5 August 2017

*** Modernize the South Asia Nuclear Facility ´Non-Attack´ Agreement

By Tony Dalton 

On January 1, 2017, Indian and Pakistani diplomats exchanged official lists of the nuclear facilities located in their respective countries. According to news accounts at the time, this was the 26th such annual exchange of lists, pursuant to a 1988 bilateral confidence building agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear installations.i The fact that this exchange has been implemented without interruption, during periods of both calm and military crisis, makes it the most enduring nuclear confidence-building measure (CBM) on record in South Asia. At the same time, the banality of this exchange suggests that the agreement has little practical contemporary meaning for peace and security in the region.

When the non-attack agreement was originally negotiated, both countries’ nuclear weapons enterprises were relatively small and secretive, and fears (in Pakistan, at least) of a surprise attack on nuclear facilities had been rampant for several years.ii The agreement in theory helped allay concerns that nuclear facilities could be attacked purposefully, either by surprise or during a conflict, thus mitigating the potential humanitarian or environmental consequences that might result.

Over time, however, the agreement has proven to be merely symbolic and its potential as a building block for enhanced confidence has remained limited. It was never backed by verification provisions, for example. During the period prior to 1998, in which neither state had openly declared its nuclear weapon status, it was widely assumed that both sides omitted nuclear weapons-related facilities from their respective declarations.iii It is almost certainly the case today that neither side declares sites associated with nuclear weapons storage and operations, and perhaps other facilities as well. Any stabilizing influence the agreement contributed in the past has long since dissipated.iv

** The Trump Administration Reaches for a Trade Sledgehammer

The White House is planning to launch new investigations into China's trade and intellectual property practices, and soon. The move underscores how talks between the United States and China have broken down over Washington's expectations that Beijing would help rein in North Korea's nuclear program. With the 100-day action plan on trade that followed U.S. President Donald Trump's April meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping over, and with Pyongyang still aggressively pursuing a fully functional and deliverable nuclear weapon, the White House already had signaled it would no longer be constrained when dealing with China before Trump tweeted July 29 that he was "very disappointed in China" for its inaction on North Korea. And now that comprehensive trade talks are frozen, the United States is pursuing far more aggressive measures against China's economic policy — though it still retains the option to walk this pursuit back if needed.

According to several reports, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will investigate technology transfers mandated by China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Beijing requires foreign companies to share technology in exchange for allowing them to invest in China or access the massive and lucrative Chinese market. The investigation could be announced this week and is likely to be rolled into an executive order by Trump that includes other enforcement actions related to trade, investment and intellectual property.
A Heavy Tool, With Limitations

** The Lebanese Armed Forces, Hezbollah and the Race to Defeat ISIS

On July 20, 2017, the Lebanese Shi’a militant group Hezbollah confirmed that it had put in motion a plan to dislodge Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) militants from Lebanon. The commencement of Hezbollah military operations preempted the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) from putting in motion plans tied to clearing JAN and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from Lebanese territory on its own. On July 27, 2017, Hezbollah announced that it and JAN had reached a tentative ceasefire as negotiations intensified to secure safe passage for remaining Nusra fighters to rebel-held areas in Syria.

Hezbollah’s decision to take on JAN militants militarily placed the LAF in an all but untenable position. The LAF’s leadership are uncomfortable that Hezbollah’s campaign against JAN amounted to a media nightmare for the Government of Lebanon and the military. However, it must be said the LAF has had three years to plan, push for, and execute a military option to deal decisively with the presence of JAN and ISIS fighters in Lebanon, and missed several opportunities to do so.

Since the accession of General Joseph Aoun to the post of LAF Commander, LAF-Hezbollah relations have remained largely civil – much like the LAF’s relations with all of Lebanon’s major political sectarian factions. However, below the surface, some of the LAF’s recent key military personnel choices have annoyed Hezbollah. Despite that, the LAF is not in a position where it can be openly antagonistic towards Hezbollah – the preeminent faction in Lebanon’s sectarian political landscape.

Why 2017 is not 1987

by Sushant Singh

A more nationalistic Beijing and the location of the dispute make the current India-China crisis different from the earlier stand-off

In 2007, Bhutan had offered a swap deal to China where it agreed to give Doklam in exchange for the disputed areas in its north, which India vetoed.

The stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies at Doklam shows no signs of a resolution. For New Delhi, the most preferred option is a mutual withdrawal by the two armies from the contested area. The next best option is continuation of the status quo, a prolonged stand-off at the site where Chinese road construction has been stalled. The Chinese thus cannot build the road to the militarily important Jampheri ridge, and diplomats of the two countries can use the prolonged period of détente — of a few months if not more — to find an amicable solution.

Japan Is Building India's Infrastructure

By Tridivesh Singh Maini and Sandeep Sachdeva

Japan should help develop India’s northeast, and in so doing send a message to China. 

In recent years, India-Japan relations have considerably improved in both the economic and strategic spheres. July provided two important examples of how strategic ties have improved immensely. First, there were the week-long trilateral naval exercises between India, Japan, and the United States, which this year came amidst the standoff between India-China over the Doklam plateau. Then on July 20, the landmark India-Japan civil nuclear agreement came into force. The pact was signed in Tokyo on November 11, 2016, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan. According to the deal, six new nuclear reactors will be built for power generation. India and Japan are also working on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which was unveiled on May 23, 2017 during the 52nd Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

In the area of infrastructure too, India is seeking to benefit from Japanese expertise. Japan is already associated with the assistance and know-how it provided for Phase 1 of the Delhi Metro. Now, according to some media reports, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet-train project going to be launched during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India from September 12-14. The Japanese are also involved in other mega projects, like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which began a decade ago.

Bangladeshis, And Not Gorkhas, Pose An Existential Threat To Bengalis

Jaideep Mazumdar

It is not the Gorkhas who pose a threat to Bengali Hindus. The real threat comes from illegal Bangladeshi Muslim migrants.

The average Bengali Hindu, who is overcome by horror, and a lot of impotent rage as well, at the very mention of ‘Gorkhaland’ has got it all wrong. He, in fact, is barking up the wrong tree.

For, the biggest and gravest existential threat to Bengali Hindus, who form about 60 per cent of Bengal’s population (2011 census), comes not from the Gorkhas but from the illegal Bangladeshi Muslims residing in Bengal. Most of them have been radicalised by Salafi preachers and are hardcore Islamists who favour the establishment of the Sharia (Islamic law).

Thanks to large-scale, unchecked illegal migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) since the late 1950s, the demography of several districts of Bengal, especially those along the Indo-Bangladesh border, has changed drastically. At the time of the 2011 census, three of Bengal’s 19 districts (four more districts have been created since then, taking the total to 23) – Murshidabad, Malda and Uttar Dinajpur – had become Muslim-majority ones.

It is estimated that in another ten years, three more districts – South 24 Parganas, Birbhum and South Dinajpur – will become Muslim-majority districts. And by the time of the 2031 census, if the current rate of growth of the Muslim population in the state and the influx from Bangladesh continues unabated, the districts of North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Howrah, Cooch Behar and the two Bardhaman districts will become Muslim-majority districts.

India’s complicated infrastructure story

Ashwini Mehra

The boom in the sector over the last decade led to mistakes of excess and reckless optimism that have come home to roost

It was in early 2004 that the State Bank of India posted me to the strategic business unit (SBU) for project finance. The mission was to set up a number of project appraisal teams which would help the bank capture the upcoming large financing opportunities in the infrastructure sector as also greenfield industrial projects. This was a time when the reforms unleashed from 1991 onwards, as also the investment direction shown by the Rakesh Mohan Committee, started to show up in the form of sustained high GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates averaging CAGR (compound annual growth rate) 8.5%. The media was full of catchy headlines about the India story, the India century, India versus China, India’s imminent entry into the ranks of the global A-listers, the future belonging to the Brics nations and so on.

The Planning Commission had begun to set out ambitious outlays for the infrastructure sector in the five-year plans (FYPs). These went up from $220 billion for the 10th FYP to $500 billion in the 11th FYP and $1 trillion in the 12th FYP with private sector contributing 20%, 30% and 50% of the resources under the public-private partnership (PPP) rubric, respectively. In the absence of large term-lending institutions as also the lack of an active corporate bond market for raising cheap long funds, banks had opportunities to provide large-ticket loans to corporates and their special purpose vehicles. Many of the promoters who entered the infra arena were first-timers with excellent execution capabilities but equally limited capital.

In Pakistan, the issue is democracy

I A Rehman

The problem is that democracy cannot be abandoned, for to be ruled by elected representatives is a basic human right.

Karachi: Whenever an abnormal change in Pakistan’s political superstructure has taken place, mostly in the form of coups against elected governments, the chargesheet against the deposed politician(s) has included some derogatory remarks about the system in vogue. The ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the prime ministership through a judicial order also will give rise to some criticism of the parliamentary democracy that allows for the kind of wrongdoings the prime minister was accused of.

The criticism of the system has, however, been quite sketchy, Ghulam Mohammad justified the sacking of the Constituent Assembly on the grounds of its failure to draft a constitution, which was incorrect. While replacing an elected government with martial law, Iskander Mirza not only abused politicians, he also denounced as unworkable the 1956 Constitution that he had sworn to uphold. Gen. Ayub Khan too rejected Western democracy while condemning politicians because, firstly, democracy could not be cultivated in Pakistan’s climate and, secondly, it did not suit the genius of the people. Even such outlandish theorising was not challenged because many people were waiting to eat out of the dictator’s palm.

How the Trump Administration is Losing Afghanistan

There is a case for a deliberate U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Afghan government remains divided and weak, its security forces will take years of expensive U.S. and allied support to become fully effective and they may still lose even with such support. Afghanistan is no more likely to become a future center of terrorist attacks outside its borders than many other weak and unstable countries.

Both Afghanistan and a troublesome Pakistan have only marginal strategic interest to the U.S. relative to many other areas where the U.S. can use its resources. Moreover, leaving the region places the security and aid burden on Russia, China, and local states—forcing the countries that do have major strategic interests in the region to take on the burden or live with the consequences.

The U.S. should not stay in Afghanistan without considering these risks and liabilities, or out of sheer strategic momentum. But, it should also not let the situation steadily deteriorate and lose the wear by negligence and default. There is a case for continuing military assistance and there may be a case for action on the civil side if the State Department and USAID are pressed hard to address it. Pakistan may remain problematic, but it may well not be so much of a problem that some form of victory is not possible.

Pakistan: The Combustible Democracy

The forced exit of Nawaz Sharif has left Pakistan at a cross roads. The tensions between the military establishment and civil leadership that had become a feature of Sharif's third term as Prime Minister are likely to worsen.

Even before his departure on Friday, the ongoing investigation into the corruption allegations against Sharif and his family, triggered by a report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists known as the Panama Papers, had taken a toll.

He had heart surgery last year as the opposition ratcheted up the pressure through mass protests. And on the world stage, he was snubbed at the Riyadh Summit in May this year, not allowed a meeting with the US President Donald Trump and barred from giving a prepared speech.

Last week's Supreme Court's verdict that removed Sharif from office was not a surprise for either the ruling party or the opposition. It was clear the Sharif family had failed to provide the money trail for expensive property bought in London, and that many of the documents they had submitted were fake or tampered with. In the end, the PM was found to have been an office bearer in a Dubai based company - owned by his son - and this was the trigger for his downfall as it was not declared in his nomination for election. The Court declared him to be disqualified as a member of parliament - for life.

Bhutan and China: Clues to crisis from 1979

Saeed Naqvi

The need for Bhutan to talk with China was possibly the most controversial suggestion His Majesty could have made.

Thumbing through old files in the context of the India-China standoff on Doklan, a headline caught my eye: “Need for talks with China: Bhutan King”. The dateline is September 11, 1979. The King who made that bold assertion was Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the present King’s father, who now lives in thoughtful retirement.

The King had, in fact, made that statement in a rare interview to this reporter. It was historic because never in history had the King spoken to the media.

Why did the King make this departure from tradition? The need for Bhutan to talk with China was possibly the most controversial suggestion His Majesty could have made. Article 2 of the secret 1949 Treaty between Bhutan and India clearly states that, in the conduct of foreign affairs, Bhutan would be guided by India’s advice. This restrictive clause never erupted in contention, such was the delicacy with which relations with Bhutan were conducted.

Even though geography dictated Bhutan’s need to have some minimal contact with China, Article 2 of the treaty caused hesitations. During Morarji Desai’s term as Prime Minister from 1977-79, Bhutan was allowed to upgrade its mission in New Delhi to a full-fledged embassy. Since the ambassador was also accredited to Bangladesh, over a period of time Dhaka too was allowed to open an embassy in Thimphu. This was considerable journey from 1971 when Bhutan opened its mission at the UN in 1971. And yet, the P-5 were discouraged from having missions in Thimphu because the Chinese would have to be a part of that concert.

What China’s Himalayan warmongering reveals


The Sino-Indian troop standoff has underscored the centrality of propaganda in China’s foreign policy.

A Chinese government handout photo of a live-fire military exercise in Tibet. The photo was released amid rising border tensions with India. It later came to light that the military exercise was conducted before the crisis began.

At a time of rising Sino-Indian tensions over a weeks-long troop standoff at the border where Tibet, Bhutan and the Indian state of Sikkim meet, China’s warmongering has become so raucous and coarse that, to the casual observer, a Himalayan military conflict may seem imminent. In reality, Beijing is waging — in Chinese strategic tradition — full-throttle psychological warfare to compel India to back down without a shot being fired.

The current crisis, more significantly, has underscored the centrality of propaganda in China’s foreign policy — from the aggressor playing the victim to unremitting efforts to camouflage its intrusion into tiny Bhutan that precipitated the standoff. China’s vitriolic war rhetoric and unrealistic preconditions for holding talks stand out in stark contrast to India’s measured response and emphasis on diplomacy and dialogue to peacefully resolve the standoff.

Bypass Beijing’s Propaganda by Accessing Chinese Social Media

Irfan Ahmad

Almost 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu famously wrote in The Art of War, “Winning without fight is the best strategy” – underscoring the importance of soft power. Some 200 years later, Chanakya propounded the theory of Saam (persuasion) for winning without offence, and prioritised it over Dand (punishment or display of hard power).

At the end of the Cold War, Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye explained soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments.”

Recently, the Chinese embassy in India contested New Delhi’s position on Doklam border standoff by releasing a YouTube video through its political counsellor Li Ya. However, the Indian embassy in China avoided engaging in similar display of public diplomacy.

China’s Propaganda Tactics

Many negative stories about India have been published in both English and Chinese languages, meant both for the Indian government and people. The Indian media, obviously, doesn’t have access to most of the ordinary Chinese, due to linguistic barriers.

For all the news related to India, they generally rely on online translation tools or on netizens ‘volunteering’ to render the same in Chinese language. Much propaganda may be discerned in the ‘translated’ output. Recently, video clips of Indian and Chinese soldiers scuffling at the Doklam border were leaked in Indian social media.

A Dramatic Year Fails to Smooth the South China Sea

The Seventh Annual CSIS South China Sea Conference on July 18 brought together security, legal, and environmental experts to review events of the past year. The participants had a lot of ground to cover: the impact of the arbitral tribunal’s award in Manila’s case against Beijing, the near-completion of China’s artificial island bases in the Spratly Islands, and the elections of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Donald Trump in the United States.

Given this raft of new developments, it is striking how calm the South China Sea has been over the last year and how little has changed regarding the core issues. The arbitral tribunal’s award—released to great interest the same day as last year’s CSIS South China Sea Conference—has had limited impact due to a combination of China’s refusal to accept the ruling and the decision by the Philippines under Duterte not to press the issue. Despite diplomatic outreach and talk of cooperation by China, Beijing continues to threaten other claimants engaged in behavior it does not approve of. This became painfully obvious in mid-July when China reportedly coerced Vietnam into halting oil and gas drilling in an area of Vietnam’s claimed continental shelf that falls within the nine-dash line.

Participants at this year’s conference discussed China’s artificial island bases in the Spratlys more for their potential long-term effects than for any use over the past year. The balance between military and civilian activities planned for these dual-use facilities is unclear, as is the nature and tempo of future military operations from them. Disagreement remains over how great the bases’ impact will be both for peacetime competition and in a potential regional conflict.

How the United States and China Could Avoid a Trade War

The markets are undervaluing the growing risk of trade protectionism under the Trump administration. Since he considered running for U.S. president in 1988, Donald Trump has changed political parties at least five times and has switched positions on hot button issues including abortion and gun control. But he has been remarkably consistent in declaring that trade deficits matter and voicing support for managed trade.

For his supporters, there is no more keenly felt political touchstone. National polling shows that “bargaining with global companies to keep jobs in America” has received 75 percent approval in Trump counties—higher than “dealing” with North Korea (68 percent) or getting a conservative justice on the Supreme Court (38 percent).

Trump’s electoral interests reinforce his policy beliefs. Although he lost the popular vote by a margin of 2.1 percentage points, he gained the presidency by winning most of the toss-up states. He won 75 electoral votes in states where the winning margin was 1.2 percent or less. These included key steel-producing states—Michigan (which Trump won by 0.3 percent), Wisconsin (0.7 percent), and Pennsylvania (0.7 percent).

After the inaugural U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue closed on July 19 with no meaningful progress, Trump said: “They’re dumping steel and destroying our steel industry, they’ve been doing it for decades and I’m stopping it. There are two ways—quotas and tariffs. Maybe I’ll do both.”

Shades Of Terrorism: War Against Terrorists Is Not A War On Islam – Analysis


Though British political philosopher Edmund Burke used the term “terrorism” in the 18th century to demonize the French Revolution, Maximillian Robes Pierre spoke of “first maxim to conduct the people by reason and the enemies of the people(is) by terror”, and his reiteration that “terror is nothing else but justice, prompt, secure and inflexible”. Modern terrorism in one form or another has been a part of human history since 1st century.

Of the early religious terrorists (religious terrorism is motivated primarily by religion as opposed to ethnic or a politically ideological terrorist group) the notables were Hindu Thugees, the Muslim Assassins, and the Jewish Zealot-Sciari. The Thugees pursued religious ends by offering their victims to the Hindu Goddess of destruction — Kali (the Thugees were active from the 7th till mid-19th century India). The assassins killed politicians and clerics who refused to submit to their brand of Islam. Zealot-Sciari, on the other hand, used political violence for religious solution. Though short lived this group waged what they believed to be God ordained war against Cannanites for possession of the Promised Land.

Marxism created its own brand of terrorism subscribing to Italian revolutionary Carlo Piscane’s theory of the “propaganda of the deed” recognizing the usefulness of terrorism to deliver a message to an audience other than the target and draw attention to and support for the terrorist’ cause. Piscane’s theory was put into practice through the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 and of Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria triggering the outbreak of the First World War.

Russia, the United States, and the Middle East

We don’t know much about what was said when U.S. President Donald Trump sat across from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit on July 7, but we do know they talked a lot about the Middle East. By his own account, Trump told Putin,"There's so much killing in Syria. We got to solve Syria."

Russia has been playing a more active role in the Middle East in the last five years, and before committing to strategic cooperation with Russia, it is helpful to judge Russia’s objectives and strategies in the region.

It is easier to grasp Russian strategy by contrasting it with Chinese strategy. China has a large stake in the region’s trajectory, relying on the Middle East for more than 60 percent of its imported energy. China has an expanding economic footprint, as trade and investment increase and Chinese contractors grab a multi-billion dollar share of infrastructure projects. Despite its rising interests, China’s quite evident ambition is to expand its economic footprint without taking the expensive step of expanding its security footprint. China seeks to complement the U.S. security presence with its own economic presence, not diminish it. Widespread interest in Chinese goods and Chinese know-how mean China is often welcomed warmly by host governments.

Leadership Is Listening First

Self-projection—communications—are critical to an individual’s or group’s success because time is important, and miscommunications can cause major personal and organizational problems.

In early February 2001, while I served as Commander, Submarine Force Pacific, I departed my office midmorning to fly to the Republic of Korea and then Japan to celebrate with the allies the end of my tour in the Pacific.

On my way out of the office, a senior staff officer asked permission for a hosted submarine ride for civilians in the coming weeks. My reply was simply, “Don’t break any china for this ride.” My response was inappropriate. Clearly, I did not seek to understand the query. My response, although clear to me, was not understood by the staff member.

I should have delayed my departure to find out more about the request. Or since time was short prior to my departure, just have said “No!” If the event were truly important, my staff would have communicated its importance while I was on travel and that process would have given me the opportunity provide a more appropriate and understandable reply.

The bottom line is that my failure to clearly self-project was a factor—even if an incidental one—in the series of events that led to the tragic collision between one of my submarines, the USS Greenville (SSN-772), and the Japanese fishing training ship Ehemi Maru , in which seven individials lost their lives.

Marine Corps targets a compact, combined fires support platform

By: Adam Stone 

The Marine Corps is rolling out a lighter, more portable version of its GPS targeting system for forward observers.

Following a successful initial release of the first Common Laser Range Finder-Integrated Capability (CLRF-IC) systems in February, the service says it expects to deploy the binocular-type products across the Corps later this year.

The new system aims to streamline fires support by combining multiple devices into a single handheld unit. In addition to being more portable, the new system will generate digital data in place of formerly analog images, making to easier to share key information across operators.

The Marines are looking to the GPS-based CLRF-IC to deliver accurate distance and location information using built-in laser range technology. The most immediate benefit, though, will be in terms of portability.

The previous system comprises multiple components, including a glare suppressor, night vision, GPS, an external magnifier to increase distance sighting and a tripod. “If you try and take the whole system with you, it is pretty cumbersome,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Tock, an operations chief in the armor and fire support systems program office at Marine Corps Systems Command.

How to make soldiers’ brains better at noticing threats

TWO millivolts is not much. But it is enough to show that someone has seen something even before he knows he has seen it himself. The two millivolts in question are those associated with P300, a fleeting electrical signal produced by a human brain which has just recognised an object it has been seeking. Crucially, this signal is detectable by electrodes in contact with a person’s scalp before he is consciously aware of having recognised anything.

That observation is of great interest to DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, one of America’s military-research establishments. DARPA’s Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts programme is dedicated to exploiting it in the search for things like rocket launchers and roadside bombs in drone and satellite imagery. To that end it has been paying groups of researchers to look into ways of using P300 to cut human consciousness out of the loop in such searches.

Among the beneficiaries are Robert Smith’s group at Honeywell Aerospace, in Phoenix, Arizona, and Paul Sajda’s at Neuromatters, in New York. Both of the “image triage systems” designed by these groups require the humans in them to wear special skull-enclosing caps (see picture). Each cap is fitted with 32 electrodes that record the brain’s electrical responses to whatever stimuli it is subjected to. Wearers have pictures flashed before their eyes at the rate of ten a second. That is too fast for conscious recognition, because the brain’s attention will have moved on to the next image before consciousness can come into play. It is not, though, too fast for the initial stages of recognition, marked by a P300 signal, to occur when suspicious items are present. Images that provoke such a signal are then tagged for review. According to Dr Sajda, this triples the speed with which objects of interest can be found.

Here's how the Air Force is fighting in the cyber domain

By: Mark Pomerleau

This is part four of a series exploring the differences between military cyber forces, capabilities, mission sets and needs. For previous installments, see part one, part two and part three.

In addition to being the direct service link for U.S. Cyber Command, 24th Air Force, or AFCYBER, holds a mission set in cyberspace that is much more expansive than just the man, train and equip cyber mission force Cyber Command contribution.

Maj. Gen. Chris Weggeman, commander of AFCYBER, noted in written congressional testimony recently that AFCYBER is designated as the cybersecurity service provider for the Air Force in addition to executing assigned cyberspace operations missions through six avenues; building, operating, securing and defending the Air Force networks.

Additionally, organic capabilities specific to the Air Force revolve around their five core mission sets: assurance of aerial refueling, assigning crews to planes and ensuring planes take off on time and complete their mission. In this vein, the Air Force has created a director of cyber forces, or DIRCYBERFOR, with 39 billets across all air operations centers with the intention of integrating cyber into the theater of the service’s multi-domain operations, officials from AFCYBER told C4ISRNET.

America’s Top Drone Company Just Teamed Up with a Chinese Industry Titan


Less than a year ago, DJI knocked the California-based 3D Robotics out of the consumer market. Now, the US firm has turned to software — and a partnership with its vanquisher. 

It’s like the drone equivalent of IBM partnering with Apple.

Today (Aug. 1), 3D Robotics announced a partnership with DJI, where the California-based company will integrate its site-scanning software with the Chinese firm’s drones.

Once upon a time, all the way back in 2015, 3D Robotics (3DR) was one of the most promising new consumer-drone companies, touted as one of the main companies, alongside DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec, that would bring small personal drones into the mainstream. Chris Anderson, the company’s co-founder and Wired’s former editor in chief, quit his post at the magazine—after publishing one last cover story about the future of drones—to concentrate on 3DR in 2012. But 3DR struggled to produce its flagship drone, the Solo, at scale, then suffered weak holiday sales; in the process, 3DR burned through the majority of the nearly $100 million it had received in venture capital, laid off 150 people, and decided that it was going to leave the hardware market to concentrate entirely on software for commercial drones.

“We were the American DJI,” Anderson told Quartz, of the company’s brand-name recognition in the nascent drone market. “We went head to head with them in consumer—now in the commercial era, we are partnering with them.” 

The changing landscape of social-impact investing

During the age of entrepreneurship, the gap between rich and poor grew rapidly. New business models directing capital in a more purposeful, moral way can help change that.

Entrepreneurs who saw their ideas turn into billion-dollar companies over the past several decades are now increasingly looking for ways to direct capital toward the goal of making other people’s lives better. In this interview, McKinsey alumnus Sir Ronald Cohen speaks with McKinsey global managing partner Dominic Barton about how the thinking has changed around raising capital for the benefit of society at large. This discussion is excerpted from the video series What happens next—usually available only to McKinsey firm members—in which Barton has in-depth conversations with colleagues and outside experts on topics relevant to our clients.

Dominic Barton: Sir Ronnie Cohen. I could talk for the whole session about what he’s doing, but suffice it to say that he is one of our most illustrious alumni. Today he is the chairman of the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group and the Portland Trust, something that he founded himself. After leaving McKinsey he cofounded the global private-equity firm Apax Partners, which everyone should know about. He has also launched a whole series of investments around impact investing. Thank you for being with us. I thought we’d start at a broad level on capitalism.

Hello! Big Brother is Listening to all your Mobile and Internet Conversations.


For 2017 the number of mobile phoneusers is forecast to reach 4.77 billion. The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. In 2016, an estimated 62.9 percent of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone. Of these, India and China alone accounted for about 2.5 billion. The USA followed with 327 million and a dysfunctional country like Pakistan had 125 million. Even in countries with little semblance of a government or a state, like Somalia and Afghanistan or Mali or Libya, there are functioning mobile phone networks. There are almost four billion Internet users world over now. Of these 44.8% were in Asia, 21.5% in Europe and 11.4% in all of North America. India was one of the last countries operating a telegraph service and as of this month even that is now in the past. Literally, it’s all up in the air nowadays.

Quite clearly, we are talking and communicating more with each other. Billions of messages flit through the ether each day. That’s why this is called the communications era. People are constantly communicating. This has led to new forms of business and new forms of doing business. Any kind of business. With that small gizmo in your hand, that often nowadays packs more power than a bank of PC’s half a dozen years ago, you can buy an airline ticket in another continent or send flowers to a special friend in yet another one. There can be other less benign uses also. A terrorist can detonate a secreted bomb in a distant country with a mobile phone call. Criminals can orchestrate their activities without moving from their lairs. This new technology has posed many new challenges to the modern state, and like before every modern state has to defend itself against some enemy or the other. But states with the technical means and the financial resources have, as always, risen to the challenges, and we see this in action in a variety of ways. It also poses new challenges to the law-abiding citizens right to privacy.

Windows 10: Five reasons to avoid Microsoft's flagship OS

By Nick Heath

In many ways, Windows has never been less important.

As Windows 10 approaches its second anniversary, PC users are spoilt for choice when it comes to the operating systems and software they can use.

With Microsoft's sometimes capricious and occasionally obnoxious treatment of Windows users, perhaps it's time to skip its flagship OS.

Here are five reasons you might want to drop Windows 10 or give it a miss. For a counter argument, read the 'Windows 10: Five reasons to stick with Microsoft's flagship OS' companion article.

Uncertainty over support for older PCs

The Hacking Wars Are Going to Get Much Worse


Reports this month that the United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of a Qatari news agency, helping to incite a crisis in the Middle East, are as unsurprising as they are unwelcome. For years, countries — in particular Russia — have used cyberattacks and the dissemination of disinformation through social media and news outlets to provoke protests, sway elections and undermine trust in institutions. It was only a matter of time before smaller states tried their hand at these tactics.

With few accepted rules of behavior in cyberspace, countries as big as China or as small as Bahrain can be expected to use these kinds of attacks. And they may eventually spill over into real-world military conflicts.

The hacking attacks in the Gulf seem to follow a typical pattern of going after the media and the email accounts of prominent individuals. According to American intelligence officials, in late May, hackers supported by the United Arab Emirates infiltrated Qatari government news and social media sites. The attackers planted quotations falsely attributed to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar’s leader, praising Iran, Hamas and Israel.

President Xi Jinping of China, right, with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines at a meeting in May in Beijing. CreditPool photo by Etienne Oliveau

Build Bare-Bones Network & Small Satellites For Multi-Domain Battle


WASHINGTON: The Navy wants the Army’s help win a future Multi-Domain Battlewith China, a senior defense official told me last week, but to get it, the two services have to connect through a simple, robust network using small and rapidly-launched satellites.

Low-cost, quickly-launched Tactical Satellite under construction for the Operationally Responsive Space program.

We don’t need massive bandwidth to handle video teleconferences, full motion video from drones, PowerPoint briefings, and all the digital tools of “micromanagement,” the official believes. We just need a regional command-and-control network for voice commands and bare-bones-data – I’m here, the enemy’s there, shoot them not me – that can run off a single small satellite.

“It doesn’t have to be a big network,” he told me. “You could have one satellite…a temporary small satellite that you’ve popped up.”

This is in keeping with the early Concept of Operation developed for the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space program (although the official didn’t mention ORS by name). ORS seeks to end the US military’s dependence on highly capable, highly complex and highly expensive satellites. These multi-billion-dollar masterpieces would take months or years to replace if an adversary shot them down— as China demonstrated it could in 2007.

Speed, Volume, and Ubiquity

By Michael Williams

What is Information Operations (IO)? This short response to the question posed by The Strategy Bridge should be as short and simple as lifting a sentence from U.S. military doctrine. Alas, it isn’t, and this paper could easily extend for hundreds of pages and be just a description of the debate itself.[1] Part of the reason for this tendency toward the lengthy is an urge to deconstruct information operations into some list of capabilities and to explain how a particular capability is vital in a rapidly changing environment. Instead, we should encourage those not familiar with information operations to see it as a vital component of planning in an information environment that is much more important to military planning and operations with each passing day. This focus on capabilities does more to confuse than enlighten, and simple alternatives are available.

U.S. military doctrine began well enough in the 1990s to answer the question of what the mission and functions of information operations are and should be.[2] As the impact of the information environment has grown, however, doctrine writers continues to narrow the focus in subsequent iterations of information operations doctrine by attempting to narrow the field to specific capabilities or to suggest the role of information operations was to integrate specific capabilities in support of operational and tactical objectives. This has obscured the original concept of information operations. Perhaps a better alternative for future doctrine would be to return to the original intent, and define it as the use of any tool to create an effect in the information environment which results in one or more persons making a decision supporting friendly force’s missions or undercutting the decision-making of the enemy. Does this make all planners information operations planners? No, but it does require that all planners include an understanding of the information environment—which may require the assistance of such an expert.

Drop Marine Standards for "Cyber Warriors?"

The previous administration proposed many trendy personnel ideas in its waning days. One that has been resurrected after initially being rejected is the idea of recruiting Marines directly into a cyber corps, where they don’t have to do all that “Marine stuff,” such as enduring 12 weeks of boot camp, attending the school of infantry, or firing weapons. They would be “cyber warriors” who work in dark rooms and do wonders on the Internet. Cyber has, indeed, become an important domain of warfare, and the Marine Corps needs experts who can operate in that domain; however, the Corps should not drop its standards to put specialists into uniform. Instead, it should use government employees and contractors where it cannot recruit enough Marines to fill the required number of cyber “specialist” positions.

Cyber has been a rising concern as military systems become increasingly dependent on the flow of information. In fact, cyber is now considered one of the warfare domains along with ground, sea, air, and space. As in other domains, the military needs both offensive and defensive capabilities. The Marine Corps is committed to standing up cyber teams as part of its participation in a Department of Defense (DOD)-wide effort to improve cyber capabilities, especially the new Cyber Command.

Pentagon Would Ban Contractors That Don’t Protect Data

By Sandra Erwin

U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia could embed “exploits,” or malicious software, into the hardware of chips inside Internet-of-things electronic devices that are widely used in the military and the defense industry, according to a congressional watchdog group.

The report from the Government Accountability Office cautioned that the Pentagon has yet to come to grips with the vulnerabilities created by the use of smartphones, smart TVs and fitness meters.

“Internet-of-things devices pose numerous security challenges that need to be addressed,” the report warned of the Internet technology embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

Digital technology and hacking tactics move much faster than government regulations, but the Pentagon does its best to keep up.

In the wake of a massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management in 2015 — compromising the personal data of 21.5 million government employees and contractors — the Defense Department started drafting tough new cybersecurity regulations that are finally scheduled to take effect Dec. 31. These rules will affect every company that does business with the Defense Department.