25 August 2017

*** Where Europe and the Middle East Meet

By Jacob L. Shapiro

Paris. Nice. Brussels. London. Manchester. Europe’s is a long and sordid catalogue of terrorist attacks. The incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils – both in Spain, both within the past week, both claimed by the Islamic State – are only the latest entries.

Terrorism is a phenomenon with which Europe is all too familiar. Consider World War I. The proximate cause of the conflict was an act of terrorism – the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Consider the year 1972, when, in Munich, Black September, a secular Palestinian militant group, killed members of the Israeli Olympic team. That same year was also among the bloodiest of the Troubles of Northern Ireland. The situation was so bad that then-U.S. President Richard Nixon asked the United Nations “to combat the inhuman wave of terrorism that has been loosed on the world.”

The U.N. wasn’t able to do much. Just 13 years later, terrorist organizations carried out multiple attacks on civilian targets: TWA Flight 847, an Italian cruise ship, airports in Vienna and in Rome. In 1986, the Libyan government, led by Moammar Gadhafi, sponsored an attack at a club in West Berlin – to which the U.S. responded with airstrikes. Ronald Reagan said 1986 was the year “the world, at long last, came to grips with the plague of terrorism.” Two years laterwas the Lockerbie bombing.

India to Procure Over 230 New Helicopters for Navy

By Franz-Stefan Gady

India has launched a global hunt for 123 naval multirole helicopters and 111 armed naval light utility choppers. 

The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has officially issued a Request for Information (RFI) for over 230 new helicopters for the Indian Navy this week. The new RFI constitutes one of the biggest global tenders issued for military helicopters recently.

In detail, the Indian Navy is interested in procuring 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH) with anti-submarine warfare capabilities, and 111 armed light naval utility helicopters (NUH). The total value of the two contracts is estimated at over $5 billion. The RFI was sent to six original equipment manufacturers. The deadline for submitting RFIs is in the middle of October. Vendors will then be issued so-called Request for Proposals (RFP) that will include detailed technically specifications for the helicopters, required offset obligations, and mandated technology, among other things.

The Indian Navy’s latest acquisition project will be executed under a new strategic partnership policy. In June, the Indian MoD published guidelines for a new strategic partnership policy under the framework of the Defense Procurement Procedure 2016 to facilitate the manufacturing of military hardware locally as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative. Global vendors are expected to produce the helicopters locally in India with an Indian partner via joint ventures and technology transfers. The Indian company will be selected by the government in parallel with the global vendor.

Will Line of Actual Control with China become like Line of Control with Pakistan?

Sudhi Ranjan Sen

The India - China border, although disputed, was also perhaps the quietest border. Will it become something like western border with Pakistan - requiring constant vigil and heightened alert? These are some issues that New Delhi is considering. 

Now with the Doklam stand-off continuing into the 3rd month and frequent harsh threats from China, New Delhi is examining whether the winter-posture of troops - the deployment of troops along the border in winter months - is adequate and whether, in the long run, there is a need to rejig deployment? 

There are other ominous signs as well. New Delhi isn't yet connecting the Doklam stand-off to the Pangong Tso fight, but is worried that protocols for maintaining peace along the border is under strain. 

The Indian Army is examining what went wrong. At Pangong Tso, troops first came to blows and then threw stones at each other - something unprecedented. 

The numbers of face-off - when Indian- Chinese patrols come face to face - that dipped last year - is now steadily rising. Till July this year the number of transgressions is about 300 as compared to only about 200 last year. It is likely to cross 500 by the end of the year. 

Time of the greatest danger is now!

Bharat Karnad

Acting defence minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday in Parliament that the country had learned the 1962 lessons well and the Indian armed services were well prepared for a border war. That may be so, but the capability to fight is also dictated by when China will take the initiative to open the first round, and where.

Not sure if the Modi Government is primed to the fact that the 1962 hostilities were started by China just as the October missile crisis got underway and the US was preoccupied by the Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba in that near end-of-the-world crisis. It was evidence of “strategic boldness and tactical caution” that Shivshankar Menon claims, ironically, as the leitmotif of Indian foreign policy! In any case, a ’62 type of international situation is again in the offing — a nuclear crisis now involving the US and North Korea. With an unrestrained Trump warning of “fire and fury of a kind the world has never seen” should Pyongyang again issue a threat to the US — very Chinese Global Times-speak! — to which Kim Jon-Un replied almost instantly with tripling down on another graver threat, this time directly against the US island of Guam, major military station mid-Pacific — boy, this guy is ballsy!! — Northeast Asia is set for a strategic humdinger. It will be interesting to watch how this pans out, but I am happy to predict and prophecy that it will be Washington that blinks first. The in your face attitude and policy carried out with panache always wins in international affairs, something the Indian government and MEA in particular have been too timid to even contemplate.

Trump’s Afghanistan Plan: Old Wine in a New Bottle

By Uzair Younus

The quagmire in Afghanistan continues under a new administration bent on bombing its way to victory. 

After much delay and debate, the Afghanistan and South Asia strategy has finally been revealed by the United States. At best, the additional troop presence and higher tempo of bombings will help the Afghan government regain some territory it has lost to the Taliban in recent months. The new strategy is old wine in a new bottle, and it may be laced with poison.

Three key aspects were not a big surprise. Firstly, President Trump has not held up to candidate Trump’s promise of withdrawing from Afghanistan. Secondly, he has given in to the Pentagon’s incessant demand of ceaseless war in Afghanistan and linking troop drawdown to conditions rather than an arbitrary timeline. Finally, and this is where things get tricky, Trump has threatened to take a tougher line against Pakistan and made an open invitation to Indian involvement, at least through economic assistance, in Afghanistan.

Previous U.S. administrations have also demanded that Pakistan do more against terrorist groups, particularly the Haqqani Network. Reimbursement of Coalition Support Funds has been linked to these demands and millions of dollars have at times been held back because Pakistan has failed to meet these demands.

The Trump discontinuity

by C. Raja Mohan

Although India has been quick to welcome President Donald Trump’s new assertive policy in Afghanistan, sceptics in Delhi would wonder if Washington has the political will to carry through the promised pressure on Pakistan to stop hosting terror sanctuaries on its soil. For Delhi, the question is not whether Trump’s Afghanistan strategy is a glass half-full or half-empty. It is about seizing the opportunity opened up by his new policy to raise India’s profile in Afghanistan.

Within hours of his speech earlier this week outlining a new American approach to Afghanistan, Delhi welcomed “President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists.” In his speech Trump had declared that the US “can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.” He demanded that Pakistan’s support to cross-border terror “will have to change” and “change immediately”.

On Trump’s affirmation that India ought to do more, Delhi pointed to India’s significant past efforts to promote economic reconstruction in Afghanistan. It added that India “will continue these efforts, including in partnership with other countries”.

Trump takes hard line on Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups


In his speech outlining US strategy in Afghanistan and the wider region, President Donald Trump called out Pakistan for harboring and supporting terrorist groups that target and kill US citizens, and said there would be a radical change in policy toward the South Asian nation.

Trump’s public acknowledgement of Pakistan’s ties to terrorist groups, including the Taliban, was unprecedented for a US Commander in Chief. While lower level US officials, such as Chairman of the Joint Chief of State Admiral Mullen, have previously pointed out Pakistan’s support of the Taliban and its powerful subgroup, the Haqqani Network, Presidents Bush and Obama have taken a softer line in the hopes that Pakistan would moderate its support for terrorist organizations in the region.

Trump said the US will work to increase ties with India, Pakistan’s neighbor and greatest enemy, as part of the “change in approach in how to deal with Pakistan.”

Trump noted “20 US-designated foreign terrorist organizations” are currently active in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and said Pakistan “often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”

America Needs to Stay in Afghanistan

Nearly 16 years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States is nearing a seminal moment in its involvement in Afghanistan, as President Donald Trump gathers at Camp David today with his national-security team to determine what to do about the deteriorating stalemate he inherited in South Asia.

The Trump administration is reportedly weighing several competing proposals for Afghanistan. While military commanders have recommended an increase of several thousand U.S. troops to enable increased support for the Afghan military and counterterrorism operations, the White House is also considering alternative approaches that could entail the reduction or even the complete exit of American conventional forces—relying instead on special operations forces, paramilitaries, and contractors.

To an unusual degree, the debate over the future of the Afghan war is really about its past: specifically, why a decade and a half of military operations has failed to turn the tide. It is a fair question, and President Trump has been correct to press for answers before deciding on a way ahead.

Some argue the problem has been America's unrealistic ambitions in Afghanistan—undertaking a costly nation-building campaign in the hopes of transforming a broken country—and that the best course, therefore, is to scale back military involvement and minimize further entanglement in this graveyard of empires. 

Inside Trump’s Tortured Search for a Winning Strategy in Afghanistan Can Trump close the deal in Afghanistan?

In mid-July, President Donald Trump sat down for a meeting with the head of an American chemical company that transformed his view of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Exploiting the country’s abundant natural resources could result in an incredible economic windfall, Trump was told.

In his conversation with Michael Silver, the CEO of American Elements, a firm specializing in the production of advanced metals and chemicals, Trump learned of the enormous wealth buried beneath Afghan soil: perhaps more than $1 trillion in untapped mineral resources in the form of copper, iron, and rare-earth metals.

Trump’s interest in the mining plan was first sparked by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who met with Trump in Riyadh in May, according to an administration official. “We are sitting on enormous wealth,” Ghani reportedly told Trump. “Why aren’t the American companies in this instead of China?”

Deeply reluctant to continue a 16-year war that has left more than 2,400 Americans dead and cost more than $1 trillion, the news of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth struck a chord with the president. “Trump wants to be repaid,” said a source close to the White House. “He’s trying to see where the business deal is.”

Nepal-China-India: Three’s a Crowd?

By Narayani Basu

Time will tell how Kathmandu chooses to navigate strategic waters that have become undoubtedly tricky sailing. 

On August 23, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will arrive in India to begin a four day state visit. The visit will be Deuba’s first trip abroad, and comes as the Himalayan nation struggles to find its footing in a regional rivalry that is literally and metaphorically bigger than Nepal itself. Since the standoff between India and China in Doklam — a hitherto little-known strip of land at the tri-junction between Bhutan, India and China — began in June this year, the question of where Nepal stands in the conflict has been worrying Kathmandu.

Theoretically speaking, Nepal’s preferred (and pragmatic) stance has been one of what it terms “equidistance” — essentially a fine balancing act between an erstwhile strategic protector and a new (and far richer) investor. In practice, of course, matters have been a little different, with ties between the two countries sliding backwards since 2015. India’s tactless (but unofficial) five-month blockade at the border with Nepal over its concerns about the rights of the Madhesi people saw bilateral relations take a severe hit, both economically and politically. Coupled with the earthquake that further crippled the Nepali economy in 2015, it was the perfect time for China to make its official entry. This it did in the form of massive investments in infrastructure, a trump card that it has played with unfailing success in smaller, poorer countries (and continents, in the case of Africa), which are always desperately in need of a helping hand. Not surprisingly, then, 2016 saw China sailing past India into the list of top assistance providers to Nepal, and with $3.8 billion being pledged by Beijing this year alone, India’s own commitments, at $317 million, are embarrassingly dwarfed. In a move that is very welcome to Nepal, feasibility studies are underway for a Beijing-backed railway connecting Kathmandu to Lhasa in Tibet, cutting straight through the formidable barrier of the Himalayas, at an estimated cost of $8 billion.

1890 Treaty: Beijing’s trick of yesterday and today

The Chinese trick of hammering the 1890 Convention is very old. But it is mistaken. Beijing cannot justify ‘fixing' the tri-junction by quoting this ‘unequal' Treaty, when nobody knew where this place ‘Gipmochi' was

Two months into the confrontation with China near the tri-junction in between Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan, the time has come to look at the lessons New Delhi can learn from the stand-off which may continue for several months. There is no doubt that India has won a battle; there will be no Chinese road on the ridge and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may never be able to peep over into the Siliguri corridor.

Managing the State: Social Credit, Surveillance and the CCP’s Plan for China

By: Samantha Hoffman

On July 20, the Chinese government released its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. [1]The plan has gained significant media attention in part because it links AI with another topic that has drawn a considerable amount of attention, China’s “social credit system” (社会信用体系). Social credit uses big-data collection and analysis, to monitor, shape and rate individual’s behavior. While advances in artificial intelligence, and the growth of the surveillance state are all noteworthy on their own, China’s social credit program explicitly links them as parts of a broader political control process known as “social management” (社会管理).

The phrases “social management”, and the more recent version “social governance”, may seem like pseudo-scientific jargon, but in fact, are given clear importance by China’s top leaders. [2] In 2016, General Party Secretary Xi Jinping highlighted the concept, noting: “people working in political and legal affairs and comprehensive social governance have focused on dealing with outstanding problems and innovating social governance methods in recent years, achieving greater results,” (Xinhua, October 12, 2016). Elsewhere, the Party has clearly explained that it sees operationalizing social management as its blueprint for maintaining power. Far from being a narrow, isolated political concept, “social management” gives cohesion to an array of concepts ranging from Hu Jintao’s signature “Scientific Development” to Xi’s push for military-civil integration, as part of this power maintenance process (People.com.cn, April 17).

West Should Keep a Wary Eye on Russia's Zapad War Games

Keir Giles

Russia is currently mixing threatening language designed to intimidate the West with another, contradictory message: that those who fear a Russian military threat are 'hysterical' and hankering for the Cold War.

In Russia and neighbouring Belarus, preparations are underway for Zapad - a major military exercise to be held in September. The two countries' Western neighbours are worried. Zapad is Russian for 'West', and of all the different major exercises in the Russian military calendar, it causes the most excitement and concern because it is the one that most closely resembles practice for invading those neighbours.

As a result, this regular event receives a lot more attention than other Russian manoeuvers of similar size. Held every four years, the exercise can even develop its own mythology: much of the Western coverage said that the 2009 exercise ended with a simulated nuclear attack on Warsaw, Poland, even though there is no evidence at all from unclassified sources to suggest this was the case.

Southeast Asian Perspectives on US–China Competition

How do Southeast Asian countries view the competitive relationship between the US and China? To address this question, this publication features a collection of essays by scholars from the region on 1) the definition of ASEAN centrality and what it means for organization’s role in the South China Sea; 2) President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy and its implications for the US-Philippines alliance; 3) what leverage Vietnam has in dealing with China’s assertiveness in Southeast Asia; 4) the impact of US-China competition on ASEAN’s efforts to combat trade in illicit goods; and 5) Chinese and US counterterrorism engagement in the region.

The end of Asia’s strategic miracle?

Richard N. Haass

It is too soon to know whether and how the challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs will be resolved. But it is not too early to consider what that challenge could mean for a part of the world that has in many ways defied history.

The moniker ‘Asian Miracle’ goes some way towards conveying just how extraordinary the last half-century of economic growth in many Asian countries has been. The first economy to take off was Japan, which, despite a slowdown in recent decades and a relatively small population, remains the world’s third-largest economy.

China’s ascent began a bit later, but is no less impressive: the country achieved over three decades of double-digit average GDP growth, making it the world’s second-largest economy today. India, soon to be the world’s most populous country, has lately been experiencing an impressive 7–8% annual rate of GDP growth. And the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations averaged some 5% growth in recent years.

But contemporary Asia’s economic miracle rests on a less-discussed strategic miracle: the maintenance of peace and order. Since the end of the Vietnam War in the mid-1970s, Asia has stood out for its lack of major conflicts within or across borders—an achievement that distinguishes it from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and even Latin America.

Red Teams Test U.S., ROK Forces with Simulated North Korean Attack


The U.S. and South Korea will hold joint military exercises beginning on Monday, as tensions on the Korean peninsula are on the rise. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in a war of words over the past few weeks, with Trump saying he would release “fire and fury” on the North if the country continued threatening the U.S. with missile launches. The North, after threatening to fire on the U.S. territory of Guam, eventually backed down. And on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula, after assurances from Trump that the U.S. will not attack North Korea without Seoul’s consent.

Still, the U.S. and South Korea are moving forward will their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, an event the North views as a major threat, and a preparation for invasion. It’s also an event that Beijing would rather see toned down or ended altogether. In March, China proposed the U.S. halt its annual Foal Eagle exercises with South Korea in return for North Korea promising to stop its nuclear missile tests. But ending these annual exercises is a non-starter for the United States, as Washington considers them a way to both deter the North and ready forces in case of an actual attack.

The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel David Maxwell, who is now Associate Director at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, about the upcoming U.S.-South Korea exercises – what they are, why they’re important, and how the North is likely to respond. 

Barcelona is Europe’s seventh vehicle attack in a year. What can be done?

Simon Jenkins

Barcelona is Europe’s seventh vehicle attack in a year. What can be done?

Europe has endured seven acts of vehicle terrorism in the past year, and the Barcelona killer was apparently able just to walk away. What on earth can be done?

Events yesterday in Calatonia suggest that, as with the London Bridge attacks of last spring, police are getting better at responding to these acts of carnage. The swift erection of barriers and the summary shooting of the Cambrils suspects will revive calls for more road blocks and more armed police. In the short term this will be hard to resist, as are calls for ever deeper intrusion into electronic communication.

Moussa Oukabir, 17, confirmed as one of five attackers killed in Cambrils – as it happened
Hours after van killed 13 people and injured 100 in Las Ramblas, seaside town of Cambrils hit by second vehicle attack, leaving one dead and six wounded

Yet the balance must be maintained, between personal liberty and what is, in reality, a highly uncommon threat. That its perpetrators are by definition immune to deterrence makes the menace more horrific, but also near impossible to reduce. We should perhaps remember that acts of “shock and awe” have also been employed as weapons by western governments, from the second world war to Iraq. There is a sense in which the white van is the poor man’s guided missile.

Deterring North Korea: The Next Nuclear-Tailoring Agenda


North Korea is marching toward full-fledged nuclear-armed status, having conducted its first test of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in early July, quickly followed by another one. With this comes the risk that Pyongyang becomes more militarily aggressive, notably toward its neighbors: U.S. allies South Korea and Japan. In response, Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo should strengthen their deterrence and defense capabilities, postures, and policies. That requires heavy-lifting at the conventional level, but also adapting the nuclear posture, or “nuclear tailoring.”

Much has already been accomplished, especially since the sinking of the Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Islandby Pyongyang in 2010. In consultation with its allies, Washington revised its nuclear policies and capabilities in the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. Washington rejected the notion that the “sole purpose” of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attacks against the United States or its allies, and committed to modernizing the nuclear arsenal. The review also confirmed reliance on U.S. strategic forces for Northeast Asia and, while retiring the nuclear variant of its Tomahawk cruise missile, decided to maintain a capability to forward-deploy nuclear-capable bombers to visibly show American resolve during a crisis.


“Are we headed for a nuclear war?”

It’s the question hanging over, well, basically everyone these days, as North Korea flaunts new developments in its nuclear weapons program, threatening the United States, and President Trump promises “fire and fury” in response.

But making predictions about nuclear war is deeply difficult. While history is full of case studies about what causes nation states to launch conventional war, the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are (thankfully) the lone examples of atomic attacks — and those were with weapons orders of magnitude less powerful than the current nuclear arsenal. That lack of historical precedent makes it hard for analysts to reason about nuclear conflicts and how to stop them.

That’s where game theory comes in. Game theory uses mathematical models to study conflict and cooperation between rational decision-makers.

“Game theory has been used to think about military issues so the beginning of the field in the 1940s,” said Tim Roughgarden, professor of computer science at Stanford University who focuses on game theoretic questions. He is the author, most recently, of “Twenty Lectures on Algorithmic Game Theory,” and won the Gödel Prize in 2012 for his work on routing traffic in large-scale communication networks to optimize performance of a congested network.

We spoke about how game theory can be used to help us understand war, nation states’ actions, and the current tension between the United States and North Korea.

Hidden sources of better supply-chain performance

By Per-Magnus Karlsson, Shruti Lal, and Daniel Rexhausen

High-level benchmarks often obscure paths to operations improvements. New data and metrics that tap underlying performance dynamics offer better visibility.

Consumers want more variety, convenience, and service, increasing pressure on supply-chain executives to generate savings that fund the added costs of complexity and enhanced customer demands. We find that many companies are taking similar actions to improve productivity, with the result a convergence in supply-chain performance, by commonly used benchmarks. Put simply, companies seem to have hit the wall.

Appearances can be deceiving, however. Our work with global consumer-products players across several hundred supply-chain projects shows that when companies mine deeper veins of operational data to create more precise metrics, new paths to improvements appear. Exhibit 1 shows an 11 percent difference between median and top-quartile companies when commonly used cost benchmarks are used. Some of the difference arises from structural factors, such as costs attributable to product variations and demand volatility, and is therefore outside companies’ control. A closer analysis, however—one that filters out these structural differences and uses more granular data to quantify second-level cost components, such as labor staff or transport charges per pallet—shows a much greater potential for improvement. We found similar opportunities for supply-chain services when broad benchmarks, such as case fill rates (indicating order-fulfillment levels), are broken down with more granular data and key performance indicators, such as forecast accuracy.

Exhibit 1 

British Aircraft Carriers Return

The first of Great Britain’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, began sea trials in May. She and her sister ship, Prince of Wales, represent the revival of Royal Navy fixed-wing aviation. The last of Britain’s earlier fixed-wing, carrier-based airplanes, the Sea Harrier fighter, was retired in 2006, and the last of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers—HMS Illustrious—was decommissioned in 2014. Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, displacing some 70,000 tons each, are by far the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.

The new carrier is controversial. The British press reported that the other branches of the United Kingdom’s (U.K.’s) military regard the carrier program as a parochial naval triumph at their expense. It is unfortunate that the Royal Air Force and British Army do not understand that a carrier is a mobile national air base and may be key to their own future. A key question for all British armed forces today is how to support and defend national interests far from home. At the height of the British empire, with possessions throughout much of the world, U.K. forces generally could be assured of a base near anywhere they had to fight. That has not been true, however, for decades. Overseas bases now usually must be paid for, often in commitments as well as cash.

Monitoring Social Media Lessons for Future Department of Defense Social Media Analysis in Support of Information Operations

PDF file1.2 MB 

Technical Details » 

Research Questions 

How could social media analysis contribute to DoD information operations, and which approaches are most applicable? 

How can DoD field a robust social media analysis capability while navigating U.S. law and cultural norms? 

What are the benefits and drawbacks of DoD's options for integrating social media analysis and tools, such as the use of open-source technologies versus commercial solutions? 

Social media analysis is playing an important and increasing role in advertising and academic research, but it also has significant potential to support military information operations by providing a window into the perspectives, thoughts, and communications of a wide range of relevant audiences. Although there are compelling national security reasons to field a social media analysis capability, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) must do so while navigating U.S. law and cultural norms and under conditions of great uncertainty. Existing legal and policy frameworks have not anticipated the rapid pace and global reach of modern communication networks, and questions of cost and implementation hinder the development of a robust social media analysis capability and the most fruitful applications for these analyses. To support DoD's assessment of the benefits, trade-offs, and implementation challenges that it will face as it expands its capacity for social media analysis, this report reviews the analytic approaches that will be most valuable for information operations, as well as legal, ethical, policy, technological, and training considerations. It also includes a set of recommendations to help DoD navigate this terrain while building a robust, effective social media analysis capability to support operations worldwide.


By: Carla White

The Great Firewall of China has been a defining measure in online censorship ever since the country was named enemy of the internet in 2013. As a country famed for its history of closed border politics, their attitude towards internet accessibility is unsurprising. However, with 87 percent of internet users now believing that online access is a basic human right, exploring the ethical implications of Chinese policy is essential. As the country becomes a mature economic superpower, it has a responsibility to connect with the rest of the developed world. This global relationship cannot be achieved while they maintain an online blackout.

Though the Great Firewall may be the most famous of China’s harsh social control measures, it’s not the only element that secures China’s position as an enemy to free thought. Understanding the many facets of government protocol and punishment when it comes to surfing the net will provide a clearer picture for those exploring China’s online world.

To further explore, we must clarify the already established factors of the ‘Firewall.’

What the Announced NSA / Cyber Command Split Means


Cyberwar and cyber intelligence are diverging, as are Cyber Command and the NSA. Here’s what that means for the man who leads both entities, the future of signals intelligence collection, and cyberwarfare. 

The move to elevate Cyber Command to a full Unified Combatant Command and split it off from the National Security Agency or NSA shows that cyber intelligence collection and information war are rapidly diverging fields. The future leadership of both entities is now in question, but the Pentagon has set out a conditions-based approach to the breakup. That represents a partial victory for the man who directs both Cyber Command and the NSA.

The move would mean that the head of Cyber Command would answer directly to the Defense Secretary and the National Security Agency would get its own head. It’s a move that many have said is long overdue, and its exact timing remains unknown. So what does the split mean for the Pentagon, for Cyber Command, and for the future of U.S. cyber security?

The split will give the commander of Cyber Command central authority over resource allocation, training, operational planning and mission execution. The commander will answer to the Defense Secretary directly, not the head of Strategic Command. “The decision means that Cyber Command will play an even more strategic role in synchronizing cyber forces and training, conducting and coordinating military cyberforce operations and advocating for and prioritizing cyber investments within the department,” said Kenneth Rapuano, assistant defense secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security. 

Will U.S. Cyberwarriors Be Ready For The Next Big Hack?

By Sandra Erwin 

Hackers around the world see weaknesses in U.S. voting systems, electric grids and other pillars of American society.

Russia’s alleged election meddling and other high-profile breaches have created a heightened sense of vulnerability even as new gee-whiz technologies to keep hackers at bay flood the market.

To deter future attacks, experts warn, the United States needs to shore up its defenses and upend the perception that its systems are easy prey.

“I guarantee the North Koreans and the Iranians saw what the Russians did and they’re going to try things in 2018 and 2020,” said former Pentagon cybersecurity policy chief Eric Rosenbach. “We have to change the perception that they’re going to get away with that,” he said at an industry conference last month.

Intelligence analysts have been raising red flags about North Korea taking a page from the Russian playbook. Cyberattacks are part of the regime’s “nontraditional methods that they can use to both support their own goals and gain some leverage in the international community,” said Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future and a former National Security Agency official.