8 February 2018

Photos show Beijing’s militarisation of South China Sea in new detail

By Tom Phillips

Beijing has been accused of building “island fortresses” in the South China Seaafter a newspaper in the Philippines obtained aerial photographs offering what experts called the most detailed glimpse yet of China’s militarisation of the waterway.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer said the surveillance photographs – passed to its reporters by an unnamed source – were

Here’s What We Know About China’s Secretive Electromagnetic Railgun

The Navy’s futuristic electromagnetic railgun may be dead in the water, but other countries appear to be plowing ahead with their own research. New photos circulating purportedly show a Chinese navy landing ship with the distinct housing of an electromagnetic railgun mounted on its bow.

The photos, first reported by The War Zone on Jan. 31, show the Type 072III-class landing ship Haiyang Shan docked at the Wuchang shipyard in China’s central Hubei province, the largest of the People’s

China’s Energy Claims Add To GDP Doubts – Analysis

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By Michael Lelyveld

China has claimed another substantial gain in energy efficiency during 2017, when the official economic growth rate accelerated for the first time in seven years.

On Jan. 19, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that China’s energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product fell 3.7 percent, exceeding the government’s target of 3.4 percent for the year.

Why China Lost the Gunpowder Wars

By Anirudh Kanisetti

Tonio Andrade’s The Gunpowder Age is a lucid, refreshing take on the relative military decline of China and the rise of the West.

By the time that Europeans had turned gunpowder into the most lethal components of their armies in the 15th century, the Chinese had been doing it for five hundred years.

Hezbollah in South America: The Threat to Businesse

South America is a strong base of operations for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has had a presence in the continent dating back to the 1980s. The group established finance and logistical networks, which it used to facilitate two bombings in Argentina in the 1990s. The first bombing in 1992 targeted the Israeli Embassy

Pakistan To Be Held Accountable For 'Failure' To Crack Down On Militants

The State Department's No. 2 official has suggested that President Donald Trump's administration has so far seen no evidence that Pakistan has met its demands for a crackdown on militants operating in the country.

Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said on February 6 that Washington

Why Some Marines Fear Afghan Allies More Than the Taliban


After sunset most evenings in Afghanistan, Cody Rhode and his friend, Scott Dickinson, would lift weights in an outdoor gym.

The U.S. Marine staff sergeants were just days from completing their 2012 deployment on the Afghan National Police compound of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Delhi, a joint U.S. and Afghan security forces base. They

Artificial Intelligence in Defence

By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd) 

Wing Loong

The next level of strategic cooperation between India and Japan has become apparent with the news that India and Japan are to work together to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in the defence sector. Chatting with Indian media last month, said, "You should expect to see increased bilateral cooperation between us (India and Japan) to develop unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and robotics." This cooperation is important considering the increasingly aggressive stance by China and

Artificial Intelligence:

By Sam Cohen 

Enhancing the Intelligence Community’s Exploitation and Dissemination Capacity as an Offset to Information Overload

Understanding AI’s Ability to Address Information Overload

An important first step towards understanding the potential utility and applicability of AI

As Maldives Declares Emergency, India Ponders ‘Tough’ Response


Opposition supporters protest against the government’s delay in releasing their jailed leaders, including former president Mohamed Nasheed, despite a Supreme Court order, in Male, Maldives, February 4, 2018. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer 

New Delhi: Four days after the Supreme Court of the Maldives called for the release of all political prisoners, the government of Abdulla Yameen announced a state of emergency in the country for 15 days,

An Atmosphere of Growing Political and Societal Instability in Ukraine

By Susan Stewart

For some time now, both Ukrainians and foreign observers have been inquiring whether the time is right for a ‘Third Maidan’. The protests that took place on 17 October 2017 and in subsequent weeks were not the beginning of anything larger. Rather, they were initiated primarily by political actors and did not have the potential for mass mobilization. However, these protests convey important messages about the political and societal situation in the country. Against the backdrop of developments in recent years, they are a sign that the situation could heat up dangerously in the coming months.

The Islamic State’s Drone Documents: Management, Acquisitions, and DIY Tradecraft


Much has been made of the Islamic State drone threat ever since the group killed two Kurdish soldiers in October 2016 with a bomb hidden within one of its drones that Kurdish forces downed in Iraq.1 The Islamic State was able to achieve this feat through an act of deception, as the two Kurdish soldiers were killed by the bomb after they had taken the drone back to their base to inspect it. Since this type of attack had not been conducted before, the drone was an unassuming place for the Islamic State to hide an improvised explosive device. But that trick only works occasionally, and it likely has a limited shelf life.

The Complicated War in Yemen

By Paul R. Pillar

No matter how much some in the United States try to apply to the war in Yemen a Manichean template for seeing the conflict as a simple contest between good guys and bad guys, the complexities of the war keep intruding. Long overlooked has been how the supposedly good side—that is, the one on behalf of which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have intervened—has been where some genuinely bad guys belonging to al-Qaeda have resided. Similarly overlooked is how the Houthi movement seen as the bad side—because the Houthis have accepted some Iranian aid—has been among al-Qaeda’s staunchest opponents in Yemen. Lest we forget, the Yemeni-based al-Qaeda branch is the wing of the organization that has come closest to inflicting post-9/11 damage on the United

The Qatar Crisis, its Regional Implications, and the US National Interest

by Njdeh Asisian


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC is an important organization within the Persian Gulf area which has undergone a very serious organizational crisis. A very stern rift has occurred within the GCC that has witnessed Saudi Arabia and her regional allies, flexing their muscles against Qatar (which is also a member of GCC) due to serious differences in their worldview and day-to-day regional politics. The Saudi ultimatum may be summarized from the original 13 points into the one paragraph below: Cease supporting Iran and Turkey as regional competitors, cease Qatar’s support for terrorist groups and anti

Seeing, Thinking Robots to Assist Troops

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By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Outside of a bustling foreign city, a squad of U.S. soldiers moves with intent as they perform a covert mission. A small aerial drone buzzes around them as an unmanned ground vehicle follows, both of them sensing the surroundings and ready to alert the soldiers to anything amiss.

This scene could be commonplace should technology from a burgeoning Pentagon program come to fruition.

Argentina and Brazil Race the Clock on Reform


Argentina's government will prioritize economic and trade liberalization reforms this year with an eye to reducing the cost of doing business in the country.
Brazilian President Michel Temer will use his remaining time in office to conclude trade negotiations and push through economic proposals such as a major privatization plan and pension reform.

How Fake News May Lead Us to a Cyberwar

By Joe Carson

With the next generation moving to online and social media as their go-to news source, and a good chunk of what is put out on social media being fake, it’s left up to the reader to determine whether the information is true or not.

When people start to believe everything they read , it makes the world a very unpredictable place. With no indicators of the source or truth of the news on social media, many

Battle for Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominance heats up

The primary thrust among global commentators last week was on dissecting and analysing the State of the Union address delivered by President Donald Trump. He tried to reach out to an American public exhausted by divisive politics and a waning faith in the American dream. The general sense was that it was a half-hearted call for unity. The focus of this column is on a global disruption in technology that is having a major impact on national and international security thinking, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the 21st Century. 

The New Global Competitive Model Based on Cyber and Asymmetrical Hybrid Warfare

by T. Casey Fleming, Eric L. Qualkenbush 


Imagine if Pearl Harbor had been attacked and there had been no response from Washington.

This is the actual case today due to a highly sophisticated, mature, and stealth strategy perpetrated against the United States (US) by advanced nation-state military methods leveled at every sector and organization in our society. This includes private sector businesses, all government agencies, the military, and academia - every US

Hacking: Another Weapon in the Asymmetrical Arsenal

By Scott Stewart

Iran's Islamic Revolution could play out, in part, online. On Jan. 4, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a report describing the country as a "third-tier cyberthreat." The report's authors note that despite Iran's success with cyberattacks

U-2 Versus Global Hawk: Why Drones Aren’t Always The Best Solution For Warfighters

By Loren Thompson

Unmanned aircraft (“drones”) have captured the popular imagination. Hardly a day goes by without a story appearing somewhere about how unmanned aircraft will revolutionize everything from commercial logistics to air combat.

It’s a seductive idea, and probably true to some extent. In the unforgiving world of military planners, though, what matters most is how the available options for conducting missions perform today, not what might unfold tomorrow. One such mission is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – what the military calls ISR. Detailed, timely information

The World According to H.R. McMaster


Why is he so worried about North Korea? 

Why is H.R. McMaster so alarmed by North Korea? Why does Donald Trump’s national-security adviser insist—more vigorously than any administration official except the president himself—that Kim Jong Un must be denied the capability to place a nuclear warhead on a missile that can reach the

Strategic Insights: Challenges in Using Scenario Planning for Defense Strategy

By Dr. Michael Fitzsimmons

Lawrence Freedman and Colin Gray are two of the most famous contemporary scholars of military strategy. Within the past few years, each published a book addressing different aspects of the same practical problem of strategy: defense planning.1 Considered to be strategy’s mundane cousin, defense planning revolves around how a nation designs its military according to its views of the future. Freedman’s and Gray’s verdicts on the subject are very similar and simply put: we are usually wrong when we predict the future of war. This judgment is not new; indeed, it conforms with the observations of countless defense policymakers and analysts on the challenges of strategic planning in national security.2

How AI Is Transforming Defense and Intelligence Technologies

by Tobias Naegele

A Harvard Belfer Center study commissioned by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), Artificial Intelligence and National Security, predicted last May that AI will be as transformative to national defense as nuclear weapons, aircraft, computers and biotech.

Advances in AI will enable new capabilities and make others far more affordable – not

United Nations Peacekeeping Offensive Operations: Concepts and Command Centres

by Antonio Garcia


The decision to strategically mandate offensive operations in the post-cold war peacekeeping era, is for the most part unchartered territory and will require forward thinking and some amount of trial and error. This article is a continuation of the research published in my previous paper, ‘United Nations Peacekeeping Offensive Operations: Theory and Doctrine’. Where theory provides a construct for the conduct of operations, doctrine should guide the execution of operations without being overly prescriptive (US, 2014: 70). Doctrine