3 September 2019

The Road to 'Naya Kashmir'

Raj Chengappa 

The sprawling Dal Lake, surrounded by emerald green mountains, is both the heart and the soul of Kashmir. Every August, the lake is full of life, with tourists thronging its banks, taking selfies; dozens of shikaras, weighed down with sightseers, gliding on its waters; and vendors selling roasted bhutta (corn on the cob) and mutton tikkas doing brisk business. Not this August though.

It's a bright Saturday morning, and 19 days since the Modi government's momentous decision on August 5 to overturn Article 370 of the Constitution, ending the special status that Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed for 70 years. The lake and its surroundings are deserted. Empty shikaras float tethered together near the pier with no boatmen in sight. A couple of anglers sit at the edge of the lake, casting their lines in the hope of catching some fish. A Kashmiri couple on a shikara does the same, the woman paddling and the man lowering a net into the water. Stray joggers pound the paved pathway girding the lake as gun-toting guards keep watch on the lakefront from behind sandbag bunkers.

Asia’s geopolitical chessboard is witnessing a power shift

Brahma Chellaney 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok next week as the chief guest at the Eastern Economic Forum, and for the annual bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, comes at a time of Asian geopolitical flux. The US-China trade war has escalated, South Korea-Japan ties are under strain, Beijing appears poised to militarily crush Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, and the deepening Sino-Pakistan strategic nexus has emboldened Islamabad to step up bellicose rhetoric against India.

The larger Asian challenges centre on ensuring respect for existing frontiers and establishing a pluralistic and stable regional order. India is wedged between two closely aligned, nuclear-armed and revanchist states that lay claim to large Indian territories. China is also the primary impediment to a stable balance of power.

Asia’s geopolitical landscape will be shaped by five key powers: America, China, India, Japan and Russia. Equations within this strategic pentagon will profoundly influence Asian geopolitics. As Asia’s geographical hub, China is especially vulnerable to the same geopolitical game it plays against India — strategic encirclement — if the other four powers cooperate with each other.

The best approach for J&K is neither Israel's nor China's

‘The one thing India has over these two States, whose toughness awes us, is our ability to embrace diversity with ease. 

'The way ahead lies in learning from Vajpayee’s method, not in Xi Jinping’s,’ says Shekhar Gupta.

IMAGE: Police and paramilitary personnel deployed on duty in Srinagar on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photograph: ANI Photo

Last week’s National Interest column had applied a tough fact and reality check to the five most prominent myths on Jammu and Kashmir believed by our liberal community.

It should logically follow that we now do exactly the same with many firmly held beliefs of the Right nationalists. This is an enormously larger group, given the overwhelming Narendra Modi-BJP voter base.

Among them, the belief that Article 370 and the “two-timing perfidy” of Kashmiri leaders are the only problem is even stronger than the liberal sense of collective injustice by the Indian State.

Afghanistan conflict: Taliban storm key northern city

Taliban fighters have attacked the strategic northern Afghan city of Kunduz, setting off a major battle with security forces.

The governments says its air strikes have slowed down the militants, who entered the city from four directions.

But the militants have not retreated from their positions, reports say.

Reports say at least three civilians and dozens of fighters died. At least another 10 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted city police.

The fighting comes in the midst of historic negotiations for a deal between the Taliban and the US.

Gunfire could be heard across the city, where electricity and most telephone services had been cut.

Middle Powers, Joining Together: The Case of Vietnam and Australia

By Le Dinh Tinh and Hoang Long

Middles powers need each other more, not less, as great power competition roils the Asia-Pacific.

On August 23, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison became the first Australian leader to pay an official visit to Vietnam in 25 years.

The visit comes at an important point in time. Global affairs have been gripped by escalating competition between the United States and China in various areas, from politics and trade to defense and technology. The seemingly endless trade war between the U.S. and China has arguably put more strain on already weak global growth and remnants of the volatile recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. High public debt and anti-globalization sentiments are on the rise in different parts of the world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, while hailed by many, risks widening the technological gaps between nations and sowing division within societies. Transnational challenges such as climate change, food security, protection of the environment and regional flashpoints such as the Korean Peninsula or the South China Sea (which Vietnam refers to as the East Sea) continues to demand for more political will and international cooperation. The global landscape usually comprises positive and negative forces but at its current state is bears more dark shades and unpredictability.

The One Word That Could Foretell Catastrophe in Hong Kong

Howard W. French

One of the first things that clinched my interest in China—and this will inevitably date myself—was its fierce and utterly unique political language, the stuff of endless campaigns of denunciation and ideological warfare. Think the bloodcurdling epithets used to attack enemies during the late Mao period, like “running dog of imperialism” or “capitalist roader,” and, when that long era finally wound to a close, “gang of four.”

Language like this has almost entirely disappeared from the rhetorical lexicon of the Chinese state. But there is one important form of it that has remained on the shelf, in two words found only in China: “splittism” and “splittist.” The first is for any movement that seeks to break away from China; the second is used to label and thereby castigate any adherent of such a movement and target him or her for destruction.

Every telecom company can be hacked and “everybody should be suspect,” Huawei USA’s chief security officer says

By Eric Johnson

In May, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, authorizing the federal government to block sales of equipment from “foreign adversaries” to American companies.

The fear, boiled down to basics, is that because China’s government has historically had close control over its tech industry, it could force Huawei to let it spy on American networks. Trump’s executive order was supported by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who in May said, “protecting America’s communications networks is vital to our national, economic, and personal security.”

An ensuing ban on US companies doing business with Huawei has since been postponed, twice and is currently set to take effect in late November. The ban was delayed because many small wireless carriers, especially in rural areas of the US, have come to depend on Huawei’s cheaper equipment.

What Recent Promotions Tells Us About the ‘New Normal’ in China’s Military

By Ying Yu Lin

After uncertainty caused by reform and anti-corruption, the PLA’s personnel management is returning to normal patterns.

Every July, a list of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general and flag officers (GFOs) promoted to higher ranks is made known to the public. There has always been a lot of speculation in the media about each service’s possible candidates in the lead-up to the formal announcement of the promotions. From the list of GFOs announced for promotion this time, we can see that the focus is still on replacing older GFOs with younger ones and that, more importantly, the path to promotion to GFO ranks in the PLA is getting more transparent after having been in a murky state for a couple of years.

The previous uncertainty about promotion was due to efforts to get rid of the remaining members of the factions formed by ex-Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairmen Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, who had fallen from power because of corruption. Many senior officers who were initially considered to be “future stars” either lost favor or were transferred to less important positions, where they stayed till retirement, while some younger GFOs climbed to top positions to the surprise of many people. These factors, plus the reorganization and restructuring mandated by the military reform initiated in 2016, made personnel reshuffles in the PLA highly unpredictable over the past few years. Many precedents had lost their reference value because of the military reform and anti-corruption campaign. However, by looking at the personnel changes in the PLA in the middle of 2019, we can see that new promotion norms are taking shape.

Hong Kong’s Summer of Unrest

By Jessie Lau

Five years after the Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong is once again in the midst of revolution and reclaiming.

With blood streaming from one eye, a young female medic lies slumped on the ground after being hit by a beanbag round during clashes with riot police in a Hong Kong protest. Clouds of tear gas smother the interior of a subway station where protesters are fleeing from police, stumbling over one another on escalators. In a separate incident, thugs armed with metal rods and bamboo poles launch a brazen assault on train commuters. They attack indiscriminately, even as victims fall to their knees in surrender, begging their assailants to spare the women and children cowering behind them.

Such scenes have scorched the heart of Hong Kong since the start of this “summer of unrest,” when a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China plunged the city into a state of crisis that has escalated to precipitous heights. What began as a largely peaceful anti-extradition protest that drew a historic 2 million to the streets has since transformed into an increasingly violent, anti-government and anti-police movement fighting for broader political reform, as well as an end to Beijing’s authoritarian interventions in the semi-autonomous territory.

Trump’s Assault on the Global Trading System

By Chad P. Bown And Douglas A. Irwin

And Why Decoupling From China Will Change Everything

Donald Trump has been true to his word. After excoriating free trade while campaigning for the U.S. presidency, he has made economic nationalism a centerpiece of his agenda in office. His administration has pulled out of some trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and renegotiated others, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Many of Trump’s actions, such as the tariffs he has imposed on steel and aluminum, amount to overt protectionism and have hurt the U.S. economy. Others have had less obvious, but no less damaging, effects. By flouting international trade rules, the administration has diminished the country’s standing in the world and led other governments to consider using the same tools to limit trade arbitrarily. It has taken deliberate steps to weaken the World Trade Organization (WTO)—some of which will permanently damage the multilateral trading system. And in its boldest move, it is trying to use trade policy to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies.

The Campaign between Wars: Faster, Higher, Fiercer?

Strikes reportedly carried out by Israel over the past month in Iraq, and in recent days in Syria and Lebanon, are part of the "campaign between wars" (CBW) that Israel has waged against Iran's regional campaign of proxy warfare. These incidents mark a deviation from the routine and from the principles that had guided the campaign in recent years. The recent sequence of events has three salient characteristics: the theaters of operations, the operational tempo and their public profile. These events have possible explanations in three spheres - strategic, operational, and political - and three possible consequences: escalation in Lebanon, tensions in relations with the United States, and narrower latitude for CBW operations. Furthermore, contending with the precision-guided missile project in the Iraqi and Lebanese theaters requires adaptation of the campaign waged so far within the Syrian theater.

Over the last two years, the "campaign between wars" (CBW) waged by Israel has focused on Syrian territory, reportedly entailing hundreds of strikes against targets linked to Iran or its proxies, in a bid to prevent their entrenching militarily there, which would necessarily increase the threat to Israel. With this well under way, the past year raised the possibility that Iran would redirect some of its force buildup efforts to Iraq and Lebanon, and senior Israeli figures who warned of this possibility publicly pledged to prevent it. Over the past month, voices in Iraq attributed responsibility to Israel for attacks that blew up four weapons depots belonging to the Shiite-Iraqi militia al-Hashd al-Shabi. American officials relayed that it was Israel that had attacked at least some of the targets (while other US sources noted that some of the explosions were possibly caused by high summer temperatures and inferior safety standards), and in Israel too there were those who hinted as to Israeli responsibility. Israel recently announced that it had thwarted an attempted terrorist explosive drone attack that the Iranian Quds Force planned to launch from the Golan Heights, and that the operational squad had been struck in Aqraba, near Damascus. In parallel, it was reported that two explosive drones operated in Hezbollah’s bastion in the southern Shiite suburb of Beirut (ad-Dahiyeh), with one of them blowing up and damaging a local Hezbollah office. It was later reported that the target of the attack was precision-guided missile production equipment. Close to the time of a speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, which featured a fierce commentary on the matter, another air strike took place against Shiite militia vehicles on the Iraq-Syria border, causing fatalities and destroying rocketry. It is possible that the next day, an additional attack was carried out against a Shiite militia in the Albu Kamal area of northeast Syria.

Why the Japan-South Korea Dispute Just Got Worse

By Scott A. Snyder

Seoul’s decision to abandon an important military intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo could hurt regional security and U.S. interests related to China and North Korea.

In the wake of months-long campaigns of economic coercion, the Japan-South Korea relationship has entered a dangerous new stage with Seoul’s decision to not renew a vital intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.

Why is this intelligence-sharing agreement important?

The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) allows the Japanese and South Korean governments to share sensitive intelligence, including information related to North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities. It went into effect in 2016 and provides assurances that information will remain confidential. Now it’s set to expire in November.

Although GSOMIA is a bilateral agreement, its nonrenewal makes trilateral cooperation with Washington less efficient. Without it, only limited intelligence on North Korea will be shared between the two countries via the United States, at a time when Pyongyang is testing missiles at a furious pace.
How bad is the Japan-South Korea relationship?

South Korea’s decision marks the latest deterioration of the Japan-South Korea relationship following disagreements over a 2015 agreement on women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, known as comfort women. The situation worsened when the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that Japanese companies must compensate South Korean workers for forced labor during the war.

How a Proxy War Could Blow Up Iraq—Again

Source Link

BAGHDAD—When a mysterious drone strike killed two members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) on Sunday—and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that his country might be involved—it was only the latest sign to war-weary Iraqis that they can’t get a break. Just as they’re getting on their feet, Iraq is becoming a battleground for foreigners once again.

The PMF is an amalgam of paramilitary brigades, many of which are linked to Iran, that helped to oust the Islamic State from Iraq in late 2017. Since then, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, under pressure from Washington, has sought to integrate the brigades into the Iraqi armed forces in hopes of finally stabilizing a country torn by 16 years of nearly nonstop conflict since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

The Campaign between Wars: Faster, Higher, Fiercer?

Amos Yadlin, Assaf Orion

Strikes reportedly carried out by Israel over the past month in Iraq, and in recent days in Syria and Lebanon, are part of the "campaign between wars" (CBW) that Israel has waged against Iran's regional campaign of proxy warfare. These incidents mark a deviation from the routine and from the principles that had guided the campaign in recent years. The recent sequence of events has three salient characteristics: the theaters of operations, the operational tempo and their public profile. These events have possible explanations in three spheres - strategic, operational, and political - and three possible consequences: escalation in Lebanon, tensions in relations with the United States, and narrower latitude for CBW operations. Furthermore, contending with the precision-guided missile project in the Iraqi and Lebanese theaters requires adaptation of the campaign waged so far within the Syrian theater.

One Year On, South Sudan’s Stalled Peace Deal Is Proving Its Skeptics Right

Julian Hattem

Last September, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, signed a power-sharing deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, promising to bring an end to the five-year civil war that has crippled the world’s newest country, which declared its independence from Sudan in 2011. It wasn’t the first time. A similar agreement signed in 2015 broke down the following year, leading to fighting that prompted Machar to flee the country. 

Observers predicted the new agreement would share the fate of its predecessor. What was billed as a “revitalized” peace plan was still silent on many of the underlying drivers of violence and seemed in many ways to be a stale retread of a deal that had already failed to deliver on its promise.

One year later, the pessimists are mostly being proven right. A cease-fire has largely held, but it is a fragile peace. Key provisions of the agreement about demobilizing fighters and redrawing internal political lines remain unfulfilled. There are mounting fears that the deal’s eventual breakdown could lead to a return to large-scale violence in South Sudan. For now, the best prospect for the future involves a frustrating period of uncertainty defined merely by the absence of war, with only dim hopes for creating true political inclusion. 

Boris Johnson Is Suspending Parliament. What’s Next for Brexit?


With two months to go before Britain is due to exit the European Union, the country is mired in political dysfunction; its political leaders agree on little, if anything; and the terms on which Britain will leave the EU are yet to be agreed on.

Now, then, seems like the perfect time for Boris Johnson to up the stakes even further.

The prime minister went to the queen today to request that Parliament be suspended, a rare move that tightens the political calendar, reducing the number of days lawmakers have to debate Brexit and other measures. The House of Commons returns from its summer recess next week, and Johnson has effectively dared his opponents to unite against him in a matter of days—or cede control of the Brexit timetable to him.

Johnson says he is willing to see Britain leave the EU without a deal entirely, a scenario that his government’s own analysis states would lead to interruptions in food and medicine supply chains. His opponents have raised the possibility of a temporary national-unity government to postpone the October 31 deadline for Britain to withdraw from the bloc. Both are willing to face another election, Britain’s third in four years.

This Is Your Brain on Nationalism

By Robert Sapolsky

He never stood a chance. His first mistake was looking for food alone; perhaps things would have turned out differently if he’d been with someone else. The second, bigger mistake was wandering too far up the valley into a dangerous wooded area. This was where he risked running into the Others, the ones from the ridge above the valley. At first, there were two of them, and he tried to fight, but another four crept up behind him and he was surrounded. They left him there to bleed to death and later returned to mutilate his body. Eventually, nearly 20 such killings took place, until there was no one left, and the Others took over the whole valley.

The protagonists in this tale of blood and conquest, first told by the primatologist John Mitani, are not people; they are chimpanzees in a national park in Uganda. Over the course of a decade, the male chimps in one group systematically killed every neighboring male, kidnapped the surviving females, and expanded their territory. Similar attacks occur in chimp populations elsewhere; a 2014 study found that chimps are about 30 times as likely to kill a chimp from a neighboring group as to kill one of their own. On average, eight males gang up on the victim.

National Security in the Era of Post-Truth and Fake News

Has the era of post-truth and fake news disrupted our traditional mechanisms for understanding reality in the realm of national security? Are these mechanisms still capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood? Spin from facts? Do decision makers still regard professional fact-based analysis as the basis for decision making? There has been much debate in the media and in academia about the effects of the current period on the public and democratic processes. The purpose of this article is to warn that these phenomena also affect decision making in national security affairs. The main contention is that the terms “post-truth” and “fake news” describe a growing difficulty in clarifying and understanding reality, and consequently, in making correct decisions, including in the field of national security. This difficulty does not have a single cause; it results from a problematic convergence of factors involving political, technological, social, cultural, and ideological changes characteristic of the contemporary era. These factors find their way into rooms where national security matters are addressed, and affect – and at times disrupt – the decision making processes in these rooms.


Divide And Rule: Trump’s Strategy In Europe – OpEd

By Andrew Hammond*

US President Donald Trump and his deputy Mike Pence had both intended to be in Europe this week in a rare double header, underlining that while this administration is deeply skeptical about EU supranationalism and Brussels, it recognizes US interests in the continent, both east and west.

Until Hurricane Dorian intervened, Trump had planned to be in Poland for the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion that began the Second World War. Pence will now take his place, and also travels to the UK and Ireland. Top of the agenda in Britain will be reassuring London of post-Brexit trade ties with Washington, and in Ireland (where the vice president’s grandfather was born) stressing US commitment to the Irish peace process two decades after the Good Friday agreement. 

While Trump and Pence both value US ties with most European countries, the president in particular is deeply skeptical of the EU as an institution. While he has concerns with low levels of defense spending, the economic front and Europe’s large goods surplus with the US is the main source of his frustration. Washington may impose new tariffs this year on European car imports. 

Environmental Disaster In The Amazon – Analysis

By Claudia Ribeiro Pereira Nunes and Pedro D. Peralta*

With fire destroying the Amazon, Brazil is caught between global desires – protecting wilderness versus developing its emerging economy.

Brazil’s withdrawal from leadership in climate change is under a spotlight. As fire raged over large areas of the Amazon region, G7 leaders held urgent consultation on how to protect the rainforest that represents up to 25 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and contributes to cooling the planet. Brazil, the world’s eighth largest economy and sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is caught between global forces – the efforts to protect some of the most sensitive and pristine wilderness versus the desire to develop critical commodities.

More than 70,000 fires rage out of control in the Amazon – many deliberately set to expand farmland – setting off global alarm and underscoring expectations for responsibility by countries not to exacerbate climate change.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry notified the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in late 2018 that Brazil was withdrawing its candidacy to host the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties, or COP 25, of the UN Climate Change Convention. The conference, scheduled November 11 to 22 of this year, is dedicated to negotiating implementation of commitments achieved with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, also known as COP 21.

Korea's Future Is Dying (Thanks to Demographics)

by Anthony Fensom

South Korea's demographic decline could lead to a structural slowdown that puts a permanent brake on growth.

Threats to South Korea’s survival are not only from the North. Even as Seoul seeks detente with its communist neighbor while engaging in an increasingly bitter row with Japan, the nation’s demographic decline could see its economy facing a similar structural slowdown that puts a permanent brake on growth. 

The challenge facing Korean policymakers was highlighted by a recent government report, which showed that its falling fertility rate could see its population start declining as early as 2020.

Previous estimates in 2016 suggested the population would peak in 2023 under only the most pessimistic scenario.

Released in March this year, the report by Statistics Korea predicted South Korea’s population could peak at around fifty-one million this year, before dropping to the 1972 level of around thirty-four million by 2067 under the most pessimistic scenario.

Seniors aged sixty-five and older would account for nearly half the population by 2065 under even the medium-growth scenario, making it the grayest developed nation in the world and potentially threatening its military capabilities. 

James Schoff: Japan and Korea 'Have Given up on Each Other'

By Ankit Panda

“This episode of Japan-Korea diplomatic friction is different from past instances.”

In August, Japan and South Korea both upped the ante in their intensifying trade dispute. Japan made good on its threat to remove South Korea from a “white list” of trusted export destinations, meaning extra hoops to jump through for the export of sensitive technologies to its neighbor. South Korea responded in kind, removing Japan from its own “white list.”

Tokyo has repeatedly claimed that the new trade restrictions are the result of concerns over South Korean export controls, which Japan insists could let sensitive materials cross into North Korea or China. But many believe the restrictions are the result of a far more toxic brew of nationalism and historical issues, which is being reciprocated in South Korea.

To help sort through the root causes of today’s dispute, The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda spoke to James L. Schoff, a senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program. In the following conversation, Schoff explains 2019’s trade tensions in light of longstanding fractures in the Japan-South Korea relationship, and what that legacy means for 21st century geopolitics.

A Persistent Crisis in Central America

Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. The Trump administration's response to the problem could make it worse. Meanwhile, newly elected reformist leaders in El Salvador and Panama face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo. Explore WPR's extensive coverage of the Central America crisis.

For years, Central America has contended with the violence and corruption stemming from organized crime and the drug trade. Now the countries of the region also find themselves in U.S. President Donald Trump’s line of fire, due to the many desperate Central Americans who make their way across Mexico to seek asylum at the United States’ southern border. 

The steady stream of outward migration is driven by ongoing turmoil, particularly in Nicaragua and in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The three Northern Triangle countries rank among the most violent in the world, a legacy of the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, which destabilized security structures and flooded the region with guns. In that context, gangs—often brought back home by deportees from the U.S.—have proliferated, and along with them the drug trade and corruption, fueling increasing lawlessness. Popular unrest has done little to produce political solutions, leading many of the most vulnerable to flee. 

One Small Step for Trump’s Space Force

By Lara Seligman

The United States officially resurrects U.S. Space Command, but the fight for a Space Force is not yet done.

The United States on Thursday reestablished U.S. Space Command as the military’s operational arm in space, but the fate of President Donald Trump’s promised “Space Force” is still up in the air.

The original U.S. Space Command, created in 1985 to coordinate the space operations of the different armed services, was disbanded in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The new version is the first step in the Trump administration’s response to China and Russia’s emerging capability to disrupt U.S. space operations—through electronic jamming, shooting down satellites, and more. 

“This is a landmark day,” said Trump at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday. “Space Command will boldly deter aggression and outpace America’s rivals by far.”

The ultimate goal is to establish a Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed services under the Air Force that would organize, train, and equip a corps of military space operators—a step that still requires congressional approval. Trump was initially ridiculed for his focus on a Space Force, but the idea has gained traction in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. In a sign of the proposal’s international support, France announced the creation of its own space force last month.

The French Are Finally Doing Better Than the Germans

Ferdinando Giugliano

We’ve become so gloomy about the euro zone that it’s easy to neglect the bright spots.

After a very tough 2018 for President Emmanuel Macron, France, the second-largest economy in the monetary union, is faring much better than most experts would have assumed. Its economic model – less reliant on exports than Germany – is proving more resilient to the dangers of a U.S.-inspired trade war. At the same time, the government’s decision to embark on some fiscal stimulus at the end of last year to stave off the revolt from the “yellow vests” has proven to be lucky. It provided support just as the European economy was about to slow.

French gross domestic product expanded by 0.2% in the three months to June. While that was slightly less than expected, it was in line with the euro zone as a whole and was better than Italy and Germany. Indicators for the third quarter also appear stronger than elsewhere. In July and August, France’s manufacturing PMI – a barometer of industrial activity – was more robust than in Germany and the currency union overall. In services it was roughly in line. The European Commission expects French output to expand by 1.3% this year, in contrast with 0.5% in Germany and 0.1% in Italy.

Cyber Command is quiet about the tools they need. Here’s what they’ve told industry.

By: Mark Pomerleau   

Leaders at U.S. Cyber Command have been working to ensure its staff has the tools and infrastructure necessary to conduct operations separately from the National Security Agency.

While specificity surrounding desired and needed tools aren’t always available, contractors told Fifth Domain Cyber Command is pursuing tools to access targets and capabilities that enhance data integration. They also want a broader vision for how to ensure large programs of record mature and do not become obsolete.

“Many [proposals] have been a combination of ‘what do you have today?’ because the fight is happening today. So, what do you have today off the shelf that we can acquire to use as part of our mission,” Thomas Warner, vice president of cyber solutions at Lockheed Martin, told Fifth Domain. Or, they ask "how long would it take for you to develop [something]?”

We Need Cyber Policy Now.

Jayshree Pandya 


The human-made digital ecosystem, cyberspace, has fundamentally changed everything across nations. Cyberspace is defining the very nature of security and prosperity each individual and entity across nation: its government, industries, organizations, and academia (NGIOA) can have. How any nation and all its components inhabit the digital world and respond to its opportunities and risks will define and determine its coming tomorrow.

Today, all components of an NGIOA rely on computer-driven and interconnected information technologies and systems of the digital world. Cyberspace has already become an inseparable component of a nation’s systems, whether they be financial, social, economic, government, transportation, security, or way of life. While our ideal vision of the digital world is interoperable, reliable, and secure, the vulnerability of the fragile digital ecosystem necessitates a hybrid multi-pronged (digital, analog, discrete, and quantum) approach to securing the human cyberspace, aquaspace, geospace, and space (CAGS) information ecosystem.

How one teenager took out a secure Pentagon file sharing site

By: Andrew Eversden 

By last October, the Pentagon’s Vulnerability Disclosure Program had processed thousands of loopholes in the Department of Defense’s websites.

Then it received a report from Jack Cable.

On Oct. 25, Cable, who worked for the Defense Digital Service and was a freshman at Stanford University, reported a problem to the department through the Pentagon’s HackerOne vulnerability disclosure page.

Typically, vulnerabilities sent to the DoD through a disclosure program operated by HackerOne, an ethical hacking company that manages reporting programs for various organizations, require a simple reconfiguration or software patch. Of the 16 problems reported to the DoD on the average day, 11 tend to require action by the Pentagon, Kris Johnson, director of the Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP) at the DoD’s Cyber Crime Center (DC3), told Fifth Domain in an exclusive interview.

Cable has quite the list of accomplishments. In 2018, TIME Magazine ranked him as one of the Top 25 most influential teens. At age 17, he found 30 vulnerabilities in Air Force websites during the 2017 rendition of the “Hack the Air Force” competition. He ended up winning the contest.

Reflections On Being a Colonel

Kevin Benson

It is colonels who really run the Army, and it is tough to earn promotion to this rank. I know, as I was passed over the first time considered for promotion. I was one of two armor officers selected above the zone for colonel on the 2000 U.S. Army promotion list, and, in reflecting on that time, I thought I should write about the advice I received prior to pinning on the rank and share some lessons I learned along the way. I offer these thoughts in the spirit of a retired soldier passing knowledge on to those still in uniform. Much of what the military does is shaped and pre-decided by colonels; the final decisions come as a result of the few slides a council of colonels present to General Officer Steering Committees. What colonels must know and do is important.

Shortly after the colonels’ list was released, I had the good fortune of meeting with one of the brigade commanders in my division, a colonel nicknamed “Stumpy.” Stumpy shook my hand and gave me some advice on how to be a colonel. He told me four things: remember, he said, colonels outrank 98 percent of the people in the Army—so people will treat you differently, and, because you wear eagles, people will assume you can solve their problems. Finally, he noted, people will think that because you are a colonel you will somehow be able to be blunt—“to speak truth to power,” as he related—even if you are in the hunt for your first star.



“Mission first, people always” is a motto that rings true and cuts to the heart of what the Army is about. The Army exists to deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars, yet every aspect of operations remains a human endeavor. A soldier is behind every weapons system, tank, aircraft, computer and decision made in

order to accomplish the mission. It is a soldier, an American son or daughter, who takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution, who stands ready and courageously on point for the nation and who understands the sacrifice involved in being part of a purpose greater than self.

Soldiering is more than a job. It is a lifestyle, a calling, a labor of love and a great privilege. Respect, both for oneself and others, is a value required of leaders and soldiers at all levels to build cohesive teams and allow mission accomplishment.

In order to accomplish the mission, the Army requires soldiers and leaders of character and competence committed to living the Army Values and performing their duty in accordance with the Army Ethic anytime, anywhere. The Army Ethic is the heart of our shared professional identity as honorable servants to the nation. It defines our guiding moral principles and embodies our values, ethos, creeds, oaths, standards and laws within the Army profession. To violate the Army Ethic is to break our sacred bond of trust with each other and society.