22 May 2017

*** South Asia: A Bump in the Belt and Road

Editor's Note:
This is the second installment in a four-part series exploring the underlying motivations behind China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and the challenges that it will face.
As part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is looking to build new inroads into South Asia. The region is rife with opportunity for Beijing. By establishing new security and economic connections with neighboring South Asian countries, China hopes to quell unrest in remote Xinjiang province. South Asia also offers an easy outlet for China's manufactured goods as the country weathers an economic slowdown. In the long term, moreover, the region would afford Beijing access to new trade routes outside the Malacca Strait and the contentious South China Sea. But of all the projects China has undertaken through its Belt and Road Initiative, its ventures in South Asia are the riskiest. The region's deep geopolitical divisions and security challenges could derail Beijing's plans there. And so long as India opposes China's activities in its traditional sphere of influence, the Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia will amount to little more than a bundle of bilateral deals.

** WannaCry cyber attack: It's bad India is crying, but even more scary is govt response

If you haven’t noticed, the world wide web is under attack. Experts, and not just the experts with private cyber security firms but also the ones employed by the likes of Interpol, call it probably the single biggest and most serious cyber attack ever. Yes, this is WannaCry we are talking about. Starting from Saturday, lakhs of computers connected to the web has been attacked and taken over by WannaCry worm, which is a ransomware. Many services and companies have been affected as the people behind the WannaCry have taken over the computers and have demanded ransom in bit coins.

It’s scary to see how WannaCry has affected some of the vital service. It has apparently popped up on networks run by airports, train authorities, hospitals, police departments, municipal services and others across the world. But the sad part is that India is a country that has been affected worst. In terms of absolute number of computers affected by WannaCry, India is actually on top pf the list. Why, how and what can be done now? These are a lot of questions but the scariest part of the whole WannaCry story in India is that the government doesn’t even acknowledge the severity of the issue.

All, in good time though. Before I talk of why India has been affected so badly by WannaCry and what can be done, a quick look at how India has been affected.
WannaCry in Kolkata



“Holding on to the things that made us great in the past is not the way to make us great in the future. In fact, I can only think of one reason to stand still, and that’s if you want somebody to catch you.” –Gen. Mark Welsh, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force

At approximately 2 p.m. on April 7, 2003, two weeks into Operation Iraqi Freedom, Saddam Hussein was supposedly spotted in a Baghdad neighborhood. At 2:48 p.m. a B-1 bomber was re-routed to strike. By 3 p.m. there was a large crater at the target. This and tens of thousands of airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere since have been made possible by a process commonly referred to as the kill-chain. In the military, this dynamic targeting process is generally referred to by the sum of its parts — find, fix, track, target, engage, and assess (F2T2EA).

In a culture that progresses through iterative employment concepts every few years (multi-domain battle being the latest), the kill-chain underpinning it all remains surprisingly untouched since its inception nearly two decades ago. Inescapably, all processes and concepts must be modernized or recapitalized to avoid obsolescence as underlying assumptions and variables inevitably change. For the kill-chain, that time is now.

“Baahubali 1”: The Beginning of Truly Indian Armaments for Indian Arms

By: Rear Admiral Sudarshan Y Shrikhande (Retd)

Part of this article’s title merely reflects the current popularity of a clash of arms thanks to Bollywood. However, should we not purposefully, pragmatically and prudently embark on indigenously enhancing the “bal” (strength) of our “baahu” (arms)? If we do not, it is possible that the outcomes of clashes of arms may not necessarily be in our favour. That would be bad news that could be significantly prevented by Indianisation of ordnance. A semantic distinction (also implied in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) as Make Indian Indigenously Designed,

Developed and Manufactured) can be introduced here. When IDDM becomes part of the defence hardware production environment over a period, the subsequent products could genuinely be called Indian DDM instead of Indigenous DDM. That would be the essence of what this writer calls the required shift from Make in India to Made in India. This is the transformation that occurred in Imperial Japan, Communist China and even in 19th century US and Tsarist Russia. (Note: Ordnance is used here to denote every category of ammunition including all Precision Guided Munition (PGM) and guided munitions, except missiles meant for strategic nuclear deterrence.)

Lack of Blast from the Past

Our past experience of conflicts may not provide the templates for the intense (very likely) and short (questionable) conflicts that many in India assume would automatically be the case. Made in India ordnance, in short, provides us the vital fuel for waging intense wars/ preventing intense wars and fighting prolonged wars, should that be the case. How do we future-proof ourselves?

Strategic Realities: Re-Thinking Afghanistan

By Jeff Goodson

Afghanistan may be the most complex theatre of irregular warfare in the world . The country is a black hole of physical, religious, social, ethnic, cultural, political, economic, military and historical cross-currents, rendering conventional strategy there awkward at best and impossible at worst. In re-thinking Afghanistan—and assessing the Pentagon’s new Afghanistan strategy—we need first to confront some hard strategic realities head-on. Four, in particular, stand out. 

First, there is just one war: the global holy war that the Salafists are waging against us and the rest of the world. This is not one of our fathers’ 20th century wars. This is Islamic religious war, fought using 7th and 21st century tactics in a dozen major theatres from Mali to Mindanao. Afghanistan is an Islamic state surrounded by Islamic states, and an emerging epicenter in the global jihad. Our Afghan strategy cannot be divorced from our strategy for the Salafist holy war, nor from our strategy for Pakistan—the other half of the Af-Pak theatre of the war. 

Second, there is no ”win” or “lose” in Afghanistan. While some experts characterize insurgencies for research purposes as wins and losses, they are in fact messy affairs and virtually none result in unambiguous success. Many, including 17 of the 71 completed between 1944 and 2010, end in negotiated settlement. That is almost certainly how the Taliban insurgency will end, at some unforeseeable future date. The win/loss concept does not apply to Afghanistan, and it obfuscates the debate over strategy. This is a transgenerational war, and what’s needed is a flexible strategy that guides U.S. action in the Af-Pak theatre as the long road to negotiated settlement unwinds.

Trumpeting 'One Belt, One Road,' China bids to lead 'Globalization 2.0'

Michael Holtz

MAY 16, 2017 BEIJING—High-speed railways in Indonesia and Hungary. Deep-water ports in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Gas pipelines across central Asia. All are part of what is arguably the largest overseas development drive ever launched by a single nation.

Even the Marshall Plan, America’s postwar reconstruction effort in Europe, pales in comparison to the more than $900 billion China has pledged for the construction of infrastructure projects in more than 60 countries as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision for this modern-day Silk Road during a two-day forum in Beijing that ended Monday. While the initiative is still in its early stages, it comes at a critical moment in Asia. Developing countries in the region need to invest some $1.7 trillion per year on infrastructure to maintain growth, tackle poverty, and fight climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank. Meanwhile, the United States seems poised to reverse the Obama administration's plans for a “pivot to Asia.”

The Belt and Road Initiative gives China the opportunity to create a political and economic network based on its own rules, with the ambitious goal of establishing what Chinese state-run media have dubbed “globalization 2.0.” Mr. Xi used the forum this week to present himself as one of its leaders – and, in stark contrast to US President Trump, as an advocate for free trade.

Has China Restored Private Land Ownership?

By Donald Clarke

Last March, at a press conference after China’s annual National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang made a remarkable—and remarkably unheralded—announcement: full private ownership of land has been restored in China’s cities. Needless to say, he did not use those exact words. But the import of his statement was the same. Here’s how it happened and why it’s important, both economically and as a bellwether of political change.

When the Chinese Communist Party assumed control over mainland China in 1949, it did not follow Russia’s Bolsheviks in immediately abolishing the private ownership of land. In the countryside, a violent land reform movement brought a change in owners, but not in the ownership regime itself; full collectivization did not occur until the late 1950s. In the cities, both owners and the ownership regime, at least for residential property, were initially left untouched. Over the years, however, government policies chipped away at the rights of landowners until, by the end of the Mao Zedong era, private ownership existed in name only. With the promulgation of a new constitution in 1982, all urban land was declared state-owned. Since then, state ownership of urban land has been considered a pillar of Chinese socialism.

Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order


VANG VIENG, Laos — Along the jungle-covered mountains of Laos, squads of Chinese engineers are drilling hundreds of tunnels and bridges to support a 260-mile railway, a $6 billion project that will eventually connect eight Asian countries.

Chinese money is building power plants in Pakistan to address chronic electricity shortages, part of an expected $46 billion worth of investment.

Chinese planners are mapping out train lines from Budapest to Belgrade, Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods flowing into Europe through a Chinese-owned port in Greece.

The massive infrastructure projects, along with hundreds of others across Asia, Africa and Europe, form the backbone of China’s ambitious economic and geopolitical agenda. President Xi Jinping of China is literally and figuratively forging ties, creating new markets for the country’s construction companies and exporting its model of state-led development in a quest to create deep economic connections and strong diplomatic relationships.

The initiative, called “One Belt, One Road,” looms on a scope and scale with little precedent in modern history, promising more than $1 trillion in infrastructure and spanning more than 60 countries. To celebrate China’s new global influence, Mr. Xi is gathering dozens of state leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in Beijing on Sunday.

Why ISIS Is Bullet-Proof


The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Michael W.S. Ryan, Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, to discuss ISIS’ recent battlefield losses, the group’s current level of influence, and what to expect from ISIS in coming months.

The Cipher Brief: Today, ISIS controls significantly less territory than it did two years ago, is losing ground in and around key cities such as Mosul and Raqqa, and is recruiting fewer foreign fighters. What is your assessment of the group’s overall strength and influence in Syria and Iraq?

Michael Ryan: By all measures, ISIS is weaker now than before the United States ramped up its military and intelligence campaign against the group. But ISIS, like al Qaeda, still operates within the strategic wrapper of classic guerrilla warfare. At its strongest, ISIS was able to field semi-conventional forces, substituting suicide bombers in armored trucks for close air support. Losing territory means losing this level of effectiveness.

However, losing territory translates into moving down the strategic ladder to terrorism and perhaps light guerrilla warfare, which can pose a serious threat to isolated units and urban settings like Mosul and Baghdad. Even if local forces can identify and destroy terrorist networks, individuals will continue to plan. We must consider ISIS, or perhaps its replacement, as a permanent terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq, unless sectarian divisions can be healed and its apocalyptic brand of Jihadi Salafist ideology is thoroughly discredited.

ISIS — From the Ground to Cyber Space


There are two schools of thought about the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Some experts say the group is nearly vanquished as it struggles to hold on to Mosul, Iraq, and prepares for the inevitable fight for its capital in Raqqa, Syria. Other analysts see ISIS as invincible, destined to wreak havoc in the Middle East for the next decade and beyond.

In some ways, both of these perceptions are true, which is why ISIS is such a unique adversary and terrorism such a difficult tactic to combat.

The End is Almost Near

Over the course of the past year, ISIS has lost a significant percentage of the land it once controlled in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, including Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Libya, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Its finances are being constricted and its fighters are abandoning the organization in droves. Moreover, many of its leaders, including Abu Abdul Rahman, a top lieutenant of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and some of the group’s most prominent external operations planners, are being killed and captured faster than they can be replaced.

As a brand, ISIS is also suffering. Its popularity is ebbing throughout parts of the Arab and Islamic world and, as terrorism expert John Horgan of Georgia State University and his colleagues recently pointed out, it is being forced to rely more on older recruits to carry out attacks, a turn of events that is perhaps a sign of desperation.

The Pentagon’s New Algorithmic Warfare Cell Gets Its First Mission: Hunt ISIS


Turning hours of drone video into actionable intelligence is just the start for the fast-moving machine-learning team. 

By year’s end, the Pentagon wants computers to be leading the hunt for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, through turning countless hours of aerial surveillance video into actionable intelligence.

It’s part of Project Maven, a fast-moving effort launched last month by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to accelerate, improve, and put to wider use the military’s use of machine learning. 

“We have to tackle the problem a different way,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T.“Jack” Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighter support, and the man tasked with finding the new technology. “We’re not going to solve it by throwing more people at the problem…That’s the last thing that we actually want to do. We want to be smarter about what we’re doing.”

Thousands of military and civilian intelligence analysts are “overwhelmed” by the amount of video being recorded over the battlefield. These analysts watch the video, looking for abnormal activities. Right now, about 95 percent of the video shot by drone and aircraft is from the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Why the Myth of Sunni-Shia Conflict Defines Middle East Policy—and Why It Shouldn’t

by Steven A. Cook

Last Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s minister of defense and deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, declared that the improvement of his country’s relations with Iran was impossible with this startling query: “How do you have a dialogue with a regime built on an extremist ideology … that they must control the land of Muslims and spread their Twelver Jaafari sect in the Muslim world?” The reference to the “Twelver Jaafari sect” was another way of saying “Shia,” the branch of Islam practiced in Iran. 

With his rhetorical question, bin Salman, a son of the Saudi king, undermined what were vague signs of a possible thaw in the cold war between the two Persian Gulf powers. For the first time in two years, Iranians will be permitted to take part in the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca required of all Muslims. The Kuwaiti leadership — one of the Saudis’ junior partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council — has been working hard to relieve Riyadh-Tehran tension. It seems likely that the Kuwaiti emir was freelancing, however, and the presence of Iranians at the annual pilgrimage is notable only because 500 of them died in a stampede during this Muslim rite in 2015. 

There does not seem to be an end in sight to the conflict between the Saudis and Iranians, although both sides have studiously avoided firing shots at each other and it largely continues at the expense of Yemeni blood. There was nothing all that surprising about bin Salman’s statement, though. The exercise of Iranian power in the region is the paramount concern for the five or so people who run Saudi Arabia. It is also was no surprise that the deputy crown prince framed the conflict in expressly sectarian terms. The problem is that the rest of the world has accepted, even internalized, this view, which plays right into the hands of the Saudis and other regional authoritarians. 

The Second Lebanon War: Failures, Lessons Learned and the Future

by Mohammad Naved Ferdaus Iqbal

In retrospection of the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, also known as the second Lebanon war, it would be somewhat parochial to tie Israel’s intelligence failures alone to the country’s performance in the war. There are numerous examples of complex failures starting from the highest political echelons down to even military doctrines including caveats of classified intelligence that contributed to Israel’s defeat as it battled Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. It is imperative that the failures are looked at, critically, from political, military, and intelligence perspectives. This paper, therefore, intends to evaluate Israel’s performance in the second Lebanon war by identifying the key failures, explaining the causes of failures and the lessons learned thereof for Israel’s future. While some Whitehouse and Israeli officials believe that the second Lebanon war has caused significant damage to Hezbollah’s capability, thus supposedly reducing the violent non-state actor’s formidability in a future warfare[i], the paper will, however, argue otherwise and also seek to include an outlook of Israel-Lebanon conflict in the future.

Instances of Israeli leadership’s strategic errors on the political, intelligence and military fronts were evident in the second Lebanon war. Since the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 until the outbreak of the war in 2006, Israeli political leadership chose to believe that Israel’s military strength was a strong deterrence against Hezbollah. The Israeli confidence or overconfidence to be more appropriate prevailed in spite of Hezbollah’s provocations such as soldier abductions, cross-border terrorist attacks and Katyusha barrages. In addition to Israel’s renewed focus during those years on the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza,[ii] there was also economic motivation to exercise restraint on Lebanon. This was because Israel did not want to upset the economic development in northern Israel that followed the withdrawal in 2000.[iii] Further research into the matter also shows that prior to the second Lebanon war, the country’s leadership did receive warnings from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff about Hezbollah’s growing threat.[iv] The Hezbollah attacks on an Israeli patrol and the abduction of two Israeli soldiers on 12 July 2006, however, finally terminated the Israeli restraint, and Tel Aviv’s subsequent reactions transpired into an active military warfare between Israel and Hezbollah.

How Will The Greek Crisis End? Debt-End Or Dead-End?

An international conference on Greece is taking place next week in Vienna. The event will take place 17 May from 08:00 to 21:30 at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, Praterstrasse 1, 1020, Vienna, sponsored by Webster Private University. Top academic, experts, and officials have been invited to discuss the specification of the Greek crisis and possible solutions.

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Here is the press release:

Symposium on the Greek Crisis from Webster Private University Vienna 

The dispute over the sustainability of the Greek public debt hinders the prospects of economic recovery and delays the exit from the crisis. 

The juxtaposition between the programme choices and other alternative approaches is absent from the public debate. 

With the participation of top academics, experts and officials, the purpose of the Symposium is to contribute positively to a dialogue between radical and orthodox proposals to exit the crisis. 



Russian hackers targeted the 2008 Barack Obama campaign and U.S. government officials as far back as 2007 and have continued to attack them since they left their government jobs, according to a new report scheduled for release Friday.

The targets included several of the 2008 Obama campaign field managers, as well as the president’s closest White House aides and senior officials in the Defense, State and Energy Departments, the report says.

It names several officials by title, but not by name, including “several officials involved in Russian policy, including a U.S. ambassador to Russia,” according to a draft version of the report, authored by Area 1 Security, a Redwood City, California, company founded by former National Security Agency veterans.

“They’re still getting fresh attacks,” the company says.

The attacks on their email accounts have continued as the officials migrated to think tanks, universities and private industry, the company says. The favored weapon of the Russians and other hackers is the so-called “phishing” email, in which the recipient is invited to click on a innocent-looking link, which opens a door to the attackers.

The Rough Rider Test


The Old Army’s First Gauge of Physical Readiness.

The United States Army’s method for evaluating the physical fitness of its soldiers has gone through several evolutions since it was first introduced during World War II. That early version consisted of five events: squat jumps, sit ups, pull ups, pushups, and a 300-yard run.[1] The modern three-event Army Physical Readiness Test has been in place for more than three decades consisting of sit ups, pushups, and a two-mile run. 

But perhaps the Army’s earliest attempt at gauging the physical readiness of its aging officer corps goes back 110 years when President Theodore Roosevelt became exasperated with the old, portly field grade officers prevalent in the Nation’s capital. Writing from the White House on May 13, 1907, the president directed his Secretary of War to develop and administer a regular, recurring test to ensure that field grade officers maintained their physical capacity to endure the rigors of active Army service.

As I have personally observed some field officers who were physically unable to ride even a few miles at an increased gait, and as I deem it essential that the field officers of the line of the Army should be at all times physically fit and able to perform the duties pertaining to the positions, especially in field, and as I believe that such physical fitness can only be demonstrated by actual physical tests, I desire that you give the necessary directions to have the physical condition of all officers of the line who come up for promotion to the grade of field officer actually tested for skill and endurance in riding, this in addition to the physical examination now required by law. I further desire that an annual or biennial test of the physical condition and skill in horsemanship of all field officers of the line be made under the personal supervision of the several department commanders when making their annual inspections. The test should be thorough and should consist of a ride of not less than fifteen miles at varying gaits adapted to the terrain, not less than ten miles of which shall be at the trot and gallop--approximately five miles at each, with such other exercises in equitation as may be deemed advisable.[2]

Utilizing Society’s Forgotten Half: The Essential Role of Women in Counter Terrorism

by James Howcroft

America and her partners have spent billions of dollars in the global struggle against terrorism. A successful strategy entails not only a whole of government approach, which makes use of the wide range of abilities and expertise throughout government, but also the involvement of non-governmental players such as religious leaders, families, NGOs and private businesses which can play a vital role in a broader “whole of society” strategy. Yet we cannot expect to be successful while ignoring the unique contributions and capabilities of the female half of our population. It is madness to ignore half of society’s talent and skill in our fight against terrorism. Involving women in fighting terrorism isn’t a “women’s issue”, - it’s a security issue.

There is a growing appreciation that women can contribute in a number of powerful ways to a nation's counter terrorism (CT) strategy. While CT professionals increasingly acknowledge the important role of women in combatting terrorism and violent extremism, less well known and understood is precisely how to put this into practice. While there isn’t a single, “correct” academically validated model regarding how to engage females more effectively against terrorism, there is practical experience from global counter terrorism practitioners. My professional interaction with hundreds of global counter terrorism practitioners from a wide range of nations and cultures while directing the George C. Marshall Center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS) suggests there are important CT roles for which women are particularly well suited. 

Multi-Domain Battle And The Masks Of War: Why It’s Time To Eliminate The Independent Services – Modern War Institute

by Michael C. Davies 

Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) has become the flavor of the month. Pushed predominantly by the US Army and Marine Corps, it is the current iteration of various recent attempts to meld the services, the military missions, and the strategic environment into a coherent, all-encompassing concept. Jointness is no longer enough.

As repeatedly seen since the end of World War II, however, the United States has a consistent record of losing wars, both on the battlefield, and as policy contests. The US military services’ institutional cultures—what Carl Builder called their “masks of war”—deserve a significant amount of blame for these failures, as these masks are only useful when the enemy fights exactly as the services’ masks want them to. That is a genuine rarity, and becoming ever more unlikely, as Army and Marines’ initial MDB white paper itself states. But just as with any attempt at reform, the services, as bureaucratic entities, will continue to do their thing unless radical change is forced upon them.

Therefore, there is only one way to make MDB both effective and a reality: Eliminate the independent services. By sweeping clear the current organizational structure of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force and rebirthing them from scratch as cross-functional corps, built to fight according to the twelve Joint Force Prioritized Missions delineated in the most recent National Military Strategy, battlefield victory with strategic purpose will be possible again.

Inclusive Peace Processes Are Key to Ending Violent Conflict

By Colette Rausch, Tina Luu for United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

The number of armed conflicts reached a post–Cold War peak in 2015, exacting a terrible death toll and forcing millions to flee.
One key to reaching a sustainable peace is inclusivity, which can knit together a frayed social fabric and give all groups a stake in transforming their country. 

Conflicts have many levels, and peacebuilders need to create paths between them, creating opportunities for involvement and linking issues and groups. 

Various peacebuilding strands of issues or activities—such as building trust and consulting with affected groups—can be woven together to strengthen a peace process. 

Enabling marginalized groups to influence the content of a peace process increases the chances of a sustainable peace. 

Peacebuilders are sharpening their understanding of how to achieve inclusivity but knowledge gaps remain. Multidisciplinary e orts are required. 

Pentagon Unprepared for New Arms Race

By Sandra I. Erwin

The globalization of technology has set off an entirely new arms race for which the Pentagon is not prepared. The question that should haunt U.S. defense officials is how long before China and other rising powers will militarize commercially available off-the-shelf technology (COTS).

Generals and admirals at the Pentagon fret about China’s ambitious military modernization plan. Cringing at the potential of a future war in the Western Pacific might involve Chinese missiles and submarines capable of overpowering America’s military. How the Pentagon moves to respond, however, calls for a fresh discussion on how China is building a technologically superior military.

The Pentagon for years has accused the Chinese government of industrial espionage and of reverse engineering U.S. weapons designs. The problem with this mindset is that it assumes that the crown jewels of defense technology reside in protected silos. That was once the case but no longer. 

Multi-domain Battle and the Masks of War

By Michael C. Davies

Why It’s Time to Eliminate the Independent Services

Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) has become the flavor of the month. Pushed predominantly by the US Army and Marine Corps, it is the current iteration of various recent attempts to meld the services, the military missions, and the strategic environment into a coherent, all-encompassing concept. Jointness is no longer enough.

As repeatedly seen since the end of World War II, however, the United States has a consistent record of losing wars, both on the battlefield, and as policy contests. The US military services’ institutional cultures—what Carl Builder called their “masks of war”—deserve a significant amount of blame for these failures, as these masks are only useful when the enemy fights exactly as the services’ masks want them to. That is a genuine rarity, and becoming ever more unlikely, as Army and Marines’ initial MDB white paper itself states. But just as with any attempt at reform, the services, as bureaucratic entities, will continue to do their thing unless radical change is forced upon them.

Therefore, there is only one way to make MDB both effective and a reality: Eliminate the independent services. By sweeping clear the current organizational structure of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force and rebirthing them from scratch as cross-functional corps, built to fight according to the twelve Joint Force Prioritized Missions delineated in the most recent National Military Strategy, battlefield victory with strategic purpose will be possible again.

The Rise of the Commercial Threat: Countering the Small Unmanned Aircraft System

By Anthony Tingle, David Tyree for National Defense University Press

The Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) is a disruptive commercial technology that poses a unique and currently undefined threat to U.S. national security. Although, as with any new technology, the parameters of the capabilities regarding military use have yet to be fully discovered, recent events highlight the potential danger. In September 2013, an unarmed sUAS hovered near the face of German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she delivered a campaign speech.1 In January of 2015, an sUAS defied restricted airspace and landed, initially undetected, on the White House lawn.2 And more recently, in August of 2016, at least five sUASs disrupted wildfire fighting efforts near Los Angeles, grounding helicopters for fear of mid-air collisions.3 Likewise, sUAS altercations with law enforcement are increasing, as the Federal Aviation Administration now receives over 100 adverse UAS reports per month.4 These examples emphasize the intrusive, undetectable, and potentially lethal nature of this emerging technology.

The sUAS epitomizes the difficulties with rapidly advancing commercial technology.5 The sUAS is as prolific as it is disruptive, and it will challenge our joint air-defense procedures and doctrine and redefine our perspective on the military uses of commercial technology. In this article, we examine the characteristics and capabilities of the sUAS, report on current counter-UAS initiatives within the Department of Defense (DOD), and present policy ideas to mitigate the future threat from militarized commercial technology.

Global cyber attack fuels concern about U.S. vulnerability disclosures

WASHINGTON A global cyber attack on Friday renewed concerns about whether the U.S. National Security Agency and other countries’ intelligence services too often hoard software vulnerabilities for offensive purposes, rather than quickly alerting technology companies to such flaws.

Hacking tools believed to belong to the NSA that were leaked online last month appear to be the root cause of a major cyber attack unfurling throughout Europe and beyond, security researchers said, stoking fears that the spy agency’s powerful cyber weapons had been stolen and repurposed by hackers with nefarious goals.

Some cyber security experts and privacy advocates said the massive attack reflected a flawed approach by the United States to dedicate more cyber resources to offense rather than defense, a practice they argued makes the internet less secure.

Across the U.S. federal government, about 90 percent of all spending on cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior intelligence officials told Reuters in March. (reut.rs/2o7qHqN)

“These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world,” Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.


Jahanzaib Hassan has an article by the title above on the cyber security website, HackRead.com. Mr. Hassan writes that customers who had mobile banking accounts with Telefonica Bank in Germany, recently had their accounts raided by hackers. Mr. Hassan notes that the cyber thieves “exploited a vulnerability that has long persisted in the global mobile signaling system.”

What Was Stolen?

According to the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, – O-2 Telefonica, “hackers stole funds [amount not specified] from some of its clients’ bank accounts, by redirecting incoming SMS messages to themselves, that were meant to be received by certain mobile numbers.” The bank told Mr. Hassan/HackRead that “a foreign network was responsible for committing the act;” although they acknowledged they weren’t sure who the ‘foreign network was,’ or at least Telefonica wasn’t saying so publicly. 

The SS7 Protocol

“Created in the early 1970s, the SS7 Protocol, otherwise known as the Signaling System 7, is the primary medium through which networks all across the world can interoperate,” Mr. Hassan wrote. “Last year,” he noted, “that hackers exploited the SS7 flaw to hack [a] FaceBook account by simply knowing the victim’s phone number.” The hackers gained access to a network’s operating system — either through hacking, or a trusted insider. Once inside the bank’s enterprise network, the cyber thieves easily maneuvered to “reach the network’s back-end system,” and ultimately access to customer’s bank accounts.


By Matthew Merighi
Join the latest episode of Sea Control for a conversation with Professor Chris Taylor of Georgetown University to talk about the Hacking for Defense (H4D) movement. Pioneered by Stanford Professor Steve Blank, H4D is bringing Silicon Valley’s innovation ethos to combat national security challenges. Chris takes us through the defense innovation ecosystem, the partnerships which support it, and how H4D is becoming a fixture in university classrooms.

The transcript of the conversation between Chris Taylor (CT) and Matthew Merighi (MM) begins below. Special thanks to Associate Producers Roman Madaus and Ryan Uljua for helping produce this episode.

MM: As I mentioned at the top I’m here with Professor Chris Taylor of Georgetown University and a member Hacking for Defense. Professor Taylor, thank you very much for being with us on Sea Control today. Now as is Sea Control tradition, Professor Taylor, please introduce yourself tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to be where you are right now.

The Best Cybersecurity Investment You Can Make Is Better Training

As the scale and complexity of the cyber threat landscape is revealed, so too is the general lack of cybersecurity readiness in organizations, even those that spend hundreds of millions of dollars on state-of-the-art technology. Investors who have flooded the cybersecurity market in search for the next software “unicorn” have yet to realize that when it comes to a risk as complex as this one, there is no panacea — certainly not one that depends on technology alone.

Spending millions on security technology can certainly make an executive feel safe. But the major sources of cyber threats aren’t technological. They’re found in the human brain, in the form of curiosity, ignorance, apathy, and hubris. These human forms of malware can be present in any organization and are every bit as dangerous as threats delivered through malicious code.

With any cyber threat, the first and last line of defense is prepared leaders and employees, whether they are inside an organization or part of an interconnected supply chain.

And yet organizational leadership all too often demonstrates outright technology torpitude. An unprepared, lethargic leadership only amplifies the consequences of a security breach. The scale of the Yahoo breach disclosed in 2016, combined with the fumbling response, cost the company and its shareholders $350 million in its merger with Verizon and nearly scuttled the entire deal.

What’s new with the Internet of Things?

By Mark Patel, Jason Shangkuan, and Christopher Thomas

Adoption of the Internet of Things is proceeding more slowly than expected, but semiconductor companies can help accelerate growth through new technologies and business models. 

Niccolò Machiavelli, one of history’s great futurists, might have predicted the Internet of Things (IoT) when he wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” The IoT’s early innovators, who have grappled with mixed overall demand, a lack of consistent standards, and other challenges, would agree that their road has been difficult. But, like other visionaries before them, they have persisted in establishing a new order because they see the promise ahead. 

Both consumers and the media are fascinated by IoT innovations that have already hit the market. These “smart” devices have sensors that communicate seamlessly over the Internet with other devices or the cloud, generating data that make the world safer, more productive, and healthier. In just a few years, some IoT devices have become standard, including thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature and production-line sensors that inform workshop supervisors of machine condition. Now innovators want to enable more sophisticated IoT technologies for self-driving cars, drone-delivery services, and other advanced applications. 

The Work World Is Changing And Society Needs To Change As Well

by John Slater

We live in a time of great paradox. Technologies such as low cost renewable energy and automated production tools promise a world of abundance in which global poverty is abolished and human drudgery is eliminated. Yet even a casual glance at the daily news confronts us with a sense of dread that, far from Utopia, we are instead headed toward a dystopian future in which the benefits of technological advance will be reserved for a privileged few.

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The disquieting consequence is that the bulk of humanity is relegated to scraping out a meager existence in a mean-spirited world where jobs (and the prosperity they bring) are reserved for a global elite trained to read the sacred texts of a new religion of technology.

Is the social contract of Western civilization, promising fair treatment and opportunity for all, which took root in 18th century England and France and flowered in the post WWII democracies, destined to fail? Just how will the world adapt to the current wave of technological advance which threatens the jobs of today’s middle class much as Mr. McCormick’s reaper drove earlier generations from the farms and into the factories of a prior era?

Time Warfare: Threats to GPS Aren’t Just About Navigation and Positioning


The U.S. military needs to get serious about assuring access to precision timing.

When people talk about the U.S. military’s dependence on positioning, navigation, and timing, or PNT, information, they’re usually thinking about GPS — more formally, the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System. And these days, they’re often concerned about the ways adversaries can disrupt GPS signals and thereby deny U.S. forces the positioning and navigation information that enables the “American Way of War.” But there’s another aspect of PNT that is getting short shrift: the T, for timing.

But did you realize that GPS actually only provides timing information? The positioning and navigation information that we associate with GPS is simply derived from these timing signals by receiver devices, and far more users depend on this Air Force maintained constellation for timing information alone.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 11 of the 16 critical industries identified in Presidential Policy Directive 21 rely on precision timing. In the civilian world, these uses include communications, cellular phones, power distribution, finance, and information technology. Military capabilities that depend on precision timing include sensing, sensor fusion, datalinks, secure communications, electronic warfare, network operations, and command and control. 


“Every breath you take, every move you make, move you make, every step you take…..I’ll be watching you,” are the lyrics to the 1983 song, ‘Every Breath You Take,’ by the group – The Police. A song, no doubt, that George Orwell would appreciate. Technology can be a wonderful thing; and, open up so many possibilities for enriching our lives — that heretofore were not available to many millions, if not billions of people around the globe. But, as with most things in life, along with the good, there is also the bad. 

Craig Timberg’s August 14, 2014 article, “For Sale: Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around The Globe,” highlighted the fact that “makers of surveillance systems were offering governments across the globe, the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cell phone — whether they are blocks away, or on another continent.” Mr,. Timberg explained that “the technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They [these devices] must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks, or longer.” 

Cyber enemies of the United States

Cyberwarfare can knock out physical machines and the attack can come from anywhere on the planet, reports Doug Olenick.

There is no simply way to rank the nation-state or criminal entity that poses the greatest cybersecurity threat to the United States – and the world in general. 

There are simply too many variables and the tools are offensive available to all. A single person with a grudge sitting in their basement, to the head of the largest country on the planet or of the most populous nation all have access equally to some of the most destructive malware around. 

So, it's more a matter of what type of attack the bad actors are in the mood for that will determine which causes a catastrophic-level cyber event.


Russia is a powerhouse and a tremendous threat to the United States on several levels, but the latest revelations solidifying the idea that the Russian Bear likely attempted to influence the U.S. presidential election makes that country our biggest enemy.