22 October 2019

India’s Quest for Jobs: A Policy Agenda


The Indian economy is riding the wave of a youth bulge, with two-thirds of the country’s population below age thirty-five. The 2011 census estimated that India’s 10–15 and 10–35 age groups comprise 158 million and 583 million people, respectively.1 By 2020, India is expected to be the youngest country in the world, with a median age of twenty-nine, compared to thirty-seven for the most populous country, China.2 In the 2019 general elections, the estimated number of first-time voters was 133 million.3 Predictably, political parties scrambled to attract youth voters.4

It is therefore not surprising that, according to several surveys, the parties’ primary concern was job creation.5 The burgeoning youth population has led to an estimated 10–12 million people entering the workforce each year.6 In addition, the rapidly growing economy is transitioning away from the agricultural sector, with many workers moving into secondary and tertiary sectors. Employing this massive supply of labor is, perhaps, the biggest challenge facing India—at the very least, it requires high economic growth for the next three decades. Further, this growth must be sustainable, broad-based, and focused on creating new jobs. 

Imran Khan’s incomplete narrative on the Taliban

Madiha Afzal

America is, understandably, tired of its “longest war”: Neither the Trump administration nor the American public has any desire to remain in Afghanistan. The question doesn’t seem to be if America leaves Afghanistan — this is all but a foregone conclusion — but when and how. The U.S. peace talks with the Afghan Taliban (stalled for now, but possibly inching toward a restart) after 18 years of fighting with the group, need a narrative explanation, and one that goes beyond the exhaustion of war and the inability to win militarily.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been helping the U.S. with these talks, has provided one narrative. On his visits to the United States — two in the last three months, one for his first meeting with President Trump, and the second for a speech at the U.N. General Assembly — a key topic of discussion was peace talks with the Taliban. In that context, Khan was asked, especially during his appearances at think tanks, about the relationship between Pakistan, terrorism, and the Taliban.


Pakistan's measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing

This report provides a summary of the AML/CFT measures in place in Pakistan as at the date of the on-site visit in October 2018. It analyses the level of compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of the AML/CFT system and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

The findings of this assessment have been reviewed and endorsed by the FATF.

Please refer to the Executive Summary of the report for the Key Findings and Priority Actions.

Download the report:

Can Beijing and Hong Kong Rejuvenate ‘One Country, Two Systems’?

By Brian Wong

Hong Kong has reached a state of political pandemonium – with deeply rooted concerns surfacing through one of the most turbulent periods it has endured in its political history. What started out as a protest against an extradition bill has evolved into a fundamental challenge – and set of questions – posed over the tenability of “one country, two systems” (1C2S), a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping in articulating strategically an ideal modus vivendi as the People’s Republic of China regains sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau, two former colonies. Under 1C2S, Hong Kong and Macau (alongside, hypothetically, other selected regions) would retain their economic, political, and administrative systems that are distinct and separate from the rest of the mainland, but would be governed under the overarching sovereign entity of China. 

The 1C2S is unparalleled as a normative ideal. First in its extensiveness, given its mandate of prescribing the mode of governance shaping the relationship between 1.4 billion mainland Chinese citizens and 7.4 million residing in Hong Kong. But also in its ambitiousness, in temporally extending for at least “50 years unchanged” and normatively serving as a model which, if successful in Hong Kong and Macau, could become a functional arrangement for China with regards to other comparable territories – with significant cultural and institutional differences from the mainland populace. Deng’s vision was indubitably built upon foresight and a recognition that solidarity and unity could be found in the embracing of dualism in cultures, values, and bureaucratic structures. 

China’s Economic Slowdown Deepens, Weighing on Global Growth

By Joe McDonald
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China’s economic growth sank to a new multi-decade low in the latest quarter as a trade war with Washington deepened a slump that is weighing on the global economy.

Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2 percentU, data showed Friday. It was the weakest level since China started reporting data by quarters in 1993.

The slowdown and weakening consumer demand add to headaches for Chinese leaders as they fight a 15-month-old tariff war with U.S. President Donald Trump that has sapped China’s exports.

Still, the slowdown will not necessarily compel decision makers in Beijing to reach an agreement with Trump since domestic factors, rather than trade, are having a bigger impact on the economy, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

“I don’t think striking a deal with the U.S. and lifting those tariffs would resolve the issues the Chinese economy is facing,” said Evans-Pritchard. “It would be only a modest boost.”

China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative: Implications for the Global Maritime Supply Chain

Jonathan E. Hillman, director of the Reconnecting Asia Project and senior fellow with the Simon Chair in Political Economy, testifies before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on "China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative: Implications for the Global Maritime Supply Chain."

Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains

The Chinese government has detained and “reeducated” more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang in an effort to fully secure and control the population there. It is believed to be the largest-scale detention of religious minorities since World War II. Forced labor has now become an integral part of the government’s efforts to “reeducate” Muslim minorities. This forced labor is connected to Western supply chains and consumers, as Xinjiang produces over 80 percent of China’s cotton. The United States in turn imports more than 30 percent of its apparel from China. This report focuses on what we know about forced labor in Xinjiang and how it connects to Western supply chains. It also identifies actions that are most likely to improve the situation.

Mackinder's Nightmare :Part One

This article is drawn from the author’s latest book, Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2019).

The stunning growth in the capabilities of the People’s Republic of China during the past 30 years has created a severe geopolitical challenge for the United States and its allies. The U.S. faces a near-peer competitor with the potential ability to dominate the Eurasian Rimland through previously unexpected means. In this sense, the nightmare scenario sketched by Halford Mackinder over a century ago is now a real possibility: A number of authoritarian powers, with Beijing in the lead, today threaten to dominate the Eurasian landmass, marginalizing the outer crescent of maritime democracies. Fortunately, geopolitical analysis also provides a remedy. Nicolas Spykman pointed out during the 1940s that effective control over the Old World by authoritarian forces could be prevented in part through active balancing by the United States. In today’s terms, that remedy incudes a carefully maintained U.S. forward presence to counterbalance China and a continuing American economic pressure campaign against Beijing. One current policy implication is that the Donald Trump administration should resolve remaining trade disputes with U.S. allies—notably the European Union—and work alongside those allies to counteract Chinese economic, diplomatic, and strategic influence along the Rimland perimeter.
Mackinder’s Geopolitical Heartland

Since the end of the Cold War, a number of weaknesses in both the theory and practice of the liberal international order have become increasingly apparent. The geopolitical challenge to the liberal order emanates from long-term structural changes, power shifts, and persistent weak points inherent within the internationalist project. To understand why this is so requires a little elaboration as to what can be gained from a geopolitical analysis.

The IMF Should Take Over Libra


ATHENS – The Libra Association is fragmenting. Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe, Mercado Pago, and eBay have abandoned the Facebook-led corporate alliance underpinning Libra, the asset-backed cryptocurrency meant to revolutionize international money. More corporations are likely to follow as pressure upon them mounts from worried governments determined to stop Libra dead in its tracks.

This is a good thing. Humanity would have suffered had Facebook been allowed to use Libra to privatize the international payments system. But the authorities that are now strangling Libra should look to the future and do with it something innovative, useful, and visionary: hand Libra, or its core concept, over to the International Monetary Fund so that it can be used to reduce global trade imbalances and rebalance financial flows. Indeed, a Libra-like cryptocurrency could help the IMF fulfill its original purpose.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Libra amid great fanfare, the idea sounded interesting and innocuous. Anyone with a mobile phone would be able to buy Libra tokens with domestic currency and by standard methods such as debit cards and online banking. Those tokens could then be used to make payments to other Libra users, whether to purchase goods and services or repay debts. To ensure full transparency, all transactions would be handled by blockchain technology. In sharp contrast to Bitcoin, however, Libra tokens would be fully backed by copper-bottomed assets.

Why is Turkey Fighting Syria’s Kurds?

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Almost everyone agrees that the chaos that has descended on Syria since last week—when Turkey invaded Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria after the Trump administration’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. troops—was the bloody aftermath of a betrayal. But just who stabbed whom in the back is up for debate.

Kurdish forces based in Syria say the United States abandoned them with no warning and no justification after years of cooperation fighting against the Islamic State. But Turkey says the U.S. decision to partner in the first place with the Syrian Kurdish forces—which it considers an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group based in Turkey—was itself a betrayal of Washington’s fellow NATO ally. U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to endorse that view in a press conference on Wednesday in the White House.

The Kurdish claim is easy enough to adjudicate: The U.S. military made promises to the Kurds, or at least implied commitments, that it failed to keep. The Turkish claim—essentially, that Syrian Kurdish forces are allied with terrorists—is more complicated and more dubious. Here’s why.

Who are the Kurds?

Trump’s Middle East Meltdown

By abuptly ordering the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, President Donald Trump’s impulsive approach to foreign policy has triggered a broader unraveling in the Middle East. Worse, by trying to remove America from the regional equation, Trump has left the US less able to safeguard its interests.

In this Big Picture, Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations tallies the far-reaching costs of Trump’s decision to abandon Syria and America’s Kurdish allies. Those costs were foreseen this summer, when Georgetown’s Charles A. Kupchan and Sinan Ülgen of EDAM argued presciently that a US withdrawal would trigger precisely the type of power shift that is now unfolding.

Meanwhile, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt concludes that, whatever the costs, it is time for all countries with a stake in Syria to start discussing a political resolution to the conflict. And former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami describes how Trump’s latest actions fit into a broader pattern of perfidiousness in the region, including his unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

Europe is dangerously unprepared for a world without a US policeman


If the Turks crush Syrian Kurdish forces this weekend, how should we react? You can say that these Kurds are our allies, who risked and gave their lives confronting Islamic State jihadists not so long ago. That decent countries defend their friends, and we should act. Or you might argue that there’s been too much Western “acting” of late, costing billions and achieving nothing. So best leave the Kurds to fight their own battles.

I’m in the former camp. When Sir John Major’s government decided to defend the Iraqi Kurds with a no-fly zone in 1991 – in effect, protecting them from Saddam’s butchery – it led to stability and even prosperity. We ended up with good relations, trade, even Land Rover...

For Eastern Europe, Brussels Is the New Moscow

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eOver the next few weeks, voters will go to the polls for various elections in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. Observers on both sides of the Atlantic will be following the elections closely. The results—and the manner in which the elections are conducted—will provide a look at the mood in Eastern Europe at a moment of almost unprecedented upheaval across Western Europe: The new European Commission under President-elect Ursula von der Leyen is still finding its feet, the Brexit saga seems no closer to resolution, and a darkening economic outlook threatens to further fan the flames of populism.

Some commentators argue that Europe’s east-west divide has never been wider. In the western corner we have the pro-European leaders, led by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, who push for deeper European integration and promote multilateralism to a world that appears to have fallen out of love with the idea. In the eastern corner, figures led by Hungary’s unpredictable and charismatic Viktor Orban position themselves as the champions of nationalism and blame Brussels for everything from the migration crisis to the erosion of what they label as traditional family values.

Trump’s Syria Exit Destroyed the Slim Chances of Brokering an End to the War

Candace Rondeaux 

After eight years of chaos, it is hard to know which moment in the history of Syria’s brutal civil war-turned-proxy-conflict will ultimately stand out as the most egregious. There can be little doubt, though, that President Donald Trump’s sudden decision last week to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and abandon America’s Kurdish allies in the militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces—their most reliable partners on the ground in the campaign against the Islamic State—will rank as one of the most spectacular failures in the history of American foreign policy.

The White House’s turnabout by tweet in Syria has not only shredded the last bit of America’s credibility as a trustworthy ally and security guarantor in Middle East; it has also effectively destroyed the already slim chances of brokering an end to the war and some kind of sustainable peace, possibly for years to come. With fewer American boots on the ground and relations with Syrian Kurdish leaders fractured, the U.S. has little room now to influence outcomes in Syria. What started as a policy of equivocation about the indispensability of American leadership in the Middle East under the Obama administration in 2012 is now, seven years later under Trump, a policy of American capitulation to Russian aggression and appeasement of Turkey’s worst authoritarian impulses. ...

Perspectives on the Global Economic Order in 2019

For many years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) have had a broad and productive relationship exploring critical issues in the U.S.-China relationship and in global affairs. Since 2015, we have cohosted the U.S.-China Dialogue on the Global Economic Order, a track 1.5 dialogue that has sought to build mutual trust, enhance communication, identify issues, and propose solutions. The series of semiannual workshops, alternating between China and the United States, has covered a wide range of topics, including trade, investment, finance, and technology. The dialogue has drawn scholars, former policymakers, and current officials from the United States and China across a wide range of institutions and disciplines.

This volume consists of a series of parallel essays on the global economic order by U.S. and Chinese scholars who have participated in our dialogue. The value of this text is found not only in the ideas presented by the essayists but also in the opportunity to “listen” to each other as we manage our differences and seek a shared reform agenda for the global economic order. This report starts the journey.

These essays were drafted during the Spring of 2019 and reflect data that may have changed since that period.

This report is made possible by the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

When the Toll Comes Due: U.S. Failures in Syria and Next Steps

Both the Obama administration and now more acutely the Trump administration have made catastrophic mistakes in Syria that are costing the United States. Both administrations underestimated the extent to which NATO ally Turkey would go to protect its own interests, how Russia and Iran would rally behind Bashar al-Assad, and that the Assad regime’s pernicious form of governance was the central driver of conflict in Syria—of which the Islamic State is a symptom.

Instead, the United States chose to focus narrowly on countering the Islamic State by working with local partners alongside a coalition of international allies. The coalition was successful in eliminating the Islamic State’s territorial control and building a semblance of inclusive, subnational governance until last week’s rupture. The United States worked most closely with the highly capable and reliable People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Kurdish arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that both Turkey and the United States consider a terrorist organization. For Turkey, the PKK is an existential threat. With devastating irony, this was the tragic flaw in the U.S. approach—the foundation upon which U.S. presence in Syria was built was cracked from the outset. Coalition efforts to strengthen it held longer than expected and likely could have lasted long enough to achieve U.S. objectives and depart responsibly. But it could not withstand a precipitous decision to leave the field entirely. So, it collapsed.

The Dream Palace of the Americans

By Michael S. Doran

The Trump administration’s Middle East policies have been roundly attacked by the U.S. foreign policy establishment. There are various lines of criticism, including ones concerning its approaches to Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, but the administration’s gravest sin is generally held to be its support for Israel. By moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, blessing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, and other gestures, the Trump team is said to have overturned half a century of settled U.S. policy, abandoned the Palestinians, and killed the two-state solution.

These are serious charges. But on close inspection, they turn out to say more about the hysteria of the prosecutors than the guilt of the defendant. Some of President Donald Trump’s policies are new, some are not, and it is too early to see much impact. So why all the hue and cry? Because the administration openly insists on playing power politics rather than trying to move the world beyond them. Trump’s real crime is challenging people’s illusions—and that is an unforgivable offense.


Experts React: Turkey’s Intervention, U.S. Diplomacy, and the Crisis in Syria

When quick decisions are made in a very complex and vitally important region, it is difficult to immediately understand the far-reaching geostrategic implications of those decisions. CSIS scholars have come together to offer brief reflections from their respective portfolios on the most consequential impacts of President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria. 

It is impossible to describe in 500 words the complicated, mistake-laden post-Cold War history of U.S.-Turkey relations or the decisions taken (or not taken) by the U.S. government over the past eight years regarding the Syrian civil war and its regional implications. More significant scholarship is required for those tasks, but this complex history is a testament to U.S. credibility and trustworthiness as an international actor.

Trust and credibility are foundational elements in human relations as well as in international affairs—and in particular, alliances. Because the United States is the backbone of the international alliance system (by its own design 70 years ago), U.S. actions have repercussions on other countries and populations. When trust begins to erode, nations will find ways to test or increase pressure on U.S. commitments or seek other guarantees that the United States will fulfill these commitments (such as requesting U.S. forces be present in the host nation). When credibility and trust evaporate, nations realign themselves with more or less trustworthy or more expedient, results-oriented nations. Trust is destroyed quickly but can only be rebuilt slowly and cautiously over time.

Climate Leadership from Developing Countries


LIBREVILLE – When Gabon ratified the 2015 Paris climate agreement, its real work was just beginning. The main challenge was to find ways to conserve the country’s natural environment and address the growing climate crisis, while not limiting economic opportunities for its people. Almost four years later, we have a deeper understanding of the crisis facing us, and the need to reconcile our country’s development with its climate response is greater and more urgent than ever.

Developing countries such as ours cannot follow the same development path that Western economies have taken over the last century and a half. We know the dire consequences of rapid industrialization for the global climate and environment, so we must find a different way to improve living standards.

It is only right, therefore, that advanced economies provide additional technological and financial assistance to the developing world. After all, this is the price of our shared responsibility for the planet. But climate solutions will not come solely from the West. Developing countries – including Gabon – also have an opportunity to lead this transformation.

Time to Bite the Bullet in Syria


CANBERRA – Recent events in Syria have naturally raised two questions: Who lost the country? And where might the international community go from here?

The first question is easier to answer. Looking back, Syria has probably been lost since the popular uprising in 2011. When President Bashar al-Assad’s regime stubbornly refused any effort to resolve the matter peacefully, no outside power proved willing to intervene. Instead, everyone hoped that a mix of sanctions, United Nations-led diplomacy, and halfhearted attempts to support a “moderate” opposition would eventually bring down the regime.

It didn’t work. Fundamentalist forces gained political ground and territory, and others, including Iranian-backed militias and the Russian military after the fall of 2015, rushed to Assad’s defense. Although the regime had long deprived the Kurds in northern Syria of most of their rights, it started making concessions to them when it came under pressure. As a result, Kurdish militias abstained from challenging Assad, which led much of the broader Syrian opposition to shun them.

After the Islamic State (ISIS) established its “caliphate” in Mosul and Raqqa in 2014 – enabling it to strike even Baghdad – there was an understandable rush to confront the terrorist threat. In Iraq, that task fell largely to Iranian-aligned Shia militias. But in Syria, the situation was more complicated. The United States had no intention of sending in its own combat forces, but it also knew that the Syrian opposition groups that it (and Turkey) had been arming were not up to the challenge. In any case, those groups were focused on toppling Assad, which had ceased to be a high priority for Western policymakers.

The United States Made Information Free and Foreign Manipulation Possible

By Diana Lemberg 
“[False] reports can easily be propagated on an immense scale so as to confuse public opinion.”

Today the above sentence sounds like one ripped from a news story about the role of social media—or cyberwarfare—in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But the statement predates the Internet, and the anxiety it voiced was not American but French. The encroaching information superpower that the French government feared was in fact the United States, which at that time—and for decades to follow—assertively promoted its own right of way in international media traffic.

Back in the 1960s, most countries outside the Western Hemisphere publicly operated their broadcasting systems. This arrangement gave national authorities in Europe, Asia, and Africa the power to shape what people heard and saw. The United States, however, had developed a technology with potentially global reach: satellite television. U.S. companies dominated early satellite technology and anticipated enhancing the “free flow of information” by developing satellites that could broadcast directly into individual households all over the world. To Washington, a global media system dominated by the United States seemed like a positive development, both for U.S. interests and for democracy writ large. Outside of the United States, however, the prospect of unrestricted broadcasting, disseminated through a technology controlled by a foreign power, did less to inspire paeans to freedom than to set off diplomatic alarm bells.

Assad Is Now Syria’s Best-Case Scenario

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President Donald Trump is taking considerable flak for his impulsive decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria. He deserves it because it is hard to imagine a more inept or ill-considered response to the imbroglio he inherited there. But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture: U.S. policy toward Syria has been a failure for years, and the American strategy—if that word is even appropriate—was rife with contradictions and unlikely to produce a significantly better outcome no matter how long the United States stayed. (For a good brief summary of “how we got here,” see Max Fisher’s piece in the New York Times.)

As depressing as it is to write this sentence, the best course of action today is for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to regain control over northern Syria. Assad is a war criminal whose forces killed more than half a million of his compatriots and produced several million refugees. In a perfect world, he would be on trial at The Hague instead of ruling in Damascus. But we do not live in a perfect world, and the question we face today is how to make the best of a horrible situation.

Directed-energy weapons taking big steps forward

By J.R. Wilson
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By the late 2020s, the nature of warfare between global powers will be moving from guns and bombs to new weapons that are silent, invisible, and operate at the speed of light. One of those — cyberwarfare — already is operational and changing the face of combat.

In the next decade, joining cyber will be weapons that have been a staple of science fiction since the late 1800s, are highly classified-yet-well-known, and will challenge the viability of nearly every current weapons system and platform.

Directed-energy weapons come in two basic forms: high-energy lasers (HELs) and high-power microwaves (HPMs). While those sound familiar, however, real-world laser weapons have little in common with Martian deathrays, Buck Rogers rayguns or Star Trek phasers and a combat-level HPM weapon has only the most basic science in common with household microwave ovens.

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare

by Michael J. Mazarr, Ryan Michael Bauer, Abigail Casey, Sarah Heintz, Luke J. Matthews
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Research Questions

What are the characteristics of virtual societal warfare, and what risks does it present to advanced societies?

What is the social and technological context in which cyberaggression, such as hostile social manipulation and virtual societal warfare, will be employed?

What might the world look like 10–15 years after the advent of virtual societal warfare and related techniques of cyberaggression?

The evolution of advanced information environments is rapidly creating a new category of possible cyberaggression that involves efforts to manipulate or disrupt the information foundations of the effective functioning of economic and social systems. RAND researchers are calling this growing threat virtual societal warfare in an analysis of its characteristics and implications for the future.

The “tactical cloud”, a key element of the future combat air system

At the crossroads between operational requirement and technological opportunity, the tactical “cloud”, or “combat cloud”, is the latest manifestation of Network Centric Warfare (NCW), which for the past 20 years has conceptualised the information and decision-making superiority obtained by networking. It consists in bringing into the cockpit the most advanced capabilities of digital networks, based on commercial cloud technologies, in order to strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and resilience of air power, whose operational functions will thus be transformed. The tactical cloud must become an essential part of a future air combat system and, beyond that, of all French armed forces, particularly in view of their limited format. But the architects of the combat cloud still have to overcome the enormous challenges associated with its development: cybersecurity (since the cloud increases the force’s exposure to cyber-electronic threats); connectivity; interoperability; standards; information sharing.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is the key project for French, German and Spanish air combat power from the 2040s onwards. As a reminder, its core will consist of a Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS), including the Next Generation Fighter (NGF), led by Dassault Aviation, which will take over from the Rafale, along with other new elements (drones, munitions, etc.). However, FCAS goes beyond the renewal of platforms and munitions. General Mercier, then French Air Force Chief of Staff, explained in 2015 that “[...] for the future combat air system [FCAS] that the French Air Force is conceptualizing, the key word is indeed ‘system’. Because it will not be a manned aircraft or a drone, but a system of systems integrating, within a real cloud, sensors and effectors of various types and different generations.”

How Fact-Checking Can Win the Fight Against Misinformation


JOHANNESBURG – According to fact-checkers at the Washington Post, US President Donald Trump has made more than 13,000 false or misleading claims since his inauguration. It is no wonder some people doubt that the fact-checking of politicians’ claims is an answer to the problems of this misinformation age.

When politicians and journalists from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia met at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London in July, they acknowledged that the rise of misinformation has contributed to declining public trust in politicians and the media. But effective solutions have not been forthcoming. When Europe’s political and business elite met the same month for theconference Les Rencontres Économiques d’Aix-en-Provence 2019, they, too, saw few options for renewing trust.

But that does not mean that there are none. As the leaders or founders of fact-checking organizations in Africa, Latin America, and Europe, we know that our work can play a powerful role in countering the effects of misinformation and restoring faith in reliable sources.

Army looks for alternatives to GPS as enemies threaten to jam signals

Gen. Murray: “We have to have multiple ways of getting PNT in the future battlefield because of the threat of jamming.”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has to become less dependent on GPS-enabled devices as adversaries field increasingly more advanced electronic jammers , a senior Army official said Oct. 14.

“What we are trying to do is develop alternative ways to get PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] other than GPS,” Gen. John Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army annual conference.

“We have to have multiple ways of getting PNT in the future battlefield because of the threat of jamming,” said Murray.

The Army Futures Command, based in Austin, Texas, is a new organization created to provide long-term guidance to the Army on how to modernize and prepare for future wars.

What’s new in the Army’s data strategy? Security

By: Andrew Eversden  

The forthcoming Army data strategy will be “declarative” on the importance of security, the Army’s top IT official told C4ISRNET Oct. 16.

The previous strategy from 2016, said Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army’s chief information officer/G-6, offered less guidance on the significance of data security.

“If you don’t have security baked-in from the beginning in a DevSecOps-like environment, then [first] you’re not going to be protected and secure, and [second] you’re going to spend a lot of resources individually trying to attack the security problem,” Crawford told C4ISRNET during an interview at the Association of the U.S. Army conference Oct. 16.

While the strategy is under review from senior leaders, one of its “priority efforts” will be working with the Army’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force, Crawford said. The task force, led by Brig. Gen. Matthew Easley, is working on using AI to develop advanced target recognition. Crawford said Easley’s team is waiting for the data strategy “to really deliver to the common foundation that he’s going to need to really leverage AI tools.”

Without GPS, will algorithms and sensors help soldiers know where they are?

By: Nathan Strout  

War fighters depend on the GPS satellite signal to know where they are and where they’re going. But how do they know where they are when they’re in a GPS-denied environment?

The Department of Defense interest in alternative positioning, navigation and timing solutions, including those that can verify or replace GPS, has been growing in recent years.

“There’s certainly a lot of people looking into the problem of assured PNT,” Col. Nickolas Kioutas, the Army’s project manager for PNT, told C4ISRNET at the the 2019 meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army Oct. 15. Kioutas works out of the Program Executive Officer for the Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. “I really like some of the software approaches that I’ve seen because I think that we’ve really been focused on hardware, but what are some of the algorithms that we can look at to really exploit the sensors that we already have?”

The Army prepares for electronic warfare prototypes

By: Mark Pomerleau 
The Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS), above, is one prototype the Army is using to inform the development of its Terrestrial Layer System. 

Within the next six months, the Army is expected to choose at least two companies for prototypes and experiments on the service’s first integrated signals intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber platform.

The Army has been conducting what it calls “pre-prototypes” to test capabilities, concepts and receive feedback from soldiers for the platform, known as the Terrestrial Layer System.

Army leaders say they are making progress in rebuilding the service’s electronic warfare capabilities through its ranks and its equipment.

The window for proposals to evolve these pre-prototypes closes Oct. 31 and the Army’s electronic warfare program manager said the plan is to have a decision on the winners by April.