5 May 2017

*** Joint Forces Doctrine — passive, defensive inward-turned, and disappointing

This was not unexpected, but still it is surprising just how unventuresome, diffident, hesitant and, therefore, thoroughly fainthearted the ‘Joint Doctrine Indian Armed Forces’ really is. Issued by Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), Ministry of Defence, this document supposedly outlines the jointness mission for the military. As such, it is a fairly innocuous bit of paper indulging in banality-mongering to the max, taking extreme care to not touch on the practical aspects of integrating authority, military resources, and effort. It is a document that at best reflects an intent to realize jointness in the indeterminate future. Because, on the ground, the individual services still reign supreme and who regard IDS more as encumbrance than help.


By RC Porter
By Alexander Velez-Green

A rising number of Russia’s senior military strategists are advocating for the adoption of a doctrine of pre-emption for the defense of their nation. This doctrine would be intended to protect the territorial integrity and vital national interests of the Russian Federation. To achieve these fundamentally defensive aims, Russian military strategists argue that if an attack on Russian vital interests appears imminent, Moscow must be prepared to use strategic non-nuclear or limited nuclear force first in order to deter or defeat the United States or NATO. Pre-emption could occur in crisis or in the early stages of an escalating conflict. Russian advocates of pre-emption argue that the pre-emptive attacks on U.S. or NATO targets could serve one or more of three purposes. 

Deterrence by cost imposition. Pre-emptive attacks on countervalue targets could provide a “punch in the nose” that deters U.S. or NATO aggression by communicating to Western policymakers and publics alike that the costs of attacking or escalating a military confrontation with Russia will outweigh any plausible benefits. 

Deterrence by denial. Pre-emptive attacks on counterforce targets could degrade U.S. or NATO power projection capabilities, and change the “correlation of forces,” such that Washington and other NATO capitals no longer believe that they can prevail in a major war, at acceptable levels of escalation, against Russia. 

Pre-emption as a defeat mechanism. Some advocates argue that pre-emptive attacks on key Western aerospace – and other – capabilities may allow the Russian armed forces to degrade or eliminate U.S. and NATO forces’ comparative advantages, such as long-range strike, thereby improving Russia’s relative military-operational position. 

** Here’s the sad news of what ‘mother of all bombs’ did for U.S. fight in Afghanistan


The use of the “mother of all bombs” on an underground network of Islamic State tunnels in a remote district in Afghanistan was a lot of hype with little long-term impact, according to many military analysts.

While breathless coverage of the use of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal gave the appearance that the Trump administration was taking assertive military action, the weapon itself fell far short of delivering a knockout blow to militants in the area.

Even if it had, military experts argue that the U.S. shouldn’t be focusing its energy on the relatively small threat of ISIS in Afghanistan. The Taliban are the real problem, rapidly retaking key districts that U.S. and British troops fought bloody battles to capture just years ago.

“The Islamic State is on the fringe. It’s a small problem in Afghanistan compared to al Qaida, the Taliban and other groups that operate there,” Bill Roggio, a military analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee Thursday. “The U.S. military has, frankly, downplayed this problem with the Taliban.”

'India has to catch a train that left 25 years ago'

'In contrast to the generally buoyant tone of the Economic Survey in January, he sounds uncharacteristically pessimistic, saying that forces in the world economy -- slowing global trade, protectionism, robots -- will limit India's manufacturing to levels well below what propelled East Asia's economies decades ago.'

Rahul Jacob has lunch with Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor to the Modi government.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

One of the nine youngsters at lunch who are part of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian's team is speaking about the previous day's Supreme Court judgment disallowing two private power companies from passing on cost escalations that are the result of a change in regulations overseas or foreign fuel price hikes when the phone rings.

Subramanian lets out a whoop of delight. The call turns out to be an approval of funds in a matter of weeks -- a nanosecond by the standards of Lutyens' Delhi -- that Subramanian had pleaded for to restore the sculptures of the influential Bengali artist Ramkinkar Baij after a visit to Santiniketan.

Can India and Pakistan make Peace – Agha.H.Amin , Major (r)

The recent sudden angelic desire on part of the Pakistani establishment to make peace with India has nothing to do with any major shift in Pakistans foreign policy written in the Pakistani military headquarters popularly known as the GHQ.

The Pakistani apparent shift is merely a tactical response to extreme confrontation with the US over perceived US view that Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan.

This is similar to Musharrafs flirtation with India from 2000 to 2007 which in reality was a gambit to prevent a two front war with Afghanistan occupied by the USA and a hostile India in the east.

The real picture of true intentions of the Pakistani military will emerge when the US withdraws from Afghanistan.

This will be the time when the Russians ,Iranians and Indians will have no choice but to support the Northern Alliance against Pakistan sponsored Taliban who regard all Shias, Ismailis,Non Pashtuns,moderate Pashtuns as infidels who deserve to be massacred.

No Sunset for Pakistan’s Secret Military Courts

By Maria Kari

On April 10 Pakistan found guilty and sentenced to death Indian citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of espionage.

As a retired naval officer, Jadhav would not have been subject to military justice in India. But a temporary amendment to the Pakistani constitution (originally known as the 21st Amendment, now the 28th Amendment) allows Pakistan to try civilians who have been accused of acts of terrorism or treason in secret military proceedings.

Not much information is available on the inner mechanisms of these courts. What we do know is that they tend to typically operate without being curtailed by the usual checks and balances put in place to rein in civilian courts.

This unchecked freedom means Pakistani military tribunals, since their full-fledged introduction in 2015, have been operating in a clandestine fashion that is undoubtedly in gross violation of the basic tenets of international human rights law.

Why We Lost The Afghan War


U.S-enabled corruption lost the Afghan War. The Afghan government is a failed state, incapable of effectively governing or defending its citizens. Corruption funds the enemy, with hundreds of millions of dollars skimmed from U.S. logistics and aid money. Former Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said in 2016: “The ultimate point of failure for our efforts … wasn’t an insurgency. It was the weight of endemic corruption.”

U.S. officials knew corruption was a serious threat and established several anti-corruption units in 2009 and 2010. The National Security Council mandated the multi-agency Afghan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC) to disrupt politically connected networks financing the insurgency. The U.S. military’s Task Force 2010 focused on the enormous sums the insurgents extorted from military logistics contractors and poorly managed “nation-building” development projects. Task Force Spotlight scrutinized insurgent-connected Afghan private security firms. Amb. Karl Eikenberry and then-Gen. David Petraeus jointly established the civilian-military Rule of Law and Law Enforcement (ROL/LE) structure to reform Afghanistan’s graft-ridden police, judiciary and penitentiary system.

Afghan Jihad Frozen in Time?

By Franz J. Marty

SHIGAL, KUNAR — The bearded men lie their AK-47 Kalashnikovs on the rugs at their feet; they had put away the heavy machine guns and RPG rocket launchers seconds before. Then they devotedly bow in the warm spring sunshine of the terrace of the unfinished, ancient-looking building, going silently through their Islamic prayers. Behind them the view stretches across a remote, narrow valley, tucked into the mountains of the eastern Afghan province of Kunar close to the Pakistani border.

Before the prayer, a local commander held a sinister speech about jihad in the form of holy armed resistance against infidel invaders, while the self-declared mujaheddin (holy warriors) sitting on the ground in front of him attentively listened with serious faces. It feels like a scene from the anti-Soviet struggle in the 1980s. Or insurgents bracing themselves for the ongoing fight against the current, Western-backed Afghan government. But the men belong to a local chapter of Hezb-i Islami, an insurgent group that gained bloody notoriety during the anti-Soviet jihad and the subsequent civil war in the 1990s, but recently signed a peace accord with the Afghan government – the first and so far only peace accord with an insurgent group since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001. However, the encountered situation exemplifies that signing a peace deal is more simple than implementing it.

Sinister Web In South Asia – Analysis

By Sanchita Bhattacharya*

The US continues with its policy incoherent on tackling terrorism in Pakistan, and purportedly promoting regional stability in the AfPak and wider South Asian region. On March, 2017, “the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Act of 2017” (HR1449), was introduced in the House of Representatives proposing that Pakistan be declared a state-sponsor of terrorism. Ted Poe, who heads the House Sub-committee on Terrorism and Non-proliferation, observed, while introducing the Bill, “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.”

Earlier, in December, 2016, however, the US House of Representatives passed a Defence Bill, pledging USD 900 million to Pakistan. USD 743 million has already been approved as military and developmental aid for Pakistan in FY 2017.

How well-off is China's middle class?

Over the past several decades, China’s economic development has lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty and resulted in a burgeoning middle class. Middle class households typically have enough income to satisfy their primary needs – food, clothing, and shelter – with some disposable income left over for additional desired consumption and savings. In 2002, China’s middle class was only four percent of its population. A decade later this number had climbed to 31 percent, constituting over 420 million people. China’s growing middle class presents an array of new economic opportunities, but also poses significant political and demographic challenges.


China’s ongoing development has created new economic opportunities in its cities, prompting hundreds of millions of rural Chinese to migrate to urban centers. In just a few decades, China’s urban population skyrocketed from 19 percent of the total population in 1980 to 56 percent in 2015.

As Chinese workers have flocked to cities, wages have grown substantially, averaging an 11 percent increase from 2001 to 2015. Rising wages have led to a steady increase in China’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, which now stands at $13,300. This figure falls between the per capita income of other developing countries like South Africa ($12,100) and Brazil ($14,100), but is significantly lower than the $37,900 average of OECD economies.

Missing Manpower: How Japan’s Dwindling Population Impedes Remilitarization

By Ikenna Ugboaja
by the Harvard International Review (HIR) 

President Donald Trump has made no secret of his skepticism toward America’s most important security pacts and military commitments, sending shockwaves throughout East Asia in April when he suggested that Japan, among others, should pay more for American protection and arm themselves with nuclear weapons to deter North Korea. The Japanese government relies heavily upon its mutual defense treaty with the United States for its national security, as Article IX of the Japanese Constitution strictly limits the nation’s war-making capacity. Trump’s electoral victory in November thus has startling implications for the island nation, prompting some question as to whether Japan should start pursuing a more conventional military arrangement for its own self-defense. However, the prospect of a rapidly aging population and a dwindling labor force will serve as an obstacle to future military self-sufficiency.

The Imperative for an Expanded Military

Following Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, US-led occupation forces drafted a new constitution in which the nation relinquished its right to wage war. The United States subsequently signed a security treaty with Japan, permitting the United States to maintain permanent military bases on Japanese soil “to deter armed attack” against a pacified, and thus vulnerable, Japan. US authorities also encouraged Japan to maintain a limited self-defense force to guard against growing Communist elements in China and Korea. However, the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), now composed of roughly 247,000 active personnel, engage primarily in international peacekeeping and disaster relief.

In South Korea, a Potent Missile Defense Reshapes a Region

It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

U.S. President Donald Trump's suggestion that South Korea will have to foot the $1.1 billion bill for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being placed in its territory amounts to only a minor addition to the long list of controversies spurred by the deployment. The president's comments sparked a flurry of conversations over the weekend between South Korean and U.S. officials, who downplayed the statement. And in the short term, the results of South Korea's presidential election and the objections China has raised about the THAAD's effect on its own security will have a greater impact on the long-term prospects of the U.S. missile defense system intended to counter North Korea's thriving ballistic missile program.

With the blessing of South Korea's interim government, the U.S. military is hurrying to position and test the THAAD system before voters head to the polls May 9 to select ousted President Park Geun Hye's replacement. After all, the candidate for the progressive Democratic Party and the race's current front-runner, Moon Jae-in, has said he would revisit Seoul's agreement to host the THAAD if he wins the presidency. An operational test of the system, which is being set up on land supplied by Seoul, is expected later this week.

Israel: Shabak Creates Cyber-Combat Division – OpEd

Israel: Shabak Creates Cyber-Combat Division – OpEd 

Not to be outdone by the IDF, which has Unit 8200; and Mossad, which just launched its own cyber-terror capability; Israel’s domestic spy agency, the Shabak, just launched its own cyber-combat unit.

It’s done so in what the agency believes is a playful, humorous mode by creating customized, mock video game sites. They feature a scenario in which an agent is in jeopardy and you (presumably the cyber-geek who’ll be challenged by this mission and later seek to join Shabak) are tasked with finding and rescuing him. The game seems to me pitched to a teenager rather than an adult. But I don’t presume any great interest in the field of computer games. So what do I know?

Shabak’s website announces scores of open positions in the fields of computer engineering, infrastructure, development, research, intelligence-operations, and technology students (presumably interns of some sort). Here is a small excerpt of specific jobs listed: 

Three 'Black Holes' Facing NATO: Strategy, Russia, Weapons

By Harlan Ullman, 

Black holes are not merely matters of physics. Strategic black holes may be even more confounding than those found in deep space. NATO, thus far history's most successful military alliance, currently must deal with three of them. The likelihood that this venerable alliance will do so is far from certain.

The first black hole regards strategy. Russian intervention into Ukraine and seizure of Crimea were chastening and frightening. So too, Russian "active measures" are roiling politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Russian engagement in Syria has sustained the diabolical regime of Bashar al-Assad. And Russia has become far more visible in Libya and the Persian Gulf.

While NATO has created new strategic concepts to deal with the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, its last real strategic revision was the Harmel Report of 1967. Led by Belgian Foreign Minister Pierre Harmel, his commission was charged with confronting the threat of Soviet increases in both nuclear and conventional weaponry and Charles De Gaulle's decision to eject NATO from Paris, leaving the military side of the alliance. The result was a shift from reliance solely on nuclear deterrence to a strategy of flexible response to deny Moscow advantages at all levels of the conflict spectrum…

The final black hole concerns acquisition of weapons systems. These processes simply take too long, are too cumbersome and are not capable of keeping up with dramatic advances of technology. NATO and its members must move now to deal with this third black hole…

A force in flux: Military adjusts to emergent domains of warfare

By Mark Pomerleau 

The Army — and the military writ large — is undergoing the initial stages of a fundamental change in thinking, organizing and, ultimately, fighting.

Fifteen years of continuous war against technologically inferior enemies that has provided a window for adversaries to observe U.S. tactics, and the advent of new and cheap technologies to achieve great effects are factors that have forced the military to realign under what it generally calls multi-domain battle.

Multi-domain battle seeks to integrate operations and coordinate seamlessly across the five domains of war — air, land, sea, space and cyber — as opposed to the antiquated domain-specific approach to solving problems.

Emergent domains, such as cyber and space, and adversarial use of such battlefields, has the force rethinking how it will organize conventional units and at what level to incorporate skill sets within these war-fighting environments.

No More Iron Mountains: Lighter Logistics Key To Multi-Domain Battle


A grim vision of future battlefields has the Army urgently exploring every option to streamline its logistics, everything from cargo drones to “compact fusion reactors.” Moving iron mountains of supplies has been a signature strength of the US military since the Civil War. But against an adversary with precision weapons, those sprawling supply dumps, the long convoys that venture out from them, and the large units that live off them are just big targets. In a future Multi-Domain Battle, the Army wants to fight in small units that can disperse, hide, and keep on the move. That’s not possible while tethered to traditional supply lines. So what the Army calls “demand reduction” isn’t a nice-to-have administrative efficiency, it’s a battlefield necessity.

The Battlecarrier Was Part Battleship, Part Aircraft Carrier

Kyle Mizokami 

In the early 1980s, four Iowa-class fast battleships originally built during World War II—Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin—were taken out of mothballs and returned to active duty.

Nearly 900 feet long and displacing close to 60,000 tons, the battlewagons could fire a nine-gun broadside sending 18 tons of steel and explosives hurtling towards their targets.

The battleships were modernized to include cruise missiles, ship-killing missiles and Phalanx point-defense guns. Returned to the fleet, the ships saw action off the coasts of Lebanon and Iraq. At the end of the Cold War the battleships were retired again. All were slated to become museums.

Few knew, however, that returning the battleships to service in the ’80s had been only part of the plan. The second, more ambitious phase was a radical redesign of the massive warships that would have combined the attributes of battleships and aircraft carriers.

The resulting ship, a “battlecarrier,” was merely one of many schemes over the span of 30 years to modernize the most powerful American battleships ever built. The various proposals—all of them nixed—had the World War II-era ships carrying hundreds of U.S. Marines or launching Harrier jump jets or even firing atomic projectiles.

Above —a battleship providing gunfire support off Okinawa. At top — USS Iowa. Navy photos

Army official: Soldier needs should drive tech acquisition

By Sean D. Carberry 

When it comes deciding what IT to acquire for the Army’s converging networks and applications, talk to the soldiers on the ground before building out acquisition requirements, one Army official said.

Michael McCarthy, division chief in the LandWarNet Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center, said that too often, network and IT modernization programs are hampered by requirements that serve commanders or acquisition officials rather than end users.

On top of that, the Army has often accepted immature technology without building in the flexibility to adapt to new advances.

"What we need to do is work that process so that it becomes more responsive to the operational needs," McCarthy told FCW at the Military Network Modernization summit.

"At the same time … take advantage of that velocity of change within the civilian sector, particularly with IT [and] mission command."

A Profound Realignment in the Western World

Kamil Zihnioglu
By Daniel McCarthy

The populist Right that seems to be rising throughout the advanced world has two goals. One, obviously, is to win office. But the second, which can be achieved short of actually taking power, is simply to replace the center-right. Marine Le Pen will almost certainly lose to Emmanuel Macron in a few weeks’ time. She and her supporters can count it as a victory, however, that there will be no center-right candidate in the second round of France’s presidential election for the first time since Charles de Gaulle founded the Fifth Republic.

The Left has been undergoing a shakeup of its own. Macron represents a tendency toward the pro-market center that bears some comparison with the direction in which Bill Clinton and Tony Blair took the Democrats and Labour in the 1990s. But unlike Clinton and Blair, Macron does not lead an established party. He was formerly a finance minister in the Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. In picking a nominee earlier this year to succeed the disastrous incumbent Socialist president, François Hollande, the party ultimately faced a choice between the center-left Valls and a left-wing candidate, Benoît Hamon. Hamon won, but so deep is the disaffection with the Socialists that another, independent leftist, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, outperformed him in Sunday’s first-round general election.

The Roads to Power: The Infrastructure of Counterinsurgency

By Laleh Khalili 

Laleh Khalili has no doubts – the logistics and infrastructure of counterinsurgency are as significant as the actual fighting. Indeed, roads – and logistics provision more generally – don’t simply serve immediate or tactical military functions against opponents. They’re also instruments of social engineering, as illustrated in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a Judean leader tries to stoke a rebellion against the Romans. He tells a small crowd, “They’ve bled us white, the bastards,” and asks his comrades, “What have the Romans done for us?”

The other men reply by cataloging Rome’s great building projects, transportation networks, and bureaucratic systems. The agitator, played by John Cleese, responds: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

I have always found the scene resonant yet deeply inadequate. The idea that an imperial power constructs the groundwork for civilization must have been familiar to the members of Monty Python—all of whom were educated at British institutions that once trained men to rule the colonies. In its celebration of empire, the scene says nothing about how these collateral benefits were first and foremost designed to extract resources and move the soldiers and materiel needed to control them. It ignores the way militaries use infrastructure to pacify intransigent populations and incorporate conquered peoples and places into global systems of rule.

STRATCOM Raises Spectre Of Offensive War In Space


SPACE SYMPOSIUM: Offensive war in space is one of the truly hot button defense policy issues. Advocates say it is inevitable. Opponents say it violates the ideal of a cosmos marked for exploration and peaceful coexistence. Some say war in space would violate the Outer Space Treaty, which bars nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction from being stationed in space, as well as generally discouraging the weaponization of space.

Gen. John Hyten, head of Strategic Command, raised the question again during a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Tidbit: Hyten penned a piece when he was a colonel titled: “A Sea of Peace or a Theater of War? Dealing with the Inevitable Conflict in Space” — note the “inevitable”). Then Bob Work, Deputy Defense Secretary, added fuel to the policy fire with remarks in a classified briefing here today

When asked by Sen. Ted Cruz about Russian work on anti-satellite weapons, Hyten said the United States must “have the ability to defend” against those threats and “build an offensive capability to challenge” theirs, according to my colleague Marcia Smith, who covered the hearing in Washington.

Hacking for Defense: Changing the Face of Security Problem Solving


From kamikaze drones to prototypes using facial recognition technology to help protect troops, a group of Georgetown University students enrolled in a class dubbed, “Hacking for Defense,” spent a semester developing innovative solutions to rapidly solve major national security problems.

On Monday, four teams took to the stage to present their final projects for the course dedicated to trying to find viable products the Department of Defense could use to combat real-world issues. Government agencies — called “problem sponsors” — brought several challenges to the Georgetown students, such as the inability to identify persons of interest in crowds and problems analyzing large amounts of social media data. The teams then spent the semester looking at the commercial sector, visiting key government agencies, and then developing prototypes to try to tackle the most pressing problems facing the U.S. military.

The course introduced the students to learn startup practices — essentially moving through customer discovery, hypothesis testing, and experimenting to get a solution quickly — and applied it to key national security problems.

Cipher Brief Expert View: Changing NSA’s Email Collection Program


The National Security Agency (NSA) announced on Friday a change in its intelligence collection under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA). The move comes under the backdrop of the looming deadline of December 31, 2017 when the authorities granted by 702 will expire if not reauthorized by Congress. According to an NSA statement, the revision essentially mean that the “NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.” Referred to as “about” collection, the changes to the NSA’s collection policies are related to a process known as upstream collection.

The Cipher Brief spoke with General Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA, about what the changes are, why they were made, and what they mean for both intelligence efforts and privacy-conscience Americans.

The Cipher Brief: What is 702 collection, and what is the difference between upstream versus downstream collection?

Space Security Strategy in the Trump Administration

What is the U.S. position on NATO? How does the U.S. intend to deal with growing threats from North Korea? What is the U.S. position on China and Russia? Is the U.S. picking a trade war with Canada? Where does the U.S. stand on the Iranian nuclear agreement? Is the U.S. fleet on its way to Korea? These questions and many more like them feed the headlines every day, with answers coming from Twitter, remarks from President Donald Trump, the Pentagon, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer, though not necessarily always consistent or in agreement. Whether a product of deliberate flexibility, indecision, lack of coordination, and lack of comprehension about the subject matter or some other reason, U.S. strategic communication on a variety of key foreign policy topics has seemed to go haywire. Space security strategy is no exception. 

Weaponizing the truth: the fake news antidote?

By: Mark Pomerleau, 

There are still not many good answers for combating so-called information operations.

As lawmakers worked recently to get a better handle on both what transpired in the presidential election and how best to address alleged Russian influence operations, expert witnesses tried to offer their best assessments of how to move forward.

Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute appearing before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity April 27, offered the idea of an information "consumer report," an agency apart from the government, similar to other consumer reports that would rate all media outlets over time and give them a score based on their accuracy in reporting. The scores would appear on social media, where news is frequently posted and shared.