14 October 2019

'India-US relationship could get worse'

'If we cannot conclude a trade deal, both sides are likely to take trade actions that will further impair our government-to-government ties.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra D Modi and United States President Donald J Trump meet on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly session in New York, September 24, 2019. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

"There is a real chance our (India-US) relationship could get worse, at least in the near-term," Richard Rossow -- who holds the Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the respected Washington, DC think-tank -- tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih.

Balakot, China ‘incursions’ prove OSINT images are new threat for democracies and military


With widely and easily available open-source intelligence today, basic information about military intent and movements, strategies and tactics is just a click away. Despite the various names used for it, this kind of intelligence is as old as warfare itself. But the internet, particularly the social media, poses a new challenge for democracies and militaries.

Governments and the military disseminate information to highlight successes and cover-up failures and, at times, even indulge in deception and disinformation. Social media delights in shattering the credibility of this information using open-source intelligence (OSINT). The adversary also uses OSINT to discredit governments. In India, OSINT was in the news during the Balakot strikes and the air skirmishes that followed on 26 and 27 February.

OSINT and multiple versions 

OSINT has been the primary source of basic intelligence with respect to a target country and its armed forces. Its collection and collation are a long-term process. Based on this data bank, intelligence resources are deployed to collect specific information to decide when, where and how the threat will manifest.

The US has ramped up its air campaign in Afghanistan to highest level in nine years

By: Shawn Snow

As peace negotiations between the Taliban and U.S. unraveled, the U.S. dramatically ramped up its air campaign against militants in Afghanistan.

According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. aircraft dropped 948 munitions in Afghanistan during the month of September.

That’s the highest number of munitions dropped for a single month since October 2010 — near the height of America’s involvement in the 18-year long war. In October 2010, according to figures provided by AFCENT, U.S. and coalition aircraft dropped roughly 1,043 munitions.

The U.S. had nearly 100,000 troops on the ground by October 2010, as part of then-President Barrack Obama’s troop surge. Today, there are roughly 14,000 service members operating in Afghanistan.

B-52s were postured to respond to Taliban assaults of several urban centers that occurred in late August to early September.

Intelligence in a modern insurgency: the case of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal

Paul Jackson

Outside some well-known movements like Al Qaeda, there is little understanding of how insurgent movements in the Global South gather, process and manage intelligence. This paper is based on fieldwork in Nepal with former members of the Maoist Army. The Maoists fought a secretive insurgency war for ten years, signing a peace agreement in 2006. Fieldwork involved former combatants, intelligence officers and Maoist cadres and analyses the intelligence methodology of the Maoist insurgency, placing this in to the context of Nepal Government operations. The Maoists benefited from poor opponents but they did establish an effective system of intelligence into operations.


The literature on intelligence rarely addresses intelligence structures and use within insurgent groups.11. Gentry and Spencer, “Colombia’s FARC”.View all notes This is for a series of good reasons, not least because insurgent groups tend to be very secretive generally, and intelligence tends to be particularly sensitive, but also they also tend to lack formal, codified and documented systems that can be analysed by researchers after the events. Intelligence operators can also be extremely difficult to reach and are rarely willing to talk on record about previous experience of intelligence gathering and use, particularly where post-conflict measures like transitional justice are in operation. As a result, the intelligence literature rarely analyses comparative intelligence services within insurgent groups or the demand or usage of intelligence by those groups.22. Krause, “Insurgent Intelligence”.View all notes,33. Although there is some development of work on the Irish Republican Army, Hezbollah and Al-Quaeda – see Ilardi, ‘Irish Republican Army Counterintelligence’,; Ilardi, ‘Al Qaeda’s Operational Intelligence’; Ilardi, ‘Al Qaeda’s Counterintelligence; Wege, ‘Hezbollah’s Communication System’; Wege, ‘Hizbellah’s Counterintelligence Apparatus’.View all notes Geographically, this has also been reinforced by a bias in intelligence writing towards the Anglosphere, with an increasing number focussing on Soviet and post-Soviet space44. Van Puyvelde and Curtis, “Standing on the shoulders of giants”.View all notes and also the treatment of foreign intelligence services and non-state actors. However, Africa and South Asia are more or less absent from intelligence writing despite the fact that these geographical regions have been the focus of the vast majority of post-Second-World War violence.

The World’s Next Factory Won’t Be in South Asia

Irene Yuan Sun

Vietnam seems to be the consensus pick for winner of the U.S.-China trade war, as Chinese and other manufacturers shift production to the cheaper Southeast Asian nation. If there’s a loser, at least in terms of missed opportunities, it may be the countries of South Asia.

To understand why, remember that the trade war has only accelerated an important trend a decade in the making. Faced with rising costs, Chinese manufacturers must decide whether to invest in labor-saving automation technologies or to relocate. Those choosing the latter present an enormous opportunity for less-developed countries, as Chinese companies can help spark industrialization and much-needed economic transformation in their new homes.

Defeat: In 1979, Vietnam Gave China's Army a Beating

by Charlie Gao

Chinese operations against Vietnam in the 1980s are often divided into four phases. In the first, the Chinese and Vietnamese further entrenched their positions along the border. This lasted until 1981. The second and third phase consisted of escalating offensive operations across the border from 1981 to 1987, gradually increasing in intensity. The last phase involved the PLA’s withdrawal from the border region. The political objectives of the Chinese incursions were to “punish” Vietnam for its continued belligerence towards Thailand and Cambodia. Since Vietnamese troops were going into Cambodia, Chinese troops would continue to do the same. Militarily, China saw the border conflict as a way to evolve the PLA from an antiquated fighting force to a modern one, by testing new doctrines and equipment on the border.

The PLA’s performance in the 1979 war was so bad, even Vietnamese commanders were surprised, according to some sources. This was a result of its reliance on Korean War–style infantry assault tactics, due to the operational inflexibility and stagnation of military thought in the PLA. The layout of the command structure, and the infrastructure that supported it, could not support maneuver warfare by smaller units of higher-quality forces.

Looking for a unicorn? Head to Hong Kong

By Brand Hong Kong

One look at the Hong Kong skyline and it is obvious: This is a place where big business thrives. Soaring skyscrapers are topped with the signs of international banks, insurance companies, and global hotel chains. But the city is also a prime spot for startups.

With access to impressive local and international talent, efficient company registration systems, and even government support, entrepreneurs flourish. And today, this hyper-connected city is seeing rapid growth in technology and innovation companies, eight of which have reached unicorn status.

So while many Hongkongers see the city as dominated by finance, tourism, and trade, plenty are gaming for it to be the next hot tech hub. We talked with three. 

The Incubator

What China’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations Really Tell Us

Howard W. French

When the Chinese Communist Party recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of its rule, it predictably pulled out all the stops. These included stepped up censorship of already tightly controlled domestic media for weeks before the event, extraordinary security measures in Beijing designed to prevent even the slightest disturbance, and the largest military parade in the country’s history.

Responses to China’s celebrations have been equally predictable, too, and although they fall into two broad and opposing camps, there is no real contradiction between them.

On one hand, some observers focus on China’s achievements since the early 1980s, starting with the rapid and prolonged economic growth that has “lifted” hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. From the evidence on display in the parade, it has also created a world-class military that is quickly becoming a peer rival of the United States, despite vastly greater spending by the Pentagon.

The US played down Turkey’s concerns about Syrian Kurdish forces. That couldn’t last

Amanda Sloat

Amanda Sloat explains that the policy of assisting a faction of Syrian Kurds, the YPG, to fight the Islamic State has been a ticking time bomb since it began under the Obama administration, in 2014. This piece originally appeared in the Washington Post.

Astrikingly bipartisan array of politicians slammed President Trump for his surprise announcement that he would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria’s border with Turkey — removing them from harm’s way before the Turkish military launched an operation against Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have helped the United States battle the Islamic State.

“We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” tweeted former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called the decision “morally repugnant,” while Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) attacked it as “positively sinister.”

To be sure, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) members who fought valiantly against the Islamic State deserve American gratitude, and Trump should have strongly discouraged Turkey from attacking them. But the situation is complicated. The policy of assisting a faction of Syrian Kurds, the YPG, to fight the Islamic State has been a ticking time bomb since it began under the Obama administration, in 2014.

Ctrl + Shift + Delete: The GDPR’s Influence on National Security Posture

Lexie N. Johnson 
Source Link

The European Union (EU) shook the information technology and business worlds when implementing its 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the effort to take data privacy rights to the internet, the new GDPR enacts several provisions that return the powers of data discretion and consent to EU citizens. One of its more notable provisions lies in Article 17, or more commonly known as “the right to be forgotten”—a modern fundamental right that highlights the legal tension between human rights and security measures. In the case of Article 17, the balance falls in favor of human rights.

While human rights activists rejoice with the expansion of data privacy rights, Article 17 complicates intelligence agencies’ efforts by removing data relating to an identifiable person who can be discretely discerned by referencing data such as: name, identification number, location data, online identifier, or specifics of a person’s physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, social, or cultural identity. This information collected by private companies in social media, telecommunications, medical information, banking, and academia was previously accessible to government agencies without restriction or with a warrant, subpoena, or court order. Due to this data access and pressure to be more transparent in their collection methods, European intelligence agencies like Europol and INTCEN have further budgeted and bolstered their open-source intelligence (OSINT) capabilities. Yet, these agencies may find their OSINT efforts legally encumbered as EU data subjects exercise their newfound Article 17 rights.

Anti-ISIS Operations In Syria Cease Amid Turkish Assault

Source Link

Military operations against ISIS in Syria have effectively ground to a halt since the Turkish military crossed the border to launch an assault on the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Wednesday.

“The SDF is clearly focused on the northern border to protect their forces,” a defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity told Defense One, saying that as a result, the fight against the terror group is “paused.” 

After trying unsuccessfully to start a counter-ISIS force of local fighters in Syria and Iraq from scratch, the U.S. military backed the mainly-Kurdish SDF in the fight against ISIS in Syria beginning in 2016. Those Kurdish militants became “the backbone of the fighting force against ISIS,” the recently-retired U.S. Central Command commander, Gen. Joseph Votel, wrote in an op-ed this week. “Without it, President Donald Trump could not have declared the complete defeat of ISIS.”

Turkey’s Endgame in Syria What Erdogan Wants

By Gonul Tol 

In a stunning announcement on Sunday, the Trump administration gave the nod to a Turkish military incursion into northeastern Syria, an operation that would entail clashes with Washington’s Kurdish allies in the area. The U.S. military, which has around 1,000 troops in Syria, would not “support or be involved in the operation.” But the White House said it would pull back U.S. forces stationed near the Syrian-Turkish border to clear the way for Ankara’s troops.

Facing an intense backlash even among Republicans, Trump seemed to backpedal on Monday. But Turkish army units stand ready at the Syrian border, and Washington’s exhortations are unlikely to keep Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from giving them the green light. This is because Turkey’s strategy is more than an exercise in geopolitics—for Erdogan, the war touches on his very political survival.

Responding to the Saudi Oil Attack: A Challenge for U.S. Policy

Suzanne Maloney, Norman Roule, and Michael Singh

Three experts discuss Washington’s potential reaction, which will have powerful implications not only in the Gulf states, but everywhere that America and its allies face off against Iran and its proxies, from Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza.

On September 27, Suzanne Maloney, Norman Roule, and Michael Singh addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Maloney is deputy director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. Roule, a veteran of the CIA, is a senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project and United Against Nuclear Iran. Singh is the Institute’s Lane-Swig Senior Fellow and managing director. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of their remarks.

Iran’s actions in the past four months are the predictable consequences of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy. When the president exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, many observers made cataclysmic predictions about Iran’s likely reaction. In the year following that decision, the regime chose to act with relative restraint, reflecting its desire to see how the U.S. pressure campaign would play out, how Europe would respond to it, and whether businesses would comply with unilateral sanctions.

How to Present Evidence of Iranian Involvement in the Saudi Attack

Michael Knights and Tim Michetti

By working effectively with the UN, Washington and Riyadh can help foster global consensus on Iran’s culpability, creating a firm basis for multilateral censure that could induce caution in Tehran.

On September 23, Britain, France, and Germany issued a joint statement on the strike against Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, noting, “It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation.” Tehran continues to deny its involvement, however, so the international community will need to see convincing evidence before taking concerted diplomatic action. A multilateral forensic investigation appears to be in the works, potentially involving the UN and a range of member states. To achieve broad-based consensus, this investigation must be viewed as professional and impartial, balancing the need for quick results against a comprehensive and clear statement of the facts by neutral parties.


Washington’s incorrect 2002 assessment regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has cast a long shadow over subsequent U.S. efforts to present evidence to a skeptical international community, including the current situation. Many officials are also nervous about giving the Trump administration a de facto green light for punitive actions that could lead to a regional conflict or deepen the Iranian nuclear problem.

Plugging the Gaps in Saudi Arabia’s Air Defenses

Michael Knights and Conor Hiney

The kingdom already has much of the equipment needed to intercept Iranian air attacks, but it needs Washington’s help on reacting more quickly, deterring Tehran, and establishing joint defense networks with other Gulf states.

The reasons why Saudi Arabia failed to intercept the recent attack on Abqaiq and Khurais are no mystery: its air defenses were overstretched, badly coordinated, and not operated on a wartime footing. This failure does not mean that Iranian cruise missile and drone strikes will succeed every time, but it does underline the need to offer practical defensive assistance from abroad, and to restore deterrence by imposing costs on Iran.


Justice for Pearl Harbor: How America Assassinated Admiral Yamamoto

by Michael Peck

This time, the target wasn’t a terrorist. It was the Japanese admiral who planned the Pearl Harbor operation. But the motive was the same: payback for a sneak attack on the United States.

In early 1943, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Japanese Navy, was one of the most hated men in America. He was seen as the Asian Devil in naval dress, the fiend who treacherously struck peaceful, sleeping America. And when the United States saw a chance for payback in April 1943, there was no hesitation. Hence a code name unmistakable in its intent: Operation Vengeance.

As with today’s drone strikes, the operation began with an intercepted message. Except it wasn’t a call from a cell phone, but rather a routine military radio signal. In the spring of 1943, Japan was in trouble: the Americans had captured Guadalcanal despite a terrible sacrifice of Japanese ships and aircraft. Stung by criticism that senior commanders were not visiting the front to ascertain the situation, Yamamoto resolved to visit naval air units on the South Pacific island of Bougainville.

Trump Is Killing a Fatally Flawed Syria Policy


In times of policy confusion, there’s a stock phrase some Trump officials reach for, almost like a mantra: “We’ve been very clear.” Trying to explain why the president seemed to be opening the way for Turkey to attack America’s Syrian Kurdish partners, a senior administration official intoned it again and again: Trump wasn’t endorsing an invasion; he was just moving a handful of troops out of the way in case there was one.

The confusion, of course, came from a sudden Sunday-night statement from the White House, which said Turkey was set to invade northeastern Syria and the president wouldn’t leave U.S. troops there to get involved. Swift, severe, and bipartisan condemnation followed; the United States was leaving the Syrian Kurds, its best partner against ISIS, who had shed the blood of thousands of their own fighting a terrorist group that threatened America, to face a well-armed state enemy alone. Just as much as the statement was a betrayal of friends, it was a telling moment in the demise of a fatally contradictory strategy.

New Tech Promises to Stop Drones from Overflying Stadiums — and Find the People Flying Them


Companies are touting new technology that allows stadium operators to spot hobby-shop drones and find the people flying them — even as legislators are trying to find the right way to regulate law enforcement’s ability to down or disable drones.

The technology is already being tested at venues in the United States and has led to the apprehension of at least four people, according to Raytheon, one of the companies that makes counter-drone systems.

“Drones are becoming a significant nuisance factor for everything from concert venues to football venues…where everybody is concerned about it,” said Todd Probert, vice president of command and control, space and intelligence at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.

While Raytheon is better known as a military supplier, executives see a growing market for non-lethal counter-drone technology that could be used by law enforcement or stadium operators. The company is also developing standards for using this technology.

Defying the World, Turkey Launches a War Against a U.S. Ally in Syria

Two of America’s closest allies in the Middle East went to war on Wednesday—and Donald Trump didn’t seem to care. In what may have been the first declaration of hostilities on Twitter, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that Turkey, a nato ally, had launched an invasion of Syria, to clear out a Kurdish-led militia that controls about a third of the country. The militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, has been allied with the United States for the past five years in the war against isis. Both sides have been equipped by the United States, albeit in vastly different ways.

Erdoğan dubbed the invasion Operation Peace Spring. It is anything but. Panic swept across northern Syria as Turkey’s warplanes pounded Kurdish towns and artillery fired across the border, in order to—in ironic military jargon—“soften up” the terrain for a ground offensive. The S.D.F. posted videos on social media of the aftermath, showing fires, destruction, and bodies on the ground.

Syria: The U.S. Will Step Aside for Turkey's Push Against the SDF

Turkish forces like these training on the western Syrian border near Idlib in January 2019 have massed for an offensive into northeastern Syria, where Kurdish militias have cooperated with U.S. forces to counter the Islamic State.


Turkey's determination to proceed with a military incursion into northeastern Syria has forced the U.S. to choose between its strategic relationship with Ankara and its local commitments. 

The U.S. decision to withdraw significantly reduces the risk of a clash with Turkish forces and creates an opening to improve their relationship.

The withdrawal will make other groups in the region and beyond more cautious about risking alignment with Washington for fear of eventual abandonment.

Trump’s Muddled Syria Policy Opens the Way for More War in the Middle East

By Robin Wright

At 3 a.m. on Monday, Middle East time, the commander of American special forces in Syria—whose name is not public for security reasons—held a video teleconference with General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the Kurdish militia commander who led the war against isis on behalf of the U.S. coalition. The commander had bad news. President Trump had decided—after a telephone call with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—that the United States would stand aside if Turkey, as announced, soon invades northeast Syria. U.S. troops positioned in two key posts in Syria on the border with Turkey would immediately be withdrawn. Mazloum and his Syrian Democratic Forces, who lost some eleven thousand fighters in the grinding five-year war against isis, were on their own.

Mazloum recounted the conversation to me a few hours later. “The implications are catastrophic,” he said. “We told the Americans we would prepare for war. The Kurds will defend themselves. There is no place for us to go. So that means a war between the Kurds and Turkey. The Arabs also won’t accept a Turkish invasion, either.” The S.D.F., created under U.S. tutelage, includes both Kurds and Arabs.

The Many Challenges Facing Transitional Justice

There are many templates for achieving transitional justice, the broader purpose of which is to help a society reckon with a legacy of human rights abuses in the aftermath of dictatorship or conflict. These efforts might take the form of a criminal trial, a truth commission or a reparations program, in an effort to document horrific violations—and reckon with them.

The specific goals of transitional justice have evolved over time. Early initiatives emphasized criminal justice, with the most well-known example being the post-World War II trials of German and Japanese war criminals. More recently, however, the purpose of transitional justice began to expand to focus on reconciliation, healing and societal reformation. In the post-apartheid era, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission prized information and resolution over justice, for instance.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

EU warns of 5G cybersecurity risks, potential attacks from 'state-backed' hackers

By Brooke Crothers 

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 10 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

The European Union is fearful that 5G networks could cause "security challenges" if they're exposed to state-backed companies.

In a statement, the E.U. said that “security challenges” are likely to be more “prominent” on 5G networks, but did not single out any companies from China, including Huawei.

“Among the various potential actors, non-EU States or State-backed are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks,” the E.U. said in the release.

The U.S. has explicitly cited Huawei as the most serious threat and a state actor. Earlier this year, the U.S. government put Huawei on an entity list saying "there is reasonable cause to believe that Huawei has been involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."

New NSA cyber directorate to focus on industrial base

By: Mark Pomerleau

One of the early tasks the National Security Agency’s new cybersecurity directorate will have is helping to secure the defense industrial base and defense weapons systems, the agency’s director said Oct. 9 at the FireEye Cyber Defense Summit in Washington.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, NSA director, said he gave the agency and the directorate, which opened last week, an initial task as it addresses the demanding challenge of preventing and eradicating cyberthreats to national security systems and critical infrastructure.

NSA's new cybersecurity directorate seeks to provide private sector with better unclassified intelligence.

“We must better protect our nation’s advantage and the defense sector from intellectual property theft,” he said. “This means working closely with the defense industries and those who provide cybersecurity solutions to them.”

Is Amazon Unstoppable?

By Charles Duhigg

In 2017, a few months after Forbes named Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the world’s richest man, a rumor spread among the company’s executives: Bill Gates, the former wealthiest person on earth, had called Bezos’s assistant to schedule a lunch, asking if Tuesday or Wednesday was available. The assistant informed Bezos of the invitation, and told him that both days were open. Bezos, who had built an empire exhorting employees to be “vocally self-critical,” and to never “believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume,” issued a command: Make it Thursday.

Bezos’s power play was so mild that it likely wasn’t noticed by Gates, but within Amazon the story sparked a small panic (and, later, an official denial). Such a willful act of vanity felt like a bad omen. At Amazon’s headquarters, in Seattle, the company’s fourteen Leadership Principles—painted on walls, posted in bathrooms, printed on laminated cards in executives’ wallets—urge employees to “never say ‘that’s not my job,’ ” to “examine their strongest convictions with humility,” to “not compromise for the sake of social cohesion,” and to commit to excellence even if “people may think these standards are unreasonably high.” (When I recently asked various employees to recite the precepts, they did so with alarming gusto: “ ‘Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention!’ ”) A former executive said, “That’s how we earn our success—we’re willing to be frugal and egoless, and obsessed with delighting our customers.”

Mitigating the Human Cost of Modern Conflict: Jus in Bello and Cyberattacks


Emerging technology continues to revolutionize all traditional forums for human activity. Known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution,[1] the innovation of this century has been sparked by the ongoing development of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and expansion of cyberspace. Within cyberspace lies unlimited potential to benefit humanity, but falls victim to a security dilemma in which continued economic and military competition is lead by technologically developed stakeholders (Buchanan 2019: 3). Cyberspace now embodies a critical area of debate centered primarily on the modern conflict landscape (Schmitt 2017: 4). On 24 June 2013, the United Nations’ (UN) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications (ICT) in the Context of International Security stated that the UN Charter is applicable within cyberspace (UNGA 2013: 2). This proclamation solidified the notion that cyberspace is the fifth domain for warfare (The Economist Briefing 2010). The Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, finalized in 2017, became the primary source on how sovereignty, state responsibility, human rights, and the law of air, space, and the sea apply to cyberspace (Schmitt 2017: 10). This piece thoroughly documents the relevance of jus ad bellum[2] to cyber conflict, but the applicability of jus in bello[3] to cyberattacks yields scant scholarship due to its lack of precedent and few available frameworks of direct relation. This paper will, therefore, utilize the publications of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in addition to the Tallinn Manual 2.0 to establish the extent to which existing norms and principles of international humanitarian law (IHL) apply to cyberattacks in an active conflict setting.

The Cyber Threat Landscape

Facebook’s Libra: A Global Monetary System Governed by Private Corporations?

Perhaps the clearest, most recent statement on the introduction of a monetary system outside the remit of national governments is the one made by Judy Shelton, one of Donald Trump’s nominees for governor of the Federal Reserve Board, in a policy paper published by Cato Institute in 2018 when she stated: “If the appeal of cryptocurrencies is their capacity to provide a common currency, and to maintain a uniform value for every issued unit, we need only consult historical experience to ascertain that these same qualities were achieved through the classical international gold standard without sacrificing the sovereignty of individual nations…A modern version of this approach—one that permits the issuance of virtual currencies in tandem with government-issued currencies, adapting legal tender laws to permit healthy currency competition—should be put forward.” It would appear that “…a modern version of [the classical international gold standard] approach—one that permits the issuance of virtual currencies in tandem with government-issued currencies…” is exactly what Facebook had in mind in its white paper proposing the Libra Global Coin. Why? Primarily as it attempts to address the drawbacks of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies whose history of wild fluctuations meant that, although they were able to be used as a medium of exchange, they could not be used as a store of value or a unit of account. They, therefore, could not fulfil all the characteristics of money. Nonetheless, for Facebook Libra Global Coin to be that kind of monetary system which is driven by private corporations, it would need to surmount several hurdles. One of its greatest hurdles would be achieving a coordinated global approach that is needed to tackle most of the risks this new currency poses.

Editor’s Note for Military-Civil Fusion Issue (October 2019)

By: John Dotson

This is a special theme issue of China Brief, focused on the evolving concept of “military-civil fusion” (军民融合, junmin ronghe), or MCF, a complex set of initiatives by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to share resources between the military and civilian industry. A core focus of MCF is the effort to leverage technological expertise from the civilian sector in order to benefit the development of advanced weapons systems and other equipment for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). However, MCF is much more than that: it also embraces a broad set of organizational changes and information-sharing mechanisms intended to break down barriers between China’s military and commercial sectors—with the ultimate aim of sharing resources and expertise from both sides, while keeping these efforts firmly under state direction. Whether this ambitious program succeeds or fails will have significant implications for the course of Chinese military modernization, as well as for the future direction of China’s high-technology and other emerging industrial sectors.

Military-Civil Fusion and Electromagnetic Spectrum Management in the PLA

By: John Dotson

Introduction: EMSM as a Key Element of “Military-Civil Fusion”

Modern battlefield environments will contain a greater proliferation of electromagnetic emitters than ever before—including but not limited to radars, communications networks, and jamming systems—employed by many different platforms across multiple warfare domains. As a result, electromagnetic spectrum management (EMSM) is a discipline growing steadily in importance for modern military forces. The U.S. Department of Defense defines EMSM as “planning, coordinating, and managing joint use of the [electromagnetic spectrum] through operational, engineering, and administrative procedures… [intended] to enable EMS-dependent capabilities and systems to perform their functions in the intended environment without causing or suffering unacceptable interference.” [1]

Amid the course of Chinese military modernization and reform, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is well aware of the importance of electronic warfare in modern battlefield environments (China Brief, April 9, 2018; China Brief, February 1). PLA writers are also fully aware of the importance of electromagnetic spectrum management (电磁频谱管理, dianci pinpu guanli), and have stated that “electromagnetic space is the ‘sixth domain of battle’ alongside the land, sea, air, space, and internet, and is of critical function for victory or defeat in war.” [2]

Secretary of the Army approves new advanced manufacturing policy

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has approved a new policy on advanced manufacturing that will help the Army secure a competitive edge against near-peer adversaries.

Advanced manufacturing refers to new ways of making existing products and the production of new products using advances in technology. It includes robotics, artificial intelligence, composite materials and additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing.

"Advanced manufacturing will fundamentally change the way the Army designs, delivers, produces and sustains materiel capabilities," McCarthy wrote in the policy memorandum.

The new policy aims to deliver on two of the Army's top priorities: Readiness and Modernization. Advanced manufacturing decreases design limitations imposed by traditional manufacturing methods, allowing for the production of complex parts. These optimized designs, coupled with lighter and stronger advanced materials, can result in improved system performance. Advanced manufacturing will also allow the Army to innovate with unparalleled speed. It enables the rapid production of prototypes and transition to production, leading to shorter development times. Advanced manufacturing can also be used to address the readiness challenges posed by parts obsolescence, diminishing sources of supply and sustained operations in austere environments.

How airmen can work together for persistent ISR

By: Brig. Gen. Gregory Gagnon and Lt. Col. Nishawn Smagh  

Major Dusty, 9th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, and TSgt Trevis, 49th Operations Group MQ-9 sensor operator (last names omitted due to operational security concerns) fly an MQ-9 Reaper training mission from a ground control station on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Oct. 3. The Reaper is a multi-functional aircraft that supports both reconnaissance and combat roles. Holloman trains all Air Force MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper pilots. (Air Force/A1C Michael Shoemaker)

There is always a next war. Great power competition is here. Now is the time, while the United States maintains a position of strength, to ensure we are not outmatched, out-thought, or out-witted. Rapidly and realistically positioning the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance enterprise for first-mover advantage in today’s data-driven environment is beginning with purposeful urgency.

The past paradigm: crew-to-aircraft model