2 August 2017

** Are China and India on the Road to War?

By Allison Fedirka

In mid-June, a remote area called the Dolam plateau in the Himalayas where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet made headlines when Indian and Chinese troops began a standoff over a road construction project. China conducted a live-fire exercise in the area, and there have been false reports of deaths. Diplomatic efforts are underway to de-escalate the situation, but still the risk of war has been on everyone’s mind.

The terrain and weather in the area, located in a region called Doklam, are anathema to war. And yet, almost exactly 55 years ago, China and India fought briefly over this and other contested border areas. So what is the strategic value of this seemingly obscure plateau? And would India and China really go to war again over it?

Worth Fighting For

Put two major powers next to each other, even on the world’s largest continent with buffer states between them, and they’re bound to bump heads from time to time. China and India have most often fought over Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh state, which borders China in an isolated patch of Indian territory east of what’s known as the Siliguri Corridor. The corridor is a narrow strip of land – just 17 miles (27 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point – that connects the rest of India to its northeastern states wedged between Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.

China, India, and Israel's Strategic Calculus

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Yitzhak Shichor – Professor Emeritus and The Michael William Lipson Chair in Chinese Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel – is the 101st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Assess key outcomes of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s recent visit to Israel.

To appreciate the full significance of Modi’s visit, one has to know the history of Israel-India relations. Reluctantly, India recognized Israel on September 18, 1950, the fifth Asian country [to do so], but, because no full diplomatic relations were approved for over 40 years, Israel was unofficially represented by an honorary consul in Calcutta. Yet, the two countries maintained backdoor relations, which included Israeli military shipments following the 1962 Sino-Indian confrontation. Because of its rivalry with Pakistan, substantial Muslim population, and dependence on Arab oil, India preferred to hide these relations.

In fact, India, and Asia in general, had not been that important for Israel before the early 1990s. By that time, India could no longer fall behind China, which set up relations with Israel and thereby facilitated its breakthrough to Asia. Since then India’s relations with Israel have prospered, with India becoming Israel’s leading arms market and a substantial economic partner. Yet, no Indian leader had dared set foot in Israel until Modi’s arrival. Needless to say, scores of framework agreements were signed but because military and economic relations have been going on anyway, and because India has hardly changed its political orientation and association with the Arabs and the Palestinians, the main outcome of the visit, and still the most significant, was symbolic.

India's Uncompromising Stand Against China in the Himalayas Is Backed Up With Hard Power

By Nitin A. Gokhale

India’s military capabilities at the Himalayas put it in a position to bargain with China. 

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is back from Beijing after attending the BRICS national security advisers’ conclave and meeting his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, but there is no sign yet of the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the Dolam (Doklam) plateau ending, almost two months after it began. Both sides have chosen not to comment on outcomes, if any, from the talks that Doval held in Beijing, indicating perhaps that a mutually satisfactory solution still eludes them. Or maybe, Beijing and New Delhi want to consult Bhutan, the third party in this unusual spat, before proceeding further.

Whatever the reason for the silence, the world is surprised at the turn of events since late-May when the border spat began at a point where the boundaries of India-China and Bhutan meet. For one, the vehemence displayed by Chinese commentators was out of the ordinary and so was the aggressive tone of official statements made by government spokespersons in Beijing, accusing India of trespassing into Chinese territory. More unusually however, the calm assurance and panache with which New Delhi has handled the crisis so far points to a far more confident India, a point that would be noticed and studied across important world capitals.

Freedom and Fear: India and Pakistan at 70

By Pippa Virdee

70 years later, the neighbors and rivals still struggle with the “unfinished business of partition.” 

In the midst of the monsoon of August 1947, British India ceased to be and gave way to two independent nations. The logic of this partition being religious and regional, the older and larger India was reinforced as a Hindu majoritarian society, while the newer and smaller Pakistan emerged as an Islamic country. No partitions are total and absolute but this one was especially terrible and ambiguous; it left about a 20 percent religious minority population on both sides. Moreover, it created two wings of Pakistan with a hostile Indian body-politic in the middle.

This event was not entirely of subcontinental making. The British Empire in Asia cracked under the hands of the Japanese army during World War II, most spectacularly with the fall of Singapore in February 1942, and began to crumble in South Asia after the war. Along with India and Pakistan, Burma (today’s Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) also emerged independent (both in 1948) at this time. All this was to bring about many changes, both internally in India and internationally. Europe, the ravaged battlefield of the world wars, ceased to be the center of the Western world, with political and economic power shifting decisively to the Soviet Union and the United States, representing two contrasting and conflicting ideological visions for the post-1945 world.

OBOR: One Belt, One Road - One Big Debt Trap.


Recently China hosted a well-attended and hugely touted conference to promote its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This initiative also known sometimes as the New Silk Road and Maritime Silk Route initiatives have been hailed or condemned by commentators all over the world as a “game changer” and China’s big play to seek world domination. Both the fears and the optimism are unfounded. The OBOR is a project meant to very simply get out Chinese reserves invested in western banks into investments where it will fetch a higher rate of return; and to take up the slack from the huge over capacity problem that plagues the Chinese economy. Speaking at the conference, President Xi Jinping announced that Beijing would advance 380 billion Yuan or $55 billion to support OBOR. This is a far cry from the huge figures, sometimes as high as $750 billion to $ One trillion, bandied about.

While economists are generally skeptical about China’s goals and intentions, strategists – mostly the garden-variety Indian military types – have endowed this project with sinister overtones. I was on a TV show a couple of days ago where both the prominent anchor and a prominent commentator of the unempirical stuff that passes off as strategic thought, raised the issue of the so-called “String of Pearls” (SOP). To them it seemed that every port or airport where a Chinese company is the contractor had a military purpose?

In Afghanistan, More Is Not the Answer

By Emily Knowles

At the time of press, NATO had just confirmed that the alliance will increase the number of troops in Afghanistan by several thousand,1 while General John Nicholson had just gone on record to call conditions on the ground a “stalemate”.2 The pressures of delivering on security on the ground against the backdrop of small troop numbers are keenly felt. But as one soldier remarked to us in an interview “we face a stalemate today, but we also faced one 5, 8, 10, 15 years ago, we just didn’t know it”.3

This analysis suggests that a light-footprint approach to Afghanistan is not working. But crucially, as President Trump looks poised to ramp up American boots on the ground in a number of theatres,4 it is not necessarily the lack of troops that is doing the most damage to chances of mission success in Afghanistan. Instead it is the lack of political will to bring maximum pressure to bear on all parties to the conflict to bring them to the negotiation table.

This briefing is based on off-the-record military interviews with both international and local Afghan troops between February and March 2017.

HT Exclusive: PLA expert says China could eject Indian troops from Donglang

Maj Gen (retd) Yao Yunzhu 

China could launch a limited scale military operation against Indian troops to ouster them from the Donglang region near the Sikkim sector, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military expert has said, adding that the “unprecedented nature” of the current dispute could make Beijing look for a strong resolution.

Both the Communist Party of China (CPC)-led government and the PLA are under “huge pressure” to take strong action against the “invasion”, Maj Gen (retd) Yao Yunzhu from PLA’s top research institution, the Academy of Military Science (AMS) told HT.

“China and India are unlikely to go to war, depending how you define war. If it is very small, if it is a limited-scale military operation against an aggression, it is possible,” she said, about ending the standoff in Donglang, now into its second month.

“So, we are talking about very specific military operational issues. What I want to say is that for this Doklam (Donglang) event, Indians have intruded, invaded Chinese territory. That is something that has to be corrected. That is what I have been stressing,” she said, adding that to the military, the “trespass” is “intolerable”.

Xi Jinping Presides Over Massive PLA Parade as Commander-in-Chief

By Ankit Panda

Xi emphasized that the PLA must “unswervingly” obey and support the Communist Party of China. 

On Sunday, China held a military parade at the to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which was founded on August 1, 1927.

The parade was held at the PLA’s Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia and was broadcast live on Chinese state television and made available for audiences outside of China on YouTube.

The parade involved an inspection of PLA units by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who appeared in military fatigues. In April 2016, Xi was designated commander-in-chief of the People’s Liberation Army, amid ongoing organizational changes to the PLA. He remains the head of China’s Central Military Commission.

Speaking on Sunday, Xi called on the PLA to transform into an elite military force capable of repelling China’s enemies and ensuring world peace.

‘Beijing’s Doklam propaganda offensive has reduced room for diplomacy’


‘Doklam, or Doklam Plateau, is a Bhutanese territory and has been such for many decades.’

Amidst the Doklam stand-off, Dr Long Xingchun, director for Center of India Studies at China West Normal University, and Jayadeva Ranade, head of the Delhi-based Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, shared their perspectives with The Sunday Guardian. Whereas Long contended that China can’t accept any third party intervening in its bilateral dispute with Bhutan, Ranade pointed out that India is bound by a friendship treaty with the Buddhist kingdom to come to its defence. Excerpts.

Q. Why does China refuse to withdraw troops from Doklam but wants India to do it first? Shouldn’t efforts be put equally from both the sides to facilitate an open dialogue?

LONG: According to the position of China, Doklam is a Chinese territory, at least not an Indian territory; can China withdraw from this area with Indian troops equally?

China’s One Belt On Road And India’s Divergent Views – Analysis

By Dr. Sanu Kainikara

On May 14 and 15, China hosted a two-day Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, which was attended by high level delegations from around the world that included 29 heads of state. The discussion, as the name of the forum indicated, centered on President Xi Jinping’s pet project—One Belt One Road (OBOR). OBOR is the 21st century remaking of the fabled medieval Silk Road which connected ancient Asia and Europe and one that was traveled by the legendary Marco Polo. The stated intent is to revitalize international trade.

What is OBOR?

OBOR is a Chinese strategic and economic initiative to connect Eurasia, Africa and Oceania through a combination of an overland and maritime route. The initiative is aimed at resurrecting the ancient Silk Road through infrastructure projects to link the Eurasian economies within a China-centered investment and trade network.

China Showers Myanmar With Attention, as Trump Looks Elsewhere

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar — When Myanmar’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, wanted to hold a peace conference to end her country’s long-burning insurgencies, a senior Chinese diplomat went to work.

The official assembled scores of rebel leaders, many with longstanding connections to China, briefed them on the peace gathering and flew them on a chartered plane to Myanmar’s capital. There, after being introduced to a beaming Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, they were wined and dined, and sang rowdy karaoke late into the night.

A cease-fire may still be a long way off, but the gesture neatly illustrates how Myanmar, a former military dictatorship that the United States worked hard to press toward democracy, is now depending on China to help solve its problems.

The pieces all fell into place for China: It wanted peace in Myanmar to protect its new energy investments, it had the leverage to press the rebels and it found an opening to do a favor for Myanmar to deliver peace.

China is now able to play its natural role in Myanmar in a more forceful way than ever before as the United States under the Trump administration steps back from more than six years of heavy engagement in Myanmar, including some tentative contacts with some of the rebels. The vacuum left by the United States makes China’s return all the easier.

How ISIS nearly stumbled on the ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb’

By Joby Warrick and Loveday Morris

On the day the Islamic State overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, it laid claim to one of the greatest weapons bonanzas ever to fall to a terrorist group: a large metropolis dotted with military bases and garrisons stocked with guns, bombs, rockets and even battle tanks. 

But the most fearsome weapon in Mosul on that day was never used by the terrorists. Only now is it becoming clear what happened to it. 

Locked away in a storage room on a Mosul college campus were two caches of cobalt-60, a metallic substance with lethally high levels of radiation. When contained within the heavy shielding of a radiotherapy machine, cobalt-60 is used to kill cancer cells. In terrorists’ hands, it is the core ingredient of a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that could be used to spread radiation and panic. 

Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt and watched anxiously for three years for signs that the militants might try to use it. Those concerns intensified in late 2014 when Islamic State officials boasted of obtaining radioactive material, and again early last year when the terrorists took over laboratories at the same Mosul college campus with the apparent aim of building new kinds of weapons. 

Among the Ruins of Mosul

By Alexandra Genova

The city of Mosul, though officially retaken by Iraqi forces as of Tuesday, lies in ruins. At the end of nearly nine months of grueling combat, thousands are dead, roughly 900,000 civilians have been displaced and entire neighborhoods are destroyed. The cost of military victory is dear.

For AP photographer Felipe Dana, who has been posted in the northern Iraq city since October, the victory marks the end of the battle but not the war. “If it’s finished today, I don’t think people will just go back and rebuild their lives and everything is going to be fine, it’s not going to be like that,” Dana tells National Geographic. He is concerned not just for the civilians’ rehabilitation, but also about Islamic State beliefs manifesting themselves in other, more insidious ways.

Covering a region as dangerously volatile as this has been a challenge. “First you have to be careful for your own safety because there is no point putting your life at risk,” he says. “But also the access is very difficult. We’re very limited by the military. Many times, even when you’re given access, if their operations are not going as they expected, they will take you out really quick.”

Flow of Foreign Fighters to ISISStopped, Trump Tactics Working, McGurk Says


In four key areas, the Trump administration is taking the fight to ISIS in a way that Obama did not, to great effect according to the policy head who worked under both.

The flow of foreign fighters trying to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria has stopped completely. “They can’t get in now and the foreign fighters that did get in, they will die in Iraq and Syria” according to the top U.S. official coordinating the international fight against the terrorist organization. 

That’s just one of several metrics to show that under the Trump administration the United States-led coalition is accelerating the demise of the Islamic State group, or ISIS, by changing strategies and doubling down on others, argued Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, at the Middle East Institute on Thursday

To date, the multinational 73 member coalition against has cleared 70,000 square km and freed 5 million people under ISIScontrol, he said.

In Iraq, the United States and allies had trained nearly 100,000 Iraqi Security Force, or ISF, personnel for the fight for Mosul. The new ISF is very different from the Iraqi forces that abandoned their posts, equipment, and even uniforms in 2014 as ISIS struck Mosul, McGurk said.

The Greatest Person then Living

Andrew Bacevich 

H.W. Brands is a well-known and prolific historian of an old-fashioned sort. With no axe to grind and no agenda to advance, he is all about telling stories, which he does exceedingly well. In The General v. the President he recounts a remarkable episode in American history: the clash between President Harry S. Truman and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur that culminated with MacArthur being sacked in April 1951. US history is replete with examples of military officers losing their jobs, usually for incompetence, sometimes for dishonesty or moral turpitude. Only once, however, has a president fired his senior field commander during wartime for blatant insubordination. As a chapter in the history of US civil-military relations, the Truman-MacArthur controversy is seemingly sui generis, but to treat it as such, as Brands does, is to miss its larger significance. Ending in what appeared to be a decisive affirmation of civilian control, it revealed the challenges inherent in reconciling democratic practice with the exercise of militarised global leadership: challenges that persist – in different form – in the presidency of Donald Trump.

War on the Korean peninsula, formally divided by the Allies into two states in 1945, erupted unexpectedly in June 1950 when North Korean forces attacked across the 38th Parallel, providing the setting for the confrontation between Truman and MacArthur. Brands focuses on their personalities, but the larger context complicated matters and ratcheted up the stakes. For Americans these were unsettled and unsettling times. Victory in World War Two had almost immediately given way to an ominous Cold War, with freedom itself seemingly beset by an insidious form of totalitarianism. Expectations that the UN, created with great fanfare in 1945, would pave the way for world peace were already falling victim to East-West divisions. The US monopoly in nuclear weapons, the ultimate guarantor of American security, had ended after just four years, when the Soviet Union successfully tested a weapon in August 1949. A month or so later China ‘fell’ to communism. At home, the Second Red Scare, commonly known as McCarthyism, fuelled partisanship and sowed paranoia, especially among left liberals or progressives who were vulnerable to the charge of fellow-travelling. The Korean War compounded these issues.

Baahubali to masala tea: India 101 for U.S. diplomats

Varghese K. George

The Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department trains the largest contingent of diplomats in the world. Varghese K. George spends a day with U.S. diplomats preparing to take up positions in India, and their trainers

Over the last three months, Phuong Nguyen has learned a lot of Tamil, a thing or two about Dravidian politics and has figured out why Kattappa killed Baahubali. She has watched the multi-language blockbuster Baahubali 2 thrice. This afternoon, she and three other U.S. Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) learning Tamil at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) before deployment to Chennai are discussing the weather there, aided by a video clip of a weather report from a Tamil news channel. “Enakku veppam pidikkum (I like the heat),” says Greg Bauer, an Iowan who had earlier worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cambodia. “In Chennai it is 105º (Fahrenheit) today,” the instructor told him, in a promising tone, last week.

The contingent is relishing their Tamil films and can’t wait to be in Chennai to test their language skills and smell the filter coffee. “He has even started teaching us lessons from the Thirukkural,” Nguyen says of Pandiyaraju Arumugan, the Tamil instructor. “I have really enjoyed learning about Dravidian language, culture, and history,” adds the fresh FSO recruit who came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a five-year-old. It helps that Arumugan, from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, has shrunken his Dravidian identity to ‘Raju’, in a concession to the American tongue. “Raju is wonderful and very open in sharing his wisdom and culture,” says Nguyen.

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 artificial intelligence arms race

Cyberspace is now a territory where politics, economics, and foreign affairs are all contested – and Internet bots driven by artificial intelligence have emerged as key new actors, Andrej Zwitter writes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is pervading all aspects of our lives. As one of the primary methods of analysing unstructured and messy data sets, it has become synonymous with big data. And with much of the globally produced data being transmitted via the Internet, a new cyber landscape has emerged, a parallel digital world that still requires the carving out of territories and rules.

These territories are currently dominated by large corporate actors, such as search engines and social media networks, which themselves compete over access to the new raw material – data. It is roamed by vigilantes and cyber criminals. But states also need to define their own role in this new world.

In recognition of this need, states are increasingly investing in artificial intelligence. China recently announced an IT strategy focusing on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robotics. In doing so, the country is trying to ride the wave of renewed interest in emergent technologies around cyberspace, hoping to gain an economic advantage and position itself as technology leader by 2030. This foresight in national strategy might give China a decisive competitive edge over other countries that neglect the importance of artificial intelligence and robotics specifically for the emerging data economy.

Milley: Future wars will be long, they'll be fought on the ground, and spec ops won't save us

By: Meghann Myers 

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley wants the American public to stop fooling itself when it comes to war, so he’s drawn up five ”myths” he says we need to let go of, pronto.

Milley shared his thesis with an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, and his take on it has evolved since he first started speaking about four slightly different myths of warfare back in 2015. The myths: 

1. Wars will be short

“There are wars that have been short in the past, but they’re pretty rare,” he said. Most of the time, wars take longer than people think they will at the beginning of those wars.”

Leaders tend to gloss over conflicts, he said, describing them as a ”little dust-up,“ assuring everyone that victory will be quick.

“Beware of that one,” he said. “Wars have a logic of their own sometimes, and they move in directions that are highly unexpected.”

2. You can win wars from afar



The U.S. Air Force is in the midst of a crisis — and it’s not the much-publicized pilot retention problem. Divisions between the flying and non-flying communities have, in recent years, created a leadership crisis of sorts. There is a growing perception that the Air Force has shifted away from valuing operational leadership — the thing that allows all of its high-tech equipment (and battlefield airmen) to actually do what they do.

A lot happens between take-off and landing that a majority of airmen will never see. Historically, this realm of operational leadership has been poorly articulated, and often gets relegated to an infatuation with the equipment aviators operate or the outcomes they produce — the numbers of sorties, hours flown, and weapons employed.

It’s time to shed some light on how leadership in the air enables the outcomes that everyone in the Air Force sees. This exploration must start with the fighter pilot — not because the world revolves around them, but because that’s where flight leadership was born.

In the Beginning

“Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare attack a lion. Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid, will attack resolutely.” —Col. Ardant du Picq, 19th century French Army officer and theorist


Newsweek published this story under the headline “Beijing's Secret Wish List” on April 31, 1997. In light of recent news involving China's growing military power, Newsweek is republishing the story.

IT WAS JUST ANOTHER WEST COAST FUND-RAISER, THE THIRD in a row that day for Bill Clinton. Guests nibbled on salmon and took turns saying hello to the president of the United States -- all for $ 10,000 a head. Liu Chao-ying's hand was just one among many extended, with a smile and a nod, to Clinton at the dinner in L.A. last July. The real question is, what exactly was she doing there? For, though she looked the part, Liu was not another smartly dressed Chinese-American dealmaker seeking a photo op with the president to parlay into business back in Asia. She is a Chinese "princeling," a daughter of a top Communist Party cadre, and cachet was the last thing she needed. An executive with China's state-run rocket manufacturer, Liu told NEWSWEEK that she was only interested in "a little bit of business" with Johnny Chung, the wheeler-dealer whose name has been linked to Asiagate -- the scandal involving allegations of Chinese money funneled to U.S. election campaigns (his lawyer denies Chung was a conduit for such funds). 

Army Must Sell Network Strategy To Congress: Speer


ARLINGTON: The Army’s no-holds-barred study of its network shortfalls should produce a comprehensive strategy to solve them — a strategy that can withstand the scrutiny of a skeptical Congress. That’s the goal Acting Army Secretary Robert Speerlaid out for me and a fellow reporter after an Association of the US Army event this week. The strategy, Speer said, must also go beyond purely technical solutions and address how the Army acquires and funds that technology.

Speer is clearly focused on convincing Congress. Army officials have been giving key committees progress reports, he told us, and the Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, intends to brief the Hill on some proposed solutions before September 1st.

“We’ve got a commitment, before the summer closes out, to go back in and talk and provide them further information as to where we are. We have updated them and we will continue to update them; but we haven’t given the final solution,” Speer told us. “The Chief has made a commitment for instance to go back in to the SASC (Senate Armed Services Committee), back in the SAC (Senate Appropriations Committee), and provide them additional information – I believe the date was before the 1st of September.”

Report goes in-depth on power grid cyber vulnerabilities and why they won’t be fixed soon

By: Brad D. Williams 

Large windmills and solar panels are seen Monday, Oct. 6, 2008, in Atlantic City, N.J. The local utilities authority's wind farm consists of five windmills that generate 7.5 megawatts, enough energy to power approximately 2,500 homes. It powers a wastewater treatment plant, with surplus energy going to the area power grid. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

A new report details the urgent need for broad, systematic initiatives to improve the resilience of the U.S. power grid, while also highlighting the perils and pitfalls of such efforts, which range from politics to the conflicting economic self-interests of diverse stakeholders.

The report, “Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System,” was recently published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electric Power Transmission and Distribution System.

Dozens of organizations have published similar reports, but at 282 pages, NASEM’s report is notable for its breadth and depth. The length illustrates the topic’s complexity, which stems partly from the nature of the grid and partly from the “political process” that always accompanies any attempt to overhaul the status quo. Nonetheless, the report “focuses on identifying, developing and implementing strategies to increase the power system’s resilience in the face of events that can cause large-area, long-duration outages...”

3 priorities for Army’s cyber/EW aviation concept of operation

By: Mark Pomerleau 

A CBP Air unit UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter intimidates two vehicles on a remote air strip in America's southwest border region.

The Army is looking to upgrade its aviation training incorporating cyber and electronic warfare. 

In a notice posted on the FedBizOpps contracting website titled “Aviation Electronic Warfare and Cyber Warfare Capability Development,” the Army is looking for potential contractors to support three high level objectives for the Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker in Alabama:

Approved electronic warfare and cyber warfare aviation concept of operations that can be valid through fiscal 2035; 

Approved Aviation EW and cyber warfare required capabilities integrated and synchronized across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy (DOTMLPF-P); and 

Approved Army EW and cyber warfare capability synchronized and integrated on and with aviation manned and unmanned platforms along with other aviation systems. 

Among other elements contractors will be required to provide, the draft statement outlines that the contractor will review existing threat force concepts and capabilities while studying trends and emerging technologies as well as providing subject matter experts for the development of EW and cyber warfare aviation concepts of operations.

FBI’s 3-pronged approach to defeating botnets [Black Hat 2017]

By: Aaron Boyd 

The FBI's three-pronged approach to taking on botnets.

Botnets – networks of compromised computers and connected devices used as a platform for launching cyberattacks – are complex structures, making them difficult targets for law enforcement. According to Tom Grasso, supervisory special agent with the FBI’s Cyber Division, the only way to effectively dismantle a botnet operation is through cooperation with the private sector and citizens.

“I’m not going to tell you [the FBI] is the savior of the internet,” Grasso said during a briefing at the 2017 Black Hat convention in Las Vegas. “We’re not. You all are – we all are, actually, is what it comes down to.”

Grasso explained the bureau’s three-pronged approach to defeating botnets, which include neutralizing the threat actors, disabling the underlying infrastructure through active operations and mitigating the effects of malicious activity by sharing indicators of compromise across relevant sectors.