3 June 2017

*** When Indian Soldiers Helped Turn The Tide In Favour Of The Allies In World War-II

Shefali K. Chandan

It weren’t British soldiers which halted Japan’s advance into India in the World War II. It were Indian soldiers fighting for the British Indian Army. Here, a recap of the historic battles at Imphal and Kohima.

India’s role in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre during World War II is relatively unknown. The “China-Burma-India theatre” refers to the United States military’s operations in China, parts of south-east Asia, Burma and eastern India. The chief goal of the Americans and other Allies in the CBI theatre was to supply equipment, arms, fuel and food to Chiang Kai-Shek’s army. The Allies wanted to enable the Chinese Nationalist Army to fight against Japanese incursions into China and Burma. They hoped that a fortified China would fend off the Japanese in Asia while Britain and the Soviet Union focused on operations against Germany in Europe. India - especially parts of Assam, Manipur and Bengal - were the chief bases for the supply operations into Burma and China.

*** Trump's 'Arab NATO' Vision is a Desert Mirage

By Reva Goujon

Ever since Teddy Roosevelt began a tradition of overseas state visits when he headed to Panama to check on his canal project in 1906, American presidents have chosen the destination of their first overseas visit with foreign policy theater in mind. The majority, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama, stayed close to home to focus on North America or the Caribbean Basin. Others, from Woodrow Wilson to Jimmy Carter, crossed the Atlantic amid wars hot and cold. Donald Trump, however, is the first to choose the Middle East for his foreign debut. His reach, in this case, may well exceed his grasp, especially when it comes to the concept of building an "Arab NATO" to manage the region.

A Trump Tweak to the Balance of Power

Trump was seemingly determined during his recently concluded visit to bring new vigor to the dragging war on jihadism and the West's unsettling relationship with Iran by offering a different tact: Unite with Washington behind a common mission to eradicate a barbaric strand of Islamist extremism and, in return, Uncle Sam will mind his own business when it comes to the region’s domestic affairs.

The broader strategy of a United States trying to reduce overseas burdens by prodding regional partners to step up and do more is, in fact, an extension of Obama's foreign policy. Trump, however, is trying a very different means to the same goal. The president’s characteristically brazen manner, admonishing European partners while lavishing praise on his Arab counterparts and acting aloof toward Asia-Pacific allies is, in its own odd way, designed to spur the rest of the world into action. In the case of the Middle East, in particular, Trump has espoused the concept of an Arab NATO — led by Saudi Arabia and handsomely outfitted with U.S. military hardware — to help the United States neutralize terrorist threats and push back against Iran.

*** China's Military Is Becoming More Powerful by the Day (But Suffers from One Big Problem)

Elsa Kania

The People’s Liberation Army has not officially released a new generation of operational regulations (作战条令)—which are believed to be roughly equivalent to doctrine—since its fourth generation of them in 1999. The protracted process for their revision has apparently become a “bottleneck” for the PLA’s advances in joint operations and training. Evidently, its attempts to update these doctrinal documents in response to new strategic challenges have lagged behind its intended progression towards jointness, while failing to keep pace with changes in the form of warfare. There may be several factors that have delayed the revision process, including interservice rivalry or bureaucratic and cultural impediments to change. These dynamics have plagued attempts to advance PLA reforms in the past, yet the historic reform agenda that is ongoing has sought to overcome such obstacles. At this point, the fifth-generation operational regulations do appear to be forthcoming within the foreseeable future, given multiple indications of extensive, ongoing revision and evaluation. However, the timing remains uncertain. Since operational regulations are considering integral in guiding the PLA’s approach to training and actual combat activities, the completion of the revision and full release of this fifth generation could indicate the PLA has overcome prior challenges to achieve substantive doctrinal progress that could enable future advances, including perhaps in space and cyber warfare.

*** Considering China

"The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government."
China is as exotic as it is complex. It is as focused as it is unpredictable. Furthermore, it is powerful in some regards while it is inexplicably weak in others. Across China’s expansive land mass there resides a diversity of language, customs, and ethnicities of unimaginable scope. Yet, hidden within the halls of its government lies the forces of a regional power that extend beyond those halls and penetrates the entire region, and often beyond. Considering China requires stepping out of any Western-centric mindset and viewing circumstances with a much more Asian flavor. After doing so, and only then, should the conclusions be put through an American filter to understand Chinese actions and ascertain potential intentions on a more solid footing. 

One aspect to consider is time. In this regard, China plays a long game and normally thinks in centuries or millennia vice decades or years. This enduring culture finds solace in its proven resiliency and ancient history. Compared to the strength of the Roman Empire, the British Empire, or American hegemony - China usually has a common answer waiting in the wings...Just wait. While other nations dabble in elections, character assassination, partisan politics, faltering coalitions, and so forth. China slowly plods along on a turtle-like pace, yet ever pressing forward on several simultaneous fronts. 

** Islamic States and Muslim Secularism

By Kamran Bokhari

Two key parallel problems plague contemporary Muslim political thought. First, the notion of an Islamic state is highly contentious and is not limited to Islamists. Second, the notion of the secular is largely rejected or at best is an uncomfortable and vague idea. This is why Muslim-majority nations will struggle with the role of religion in politics for a long time to come.

In our Reality Check on Monday, George Friedman discussed how the secular-religious divide in Turkey continues to drive the country’s geopolitics. It will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This is despite the ruling Islamist-based Justice and Development Party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan narrowly winning a referendum on Sunday backing a new constitution. Meanwhile, next door in Azerbaijan, a staunchly secular Muslim state that emerged from nearly seven decades of communist rule, a rare crisis took place involving the demolition of a mosque in the country’s capital of Baku. Normally, local municipal authorities deal with such issues. But in this case, President Ilham Aliyev personally got involved to defuse the situation. Not only did the Azerbaijani leader halt the demolition in the wake of public unrest, but also his top associates are going out of their way to underscore the regime’s commitment to Islam.

To Control Its Future, India Must Control Its Energy Sources

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee

Continuing mismanagement has led to repeated crises in the coal sector and the coal scam was the culmination of it.

However, the present government’s bid to explore all aspects of energy for the first time is a good sign.

The conviction of former coal secretary H C Gupta by a Central Bureau of Investigation special court in one of the coal allocations is a sign of a much larger problem in India’s energy economy – that of mismanagement. And this partly explains how India is trailing China on ensuring energy security.

Energy is at the heart of any country’s assurance of economic security. Former United States president Barack Obama put it pithily when he declared ‘a nation that can’t control its energy sources can’t control its future’, spelling out a compelling reason for the need to get back to discovering the juice to power plants, cars and homes from within America instead of mining for oil in the deserts of Middle East.

Energy is the plumbing that underlies any economy. Below the flashing lights of banks of computer terminals, the smart cities, the digital economy is the energy lifeline. Roughly, for a 1 per cent growth of gross domestic product (GDP) for an economy, the rate of growth of energy supply has to be 1 per cent too. It has begun to climb down only now as energy efficiency of economies has begun to improve, both in usage of conventional fuels and larger use of renewable energy.

The Aadhaar legal framework is broken

Aadhaar has in recent times become an important tool in the government armoury. From welfare receipts to filing tax returns, an Aadhaar number is now an all-pervasive prerequisite. As Aadhaar becomes the core around which our relationship with the state revolves, we need to ask ourselves if the surrounding legal framework provides enough clarity on the enrolment, authentication, and storage processes. Are there adequate protections against misuse? Do citizens have access to an adequate grievance redressal mechanism? We think the answers to these questions are a resounding no.

Before explaining further, it is important to understand the authority that runs and regulates Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the agency responsible for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, ensuring the security of individuals’ identity information, and managing the grievance redressal mechanism. Two legal instruments shape UIDAI’s behaviour: the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and the Aadhaar Regulations, 2016, on enrolment, authentication, data security, and sharing of information. We need these to be precise, and to provide for adequate checks and balances to hold UIDAI accountable.

Herein lies the problem. There is not enough clarity on important aspects pertaining to the Aadhaar scheme. The Aadhaar Act left several aspects, such as the information required for enrolment and verification, the procedure of sharing identity information, and the security protocols, to be specified “by regulations”. So we have a law that has decided to not specify these core issues, in the expectation that they would be fleshed out in future regulations.

The New Normal: Sending Troops to Afghanistan and Forgetting They Exist

Daniel R. DePetris

The handwriting is on the wall: Whether it’s a strategically sound policy or not, it’s likely the Trump administration will authorize the Pentagon to deploy an additional three thousand to five thousand U.S. troops to Afghanistan to ostensibly prevent the Taliban from capturing more territory.

While the details are not yet out, administration officials are saying the exact things one would expect before a sizable troop increase. Gen. John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, requested additional troop strength in February during a congressional hearing, selling it as the only way to stop the situation from getting worse. In his annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats wrote that “endemic state weaknesses, the [Afghan] government’s political fragility, deficiencies of the Afghan National Security Forces, Taliban persistence, and regional interference will remain key impediments to improvement.” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, all but brought in a flashing red light to the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, warning that “we’ll lose all the gains we’ve invested in over the last several years” if Washington doesn’t do something. Coming from a military man, that “do something” means more U.S. soldiers, more trainers, more advisers, more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, more of everything.

The Dragon Dares The Elephant Once Again

Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, PVSM, AVSM, SM (Retd)

“There lies a sleeping giant. Let her sleep; for once she awakens she will shake the world.” - Napoleon on China

Napoleon’s prophecy may be coming true, as China challenges the US supremacy and seeks equal power status. The paradigm shift in China’s philosophy under Deng Xiaoping from ‘Hiding one’s strength and biding one’s time’ is evident in Chinese stance and actions in South China Sea, North Korea, the Belt Road Initiative(BRI)/One Belt One Road (OBOR), and importantly, the display of military might including the transformation of its military organization and command structures. China today is no longer biding time nor hiding its strength. It is challenging the US hegemony seeking global leadership, and equal nation status. China as an emerging superpower will be more assertive in its India policy, forcing India to review its China policy.

India’s perception and understanding of China is based on the Western perspective of China and is clouded by the baggage of the 1962 debacle. Very few even among the strategic community, academia and the military make an honest effort to understand China from India’s perspective and concerns. 

The BRI and China’s New Regional Strategy

By Feng Zhang

What, exactly, is China trying to do with the vast Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, formally known as One Belt, One Road) by building connectivity across the whole Eurasian continent? Since President Xi Jinping launched the project in 2013, three narratives have dominated discussions about it—two from China and one mainly from the outside world.

In 2013–14, when thinking about the BRI had just begun, many Chinese observers presented it as a purely economic initiative. They pointed to strong continuities in many infrastructure projects that were begun well before 2013 but had since been incorporated into the all-encompassing BRI. They also pointed out its strong economic motivations, including exporting productive capacity, investing foreign exchange reserves, securing stable energy supplies, and promoting development in China’s vast but relatively backward western region.

Since 2015, the Chinese Government has begun to present more lofty and inclusive visions. Most recently, in his speech to the BRI forum in Beijing on 15 May, President Xi linked the BRI to China’s foreign policy goals of win–win and common development, believing that it would ‘generate strong momentum for building a human community of shared future’.

Common to these two Chinese narratives about the BRI is the absence of any discussion about geopolitics. This isn’t surprising. The last thing China wants is for the outside world to see the BRI as China’s geopolitical attempt to dominate Eurasia economically and eventually strategically. Beijing therefore tries hard to refute any speculation that the BRI may have competitive geopolitical purposes beyond common development and win–win cooperation.

No More Fun and Games: How China’s Acquisition of U.S. Media Entities Threatens America’s National Security

by Darren E. Tromblay

In recent months, U.S. – Chinese tensions have flared over China’s activities in the South China Sea and over the handling of North Korea. However, these overt confrontations represent only one aspect of China’s efforts to undermine U.S. elements of national power. China has a well-established respect for information warfare. Chinese companies have made a variety of acquisitions in the United States that it can leverage to influence U.S. decision-making. While certain aspects of this buying spree – telecom and media purchases – have made national headlines and prompted U.S. government inquiries, China’s entry into - and consolidation of its holdings in - the entertainment field provide a vector that has not been sufficiently scrutinized.

China’s Philosophy Regarding Information Warfare

China has long-recognized the value of information warfare. The Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) has operated with the understanding that gaining control over adversaries’ information and information systems, at times preemptively, is essential to successful warfighting.[i] In 2003, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and its Central Military Commission approved a warfare concept for the PLA which explicitly included actions to target public opinion – specifically degrading adversaries’ justification for action - via the media.[ii] However, China does not limit its information warfare to military actors. Rather it is using information operations not simply to prepare and control the battlespace but to create new international norms. In July 2016, China’s president, Xi Jinqing, introduced the concept of a “China solution” in the search for better social institutions.[iii] The concept, according to the Economist, remains ill-defined and but has cited by China as an applicable approach to any number of problems.[iv] Developing support for this “China solution” to a given issue would allow Beijing to shape the policy of competing powers without resorting to coercion. However, to do this, China must first reach the audiences that might be amenable to the accepting the “China solution”.

Defining Militarisation: China Grapples with Explaining its Great Power Status

In his statement at the White House in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a commitment not to militarise the artificial islands China built in the South China Sea. Observers wondered how China defined the term ‘militarisation’. And it is this lack of clarity helping to fuel speculation over Beijing’s strategic ambitions.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines militarisation as ‘equip or supply [a place] with soldiers and other military resources’ or to ‘give [something] a military character’. Strictly speaking, the South China Sea is being militarised by multiple parties through the very simple fact that military facilities and capabilities are being stationed on islands in the Spratlys.

In August 2016, Reuters reported that Vietnam placed mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China’s runways and military installations on some of the islands it occupies in the South China Sea.

While the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi denied this, its response referred to Vietnam’s inherent right of self-defence. This argument is not unfamiliar to Beijing, which has deployed military ships and aircraft, and installed radars, missile systems and rocket launchers on several of the artificial islands it has constructed in the Spratlys.

Empowering ISIS Opponents on Twitter

PDF file 0.2 MB 

This Perspective presents options for operationalizing recent RAND Corporation findings about ISIS opponents and supporters on Twitter. This paper formulates a countermessaging approach for two main communication pathways. First, we articulate an approach for working with influential Twitter users in the Arab world to promote bottom-up and authentic counter-ISIS messaging. Second, we highlight ways that U.S. and partner governments and nongovernmental organizations can use our analysis to more effectively implement top-down messaging to directly counter ISIS support on Twitter. Our original study found that there are six times the number of ISIS opponents than there are supporters on Twitter. We argue that it is critical to empower these influencers by drawing on lessons from the commercial marketing industry. We consequently highlight approaches to identify influencers on social media and empower them with both training and influential content.

Key Findings

While Social Media Is Still Relatively New, Many of the Best Practices for Using It Are Based on Well-Understood Marketing Approaches 

The first, and perhaps most important, lesson is that a social media campaign must be part of a broader marketing strategy, whether to sell more shoes of a particular brand or to convince at-risk populations not to engage in violent extremist behavior. 

Carthage vs. Mosul: The Utility of Tactical Theory

By B.A. Friedman

By 149 BC, after three wars that crossed several generations, the ancient Romans and Carthaginians had enough of war. Carthage itself was besieged, but the Carthaginians refused to surrender a third time, instead opting to resist Roman hegemony in North Africa. They would do so for almost two more years, over the course of which Roman forces under commanding general Scipio Aemilianus assaulted the besieged city by land and sea until finally taking it by storm.

Despite the Roman onslaught, the Carthaginians did not surrender. Instead, they improvised local weapons production, fought the Romans house-to-house in close combat, introduced a third dimension to the battle by fighting from rooftops with flung stones and masonry, and attempted to demoralize the Romans through acts of extreme violence, executing Roman prisoners in grisly fashion on the walls before the Roman camps. Only when the Carthaginian survivors were bottled up in the city’s fortress did some 50,000 Carthaginian citizens finally surrender. Even then, many chose to commit suicide instead of becoming Roman captives. According to the historian Polybius, an eyewitness to the events, the final hours of Carthage’s existence were so horrifying that even the battle-hardened Roman commander Scipio openly wept upon seeing the city’s destruction. Carthage’s survivors were sold into slavery, the city was razed, and after 146 BC when the city finally fell, the Carthaginian civilization ceased to exist.

Russian Lawmaker: We Would Use Nukes if US or NATO Enters Crimea


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons in any conflict in which U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials on Sunday.

“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — If U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Russian military leaders have discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with military leaders in NATO, as part of broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion, Nikonov later told Defense One.

Nikonov’s threat might sound startling, but it’s in keeping with the current state of Russia’s ever-evolving policy on the use of nuclear weapons. While the Soviet Union maintained a policy against the first use of nukes, Putin’s government turned away from that strict prohibition in 2000 with the signing of a new military doctrine that allows for the limited use of nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”

Should Russia's new Armata T-14 tanks worry Nato?

By Jonathan Marcus

A Russian innovation in armoured warfare has pushed Norway to replace many of its current anti-tank systems.

Active protection systems (APS) are being built into Russia's new Armata T-14 tank, posing a problem for a whole generation of anti-armour weapons, not least the US-supplied Javelin guided missile, used by the Norwegian Army.

The warning comes from Brig Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He says this is a problem that most Nato countries have barely begun to grapple with.

APS threatens to make existing anti-tank weapons far less effective, and there is little real discussion of this among many Western militaries, he says.

Some countries are conducting research and trials to equip their own tanks with APS. "But they seem to miss the uncomfortable implications for their own anti-armour capabilities," he says.

Norway is one of the first Nato countries to grasp this nettle. Its latest defence procurement plan envisages spending 200-350m kroner (£18.5-32.5m; $24-42m) on replacing its Javelin missiles, "to maintain the capacity to fight against heavy armoured vehicles".

"There is a need for [an] anti-tank missile," it says, "that can penetrate APS systems".

APS is the latest twist in the age-old battle between offence and defence in military technology.

Colin Powell: American Leadership — We Can’t Do It for Free

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At our best, being a great nation has always meant a commitment to building a better, safer world — not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. This has meant leading the world in advancing the cause of peace, responding when disease and disaster strike, lifting millions out of poverty and inspiring those yearning for freedom.

This calling is under threat.

The administration’s proposal, announced Tuesday, to slash approximately 30 percent from the State Department and foreign assistance budget signals an American retreat, leaving a vacuum that would make us far less safe and prosperous. While it may sound penny-wise, it is pound-foolish.

This proposal would bring resources for our civilian forces to a third of what we spent at the height of Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” years, as a percentage of the gross domestic product. It would be internationally irresponsible, distressing our friends, encouraging our enemies and undermining our own economic and national security interests.

The idea that putting Americans “first” requires a withdrawal from the world is simply wrongheaded, because a retreat would achieve exactly the opposite for our citizens. I learned that lesson the hard way when I became secretary of state after a decade of budget cuts that hollowed out our civilian foreign policy tools.

Djibouti Wins Jackpot – Renting Out Desert for Military Bases

Edward Paice

China is constructing its first overseas military base just a few miles from one of the United States’ largest and most important foreign bases — Camp Lemonnier in the small East African nation of Djibouti. Five other nations have put up bases there, and Saudi Arabia will soon join them. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder asked Edward Paice, director of the Africa Research Institute in London, why China chose Djibouti, what the U.S. thinks about it, and why several other nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, focusing military attention on the coast of the Horn of Africa.

The Cipher Brief: Why is China building its first overseas military base in Djibouti?

Edward Paice: Djibouti has great strategic importance. It is located on the Babel el Mandeb. It’s only 20 or 30 miles from the Arabian Peninsula, opposite Yemen. Estimates vary but about 30 percent of the world’s shipping goes through there and onto Suez. From a trade point of view, Djibouti is a kind of chokepoint. China’s trade to Europe goes mostly through that route, and that’s a substantial proportion of a billion dollars a day. Part of the rationale is that in the development of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, this is a key point and will enable it to better protect trade flows. That’s the trade argument.

Militarily, it’s pretty well placed for access to both Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Djibouti is almost one leg in each – and that’s been attractive to a number of other powers. China has, over the years, gotten increasingly involved in peacekeeping, it has cited its desire to play a greater role in peacekeeping, and it has combat troops in both South Sudan and Mali. It’s logical that it needs an actual base somewhere in Africa, which is really no different from the Americans saying that they need Camp Lemonnier as a headquarters for operations in Africa, whether in peacekeeping or counterterror or whatever. That is the military rationale.

U.S., China, Others Build Bases In Djibouti – What Could Go Wrong?

Kaitlin Lavinder

The small East African country of Djibouti – which sits on the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, a gateway to the Suez Canal and a shipping chokepoint in the sea lanes connecting Africa with the Middle East and India – hosts seven foreign militaries. The U.S. and China are now neighbors, and Saudi Arabia is coming soon.

The U.S. owns the biggest base there. Since 2002, Camp Lemonnier has occupied more than 600 acres of Djibouti’s land and hosted around 4,000 American military and civilian personnel. It is the U.S. Africa Command’s main base in the Horn of Africa, a strategically vital location for fighting terrorists on the continent and monitoring piracy in the waters off Djibouti’s coast.

The French, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and Japanese have joined the U.S. as fellow land leasers, with similar strategic and economic interests. Saudi Arabia, another U.S. ally, has a strong interest in Yemen, because Djibouti sits just across the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait from Yemen. The Saudis support Yemen’s government in its ongoing war against the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Washington has committed support to the Saudis for this fight.

But Beijing’s interests in Djibouti remain murky – and potentially at odds with U.S. interests in the region. “They view that [the base in Djibouti] as part of their long-term strategy to become a global power, not just a regional power, and they are spending an extraordinary amount of effort and investment,” Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats earlier this month.

DoD is flush with cash, but running empty of ideas

Summary: While taxes remain low for the rich and our key social and physical infrastructure decays, a few parts of the government thrive. Today Chuck Spinney, one of our most acute observers of the US military, describes how the latest deal made by Congress continues the lavish funding of the US military-industrial complex. Something to remember as you watch the Kabuki plays of Campaign 2016.

Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts


SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn’t come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

A link, attached to a Twitter post put out by a robot account, promised a family-friendly vacation package for the summer. It was the kind of thing anyone might click on, according to the official hit by the attack, who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

That is exactly the problem, Pentagon officials and cybersecurity experts said. While corporations and government agencies around the world are training their staff to think twice before opening anything sent by email, hackers have already moved on to a new kind of attack, targeting social media accounts, where people are more likely to be trusting.

Pentagon officials are increasingly worried that state-backed hackers are using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to break into Defense Department computer networks. And the human error that causes people to click on a link sent to them in an email is exponentially greater on social media sites, the officials said, because people are more likely consider themselves among friend

‘Sukhoi likely downed by cyber weapons’


Given the range of cyber interference, the source of the attack could have been from thousands of kilometres or from only a few hundred metres away.

Analysts based in the vicinity of New York and St Petersburg warn that the loss, days ago, of an advanced and mechanically certified as safe, Sukhoi 30 fighter aircraft, close to the border with China may be the result of “cyber-interference with the onboard computers” in the cockpit. This may explain why even the pilots may have found it difficult to activate safety ejection mechanisms, once it became obvious that the aircraft was in serious trouble, as such mechanisms too could have been crippled by computer malfunctions induced from an outside source. They point to the apparent loss of five Army vehicles, “due (according to the authorities) to a misfired mortar strike” in the same zone, saying that a single mortar round would not have enough firepower to take out such a large number of vehicles. They add that the possibilities are that the damage may have been caused by a larger projectile guided by electronic systems that may have been interfered with during flight. Given the range and complexity of cyber interference, the source of the attack could have been from thousands of kilometres or from only a few hundred metres away. These analysts warn that although India spends over Rs 200,000 crore on defence through the armed forces and another Rs 100,000 crore on security via police units, hardly Rs 4,700 crore gets spent on cyber capability. The analysts spoken to point out that almost all this gets expended on foreign vendors, rather than domestic producers. However, this reliance on foreign shores for defence and security is across the board, so far as capital expenditure is concerned, in contrast to China, which has almost entirely indigenised its capabilities over the past 15 years.

The era of cyber-disaster may finally be here

By Adam Taylor

On Friday, the world was hit by one of the biggest cyberattacks in recent history. 

The culprit was “ransomware” known as WanaCryptOr 2.0, or WannaCry. It operates by encrypting a computer system and demanding a ransom to release it. This money would be paid in the digital currency bitcoin to an unknown source, who would — in theory, at least — provide a decryption key to unlock the system. To do all this, the software exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that is thought to have been first identified by the National Security Agency and was later leaked online. 

Interpol thinks that more than 200,000 people in more than 150 countries were affected — and things could get worse. Experts are warning that many office workers could return to work Monday and find their computers compromised.

The attack was a remarkable global event. It appears to have hit first in Britain, where it effectively shut down parts of the National Health Service. But reports soon came in from all over the world. Users in China, Germany, India and the United States were among those affected. 

WannaCry Worm Highlights Federal & Industry Failures


The WannaCry worm proves that our collective response to cyber threat continues to churn ineffectively in the same futile rut while threats multiply and grow increasingly serious by the day. Channeling Hobbes, government must assume the role of the Leviathan, establishing a monopoly on cyber violence, in this nascent global commons. We must get behind a strategic embrace of computer security or the Internet will keep breaking.

The worm’s success is yet another clear signal that today’s security model isn’t working. Institutional failure to address security risks have/will continue to have the same pervasive impacts in government, industry, and at home with no respite in sight, no one in charge, and no one accountable for fixing the mess.

The ubiquity of such attacks challenges our internal/international legal framework. (The military and Intelligence Community should not be operating within the United States.) And it crosses our traditional fault lines (ensconced in US law) between corporate, military, legal, and law enforcement organizations. Senior leaders in each of these government fiefdoms tell me that the pan-government table top exercises held to understand and clear the fog around the “who’s in charge” questions assume away all the relevant risk. This is done in order to arrive at prearranged conclusions that won’t rock the boat between all the various stakeholders. The cyber problem is so much greater than a traditional geographical battlespace because it requires a complete strategic rethink of warfare as these kinetic, civil, intelligence, and international equities collide.

Getting to Know the “Enemy with No Face” is Critical to Winning the Cyber War


“The enemy with no face”. No, it’s not the latest Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Hollywood action movie, but the tagline from the U.S. Army’s latest cyber warrior recruitment ad.

The nameless, faceless adversary proclaims he has the power to shut down our power grids, analyze our infrastructure, and access the personal data of everyone in America. Scary stuff. But it’s hardly exaggeration. Our election was hacked by a foreign government, the background information of 21.5 million Americans was stolen by Chinese-sponsored hackers at the OPM, and hackers affiliated with the Iranian government were able to access the control system of the Bowman Avenue Dam 30 miles north of Manhattan. That’s just a few of the heists the “enemy with no face” has pulled off in the last couple of years alone.

With the explosion of the Internet of Things and millions of connected devices, what’s to stop a threat actor from accessing your network through your unsecured back door, or taking control of your mission-critical systems right from under your nose?