16 March 2019

Undertones Of A Potential India-Pakistan Water War

By Renuka Paul and M Matheswaran 

Last week saw India-Pakistan tensions touch a crescendo as India, for the first time, executed a punitive strike into Pakistan. While Pakistan’s retaliatory strike was thwarted by IAF’s air defence mechanism it also resulted in a MiG 21 aircraft being shot down and the Indian pilot taken as prisoner. While international pressure forced Pakistan to release him within 48 hours, it also led to quick de-escalation. In the bargain, India’s pressure on Pakistan became diluted significantly. The genesis of this spike in tensions between the two nuclear powered neighbours, relates to the event of February 14th, 2019 when Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad launched a terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel.

China Not Walking The Talk Extolling Wuhan Spirit – Analysis

By Dr Subhash Kapila

The Chinese Prime Minister was recently extolling the Wuhan Spirit and how it has helped in keeping China-India relations on a friendly footing. Rhetoric aside, China’s actions in the wake of the Wuhan Summit last year do not bear out the Chinese Prime Ministers’ assertion in terms of credible add-ons promotive of India’s trust in China.

China in the wake of the Wuhan Summit following India’s determined postures in the Dokalam Stand-off in face of China’s provocative road-building in Dokalam, may have defused further escalation only to the extent of averting a potential ‘Hot War’ but the Cold War continues to prevail all across the wide spectrum of China-India relations.

China in the wake of the Wuhan Summit has not offered any dramatic gestures to win over and work towards removal of India’s decades of distrust of China’s intentions and actions which has dominated China- India relations ever since China’s military Occupation of Tibet, through the 1962 War and decades of congealed lines of massed armed confrontation between the Indian Army and Chinese Army on the icy heights of the Himalayas stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

Afghanistan: Should go ahead with Shahtoot Dam on Kabul River:

By S. Chandrasekharan

When work was begun on Shahtoot dam on Kabul River that would provide drinking water to the burgeoning population of Kabul City, there has been protests from Pakistan that the dam would reduce the water flows into Pakistan. The Dawn in one of the articles has alleged that there could be a drop of 16 to 17 percent of water in the Pakistan side.

Since India has offered assistance in building the dam, as expected the Pakistan media has alleged that a strategic water war is being waged against Pakistan

The 700 Km long Kabul River originates in the Hindukush Mountains, in the Maidan Wardak Province, flows through Kabul, Kandahar and then enters Pakistan north of the Khyber Pass and flows through Peshawar and Nowshera and ultimately joins the Indus at Attock.

The proposed dam is to be built on Maidan River, an upper tributary of Kabul River in the Chahar Asiali district of Kabul Province. The dam will have a storage capacity of 147 million cubic metres and should provide drinking water to roughly two million of the six million people in Kabul alone. It would also irrigate roughly 400 hectares of agricultural land.



The February 14 vehicle bomb attack perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) at Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, tragically confirmed yet again that India remains a persistent target of terrorism. The details pertaining to the bombing and its linkages to Rawalpindi will occupy India’s intelligence agencies for some time to come.

In the interim, the public clamor for retribution persists, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi promising to avenge “each drop of tear shed” due to the atrocity. Simultaneously, Indians of all stripes are once more engaged in a national discussion about what could have been done to prevent such an attack from occurring.

India has arguably run through much of the playbook already. It has engaged in dialogue with Pakistan at times, abstained from engagement at others. It has punished Pakistan through military instruments, but has also offered olive branches. It has sought international intervention in restraining Pakistan with as much zeal as it has discouraged unwanted external meddling in subcontinental affairs. Hence, it is not surprising that many Indians often plaintively ask what more can be done to stop Pakistani terrorism.

What Did the Latest US-Taliban Talks Accomplish?

By Kathy Gannon

The longest direct talks ever held between the United States and the Taliban concluded this week with both sides citing progress toward ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, but many questions remain unanswered.

The Taliban are negotiating from a position of strength: They effectively control half the country, and U.S. President Donald Trump has made clear he is frustrated with America’s longest war and determined to bring the troops home. The two sides have reached a draft agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. troops — a longtime Taliban demand — and the insurgents have rebuffed U.S. efforts to get them to negotiate with the Kabul government.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad can claim some success. The Taliban have said they will prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for launching terror attacks, as it was prior to 9/11. But the insurgents have provided no specifics on what that would entail, and it remains unclear whether they are willing or able to confront other militant groups, some of which are longtime allies.

What Was Accomplished?

Comment: Christchurch mosque shootings - it was a matter of when, not if

15 Mar, 2019 8
By: Darren Morton

Prior to 1.40pm today, New Zealand had seemed immune from the threats and events affecting the rest of the world, however we have now tragically joined the sad reality of the world's future security environment.

For many years New Zealand has held a coveted spot as one of the safest countries in the world. To a great degree, even despite the events of today, this status will remain when compared to the larger security threats facing many other countries.

However what many Kiwis forget is that those values of safety, lifestyle and isolation are looked upon favourably by those wishing to do us harm as weakness or vulnerabilities to be exploited.

As a nation many have the mindset that it will never happen here. For me the perfect example of that very mindset are reflected in comments made today by a regional mayor when he stated "It is unthinkable in NZ".

These comments will, of course, not be limited to him but will have been muttered in stunned disbelief by many. But why should we be at all shocked that this has happened here?

For a select few of us constantly monitoring and assessing the global security situation it was never going to be a shock. Despite our hope that we would remain untouched, it was always going to be a matter of when not if.

New Zealand has now come to the hard realisation that our beliefs in our geographic location, way of life, global friend to all image and belief that what is happening in the rest of the world does not affect us, were our greatest threats all along.

So where does that leave us now? We must of course take time to grieve for those lost and fully comprehend what has happened, but our vigilance and understanding of what our new life looks like moving forward, must start now.

While this is hopefully a one-off incident, we cannot assume so. Reality has proven that in our laissez faire environment, it has been easy for individuals to plan a devastating attack that has rocked our society to its core and provided those responsible with global coverage of their crimes.

2019 Second-Quarter Forecast

A Trade Truce Won't End the U.S.-China Trade War. A deal on trade between the United States and China is imminent. However, competition between two of the world's most dominant powers will continue this quarter, even broadening out to envelop other sectors — including but not limited to emerging technologies. Beijing won't sit idly by in the face of continued U.S. action and will attempt to counter Washington's activities using its economic heft, trade relationships, market access and considerable influence to compel other countries. Those on the sidelines will be increasingly drawn into the fight, and even countries trying to balance between Washington and Beijing will be pulled into the fray as harsher measures are applied to force a choice for one side or the other. 

Indonesians Get Ready to Pass Judgement on 'Jokowi'

In campaigning ahead of April nationwide elections, Indonesia's opposition has criticized President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for failing to deliver promised economic growth and for rising inequality and mounting debt, but the incumbent is still well-placed to win. With the opposition especially focused on infrastructure borrowing from Beijing and on Indonesia's trade deficit with the country, it will seek to find a better deal if it wins. But even if does capture next month's election, the opposition will not manage to diversify away from China in any substantial fashion. 

Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2019 Second-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments over the next quarter.

Is Trump Winning the China Trade War?

by Alan Tonelson

Policy specialists think in terms of plans and solutions, which are much tidier and more orderly than real-world conditions can possibly produce; they, like me and other supporters of President Donald Trump’s broad approach to China trade issues, are regularly appalled by the signs of internal contradictions, naivete, sloppiness, incoherence, and plain confusion which regularly appear in his administration.

One day the president and his aides are optimistic, the next day they are pessimistic, and the day after that they send mixed messages. Sometimes they emphasize cutting the immense bilateral trade deficit. Sometimes they suggest halting Chinese practices that systematically favor Beijing entities over foreign economic entities and steal or extort the latter's intellectual property—the so-called structural issues in the talks. Occasionally they tout imminent celebratory Sino-American signing summits with pomp and circumstances and triumphantly clink glasses. Occasionally they hint that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has many concessions to make to avoid humiliatingly returning home empty-handed. Like most administrations, the Trump administration features private quarrels about strategies and tactics. Unlike most other White House administrations, these quarrels are often taken into the public eye.

The Chinese Dragon Is a Hydra

By Bryson Bort

The China problem is bigger than you think. It's bigger than Huawei, bigger than 5G, and bigger than simmering trade wars. It's bigger, even than China.

Recent developments have brought China’s aggressive policy of state-sponsored cyber espionage back into the spotlight: The Justice Department (DOJ) filed charges against Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, and its CFO for industrial spying. This move came amidst reports that the U.S. government is seeking to curtail the company’s involvement with incipient 5G communications networks. Also, last week, U.S. intelligence chiefs described China as the nation’s top counter-intelligence threat.

These data-points fail to capture the scope and pervasiveness of a new kind of threat – the full-spectrum fusion of state and corporate resources – of which China is the most prominent but not sole example; Russia, Iran and North Korea are guilty as well. The new cold war is being fought through and in private industry, not strictly between governments. U.S. adversaries are preparing the modern battlespace while Western governments spit fire at one-off cases but miss the totality of the threat.

China Does not walk the talk extolling the Wuhan Spirit:

The Chinese Prime Minister was recently extolling the Wuhan Spirit and how it has helped in keeping China-India relations on a friendly footing. Rhetoric aside, China’s actions in the wake of the Wuhan Summit last year do not bear out the Chinese Prime Ministers’ assertion in terms of credible add-ons promotive of India’s trust in China.

China in the wake of the Wuhan Summit following India’s determined postures in the Dokalam Stand-off in face of China’s provocative road-building in Dokalam, may have defused further escalation only to the extent of averting a potential ‘Hot War’ but the Cold War continues to prevail all across the wide spectrum of China-India relations.

China in the wake of the Wuhan Summit has not offered any dramatic gestures to win over and work towards removal of India’s decades of distrust of China’s intentions and actions which has dominated China- India relations ever since China’s military Occupation of Tibet, through the 1962 War and decades of congealed lines of massed armed confrontation between the Indian Army and Chinese Army on the icy heights of the Himalayas stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

U.S.-China Relations At the Forty-Year Mark


Paal: China is burdened by competing versions of history with many resentments. Meanwhile, Americans are remarkably forgetful and inventive about their past. Just look at Vice President Mike Pence’s fanciful version of the United States’ history with China in his October 2018 speech at the Hudson Institute. Conflicting approaches to history often afflict neighboring countries so, in this respect, the geographical distance between Beijing and Washington is a useful buffer.


Paal: The most important issues relate to the countries’ deep differences. Most observers can see plainly that China’s return to authoritarianism is a dead end and that the U.S. political system is not functioning as designed.

Great nations fail, in their own mythologies, because of things done by great rivals, rather than their own mistakes. The United States and China are setting each other up to be rival bogeymen. This is not a good direction, yet corrective forces like businesses and universities, which traditionally have supported engagement, do not seem able to stop it.

China, AI and the World: Conversation with Author Daniel Wagner

Russell Whitehouse

That is already happening. There is much going on behind the scenes that is not widely discussed to address attacks on the US government, businesses, and individuals on the part of the US government. As former President Obama famously said, “anything they can do to us, we can do better.” The US is giving any country, or actor that can be identified, a retaliatory response when the act is deemed to have been serious enough to warrant such a response.

The wars of the future will be cyber wars and conflicts that incorporate AI on the battlefield. The wars of the future may not involve humans on the battlefield at all, but rather, drones, autonomous weapons, and generals behind keyboards. Space has already been declared the “next frontier” for warfare, with China, Russia, and the US already devoting substantial resources to making that a reality.

It’s easy to bash China for IP theft, but shouldn’t the US be passing laws to prevent domestic companies from sharing data with Chinese companies, as well as enforcing strict encryption standards nationwide?

China’s Cyber Prowess is Shaping How the Pentagon Buys

By Brandi Vincent,

China’s drastic expansion of military and technological capabilities over the last 15 years has America’s procurement leaders focusing on the cybersecurity of what they buy.

“Over the last roughly full decade to 15 years, [China has gone] from being a very minor military player to a major military player with over 300 ships,” Deputy Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Alan Shaffer told the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s Acquisition Excellence Conference Tuesday.

He said China was the second nation to field fifth-generation fighter aircraft, it has an extensive missile system, and it “actively uses cyber capabilities to ‘borrow’ other people’s intellectual property.”

Shaffer shared the Defense Department’s priorities for the coming year, including driving F-35 Joint Strike Fighter costs down, modernizing nuclear deterrents as well as nuclear command and control systems, providing real-time responses to combatant commanders and improving supply chain operations, among others.

The Convincing Call From Central Europe: Let Us Into NATO NATO Enlargement Turns 20

By M. E. Sarotte

Twenty years ago today, the first major post–Cold War expansion of NATO took place in an unlikely locale: Independence, Missouri. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland officially entered NATO in a ceremony at the Truman Library organized by the U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, herself a refugee from Czechoslovakia. She had arranged for the accession ceremony to take place at the Missouri site to honor the president on whose watch the alliance had formed fifty years earlier. The foreign ministers of the new member-states got a ride to Missouri on the secretary’s plane and, while in flight, the Polish foreign minister, Bronislaw Geremek, expressed his gratitude to Albright. He told her that NATO enlargement was “the most important event that has happened to Poland since the onset of Christianity.”

Today historians hotly contest the matter of when, exactly, the idea arose to include central and eastern Europe in NATO. The timing is of more than academic interest, because Moscow’s grievance about when the West decided to make allies out of the countries in the region remains a hot-button issue in U.S.-Russian relations to this day. Some scholars have dismissed the notion that the issue arose soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall at the end of 1989, saying it only came up much later, in the nineties. But evidence now available—including documents that I have gotten declassified from the George H. W. Bush Library and, most recently, the Clinton Presidential Library—shows that speculation about the role of the alliance in central Europe began early in the year 1990 among top policymakers. The evidence also shows that in the early to mid-nineties, the Czechs, the Hungarians, and above all the Poles campaigned vocally for accession, particularly after the Clinton team came into office.

The Stark Choices Ahead as a Brexit Reckoning Nears

After a long and grueling negotiations process, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on the details of an orderly Brexit in November 2018 — only for the British House of Commons to reject the deal in January. Then, last month, lawmakers asked Prime Minister Theresa May's government to renegotiate the section of the agreement that would keep the country in a customs arrangement with the bloc until the sides can find a permanent solution that will keep the border between Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland open, lest its closure reignite sectarian problems on the island. Since then, May and her team have gone back-and-forth with Brussels, searching for a way to make the so-called Irish backstop easier for the Commons to accept, but an agreement remains elusive. With the United Kingdom's scheduled March 29 departure day drawing ever-nearer, a series of expected votes in the country's Parliament next week will determine Brexit's future.

The Big Picture

Can Putin Fix Russia’s Sputtering Economy? Why Stagnation Is the New Normal By Chris Miller

By Chris Miller

“Blatant disrespect” for Russia’s government can now land you in jail, under a new law the country’s legislature has passed. Worried that Russians are increasingly inclined to criticize the state or protest against it, the government is tightening the screws.

Public support for the Kremlin and for Russian President Vladimir Putin has slumped in recent months. The government’s popularity had spiked after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, catapulting Putin’s approval rating to near 80 percent, where it remained for nearly five years. Yet that political magic is wearing thin. Over the past six months, Putin’s rating has crashed. True, the most recent poll by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling organization, suggests that 64 percent of Russians continue to approve of Putin’s work as president. Yet that is the lowest number since 2013, when Putin returned to the presidency amid anti-regime protests.


Brexit’s Lost World


When the British electorate voted nearly three years ago to leave Europe behind, the world looked very different than it does today. Instead of a vibrant multinational order, Britain now faces a world challenged by Donald Trump's presidency, cooler relations with China, and electoral manipulation by hostile powers.

OXFORD – Dramatic changes have swept the world since British voters decided in 2016 to leave the European Union. None of them could have been easily foreseen in 2016, but their occurrence makes avoiding a no-deal Brexit a matter of urgent national security for the UK.

Three shifts, in particular, have created a more hostile environment for a plucky country wanting to set out on its own. First, the global rules-based system has been seriously weakened. Second, China no longer looks like such a good partner for the United Kingdom. And, third, tech platforms have left democracy in Britain – and elsewhere – increasingly vulnerable to foreign interference.

Avoiding a U.S.-Russia War

As Russia seeks to expand its influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the threat of a U.S.-Russia war has never been higher since the Cold War.

In its efforts to re-establish itself as a great power, Russia has adopted a three-dimensional strategy designed to strengthen the country politically, enrich it economically and allow it to punch above its weight in a rapidly changing global security environment. This strategy has already raised tensions with Washington, raising fears of a U.S.–Russia war.

The first dimension of Russia’s strategy is intimidation. Focused on nearby nations, particularly those that were once part of the Soviet Union or the old Russian empire, the use of intimidation is meant to ensure that neighboring governments are friendly and subservient—or at least fearful of Moscow. It reflects Russia’s need for security buffers around its periphery, a response to geographical realities that allowed it to be invaded many times in the past.

Defense Community Slow to Grasp Potential of Quantum-Based Tech

By Stew Magnuson

CHICAGO — Four stories underground — encased in several feet of concrete — is the University of Chicago’s new nanofabrication facility, where researchers apply the principles of quantum physics to real-world problems and technologies.

A small cadre of faculty and graduate students in a clean room bathed in yellow light wear protective clothing to ensure the integrity of the experiments they are conducting, which involves the very matter that comprise the universe: electrons, photons, neutrons and protons.

The William Eckhardt Research Center where they are working is located across the street from where a team led by Enrico Fermi, the architect of the nuclear age, carried out the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction.


James Long 

At the risk of stating the obvious, the era of cyber war is here. Russia’s use of cyber capabilities in Ukraine to deny communications and locate Ukrainian military units for destruction by artillery demonstrates cyber’s battlefield utility. And it has become an assumed truth that in any future conflict, the United States’ adversaries will pursue asymmetric strategies to mitigate traditional US advantages in overwhelming firepower. As US military forces around the world expand their digital footprints, cyberattacks will grow in frequency and sophistication. As a result, commanders at all levels must take defensive measures or risk being exposed to what the 2018 Department of Defense Cyber Strategy described as “urgent and unacceptable risk to the Nation.”

The creation and growth of the US Army’s cyber branch speaks to institutional acceptance of cyber operations in modern warfare, but many leaders remain ignorant about the nature of cyberattacks and best practices to protect their formations. The Army’s preferred use of historical case studies to inform current tactics, techniques, and procedures runs into a problem here, given the dearth of such cyber case studies. One of the few is Stuxnet, the first recognized cyberattack to physically destroy key infrastructure—Iranian enrichment centrifuges in Natanz. So how should an analysis of it influence the way Army leaders think about cyber?

Five Generations Of Online Manipulation: The Evolution Of Advanced Persistent Manipulators – Analysis

By Clint Watts*

(FPRI) — The Kremlin’s social media manipulation from afar during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has shaken Americans’ confidence in democracy and shattered users’ trust in social media platforms. Since 2016, authoritarians around the world and a range of U.S. domestic actors have adopted the Kremlin’s social media subversion methods. Putin’s propagandists advanced the art, and now public relations firms, political campaigns, and the wealthy employ better technology to achieve their manipulative ends. 

Advanced Persistent Manipulators (APM), those with resources, talent, and technology for advancing their influence over an enduring period, will continue to grow in number and sophistication following a similar progression witnessed in the world of hacking – individual hackers to criminals to extremists to nation states. An examination of where online manipulation emerged and the actors advancing each innovation in tradecraft and technology suggests the dominant manipulators of the future will seek to take open systems and make them closed. 

NASA's Cybersecurity Program Gets Failing Grade

By Eduard Kovacs 

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has again failed to implement an efficient cybersecurity program, according to a review by the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the fiscal year 2018.

The OIG has assessed NASA’s ability to manage cybersecurity risks, implement safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical services, detect cybersecurity events, respond to incidents, and restore capabilities or services disrupted by cybersecurity incidents.

Based on the analysis of NASA systems and interviews with the agency’s representatives, the OIG has assigned a Level 2 maturity rating to the organization’s cybersecurity program for a second year in a row.

Emotional Resilience: The Role of Social Media.

Soldiers are increasingly connected to the virtual world and it is degrading Operational Capability. Our soldiers’ social groupings and structure have been redefined; they are no longer isolated and forced to forge social links with those in their immediate surroundings. Instead he or she can pick up their mobile device and link back directly to their friends and family. This has a significant negative impact on the emotional resilience of our people. 

Quantitative scoring of emotional resilience is difficult due to its complexity. With human emotion at the centre, measurement can only be a simplified qualitative gauge of complex feelings. The activation of emotion is triggered by stimuli unique to the individual’s experience, mental agility and a baseline of what is normal. Generally, negative emotions can be linked to physical or psychological trauma or stress. 

5G Networks Must Be Secure and Reliable

By Jim Baker 

5G promises to revolutionize how people use technology. From transportation to health care to entertainment, the way people interact with wireless internet devices will change substantially. And as 5G enables data to be transmitted much more quickly, the number of devices connected to the internet will likely explode, producing massive economic benefits for those who can quickly take full advantage of the new technology.

But 5G poses huge risks for society as well. As people become more dependent on wireless communications and generate even more data about what they are doing, the adoption of 5G will bring with it substantial national security, cybersecurity and privacy risks. These risks must be mitigated appropriately in order to protect the interests of the United States and its allies.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Plans to Capitalize on Facebook’s Failures

By Sue Halpern

On Wednesday, a few hours before the C.E.O. of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, published a thirty-two-hundred-word post on his site titled “A privacy-focused vision for social networking,” a new study from the market research firm Edison Research revealed that Facebook had lost fifteen million users in the United States since 2017. “Fifteen million is a lot of people, no matter which way you cut it,” Larry Rosin, the president of Edison Research, said on American Public Media’s “Marketplace.” “This is the second straight year we’ve seen this number go down.” The trend is likely related to the public’s dawning recognition that Facebook has become both an unbridled surveillance tool and a platform for propaganda and misinformation. According to a recent Harris/Axios survey of the hundred most visible companies in the U.S., Facebook’s reputation has taken a precipitous dive in the last five years, with its most acute plunge in the past year, and it scores particularly low in the categories of citizenship, ethics, and trust.


LONGTIME SILICON VALLEY investor Roger McNamee met Mark Zuckerberg in 2006, when the Facebook CEO was just 22 and his two-year-old company still only catered to university students. Facebook was young, but McNamee was already convinced it was “the next big thing,” he told WIRED editor in chief Nicholas Thompson on Sunday during a keynote conversation at SXSW 2019 in Austin. “The thing that had killed every attempt at social apps before that [was] essentially that the ability to be anonymous allowed trolls to take over. I was convinced that Mark’s requirement of authenticated identity was literally the holy grail, it was the thing that was going to unlock this opportunity.”

There was no investment opportunity at the time; McNamee viewed their meeting as a way to offer advice—and a chance “to meet the young guy who had figured [social networks] out.” As McNamee admits, “I didn’t even have it in my head that a thing like Facebook could go bad. I was a technology optimist like everybody else.”

‘Special Outsider’: Russia Joins the Race for Global Leadership in Artificial Intelligence

By: Sergey Sukhankin

On February 26, the industrial director of the Rostec State Corporation, Sergey Abramov, declared that work on the fourth generation of the Ratnik future infantry combat system is underway. The system is said to include, among other advanced elements, a soldier’s exoskeleton as well as software link ups with micro–Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and other systems utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) (TASS, February 25). The authorities claim that such military-industrial contractors as JSC Kalashnikov, High Precision Systems and Techmash have become Russia’s “locomotives,” driving the development and production of AI systems. Abramov concluded that “our [Russian] weaponry has always been, currently is and will remain the best in the world—without any unnecessary meekness and illusions regarding our competitors” (TASS, February 25).

Last year, the editor-in-chief of the military magazine Arsenal Otechestva, Victor Murakhovsky, provided a fascinating assessment of the new upgrades to the AI-supported Ratnik system. According to Murakhovsky, its strong points include (TASS, August 27, 2018):

Gerasimov Appeals for Military Science to Forge New Forms of Combat

By: Roger McDermott

On March 2, Army General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, addressed the Academy of Military Sciences (Akademii Voyennykh Nauk—AVN), in Moscow. In a wide-ranging speech, Gerasimov explored themes related to Russia’s military strategy and perspectives on modern warfare. He outlined a “strategy of limited actions,” based on operations in Syria, which envisages actions beyond the country’s borders to promote its national interests (see EDM, March 6, 7). Gerasimov’s address was important due to the fact that, last year, President Vladimir Putin ordered a new military doctrine; moreover, his remarks provide insight into current and future priorities in Russian defense planning. Gerasimov addresses the AVN annually, encouraging military science to focus on future warfare and new approaches to combat (Krasnaya Zvezda, March 4).

Building the Army we need


The United States Army is at a strategic inflection point. For the first time since the Cold War, the United States is in direct competition with near peer adversaries. Fortunately, Army readiness has been recovering from the years of budget uncertainty and increased operational commitments. With support from Congress, the Army has increased the number of ready brigade combat teams from 18 to 28 over the past two years. While I am confident that we would prevail against any foe today, our adversaries are working hard to contest the outcome of future conflicts. If our nation fails to modernize the Army now, we risk losing the first battles of the next war.

For the past 17 years, the Army has borne the brunt of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For over a decade, we postponed modernization to procure equipment tailored to counterinsurgency operations. Our legacy combat systems, which were designed for high intensity conflict, entered service when I joined the Army in the early 1980s. While they dominated in past conflicts, incremental upgrades are no longer adequate for the demands of future battle as described in the national defense strategy. The United States must accelerate to the next generation of technology now, before Russia and China outpace us with their military modernization programs.

7 funding priorities in the Pentagon’s cyber budget

By: Mike Gruss  

Tucked inside the Department of Defense’s massive $750 billion budget request for fiscal 2020 is a blueprint for how the Pentagon plans to invest in new cyber capabilities.

As part of the department’s command, control, communications, computers and intelligence budget, leaders asked for $2.8 billion to improve specific cyber skillsets. That budget includes $2 billion for research and development and about $843 million in procurement funding.

In material made available March 12, Defense Department officials said the funding will focus on seven priorities. They are: