9 May 2017

*** What Drives Terrorism Part 1: Ideology and Theory

By Scott Stewart

What drives terrorism? It's a question asked by governments and individuals, militaries and businesses. In an April 27 webinar in which Fred Burton and I discussed the evolution of terrorist threats toward soft targets, we briefly discussed this very topic. Knowing what these influential forces are is crucial to understanding how an attack is conducted, placing it in context and, perhaps most important, anticipating and even forecasting future changes in terrorism trends. Tactics and tradecraft never stop changing, either: They are constantly evolving to respond to external forces that enable, constrain and otherwise shape them. And while the list may differ among experts, the main drivers the Stratfor Threat Lens team tracks are ideology and terrorist theory, political and economic developments, counterterrorism efforts, technology, and media coverage.

Based on public interest from the webinar, I'd like to pull back the curtain and provide a glimpse into how our methodology assesses these five driving forces. In this series, each one will be examined individually, but it's important to remember that not one factor operates in isolation — the world does not work that way. They are all interconnected, and almost always working together (or at cross purposes) to help transform terrorism dynamics.
Terrorist Ideology

*** China's Navy Takes a Bow

In many ways, China's rise has been built on the back of its seagoing fleet. Chinese commercial shipping helped carry its economy to global prominence. And its bulked-up naval forces allow it not only to back up its maritime claims in the South and East China seas, but also to increasingly project power far beyond its shores. Now, China's shipbuilding prowess — and its global reach — have taken a demonstrable leap forward with the completion of its first fully domestically built aircraft carrier.

Externally, the Type 001A aircraft carrier, which launched April 26 after 3 1/2 years of construction, is similar to China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which the country built atop the hulk of a stripped-down surplus Ukrainian ship. The new carrier features the same ski jump-style takeoff ramp as the Liaoning but incorporates internal features that make it more operationally effective. The technical advances in China's growing carrier program, alongside the rapid development of other aspects of Chinese naval power, point to Beijing growing ability to fulfill its global aspirations and naval ambitions.

The Chinese navy's principal mission remains the "offshore waters defense" of claimed Chinese territory, both the territorial waters 12 nautical miles from its mainland and its maritime claims in the South and East China seas. Those near seas encompass the waters ringed by the series of islands stretching from Japan to the Philippines to Indonesia, which the Chinese dub the "first island chain." To defend those claims, the Chinese have developed a layered approach to denying sea access by other countries. That strategy employs a combination of fast-attack missile craft, submarines, and the land-based anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles of China's Rocket Force rather than large surface ships to counter and intercept encroaching ships and aircraft.

** Escalate to deter the Pakistan army

It is the fear of escalation, which the Pakistan army has masked behind bombastic threats, that India needs to exploit.

As the Indian government considers how to respond to Pakistan army’s latest provocations, it should keep in mind that proportional retaliation will prove to be no more than a temporary slave. The key is to convince the Pakistan army that India will not hesitate to escalate, and that the Pakistan army will not win the escalation race. Though military escalation will be painful to both sides, and there are always uncertainties in any military venture, Pakistan army’s leadership has repeatedly demonstrated that its threats to escalate are not matched by its actual behaviour, which has been far more cautious. The Pakistan army leadership, rightly, fears escalation more than its rhetoric lets on, and this provides India a deterrence leverage that it needs to take advantage of.

* Let Leaders Off The Electronic Leash: CSA Milley


“What we do, in practice, is we micromanage and overly specify everything the subordinate has to do, all the time,”Gen. Mark Milley told an Atlantic Council forum here. “It might be an effective way to do certain things. It is not an effective way to fight.… You will lose battles and wars if you approach warfare like that.”

Milley’s push for more initiative could have profound effects on tactics, training, and technology — if he can overcome the Army’s incredibly deep-rooted culture of micromanagement. It’s an institutional dysfunction further enabled in recent years by omnipresent electronic communications, communications we’ve come to rely on but which a sophisticated adversary could cut off, forcing low-level leaders to fend for themselves.

Army command post

“There’s a balance in there you have to achieve,” Milley said, “(but) I think that the pendulum swung too far. I think we’re overly centralized, overly bureaucratic, and overly risk averse, which is the opposite of what we’re going to need in any type of warfare, but in particular the warfare that I envision. We are going to have to empower, decentralize leadership to make decisions (when) they may not be able to communicate with their higher headquarters.”

The Indian Cavalry’s Charge on an Israeli City And Its Usefulness Now

By Krzysztof Iwanek

The politics of history can be useful for diplomacy but dangerous for grammar. 

Would you like to live on the Three Statue Haifa Road? Well, I would, because it is close to a New Delhi-based library that I like: the Nehru Memorial Library. It is also in a posh enclave, so living there would mean that I would have become rich and influential. Otherwise, however, I find the name awkward and cumbersome. I may like the history behind this name, I may understand the politics behind it, but I do not accept its violation of grammar.

The History

The story of the name takes us back nearly a century and is in fact quite interesting. In September 1918, during the First World War, the Indian cavalry played a crucial part in the liberation of the Palestinian city of Haifa. Indian units – here and elsewhere on the Great War’s front – were a part of the British army. The city was garrisoned by a joint force of the three central powers: Ottoman Turkey, Germany and Austro-Hungary. As the British advanced towards Haifa, the Ottomans started to withdraw. A small contingent of Germans were willing to defend the city during the Turkish withdrawal but grew reluctant upon discovering that the Turks were not very eager to fight.

Sukma attack: Chhattisgarh police cannot hold back and fight Naxals in their stronghold through proxies


The Burkapal attack in Sukma District is disturbing not only because of the high number of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel (25) who lost their lives, but because a similar pattern of apparent neglect of basic procedure had resulted in the significant loss of 12 troopers on March 11, at Bhejji, less than 30 kilometres away from the location of the Burkapal incident, and in circumstances that were comparable on several parameters. Yet, this failed to alert forces in the wider region to the daily risks that confronted them.

Both incidents were avoidable, and there is an urgent need for the CRPF to study and understand what is going wrong, and to address the visible failures of orientation, training and leadership that lie at the source not just of these two, but of the long succession of incidents in which the Maoists have been able to successfully target our forces. Significantly, while other forces have also fallen to Maoist ambushes — for instance, in February, eight personnel of the Odisha Police were killed in a landmine blast in the Koraput district — CRPF losses have been disproportionate. This is only partly because the CRPF is, in fact, the largest force deployed for ‘anti-Naxalite’ operations. Structural and operational deficiencies of the force, including irrational and protracted deployments, inadequate training, almost no retraining, poor leadership, strategic and tactical stasis, fatigue and indiscipline, and an overwhelming posture of passive defence, have also played a crucial part.

RNA Technologies and India’s Path Forward


Summary: RNA interference has huge significance within the Indian context, considering the deep-seated resistance to genetically modified seeds

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (Crispr) and its associated protein (Cas9) have been generating quite a buzz of late, even resulting in speculation about a new technology race between the US and China. Political and strategic implications apart, scientists all over the world are now able to carry out gene editing at costs much lower than ever before, and much more accurately. The enhanced tinkering with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)—the building blocks of life—can be used to achieve end goals as diverse as enhancing crop quality and disease resistance, treating genetic diseases, and even addressing the associated risk of antibiotic resistance through a Crispr pill that substitutes antibiotics.

But the media attention hogged by this technology should not blind us to new advances in ribonucleic acid (RNA) research. This polymeric molecule—essential for regulation and expression of genes—has already been the subject of research, in areas such as RNA interference (RNAi) and antisense technology. While RNAi is a gene silencing technology that inhibits protein synthesis in target cells using double-stranded RNA, antisense technology achieves the same result through single-stranded RNA.

Things are not looking good in Afghanistan, where the “government” only controls 60% of the country

Tim Fernholz

With the world’s eyes trained primarily on Syria’s bloody civil war and the nuclear posturing of North Korea, news about the simmering conflict between the US-backed Afghan government and Taliban insurgents tends to slip between the cracks.

But despite the lack of media attention, there are still more than 8,000 US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, and now the Trump administration is weighing the addition of 5,000 more to help deal with the deteriorating situation there.

Today, the US government auditor of the reconstruction effort released a report (pdf) that makes it clear that the situation is deteriorating. The most obviously worrying statistics: 

Civilian casualties connected to the conflict tallied at 11,418 in 2016, the highest since 2009, while Afghan government forces face brutal casualty rates, with 807 members of the Afghan security forces killed in the first six weeks of 2017. 

More than 660,000 people fled their homes due to the fighting, the highest number recorded since the US invasion. 

Five Shades of Chinese Gray-Zone Strategy

James Holmes, Toshi Yoshihara

Washington should be wary about a Beijing that has taken incremental steps toward small-stick diplomacy.

Deterring aggression in the “gray zone” is hard. The keeper of an existing order—an order such as freedom of the sea—finds itself conflicted. That’s because gray-zone aggressors deliberately refuse to breach the threshold between uneasy peace and armed conflict, justifying a martial response. Instead they demolish the status quo little by little and replace it with something new.

Piecemeal assaults compel the status quo’s defenders to consider unappealing options. They can act first and bear the blame for the outbreak of war, for taking excessive risk, for provoking the revisionist power or for destabilizing the peace. Or, unwilling to incur such costs, they resign themselves to inaction or half-measures. Predisposed to put off difficult decisions, politicians can waffle, and surrender the initiative. Or they can escalate, and see their nation branded a bully.

An unpalatable choice. Gray-zone strategies are designed precisely to impose such quandaries on custodians of an existing order.

Europe’s China Pivot

By Robert Manning

“The future has already arrived,” sci-fi writer William Gibson famously quipped, “it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” Few in the United States noticed when a freight train arrived in London in January 2017, completing a 7,500 mile journey from China, yet this train, its route an echo of the ancient Silk Road, just may have offered a glimpse of the future.

China is already the world’s largest trading nation, with some $3.9 trillion in two-way trade in 2016. The European Union, with its $17 trillion economy, roughly the size of that of the United States, looms large in China’s ambitious but still inchoate vision of connecting both ends of the Eurasian landmass with a 21st century version of the old Silk Road. And to the degree the United States retreats from the post-World War II multilateral system it created, the China-EU relationship could influence the balance of the emerging polycentric order.

Donald Trump’s “America First” posture, his cheerleading of Brexit, and his swift rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership spurred Europe and Asia to rapidly scramble in pursuit of multilateral deals to offset the U.S. retreat. In a letter to leaders of the 27 EU member states earlier this year, European Council President Donald Tusk described Trump, along with an assertive China and an aggressive Russia, as one of three external threats to Europe’s future. Tusk argued that “[w]e should use the change in the trade strategy of the U.S. to the EU's advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time.”

China’s Communist Party officials funding the Dalai Lama: report

K J M Varma

This is the first time official media has come out with a disclosure of Chinese officials’ links with the Dalai Lama after he fled from China to India in 1959. Photo: AP

This is the first time official media has come out with a disclosure of Chinese officials’ links with the Dalai Lama after he fled from China to India in 1959. Photo: AP

Beijing: In a rare disclosure, China’s ruling Communist Party has said some of its officials were funding the Dalai Lama by donating money to him, undermining the fight against “separatist” forces.

A senior discipline inspection official has “lambasted some party officials for allegedly donating money to the 14th Dalai Lama, saying such behaviour severely undermines the party’s fight against separatism,” state-run The Global Times reported on Tuesday.

Some party officials have neglected important political issues and the country’s anti-separatist struggle, Wang Yongjun, head of the discipline watchdog in Tibet, which is officially called the Tibet Autonomous Region, was quoted as saying.

Why is China Banning Baby Names and Beards in Xinjiang?

By Peter Irwin

Much has already been made of the recent news coming out of China’s westernmost province – that parents have been prohibited from choosing names like “Muhammad,” “Medina” and “Jihad” for their children. Despite widespread and public dismay over the reports, the rules represent not merely a singular, one-off development, but can be neatly traced to even more insidious legislation recently passed in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) this month.

It was recently reported that parents living in the XUAR have been forbidden from selecting baby names from a list of 29 provided by the regional government there in an effort to “curb religious fervor.” The new measures come following a more limited ban that was rolled out in September 2016 in at least one county in Hotan prefecture in the region’s south.

Although not mentioned directly, it is no secret who the proscriptions target – the Uyghur community which makes up nearly half the region’s population practice Islam and have been a target of assimilationist policies for years.

Understanding Russian "Hybrid Warfare"

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee on March 22, 2017.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation testimony series. RAND testimonies record testimony presented by RAND associates to federal, state, or local legislative committees; government-appointed commissions and panels; and private review and oversight bodies.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

Options for United States Intelligence Community Analytical Tools

Divergent Options

Marvin Ebrahimi has served as an intelligence analyst. Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group.

National Security Situation: Centralization of United States Intelligence Community (USIC) Analytical Tools.

Date Originally Written: March 6, 2017.

Date Originally Published: May 1, 2017.

Author and / or Article Point of View: Author has served as an all-source analyst. The author has personal experience with the countless tool suites, programs, and platforms used by intelligence analysts within the USIC to perform their analytical function, and the fact that there is no centralized collaborative environment from which such tools can be learned, evaluated, or selected for unit-specific mission sets tailored to the end-user.

Tactical Surprise In Small Wars: Lessons From French Wars In Afghanistan And Mali

by Rémy Hémez

In small wars, it seems that resorting to tactical surprise rarely benefits the strongest actor. Studying past ambushes illustrates this idea. Indeed, history shows the extent to which Western armies have proven incapable of surprising their adversaries and how, they have often been surprised in turn. French military history emphasizes this argument. Indeed, the “Dalat convoy” ambush during the Indochina war (1948)[2], the Palestro ambush (1956)[3] during the Algerian war, or more recently the Uzbeen ambush (2009)[4] in Afghanistan serve as prime examples. Have these events highlighted the fact that it is nearly impossible for the “strongest” actor to surprise its opponents during small wars? Or rather, is it simply more difficult to surprise during small wars?

These questions can partially be answered by looking into French interventions in Afghanistan (2001-2012)[5] and in Mali (2013-operation “Serval”)[6]. These are two very different small wars, in terms of their context and course of actions. Therefore, they offer a widespread overview of how to better surprise our future irregular adversaries.

“You’re so predictable. I knew something would go wrong[7]

Tactical surprise is dependent upon four main factors[8]
Speed, because a swift movement limits the adversary’s preparation time; 
Secrecy, which is key to maintain uncertainty about one’s intent; 
Deception, by forcing the opponent to misinterpret attitudes and intents; 
Intelligence, to not over- or underestimate the adversary’s strength in order to deploy the main effort at the appropriate time and place. 

Army to lead CRPF anti-Naxal ops soon

By Pradip R Sagar

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army could soon be playing big brother to the CRPF, with its officers leading the paramilitary force against the Naxalite menace.

After the Sukma attack killing 25 CRPF jawans on April 24, the Modi government is looking to revive a 2008 Army blueprint to fight Maoists, which had been shoved under the carpet by the Congress-led UPA government.

In Kashmir, the division in conflict management between the Army and the CRPF is clearly demarcated. The paramilitary handle conflict situations and the Army steps in only when the situation spins out of control. While training at a secret location earlier, Army officers realised paramilitary counter-insurgency capability was almost ‘nil’.

The proposal for joint anti-Naxal ops had come from Allahabad-based Central Command of the Indian Army, under whose jurisdiction the majority of Naxal-infested states falls.

Assessing Russia’s Reorganized and Rearmed Military


Summary: Recent Western assessments of Russia’s renewed military power have led to a wide range of differing conclusions and, taken together, provide a mixed and confusing picture of the scale and nature of the threat.

Recent Western assessments of Russia’s renewed military power have led to a wide range of differing conclusions and, taken together, provide a mixed and confusing picture of the scale and nature of the threat. Impressive capabilities demonstrated in Ukraine and Syria have given rise to concern that Western armed forces may find it difficult to cope with an operating environment dominated by new Russian weapons systems for which they have neglected to adopt countermeasures. But at the same time, a number of veteran scholars of Russian military affairs argue that the power of the current Russian military is commonly overestimated, suggesting that it is hostage to many problems inherited from its traumatic post-Soviet degeneration, critically challenged by overstretch, technologically backward, or all three.

The answer lies in between. Russia’s reorganized and rearmed Armed Forces are neither invincible nor still broken and incapable. Two points are beyond argument: First, in terms of equipment, experience, attitude, confidence, and more, the Russian military is a radically different force from the one that began the process of transformation in 2008. Second, change is still taking place. Snapshots of Russia’s capability displayed in Ukraine and Syria tend to conceal ongoing developments; the true capability of the Russian military is not static but a rapidly developing phenomenon.

Defense intelligence has opportunity to be ‘reimagined’

By: Jen Judson

Correction: A previous version of this story mentioned an individual by the name of Clark. This has been corrected to reference Cook, whose job title has also been corrected.

WASHINGTON — With the goal of providing military commanders and policymakers with the best possible analysis, defense intelligence has reached a point where innovations in information technology and cyber present an opportunity to drastically reimagine the entire enterprise, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency expert.

Due to the inherently complex environment, providing the right intelligence to support decision-making, processes and answering requirements is more challenging than its ever been, Louis Werdebach, senior defense intelligence expert for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence at DIA, said Wednesday at the C4ISRNET annual conference.

Over the past several years, DIA has been working “very hard trying to get ahead” of intelligence requirements gaps, “trying to close a number of the hard problems,” Geoffrey Strayer, the chief of DIA’s Office for Analytic Enterprise Operations in the Directorate for Analysis, said.

Are we addressing tomorrow’s threats with yesterday’s technology? [Commentary]

By: William Lynn and Sean O'Keefe

America has always counted on its vast industrial base and technological supremacy to create a fighting edge on the battlefield. But that base is now shifting along with the technology it produces and our national security needs unfortunately could be left behind. 

With key sources of defense technology increasingly coming from the commercial sector, and Pentagon investments spread more thinly to cover a widening range of threats, the imperative now is to refocus the intent and process used to make investments in defense technology.

The Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C. think tank, completed an analysis that illustrates the need to sharpen our defense technology investments in ways that can more rapidly develop new capabilities. Titled “Future Foundry: A New Strategic Approach to Military-Technical Advantage,” the study deconstructs the defense industry as we know it today with an eye toward more fully tapping into the vast and growing reservoir of commercial technology. It is a blueprint to help us grow out of the Pentagon’s “arsenal” culture borne of a bygone era when military systems were major drivers of the U.S. national industrial output. Those defense industrial demands today represent a much smaller, declining and comparatively insignificant segment of the market.

Report of the Workshop on ´Diplomacy in the 21st Century´

This workshop report focuses on the changing nature of diplomacy today, including the impacts of digitization, emotion and governance on diplomatic processes.

The Army's New "FM 3.0 Operations" Combat Doctrine is Geared Toward Major Power Adversaries


The Army is now crafting new combat “operations” doctrine designed to better position the service for the prospect of large-scale, mechanized, force-on-force warfare against technologically advanced near-peer rivals – such as Russia or China.

The Army is now crafting new combat “operations” doctrine designed to better position the service for the prospect of large-scale, mechanized, force-on-force warfare against technologically advanced near-peer rivals – such as Russia or China - able to substantially challenge US military technological superiority.

Rigorous examination is now underway among Army leaders and service doctrine developers in preparation for a new or evolved concept, called “FM 3.0 Operations,” slated to emerge this coming October.

It is intended as a supplement or adjustment to the Army’s current “FM 3.0 Full Spectrum” Field Manual, Rickey Smith, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

Report: Feds more likely to use new tech without considering cybersecurity

by Tony Ware

Over a third of federal employees surveyed have experienced a data breach in the last year, says a new report from information systems security provider Thales and analyst firm 451 Research, contributing to 96 percent of respondents considering themselves vulnerable to threats targeting sensitive data.

While the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report says that those surveyed claim cybersecurity spending is up (rising to 61 percent from 58 in 2016), the old systems, tight budgets, lack of staff and migration of resources to the cloud continue to make the federal government and its focus of network defenses a prime target for cyber crimes.

Nearly three-fourths of U.S. federal survey respondents said their offices had deployed new technologies (involving cloud, big data, internet of things, containers, etc.) without having adequate specialized security measures in place.

Most felt encryption with the option for local key control and tokenization were emerging as prime means to secure sensitive data in these new environments, including SaaS, IaaS and even blockchain. The U.S. federal sector seems more likely to store sensitive data in advanced technologies than the global average except for internet of things, which is seen as less of a focus.


Cyber security guru, founder of McAfee Anti-Virus, and eccentric multi-millionaire John McAfee, recently told the Daily Mail Online, that “artificial intelligence (AI) is a ‘self- conscious’ entity, that is inherently self-interested, which could give rise to conflict with the human species.” Cheyenne MacDonald writes in the April 24, 2017 online edition of the publication that Mr. McAffee warns that “AI systems that can hack themselves to improve their capabilities, not only possible at this point; but, would be ‘trivial’ to create.” Mr. McAfee added that “any system created by humans would be flawed by nature — and ultimately, the AI’s goal would include the ‘necessary destruction of its creator.”

“In a recent op-ed for Newsweek,” Ms. MacDonald wrote, “McAfee discusses the feasibility of a science fiction scenario penned by an underground technologist who goes by [the moniker] ‘ZT.’

“In the novella — which blatantly alludes to the debate on artificial intelligence today, with opposing forces named ‘Demis’ and ‘Elon’ — a particular passage describes an advanced system that can hack itself to ‘improve efficiency and logic,’ Mr. Mcfee explained to the Daily Mail Online. Such a concept is certainly not new, and typical hacking techniques in use today can easily be imagined to be self-produced by complex software systems’ McAfee wrote.

The Cyber Attack Kill Chain: Where Threat Intelligence Can Help


Many people believe threat intelligence is primarily about identifying attacks before they happen. In reality, it’s much more about raising your organization’s security profile against all incoming attacks. 

Different types of threat actors select targets in very different ways. As a rule, the more specific their targeting process, the harder it will be to collect threat intelligence at the pre-planning stage. 

While threat intelligence can add value at every stage of the kill chain, it’s typically in the form of malicious IP/domain/hash lists and post mortem attack analyses. 

It’s not just about incident response. In order to add maximum value, threat intelligence should be made available across your security function. 

Without context, threat intelligence quickly becomes unmanageable. Ensure you’re providing your threat analysts with the tools they need to operate effectively. 

Before you start gathering threat intelligence, you must answer a simple question: “What am I trying to achieve?”

US Cyber Attacks, Sabotage Behind North Korea’s Missile launch Failures?

Fingers are being pointed at the US’s cyber-warfare capability for North Korea’s repeated missile launch failures.

A missile test soon after Pyongyang threatened “nuclear justice” against the US ended in failure on Saturday similar to an earlier failure on April 14.

When asked on Saturday about the implementation of US hacking tools to limit the effectiveness of Pyongyang's missile program, US President Donald Trump said, "I'd rather not discuss it. But perhaps they're just not very good missiles."

"If you think that war is possible with a given state, you're going to be trying to prepare the battlespace for conflict. In the internet age, that means hacking," cybersecurity expert Ken Geers was quoted as saying by Sputnik news Sunday.

Other analysts point out that North Korea’s computer networks are isolated and a ballistic missile does not need to be networked with ground systems as once the missile is launched, it follows a pre-set trajectory with little or no possibility of any electronic interference.

However, given the extent of US expertise in cyber-warfare, as was demonstrated against the Iranian nuclear program using the Stuxnet computer virus which halted the Iranian nuclear reactor’s centrifuge, the long arm of American gunboat diplomacy goes far.