9 March 2018

Indian enterprises need protection to grow

Arun Maira
It is all very well to say that India’s aspirational youth, who want the good things in life, are a large market. However, if they cannot have sustainable incomes, they cannot buy whatever they aspire for. And frustrated aspirations can be fuel for social unrest, retail violence and political upheaval, all of which India is experiencing now. Therefore, India must create more opportunities for its large population of young people to earn adequate incomes in a dignified way, whether through jobs in large enterprises and small enterprises, or self-employment.

China can now potentially blind or destroy India’s satellites


Satellite imagery of the satellite tracking station at Ngari

A Way Forward for Afghanistan After the 2nd Kabul Process Conference

By Samim Arif

While Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has sought to negotiate with the Taliban to end the group’s wave of violence, talks could already be destined to fail. The Kabul Process held its second session on February 28 after its inception in June 2017 with the participation of dozens of regional and global representatives. Ghani proposed an altruistic peace deal to the Taliban, despite his impulsive gesture of settling matters with them in the battlefield after a series of attacks by the group in January and February that inflicted severe casualties.

Al-Qaeda’s Resurrection

by Bruce Hoffman

While the self-proclaimed Islamic State has dominated the headlines and preoccupied national security officials for the past four years, al-Qaeda has been quietly rebuilding. Its announcement last summer of another affiliate—this one dedicated to the liberation of Kashmir—coupled with the resurrection of its presence in Afghanistan and the solidification of its influence in Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, underscores the resiliency and continued vitality of the United States’ preeminent terrorist enemy.

In a Fortnight: In Maldives Standoff, China Looks to Safeguard Growing Interests

By: Matt Schrader

A deepening electoral crisis in the small island nation of the Maldives, located roughly 300 miles west-southwest of India’s southern tip, has highlighted the growth of Chinese interests in a part of the world long considered India’s strategic backyard, and points the way toward likely future Sino-Indian friction, both in the Maldives and elsewhere throughout the Indian Ocean. Although the Chinese government’s public response has been muted, assertive PRC signaling around the presence of PLA Navy (PLAN) ships in the Indian Ocean may be sign that New Delhi should consider its next moves carefully.

How the West got China wrong

LAST weekend China stepped from autocracy into dictatorship. That was when Xi Jinping, already the world’s most powerful man, let it be known that he will change China’s constitution so that he can rule as president for as long as he chooses—and conceivably for life. Not since Mao Zedong has a Chinese leader wielded so much power so openly. This is not just a big change for China (see article), but also strong evidence that the West’s 25-year bet on China has failed.

A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag

Since announcing a “people’s war on terror” in 2014, the Chinese Communist Party has created an unprecedented network of re-education camps in the autonomous Xinjiang region that are essentially ethnic gulags. Unlike the surgical “strike hard” campaigns of the recent past, the people’s war uses a carpet-bombing approach to the country’s tumultuous western border region. Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang’s party secretary and the architect of this security program, encouraged his forces to “bury the corpses of terrorists in the vast sea of a people’s war.” But the attempt to drown a few combatants has pulled thousands of innocent people under in its wake.

China's President Trades One Set of Risks For Another

By Stratfor

When China's Communist Party Congress revealed no clear successor to President Xi Jinping in October 2017, it only fueled suspicions that Xi might be intending to outlast the traditional 10-year, two-term limits that come with China's presidency and vice presidency. On Feb. 25, these suspicions were confirmed when the Party moved to abolish those term limits, paving the way for 64-year-old Xi to potentially stay in power beyond 2023. Removing presidential term limits is one of the final steps in the Chinese leader's plan to consolidate political powerThough Xi could have followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, and exerted his power indirectly through other Party members, he has made the decision to avoid the substantial political costs that come with that. Instead, Xi is using China's legal foundations to strengthen state functionality and legitimize his attempt to recentralize bureaucratic authority. Ultimately, Xi may be aiming to reshape the role of the state in China and continue the lengthy process of rebalancing the country’s unsustainable economic model. But in his efforts, Xi is inviting resistance and, in many ways, trading one set of risks for another.

Spy games: Is buying a Chinese smartphone risky?

Edward C. Baig,

BARCELONA — Does buying a smartphone from certain Chinese brands expose you to spying? Ordinarily you’d judge the Mate 10 Pro from China's Huawei on its its lovely 6-inch OLED display and exceptional battery life. But there’s a bigger issue beyond the specs of the flagship handset from the No. 3 phone maker in the world, which has been banking on the $799.99 smartphone to challenge Samsung Galaxy and iPhone in North America. Lawmakers in the United States have placed Huawei and another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, in the crosshairs over their reputed ties to the Chinese intelligence and military establishment.

“Full Employment” in Tibet: The Beginning and End of Chen Quanguo’s Neo-Socialist Experiment

By: Adrian Zenz

On November 8th, 2017, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) published its second and final public job intake for the year, completing its annual process of announcing open public and civil service positions for eligible university graduates from this sensitive minority region. Notably, the timing was unusually late. Public job announcements are usually issued shortly after tertiary graduation dates in August or early September.  There is ample reason to speculate that the delay was caused by a drastic, unannounced change in Tibet’s public employment policy, one that may not prove popular with young, well-educated Tibetans in the region. The total numbers of advertised public jobs in the region fell sharply to 5,844, just over half of the previous year’s 10,030 positions, leaving thousands of graduates to compete for employment in the private job market.

Youth Unemployment: The Middle East's Ticking Time Bomb

With labor markets in the Middle East and North Africa swamped due to a baby boom, countries in the region will continue to face the acute challenge of massive youth unemployment. Though each state struggles with its own circumstances, most countries will face daunting hurdles as they try to build strong private sectors. Even if these states do foster more robust private sectors, they may not be able to mitigate the economic hardship when it hits their citizens, due to the uncontrollable nature of the free market. 

U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans


WASHINGTON — A classified military exercise last week examined how American troops would mobilize and strike if ordered into a potential war on the Korean Peninsula, even as diplomatic overtures between the North and the Trump administration continue. The war planning, known as a “tabletop exercise,” was held over several days in Hawaii. It included Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, and Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command. They looked at a number of pitfalls that could hamper an American assault on North Korea’s well-entrenched military. Among them was the Pentagon’s limited ability to evacuate injured troops from the Korean Peninsula daily — a problem more acute if the North retaliated with chemical weapons, according to more than a half-dozen military and Defense Department officials familiar with the exercise.

Could Blockchain Solve a Brexit Sticking Point?

Blockchain, a technology that can track goods from start to finish, could eventually contribute to retaining the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The technology is still in its early stages, and it will be years before it could be introduced at the scale necessary to control an international border. For blockchain to be included in the Brexit process, British and European negotiators would have to buy time for a customs system based on the technology to be developed, tested and implemented. 

Echoes of the Past in the Debate Over Europe's Future

By Adriano Bosoni

The debate over reforming the European Union will once again expose the rifts among member states' priorities and strategic imperatives. At the heart of the discussion is the enduring question about whether the bloc can overcome history and geography to become a federal superstate. In the long run, the European Union's main challenge will be to keep its internal divisions from paralyzing it, as challenges in and beyond the bloc multiply.

Why Trump Is Reluctant to Escalate the Cyber War With Russia

Eli Lake 

Democrats are furious. Leaders of the U.S. intelligence community have no doubt that Russian trolls, bots and hackers are planning to meddle in the midterm elections this fall, and to date President Donald Trump has not instructed his cyber generals to hit back. This was the upshot of Senate testimony Tuesday from Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and chief of U.S. Cyber Command. He was repeating a warning voiced by intelligence community leaders earlier this month. Asked if he has been directed by the White House to counter the coming Russian offensive in cyberspace, Rogers responded that he has not.

Satyajit Ray’s ‘The Hero’ Revisited

Pico Iyer

It was 1974 and I was a teenager on holiday from my English boarding school, meeting cousins, uncles, and my parents’ ancestral homeland for the first time. The monsoons were heavy that year, but I suddenly found myself rattling all around India—Bombay to Secunderabad, and thence to Bangalore and Madras and Ahmedabad, and finally to Delhi—on never-ending overnight trains. Vendors selling tea clamored around the compartment windows, eager to pass tiny clay cups to passengers; old men sat lecturing everyone on any topic under the sun; the waiter in the dining car assured us, not without obsequiousness, that there was no tea, no coffee, nothing to be had but Coca-Cola. 

Commentary: Putin’s nuclear-tipped hybrid war on the West

Peter Apps
Source Link

This month marks the fourth anniversary of Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea, an event that shocked the world and shook European faith in the post-Cold War security order. In retrospect, it has become clear that, for Putin, annexing the peninsula was not so much an end goal as a declaration of future intent, an early escalation in a broader and more ambitious effort that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently termed, with little obvious exaggeration, Russia’s “World Hybrid War” on Western democracy itself.

In Defense of Strategic Thinking

By Thomas Bodine

The National Defense Strategy presented by Defense Secretary James Mattis, while generally well received, has drawn some criticism. Points of criticism involve the Strategy’s prioritization and clustering of challenges, the disparity between ongoing military operations and the document’s strategic vision, and the mismatch between budgetary aspirations and realities. Details are outlined here and here. Further scrutiny of these criticisms reveals the same apathy in strategic thinking found in abundance over the last 25 years of leadership.

Wanted: A Strategy for Stabilizing Syria

Michael O'Hanlon

The recent bombings by the Assad regime of a suburb of Damascus called Ghouta have just killed several hundred people, most of them innocent civilians, and dramatized the point that despite America’s success in defeating ISIS on the battlefield, the civil war in Syria is far from over. The regime is ignoring a new UN Security Council cease-fire resolution and continuing on with the horrors. What is the world community to do about a conflict that has already killed half a million people, that keeps more than ten million people from their homes (about half as refugees in foreign lands), that provides sanctuary for an Al Qaeda splinter group as well as remnants of ISIS, that continues to allow playgrounds for Iranian and Hezbollah adventurism, and that still pits NATO allies Turkey and the United States against each other in their respective strategies towards the country’s Kurdish population?

Three Reasons the EU Will Reject the ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ Proposal

Georgina Wright

Reports of the meeting of the ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ convened by Theresa May, the British prime minister, at Chequers last week, suggest that an agreement of sorts has been reached on the UK government’s guidelines for a transition and a future trade deal with the EU. But though the Cabinet is united over the reported plan, all indications are that it will not be acceptable to the EU.

For Whom the Cell Trolls A new book argues that modern wars will be won with phones and laptops rather than tanks.


It’s popular these days to proclaim that Clausewitz is passé and war is now waged via smartphones and Facebook feeds. Few writers have actually explored what this means in practice. The journalist David Patrikarakos’s new book, War in 140 Characters, chronicles in granular detail how social media has transformed the way that modern wars are fought. From the battlefields of eastern Ukraine to the bot factories of St. Petersburg, Patrikarakos takes us into the lives of ordinary citizens with no military training who have changed the course of conflicts with nothing more than a laptop or iPhone.

CASH FOR CYBER WAR Britain could be defeated in cyber war unless government gives armed forces more cash, top general warns

By Greg Wilford

Sir Gordon Messenger, vice chief of defence staff, called for increased spending to counter the threat from new weapons technologies being developed in states such as Russia  BRITAIN could face defeat in a future cyber war if the government does not give the armed forces more cash, one of the country’s top generals has warned. Sir Gordon Messenger, vice chief of defence staff, said extra spending is needed to combat the threat from new weapons technologies being developed in potential enemy states including Russia.

Putting Concepts of Future Warfare to the Test

Maj. John Spencer, U.S. Army  Lionel Beehner, PhD Capt. Brandon Thomas, U.S. Army

The Army's vision of a future multi-domain battlefield makes many assumptions about the cognitive demands and capabilities of current and future soldiers. These assumptions, among others, include that soldiers of the current millennial generation are inherently more tech-savvy than their predecessors because of extensive, lifelong exposure to technological devices such as personal computers, virtual gaming, and cell phones. Thus, they should be able to better leverage new technologies to increase their performance in executing military missions. There is also an assumption that sequentially adding technologies into military skills training only after soldiers are trained in fundamentals will be adequate.

Time for a Strategic Shift in U.S. Military Unmanned Systems

by George Galdorisi

The 21st Century has ushered in dramatic changes in world order, geopolitics and the way warfare is conducted. As the National Intelligence Council’s capstone publication, Global Trends: Paradox of Progress puts it: The progress of the past decades is historic—connecting people, empowering individuals, groups, and states, and lifting a billion people out of poverty in the process. But this same progress also spawned shocks like the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics. These shocks reveal how fragile the achievements have been, underscoring deep shifts in the global landscape that portend a dark and difficult near future.[i]

Can the United States Search Data Overseas?


Should the United States government be able to conduct a search of your emails if they are stored on a server in another country, or does the government’s right to examine digital evidence stop at the border? That is a central question in United States v. Microsoft, a case scheduled to be argued on Tuesday before the Supreme Court. Both sides in the case have legitimate concerns. If the court sides with Microsoft and declines to allow searches for data stored in another country, the government will be hampered in investigating crimes like terrorism, child pornography and fraud.

How the Army plans to revolutionize soldier battery technology

By: Brandon Knapp

In the world of battery technology, the trade off between power and energy has flustered experts for years. Energy measures the capacity to do work, while power measures how fast the work can get done. An increase in one of these variables, often comes at the expense of the other.  As the Army’s equipment continues to become more power hungry and the desired run time remains “as long as possible,” researchers at the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, are developing a new lithium ion battery hybridized with other materials that can meet both demands in a package small enough for soldiers to carry in the field.

In Case You Didn’t Know It, Things Are Very Different Now: Part 1

By Major General Tony Cucolo, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Over the length of my time in uniform, I often found myself scratching my head and saying to no one in particular, “I wish someone had told me that…” So, I make it a point to wherever and whenever possible pass on the tribal wisdom and scar tissue that only comes from personal trial and error during long-service in a closed society like the military. Here’s the premise of this article: the expectations of a Major are very different than those of a Captain, and not everyone knows what these expectations are or the impact they have on personal and professional success. I want to share my thoughts on this to help you be successful – successful for the right reasons.

War by Other Means – Integrating Modern Technology

By Nick Brunetti-Lihach

Armed with only a radio and a nine-line, a well-trained Marine can wreak havoc on enemy forces. During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, lethal air and artillery fires destroyed, suppressed, or neutralized targets of all shapes and sizes. In that place and time, lethal combined arms were an effective means to an end. The standard has now changed. The ability to shoot, move, and communicate can no longer be taken for granted. Today’s maneuver units do not have the tools to integrate lethal fires with non-lethal cyber (cyberspace) and EW (electronic warfare) fires at the tactical level in real time to win a fight with a near-peer or contest cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum. Today’s threats are no longer line-of-sight projectiles. Threats at the tactical edge may originate from anywhere in the world. In order to address the gaps in doctrine, organization, tactics and technology, the MAGTF must adapt and evolve.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS-LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT Official: Special Operators Must 'Reinvent' Themselves

By Connie Lee

Special Operations Forces must “rediscover and reinvent” themselves to adjust for the increasing ability of near peer competitors, according to a Defense Department official.  Mark Mitchell, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said Feb. 28 special operators will not always have technological advantages over their enemies and must be prepared for a “great power competition.” Russia today is not the Soviet Union and China today is not the China of the 70s or 80s,” he noted at the Special Operations-Low Intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition in Arlington, Virginia sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. “There are many ways in which [these nations] are much more integrated into the international security architecture and the economic systems while also trying to manipulate and undermine it.” 

Interwar Airpower, Grand Strategy, and Military Innovation: Germany vs. Great Britain

By Michael Trimble

In discerning operational requirements, the conceptual difficulties of military science occur. If there is not rigorous thinking at this level, neither technology nor money can help.

—Sir Michael Howard

Today’s senior defense leaders can’t get enough innovation. The United States National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the U.S. military service strategies all stress the capacity for innovation as an American comparative advantage. Clearly, there is great demand for military professionals who can innovate. But what does innovation look like in a peacetime or interwar military? How is it done?