1 December 2017

Independent Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts against AlQaeda

Independent Assessment of U.S. Government 
Efforts against AlQaeda
                                                                             - Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

CNA has recently published a paper on Independent Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts against AlQaeda. 

The report finds nearly 16 years after September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda today is a very different organization in a very different world. It has suffered setbacks and periods of weakening, but it has also made gains and expanded in the face of international efforts against it. The report assesses that : 

· Al-Qaeda is still pursuing the core goals that it had in 2001, the most notable of which is the establishment of a global caliphate.

· Al-Qaeda today is larger, more agile, and more resilient than it was in 2001.

· In 2001, Al-Qaeda was a rigidly hierarchical organization. Today, Al-Qaeda is a flat, decentralized, and geographically dispersed organization.

· Al-Qaeda is a learning and adaptive organization, and this contributes to the group’s resilience.

· The threat from Al-Qaeda to the United States homeland remains, but does not appear to be the foremost goal of every part of the organization.

· The emergence of ISIS (an Al-Qaeda offshoot), presents both obstacles and opportunities for Al-Qaeda.

· Al-Qaeda may be biding its time to regroup, regenerate, and regain the mantle of global jihad.

Findings on local and regional security environments

· In the years since 2001, many of the countries in the Middle East and Africa have become increasingly politically, socially, and economically unstable.

· Al-Qaeda routinely exploits deteriorating security conditions, or vulnerabilities, in the security environments of weak and failing countries in order to maneuver and expand. 

· Al-Qaeda can exploit security vulnerabilities in weak or failing states, though its success in doing so still requires skillful approaches on the part of the organization’s affiliates.

· Al-Qaeda has benefitted from slow, negative trends in the security conditions in countries across much of the Middle East and Africa, but its largest gains have occurred when there were sharp and rapid deteriorations. 

· Worsening trends in security conditions not only help Al-Qaeda but can significantly hinder U.S. government efforts to counter the group.

Summary of assessment of U.S. government efforts against Al-Qaeda


Having assessed the threat that Al-Qaeda poses to the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests abroad, the impact of changing security environments across much of Africa and the Middle East on Al-Qaeda and U.S. efforts to counter the group, and the effectiveness of U.S. government approaches against Al-Qaeda, we conclude the following:

· Current U.S. efforts are more aligned with the direct threat that Al-Qaeda poses to the United States and less to the security conditions, or vulnerabilities, that Al-Qaeda exploits to survive and expand.

· U.S. government efforts to date have not defeated Al-Qaeda. The current U.S. strategy—centered on military approaches and anchored in the assumed linear goals of disrupting, dismantling, and defeating the organization—is unlikely to do so.

· Dismantling Al-Qaeda would entail a commitment of U.S. resources well beyond those committed today.

· Continued disruption of Al-Qaeda is likely to require increasing resources as security environments continue to weaken in many parts of the world where Al-Qaeda operates and seeks to operate.

Based on these findings, we conclude that the current U.S. strategy toward AlQaeda is unlikely to attain the United States’ desired goals. Therefore, we recommend that the U.S. government should undertake a new review of its policy goals and overarching strategy against Al-Qaeda. This review should take a fresh look at Al-Qaeda and the environments in which it operates, or seeks to operate, as they exist today. This review should also critically examine U.S. strategic goals with respect to Al-Qaeda and like groups, the resources required to achieve those goals, and the political and domestic appetite for sustaining them. It should also examine the balance of roles across U.S. government agencies and the timelines and metrics required for success.

The U.S. has been battling Al-Qaeda primarily militarily for 16 years and yet the group is stronger and present in more places today than it was in 2001. Clearly, the U.S. needs a renewed approach.

* Iran Reshapes the Middle East

By George Friedman

Iran has always seen itself as being in competition with the Arab states for domination of the Persian Gulf. Its ambitions were put on hold in the late 1980s, at the end of an eight-year war with Iraq that cost Iran more than a million casualties. The war ended in a military draw, but strategically it blocked Iran’s hopes for expanding its power westward. The war against the Islamic State, particularly in Iraq, has opened that door again.

The Iranian Surge

Islamists in Pakistan Reverse Counterterrorism Efforts

By Umair Jamal

The Pakistani government’s efforts to disperse hardline Islamist protesters from the capital turned deadly last week when scores of people died in clashes between protesters and security forces across the country. In response to the government’s crackdown, thousands of protesters blocked main highways across the country and shut down major city centers. On Monday morning, after the military’s intervention, hardline Islamists finally called off their three-weeklong sit-in after one of their core demands–the resignation of the federal law minister–was met by the government.

How Is the US Government Fight Against Al Qaeda Going? Only So-So, According to a New Report.

The Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) has published a very timely unclassified report entitled Independent Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts against Al-Qaeda. 

Some 380 pages long, this report is both incisive and critical in its analysis, concluding that while some progress has been made in the 16 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US government has, on the whole, not managed to contain, much less destroy al Qaeda,

Here are the report’s central conclusions viz the US government and military’s operations against AQ:


China's Playbook for Conquering Taiwan

By Ian Easton

This Thanksgiving, as millions of American families sat down for turkey dinner and football, a dangerous game of chicken was being played out on the far side of the Pacific. Formations of Chinese bombers flanked by fighter escorts repeatedly circled Taiwan, simulating attack operations. Meanwhile, Chinese spy planes loitered nearby, collecting intelligence needed for refining China’s invasion plan against the island democracy of 23 million people.

Thousands of foreign troops in Syria _ but will they leave?

Associated Press

Syria’s long-running civil war may be winding down slowly, but the country is awash in weapons and a confounding array of local militias and thousands of foreign troops, some of which may never leave. With crucial aid from allies Iran and Russia, President Bashar Assad has regained control over large areas of Syria in advances that appear to have put to rest the possibility of a military overthrow, at least for now. But his rule is extremely reliant on continued assistance from Iranian-sponsored militias, which have spread across the war-ravaged country.

Middle East Security Status Report

Israel: Desert Raiders Send A Message

In Egypt ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is making spectacular attacks to remind the world that ISIL still exists and can still punish those it considers heretics and enemies of Islam. The heretics includes anyone who does not practice the extremely conservative form of Sunni Islam ISIL has adopted. The main heretic targets tend to be Shia (which Iran represents and defends) and Sufi (a notably non-militant form of Islam that will only get violent if attacked.) For that reason ISIL has learned that it is not beneficial to kill civilians that cannot be identified as heretics or enemies of Islam. 

In the Middle East, Strange Times Make for Strange Bedfellows

by Stratfor

There was a time when Saudi Arabia considered its enmity for Israel to be a mainstay of its power. But the shifting tides of geopolitics are steadily undercutting the value of conflict between the two. Perhaps nowhere is this change clearer than in an appearance last week by Israeli defense chief Gadi Eisenkot on a Saudi-owned TV station. During the Nov. 16 interview, Eisenkot declared Israel’s readiness to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia on Iran. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz later reinforced his colleague’s comment, confirming that Israel’s ties with the kingdom were getting stronger.

Why the Next US Recession Could Be Worse Than the Last


Before we begin, I’d like to offer a hearty thanks to the thousands of you who responded to the survey we issued last week. If you haven’t responded yet, don’t worry – there’s still time. The goal of the survey is to figure out what you, the readers, want to read. At the end of the month, we’ll produce a video series addressing the top three topics you have chosen. You can access the survey and let us know what’s on your mind by clicking here. Thank you in advance for your time and your thoughtfulness, and to those of you celebrating in the US or in the world, Happy Thanksgiving.


Damien Sharkov

The launch of Russia’s newest satellite—its second ever from a multibillion-dollar spaceport unveiled last year—has failed to reach target orbit, state news agency Itar-Tass reports. The exact fate of the satellite launched in the early hours of Tuesday morning is unclear, but the Russian space agency Roscosmos confirmed by noon local time that they are not receiving signal from Meteor-M 2-1. Mission control is investigating the reason for that, but reports from sources within the agency—speaking on the condition of anonymity—suggest the rocket went awry.

Russia's New Sukhoi Su-30SM1 Fighter: Could It Crush America's Best Fighters?

Dave Majumdar

The Russians have been modifying other aircraft including the Su-35 Flanker-E and Su-34 Fullback bomber to correct issues they have discovered operating in Syria. The Russians are expected to take delivery of some 17 Su-30SMs this year. Together with the Su-35S and the Su-34 Fullback bomber, the potent multirole fighter will form the backbone of the Russian Air Force even after advanced aircraft such as the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA enters service. 

Russia has developed a new modernized version of the Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker-H that features upgraded avionics and weapons.

Negotiating the EU's Future on Even Ground

By Adriano Bosoni

From its very inception, the European Union has depended on the alliance between France and Germany. The bloc's predecessor, the European Economic Community, formed with the principal goal of binding the two countries together so closely that another war on the Continent would be impossible. And from the 1950s on, a tacit agreement underlay their partnership: France was the main political and military power in the bloc, and Germany was the main financial supporter (paying for, among other things, onerous subsidies for French farmers). After German reunification in 1990, France even pushed for the creation of the euro as another way to strengthen Paris’ links with Berlin.

Cyber and Space Weapons Are Making Nuclear Deterrence Trickier


Stability was an overriding concern at last week’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on nuclear command authority, the first in four decades. Senators wondered aloud whether one individual — the American president — should have the sole authority to direct a nuclear attack. The focus is understandable, but there are other challenges to nuclear stability that deserve more attention than they’re getting.

The Leap into Quantum Technology: A Primer for National Security Professionals

By Michael Biercuk and Richard Fontaine

China recently announced the launch of its Jinan Project, a quantum information effort billed as “the world’s first unhackable computer network.” Building on its launch last year of the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite, China has made significant strides in quantum technology, a field with rapidly increasing relevance to national security. Its satellite has been hailed as a major step toward “unbreakable” encrypted communications.

Are we at cyberwar?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

We hear a lot about the threat of cyberwar. But do recent cyber breaches perpetuated by Russia and other adversaries mean we’re already there? Given the scale and scope of cyber hacks in the last five years, many would argue that there is a global cyberwar afoot.  However, defining the problem is important in order to get to meaningful solutions. From a military perspective, the Air Force is at war all the time given that adversaries are trying to deliberately affect their missions, Frank Konieczny, the service’s chief technology officer, said at the CyberCon conference in Arlington hosted by Federal Times.

High-End Warfare Requires Changes to the Combat Logistics Force

By Michael Fitzgerald  Brendan Pigott

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, policy, or position of Military Sealift Command, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Navy has a proud history of successful battle logistics at sea. As the key developer of underway replenishment technology, the Navy has benefited from its underway replenishment capabilities for more than a century. Essential to the history of underway replenishment is a group of vessels known as fast combatant support ships (designated T-AOEs). These ships are multiproduct replenishment vessels capable of providing the fuel, stores, and ammunition needed to sustain a carrier strike group at sea. Other auxiliary ships currently supporting naval logistics are the fleet replenishment oilers (T-AOs) and the dry cargo/ammunition ships (T-AKEs) that can carry an assortment of goods, but specialize in the carriage and delivery of a single product.

Data protection framework: Srikrishna Committee suggests 7 key principles, setting up of authority

by Krishn Kaushik 
Source Link

Finding a balance between the rights-based model of privacy and protecting the individual from State interference, listing out seven principles of a good data protection law, and setting up of a data protection authority, these are some of the key findings of a white paper published by a committee of experts on data protection on Monday. The Justice BN Srikrishna Committee, set up by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology on July 31, tasked with writing a draft data protection law, published a white paper on data protection framework in India, asking for stakeholders’ feedback by December 31.



WHEN THE US Air Force deployed Gorgon Stare, a drone video system that consists of 368 cameras covering nearly 40 square miles at a time, in 2011, an official declared, “we can see everything.” The technology, named after snake-haired mythological creatures whose gazes turn people to stone, can surveil an area for hours at a time, take composite images of 1.8 billion pixels each, and create several terabytes of data every minute.

Soldiers and Civilization

By Pauline Shanks Kaurin

“…the military profession, considered most comprehensively, might be viewed an as interdisciplinary branch of the humanities. In any profession, but perhaps most especially in the profession of arms, a soul as well as skills is required.” What do the ideas of narrative as doctrine, Stoicism, defeat, chivalry, and fighting for pay tell us about the development of military professionalism in the West? In his new volume, Soldiers and Civilization: How the Profession of Arms Thought and Fought the Modern World into Existence, Reed Robert Bonadonna addresses the role these and other developments in military history played in the development of military professionalism. His book is a fascinating and deep journey through military and intellectual history, which seeks to bring a historical and literary focus to a topic that tends to be dominated by social scientists such as Samuel Huntington or by ethicists rooted in the military practice such as Anthony Hartle.[2] This volume appears unique in its focus and brings an important voice to the debate over the sources and nature of military professionalism in the West.

Armed Forces denied extra funding as cash diverted to cyber warfare by adviser 'determined to screw over MoD'

But The Telegraph has learned that Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser, believed it was more important to increase funding to fight cyber-attacks than bolster the Armed Forces.
Amid growing public anger among Tory MPs and former senior officers at the scale of the possible cuts, Gavin Williamson, the new Defence Secretary, was set to have a showdown meeting this week with Philip Hammond. Mr Williamson, who is due to make his first appearance at the dispatch box since replacing Sir Michael Fallon three weeks ago, wants an extra £2 billion a year to prevent a fresh round of potentially devastating cuts. 


What Kills Inequality Redistribution’s Violent History

By Timur Kuran

World War II devastated the economic infrastructures of Germany and Japan. It flattened their factories, reduced their rail yards to rubble, and eviscerated their harbors. But in the decades that followed, something puzzling happened: the economies of Germany and Japan grew faster than those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Why did the vanquished outperform the victorious?