19 February 2019

After Pulwama, another ‘one off’ surgical strike will be a strategic mistake


The Indian military's response should not be hurried; it must be strong and credible to make Pakistan sit up and take note.

With less than three months left for the Lok Sabha elections, the Pulwama terror attack has put the Narendra Modi government in a tight spot. It could be a default timing, but the ISI calibrates all major terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed to have organised the strike through its J&K chapter to which Adil Ahmad Dar, the suicide bomber, belonged.

More than the security forces who are trained to face adversity and setbacks, it is the public sentiment high on politically-inspired nationalism that may force the government to respond to Pakistan militarily.

But the response should not be hurried, it must be strong and credible to make Pakistan sit up and take note, and be part of a calibrated strategy to force compellence on Pakistan. We should be prepared to climb up the escalatory ladder as the situation develops. The 2016 surgical strikes were a tactical success but being a ‘one off’ operation, they did not achieve the desired strategic results. Another ‘one off’ retributory operation would be strategic folly.
Security challenges

India has been squeezing Pakistan economically even before Pulwama


In the aftermath of the Pulwama tragedy – the worst Islamist terror attack in India since 2008 – what can and should India do? In this instance, Pakistan’s role is certain, with its continued support to the Jaish-e-Mohammed to recruit, expand its financial network and training infrastructure.

There are a number of kinetic options for retaliation, through military force or covert action, and these are undoubtedly being contemplated. Such retaliation may or may not deter Pakistan from future attacks, but they will certainly be retributive. In the meantime, what are the economic costs that India can bring to bear?

At Friday’s Cabinet Committee on Security meeting, India announced that it would withdraw the Most Favoured Nation trading status, in place since 1996 despite Pakistan’s lack of reciprocity. This imposes high customs duty on Pakistani imports to India and, as a targeted discriminatory economic measure, represents the formalisation of Indian sanctions against Pakistan.

A lesson from the Kashmir bombing: America needs to get tougher on Pakistan

By Alyssa Ayres

Indian security forces inspect the remains of a bus following an attack on a paramilitary convoy.

Alyssa Ayres is senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World." The views expressed in this commentary belong solely to the author. View more opinion at CNN.

(CNN)A suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with explosives into an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwama, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, on February 14. The death toll is at least 40, making it the largest attack in Kashmir in three decades. A Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, claimed responsibility through a video released shortly after.

That this terrorist group, nominally banned, remains at large in Pakistan illustrates the limitations on US foreign policy tools. It also means the US should put even more pressure on Pakistan, after President Trump began his time in office taking a harder line.

Exclusive: U.S. may trim over 1,000 troops from Afghanistan in belt-tightening - general

By Phil Stewart and Greg Torode

MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) - Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump told Congress this month he intended to reduce U.S. forces from Afghanistan as negotiators make progress in talks with Taliban insurgents, saying: "Great nations do not fight endless wars."

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command, said the decision to reduce some of the roughly 14,000 American forces in Afghanistan was not linked to those peace efforts, however.

Instead, he said it was part of an effort by Army General Scott Miller, who took over the more than 17-year war effort in September, to make better use of U.S. resources.

The Balochistan Insurgency and the Threat to Chinese Interests in Pakistan

By: Adnan Aamir


On November 23, 2018, insurgents of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) attacked the PRC Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. The assault resulted in the deaths of seven people, including two police officers and three of the attackers (Dawn, November 23 2018). One month after this incident, the BLA commander responsible for the attack—Aslam Baloch, alias “Achoo”—was himself killed in a suicide attack in the Afghan city of Kandahar (Tolo News, December 26 2018). Despite the death of their leader, the BLA has vowed to continue attacks on Chinese interests in Balochistan (Balochistan Post, December 26 2018).

The BLA is one of the oldest, and arguably the largest, of at least six nationalist-separatist militant groups fighting against the Pakistani government for an independent Balochistan—a large province occupying the southwestern region of Pakistan, with its provincial capital in the city of Quetta (Terrorism Monitor, January 25). The November 2018 incident in Karachi raised the question as to why the BLA would seemingly turn aside from its struggle with Pakistan’s government in order to make a symbolic attack against a foreign country. The answer is found in the PRC’s extensive investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and how Baloch nationalists view the Chinese presence in their region.

Why Would Baloch Insurgents Target Chinese Interests in Pakistan?

Pakistan’s thirst for violence

VP Malik

Yet another tragic terror incident in Kashmir! It’s so serious that it has shaken the soul of the nation once again. 

There is no change in Pakistan-sponsored terrorists’ strategy. But the methodology adopted this time is new. A bus carrying CRPF personnel was attacked by a suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden car alongside the running convoy in Pulwama. More than 40 CRPF personnel were killed and many others were critically injured. Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed, ready with a video of the local suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, has promptly claimed credit for organising this terror attack. Its new tactics, and likely repetition in J&K, will definitely cause more challenges for the security forces and the government.

How did they manage to organise such a planned attack? This and related investigations are in progress by the J&K Police and the National Investigation Agency. These are being reported every minute in the media. My comments are on more fundamental issues.

Can US-China trade relations ever be the same after the trade war?

Nassim Khadem

A trade deal looks increasingly likely as senior US officials arrived in Beijing this week to continue trade talks with China.

But the uncertainty that has rattled global markets and caused the International Monetary Fund to downgrade its global growth forecasts is likely to continue for some time.

The sticking point in upcoming trade talks is likely to be on intellectual property theft and state support for high-tech companies.

A note from UBS analysts says whatever the outcome of a trade deal, the US will likely further restrict Chinese investment in the US, as well as China's access to technology and high-tech products.

Russia and China Can Cripple Critical Infrastructure in United States

Nicole Lindsey

According to the new U.S. Worldwide Threat Assessment, a 42-page report prepared by top security and intelligence agencies in the United States, both Russia and China are capable of launching cyber attacks against critical infrastructure targets in the U.S. Moreover, say top U.S. intelligence officials, both Russia and China appear to be aligning their operations in cyberspace, primarily as a way to challenge U.S. geostrategic dominance in regions such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Threats to critical infrastructure from Russia and China

In January 2019 testimony in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, key U.S. intelligence officials – including CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray – outlined the various types of cyber threats that China and Russia pose to the United States, both at home and abroad. They highlighted three key areas where the two strategic rivals pose the biggest threats to national security: cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, online influence and misinformation campaigns on social media designed to destabilize American democratic institutions, and direct interference in U.S. elections (including the upcoming 2020 presidential election).

Countering China’s tech assault: Trump could learn from Sun Tzu


China is a bully. From rampant espionage and hacking to Taiwan and more, China is slowly and very deliberately flexing its rising economic and militarily power. That power is more a result of espionage and outright intellectual property theft than the result of true innovation, but China doesn’t care. The ends justify the means. Understandably, President Donald Trump is attempting to out-negotiate the Chinese. But he needs to rethink his approach.

The Art of the Deal” won’t work. To defeat China, we need to go back in time and use their own strategies and tactics against them. How far back? As far back as 544 BC and the birth of Sun Tzu. Over 2,500 years later, the “Art of War” is the roadmap to containing China and their thirst for global domination. The sooner the better.

In a move that might become a bridge too far for companies thinking about operating in China, a change in the cybersecurity law allows the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) to “conduct on-site and remote inspections of any company with five or more computers connected to the internet.” Which pretty much accounts for every foreign business operating in China.

Huawei Fight Sees EU Hit by Crossfire in Tech War's Key Battle

By Helene FouquetAndrea Dudik, and Patrick Donahue

The global tech war over Huawei Technologies Co. saw the European Union come under pressure from both the U.S. and China on Saturday as they fought over whether the company’s equipment should be banned from future 5G networks.

"Chinese law requires them to provide Beijing’s vast security apparatus with access to any data that touches their networks or equipment," U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said at the annual gathering of senior security officials in Munich. "The United States is calling on all our security partners to be vigilant and to reject any enterprise that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or national security systems."

Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi was up next on the same stage and he hit back hard.

Trade War Is Just One Hurdle for Trump and Xi

By Enda Curran

As top U.S. trade negotiators arrive in Beijing, the White House is signalingPresident Donald Trump wants to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “very soon.”

That may not be before the March 1 deadline to avert higher tariffs on imports from China, though it suggests momentum for a deal to end the trade war between the world's two biggest economies. Yet both sides are only starting the work of drafting a common document and still tussling over how an agreement may be enforced.

Even if their truce holds, the broader relationship faces multiple tension points. The Pentagon warned China is developing sophisticated space capabilities such as “satellite inspection and repair” that could be used as weapons against American satellites. China disputed the claim.

A Smarter Battlefield?: PLA Concepts for “Intelligent Operations” Begin to Take Shape

By: Brent M. Eastwood


CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping has shown himself to be a great enthusiast for the subject of artificial intelligence (AI). He is often photographed for propaganda purposes meeting with scientists at various research centers around the country, and has delivered high-profile speeches on the importance that AI development holds for China’s future (South China Morning Post, October 31 2018; Xinhua, November 1 2018). This intensive AI focus on the part of the PRC leadership has generated concerns among national security circles in the United States and other countries that emerging AI technologies will be incorporated into the Chinese military—and there is ample evidence that PRC political and military leaders do indeed see AI as a critical component of their country’s future military capabilities (CNAS, February 6; MIT Technology Review, February 7).

Most of China’s current AI military research is focused on hardware—such as robotic tanks and vehicles, autonomous drones, and remotely-piloted submarines. These pursuits are heavy on mechanical engineering and traditional research and development. They also fit within a broader pattern that has been noted by PLA scholars for the past two decades: the development of advanced weapons and military technologies as part of the “assassin’s mace” concept, in which the PLA will seek to conduct crippling asymmetric blows against potential opponents. [1] Previous examples of “assassin’s mace” weapons might have included the deployment of an anti-ship missile versus an aircraft carrier; however, assassin’s mace weapons might now include the use of big data, the Internet of Things, or cloud computing integrated with next-generation weaponry.

More, Less, or Different?

By Jake Sullivan

Since November 2016, the U.S. foreign policy community has embarked on an extended voyage of soul-searching, filling the pages of publications like this one with essays on the past, present, and future of the liberal international order and the related question of where U.S. grand strategy goes from here. The prevailing sentiment is not for just more of the same. Big questions are up for debate in ways they have not been for many years. What is the purpose of U.S. foreign policy? Are there fundamental changes in the world that demand a corresponding change in approach?

Into this earnest and reflective conversation enter Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, each with a new book, each making his long-standing argument about the failures of U.S. foreign policy with renewed ferocity. Walt’s is called The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy; Mearsheimer’s is The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. The titles give clear hints of the cases they lay out: against democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, nation building, and NATO expansion; for restraint and offshore balancing.

Russia considers 'unplugging' from internet

Russia is considering whether to disconnect from the global internet briefly, as part of a test of its cyber-defences.

The test will mean data passing between Russian citizens and organisations stays inside the nation rather than being routed internationally.

A draft law mandating technical changes needed to operate independently was introduced to its parliament last year.

The test is expected to happen before 1 April but no exact date has been set.
Major disruption

The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia's ISPs to ensure that it can operate in the event of foreign powers acting to isolate the country online.

The Myths and Realities of European Security in a Post-INF World

Dominik P. Jankowski

On Feb. 2, the United States formally declared its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty. The official declaration, which had been signaled by the Trump administration well in advance, set the clock ticking: Unless Russia unexpectedly returns to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty through the destruction of all its INF-violating missile systems, the U.S. withdrawal will become effective in early August. The formal termination of the treaty will have wide-ranging implications for European security, the U.S. military force posture in Europe, NATO deterrence and defense policy, and arms control.

For over 30 years, the INF treaty has been an enduring symbol of the Cold War’s denouement. When the Soviet Union and the U.S. signed the treaty in 1987, it effectively ended a buildup of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with short to intermediate ranges, defined as 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Since then, around 2,700 missiles, most of which would have been deployed on the European continent, have been eliminated, making the INF a foundational arms control agreement.

With Prospect of New Sanctions, US-Russian Relations Continue to Deteriorate

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

A bipartisan bill introduced in the United States Senate—the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA)—has generated significant nervousness in the corridors of power in Moscow. If passed and signed by the US President, the bill could trigger new sanctions targeting Russian state debt, energy projects abroad and major banks. This new sanctions package was introduced as punishment for Russian actions in Syria and Ukraine, in particular the November 25, 2018, incident in and around the Kerch Strait, where Russian forces fired on and captured three Ukrainian naval ships. The vessels, together with their crews, are being held in custody in Russia. Both the US and the European Union have strongly insisted on their release. The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denounced the DASKA bill as illegal and a manifestation of rabid Russophobia. Finance Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Syluanov, meanwhile, decried the new sanctions package but expressed optimism that safety measures installed by the Russian government and Central Bank will largely mitigate any negative effects. The US “will shoot itself in the foot,” he defiantly predicted. German Gref, a former economics minister and the current CEO of the state-controlled retail banking behemoth Sbernak, expressed hope that Russia’s state-controlled bank majors would not be hit by any new sanctions. The Russian financial markets have reacted apprehensively: stocks dipped and the ruble depreciated (TASS, February 14).

Russian Warnings of Afghan Threats Bring Decreasing Dividends in Central Asia

By: Paul Goble

Over the last month, Russian officials have suggested that militant groups in Afghanistan so threaten the countries of Central Asia that the latter should cooperate more closely with Russia in order to defend themselves. But in contrast to such campaigns in the past, Moscow is facing difficulties in convincing anyone. Russian commentators are questioning whether Russia’s new military efforts in Central Asia will be worth the cost—be it a new base in Kyrgyzstan, the expansion of Russia’s military presence in Tajikistan, or a new level of cooperation with Turkmenistan. Whereas, officials and experts in the region are openly challenging Moscow’s premise that their countries are so threatened by Afghan militants that they have no choice but to accept an expanded Russian presence.

On February 5, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Tajikistan, where he offered additional “security assistance” to Dushanbe (TASS, News.tj, February 5). But several days prior to the top Russian diplomat’s visit, his deputy, Igor Zubov, warned, “ISIS [Islamic State—IS] militants [were] massing with helicopters” to advance to the border of Tajikistan, thus threatening that country, Central Asia as a whole and Russia itself (Sputnik News, January 28). Zubov and Lavrov’s apparently coordinated diplomacy was nothing new for Central Asians. Rather, it has been a longstanding element of Russian policy to seek to propagate local regional concerns about the ostensible threats coming out of neighboring Afghanistan (EurasiaNet, February 12).

Beyond Lies: A New Stage in the Belarus-Russia Information War

By: Grigory Ioffe

On February 13, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, met for the fourth time over the course of two months (President.gov.by, February 13; Belta, February 6). As widely predicted, the agenda of their negotiations revolved around months-long unresolved economic issues. Notably, earlier this month, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin alleged that one member country of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is blocking the Moscow-led regionalist organization’s decisions, so “there is a sense like we are in an elevator that got stuck” (Vzglyad, February 1). Most commentators agree the country Oreshkin was alluding to is Belarus, which appears to be trying to use the EEU impasse as a tool to cajole Russia into compromising on its oil tariffs hike.

Following Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s December 13 “ultimatum” to Minsk, declaring that further financial support to Belarus would be contingent on the latter’s adoption of stricter Union State integrationist measures (see EDM, January 14), media around the world began raising the alarm that Belarus was in danger of losing its sovereignty and becoming incorporated into the Russian Federation. As recently as last week, news outlets from countries as far-flung as Finland (Helsingin Sanomat, February 7) and Japan (Asahi Shimbun, February 5), not to mention Russia and Belarus themselves, trumpeted such “Crimea” scenarios. But Minsk and Moscow have been attempting to cool those passions (see EDM, January 15, 24). On the one hand, Lukashenka suggested that the problems should not be “hyperbolized,” for even if Belarus does not receive compensation from Russia for the aforementioned oil tariff increase (commonly referred to in the media as Moscow’s “oil tax maneuver”), this is no catastrophe (Naviny, January 10). On the other hand, Putin’s assistant Yury Ushakov assured a leading Russian newspaper that “the issue of Belarus’s sovereignty had not been raised during the negotiations to date” and that, therefore, popular passions have been excessive (Izvestia, February 6).

The World Must Save the Uyghurs

By Benedict Rogers

“Son, they are taking me.” Those were the last words 34-year-old Kuzzat Altay heard from his father, in a WeChat message almost exactly a year ago. His father, a 67-year-old Uyghur in Xinjiang, is believed to be among the estimated 1 million people forced into political prison camps, sometimes referred to as re-education camps, in China’s northwestern region, in the most severe crackdown on human rights since the Cultural Revolution.

“I don’t know if he is still alive,” Altay added. “None of my relatives now are outside the concentration camps.”

In the Uyghur cultural center Altay runs in the U.S. state of Virginia, he asked a gathering of 300 Uyghurs who has family members in the camps. Every single hand went up. “The main centers in our cities – our equivalent of New York’s Times Square or London’s Trafalgar Square – are empty,” he explained.

Maduro's End Would Be Just the Beginning of Venezuela's Road to Recovery

Extensive U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector will sharply cut the Nicolas Maduro government's revenue over the next few months.

The Venezuelan president's continued reluctance to step down will increase the threat of U.S. military intervention, as well as the likelihood of a successful coup attempt in 2019.

Efforts to turn military forces against Maduro will require amnesty negotiations in which the United States and the opposition will have to agree to reduce the risk of prosecution and extradition for key Venezuelan military officials.

Though necessary to successfully unseat Maduro, the opposition's bargain with Venezuela's military could also cement corruption in the country's energy sector and further complicate its economic recovery.

Three Things To Know About Cybersecurity In 2019

Chris Wilder

Every year, it seems, pundits and egg-heads (like me) write down our predictions. Most of the time they are self-serving. However, looking into my crystal ball, I think 2019 is going to be a defining year at the intersection of physical and cybersecurity. The Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in artificial intelligence are some of the main driving forces in this evolution. Further, with chaos happening throughout the world, and the lead-up to a turbulent US presidential election, there has never been a more perilous—and opportunistic—time for those in the IoT and security business.

The 5th generation of warfare is here

2019 will be the year of the state-level hacker and cracker. Hacking has become an industry unto itself, forcing organizations to deal with everything from malware, social engineering, and viruses, to full-on cyberwarfare attacks against enterprises and governments. In short, we are living in dangerous times. Companies must move beyond just virus protection as their first line of defense. Attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, and while companies can't keep up, they can mitigate the damage caused. 2019 will be the year where major state-level breaches will happen and governments, businesses, and consumers will show how woefully unprepared they are—much like when Russia declared cyberwar on Ukraine in 2015. For years, most organizations and governments have only prepared for digital mayhem, ignoring the real potential damage "bad actors" can cause. Put bluntly, organizations have been reactive, not proactive, when it comes to cybersecurity—especially at the edge.

Cutting through the 5G hype: Survey shows telcos’ nuanced views

By Ferry Grijpink, Tobias Härlin, Harrison Lung, and Alexandre Ménard

Operators see a marginally positive business case, expect rollout at scale to take until 2022, and don’t think the increase in capital-expense-to-sales ratio will be as big as skeptics claim.

For a technology that gets as much attention as 5G, we know precious little about what telco operators truly think about how it will play out for the industry and what they truly plan to do. Optimists tout the great benefits of low latency and high capacity that will eventually enable new value-added use cases, while pessimists focus on the lack of actual new use cases to emerge so far and what they see as a wobbly commercial rationale, not to mention the huge capital expense required.

To get a sense of what momentum there actually is toward building out 5G and realizing its potential, we recently conducted a proprietary survey of 46 chief technology officers (CTOs) directly engaged in 5G-development plans around the world. The results, combined with our own experience in helping companies develop 5G strategies, execute pilots, and move toward rolling out the technology, paint a much clearer picture of 5G in the coming months and years.

US Intensifies Pressure on Allies to Avoid Huawei, ZTE

The Trump administration is leading a broadside against Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE. But concerns that Chinese networking gear could be used as backdoors for facilitating state-sponsored surveillance or disrupting critical infrastructure are not limited to America. Multiple countries have banned Chinese equipment from their 5G rollouts or government networks, and more countries are weighing whether they should do so.

U.S. diplomats have already been meeting European leaders in Brussels, warning them that using Huawei or ZTE would pose a risk to their critical infrastructure, militaries and national security.

"We are saying you need to be very, very cautious, and we are urging folks not to rush ahead and sign contracts with untrusted suppliers from countries like China," an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters last week.

AI & Data: Avoiding The Gotchas

Tom Taulli

When it comes to an AI (Artificial Intelligence) project, there is usually lots of excitement. The focus is often on using new-fangled algorithms – such as deep learning neural networks – to unlock insights that will transform the business.

But in this process, something often gets lost: The importance of establishing the right plan for the data. Keep in mind that 80% of the time of an AI project can be spent on identifying, storing, processing and cleansing data.

“The big gotcha is having bad data fed into your AI systems,” said David Linthicum, who is the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “It’s only as smart as the data that it’s allowed to cull through. The quality of data is of utmost importance. The use of cloud computing allows for massive amounts of data to be stored for very low costs, which means that you can afford to provide all the data that your AI systems need.”

The data process can certainly be dicey. Even subtle changes can have a major impact on the outcomes.

We Need to Get Smart About How Governments Use AI


One of the big misconceptions is that AI is a future technology, akin to humanoid robots that appear in television shows and movies. But AI is not a speculative technology—it already has many real-world applications, and ordinary people rely on it in one form or another every day.

AI already powers many common mobile apps and programs. In fact, iPhones, Amazon’s Alexa, Twitter and Facebook feeds, Google’s search engine, and Netflix movie queues—to name just a few examples—all rely on AI.

That said, there is a vast gap between the complexity of AI processing needed for the complex geospatial functions performed by self-driving cars versus, say, the basic AI algorithms used for more routine tasks like filtering spam emails.

Steven Feldstein is a nonresident fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, where he focuses on issues of democracy, technology, human rights, U.S. foreign policy, conflict trends, and Africa.

Countering the geographical impacts of automation: Computers, AI, and place disparities

Mark Muro

The divide came as a shock to many.[2] Yet it was not just the starkness of the revealed geographical gap that was so disconcerting. Also disturbing was the extent to which the nation’s revealed regional divides reflected something important about the fundamental nature of emerging digital technologies, including various forms of automation, such as artificial intelligence (AI).[3]

The sharpened spatial divides did not just reflect random siting decisions, in this regard, or the decline of manufacturing (though those contributed). Instead, a significant body of academic literature now suggests the new technologies have introduced disruptive tools into the economy that, by empowering high-level work and substituting for “routine” tasks, are also massively rearranging the nation’s economic geography.

Most evident to date have been machine-driven dynamics that amplifythe ability of skilled workers to add value, substitute for rote work, and inject winner-take-most—or “superstar”—dynamics into markets.[4] Over time, this initial diffusion of digital tools and automation has ratcheted up the so-called agglomeration forces that result as people and firms “cluster” in favored places to share information, match skills and work, and learn new things—with significant impacts on the nation’s geography.

U.S. in Counter-Attack Mode in Cyber Domain

By George I. Seffers 

Military officers describe daily combat in the information domain.

The United States is fully engaged in combat operations in the cyber realm, according to a panel of military officials at the AFCEA-USNI West conference in San Diego.

Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA International, who served as moderator on the panel, kicked off the discussion saying the nation is in “Phase III” in the information domain. Phase III refers to the multiple stages of war. According to GlobalSecurity.org, the phases include: halting an invasion, force buildup and deployment, counteroffensive or counterattack, and ensuring postwar stability.

Army Picks BAE Jammer To Kill Russian Missiles (Softly)


BAE Systems’ RAVEN jammer has won the Army’s “soft-kill rodeo”: six weeks of shooting live anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) at targets and seeing which of three competing countermeasures made them miss most. Now BAE advances to the next, more challenging round of tests in July, when its jammer will be installed on an actual M2 Bradley alongside the Israeli-made Iron Fist, a “hard kill” system that physically shoots down any incoming missiles that soft-kill systems can’t trick into going off course.

Now, the Army hasn’t committed to buy the BAE RAVEN yet. But fielding a new soft-kill system is a big part of the Army’s urgent push to protect American armored vehicles against Russian-made anti-tank missiles – and their many knock-offs – in widespread use with conventional militaries and guerrilla forces around the world.

The use of military diplomacy in great power competition

Amy Ebitz

Looked upon as one of our government’s greatest achievements, the European Recovery Plan post-World War II, which became the Marshall Plan, was central to the recovery of Europe and helped to rebuild the war-torn European continent and construct a stable foundation on which future allies could grow economically and structurally. Far from being a singular effort to stave off famine and chaos, the plan—and the billions in aid that accompanied it—“was the centerpiece of Harry Truman’s effort to contain communism abroad,” as Paul Light wrote in 2002. The events of World War II, combined with the after-effects and execution of the Marshall Plan, launched the United States into the role of single superpower. Democratic governance established under, among other things, the leadership of the U.S. military during reconstruction provided security, as well as a platform for the resulting social and economic development of Germany and Japan in particular.

The New Digital Pillar in Singapore’s Military Thinking

By Prashanth Parameswaran

On February 15, Singapore officially incorporated a new digital pillar into the country’s overall defense approach. Though the development has long been in the works, it nonetheless reinforces the increasing emphasis that the country has been placing on the threats and opportunities in the cyber domain.

As I have noted before in these pages, as a small, multiracial country lacking in natural resources, Singapore has long recognized the need for it to adopt a comprehensive approach to preserving its security amid myriad threats. The country’s comprehensive focus is encapsulated by the term “Total Defense,” a concept first introduced in 1984 initially set out to include five areas: military defense; civil defense; economic defense; social defense; and psychological defense.