16 July 2019

Don’t be miserly with disability pensions for faujis

Nalin Mehta

For a government that is so invested in its public imagery to promoting the cult of the soldier as the vanguard of the republic, it is strange to see so much soldiering angst over what many in uniform regard as petty bureaucratic moves to curtail their entitlements. The latest flashpoint is the June 24 circular by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) which makes previously tax-free disability pensions, which are paid over and above regular pensions to disabled soldiers, taxable. Only soldiers who are forced to leave service prematurely due to a disability incurred in service are exempt.

It means that other disabled soldiers, like Major General Ian Cardozo (retd) of 5 Gorkha Rifles, who famously amputated his leg with a khukri after a landmine blast in the 1971 war and then went on to become the Indian Army’s first war-disabled officer to command a regiment and brigade, will lose the tax-free status on their disability pensions. All because he soldiered on with one leg to complete service.

Not surprisingly, this has led to much heartburn with several distinguished veterans coming out openly in opposition. To be sure, defence minister Rajnath Singh has assured Parliament that he has sought a clarification from CBDT and emphasised that “under no circumstances” will the government let “whatever conveniences were earlier available in the case of valid disability cases” be reduced.

Budget has failed to create an India that can compete

SA Aiyar

The Economic Survey said rightly that no country had ever grown fast without buoyant exports, and called for policies to generate a virtuous cycle of rising exports, GDP, savings and investment. The budget fails comprehensively to do this. Far from taking India to 8% growth, it could take India down to 6%.

Why have exports hardly grown for five years? Because India is a high-cost economy that cannot compete with its Asian peers. India has among the highest-cost land, labour, capital, electricity, railway freight rates, air freight, corporate and income tax rates. A thrust for 8% growth requires lowering every one of these rates. Alas, the budget goes in the opposite direction.

Back in 2007, finance minister Chidambaram grasped the importance of being competitive, and decreed that import duties should be reduced till they approximated the Asian norm of 10%. That was achieved by a series of cuts till 2008, and helped fuel India’s biggest boom. Then Arun Jaitley said India would cut its corporate tax rate to 25% to compete with Asia.

This vision has been abandoned by Nirmala Sitharaman. She has done nothing to bring down the high costs of so many items. She has yet to cut corporate tax to the promised 25% rate for large companies with revenue of over Rs 400 crore. Meanwhile corporate tax in many Asian countries has fallen to 15-20%.

Raghuram Rajan: How Markets and the State Betray Communities

This wide-ranging interview by Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel with Raghuram Rajan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, covers topics ranging from his new book to the economic future of China and India. Joining the discussion, which occurred on Wharton Business Radio’s Behind the Markets show on SirusXM, were Jeremy Schwartz, Liqian Ren and Gaurav Sinha from WisdomTree ETF Investments. Schwartz is also the regular moderator for the show, which features Siegel.

In summarizing his new book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind, Rajan explained how the deterioration of support for people from their local communities, themselves left behind by markets and governments, has been the key reason for the rise in different varieties of populism, which he says now threaten capitalistic economic systems.

The Religious Tensions Behind the Attacks in Sri Lanka

By Neil DeVotta And Sumit Ganguly 

The series of suicide bombings at Christian churches and hotels in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, on Easter Sunday threatened to rip apart the country’s complex ethno-religious fabric. The government has blamed the attacks on two obscure Islamist groups called the Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim and the National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ). It appears the latter has links to jihadists outside Sri Lanka, including the Islamic State, or ISIS. If that attribution bears out, the attacks are likely to inflame tensions between the country’s Buddhist majority and its Muslim minority—and to promote sectarianism in the wider region, too.


Sri Lanka is no stranger to terrorism, having lived through a nearly three-decade-long civil war that pitted the majority Sinhalese against minority Tamil separatist organizations, most notably the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. During the war, the LTTE carried out dozens of suicide attacks. But last weekend’s carnage was unprecedented. The bombs killed over 300 people and injured at least 500 more.

Government to issue licenses for business with Huawei


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday that his department will issue licenses to U.S. companies to sell products to Chinese telecommunications group Huawei in cases where there is no national security risk.

As first reported by Reuters, Ross said that Huawei, which U.S. experts view with suspicion over its reported ties to the Chinese government, will stay on the Commerce Department’s “entity list.” U.S. companies are banned from selling to companies on that list, to which Huawei was added in May due to national security concerns.

Commerce had issued a 90-day extension on the company being formally added to give U.S. companies time to adjust. 

However, President Trump threw the issue into question last month when he announced at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Japan that U.S. companies would be allowed to sell equipment to Huawei if there were no national security concerns involved.

That New Consensus on China? It’s Wrong

By Susan Thornton

The chorus of U.S. complaints about China has grown familiar and deafening: “China has cheated on trade, stolen our intellectual property and sold us cheap goods.” “China aims to kick us out of the Pacific, undermine our alliances and displace the U.S. as the globe’s preeminent power.” “China breaks international conventions and incarcerates its ethnic minority populations. It aims to export a dystopian model of authoritarian capitalism, weaken our values and undermine democracies everywhere.” 

China’s rise does pose serious challenges to the U.S. and the global order, which need to be addressed. And many of these complaints are longstanding, so naturally it feels good to hit back. 

Yet, even during the most hair-trigger days of the Cold War, the Soviet Union wasn’t treated to such mindless, almost juvenile hostility from the U.S. government. Cabinet officials rant caustically about Chinese efforts to build infrastructure in other countries. The head of the FBI names China a “whole-of-society threat” and a high-ranking State Department official asserts that the U.S. is involved in a “clash of civilizations” because China is “not Caucasian.” U.S. air and naval missions close to Chinese territory spur a daily, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse, while U.S. officials assert publicly that the U.S. and China are already engaged in a “cyber war.”


Ryan Gallagher

The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.

Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people.

Semptian, Google, and Xilinx did not respond to requests for comment. The OpenPower Foundation said in a statement that it “does not become involved, or seek to be informed, about the individual business strategies, goals or activities of its members,” due to antitrust and competition laws. An IBM spokesperson said that his company “has not worked with Semptian on joint technology development,” but declined to answer further questions. A source familiar with Semptian’s operations said that Semptian had worked with IBM through a collaborative cloud platform called SuperVessel, which is maintained by an IBM research unit in China.

Ai Weiwei: Can Hong Kong’s Resistance Win?

By Ai Weiwei

Dear Hong Kong people: Our struggle is taking time, so we must guard that our will not wilt. We must insist that the bill be completely withdrawn, that the government’s slander of our protests as “riots” be rescinded, that detained protesters be released, that Carrie Lam step down, and that the police be severely punished. My wish is to use one small life in support of these demands, which come from two million of you!

The message is painted in red, in an unsteady hand. The lines droop at their ends, as if determined but exhausted. Ms. Lo Hiu Yan then throws herself from the stairwell opening to the ground outside. Her wish is realized.

On June 9, about a million people in Hong Kong demonstrated against a Beijing-sponsored “extradition bill” that would allow citizens of Hong Kong to be sent to the People’s Republic of Chinato stand trial. On June 16 another protest drew an estimated two million — more than a quarter of the city’s population. A majority of protesters were in their teens or 20s. The size, ideals and good order of the demonstrations drew admiration from around the world. But in the end the Hong Kong police used tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests to disperse the protesters. The government called them “thugs.”

SPECIAL REPORT: China, Russia Hypersonic Programs - Real Progress or Bluster?

By Connie Lee

This part 2of a 2-part special report on hypersonic technologies. 

China and Russia’s intention to pursue hypersonic weapons lit a fire under the U.S. military, forcing it to re-invigorate its own programs.

But just how far the two rivals have come in their own programs and whether or not they can penetrate the United States’ missile defenses is a matter of debate. Are they behind?

Have they caught up? Or are they ahead of the United States when it comes to this disruptive technology?

The answers are opaque, experts said.

When the United States began to shift its attention to counterrorism missions after the Cold War, Russia and China used it as an opportunity to bolster their air and missile portfolios, said Tom Karako, director of the missile defense project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

How We Tamed the F-35’s Spiraling Costs — and Created a Model for Controlling Waste


My late friend Sen. John McCain once called me to complain about an inexcusably large cost overrun on an aircraft carrier. “Ash,” he said, “how am I supposed to support the DOD budget the way you want when the voters are reading about this kind of thing?”

McCain’s words stung, but he had a fair point. The Department of Defense asks for and receives nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars every year to defend America. Contending with multiple threats from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorists can’t be done on the cheap. But it’s unreasonable to expect taxpayers to fork over that amount of money unless it’s managed responsibly.

As someone who served in the Pentagon’s top three jobs – as the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, the official responsible for buying weapons and sealing contracts; and later as the Deputy Secretary and finally as Secretary of Defense – I’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly of defense program management. The good news is that, contrary to old tales of $640 toilet seats and $435 hammers, discipline in the DoD’s spending and procurement has come to be the rule and not the exception. How America’s largest bureaucracy got there is a story of tough accountability, right incentives, and tenacious focus on the needs of troops themselves.

The Right Way to Deal With Huawei

By Adam Segal 

Over the past year and a half, the Trump administration has waged an extraordinary campaign against Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, involving criminal indictments, trade sanctions, and diplomatic pressure on U.S. friends and allies. In May, the administration raised the stakes even further. President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking U.S. businesses from using equipment and services made by companies controlled by “adversary governments.” Although the order did not name Huawei or China, it was clearly aimed straight at them.

The same day that Trump signed the order, the Commerce Department placed Huawei and 68 of its affiliates on a list of firms to which U.S. companies may not sell components without government approval. Huawei will suffer even more serious consequences from its inclusion on this list than it will from the executive order. Four major U.S. technology companies—Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, and Xilinx—almost immediately stopped working with Huawei, and Google announced that it would no longer provide the Android mobile operating system to Huawei smartphones. Although the Commerce Department later suspended the ban for 90 days, Huawei’s future remains uncertain. At an event at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, said he expected revenues to decline by $30 billion over the next two years because of U.S. actions, down from an annual $107 billion in 2018.

Factbox: Turkey's Russian missile deal strains ties with Washington

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Russia started delivering advanced missile defence equipment to NATO member Turkey on Friday, the Defence Ministry in Ankara said, setting the stage for likely U.S. sanctions on Ankara.

The dispute over the S-400 air defence missiles, which the United States says are incompatible with NATO military systems and could threaten U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets which Turkey has also ordered, is one of several issues which have frayed ties between the two allies.


Friday’s delivery of the first parts of the S-400s to a military air base outside Ankara is likely to trigger U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Under the CAATSA legislation, which targets purchases of military equipment from Russia, U.S. President Donald Trump should select five of 12 possible sanctions ranging from banning visas and denying access to the U.S.-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the U.S. financial system and denying export licenses.

Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia

By Aaron Stein 

Turkey’s fraught relationship with the United States has been in a downward spiral for years. Divided over an ever-lengthening list of issues, from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian turn to the United States’ refusal to extradite a Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, the putative allies are increasingly at odds. Yet there is still a widespread belief among U.S. policymakers and national security professionals that despite the superficial hostility, the Turkish national security elite continues to view the United States as an indispensable ally. Ankara cannot secure its national interests without working with the U.S. government, or so the thinking goes. 

But since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which paved the way for a more assertive Kurdish regional government, Turkey has viewed the United States as a destabilizing force in the Middle East. U.S. support for Kurdish militias in Syria has cemented that view in Ankara, driving Turkey into Russia’s arms and raising questions about the country’s commitment to NATO. For proof of how little faith Turkey places in Washington these days, look no further than its plan to acquire Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system. 

How Iran Sees Its Standoff With the United States

By Seyed Hossein Mousavian 

My old mother is very ill, and so I have spent the last couple of weeks with her in Iran. My stay here has afforded me the opportunity to closely follow both public and official opinion during a time of rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

“What will happen to the nuclear agreement?” ordinary people have asked me. “Why did the United States violate the deal, even though Iran remained faithful to it?”

Iran’s economic situation has deteriorated since the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions after withdrawing from the deal. Government dysfunctionalities are partly responsible for the malaise, but Iranians nevertheless blame the United States for it. They do so because they are convinced that the party that did not keep its end of the nuclear bargain was the Trump administration, not the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia

By Aaron Stein 

Turkey’s fraught relationship with the United States has been in a downward spiral for years. Divided over an ever-lengthening list of issues, from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian turn to the United States’ refusal to extradite a Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, the putative allies are increasingly at odds. Yet there is still a widespread belief among U.S. policymakers and national security professionals that despite the superficial hostility, the Turkish national security elite continues to view the United States as an indispensable ally. Ankara cannot secure its national interests without working with the U.S. government, or so the thinking goes. 

But since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which paved the way for a more assertive Kurdish regional government, Turkey has viewed the United States as a destabilizing force in the Middle East. U.S. support for Kurdish militias in Syria has cemented that view in Ankara, driving Turkey into Russia’s arms and raising questions about the country’s commitment to NATO. For proof of how little faith Turkey places in Washington these days, look no further than its plan to acquire Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system. 


By Dr. Patrick M. Cronin

The United States is a “seapower” in all senses of the word. Its history, prosperity, and security are inseparable from the oceans. Even U.S. states without coastlines depend on global supply chains and markets that move primarily through the oceans.

The United States neglects its Navy at its peril. But military power must be accompanied by other types of power, both hard and soft. In his analysis of five maritime great powers, Professor Andrew Lambert explains how might and identity derive not exclusively from naval power, but also from the aptitude for using the seas cooperatively.1 The crucial distinction between seapowers and more insular continental powers is the art of perpetuating profitable economic and political ties with others. “A seapower, the ancient Greek thalassokratia,” writes Lambert, “was a state that consciously chose to create and sustain a fundamental engagement between nation and ocean, from political inclusion to the rule of law, across the entire spectrum of national life, in order to achieve great power status.”2

F-35 Sales Are America’s Belt and Road


Imagine a globe-spanning economic and security project—with a cost of over a trillion dollars and whose members encompass 46 percent of the global economy—designed to advance the interests and influence of the lead state, even as it binds the smaller ones into an asymmetric interdependence. Recipients get large economic rewards for participating, but they will find it even more expensive to extract themselves from the network in the long run.

Perhaps one day, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which by the most generous definition of membership encompasses 40 percent of the world economy in its sprawling infrastructure initiatives, will live up to this description. But the United States’ Joint Strike Fighter program, peddling the F-35 fighter jet, already does, something the recent brinkmanship between Turkey and the United States makes clearer than ever.

What is Trump's Iran end game?


Among the biggest mysteries of the Trump administration’s foreign policies is its end game with Iran. 

Is the objective, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated, a new Iran deal more advantageous to the U.S. than the one fashioned by his predecessor? Is it regime collapse or even change, as President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has intimated?

And what exactly is desired by Trump, a president who has vacillated between threatening Iran with obliteration on one day and repeatedly offering to meet with the Iranian president on the next?

The most likely answer is that Trump doesn’t know what he wants to do with Iran—and if he does, his administration hasn’t made it clear, let alone been singing off the same sheet of music.

Tomgram: Michael Klare, It's Always the Oil

by Michael Klare

What more did you need to know once Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban, was Iranian-inspired or plotted, one “in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests”? In other words, behind the Sunni extremist insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 lurks the regime of the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran that many in Washington have been eager to fight since at least the spring of 2003 (when, coincidentally enough, the Bush administration was insisting that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime had significant ties to al-Qaeda).

It couldn’t have made more sense once you thought about it. I don’t mean Pompeo’s claim itself, which was little short of idiotic, but what lurked behind it. I mean the knowledge that, only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress had passed an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that allowed the president (and any future president, as it turned out) “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

North Korea’s Military Capabilities

by Eleanor Albert

The United States and its Asian allies regard North Korea as a grave security threat. North Korea has one of the world’s largest conventional military forces, which, combined with its missile and nuclear tests and aggressive rhetoric, has aroused concern worldwide. But world powers have been ineffective in slowing its path to acquire nuclear weapons.

While it remains among the poorest countries in the world, North Korea spends nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its military, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Its brinkmanship will continue to test regional and international partnerships aimed at preserving stability and security. Recent U.S.-North Korea summits and U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s brief meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone in June 2019, have deepened direct diplomacy. But the negotiations so far demonstrate that the dismantling of North Korea’s arsenal will remain a lengthy and challenging process.
What are North Korea’s nuclear capabilities?

North Korea has tested a series of different missiles, including short-, medium-, intermediate-, and intercontinental- range, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Rare Earth Elements: Global Reserves and Production

Diplomats Fear Chilling Effect of British Ambassador’s Resignation


The humiliation of British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch, who until a week ago was hosting senior Trump administration officials at dinners and parties but who resigned Wednesday after being cut off by an angry U.S. president, could make foreign diplomats think twice before offering honest assessments of the Trump administration to their governments, veteran diplomats say. 

The United Kingdom’s envoy to Washington, who has been in his job since 2016, found himself on the receiving end of blistering tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump after the leak of Darroch’s confidential cables to London, which cast a negative light on the inner workings of the Trump administration. Beyond back-and-forths on Twitter between Trump and the British foreign secretary, the leaking of a massive trove of diplomatic cables could have other lasting impacts, causing diplomats to self-censor their cables and policy recommendations.

“Congratulations Again, Mr. President”: Trump and the Co-opting of the G.O.P.

By Susan B. Glasser

Donald Trump hates criticism but loves to criticize. As President, he’s done more of it than perhaps any of his predecessors. He is a cry baby, a snowflake, a wimp, as he himself might say. Many leaders are thin-skinned, but few are so publicly, transparently, unreservedly so. Along with a brazen disregard for facts

How US postal inspectors go ‘undercover’ on the dark web

By David Thornton

For federal agents investigating cybercrimes, gathering open source intelligence is a lot like going undercover. They establish fake identities to gain the trust of the bad guys, and gather information on criminal activities. They just do it all from a keyboard.Michael Ray, inspector in charge of cybercrime and analytics at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

“To simplify it, you’re basically just trying to make yourself look like a bad guy, right?” Michael Ray, inspector in charge of cybercrime and analytics at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, told Federal News Network. “And there’s a lot of different methods and tactics and practices behind that. But it’s how do you do that in a very effective, timely manner?”

The challenge is that the internet has now been around for a long time. Both the good guys and the bad guys are capable of looking into the history of a user or a vendor on a particular marketplace.

How to Fix the Flaws in Trump’s Approach to U.S. National Security

Steven Metz

Editor’s Note: This will be Steven Metz’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Steve for more than six years of keen insights into U.S. strategy, national security and defense policy, all delivered with pristine logic in a uniquely direct style.

Last week, I argued that President Donald Trump’s foreign and national security policy has produced few tangible gains but has caused a dangerous decay in America’s alliances and partnerships and an erosion of U.S. global influence. Under Trump’s direction, the approach to the world that served the United States well for decades has crumbled, but there is no discernible replacement. The primary reason for that is Trump’s attitude toward statecraft, particularly his failure to follow time-tested principles of strategy. But there are three additional flaws in how Trump has handled U.S. national security and foreign policy. Is there any way to fix them?

With power dispersed between the executive and legislative branches and public support for a given policy still important, effective strategy must reflect a broad presidential vision that spells out national priorities and objectives. Then, to augment security and promote national interests, a successful president must build and empower a capable team both at the senior level and in the middle rungs of government, where much of the day-to-day work of statecraft is actually done. The president must establish and reinforce a positive command climate to ensure that this team works when he or she is not there. Successful presidents recognize the limits of their own expertise and time and thus delegate. They only personally intervene in making or implementing policy when doing so can have a major effect, such as breaking up an impasse in Congress or among their Cabinet or energizing a significant shift in policy. Presidents must be selective in how they engage, and on which issues.

Trump brings relations with the United Kingdom to a new low

Thomas Wright

Trump actively undermined May on at least a dozen occasions—whether by interfering in investigations into terrorist attacks or criticizing her Brexit strategy—but every single time, the prime minister turned the other cheek. She went out of her way to make the state visit a success. The president brought his extended family to London and seemed to treasure every moment. Trump could not have wished for a prime minister who was less demanding or more sycophantic.

Trump gave May nothing in return. Her government’s extraordinary generosity and tolerance of the intolerable could not even save the U.K.’s ambassador, Kim Darroch, from the president’s wrath. After the ambassador’s cables were leaked to the Daily Mail, Trump denounced him as a “pompous fool” who had not served the U.K. well. He declared that his administration would no longer deal with him. Darroch was immediately disinvited from a White House dinner with the emir of Qatar. He resigned this morning.

This brings U.S.-U.K. relations to a new postwar low. The president’s casual cruelty toward friends and the failure of Darroch’s many friends inside the Trump administration to say anything publicly on his behalf speak volumes about how much value the Trump administration places on alliances.

The Lost Art of American Diplomacy

By William J. Burns 

Diplomacy may be one of the world’s oldest professions, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood. It’s mostly a quiet endeavor, less swaggering than unrelenting, oftentimes operating in back channels, out of sight and out of mind. U.S. President Donald Trump’s disdain for professional diplomacy and its practitioners—along with his penchant for improvisational flirtations with authoritarian leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un—has put an unaccustomed spotlight on the profession. It has also underscored the significance of its renewal.

The neglect and distortion of American diplomacy is not a purely Trumpian invention. It has been an episodic feature of the United States’ approach to the world since the end of the Cold War. The Trump administration, however, has made the problem infinitely worse. There is never a good time for diplomatic malpractice, but the administration’s unilateral diplomatic disarmament is spectacularly mistimed, unfolding precisely at a moment when American diplomacy matters more than ever to American interests. The United States is no longer the only big kid on the geopolitical block, and no longer able get everything it wants on its own, or by force alone.

Army chief Milley strongly backs 'dual hat' role at Cyber Command

By Lauren C. Williams

Filling the Defense Department's 12 leadership vacancies is vital for military accountability to civilians and overall "effectiveness and efficiency of the department," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley during his Senate nomination hearing for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff July 11.

Senate Armed Services Committee leaders, Chairman James Inhofe (R - Okla.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), expressed displeasure with DOD's vacancies -- and lack of presidential nominations -- during the hearing.

While Inhofe worried the vacancies created undue hardship, Reed characterized the situation as a "vacuum of civilian leadership," calling on the president to quickly submit nominations of qualified candidates. But the senator also worried about organizational fit and shifting roles and responsibilities.

Joint Chiefs nominee wants to boost information warfare

By: Mark Pomerleau   

The White House nominee to be the Pentagon’s top uniformed official said the Department of Defense needs to improve its non-kinetic capabilities.

As the department shifts to prioritizing competition against China and Russia, which feature cyber, electronic warfare and information warfare tools that can create confusion and loss of confidence in systems, the United States will have to invest in these systems in kind, said Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nominee to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In a questionnaire released as part of his confirmation hearing July 11, Milley wrote that, in combating Russian actions below the threshold of military conflict, additional “information operations” capabilities would benefit European Command, adding he would look closely at capabilities if confirmed. When asked if there are other DoD organizations that should be merged to increase unity of effort under the banner of information warfare, similar to how the Air Force is merging two of its numbered Air Forces to create the first information warfare numbered Air Force. Milley said it will be a priority initially.

How to Nudge the Army Onto a Different Course

By Joe Byerly and Casey Dean

For many young leaders, the Army can be a frustrating experience. They see areas that can be improved upon but quickly become frustrated with conservative leadership, bloated bureaucracies and navigating a system that can favor time in service and rank over good ideas.

In 1970, economist Albert O. Hirschman published a treatise titled, “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.” While the essay falls within the area of economics, it offers some food for thought to leaders serving in the Army today. Hirschman compares two competing paths that members of an organization can take when the organization isn’t performing to a preferred standard.

The first is a passive route, with people showing their displeasure by exiting the organization, hoping their exit will send the message that there is a problem and someone else needs to fix it. We’ve seen several “innovators” take this path and write op-eds from the outside. However, in many cases, they are yelling into the wind because they are no longer part of the organization and lack the buy-in maintained by those who are still in.