5 September 2019

US Open Tennis

Maj Gen P K mallick, VSM (Retd)

We are now at the business end of US Open tennis championship. Today the second set of QFs will be played to determine the semifinals line up in the bottom half of the draw. 

Baby Fed Grigor Dimitrov has beaten the GOAT Roger Federer in 5 sets. 

Before the tournament started nobody in his wildest dream would have put money on Dimitrov to reach semis in current form. The 78th ranked Bulgarian lost 7 of his last 8 first round matches in first round. The other one he lost was in second round! 

He is called baby Fed because of his similar style of play like Roger Federer. His serve, volley, slices, forehand, one handed backhand, speed on court are remarkably similar. He was touted as next big thing when he won the year ending 2017 Nitto ATP finals. Then inexplicably he came under tough weather. He has been No 3 in the world. He had reached two grand slam semifinals in 2014 and 2017. He has won two junior grand slams. He has the pedigree to reach the top. 

This year he had hired Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek as Coach. Both were missing from his box today. When asked in post match talk he was evasive, meant you have to ask them for an answer. 

The Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and the Convergence of Technology and Terrorism

Kabir Taneja and Kriti M Shah

Blanket policies to counter terrorist and related content are problematic. Social media companies must approach places such as Jammu and Kashmir with a more nuanced perspective, and build bridges between state and central governments along with civil society.

Objectionable, propaganda content removal must take place faster. In Jammu and Kashmir, violent mobilisation based on online content (both fake and real) is seen as a major issue for law enforcement.

WhatsApp is the most problematic platform in India. More attention is required to addresses the issues of fake content and propaganda tailored to this platform.

Internet shutdowns by the state as a counterterrorist policy are largely ineffective. Platforms must factor in mobilisation as a metric when formulating policies to tackle content in a conflict zone.

Content sharing requires more checks and balances, and the ease of sharing needs to be revisited in light of the kind of content shared and created by terror groups or individuals.
Government and social media platforms currently suffer from a lack of trust between them; this needs to be bridged.

To Start Afghan Withdrawal, U.S. Would Pull 5,400 Troops in 135 Days

By Mujib Mashal

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States would pull 5,400 troops from Afghanistan within 135 days of signing an agreement with the Taliban, the American special envoy told Afghan leaders on Monday.

That pullout would be the start of what is expected to be the gradual withdrawal of all 14,000 United States troops that could end America’s longest running war.

The American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has led nearly a year of talks with the Taliban, told an Afghan news channel in Kabul that the United States had reached an agreement “in principle” with the Afghan insurgents, but he cautioned that final approval rested with President Trump.

“In principle, on paper, yes we have reached an agreement — that it is done,” Mr. Khalilzad told the Afghan channel ToloNews. “But it is not final until the president of the United States also agrees to it.”

Shattering Taliban attack in Kabul even as US deal nears


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban on Tuesday defended their suicide bombing against an international compound in the Afghan capital that killed at least 16 people and wounded 119, almost all local civilians, just hours after a U.S. envoy said he and the militant group had reached a deal “in principle” to end America’s longest war.

Angry Kabul residents whose homes were shredded in the explosion climbed over the buckled blast wall and set part of the compound, a frequent Taliban target, on fire. Thick smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several foreign organizations and guesthouses, whose location has become a peril to nearby local residents as well.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the attack, “which, unfortunately, ended the life of a Romanian citizen and seriously wounded another one. I reiterate our profound commitment to combating terrorism at the international level.”

Cycles of Violence: To Afghanistan and Back

As the United States seeks to end its 18-year war in Afghanistan through negotiations with the Taliban, this briefing revisits how Washington and the Western coalition have responded to the 9/11 attacks and stoked the cycle of violence that has empowered al-Qaida, Islamic State and other extreme, anti-Western groups.


In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Oxford Research Group published an examination of the likely outcomes of a vigorous military response by the United States. Unlike most analysts and commentators, Scilla Elworthy and I argued that a war against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan was the wrong response and would most probably lead to a long-drawn-out conflict.


By Col. (Ret.) Ketti Davison
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Key Takeaway: The U.S. must be clear-eyed about the challenges that will likely follow the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan. The U.S. and NATO may need to fight their way out as Afghans focus on their own survival. The withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan was painful. The withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan may be worse. 

After nearly two decades of combat operations and building partner capacity, the U.S. and NATO may withdraw most or all of their remaining forces in Afghanistan by November 2020.[1] The plan will face numerous challenges – ranging from Al-Qaeda and ISIS Wilayat Khorasan (ISIS-K) to mounting indicators of a potential new Afghan Civil War.[2] Critics have drawn unfavorable comparisons to the withdrawal of the U.S. from Iraq in 2011.[3] Yet the U.S. also ignores at its own peril the lessons learned from another source - the experience of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Endgame, Part One: Is Sirajuddin Haqqani Ready for Peace?

This is a guest post by Melissa Skorka. She served as a strategic adviser to the commander of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2011-14 and is a doctoral candidate at Oxford University’s Changing Character of War Centre.

This post is the first in a two-part series on terrorism in Afghanistan. The second is here.

As the Donald J. Trump administration aims to end a “‘slowly deteriorating stalemate,’ with ‘no military victory’ possible,” President Trump has supported withdrawing thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in exchange for peace with the Afghan Taliban. According to some accounts, the reduction of U.S. forces seems imminent, irrespective of the peace negotiation.

Notwithstanding whether Washington pulls out U.S. combat forces, Trump said he would leave “a very strong intelligence” presence in Afghanistan, which he calls the “Harvard of terrorists.” If this strategy is to achieve its security goals, it should account for a fundamental concern that has not received sufficient attention: how modern terrorist organizations usurp U.S. foreign policy in order to survive and even prosper by adapting to Western counterterrorism measures in insidious and often underestimated ways.

Asia’s Coming Era of Unpredictability

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In 1942, when U.S. marines were engaged in brutal island combat with the Japanese, with no end in sight, Nicholas J. Spykman, a Dutch American strategist who taught at Yale University, foresaw a postwar alliance between the United States and Japan against China, then a critical U.S. wartime ally. Japan, he argued, would be both loyal and useful: It would need the United States to protect the sea lanes so it could import food and oil, while its large population of consumers would form the basis of a strong trade relationship. China, on the other hand, he said, would eventually emerge from the war as a powerful and dangerous continental power, which the United States would need to balance against. Spykman also indicated that Japan would be the equivalent of Great Britain with respect to mainland Asia: a large, offshore ally of the United States.

Spykman, who died of cancer the following year, never lived to see his predictions enacted. In fact, it was a vision that would both define and stabilize Asia, granting it peace and economic prosperity for nearly three-quarters of a century. U.S. President Richard Nixon’s opening to China in 1972 put a wrinkle in that vision by moving the United States closer to China in order to balance against the Soviet Union. But the U.S.-Japan alliance nevertheless remained the bedrock of Asian stability. Without America’s partnership with Japan, the Nixon administration’s diplomatic coup in Beijing could not even have been conceived.

Data and Development: Harnessing AI in Nepal

By Manish Gyawali

Creating a strong economy should be central to any country’s developmental plans. It is clear that the best choice for a country to grow its economy today is to accept the tenets of economic liberalism: keep markets free and competitive and minimize governmental interference in markets. 

In developing countries, in which governments often have a stronger role to play in economic growth and development, it is essential that accurate data be used as the basic input in policymaking. The reasons for doing so are self-evident: collecting accurate data serves as the most reliable metric of the “baseline” state of a country. Changes in the data therefore reflect actual changes on the ground. 

Today, we have new modes of data collection that are more reliable than those used in the past. Traditionally, surveys were seen as the main instruments of data collection. Information obtained from surveys is often accurate, but designing them is difficult and time-consuming. Thankfully today, we have a plethora of other data sources that may be more current and more reliable. These new data sources include data retrieved from the internet such as the outputs of web crawling and social media, telecommunications data, and geospatial data. 

Change History: What It Will Take for Trump to 'Win' a Trade War with China

by Gordon G. Chang 

“Two years after the Trump administration’s first punishing acts towards China, the United States still faces a forever escalating trade war without clear strategies, goals, and endgames,” write Dingding Chen and Tiffany Chen.

The pair of analysts from the Guangzhou-based Intellisia Institute suggest American policy is, among other things, muddled. The title of their August 23 piece on The Diplomatsite says it all: “One Year into the U.S.-China Trade War, Trump Is Still Far from Winning.”

What, for President Trump, is “winning”?

If the two Chens are correct, it is not possible to answer that question because the American leader has not defined what he wants, and many others agree. Take Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary under George W. Bush. “We have,” Paulson told the Wall Street Journal, “a China attitude, not a China policy.”

Hong Kong’s Summer of Unrest

By Jessie Lau

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.

The Path to Reconciliation in Hong Kong

By Brian Wong

Hong Kong is currently facing arguably its worst political crisis since the 1950s. What began as a protest against an extradition law bill – widely perceived to be riddled with problematic loopholes – has since evolved into a gargantuan opposition movement to perceived governance ineptitude and lack of transparency, the city’s tumultuous trek toward universal suffrage, and deeply rooted socioeconomic inequalities.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently called for the establishment of a dialogue platform to resolve tensions, yet there is widespread public disillusionment toward her unwillingness to communicate openly or accede to any of the protesters’ five demands. Lam would benefit from seriously contemplating and expediently commencing a communicative process that would facilitate genuine reconciliation in Hong Kong. One potential exemplar is the “Great National Debate” held in France under President Emmanuel Macron.

Prior to exploring how the French model would play out in Hong Kong, we must consider the three main worries pertaining to the government’s current proposal.

How Will Hezbollah Respond to Israel’s Drone Attack?

Hanin Ghaddar

With the IDF seemingly expanding its missile hunt to Lebanon and Iraq, the actions of Iran’s proxies, their host governments, and U.S. officials will do much to determine if wider escalation is in the cards.

Over the past week, the Israel Defense Forces have launched attacks against Iranian and affiliated targets in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. In the latter strike, conducted August 25, two IDF drones crashed between residential buildings in the Mouawad neighborhood of south Beirut. According to Hezbollah, these “suicide drones” were armed with 5.5 kilos of C4 explosive; media reports indicate they deliberately targeted crates believed to contain machinery for mixing high-grade propellant used in precision-guided missiles. The previous day, IDF jets reportedly targeted an Iranian position in Damascus, thereby preventing an imminent drone attack on Israel being planned by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.

Although the Beirut attack did not cause any casualties, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah did not ignore the incident as he usually does with Israeli strikes on the group’s assets in Syria. Instead, he vowed to down any Israeli drones over Lebanese skies.

Seven Years of Terror: Jihadi Organisations’ Strategies and Future Directions

Asaad Almohammad

This paper aims to provide practitioners and academics with an empirical approach for assessing the current state and future directions of the Salafi-Jihadi Movement’s (SJM) member organisations. Making use of available data, it taps into the Islamic State’s (IS) and al-Qaeda’s (AQ) strategic priorities. Then, the article maps and examines various strategies of the broader SJM using game theory. It assigns numerical representations to these strategies based on both the quantitative analysis of AQ’s and IS’s strategic priorities and published assessments of jihadi organisations’ strategies. The findings suggest that Localisation is the most pragmatic approach when compared to global undertaking for winning the hearts and minds of jihadi constituencies or proto-state building. Moreover, the results indicate that to regain hegemony of the SJM, AQ may opt to orchestrate terrorist attacks against the West. The model also shows that IS scores the highest payoffs through using guerrilla warfare methods and sleeper cells—as well as by rebuilding its depleted capacities and carrying out attacks that polarise Sunni communities. The paper concludes by providing implications, limitations, and directions for future research.

Solving the Iran Crisis Requires A "Deal of the Century" With Tehran

by Shahed Ghoreishi

On August 13, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei met with Houthi representatives in Tehran in what was a rare overt display of support. Since the Yemeni civil war began in 2015, Iran had kept the Houthis at arm’s length. However, recent divisions within the Saudi coalition and the Houthis’ success establishing themselves in Yemen changed the calculus. The public meeting was a clear sign of strengthening ties between Iran and the Houthis in the face of a divided adversary.

Yemen isn’t the only unstable nation-state in the region where the Iranians have gained major leverage. From Beirut to Kabul, Iran has managed to become a player of increasing significance. This is why it is as critical as ever for the United States to move beyond its animosity with Iran and move towards high-level diplomacy—regional allies included—in order to stabilize the region enough for the United States to be able to end its forever wars. The nuclear deal and the immediate need to deescalate tensions in the Persian Gulf should just be the beginning—not the ultimate goal. At the end of the day, Iran’s regional role is essential to the United States pivoting away from the region and turning its attention to more pressing global matters better aligned with its actual interests. 

Iran’s Growing Role

Inside the war on terror: Silent heroes keeping UK safe from anti-West fanatics

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Weaken Al Qaeda on the Pakistan-Afghan border, only for it to appear in North Africa. The most recent reports from the Middle East indicate that IS is regaining strength just five months after it was ousted from its last stronghold in the area. IS fighters have staged guerilla raids across Iraq and Syria while trying to recruit new members. Sleeper cells are said to have carried out assassinations and sniper attacks on security forces.

This is a battle which security services in the West must fight constantly and, for all our sakes, win. 

The relentless struggle is taking place in an arena far removed from civilised debates about political correctness, a world where hand-wringing has no place and hard choices are made daily.

Take the British recruits to IS or one of the other extremist Islamic groups scattered across the Middle East. 

The conservative estimate is that about 900 flocked to the black banner of IS and other factions.

Russian Military Thought: Concepts and Elements

Timothy L. Thomas

The analysis that follows demonstrates that the Russian thought process includes a mixture of traditional thought along with a complex mixture of vision, deception, deterrence, outright power, innovative thought, preparation, and the development of alternate realities. Traditional thought involves following technological trends, forecasting the shape of future conflict, developing strategies along the proper axes to confront the trends and forecasts, applying forms (organizations) and methods (weaponry and military art) to various branches of service, and developing the proper correlation of forces and operational design needed to confront a potential adversary.

Russian thought also utilizes a complex mixture of several concepts. Vision and foresight heavily influence Russia’s focus on ensuring superiority in the initial period of war. Deception includes reflexive control operations and deterrence measures accomplished through legal, information, demonstration, or other means to contain or scare opponents. Power is found in Russia’s military-industrial complex, which produces nuclear and nonstrategic nuclear forces, weapons based on new physical principles, and the capabilities to strike deep into the heart of another nation with cyber capabilities. Innovation is most apparent in new applications of military art and the disorganization of an opponent’s information and C2 capabilities.

Plan B in Venezuela

By Michael J. Camilleri 

From its first weeks in office, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has been intent on dislodging Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela—resorting to everything from tough talk of “military options” and indictments of senior officials to hard-hitting sanctions and multilateral diplomacy. In January, after two years of effort, Washington seemed to be close to reaching its goal. With an uncharacteristic display of careful diplomatic coordination, the United States, along with several Latin American governments and other U.S. partners, announced that it would recognize Juan Guaidó, the then-35-year-old leader of the National Assembly, as the country’s interim president. And this move, the thinking went, would surely, before long, catalyze a military or popular uprising that would drive the dictatorial Maduro from power. When Guaidó, with the support of some military figures, launched a high-stakes attempt to seize power at the end of April, it seemed that Maduro’s end might finally have arrived.

Abe’s uncertain legacy in Japan1 September 2019

Author: Tobias Harris
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On 20 November 2019, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become the longest-serving prime minister since the position was created. It’s a noteworthy achievement, but it is particularly remarkable given that it was unlikely that Abe would get another chance to lead Japan after he resigned as prime minister in 2007 following a first, disastrous one-year tenure.

Still, his legacy as a leader remains uncertain.

Throughout his career, Abe has stressed his personal mission — driven by the ideas of his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi — to uproot post-war institutions to strengthen Japan’s ability to cope with the challenges of the post-cold war world. He has never been interested in power for power’s sake, but rather to wield it to overcome long-standing crises and build a strong and prosperous Japan.

Erdogan’s Way

By Kaya Genc 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the most baffling politician to emerge in the 96-year history of Turkey. He is polarizing and popular, autocratic and fatherly, calculating and listless. Erdogan’s ideology shifts every few years, and he appears to make up his road map as he goes along. He is short-tempered: he grabs cigarette packs from citizens to try to force them into quitting, scolds reporters who ask tough questions, and once walked off the stage after an angry exchange with the Israeli president at the World Economic Forum in Davos. But he can also be extremely patient. It has taken him 16 years to forge what he calls “the new Turkey,” an economically self-reliant country with a marginalized opposition and a subservient press.

This mix of anger and calm has made Erdogan increasingly successful at the ballot box. He became prime minister in 2003 after his party won 34 percent of the vote, and by 2011, its share had risen to just shy of 50 percent. In 2014, when he ran for president in order to centralize his authority, more than half of Turks who cast a ballot voted for him. They did so again in 2018, by which time they had also voted to do away with the post of prime minister altogether. 



The Army is in the midst of a reorientation—planning and preparing for conflict with peer and near-peer adversaries, as directed by the 2018 National Military Strategy. This reorientation will involve changes big and small, with the Army embracing both new technologies and concepts—such as unmanned systems and Multi-Domain Operations—and dusting off and updating old ones—such as camouflage and electronic warfare.

But one thing is strikingly absent: Army leaders are not giving sufficient consideration to the threat of nuclear weapons.

For nearly two decades, the U.S. military has been focused on combat against non-nuclear nation-states in which post-conflict counterinsurgency operations took significantly more time and resources than planned. As a result of these engagements, U.S. military readiness for conventional operations against a near-peer state has measurably degraded. A 2016 RAND Corp. report suggested Russia could overrun the Baltics before NATO could respond, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he would resort to limited nuclear weapons use to stop NATO offensives.

Chem-Bio Defense Office Reorganizes to Take on New Threats

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

WILMINGTON, Del. — The Pentagon’s joint program executive office for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense — which is tasked with protecting the military from some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens and nerve agents — is emerging from a major reorganization that officials believe will better position it to meet new threats.

The office, as it worked to streamline its operations across the board, mulled over how it could get technology into the hands of warfighters faster and do business better, said Doug Bryce, the head of the JPEO. That required a rejiggering of its programs.

“Our mission and vision have not changed but we did reorganize,” he said during remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual CBRN Conference and Exhibition in Wilmington, Delaware.

The office facilitates a number of projects across multiple lines of effort, but officials were finding that some programs were not always working together seamlessly, Bryce said.

The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore


On December 19 of last year, Admiral Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met James Mattis for lunch at the Pentagon. Mattis was a day away from resigning as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense, but he tends to keep his own counsel, and he did not suggest to Mullen, his friend and former commander, that he was thinking of leaving.

But Mullen did think Mattis appeared unusually afflicted that day. Mattis often seemed burdened in his role. His aides and friends say he found the president to be of limited cognitive ability, and of generally dubious character. Now Mattis was becoming more and more isolated in the administration, especially since the defenestration of his closest Cabinet ally, the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, several months earlier. Mattis and Tillerson had together smothered some of Trump’s more extreme and imprudent ideas. But now Mattis was operating without cover. Trump was turning on him publicly; two months earlier, he had speculated that Mattis might be a Democrat and said, in reference to NATO, “I think I know more about it than he does.” (Mattis, as a Marine general, once served as the supreme allied commander in charge of NATO transformation.)

CO19170 | Online Extremism: Agents of Disruption in the Digital Age

Jolene Jerard
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RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical and contemporary issues. The authors’ views are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email to Mr Yang Razali Kassim, Editor RSIS Commentary at RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg.

Online extremism is a fast-growing threat that disrupts and threatens to damage the social fabric of diverse communities. The extremists’ exploitation of communication technologies to radicalise and incite violence presents a grave challenge to racial and religious harmony that will need to be addressed.


Ransomware attacks grew by 118%, new ransomware families were detected, and threat actors used innovative techniques.

Welcome to the McAfee Labs Threats Report, August 2019. In this edition, we highlight the significant investigative research and trends in threats statistics and observations in the evolving threat landscape gathered by the McAfee® Advanced Threat Research and McAfee® Labs teams in Q1 of 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, ransomware attacks grew by 118%, new ransomware families were detected, and threat actors used innovative techniques. In January, the McAfee Advanced Threat Research team was the first to discover a new ransomware family, Anatova, designed to cipher all files before requesting payment from the victim. Anatova’s architecture is unusual in that it is modular, which could facilitate future development of ransomware.

A hacker using the moniker “Gnosticplayers“ reportedly released data from large companies in Q1, which McAfee researchers have dubbed “the quarter of data dumps.” We also observed a significant amount of HTTP web exploitation traffic and attempts to compromise remote machines. A notable 460% rise in the use of PowerShell as the tool of choice in targeted attacks of compromised servers was also detected. Most ransomware attackers no longer use mass campaigns, but, instead, try to get remote access where remote desktop protocol is the most used entry vector. Even with all the sophisticated attack techniques being developed, attackers are still highly dependent on human interaction and social engineering. Also, in Q1, new cryptojacking families—including malware targeting Apple users—were discovered amidst campaigns designed to steal wallets and credentials, along with a massive cryptomining campaign designed to exploit remote command executive vulnerability in ThinkPHP. Criminals continue to attack Internet of Things (IoT) devices with default username/password combinations that are used in popular IP cameras, DVRs, and routers. McAfee researchers also uncovered two..........

Cyber Deterrence is Overrated

Proponents of active, offensive cyber operations argue that they could have a deter­rent effect on potential cyber attackers. The latter would think twice about attacking if a digital counter-attack might be the consequence. The idea that offensive cyber capabilities should have a deterrent effect was one reason why the new US cyber doctrine was adopted in 2018. The same assumption is implicit in the debate about cyber counterattacks (“hack backs”) in Germany. Yet these assessments are based on a superficial understanding of deterrence. Cyber deterrence by the threat of retaliation works differently than that of nuclear deterrence. Problems of attribution, displays of power, controllability and the credibility of digital capabilities increase the risk of deterrence failure. Thus, the German cyber security policy would be well advised to increase its “deterrence by denial”, cyber security and the resilience of its systems.

Currently, German cyber operators have no legal mandate to conduct disruptive cyber operations outside of German net­works in peace time. For this reason, Germany has been debating active cyber defence or “hack backs” for the last few years. Active defence is designed to counter cyber intrusions by striking back at the originator with digital means. These retalia­tions could be conducted by state entities, not private entities – in stark contrast to the US debate. Proponents of active defence argue that German state hackers should be able to penetrate networks of opponents to stop ongoing cyber attacks in real time, delete data or deactivate computers.

Governing Cyberspace: State Control vs. The Multistakeholder Model

Eric Rosenbach

The U.S. and China do not and will not agree on key issues in the international arena. In the opaque and volatile domain of cyberspace, however, we should keep lines of communication open to constructively disagree and proactively find areas where we have shared interests. There will never be complete trust between the U.S. and China: the nations’ values and systems of government differ too starkly. But by searching for areas of mutual interest, we bolster the likelihood of greater strategic stability in cyberspace. 

The divide between nations that support governance models based on cyber sovereignty, primarily China and Russia, and those that believe in the multi-stakeholder model, including most liberal democracies, is one of the most prominent ideological conflicts dividing cyberspace. Enhancing understanding on both sides of these philosophies is an important step toward preventing further fragmentation of cyberspace and necessary for avoiding conflict. 

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]?”

Joint AI Chief: Start With 50% Solutions ASAP


PENTAGON: The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, barely a year old, has ambitious plans to expand its AI projects from helicopter maintenance and wildfire management to core functions of command and control, JAIC’s director said this morning. But Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan cautioned that the early versions, like the Project Maven AI he led for two years, will be partial solutions that must evolve to earn commanders’ trust.

Last week, the chief of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, told reporters the Project Maven AI was still “learning… like your three-year-old.” Holmes isn’t yet ready to rely on the intelligence Maven provides through its algorithmic analysis of countless hours of surveillance video.

Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Shanahan

“General Holmes said exactly what I would have expected,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon this morning. “He understands we fielded it as a prototype…. We knew, and the warfighters knew, they were getting a Minimum Viable Product. That’s the whole point of Agile Software Development.”

A look at foreign military bases across the Persian Gulf

By The Associated Pressyesterday

FILE - This Sept. 21, 1987 file photo shows mines aboard the Iranian ship Iran Ajr being inspected by a boarding party from the USS Lasalle in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy is trying to put together a new coalition of nations to counter what it sees as a renewed maritime threat from Iran. Meanwhile, Iran finds itself backed into a corner and ready for a possible conflict. It stands poised on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, to further break the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

As new U.S.-led naval patrols in the Persian Gulf raise the stakes with Iran and Tehran’s nuclear deal collapses, the ongoing tensions have drawn renewed attention to foreign military bases in the region.

Here’s a look at the presence of the U.S. and others in the region:


Nothing New: Why the 'Revolution' in Military Affairs Is the Same as the Old One

by Adam Wunische 

The technology-driven revolution in military affairs (RMA), first begun during America’s dominating performance in the First Gulf War, is upon us. This argument has come to be accepted essentially as common knowledge. Christian Brose recently argued in Foreign Affairs that, “a military made up of small numbers of large, expensive, heavily manned, and hard-to-replace systems will not survive on future battlefields, where swarms of intelligent machines will deliver violence at a greater volume and higher velocity than ever before.” This same old argument has been presented, and repeatedly repackaged, countless times since the United States’ impressive military performance in the 1990s. It was then that the term Revolution in Military Affairs was thrust to the front pages of foreign policy publications and it refuses to go away, even as we continue to wait for a revolution to actually occur. The debate has been given a renewed immediacy in the United States as a result of the shift in focus to great power competition. These proclamations of a technology-driven RMA are fundamentally flawed, however. 

There is no theoretical foundation or empirical evidence that the changes we are witnessing rise to the level of a revolution. Proclamations of an RMA caused by technological changes to the tools of war are alarmist, misunderstand the long history of military revolutions, and fundamentally mischaracterize the nature of war, which is both a military and a political endeavor.

Actual Revolutions in Military Affairs