23 June 2019

Modi 2.0 and the India-US Partnership: What Next?

By Monish Tourangbam and Radhey Tambi

Ahead of the Modi-Trump meeting at the G-20 and Pompeo’s visit to India, a serious task is set out for New Delhi.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after winning a second term, sets his eyes to confront major foreign policy challenges, India-U.S. relations stand at an inflection point. In the strategic context, India-U.S. ties are well-positioned for Modi 2.0 to move further forward. However, New Delhi and Washington seem destined to encounter a number of roadblocks in the economic sector, at least in the near future.

A number of high-level meetings are on the schedule, including a planned meeting between Modi and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan and an upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to India. Therefore, it is imperative to reflect on the highs and lows of India-U.S. relations, and the way forward in this strategic partnership.

India may get caught in Sino-US 5G war: NSAB chief

Manu Pubby

India faces the unsavoury prospect of getting caught between Sino-US 5G war, NSAB chief has warned.

AgenciesRaghavan said that India needs to do more to get ahead on the technology front to meet future challenges because issues like the 5G involve a combination of economy, technology and national security factors.

NEW DELHI: India faces the unsavoury prospect of getting caught between the United States and China in the 5G battle, which is akin to a technological cold war between the nations, said PS Raghavan, the head of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).

Identifying an Indian standard essential patent that is awaiting global approval as the silver lining that can give the nation a toehold into the worldwide 5G pie, the senior diplomat made a strong case for independent technology development that has a bearing on national security.

“Today the kind of rhetoric that you are hearing (on 5G) from the US and China, with Europe stuck somewhere in between, you are looking at the real possibility of a technology cold war replacing the ideological cold war of the past. We are in the danger of being caught in it very badly unless we get our act together,” said Raghavan.

Pakistan, World Bank sign loan agreement worth $918 million

Sanaullah Khan

Pakistan on Tuesday signed three loan agreements worth a total of $918 million with the World Bank.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh witnessed the signing of the agreement between Country Director World Bank Patchamuthu Illangovan and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed. The representatives of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed their respective project agreements.

After the agreements were signed, the World Bank’s country director held a meeting with the Dr Sheikh, who thanked the World Bank "for extending their continuous support to Pakistan's government in its efforts to achieve the sustainable economic development of the country."

The details of the three project the funds will be used for are as follows:

'Pakistan Raises Revenue Program' — $400 million

Great Expectations: ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific Concept

By Sophie Boisseau du Rocher

As ASEAN gets closer to finally releasing its vision for the Indo-Pacific, its role in the region hangs in the balance.

After France unveiled the latest version of its policy in the Indo-Pacific (“France and security in the Indo-Pacific”) in May 2019, and after the United States published its updated “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” in June 2019, ASEAN is next in line in terms of new articulations of an ongoing concept that has been under development. At the 34th ASEAN summit to be held in Bangkok on June 23, member-states are expected to endorse an “ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook.”

It’s a long-awaited document as ASEAN is, among all stake-holders, the only one not to have yet to formally express its vision on this emerging – and still under discussion – concept. The single comment ASEAN has made until now is to insist that the coming scheme must respect ASEAN centrality.

Japan's Prime Minister Is Saving His Most Ambitious Plans for Last

The upcoming election for Japan's upper house will not jeopardize the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's current stronghold, but will instead serve as a gauge of public attitudes concerning its domestic policies and priorities. 

A strong performance in the polls will grant Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the freedom to pursue long-awaited constitutional reforms and a consumption tax hike in the final two years of his third term. 

After the election, Japan will likely strike a bilateral deal with the United States to avoid auto tariffs before November, though Tokyo will push for the agreement to be as narrow as possible.

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

Apple weighs 15%-30% capacity shift out of China amid trade war

TAIPEI -- Apple has asked its major suppliers to evaluate the cost implications of shifting 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a fundamental restructuring of its supply chain, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

The California-based tech giant's request was triggered by the protracted trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, but multiple sources say that even if the spat is resolved there will be no turning back. Apple has decided the risks of relying so heavily on manufacturing in China, as it has done for decades, are too great and even rising, several people told Nikkei.

"A lower birthrate, higher labor costs and the risk of overly centralizing its production in one country. These adverse factors are not going anywhere," said one executive with knowledge of the situation. "With or without the final round of the $300 billion tariff, Apple is following the big trend [to diversify production]," giving itself more flexibility, the person added.

Common Misconceptions About China's Corporate Espionage Tactics

By Scott Stewart

Several common misconceptions assume Chinese corporate espionage efforts are much more confined and predictable than they really are. 

This includes the dangerous belief that Beijing's intelligence agencies only recruit ethnic Chinese agents, or that they only recruit agents on their home turf in China.

The Chinese government and state-owned entities also frequently benefit from walk-in agents who offer stolen information of their own accord.

Thus, whether employees are at risk of providing trade secrets to Chinese intelligence actors should be evaluated purely on their behavior, and not on their ethnicity or location. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the dangers of setting different security standards for information stored in "riskier" areas (such as Beijing) versus "safer" areas (such as Brussels). I argued that the threat posed by sophisticated corporate espionage actors, such as Chinese intelligence agencies, is global in nature, which is why security programs to defend against them must also have a global scope. As I have discussed this topic in more depth with clients, readers, the media and my Stratfor colleague Fred Burton in a recent podcast, it occurred to me that the belief that the espionage threat is limited to certain locations only scratched the surface of several other dangerous misperceptions — especially when it comes to considering the threat posed by Chinese human intelligence (humint) operations.

The Triangle in the Long Game

From Convergence to Competition

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how China’s new power is reaching Europe, the challenges that it poses, and the European responses to this new reality. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.S. and its reflection on the transatlantic relationship. 

In 2018, relations between the United States and China took a swift turn from strategic engagement to strategic competition. This new stance was validated by the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and by Vice President Pence’s speech at the Hudson Center in October 2018. At the same time, the Administration approved successive packages of tariffs on Chinese products and demanded the extradition of Huawei’s chief financial officer from Canada. 

What has been remarkable is how rapidly a consensus on China has built in Washington including across both political parties within Congress, among business and labor unions, think-tanks and the media. There is also a sense of urgency, implying that if the U.S. does not act now China will move irretrievably ahead in a number of fundamental areas, especially in the technology field. 

Hong Kong’s Protests Show the Biggest Challenge to China’s Rise Is at Home

Howard W. French

In the first decades after the commencement of China’s economic reforms and “opening up,” which began at the end of the 1970s, one question loomed in the minds of Western heads of state and many professional China watchers: How long would it take, as capitalist production and consumerism took hold, for Western forms of law and government to follow?

By the time the Soviet Union was dissolved, in 1991, this kind of evolution came to be seen as inevitable, and with the invention and near-universal adoption of the internet, a robust vehicle to help catalyze change in China seemed at hand. For most, the outcome was never in question. It was simply a matter of time. So much so that as President Bill Clinton was helping usher China into the World Trade Organization, which it joined in 2001, he all but gloated about the inevitability of liberalizing change that access to information would bring to Chinese society. Good luck in trying to control the internet, he chuckled. “That’s sort of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.” ...

Iran Decides Its Best Defense Is Bravado

By Reva Goujon

Two brazen attacks near the Strait of Hormuz within a single month suggest that Iran will accept the cost of a military conflict with the United States. 

Given the lack of open dissent within the Iranian establishment at pursuing confrontation, Tehran may be trying to incite Washington to conduct a limited military strike to rally domestic support for the Islamic republic while it's still in a position of relative strength.

As the White House weighs its response, the United States could first try to assemble a coalition of naval escorts in the name of defending freedom of navigation. 

Amid Iran's bravado, there is no guarantee that provocations aimed at initiating a limited war — along with many other triggers for military action — will not spiral into a much more devastating armed engagement.

Two attacks, one month apart, have hit commercial oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region. The first attack signaled that Iran can, and will, disrupt shipping around one of the world's most critical waterways, the Strait of Hormuz. The second, however, shows that the threat is morphing into a not-so-subtle invitation to an arguably avoidable war. 

Russia Will Not Have a New Aircraft Carrier for at Least 15 Years—and Maybe Never

By: Paul Goble

The saga of Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has lurched from one embarrassing episode to another. The vessel (technically classified as a “heavy aircraft cruiser” to be able to adhere to Montreux Convention restrictions on aircraft carriers passing through the Turkish Straits) is currently undergoing repairs and retrofitting (see EDM, November 1, 2018). It will not be replaced with a more modern carrier for at least another 15 years—and quite possibly never. The situation brings to mind Richard Hough’s classic 1958 study, The Fleet That Had to Die, about the failure and destruction of the Russian naval fleet in 1905 at the hands of the Japanese. Like that long-ago event, which culminated in the disaster at the Tsushima Straits, the current history is replete with bold promises of breakthroughs but marred by malfeasance, corruption and incompetence. Not only does all this highlight Russia’s decline as a naval power, it also underscores the problematic natures of the Russian defense establishment and political system.

SMA TRADOC White Paper- Russian Strategic Intentions

Executive Summary

This white paper was prepared as part of the Strategic Multilayer Assessment, entitled The Future of Global Competition and Conflict, in direct response to a series of questions posed by the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Twenty-three experts contributed to this white paper and provided wide-ranging assessments of Russia’s global interests and objectives, as well as the activities—gray or otherwise—that it conducts to achieve them. This white paper is divided into five sections and twenty-five chapters, as described below. This summary reports some of the white paper’s high-level findings, but it is no substitute for a careful read of the individual contributions.

There is broad consensus among the contributors that Russian President Vladimir Putin is indeed adhering to a global grand strategy, which aims to achieve the following goals:

Reclaim and secure Russia’s influence over former Soviet nations

Regain worldwide recognition as a “great power”

Portray itself as a reliable actor, a key regional powerbroker, and a successful mediator (Katz; Borshchevskaya) in order to gain economic, military, and political influence over nations worldwide and to refine the liberalist rules and norms that currently govern the world order (Lamoreaux)

The G-20 Should Focus on E-Commerce, Not the Trade War

by Riley Walters

Reform and trade success in other areas must not stop just because Washington and Beijing are not getting along.

In the latest development of the U.S.-China trade war, President Donald Trump is threatening to slap new tariffs on goods from China if President Xi Jinping doesn’t show at the G-20 Summit in Japan later this month.

If a Trump-Xi side summit can be arranged, it could be a good thing. But restarting trade talks shouldn’t be the focus—or even the highlight—of events in Osaka.

Prospects for a breakthrough in relations between the world’s two largest economies are remote. Two years of meetings between Washington and Beijing have been fruitless, and even public statements remain general and broad.

Another sit-down between Trump and Xi may simply replay their meeting in Buenos Aires last year. A summit might well produce another general statement saying the two sides will restart negotiations (hopefully in good faith). Perhaps President Trump would decide to hold off on applying new tariffs to $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, so long as negotiations continue to be productive. He’s already indicated he’ll hold off until after the meeting in Osaka.

Should the US declassify intel to counter growing Chinese threats?

By: Nathan Strout

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is calling on the Intelligence Community to declassify more information as a way to combat the growing threat the Chinese government poses to American businesses.

In remarks delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations June 17, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va, said he has been convinced in recent years of the Chinese threat but lacks the tools needed to share his concerns with the American business community at large.

“We need to sound the alarm. Over the last year, because I’ve had so many of these briefs and the evidence I think has become so overwhelming, I’ve gone to the Intelligence Community and said, simply terrifying or scaring members of the Intelligence Committee to give us this information in classified briefings (isn’t enough),” said Warner. “We are not doing our job if we don’t find ways to declassify more of this information and get it out to American business, American policymakers and American academia.”

The Strait of Hormuz: A U.S.-Iran Maritime Flash Point

Zachary Laub and William Merrow

The narrow and congested Mideast waterway has become a site of escalating U.S.-Iran tensions. Conflict in the wake of tanker attacks there could jolt global oil supplies.

Escalating tensions between Iran and the United States have raised the prospect of a military clash in a waterway vital for global oil supplies. Close to one-fifth of the world’s crude oil is supplied by Gulf countries that rely on unimpeded travel through the Strait of Hormuz, which is twenty-one miles wide at its narrowest point and abuts southern Iran, to access world oil markets.

Are Academics Pursuing a Cult of the Irrelevant?

by Michael Lind

Michael Desch offers an illuminating survey of the century-long relationship between practitioners of U.S. foreign policy and the professors who study it.

Michael C. Desch, Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019), 351 pp., $35.00.

IN APRIL 2008, Robert M. Gates, secretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration, asserted that the national security community “must once again embrace eggheads and ideas.” Why this hope, often expressed before, was likely to be disappointed again is the subject of Michael Desch’s illuminating survey of the century-long relationship between practitioners of U.S. foreign policy and the professors who study it.

Desch, a professor of international relations at Notre Dame and founding director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, explains that “from the beginning of the twentieth century, there has been a tension between the two objectives of the evolving research university system. Science and practical application were in tension generally, but the social sciences experienced it particularly acutely.” In relating the history of debates about the interaction between the making and the study of foreign policy, Desch narrates the larger story of American political science, whose birth as an independent scholarly discipline can be dated to the founding of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1904. Desch observes that a majority of the early members of the APSA were not academics and that its early presidents like Frank Goodnow and Woodrow Wilson were progressives committed to using social science to promote social reform. But public-spirited scholars like Charles Beard, president of the APSA in 1926, were already losing out by the 1920s to the likes of University of Chicago’s William Fielding Ogburn, who opined that the scholar had “to give up social action and dedicated [himself] to science.”

The Erratic State of U.S. Foreign Policy Under Trump

U.S. foreign policy under Trump does not appear to have a consistent logic. Trump has promised to put "America First," and pursued that end in a variety of ways. At the same time, he has stocked his Cabinet with hawkish interventionists. While adopting a more unilateralist approach, Trump has neglected the institutions that help formulate and execute U.S. foreign policy.

After more than two years in office, President Donald Trump’s administration does not appear to have seized on a consistent approach to dealing with the world. Instead, U.S. foreign policy under Trump has become erratic and seems predicated on somewhat random factors. Decisions often seem to depend on the ability of an individual—whether a world leader or Cabinet official—to sway Trump’s opinion. Trump himself seems to revel in any opportunity to undo the accomplishments of his predecessor, Barack Obama, as well as any chance to right a perceived slight against the United States.

Trump entered office promising to put “America first,” which he has pursued by lambasting America’s traditional allies, tearing down international institutions and attempting to cut foreign aid. He has criticized NATO members for not meeting their commitments to defense spending, and both threatened and imposed tariffs against allies. Most recently, he promised to impose steep sanctions on Mexico unless Mexican authorities manage to stop the flow of immigrants across the United States’ southern border, despite the fact that the move could have upended the recently renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement and hurt the U.S. economy.

Radicalization: the origins and limits of a contested concept

‘Radicalization’ has a twisted history. At every turn, it gained a new meaning without shedding the existing one. In the beginning, ‘radicalization’ meant Muslims espousing an anti-Western, fundamentalist stance, with Iran as the epicentre of a global Muslim insurgency. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it started to be loosely used as a synonym of ‘anger’. A number of Muslims were said to become increasingly angry as a result of a wide variety of ‘root causes’. But almost simultaneously, it became intertwined with ‘recruitment’ by foreign extremists, who tried to persuade these angry individuals to join foreign war zones.

In 2004, another layer was added when ‘self- radicalization’ became the buzzword, since it appeared that one could also develop into a terrorist through kinship and friendship networks. That year, the EU officially embraced the concept. Myriad models and studies were financed to try to clarify the long, step- by-step process through which an individual radicalized into a terrorist.

But, in a new twist, by 2015–2016 it became obvious that radicalization didn’t require a long process after all.


Imagine a surveillance camera in a typical convenience store in the 1980s. That camera was big and expensive, and connected by a wire running through the wall to a VCR sitting in a back room. There have been significant advances in camera technology in the ensuing decades — in resolution, digitization, storage, and wireless transmission — and cameras have become cheaper and far more prevalent. Still, for all those advances, the social implications of being recorded have not changed: when we walk into a store, we generally expect that the presence of cameras won’t affect us. We expect that our movements will be recorded, and we might feel self-conscious if we notice a camera, especially if we’re doing anything that we feel might attract attention. But unless something dramatic occurs, we generally understand that the videos in which we appear are unlikely to be scrutinized or monitored. All that is about to change. 

Today’s capture-and-store video systems are starting to be augmented with active monitoring technology known variously as “video analytics,” “intelligent video analytics,” or “video content analysis.” The goal of this technology is to allow computers not just to record but also to understand the objects and actions that a camera is capturing. This can be used to alert the authorities when something or someone deemed “suspicious” is detected, or to collect detailed information about video subjects for security or marketing purposes. Behind all the dumb video camera “eyes” that record us will increasingly lie ever-smarter “brains” that will be monitoring us. As we will see, technologists are working on teaching computers to do that monitoring in remarkable ways across a broad variety of dimensions. 

Ideas for Modernizing the Rules-based International Order

Chatham House experts examine how the international system can adapt to today’s challenges – from responding to reduced confidence in multilateralism to coordinating action on climate change.

In this 2019 edition of Chatham House Expert Perspectives – our annual survey of risks and opportunities in global affairs – our researchers identify areas where the current sets of rules, institutions and mechanisms for peaceful international cooperation are falling short.

In a series of 19 essays, we present ideas for reforming and modernizing global governance in critical domains, examining both whether the concept of a ‘rules-based international order’ makes sense in contemporary contexts and what needs to be done to make it fit for purpose.

The essays are available as a PDF, or each one can be read online below. Download PDF

DATA PROTECTION: Federal Agencies Need to Strengthen Online Identity Verification Processes

The federal government relies on commercial credit agencies to help verify the identities of people who apply for benefits online—such as asking personal questions from credit files. However, the 2017 Equifax data breach has raised questions about this practice.

There are alternative methods to verify identity, such as comparing a photo of an ID card captured on a cell phone to documentation on file, but federal agencies have had issues with implementing them. For instance, not all applicants have cell phones.

We recommended that the National Institute of Standards and Technology provide guidance on implementing these alternative methods.

Last Call for SATCOM Security

ICIT CERTIFIED: In this paper, the researchers at IOActive, an ICIT Fellow Circle Member, offer three real-world scenarios involving serious vulnerabilities that affect the aviation, maritime, and military industries. It has been reviewed by ICIT researchers and is certified as an educational document. ICIT encourages stakeholders to read this paper and distribute it widely to share its contents.

This research comprehensively details three real-world scenarios involving serious vulnerabilities that affect the aviation, maritime, and military industries. The vulnerabilities include backdoors, insecure protocols, and network misconfigurations. This white paper elaborates the approach and technical details of these vulnerabilities, which could allow remote attackers, originated from the Internet, to take control of:

• Airborne SATCOM equipment on in-flight commercial aircrafts
• Earth Stations on Vessels, including Antennas
• Earth Stations used by the US Military in conflict zones

Hundreds of commercial airplanes from airlines such as Southwest, Norwegian, and Icelandair were found to be affected by these issues. Today, it is still possible to find vessels that are exposed to the Internet, leaving them vulnerable to malicious attacks. Also, we are providing the evidences to demonstrate that Internet of Things (IoT) malware was found actively trying to exploit exposed aircraft, as well as vessels that were already infected.

The Experts We Need


Policy gurus spend too much time with others like them – top civil servants, high-flying journalists, successful businesspeople – and too little time with ordinary voters. If they could become “humble, competent people on a level with dentists,” as John Maynard Keynes once suggested, voters might identify with them and find them trustworthy.

LONDON – In the midst of the debate on the most crucial decision the United Kingdom has faced in a generation, then-Minister of Justice Michael Gove exclaimed, “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts.” That statement received almost as much media attention as Gove’s recent admission that he has used cocaine.

But Gove’s statement was no impromptu outburst. It was a deliberate attempt – common nowadays among populist politicians – to build political capital out of anti-expert anger. The names vary – technocrats, nerds, dweebs, eggheads, pointy-heads – but the sentiment is the same across many countries and contexts: distrust of know-it-alls and the evidence-based public policies they favor.

The Death of Expertise is the revealing title of a 2017 book by Tom Nichols, a professor at the US Naval War College. Nichols gets it just right. Once upon a time, when doctors or teachers opened their mouths, people listened. Today, people who have done a half-hour of “research” on the Internet claim to know just as much. And any expert who confidently claims x, backed up by decades of study, may face thousands on Twitter or Facebook who claim that “in their experience,” y is true.

The Geopolitics of Information

Information is now the world’s most consequential and contested geopolitical resource. The world’s most profitable businesses have asserted for years that data is the “new oil.” Political campaigns—and foreign intelligence operatives—have shown over the past two American presidential elections that data-driven social media is the key to public opinion. Leading scientists and technologists understand that good datasets, not just algorithms, will give them a competitive edge.

Data-driven innovation is not only disrupting economies and societies; it is reshaping relations between nations. The pursuit of information power—involving states’ ability to use information to influence, decide, create and communicate—is causing states to rewrite their terms of engagement with markets and citizens, and to redefine national interests and strategic priorities. In short, information power is altering the nature and behavior of the fundamental building block of international relations, the state, with potentially seismic consequences.

Cybersecurity in the defense industrial base

Defense manufacturers are investing in digital technology to accelerate product development, improve existing processes, and increase efficiency. In this article, we explore the major challenges related to cybersecurity regulations for defense contractors and how stakeholders can make progress toward cyber resiliency.

New regulations govern defense contractors and subcontractors

National security concerns elevate the importance of data security for defense manufacturers. They share and exchange covered defense information (CDI) and controlled unclassified information (CUI) on program specifications, technology, and equipment performance as they collaborate across research, design, development, and deployment of defense products. Given this sensitive data is exchanged across a highly distributed and complex supply chain, these suppliers may be exposed to threats from cyberattacks and theft of intellectual property. Apart from a national security threat, cyberattacks can also cause significant financial and reputational damage to defense contractors, which may disrupt supply chains and result in cost and schedule overruns.

Drone Attacks on Saudi Oil Infrastructure are a Calibrated Message from Iran

The 14 May 2019 drone attack on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia, allegedly carried out by Iranian-supported Houthi forces in Yemen, was a sophisticated operation. Coming at a time of increased tensions in the region, and notwithstanding Iranian denials, the attack represents a carefully calibrated response to the tightening of oil sanctions against Iran and the US Trump administration’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

The attacks were preceded three days earlier by acts of sabotage against ships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) oil port of Fujairah. Taken together, these attacks against oil export infrastructure of the leading Gulf state members of the anti-Iran bloc are a signal that the collective ability of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries to replace Iranian oil is not assured.

The attack in Saudi Arabia caused minor damage to only one of the pumping stations, according to the Saudi Ministry of Energy,[1] resulting in a temporary and precautionary shutdown of the pipeline for evaluation. On the day of the drone attacks, a television station operated by Houthi forces in Yemen reportedly claimed the rebels had conducted drone attacks on Saudi installations, without specifying the exact time or targets of the attacks.[2]

Senate wants to boost oversight of Pentagon’s cyber activities

By: Mark Pomerleau

Several provisions in the Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill aim to increase oversight of cyber activities in the Department of Defense, including a new two-star general officer to serve as the senior military adviser to cyber policy.

The bill, which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee in late May, adds new positions at the Pentagon to ensure the military’s cyber capabilities continue to mature. The full text of the legislation was released June 12.

One section of the bill directs the undersecretary of defense for policy to create a position known as the senior military adviser to cyber policy.

This uniformed official – while concurrently serving as the deputy principal cyber adviser, an existing position – will advise the undersecretary for policy on all cyber matters. The official will also work with the Pentagon’s chief information officer, joint staff, services and combatant commands regarding cyber policy decisions. In the Pentagon’s current hierarchy, there is already a similar position: a deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy within the undersecretary for policy office.


THE ANTITRUST PITCHFORKS are out for big tech. First came the European Union, then Washington, DC. Not to be left out, now comes hip hop lyrics.

Over the weekend, the music annotation site Genius publicly accused search juggernaut Google of stealing its crowdsourced song transcripts and natively publishing them on its search pages in knowledge panels Google calls its “One Box.” Doing so, Genius alleges, hurts Genius’ bottom line by diverting traffic away from Genius in favor of keeping people on Google’s monetized search page instead. As Genius sees it, this is an example not just of lyric lifting but of Google using its scale to unfairly home in on a smaller competitor’s territory, which experts say could constitute a potential antitrust matter. Google strongly denies all of it, blaming a contractor for any similarity between its lyrics and Genius’.

U.S. Cyber Command and the Russian Grid: Proportional Countermeasures, Statutory Authorities and Presidential Notification

By Robert Chesney

The New York Times published a remarkable article from David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth on Saturday, titled “U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russian Power Grid.” To be clear, the lights are not currently flickering in Moscow. The thrust of the story, instead, is that U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) has established the ability to disrupt the operations of at least some parts of the Russian grid, in response to ongoing efforts by the Russians to do the same to us.

The article is rich with insights into the rapidly evolving state of U.S. cyber capabilities, while yielding several important questions. Below, I explore what it signifies in terms of international law and countermeasures, CYBERCOM’s affirmative authority to take such actions under last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the legal and policy issues when it comes to notifying the president of such operations.

1. Crossing the Rubicon or a Proportional Countermeasure?

Some of the commentary excited by this article has expressed concern that the United States is crossing a Rubicon here, breaching a valuable taboo. These U.S. actions, however, are occurring in response to years of Russian efforts to establish just this sort of access to U.S. energy systems. From the article:

What’s the best way for the Army to demonstrate force via electronic warfare?

By: Mark Pomerleau

When the Russian military attacked Ukraine, it prevented units from communicating with each other by turning to powerful electronic jamming tools.

The U.S. Army, however, is not interested in the same raw demonstration of force. Instead, U.S. officials are following a philosophy that relies on “surgical” attacks. This could include creating an image on enemy’s radar, projecting an aircraft at one location when enemies think it is at another, or impairing the command and control links of adversaries’ unmanned aerial systems.

“When the Russians emit like that, they’re letting the entire world know where they are,” Col. Mark Dotson, the Army’s capabilities manager for electronic warfare said on a media call with two reporters June 14. “What we’re looking at in the future … [is] surgical electronic attack, electronic intrusion or 21st century electron attack. We’re looking for much more discrete ways of conducting electronic attack. Using low power to affect the signal and to affect it in such a way that it may not even be detectable that you’re interfering with what they’re doing.”