bryan Clark of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) and I (Bryan McGrath) put together a few thoughts on the recent White Paper from Senator John McCain (R-AZ) entitled "Restoring American Power".

The Trump Administration began work this week on its promise of an across-the-board enlargement of the U.S. military. The President-elect has thus far described his plan only in the broadest of terms, but those terms portend a sustained period of higher defense spending—something Congress has been unwilling to approve since it passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) in 2011. Chief among those who will shape the future of the American military is Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who waded into the debate last week with a strong, coherent outline that not only aims to restore the capacity of a significantly hollowed-out force, but also provides direction for how the force should evolve as it grows. There is a lot in this report, but we will restrict our comments to the larger context of the plan and its impact on American Seapower.

Hope versus strategy

Senator McCain’s report begins by rightly highlighting the fundamental disconnect in today’s U.S. defense planning between resources and objectives. Hoping revanchist regimes in Russia and China would not be able to act effectively on their objectives for more than a decade, Congress and President Obama passed the BCA in 2011, reducing military budgets by about 10 percent for the subsequent decade. The BCA, in turn, contained the a ticking time-bomb known as Sequestration, which implemented another 10 percent cut starting in fiscal year (FY) 2013 if the Department was not able to meet BCA targets for spending. Because FY 2013 was already halfway over, services had to immediately cut their spending, creating maintenance depot backlogs, personnel shortfalls, and training shutdowns from which DoD is still recovering.

Opinion: Robert Hannigan, GCHQ and the future of British intelligence

Robert Hannigan, GCHQ and the future of British intelligence

There was a time when the top job in British intelligence was the head of MI5 or MI6. Today it is arguably the director of the Government Communications Headquarters, the secret listening centre in Cheltenham. The search is now on for a new GCHQ chief after the unexpected resignation yesterday of Robert Hannigan, for personal reasons. 

In his two years in the post, Mr Hannigan has done a fine job in the face of changing circumstances. He has seen the threat from cyber‑warfare increase to the point where it is now the main challenge to British security.

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Cybersecurity Conversations For The C-Suite in 2017

According to the Cybersecurity Market Report, global spending on cybersecurity products and services is expected to exceed $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021, while costs associated with cybercrime will increase to $6 trillion by 2021, reinforcing the cybercrime epidemic impacting enterprises and governments worldwide. The growing attack surface, the cybersecurity workforce shortage, the increase of nation-state cyber threats, and the lack of cybersecurity awareness training for employees are all factors that contributed to the sharp increase in cyber attacks against enterprises in 2016. 

From the large-scale Dyn attack to the recent reporting of the 2013 Yahoo breach, many major players saw their defenses compromised last year. 

The security landscape for 2017 will be faster-growing and more complicated than ever before. As your trusted advisor in cybersecurity, allow Herjavec Group to break through the clutter and focus your attention on the top cybersecurity related questions all C-level executives should be asking this year: 

Wishing you a (cyber) safe and successful 2017!
How can we leverage Threat Hunting to alleviate the pressures of IoT?

We are connecting 5.5 million new devices to the internet each and every day. This represents a 30% increase year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. Unsurprisingly, it’s been predicted that the number of connected things in use worldwide will only continue to scale, reaching 20.8 billion by 2020 (Gartner, 2015). 

With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in corporate environments and the anonymous nature of online activity, security threats associated with IoT will also continue to grow. Mobile devices pose a major threat to organizations as cybercriminals often leverage mobile malware to target victims. 

Narrative, Cyberspace and the 21st Century Art of War

By Fifth Domain

In February 2013, an article insipidly entitled “The Value of Science in Prediction” appeared in the Russian publication Military-Industrial Courier. The article was penned by Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Federation. Few in the West recognized the article at all, much less its significance, at the time of its publication.

In the article, Gerasimov analyzed “new-type conflicts.” These conflicts entail an array of strategies and tactics employed in the gray zone to achieve national interests, even military, without a declaration of war and without crossing the threshold that would provoke a kinetic response.

“The very ‘rules of war’ have changed,” Gerasimov wrote.

Dr. Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian history and security issues who annotated an English translation of Gerasimov’s article, identified the most important line as, “The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

British Army's last fighting unit could be wiped out 'in an afternoon' by Russia

Matt Broomfield

'The British Army is at its smallest and has faced years of budget cuts. The prospect of losing the division in an afternoon will weigh heavily on the chain of command' 

The Independent Online This week, the British Army trialed moving tanks through the Channel Tunnel for the first time MoD

The British Army's only remaining fighting unit could be wiped out "in an afternoon" in conflict with an enemy such as Russia as "years of budget cuts" have left it with just one war-fighting brigade, the army's in-house think tank has claimed.

A "hollowing out or depletion of the army's capabilities" has "effectively removed" Britain's ability to deploy a fighting force, according to a paper published by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR), which is made up of current and former "soldier-scholars".

Serving and retired soldiers met with military academics for a two-day conference in 2016, where they scrutinised Britain's fighting capability in "a few plausible scenarios" where the UK entered into direct war with another country, before compiling the paper.

Trump's advisor suggests Obama's sanctions against Russia are to 'box in' the incoming President



Few things inspire innovation better than a bullet whizzing past your ear. But how does the Army translate the innovation inspired by hostile fire in the physical world to the cyber environment, where the risks are less recognizable but far more widespread?

It is hard to compare the damage inflicted by cyberattacks to casualties or fatalities on battlefields, but recent events such as the Office of Personnel Management workforce data breach have shown we can no longer afford to ignore these attacks and their far-reaching consequences. Fortunately, the Army’s centuries-long experience on battlefields as well as its traditions, culture and values have fostered a spirit of innovation in the cyber environment.

The Army Cyberspace Strategy for Unified Land Operations 2025 provides specific guidance that projects the spirit of innovation forward to the modern operational environment. While the strategy provides a foundation to build on, realistically the gap is widening and accelerating, requiring swift and significant adjustments to Army practices to not only remain relevant but also to survive and win on future battlefields. In the age of cyber, technology is not just a combat multiplier, but it is the battlefield itself. Winning on the cyber battlefield requires innovation as an organizational mission and priority, not just an additional duty.

To meet the acquisition and innovation requirements of the cyber domain as identified in the Army Operating Concept, and acknowledging current DoD efforts such as the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), we propose the establishment of an Army Innovation Office, based in the National Capital Region. This office would serve as the coordinating epicenter for the Army’s efforts to accelerate innovation to the warfighter—driving creative thinking to shape concepts and rapid acquisition to fill critical gaps.



The 39th Army chief of staff is plainspoken as he describes the Army’s dilemma when the service looks to the future.

“Every assumption we hold, every claim, every assertion, every single one of them must be challenged,” said Gen. Mark A. Milley, a graduate of Princeton University, Columbia University and the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—only the second Army chief of staff to have an Ivy League education.

He is not talking about tinkering around the edges, as “change” often means for a 241-year-old institution that is older than the nation it protects. “The structure and organization of our Army, both operational and institutional, may change drastically,” he warned in a far-reaching speech at October’s Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army. “We must be open-minded to that change. We may not have divisions or corps, tanks or Bradleys. We don’t know.”

Sitting at the edge of the unknown isn’t an easy place, but Milley said soldiers need to embrace change without necessarily knowing where it leads. The Army, he said, must “recognize that the future is not really knowable in any kind of detail. And frankly, we are not going to get it right.”

On Cusp of Fundamental Change

But Milley is convinced that war, especially ground war, is “on the cusp of fundamental change.” The character of war—how and where it is fought and with what weapons and tactics—is undergoing “fundamental, profound and significant change.”



Given the rising number of military cyber activities between the U.S. and its adversaries over the last several years, it is increasingly clear that cyberspace is now an intrinsic part of the current operating environment. As the fifth warfighting domain, it is a space in which we fight and win battles, and its criticality to mission success is becoming more and more apparent with time. As Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, recently noted, military leaders should expect cyber units to be able to assume the main role as well as the supporting role when facing U.S. adversaries. This often entails coordinating cyber effects within the planning cycles of our maneuver counterparts.

As leaders of a nascent branch, cyber officers are in the process of transitioning into a maneuver mindset that is needed for the cyber force to be successful. Such transitions are complicated, however, as the vast majority of newly appointed cyber officers come from operations support backgrounds or have no operational background at all. The transitional dilemma poses numerous Mission Command challenges in the cyber force, threatening its ability to effectively dominate this crucial domain.

A student takes notes during a Cyber Basic Officer Leader Course at the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, Fort Gordon, Ga.

(Credit: U.S. Army/Bill Roche)

To say Military Intelligence Corps and Signal Corps officers are inexperienced as maneuver commanders is not a critique of operations support branches. Operations support is what these branches were designed to do; thus, these talented leaders have successfully enabled ground combat operations throughout their careers. Without these branches, the Army would cease to function.

Nonetheless, with the cyber corps’ aspirational designation as an operations branch, Army leaders must recognize and embrace that cyber officers must be trained and empowered as maneuver leaders who adopt an ethos and demonstrate the ability and competence to lead maneuver operations. Without this acknowledgement, Cyber Mission Force teams will be relegated solely to supporting roles.

Cyber leader development and culture must be fundamentally different than those of the operations support branches. Cyber leaders must be prepared to lead operations as the main effort, to deliver effects at the decisive point of operations, and to manage resources in support of those efforts.



As an educator for 35 years, I have found that the one thing all teachers need to know is their students. If we don’t understand this audience of learners, we will never reach them.

I have taught three generations. The two youngest are known as the millennials, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those born in the years 1982 to 2000; and the iGens, or Generation Z, who were born in the late 1990s to early 2000s. A 2015 census study indicates there are more than 83 million millennials in America, representing more than a quarter of the population.

This trend is magnified in the armed forces. According to the most recent Military OneSource demographics report, about 40 percent of the total military force was 25 years old or younger in 2014, and 21 percent of the force was between ages 26 and 30.

These two generations have a deep understanding of technology and how it works. They are easily able to manipulate it and use it to their advantage. They use technology to stay connected to each other frequently, even constantly.

Indeed, the millennials and iGens are wired differently than older Americans. As Nicholas Carr wrote in his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, because of brain neuroplasticity, young people are developing new and different neural pathways through constant use of technology such as mobile devices and the internet.

Edutainment, a combination of education and entertainment, is what is most important to today’s students. To reach them, instructors and curriculum developers must leverage that deep understanding of technology by using it creatively and often. Millennials and iGens don’t mind learning but for it to be relevant to them, learning must also be entertaining. If the content and delivery of education is not entertaining enough, it may not be appreciated or valued.



Smoking American and Soviet-made tanks and planes littering the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights in 1973 shocked the world. In only two short weeks, the violence, precision and lethality of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War exposed glaring weaknesses in NATO’s concept to defend Western Europe. Energized by the magnitude of the problem to take on extensive reform, American military leaders embarked on the development of a new concept of how the Army and Air Force could effectively deter, fight and win against a modernized foe in the changed operational environment.

In the following years, the U.S. military developed, tested and formalized a coherent, joint solution known as AirLand Battle to counter the Soviet conventional threat in Western Europe. For decades, AirLand Battle and its successors met operational demands and attempts by adversaries to counter its strengths. But today and into the future, ground combat forces confront threats that adapted and modernized their militaries specifically to defeat how the joint force currently fights.

Our current and potential adversaries saw the success of AirLand Battle during Operation Desert Storm and have been going to school on us ever since. Their focus is to fracture the paradigms established with AirLand Battle and take away our advantages. With the adoption of AirLand Battle, the joint force depended on overall superiority in domains such as air, maritime, space and cyber as well as qualitative superiority in the land domain to offset vulnerabilities in ground capabilities based on numbers and position.



In April 1994, a group of distinguished Army leaders watched as the first “digi- tized” battalion to fight the National Training Center’s opposing force tried to assault the opposing force’s defensive positions. It was not a pretty picture. In spite of the intervehicle information system available to task force leaders, the opposing force had their way—not an unusual outcome at the Army’s combat training centers then or now.

In spite of the inability to defeat the opposing force, there were lessons learned from the experience. Who needs “the network,” along with why and how to make it routinely available, are questions that have perplexed commanders, leaders and soldiers for over two decades.

Satellite-based network communications equipment at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.

(Credit: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. John Briggs)

Why a Network?

In an age of digital devices and ubiquitous commercial networks, it is easy to assume there is a need for soldiers and leaders to have unlimited access to a network for operational purposes. Making this assumption a reality has proven to be elusive. Even if one is convinced a network is needed, debate continues over what kind of network, for what purpose, and to what echelon. This debate is not exclusively an argument of operational need. When the discussion centers on affordability, accountants rather than soldiers take center stage and suboptimization is the result. So it has been with the Army’s relationship with its network.

Why a network? In the early days of U.S. Army digitization, the thesis was simple. It went something like this: “If I know where I am, where my buddies are, and where the enemy is, then I will enjoy increases in lethality and tempo leading to decisive battlefield outcomes.” The Army conducted experiments to determine the validity of this thesis. After much experimentation and analysis, not only was the thesis proven to be valid, but unlike the tactical benefit of weapon systems and platforms, the network was seen by Army leaders for its strategic potential. Thus began the Army’s quest for a network that, with properly trained soldiers and if appropriately resourced, would afford soldiers information superiority, leading to decision superiority, leading to unparalleled battlefield success.



The Army is at an inflection point, where the rate of technological and geopolitical change is outstripping our capacity to anticipate, adapt and then implement transformative institutional processes to gain and maintain competitive advantage. We are combating information and knowledge-age challenges with industrial-age solutions. Few would call our acquisition and personnel management processes nimble and responsive enough to address the complex challenges of the contemporary operating environment. 

After more than 25 years of unprecedented conventional combat power overmatch with long and troubled flirtations with peacekeeping, nation-building and counterinsurgency operations, we have awakened to near-peer adversaries with sophisticated anti-submarine, cyberwarfare, electronic warfare, and other anti-access/area denial capabilities. We have access to ideas and inventions that can be leveraged to gain competitive advantage in these areas if we have the will to develop, select and empower staff colonels, the innovation engines of our Army. 

If the Army wants to foster a culture of innovation as senior leaders profess and doctrine proclaims, then we must innovate to create that culture. We must break from our current command-centric leader development model to build the military’s finest senior staff officers, making strategic-level staff positions sought after and progressive assignments for the best and brightest officers. Staff colonels and the talented teams that support them are the engines of the institutional Army and essential components of an innovation chain converting ideas to competitive advantage for our joint force. In short, staff colonels are key to Army innovation. 



The question of what roles the retired military leaders of the nation should be expected or allowed to fill, or prohibited from filling, is again a matter of concern to many people. I have been asked my opinion on the subject, so with the trepidation that should be associated with venturing into a minefield, here goes.

The question is not new. In fact, it can be traced back to the end of the American Revolution when a gathering of officers contemplating challenging the Continental Congress to alleviate their grievances was deterred by Gen. George Washington, who believed political actions and decisions were not to be the role of the military.

His stance became a principle of nonpartisanship of military leaders for the next two centuries. It did not deny one-time Army officers Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, George B. McClellan, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and many others from burnishing their military experiences as qualifications for seeking elected office. But it did, perhaps, prevent any effort to enlist the military forces in the elections of our senior officials.

The unofficial and unpublished policy of remaining apolitical was the norm, a custom of the services, well into the 20th century. I clearly remember working for a Regular Army colonel who proudly proclaimed that he had never voted and wasn’t about to change that record. Nevertheless, the official policy of the armed services included encouragement of the right to vote, and absentee ballots for military personnel became common in most states.

Many problems, mixed results, and questionable effectiveness of those ballots are still with us. One’s citizenship and inalienable rights are not affected by the policy, and one’s right to assemble and speak out personally and publicly has never been denied or even abridged. But the armed forces have never been aligned with the political parties, and the country has never had to be concerned about a military attempt to take over the government.



As we exit from our second war in this new century, many in authority sense something is missing in American strategic generalship. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the services have come up short at the strategic level, the level at which national security and political objectives are translated into war-winning plans and policies.

Much of the blame for this perceived sense of failure rests with the senior officers—mostly generals—who devise policy, advise civilian leaders, and command very large military organizations. In a strange irony, these same serving soldiers performed very well as tactical and operational commanders earlier in their careers. Why the difference? How is it that a midgrade officer can do so well as a tactical commander and then, when elevated to a position of national strategic leadership, perform poorly?

Part of the reason abides with how the Army selects leaders. For example, the Army does a terrific job of identifying tactical commanders, those at battalion and brigade level, using a proven command selection board system. Young officers from commissioning onward build their careers around the hope that someday they might command soldiers at higher tactical levels. Yet no service has a parallel career system for selecting, educating and rewarding officers for strategic leadership.

U.S. Army/Spc. Nathaniel Nichols

Every special calling in life, if it is to be followed with success, requires peculiar qualifications of understanding and soul. Where these are of a high order, and manifest themselves by extraordinary achievements the mind to which they belong is termed genius.

—Carl von Clausewitz

IBM just posted 5 predictions about what life will be like in 2022


Technology giant IBM is known for of making bold predictions about the future, and it's just announced its latest "5 in 5" list, highlighting the five innovations that they think will have the biggest impact on our lives over the next five years.

According to the company, in only a few years, we're set to see huge developments in artificial intelligence (AI), ultra-powerful telescopes, smart sensors, and medical devices - with benefits ranging from healthcare and the environment, to our understanding of Earth and the Universe itself.

Of course, all these predictions are based on technology and research developments that are happening right now - there's no way of knowing what else might crop up in the next five years.

But take a look at this vision of the near future, and you might want to check back in once 2022 hits, just to see if the scientists got it right.

1. Thanks to AI, our speech will be a window into our mental health

You can tell a lot about someone based on how they talk - whether they're bored, flustered, distracted, or miserable.

As humans, we've evolved to pick up these cues, but rapid advancements being made in computer processing power means speech analysis is about to become a whole lot more insightful.

The Shamoon Computer Virus Reappears in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia on Monday warned organizations in the kingdom to be on the alert for the Shamoon virus, which cripples computers by wiping their disks, as the labor ministry said it had been attacked and a chemicals firm reported a network disruption.

An alert from the telecoms authority seen by Reuters advised all parties to be vigilant for attacks from the Shamoon 2 variant of the virus that in 2012 crippled tens thousands of computers at oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Shamoon disrupts computers by overwriting the master book record, making it impossible for them to start up. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the 2012 Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco was probably the most destructive cyber attack on a private business.

In the 2012 hacks, images of a burning U.S. flag were used to overwrite the drives of victims including Saudi Aramco and RasGas Co Ltd. In the recent attacks, an image of the body of 3-year-old drowned Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi was used in recent attacks, according to U.S. security researchers.

The Shamoon hackers were likely working on behalf of the Iranian government in the 2012 campaign and the more-recent attacks, said Adam Meyers, vice president with cyber security firm CrowdStrike. “It’s likely they will continue,” he said.

Preliminary results indicate Hack the Army was a success

By: Mark Pomerleau

HackerOne said the most significant vulnerability discovered was a series of chained vulnerabilities in which a researcher could move from the public-facing goarmy.com to an internal Department of Defense website requiring special credentials.

HackerOne also promised more to come from this effort.

Like the Defense Digital Service — a Silicon Valley-modeled node within the Pentagon focused on difficult problems, such as Hack the Pentagon — the Army and Air Focehave stood up their own iteration.