4 October 2019

Navigating Opportunities for Cooperation on the Brahmaputra River

Interview with Nilanthi Samaranayake, Satu Limaye, and Joel Wuthnow
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The Brahmaputra River, which originates in China and flows through India and Bangladesh, provides a critical supply of water, vast potential for clean-power generation, and opportunities for economic growth. Despite the importance of this river for three of the world’s most populous nations, no formal agreement exists to manage its resources.

NBR’s Ashley Johnson spoke with Nilanthi Samaranayake (CNA), Satu Limaye (East-West Center), and Joel Wuthnow (National Defense University) about the opportunities and challenges for the three riparian nations to cohesively manage the Brahmaputra River. Their recent book Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh and Brahmaputra River Politics explores these issues and provides recommendations for policymakers seeking to advance regional water security.

Given the importance of the Brahmaputra River Basin for water, energy, and economic security, why has this river been overlooked as an area of focus?

Samaranayake: The Brahmaputra River has often been subsumed within the larger Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, with the Ganges receiving the lion’s share of attention. However, the Brahmaputra on its own holds high political and geological stakes for three key countries in Asia—China, India, and Bangladesh, none of which have a water-sharing agreement between them for this river’s resources. For Bangladesh, in particular, the Brahmaputra (known as the Jamuna) is the largest source of water, so the activities of the upper riparians (China and India) are of great significance.

Taliban are Pakistan's proxy, Afghanistan would never accept to be ruled by Pakistanis: NSA Mohib

Taliban are a proxy of Pakistan and its intelligence agency and Afghanistan would never accept to be ruled by Pakistanis, Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said on Tuesday.

“If we didn’t accept the Soviet rule – superpower – it would be beyond imagination to accept the proxy of a backward country which has a hard time feeding its own people,” Mohib said speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank in New York.

Mohib welcomed US President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel talks with the Taliban saying the Taliban are not ready to make peace with anybody.

“They are ready to take Afghanistan over and return their regime. They had been preparing their victory speeches,” Mohib said.

“The minute a deal was signed; you would have given the keys - or at least from the Taliban’s perspective - to them to rule Afghanistan. And obviously that was not acceptable to the Afghan people it would have not been acceptable to the American people. I think he made the right call,” Mohib said.

How the Saudi Oil Field Attack Overturned America’s Apple Cart


In many ways it doesn’t really matter who — Houthis in Yemen? Iranians? Shiites in Iraq? — launched those missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia. Whoever did it changed the rules of the game, and not just in the Middle East. “It’s a moment when offense laps defense, when the strong have reason to fear the weak,” observes military historian Jack Radey.

In spite of a $68 billion a year defense budget — the third highest spending of any country in the world — with a world-class air force and supposed state-of-the-art anti-aircraft system, a handful of bargain basement drones and cruise missiles slipped through the Saudi radar and devastated Riyadh’s oil economy. All those $18 million fighter planes and $3 million a pop Patriot anti-aircraft missiles suddenly look pretty irrelevant.

This is hardly an historical first. British dragoons at Concord were better trained and armed than a bunch of Massachusetts farmers, but the former were 5,000 miles from home and there were lots more of the latter, and so the English got whipped. The French army in Vietnam was far superior in firepower than the Viet Minh, but that didn’t count for much in the jungles of Southeast Asia. And the U.S. was vastly more powerful than the insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we still lost both wars.

No 'good options' left for U.S. as emboldened Taliban threatens Afghan elections

By Ben Wolfgang 
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The collapse of peace talks in Afghanistan has left the U.S. with few military options as intense fighting resumes, while the near complete lack of public and political support for an influx of ground troops means the Trump administration must search for new ways to put pressure back onto the Taliban.

Although President Trump and Pentagon leaders have promised to increase strikes against Taliban targets after the collapse of diplomatic negotiations this month, private analysts say the U.S. has limited tools at its disposal and has exhausted most military avenues to defeat the radical Islamist movement on the battlefield. A ramped-up air campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda is already underway, but there is real doubt about whether that strategy will have a tangible impact on the Taliban’s political calculus.

Questions about the way forward have been raised as Afghans brace for a presidential election this weekend that could ignite a fresh wave of violence. Taliban leaders have threatened to target polling places ahead of the contest, in which President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term in a race against more than a dozen opponents.

Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Hawala’s Damage to the Afghan Economy

Michael Kelvington

Killing terrorists is not all about kinetic strikes, area clearances, and pinpoint raids. Terrorist organizations must be pressured in every aspect of their organization’s lifeblood. Attacking their coffers, often referred to as “counter-threat financing,” or CTF, is a key aspect of hurting terrorists from growing future capabilities and preventing future high-profile attacks. A key method terrorist organizations manage to accomplish their financial business is by laundering money through many different venues and exploiting local “cash crops,” a term used loosely in a place like Afghanistan, where it could mean poppy and marijuana, or marble mines, timber, and lapis stones. However, while terrorist organizations benefit from money laundering, the more serious aspect of this issue continues to be its epidemic hindering of the economic growth and sustainability of the government of Afghanistan; and the hawala system is the primary liability.

Money laundering, including the financing of terrorism, along with drug trade, criminal activity, and corruption, is devastating Afghanistan’s already weak economy. The 2015 GDP for the country of Afghanistan was only $19.33 billion.[i] With an economy suffering from a deficit in balance of trade of -$7.1 billion and current account of over -$4.8 billion,[ii] the last thing their economy needs is a rampant money laundering epidemic where illicit and often untraceable “dirty money” freely flows, further frustrating the economic instability of Afghanistan.[iii] A Ministry of Finance report indicated “only 35 percent of the financial flows within the country are legal.”[iv] The main culprit is the hawala system, “an important informal institution . . . handling both financial transfers and currency exchange.”[v] If the U.S. wants to help Afghanistan stabilize its economy and attack terrorists’ financial lifeblood, it must work with its government to develop an action plan to implement “a fully functioning banking system . . . sensitive to the needs of an emerging licit economy.”[vi] Providing full visibility of money transfers would allow the government to manage money demand, interest rates, levy taxes and duties, and provide long-term stability for the Afghan economy and legitimacy to its government, all the while cutting off a key element of the CTF efforts against the Taliban, ISIS-K, and Al-Qaeda.

Competition and Cooperation in the South Pacific

by Jesse Barker Gale

This brief addresses the influence of Chinese investment in the South Pacific and the evolution of U.S. strategy to build trust and remain competitive. It also highlights the ongoing contributions of U.S. allies and security partners and opportunities for greater regional cooperation.

The phrasing of the Australia, New Zealand, and United States Security (ANZUS) Treaty is unambiguous: “The parties to this treaty…desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific Area…declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that any of them stand alone.”[1] The South Pacific lies to the northeast of the Australian landmass, directly across the maritime approaches between Australia and its historical trade and security partners in Northeast Asia and North America. Similarly for the United States, access to Australia (its premier regional security ally) and long-standing trade and security partners in Southeast Asia relies on a stable and sovereign South Pacific. A historic objective of the U.S.-Australia alliance has been to prevent the rise of a strategic military competitor in the South Pacific.

Among the litany of foreign policy crises to have occupied strategists over the past two years, the coercive role of Chinese investment and influence in the South Pacific has achieved the rare distinction of uniting partners across three distinct regions of the world. The most recent Shangri-La Dialogue included a session on geopolitical tensions in the Pacific Islands: “Strategic Interests and Competition in the South Pacific.” The Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy announced a return to great-power competition, setting the tone for the United States’ engagement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). New Zealand announced a “Pacific reset,” Australia will “step up,” France has announced a “pivot,” Taiwan speaks frequently of a “values-based diplomacy,” and Japan developed the “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.”

Policy Roundtable: The Future of South Asia

Debak Das

Political relations in South Asia have hit rough weather. In 2019 alone, the Line of Control in Kashmir has seen continuous ceasefire violations by both India and Pakistan; there have been two crises (one military and one political) between the two countries; both neighbors have reminded the other, using veiled threats, that they possess nuclear weapons; and each has implied that the threshold for using such weapons could change. So where does the nuclear relationship between India and Pakistan stand? Where do the key threats to peace in the region come from?

Three key dynamics currently mark the nuclear relationship between India and Pakistan. The first is a possible change to India’s nuclear no-first-use policy — something the Indian government has signaled through political statements and actions in the last few years. The second is Pakistan’s and India’s development of new tactical and strategic nuclear delivery systems. And the third is the lowering of the threshold for conventional military engagement. Each of these dynamics points to a change in the erstwhile nuclear status quo in South Asia and represents serious challenges to the security and stability of the region.

The No-First-Use Debate

How China Sees the Hong Kong Crisis

By Andrew J. Nathan 

Massive and sometimes violent protests have rocked Hong Kong for over 100 days. Demonstrators have put forward five demands, of which the most radical is a call for free, direct elections of Hong Kong’s chief executive and all members of the territory’s legislature: in other words, a fully democratic system of local rule, one not controlled by Beijing. As this brazen challenge to Chinese sovereignty has played out, Beijing has made a show of amassing paramilitary forces just across the border in Shenzhen. So far, however, China has not deployed force to quell the unrest and top Chinese leaders have refrained from making public threats to do so.

Western observers who remember the violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago have been puzzled by Beijing’s forbearance. Some have attributed Beijing’s restraint to a fear of Western condemnation if China uses force. Others have pointed to Beijing’s concern that a crackdown would damage Hong Kong’s role as a financial center for China.

China’s Hong Kong Problem


LONDON – The demonstrations and the political crisis in Hong Kong are now into their fourth month. Every weekend, people take to the streets to protest against their government and the armlock in which China’s communist regime holds it. And for now, at least, there seems to be no resolution in sight.

America’s Democrats have made a serious mistake by launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. They are replaying the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, a futile exercise that damaged Republicans, enhanced Clinton’s power, and caused institutional damage as well.40Add to Bookmarks

The political drama began with protests against the attempt by Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, to introduce a bill allowing the city’s citizens to be extradited to mainland China. The understandable fear across the city was that the bill would destroy the firewall between the rule of law in Hong Kong and the rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC) across the border. After all, it is communist law that incarcerates people in “re-education” camps in China’s Xinjiang region, and jails lawyers and human-rights activists who are brave enough to speak up. Promised a share in President Xi Jinping’s China dream, all Hong Kong’s citizens could see was a nightmare.

China’s 70 Years of Progress


Much of the West, as well as Asia, continues to assume the worst about China – a habit of mind that could have catastrophic consequences. As Albert Camus once wrote, “Mistaken ideas always end in bloodshed, but in every case it is someone else’s blood."

BEIJING – The celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1 will be an exuberant affair, involving glitzy cultural events, an extravagant state dinner attended by Chinese and foreign luminaries, and a grand military parade in Tiananmen Square. And, at a time of high tensions with US President Donald Trump’s administration, it will be imbued with an extra dose of patriotic enthusiasm. But while China has much to celebrate, it also has much work to do.

America’s Democrats have made a serious mistake by launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. They are replaying the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, a futile exercise that damaged Republicans, enhanced Clinton’s power, and caused institutional damage as well.40Add to Bookmarks

China’s new military technologies

By Giancarlo Elia Valori

According to some international press and media sources, China is investing significant sums of money in some dual-use technologies – i.e. both civilian and military at the same time – which would have powerful innovative effects, both in the commercial and in the defence sectors.

This is the result -i.e. the sequence of investment – of President Xi Jinping’s now old request of 2017for the complete renewal of the People’s Liberation Army by the end of 2035 – a project that implies the one of China’s new global military relevance within 2045.

With a view to following Xi Jinping’s policy line, China has recently increased military spending by 7.5% and funding for “dual” research by as much as 13.4%.

According to the US intelligence, the sectors recording the largest investments would be those of Artificial Intelligence, the enhancement of the e-computation tools and their technical substrates and finally quantum technologies and hypersonic weapons.

There are also research projects on new materials and alternative energies.

JUST IN: Space Commander Warns Chinese Lasers Could Blind U.S. Satellites

By Mandy Mayfield

China is developing new directed energy weapons that could degrade American satellites during a future crisis, the leader of the newly formed U.S. Space Command said Sept 27.

“We're pretty comfortable [in asserting] that they are developing directed energy weapons — probably building lasers to blind our satellites,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who is dual-hatted as commander of Spacecom and Air Force Space Command. “They also are developing pretty robust on-orbit capabilities that are very complex that could also have a dual-use purpose.”

“It's clear that China would plan to use those threats against us in conflict," he added.

The spectrum of threats to U.S. assets makes it critical to reorganize the military's space enterprise, Raymond noted during remarks at a breakfast in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Don’t Just Call Them ‘Drones’: A Guide To Military Unmanned Systems On Air, Land And Sea

Sebastien Roblin
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Unmanned systems are rapidly transforming the ways wars are fought across the globe—whether high-tech stealth drones operated by the U.S. military or cheap commercial quadcopter modified by rebels in Syria to carry improvised bombs. 

Drone warfare reached a new milestone in the fall of 2019 when Turkish- and Chinese-built drones operated by both factions in Libya’s civil war largely replaced manned aircraft in combat roles, and were used to attack each other’s bases.

However, the blanket term ‘drones’ applies to a bewildering variety of system that differ radically in form, capability and cost. It also can be applied to unmanned ground vehicles and ships. Naturally, each type comes with its own opaque military acronyms.

In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the major categories of unmanned systems and the terminology that’s used to distinguish between them.

UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—any flying drone. It’s that broad a term.

The US cannot neglect Kurdistan, a pillar of its Middle East strategy and stability


Amid tensions with Iran and challenges facing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the Kurdistan autonomous region of northern Iraq stands out as a reliable partner that is increasingly vital for U.S. national security interests. It has a successful record of working with the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS and serves as a bulwark against extremist groups and Iranian influence.

However, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is imperiled if it is ignored in U.S. strategic goals in Iraq and neighboring states. Since September 2017, when the region held an independence referendum, there have been concerns in the KRG capital of Erbil that U.S. support is lacking at crucial moments. For example, after the referendum, which Washington opposed, Iranian-supported militias exploited the absence of U.S. policy to prod Baghdad into an attack on Kirkuk. Kurdish Peshmerga who had held the city and defended it from ISIS were pushed aside, souring relations between Erbil and Baghdad, and giving Iran a victory in Iraq as its political allies celebrated.

When the dust settled, the new reality on the ground was another step forward for an Iranian land bridge to Lebanon that stretches through Iraq and Syria.

Pentagon Deploys Assets to Saudi Arabia to Deter Additional Iranian Attacks

In response to the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans on Thursday to deploy additional personnel and air and missile defense assets to the Middle East – including one Patriot battery, four Sentinel radars, and 200 support personnel. This deployment represents the latest American effort to deter Iranian aggression and highlights the growing and evolving air and missile threat to the United States and its partners.

At a press conference last week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford said that Riyadh had requested U.S. assistance following the September 14 attack. “The Iranian regime is waging a deliberate campaign to destabilize the Middle East and impose costs on the international economy,” Esper said.

The attack, Esper continued, carried Tehran’s fingerprints. “It is clear,” he said, “that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian-produced and not launched from Yemen.” This week, despite disagreements regarding the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany joined the U.S. in blaming Tehran for the attack.

Turkey is now a haven for terrorists and an enabler of terrorism

Jonathan Schanzer

On Monday, four children of an American and his Israeli wife killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in 2015 filed suit against Turkey’s Kuveyt Turk Bank in a New York court. They charge that the bank helps Hamas finance its terrorist attacks, allegations the firm is almost certain to deny.

The lawsuit against this Shariah-compliant bank, which counts the Turkish government as a shareholder, comes two weeks after the US Treasury sanctioned 11 Turkey-linked entities and individuals for supporting Hamas and other jihadist outfits. The evidence keeps mounting: Turkey has become a haven for regional baddies.

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become a permissive jurisdiction for rogue regimes and their illicit bankers. Between 2012 and 2015, Tehran relied on Turkish banks and a dual Iranian-Turkish gold trader to circumvent US sanctions at the height of Washington’s efforts to thwart the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. It was the biggest sanctions-evasions scheme in recent history.

Similarly, Venezula’s Maduro regime has been using Turkish-based companies in a money-laundering network involving the sale of Venezuelan gold. The US government sanctioned that network in July.

Tunisians Are Fed Up With Their Entire Post-Revolution Political Class

Francisco Serrano 

The first round of Tunisia’s presidential election underlined a critical fact about the country’s fraught democratic transition: Tunisians have had enough of their post-revolution politicians. This was made clear not only by the number of people who skipped the mid-September vote altogether, but by the choices made by those who opted to have a say.

This year’s shortened electoral calendar, in which Tunisians will elect a new parliament between two rounds of presidential voting, was drawn up after the unexpected death of 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi in July. The Independent High Authority for Elections brought the presidential vote forward from its initial November date. ...

The U.S. Navy Isn’t Ready to Take On Iran

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Whatever lay behind the indecisive Trump administration response to the alleged Sept. 14 Iranian missile and drone strike on Saudi oil facilities, one thing is clear. The United States’ ability to project power into the Persian Gulf region via carrier strike groups, the go-to U.S. option in such situations for decades, is not what it used to be, nor what it might have been.

Not long ago, a modern version of gunboat diplomacy—dispatching carriers or guided missile cruisers to the region to loiter menacingly offshore—could have decisively influenced events. In the 1981, carrier aircraft slapped down a territorial grab by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in the Gulf of Sidra by downing two of his fighters. Parking a carrier off Lebanon the next year pressed a cease-fire on Israel and Lebanese factions long enough to affect a U.S.-organized evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, removing at least one source of the country’s chaos. And similarly, in 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton reacted to provocative Chinese war games off Taiwan by sending two carriers to the Taiwan Strait, leading Beijing to back down in a humiliation cited frequently today as a reason for China’s own naval buildup.

How should Africans respond to the investment, technology, security, and trade wars?

Peter Draper

The tectonic plates of the global political economy are shifting, and with an accelerating pace: “Trade wars”; “Brexit”; “fake news” and election manipulation; “populism”; the appointment of a “geopolitical commission” in Brussels; unprecedented protests in Hong Kong; South China sea military confrontations; an increasingly assertive Chinese Communist Party—the list goes on. Facing these dramatic changes, smaller, relatively fragile, states, particularly those in Africa, need to build new reference points to anchor their future development or risk being swallowed in the emerging crevasses.

Rather than focus on current events Africans need to discern their underlying drivers and how they frame opportunities, as well as responses.

Executive Director, Institute for International Trade - The University of Adelaide

The modern world economy is now characterized by a rapidly shifting technological frontier within which several previously distinct realms are now converging. Sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from the increasingly interconnected global economy. At the same time, the United States’ tough response to China’s growing economic heft, as well as increased worldwide backlash to globalization, is incentivizing some economies to look inward. Trade policy and strategy is back in focus with a vengeance, and increasingly contested.

How might an Africa caught in the middle of these opposing forces navigate this new global trade environment while maintaining its growth momentum of the last two decades?

Trade integration is creating opportunities for growth

Sanctioning sanctions: Expert discusses benefits, drawbacks of economic restrictions

By Chris Kuo

Eric Lorber, a former American Grand Strategy graduate fellow, defended the use of economic sanctions in statecraft at a Monday event hosted by the AGS program and moderated by Peter Feaver, professor of political science and director of the program. 

Certain types of sanctions are useful because they allow the United States to exert pressure on a group without the aid of other countries, he explained. Lorber, who earned a master’s degree in political science from Duke, now works as senior director of the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and as a director of the Financial Integrity Network, an advisory firm. 

“So much of the power of the U.S. sanctions is actually power that can be derived unilaterally,” Lorber said. “The sanctions efficacy, or coercive leverage, is actually far more rooted in the power of the U.S. financial system than it is in the significant multilateral efforts.” 

Syria Study Group Final Report

The United States cannot avoid or ignore the conflict in Syria. From the outset of hostilities, minimizing American involvement in the war and safeguarding U.S. national security interests have proven to be incompatible goals. This will remain the case for the foreseeable future. The essential question before American policymakers is not whether the United States should keep or with- draw its forces in Syria, but what strategy and mix of tools will best protect the United States from the conflict’s reverberations and advance American interests. This report sets out such a strategy.A poster of President Bashar al-Assad with “Yes” in Arabic hangs in the Hamadiyah market in the Old City of Damascus. (Photo by Hassan Ammar/AP/ Shutterstock.)

The U.S. Institute of Peace was mandated by Congress to facilitate the Syria Study Group based on USIP’s demonstrated expertise in convening Congressionally-directed study groups. Please note that the content of the report is solely that of the Syria Study Group and does not represent the views of USIP.

The Syrian Conflict and American Interests

Russia's Hybrid Warfare: Not So New After-all?

by Charlie Gao
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While many of the lessons learned by the Russian military in recent conflicts have been kept internal, the development of the Разведывательно-огневой контур (Reconnaissance/Fire Contour or RFC) has been pretty widely publicized. Official sources such as Krasnaya Zvezda (the official newspaper of the Russian MoD) have put out accounts of the RFC and how it was developed and employed.

But is the RFC a real game changer? Does it improve upon Western artillery usage, or does it simply modernize old Soviet artillery command and control mechanisms for the modern age? RIA Novosti presented a piece on the evolution of the Russian artillery.

The older technique called “fire shaft” described in that history could be considered a Soviet version of the rolling/creeping barrage technique used by Allied armies during WWI. A barrage is fired onto enemy lines, and troops are advanced immediately afterward while the enemy is still recuperating. The article states that this tactic was first used in February 1941, despite it being a staple technique in the British Army for far longer.

The Impeachment Trap


CHICAGO – America’s Democrats have made a serious mistake by launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. They are replaying the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, a futile exercise that damaged Republicans, enhanced Clinton’s power, and caused institutional damage as well.

America’s Democrats have made a serious mistake by launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. They are replaying the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, a futile exercise that damaged Republicans, enhanced Clinton’s power, and caused institutional damage as well.40Add to Bookmarks

The common factor of the two impeachments is that it was clear from the start that the US Senate would never convict, which requires a two-thirds majority. The 45 Senate Democrats were not happy that Clinton perjured himself before a grand jury, obstructed justice, and conducted an extramarital sexual affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. But they did not believe that this behavior was grounds for removal from office. The behavior was not sufficiently egregious to overcome their political loyalty to a president who remained popular with voters.

Breathing life back into ramjet-powered surface-to-air missiles

Only a handful of surface-to-air missile systems powered with ramjet sustainer engines remain in service today, but, as Douglas Barrie and Joseph Dempsey suggest, renewed interest and investment in high-speed guided-weaponry could prompt a comeback for ramjet engine technology. 

Surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems with ramjet sustainer engines could be about to make a comeback. Such engines were central to European, Soviet and United States medium-to-long-range SAM system research and development in the 1950s and 1960s. Of the systems to emerge from this work, today only a handful of the Soviet-era 2K11 Krug (SA-4 Ganef) and 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) remain in service. Norwegian energetics and propulsion specialist Nammo would like to change that.

Nammo is working on the development of a ramjet engine that it believes could provide the basis for an extended-range SAM, offering an engagement capability far in excess of most of today’s Western systems. The company claims a range envelope beyond 400 kilometres (250 miles) for high-altitude fly out, although a Nammo official recognised that this poses targeting issues.

Five Jeez: Five Security Arguments Against Huawei 5G

by Jason Healey

Many analysts remain skeptical about the U.S. charges against Huawei as the U.S. government has not laid out the risks clearly, has released little if any information to justify the charges, and has seemingly backtracked depending on trade negotiations or appeals by Chinese President Xi Jinping. As Justin Sherman and Robert Morgus have argued, “many countries, particularly in Europe, now have reason to harbor doubts that U.S. claims might just be motivated by a trade war.”

In fact, the five main arguments against Huawei go well beyond mercantilism.

The first argument is not about risk, but justice. Huawei allegedly stole intellectual property from rivals, such as Cisco, getting subsidized R&D through online theft. Huawei should not profit from the fruits of its crimes, so appropriate remedies could include taxes or tariffs so that Huawei gear is at least as expensive as that of the competitors from which it stole intellectual property.


Arindrajit Basu and Karan Saini

Last month, cyber-defense analyst and geostrategist Pukhraj Singh penned a stinging epitaph, published by MWI, for global norms-formulation processes that are attempting to foster cyber stability and regulate cyber conflict—specifically, the Tallinn Manual. His words are important, and should be taken seriously by the legal and technical communities that are attempting to feed into the present global governance ecosystem. However, many of his arguments seem to suffer from an unjustified and dismissive skepticism of any form of global regulation in this space.

He believes that the unique features of cyberspace render governance through the application of international law close to impossible. Given the range of developments that are in the pipeline in the global cyber norms proliferation process, this is an excessively defeatist attitude toward modern international relations. It also unwittingly encourages the continued weaponization of cyberspace by fomenting a “no holds barred” battlespace, to the detriment of the trust that individuals can place in the security and stability of the ecosystem.

From Hybrid Warfare to “Cybrid” Campaigns: The New Normal?

By Antonio Missiroli 

Antonio Missiroli writes that the speed and intensity at which the strategic landscape evolves now requires actors including the EU and NATO to constantly update their analytical and operational tools. This is to ensure they can capture change as it occurs, anticipate it whenever possible, and frame it in terms that facilitate adaptation, resilience and cooperation. In this article, Missiroli explores how debates over “hybrid’ —including its associations with “warfare” and cyber-enabled technology working a possible game-changer— provide an excellent case in point.

The speed and intensity at which the strategic landscape has evolved over the past two decades requires constantly updating our analytical and operational tools, capturing change as it occurs, anticipating it whenever possible, and also framing it in terms that facilitate adaptation and cooperation. The recent debates over “hybrid” are an excellent case in point.

What’s in a name?

France’s new cyber defense ‘conductor’ talks retaliation, protecting industry

By: Christina Mackenzie 

Cyber Defence Command was created in 2017 and was expanded in January when Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced France will develop and deploy offensive cyber weapons. Tisseyre took on the lead role Sept. 1 from his predecessor and most recently served as the deputy to that former commander. He spoke to Defense News earlier this month in a meeting room at the Armed Forces Ministry.

What is your role as the head of Cyber Defence Command?

I am a conductor, and my orchestra is made up of the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs of staff, ANSSI [France’s National Agency for the Security of Information Systems], and defense industry leaders.

We must protect our systems, be robust, be resilient because if France’s vital interests are attacked, then the armed forces must be able to react. Our weapons systems, our command systems are all computer-controlled. This makes them powerful and effective but also vulnerable, so we must be able to protect them. And today this protection must be as global and end-to-end as possible. This means that everyone in the Ministry of the Armed Forces must work together, and there must be a conductor to coordinate the protection and the defense of our interconnected networks. That is my job.

U.S. Military Forces in FY 2020: The Struggle to Align Forces with Strategy

Annually, CSIS Senior Adviser Mark Cancian publishes a series of papers on U.S. military forces--their composition, new initiatives, long term trends, and challenges. The overall theme of this year's report is the struggle to align forces and strategy because of budget tradeoffs that even defense buildups must make, unrelenting operational demands that stress forces and prevent reductions, and legacy programs whose smooth operations and strong constituencies inhibit rapid change. Subsequent papers will take a deeper look at the strategic and budget context, the military services, special operations forces, DOD civilians and contractors, and non-DOD national security organizations in the FY 2020 budget.
Strategic and Budget Context

The Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) drives its FY 2020 budget proposal, which aims to fix readiness and increase modernization to prepare for long-term competition with China and Russia. Force structure expands very little. Thus, the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has chosen capability over capacity, but unrelenting operational demands are pushing the services towards a high-low mix in order to cover both.

Officer Specialization in the United States Army: The Solution to the Junior Officer Brain Drain and Generals Who Over-Generalize is One and the Same

Samuel Canter
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The exodus of Junior Military Officers (JMO) from the service, colloquially known as the “brain drain,” represents one of the more slow-burning problems facing the United States Army. Beyond the immediate results on planned force structure and end-strength, the subtler effects of these departures will take decades to manifest. Even then, they may prove unquantifiable. Facing a new set of challenges in the not-so-distant future, the Army may well discover that among its upper ranks the right the people are not filling the right positions; that in fact, the right people took the first available exit years ago.

Why top performing JMOs leave and how the Army can entice them to stay are each the subject of extensive debate. At the intersection of these debates resides one potential solution: changing the way that the Army approaches career specialization. Despite entering one of seventeen supposedly distinct career fields, most JMOs will find their career progression remarkably similar: a series of box checks at each rank, rigidly enforced by a central authority. Whether an infantryman, a pilot, or a chemical officer, all will find themselves bounced between command (leading troops) and staff (planners and advisors) assignments in a strictly regimented cycle. Moreover, they are often jarringly moved from their position just as they have managed to master their duties, victims of an Army-wide quest for generalization that produces leaders with little specialty knowledge. Known as Key Development (KD) assignments, performance in these jobs can make or break a career. Deviate even slightly from this progression, and the results to an officer’s prospects for advancement and promotion are catastrophic.