25 February 2018

Lessons For Modicare From Andhra Pradesh’s Aarogyasri Project

by Swati Kamal

This is a multi-part series on the best practices followed by various states as the Modi government gets ready to launch its National Health Programme. 

Undivided Andhra Pradesh’s Aarogyasri scheme was the first public health insurance scheme launched in the country.

In April 2007, the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government launched the Rajiv Gandhi Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance scheme to enable those living below poverty line (BPL) to access quality medical care. The scheme sought to cover treatment costs of serious ailments such as cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases, neurological disorders, polytrauma and others, which entail prolonged hospitalisation and expensive surgical procedures. 

India’s Choice in the Maldives


As the political situation in the Maldives deteriorates, peace and security in the Indian Ocean is increasingly in jeopardy. With China seeking to capitalize on its support for the authoritarian president, Abdulla Yameen, to expand its influence in the region, the crisis has become a defining moment for India. 

NEW DELHI – The Maldives – that beautiful Indian Ocean country comprising more than 1,000 coral islands – is known the world over as a tranquil and luxurious travel destination. But the country is now being roiled by a political crisis so severe that international advisories are cautioning against travel there.

India and China's Dangerous Tug-of-War for the Top of the World

Bruno Maçães

If you were to draw the world’s economic center of gravity on a map, it would fall right on the border between Europe and Asia. But it is far from stationary. For 40 years, it has been following a long arc from the middle of the Atlantic, the sea world of yesterday, to the Himalayas, the land world of tomorrow. And if you thought the history of Western modernity was an extravaganza of technology and brute power, just wait for Asian modernity — technological on a vaster scale and directed by two fully modernized giants, India and China. 

The Kabul Hotel Attack: Moving Beyond the Blame Game

By Nafay Choudhury

Structural conditions in Afghan society provide insurgents the opportunity to escape detection.

As I sat in my Kabul office on the evening of January 20, 2018, the familiar — and unwelcome — sounds of gunfire began to increase in the background. A few minutes later, the guard at my residence informed me that the Intercontinental Hotel, a towering figure within sight of my rooftop, was under attack. The sound of bullets rained overnight and into the morning, by which time a thick mass of black smoke had taken over the north side of the hotel. All I could do was watch and pray for those inside. Having visited the site on countless occasions, I can’t possibly imagine what went through the minds of the guests trapped on the top floor, some of whom jumped off the balcony to their demise. Some 17 hours later, 40 lives had been lost.

How Israel and Pakistan Can Avoid a Nuclear Showdown

Shimon Arad

A back channel of communication between Israel and Pakistan could temper miscalculations or malicious attempts to artificially increase tensions between the two countries.

The advancement of Pakistan’s nuclear-missile capabilities and Israel’s growing military ties with India are increasing their respective military relevance for each other. In the absence of formal diplomatic relations and against the backdrop of a prevailing antagonistic public dialogue, the need for an effective and discreet channel of communication between Islamabad and Jerusalem to mitigate misunderstandings and misperceptions about each other’s intentions is growing.

US and China project 'sharp power' in the Indian Ocean


TOKYO -- As the world's two largest economies compete to expand their spheres of influence, the U.S. and China are pushing separate development initiatives centered around the Indian Ocean.

China has its Belt and Road Initiative, proposed in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, which aims to build infrastructure spanning from Asia to Europe and incorporating overland and maritime elements. The country has already spent a fortune building land routes and ports.

Why China is keen to discuss CPEC with India

Jayadeva Ranade

Faced with growing doubts about the much-touted economic benefits of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), accentuated by the recent cancellation of two projects by Pakistan and Nepal, its earliest supporters, the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has incorporated the ambitious $1.4 trillion geo-economic BRI into the Party Constitution. Inextricably woven into Chinese President Xi Jinping’s agenda of making China a global power by 2050, the BRI is set to be included in the country’s constitution at the National People’s Congress — China’s version of a parliament — in March 2018. This will assure it of party and State backing.

The Chinese Century?

Hal Brands

Regardless of how America responds to the Chinese challenge, its policy must be rooted in reality.

NO ONE can say we didn’t see it coming. Since the end of the Cold War, and even before, it has been obvious that a rapidly rising China could eventually menace America’s position and influence in East Asia—and, perhaps, globally as well. Since the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995–96, moreover, there have been accumulating signs that Beijing is not a status quo power, but rather one determined to reshape the East Asian order. For decades, then, there has been no shortage of warnings about the emerging China challenge.

Iran Among the Ruins Tehran’s Advantage in a Turbulent Middle East

By Vali Nasr

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria before being pushed back by an international coalition led by the United States.

The Propaganda Tools Used by Russians to Influence the 2016 Election


Thirteen Russian nationals have been charged with illegally trying to disrupt the American political process, according to an indictment filed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Here are the tools the Russians used:

Russian Bots Are Now Attacking the U.S. on Twitter With Disinformation 24 Hours-a-Day, 7 Days a Week

Sheera Frenkel and Daisuke Wakabayashi
New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

A New Beginning for European Defence

It is time to move past institutional integration and develop practical European security capabilities. 

Europe is facing multiple security challenges. Russia aims to undermine the European security order and has shown its willingness to violate other countries’ sovereignty and increase its nuclear power. The Middle East and North Africa are on fire, homegrown terrorism threatens the streets of Europe, and cyber and information warfare are on the rise. 

A real erosion and profound vulnerability of U.S. position and influence are inescapable conclusions of three successive U.S. Army War College studies.

By Nate Freier 

With William “Trey” Braun, Albert Lord, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hatfield, Lieutenant Colonel James Hayes, and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ulmer.

Hypercompetition and Reluctant American Great Power

In July 2017, the United States Army War College initiated the third in a series of year-long studies on key contemporary defense-relevant challenges. Each study benefits from some Department of Defense (DoD) sponsorship, as well as close working relationships with relevant defense and military stakeholders. 

Is the World Actually Getting … Better?


Our current moment feels ominous. But in his new book, Steven Pinker argues that the present is much better than the past. 

On this week’s episode of my podcast, I Have to Ask, I spoke to Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard and author of the new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. It follows up on his controversial best-seller The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which offered a sweeping account of why Pinker believes the present is better than the past.

ISW Report - America's Global Competitions: The Gray Zone in Context

by Institute for the Study of War

The international community is grappling for its future, but the wrestling is more complicated than Carl von Clausewitz’s “pair of wrestlers.” The U.S. is part of three ongoing regional and global competitions. At stake: the future of the international order. The first competition involves revisionist powers — Russia, China, and Iran. This competition is below the threshold of war so far, but recent events in Syria show just how easily that threshold might be crossed. Revisionist powers seek to revise the current global order to their advantage, increasing their regional and global influence while decreasing that of the United States and its allies and partners. The second has already crossed the threshold of war. 

The Nuclear Posture Review: Fiction and Fact

By Franklin C. Miller

Based on the spate of recent articles and op-eds criticizing the 2018 Defense Department’s 

Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), many Americans have been led to believe the NPR: 

Represents a dangerous departure from traditional U.S. nuclear deterrence policy; 
Initiates a new nuclear arms race; 
Proposes a plan to modernize U.S. forces which is unaffordable; 
Creates a new class of “usable” nuclear weapons; 
Threatens nuclear retaliation for cyber-attacks; and 
Abandons arms control efforts. 

Everyone Wants Innovation -- Why Is It So Persistently Hard To Find?

Victor Lipman

Breakthrough innovation is the Holy Grail of business. Everyone wants it, yet it remains frustratingly elusive. 

When I was in the corporate world, we had no shortage of methods to try to coax more innovation out of employees: incubators, innovation centers, brainstorming sessions... yet acutal creative innovation was inevitably challenging to find. It's hard to be "innovative on demand."

Which is why I was interested in a survey of CFOs I just happened across from last fall from Robert Half, examining barriers to workplace innovation.

Last Year’s Top 5 Worst Nuclear Nightmares (That Aren’t Going Away)


Each of these threats has only gotten worse. Take one guess what (or who) I think remains the top nuclear threat to us... 

The top five nuclear nightmares we faced in 2017 will continue to haunt us in 2018. In fact, each has gotten worse this year. 

It is not that the past year has been devoid of good news, but the bad outweighed the good.

The overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to shrink, thanks to arms control treaties negotiated over the past few decades. The steady defeat of ISIS has reduced the risk of nuclear terrorism. Tensions seem to have eased between India and Pakistan, reducing the risk of war in South Asia.

Modern Information Warfare Requires a New Intelligence Discipline

By Robert Kozloski

The United States has been under attack from foreign entities for years, and the national security enterprise has failed to adapt its outdated practices to new threats, particularly those below the threshold of war. Since Russian interference in the U.S. Presidential Election was suspected, much has been made of the threat posed by information warfare. While the threat has been widely discussed, little has been done to prevent foreign influence from disrupting U.S. interests. This essay examines the concept of information warfare and proposes that a new intelligence discipline, public intelligence, is needed to counter rising threats to U.S. national interests.

The debate over what Cyber Command still needs

By: Mark Pomerleau 

This is the final part of a series exploring the future of Cyber Command. For previous installments, see part one and part two.

As Cyber Command continues to mature, key government watchdogs want to ensure the organization does so in a responsible way.

As part of this effort, the House Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, which oversees cyber, held a classified briefing with the Government Accountability Office in mid January to “discuss ongoing reviews and studies of cyberspace and cybersecurity capabilities of the Department of Defense,” a press release from the committee said.

Mueller Indictment Of Russian Operatives Details Playbook Of Information Warfare


Outside a Trump campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., there was a cage holding a person dressed up like Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform. In the outrageous state of the 2016 campaign, it wasn't altogether shocking to see someone at a Trump event staging the visual stunt, after the "lock her up!" chants that punctuated Trump rallies.

But it's now known that this moment was set up by Russians.

Air Force wants to mitigate cyber vulnerabilities in avionics systems

By: Mark Pomerleau

The Air Force wants to ensure the cockpits of its aircraft and the data its reading are not susceptible to cyber threats.

“If you’re in the cockpit, you have to be assured the track you’re going to shoot at is the track you want to shoot at,” said Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, commander of 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, said last year. “Same for a fleet commander; they need to ensure the guidance they are putting out to the force has not been tampered with.”

AI makes Mattis question ‘fundamental’ beliefs about war

By: Aaron Mehta 

WASHINGTON – Over the years, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has cultivated a reputation for deep thinking about the nature of warfare. And during that time, he has come to a few conclusions about what he calls the “fundamental” nature of combat.

“It’s equipment, technology, courage, competence, integration of capabilities, fear, cowardice — all these things mixed together into a very fundamentally unpredictable fundamental nature of war,” Mattis explained Feb. 17. “The fundamental nature of war is almost like H20, ok? You know what it is.”

Can the Army Get Ready for War with Russia and China and Fight Terror Too?

Dave Majumdar

The United States Army will receive increased funding in the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal as the service struggles to modernize while simultaneously fighting wars in current conflicts. The problem the Army must solve is how to deter Russia and China while dealing with today’s challenges.

“The Army supports the 2018 National Defense Strategy by providing a combat-credible war-fighting force, postured and capable of deterring global competitors, preventing conflict and shaping the global security environment,” Maj. Gen. Paul A. Chamberlain, Army budget director told reporters. 

Mattis: Deploy-or-get-out rule is about fairness By: Aaron Mehta   2 days ago

WASHINGTON ― New rules requiring members of the military to be able to deploy or get outwere put in place to ensure fairness in deployment rates, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

“You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going have some people deploying constantly and then other people, who seem to not pay that price, in the U.S. military,” Mattis told reporters Feb. 17 in his first comments on the issue since the new policy was formally introduced.