7 March 2017

**** The strategic chain: Linking Pakistan, India, China, and the United States


Considerable policy analysis has been devoted to bilateral strategic relationships between Pakistan and India, India and China, and China and the United States. But the strategic dynamics among these four nuclear powers cannot be understood or effectively addressed on a strictly bilateral basis. While Pakistan responds strategically to India, India responds both to Pakistan and China, which in turn responds both to India and the United States.

A 15-month Brookings project focused on the “strategic chain” linking Pakistan, India, China, and the United States—a series of relationships that are resulting in some of the most active nuclear weapons, missile, and missile defense programs anywhere in the world today. The project’s main goal was to identify policies and measures that could promote stability and reduce incentives for arms build-ups between key pairs of protagonists, regionally, and globally, while also contributing to a better understanding of the various strategic interconnections among these four nuclear-armed states.

The project brought together a distinguished group of former senior diplomats and military officers and prominent non-governmental security experts from the four countries. In the course of three workshops, they shared their national strategic perspectives, discussed the strategic connections among the four states, and explored various approaches to reducing tensions and the likelihood of armed conflict. They prepared a report in which scholars from each country addresses his country’s security environment, threat perceptions, and defense doctrine and in which areas of convergence and divergence in the four countries’ strategic perspectives are identified.

*** Nationalism and Liberal Democracy

Friedman's Weekly 
By George Friedman 

Tension between nationalism and liberal democracy is not what is haunting us today.

Nationalism is rising in the Western world, and many view it as the enemy of liberal democracy. The basis of this view is not unreasonable, as European wars fought from 1914 to 1945 were among the most barbaric in history. Those wars were fought between nations, many of which had rejected the principles of liberal democracy. Some saw the proliferation of nations as causing a rise in tyrannies, destruction of liberal democracies, and a war fought to recover liberal democracy in Europe. The view that Europe’s wars originated in nationalism became common, along with the belief that nationalism gave rise to fascism, and that the preservation of liberal democracy required nationalism’s suppression.

From this, the European Union emerged as a moral project, along with the idea that a re-emergence of nationalism would return Europe and Euro-American civilization back to barbarism. Historically, that may be a persuasive argument. But it fails to understand that nationalism – however distorted it might become – is the root of liberal democracy, not only historically, but also morally. The two concepts are intellectually inseparable.

Liberal democracy as a political doctrine arose in the 18th century as a challenge to monarchy. At the time, monarchies were based on the idea that kings and emperors had a divine right to rule. Maps of 18th century Europe, and even before, show the outcomes of this approach. The holdings of a monarch or lesser nobility were built by war, money and marriage, and the subjects likely consisted of many nations. Many nations, in turn, were divided between the different monarchies. Therefore, kingdoms and nations did not necessarily coincide, and regimes were not connected to the people, neither in theory nor in practice.

** Above and Beyond the Green Notebook

By Joe Byerly

Walk into any organization in our Army and there is one thing I guarantee you will find on a desk or in a cargo pocket: a small, green, government-issued notebook. It doesn’t matter whether a soldier is a sergeant or a general officer, odds are they will have one of these Army mainstays in their possession. Beyond their utility for taking notes, these notebooks also represent a greater ideal. They represent hard-won knowledge from intense training exercises. They represent ideas for improving our organizations and our warfighting capabilities. They represent our successes and our failures. They also represent the first step to leaving a legacy in our profession of arms.

Instead of keeping our ideas to ourselves in our green notebooks, we should share them. One way we can do this is to write for professional publications or military blogs. Unfortunately, many in uniform are reluctant to share their ideas for fear of backlash from their chains of command and peers, or for fear of being viewed as telling others what to think, or they do not believe their writing is even publishable.

Writing has several benefits that I believe outweigh the negatives. First, writing for an audience other than ourselves helps us to better solidify our thoughts. Second, in publishing our ideas, we start important conversations that may lead to changes across the Army or may lead to even better ideas from others. Third, we may contribute to our legacy in the military with an idea that will outlast our own terms of service. Finally, there are plenty of resources available to help those who need writing support, so there should be no fear of sounding unintelligent.

** U.S. Wary of Its New Neighbor in Djibouti: A Chinese Naval Base


DJIBOUTI — The two countries keep dozens of intercontinental nuclear missiles pointed at each other’s cities. Their frigates and fighter jets occasionally face off in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

With no shared border, China and the United States mostly circle each other from afar, relying on satellites and cybersnooping to peek inside the workings of each other’s war machines.

But the two strategic rivals are about to become neighbors in this sun-scorched patch of East African desert. China is constructing its first overseas military base here — just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign installations.

With increasing tensions over China’s island-building efforts in the South China Sea, American strategists worry that a naval port so close to Camp Lemonnier could provide a front-row seat to the staging ground for American counterterror operations in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

“It’s like having a rival football team using an adjacent practice field,” said Gabriel Collins, an expert on the Chinese military and a founder of the analysis portal China SignPost. “They can scope out some of your plays. On the other hand, the scouting opportunity goes both ways.”

Case of nosy neighbours: India to set up new defence unit to fight cyber attacks

Ajit Kumar Dubey

In a bid to enhance its combat capabilities in the virtual domain, the defence ministry is working towards establishing a new cyber agency to tackle attempts by Chinese and Pakistani hackers to break into its systems and networks.

India is fighting a Code War with its nosy neighbours. 

Defence ministry is working towards establishing a new cyber agency to tackle attempts by Chinese and Pakistani hackers 

Till now, the army, navy and air force have their own separate cells dealing with cyber issues 

The US and Soviet Union had their Cold War from the mid-to-late 1900s. Now India is fighting a Code War with its nosy neighbours. 

In a bid to enhance its combat capabilities in the virtual domain, the defence ministry is working towards establishing a new cyber agency to tackle attempts by Chinese and Pakistani hackers to break into its systems and networks. 

"The tri-services integrated defence staff (IDS) is coming up with a unit to tackle the cyber warfare domain and it will be staffed with personnel from all the three services," senior government sources told Mail Today. 

The India-China Territorial Dispute Has Rekindled: Who Holds The 'Key'?

Zorawar Daulet Singh

Dai Bingguo, former State Counselor and negotiator for a decade, has put the spotlight back on the India China dispute. Describing China’s position, Dai notes, “If the Indian side takes care of China's concerns in the eastern sector of their border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere.” Previously, in his memoirs Strategic Dialogues, Dai disclosed that by 2012 both sides had agreed that they “have no intention to solve the boundary question talis qualis (as is)” and “will make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments” in both sectors. Privately, of course, Indian negotiators are familiar with this basic position. Essentially, China seeks Tawang, or at least a substantial portion of it, and is prepared to make similar concessions in the western sector. Because of Tawang’s strategic importance, however, India finds it difficult to part with the area in question.

Pakistan: A Powder Keg in South Asia

By Mohammed Ayoob

Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons.On 16 February a suicide bomber blew himself up in the main hall of the shrine of Pakistan’s most popular sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, killing at least 88 people, including 21 children. The shrine is located in Sehwan in Pakistan’s Sindh province, which has a strong tradition of sufism going back several centuries.It was obvious that the bombing was the work of one or more salafi (puritanical) groups that have been regularly targeting sufi shrines in Pakistan for the past couple of years. For what it’s worth, ISIS—itself a product of salafi ideology—has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. It’s more likely, however, that it was the handiwork of one of the many salafi terrorist groups active in Pakistan, like Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which also claimed responsibility.

The attack has once again exposed two major tensions in Pakistan’s polity. The first tension is the struggle in Pakistan between an inclusive version of Islam, a product of the syncretic culture of the Indian subcontinent, and the rigid salafi interpretation of the religion that has become increasingly popular in South Asia thanks to the funding of madrasas (religious schools) and mosques by Wahabbi-ruled Saudi Arabia. To the salafis—literally those who follow the path of the “righteous ancestors”—the sufi tradition, with its syncretic features, is anathema as they consider it a major deviation from the pristine form of Islam and its followers heretics if not unbelievers. Unfortunately, inclusive Islam, represented by the Sufi shrine in Sehwan, is on the defensive in Pakistan and has been so for the past three decades since the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq who had allied himself with Saudi Arabia in the context of the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan which both supported.

Tensions Rise Between Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Michael Kugelman

Last month, Pakistan suffered its deadliest spasm of terrorist violence since 2014. Over a period of four days in February, militants struck all four Pakistani provinces and three major urban spaces. The bloodshed culminated on February 16 with an assault on a revered Sufi shrine that killed nearly 90 people. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Pakistani soil since a school massacre in the city of Peshawar that killed 141 people, most of them students, in 2014.

This killing spree has dangerous implications, not only for Pakistan, which has enjoyed a relative respite from terrorist violence over the last two years, but also for the broader region. Pakistan’s already tense relationship with Afghanistan has been plunged into deep crisis, with conflict a very real possibility.

The attacks in February were claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban faction; Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian extremist group; and a local chapter of the Islamic State known as ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K). These are arguably the most active and lethal terror groups operating in Pakistan today. And according to Pakistan, they are all based in Afghanistan.

Submerged in the Cosmic Kingdom

David Shulman

Among the Shangri-Las scattered through the remote mountain valleys and passes of the Himalayas and the Karakoram, the most exotic may well be the once flourishing medieval kingdom of Guge. It’s not so easy to go there; the closest airport is at Ali (Ngari) in far western China, still a grueling ten-hour drive or more from the great Guge sites. The roads south from Lhasa, some 1,200 miles away, are a challenge. The altitude is high, the climate harsh, the entire route rough as a real pilgrimage should be. 

Guge was once home to a major inner-Asian dynasty whose artists and craftsmen produced a plethora of masterpieces over some five centuries. Although many of these works did not survive the Chinese Cultural Revolution, those that did—including some large-scale murals and exquisitely carved and painted sculptures depicting Buddhist visions of the cosmos and its deities—give us a tantalizing sense of the lost world that imagined them into being. These works, little known in the West largely because of Guge’s inaccessible location, have now been richly and systematically documented in the photographer and art historian Peter van Ham’s astonishing new book, Guge: Ages of Gold.

The modern political borders of Guge and its hinterland are misleading: historic western Tibet is split today among India (the far, high-altitude northern region of Spiti and Kinnaur), Pakistan, the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, and the western reaches of Nepal. We would do better to imagine this region (known as Nari Khorsum in Tibetan) as a continuous world of high mountain ranges connected by steep passes and relatively fertile valleys, with its political center eventually fixed on the stark mountaintop of Tsaparang and its religious-intellectual life centered in the famous monastery of Tholing, both in Guge. 

China Seeking Global Leadership

Gordon G. Chang

In January at Davos, Chinese leader Xi Jinping cast himself as the defender of globalization, and in a February 17 seminar in Beijing he said his country would promote a sounder international system.

These recent speeches by Xi, China’s ruler since November 2012, suggest Beijing is seeking to displace America’s leading role in the international system. Statements by President Donald Trump, both before and after inauguration, have opened the door for Beijing to make rhetorical advances. Fortunately for Washington, it is not possible for Xi to align his country’s internal and external policies with his benign-sounding words.

Xi has been busy issuing grand statements. “Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from,” he said in Davos as the first Chinese leader to address the World Economic Forum. “Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries, and people between economies, and channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical trend.”

And he promised this: “We will open our arms to the people of other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development.” 

Meet ‘Silent Hunter’ – China’s New ‘Armored Vehicle Slicing’ Laser Gun

While politicians are more than willing to rattle their economic sabres at China, we suspect, after China flaunted a range of high-tech weaponry at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Dubai, we suspect Washington will slow its roll a little with any kinetic warmongery…

Poly Technologies showed off The Silent Hunter, one of the world’s most powerful laser weapons. It claims an output of at least 50-70 kilowatts, which would make it more powerful than the 33-kilowatt laser weapon systems (LaWS) currently deployed on the USS Ponce. The laser is probably based on a smaller anti-drone laser, the Low Altitude Guard. That’s enough to knock out automobiles by burning out their engines from over a mile away, as the 30-kilowatt Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser demonstrated in 2015. The Silent Hunter uses fibre optic lasers (fibre optics doped with rare earth minerals), which provide weight savings over chemical lasers through increasing optical gain by kilometers of coiled fibre optics (as opposed to bulky chemical lasers). The Silent Hunter is likely to be scaled up and equipped with radars to complement its optical/infrared tracking system, making it a capable close range defense system against enemy missiles, artillery, drones and aircraft.

IranTrump Administration Strengthen Iran's Moderates Before It's Too Late

By Jeffrey A. Stacey

Since November, when Donald Trump was elected president, U.S.-Iranian relations have gone into a tailspin. In response to the administration’s triumphalist tenor and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s pledge to “put Iran on notice,” Iran has partially escalated but also shown a modicum of restraint. Flynn’s replacement by Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster offers the Trump administration an opportunity to rethink its approach.

The goal should be to guard against any further escalation of hostilities. After all, unless the administration is willing to wage war with Iran, this confrontation won't achieve anything useful for the United States. What it will do is further strengthen the hardliners in Tehran, a process that is already underway, and undermine moderates such as President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif less than three months before Iran’s presidential election.

That the United States is in this position is particularly disappointing given that, despite some missteps, the Obama policy team had made considerable progress with Iran through the negotiation of the nuclear deal and Iran’s evident adherence to it. To be sure, the deal was imperfect, but it had been working. Except for a few minor violations, Iran had fully lived up to the accord. And when the International Atomic Energy Agency pointed out the violations, Tehran quickly corrected course. 

The Coming Islamic Culture War

By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Nathaniel Barr

Western observers are often blind to social currents within the Muslim world. During the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011, outside analysts confidently predicted that the uprisings would marginalize the jihadist movement in favor of more moderate and democratic reformers. In fact, the opposite happened—an unprecedented jihadist mobilization that has inspired legions of fighters from around the world and fragmented or threatened more than half a dozen countries. In large part, this was because the collapse of the old regimes, which had suppressed Islamism domestically, created new spaces for jihadists. These spaces included both literal ungoverned territory and discursive spaces, where radicals were newly able to engage in dawa, or proselytism.

Today, a new type of discursive space—one that will foster a very different set of ideas—is opening up in the Muslim world. In April 2011, Bahraini human rights activists created one such space when they launched the website Ahwaa, the first online forum for the LGBT community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Esra’a al-Shafei, one of the website’s founders, was modest about the site’s ambitions, explaining that Ahwaa was intended “as a support network” for the “LGBTQ community” as well as a resource for those “who want to learn more by interacting with [LGBT] people.”

Russian nuclear forces, 2017

Hans M. Kristensen 

Russia is in the middle of a broad modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces, including both new programs and some that have been underway for many years. As of early 2017, the authors estimate that Russia has a military stockpile of roughly 4,300 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces. Of these, roughly 1,950 strategic warheads are deployed on ballistic missiles and at heavy bomber bases, while another 500 strategic warheads are in storage along with some 1,850 nonstrategic warheads. In addition to the military stockpile for operational forces, a large number of retired but still largely intact warheads await dismantlement, for a total inventory of around 7,000 warheads. The modernizations, combined with an increase in the number and size of military exercises and occasional explicit nuclear threats against other countries, contribute to growing concern abroad about Russian intentions. These concerns, in turn, drive increased defense spending, nuclear modernization programs, and political opposition to reductions in Western Europe and the United States. 

Russia is in the middle of a broad modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces. While much of this process is simply a continuation of well-known programs that have been underway for many years, some developments are new. These modernizations, combined with an increase in the number and size of military exercises and occasional explicit nuclear threats against other countries, contribute to growing concern abroad about Russian intentions. These concerns, in turn, drive increased defense spending, nuclear modernization programs, and political opposition to reductions in Western Europe and the United States.

Aristocracy Deceives Public about the Deep State


The «deep state» is the aristocracy and its agents. Wikispooks defines it as follows:

The deep state (loosely synonymous with the shadow government or permanent government) is in contrast to the public structures which appear to be directing individual nation states. The deep state is an intensely secretive, informal, fluid network of deep politicians who conspire to amplify their influence over national governments through a variety of deep state milieux. The term «deep state» derives from the Turkish »derin devlet», which emerged after the 1996 Susurluk incident so dramatically unmasked the Turkish deep state.

Their article is so honest that it continues from there, directly to:

Official Narrative

The official narrative of deep states used to be that they simply do not exist. This position was modified in the last few years to the claim that they don't exist here. In 2013 the New York Times defined the deep state as «a hard-to-perceive level of government or super-control that exists regardless of elections and that may thwart popular movements or radical change. Some have said that Egypt is being manipulated by its deep state». [1] Since the Times (like the rest of the commercially-controlled media) is more or less a under the control of the deep state, such a mention is very interesting.

The (Not-So) Peaceful Transition of Power: Trump’s Drone Strikes Outpace Obama

by Micah Zenko

As a candidate, President Donald Trump was deeply misleading about the sorts of military operations that he would support. He claimed to have opposed the 2003 Iraq War when he actually backed it, and to have opposed the 2011 Libya intervention when he actually strongly endorsed it, including with U.S. ground troops. Yet, Trump and his loyalists consistently implied that he would be less supportive of costly and bloody foreign wars, especially when compared to President Obama, and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This might be true, but nonetheless the White House is considering deploying even more U.S. troops to Syria, loosening the rules of engagement for airstrikes, and increasing the amount of lethal assistance provided to Syrian rebel groups. 

By at least one measure at this point in his presidency, Trump has been more interventionist than Obama: in authorizing drone strikes and special operations raids in non-battlefield settings (namely, in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia). During President Obama’s two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved 30 drone strikes or raids in 41 days—one every 1.4 days. These include three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen; one reported strike in Pakistan on March 1; and twenty-five reported strikes in Yemen on March 2

CENTCOM Already Implementing Recommendations To Improve Intelligence Efforts

By: John Grady

U.S. Central Command headquarters at McDill Air Force Base.

The Pentagon’s inspector general’s office is following up on 29 recommendations it made to ensure intelligence analysis in U.S. Central Command remains unbiased and not politicized, the acting IG told a key congressional subcommittee.

Glenn Fine, testifying Tuesday before the House Armed Services oversight and investigation subcommittee, said “we want specific details” on what CENTCOM is doing now and will do in 60 days following the release of the unclassified report, which was released in late January.

Although the IG’s probe did not find that intelligence was being tampered with, it did find “troubling and widespread” problems in communications and leadership. Fine said CENTCOM, the Joint Staff, the defense secretariat and Defense Intelligence Agency have expressed general support of the IG’s findings and recommendations.

Among the recommendations was the idea that CENTCOM needed to improve feedback and guidance to analysts, so they know who exactly they are working for, what their relationship is with the Defense Intelligence Agency, and and that an analysis of alternatives is required in final intelligence products.

U.S. military marches forward on green energy, despite Trump

By Timothy Gardner

President Donald Trump and his top advisors have often scoffed at government support of green energy. His chief strategist called it “madness.” 

But the largest U.S. government agency - the Department of Defense - plans to forge ahead under the new administration with a decade-long effort to convert its fuel-hungry operations to renewable power, senior military officials told Reuters. 

The reasons have nothing to do with the white-hot debate over climate change. In combat zones, green energy saves lives by, for instance, reducing the need for easily attacked convoys to deliver diesel fuel to generators at U.S. bases. Mobile solar-power units allow soldiers to prowl silently through enemy territory. 

At sea, gas-electric hybrid battleships save fuel and allow for fewer stops – making them less vulnerable to attacks like the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, when al-Qaeda militants killed 17 U.S. soldiers during a refueling stop in Yemen. 

The military’s zeal for renewable power has already had broad impacts on energy contractors, generating hundreds of millions in contracts for solar companies and helping to reduce fuel consumption by the world's largest single petroleum buyer. 

As technology goes democratic, nations lose military control

B. FitzGerald, J. Parziale

For much of the 20th century, the most consequential technological breakthroughs were sponsored by government spending and were harnessed for military advantage. Military influence meant that the norms surrounding technologies were mainly determined by departments of defense, national governments, and international organizations. Today, technology developers focus more attention on the hundreds of millions of technology users around the world than on the smaller numbers of users within governments and militaries, leaving governments little scope for influence over technology’s development and use. Well-known technologies that challenge militaries’ traditional dominance and threaten their control over technology’s uses include autonomous vehicles, cyber technologies, and artificial intelligence. As future generations of consequential technologies mature, perhaps including quantum computing and virtual reality, the challenges faced by governments and militaries will only increase. Because governments and international institutions lack methods to successfully grapple with new or not-yet-developed technologies, societies as a whole must be vigilant to the threats that such technologies pose – and must address the stark imbalance between the resources dedicated to developing new technologies and the resources dedicated to governing them.

War, state and martyrdom

Happymon Jacob

Amid the ongoing commotion triggered by arrogant and puritanical claims about nationalism and patriotism, the words of Gurmehar Kaur, a Delhi University student whose online video of May 2016 has suddenly become a needless controversy, come across as profoundly wise and humane. Ms. Kaur’s moving and thoughtful statement — “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him... I fight for peace between India and Pakistan. Because if there was no war between us, my father would still be here” — has, however, not gone down well with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and certain celebrities, among others.

Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home, suggested that someone was “polluting this young girl’s mind”, which was soon supported by his party colleague and MP Pratap Simha with an equally disgraceful tweet. Statements by these two leaders and their supporters have displayed an appalling lack of nuance about the larger import and context of what Ms. Kaur was referring to when she said that it was war that killed her father. Such a ‘nationalist’ backlash against thoughtful comments should make us wonder if indeed war is profitable to some sections of society, and hence preferable to peace.

NSA Director Wants to Contract Companies to Build Future Cyber Weapons

BY: Morgan Lynch

Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command, envisions a future in which the government outsources the development of its cyber weapons to the private sector.

Rogers said Friday at an event co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute that he questions whether developing all cyber weapons within government is sustainable. The alternative, which Rogers said could be a reality within the next five to 10 years, would be for Cyber Command to tell companies exactly what type of weapon the agency needed to be built and allow the companies to manufacture it.

“On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally,” Rogers said. “And part of me goes, five to 10 years from now–is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

Rogers said he wants Cyber Command and technology companies to integrate so that the entities are housed in the same location. For example, private sector partners would be based in Fort Meade, Md., alongside Cyber Command.

Fatal Flaw In AI: The Robots Will Probably Be As Biased As Their Masters

Rajeev Srinivasan

Subtle biases can creep into the decision making apparatus that we increasingly rely on: and it is not even overt, but purely inadvertent.

At this point, it is conceivable that machine intelligences, at once omniscient and tireless, will in a short while take on human capabilities. The stories of the chess-playing computer Deep Blue, the quiz show champ Watson, and the Go champion Deep Mind have enthralled us and shown us a vision of a future run by impartial and untiring machines. In fact, I wonder whether we should replace some judges, doctors and lawyers with machines, as they will be up to date, will not have bad hair days, and will not get burned out by work. But it turns out there is a potentially fatal flaw: these golems may be as biased as their masters.

This has to do with the nature of the new technique that has turned the latest machine intelligences into marvels of modern ingenuity: deep learning. Artificial intelligence as a discipline has been languishing for a couple of decades. In the late 1980s, there was much excitement about it, and I remember writing an optimistic paper about it in a journal, but then it failed to meet expectations, especially in relation to natural language processing. So AI became sort of a bad joke: always 20 years away in the future. So much so that people began to say “expert systems” and “neural networks” instead of “artificial intelligence”.

Pentagon Advisers Want Cyber ‘Tiger Teams,’ More Authorities for Cyber Command


Pentagon Advisers Want Cyber ‘Tiger Teams,’ More Authorities for Cyber Command 

U.S. critical infrastructure and military responsiveness is at such high risk to Chinese and Russian hacking that Pentagon advisors are recommending a special task force, or “an offensive cyber capability tiger team,” to help the military acquire new weapons of cyberwar. But the real worry for senators on the Armed Services Committee, who heard from Defense Science Board members Thursday, was not how to respond to Russia shutting off the lights but how to respond to an attack like the DNC hack and John Podesta hack — attacks on sovereignty that are not necessarily an act of war.

While the group came to warn Congress about attacks to things like the U.S. electric grid and other “vital U.S. interests,” Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., quickly brought the discussion to the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was using spearphishing campaigns to destabilize elections, both in the U.S. and abroad. “If an enemy or an adversary is capable of changing the outcome of an election, that’s a blow at the fundamentals of that country’s ability to govern,” said McCain. “The election is a system of democracy… if you destroy it then you have basically dealt an incredible blow to the country, which is far more severe than shutting down an electrical grid.”

“Describe the range of options the U.S. has for deterrence,” against that sort of thing, demanded Warren.

Legislators grapple with cyber war rules


Members of Congress are grappling with the new era of cyber warfare as the government works to define what acts in cyberspace should warrant a military response.

The Trump administration is required by law to spell out, within a year, what behaviors in cyberspace may constitute acts of war against the United States.

That requirement was created by legislation signed last year by President Obama and mimics legislation introduced by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in May.

“Cyberspace is a new and evolving battlefield in the 21st century, and our provision, which is now law, is an attempt to gain some clarity in this largely unchartered field,” King told The Hill in a statement.

“I am hopeful that the resulting reports, along with continued congressional hearings, will help shape strategies and policies for cyberspace that better enable our government to determine how to respond to cyberattacks and deter malicious actors from launching them in the first place,” King said.

Under the right to information law, Aadhaar data breaches will remain a state secret

Anumeha Yadav
On February 18, Hindi news daily Dainik Bhaskar reported the arrest of six salespersons of telecommunications service provider Reliance Jio in Madhya Pradesh for selling SIM cards by using the Aadhaar data and fingerprint scans of other customers for between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000.

A day earlier, security researcher Srinivas Kodali brought to the notice of the authorities that a website had leaked the Aadhaar demographic data of over five lakh minors. The website was shut down immediately.

Yesterday I was informed about a website which was publishing #Aadhaar numbers of minors. We informed the authorities and brought it down.

The researcher warned of the existence of several such parallel databases that stored identification data by linking to Aadhaar, and the lack of oversight over this.

The two cases are the latest in a number of incidents in the past month that have raised questions about the security of the Aadhaar database – which contains the biometric data of over a billion Indians.