9 February 2018

Crises Between India and Pakistan: The Basics

By Michael Krepon

Crises on the subcontinent are man-made and not accidental. The instigators have grievances and want to change the status quo. Crisis-triggering events usually do not come as a bolt out of the blue. Instead they are preceded by a series of events leading up to a big explosion. When a crisis comes as a surprise, someone important has been asleep at the switch.

There are indicators to the run-up of a crisis. Some are now very much evident. Firing along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir is the highest in seven years, according to Indian accounts. Pakistan has accused India of over 1,300 cease-fire violations in 2017. Crossings by militant cadres into Kashmir are up. Public disaffection among Kashmiri Muslims under Indian governance is very high and combustible. Military posts along the LoC are being overrun.

Can India and China Both Become Great Powers? (Or Are They Destined to Fight?)

China and India have a complex and prickly relationship: a consequence of geography, history and recent experiences between the two.

An unresolved territorial and border dispute led to a brief war between the two countries in October 1962, and the humiliation of India in that confrontation remains part of its collective national memory. This reality shapes India’s response to China’s increasing influence and power in the region today.

Good Defense Strategy On China; Now Execute!


China, China. China. It’s pretty much all you hear when you talk to sailors and Marines these days. When you’re talking to the Army or Air Force, then it’s Russia, Russia, Russia. Though, to be fair, the Air Force is pretty fixated on both. The new National Defense Strategy — which we got first, as Breaking D readers know — puts China and Russia firmly in first place of the threat matrix. So is the Trump administration, which write and approved the new strategy, executing policies that reflect the NDS?

Could the Renminbi Challenge the Dollar?


China’s rapid economic growth, coupled with savvy monetary management by its leaders, has internationalized the renminbi to a degree that scarcely could have been imagined just a few decades ago. But if China’s leaders ever want to challenge the US for global currency dominance, they will need to think and act more radically. 

Cynthia Roberts, Leslie Elliott Armijo, and Saori N. Katada, The BRICS and Collective Financial Statecraft, Oxford University Press, 2017 

China’s Swarms of Smart Drones Have Enormous Military Potential

By Scott N. Romaniuk

China set a world record in December 2017 at the Global Fortune Forum in Guangzhou when it succeeded in mobilizing the largest swarm of drones in history. Over 1,000 miniature drones performed a variety of tasks to showcase the collective orchestration of the high-tech instruments.

The future of drone swarms and their implications on the future of warfare are topics of much debate. The idea of using

China’s military build-up may be a game changer for European arms transfers

By Mathieu Duchatel

Europe may need to think more strategically about its approach if a new camp does emerge in the Indo-Pacific region to counter growing Chinese influence

As Asia is arming, Europe is selling equipment to states in the Indo-Pacific while maintaining strict restrictions on transfers of military technology to China. It looks like taking sides, but it is more complicated than

How Russian cyber-meddling can inspire China

Kent Harrington says Russia’s cyber aggressions hold lessons for China’s political warfare strategy, which focuses on targeting its adversaries’ political, social and economic institutions

For President Xi Jinping, maintaining domestic stability is a top priority, a point underscored by China’s annual budget for internal security. At well over US$100 billion, the official number is low. Like defence outlays, the real number is much higher, owing to hidden spending, including on research and development.


By Sandhya Jain

Even as Pakistan alleges external involvement as an excuse to cover up its atrocities against the Baloch, targeted state action against them is assuming the form of a genocide that the international community cannot ignore

After lurking at the edge of international consciousness for decades, with only the

Time to Kick Turkey Out of NATO?

First, the United States announced the backing of a border security force drawn mainly from the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Rojava, the quasi-independent Kurdish region in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border. Then Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will “strangle” that American-backed force “before it’s even born.” Russia, Iran and Syria’s Assad regime are standing with Erdogan.

Post-Davos Depression


The CEOs of Davos were euphoric this year about the return to growth, strong profits, and soaring executive compensation. Economists reminded them that this growth is not sustainable, and has never been inclusive; but in a world where greed is always good, such arguments have little impact. 

DAVOS – I’ve been attending the World

Asia’s Dark Underbelly: Conflicts Threaten Long-Term Stability And Development – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

A host of conflicts, stretching across the Asian landmass from the Middle East to Southeast Asia and northwest China, are likely to spark violence, complicate economic development, and dash hopes for sustainable stability.

The conflicts and tensions range from ethnic strife in Kurdish areas of Syria and Iran, mortally wounded Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, embattled Baloch nationalism in

A Theory About Iran

By Jacob L. Shapiro

When protests erupted in Iran at the end of December, the initial cause seemed obvious. The price of basic food staples like eggs and poultry rose by almost 40 percent in a matter of days, and data from Iran’s central bank showed a general rise of the inflation rate throughout the country. And yet, even at the time, there was something inadequate about this explanation. The protesters were everyday civilians, not students or political activists – and they had not risked their lives to protest in 2012 or 2013, when economic conditions were far worse. If the price of a carton of eggs rises temporarily from $3 to $4.20, it is hardly welcome, but it is also not the type of thing that leads to revolution.

Back Into the Quagmire


As the Trump administration escalates America’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Syria, one wonders what happened to the Donald Trump who decried the former war as a “total disaster” and bellowed over and over “It’s time to come home”—and who pledged to do nothing in the latter war but “bomb the shit out of ISIS.”

Yet Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan (the longest war in U.S. history) and broadening our mission in Syria (arguably the most complex conflict we’ve ever sleepwalked into).

Pentagon’s No. 2: Dismissing cyber risks is like ignoring smoking dangers

By Mike Gruss

SAN DIEGO ― The Pentagon and its contractors need to take a more rigid and uncompromising approach to cybersecurity, the Defense Department’s deputy secretary said Feb. 6, a change in philosophy that would require a more active role from CEOs and industry leaders.

Speaking at the AFCEA West trade show, Patrick Shanahan told reporters the Department of defense must view cybersecurity for industry with a smaller margin for error than in the past.

The People Who Would Survive Nuclear War


How an appendix to an obscure government report helped launch a blockbuster and push back the possibility of atomic war


Somehow, some way, nuclear war is once again a live possibility. The most startling incident came earlier this month when a state employee accidentally clicked the wrong choice in a piece of emergency-alert software, sending a notice of imminent destruction to everyone with a phone in Hawaii. But what’s striking is that people believed the message. For much of the past 30 years, it would have been implausible enough to be received as a likely mistake. But 2018 has already seen President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trade barbs about their nuclear buttons. People are buying potassium iodide pills again. The December 2017 issue of Harper’s magazine featured seven writers “taking stock of our nuclear present.” Atomic weapons—and their horrifying effects—are back in the national consciousness.

How to learn Deep Learning in 6 months

It is quite possible to learn, follow and contribute to state-of-art work in deep learning in about 6 months’ time. This article details out the steps to achieve that.


- You are willing to spend 10–20 hours per week for the next 6 months

- You have some programming skills. You

Hybrid Warfare, Nation-State Actors, and the Future of Cybersecurity

by Jeff Dougherty

Although hacking has been part of espionage since at least 1989[i], nation-state sponsored attacks have grown dramatically throughout the past decade[ii],[iii],[iv]. Nation-state sponsored groups are particularly worrisome to security professionals because they often operate as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)[v], a “slow burn” type of cyberattack many security experts consider the most dangerous for enterprises- or governments- with highly sensitive information to protect[vi],[vii],[viii]. However, a deeper look at the pattern of these attacks in recent years reveals a still more worrying trend. In the last decade, nation-state backed hacker groups have shifted away from pure information gathering and towards using cyberspace as a domain for a new kind of conflict called hybrid warfare. 

Malwarebytes Annual State of Malware Report Reveals Ransomware Detections Increased More Than 90 Percent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – January 25, 2018 – Malwarebytes™, the leading advanced malware prevention and remediation solution, today released a security research report analyzing the top malware threats for 2017. The findings, presented in the Malwarebytes Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques: 2017 State of Malware Report, illustrate a significant shift in attack methodology, a distinct evolution in the predominant attack tools and a distinct divergence in the types of attacks against businesses from attacks against consumers. The report illustrates sharp increases in malware-based cybercrime, including ransomware, banking Trojans, spyware, adware, cryptocurrency miners and others were detected across all victims.

Defining Remote Warfare: Cyber

This is the second briefing in a series by the Remote Warfare Programme which will bring together experts to discuss important aspects of remote warfare to provide some conceptual clarity.This briefing by VERTIC attends to cyberwar, a subject that has grabbed the attention, and imagination, of publics, media, civil society and academics alike. This briefing adds to the debate by investigating how cyber could fit into traditional understandings of military doctrine and strategy, and therefore how it might fit in with the Remote Warfare Programme’s work on changes in

Cyber Assault On Electric Grid Could Make U.S. Feel Like Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico

By Constance Douris 

If a mass power outage were to result from a successful cyberattack on the electric grid, national security and economic stability would be threatened. This is because hospitals, banks, factories, pipelines, financial networks, water systems, telecommunications and military bases would simply not function without electricity.

It is believed that Russia has used cyberattacks to penetrate the U.S. State Department, Department of Defense and the White House. China is also very active in cyber and uses viruses and botnets to access targets. Those same skills can be applied to hack the grid and potentially leave large areas

Assessing the Operational Environment: What We Learned Over the Past Year

TRADOC G2 Operational Environment Assessment

This paper argues that fast-moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly changing all aspects of society and human life, including the very character of warfare as TRADOC described in “The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare,” published in 2017. The convergence of these trends also reveals an erosion of U.S. military overmatch in several areas and set the stage for more aggressive challenges for the U.S.

The Untold Story of the Pentagon Papers Co-Conspirators

By Eric Lichtblau

In June of 1971, Gar Alperovitz, a thirty-five-year-old historian, sped through suburban Boston, looking for an out-of-the-way pay phone to use to call a reporter. Alperovitz had never considered himself much of a risk-taker. The father of two ran a small economic think tank focussed on community-building. He had participated in demonstrations against the Vietnam War and rung doorbells with Martin Luther King, Jr., in Boston, as part of an antiwar campaign. But what he was doing on this day, propelled by his desire to end the conflict, could lead to federal prison.

Leadership in the Social Media Age

By Dayton Ward

Social media is a powerful tool that allows noncommissioned officers to extend their leadership influence. This includes teaching Soldiers how to exploit its advantages while upholding Army values. (Graphic by Dayton Ward)

Many people rely on the internet to obtain information, receive news, shop, conduct business, play games, watch films and television, and communicate. Within this

Why DoD leaders are increasingly worried about the ‘gray zone’

By: Mark Pomerleau 

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, its primary army was known as “little green men” because the Russian soldiers wore generic green uniforms lacking any official insignia. This complicated attribution, and allowed the Kremlin to distance itself from the effort, in turn stymieing retaliation and or intervention.

That conflict is an example of what’s called the “gray zone,” a term used to describe

America Needs to Focus Its Defense Efforts on Big Wars

By Jyri Raitasalo

The summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) of the United States of America has been hailed widely for focusing on large-scale military threats rather than on mostly nonsignificant threats from terrorism and insurgencies around the third world. Mattis’ Department of Defense is recalibrating the perspective on official U.S. defense policy—and hopefully on public discourse—concerning military threats faced by the United States and the right ways to tackle these threats. After twenty-five years