29 June 2019

Digital India’s bedrock is telecom

By Ajit Ranade

The telecom revolution of India is truly a breath-taking case study for policy makers and business schools.

India’s telecom revolution has earned the world’s admiration. At one stage,it was the fastest growing, lowest cost sector in the world, providing inclusive development to all. In airlines or electricity usually the government has to make it compulsory, and impose a universal service obligation (USO) to provide outreach to remote rural areas. Not so for telecom. The USO fund to subsidise rural outreach remained un-utilised, because the telecom industry did not need any subsidy or compulsion to reach out to the remotest areas of the country. That fund has now been used to provide fiber optic links to all villages as part of the Digital India initiative.

The telecom revolution of India is truly a breath-taking case study for policy makers and business schools. Since the early 1990’s it has been powered mostly by private sector investment, entrepreneurial energy and risk taking. This was despite some critical mistakes made in the sequencing of the liberalisation policy. The two prominent mistakes in the 1990’s was to sequence private entry into fixed line telephony before long distance and mobile telephony.

How Can India Get Better Data Processing Laws?

Rohan Seth

The principles of Convention 108+ offer a good path forward for how India looks at data localisation and international data processing.

India has the sovereign right to use its data for the welfare of its people and the idea of free trade doesn’t necessarily justify the idea of a free flow of data, commerce and industry ministry Piyush Goyal argued in his speech last week at the G-20 trade ministers’ meeting in Japan.

The minister was channelling a mantra that almost every government around the world has taken to heart – data is an asset.

This also explains why they are getting more concerned about its security. The European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) calculates that in the decade to 2016, the number of significant ‘data localisation’ measures in the world’s large economies increased almost threefold – from 31 to 84.

‘Localisation’ is the practice of storing a country’s data on domestic soil. The effectiveness of such a move is questionable, but perhaps more importantly, storing data domestically takes away from it processing power that could prove to be valuable when stored internationally.

Trump’s Trade War Is the Wrong Way to Compete With China

By Tom Donilon

The rivalry between the United States and China is here to stay. But the Trump administration is bringing the wrong tools to the contest, applying blunt trade-war tactics reminiscent of the nineteenth century instead of crafting a strategy to keep the United States the world’s economic and technological leader in the twenty-first. Defensive protectionism will not meet the China challenge; only domestic revival can do that. Restoring the United States’ global standing and revitalizing its economy will require an ambitious strategy that doesn’t rely solely on changing Chinese behavior so much as on preparing the United States to compete.

After a pause in the trade war earlier this year, the cycle of escalation has resumed. In the last several months, the White House has hiked tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports and announced sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own and is now preparing for a protracted economic conflict.

From Engagement to Rivalry: Tools to Compete with China

Peter Mattis

To arrive at a new consensus, the United States needs to address the weaknesses in Americans’ knowledge of China while rethinking the connections between the ways China is analyzed and how policy is made.

The U.S. National Security Strategy, published in December 2017, marked a historic break in U.S. policy toward China. The White House explicitly judged the policies of previous administrations to be a failure and closed the door on engagement as the primary mode of U.S.-Chinese relations. Before the Trump administration, U.S. policy was based on the assumption that a China governed by the Chinese Communist Party could be socialized within the international institutions of the West. Engagement at all levels — commercial, scientific, military, diplomatic, educational, and people-to-people — was expected to convince Chinese leaders of the benefits of accepting a liberal international order and persuade them to become, in the words of then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, a “responsible stakeholder” in that order.1 This assumption had endured through seven U.S. presidencies, but the National Security Strategy explicitly judged, “This premise turned out to be false.”2

The Trade War Is Just the Start of a US-China Cold War

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many observers view the current confrontation on trade between China and the US as temporary. However, the two countries have opposed geopolitical imperatives that make it highly unlikely that a long-term solution will be found. The US will have to consider how to contain China, which is a far more formidable competitor than the Soviet Union ever was. The US will need much more than a Cold War-style “containment” strategy to counter Chinese ambitions. 

It has been au courant since the Ukrainian crisis of 2014 to profess that a new Cold War has begun between the West and Russia. Proponents of this view argue that Moscow has been waging almost the same level of war against the US as did the Soviets in the 20th century.

This view, which prevails among world politicians and the analytical community, mistakenly holds that Russia should and will be the focus of the West’s (primarily America’s) foreign policy.

Few view China as a true challenger to a US-led world. Many continue to believe that America’s trade war with China is temporary, even tactical – a battlefield on which Washington is simply trying to achieve better economic terms with the Asian giant. The argument goes that once the trade issue is resolved, Washington and Beijing will resume more or less normal relations.

Trade War Casualty: Why the Days of Cheap Chinese Goods Are Over

As President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are set to meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28-29, expectations are low for a meaningful truce on the trade war that has defined their relationship over the last three years. More than 640 U.S. businesses and trade groups — including giant retailers like Walmart and Target — sent a letter to President Trump on June 13 asking him to cancel his threat to increase tariffs on some $300 billion worth of imports from China. That is on top of tariff increases the U.S. imposed in May on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, after several attempts to forge a trade deal.

The U.S. has had several sticking points in its negotiations with China, such as Chinese government subsidies to local enterprises, controls on U.S. businesses operating in that country, and China’s laws on intellectual property rights. China has attempted to placate the U.S. on some fronts. In March, it announced a new foreign investment law where it promises a level playing field for foreign investors.

The businesses that wrote to Trump — organized under a group called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland — warned of disruptions to supply chains, higher consumer prices and erosion of U.S. competitiveness in global markets if the Trump administration goes ahead with its threat to extend tariffs.

Is China’s new payment system the future?

Aaron Klein

While America spent the past decade upgrading its bank based magnetic striped cards with chips, China experienced a retail payment revolution. Leapfrogging the card-based system, two new payment systems have come to dominate person-to-person, retail, and many business transactions. China’s new system is built on digital wallets, QR codes, and runs through their own big tech firms: Alipay running through Alibaba (China’s version of Amazon) and WeChat Pay running through Tencent (China’s version of Facebook).

China’s system largely disintermediates banks from payment transactions robbing banks of an important and long-standing source of revenue. It creates an alternative payment ecosystem with different incentives between merchants, consumers, and payment system providers. It challenges the long-standing placement of payments on the side of banking as opposed to commerce. In doing so, this system creates new incentives that could realign existing business models and relationships between merchants, banks, and technology providers.

Coalition of the willing builds in South China Sea


A coalition of the willing is building in the South China Sea as European powers bolster the United States and its Asian allies’ freedom of navigation operations vis-à-vis China in the hotly contested waterway.

While Europe’s military footprint in the area is still modest, the presence of a growing number of like-minded powers in China’s adjacent waters highlights shared concerns about Beijing’s strategic ambitions for the area.

Europe’s entry also arguably gives greater international legitimacy to Washington’s freedom of navigation and overflight operations in the area, maneuvers China has consistently branded as illegal and a violation of its sovereignty.

The coalition is building steam as the US mounts pressure on China’s wide-reaching claims to the sea and its growing use of maritime militia, often disguised as fishing boats, in so-called “grey zone” coercion tactics against smaller claimant nations.

Analysts believe America’s firming deterrence in the maritime region, articulated in a new Indo-Pacific strategy paper released by the Pentagon, is raising the potential for low-level incidents to spiral into clashes that could spark a wider multinational conflict over the sea.

An Honorable Course In Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue – OpEd

By Kathy Kelly

Last week, Elham Pourtaher, an Iranian graduate student at the State University of New York in Albany, wrote about how U.S. policies cause suffering and trauma far beyond U.S. borders. Her diabetic father, for example, is in danger of losing access to medicines because sanctions against Iranian banks make it nearly impossible to pay for imported goods, including medicine and food. Shortages could lead to thousands of deaths. Pourtaher described“the collective sense of fear caused by the increased sanctions.” 

President Trump expressed concern that 150 people could be killed if U.S. airstrikes against Iran had been carried out last week. We must ask how many people could die because of economic warfare against Iran. 

Instigators Of A Persian Gulf Crisis – OpEd

By Rannie Amiri

Recent weeks have seen tensions between the United States and Iran soar, initially after a May 2019 incident in which four commercial vessels were struck in the Gulf of Oman (two Saudi oil tankers, one Norwegian and an Emirati ship), ebb thereafter and escalate yet again when a similar attack took place a month later on the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair tankers, also in the Gulf of Oman. Tellingly, when it appeared the war rhetoric had subsided after the first incident it quickly ratcheted up, and by several degrees, after the second, as if the May episode had failed to achieve its goal. President Trump’s apparent last-minute change of heart in calling off planned airstrikes when Iran downed a U.S. military surveillance drone last Thursday highlights the war footing Washington is on.

Both tanker assaults were allegedly at the hands of Iran, that is, according to Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, albeit by unclear means and for dubious reasons.

The Middle East: Barrelling Towards A Nuclear And Ballistic Missiles Arms Race – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

The Middle East is barrelling towards a nuclear and ballistic missiles arms race.

The race is being aided and abetted by a US policy that views the region through the dual prism of the need to stop in its tracks an aggressive, expansionary, and destabilizing Islamic republic that seeks to dominate and as a lucrative market for the US defense and nuclear industry.

The race is further enabled by the inability or unwillingness of other major powers – Europe, Russia and China – to counter crippling US sanctions against Iran in ways that would ensure that Tehran maintains an interest in adhering to the 2015 international agreement that curbed the Iranian nuclear program despite last year’s US withdrawal from the deal.

Trump Goes After Iran’s Supreme Leader


Having pulled back from a strike on Iran, the White House is trying sanctions on Ali Khamenei.

President Donald Trump declined to strike Iran for now over the downing of an American drone. Instead, he chose to retaliate by reaching again for a favorite tool: economic warfare.

On Monday, Trump announced he would impose sanctions on the office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other individuals close to him, denying their access to “key financial resources and support.” This follows reports over the weekend that the U.S. also launched cyberattacks on computers used by Iranian intelligence.

“The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments.”

Following repeated rounds of financial penalties since Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement last year, about 80 percent of Iran’s economy is already sanctioned, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This includes virtually all of its oil exports; a major arm of its military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is also deeply interwoven in Iran’s economy; and petrochemicals and metals.

Trump Sanctions Iran’s Supreme Leader, but to What End?

By Robin Wright

With the flourish of his pen on Monday, President Trump imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as everyone in Khamenei’s office or appointed by him. It was a point of high drama in the escalating brinksmanship between the United States and the Islamic Republic. It was the closest that Trump has come to formally calling for a regime change. “The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime,” the President told reporters. “These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions.” Usually, the United States will sanction a head of state—such as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro—as a signal that the leader is no longer deemed legitimate. In other words, Washington believes that a leader has to go.

Trump was opaque, even puzzling, about his intentions, however. “America is a peace-loving nation,” he said. “We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country. I look forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous, and productive nation. That can go very quickly; it can be tomorrow. It can also be in years from now. So, I look forward to discussing whatever I have to discuss with anybody that wants to speak. In the meantime, who knows what’s going to happen.”

How Will Iran Respond to the Threat of Force?

by Amitai Etzioni

The mere threat of force, and perhaps some limited bombing, is expected to suffice to bring Iran to its senses. This thesis was about to be put to the test—until Trump undermined it.

Iran is following the playbook that Russia drew upon in Ukraine and China employed in the Spratly Islands. These involve a form of salami tactics—making aggressive moves that advance their cause, but stay below the level that would serve as a casus belli for the challenged party. Russia used troops who removed their insignia and declared themselves as volunteers or Russian-speaking Ukrainians. China used fishing boats and weather observation vessels, but not it’s navy. Iran first maintained deniability (when it bombed oil tankers) and then claimed that the drone was operating in its airspace. Tehran is emboldened because President Donald Trump not only called off a strike at the last moment—but previously undermined a way to test Iran’s resolve.

President Trump is such an accomplished disrupter that he keeps disrupting his own disruptions. Recently, U.S. military forces were aligned to test a strategy that I have advocated ever since I spent ten days in Iran (as a guest of the reformers). In essence, the strategy is based on the notion that merely marshaling military power will suffice to bring Iran to the negotiating table, ready to discuss not only curbing its nuclear ambitions but also its missile program and its interference in the affairs of other nations.

Russia and Iran in Syria—A Random Partnership or an Enduring Alliance?


Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. Iranian leaders were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria to support Bashar al-Assad in September 2015, and the two countries cooperate within Syria to this day. However, their various differences highlight the limits of what looks like an alliance of convenience. A new report by Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow, Ambassador Michel Duclos, "Russia and Iran in Syria—a Random Partnership or an Enduring Alliance?," analyzes these points of contention and the potential for Western diplomacy with Russia to deter Iran and bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

In the short term, Russia and Iran appear to disagree on how to handle the current challenges the regime faces in Idlib and the Kurdish-dominated northeast. There is a degree of competition between the Iranians and the Russians in trying to get access to Syria’s rare economic resources, such as port access and hydrocarbons. Both countries are also jockeying for influence with the Assad regime, trying to put people close to them in key positions in the Syrian military and security forces.

Five Sobering Lessons From Iran's Downing Of America's Most Capable Drone

Loren Thompson 

Iran's destruction of a U.S. Global Hawk unmanned aircraft with a surface-to-air missile near the Strait of Hormuz should be a wake-up call for proponents of autonomous or remotely-piloted warfighting systems. The era of drone warfare is not upon us, because the vehicles currently available for military purposes are too limited in their capabilities to survive combat with a reasonably well-equipped adversary.

Drones became popular in military circles at a time when the U.S. was fighting adversaries who lacked air forces or air defenses. That has led some observers to over-estimate their near-term utility in warfare. With U.S. defense strategy now shifted from a focus on irregular forces (like ISIS) to great-power competition, the relevance of unmanned systems to fighting and winning wars has become less clear.

Obviously, recent advances in artificial intelligence and related technologies have the potential to bolster the performance of autonomous or remotely-piloted warfighting systems, whether they operate in the air, under the seas or on the Earth’s surface. But emerging technologies can also be applied to weapons aimed at countering them. Here are five lessons from last week’s shoot-down that should give proponents of unmanned military vehicles cause for reflection.

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.

The IRGC, which was designated a foreign terrorist group by the Trump administration earlier this year, is a branch of the Iranian military.

Is Trump Really Headed to War With Iran? Here is What Two Experts Think

by John Dale Grover

Kenneth Pollack and Paul Pillar discuss Iran and the Trump administration strategy at a CFTNI event.

America’s policy of maximum pressure on Iran continues, with the U.S. Department of the Treasury announcing new sanctions on eight Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commanders. That directive was tweeted during a luncheon event on Iran at the Center for the National Interest, which was moderated by Geoffrey Kemp, the Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at CFTNI who also served in the White House during the first Reagan administration as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff. The discussion focused on the ongoing crisis, Iran and America’s interests, and whether war could be avoided.

“[Donald] Trump’s approach is self-defeating,” declared panelist Kenneth Pollack, Resident Scholar for Middle Eastern Political-Military Affairs at the American Enterprise Institute, and both a former Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs and a former Director for Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council. Pollack explained that the hardliners keep claiming vindication, noting that they had warned that the United States might tear up the Iran deal. Pollack emphasized that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei started in the moderate camp but has drifted steadily toward a hardline position.

The Confused U.S. Messaging Campaign on Huawei

By Justin Sherman, Robert Morgus

For the past several months, American policymakers have sought to convince allies, partners and potential partners to ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from supplying the entirety of, or components for, 5G communications networks around the world. This messaging campaign has centered primarily around concerns that Huawei could assist the Chinese government in spying on other countries or even shutting down or manipulating their 5G networks in a warlike scenario.

Many of the nations at which this U.S. diplomatic messaging is aimed, however, remain unconvinced. The current conversation over how to manage the risks from Huawei’s supplying of 5G systems depends much on one’s perspective, as many countries with relatively similar data have come to notably different conclusions about the policies needed to mitigate those risks. Yet the United States’s international messaging on this issue—to allies, partners and potential partners alike—blurs the line between economic and national security risks, and it threatens to undermine U.S. efforts to message these risks in the process.

Report on Time Allocation and Work Perceptions of Teachers

200 teachers from 39 government and municipal schools in Delhi, were surveyed between December 2017 and April 2018 to unpack their work and role related perceptions and to map the time spent by them on various school activities. Teachers were found to be juggling multiple activities in settings with low capacity and resources. The situation is exacerbated due to planning and management issues. This in turn is affecting the quality and time spent on academic tasks, as well as teacher morale. Download PDF

The education system needs change, not fine-tuning: Kasturirangan on the draft NEP

Shubashree Desikan

The draft National Education Policy was released by the government recently.

Here is the first part of an interview with Dr. K. Kasturirangan, the chairperson of the drafting committee and former head of ISRO. Here he talks about the formation of the committee, the school system and why such radical reforms are needed.
Could you tell me a bit about how the committee was constituted? How was the document made?

It’s a great pleasure to talk to The Hindu. The work on the present policy started in Srimathi Smriti Irani’s time. An enormous exercise was mounted during her time to elicit opinions from a wide cross-section of society. That was an exhaustive exercise spread over I think three to four years. Then they set up this committee of TSR Subramaniam to look into it. Parallelly, there was a report that came out of the ministry of human resource development (MHRD). This formed the basis for the way in which the policy had to be framed.

Dramatic changes have happened in the last twenty-five years. Changes have taken place economically socially, strategic demands, many other… certainly the country has moved much further. Into a 2 trillion economy moving towards a five trillion economy. Also a digitalized society is around the corner. Are we prepared for that kind of thing?.

U.S. Carried Out Cyberattacks on Iran

By Julian E. Barnes and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

WASHINGTON — United States Cyber Command on Thursday conducted online attacks against an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe helped plan the attacks against oil tankers in recent weeks, according to people briefed on the operation.

The intrusion occurred the same day President Trump called off a strike on Iranian targets like radar and missile batteries. But the online operation was allowed to go forward because it was intended to be below the threshold of armed conflict — using the same shadow tactics that Iran has deployed.

The online attacks, which had been planned for several weeks, were ultimately meant to be a direct response to both the tanker attacks this month and the downing of an American drone this week, according to the people briefed on the operations.

Multiple computer systems were targeted, according to people briefed on the operations, including those believed to have been used by an Iranian intelligence group that helped plan the tanker attacks.

Top Expert Backgrounder: Aborted U.S. Strike, Cyber Operation Against Iran and International Law

by Michael Schmitt

On June 20, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps used a surface-to-air missileto shoot down a MQ-4 Triton, a Navy variant of the Global Hawk, over or near the Strait of Hormuz. The Global Hawk is a high altitude, long-endurance RPA (remotely piloted aircraft, colloquially a “drone”) equipped with a highly advanced sensor suite that operates in any weather, day or night, to provide ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities. The Navy version that was downed performs a “Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D)” ISR mission.

The incident follows on the heels of the United States pulling out of a multilateral nuclear agreement and reimposing economic sanctions last year and alleged attacks by the Revolutionary Guard using limpet mines against Norwegian and Japanese flagged tankers in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June. With tensions already high, the shootdown prompted the United States to plan strikes on Iran employing cruise missiles and manned aircraft. However, according to tweets from President Trump the day after the drone was downed,

How fast are Himalaya’s glaciers melting? Look at Cold War spy satellite photos

Eric Niiler

During the height of the Cold War, a telescope-shaped American spy satellite code-named Hexagon circled the globe snapping high-resolution photographs of forests, mountains, and perhaps a few Russian military bases. From time to time, the satellite would eject metal canisters containing the film of the imagery. The canister would deploy its parachute, and high-flying spy planes would pick it up midair.

Now a team of scientists has stitched together these once-classified analog images to form a three-dimensional digital model of the Himalayas as they existed more than 40 years ago. By comparing the model with images taken today, researchers found that the mountain’s glaciers are melting at double the rate since 2000 as during the period of 1976 to 2000, and that a warming climate is the culprit.

3-D rendering of Himalayan landscape, using declassified analog images captured by a US spy satellite (under the Hexagon program) in 1975 on the border between eastern Nepal and Sikkim, India. Courtesy of Sketchfab.

New CNCERT Report Shows Most Cyber Attacks on China Originate from United States

Nicole Lindsey

For years, U.S. politicians and top corporate executives have complained about Chinese cyber attacks on industrial and government targets located within the U.S. homeland. And now it looks like China is trying to flip the script on the U.S., alleging that the U.S. is conducting exactly the same types of cyber attacks against Chinese targets with a previously unseen intensity. In fact, a new CNCERT (China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team) report suggests that the scale and intensity of the U.S. cyber attacks is starting to resemble an all-out cyber war against China.

Findings from the CNCERT report on U.S. cyber attacks

Two key findings from the Chinese CNCERT report particularly stand out as proof that the U.S. is now the primary overseas cyber adversary of China. One of these is the fact that U.S. servers are being used to implant viruses and carry out botnet attacks against Chinese computer assets. In 2018, 14,000 servers in the U.S. infected by a Trojan virus or botnet controlled 3.34 million host computers in China. This represents a nearly 90.8% increase in attacks on a year-over-year basis. Another is the fact that U.S. IP addresses lead the way as the origin of these attacks. In 2018, 3,325 U.S. IP addresses infected 3,607 Chinese websites.

What to make of US cyber activities in Iran

By: Mark Pomerleau and Andrew Eversden

Experts indicate cyber capabilities are offering national decision makers non-escalatory responses.

After the Islamic Republic of Iran shot down an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone June 20, President Donald Trump opted against physical military strikes as retaliation. Instead, multiple news organizations reported the U.S. military quietly conducted cyber operations that targeted computer systems that control Iranian missiles launches and an intelligence organization associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Representatives from two cyber threat intelligence firms told Fifth Domain June 24 that they were aware Iran had conducted highly-customized spearphishing campaigns. In some cases, experts said, the attacks included what’s known as a lure document to entice victims to click and inadvertently install malware. U.S. government agencies were among the targets of the attacks.

In addition, experts said that the operation signals U.S. government leaders are becoming increasingly comfortable with cyberwarfare as a tool in the arsenal and, in some cases, now view cyber operations as a half-step removed from a kinetic conflict.

Why The Sky Is Not Falling: The Diffusion Of Artificial Intelligence – Analysis

By Zoe Stanley-Lockman

While AI proliferation seems limitless and uncontrollable, what are the key ingredients necessary for organisations, particularly militaries, to leverage the technological enablers and limit unwanted diffusion?

In its second iteration, the Singapore Defence Technology (SDTS) this week focuses on a key theme: the proliferation of technology and the impact of that proliferation on security, defence, and society. At the outset, controlling the proliferation of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) – a key strategic technology area the Summit will explore – seems daunting. The cat may already be out of the bag, as the saying goes.

Many presume that the commercial nature of AI means it will automatically proliferate. On the one hand, there is reason to believe that AI will be accessible to many – including to nefarious or adversarial actors. But conversely, there is also significant evidence that “AI democratisation” arguments are overblown. While AI has the potential to expand the attack surface, it should not be seen as an equalising force.

Top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the emerging technology offering the greatest opportunities to create new business and revenues, according to CompTIA's second annual Top 10 Emerging Technologies report, released Monday.

The 10 technologies named in the report were ranked according to the near-term business and financial opportunities each creates for IT firms and other business technology companies, and selected by the organization's Emerging Technology Community.

Here are the top 10 emerging technologies in 2019, according to the report:

1. IoT

IoT is driving business changes by providing the data needed to improve marketing, increase sales, and decrease costs, the report found.

"Everybody in the technology world, as well as many consumers, is hearing the term Internet of Things," Frank Raimondi, a member of the CompTIA Emerging Technology Community leadership group who works in strategic channel and business development for Chargifi, said in a press release.

Our army’s bloat of officers is one reason it can’t win wars

Larry Kummer

Summary: Since Korea, our military has proven itself unable to win wars. We cannot win even against foes with little training and less equipment. We cannot win even when the US fields large armies fueled with almost unlimited funds against foes having neither. As we walk on the verge of war with Iran, we must ask “why?” There are a thousand and one answers. But we should look first at our leaders, often the difference between victory and defeat.

To understand why our military consistently fails to win, a fun place to start is one of the best books by one of the greatest science fiction’s authors: Starship Troopers by Robert Heinline (Lt, US Navy, retired – Annapolis 1929, ranked fifth in his class academically). It describes the “Mobile Infantry” (MI), an ideal version of the Army. In it, he describes the challenge of developing leaders for a fighting force.

“To fill each necessary combat billet, one job to one officer, would call for a 5% ratio of officers – but 3% is all we’ve got.

“In place of that optimax of 5% that the M. I. never can reach, many armies in the past commissioned 10% of their number, or even 15% – and sometimes a preposterous 20%! This sounds like a fairy tale but it was a fact, especially during the XXth century. What kind of an army has more “officers” than corporals? (And more non-coms than privates!) An army organized to lose wars – if history means anything. An army that is mostly organization, red tape, and overhead, most of whose “soldiers” never fight. …

Strategy, War, and Culture: #Reviewing Military Anthropology

By Julian Koeck

War is a struggle with the intent of forcing one’s will on the enemy. War is, therefore, a deeply political act. In the words of Clausewitz: “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means.”[1] Clausewitz thought mostly about inter-European war. However, every political interaction between states is an inter-cultural affair. Culture, in this sense, may be defined as a certain way of living, thinking, feeling, and acting that is immanent in a specific society.

Modern wars are often about changing other cultures. While many wars in history were about enrichment and honor, modern wars often pursue goals that aim at the annihilation of certain cultural traits like Prussian militarism after 1945 or the creation of new ones like a democratic way of life. The contemporary American wars of the 2000s are paradigmatic examples for this.

In these wars, strategy is the art of implementing enduring cultural change in a foreign culture to further a state’s own interest. Thus, understanding distinctive cultures, both of the opponent’s and one’s own, is not only of theoretical—or, even worse, academic—importance. Why this is and how cultural knowledge needs to be used in current and future wars is demonstrated in the cleverly written book Military Anthropology: Soldiers, Scholars and Subjects at the Margins of Empire by Montgomery McFate, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and, before that, inter alia, Senior Social Scientist for the Human Terrain System.