4 June 2017

*** Tagore renounced his Knighthood in protest for Jalianwalla Bagh mass killing

The letter written by Rabindranath Tagore to Lord Chelmsford, the British viceroy, repudiating his Knighthood in protest for Jalianwalla Bagh mass killing.

Your Excellency,

The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in the Punjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India. The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilised governments, barring some conspicuous exceptions, recent and remote.

Considering that such treatment has been meted out to a population, disarmed and resourceless, by a power which has the most terribly efficient organisation for destruction of human lives, we must strongly assert that it can claim no political expediency, far less moral justification. The accounts of the insults and sufferings by our brothers in Punjab have trickled through the gagged silence, reaching every corner of India, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people has been ignored by our rulers- possibly congratulating themselves for imparting what they imagine as salutary lessons.

** The US Strategy of Annihilation and Humiliation

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The U.S. is accelerating its fight against the Islamic State and radical Islamism. In his first interview as secretary of defense, James Mattis outlined the United States’ strategy. Mattis’ words carry weight because he is one of the few subordinates U.S. President Donald Trump seems to trust implicitly and to whom Trump has delegated significant responsibility. In the interview, Mattis said the war of attrition – pushing enemies out of their locations rather than destroying them completely – failed to produce the desired outcome. The U.S. will now fight a war of annihilation and humiliation against the enemy, which is not just IS but radical Islamism in general. Mattis expects the war to be a long fight, but he also expects to win.

A Change in Tactics

Mattis pointed to the battles for Mosul and Tal Afar as models for how these tactics will be implemented in other places. In both cases, forces on the ground, some with U.S. help, have surrounded IS targets to try to prevent Islamic State militants from retreating and foreign fighters from leaving the battlefield to return home. The forces then advance and clear these cities block by block, a hard task that takes time. This is what Mattis described as annihilation. The Islamic State’s greatest strength on the battlefield has been its ability to retreat and regroup, and the goal of annihilation is to destroy that strength. But this strategy comes with a high price. Iraq sent its best trained and equipped fighters into Mosul first, and casualty rates were reportedly around 50 percent for some units. The battle is about to enter its eighth month.

*** Fight, Survive, Win — Imagining Multi-Domain Battle

Everything was in place. While the US and allied forces were still struggling to fully defeat enemy denial of service attacks, they had been able to communicate in short bursts with subordinate units. The plan was set. Land-based long-range missiles would initiate the attack by destroying enemy sea based jammers. At the same time, a manned-unmanned teaming attack, combining stealthy Air Force UAVs for targeting and Army long range missiles, would pinpoint and destroy the enemy’s air defense nodes to begin to regain contested airspace. Simultaneously, other manned-unmanned teaming attacks would also target mobile anti-ship ballistic missiles. Land forces would counterattack to break out of their fixed positions. The intent for that attack was clear—bypass everything else, find and destroy enemy air defense artillery, surface-to-air missile, and counter-maritime systems. The combined effects of air, land, and sea power would create a window during which time the enemy could not target US maritime forces as they transited key choke points. The key was to knock out the enemy’s missile capabilities and suppress enough of the air defense system. That would allow US airpower to establish a degree of superiority as cover to naval forces and the cargo ships bringing the supplies needed to continue the fight. A window of sea control gained by the combined efforts of all US and allied forces would continue efforts to regain the initiative.

Cow Politics: If BJP Wants To Lose 2019, This Is The Right Way To Go About It

R Jagannathan

The surest way to defeat the cause of cow protection is to make it illogical and anti-minority in content. 

Politically stupid, economically unsustainable, morally and ethically unacceptable and communally dangerous. These are the only phrases to describe the BJP-Sangh approach to the cow, as manifest in the recent rule changes that have had the net effect of indirectly banning cow slaughter and the various violent acts of fringe groups that beat up and even kill alleged cow smugglers.

Nothing explains this point as well as the BJP’s own disquiet in states like Kerala and the Northeast, where party candidates in local by-elections have been promising cheaper beef, quality beef. It shows the limited political purchase anti-cow slaughter laws find outside the BJP’s traditional confines of the northern and western states.

At the outset, it is important to point out that the new rules do not ban cow slaughter at all; they emanate from a Supreme Court directive to prevent cow smuggling across the border, and this has been sought to be done by framing rules under section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. The rules, announced last week, try to deal with the problem by seeking to regulate livestock markets. The idea is to restrict trading in livestock only to animals bought for agricultural purposes; animals bought for slaughter will have to be bought directly from farms. In short, there is no ban on cow or buffalo slaughter, but this effectively means that procuring cows and other animals legally for slaughter will be tougher than ever. It may well make rogue gau rakshaks even more ubiquitous. (Read this piece here for a good explainer on the issue).

Concerted initiatives vital

Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (rtd) 

In a departure from the past, the Indian Army hurriedly called a media interaction on May 23 and released a video of the army destroying a Pakistani army post along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir. As expected, the TV channels continuously showed the visuals and conducted panel discussions for the next 48 hours. 

However, in this competition to attract eyeballs and raise TRPs, one particular aspect went mostly unreported. Additional Director General, Public Information, Maj Gen Narula while releasing the video, said “As part of our counter terrorism strategy, punitive fire assaults are being undertaken across the LoC.” Repeating the phrase “counter terrorism strategy”, he went on to say that infiltration attempts from across the LoC will be countered by a proactive strategy. 

The statement spells out a paradigm shift in the counter terrorism strategy, sending a clear signal to the Pakistan army — “play and pay at your own peril.” Apparently, the instructions to the Indian Army are to punish the posts abetting and facilitating infiltration by pre-emptive fire assaults to destroy terrorist launch pads along the LoC. Releasing the video in the public domain was also an exercise to assuage public sentiment in India.

What Is the Haqqani Network?

Afghan officials are blaming Wednesday's massive truck bombing that killed more than 100 and injured over 400 in the Afghan capital on the Taliban-affiliated and al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network. Here's what is known about the group:

What is the Haqqani Network?

The Haqqani network is a militant group that continues to fight Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Afghan officials and international terrorism authorities consider it the most lethal terrorist group in Afghanistan. It has been blamed for some of the deadliest violence in the country, including attacks on embassies in Kabul, the Afghan parliament building, local residents and U.S. military bases.

When Was the Network Founded?

Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former anti-Soviet commander in Afghanistan, formed the network. In 1995, he pledged allegiance to the Taliban, which emerged a year earlier from a network of madrassas in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The network became a component of the Taliban and helped it capture the capital, Kabul, in 1996. Haqqani was appointed minister of tribal affairs, a position he held through 2001, when the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Taliban.

Buddhism Versus Islam: Clash Of Civilisations In South And South-East Asia?

Ananth Krishna

From Myanmar to Thailand and all the way to Sri Lanka, one of the oldest conflicts of Asia seems to be turning more violent by the day.

The Buddhist and the Islamic worlds seem to be increasingly in conflict in south and south-east Asia. In Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Buddhist nationalist organisations are in open conflict with Muslims; in Thailand, Islamist insurgency has resurrected itself in the Patani region; In Indonesia, tensions between the Muslim majority and Buddhist minority have surged.

The conflicts between the Muslims and Buddhists in the region represent a clear faultline between two cultures, as theorised in Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations. As Islamic invasions made their way towards the east, the repression and persecution that came in their wake ransacked Buddhist temples, destroyed the famous Nalanda University, as well as the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar. Other regions in this part of Asia like Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand were spared from this brute force of the Islamist invasions.

In Indonesia, Islam made its entry only in the 13th century through traders. The province of Aceh served as an entry point for Muslim traders, and through them, their religion slowly spread to the rest of the archipelago. By the beginning of the 19th century, there were only a few pockets of Buddhist or Hindu influence left in Indonesia.

Islamic State jihad explodes in Southeast Asia


Islamic State-backed militants’ ongoing assault on Marawi City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao heralds a bid by the radical extremist group to open a new Southeast Asian front in a spreading campaign of global jihad.

The Marawi battle has established the clear presence of other Southeast Asian nationals fighting side-by-side with the IS-aligned Filipino Maute Group, with confirmed deaths of Malaysian and Indonesian nationals in the battle zone. On the battle’s seventh day, 61 militants, 20 government soldiers and 17 civilians were reportedly killed. 

Philippine Solicitor General Jose Calida publicly announced that “what is happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of citizens, but it has transmogrified into an invasion of foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of ISIS.”

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has claimed that Muhamad Ali Abdul Rahiman, a Singapore national, has been in Mindanao and was implicated in terror-related attacks across the region since the 1990s. Rahiman’s involvement in the current assault on Marawi is under investigation.

Tale Of The Tape: What Would North Korea Bring To The Fight? – Modern War Institute

by James King 

Once again tensions on the Korean Peninsula are extremely high. Rumors of war are spreading like wild fire. North Korea has been conducting nuclear and ballistic missile tests on a regular basis, thumbing its nose at the world. President Donald Trump said there was a risk of “major, major conflict” with North Korea during meetings with Chinese leaders in April. Very few times in the history of the two Koreas have sabers been rattled as hard.

For over sixty years both sides have prepared for the day when their two armies would clash once again. Throughout South Korea you can see pre-dug fighting positions with sector sketches laminated and posted so that any soldier could fall in on the position and be ready to fight. Obstacles which could block any north/south road are just waiting to be emplaced, and preplanned artillery positions are marked down to the meter just waiting for guns to arrive.

So what will American or South Korean soldiers see coming over the horizon as they stand ready in their defensive positions? What will they encounter as they move north? Historically, North Korea is one of the hardest places to get information about. Because of that, numbers of total pieces of military equipment can vary from one expert’s estimate to another’s across the internet. But they all generally agree on what type of equipment is out there. So what exactly would North Korean forces go to war with? And what are the particular advantages and disadvantages of this equipment set?

Watch Out, India: China to Sell Pakistan 8 Submarines

Sam Roggeveen

A couple of weeks ago, after a visit to India, I wrote an op-ed for the Indian weekly Open with my impressions of the Indian strategic debate. The biggest take-away was how openly suspicious the Indians are about China and its intentions in the Indian Ocean.

That suspicion got another boost yesterday, with Islamabad announcing that it has approved, in principle, the purchase of eight Chinese submarines for the Pakistani navy.

This is big news for a number of reasons. First, it's a large order for a navy that currently only operates five submarines. Second, it will be the first time China has exported its submarines, which says something about the improvements in its military technology (granted, Pakistan is probably buying on price as well as capability, but this is a navy that has previously bought advanced European submarines, so its not an undiscerning customer).

And third, it represents a fairly blunt Chinese statement about its willingness to cooperate with Pakistan to challenge Indian maritime power. Of course China has sold arms to Pakistan before, and in fact it helped Pakistan develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. China has also sold surface ships to the Pakistan Navy in the past. But in the maritime domain, it is fair to say that this is a step-change in China's involvement with the Pakistan military.

China’s imperial overreach

Brahma Chellaney

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tenure has been marked by high ambition. His vision—the “Chinese dream”—is to make China the world’s leading power by 2049, the centenary of communist rule. But Xi may be biting off more than he can chew.

A critical element of Xi’s strategy to realize the Chinese dream is the One Belt, One Road (Obor) initiative, whereby China will invest in infrastructure projects abroad, with the goal of bringing countries from Central Asia to Europe firmly into China’s orbit. When Xi calls it “the project of the century,” he may not be exaggerating.

In terms of scale or scope, Obor has no parallel in modern history. It is more than 12 times the size of the Marshall Plan, America’s post-World War II initiative to aid the reconstruction of Western Europe’s devastated economies. Even if China cannot implement its entire plan, Obor will have a significant and lasting impact.

Of course, Obor is not the only challenge Xi has mounted against an ageing Western-dominated international order. He has also spearheaded the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and turned to China’s advantage the two institutions associated with the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping of emerging economies (the Shanghai-based New Development Bank and the $100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement). At the same time, he has asserted Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea more aggressively, while seeking to project Chinese power in the western Pacific.

The Future of War is in Cities – The Study of War Should Follow Suit

By Margarita Konaev

On March 17th, a US airstrike killed nearly 300 people in the densely populated area of western Mosul. This deadly attack – along with other reports of mounting civilian casualties from US airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen – are raising questions about whether the Trump administration has relaxed the rules of engagement.

Since entering office, President Trump has sought to reduce the constraints on the use of force imposed by his predecessor. For instance, he has designated parts of Yemen and Somalia as “areas of active hostilities,” giving the US military greater latitude to carry out airstrikes and ground raids. His new plan to defeat ISIS is also expected to include “recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement and other…policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law.” So far, both administration and military officials have denied that a formal change in the rules of engagement has taken place. But human rights groups are saying that even the perception of declining concerns over civilian deaths can have a “detrimental strategic impact” on the fight against ISIS, with dire humanitarian consequences.

How Iran Can Project Power in the Middle East

May 26, 2017 Iran is more formidable on paper than perhaps it is in practice. It is the 17th-largest country in the world and the 17th-most populous. It is the sixth-largest producer of oil and the third-largest producer of natural gas. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, it boasts the world’s 29th-largest economy by gross domestic product despite decades of economic sanctions against it.

But the country is constrained by its demography. Iran has several large minority populations, including Azeris, Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis, all of which have separatist tendencies. Since its founding in 1979, when it toppled the secular monarchy, the current regime has tried to solve this problem by cultivating a national identity steeped in Shiism. (The shared use of the Persian language has also helped in that regard. In fact, historically, it has influenced the cultures and civilizations of peoples in all the surrounding regions.)

But religion can go only so far. Its efforts have not exactly endeared the government to the Sunni minorities that populate Iran’s farther reaches. And the clerics who dominate the government are often at odds with the country’s republican institutions.

Ukraine’s Forever War

By Nolan Peterson 

KYIV, Ukraine—On May 13, an artillery shell fired from within separatist-controlled territory landed in a residential neighborhood of Avdiivka, a front-line town in eastern Ukraine.

Three women and a man were standing outside the home where the shell hit. Elena Aslanova, Olga Kurochkina, Maria Dikaya, and Oleg Borisenko.

They all died. Two children became orphans that day.

That same day, the Eurovision Song Contest finals were held in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Tourists from around the world had flocked to the city for the event. CNN published an article hailing Ukraine as “Eastern Europe’s best-kept travel secret.”

Two weeks later, Eurovision is over and the tourists are gone. But the war is still there, still killing people, as it has for more than three years.

On this day at the end of May, there is a collage of sights and sounds on the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square and epicenter of the 2014 revolution, which overthrew the pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych.

The Trade Unions Building, which was torched during the revolution, flanks the Maidan. Now, the ruin is covered by an enormous fabric facade that bears the phrase, in English, “Freedom is Our Religion.”

Can Germany Defend Europe On Its Own?

Salvatore Babones

German chancellor Angela Merkel has reaffirmed her position as the unlikely superhero of Europe’s liberal elites. Twelve years in power and facing a difficult election in September, she struck out at the least popular man in Europe: Donald Trump.

Fresh from last week’s G-7 summit, Merkel took a dig at Trump that won her liberal friends around the world. At a Sunday election rally in Munich, she declared that “the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over -- I experienced that in the last few days.” The last few days, that is, meeting with Trump.

That’s not rousing rhetoric, to be sure, but the world took her point. Alarmist headlines about the disintegration of the postwar order appeared throughout the world. Even in the United States there was talk of the United States losing its “closest and oldest allies.”

But the liberal internationalist applause for Merkel misses the point—twice. First, Germany is not among America’s “closest and oldest allies.” That honor surely goes to the United Kingdom. And second, Merkel didn’t single out just the United States. She said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States or the UK for its security.

In Praise of a Transatlantic Divorce


The foreign-policy establishment is in a dither this week over Donald Trump’s recent truculent, bumbling, and boorish conduct in Europe. Their concerns hit a new high when German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech back home declaring “the times in which we could rely fully on others” are “somewhat over” and suggesting Europe “really take our fate into our own hands.”

The reaction back in the United States was swift and bordered on hysterical. The Atlantic’s David Frum declared Trump’s trip a “catastrophe,” and Joe Scarborough said it had done more damage than any presidential meeting since Nikita Khrushchev bullied John F. Kennedy at their meeting in Vienna in 1961. Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations tweeted that Merkel’s reaction was a “watershed” that the United States had sought to avoid since World War II. Vali Nasr of Johns Hopkins University lamented that Trump had managed “in less than 3 months … to undo 7 decades of Transatlantic relations.” Needless to say, most of these commentators see this as a dramatic setback for the United States and a sign that the post-World War II order is headed for the dustbin of history.

I’m no fan of Trump, whom I regard as having become the worst president in U.S. history after only four short but frantic months in office. He remains, in my view, a genuine long-term threat to America’s constitutional order. But the establishment’s somewhat apocalyptic reaction to the Trump trip strikes me as over the top and places too much blame on Trump himself. No matter how undiplomatic his behavior may have been, pinning it all on Trump ignores the larger factors at work.

Breaking News: Trump to Pull U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord

President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a White House official, in a move that is certain to infuriate America’s allies across the globe and could destabilize the 2015 accord.

The upcoming decision is a victory for hardliners such as senior White House adviser Stephen Bannon, who argued that the deal would hobble the U.S. economy and Trump’s energy agenda, and a defeat for moderates like Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who feared that withdrawing would damage U.S. relations abroad. Trump had promised during the campaign to “cancel” the nearly 200-nation agreement, the most comprehensive climate pact ever negotiated.

Administration officials cautioned that they are still sorting out the details of how exactly Trump will withdraw, and one noted that nothing is final until an announcement is made.

But reaction from the international community was swift, without mentioning Trump by name. “Climate change is undeniable,” the United Nations tweeted from its official account Wednesday morning, quoting from a speech by Secretary General António Guterres. “Climate action is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.”

The Location of America’s Nuclear Submarines Isn’t Really a Secret


First things first: Donald Trump didn’t reveal the location of U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarines in his phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump comes off as a braggart and bully in the transcript, but what he said about submarines is far less interesting than our reaction to it.

It’s clear that whatever signal Trump was trying to send got fouled up. But that shouldn’t make us angry about the Trump administration’s clumsiness. It should make us wary about the overconfidence of all policymakers who think they can use the deployment of military forces to signal resolve to adversaries and allies without getting the rest of us killed.

Trump did say a fair number of awful and stupid things to Duterte. He told him that his campaign of extrajudicial executions was working (it isn’t) and that North Korea’s missiles are crashing (they aren’t). But on the subject of submarines, Trump is blameless. Here is what he said in reference to North Korea:

We have a lot of firepower over there. We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all.

It is entirely unclear where Trump thinks “over there” is, but in recent days U.S. Pacific Command had announced two port calls for nuclear-powered submarines, one in South Korea and another in Japan.



There is no more urgent threat to the global nuclear nonproliferation order than North Korea’s accelerating and unconstrained nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang is estimated to possess enough nuclear explosive material for at least 10 nuclear warheads, and in all likelihood already has the capability to deliver some of these weapons on its arsenal of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. By 2020, some experts believe Pyongyang may have enough fissile material for 100 warheads.

With more nuclear tests, North Korea can further refine its warhead designs to increase the explosive yield and further develop a lighter, more compact warhead to fit atop ballistic missiles. North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year and its next nuclear test explosion, which would be its sixth, could happen at any time.

Since Kim Jong-Un took power in December 2011, North Korea has conducted 78 ballistic missile tests and continued development of a new generation of solid-fueled missiles (which can be fired more quickly than their liquid-fueled counterparts). In the past few weeks alone, North Korea has successfully tested a new type of mobile, solid-fueled medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) and a new type of intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) capable of reaching the U.S. military bases on Guam. While North Korea has yet to demonstrate a capability to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), it could begin flight-testing such a missile as soon as this year.

Military branches break down how much they need to secure their systems

by Mark Pomerleau

The military services have taken a keen interest in cyber defense and resiliency of their networks.

The common adage the military has come to adopt is it’s not about if they will be hacked, but when they will be hacked. With that, cyber defense has become a cornerstone of spending dollars – which in many cases is separate, though in partnership with the joint-strategic cyber mission forces the services provide and feed to Cyber Command.

“In terms of capability, the Army does have a cyber strategy for capabilities – capability development. And our emphasis is on defense for the Army. The national part does offense, the Army, as a service, does defense,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, said at the Senate Armed Services Committee May 25. “And what’s important for us is to protect our network, protect our ability in the electromagnetic spectrum from everything from degraded operations or complete shutdown, all the way to spoofing.”

“We have set up the first, as I know of in the world, live cyber range at the National Training Center,” Milley added, noting these tactical forces are “being exposed to an enemy, a free thinking [opposing force] out at the training center that executes high end cyber operations against our own units. And our soldiers are learning to come to grips with that.”

Cyber, biological, crypto: Hybrid terrorism at work

By: Kevin Coleman

The move to May brought with it a terrorist incident that is likely to resemble an increasing percentage of incidents in the coming years. The target was Wipro Limited, a multibillion-dollar global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company with more than 170,000 employees serving clients on six continents.

On May 5, Wipro received an anonymous email (sent to multiple recipients) threatening a chemical weapon attack if the sender’s demand was not met by May 25. The email was said to have come from Ramesh2@protonmail.com.

Those involved demanded the company pay a modest amount via the cryptocurrency bitcoin by using an online link. If Wipro did not pay, they threatened a ricin-based attack. Those behind the threat said they had 1 kilogram of high-quality ricin and would be sending 2 grams as proof.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ricin is a highly toxic, naturally occurring poison found in castor beans. It can be found in the form of powder, a mist or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid. At this time, there is no antidote for ricin poisoning.

The email is said to refer to the carcasses of 22 dogs found along a back road in January and claimed to have tested their ricin production on the animals.



The Trump administration is confronting a series of cybersecurity crises ranging from a global ransomware epidemic to a new wave of Russian cyber-attacks against NATO allies. It’s doing its best to respond to the myriad threats facing the United States, but vacancies in key cybersecurity slots are impacting its ability to do so.

After several months of delay, on May 11, President Donald Trump signed a long-expected executive order on cybersecurity. It commissions a variety of reports on key cyber policy priorities, including cyber deterrence, international cooperation, and workforce development. The order wisely requires those reports to gather input from a broad array of executive branch actors, ranging from the Intelligence Community to the Department of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the order largely ignores one supremely important pool of cyber policy expertise — civil society. While there is one exception for organizations deemed to be part of the U.S. critical infrastructure, which includes certain public and private sector entities — — many of the world’s top cybersecurity experts, who have university, think tank, and/or industry affiliations are simply left out.


By Joseph Marks

Information security staff in U.S. embassies and consulates are falling down on the job, according to an inspector general’s audit out this week.

State’s internal auditors reviewed information security at 51 overseas posts between fiscal years 2014 and 2016 and found one-third of them, 17 posts, weren’t performing basic tasks such as regularly analyzing information systems or reviewing email systems, user libraries, servers and hard drives for indications of inappropriate activity.

In some cases, information security leaders weren’t performing these audits because competing priorities were eating up their time. In other cases, supervisors weren’t ensuring responsible staff were getting the job done, the report found.

“Failure by overseas information management personnel to perform information systems security duties creates vulnerabilities for department networks,” the audit states.

State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which manages embassy security, found vulnerabilities in overseas email systems during 2016 that could have been prevented with better monitoring and reviews, the report said.

Israel a model of innovation, readiness in military, academic cyber

by Tony Ware

Trainees work in front of their computers at the "Cyber Gym" center, where IT and infrastructure company employees train to defend against cyber attacks on October 30, 2013 near the Israeli city of Hadera. The facility, a series of small buildings in the shadow of the looming Orot Rabin power station on Israel's northern coastline, was inaugurated this month by the Israel Electric Corp (IEC), which has experienced its fair share of cyber attacks. 

A look at the mandates, tasks and competences of Israel’s cybersecurity measures and institutions finds the country at the forefront of transparency, innovation and investment in digital security infrastructure.

The report, by Deborah Housen-Couriel for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, is part of a series on national organizational models for ensuring cybersecurity.

With widespread broadband penetration and Internet utilization, Israel offers many platforms for intra-governmental activity, government-to-citizen and citizen-to-government fora, and the infrastructure for provision of services to the public. Supporting this are secure portal and biometric data initiatives.

Senate, Army chief cast new doubt on future of Army’s $6 billion tactical IT network

By Jared Serbu

The future of the long-running, multi-billion dollar system that the Army considers the “cornerstone” of its network modernization strategy is somewhat in question, with the service’s top officer saying he’s ordered a comprehensive review of whether the program will actually work, and a powerful senator declaring it a “debacle.”

The $6 billion Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) is the Army’s program to securely move voice, video and data to, from and around the battlefield with a combination of land, airborne and satellite-based antennas, transceivers and computers. It’s been in development since 2007, and the Army plans to spend $420 million in 2018 alone to continue its gradual deployment to brigades and divisions.

But Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, said in congressional testimony Thursday that he had directed a “rigorous and painful review” of WIN-T and other Army communication systems because of several concerns, including that the system is too “fragile” to survive a real-world battle.

“Frankly, my concern is these systems may or may not work in the conditions of combat that I envision in the future with the changing character of warfare because of issues with line of sight, electromagnetic spectrum, the inability to operate on the move, the inability to operate in large, dense complex urban areas or complex terrain. There’s a whole series of other things,” Milley said. “It is fragile. It is vulnerable. So, we’re taking a very, very, very deep, hard and wide look.”