17 March 2019

Five initial thoughts on the New Zealand terrorist attack

Daniel L. Byman, Friday, March 15, 2019 

The terrorist attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in New Zealand, which so far have killed 49 people and led to dozens more injuries, are only the latest in anti-Muslim right-wing violence that is plaguing many democracies around the world. The terrorist was apparently an Australian who traveled to New Zealand to send a message to Muslim migrants that no place is safe.

We should be careful about rushing to judgment on any of the particulars as some of our initial information is undoubtedly wrong, and so much is incomplete. However, here are some of my initial thoughts as we learn more about this horrific violence.

1 First, words have consequences. The demonization of Muslim communities, often by politicians who later act shocked and angry when violence occurs, contributes to societal polarization and inspires violence. Britain’s Boris Johnson offered the traditional “thoughts and prayers” after the attack, but had previously written that women dressed in a burqa look like “bank robbers.” Incredibly, after the shooting, right-wing Australia Senator Fraser Anning claimed,“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.” Terrorists feed on this polarization and seek to worsen it.

2 Second, security services and government institutions must prioritize white nationalist and other forms of right-wing terrorism. In the United States, right-wing violence has grown, with Jews and Muslims in particular being targets. The Trump administration has cut programs focusing on right-wing groups even amid a growing threat. Given the recent decline in jihadi violence in the United States, transferring some resources is appropriate. Similarly, ensuring immigrant integration is vital. In contrast to Europe, the American Muslim community regularly cooperates with law enforcement. Ideally, the president would press state and local officials to continue and expand their work with Muslim communities, not just to stop radicalism in their ranks but also to protect them from right-wing extremists.

3 Third, leadership can matter in a crisis, particularly when backed with action. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s immediate declarationabout the Muslim victims—“they are us”—is an excellent beginning and shows how a leader can use a tragedy to bring a reeling country together. To go beyond rhetoric, Ardern should ask New Zealanders to accept more Muslim migrants to show that violence not only fails but will backfire.

India Must Do A China To Avoid A Trade War With The US – Analysis

By Harsh V. Pant

The US-China trade war seems to be coming to an end as reports of a possible deal have gathered momentum in recent days. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has expressed optimism that trade talks with China aimed at ending tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products will be successful. Treasury secretary Steven Munchin has also suggested that the two sides were getting closer to a trade deal and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has underlined that “the progress (between the two countries) has been terrific”. Negotiations are reportedly in the last leg as the two sides plan a summit for the end of March at Mar-a-Lago, US President Donald Trump’s Florida resort. Despite the hype, it still remains to be seen if the US-China trade deal actually goes through.

If a deal is reached, the US would roll back tariffs on at least $200 billion in Chinese goods while China would reduce industry-specific levies like those on autos. Meanwhile, China is also gearing up to pass a new foreign investment law to provide a level-playing field to global investors with legal safeguards on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and technology transfer, thereby meeting a key demand of the Trump administration. This draft foreign investment law will be submitted to the National People’s Congress of China for review and is likely to be put to vote soon.

India’s grand strategy on Pakistan

Zorawar Daulet Singh

Develop a sophisticated counterterrorism strategy, while exuding a vision of peaceful coexistence

When a society’s patience wears thin, one of two things typically happen. Either its leaders embark on a bold new direction, or they spin a story for their domestic audience and carry on as before. What the Modi government has undertaken recently, in response to Pakistan’s relentless proxy war, defies a neat description. It is true that an impending national election provided abundant motives to make political capital through publicised air strikes. There is little doubt on that score, and many have called upon the government to resist from brazen use of the ‘national security’ card in mobilising public opinion.
A clear shift

Nevertheless, the willingness to take the fight to the Pakistani heartland and cultivate a measure of uncertainty is a clear departure from the policy of strategic restraint. Regardless of the specific tactical outcomes from India’s air strike — whether it was intended as a warning shot to demonstrate “capacity and will” or whether it sought to degrade high-value targets — the signal to Pakistan and its benefactors was unambiguous: India could respond to a major Pakistani-linked terror attack in ways that would undermine the costless proxy war that Pakistan has waged since 1989. And, even if the main impetus for this shift in strategy was domestic politics in India, the geostrategic consequences will outlast this phase.

A Smoldering Volcano: Pakistan and Terrorism after Balakot


Summary: Although propitious political circumstances made the Balakot crisis between India and Pakistan manageable, Pakistani terrorism remains the principal continuing threat to stability in South Asia. U.S. policy moving forward must relentlessly pressure Pakistan to crack down on jihadi groups or risk continuing crises in the region.

The crisis surrounding the recent Indian air strikes on Pakistan at Balakot has subsided—for now. But the confusing welter of claims and counterclaims about the military action on both sides continues. Whether Indian Air Force (IAF) strikes on their intended targets were successful, whether Pakistan did in fact shoot down two Indian aircraft or only one, and whether the IAF did in fact bring down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 are all controverted issues. Definitive answers appear elusive at the moment, despite insistent probing within South Asia and by the larger international community. While the questions pertaining to the specific military actions are interesting, there is a real risk that an excessive focus on the operational minutiae will obscure three larger strategic issues that bear upon the challenges of preserving peace on the Indian subcontinent in the long term.


U.S.-India Insight: Surprise! India is a Trading Nation!

On March 4, the Trump administration notified Congress of its plan to remove India from the list of beneficiary nations of a special trade preference program called the “Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).” India’s anti-trade moves that led to this action have once again emphasized the nation’s general reluctance to integrate its economy with the world. However, despite the Indian government’s antipathy towards trade, India’s economy is becoming fairly trade dependent. Among the world’s seven largest economies, India ranks right in the middle when measuring trade-to-GDP ratio—even ahead of China.

The Modi government has triggered a moderate reversal of India’s nascent moves toward global trade integration. In 2014, his government delayed implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement to force a carve-out for India’s agriculture subsidies. Other anti-trade steps in recent years include withdrawal from pending trade deals, hefty customs duty increases, and import substitution rules.

Afghan Official Warns of U.S. Deal With Taliban ‘That Doesn’t End in Peace

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff

WASHINGTON — Afghanistan’s national security adviser on Thursday accused the American special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, of seeking personal benefit by sidelining the Afghan government during peace talks with the Taliban in a broadside in which he raised concerns about “a deal that doesn’t end in peace.”

The comments by Hamdullah Mohib, a senior Afghan government official, displayed Kabul’s high distrust of the Taliban just as negotiators edged closer to an agreement on at least one major element of a final deal: preventing more terrorist attacks from being launched from Afghanistan.

Mr. Khalilzad was expected to brief military and diplomatic officials on the offer in meetings in Washington on Thursday and Friday. The Afghan government has not been part of the discussions because the Taliban refuses to meet with its representatives.

The High Costs of the New Cold Wa


The new cold war against China will be won not through ideology or even weaponry, but through economic pressure, and the winning strategy will not be one that weaponizes only America’s greed. In this sense, by nickel-and-diming its allies, the US is effectively disarming itself.

LONDON – It is convenient to call the escalating geopolitical contest between the United States and China a “new cold war.” But that description should not be allowed to obscure the obvious, though not yet sufficiently understood, reality that this new competition will differ radically from the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union.

The Cold War of the twentieth century pitted two rival military alliances against each other. By contrast, the Sino-American rivalry involves two economies that are closely integrated both with each other and with the rest of the world. The most decisive battles in today’s cold war will thus be fought on the economic front (trade, technology, and investment), rather than in, say, the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait.

China’s Provinces Can’t Afford Beijing’s Development Plans


Huge infrastructure projects are not always symbols of power and affluence. They often hide a sense of fear and insecurity. More than 2,000 years ago, for example, during the Qing dynasty, nomadic incursions from Inner Asia led to the construction of the Great Wall. Now, concerns about a slowing economy have pushed Beijing to undertake a massive economic stimulus program, worth more than $160 billion, with a special focus on investment in subways, roads, and railways.

However, just as the Great Wall did not stop the barbarians from raiding China’s countryside, so these infrastructural projects will do little to propel the Chinese economy. Instead, they will likely exacerbate tensions between Beijing, which is imposing their construction, and the cash-strapped local governments that have to pay for them. China risks swapping negligible short-term growth for future financial instability.

China steps up efforts to develop military technology to challenge US dominance

Kristin Huang

Two J-20 stealth fighter jets perform at an air show in Guangdong province last year. Although they are among China’s most advanced planes, they still rely on Russian engines. 

China is stepping up its efforts to develop new weaponry ranging from guns to fighter jets to challenge US dominance, according to Chinese military officials.

The effort is in line with Beijing’s drive to modernise its military and improve combat readiness as the armed forces prepare for a high-profile show of strength later this year in a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

“We are now more focused on boosting indigenous research and development capabilities in all possible ways, especially precision,” Huang Xueying, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference said on the sidelines of the legislative gathering in Beijing.

China says it wants more “independent” think-tanks

Frustrated by the quality of the advice he was receiving, the first Song emperor of China had an idea. The tenth-century ruler, it is said, promised that officials would not be executed for disagreeing with him. President Xi Jinping appears to be testing a less flamboyant remedy to a similar problem. To ensure a supply of diverse opinions, even as public debates face strict controls, Mr Xi is encouraging a boom in “think-tanks with Chinese characteristics”.

State-funded think-tanks, many of them serving individual ministries or Communist Party bodies, have long existed in China. But recent years have seen a flourishing of think-tanks that eschew direct state sponsorship. Some are privately funded foundations, or attached to universities. Others register as private consulting firms, bringing both flexibility and vulnerability.

Chinese Pressure Tactics Put Countries Between A Rock And A Hard Place – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Recent Chinese pressure on Myanmar to approve a controversial dam project and the arrest in recent days in Kazakhstan of a human rights activist suggest that China in a seemingly tone-deaf pursuit of its interests is forcing governments to choose between heeding increasingly anti-Chinese public sentiment and pleasing Beijing to ensure continued political and economic support.

Apparent Chinese disregard of public opinion, whether as a matter of policy or because of haphazard insensitivity, is compounded by the powering of anti-Chinese sentiment in several countries as a result of commercial terms of China-funded Belt and Road projects that favour the use of Chinese rather than local labour and materials.

The Chinese approach risks anti-Chinese sentiment meshed with social and economic discontent exploding into popular protests that could prove destabilizing. It potentially could complicate Chinese efforts to ensure that the Muslim world continues to refrain from criticizing China’s crackdown on Turkic Muslims in the strategic but troubled north-western province of Xinjiang.

Daniel Wagner: China, AI And The World – Interview

By Russell A. Whitehouse

Russell Whitehouse interviews Daniel Wagner author of the new book, China Vision

Should the US counter China’s cyber-warfare by engaging in cyber-warfare itself?

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.

China A Rising Threat To National Security, Say DOD Leaders

By David Vergun

China is building up its military in ways that threaten U.S. and allied interests in the Western Pacific and in the South China Sea in particular, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said today.

For example, its DF21 and DF26 missiles are capable of targeting ships in the area and land targets, including Guam, a major resupply location for U.S. forces, Alan R. Shaffer said.

Shaffer spoke at the McAleese and Associates-sponsored Defense Programs Conference here, along with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller and Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.

Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2018

By Pieter D Wezeman

This SIPRI Fact Sheet 1) highlights the trends and issues that have defined global arms transfers from 1950 to 2018; 2) identifies the world’s main arms exporters and importers over the last five years; and 3) pinpoints the latest regional trends in this form of exchange. For the five-year period ending in 2018, the globe’s biggest exporters were the US, Russia, France Germany and China, while the main recipient countries were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria.

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March 2019. Image courtesy of Jovi Prevot/DVIDS.

Key Facts

Navy CNO Defends Increased Secrecy in Wake of Chinese Hacking


WASHINGTON: At a time when the Navy is being hounded by cyber attacks on its networks, the service’s top admiral suggested Wednesday that publicizing the names and ranks of his top officers — a longstanding tradition — have made them targets.

“I don’t know if you’ve been personally attacked in the cyber world, but our flags [officers] are,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told a small group of reporters at the McAleese/Credit Suisse conference here.

Richardson was defending the Navy’s decision to stop releasing the names of officers who have been promoted, along with their new assignments, something all the services do on a regular basis. The Navy stopped publishing lists of newly promoted officers in October without warning. The Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps all continue to regularly publish similar lists.

China Sends Skywritten Message by Grounding 737s


Investigators have only just begun sifting through the wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. And yet, less than 24 hours after last weekend’s crash southeast of Addis Ababa, China’s civil aviation authority made a dramatic declaration: All Chinese airlines would ground the type of plane involved in the accident—a Boeing 737 Max 8, the Chicago-based manufacturer’s best-selling model with a list price of $120 million.

China’s boldness signals a new level of confidence in its institutional authority within the world of commercial aviation. But it speaks to something else, too: the country’s ambition to own the skies. The market for large commercial planes is currently controlled by just two firms, Boeing in the United States and Airbus in Europe. China hopes to be home to the third.

From myth to reality: How to understand Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans


In October 2017, the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made an official visit to Serbia. It was not the first time a Turkish leader had gone to the country. But it was the first occasion on which Serbs had received a Turk with such warmth.

Erdogan toured Belgrade with Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic, visiting one of the capital’s burgeoning Turkish-run establishments – a cafe chain called Simit Sarayı. In the historic Kalemagdan, crowds cheered and snapped photos as the Turkish president explored the old Ottoman fortress. At an official dinner, Erdogan and Vucic enjoyed the banquet with their wives, as the Serbian foreign minister, Ivica Dacic – a Serbian nationalist, no less – serenaded the Turkish leader with “Osman Aga”, a traditional Turkish folk tune that the minister sang in Turkish.

Yet Turkey and Serbia had been on opposing sides throughout the cold war and supported different sides in the Bosnian war. For the Turkish public, the term “Serbian butcher” was in daily use throughout the 1990s, in reference to atrocities committed by Serbian forces in Bosnia. Meanwhile, Serbs have built much of their modern national identity on the denunciation of centuries of Ottoman rule. To Serbian nationalists such as Vucic and Dacic, the 1389 battle of Kosovo, in which Ottoman forces defeated the Serbs, is the pivotal moment in Serbia’s national ethos. It is not just Serbian nationalism but also the symbol on the flag of modern Turkey, the crescent and star, that is said to have emerged from the blood-soaked battlefields of Kosovo – according to a legend cited in history textbooks in Turkish schools.

Iran Is Mastering the Final Frontier


In mid-January and early February, Iran attempted two satellite launches intended for environmental monitoring purposes. The Payam (Message) and Doosti (Friendship) ascended aboard Iranian-made satellite launch vehicles (SLVs). Both launches failed to place the satellites into orbit. The United States nevertheless protested the space launches—mostly because the SLVs used the same base technology as multistage intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In an anticipatory tweet on Jan. 3, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned that “The launch will advance [Iran’s] missile program. US, France, UK & Germany have already stated this is in defiance of [United Nations Security Council Resolution] 2231. We won’t stand by while the regime threatens international security.” The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has even reportedly revived a Bush-era secret program to sabotage Iran’s missile and space program by planting “faulty parts and materials into Iran’s aerospace supply chains.”

The coming era of U.S. security policy will be dominated by the Navy

By Robert D. Kaplan

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the bulk of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan has found grudging support among sectors of the foreign policy establishment and the Democratic Party. Clearly, out of a sense of collective fatigue, we are ending an era of land interventions in the Middle East that began with the 1991 liberation of Kuwait by President George H.W. Bush. At a cost of 7,000 lives and several trillion dollars for remarkably little demonstrable result, those interventions have not been a happy experience. The admonition about never fighting a land war in Asia could also be applied to the Middle East.

After 28 years of land wars in the Middle East, counterinsurgency doctrine is now for the bookshelves: lessons learned the hard way, and always available for use upon the next mistake or quagmire, but hopefully allowed to gather dust. No military service has suffered so much and learned so many lessons as the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the object of strategy is to avoid its use in such a manner again.

What Keeps Nuclear Analysts up at Night?

By Tabitha Sanders

Fresh off the Hanoi Summit, the 2019 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference kicked off this past Monday, where analysts, officials, and scholars gathered in D.C. to discuss the future of arms control and U.S. nuclear policy. Among the top concerns were the new threat from emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the future of U.S.-Russia strategic relations after the collapse of the INF treaty, and the status of U.S.-North Korea denuclearization negotiations. Each issue comes with challenges, from human error to technical capability, and many of the first day's panelists admitted that the future of arms control was uncertain.

North Korea and Denuclearization

To start, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, insisted that the recent Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi was not a complete failure, arguing that the president has “created the space for many constructive things to happen.”

Whatever the future of U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks might look like, Biegun made clear that Trump would not be looking to imitate former President Obama’s strategic engagement with Iran. Biegun cited the Iran deal (JCPOA) as a failure of legislation because it failed to account for Iran’s activity with Hezbollah.


Sophia Besch

In 2016 the CER made ten predictions about the effect of Brexit on future EU policy. How do they stand up now, on the eve of the UK’s departure?

In April 2016, the CER published ‘Europe after Brexit: Unleashed or undone’, trying to predict how the EU would evolve if the UK voted to leave the Union. Since then, the EU has had to respond not only to the Brexit vote but to the election of Donald Trump as US president and an increasingly assertive China. Internally, the EU has seen the continued rise of populist, eurosceptic forces; a slow-down in the eurozone economy; and disagreements between leading member-states over the future direction of the Union. Though the next steps on Brexit and the future UK-EU relationship remain uncertain, we have learned enough over the last three years to evaluate and update the ten predictions we made in that report.

1. Even without the UK, the consensus for liberalising the internal market in goods, services and labour will endure.

Korea, the JCPOA, and the Shifting Military Balance in the Gulf

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Burke Chair is issuing a new detailed analysis of the lessons from recent negotiations with Korea, their implications for U.S. policy in dealing with the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran, and how Iran's other major military programs will affect the regional balance. This study is entitled Korea, the JCPOA, and the Shifting Military Balance in the Gulf, and is available on the CSIS web site at https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/190313_Korea_JCPOA_Lessons.pdf.

The analysis concludes that the sudden breakdown in the latest round of U.S.-Korean nuclear arms control talks in Vietnam should scarcely come as a surprise to anyone. Both sides sought too much too soon and did so despite a long history of previous failures. Heads of state engaged before their staffs had reached a clear compromise and did so seeking goals the other leader could not accept. It is not clear that an agreement was reachable at this point in time, but each side's search for its "best" ensured that the two sides could not compromise on the "good."

Russia’s Tragic Great Power Politics

International Relations Theories and Russia

Many Western scholars studying Russia and policymakers dealing with Russia have long found it an exhausting and bewildering endeavor. Winston Churchill famously described it in 1939 as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” More recently, Bobo Lo noted that Russia’s enduring characteristics include “an abiding sense of greatness and strategic entitlement; suspicions toward outside influences; an imperial mentality; and a profound political and moral conservatism.”[i] Olga Oliker has observed that Russia will always have a definition of its minimal security requirements that is out of the norm for a 21st-century European power. This will make it hard for the West to reassure Russia and easy to escalate tensions with it, even inadvertently. All of these observations support Stephen Kotkin’s conclusion that for the foreseeable future Russia will remain “a problem to be managed” for the West.

Britain Looks Into the Trade Abyss

One day after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan suffered a second historic parliamentary defeat, Britain’s go-it-alone trade future is starting to become a little bit clearer—and it is far from a pretty picture.

Instead, the emerging future landscape is one of permanent isolation, ever-rising prices, and long-term economic eclipse, some experts said.

“We’re in a complete and utter shambles,” said Roderick Abbott of the European Centre for International Political Economy. “The bottom line is that there is nothing you can do that would be better than what you had as a member” of Europe’s customs union and single market. “So why did you want to leave?”

The British government has sought to put the best gloss on its prospects. On Wednesday, the same day Parliament narrowly voted against even the thought of a “no deal” exit from the European Union, the government released its trade policies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The one-year government plan calls for most British imports to be tariff-free, except for a handful of strategic sectors including agriculture and cars, where tariffs will be increased.

Forget Project Maven. Here are a couple other DoD projects Google is working on

By: Jill Aitoro 

It is safe to say that the Pentagon and Silicon Valley are very different places. But that gap could potentially harm U.S. national security. Jeff Martin takes an in-depth look at the problem – and how to fix it.

Google may no longer be providing artificial intelligence to the Pentagon under Project Maven, but the Silicon Valley company is moving ahead on other efforts that could ultimately support military operations.

In interviews March 9, DARPA Director Steve Walker and Vint Cerf, Google’s vice president and chief internet evangelist, pointed to projects already underway that bring together the Pentagon’s top innovation hub and Silicon Valley’s tech giant.

And yes, some involve artificial intelligence.

Wi-Fi and LTE poised to transform tactical networking

By: Charlie Kawasaki

Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment use tablets to help them in a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Oct. 14, 2015. The tablets are wirelessly connected through an encrypted internal Wi-Fi network allowing Marines to coordinate and maneuver more efficiently in a tactical environment while securely using various applications on the devices. (Lance Cpl. David Staten/Marine Corps)

U.S. Department of Defense tactical networking and command post programs widely acknowledge the critical need to improve mobility. The current state-of-the-art for tent-based command posts requires hours of setup, which includes thousands of feet of copper wiring that delay network availability, resulting in a dangerous lack of situational awareness for commanders.

Israel’s Cybersecurity: Principles And Techniques – Analysis

By Giancarlo Elia Valori*

In 2018, the sums allocated for funding the whole cybersecurity industry in Israel amounted to 1.03 billion US dollars, with a 22% increase compared to the previous public-private funds budgeted.

Again in 2018, 66 new companies in the cybersecurity sector were set up, with a 10% increase as against to 2017. In 2016, however, they were 88.

The higher the rate of technological innovation, the greater the mortality rate of companies.

A fast and significant increase in turnover and investment in the Israeli cybersecurity, which, however, has been going on for five years.

Currently the area in which the Israeli start-ups specialized in cybersecurity is particularly focused is the IoT security, i.e. the security concerning the Internet of Things, which is basically a web system in which the real or even symbolic “objects” communicate one another data about themselves and can also have access to information about other objects, autonomously and independently.

How the Army is taking cyber units to the battlefield

By: Mark Pomerleau

Details are crystallizing on new Army cyber units that will provide information-related capabilities from the theater level all the way to the tactical edge.

The Army is beginning to formalize and even move on forming these units — some of which were already being piloted in one form or fashion — putting real force structure toward fighting a 21st-century conflict.

A new cyber battalion and multidomain detachment were among them.

These teams are organic to the Army and separate from the cyber teams that belong to U.S. Cyber Command, which typically perform strategic, national level IP-based network operations as opposed to more localized effects.

Theater level

Blood Money: Meet the Top 20 Companies Profiting From Endless War

Elias Marat

U.S. arms expenditures rose by $9.6 billion, driving the global rise and further consolidating the status of the United States as the world’s top spender on the military–by far.

The U.S. spending on war is rooted in post-World War II “new Pentagon capitalism” that eventually became known as the military-industrial complex.

The model, revolutionized by then-Army Chief of Staff and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower, ensured that the United States’ scientific research, technological and industrial capacity would become “organic parts of our military structure” in conditions of national emergency, effectively giving the civilian economy a dual-use purpose. The model eventually gave birth to the sprawling military-civilian economic base, or “military-industrial complex,” that Eisenhower famously criticized in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.

Civilian industry, science, and academia were used alongside an exorbitant and perpetually-expanding war budget to underwrite the Defense Department’s never-ending state of conflict with Cold War enemies, making the world safe for the unchallenged reign of the United States while “pump-priming” the U.S. economy whenever additional surges of “military Keynesian” spending by Washington was required.

Military Spending, Modernization, and the Shifting Military Balance

By Anthony H. Cordesman and Nicholas Harrington

The military balance between Iran, its Arab neighbors, and the United States has been a critical military issue in the Middle East since at least the rise of Nasser in the 1950s. The risks this arms race presents in terms of a future conflict have not diminished with time, and many elements of the regional arms race have accelerated sharply in recent years.

Clashes with Iran in the Gulf, struggles for influence in Iraq and Syria, and the war in Yemen all act as warnings that new rounds of conflict are possible. The Iranian reactions to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear agreement, the growing tensions between the Arab Gulf states, the boycott of Qatar, and the unstable outcome of the fight against ISIS, and the Syrian civil war all contribute to an increasingly fragile and dangerous security environment.
The Growing Risk from a Regional Arms Race

On July 22nd, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned the U.S. that, “Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret. America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars. You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests.” The next morning, President Trump replied with a Tweet in full capitals stating that,

The Change We Need: Making Defense More Future Proof through Adaptable Systems

It seems like every day, someone in the Department of Defense (DoD) announces that the old ways of doing business are out and that new, better approaches are now available. This dynamic is especially true in the world of defense acquisition, where there is a collective disparagement toward the acquisition system that brought us today’s world-class military gear. There is truth to the argument that defense acquisition must change in the face of a new national security environment, but many current acquisition critiques are strangely incomplete.

You will find a bevy of arguments for why today’s acquisition system has too many rules and too many decision-making layers, inhibiting innovation, market access, and speed as a result. Many critiques of how DoD buys are strong, but meaningful critiques of what DoD buys are much less common. Yes, individual weapon systems are often criticized for excessive cost or not delivering on their promised capabilities. However, the substance of underlying programmatic requirements is much less often meaningfully challenged other than as part of a general critique of the necessity and cost of military modernization. The one-sided nature of the current acquisition critique is problematic. If we allow our diagnosis of the problem in defense acquisition to remain incomplete, we are highly likely to fail in delivering the capabilities the nation needs. Form should follow function. We must ensure that we adapt the acquisition system to deliver the systems we need, rather than simply optimize it to deliver the wrong systems more quickly or more cheaply.