1 February 2018

5 predictions for what life will be like in 2030

By Mike Moradi

Fourth Industrial Revolution 

You are just waking up in the spring of 2030. Your Internet of Things bedroom opens solar powered e-windows and plays gentle music while your smart lighting displays a montage of beachfront sunrises from your recent vacation. 

How Cyberwarfare Will Evolve Over 2018

Cyberwarfare is out of the shadows, USA and UK have declared cyber warfare against ISIS officially. Large number of countries are developing cyber warfare capabilities. While cyber weapons were mostly developed and used by intelligence agencies as part of secret missions, they are now becoming an acknowledged military option during conflicts. Here are predictions about how cyberwarfare will evolve over the next year.

The cyber arms race will accelerate 



Vinayak Bhat has been working hard these past months. The retired Indian colonel’s assiduous analysis of satellite images of Himalaya’s Doklam plateau has shredded the veil of peace laboriously woven by India and China since they pulled themselves back from the brink of war last summer, and is raising embarrassing questions for New Delhi on the deal it cut with Beijing to maintain peace in the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet “trijunction” area.

Six States That Account For 75 Per Cent Of India’s Exports

by Swarajya Staff

Economic Survey 2018 says that for the first time ever there is an opportunity to know the state-wise distribution of international exports of goods and services.

Table 5 provides these data.

Six states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Haryana — in that order account for 75 per

India’s Nuclear Safeguards: Not Fit for Purpose

By John Carlson

Currently, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is considering India’s application for membership. In this context NSG members are reportedly discussing membership criteria for states not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), including a requirement for clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities. In this paper, John Carlson examines India’s Separation

The Army's Latest Weapon to Turn Around the War in Afghanistan

FORT POLK, La. — The Army has a new tool it hopes will finally tip the scales in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan — and potentially other Islamist insurgencies. But can it work?

Meet the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, the first of six units of roughly 1,000 soldiers each that are specially designed to “advise and assist” foreign armies so that they can contain guerrilla movements on their own.

America’s Longest War—and the Ally That Fuels It

How Pakistan has perpetuated the Afghan conflict. 

Two months after the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Vice President–elect Joe Biden sat with Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, in the Arg Palace, an 83-acre compound in Kabul that had become a gilded cage for the mercurial and isolated leader. The discussion was already tense as Karzai urged Washington to help root out Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan, implying that more pressure needed to be exerted on Pakistani

What the Pentagon Has Been Trying to Hide! The Taliban Have Returned and Now Threaten 70% of Afghanistan

Shoaib Sharifi and Louise Adamou 
BBC News, January 30, 2018

Taliban fighters, whom US-led forces spent billions of dollars trying to defeat, are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan, a BBC study has found.
Months of research across the country show how areas the Taliban threaten or control have surged since foreign combat troops left in 2014.The Afghan government played down the report, saying it controls most areas. But recent attacks claimed by Taliban and Islamic State militants have killed scores in Kabul and elsewhere.

Afghan officials and US President Donald Trump responded by ruling out any talks with the Taliban. Last year Mr Trump announced the US military would stay in the country indefinitely.
How was the research carried out?
The BBC investigation - conducted during late 2017 - provides a rare snapshot of the security situation in every Afghan district between 23 August and 21 November.
A network of BBC reporters across Afghanistan spoke to more than 1,200 individual local sources, in every one of the country’s 399 districts, to build up a comprehensive picture of all militant attacks over that period.

These conversations happened either in person or by telephone and all information was checked with at least two and often as many as six other sources. In some cases BBC reporters even went to local bus stations to find people travelling in from remote and inaccessible districts in order to double check the situation there.
The results show that about 15 million people - half the population - are living in areas that are either controlled by the Taliban or where the Taliban are openly present and regularly mount attacks.

The extent to which they have pushed beyond their traditional southern stronghold into eastern, western and northern parts of the country is clearly visible. Areas that have fallen to the Taliban since 2014 include places in Helmand province like Sangin, Musa Qala and Nad-e Ali, which foreign forces fought and died to bring under government control after US-led troops had driven the Taliban from power in 2001. More than 450 British troops died in Helmand between 2001 and 2014.

After Complaints From I.G. About Secrecy of Data, US Military in Kabul Releases Data Show Growing Taliban Power in Afghanistan

Taliban control of Afghanistan on the rise, US data reveals 

Nick Patton Walsh, CNN, January 30, 2018

The Taliban strengthened its hold over Afghanistan in the second half of last year, according to new US military data released to CNN on Tuesday.
In October 2017, 14% of Afghan districts were under the control or influence of the Taliban or other insurgents, an increase of one percentage point on the previous data from August.
The official figures offer a rare and tangible measure in which to assess the ongoing war – a war that President Trump has pledged to win.

The newly released figures have been subject to some controversy, however. The US government’s own ombudsman of the war, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), had earlier complained the US military had barred the information from being released to the public.
The new data was released by US Forces in Afghanistan to CNN following inquiries on SIGAR’s complaint. According to the new information, 56% of districts were under Afghan government control or influence in October, while 30% are contested with the insurgency.
close dialog
The increase, though incremental, is indicative of the Afghan army’s loosening grip on the country in the face of a determined Taliban insurgency.
In November 2015, the Afghan government controlled about 72% of the country, while the insurgents influenced just 7%.

Afghanistan Cannot Be Resolved in Isolation from Its Neighborhood

by Mohammed Ayoob - The National Interest

The most recent carnage in Afghanistan last Saturday that left over one hundred people dead has once again made clear that the threat from the Taliban, and now increasingly from ISIS as well, is not likely to disappear any time soon. Indeed the menace seems to be growing as the Afghan regime is increasingly immobilized because of the standoff between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Instead of providing stability the agreement between the two contenders for the presidency to share power has left the government paralyzed.

The spate of terrorist attacks seems to be intensifying with the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan as a serious challenger to the Taliban in that arena. But it is not just terrorism that is a threat to the regime. The government, despite the support of eleven thousand American boots on the ground and the Trump administration’s promise to send in an additional four thousand troops, is steadily losing territory to the Taliban and its other challengers. According to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, created by Congress in 2008, less than two-thirds of the country’s territory is under the government’s nominal control

No, China Doesn't Want Confrontation in the South China Sea

James Holmes

It’s been said that groupthink is a bad thing, that creative tension is a good thing and that appointing a “devil’s advocate” represents the best way to counteract the former while generating the latter. With any luck the give-and-take of debate yields better insights into ambient circumstances and how to manage them. To assure there is some give-and-take against the pressure of groupthink, the wise leader nominates a devil’s advocate to his team—namely a contrarian whose appointed task is to confound emerging wisdom by lodging arguments fair or foul.

Meeting the China Challenge Responding to China’s Managed Economy

By James Andrew Lewis

The U.S.-China relationship is one that neither country can escape. Both benefit from it in important ways. The question for quite some time, though, has been whether China’s economy, international presence, and participation in global institutions would come to look more like our own, or whether it would seek to challenge the order the United States has built and led over the past 70 years. While China’s economic size does not necessarily threaten the United States, China’s willingness to use its economic leverage to forge a global economy closer to its image raises complicated questions considering its lack of transparency. The essays in this volume, written by a diverse group of CSIS scholars, address some of the key issues that currently vex the U.S.-China economic relationship.

Anatomy Of China’s Arctic Policy – Analysis

 By Wang Li

In the wake of publication of a white paper titled “China’s Arctic Policy”, a wide range of questions are raised on Beijing’s intention, goal, means and behaviors in the future. It is quite understandable whenever a rising power, like China with the largest population and the second largest economy of the world, claims its legitimate right, either afar or near, the responses from the international society are always arguable, controversial and disputable as well. Due to this, it is necessary to examine the core concepts in first Arctic policy document of China.

Growing Economies Should Bring Little Cheer

By George Friedman

For the first time since 2008, all the world’s major economies are growing. A decade after the financial crash, the impediments to growth have mostly faded away. It goes without saying that economic growth is preferable to stagnation or decline, but not all the marks of the 2008 crash have been wiped away. What happened ceased to be a primarily economic problem years ago, and the effects of 2008 on the global political and social systems are to a great extent beyond the ability of economic growth to repair.

The Global Outlook For 2018 Whose influence will rise, and whose will fall?

2017will certainly be remembered as a year of political anxiety. Between Trump’s first year in office, Brexit, populist surges in the West, crisis in the Middle East, and rising aggression with North Korea, this year offered plenty of tension and reason to worry about where the world is heading.

Will 2018 offer more of the same, or will the world enjoy more stability?

Hezbollah Goes on the Cyber Offensive with Iran’s Help


Bottom Line: Maturing under Tehran’s tutelage, Hezbollah’s hackers are quickly learning the art of cyber warfare. The formidable militant organization is increasingly turning its attention to the digital realm to engage in espionage, psychological operations, disruption of critical services and criminal activity to fund its activities on the ground.

Is National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster On His Way Out the Door at the White House?

by John Bolton

Exit signs continue to blare for H. R. “I have a job” McMaster, Donald Trump’s beleaguered National Security Advisor. On the ropes since August, the leader of the National Security Council tried to insist earlier this week that the talk was little more than piffle. “I have a job,” McMaster said from the White House. “It’s a tremendous job every day to advance and protect the interests of American people and to do my best to provide options to our president — and once he makes decisions, to assist with the execution of those decisions.”

Analysis of Russian Combat Operations in Syria

The Russian intervention in Syria, which began in mid-2015, was never meant to be a large effort in terms of manpower and intended, from the beginning, to help rebuild and revive the Syrian military forces that were already there. Over a third of the Russian troops and contractors were technical experts to assist the Syrians in refurbishing elderly (or just overworked) weapons and military equipment. Russia supplied the spare (or improved) parts and any special tools needed for get this done. New weapons and gear also arrived and the Syrian troops had to be quickly taught how to use all this stuff. By January 2016 the impact of this effort was visible to people on the ground. Western photo satellites and aerial surveillance showed the Syrian troops using new Russian artillery as well as more of their own refurbished stuff because the Russians had shipped in lots of ammo along with the new

Intel Warned Chinese Companies of Chip Flaws Before U.S. Government

Decision to disclose issue to select few customers, including Lenovo and Alibaba, has ripple effects through security and tech industries

In initial disclosures about critical security flaws discovered in its processors, Intel Corp. INTC 10.55% notified a small group of customers, including Chinese technology companies, but left out the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter and some of the companies involved.

Stopping the Next Cyber Conflict


The range of ferocious offensive cyber attacks by revisionist and rogue powers in recent years makes clear that the U.S. and its allies are fully enmeshed in the third generation of cyber conflict. Both the public and private sectors must elevate their responses accordingly.

The first generation of cyber conflict kicked off shortly after the dawn of the internet (then called ARPANET) in the mid-1980s. The primary actors were the old Cold War superpowers, sometimes assisted by their respective NATO and Warsaw Pact allies. The phase continued through the late 1990s, as they

Artificial intelligence: The time to act is now

By Gaurav Batra, Andrea Queirolo, and Nick Santhanam

Artificial intelligence will soon change how we conduct our daily lives. Are companies prepared to capture value from the oncoming wave of innovation? Pity the radiology department at your local hospital. Yes, they have a fine MRI machine and powerful software to generate the images. But that’s where the machines bog down. The radiologist has to find and read the patient’s file, examine the images, and make a determination. What if artificial intelligence (AI) could jump-start that process by enabling real-time and more accurate diagnoses or guidance, beyond what human eyes can see? Thanks to technological advances over the past few years, manufacturers are close to offering such leading-edge MRI solutions. In fact, they’re exploring new AI applications that span virtually every major industry, from industrials to the public sector. With better algorithms and increased stores of

On the Chinese Side

An even greater level of activity is visible from imagery of the Chinese air bases near Lhasa and Shigatse. This expansion may indicate a greater buildup by the Chinese, but it could also reflect the more advanced facilities at these bases. Furthermore, unlike India, China's lack of air bases close to the LAC forces it to concentrate more of its air power at these airports.

Imagery of the two air bases shows a significant presence of fighter aircraft (which peaked in October) and a notable increase

Do Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence?

Over the holiday break, I had the opportunity to catch up with with Dr. Joshua Spodek, author of the upcoming book Leadership Step by Step and discuss emotional intelligence. The term gets thrown around a lot in the military, but I don’t think a lot of us understand what exactly it means and why it’s so important to leading successful organizations. So, I hope readers get as much out of this post as I did! 

Joe: I’ve heard the term “emotional intelligence” mentioned in a lot of leadership conversations over the last couple of years, but what exactly does it mean? 

The Ambiguities of Franco-British Defense Cooperation


French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May will discuss their defense relationship, among other things, at a bilateral summit on January 18. Franco-British collaboration is vital for European defense. This is not only because they are the two leading European military powers at NATO, but also because they have the most ambitious bilateral military relationship of any European countries, based on the 2010 Lancaster House treaties.