30 June 2019

India presents America with a choice between geopolitics and trade

Mike pompeo, America’s secretary of state, had two objectives during his trip to Delhi on June 25th. The first was to affirm India’s importance to America, which envisages a grand Indo-Pacific alliance to counter China. The second was to soothe an increasingly heated row about trade. Achieving the first was easy enough, but the second is proving harder.

America and India have bickered about trade for years. India’s average tariff is high, at around 13%. Its bureaucrats are also keen on other barriers to trade, from obscure rules on packaging to prohibitive red-tape on the import of dairy products. But over the past few years Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has further inflamed these irritations. His government has increased tariffs on lots of American exports, including telecoms equipment, medical devices and nuts. It has also expanded rules favouring locally made goods in public procurement and has proposed a new law demanding that tech firms store data about Indian customers within India. And last year it abruptly announced rules on e-commerce that seemed to target two American firms, Amazon and Walmart, the latter through its purchase of Flipkart, a fast-growing local e-tailer.

Inside the deadly world of India’s sand mining mafia

DEHRI ON SONE, BIHAR, INDIA“You must be journalists? Are you interested in sand mining?”

We are in trouble.

It is the local muscle. There are four of them. Thick-armed, hooded-eyed men who have braked their white SUV to interrogate my walking partner, Siddharth Agarwal, and me at a dhaba, a roadside eatery in northern India. Our plastic table quakes from the passage of heavy trucks. What do these columns of vehicles carry? A torrent of mined sand: the dredged-up riverbeds of the Sindh River and its tributaries in destitute Madhya Pradesh state. Every truckload is bound for distant construction sites. Much of the cargo is illegal. Sand is a lucrative commodity in India. It fuels a black market that is both preyed on and protected by goons. Sand miners have killed law enforcement officers who have attempted to halt the strip-mining of India’s rivers. They have murdered reporters who have exposed the forbidden practice of excavating waterways. Agarwal and I exchange glances.

Opinion: America’s three big mistakes in Afghanistan

Donald C. Bolduc 

War is often filled with its share of mistakes and errors in judgment. It’s the nature of this lethal business. Some are the result of changing circumstances on the ground, while others are more systemic. The United States has committed more than a few during its 18 years in Afghanistan.

Indeed, the entire war is a story of one mistake after another, putting success or “victory” as we typically define it further out of reach.

U.S. military tactical level units have performed admirably, but political leaders, policy makers, and senior general officers inside and outside of Washington have failed them. Good tactics never fixes bad strategy. The lack of a consistent comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan has prevented the nation from attaining even a minimal level of stability. For quite some time now, the filling of body bags and hospital beds has not been justified, and nobody is being held accountable for that. Countering these negative trends requires a return to the comprehensive strategy approach. Absent such a change, we should leave.

Pompeo Optimistic About Peace in Brief Visit to Afghanistan En Route to Asia

By Catherine Putz

En route to India, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stopped in Afghanistan for a quick defense of the Trump administration’s efforts at establishing peace and to take further jabs at Iran. 

One headline comment from his brief visit to Kabul was in response to a Tolo News reporter’s question as to whether a peace deal can be reached before the presidential elections now set for September. 

“I hope we have a peace deal before September 1st. That’s certainly our mission set,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo, accompanied by Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy spearheading efforts to make peace in Afghanistan, met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

In his remarks to the press, Pompeo talked up the United States’ efforts to bring about peace in Afghanistan. “For the last nine months, the United States has facilitated a peace process intent on protecting our national interests while convening all the parties for inter-Afghan negotiations that will allow Afghans to fashion a political settlement and determine the future for their country.”

A Preliminary Survey of CCP Influence Operations in Japan

By: Russell Hsiao


The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s China Military Power Report, released in January 2019, revealed the agency’s official assessment that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is conducting “political warfare” against the United States and Taiwan—and among other countries, Japan. [1] Political warfare is a set of overt and covert tools used by governments to influence the perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors of other governments and societies in order to achieve national objectives. [2] While the nature of political warfare conducted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the United States and Taiwan is better understood by the public—due largely to the two governments’ unclassified public disclosures, media reports, and academic research papers—the means by which the CCP is engaged in malign influence operations against Japan are less clear. The institutions and methods by which these efforts are conducted, and their potential effectiveness in influencing Tokyo, are due for examination.

Containment Plan: How Trump Can Challenge China's Rising Power

by Andrea Kendall-Taylor, David Shullman

The Trump administration should reach out to Allies and partners to build a coalition to prevent and plan for growing Chinese and Russian alignment.

The world’s leaders will gather this week for the G20 Summit in Japan. All eyes will be on President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin. But as observers look for indicators of how relations between the United States and its strategic rivals will evolve, another less appreciated dynamic is progressing. Tensions between the United States and both Russia and China continue to run high; meanwhile, Xi and Putin are drawing closer. The two leaders have been strengthening ties in ways that will make it more difficult for Washington to compete with either country. In this great-power triangle, Trump increasingly looks like the odd man out.

It’s not that Trump has written off efforts to improve relations with Putin and Xi; to the contrary. Trump has shown an affinity for both strongmen and regularly speaks of his desire to befriend them. But despite Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s policies—a simultaneous trade war with China and ever-mounting sanctions on Russia—have pushed Putin and Xi closer together. Putin has called Xi his “best and bosom friend” and Xi just celebrated his sixty-sixth birthday with Putin. The camaraderie between the two leaders has been a key driver of the growing cooperation between the two countries.

Taiwan Desperately Needs This 1 Thing to Stop China if War Comes

by Mark Episkopos

What are Taiwan’s military capabilities, and does Taiwan stand a chance of repelling a prospective Chinese invasion?

Taipei and Beijing are seemingly sliding into an escalatory spiral amid a flurry of veiled threats and accusations.

Just last week, China’s defense minister invoked Abraham Lincoln to justify the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) increasingly aggressive reunification policy: “American friends told me that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American president because he led the country to victory in the Civil War and prevented the secession of the U.S. The U.S. is indivisible, so is China. China must be and will be reunified.” Meanwhile, Taiwan’s government called on China to “ repent” on the coming 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Much of the media coverage of the ongoing Taiwan-China dispute is focused on the international repercussions of another Taiwan crisis; more specifically, on how Washington would react to Chinese military aggression against Taiwan.

But what are Taiwan’s military capabilities, and does Taiwan stand a chance of repelling a prospective Chinese invasion? The National Interest previously looked at the Taiwanese air force (ROCAF). We now turn to Taiwan’s navy.

U.S. Tech Companies Sidestep a Trump Ban, to Keep Selling to Huawei

By Paul Mozur and Cecilia Kang

SHANGHAI — United States chip makers are still selling millions of dollars of products to Huawei despite a Trump administration ban on the sale of American technology to the Chinese telecommunications giant, according to four people with knowledge of the sales.

Industry leaders including Intel and Micron have found ways to avoid labeling goods as American-made, said the people, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to disclose the sales.

Goods produced by American companies overseas are not always considered American-made. The components began to flow to Huawei about three weeks ago, the people said.

The sales will help Huawei continue to sell products such as smartphones and servers, and underscore how difficult it is for the Trump administration to clamp down on companies that it considers a national security threat, like Huawei. They also hint at the possible unintended consequences from altering the web of trade relationships that ties together the world’s electronics industry and global commerce.

Is Turkey’s Future in Play After the Opposition Won Istanbul’s Election Rerun?

Frida Ghitis 

The results of Sunday’s rerun election for mayor of Istanbul sent headline writers and political commentators scrambling for the right description. One Turkish newspaper called the crushing defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hand-picked candidate an “earthquake.” Another called it a “people’s victory.” Cumhuriyet, the main opposition daily, declared that “one-man rule” had been “thrashed.”

Voters in Istanbul, the city where Erdogan was born and where he rose to power as mayor himself in the 1990s, turned firmly against him, setting the country’s political landscape in flux. The opposition is invigorated and Erdogan, who has become the most dominant figure in modern Turkish history since Kemal Ataturk, is suddenly on his back foot. The question now is about the future of Turkey. Is this the beginning of the end of Erdogan’s dominance? ...

Iran's Asymmetric Order of Battle

by Seth Frantzman

Originally published under the title "If There Is a War: This Is How U.S. and Allies Stack up to Iran."

Iran's Raad (3rd Khordad) air defense system brought down a US drone on June 20.

Iran showcased its impressive military capabilities on Thursday by downing a sophisticated US drone.

It says it used its "3rd Khordad" system, which is supposed to replicate the S-300's capabilities. Iran has also been highlighting other defense capabilities recently, including precision ballistic missiles, rockets, drones, submarines, limpet mines and cruise missiles.

Tehran's defense technology is impressive. Most of its neighbors have not developed their own indigenous weapons systems, nor are they particularly innovative when it comes to using the technologies they do have, which are supplied by the US and Western powers.

This leads to the question, if war breaks out between the US and Iran, and their respective allies, how will Iran and its proxies stack up?

Why War With Iran Isn’t in the United States’ Interests

By Xander Snyder

The U.S.-Iran standoff continues to evolve quickly, yet the blow-by-blow commentary covering tanker attacks, a downed drone, and reversed orders for airstrikes from the White House fails to consider the strategic logic behind an intervention, if in fact the Trump administration decides to intervene. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to imagine what a war between the two would actually look like.

By now, the U.S. should have learned a thing or two from the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Distant foreign conflicts are difficult to win without a well-defined case for what success looks like and an overwhelming military commitment, the kind the American public is usually unwilling to provide unless faced with a massive and immediate threat. Small-scale engagements accomplish little and are instead more likely to evolve into larger conflicts. Installing foreign governments in the American image is more difficult, costly, time-consuming and even deadly than leaders are likely to claim. Backing a local proxy is often unpalatable for the country’s sense of ethics, but U.S. adversaries often have no such qualms. Those proxies are often an ineffective substitute for a U.S. military presence when it comes to pursuing U.S. objectives. And without a substantial, long-term commitment of U.S. forces, such wars are more likely to open a power vacuum when the U.S. withdraws. The result: a collapsed government, an invasion by a neighbor, a revolution that creates new and uncertain structures – or some combination of these. In fact, the U.S. has had few true victories in the wars it has fought since World War II.

Leveraging Iran

By Franc Milburn

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Mainstream analysis of the current crisis in US-Iran relations revolves around “maximum pressure” sanctions and potential American military contingencies. There is another move, however, involving a unique set of knights on the regional chessboard – and one that comes straight out of Tehran’s own playbook.

The Trump administration’s sanctions and shows of force against Iran have thus far only elicited the usual defiance and threats from Tehran, which is reportedly accelerating production of enriched uranium, is not in compliance with the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) according to the Americans who walked out of it, and is still seeking illegal technology for WMD. Meanwhile, the Europeans led by Germany continue to appease the Islamist regime in Tehran, despite the revelation that its Hezbollah proxy was engaging in terror activity in the UK shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 JCPOA. Despite wishful thinking, insightful analysis indicates that sanctions are unlikely to cause Iran to behave, break Hezbollah, or affect Iraqi proxies funded by Baghdad. Predictions of a major US-Iran conflict are nothing new.

Why Franco-German Leadership on European Defense is Not in Sight

By Barbara Kunz

In January 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed the Aachen Treaty, intended to renew the 1963 Elysée Treaty which outlined the future of a Franco-German friendship. But Barbara Kunz contends the pomp surrounding the signing ceremony in Aachen barely hides that things are not going well in Franco-German relations, including in European defense cooperation. Why? Simply put, Kunz argues that it’s because France and Germany have different strategic cultures.

Emmanuel Macron, already as a presidential candidate, bet heavily on Europe and the Franco-German tandem. This choice, which required a certain amount of political capital, resulted in a number of initiatives, many of them outlined in his September 2017 Sorbonne speech. It also resulted in the bilateral Aachen Treaty Macron and Angela Merkel signed in January 2019, intended to renew the 1963 Elysée Treaty. But the pomp surrounding the signing ceremony in Aachen barely hides the fact that things are not going too well in Franco-German relations. Frustration with Berlin has reached new peaks in Paris, not least due to Germany’s failure to provide an “answer” to Macron’s vision for Europe. When the Christian Democrats’ new president, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, wrote a debate article in March 2019,1 this was widely considered too little too late – in addition to the protocol faux pas of a party president without any government position responding to a head of state. It seems clear that Germany is not willing to embark on a great journey toward “refounding Europe” together with Macron’s France, although Paris and Berlin of course do cooperate on many issues.2

Europe's Finally Upping Its Defense Spending, and U.S. Companies Want in


The European Union's plans to develop a military initiative and a multi-billion dollar defense fund have threatened the United States' access to its EU allies' defense markets.

Washington's military and industrial ties to Europe are critical not only to U.S. defense companies but also its larger global strategy against Russia and China's growing influence, which is why the United States has so strongly opposed the bloc's programs.

To Europe, however, these initiatives serve as key steps to forming a common defense capability while helping the Continent achieve a level of geopolitical independence from the United States.

The United States has been calling on its European allies to increase their defense spending in recent years, expressing the need to create a stronger Western military alliance. And recently, the European Union has taken efforts to do just that by developing a new military initiative, called the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), along with a multi-billion European Defense Fund (EDF). But these programs aren't exactly what Washington had in mind. While the United States may be getting what it asked for in regards to a stronger European military force, it's also one that's specifically designed to be less reliant on U.S. defense exports — which Washington hasn't taken so kindly to. 

Not Even Trump Has Any Idea What His Iran Policy Is

David A. Graham

The president canceled a strike because it was “not proportionate,” and then vowed “obliteration.”JUN 25, 2019

On Friday, after pulling back a strike on targets in Iran—with 10 minutes to go, by his account—President Donald Trump explained his decision on Twitter, saying that an estimated death toll of 150 was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

On Tuesday, after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered a rather Trumpian assessment of Trump and his administration, the U.S. president tweeted, “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

So which one is it: proportional responses, or obliteration for any attack? Reading the president’s statements, it’s impossible to know what Trump’s Iran policy is—and it’s clear that Trump doesn’t know either.

Detailed assessments of either approach seem pointless when no policy lasts longer than the life span of a tweet—though as I wrote on Friday, caution was likely wise in the case of the canceled strikes, while threatening obliteration over a juvenile insult mostly comes across as Khrushchevian shoe-banging.

Trump Keeps ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran, Even Though It Is Failing in Venezuela

Neil Bhatiya

Escalating tensions in the Persian Gulfpeaked last week when President Donald Trump abruptly canceled U.S. airstrikes against Iranian military assets, after Iran shot down an unmanned American surveillance drone over the Gulf of Oman. Trump’s ordering of military strikes, only to change his mind apparently at the last moment, has raised more questions about the administration’s strategy toward Iran and its ultimate goals. Trump’s decision to call off the airstrikes seemed to indicate that he doesn’t see a military solution to this growing crisis, even though that view was thrown for a loop Tuesday when Trump warned on Twitter that “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.” ...

US is woefully unprepared for cyber-warfare

John M. Donnelly, Gopal Ratnam

John Donnelly and Gopal Ratnam are reporters with CQ-Roll Call. Reprinted by permission from CQ Roll Call.

Last fall, when the Navy was examining gaping holes in its cybersecurity, its outside consultant leading the project ordered his team to learn the ancient Chinese strategy game Go.

In that board game, two players place black and white discs one by one onto a grid. The players then slowly try to encircle each other until the victor completely envelops the loser's pieces.

The point, says Michael Bayer, the veteran Pentagon adviser who ran the Navy's review, was to show that China and other foes are encircling and exploiting America's weak flanks rather than directly challenging its conventional military strengths.

How Democrats Can Get Tough on China—Without Imitating Trump

By Philip H. Gordon

Whatever U.S. President Donald Trump is for, Democrats are against, and vice versa—that’s a pretty good rule of thumb in the U.S. foreign-policy debate today. For example, the more Trump aligns himself with the positions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the more vocal Democrats have become in their criticism of those leaders. Conversely, the more Trump attacks NATO, financial assistance to Central America, or former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, the more enthusiastically Democrats seem to support them. The substantive differences are genuine, but they are magnified by the politics of opposing Trump.

A glaring exception to the rule, however, appears to be U.S. policy toward China. Far from distancing themselves from Trump’s confrontational, populist approach, many Democrats— especially candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination—appear tempted to echo it. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, said that China had “weaponized its economy” and complained about “misdirected” previous presidents telling a “happy-face story [on China] that never fit with the facts.” Sen. Cory Booker calledthe Chinese government a “totalitarian regime” that has been “taking advantage of this country” and said, “We need to fight them.” On June 11, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined the fray, calling China’s ideological model “the perfection of dictatorship” and admitting that “there’s something about [Trump’s] orientation on China that I think is not completely wrong.”

On Watch in the Arabian Gulf: What the U.S. Navy Faces Against Iran


When oil tankers were bombed in the Persian Gulf two weeks ago, my thoughts turned to the summer of 1987 when I sailed through the narrow Strait of Hormuz for the first time as the Operations Officer in a brand-new Navy Cruiser, the U.S.S. Valley Forge. She was the fourth of the vaunted AEGIS-class guided missile cruisers, and our job was to protect the aircraft carrier carrying the admiral in command of our forces in the Arabian Gulf. Like today, tensions were elevated with Iran as a result of their attacks on merchant shipping, carried out largely through dumping mines in international waters – part of the so-called “Tanker War.” Several oil tankers were hit, passage through the Strait was problematic, and the international community sought to keep the Strait open to allow some 30% of the world’s oil that moves through it. That became the Navy’s mission.

Over the next 18 months, a reasonably effective convoy system was put in place, but more tankers hit mines and were attacked by Iranian gunboats, further elevating tensions. By spring 1988, the U.S. had attacked the Iranian Navy, sinking several warships and destroying naval bases in Operation Praying Mantis. While we have not had equally active combat with Iran over the three decades since, the US Navy has continued to have a very troubled relationship with both the Iranian Navy and the maritime arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Since that summer, I deployed five more times to the Arabian Gulf, and have sailed in and out of the Strait of Hormuz in command of destroyers, cruisers, and a carrier strike group as a Rear Admiral. It is dangerous, stressful and exhausting duty for our sailors.

Draft New Education Policy – A Case Of Thinking Inside The Box

by Banuchandar Nagarajan

The draft policy has been a massive exercise. The scope and scale of issues and consultations are truly mind-boggling.

Perhaps Prof. Kasturirangan, in his wisdom from working with the government systems over the years, thought it prudent to focus on productivity reforms, while prodding slightly to look further at eclectic possibilities.

An acid test will be how much the current government itself will act on the recommendations.

How would we have thought about the year 2019 in 2004? It is a very hard exercise to undertake now. However, to aid us, we have quite a few “Vision 2020” documents made by consulting firms during the previous decade. A glimpse into those will tell us that as far as hard infrastructure --- such as roads, railways, water supply etc.,--- the aspirations expressed were mostly reasonable. Some have not still been fulfilled yet.

But when it comes to productivity-related issues such as technology and human capital, the documents have not anticipated the giant leaps. No one could have thought of a WhatsApp or an Uber. They could not anticipate the explosion of knowledge and information through social media brought about by the proliferation of smartphones and cheap Internet.

Competition and Cooperation in the Maritime Domain

Competition over the world’s maritime resources and territorial disputes over maritime borders are becoming increasingly prominent in international affairs. At the same time, depleted fish stocks and polluted waters make the question of how countries can collectively manage maritime resources a central one, particularly in discussions over climate change.

Against the backdrop of heightened competition in the maritime domain, China has been rapidly modernizing and expanding its naval capabilities thanks to an unprecedented shipbuilding effort. By contrast, the U.S. Navy is struggling to meet its ambitious goals toward expanding its fleet while nevertheless maintaining a demanding operational tempo. As a result, ship maintenance and crew training have suffered, a dynamic that appears to have contributed to several recent deadly incidents.

Meanwhile, the resources that lie beneath the ocean’s surface are increasingly at risk of overexploitation. Illegal fishing is devastating already diminished global stocks and may soon present a severe crisis to countries whose populations depend on seafood for their diets. In the South China Sea, competition over fishing rights as well as offshore oil and gas reserves has been a major driver of tensions and conflict.

Raison d’Etat: Richelieu’s Grand Strategy During the Thirty Years’ War

Iskander Rehman

Renowned for his fierce intellect, mastery of the dark arts of propaganda, and unshakeable belief in the centralizing virtues of the French monarchy, Cardinal Richelieu’s actions as chief minister under Louis XIII from 1624 to 1642 have been heatedly debated by generations of historians, political philosophers, novelists, and biographers. The polarizing figure is best known for three things: his unabashed authoritarianism, his efforts to stiffen the sinews of the French state, and his decision to position France as a counterweight to Habsburg hegemony through a network of alliances with Protestant powers. This article focuses on this last aspect of Richelieu’s life and legacy: his conception and practice of great power competition. What philosophy of power and statecraft underpinned the cardinal’s approach to counter-hegemonic balancing? To what extent was Richelieu truly successful, and what insights can contemporary security managers derive from his policies and actions? Drawing on both primary and secondary literature, this essay engages in a detailed and interdisciplinary study of Richelieu’s grand strategy during the Thirty Years’ War.

AI Changes Attack Missions for Fighter Jets & Bombers

by Kris Osborn

(Washington, D.C.) Fighter jets will control attack drones from the cockpit, bombers will avert air defenses and real-time intelligence data will be available to attacking forces more quickly -- all due to new iterations of fast-evolving Artificial Intelligence technologies.

Faster computer processors, AI-infused algorithms able to merge or “fuse” sensor information and automated maintenance and checklists are informing emerging pilot tactics aimed at anticipating future threat environments. Various applications of AI now perform a wide range of functions not purely restricted to conventional notions of IT or cyberspace; computer algorithms are increasingly able to almost instantaneously access vast pools of data, compare and organize information and perform automated procedural and analytical functions for human decision-makers. When high-volume, redundant tasks are performed through computer automation, humans are freed up to expend energy pursuing a wider range of interpretive or conceptual work.

“The bottom line is the next big thing that is going to enable the US to maintain its qualitative edge is the seamless and ubiquitous sharing of information. Aircraft are going to be part of a sensor-shooter-effector-maneuver ISR complex,” said Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and Warrior Contributor.

Robots 'to replace up to 20 million factory jobs' by 2030

Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysis firm Oxford Economics.

People displaced from those jobs are likely to find that comparable roles in the services sector have also been squeezed by automation, the firm said.

However, increasing automation will also boost jobs and economic growth, it added.

The firm called for action to prevent a damaging increase in income inequality.
Rise of the robots

Each new industrial robot wipes out 1.6 manufacturing jobs, the firm said, with the least-skilled regions being more affected.

Regions where more people have lower skills, which tend to have weaker economies and higher unemployment rates anyway, are much more vulnerable to the loss of jobs due to robots, Oxford Economics said.

About the first cyberwar, an electronic Pearl Harbor

Larry Kummer

Summary: America’s warriors have long warned of a cyber attack without warning or declaration of war, an electronic Pearl Harbor – a day that “will live in infamy.” It happened, and America did it. We brought cyber warfare into the world, just as we did the first nuclear attack. Here anthropology professor Maximilian Forte looks at this historic event.

“A Canadian anthropological approach to the study of empire and the human condition.”

Sabotaging another nation’s power grids, or blowing up industrial plants, are actual acts of war under international law. The term “cyber-terrorism” as used in the title, almost softens the impact of that fact. In recent months and weeks, the US has been active – either by its own account, or according to target nations – in new acts of war that use the digital realm in order to produce concrete effects on the ground. Venezuela, which suffered debilitating power outages in March, laid at least some of the blame on alleged cyber attacks by the US. The US certainly possesses the means to engage in such cyber-warfare, and has actually done so. Iran is a case in point. Not only has Iran allegedly been targeted in recent days, but it was also targeted by Obama with the aid of Israel. This requires that we review the case of the Stuxnet Worm.

Cyber runs: How a cyber attack could affect U.S. financial institutions

Darrell Duffie and Joshua Younger

Cyber risks to financial stability have received significant attention from policy makers. These risks are worsened by the increasing diversity of perpetrators—including state and non-state actors, cyber terrorists, and “hacktivists”—who are not necessarily motivated by financial gain. In fact, for some actors, the potential of exploiting a cyber event to inject systemic risk into our highly interconnected global financial system may actually be an enticement. Beyond general concerns about cyber risks that are common to many firms, discussion papers and official-sector policy documents have noted the threat of cyber attacks on financial market infrastructure and bank deposits. Some reports mention the implications for confidence in financial institutions and the potential for runs. We are not aware, however, of prior work on the nature of a cyber run, including its propagation dynamics, potential scale, and ancillary effects on the payment system.

Could a cyber attack on a large bank’s wholesale depositors morph into a serious and contagious bank run? This Hutchins Center working paper by Darrell Duffie of Stanford University and Joshua Younger of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analyzes the financial-stability implications of such a “cyber run.”

Race to 5G Puts U.S. Economic and National Security at Risk, According to New INSA White Paper

Arlington, VA (June 17, 2019) – In the global race to 5G, it is imperative that U.S. policymakers, wireless carriers, and technology leaders work together to ensure U.S. economic and national security, according to a new white paper issued today by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA).

The National Security Challenges of Fifth Generation (5G) Wireless Communications: Winning the Race to 5G, Securely, discusses how Chinese dominance of the market for 5G equipment undermines U.S. economic and national security and calls for incentives to bolster U.S. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) manufacturing. The paper offers six key recommendations that government and private sector should take to develop a 5G network compatible with U.S. national security interests and to promote investment in U.S. ICT and wireless innovation.

The INSA paper notes the risks of relying upon Chinese-manufactured equipment for the United States’ 5G infrastructure, including the potential theft of U.S. intellectual property and national security information, sabotage of civilian critical infrastructure, and the inability of U.S. military forces and government agencies to communicate and operate securely. In a larger context, the report finds that Chinese dominance of the equipment that may serve as the world’s information backbone challenges the United States’ traditional position as the global leader in technology innovation – a dynamic that could undermine U.S. companies’ competitiveness and reverberate throughout the economy.

Whole-of-Government Cyber Information Sharing

Cyberspace is expanding very fast. Naturally, there is a direct correlation between the increasing speed of cyber and the associated security and defence risks for its end users and organisations, be it public or private sector. This paper examines the existing and proposed information sharing frameworks and puts forward a set of best practices along with the associated challenges.

The interconnected networks are mostly built and operated by private Internet Service Provider (ISP) companies. In most countries, government networks not isolated networks but inter-connected as well. When it comes to network security, there is no firm line between private and governmental domains. Considering the operating zone and practice areas of each entity in cyber, they are responsible for different tasks, each one focusing on different aspects of this pool of information. Although they often share a common interest in the information they seek, even while they are not aware of the utility of some of the information in their possession, that information may prove valuable to other parties. Potential benefits of cyber information sharing have been always apparent: lowering costs, increasing benefits, wider situational awareness and quick access to data when required. Yet in real life, a complete efficiency and utilization of all information in cyberspace are far from possible.

Use Of Cyber War As Force Multiplier In US-Iran Escalation – OpEd

By Zaheema Iqbal and Hammaad Salik

The US-Iran relations have escalated since the withdrawal of the United States of America from the Iran nuclear deal. This resulted in harsh sanctions exacerbating the sharp decline of Iran’s economy. The US government has prohibited trade with many Iranian business sectors including carpets, pistachios, aviation and gold. The cyberattacks are the latest episode in the “Ghost Wars” as both Iran and US are heavily engaged in targeting each other’s cyberspace.

On the upside, even if the current US campaign fails to dislodge the Tehran government, it could cause significant long-term damage to Iran’s economic, military and scientific infrastructure, setting back the country’s military ambitions in the region. This outcome is probably most feasible to US allies in the Middle East, who aren’t worried about the prospect of United States committing to an open-ended military conflict with Iran.

The Trump administration appears ready to decertify Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite a lack of evidence of Iranian violations. For critics of the JCPOA, this represents a move in the right direction; the goal of U.S. policy should be the end of the Islamic Republic and the overthrow of the existing regime in Tehran. Instead of an invasion, the United States would likely induce regime collapse through a policy of military and economic strangulation, led by airstrikes, sea-launched cruise missile strikes and the vigorous employment of special cyber operations forces.

Want to improve the Army’s infantry?

By: Kelsey Reichmann  

The Army is in the market for robots and artificial intelligence technology to support its ground infantry troops, increasing their lethality, mobility, protection, situational awareness, endurance, persistence and depth.

An announcement — intended primarily for members of the National Advanced Mobility Consortium, but out there for industry in general — alerts interested parties that the Army is hoping to gain insight into paths that could inform dismounted infantry platoon capabilities through manned-unmanned teaming.

A request for white papers on robotic ground, air, water and virtual systems is expected to be issued in early July by the Army Contracting Command - Warren (ACC-WRN), according to the special notice on FedBizOpps. In the week following the release, the government is hoping to hold a “Virtual Industry Day” to give clearer guidelines regarding government requirements.

The government is expected to then release a Request for Prototype Proposals in October to those who are chosen during the first phase, according to the notice. The government does not intend, however, to enter into a follow-on production effort.