13 March 2017

** The EU May Bend to Keep From Breaking

The European Commission is taking a clear-eyed look at Europe's future. On March 1, the institution presented a report proposing five different visions for what the European Union might look like in 2025. The report will doubtless take center stage at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday between discussions of such issues as migration, security, defense and the economy. Along with suggesting that member states could integrate at different speeds, the white paper raises the possibility that EU member countries may regain control of some prerogatives currently under Brussels' authority.

This idea represents a marked departure for EU leaders. Since the bloc's inception six decades ago, its goal has always been to progressively delegate national policy decisions to supranational authorities. Every institutional reform since the 1950s has furthered this goal, giving Brussels more responsibilities. Though EU officials have said they oppose weakening the supranational institutions, the white paper nonetheless speaks volumes about how things have changed in Europe.

However unusual the report may seem, Europe has already tried many of the ideas outlined in it. Integration in the Continental bloc, for instance, has been moving at multiple speeds for decades. Some members use the euro as their currency, while others don't. Some are members of the Schengen Agreement allowing passport-free movement, while others aren't. And some countries are exempted from participating in EU structures on domestic affairs and security cooperation. But prior to the white paper's publication, the bloc's central expectation was that all EU members would converge one day, if only in the distant future.

** Can the Islamic State and Al Qaeda Find Common Ground?

By Scott Stewart

Three years after the Islamic State defected from al Qaeda in an acrimonious and highly public split, many are still concerned that the two could someday reunite. Warnings about such a scenario from figures like Georgetown University's Bruce Hoffman have been given new life over the past few months as the Islamic State has continued to take heavy losses on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria.

The idea of the global jihadist movement's two major poles joining forces is certainly a troubling one. The combined capabilities of the Islamic State and al Qaeda could pose a significant threat to the rest of the world, making them a much more dangerous enemy together than divided. But even with the Islamic State's recent setbacks, an alliance between it and al Qaeda would be far more difficult to accomplish than one might expect.
A History of Animosity

Several forces continue to drive a wedge between the two groups. Perhaps the most superficial is a clash in personalities, especially among the upper ranks. A great deal of animosity seems to exist between the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. (Al-Baghdadi also despises Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Syrian rebel group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.) Their enmity has been made clear in the groups' propaganda: Islamic State literature routinely makes direct, personal attacks against al-Zawahiri and al-Golani. For instance, the Islamic State's English-language magazines, Dabiq and Rumiyah, have depicted al-Zawahiri as a manipulative and dishonest man, repeatedly labeling him a "deviant" and accusing him of abandoning "the pure heritage" Osama bin Laden left behind. The Islamic State has also dubbed al Qaeda "apostate sahwat," likening it to Iraq's so-called Awakening Councils. Considering the group likewise labeled the Taliban (whose leader al Qaeda has pledged allegiance to) apostates in its March 7 edition of Rumiyah, its hostility toward its al Qaeda rivals doesn't seem to have softened much amid its stinging battlefield defeats.

How Data Dominance Has Become A New Reality For India’s Telecom Sector

Sindhu Bhattacharya

By the turn of this decade, a little less than 50 paise of every rupee generated in India’s telecom market will come from data and other non-voice revenue streams.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is leading the charge in India’s telecom market by prioritising and investing in data like no other telecom operator has done before. He said at a conference recently that data is the new oil. And emerging trends in the telecom market show that Ambani has not made the comparison between the two ‘natural’ resources too soon – data dominance is indeed the new reality for India’s telcos.

Reliance's Jio entered the telecom market last September. It focused on data, employing a 4G-ready network and promising unheard-of data speeds while offering voice calls for free, for life. This gimmick has already lead to a fundamental shift in the market, with incumbent telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular compelled to launch plans matching Jio’s offer.

Data is indeed the new oil. Sample this: Analysts at Deutsche Bank AG have said in a note to clients that they expect growth in voice revenue for telecom service providers to decline at 0.5 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years. During the same period, however, non-voice revenues should grow at 21 per cent per annum, driven by 26 per cent growth in internet data revenue. The rapid growth in data is likely to impact voice usage – a trend that has played out in every major telecom market around the world.

Saab offers radar for India's Tejas

By: Michael Peck
Saab is offering an active electronically scanned array radar for India's Tejas Mk 1A fighter. 

"The AESA fighter radar is developed by Saab with antenna technology based on the latest technologies using Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicone Carbide (SiC) substrates in combination with the latest generation of exciter/receiver and processor technology, giving optimum installed performance in a dense signal environment," according to a company news release. 

In addition, Saab is offering an electronic warfare suite for the Tejas. 

"The heart of the suite is an electronic warfare receiver which is connected to a front end receiver and fin tip antennas inside the aircraft," Saab said.

26/11 Attack Carried Out by Pak-Based Terror Group: Pak Ex-NSA Durrani

Pakistan's former national security adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani today said the 26/11 Mumbai attack was carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan and called it a "classic" example of cross-border terror.

At the same time, he, however, said the Pakistani government had no role in the attack.

Durrani was speaking at a conference on combating terrorism at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

26/11 Mumbai strike, carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan, was a classic trans-border terrorist event, he said.

India's defence procurement and modernisation: Can a new organisation fix the persisting problems?

By Lt Gen Philip Campose (Retd)

A committee nominated by India’s Ministry of Defence has recently submitted its recommendations for integrating and streamlining the defence acquisition process by raising a Defence Procurement Organisation. As per information available, this new organisation, headed by a Secretary-level official, will function as a new ‘vertical’, directly under the Defence Minister, with the objective of optimising and integrating the procurement process, media reports suggest.

No doubt, such a measure was long awaited and will remove some of the glitches in the existing system. However, keeping in view that many past changes, structural and procedural, to energise the defence acquisition process have fallen by the wayside, without providing discernible dividends for the military, it may be useful to analyse this new development critically to predict whether the outcome on account of this change will be any different. 

Any measure of success of attempted improvements in the defence procurement system would be best determined by measuring the likely resultant outcomes, both qualitative and quantitative, in ‘capability development’ of the Armed Forces. 

Mitigating “The Legend of Sophistication” in Cyber Operations


The drumbeat of cyber incidents continues unabated, with breaches at email providers, insurance companies, defense contactors, telecoms, adult websites, government databases, and so much more. These breaches typically have at least one thing in common: someone calls them “sophisticated.”

But if everything is sophisticated, nothing is. This has relevance to the broader world of cybersecurity. In short, network defenders and observers should think more carefully about what exactly goes into “sophistication.” Upon a more detailed review, many intrusions simply don’t live up to the billing.

What does a more rigorous examination of sophistication look like? David Aitel, a veteran of the NSA and CEO of Immunity, looked at different measures of technical prowess and investment in malicious code. For example, intruders that take great care to preserve operational security – such as by creating custom code for each target, not re-using infrastructure between operations, and the like – are different from those who are sloppier or in a rush. Aitel wasn’t writing about sophistication directly, but if one starts to add up the various technical components in his model, together they start to look like something approximating sophistication. More sophisticated operators have more developed operational security, testing facilities, and so on. Full sophistication in every area of an operation isn’t always possible. The best intruders recognize that, with limited budgets and time, they need to understand what kinds of investments will make the most sense for a given operation.

The political economy of India’s bad bank

Rohan Chinchwadkar

A bad bank should not get labelled in public discourse as a government ‘bailout’ of crony capitalists

The idea of setting up a centralized public asset management company (PAMC) or “bad bank” to solve the problem of stressed loans is gathering steam. The Economic Survey 2016-17 proposed the setting up of a public sector asset rehabilitation agency (PARA), which is essentially a centralized bad bank. In a recent speech, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Viral Acharya said there is a “sense of urgency” to decisively resolve Indian banks’ stressed assets. One of his proposed solutions is the creation of a PAMC for sectors in which assets are economically unviable in the short-to-medium term, like the power sector. A day after the speech, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian re-emphasized the need to create a bad bank “quickly”.

However, the Union finance minister seems relatively less enthusiastic. In a post-budget interview, he said a bad bank is a potential solution but it cannot be supported by the government alone. He also said that he won’t be able to comment on what solution will eventually emerge. What explains this difference in enthusiasm? The reasons might lie in India’s political economy.

First is the impact of bad bank funding on macroeconomic stability. The finance minister has committed to a fiscally balanced budget with a fiscal deficit target of 3.2% for 2017-18, government-debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) target of 60% by 2023 and net market borrowing target of Rs3.5 trillion in 2017-18. These commitments do not account for bad bank funding.

GST and the litmus test of land

by Arvind Subramanian

The Goods and Services Tax will be truly transformational when domains like real estate are brought in its ambit.

After the steps taken to reduce black money and streamline election finance, the natural follow-up is to clean one of the biggest sources of black money — land and real estate. And the natural way to do that is to bring the supply of land and real estate (hereafter LARE) into the GST. At the moment, the GST law does not include LARE, but there is still a window to fix that in the GST Council meetings in the months ahead.

Before we spell out the details, a few clarifications are in order to clear misconceptions and misinformation, some of which appear to be perpetrated deliberately by vested interests with a stake in preserving the murky status quo.

The first misconception is that stamp duties will be brought into the GST. Many states have refused to entertain bringing LARE into the GST, fearing that their right to levy stamp duties on the sale of land — a big source of state revenues — will be taken away from them. This fear is unfounded. There is no such intention; stamp duties will remain untouched.

How China Plans to Win the Next Great Big War In Asia

Michael Raska

China’s cyber capabilities are continuously evolving in parallel with the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ongoing military reforms and modernization drives. As the PLA invests in the development of comprehensive cyber capabilities, the character of future conflicts in East Asia will increasingly reflect cyber-kinetic strategic interactions.

In a potential conflict with Taiwan, for example, the PLA may put a strategic premium on denying, disrupting, deceiving, or destroying Taiwan’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. This would be followed by the deployment of the PLA’s conventional air wings, precision ballistic missile strikes, and sea power projection platforms – all within the first hours of the conflict.

A key target for the PLA, for example, would be the highly-advanced US-made ultra-high frequency (UHF) early warning radar system located on top of Leshan Mountain near the city of Hsinchu. Activated in February 2013, the radar is reportedly capable of detecting flying objects up to 5,000km away, and provide a six-minute warning in preparation for any surprise missile attack from the Chinese mainland. The radar essentially tracks nearly every sortie of the PLA Air Force flying across China’s opposite coastline.

Build Limited Missile Defenses Against Russian, Chinese Strikes: Experts


Russia’s most advanced attack submarine, the Severodvinsk class, could approach the US coast and launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. (Navy graphic)

WASHINGTON: It’s time to build up missile defenses against limited attacks from Russia and China, leading experts gingerly suggest in a forthcoming study. While we can’t stop an all-out nuclear barrage, they say, we can and should reduce the temptation for Moscow or Beijing to risk a small strike. Such limited nuclear strikes are an important part of modern Russian military doctrine in particular, which prescribes them as a way to quickly end a losing conventional war — a technique incongruously called “escalate to deescalate.”

Drone swarming technique may change combat strategies: expert

By Liu Yang 

After a record-breaking formation of 1,000 drones performed at the Guangzhou air show on the Chinese Lantern Festival on Saturday night, military experts predicted that the swarming technique applied in drones might change future combat strategies.

During the 15-minute lighting show, 1,000 Ehang GHOSTDRONE 2.0, controlled by one engineer and one computer, showcased six different formations, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The drone formation set a new Guinness World Record for the most drones participating in one aerobatic show.

A Chinese drone expert told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity that the drone formation requires advanced visual and communications equipment, besides the application of the swarming technique. 

Wang Yanan, chief editor of the Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times that the large-scale drone formation is a new trend, and for military use there are higher standards for drones. 

Terrorism's Terminology

Source Link
By Carlo Jose Vicente Caro

Throughout his campaign and continuing into his presidency, Donald Trump and most of his senior advisers have made a point of using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” when talking about the threat of terrorist attacks around the world. In a town hall debate against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, then-candidate Trump explained, “Before you solve [the problem], you have to say the name.” However, Trump’s new national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, has explicitly rejected the term, believing it is an unhelpful way to describe terrorism. Indeed, prior to Trump’s well-received speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, it was reported that McMaster had advised the president to avoid the phrase altogether. McMaster’s advice was ignored; Trump declared, “Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism.”

In a meeting with the National Security Council staff, McMaster reportedly argued that it was wrong to use “radical Islamic terrorism” because the terrorists to whom Trump would apply the term are, in fact, un-Islamic. His assessment, however, ignores the clear religious dimensions that this phenomenon possesses, namely the Salafist ideology that animates so many acts of violent extremism. At the same time, Trump’s use of the term implies that Islam is somehow inherently associated with terrorism.

The geopolitics of environmental issues

Giulio Boccaletti

Environmental degradation and natural-resource insecurity are undermining our ability to tackle some of the biggest global issues we face

Just as natural resource insecurity can cause displacement and vulnerability, effective natural resource management can support conflict resolution and sustainable development. Photo: Reuters

Much of the world seems to be on edge. The West’s relationship with Russia, the future of Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the Syrian civil war and refugees, rising right-wing populism, the impact of automation, and the UK’s impending departure from the European Union: All these topics—and more—have roiled public debate worldwide. But one issue—one might say the most significant of them all—is being ignored or pushed aside: the environment.

That was the case at this year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. Beyond a mention of the Paris climate agreement by Chinese President Xi Jinping, topics like climate change and sustainable development didn’t even make it to the main stage. Instead, they were relegated to side meetings that rarely seemed to intersect with current political and economic events.

Sorry, Politico, But Social Media And Trump Aren’t Responsible For Politicizing The Troops


A new Politico article claims that U.S. service members are becoming more politically active on social media. Here’s why that’s misleading.

Politico has just published an article arguing that a growing number of U.S. service members are getting political on social media, citing a survey by the National Defense University that polled more than 500 West Point cadets and active-duty officers. Now, Politico says, there are fears that the military’s reputation as a nonpartisan institution is under threat, thus “prompting calls for commanders up and down the ranks to reemphasize how impartiality is a major reason why the military regularly polls as the most respected institution in the country.” And in a not-so-subtle way, the article’s author raises the possibility of a link between the problem and President Trump, writing, “[The warnings] come amid accusations that President Donald Trump is recklessly politicizing the military by claiming, with scant evidence, that the troops voted for him in overwhelming numbers.” 

Robots to Revolutionize Military Operations

By Craig R. McKinley 

The Duke of Wellington, the British victor over Napoleon at Waterloo, once commented that he spent most of his military career wondering what was happening on the other side of the hill. 

A retired German general who had been in the Africa Corps in World War II once offered the observation that on any given day, “A third of the Africa Corps was sick, and another third was lost.” And an infantry veteran of the Vietnam War once confessed that, “If the artillery doesn’t land where you want it, that probably means that you don’t know where you are.”

In a sense, many of these age-old military problems are now being solved by electronics combined with robotics. With the contemporary ability we now have to send out unmanned air vehicles, commanders can see in real-time what is happening on the other side of the hill. Some of the technology that guides these reconnaissance drones also allows units, and even individual vehicles and aircraft, to precisely locate themselves. And in the arena of Army artillery, today’s modernized cannons have essentially been turned into large robots. What do I mean by that? The new M-109 series howitzer can unlock its tube, locate itself, compute its own firing data and aim the cannon. The crew loads the projectile and then mostly observes. Similarly, military aircraft can be programmed to launch, fly to designated targets, deliver ordnance and return to base with little human engagement other than the need to insert the mission data.

Goldfein: Data Fusion Central to the Future of Air Warfare

By Vivienne Machi

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Air Force needs industry's help to take its next-generation command-and-control systems to the next level, the service chief of staff said March 2.

Fusing sensor data and communications from the land, sea, air, space and cyberspace will be key to the U.S. military’s success in future battlefields, Gen. David Goldfein said at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium here.

Multi-domain fusion, or C2 and fusion warfare, as it is called in Air Force jargon, will be a major topic of discussion at the symposium, which is devoting five panels to the topic. 

“The victory in future conflict … will go to that leader who can command and control his or her forces to create multiple dilemmas from multiple domains … at a pace that would overwhelm any enemy on the planet while denying the enemy the ability to do the same,” he said.

International coalitions will be a key strategic asset as areas of operation have become increasing transregional and multi-domain, he said. 

WikiLeaks Reignites Tensions Between Silicon Valley and Spy Agencies

Vindu Goel and Nick Wingfield

SAN FRANCISCO — Four years ago, Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures that the federal government was hacking America’s leading technology companies threw the industry into turmoil.

Now WikiLeaks has shaken the tech world again by releasing documents Tuesday that appear to show that the Central Intelligence Agency had acquired an array of cyberweapons that could be used to break into Apple and Android smartphones, Windows computers, automotive computer systems, and even smart televisions to conduct surveillance on unwitting users.

Major technology companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, were trying to assess how badly their core products had been compromised. But one thing clearly had been ruptured yet again: trust between intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley.

“After the Snowden disclosures, the Obama administration worked hard to re-establish relationships and government-industry partnerships,” said David Gutelius, chief executive of the marketing technology company Motiva, who has worked with the federal government on national security projects. “This leak will challenge those ties to some extent. But I don’t see companies simply walking away from the table as a result of this. Government and industry still need one another.”

Missile Defense: Targeting a Technological Solution


Despite UN resolutions and international opposition, North Korea test-launched four intermediate range ballistic missiles on Monday that reached within 200 miles of Japan. The test demonstrates not only Pyongyang’s disregard for more sanctions, but also its progress in missile technology. Besides North Korea, Russia, China, and Iran have also devoted resources to acquiring new missiles with improved range, speed, and accuracy. This evolving threat demands an equally, if not more advanced, technical solution. However, an effective one has been elusive.

A key challenge for developing missile defense systems lies in the speed and unpredictability of an offensive missile. The defender must react to the threat without knowing precisely where the launch will come from or where it will go. Therefore, any defense inevitably trades response time for information - the longer the defender waits, the more information there is on where the missile is going, but there is less time to react.

Technical solutions, therefore, are geared at disrupting a missile at three different stages during its flight path.

The first stage, known as the rocket’s boost phase, is the most difficult phase to defend against. While the missile is easy to spot once the engines are lit, it will be at its fastest, and its trajectory—and final target—is most difficult to calculate. There are currently no viable technical defenses for this phase, however lasers mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or aircraft could offer a potential solution.

India’s Cyber Potential: A Bridge Between East and West


Security researchers and policymakers around the world are struggling with the challenge of securing the digital networks that governments, private companies, and people in general depend on every day. While the most common points of reference to engagements in cyberspace are in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China, other countries are quickly realizing the importance of securing critical networks from crime, sabotage, subversion, and espionage. As the country with one of the world’s fastest-growing populations and economies, this realization is bearing down on India more than most.

So what is India’s current cybersecurity atmosphere, where are the major threats, and what role does the country play in online normative efforts?

Jonathan Reiber, a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity and former Chief Strategy Officer for Cyber Policy in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, notes that “While China has upwards of 720 million internet users, India jumped past the United States to something like 460 million internet users in 2016. But the interesting thing is that the United States is at essentially 90 percent user penetration, and by the end of 2015, China and India were only at about 51 percent and 36 percent penetration respectively.” This means that India, and its populous neighbor China, will dwarf other countries in digitally connected individuals and organizations, and therefore in attack surface vulnerabilities as well.

Cherian Samuel, a Research Fellow in the Strategic Technologies Centre at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Dehli, points out that already “India has faced attacks from nonstate actors, cybercriminals, and hacktivists. Nonstate actors, backed by the usual suspects, have largely engaged in cyber espionage by hacking into government networks while cybercriminals have been feeding off the ever-expanding landscape of Digital India. Hacktivists identifying themselves as part of the larger Anonymous collective and so-called patriotic hackers have also targeted Indian networks and systems.”

As early as 2010, the Indian government noted that more than 3,600 websites were hacked in the span of six months. Cybercrime in India then jumped 350 percent from 2011 to 2014, and just last month, Indian authorities arrested individuals involved in an online scam that duped 650,000 people into sending $550 million to criminal-controlled accounts. Reiber notes “India faces a lot of cybercrime. Ransomware is a huge problem and a major concern for the Indian government as people often have their passwords stolen and control of their devices held by criminals.”

Cyberwar and Peace

By Thomas Rid

Cyberwar Is Coming!” declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare. The idea seemed fanciful at the time, and it took more than a decade for members of the U.S. national security establishment to catch on. But once they did, a chorus of voices resounded in the mass media, proclaiming the dawn of the era of cyberwar and warning of its terrifying potential. In February 2011, then CIA Director Leon Panetta warned Congress that “the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyberattack.” And in late 2012, Mike McConnell, who had served as director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush, warned darkly that the United States could not “wait for the cyber equivalent of the collapse of the World Trade Centers.”

Yet the hype about everything “cyber” has obscured three basic truths: cyberwar has never happened in the past, it is not occurring in the present, and it is highly unlikely that it will disturb the future. Indeed, rather than heralding a new era of violent conflict, so far the cyber-era has been defined by the opposite trend: a computer-enabled assault on political violence. Cyberattacks diminish rather than accentuate political violence by making it easier for states, groups, and individuals to engage in two kinds of aggression that do not rise to the level of war: sabotage and espionage. Weaponized computer code and computer-based sabotage operations make it possible to carry out highly targeted attacks on an adversary’s technical systems without directly and physically harming human operators and managers. Computer-assisted attacks make it possible to steal data without placing operatives in dangerous environments, thus reducing the level of personal and political risk.

The threat of weaponized machines

By: Mark Pomerleau,
While government and military leaders have incessantly been asking industry for more automation in cyber network defense tools, some are also warning of the increased threat automation is posing on the offensive side.

Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, commander of the Navy’s 10 th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command, pointed out capabilities of the Russians along with the Mirai botnet and associated arms race that’s going on, that the degree of automation and offensive automation is spiraling. As such, the ability to defend against an adversary that’s using automated means and artificial intelligence is becoming more and more difficult, he said Feb. 21 at the AFCEA-UNSI West 2017 conference in San Diego, California.

“With the increasing automation, [adversaries are] using elements of [artificial intelligence]…to enhance the offensive,” he told reporters following his keynote address. “If you’re going to use automation in the defensive, you’re sure as heck going to use it in the offensive.”

“In my view, over the last few years, automation and use of it in cyber defense has been improving but nowhere near fast enough,” Neal Ziring, technical director for the NSA’s capabilities directorate said during a November panel address. “In fact, I would say, at least in what I’ve been able to observe, that use of automation amongst our adversaries and the threat actors is improving faster. That’s not a winning formula for us.”

Despite the warnings of these threats. generally many – both in government and in the private threat detection and security sector – are apprehensive to discuss specifics. “I can’t talk about that one. It tends to stray to the classified realm,” Giorgio Bertoli, senior science and technology manager, Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, told C4ISRNET in November regarding details on the use of offensive automation.

DoD scientists offer cyber deterrence framework, report

By: Mark Pomerleau, 

Cyber deterrence has proven to be quite an elusive end state. In an attempt to help push the conversation forward, the Defense Department Science Board’s Task Force on Cyber Deterrence issued a report at the end of February offering several recommendations for achieving deterrence in cyberspace.

While heavy on the DoD side, the report does touch on other realms within the purview of civilian government agencies in what the previous White House administration referred to as a “whole of government” approach to deterring in cyberspace.

The recommendations in the report, which incorporates two years of work, “will bolster U.S. cyber deterrence and strengthen U.S. national security,” wrote Craig Fields, chairman of the Defense Science Board.

The three challenges identified by the board, as they apply to cyber deterrence, include: 
Significant and growing ability of major powers, identified as Russia and China, to hold critical infrastructure at risk through cyber attacks and thwart military responses 
The growing potential of regional powers, identified as Iran and North Korea, to use indigenous or purchased cyber tools to conduct catastrophic attacks on critical infrastructure 

The ability afforded to non-state actors to perpetrate persistent cyber attacks that while might not be threatening or damaging by themselves, could have the cumulative effect of “death by 1,000 hacks” 

To get at these difficult challenges, the report outlines three broad sets of initiatives both DoD and the nation should pursue to bolster deterrence: 

Singapore Ramps Up Its Cyber War

By Prashanth Parameswaran

On February 28, Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF) disclosed that it had experienced the first breach of its Internet-connected system, resulting in the theft of personal data of hundreds of employees. Though the impact of the breach was quite limited, it nonetheless highlighted the difficulties Singapore faces in confronting its growing cyber challenge (See: “Singapore Reveals Cyber Attack on Defense Ministry”). And it has already spurred the city-state to further ramp up its war against cyber threats.

Singapore is no stranger to cyber attacks. As I have pointed out before, it had already been paying keen attention to the cyber domain as a developed, highly-networked country that relies on its reputation for security and stability to serve as a hub for businesses and talent. With the Singapore government itself experiencing breaches over the past few years, the city-state has begun unveiling a series of initiatives to boost cybersecurity, including creating new institutions, training cyber security personnel, and collaborating more with the private sector and other regional actors as well (See: “Singapore’s Cyber War Gets a Boost”).

Journalism after Snowden: A new age of cyberwarfare

By David E. Sanger 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is a chapter in Journalism After Snowden: The Future of Free Press in the Surveillance State, a recently released book from Columbia University Press. The book was part of the Journalism After Snowden initiative, a yearlong series of events and projects from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism in collaboration with CJR. The initiative is funded by The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Also read contributions to the book from Alan Rusbridger, Clay Shirky, and Jill Abramson—and Emily Bell’s interview with Edward Snowden.

In the end, what kind of change did Edward J. Snowden bring about? In the realm of privacy protection, not much—at least so far. For all the talk on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2013—immediately after the Snowden leaks—about a reassessment of the balance between security and privacy rights, no significant legal changes to the authorities of the National Security Agency or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have passed Congress since the Snowden leaks.

The biggest change in NSA practice ordered by President Barack Obama—his announcement in January 2014 that the government would get out of the business of amassing a vast database of metadata for all the telephone calls made into or out of the United States—finally went into effect at the end of 2015. It gets the government out of the business of retaining the call records of Americans and puts that responsibility on the telecommunications firms. They were reluctant and had to be compelled (and paid) by the government to play this role. Some intelligence officials (and a few candidates for president) have complained that the change will make it harder for the United States to track terrorist communications. But they forget that the NSA itself had considered, at various points, giving up the metadata collection because it was yielding so little.

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But beyond that, three years after the Snowden revelations, there has been very little government compulsion of the private sector to take on roles in surveillance. Apple and others have resisted the calls to allow “back doors” for encrypted communications—and the Obama administration, at this writing, has been unwilling to take them on. It is another sign of how the tensions between Silicon Valley and the government, born of the Snowden revelations about the government’s exploitation of data collected by American companies, has poisoned a once-vital relationship.