28 March 2019

India: Persisting Irritants In Mizoram – Analysis

By M. A. Athul*

On March 18, 2019, the Mizoram State Assembly unanimously passed the Mizoram Maintenance of Household Register Bill, 2019, which aims to create registers containing the names, details and photographs of every resident of the State, on a household basis, in an effort to detect ‘illegal foreigners’.

The Bill states,
It shall be the responsibility of every householder as well as every member of household in the State to furnish all such information, particulars and passport-size photographs of the members of the household as may be required by the registering authorities.

The Bill further states that once the information prescribed by the State Government is received, the concerned registering authority will compile the details in two distinct registers – one for citizen residents and another for non-citizen residents of a village/area/town.

China destroys thousands of maps showing Arunachal as part of India: Report

Sutirtho Patranobis 

Nearly 30,000 world maps showing Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and Taiwan as a separate country were destroyed by customs authorities in a northeastern Chinese city last week.

Reports said it was the largest such exercise in recent years and was carried out to protect China’s “territorial integrity”. The maps were in English and manufactured by a company in a Chinese province called, Anhui.

Arunachal Pradesh is claimed by Beijing as a part of China and depicted on its official maps as a part of south Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Beijing also considers Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, as a breakaway province to be eventually unified.


Sadia Mahmood


December 16 passed without much reflection in Pakistan. The date officially marks the dismemberment of Pakistan and independence of Bangladesh, when Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan, succumbed to attack and fell to the enemy in Pakistani consciousness. The “Fall of Dhaka” does not only denote the traumatic break-up of a country and the tragic loss of its territory, but it also portrays it as part of glorious Muslim past by romanticising its memories.

In Bangladesh, 16 December is celebrated as a public holiday and is officially called Bijoy Dibosh, the Victory Day. In India, the same event is referred to as Vijay Diwas. Bijoy Dibosh or Vijay Diwas both refer to military victory over the enemy. Pakistan commemorates this day by revisiting this episode of its history and digging out the possible reasons for the failures in East Pakistan.

End the Afghan War—Don’t Prolong It

by Daniel L. Davis 

Senators Rand Paul and Tom Udall have recently introduced legislation that would effectively end the war in Afghanistan within twelve months. Whether this effort gets any traction remains to be seen, but the substance and intent of the bill is sound: For the security and benefit of the country, it is time to end the war and redeploy American troops back to their home bases.

Movement from Congress on this issue could be especially important given the still uncertain outcome of peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, led by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, which some have suggested may succeed in ending the war. That success would be welcome, but the unfortunate reality is that this effort could end up extending the conflict—if it comes to anything at all. But no matter what, ending the war should not be conditioned on the outcome of these negotiations.

Balochistan’s Great Internet Shutdown

By Shah Meer Baloch

TURBAT, PAKISTAN — Holding his files and report, the journalist enters and leaves office after office with disappointment, finding no internet in that building either. He has already traveled some 50 kilometers from his home to Turbat city just to send an email. He wants to send news about the recent flood to journalists from other provinces of Pakistan, who have asked him for reports, photos, and information about the damage the flood had caused in Kech district of Balochistan province. But he has no access to internet even in the district headquarters, Turbat, as the recent flood has affected fiber optics and communication lines.

“No internet means no emails and no access to information,” the reporter says. “I could have sent this email if 3G/4G services were not shut down. But, alas, as usual no one knows what’s happening in Kech and Balochistan.”

Maldives: Hope And Fear – Analysis

By Nijeesh N.*

On March 18, 2019, Husnu Al Suood, President of the Commission on Investigation of Murder and Enforced Disappearances, announced that four high-profile cases assigned to the Commission for investigation were successfully completed. Husnu Al Suood disclosed,
What did the four share in common? All spoke about social issues, human rights, and religion. And all were popular, with large followings, typically online. The attacks were masterminded by one group and were motivated by religious, militant elements, with gang involvement.

Though Suood did not reveal the name of the group, he confirmed that information would be made public soon in the Commission’s investigation report. He also accused the previous Government of being aware of the group as early as 2011, but failing to go after them for political reasons.

Significantly, soon after taking office on November 17, 2018, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih formed the Commission to investigate murders and enforced disappearance that occurred between January 1, 2012, and November 17, 2018 in the country. The Commission, with the aid of foreign experts, is currently probing a total of 24 such cases, including the four high-profile cases of the murder of Ungoofaaru Parliamentarian and religious scholar, Dr Afrasheem Ali on October 1, 2012; the abduction of well-known blogger and journalist Ahmed Rilwan, on August 8, 2014; the murder of popular liberal blogger and a strong voice against radical Islamist elements, Yameen Rasheed, on April 23, 2017; and the murder attempt on the blogger and human rights activist, Ismail Hilath Rasheed, on June 4, 2012.

The Sino-US Trade War: Why China Can’t Win – Analysis

By Prof Anis Bajrektarevic

Does our history only appear overheated, but is essentially calmly predetermined? Is it directional or conceivable, dialectic and eclectic or cyclical, and therefore cynical? Surely, our history warns. Does it also provide for a hope? Hence, what is in front of us: destiny or future?

One of the biggest (nearly schizophrenic) dilemmas of liberalism, ever since David Hume and Adam Smith, was an insight into reality; whether the world is essentially Hobbesian or Kantian. As postulated, the main task of any liberal state is to enable and maintain wealth of its nation, which of course rests upon wealthy individuals inhabiting the particular state.

That imperative brought about another dilemma: if wealthy individual, the state will rob you, but in absence of it, the pauperized masses will mob you. The invisible hand of Smith’s followers have found the satisfactory answer – sovereign debt. That ‘invention’ meant: relatively strong central government of the state. Instead of popular control through the democratic checks-and-balances mechanism, such a state should be rather heavily indebted. Debt – firstly to local merchants, than to foreigners – is a far more powerful deterrent, as it resides outside the popular check domain. With such a mixed blessing, no empire can easily demonetize its legitimacy, and abandon its hierarchical but invisible and unconstitutional controls. This is how a debtor empire was born. A blessing or totalitarian curse? Let us briefly examine it.

Macron steals Trump’s thunder with Chinese Airbus order

PARIS — While U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing for a trade deal to slash his country’s yawning deficit with China, it was his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who landed a €30 billion aviation contract with Beijing on Monday.

China concluded a deal to buy 300 aircraft from Airbus during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to France. The value of the deal was twice what was touted last year, and only compounds the woes of U.S. manufacturer Boeing, whose 737 MAX planes have been grounded across the world this month, after two fatal crashes.

The deal struck in France will ratchet up pressure on Trump to come good on his long-promised trade accord with China. That agreement seemed to be facing headwinds last week when Trump warned that tariffs on China would remain in place for a "substantial period" even if a Washington-Beijing deal is struck.

Macron on Monday stressed the “colossal progress” needed to rebalance trade between the two countries — the EU ran a trade in goods deficit with China of some €177 billion in 2017 — while also hailing a slew of deals done in the health, infrastructure, transport, renewable energy and financial sectors.

Pentagon To Explore Potential of 5G — and Its Made-in-China Hazards


Planned experiments will test the emerging wireless technology, even as leaders fret publicly about supply-chain risks.

The U.S. military is planning experiments to see how 5G wireless technologies could improve communications — even as its leaders worry that Chinese-made products could expose information sent via the hotly anticipated standard.

“We’re going to actually go through a whole series of experiments to understand what distances can we communicate over,” Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Monday at an Atlantic Council event. “What is the latency, what is the interference, what do we need to do in order to have the right equipment to bring us capability.”

Slated for later this year, the experiments will be planned and overseen by the Pentagon’s research and engineering office. The results may be used to guide several Defense Department advisory boards that are coming up with 5G policy recommendations for defense leaders.

China played the long game to see who ‘blinks first’ when US trade war spiralled out of control in 2018, central bank’s ex-adviser says

Xie Yu

US President Donald Trump meeting a delegation of Chinese trade envoys led by vice-premier Liu He in the Oval Office on February 22, 2019. Photo: AFP

China’s government, locked in disputes with the nation’s biggest export market, was playing the long game and waiting to see who “blinks first” when a trade war between the world’s two largest economies spiralled out of control last year, a former adviser to the Chinese central bank said.

Negotiations to resolve the disputes went into a six-month hiatus due to several false starts caused by lack of understanding, said Tsinghua University’s economics professor David Li Daokui, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China.

“China was patient, and was not eager to reach a deal in [the period between] May and November” last year, Li said at Credit Suisse’s Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong, recounting a December 2018 phone call with the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping. “Let’s see who blinks first,” he recalled Xi as saying.

Xinjiang crackdown must continue, top China leader says

Xinjiang needs to “perfect” stability maintenance measures and crack down on religious extremism, the ruling Communist party’s fourth-ranked leader has said on a tour of the region where China is running a controversial deradicalisation programme.

Critics say China is operating internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim peoples who live in Xinjiang, though the government calls them vocational training centres and says it has a genuine need to prevent extremist thinking and violence.

The government has not said how many people are in these centres. Adrian Zenz, a leading independent researcher on China’s ethnic policies, said this month an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims could be held in the centres in Xinjiang, up from his earlier figure of 1 million.

Xi Jinping’s Visit To Italy And Relationship Between China And Catholic Church – Analysis

By Giancarlo Elia Valori*

No official meetings between President Xi Jinping and Pope Francis are officially scheduled on the agenda for the Chinese President’s next visit to Italy.

Neither party wants to jeopardize the agreement reached last September on the appointment of bishops and, however, as is well-known, both diplomacies like silence, long processes and long time schedules.

Whoever remembers the old diplomatic precedents, also remembers that, just ten years ago, there was the possibility of another meeting between Benedict XVI and Hu Jintao in Italy for the G8 in L’Aquila. The Chinese leader, however, had to return quickly to Beijing, for a revolt in Xinjiang which was – as usual – more dangerous than we could believe.

From the outset, however, Cardinal Zen opposed the “parallel” appointment of bishops by China and Italy, as envisaged by the agreement currently in force between China and the Vatican.

Why China Has Not Caught Up Yet: Military-Technological Superiority and the Limits of Imitation, Reverse Engineering, and Cyber Espionage

By Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli 

Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli argue that an increase in the complexity of military technology has made the imitation and replication of state-of-the-art weapon systems harder—so much so as to offset the diffusing effects of globalization and advances in communications. As a result, China will not easily imitate the United States' advanced weapon systems or erode Washington’s military-technological superiority any time soon.

This article was originally published in International Security Volume 43, No. 3 by the MIT Press Journals on 15 February 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Image courtesy of emperornie/Flickr. 


Can countries easily imitate the United States' advanced weapon systems and thus erode its military-technological superiority? Scholarship in international relations theory generally assumes that rising states benefit from the “advantage of backwardness.” That is, by free riding on the research and technology of the most advanced countries, less developed states can allegedly close the military-technological gap with their rivals relatively easily and quickly. More recent works maintain that globalization, the emergence of dual-use components, and advances in communications have facilitated this process. This literature is built on shaky theoretical foundations, however, and its claims lack empirical support. In particular, it largely ignores one of the most important changes to have occurred in the realm of weapons development since the second industrial revolution: the exponential increase in the complexity of military technology. This increase in complexity has promoted a change in the system of production that has made the imitation and replication of the performance of state-of-the-art weapon systems harder—so much so as to offset the diffusing effects of globalization and advances in communications. An examination of the British-German naval rivalry (1890–1915) and China's efforts to imitate U.S. stealth fighters supports these findings.

NCHR occasional paper Series 2019


In recent days, the focus on human rights with respect to Saudi Arabia, understandably, has centered on the disappearance and brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. In many ways, to be sure, the Khashoggi case speaks to the whole human rights issue in Saudi Arabia and has represented a poignant “teaching moment.” While the Khashoggi case deserves an extensive and detailed study of its own, given its importance and its repercussions, there are also additional aspects of the human rights environment in Saudi Arabia that serve as the background against which such individual incidents can best be analyzed and understood. One element of that environment that merits particular attention is that of the intersection between human rights and the fight against terrorism, which is the subject of the present study. This is an area that overlaps with the Khashoggi case, as will be seen later, but also one that has a broader intellectual, legal, political, and humanitarian impact and implications.

Truly Taking Back Control


When people are more able to shape their own futures, they are less likely to be convinced that others are to blame for their plight. To the extent that it weakens support for virulent nationalism, devolution of global governance to national and local communities may make the world a little more prosperous – and a lot safer.

CHICAGO – Britain is teetering toward Brexit. No one knows what will happen over the next few months. Yet around one-third of British voters support a “no-deal” departure from the European Union, which risks inflicting an economic disaster on the country.

Many of these “no-deal” Brexit supporters are older and modestly educated, and live in economically depressed semi-urban communities and small towns, which tend to be concentrated in northern England. Although they are anxious about the steady deterioration in their economic prospects, studies suggest that trade or even immigration are not their only concerns. Brexiteers also resent their loss of control over policy, first to a distant national capital full of well-educated global elites, and in recent years to an even more remote EU.

Test to the Threat – A Strategic Imperative

By Steve Mosteiro

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Photo by Lisa Simunaci

The first several months of 2019 have seen several notable developments in the areas of national security in space and strategic defense – areas that are becoming inextricably linked, and of increasingly vital importance to the U.S.

In early January, China landed its Chang'e-4 lander and rover on the far side of the Moon – a notable accomplishment with considerable technological implications. In late February, the adversarial states of India and Pakistan engaged in cross-border hostilities – a startling situation given the nuclear stakes involved. The Hanoi summit with North Korea in February concluded with President Trump walking from negotiations over the disagreement on denuclearization terms. And recently in March, Turkey seems poised to purchase several Russian S-400 missiles – a move that could further complicate U.S.-Turkish relations, and perhaps impact U.S. geopolitical interests more broadly. 

Amidst the unfolding of these events, the U.S. government produced two important documents – the timing of which couldn’t be more appropriate considering current trends in space and strategic defense. In January, the Department of Defense released its 2019 Missile Defense Review – followed shortly thereafter in February with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s report entitled Challenges to Security in Space. The Missile Defense Review broadly lays out the DoD policy vision and challenges in missile defense, while DIA’s report provides an unclassified assessment of key concerns, threats, and issues regarding security in space.


Luke O'Brien

With the second US-North Korea summit having come and gone with no discernible sign of Pyongyang’s willingness to denuclearize, the topic of nuclear weapons remains at the forefront of discussions in national security and defense policy circles. And yet these discussions routinely treat nuclear weapons as a monolithic category of unthinkably destructive power, rather than acknowledging the graduated scale that extends all the way down to the tactical level. Even the Army’s institutional knowledge on the topic has drastically—and dangerously—eroded.

President George H.W. Bush’s Presidential Nuclear Initiatives in the early 1990s resulted in the withdrawal and dismantlement of the Army’s short-range, ground-launched nuclear weapons (like artillery-fired projectiles and missile warheads). As a consequence, the wider Army has assumed that these weapons have been relegated largely to history, and allowed its intellectual culture to atrophy accordingly. Most leaders in the Army today would likely struggle to even explain what a STRIKEWARN message is, let alone what it consists of and what they need to extract from it to protect their units.

Will Hypersonics Finally Force the Pentagon to Integrate Kinetic and Non-Kinetic Defenses?


It’s long been too hard to get the U.S. military’s cyber-EW-IO operators on the same page with more traditional trigger-pullers.

If the United States is to have a chance at warding off new hypersonic weapons being tested and fielded by Russia and China, its defensive framework will need to integrate cyber and other emerging “non-kinetic” capabilities. But it appears that industry and Defense Department requirements officials are focusing on creating kinetic interceptors, giving dangerously short shrift to the new capabilities. Nor does recent experience suggest that the Pentagon is integrating these new defenses tightly enough to bring them to bear on these new high-speed weapons.

Certainly, counter-hypersonics have rightfully garnered a sense of urgency within Congress, DoD, and industry. As Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in recent testimony to Congress: “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.” 

Army Sets 2023 Hypersonic Flight Test; Strategic Cannon Advances


The US Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, ancestor of several current programs.

WASHINGTON: The Army plans a “system flight test” for its Land-Based Hypersonic Missile in fiscal 2023, according to recently released budget documents. The service plans to spend $1.18 billion on prototyping through 2024, starting with a $228 million request in 2020.

The missile will use the same Common Hypersonic Glide Body as the Air Force and Navy — which are working on variants to be launched from aircraft, ships, and submarines — fitted to a two-stage rocket booster. Hypersonics are a top priority for the US military. Pentagon R&D undersecretary Mike Griffin sees them as essential to counter advanced Russian and Chinese weapons, preferably by spotting and destroying them before they even launch.

The budget also funds a complementary system, the Strategic Long-Range Cannon, which would use a gun barrel to launch missiles one thousand miles. Effectively the super gun replaces the first-stage rocket booster, sending the missile on its way, at which point the projectile’s own built-in rocket motor kicks in.

The Global Impact of a US Recession

By George Friedman

It appears more and more likely that a recession is coming, and it will have geopolitical consequences.

Last week, there was a great deal of talk about an impending U.S. recession. On Wednesday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the Fed would not increase interest rates this year amid signs of a modest economic slowdown. On Friday, three-month yields on U.S. treasuries briefly rose higher than those of 10-year treasuries – the first such inversion of the yield curve (a historically reliable predictor of a recession when inverted for an extended period) since 2007. And stock markets around the world have responded accordingly.

This is one time when I agree with the speculation. In our 2019 Forecast, we indicated that the United States was due for a recession. Since before World War II, no period of economic growth has lasted longer than 10 years. With the last recession having ended in 2009, we’re now reaching that benchmark. But another important indicator is the labor market. Economics teaches that wealth is generated through land, labor and capital. The U.S. unemployment rate is around 4 percent, about as close to full employment as possible, and that means the labor component of growth is being tapped out. To attract workers, companies will have to pay more for labor, and that will result in declining profit margins or rising prices for consumers. As a result, lower-cost competitors, particularly those outside the United States, will take a larger market share.

Pentagon Claims Success in Test of New Tactic to Down Incoming Missiles

By William J. Broad and David E. Sanger

The Pentagon said that a test on Monday of a new tactic for intercepting missiles aimed at American cities was a success, in an exercise that appeared intended to simulate how the United States would defend against an adversary like North Korea.

The test, the first in nearly two years, was conducted over the Pacific Ocean. It fired two “interceptors” from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California against a mock warhead launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“The system worked exactly as it was designed to do,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement. “This test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”

Evaluating the success of missile interceptions is difficult. In the past, the Missile Defense Agency has been accused of exaggerating its “kills” in order to quiet critics who say a 50 percent successful interception rate is far from satisfactory.

Civilizationism Vs The Nation State – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Many have framed the battle lines in the geopolitics of the emerging new world order as the 21st century’s Great Game. It’s a game that aims to shape the creation of a new Eurasia-centred world, built on the likely fusion of Europe and Asia into what former Portuguese Europe minister Bruno Macaes calls a “supercontinent.”

For now, the Great Game pits China together with Russia, Turkey and Iran against the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The two camps compete for influence, if not dominance, in a swath of land that stretches from the China Sea to the Atlantic coast of Europe.

The geopolitical flashpoints are multiple. They range from the China Sea to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Central European nations and, most recently, far beyond with Russia, China and Turkey supporting embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

Superpower Constrained

By Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson contends that the US’ longstanding role of international leadership is under threat. Washington is struggling to manage external challenges —including great power competition and globalization— and domestic constraints, such as the underfunding and mismanagement of the military and diplomatic corps. Unfortunately, prospects for reform are uncertain given the dysfunctionality of the US political system. So what does all this mean for the future of US foreign policy? Further, what implications could this have for European policymakers? Here’s Thompson’s answer.

The US’ longstanding role of international leadership is under threat. It is struggling to manage external challenges, including great power competition and globalization, and domestic constraints, such as underfunding and mismanagement of the military and diplomatic corps. Unfortunately, prospects for reform are uncertain given the dysfunctionality of the US political system. This should worry European policymakers and will hopefully hasten their efforts to develop a more robust and independent Common Security and Defense Policy. 

Electronic Warfare for the Fourth Generation Practitioner

Marc J. O’Connor


This paper explores the application and effects of locally-produced electronic warfare systems in the environment of the Fourth Generation (4GW) ‘come-as-you-are’ war in the context of a non-state actor using such systems to produce military effects for mission support and strategic influence, in order develop and facilitate competition as a peer/near-peer competitor against a state or other incumbent actor.

4GW is variously described as a hybrid warfare and with this definition, a space where locally developed and expedient technologies fulfill vacancies created when non-state actors are denied, or cannot afford, access to conventionally developed, militarily useful technologies. A military actor, state or non-state, will attempt identify exploitable vulnerabilities and develop a means to exploit these vulnerabilities. In the case of wireless communication, it can be observed that wireless links provide the unique capability, are vulnerable to EW and the exploitation of this vulnerability by EW should be expected. 

While there is reporting in various open-sources regarding the application of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) EW systems being used to harass and create local effects for harassment activities, there is no discussion of EW as the next technological development achieved by non-state actors in their evolution towards peer and near-peer competition. EW systems can be locally developed relatively inexpensively and may achieve or support military effects in a manner similar to those used by state actors. While not as destructive, EW systems have the potential to be as equally disruptive as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and present unique challenges in early detection and supply chain interdiction.

Huawei and 5G: What Are the Alternatives?

By Elise Thomas

Speaking about his politically embattled company’s chances to build national 5G networks, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei recently told the BBC, ‘If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South.’

He’s right. Unless something changes in the near future, Huawei is going to win the fight for 5G in the developing world.

It will win not on political strategy, or on diplomacy, or on bizarre public communications campaigns, but for the same reasons that Chinese companies have come to dominate so many other industries—because it can produce at huge scale for a cheaper price than its competitors.

Huawei isn’t just undercutting its competitors on price; it’s also a leader in the field in 5G research and is playing a central role in setting global standards for the technology. China invested early and deeply in 5G development, and is rapidly moving ahead of other nations in its domestic implementation of 5G networks.

We're already in the middle of a major cyber war, experts believe

By Brooke Crothers

A whopping 87 percent of information security specialists believe we're in the middle of a global cyber war.

That comes from Venafi, a firm that provides technologies to large companies to protect their networks against cybercrime. Venafi got opinions expressing this sentiment from over 500 security professionals at the recent RSA conference in San Francisco.

Paul Nakasone, head of US Cyber Command, recently spoke about the growing threat of cyber war. “In the cyber domain…our adversaries…continue to increase in sophistication, magnitude, intensity, volume and velocity, and remain a threat to our national security interests and economic well-being,” Nakasone said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.

“It’s clear that security professionals feel under siege,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, in a statement.

Here’s what’s different about the Navy’s new cybersecurity review

By: Mark Pomerleau

After several cyber breaches in recent years, the secretary of the Navy has commissioned a study to take a comprehensive look at the Department of the Navy’s cybersecurity posture.

In the wake of these events, the Navy also stood up task forces to improve its cybersecurity. However, the new study, released publicly March 12, asserts that “despite these initiatives, the progress made to date in changing [Department of the Navy’s] information resilience and cybersecurity culture has been insufficient to bring about meaningful change."

Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, director of the Navy Cyber Security Division, told Fifth Domain that this study differs from past efforts is its strategic-level take of cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Should supercomputers design the Pentagon’s next prototypes?

By: John Walker  

With a computational capacity of 7 billion processor core hours, 100 petabytes of storage and classified networks moving data at 40 gigabytes per second, there are few organizations with comparable assets. Perhaps more importantly, U.S. Army-managed programs like Engineered Resilient Systems and the High-Performance Computing Modernization Program are charged with helping marshal these capacities to accelerate system development. The Office of the Secretary of Defense, for its part, has placed a heavy emphasis on rapid prototyping and fast-to-fail philosophies to reimagine research and development processes. At the same time, academia, industry and government are moving advanced manufacturing processes forward to up-end manufacturing timelines.

What has not happened yet is the marrying of these capabilities into a seamless and connected view of development. What would that look like? Imagine supercomputers churning through millions of possible configurations for a high-speed, high-payload drone using physics-based modeling and simulation tools that then send the most promising designs over secure networks to rapid prototyping assets. These machines would replicate the designs in near real-time at any scale and simultaneously complete finish-machining operations. Moreover, 3D-printing allows the impregnation of pressure and other sensors, essentially delivering a fully instrumented prototype. The prototypes would then undergo testing and evaluation in an adjacent facility. This approach enables a new, highly fluid form of design evolution. More than just co-located or connected assets, the approach is focused on accelerated experimentation, innovation and rapid learning — all leading to faster cycle times and more resilient designs.

Combat Today: Kill Webs, and Fighting at the Speed of Light

By Ed Timperlake

We are facing threats and challenges from key strategic competitors right now.

Talking about the force structure and its “goodness” in 2030 will not deter anyone who matters.

As a colleague has noted, “briefing slides about the future force kill the audience, not the enemy”.

We need to focus on what we might call the “zero to five military”.

What do we have right now to deal with an adversary in a crisis?

And how can we build on the key elements of the evolving force to get better in ways that will matter in the next five years?

It is not about augmenting the legacy force to fight in a legacy manner or rebuilding Cold War NATO and imagining Pacific defense 20 years ago and working to rebuild the past force.

How US Military Aid Can Backfire

By Daniel Karell and Sebastian Schutte

Can military forces mitigate insurgent activity—“win hearts and minds”—by implementing small, localized aid projects? Evidence from the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has provided contradictory answers to the question of aid’s ability to mitigate violence. Some research finds that aid projects increase the legitimacy of the state among civilians and, under specific circumstances, dampen violence. Other studies, however, show that aid projects provoke insurgent activity, even when delivered by non-military organizations.

Despite this ambiguous understanding of counterinsurgency (COIN) aid projects, the US military and its allies spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq on projects meant to “win hearts and minds’’ among the populace. After all, there are good theoretical reasons for doing so. Aid projects might make the option of taking up arms less attractive by offering employment opportunities and stimulating local economies (i.e., the “opportunity cost” model of participation in rebellion). They might also encourage locals to share vital anti-insurgent intelligence with military forces.