1 April 2017


CLAWS is going to organise a seminar on Made in India - Defence Sector on 05 April 2017.

I wrote this in Feb 2016, enclosed for your reading pleasure.

Please tell me what is more difficult : sending a vehicle to the moon with completely indigenous technology made in India or making an aircraft. If we can do the former with all non IIT engineers, why can't we do the later. Can somebody tell me the answer, or you know it! 

As my boss GI Joe used to tell us : Sannu Ki, Maro Jhadu.



Pakistan’s expanding nuclear arsenal has been a matter of considerable concern to the international community in the recent years. Its adoption of short-range, low-yield tactical nuclear weapons in the face of India’s conventional military superiority have pointed to the possibility where Pakistan uses a nuclear weapon against Indian conventional armed forces to stave off imminent military defeat. “This is how nuclear first use would unfold in South Asia, right? Well, maybe not so fast,” wrote Vipin Narang, a professor at MIT, in a set of remarks prepared for the recent Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. Narang made a startling claim:

There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first. And that India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theater, but a full “comprehensive counterforce strike” that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction.

The possibility that India might use nuclear weapons first directly contradicts the key pillar of Indian nuclear thinking since the publication of its official nuclear doctrine in 2003: a no first-use policy. Successive prime ministers — including Narendra Modi, not exactly a dove — have affirmed this. Indeed, a major revision of India’s public doctrine will fly in the face of it’s long history as a reluctant nuclear power. On the other hand, the evidence Narang marshals to support this astounding claim is scant and centers around a couple of paragraphs from a book by a former Indian national security advisor Shivshankar Menon who retired three years ago, before Modi came to power.

** Army Central can’t ‘look the other way’ from network vulnerabilities

by Mark Pomerleau

The Army is working cyber into everything under its purview. U.S. Army Central decided to go one step further than the Army’s Cyberspace Strategy for Unified Land Operations 2025 in creating its own cyberspace strategy. The move is aimed at helping the organic ARCENT workforce understand cyberspace and cyber operations to better position the agency to aid cyber warriors and succeed in missions.

Lt. Col. Dwyke Bidjou, ARCENT’s deputy chief of information operations and one of the main officials behind the strategy’s development, spoke to FifthDomain reporter Mark Pomerleau about the strategy, which is still classified.

FifthDomain: Can you provide an overview of the strategy? Is it more along the lines of cybersecurity or war fighting?

Lt. Col. Dwyke Bidjou: This strategy encompasses all three mission sets of cyberspace operations: offensive, defensive and [Department of Defense Information Network] operations. The intent was to make sure the ARCENT staff had our commander’s vision and understanding and priorities for execution of cyberspace operations, hitting on all three mission sets.

As you know, cyber is the hot buzzword, and our intent was to make sure that our staff was educated and informed on their specific requirements across the staff — so not just G-2, G-3 or G-6 — but the whole of staff of execution of cyberspace operations.

** How US Flooded the World with Psyops

By Robert Parry

Special Report: The mainstream U.S. media obsesses over Russian “propaganda” yet the U.S. government created a “psyops” bureaucracy three decades ago to flood the world with dubious information, reports Robert Parry.

Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.

Walter Raymond Jr., a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist who oversaw President Reagan’s “perception management” and psyops projects at the National Security Council. Raymond is partially obscured by President Reagan and is sitting next to National Security Adviser John Poindexter.

The documents reveal the formation of a psyops bureaucracy under the direction of Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was assigned to President Reagan’s National Security Council staff to enhance the importance of propaganda and psyops in undermining U.S. adversaries around the world and ensuring sufficient public support for foreign policies inside the United States.

* Wargaming for Strategic Planning

By Krisjand Rothweiler

Wargaming in most Department of Defense contexts consists of the action-reaction-counteraction of the Joint Operations Planning Process and is usually the first thing that comes to mind when this tool is mentioned. A close second to "planning" wargames are exercises conducted at the tactical and operational level, often also called by the same name. However, both these fail to consider strategic decision making exercises. Strategic decision making exercises can be described broadly (though not exclusively) as wargames, either seminar or matrix, which leverage gaming tools such as dice, cards, or boards and tokens to facilitate the process. These games are applicable to strategic planning, but are generally limited to academic (including military) institutions or small cells in strategic organizations due to the specialization required to construct and run such games. What this essay aims to do is introduce to planners and analysts the broader concept of wargaming while highlighting the utility of these alternate methods in planning and supporting military leaders.

Peter Perla, a recognized authority on defense-related wargaming and author of The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists, defines wargames as, “a warfare model or simulation that does not involve the operation of actual forces, and in which the flow of events is shaped by decisions made by a human player or players.”[1] While this includes the type of wargaming conducted in planning, it also applies to a variety of other wargames and simulations available to planners and analysts to solve or inform military problems that are limited only by the capability of the wargame design team. In any wargame, there are several broad requirements. Those are objective, scenario, data, model, rules, players and analysis.[2] From these inputs, a wargame design team can determine the scope, type, mechanics, and outputs required of the wargame.[3]

What's giving India's nuclear scientists jitters?

Scientists are puzzled by what caused the mysterious nuclear leak at the Kakrapar Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat last year, reveals Pallava Bagla.

In a highly guarded Indian nuclear reactor complex, toughened radiation resistant pipes have contracted 'small pox'.

As a consequence, literally in a plot similar to a Bollywood thriller Indian scientists are burning the midnight oil to unravel the mysterious nuclear leak at the Kakrapar Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat.

This 21st century atomic pot boiler is actually unfolding through the hard work of scientists, who actually share a wall with the famous property where renowned Bollywood film star Raj Kapoor used to live.

Here, they are working overtime to find out the real cause of the cryptic leaks at twin reactors in southern Gujarat.

To avoid any panic and any further accidents, the Indian nuclear watchdog -- the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) -- has shut down the affected plants till the cause has been found.

Nuclear experts say pipes, made from a rare alloy, have contracted what seems like 'small pox' and this contagion has spread all over the critical tubes in two Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at Kakrapar in Gujarat.

And, to make matters worse, after more than a year into the investigation, the teams of scientists really do not understand what has gone wrong.

British Parliament condemns Pakistan's move over Gilgit-Baltistan, says it belongs to India

Prabhash K Dutta

The British Parliament has condemned Pakistan's move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province. The British Parliament passed a resolution rejecting Pakistan's position on the region in PoK. 

A motion was passed by the British parliamentarians announcing Gilgit-Baltistan as a legal and constitutional part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947. 

The motion had been tabled in the British Parliament on March 23 by Bob Blackman of the Conservative Party. It says that Pakistan is attempting to annex an area that does not belong to it. 

The British Parliament motion reads, "Gilgit-Baltistan is a legal and constitutional part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, which is illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947, and where people are denied their fundamental rights including the right of freedom of expression." 

The British parliamentarians accused Pakistan of adopting a policy to change the demography of Gilgit-Baltistan region in violation of State Subject Ordinance. They called the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as illegal. 

The 'forced and illegal construction' of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has interfered with the disputed territory, the motion said. 

Sectarianism in Pakistan

By Prem Mahadevan for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

Terrorism in Pakistan has two dimensions: international and domestic. The two are historically closely linked. However, elements of the Pakistani state apparatus have been slow to recognize the connection, attempting instead to distinguish ‘good’ from ‘bad’ terrorists.

Pakistan is an important country in an unstable region. A multi-national state of approximately 200 million people with the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, it is in perpetual conflict with its neighboring nuclear power, India. It is densely populated with one of the highest birthrates worldwide, and experiences a scarcity of both water and energy supplies. Pakistan’s democracy is weak and has been undermined by long periods of military rule. The many ethnolinguistic groups – Pashtun, Baloch, Punjabi, Sindhi, Seraiki and Muhajir – are united only by a common religion: Islam. The military is a Punjabi and Pashtun-dominated institution that concentrates power and resources in the northeastern part of the country. As a result, there is a strong separatist movement in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, which is energy-rich but remains the poorest region of Pakistan by all development indicators.

China´s Growing Maritime Role in the South and East China Seas

Yusuke Saito 

This report speculates on the probable state of Chinese maritime power in the year 2030. Given Beijing’s current plans and policies, which mandate hegemonic control of the South and East China Seas, the text's author suggests that the US and Japan may need to make ‘drastic’ adjustments to their mid- and long-term visions for the region. The latter could involve, for example, the US shifting to a sea control strategy, establishing stronger operational ties between Japan and Australia, adapting Taiwan’s maritime presence, and more.

Chinese Stealth Fighter Enters Service


China announced that its J-20 stealth fighter had quietly entered service in early 2017. Numbers were not announced and there are still questions about how effective the J-20 actually is. While China began offering its 18 ton J-31 stealth fighter to export customers in 2014 (as the FC-31), it will not export the more advanced J20, made by CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Company). CAC also produced the JF-17 and J-10. The J-20 made its first flight in 2011, and many more since then. There are at least two original J-20 prototypes, and in 2013 a new prototype appeared that had several modifications and is estimated to have a max weight of 36 tons. Since then several more prototypes have been built along with at least half a dozen production models.

While the J-20 looks like the American F-22 when viewed head on, it’s overall shape, weight, and engine power is closer to the American F-15C. In other words, it’s about 20 meters (62 feet) long, with a wing span of 13.3 meters (42 feet). The J-20 has about the same wing area as the F-15C, which is about 25 percent less than the F-22 (which is a few percent larger than the F-15 in terms of length and wingspan). Worse, for the J-20, is the fact that its engine power is about the same as the F-15C, while the F-22 has 65 percent more power. With the afterburner turned on, the J-20 has more power than the F-15C and nearly as much as the F-22. But because the afterburner consumes so much fuel you can’t use more than a few minutes at a time. The new J-20 model appears to be able to supercruise, joining the F-22, Eurofighter, and the Gripen as aircraft that can supercruise (go faster than the speed of sound without using the afterburner).

“Peace Through Strength”: Deterrence in Chinese Military Doctrine

By Dennis J. Blasko

“To pursue peace through strength, it shall be the policy of the United States to rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces.” President Donald J. Trump, January 27, 2017.

“[Gen. Martin Dempsey] told American troops based in Japan on Thursday that ‘the best way to avoid war is to prepare for it.’” Associated Press, April 25, 2013.

The idea of “peace through strength” can be traced back to at least Roman times and almost certainly goes back even further, but in U.S. history, it is associated with Ronald Reagan. In his essay, “The Ancient Foreign Policy,” historian Victor Davis Hanson salutes its origins and links this “common wisdom” to the concept of deterrence.

From Vegetius’s Si vis pacem, para bellum [If you want peace, prepare for war] to Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength,” the common wisdom was to be ready for war and thereby, and only by that way, avoid war, not to talk bellicosely and to act pacifistically … Deterrence (and with it peace) often was not defined only in material terms; it rested also on a psychological readiness to use overwhelming power to confront an aggressor … Again, deterrence (“the act of frightening away”) rested not just on quantifiable power but also on a likelihood to use it.

Why Saudi Arabia Must Push OPEC To Extend Production Cuts

When news broke on Nov. 30, 2016, that OPEC had finally agreed on a deal to cut oil production, its first since 2008, traders sent Brent crude prices leaping 9 percent to break the $50 per barrel threshold. But after the deal was implemented, and despite reduced output among OPEC and non-OPEC producers of 1.4 million to 1.5 million barrels per day, the price of Brent fell back below $50 per barrel on Wednesday.

There are a number of factors driving continuing soft prices, but OPEC members' compliance with the deal does not appear to be a significant one. This weekend in Kuwait, an OPEC committee charged with monitoring production output will meet to discuss compliance. The same meeting will also bring a key question into focus: Will OPEC members be willing to extend the deal beyond its June expiration?

Total production cuts among OPEC members rest at more than 90 percent of agreed-upon levels, with a compliance rate of about 40 percent among non-OPEC countries. Compared with previous deals, compliance levels are high. Saudi Arabia has driven the OPEC percentage up by trimming considerably more production than it had pledged. For instance, Saudi output for February averaged about 770,000 bpd less than it produced in October 2016, a 58 percent deeper cut than it had agreed to in November.

Russia Destroys Last Remaining Supplies of Deadly Chemical Weapon Soman

Russia's last supplies of the deadly chemical weapon soman have been destroyed, Russia's Federal Administration for the Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons announced on Saturday.

Russia has destroyed the last of its supplies of the deadly chemical weapon soman, the Federal Administration for the Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons announced on Saturday.

"On March 25 2017 at the Kizner facility for the storage and destruction of chemical weapons in the Udmurt Republic, in accordance with the schedule for the destruction of chemical weapons in the Russian Federation, the last drop of the poisonous substance soman was destroyed," the administration's head Colonel-General Valery Kapashin stated.

"As of today, Russia's supplies of the poisonous skin irritant mustard gas and the organophosphate soman have been completely destroyed."

Russia is one of 192 members of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which classifies hazardous chemicals and regulates their production and sale.

Protecting Falsehoods with a Bodyguard of Lies: Putin´s Use of Information Warfare

By Deborah Yarsike Ball for NATO Defense College (NDC)

Russia’s use of information warfare to defeat its adversaries has a long history. Lenin was, of course, the master at employing propaganda and agitation (agitprop) to achieve his revolutionary goals (even creating a formal Department for Agitation and Propaganda). In the 1970s and 1980s, KGB agents who had defected to the United States revealed that “espionage was a minor consideration of Russian intelligence. Their focus was controlling the message and it often happened through influencing media and political movements in freer societies.” During the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia continued to conduct information warfare, albeit with fewer resources. The ascension of Vladimir Putin heralded a qualitatively different approach to information warfare. As Peter Pomeranstev asserts, “the new Russia doesn’t just deal in the petty disinformation, forgeries, lies, leaks, and cyber-sabotage usually associated with information warfare. It reinvents reality, creating mass hallucinations that then translate into political action.” In short, Putin has engaged in “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.” Whereas previously information warfare was an adjunct to Russian statecraft, today it is the regime’s governing modus operandi.

Information warfare is of course not an end in itself. It is employed in the service of Putin’s two fundamental and intertwined objectives: preserving his regime and enhancing Russia’s status as a great power. During his first term in office, Putin bolstered his domestic legitimacy via an unwritten social contract; he would provide the populace with a rising standard of living in exchange for their political acquiescence. As oil prices quadrupled in the early 2000s, Putin was able to deliver on his promise with annual GDP increasing at 7% per year. However, the 2008 global financial crisis, which caused oil prices to plunge and Russia’s economy to contract, led to Putin no longer being able to deliver on the aforementioned bargain causing him to search for other means to ensure the legitimacy of his regime.

Is Germany Getting Ready to Build Its Very Own Stealth Fighter?

Dave Majumdar

Germany and Airbus Defense and Space are working on the initial stages of a new program to replace Berlin’s long-serving fleet of the Panavia Tornado bombers and complement the Luftwaffe’s Eurofighter Typhoon air superiority fighters.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS)—as the Bundeswehr program is called—would likely be a system of systems that combines manned and unmanned elements. According to a report in Jane’s, the Bundeswehr’s requirements are aiming for the FCAS to be operational in the 2030-2040 time frame. Thus, Airbus is focusing on the best technologies that would available for an aircraft that could be ready by then.

"The German government asked Airbus to consider alternatives for a Tornado replacement that will be complementary with the Eurofighter,” Alberto Gutierrez, head of the Eurofighter program told my former colleague Gareth Jennings last year.

“In principle, it could be a system of systems - either a manned and unmanned combination. [We have determined that unmanned combat air vehicles] UCAVs will not be at technology state ready by 2030-40 to support Eurofighters. It could be optionally manned, with two crew - one for command and control [and one pilot].”

Because of the relatively short timelines involved, the Germans will try to use as many existing technologies as possible for their program. Early concept drawing of the FCAS seem to indicate that the new German aircraft will be twin-engine stealth aircraft similar in concept to other fifth-generation fighters that are starting to emerge around the world.

Will the United States Be a Victim of Its Own Success in Syria?

Nicholas A. Heras

The Trump team has options for stabilizing Syria, but each one comes with its own set of risks.

The ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS held in Washington, DC was an important milestone on the path to the Trump team’s mission to fully defeat the would-be caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the proceedings by unequivocally stating that the ISIS threat would be the first priority of the new administration, and that in achieving that overarching objective, the United States would be invested in securing the stability of areas conquered from ISIS. Tillerson correctly identified Syria as a priority for stabilization after ISIS.

The challenge for the Trump administration in Syria is that the United States could be a victim of its own success: by prosecuting the campaign against ISIS, the U.S. military is building out an American zone of control on the ground in a large area of eastern Syria. Unlike in Iraq, where Baghdad is a state actor that the U.S. military has chosen to work by, with and through to take the fight to ISIS, the United States refuses to formally work with Damascus. It will only deconflict military operations targeting ISIS and Al Qaeda that the Russian military occasionally carries out on behalf of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Under both Obama and Trump, the United States has operated under the assumption that Syria is a geographic space, not a functioning state with sovereignty over all of its territory, and for all intents and purposes cutting al-Assad out of the process.

The U.S. Army Wants A Super 'Bullet' To Kill Enemy Tanks

Kris Osborn

The weapon fires High-Explosive air burst rounds, close combat rounds, and then the general support rounds, like the smoke and battlefield elimination, developers said.

Airburst rounds use programmable fuse to explode in the air at a precise location, thereby maximizing the weapon's effect against enemy targets hiding, for example, behind a rock, tree or building. 

Air burst rounds can detonate in the air or in general proximity to a target. For instance, an airburst round could explode just above an enemy fighter seeking cover behind a rock or wall.

"I want to penetrate the target. I want to kill a light armored vehicle. I want to kill a structure. I want to kill somebody behind the structure. With the gun, soldiers can decide how to affect the targets. Really, that's what the Carl-Gustaf brings to the battlefield is the ability to decide how they want to affect the battlefield -- not call in air support and mark targets,” Wes Walters, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Land Domain, Saab North America, told Scout Warrior in an interview. 

Army and industry weapons developers are working with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to explore the feasibility of precision-guided rounds for a man-portable, anti-personnel and ant-armor weapon known as the Carl Gustaf, officials said.

Current innovations involve a cutting-edge technology program, called Massive Overmatch Assault Round or MOAR, aimed exploring the prospect of precision guided rounds for the weapon.

Lone Wolves No More

By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

The tactics used by British terrorist Khalid Masood in his horrifying attack on Wednesday outside London’s Parliament were typical of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS: an attacker plowing a vehicle through a crowd of pedestrians before slashing at police officers with a knife. Soon after the strike, ISIS claimed credit, although it did not provide any details that weren’t already public.

The generic nature of ISIS’s comments encouraged some skeptics. London’s Independent, for example, claimed that the phrasing of the group’s statement suggests that it “did not directly orchestrate [the] atrocity.” But skeptics’ voices have been noticeably quieter than in the past. The caution that commentators generally exhibited by refraining from declaring ISIS uninvolved in the London attack stood in stark contrast, for example, to the reaction to last summer’s truck attack in Nice—when observers immediately branded it the work of a “lone wolf” who was not really linked to ISIS. The public understanding of lone-actor terrorism may finally be changing for the better. 


When my colleague Nathaniel Barr and I wrote “The Myth of Lone-Wolf Terrorism” in these pages shortly after the Nice attack, our purpose was to challenge a then-dominant reflex among observers: declaring single-attacker terrorist incidents to be the work of so-called lone wolves. (These are individuals who lack substantial connections to ISIS or other groups and carried out their operations without the assistance of others.)

Discussing Dictators and Nuclear Fallout in Central Asia

By Catherine Putz

A detailed look at the Afghan border, a discussion of dictators, and a secret report on Semipalatinsk; recommended reads.

Central Asia weekend reads:

Is Kazakhstan’s President a Dictator? You Decide: As Nazarbayev tells it, he’s nothing short of Kazakhstan’s Lee Kwan Yew and his consolidation of power in the presidency is necessary for rapid economic progress. In her recent Global Voices piece, Dina Baidildayeva outlines Nazarbayev’s favorite pet theme: explaining “why, in his opinion, Asian societies aren’t always suited to the trials and tribulations of democracy.”

Recently Nazarbayev argued that the 1995 constitution, which gave him great powers, was necessary “in order to ensure faster economic development of the country, by adopting faster reforms without consulting the public and the Parliament, which was slowing down economic development.” Elbasy knows best. “But that doesn’t make me a dictator.”Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Nazarbayev likes to hold Astana up as an example of Kazakhstan’s progress, the glittering city he dreams of as a steppe version of Dubai. “But there is a problem with Nazarbayev’s depiction of Kazakhstan,” Baidildayeva notes. “[I]t is a facade.”

Central Asia’s Anxious Watch On The Afghan Border: Bruce Pannier’s detailed review of the recent history of the borderlands between Afghanistan and Central Asia is well worth a read. He looks at the Afghan borders with both Turkmenistan and Tajikistan with special attention to what is going on on the Afghan side of the border. The patchwork of threats — IMU, ISIS, Taliban — and who the different factions therein are siding with can seem confusing:

The Art of Leading Unit-Based Professional Military Education

By Mick Ryan

In 1962, the renowned solider-scholar Sir John Hackett noted in his Trinity College speeches on the profession of arms that “the bearing of arms for the purpose of fighting is found as far back as we can see. It has become profession, not only in the wider sense of what is professed, but in the narrower sense of an occupation with a distinguish-able corpus of specific technical knowledge and doctrine, and an educational pattern adapted to its own needs.” While Hackett’s words may be half a century removed from the contemporary world, they remain highly relevant to current and future military leaders.

Ongoing change in the strategic security environment, technology, and the character of the profession of arms will increasingly demand that we develop in our people the capacity to master the art and science of our profession. Professional military education is central in this endeavour. And while traditional professional military education approaches see it delivered during formal courses and in self-study, there is great potential for unit-delivered professional military education. In the Australian Army, we also seek to reinforce the practice of unit-delivered PME, based on an Army-developed strategy that provides guidance and resources but enables decentralized execution.

This article aims to provide a simple guide for how military leaders, at any level, might lead professional military education in their units. While this comprises seven specific areas for consideration, it is not necessarily a checklist. Rather, it provides an outline for commanders to audit their current approach to leading professional military education, and adapt their approach to fill whatever gaps might exist.

Battle For Army’s Soul Resumes: Lessons From Army After Next


History never repeats, but it often rhymes, and a wise man listens to the echoes. Today, the Army is exploring a new concept of future combat called Multi Domain Battle, which calls for small, agile units designed to overwhelm the enemy with coordinated actions not only on the land, but in the air, on the sea, and in space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. For old defense hands (that’s us), many of these new ideas echo those explored two decades ago, during an innovative effort known as Army After Next (AAN). So we reached out to Bob Scales, the former head of AAN, retired two-star general, commandant of the Army War College, and recipient of the Silver Star for valor in Vietnam. In this essay, Scales lays out what the Army needs to learn from history, and what it should beware. Read on. The Editors.

This year is the twenty-fifth that I’ve been practicing the dark art of future-gazing. I came to the mission very reluctantly in 1991, when the then-Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Gordon Sullivan, entrusted me with writing the Army’s official version of the Gulf War, Certain Victory. As expected, I touted the virtues of Norman Schwarzkopf’s “Great Wheel” maneuver across the sands of Iraq and Kuwait. But I left the project bothered by the fact that, perhaps, I might have inadvertently reinforced the past rather than fostering the future.

UN Peacekeeping and Counter-terrorism

By John Karlsrud

There are strong calls to give UN peacekeeping operations more robust mandates to engage in counter-terrorism tasks. But the idea of UN peacekeepers conducting counter-terrorism operations is not without its problems.

Terrorist attacks have been increasing rapidly over the last decade. According to the Global Terrorism Index, 29,376 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2015. This was the second deadliest year after 2014, when 32,765 people were killed. The spike in 2014 and decline in 2015 is largely a result of the rise and subsequent weakening of Boko Haram and the Islamic State (IS).

Fatigue after long engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq and the continued impact of the financial crisis has significantly dampened the interest in new out-of-area operations among Western member states. At the same time, the threats of terrorism and migration remain at the top of the foreign policy agenda. It is in this environment that policy makers are turning to the UN, to see what role it can play in the global security burden-sharing. This means a more transactional relationship with the UN, not necessarily considering the longer-term impact of undermining its impartiality and legitimacy.

Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report

Oleksiy Kuzmenko

WASHINGTON - U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year's American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.

In December, CrowdStrike said it found evidence that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, contributing to heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine's war with pro-Russian separatists.

VOA reported Tuesday that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which publishes an annual reference estimating the strength of world armed forces, disavowed the CrowdStrike report and said it had never been contacted by the company.

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense also has stated that the combat losses and hacking never happened.

Next Steps For U.S. Cyber Command After Split With NSA


We all know it’s coming, and soon. There is significant momentum for elevating U.S. Cyber Command to a full combatant command. We should expect that soon. Bifurcating Cyber Command’s and the National Security Agency’s leadership from one leader to separate leaders for each organization also has strong momentum and should happen by October 2018 or sooner. Why that date? The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act states a requirement that “The Cyber Mission Force has achieved full operational capability” before the “dual-hat” arrangement can be terminated, and the Cyber Command commander testified that goal will be reached by the end of Fiscal Year 2018.

With the impending elevation and “dual-hat” split, it’s time to turn the focus on what Cyber Command needs to better deliver for our nation. As Cyber Command stands on its own – or as former NSA Director General Michael Hayden puts it, the “umbilical cord” is cut from NSA – Cyber Command has a critical need for enabling capabilities. But what are these enabling capabilities?

First, Cyber Command needs people – not at the tactical level but at the strategic and operational levels. Cyber Command’s headquarters was created in 2010, primarily by combining the Joint Task Force – consisting of the Global Network Operations and the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare. Its joint service components were created by dual-hatting and triple-hatting operational service organizations and assigning them to support up to three combatant commands. Cyber Command headquarters staff has up to 75 percent fewer personnel than other combatant commands, and the joint components staffs are short as well.

Why Electronics Ban Only In Middle East


New rules go into effect this weekend that restrict electronic items in passenger cabins on U.S.-bound flights. The measures are being taken as a security precaution to thwart potential threats.

The ban includes flights on nine international airlines operating out of 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. They include Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. It affects: Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways.

Speaking to The Cipher Brief this week, Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the restrictions were not surprising given that “terrorists are getting better and better at miniaturizing their explosives.”

The UK announced a similar ban this week, on flights from six countries in the region: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.

The British ban affects a total of 14 carriers, and also includes Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines and Saudia. But it adds to the list: British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Atlas-Global, Pegasus, Middle East Airlines, and Tunisair.

Killer Robots: The Future of War?

By Johannes Lang and Robin May Schott for Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)

Despite arguments to the contrary, Johannes Lang believes we should reject claims that lethal autonomous weapons will make war more discriminate, more controllable, and less risky. In fact, given the dangers these arms raise, governments should work to impose an international ban or moratorium on their development and use.

The prospect of lethal autonomous weapons— or “killer robots”—looms on the horizon. The full consequences of delegating lethal decisions to machines are unknown, but the dangers are evident. Governments should support international efforts to impose a ban or a moratorium on the development and use of such weapons.


Despite arguments to the contrary, we should be wary of the claim that lethal autonomous weapons will make war more discriminate, more controllable, and less risky. 

The Danish government should support international efforts to introduce a ban, a moratorium, or similarly strict regulations on the development and use of lethal autonomous weapons, confronting the legal and practical challenges this involves.