13 April 2019

The Modi Mirage Why I Fell Out of Love With India’s Reformist Prime Minister

By Gurcharan Das

India in 2014 was a troubled and discontented nation. Inflation was in the double digits, growth was declining, and corruption was rampant. Sick of the drift and paralysis in the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, many Indians longed for a leader who would get the nation out of the mess. The situation was not unlike Britain’s in the late 1970s. Britain found Margaret Thatcher; India found Narendra Modi.

The sudden ascent of the tough and stocky 63-year-old as a serious contender for the nation’s highest office caught everyone by surprise. As chief minister of the state of Gujarat, Modi had built a vibrant economy and reduced corruption. His campaign speeches, with their single-minded focus on vikas (development) were fresh and mesmerizing. But people were also wary. Modi was considered dictatorial and anti-Muslim. Above all, he carried the stain of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002, when his state government looked the other way as nearly a thousand people, most of them Muslims, were killed over several days.

In PAF lies & subterfuge, an F-16 tail number & a PAF pilot  —  both hidden to serve a myth


How the Pakistani state has managed to clamp down on eyewitness accounts, online videos of the crash and initial ISPR flip flops — to obscure the fact that a PAF F-16 jet was shot down by an Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison on 27 February 2019. Interestingly, after over a month post the aerial clash the narrative is being twisted significantly — with a distinguished foreign media house jumping in the fray and claiming that no F-16 was shot down by the IAF that day. Nothing could give more succour to the dirty tricks department at ISPR, led by the infamous Major General Asif Ghafoor of the Pakistan Army, who has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s hybrid war campaign to deny any manner of worthwhile information scrutiny on the matter since the day the PAF lost one of its most advanced platform to a bold and gritty IAF counterattack. While the evidence is right in front of us to sift through its worth; the first indication of a massive coverup by the Pakistani state on this intriguing subject was provided by none other than Major General Ghafoor himself — who it seems, was overwhelmed by the ‘truth of it’ all in those initial few hours post the aerial clash.

Tragically for the Pakistani nation, there is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact and somewhere in between this blatant game of lies and deception — is a F-16 tail number and a dedicated PAF pilot — both of whom having served Pakistan to the best of their ability; now have had their records unceremoniously wiped out from the face of the earth to serve a wider subterfuge of upholding the morale and image of the Pāk Fizāʾiyah, the pantheon of past glory and Pakistan’s best shot at hitting back at India in these times of turmoil.
IAF’s shoots down a PAF F-16

Afghanistan’s Most Vulnerable Women

By Ritu Mahendru

Every woman in this country has a hundred owners. It’s always been like that. Fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors. They all believe they have the right to speak on our behalf and make decisions for us. That’s why our stories are never heard but buried with us underground.

– Sahra Mani Mosawi, Filmmaker

Who Are the Kuchis?

Kuchis, traditionally nomadic communities, are considered to be one of the poorest and most marginalized groups in Afghanistan. Over the centuries, Kuchis, whose numbers are estimated from 300,000 to 3 million, have pursued a migratory life, herding caravans of sheep, goats, and camels around the country. However, decades of conflict and drought have increasingly forced Afghanistan’s Kuchis to abandon their traditional lifestyle and relocate to settled areas.

Why the Taliban Are in Control of the Afghan Peace Process

By Umair Jamal

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul and Islamabad last week. The visit came as the United States prepares for another round of talks with the Taliban later this month in Qatar, Doha.

In Kabul, Khalilzad advised the Afghan leadership to work on Intra-Afghan dialogue if Afghanistan wants to have a peaceful and inclusive future. “We discussed how the international community can best support them [the Afghan government] in an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process,” said Khalilzad while referring to his engagements in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, Khalilzad met the country’s military and civilian leadership. There were two key messages that America’s special envoy for Afghanistan brought to Pakistan. In one message, Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s contribution toward the Afghan peace process while in the second message, he told Pakistan to change its policy towards Afghanistan if Islamabad intends to improve its relationship with Washington.

Dumping Abraham Lincoln: Tactical Digital Intelligence Strategy Insights in Afghanistan

Nick Rife and Josh Brown

Few things in life induce a greater sense of accomplishment than implementing a digital strategy that produces tangible results while serving as an intelligence Soldier at a US Army tactical echelon. A rarely replicated degree of hubris consumes the self because ingesting data and extracting the right insights at the right time as a component of the Army mission command intelligence enterprise is indeed a strategic vision quest of herculean magnitude. In the age of Tesla and Twitter however, the well of results seems to be running dryer than a Sonoran lake bed under summer’s heat. The underlying Army intelligence establishment, whose proponent coincidentally calls the Sonoran Desert home, is challenged in pacing with an evolving contemporary threat environment. Complicating matters are the atrocious digital tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) adhered to by US Army intelligence Soldiers and technical leadership, immaterial of the phase of conflict or discipline of intelligence support. Despite a community of high-octane stakeholders and well-intentioned do-gooders, tactical Army intelligence struggles to implement digital strategies, at scale, commensurate with the types of technologies available.

Dumping Abraham Lincoln will explore training, operational and implementation challenges observed by a senior Army All-Source Intelligence Technician. Taken holistically, these observations describe a facet of the slow erosion of credibility in tactical Military Intelligence (MI), reduced intelligence readiness rates force-wide, and an intelligence warfighting enterprise unprepared to confront or maintain pace with, let alone project rapidly modernizing technologies. Such observations reveal a widening gap in the Army’s intelligence readiness to support large scale combat operations following more than a decade of counter-insurgency operations.

America's China Bashers Are Gaining Steam

By Mark J. Valencia

U.S. China critics are celebrating their recent victory – the Trump administration’s cancellation of the participation of U.S. warships and senior military officials in a multinational Naval Review to be hosted by China. While only symbolic, this is a clear victory for U.S. China hardliners. They have long been clamoring for tougher actions by the Trump administration against China and it appears they have finally gotten their wish. Indeed, this public snub probably marks a significant downward inflection in U.S.-China military relations for the remainder of the Trump administration. Moreover, it may presage more dangerous U.S.-China military interactions.

China had officially invited the United States to participate in ceremonies marking the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. About 60 countries will participate and about 12 will send naval vessels, including U.S. allies like France, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. But the U.S. State Department argued against any such American participation, claiming that doing so would bolster Beijing’s international standing. Although the decision supposedly came from the State Department, one can assume U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton supported it. He recently declared that “[China’s] behavior needs to be adjusted in the trade area, in the international, military and political areas, in a whole range of areas.”

What Are China’s Cyber Capabilities and Intentions?

By Lyu Jinghua

News stories on the cyber threat that China poses appear on a regular basis. Most underscore a view that China is using cyber power to rise and ultimately win global dominance, and that the Chinese government is behind the scenes in many malicious cyber activities. Though many of the allegations focus on the tension between China and the United States on cyber espionage, these actions are unlikely to cause armed conflict since almost all capable actors conduct cyber espionage.

Suspicions of intentions and capabilities of cyber warfare, however, could drag the US and China into arms races, and even hot wars, due to the role cyber tools can play in military operations. Given the risks, it is necessary to examine China’s views on cyber warfare from a narrative that is different from what most readers are familiar with.

Context for China’s Views on Cyber Warfare

American Bourbon Isn’t Safe From Trump’s Trade War With China

By Robert Farley

President Trump’s trade war is hitting one of his most supportive states. Bourbon producers in Kentucky are increasingly worried that tariffs in Europe and across the Pacific Rim will undercut the growth of the bourbon export market. This could have far ranging effects not only on how people drink, but also on the survival of small communities across the American South and Midwest.

Bourbon is big business, and over the past decade has become even bigger business in the Pacific Rim. As Forbes points out, “the U.S. whiskey market in China is worth $8.9 million, a 1,200 percent increase from almost $1 million in 2001.” But several Pacific Rim countries have slapped tariffs on bourbon in response to the Trump administration’s trade war. China and Mexico both levied 25 percent tariffs, while Canada (more dependent on the liquor trade than the other two) responded with a 10 percent tariff.

Decoding China’s Ballistic Missile Defense And Anti-Satellite Systems Efforts – Analysis

By Manoj Joshi

China began its efforts in the area of ballistic missile defence (BMD) and anti-satellite (ASAT) systems by taking a two track approach, one where it opposes them on the grounds that they will undermine nuclear stability. At the same time, China also developed a range of options that related to both capabilities.

It must be noted, though, that ASAT and BMD capabilities are not identical. It is relatively easier to predict the trajectory of a satellite than a ballistic missile. Likewise, satellites offer a greater radar cross-section than a missile target.

The Chinese began research in missile interception in 1964, but the programme was given a crucial boost with its inclusion in the prestigious Project 863 in the late 1980s. The 2001 US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty only served to encourage Beijing on the path of developing its own BMD/ASAT systems.

The Deeper Meaning of China’s Base in Tajikistan

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: It is au courant among analysts and scholars to compare modern-day China to early 20th-century Germany, in that it too is a rising power that desires a larger role for itself in world affairs. But a better comparison might be with the United States of the late 19th-early 20th century. The US of that era presented itself as non-interventionist, but it also proclaimed a “manifest destiny” to expand its influence.

Western media outlets recently announced that China has built military facilities on the Tajik side of the Tajik-Chinese border. This move is significant, as it is the first confirmation (following earlier unconfirmed reports) of a Chinese military/semi-military presence in the Central Asia region.

The area where the Chinese facilities are located is strategically important for two reasons: it overlooks one of the crucial entry points from China into Central Asia, and it is close to the vital corridor through which the country connects to the Afghan heartland. That corridor is essential to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

King Salman is back in the saddle

Bruce Riedel
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After avoiding foreign travels for over a year, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has been very active in the last 60 days, traveling across the Arab world. The toxic shadow over his favorite son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, is undoubtedly a factor in the king’s higher profile. The Saudis are struggling to regain control of their international image.

In his first years on the throne after his 2015 ascension, the king was a typical royal traveler. He made state visits to many countries in the Middle East as well as to the United States, Britain, Japan, China, Indonesia and Russia. He also typically took an extended summer vacation in France or Morocco. His schedule was never hectic, but it was thorough.

The pattern stopped in late 2017, when several hundred prominent Saudis were forcefully incarcerated in the Ritz Carlton hotel. This was part of a self-proclaimed anti-corruption campaign, yet many have said it was more like a mafia shakedown. For more than a year (and all of 2018) the king did not travel outside the kingdom. The crown prince was the driver behind the Ritz Carlton affair, which alienated many prominent Saudis, including important members of the House of Saud.

Demographic Decline Is the Real Threat to the U.S.

Noah Smith

Some supporters of President Donald Trump argue that his restrictionist agenda only targets illegal immigration, but that idea has now been decisively disproven. Many of the Central Americans now being detained by the Trump administration are legally seeking asylum rather than people trying to enter the country without permission. But during a recent briefing, the president declared:

Our country is full. Our area is full. The sector is full…Can’t take you anymore. I’m sorry, turn around, that’s the way it is.

The president’s actions show that he’s serious. He has initiated a purge of officials in the Department of Homeland Security whom he perceives to be insufficiently tough on immigrants, and said that hardline adviser Stephen Miller is now “in charge” of immigration policy. That could indicate that Trump is planning to renew his contentious family separation policy, close the Mexican border, try to curtail birthright citizenship or enact any other number of harsh nativist policies.

The WTO Strikes Again

Late last week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued what the media is calling a “historic” ruling on the applicability of Article XXI, which allows nations to take trade limiting actions in the name of national security. The decision will inevitably be appealed and thus will get caught up in the dispute over the Appellate Body, but it’s worth making some comments now since, even though the case is not about the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, the decision has implications for them since they are also being litigated at the WTO, and the complainants are using many of the same arguments.

The case that was decided last week concerned Ukraine’s objections to Russia’s actions in blocking the shipment of goods between Ukraine and Kazakhstan or the Kyrgyz Republic that transited Russia—actions Russia defended on the grounds of national security. In making its defense, Russia argued that Article XXI is self-defining; that is, that each country has the right to define its own national security any way it wants, and the WTO has no right to second-guess such decisions. That is the same position the United States has taken on its steel and aluminum tariffs, and, in fact, the United States supported the Russian position in its case through a brief it filed with the WTO, even though the United States has not supported Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. (The European Union, which has also not supported Russia in the Ukraine conflict, took Ukraine’s side in the WTO debate.)

Students Get an 'F' On EMP Threat Assessment

By Peter Pry
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The American people owe President Trump a debt of gratitude, and perhaps someday their lives, for his “Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses” signed on March 26, 2019.

The EMP Executive Order is designed to protect America’s life-sustaining critical infrastructures — such as the electric grid, telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water — from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by an exo-atmospheric nuclear detonation or solar superstorm.

Scientists and strategic EMP experts have been advocating for an EMP Executive Order to protect America from this existential threat for nearly 20 years. And President Trump’s excellent EMP Executive Order is a “whole of government” product involving coordination and concurrence by the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Intelligence Community, and other relevant departments and agencies.

GCHQ top official says Huawei’s engineering is ‘very shoddy’, suggests UK ban from Westminster

Hilary Clarke
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An array of 5G masts installed on a rooftop overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The UK government is expected to reveal next month whether it will restrict or even ban Huawei’s 5G technology. Photo: Reuters

A top UK cybersecurity official has accused Huawei of “shoddy” engineering and said the Chinese telecoms giant could be banned from Westminster, seat of the British government.

In a rare interview broadcast Monday, Dr Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), an arm of the UK’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ, said Huawei could also be barred from what he described as the “brains” of the next generation 5G networks.

“The security in Huawei is like nothing else – it’s engineering like it’s back in the year 2000 – it’s very, very shoddy,” told a BBC Panorama documentary about the company called “Can we trust Huawei?”

How Russia Sows Confusion in the U.S. Vaccine Debate

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In recent weeks, public health officials and state legislators have scrambled to combat new cases of measles across the United States. By April 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already reported 465 cases of the disease, more than the total for all of 2018.

Measles is concerning in its own right. Aside from the discomfort it causes, in 25 percent of cases people who get measles are hospitalized. But an overlooked detail adds another layer to the threat. In the United States, measles has a surprising booster: Russian trolls and bots.

The existence of a Russian disinformation campaign that could make Americans hesitant to vaccinate their children highlights something important about the Kremlin’s information war on the United States. Moscow’s goal has never been to advantage Republicans or Democrats. Instead, it is after a far bigger prize: the exacerbation of Americans’ distrust of one another and, in turn, the erosion of their confidence in society and the U.S. government.

US Defense’s Shanahan Says Next Big War May Be Won Or Lost In Space

By C. Todd Lopez

Wars have been fought on land, on the sea and in the air. But the next conflict may be a war in the immediate area above the breathable atmosphere, amid the satellites now circling Earth, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said Tuesday.

Shanahan spoke during the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, an event that brought representatives from the space community to one place to discuss and focus attention on space-related issues and promote dialogue.

The secretary told attendees from both the military and the private sector that U.S. competitors already are gearing up for conflicts overhead.

“Weapons are currently deployed by our competitors that can attack our assets in space,” Shanahan said.

AI, Initiative, & Lots Of Smart Bombs: Gen. Perna On Supplying Major Wars

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A National Guard fuel convoy at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California.

HUNTSVILLE: The arsenal of democracy needs an update. After a generation of grueling guerrilla warfare, the Army’s four-star senior logistician told me, the supply system has to get a lot more nimble for high-tech, high-intensity, high-speed future conflicts. Those changes, Gen. Gustave Perna said, include ramping up production of precision weapons and other essentials, adopting artificial intelligence to make sense of mind-numbing masses of data, and, above all, empower soldiers and civilians alike to take some calculated risks.

All that requires major cultural change at the massive organization Perna runs, Army Materiel Command. And AMC is already coping with the aftermath of the service’s biggest reorganization in 40 years, having given up its R&D labs to the newly created Army Futures Command. The intent was to create one organization focused on inventing the future force while AMC and other major commands focus on supplying, maintaining, and training the current one.

Winning the cyber war: Data breaches may be one of the biggest threats of the 21st century

By Rebecca J. Barnabi

Dan O’Brien, keynote speaker and a cybersecurity instructor at Blue Ridge Community College, shares “Protecting small and medium businesses from cyber attacks” with the audience at Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton during E-N Computers’ and Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment’s “Cybersecurity for CFOs” event on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

“Protecting small and medium businesses from cyber attacks” was the topic shared by Dan O’Brien, keynote speaker and a cybersecurity instructor at Blue Ridge Community College, during E-N Computers’ and Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment’s “Cybersecurity for CFOs” event on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

At E-N Computers’ and Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment’s “Cybersecurity for CFOs” event at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel on Thursday, April 4, 2019, community members and business owners heard Dan O’Brien, keynote speaker and a cybersecurity instructor at Blue Ridge Community College, share “Protecting small and medium businesses from cyber attacks.”

Multi-Domain Networks: The Army, The Allies & AI


An Army soldier gets on his radio during exercises in Australia.

HUNTSVILLE: Working with Australia ought to be easy. It’s a longtime ally with a common language, shared traditions, and a lot of US-built technology and is a member of the Five Eyes. But when American artillerymen arrived in Oz for a recent exercise, the commander of US Army Pacific recounted, they discovered they couldn’t share data — not because of any technical problem, but because of an obscure policy on giving access to foreigners.

“Australia has AFATDS [Raytheon’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System] and we have it,” Gen. Robert Brown said. “We figured, ‘okay, that’s easy.’ Lo and behold, we get there and we realize there’s a policy that we can’t directly link with them, even though they have the same system we do and they’re an ally. We didn’t even know there was a policy!”

An Analysis of Responses to Senator Warner’s Health Sector Cybersecurity Inquiries

On February 21, 2019, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, sent letters to twelve healthcare organizations and four federal agencies soliciting feedback via a series of questions on the security and resiliency of the healthcare sector. In the letter, he stated: “I would like to work with you and other industry stakeholders to develop a short- and long-term strategy for reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the health care sector.”

In the letters, Senator Warner asked leaders to share, among other things:
How they identify and reduce vulnerabilities
Whether they maintain an up-to-date inventory of all of the connected systems within their facilities

Adapting the Powell Doctrine to Limited Wars

Chastened by the failure of U.S. military might to achieve strategic success in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. observers began to re-examine the wisdom of the Powell Doctrine, a set of criteria for the use of U.S. military force abroad that sets a high and prohibitive bar for any U.S. military intervention—an especially sensitive topic since the days of the Vietnam War. The Powell Doctrine dictates that any U.S. involvement in wars should come with clear, realistic and achievable political objectives—and with strong support from the American people and a clearly defined exit strategy. 

Named for Gen. Colin Powell—chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both George H.W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s administrations and secretary of state during the first term of President George W. Bush—the doctrine asserts that when the United States uses military force, it must do so in overwhelming fashion and only in the service of vital national interests. In the aftermath of 9/11, however, the restraints imposed by the Powell Doctrine were summarily cast aside. Emboldened by a surrounding cadre of neo-conservatives, for whom U.S. involvement in wars was a vital tool of national statecraft, President George W. Bush quickly became a proponent of military intervention and nation-building.

But if the U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan has taught us anything, it is that the bar for overseas intervention should remain high. While the future may be unknowable, the criteria by which we use force need not be. The United States must prepare for the conflicts that are not only in the country's vital interests, but that it can also bring to a satisfactory conclusion. That's the essence of the Powell Doctrine, and it deserves reconsideration.

4 New Weapons for Urban Combat: Part 2 of 2

Michael Gladius

In part 1 two new weapons platforms were suggested as a way to incorporate drones into traditional weapons platforms. In this article, we will look at four platforms which can be developed using existing technology in order to prepare America’s Army for urban combat.

Urban Combat Vehicles (UCV)

A new UCV would resemble the baby of an M50 Ontos and a D9 bulldozer. Vehicles designed for urban combat have a unique set of requirements: high protection, high- elevation guns, maneuverability in confined spaces, and sloped armor on all sides. Bulldozer elements are optional but desirable, as the vehicle could then be used to destroy fortifications and clear rubble. When fighting alongside dismounted infantry, UCVs must be able to fight at close range and fire at both high and low elevations. Consequently, they should utilize short-barreled guns for better maneuverability in narrow streets, and these should be able to fire both HE rounds and munitions designed to penetrate concrete walls. Speed is less of an issue in urban combat, so these vehicles can afford to be slower than tanks or Bradleys so long as they still have a small turn radius.

Leadership Behavior: Boss Versus Leader

Donald C. Bolduc

The purpose of this paper is to describe behavior differences between managing like a boss and managing like a leader. The terms boss and leader can be used interchangeably, but if you analyze what makes a boss and a leader, you will start noticing important differences. In today’s world, being a leader rather than a boss is more effective, and if understood and implemented will improve individual performance, build effective teams, and promote success for the organization. Considering how often people mix the terms boss and leader, it is important to study the difference in behaviors and elements that make a person an effective leader, and how that impacts their boss or a leader approach. In the sections below, I will provide the definition of leader and that of a boss; what it is that makes and determines a leader’s role; and present why the differences between the two roles in areas such as, approach, and communication styles leads to effective leaders and to the success of the organization.


Not Impossible: 5 Ways Japan Could Have Won World War II (And Changed History)

by James Holmes
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Let's face it. Imperial Japan stood next to no chance of winning a fight to the finish against the United States. Resolve and resources explain why. So long as Americans kept their dander up, demanding that their leaders press on to complete victory, Washington had a mandate to convert the republic's immense industrial potential into a virtually unstoppable armada of ships, aircraft, and armaments. Such a physical mismatch was simply too much for island state Japan -- with an economy about one-tenth the size of America's -- to surmount.

Quantity has a quality all its own. No amount of willpower or martial virtuosity can overcome too lopsided a disparity in numbers. Tokyo stared that plight in the face following Pearl Harbor.

An earthquake of 6.6 magnitude strikes 39 km west-southwest of Ashkasham and shakes up India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Srinagar and Pakistan.

American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addresses his troops for the last time.