21 July 2017

*** On a Warpath Paved With Rational Decisions

North Korea demonstrated at least a rudimentary capability to launch a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile with its latest test of the Hwasong-14. At the extreme estimates of its range, the missile has the ability to strike parts of the western United States. More tests and developments will be necessary to increase the Hwasong-14's range, payload and re-entry system, and questions remain about North Korea's ability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and make it rugged enough to mount on the missile. Even so, Pyongyang is clearly well on its way to realizing its goal of a long-range nuclear weapons capability. This is the first installment in a three-part series examining the implications of this development for the United States' relationship with North Korea.

War is rarely the first option for countries trying to preserve or enhance their strategic positions. The United States and North Korea alike would rather avoid a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, which would be complicated and costly for all parties involved. Neither wants war; each side strongly prefers an alternative path to resolve the core issues underlying the crisis. Yet their differing strategic imperatives and desired end states leave little room for compromise.

*** Russia’s Strategy: Built on Illusion

By George Friedman

Strong powers can underplay their hands and afford to make mistakes. Weak powers, on the other hand, need to exaggerate their power and be far more precise in its use. Power is like money; the less you have, the more you need to flaunt it and the fewer mistakes you can afford to make. But by trying to convince others that they have more power than they actually do, they run the risk of squandering a scarce resource. It’s nearly impossible to both flaunt power and preserve it at the same time.

This is the core strategic problem of Russia. On the one hand, it is still trying to find its way more than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event President Vladimir Putin has referred to as “the greatest political catastrophe” of the 20th century. In the lives of nations, a quarter of a century is not very long, and the reverberations of the catastrophe are still being felt. On the other hand, Russia lives in a complex and dangerous region, and appearing weak can be the biggest threat to its well-being. Therefore, like a wealthy person coming into hard times, Russia must simultaneously try to appear more powerful than it is and meticulously manage what power it has.

Russia’s Geographic Weakness

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has faced two fundamental problems. The first is geographic. The second, which we’ll return to later, is economic.

*** In China, a Strategy Born of Weakness

By George Friedman

China’s actions so far in the ongoing North Korean affair have been ambiguous. In order to try to understand China’s strategy toward North Korea, it is necessary to understand China’s strategy in general. To do that, it is important to recognize the imperatives and constraints that drive the country.

First, we need to outline China’s basic geographical parts. The country has four buffer regions that are under its control. Tibet in the southwest has seen some instability and is vulnerable to outside influences. Xinjiang in the northwest is predominantly Muslim, with a significant insurgency but not one that threatens Chinese control. Inner Mongolia in the north is stable. Manchuria in the northeast is also stable and of all four buffers is the most integrated with the Chinese core. These last two regions are now dominated by the Han Chinese, China’s main ethnic group, but they are still distinct. When you look at a map of China, you will see that a good part of what we think of China is not ethnically Chinese.

Within Han China, there are also divisions. The population is concentrated in the east because western China has limited rainfall and can’t sustain very large populations. In this sense, China is actually a relatively narrow country, with an extremely dense population. The interests within Han China are also diverse, and this has frequently led to fragmentation and civil war.

Death is the only winner in LoC clashes

Arun Joshi

In the long run, clashes on the LoC serve no purpose. Pakistan should know that it cannot alter geography nor sustain militancy in the Valley for long. India must realise war-mongering does no good. Both the nations should seek to rediscover the usefulness of the 2003 ceasefire agreement for enduring peace.

THE escalating tension and killing exchange of fire at the Line of Control that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan is nothing but a lose-all proposition. No one gains from these clashes which have become a regular feature since 2008 — five years after the armies of India and Pakistan were able to seal a historic ceasefire agreement on the borders. It was to cease hostile activities on the LoC that had resulted in action and loss of lives until 2003. 

As the things stand today, soldiers and civilians from both sides have been killed. Hundreds of people have fled border villages as their homes and fields receive the raining mortar shells and gunfire. Schools have been shut. A tragedy of unknown proportions was averted on July 18 when the Army, police and civil administration evacuated more than 200 children from schools. They were trapped because of unrelenting shelling by Pakistani troops in Nowshera villages in the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. Nobody would have owned the tragedy that was, fortunately, averted by the administration's timely action. India would have claimed that its villages were shelled by Pakistan and the latter would have made a counter-claim that it was retaliating to unprovoked fire from the Indian side. Both sides accuse each other of opening unprovoked fire and claim they only retaliate. If the two sides are to be believed, neither side initiates gunfire. However, this is not a fact.


JS Rajput

Initiatives must come from the minority community. Let the J&K problem be resolved by ways of governance, but the Indian Muslims must show the way

Visuals of children and young persons throwing stones at their own security persons and getting injured, could disturb sensitive citizens in any country. In Jammu & Kashmir, it has been standardised as an ‘approved’ mean of protest by the unscrupulous. This must be a singular instance in which those responsible for burning schools are not booked for sedition and put behind bars. Flush with funds from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, they indulge in perpetrating violence on a daily basis, sniffing lives out of innocent citizens and security personnel.

Their frequent bandh calls inflict immense hardships and misery on every citizen, particularly children and the daily wage earners, small shopkeepers and all those who earn their daily bread through minor jobs. Sadly enough, the state presents a picture of helplessness, unable to constrain the activities of known miscreants. They spread religious hatred and; against all norms of humanity; resist relocation of Kashmiri Pandits. What an irony that the perpetrators of inhuman and heinous crimes get Government security and perks.

Signature moves - India's political will is being tested by China

Kanwal Sibal

India's China-challenge is mounting with Beijing's growing power, its swelling hubris and increasing acts of bullying. China is utterly self-centred in its thinking and considers its self-defined interests paramount. It decides unilaterally the scope of its sovereign rights and, based on its own version of history and facts, determines when they are being violated. It uses offensive and undignified language in diplomatic communications, exposing the crude facet of China's ruling class.

All these reprehensible traits are visible in its dealings with India. To take only the recent years into account, there has been a spate of serious provocations against India. New Delhi has absorbed these blows and preferred engagement to confrontation for many reasons, not the least because of the expanding power gap with China and the realization that the cost of aggravated tensions would be higher for India than for China. This has only encouraged China to be patronizing in its dealings with India and to brush aside its legitimate concerns. This has happened even as the two countries have maintained regular contact at the top leadership-level, with numerous meetings, whether bilateral, during international conferences, or within the Russia-India-China format or the format of BRICS. Therefore, it is not lack of contact or communication at the highest levels that would explain China's objectionable behaviour towards India.

Is Pakistan’s Democracy Back to Square One?

By Umair Jamal

The process of democratic restoration in Pakistan will continue to face roadblocks unless civilian forces join hands. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in a serious situation after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) found that the ruling family has been living beyond its means and has failed to provide a legitimate trail of its investments abroad. The JIT is investigating corruption allegations involving the Sharif family’s role in money laundering and tax evasion, which were disclosed in the Panama Paperslast year.

The findings of the JIT are not just damning for the ruling party, but also for the country’s democracy. It has become evident that the report, which appears to be politically motivated, is going to pit the country’s various civil institutions against each other. The ruling party that previously welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict of asking for a further probe has now completely rejected the JIT’s report by terming it biased, politically motivated, and formulated to serve the agenda of Pakistan’s enemies. Meanwhile, the opposition, which seldom reconciles on any national or strategic issue, has come together to ask for Sharif’s resignation.

Pakistan launches military operation in tribal areas targeting Islamic State

Saad Sayeed

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's military has launched a major operation in its volatile tribal areas to stop the Islamic State making inroads into areas bordering Afghanistan, the military's spokesman said on Sunday.

Pakistan has long denied Islamic State has a foothold inside the nuclear-armed nation despite a series of attacks claimed by the group over the past two years, including a bombing in the northern town of Parachinar last month that killed 75.

Military spokesman Lieutenant General Asif Ghafoor said Islamic State - also known as Daesh - was growing in strength inside Afghanistan, prompting Pakistan to launch an operation in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

"This operation was necessary because Daesh is getting established there and we have to stop the influence of Daesh spreading into Pakistani territory through the Rajgal valley," Ghafoor said, referring to a valley surrounded by mountains reaching up to 14,000 feet.

He said that the "Khyber 4" operation, which would include the Pakistan air force, would focus on the border areas inside the Khyber Agency area, which is part of FATA.

Rightsizing expectations: U.S. policy options for Afghanistan

On June 12, 2017, Bruce Jones, director of the Brookings Foreign Policy Program, convened five Brookings experts—John Allen, Vanda Felbab-Brown, Tanvi Madan, Michael O’Hanlon, and Bruce Riedel—to discuss the history and future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. The edited transcript below reflects their assessments of evolving U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, progress to date, enduring challenges, regional dynamics, burden-sharing with coalition partners and regional stakeholders, domestic political support for ongoing U.S. commitment, and policy recommendations for U.S. strategy going forward.


Since the initial U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has sought to prevent un- and under-governed spaces in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region from serving as platforms for international terrorism. However, the focus of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has evolved from, initially, preventing al-Qaida from planning and executing a near-term, mass-casualty attack on the U.S. homeland to, currently, preventing the Afghan Taliban from undermining the capacity and legitimacy of the Afghan government. 

The Afghan Taliban is at its strongest point since 2001, and has derived capacity and resilience from claiming the mantle of Pashtun nationalism, enjoying safe haven in Pakistan, and outperforming the Afghan government and government-aligned power centers in the suppression of predatory crime and provision of other public goods. 


Claude Arpi 

China appears to have miscalculated New Delhi’s response to its attempt to change the status quo at the tri-junction. It believed that a ‘weak’ New Delhi would back out of a confrontation

The best form of defence is attack, believed Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist. This probably explains the new diplomatic offensive undertaken by China which would like to convince the foreign diplomatic community in Beijing that India was in the wrong to ‘occupy Chinese territory’ in the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley.

According to a national English daily, officials of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had closed-door briefings, giving their version of the events to several foreign diplomats posted in Beijing. A diplomat from one of the P-5 (permanent members of the UN Security Council) told the daily, “They have told our colleagues in Beijing that the Indian side has trespassed into Chinese territory and changed the status quo.”

In actual fact, the opposite happened. On June 30, the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi clarified that, in 2012, it had mutually been decided that status quo would be maintained in the disputed area: “The two Governments had in 2012 reached an agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries. Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points, is in violation of this understanding”, explained South Block’s statement, which asserted that it was essential that “all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally”.

Will the Doklam Standoff Lead to a Second India-China War?

By Rajeesh Kumar

Both India and China have every incentive not to go to war. 

The mounting military tensions at Doklam, the triboundary area connecting Bhutan, China, and India, have generated the impression that India and China are going to repeat their 1962 war. Official Chinese media and think tanks have warned India that conflict can lead to war if not handled properly and India should learn lessons from history. When asked about the possibility of the current dispute escalating, Luo Zhaohui, China’s ambassador to India, did not dismiss the likelihood of such a development. And an article in The Global Times, referring to India’s involvement on behalf of Bhutan, reminded New Delhi that “under India’s logic, if the Pakistani government requests, a third country’s army can enter the area disputed by India and Pakistan.”

In New Delhi the rhetoric is similarly tough. For instance, when Beijing invoked the 1962 war and its humiliation for India, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley replied that “India of 2017 is different from India of 1962.” Likewise, General Bipin Rawat, India’s chief of army staff also acknowledged the possibility of an Indo-China war and said that the”Indian Army is fully ready for a two and a half front war.” The government’s recent authorization of the army to make an emergency purchases of ammunition, stores, and spares for several weapon platforms also point toward an impending short, intense war between India and China. Taking it further, some policy observers have directly compared the current standoff with 1962 by casting new actors and settings; Narendra Modi and Bipin Rawat instead of Jawaharlal Nehru and B.M. Kaul, and Doklam in place of Dhola Post.

The Russians Are Coming: The Army’s Best Case For Modernization


WASHINGTON: The US Army has blown billions on weapons that never got built, so Congress is understandably wary of funding Army modernization. A senior Hill aide told us today that if the service wants money to modernize, it must convince Congress that its requests are in response to a specific threat the legislators care about, namely Russia.

Making that case is a challenge for the Army, which as the largest service with the widest range of missions has an institutional fondness for vague, abstract and unchallenging language. But, said Doug Bush, a former Army officer now with the Democratic staff on the House Armed Services Committee, Congress has found the cash when the Army’s made a clear and specific case.

Defense of the Baltic States and Poland against a notional Russian missile barrage. (CSBA graphic)

“Once it became specific…the floodgates opened on the money,” Bush told me after he spoke to the Center for Strategic & International Studies here, a rare on-the-record appearance. For example, armored vehicle upgrades — like a bigger gun for the 8×8 Stryker vehicle, or Active Protection Systems (APS) to jam or shoot down incoming missiles — could potentially benefit Army forces in any theater, but they’re most urgently needed in Europe against massive Russian mechanized formations. Once the Army made that linkage clear to lawmakers, the projects got funded.

How the Russians spy

Rinat Akhmetshin, the mysterious Russian-American who attended the June 2016 meeting at which Donald Trump Jr. arrived expecting dirt on Hillary Clinton from Moscow, seems to be a sideshow. But his handiwork — finding and, with diabolical precision, disseminating incriminating records — is a reminder of the important difference between Russian and American tactics in the new age of intelligent cyber-war.

The key takeaway: With its cyber strategy, the U.S. has been fixated on the potential for paralyzing attacks on critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid, and establishing international norms against them. But that left the U.S. blinkered when Russia, seeking strategic advantage, carried out an old-fashioned information roundhouse, tweaked for the cyber age with intelligent fake news bots.

How we got here: For reasons of the free flow of information, the U.S., going back to the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, has resisted attempts by Russia and China to impose restrictions on the Internet. The strategy wasn't wrong-headed per se — a successful attack on U.S. energy systems, for example, could trigger mayhem in the civilian population. But, in its suspicions about Russian and Chinese motives, it failed to consider the big picture.

Russian Weapons Maker To Build AI-Directed Guns


Kalashnikov’s upcoming product shows how the US and Russia are on wildly different paths to autonomy. 

The maker of the famous AK-47 rifle is building “a range of products based on neural networks,” including a “fully automated combat module” that can identify and shoot at its targets. That’s what Kalashnikov spokeswoman Sofiya Ivanova told TASS, a Russian government information agency last week. It’s the latest illustration of how the U.S. and Russia differ as they develop artificial intelligence and robotics for warfare.

The Kalashnikov “combat module” will consist of a gun connected to a console that constantly crunches image data “to identify targets and make decisions,” Ivanova told TASS. A Kalashnikov photo that ran with the TASS piece showed a turret-mounted weapon that appeared to fire rounds of 25mm or so.

Kalashnikov did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

Kalashnikov’s new gun isn’t the first reported Russian-made lethal robot. In 2014, officials with the Russian Strategic Missile Force said they would begin deploying armed sentry robots that could autonomously spot and shoot at intruders.

Russian weapons makers see robotics (and the artificial intelligences driving them) as key to future sales, according to Sergey Denisentsev, a visiting fellow at the Center For Strategic International Studies. “There is a need to look for new market niches such as electronic warfare systems, small submarines and robots, but that will require strong promotional effort because a new technology sometimes finds it hard to find a buyer and to convince the buyer that he really needs it, ”Denisentsev said in April.

Winning A War Against North Korea Would Come At ‘Great Cost’: Here’s What It Might Look Like

by Jamie McIntyre 

A full-blown war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said more than once.

A war, he says, would be “more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953,” the year the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

In testimony before Congress last month, the veteran Marine commander and respected scholar of military strategy predicted victory for the U.S. and its South Korea and Japanese allies, but said, “It would be a war that, fundamentally, we don’t want” and would win only at “great cost.”

When fighting ended in the last war on July 27, 1953, almost 3 million people, military and civilian, had died on all sides, including 36,574 U.S. troops.

This time could be almost as bad, military experts say.

“To initiate military options takes you from a world of zero casualties to a world of tens of thousands in a best case, and quite possibly a million or more, especially if they use nuclear weapons,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.


What is the report?

This ‘Alpha in Depth’ report uses open-source research to identify and characterise entities involved in India’s strategic weapons programme. Relatively little analysis has been conducted since the US normalised relations with India and lifted the majority of sanctions by 2005 – 2008. This report aims to update the record on Indian entities and will be of interest to government and private sector customers dealing with proliferation issues, particularly with regards to sensitive and dual-use items headed for end-users in India.

This baseline study examines the visible activity of 243 entities that have contributed to India’s strategic nuclear and missile programmes as key weapon stakeholders, unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle entities, defence supply chain entities, developers of auxiliary systems such as vehicles, and entities conducted dual-use research of concern. In many cases, entities are openly known to be major stakeholders in strategic weapons programmes. However, this report finds a wider and deeper network of suppliers and researchers involved in this system. The extent of this network is laid bare in this report, and includes more than the original list of entities designated as involved in nuclear and missile activities by the US in 1998 – 2001.

Elon Musk Says Artificial Intelligence Is the ‘Greatest Risk We Face as a Civilization’

David Z. Morris

Appearing before a meeting of the National Governor’s Association on Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk described artificial intelligence as “the greatest risk we face as a civilization” and called for swift and decisive government intervention to oversee the technology’s development. 

“On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” an unusually subdued Musk said in a question and answer session with Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. 

Musk has long been vocal about the risks of AI. But his statements before the nation’s governors were notable both for their dire severity, and his forceful call for government intervention. 

“AI’s a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation, instead of reactive. Because by the time we are reactive with AI regulation, it’s too late," he remarked. Musk then drew a contrast between AI and traditional targets for regulation, saying “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization, in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs, or bad food were not.” 

The Quiet Decade: In the Aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, 2006-2016

This collection of essays focuses on the Lebanon War, which broke out on 12 July 2006, and its impact on Israel and Lebanon. Some of the topics covered include 1) changes in the strategic environment in Lebanon and the Middle East prior to 2006; 2) Israel's strategic approach to the war; 3) the perception of the conflict in the US; 4) the lessons the Israel Defense Forces learned from the war; 5) media discourse about the war in Israel between 2006 and 2016; 6) the political environment in Lebanon over the last decade; 7) what another Israeli war against Lebanon could look like, and more.

The Birth of Laser Weapons

Shawn Martin

Image Credit: Northrop Grumman CorporationResearch and development of laser weapons began in the mid-20th century. Countless failed attempts ensued, and for quite some time the only suitable military tasks for lasers were for range-finders and target acquisition. As technology breakthroughs brought forth the anticipation that lethal lasers could soon be commissioned, Protocol IV of the Geneva Convention, adopted on October 13, 1995, in Vienna, established a pre-emptive ban on blinding laser weapons. Development of energy-directed weapons, however, continued with the purpose of dazzling enemy craft and destroying boats, vehicles, drones and missiles.

The Primitive Years

Long before the development of Protocol IV the United State military invested in the development of directed energy weapons. In the 1960s the U.S. Department of Defense provided a $1 million grant to the Technical Research Group (TRG) for research on laser weapons. This grant was quickly followed by countless programs and funding to several other entities.

Early attempts to manufacture energy-directed weapons, however, failed for a number of reasons including the inability to focus a concentrated beam, inefficient energy transfer, and ineffective thermal dissipation.

Getting the Pulse of Future Multi-Domain Battle

by Tim McGeehan

Multi-domain battle of 2030-2050 will be profoundly shaped by emerging technology. Autonomous systems will leverage computational advances and processing power to offer increased precision, faster reaction times, longer endurance, and greater range than their manned counterparts. The proliferation of sensors coupled with the internet of things (IoT) will allow constant surveillance and status updates, but at the same time open countless attack vectors for cyber operations. Artificial intelligence (AI) will be employed to shape the “narrative” of unfolding actions by releasing information into the media via the internet that is calculated to psychologically target adversary soldiers in the field as well as their populations to shape perceptions, manipulate opinion and influence morale. Other AI algorithms will focus on spoofing or deceiving adversary algorithms that seek to leverage “big data” by inserting misleading data into mix. Logistics systems and supply chains will be redefined by additive manufacturing that gives the ability to 3-D print parts on demand, vice having to stock, store, and transport them. Human performance will be upgraded not only by augmented reality capabilities but also by “biohacking” with implanted technologies that allow commanders to monitor location, health and status of their troops in the field. This could extend to implants that create a brain-computer interface to boost cognitive ability, aid memory, add new senses, or even directly push data feeds (i.e. allow a soldier to see through an unmanned aerial vehicle’s camera).[ii] However, in this world of flux and constant pursuit of competitive advantage, by far and away the most disruptive technologies will be tactical level electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.

ISIS Was a Symptom. State Collapse Is the Disease

The collapse this month of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has been greeted with joy and relief in many quarters, especially among the millions of civilians who directly suffered the extremist group’s rule. Much of the predictable analysis has focused on long-term trends that will continue to trouble the world: the resonance of extremist jihadi messaging, the persistence of sectarian conflict, the difficulty of holding together disparate coalitions like the clumsy behemoth that ousted ISIS from its strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul.

But jihadis and sectarians are not, contrary to popular belief, the most important engines of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and similar groups. Nor are foreign spy services the primary author of these apocalyptic movements — as many around the world wrongly believe.

No, the most critical factor feeding jihadi movements is the collapse of effective central governments — a trend in which the West, especially the United States, has been complicit.

An overdue alliance of convenience mobilized against the Islamic State three years ago, but only after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had taken over enough territory to declare statehood. The ISIS caliphate was as much as a state — for as long as it lasted — as many other places in the Middle East. Most of the coalition members detested ISIS, but only the local members from Iraq and Syria whose families were dying or suffering under Islamic State rule were fully invested. For the rest of the anti-ISIS coalition, fighting the caliphate was one of many other priorities.

The glacial, slow-moving, coalition united against ISIS but bound by little else. It is sure to dissolve quickly now that the emergency is over…

Military cyber operations headed for revamp after long dela

WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of delay, the Trump administration is finalizing plans to revamp the nation’s military command for defensive and offensive cyber operations in hopes of intensifying America’s ability to wage cyberwar against the Islamic State group and other foes, according to U.S. officials.

Under the plans, U.S. Cyber Command would eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency.

Details are still being worked out, but officials say they expect a decision and announcement in the coming weeks. The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter so requested anonymity.

The goal, they said, is to give U.S. Cyber Command more autonomy, freeing it from any constraints that stem from working alongside the NSA, which is responsible for monitoring and collecting telephone, internet and other intelligence data from around the world — a responsibility that can sometimes clash with military operations against enemy forces.

Making cyber an independent military command will put the fight in digital space on the same footing as more traditional realms of battle on land, in the air, at sea and in space. The move reflects the escalating threat of cyberattacks and intrusions from other nation states, terrorist groups and hackers, and comes as the U.S. faces ever-widening fears about Russian hacking following Moscow’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 American election.

Taking the pulse of enterprise IoT

By Michael Chui, Vasanth Ganesan, and Mark Patel

A new survey suggests that the enterprise Internet of Things is poised for strong growth. Here are the trends companies need to understand. 

The past few years have witnessed a surge of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT)—the network of connected “smart” devices that communicate seamlessly over the Internet. Although much media attention has focused on consumer products, some of the most exciting IoT innovations have occurred within the business sector, where the combination of sensor data and sophisticated analytical algorithms has allowed companies to streamline business processes, increase productivity, and develop leading-edge products. 

As with any nascent sector, however, IoT faces much uncertainty related to regulatory developments, customer demand, and technological advances. For enterprise IoT, many questions also remain about its utility and impact, since most companies are still in the early stages of implementation. To date, they have only achieved modest, incremental benefits from their enterprise IoT programs. With limited evidence of bottom-line impact, executives are cautious about increasing their enterprise IoT investments, and few have embarked on large-scale initiatives designed to transform their operations or enable new products and services. 



Can a radical approach to weapons development help the Pentagon cope with uncertainty and improve military effectiveness? Over the past several years, the topics of decentralization of military capabilities and the rate of technological change have captured the attention of many in the defense community. As Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, observed in early 2017, “The character of war in the 21st century has changed, and if we fail to keep pace with the speed of war, we will lose the ability to compete.” These changes raise the question of how the U.S. defense community can prepare best for the uncertainty posed by the future. Specifically, current U.S. military doctrine assumes an economy and industrial base that can mass-produce high-end weapons, such as fighter aircraft, battle tanks, long range missiles, and ships. But can the U.S. economy and industrial base deliver? American defense planners may need to dramatically revise the U.S. defense procurement system to serve a hedging approach emphasizing rapid prototyping. On the basis of an exploration of how uncertainty affects defense planning, I offer a possible solution for managing the risks inherent in current U.S. defense policies.

Writing in War on the Rocks three years ago, T.X. Hammes examined the problems resulting from the convergence of artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, and autonomous systems. He concluded:

Encrypted Satellite Phone Calls Can Be Hacked In Fractions Of A Second — According To New Research

Why am I not surprised. Nothing digital, or ‘connected’ to the Internet, or network/s should ever be considered ‘safe.’ And, to a more of a degree than you probably think — that goes for encryption as well. Swati Khandelwal had a July 10, 2017 article in the HackerNews.com, warning that “researchers have discovered a new method to decrypt satellite phone communications encrypted with the GMR-2 cypher in “real time” — in some cases, in mere fractions of a second.”

This “new attack method has been [was recently discovered] by two Chinese researchers; and, is based on previous research by German academicians in 2012, showing that the phone’s encryption can be cracked so quickly — that the attackers can listen in….in real time,” Ms. Khandelwal wrote. The research was detailed in a paper published earlier this month, see attachment, Ms. Khandelwal notes, “by researchers at the International Association for Cryptologic Research, focused on the GMR-2 encryption algorithm, that is commonly being used in most satellite phones, including British satellite telecom – Inmarsat — to encrypt voice calls in order to prevent eavesdropping,” or so they thought. 

“Unlike previous 2012 research by German researchers who tried to recover the encryption key with the help of ‘plaintext’ attacks,” Ms. Khandelwal wrote, “the Chinese researchers attempted to “reverse the encryption procedure to deduce the encryption-key from the output keystream directly,” Ms. Khandelwal noted. “The attack method requires hitting a 3,3GHz satellite stream thousands of times, with an inversion attack, which eventually produces a 64-bit encryption key; and, makes it easier to hunt for the decryption key — allowing attackers to decrypt communications and listen in to a conversation.”

Digital Generals Are As Important As Military Generals (Because The U.S. Is Losing The Digital War)

By Steve Andriole

There are some economic realities that are inescapable. The very structure of the US economy has shifted dramatically in just fifteen years. Look at the list of the most valuable companies then and now. In 2001, GE, Microsoft, Exxon, Citigroup and Walmart were the top five US companies by market cap; but by 2016 the list was Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. During the same fifteen years, Internet growth increased from about 50% to over 90%, and the number of Americans accessing the Internet via high speed connections grew from less than 5% to over 75%. Growth has been consistent across age, race, education, income and gender. Online banking and retailing has exploded; digital content is everywhere in all forms, including especially music and video, and delivered by new exploding channels, such as augmented and virtual reality. When everything is tagged with a smart sensor (which will be sooner than we think), the “Internet of Things” will literally define how we live.

Obvious trends point to a digital economic future, as US politicians talk about 3% – 5% annual economic growth rates. Aside from the difficultly of increasing the growth rates of mature economies, there’s only one way to achieve 3% – 5% growth rates – and that path does not include re-opening coal mines or re-populating non-automated factories.

The CSS Blog Network

By Alexandra Sarlo

Russian media played a key role in stoking the conflict in Ukraine, sparking fear in the Baltic states that they could become the next target. In the wake of the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, Russian state-owned media shaped a nationalistic narrativeregarding the annexation of Crimea that spread fear of the new Ukrainian regime and promoted reunification with Russia. Russian media also encouraged the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine and spread multiple false news stories intended to portray Ukraine in the most negative light possible.

In the current media environment, it is not possible to eliminate questionable or false sources of information. In the Baltic states, attempts to do so could backfire by reinforcing allegations that the Russian minorities lack full civil rights. However, encouraging independent media and thoughtful integration of Russian-language programming into mainstream sources will provide more credible alternatives for Baltic Russian speakers. In the longer term, an important tool for all countries facing propaganda and “fake news” is to increase education in media literacy, critical reading, and technical training to thwart hacks and other attempts to hijack information. A population trained to identify bias is the best defense against harmful propaganda.

DoD Puts ‘Foot on Gas Pedal’ to Catch Up on Electronic Warfare

After what one senior official called “25 years of inattention,” the Defense Department is pushing ahead to make its defensive and offensive electronic warfare capabilities more robust.

“There is an appreciation on the dependency of our electronic warfare capabilities [and] to make sure that the force — all the platforms — are survivable. I think that appreciation is very real and very substantial,” William Conley, deputy director of electronic warfare in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, said during a recent Mitchell Institute speech.

“The foot is fully on the gas pedal” when it comes to catching up on EW capabilities, he said.

Electronic warfare is among the fields that the Pentagon has identified as part of the “third offset” — a collection of battlefield technologies that the U.S. military must master in order to leap ahead of potential adversaries.

In the wake of a Defense Science Board report on the military’s electronic warfare shortcomings, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work created an electronic warfare executive committee comprising high-level military leaders who meet once per month with the goal of reversing the “inattention.”

Intel bill directs report on cyber-vulnerability disclosure process

By: Mark Pomerleau

A newly passed bill in the House Intelligence Committee directs the Intelligence Community inspector general to review the IC’s role the disclosure process of cyber vulnerabilities. 

A newly passed bill in the House Intelligence Committee directs the Intelligence Community inspector general to review the IC’s role the disclosure process of cyber vulnerabilities.

The FY18 Intelligence Authorization Act, which unanimously passed the committee July 13 but is still a bill, is meant to help determine “whether, how and to whom information about a vulnerability that is not publicly known will be shared with or released to a non-Federal entity or the public.”

Following such a review, the House bill mandates a report 240 days after becoming law about the results of the review to include a description of the IC’s roles and responsibilities within this process, the criteria used by the federal government in making a determination, when and with whom to disclose vulnerabilities, a description of current mechanisms overseeing the process, and recommendations to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.

Active Cyber Defense

Robert S. Dewar 

This report does indeed focus on cyber defenses which rely on offensive measures to counter cyber-attacks. Among other things, the text 1) defines the concept of Active Cyber Defense (ACD); 2) highlights the prevalence of ACD in the strategies of important international and state actors; and 3) recommends additional ways to develop and refine this type of self-defense.