27 June 2019

From Inertia to Integration: Getting Serious About U.S.-India Defense Cooperation


India and the United States are declared “major defense partners.” But as Secretary Pompeo visits New Delhi this week, they are still not nearly as aligned as interests and values suggest they should be.

The relationship between the United States and India is excellent proof that the dominant theory of international relations—nations form partnerships and alliances based on mutual interests or common values—is wrong. If this theory were true, America and India—the world’s oldest and largest democracy, respectively, united by a common English language, increasingly connected through trade and investment flows, targeted by the same terrorist groups, and confronting Chinese expansion—would be far more closely aligned than they are today.

More illuminating in this context is the law of inertia: In the absence of a major crisis, don’t expect major change from large democracies. Secretary of State Pompeo will soon arrive in New Delhi for his first exchange with Prime Minister Modi since his re-election victory. Mutual words of affirmation will surely be uttered, and the specter of growing Chinese military power will be a silent presence during the dialogue. But it remains to be seen if this common concern can compel both governments to move toward meaningful cooperation.

US-India Relations at the Crossroads

By Vinay Kaura

Can the growing U.S.-India partnership survive ‘America First’?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit New Delhi this week to prepare the ground for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on June 29 in Osaka. S. Jaishankar, India’s new foreign minister, must convince Pompeo that the unnecessarily hard-line trade policies of the Trump administration will only cloud the geopolitical promise of a closer strategic alignment between India and the United States.

It is time to redefine the parameters of Indo-American ties. Pompeo needs to be told unambiguously that if trade tensions are allowed to persist, the very foundation of Indo-U.S. strategic partnership will be called into question. It is not in Washington’s interests for trade frictions to powerfully drive India’s domestic political debates in policymaking toward the United States.

Is ancient India overrated ? A mindblowing analysis by Chinese Ex Professor from University of Toronto

Seriously? If anything, ancient India is sorely UNDERRATED.

I mean, I’m an ethnic Chinese living in Canada. But when I was growing up in Canada, I knew jacks-hit about India. Besides maybe curry.

I mean, people here have a vague understanding of Chinese history but they have NO idea about Indian history. For example, most people know that the Middle Kingdom is how China referred to herself but how many people know about Bharat? How many know about even the Guptas? People know that China was famous for ceramics and tea but how many people know about ancient India’s achievement in metallurgy? People know about the Great Wall, but how many know about the great temples of southern India?

This is partly due to the lackluster historical records that ancient Indians kept and also partly because modern Indians have a tendency to look down upon their ancient heritage and view western ideas and ideals as superior. China also has this problem but not nearly to the same extent.

AQIS member from Kashmir reportedly killed in Ghazni, Afghanistan


A Telegram channel that supports Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind posted this photo of Abdul Haseeb al-Kashmiri and announced his death.

A member of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) from Jammu and Kashmir was recently killed fighting in Ghazni, Afghanistan, according to jihadist sources online. The AQIS man, known as Abdul Haseeb al-Kashmiri, was reportedly killed late last week.

Ghazni has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks, as the Taliban and its jihadist allies battle the Afghan government and its backers for control of terrain. The Taliban provides regular reports on the fighting via its official website, Voice of Jihad.

A Telegram channel that supports Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), an al Qaeda-linked group in Kashmir, reported Abdul Haseeb’s death on June 20.

“We announce [to] you the Martyrdom of our beloved brother Abdul Haseeb al-Kashmiri, a Muhajir Mujahid of J&K in the ranks of AQIS who was martyred in an American raid on Saturday night in Ghazni Afghanistan,” the Telegram post reads.

Pakistan and the FATF: On Borrowed Time?

By Umair Jamal

Last week, Pakistan managed to gather sufficient support to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist. The development became possible after Pakistan’s diplomatic push brought on board the support of Turkey, China, and Malaysia. India, with the support of the United States, pushed for Pakistan’s blacklisting.

Pakistan has remained on the FATF’s grey list for allegedly failing to implement strict laws to counter money laundering and terrorism financing. However, the challenge for Pakistan has not subsided yet: The forum has asked the country to implement a number of policies to avoid the risk of scrutiny and harsh judgment in November again.

While authorities in Pakistan are taking the process seriously, for Islamabad the ongoing scrutiny has turned into a political issue. Pakistan sees India’s presence at the FATF as an impediment to its case. In March, Islamabad asked the FATF to remove India as the co-chair of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) to ensure that “[the] FATF process is fair, unbiased and objective.” Clearly, policymakers in Pakistan believe that India and the United States are using their influence and presence at the forum to undermine Pakistan’s case.

Fighting Venom With Venom: Is There A Case For Using Al Qaeda Against ISIS?

by Uddipan Mukherjee

A major difference of ideology between Al Qaeda and ISIS is with regard to attacks on places of worship of non-believers (minorities) as well as non-conformist Muslim groups.

To contain an ultra-radical ISIS, an Al Qaeda can be a tactical option.

However, a solution to end Islamic terrorism can explored with a combination of military, political, propaganda and sociological tools.

ISIS, through its recently posted video on 29 April 2019 commended the suicide bombers of the Lankan attacks of April which took away the lives of around 250 individuals.

Your brothers in Sri Lanka have healed the hearts of monotheists with their suicide bombings, which shook the beds of the crusaders during Easter to avenge your brothers in Baghouz.Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, 29 April 2019, Al Furquan Media Of Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria (ISIS)

Islamic State Comes for South Asia

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The Islamic State has completed its shift from Middle East to South Asia.

Last month, the Islamic State (IS) formally announced the creation of wilayah (provinces) in Pakistan and India. The announcement was made by the Islamic State’s media front, the Amaq News Agency.

The two provinces have been carved out of the erstwhile Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), which encompassed the Af-Pak border region. ISKP, which was founded in January 2015, months after IS had announced its so called caliphate in the Iraq and Levant, spearheaded all activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was the source of IS-affiliated militant activity in India as well.

The two IS provinces in India and Pakistan were announced in the immediate aftermath of the group claiming responsibility for gun attacks on security forces in Shopian district of Indian-administered Kashmir. During the same week, IS claimed a similar gun attack in Mastung district of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

Setting the Scene—and the Expectations—for the G-20 Summit in Japan

Stewart M. Patrick

This weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomes world leaders to Osaka for the annual summit of the Group of 20. This club of major economies has been at the forefront of global governance since November 2008, when U.S. President George W. Bush convened an emergency committee to help rescue a world plummeting into the financial and economic abyss. The G-20’s ambit has since broadened to encompass an ever-expanding range of global issues. 

The Osaka summit continues that trend. Japan set an ambitious agenda for its presidency of the G-20, which rotates every year. Major themes include removing structural impediments to growth, reforming the global trading system, adapting the world economy to the data revolution, combating climate change and plastics pollution, adjusting employment policy to reflect aging societies, empowering women in the workforce, advancing sustainable development and achieving universal health coverage. This sprawling program reflects the G-20’s perceived centrality as a global steering group, as well as the constant temptation of successive host nations to add signature initiatives to the G-20’s preexisting priorities. ...

Why have we forgotten one of WWII’s most important battles?

By Lydia Walker

The Battle of Kohima has much to teach us about how we remember the past.

Earlier this month, international leaders congregated in Normandy to celebrate its wartime anniversary, which included a commemorative parachute jump. D-Day was one of the many smaller wars that made up World War II, yet the battles, images and people of that invasion have become central to our memory of the war. By contrast, little such fanfare will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima today, even though its landscape, too, is saturated in history.

The bloody three-month long siege of Kohima took place in the Himalayan foothills of Nagaland, in northeast India, the region which hangs over what is now Bangladesh and borders what is now Myanmar. Though the allied victory against the Japanese was a major turning point on par with the Battle of Stalingrad, we won’t see world leaders travel to Kohima for its remembrance. This battle has been comparatively forgotten because of where it occurred and who fought and lived there.

Integrating the Eurasian Union and China’s Belt and Road: A Bridge Too Far?

Vladislav Inozemtsev

The 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which convened on June 6–8, was, as every year, pronounced a huge success by the Russian authoriti­es. Certainly, the 19,000 participants from 145 countries and the 3.1 trillion rubles’ ($49 billion) worth of contracts announced marked new records for this enterprise (Spbvedomosti.ru, June 10). But of course, much of the attention was focused on Russia-China relations, both because the two countries now look to be en­gaged in a full-scale confrontation with the collective West and because China’s President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia just prior to the Forum (see EDM, June 10).

Russia and China have continued to deepen their cooperation in recent years, with bilateral trade exceeding $100 billion for the first time ever in 2018 (TASS, January 13). While add­ressing the St. Petersburg Forum, President Vladimir Putin admitted, “We [Russia] have absolutely concrete plans for joint work, and we are comfortable with them [the Chinese]; I am sure we will be moving forward successfully” (TASS, June 7). Both Putin and Xi reiterated this point in even greater detail at the Russia-China Energy Business Forum, whe­re several flagship cooperation projects were presented (Kremlin.ru, June 7). But all the rhetoric failed to assuage doubts about the success of Russian-Chinese co­operation in what would theoretically be their most ambitious undertaking—a seamless and economically profitable integration of the Moscow-backed Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

China’s People’s Armed Police: reorganised and refocused

Now with a more centralised command structure and enhanced use of new technology like uninhabited air vehicles, China’s People’s Armed Police is being transformed into a more reliable and effective force focused on three core missions – internal security, maritime security and supporting the People’s Liberation Army in times of war. 

On 2 June, at the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue, the Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Feng He, defended China’s handling of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, and stated that China has enjoyed stability and development after properly handling the ‘Tiananmen incident’ through its ‘correct policy’. Thirty years after the events of Tiananmen, the internal security mission remains of central importance to the Chinese government. However, it is the People’s Armed Police (PAP,中国人民武装警察部队) and not the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that now has primary responsibility for this task, and it is a force – like the PLA – undergoing significant change.

The PAP’s role in Tiananmen in 1989 is thought to have been limited, in part because of its perceived weaknesses and lack of capability, forcing the Chinese government to turn to the PLA instead. In the intervening period, substantial amounts of time and investment have been put into improving the PAP’s capabilities and transforming it into a more reliable and effective force.

China, North Korea: Xi and Kim Meet With the U.S. in Mind

What Happened

As China's trade war with the United States shows no sign of abating, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in North Korea on June 20 for a two-day state visit — the first by a Chinese premier in 14 years. Xi's visit with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang comes a week before he is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the June 28-29 G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The crucial G-20 meeting will provide an opportunity for the world leaders to gauge a potential cease-fire in the U.S.-China trade war. The timing of Xi's visit to North Korea is key, however, because it also coincides with a prolonged impasse in nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington following the breakdown of Kim's February summit with Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam — something Xi may seek to leverage in trade negotiations.

The visit was a ceremonious affair, with Kim and his wife greeting Xi — accompanied by top economic and foreign affairs officials — and the Chinese first lady at Pyongyang's airport. The two leaders reportedly held talks in their first person-to-person meeting in 15 months, with denuclearization and economic development on the agenda. Although Xi's full itinerary is unknown, he attended a welcome banquet, is scheduled to visit the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower, and could oversee mass games at the Rungrado May Day Stadium.

The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?

Arabs are increasingly saying they are no longer religious, according to the largest and most in-depth survey undertaken of the Middle East and North Africa.

The finding is one of a number on how Arabs feel about a wide range of issues, from women's rights and migration to security and sexuality.

More than 25,000 people were interviewed for the survey - for BBC News Arabic by the Arab Barometer research network - across 10 countries and the Palestinian territories between late 2018 and spring 2019.

Here are some of the results.

Deterrence Is Failing — Partly Because Iran Has No Idea What the USReally Wants


Iran is accelerating its enrichment of uranium, the IAEA says. Iran attacked four tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the Trump administration says. If all this is true — Tehran has hinted at the first, though it strenuously denies the second, and there are doubters in world capitals and at home — then U.S.policymakers need to conduct an honest assessment of where and why U.S. policies have failed to deter Iranian actions.

As Washington Post columnist David Ignatius summarizes the mounting tensions, “Trump’s maximum pressure campaign has collided head on with [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei’s maximum resistance.” 

Leaders in Washington and Tehran alike have miscalculated. The Trump administration applied devastating economic pressure on Iran without providing leaders in Tehran with a clear roadmap for how to escape punishment. This put Iran in the penalty box without evident prospect for rehabilitation. As Europe, Russia, and China failed to deliver any meaningful economic relief to Iran, and as the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, solidified the position of hardliners in Tehran, it was virtually inevitable that Iran would strike back in order to demonstrate its ability to inflict pain on opponents. 

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos


One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a serious escalation without providing material military benefit, American forces are more vulnerable than the American people understand, the American people are not prepared for war, and — finally — America has options short of war to maintain crippling pressure on Iran.

First, it’s hard to imagine the true military or diplomatic benefit of the planned strike. Let’s be clear, despite the fact that Trump balked at the projected casualties — an estimated 150 Iranians — a small attack on three targets is a pinprick strike. The mullahs don’t care about those casualties, and a small attack does not materially impair Iranian striking power. Pinprick strikes are often seen as displays of weakness, not strength.

A small attack would, however, grant the pretext for yet another Iranian escalation — perhaps one that would claim American lives, thus generating a much larger American response.

US struck Iranian military computers this week

Tami Abdollah

WASHINGTON — U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday.

Two officials told The Associated Press that the strikes were conducted with approval from Trump. A third official confirmed the broad outlines of the strike. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the operation.

The cyberattacks — a contingency plan developed over weeks amid escalating tensions — disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said. Two of the officials said the attacks, which specifically targeted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps computer system, were provided as options after Iranian forces blew up two oil tankers earlier this month.

Three months on, landless IS still a threat in Syria

The Islamic State group has claimed several arson attacks on wheat fields in Syria, including in the Kurdish-run breadbasket province of Hasakeh

The Islamic State group has claimed several arson attacks on wheat fields in Syria, including in the Kurdish-run breadbasket province of Hasakeh (AFP Photo/Delil souleiman)

Beirut (AFP) - The Islamic State group may have lost its "caliphate", but three months later, experts have warned the jihadists are still attacking fighters and fields in Syria to show they remain relevant.

The Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had expelled the extremists from their last patch of land in eastern Syria on March 23, after a months-long campaign backed by air strikes of a US-led coalition.

The Kurdish-Arab alliance taking control of the riverside village of Baghouz spelt the end of the jihadist proto-state declared in 2014 in large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

But even as the Kurdish-led force fights to quash sleeper cells in northeast Syria, IS continues to claim regular attacks there and in other parts of the war-torn country.

"ISIS has never stopped being a threat in northern and eastern Syria," says Syria expert Nicholas Heras, using an alternative acronym for IS.

Over the past three months, they have claimed regular attacks in SDF-held areas, including targeted killings and setting fire to vital wheat crops.

Trump’s Art of the Spin


NEW HAVEN – Blinded by a surging stock market and a 50-year low in the unemployment rate, few dare to challenge the wisdom of US economic policy. Instant gratification has compromised the rigor of objective and disciplined analysis. Big mistake. The toxic combination of ill-timed fiscal stimulus, aggressive imposition of tariffs, and unprecedented attacks on the Federal Reserve demands a far more critical assessment of Trumponomics.

Politicians and pundits can always be counted on to spin the policy debate. For US President Donald Trump and his supporters, the art of the spin has been taken to a new level. Apparently, it doesn’t matter that federal deficits have been enlarged by an estimated $1.5 trillion over the next decade, or that government debt will reach a post-World War II record of 92% of GDP by 2029. The tax cuts driving these worrying trends are rationalized as what it takes to “Make America Great Again.”

Nor are tariffs viewed as taxes on consumers or impediments to global supply-chain efficiencies; instead, they are portrayed as “weaponized” negotiating levers to force trading partners to change their treatment of the United States. And attacks on the Fed’s independence are seen not as threats to the central bank’s dual mandate to maximize employment and ensure price stability, but rather as the president’s exercise of his prerogative to use the bully pulpit as he – and he alone – sees fit.

From West Point to the Trump Administration

The careers of six graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point have all periodically crossed paths over the years, before eventually culminating under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Such a tight-knit alliance across key positions in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense has the power to significantly shape the White House's position on Iran and other critical foreign policy matters. This graphic shows how the respective careers of Mike Pompeo, Ulrich Brechbuhl, Brian Bulatao, Mark Esper, David Urban and Mark Green have intersected since they all graduated from West Point in 1986. 

Five Factors Will Decide the Survival of the U.S.-Led Alliance System

Mason Richey

In a recent column in Foreign Policy, a slightly bewildered Stephen Walt asked two related questions: (1) Why do we not have better answers to major, overarching questions about international affairs? (2) What are five of “those very important things about the world nobody knows?” Walt rattles off in no particular order: What is China’s future trajectory? How good are America’s cyber capabilities? What is going to happen to the European Union? How many states will go nuclear in the next 20 years? Who will win the debate on U.S. grand strategy?

Walt’s questions are good and critical ones. The answer to his first question also reflects on all the others, and lies in the incentives for international affairs researchers to work on small-bore, highly-specialised, salami-sliced, data-rich areas rather than those exploring the big picture. At risk to my own career, I will add a sixth issue to Walt’s list of big picture questions: will the San Francisco System survive?

It’s Time Govt Gives Habitat Right To 40,000 Abujhmadia Tribals Who Belong To Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group

Shubhranshu Choudhary

Abujhmad is the only unsurveyed area in the country. British left it untouched and so did Independent India. It is also the headquarters of the Maoist movement today. We don’t know much on what goes on in that 4000 square kilometer area which is also home to around 40,000 Abujhmadia tribals.

Abujhmadias are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) by Government of India and there are special provisions for the PVTGs. Forest Rights Act which was passed in 2006 says PVTGs can get Habitat Right for the entire region they need for their habitation. There are around 75 PVTGs in India.

The Forest Rights Act also says because PVTGs mostly are very backward and often uneducated Government should take pro-active role in applying for Habitat Rights of PVTGs. In last 13 years we have only one example of Habitat Right being given to a PVTG when a gentleman called Naresh Biswas took up the case of Baigas, another PVTG to a sympathetic district Collector in Dindori in Madhya Pradesh few years ago.

Wrap-Up: The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s War in 2025 Conference


As I wrap-up the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) War in 2025 conference that ran last week, what stands out is the Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell’s warning that although “you may not be interested in political warfare, political warfare is most certainly interested in you”. He argued that Western democracies are vulnerable and at risk of being outmanoeuvred by totalitarian powers. These powers are unrestrained by rules and willing to use information campaigns, cyber operations, theft of intellectual property, coercion, and propaganda to weaken adversaries.

The information environment is not new; however, it is now recognised by the Australian Defence Force and others as a warfighting domain. In his keynote address, the Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) Vice Admiral David Johnston said that while the word ‘cyber’ is pervasive, the concept of information warfare appears abstract until you consider that fake news and privacy concerns are realities in contemporary society. VCDF reinforced General Campbell’s sentiments by warning that although Australia and its allies may enforce rules and regulations for cyber competition and conflict, our adversaries may not.

DHS: Conflict With Iran Could Spur 'Wiper' Attacks

Iran is increasing its malicious cyber activity against the U.S, which could manifest in "wiper" attacks that render computers unusable, a top U.S. cybersecurity official said on Sunday.

As a result, U.S. institutions should shore up their basic cybersecurity defenses, including using multifactor authentication, said Christopher C. Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency.

"Iranian regime actors and proxies are increasingly using destructive 'wiper' attacks, looking to do much more than just steal data and money," Krebs said. "These efforts are often enabled through common tactics like spear phishing, password spraying and credential stuffing. What might start as an account compromise where you think you might just lose data can quickly become a situation where you've lost your whole network."

One of the most devastating wiper attacks occurred against the oil giant Saudi Aramco in 2012. The malware, called Shamoon, disabled tens of thousands of workstations. U.S. officials blamed Iran for the attack.

A Machine May Not Take Your Job, but One Could Become Your Boss

By Kevin Roose

The goal of automation has always been efficiency. What if artificial intelligence sees humanity itself as the thing to be optimized?

When Conor Sprouls, a customer service representative in the call center of the insurance giant MetLife talks to a customer over the phone, he keeps one eye on the bottom-right corner of his screen. There, in a little blue box, A.I. tells him how he’s doing.

Talking too fast? The program flashes an icon of a speedometer, indicating that he should slow down.

Sound sleepy? The software displays an “energy cue,” with a picture of a coffee cup.

Not empathetic enough? A heart icon pops up.

For decades, people have fearfully imagined armies of hyper-efficient robots invading offices and factories, gobbling up jobs once done by humans. But in all of the worry about the potential of artificial intelligence to replace rank-and-file workers, we may have overlooked the possibility it will replace the bosses, too.


SAY THE WORDS “quantum supremacy” at a gathering of computer scientists, and eyes will likely roll. The phrase refers to the idea that quantum computers will soon cross a threshold where they’ll perform with relative ease tasks that are extremely hard for classical computers. Until recently, these tasks were thought to have little real-world use, hence the eye rolls.

But now that Google’s quantum processor is rumored to be close to reaching this goal, imminent quantum supremacy may turn out to have an important application after all: generating pure randomness.

Randomness is crucial for almost everything we do with our computational and communications infrastructure. In particular, it’s used to encrypt data, protecting everything from mundane conversations to financial transactions to state secrets.

Genuine, verifiable randomness—think of it as the property possessed by a sequence of numbers that makes it impossible to predict the next number in the sequence—is extremely hard to come by.

White House Updates National Artificial Intelligence Strategy


The updated National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan adds an additional priority to the seven outlined in the plan from the Obama administration.

Three years after the release of the initial National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, the Trump administration issued an updateFriday, bringing forward the original seven focus areas and adding an eighth: public-private partnerships.

“The landscape for AI R&D is becoming increasingly complex due to the significant investments being made by industry, academia and non-profit organizations, and AI advancements are progressing rapidly,” Michael Kratsios, deputy U.S. chief technology officer, said in a call with reporters ahead of the release. “The federal government must therefore continually reevaluate its priorities for AI R&D investments to ensure that investments continue to advance the cutting edge of the field and are not duplicative of industry investments.”

The original strategic plan was issued by the Obama administration in 2016, with President Trump calling for an update through a February 2019 executive order.

The fourth Industrial revolution emerges from AI and the Internet of Things


Big data, analytics, and machine learning are starting to feel like anonymous business words, but they're not just overused abstract concepts—those buzzwords represent huge changes in much of the technology we deal with in our daily lives. Some of those changes have been for the better, making our interaction with machines and information more natural and more powerful. Others have helped companies tap into consumers' relationships, behaviors, locations and innermost thoughts in powerful and often disturbing ways. And the technologies have left a mark on everything from our highways to our homes.

It's no surprise that the concept of "information about everything" is being aggressively applied to manufacturing contexts. Just as they transformed consumer goods, smart, cheap, sensor-laden devices paired with powerful analytics and algorithms have been changing the industrial world as well over the past decade. The "Internet of Things" has arrived on the factory floor with all the force of a giant electronic Kool-Aid Man exploding through a cinderblock wall.

How cyberattacks are being used by states against each other

Abhijit Ahaskar

New Delhi: In May 2019, Israel bombed and destroyed a building in Gaza, Palestine, as it was being used by a Hamas-backed hacking group to target them. This was the first instance when a state retaliated to a cyber attack with a real attack. In another more recent incident from June, the US targeted Russia’s electric power grids using crippling malware in retaliation to Moscow-sponsored cyberattacks on US infrastructure. Russia has said it will retaliate.

States around the world have been retaliating to new and persistent cyberattacks sponsored by their arch-rivals.

“State-sponsored cyberattack, by national intelligence agencies, or groups affiliated with such agencies, is a growing concern. With their heightened capabilities, foreign hackers pose a powerful threat to government agencies and their employees, as well as individuals or organizations linked to dissidents or other perceived threats," warns Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis Team, Asia Pacific, Kaspersky Labs.

The Military Society and the Concept of Continuous Education

When Gerhard von Scharnhorst arrived in Berlin in 1801, he had an ambitious reform agenda on his mind. He was appointed to helm the Military School for Young Infantry and Cavalry Officers in Berlin, better known as the Kriegsakademie. Scharnhorst’s aspirations went, however, much further.

Scharnhorst believed education had to become a life-long process of learning and exploring new ideas—the bedrock of military professionalism—and what he had in mind was no less than the transformation of military education. Beyond change in the classroom, the vehicle for this transformation was the Military Society (or Militärische Gesellschaft, in German). The club met once per week and quickly became the place to be for every ambitious officer. For the mere four years of its existence, the Military Society had a remarkable track record. According to Charles Edward White, almost sixty percent of the officers who were members became generals; seven rose to field marshals; and five of the eight Chiefs of Staff of the Prussian General Staff between 1813-1870 belonged to it.[1]

The text below continues the presentation on The Strategy Bridge of Scharnhorsst’s thinking through his previously untranslated writings. You can read the first two articles in this series: on experience and theory and on fortune and leadership in war. For the current text, in which he lays out an explanation for the ideas behind the Military Society, we also offer a short introduction.

It’s Time to Fix the Way the Army Selects Commanders – Modern War Institute

Michael Symanski 

Successful psychopaths comprise about 21 percent of chief executives. They have “clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits,” according to a recent academic study. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is only about 1 percent.

How can such seemingly dangerous people rise so high in an organization? When people are promoted for their technical skills without enough regard to personality features, it leads to the appointment of “successful psychopaths” to senior positions—individuals uniquely talented at specific tasks but whose personalities risk having a negative, even toxic, impact on the organization. The dangers of selecting leaders without considering personality traits should inform the way the US Army selects officers for command. Specifically, how can the Army prevent terrible leaders from staying covered and concealed?

Not long ago, the Army discontinued its only effort to directly address aptitude for command based on personal behaviors and values. The “balanced leadership” component of the Army Battalion and Brigade Pre-Command Course (BBPCC) used 360-degree assessments to describe each leader’s personality style, leadership behaviors, and skills. The assessments were part of a short course that included lectures and classroom exercises to prod the mid-level leaders to ponder their personal values and core purpose in life. A leadership coach helped the new commander unpack his or her 360, put the respondents’ input into perspective, and establish an action plan to sharpen leadership skills.

Everything You Need To Know About the Chinese Military If You Don't Read Chinese

By David M. Finkelstein

The Pentagon has released three very detailed reports this year on the Chinese People's Liberation Army. They are exceptional sources at a critical time in the modernization of China's military.

Last month, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its annual report Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019. Also known as the China Military Power Report (CMPR), it joins two other major DoD publications produced this year that focus on People’s Republic of China (PRC) military affairs: the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA’s) China Military Power: Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win (January 2019) and Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA: Assessing Chinese Military Reforms (National Defense University Press, February 2019). With these three publications, DoD has placed into the public domain an impressive amount of information and analysis about the Chinese military.