30 September 2019

Fear, Fatigue Could Undermine Afghan Presidential Vote – Analysis

By Frud Bezhan
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(RFE/RL) — Afghanistan’s twice-delayed September 28 election could be only the second-ever democratic transition of power in the war-wracked country.

But many Afghans remain wary of the landmark presidential vote, fearing Taliban violence aimed at disrupting the vote and disillusioned at the widespread fraud and corruption that has tainted other elections since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Analysts say voter fatigue and safety concerns could depress turnout to undermine the legitimacy of the vote and give any winner only a weak mandate to rule a country reeling from economic turmoil, an escalating war, and political infighting.
‘New Crisis’

A contentious, fraud-marred presidential election in 2014 pushed Afghanistan to the brink of civil war before the United States brokered a power-sharing deal that made Ashraf Ghani president and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive.

Afghans Go to Polls Saturday Amid Surge in Violence

By Rahim Faiez
Millions of Afghans are expected to go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president, despite an upsurge of violence in the weeks since the collapse of a U.S.-Taliban deal to end America’s longest war, and the Taliban warning voters to say away from the polls.

President Donald Trump plunged Afghanistan into political uncertainty when he abruptly called off talks with the insurgents. Campaigning for the national elections had barely taken place, since a deal with the Taliban seemed imminent and any final agreement was expected to delay national elections and force incumbent President Ashraf Ghani’s exit.

Now, the war-battered country is facing a number of challenges in holding the controversial vote.

Ghani, who is facing accusations of corruption and abuse of power, is the leading contender. His closest rival is Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. The two have shared power for the past five years in a so-called unity government cobbled together by former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, after the 2014 polls were overwhelmed by allegations of widespread fraud and corruption.

Army War College

o Learning Lessons from Afghanistan: Two Imperatives 

o Afghanistan's Lessons: Part I 

o NATO’s Lessons 

o Canada's Lessons 

o The Netherlands’ Lessons 

o France's Lessons 

o Matthew Ridgway and the Battle of the Bulge 

o “Slap Heard around the World”: George Patton and Shell Shock

Addicted in Bhutan

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THIMPHU, Bhutan—After 25 years of service, Bhutan’s first and longest-serving psychiatrist—one of only four in the entire country—has retired. He did so with some trepidation. Chencho Dorji, 60, has come to accept that there are many things he cannot control.

“I don’t want to bang my head against the wall anymore,” he said earlier this summer, referencing growing drug- and alcohol-related mental health problems in the remote Buddhist kingdom. “I know my service has made a difference, so I will not stop working for this cause.” He is already working on awareness campaigns and is keen to open a model rehabilitation center for those recovering from addiction.

In a country known for its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which places the well-being of people above gross domestic product, the substance use pandemic has become a glaring issue.

Despite its vision for sustainable growth, the Himalayan nation has struggled to stay ahead of change. In recent decades, the path to modernization has been fraught with social dislocation, limited economic opportunity, and rising exposure to alcohol and pills, which has led to an increase in addiction cases.

The PRC Turns 70

As President Donald Trump and other world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), decided to skip the event and remain in Beijing, where he presided over a meeting of the powerful Political Bureau (Politburo) to discuss efforts to boost patriotism in China. According to the official readout from the Party-run People’s Daily, the meeting stressed that “patriotism is the core of the Chinese national spirit” and that improving “patriotic education” was necessary to guide the Chinese people to “unremittingly strive for the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The scheduling conflict between the two events was no mere oversight. One of the most important formal functions of the general secretary’s role is sole responsibility for convening meetings of the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The choice to schedule this meeting at the same time as the United Nations General Assembly was, therefore, Xi’s alone to make. So too was the decision to select “patriotic education” as the main topic of discussion, the first time “patriotism” has been a focus of a Politburo meeting since Xi came to power in late 2012.

On the (Belt &) Road to Failure? The Challenges of China’s Soft Power Policy in Central Asia (and Beyond)

Sebastien Peyrouse

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Notwithstanding twenty years of increasingly prominent political, economic and security relations, China remains poorly understood and even feared among Central Asians. Despite its emergence as the second-largest economic world power in less than three decades, its development model is unpopular compared to others, in particular that of Russia, which a majority of Central Asians still view as a benchmark. Strikingly, since the 2000s, articles critical of China have proliferated in Central Asian media. Although regularly praised for its commitment to both the regional and global economies, China’s presence and investments are at the same time disparaged as self-serving, excessive; in addition, they are even seen as impeding the development and independence of the region.

In order to mitigate existing or potential tension with local governments and populations, which could threaten its investments and ambitions to reach the status of a great power, Beijing has embarked on a go out public relations policy to “increase China’s soft power […] and better communicate China’s messages to the world.” In other words, Beijing has set for itself the goal of winning “the hearts and minds of people beyond its borders,” to use Joseph Nye’s expression. Yet, as argued here, China’s authoritarian approach to soft power, which has driven the political authorities to monopolize its concept, tools, and implementation, has consisted less of soft power than of public diplomacy, which “requires an understanding of the role of credibility, self-criticism, and the role of civil society in generating soft power.” For many Central Asian analysts and citizens, Beijing’s authoritarian approach has significantly blurred the line between hard and soft power, the latter being viewed locally as an attempt by China to lighten the former. This has resulted in a growing gap between the country’s financial and material investment in promoting soft power and the approval it has received locally.

The Chinese Approach to Soft Power

Full Text: China and the World in the New Era

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Friday published a white paper titled "China and the World in the New Era."

Confucius Institutes and the Corporate Sector: An Emerging Avenue for Chinese Communist Party Foreign Influence?

Sarah Cook, Flora Yan
Image: Representatives from 17 Chinese companies (11 shown in the picture) sign contracts with Hanban at the "Confucius Institute Partnership Project” signing ceremony held during the 13th Confucius Institute Conference on December 5th, 2018 in Chengdu (Sichuan Province). (Source: The Commercial Press)

September 27 will mark 15 years since the opening of the first Confucius Institute in South Korea in 2004. Today, over 500 of these Chinese government-funded centers operate in more than 150 countries worldwide. Many of them plan to celebrate the occasion as part of the official Global Confucius Institute Day (Hanban, undated). After establishing themselves at universities, Confucius Institutes (CIs) have also begun to branch out beyond higher education. Confucius Classrooms, a network of over 1,100 affiliated programs at surrounding K-12 schools, is the most obvious such example.

But another aspect of this expanded outreach has largely gone unnoticed. Over the past decade, CIs have increasingly tried to establish ties with the corporate sector, offering various services to foreign businesses and more recently, working with a select group of Chinese companies on joint initiatives to be implemented at CIs globally. This phenomenon takes various forms and appears set to intensify based on a new partnership program launched in December 2018. Although seemingly innocuous and even beneficial to some businesses and their employees, these interactions present a new set of risks and challenges for governments, educators, parents and others concerned about the potential negative consequences of growing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence in their schools, economies, and political systems.

China and Russia Aren’t the Same When It Comes to Information Warfare

By Jake Wallis

A range of states are willing to exploit social media to achieve their goals by shaping geopolitical narratives, warping the media and information environment to their advantage, and fooling people into believing something they shouldn’t. Last week Twitter released more data from some of these operations, which now span the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Russia and China, plus political parties active in Spain, Venezuela, Ecuador and Catalonia.

But states can have very different approaches and goals. And if we look at two of the biggest players in this arena—Russia and China—their operations have very different strategic goals and typically use quite different tactics.

China hasn’t tended to resort to the kind of direct, disruptive approach to influence international social media audiences that we’ve come to know from Russia. It has been effective in employing a holistic approach in which language and messaging are used in tandem with other elements of statecraft, including diplomatic, military and economic efforts. By consistently asserting that its claims in the South China Sea have historical legitimacy, for example, China has created a coherent narrative to back its militarisation of artificial islands and assertion of maritime control. It can use its economic might and trade relationships to coerce others and silence dissent. And this economic leverage can be both sharp and subtle. It has been used to pry political elites in the South Pacific away from Taiwan—Solomon Islands’ and Kiribati’s decisions last week to break ties with Taipei left the island nation more isolated.

Vietnam Confronts China, Alone

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2014, file photo, Chinese tourists take souvenir photos with a Chinese national flag as they visit Quanfu Island, one of Paracel Islands of Sansha prefecture of southern China’s Hainan province in the South China Sea. China has controlled the Paracels entirely since violently seizing Vietnam’s holdings in the area in 1974. Called “Xisha” in Chinese, the islands have been incorporated into the southern province of Hainan and are being developed for tourism, as well as being equipped with weapon systems meant to enforce China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.Credit: AP Photo/Peng Peng, File

Vietnam and China are engaged in a slow boiling stand-off in the South China Sea that has not received sufficient attention. China has reportedly sent one survey vessel and at least four Chinese maritime vessels; Vietnam has responded by deploying its Coast Guard vessels.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is a Failure

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This month’s attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities marked a stunning escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The scale, sophistication, and accuracy of the strikes all suggest that Iran most likely conducted them, as both Riyadh and Washington allege.

The strikes represent a surprising and ill-conceived escalation by Iran, just as U.S. President Donald Trump appeared be on the brink of offering concessions as an incentive to return to direct negotiations with the United States. But they also represent a massive, self-inflicted policy failure by the Trump administration, which triggered the crisis in the first place and has since worsened it through diplomatic, rhetorical, and strategic blunders. In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, Trump offered more of the same: the promise of continued economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran, which will do little to reduce tensions deter Iranian aggression.

ISIS 2.0 and the Information War


The Islamic State (ISIS) has launched a new worldwide communications offensive, enabling the group to contest the global view that it has been defeated following the collapse of its caliphate. In doing so, ISIS has created a digital battlespace in which an online narrative of victory can translate into success on the ground.

WASHINGTON, DC – In December 2018, US President Donald Trump declared victory over the Islamic State (ISIS), tweeting that “ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” And in the first three months of this year, Trump said or tweeted 16 times that ISIS was either completely defeated or soon would be.

But the United States government appears to disagree. In August, the three lead inspectors general from the Department of Defense, Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development submitted a joint report to Congress reviewing Operation Inherent Resolve, the US campaign to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, over the period from April 1 through June 30 of this year. They concluded that, “Despite the loss of physical territory, thousands of ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria and are carrying out attacks and working to rebuild their capabilities.”

Drones In Smart Cities – Analysis

By Siddharth Sivaraman

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) not long ago indicated that India will soon take the first step towards paving the way for drones engaged in e-deliveries and air taxis operations, the DGCA has invited expression of interest from experts who can conduct experiments to understand beyond the visual line of sight operations in Indian environment. This is much needed progress in the fossilized and traditional safety-first thinking of the regulator which had stifled innovation for long. It was only after a sustained campaign by the Indian UAV community consisting of manufacturers, service providers, industry chambers and enthusiasts that the first set of regulations were enacted roughly two years ago and much needs to be done.The single window system of clearance for permissions set up by the DGCA is yet to become operational.

India’s drone journey which began more than two decades ago, deploys one of the largest fleet of military drones in the world, its journey in the civilian and commercial arena has only just begun. India with its smart city program, spread across its diverse landscape, provides an ideal laboratory for the deployment of UAVs, and in keeping with the global trend of transforming existing cities into smart cities, nearly 100 cities have been identified for transformation.

Rouhani Punctures Hope for Iran-U.S. Thaw

By Ray Takeyh

Iran’s president used his UN address to dispel notions about ramped-up diplomacy with the United States or fundamental changes to Iranian actions in the Persian Gulf.

There was much anticipation, even hope, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York for this year’s UN General Assembly meeting. The recent attack on Saudi oil installations, which the United States and its allies blame on Iran, unsettled everyone, and spurred diplomatic efforts to avert war. Perhaps the most active on this front was French President Emmanuel Macron, who conducted his own version of shuttle diplomacy by trying to broker a meeting between Rouhani and U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Rouhani’s truculent UN address, however, should put an end to speculation about such a meeting.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends the 74th UN General Assembly in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

How The U.S. Hacked ISIS


Neil stands in a room with military cyber operators from Joint Task Force ARES to launch an operation that would become one of the largest and longest offensive cyber operations in U.S. military history.Josh Kramer for NPR

The crowded room was awaiting one word: "Fire."

Everyone was in uniform; there were scheduled briefings, last-minute discussions, final rehearsals. "They wanted to look me in the eye and say, 'Are you sure this is going to work?' " an operator named Neil said. "Every time, I had to say yes, no matter what I thought." He was nervous, but confident. U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency had never worked together on something this big before.

Four teams sat at workstations set up like high school carrels. Sergeants sat before keyboards; intelligence analysts on one side, linguists and support staff on another. Each station was armed with four flat-screen computer monitors on adjustable arms and a pile of target lists and IP addresses and online aliases. They were cyberwarriors, and they all sat in the kind of oversize office chairs Internet gamers settle into before a long night.

Drones, Aid and Education: The Three Ways to Counter Terrorism


There is no one group which makes up “terrorism.” Terrorism can occur in any country, at any time, by anyone, which makes combatting and preventing terrorism an important, yet challenging task. Since the ‘war on terror’ began following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 numerous wars, counter terrorist strategies, and thousands of deaths have occurred with the intent of countering and preventing terrorism. According to the Global Terrorism Index 2018 report (IEP), in 2017 there were 18,814 deaths caused by terrorism, 22% lower than in 2016. The amount of countries which experienced at least one death caused by terrorism also decreased from record setting 79 countries in 2016 to 67 in 2017. These decreases globally are positive signs in the ‘war on terror’, but it is important to ensure that long term solutions are in place to prevent future terrorism surges. Decreases in today’s overall terrorism statistics mean very little if the root causes of terrorism are not addressed.

There is no one way to prevent terrorism, rather a combination of strategies must be used in conjunction. This paper will argue that the best way to counter terrorism is by using a three-pronged approach, one short-term and two long-term strategies. The short-term strategy focuses on the use of armed drones to target confirmed actors within terrorist organizations, in order to slow the spread of terrorist cells and their influence. The first long-term strategy focuses on untied financial aid for local populations to assist in development projects. This aid would be used to finance social, economic, and physical development projects which will lead to the development of these local areas. The second long-term strategy focuses on improving access to education and vocational training. In order to show the merit of this strategy, this paper will first evaluate current American armed drone policies, the effectiveness of drone strikes on terrorist organizations, and recommend changes to the existing policies. Then the effects of untied aid for development compared to tied aids effects will be analysed. Finally, education’s role in combatting and preventing terrorism will be examined.

Trump Is Giving Iran More Than It Ever Dreamed of

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For the past six months, there has been plenty of reason to believe that Iran has primarily been motivated by fear, even desperation, in its confrontation with the United States. Lately, however, there are signs that Tehran has shifted to a strategy driven instead by a sense of opportunity and advantage. The trigger for this shift has been the Trump administration, whose misguided approach to Iran is on the cusp of splitting the United States from its Sunni Arab allies—a monumental geostrategic victory that Tehran has sought for 40 years.

Initially, Iran’s attacks on Gulf oil exports were almost certainly driven by fear and anger over the impact of the reimposed U.S. sanctions, which are devastating Iran’s economy and inflicting real hardship on average Iranians. The regime, even its hard-line elements, probably feared this would generate public protests and other problems for it. Tehran’s attacks on Gulf oil exports were likely meant to drive up the price of oil (which would be good for Iran, bad for the United States) and to create a crisis that would energize other countries to demand that Washington ease off the pressure on Iran. Iran’s attacks on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were initially intended as a form of indirect pressure on the United States to get it to alleviate, or even eliminate, the sanctions.

FCW Insider: Sept. 27

With just one day left before a congressional recess, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep government open until Nov. 21. President Donald Trump has to sign before Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown. Adam Mazmanian reports.

Lawmakers and experts say that hiring processes and management need improvement if the federal government is going to attract replacements for its aging workforce. Lia Russell takes a look at a hearing about finding the feds of the future.

As part of its 10-year, $16 billion electronic health records modernization plan, the Department of Veterans Affairs is adopting Cerner's scheduling system but it's going to take longer than they thought to get the functionality out nationwide. Adam has more from a House hearing.

***Election security and cyber conflicts with hostile foreign nations are the premier national security threats facing the United States, according to the nation's top intelligence official.

John Mearsheimer on Russia: Insights and Recommendations

Thomas Schaffner

This compilation of observations and policy ideas related to Russia by John Mearsheimer is part of Russia Matters’ “Competing Views” rubric, where we share prominent American thinkers’ takes on issues pertaining to Russia, U.S.-Russian relations and broader U.S. policies affecting Russia. 

John Mearsheimer is a leading American international relations scholar and one of the foremost living proponents of an offensive realist model of international relations. According to Mearsheimer, this model posits that states strive to maximize their power in the world and seek hegemony, at least in a given region, to protect themselves against the intrinsic anarchy of the international system. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago. In his most recent book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities” (2018), he argues that American policy based on the idealistic proselytizing of liberal democratic values has clashed with the national-interest-oriented foreign policies of states like Russia. He has published five other books: “Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics” (2011), The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007), “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” (2001), “Liddell Hart and the Weight of History” (1988) and “Conventional Deterrence” (1983), as well as major articles on the former Soviet Union, including "Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin" and "The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent." He is also a frequent contributor to The National Interest and peer-reviewed journals.

Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve | Quarterly Report to the United States Congress

This is the 18th Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the overseas contingency operation to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The report covers the period April 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019, and summarizes the quarter’s key events and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work related to OIR.

During the quarter, ISIS continued its transition from a territory-holding force to an insurgency in Syria and solidified insurgent capabilities in Iraq. According to the Combined Joint Task Force–OIR (CJTF-OIR), ISIS carried out assassinations, suicide attacks, abductions, and arson of crops in both Iraq and Syria. In addition, ISIS established “resurgent cells” in Syria and sought to expand its command and control nodes in Iraq.

During the quarter, CJTF-OIR completed a partial withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, which it said decreased the support available to partner forces at a time when they needed training and equipping to respond to ISIS resurgent cells. CJTF-OIR reported that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were unable to sustain long-term operations against ISIS militants. It said that in Iraq, the ISF often lacks the ability to maintain hold forces in territory cleared of ISIS militants, while in Syria, the SDF was “initially limited” in personnel, equipment, and intelligence to confront ISIS’s resurgent cells.

What’s Right About France’s Overtures Toward Russia?


PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron is convinced that now is the right time to reset relations with Russia. He has therefore made it a diplomatic priority to restore a climate of trust between Paris and Moscow. Three compelling reasons underlie this move.

First and foremost, the international strategic context has changed dramatically. China is rising, while the United States, although still the world’s dominant power, is distancing itself from its global responsibilities. And Russia, with an aging, shrinking population and a huge, largely uninhabited landmass, is a natural prey for China’s long-term ambitions.

European leaders should not resign themselves passively to seeing Russia, lacking any other alternative, align with China. Instead, they should try to convince Russians that their future is with Europe, and not as China’s junior partner in a deeply unbalanced relationship. Russia’s destiny lies in the West, not the East.

Moreover, although Russia is no match for China, it has returned as a serious global actor. Many current conflicts, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, simply cannot be addressed without involving Russia.

What We Know and Don’t About the Trump-Ukraine Affair

By Michael Crowley, Kenneth P. Vogel and Charlie Savage

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday amid mounting furor over President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., apparently the subject of a classified whistle-blower complaint the administration refused for weeks to show to Congress before dropping objections.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, said he planned on Wednesday to release the transcript of a phone call he had in July with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Mr. Trump insisted it would show that he said nothing inappropriate, but scrutiny about his conduct toward Ukraine has spread beyond the single conversation.

Here are some of the basic facts behind the controversy.
What did Mr. Trump do?

‘We’re all in big trouble’: Climate panel sees a dire future

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FILE - This early Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 file photo shows an aerial view of large Icebergs floating as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland. Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade, and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. A special United Nations-affiliated oceans and ice report released on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2019 projects three feet of rising seas by the end of the century, much fewer fish, weakening ocean currents, even less snow and ice, and nastier hurricanes, caused by climate change. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

NEW YORK (AP) — Earth is in more hot water than ever before, and so are we, an expert United Nations climate panel warned in a grim new report Wednesday.

Sea levels are rising at an ever-faster rate as ice and snow shrink, and oceans are getting more acidic and losing oxygen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report issued as world leaders met at the United Nations.

How Americans Were Driven to Extremes

By Thomas Carothers and Andrew O'Donohue 

U.S. President William Clinton, a Democrat, next to House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, two Republicans, April 1995Stringer / Reuters

Every day brings more evidence of the United States’ profound political polarization. Partisan intransigence, vitriol, and divisiveness now contaminate most government institutions. What is more, these sentiments have steadily infiltrated every nook and cranny of American life. The 2020 presidential campaign will only further intensify the country’s partisan tribalism. And despite the lofty praise that news media and civil society heap on politicians who work across party lines, the divisive trend continues with no end in sight.

The more than 35 books published on this subject in the past decade have shed much light on partisan dynamics. Yet almost without exception, they examine U.S. polarization as an isolated phenomenon, separate from the experiences of other countries. In our research and advocacy work, we have taken a different tack.

Acting DNI Shows Why Generals and Admirals Should Not Become Top Civilians

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The testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before the House Intelligence Committee Thursday made two things clear. First: Democrats, who have embarked on the fourth presidential impeachment proceedings in American history, do not have their strategy down. Second: generals and admirals, especially three-stars, should not normally be appointed to top civilian posts.

There was nothing to be gained by badgering a newly elevated acting director who was so obviously in over his head. Yet there is value in the efforts of Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to extract a basic timeline. It took Maguire several uncomfortable minutes to spell out that he had sought guidance on what to do with the whistleblower complaint, first from the White House and then from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. And Schiff and his colleagues successfully highlighted that both parties are conflicted: the president as the subject of the complaint, and Attorney General William Barr being named as what amounts to a co-conspirator. But to belabor that point was to waste powder. Their target is not Maguire and his missteps, it is President Donald Trump.

Information Warfare and Neuro-Weaponry

By Zac Rogers

The parameters of contemporary conflict, as ASPI’s Tom Uren noted recently, are shifting. Transformations in the character of warfare have always attracted varying levels of attention and opposition, and plenty of hubris. In general, the national security, intelligence and defence community has muddled through. Some of that’s been due to the best combination of analytical rigour, intuitive talent and a wisdom that only experience and time can bring. But, as Andrew Davies has pointed out, some of it’s due to blind, random luck.

One aspect of the current shift that Australia’s security community should be paying attention to is developments in the application of cognitive neuroscience to national security. The landmark U.S. study on this topic was the National Research Council’s Emerging cognitive neuroscience and related technologies, published in 2008. A comprehensive overview was provided in the book Mind wars by Jonathan D. Moreno, first published in 2006 and updated in 2010, which was followed by a number of other excellent studies by other authors. And since 2007, the annual conference organised by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Multilayer Assessment program has brought the national security and cognitive neuroscience communities together for wide-ranging discussions.

Why unlearning is as vital as learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) draw closer. They’re starting to feel real, almost within reach, promising greater value that extends across the business community and touches all levels of society. Which means we’re at the point where we could take them for granted and miss out entirely. Fully realizing the potential of 4IR will require a more inventive, inclusive approach to talent development, and some serious unlearning of outmoded ways, paired with learning contemporary methods. Today, even as 10 million global manufacturing jobs remain unfilled due to gaps in skills and education – gaps that will only widen as Industry 4.0 technologies advance – the 4IR future requires all of us to unlearn and relearn in order to create new paths forward.

As you think about the changes your organization will need to make to compete and grow in this shifting environment, here are a few insights based on our own journey.
Make unlearning and relearning part of your talent roadmap

The analytics academy: Bridging the gap between human and artificial intelligence

By Solly Brown, Darshit Gandhi, Louise Herring, and Ankur Puri
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The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the defining business opportunities for leaders today. Closely associated with it: the challenge of creating an organization that can rise to that opportunity and exploit the potential of AI at scale.

Meeting this challenge requires organizations to prepare their leaders, business staff, analytics teams, and end users to work and think in new ways—not only by helping these cohorts understand how to tap into AI effectively, but also by teaching them to embrace data exploration, agile development, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Often, companies use an ad hoc approach to their talent-building efforts. They hire new workers equipped with these skills in spurts and rely on online-learning platforms, universities, and executive-level programs to train existing employees.

Dangerous Gaming: Cyber-Attacks, Air-Strikes and Twitter

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On May 5 2019, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched an air-strike against a building in the Gaza Strip. Air-strikes, missiles, and escalated rhetoric are not unusual in the region. However, this event was exceptional, it was a kinetic, asymmetric attack against an alleged cyber-attack, and one that was worryingly justified by dehumanising its targets through gamified logic. The IDF stated that it retaliated to a cyber-attack by Hamas’ cyber operations amid a periodic flare-up in tensions and hostility between Israel and the group that governs the Palestinian territory. As only the second publicly confirmed response to a cyber-attack with kinetic force (after the first against Daesh by the United States in 2015), it is worthy of further reflection to explore the justification of these strikes against ‘quasi-state’ entities. However, unlike the first strike, the IDF’s tweet of the air-strike deployed visual and linguistic cues that we believe prompt questions over our existing understanding and conceptualisation of cyber-attack retaliation. In this article, we explore how both gamification and kinetic action became bound together in a troubling, and justificatory, mix.

CLEARED FOR RELEASE: We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. 

U.S. Sending Troops, Weaponry to Saudis to Boost Kingdom's Air Defenses

Carla Babb 
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PENTAGON - The Pentagon is sending a Patriot missile battery, four radar systems and about 200 troops to Saudi Arabia to boost the kingdom's air defenses against further attacks.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Thursday that the deployment "will augment the kingdom's air and missile defense of critical military and civilian infrastructure."

Two more Patriot batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system are also preparing to deploy there to defend against missiles, if needed, Hoffman added.

The movement is the first step in responding to what officials call an Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities earlier this month. One U.S. official told VOA the attack originated in "southwest Iran" and that the U.S. has more proof "than just debris" to back up this claim, although no evidence has been released by the U.S. to date.

Tehran has denied responsibility for the attack.