2 November 2019

Imbalance of Power India’s Military Choices in an Era of Strategic Competition with China

By Daniel Kliman, Iskander Rehman, Kristine Lee and Joshua Fitt

Executive Summary

The United States has made a strategic bet: that India will decisively shape the military balance in Asia.1 In an era of avowed great power competition with China,2 at a time when the U.S. military’s edge over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to erode,3 this wager will have an outsized impact on the future trajectory of the region. If India can maintain an advantage over China along its Himalayan frontier and sustain its dominance in the Indian Ocean, U.S. efforts to deny Beijing a regional sphere of influence are far more likely to succeed—as is the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific shared by Washington and Delhi. If India fails to realize its military potential, the United States, caught in between its many global commitments, will struggle to uphold a favorable balance of power.

Today, America’s wager has yet to fully pay off. The trend lines in the India-China military equation are broadly negative. Despite very real improvements in Delhi’s defense capabilities and a significant advantage conveyed by India’s maritime geography, its longstanding superiority over China in the Indian Ocean is at risk of slipping away. Beijing has enhanced the capability and capacity of the naval forces it can project into the Indian Ocean and pursued overseas military facilities to support a more regular People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) presence there. Moreover, China’s long-range precision strike complex, though constructed primarily with the United States as the intended adversary, extends into the Indian Ocean—presenting a threat to Delhi’s maritime operations. The state of play along India’s Himalayan frontier is more mixed. Delhi possesses a clear advantage in localized military strength, but China has made significant infrastructure improvements in Tibet to enhance PLA mobility to surge troops forward, while folding the entire border with India under a single unified theater command—a major organizational restructuring that could yield an operational edge.

Force Development Options for India by 2030

By Chris Dougherty


Strategists and military force planners in India and the United States are grappling with a similar set of challenges posed by China’s military modernization and increasingly aggressive foreign policy. While the overall challenge may be similar, India’s responses must conform to India’s unique strategic position rather than attempt to emulate the United States in reduced form. Moreover, while increased budgets and institutional defense reform may improve India’s capacity, these efforts are politically and bureaucratically difficult and cannot singlehandedly solve the challenges India faces in competing with China.

This paper proceeds in three parts. The first part compares the strategic situations of India and the United States vis-à-vis China and uses the contrasts in this analysis to shade in the outlines and assumptions for the rest of the paper. Next, the paper explores two specific military challenges—one on the land border and one at sea—that China could pose, and recommends Indian strategies and operational responses. Finally, the paper concludes with force-planning recommendations for India based on the demands of these responses and informed by the core strategic assumptions laid out in the first section.

Before beginning the analysis, several caveats are in order. The author is an American strategist and force-planner, not an expert in Indian military affairs. While he has researched the topic to the best of his ability in a limited time, it is no substitute for years of experience. The author therefore uses U.S. military strategy and force planning as a foil to better understand India’s decision space and communicate these ideas to an audience that, like him, may not be experts in Indian strategic affairs. Finally, the ideas and recommendations in this paper are conceptual and nascent. They require further wargaming and analysis to make them more detailed, concrete, and implementable.

Similar Challenge, Different Capabilities

Debates Within The Counter-LWE Policy – Analysis

By Dr. Bibhu Prasad Routray
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On 14 October, India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, speaking at the inaugural session of the National Conference of Chiefs of Anti-Terror Squads/Special Task Force organised by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), seemed to suggest that if the media stops reporting incidents of terrorism, the latter would die a swift death. Mr. Doval quoted former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in his defence. In addition, Mr. Doval touched upon several other important aspects of an effective counter-terrorism (CT) approach, including the need for judicial reform and a central anti-terror organisation. While such proposals may serve as the beginning of yet another CT rejig in the country, the NSA’s thesis brings into focus following debates on why terrorism occurs and the best way to deal with it. The purpose of this column is to contextualise the debates in the context of left-wing extremism (LWE) and identify key features of a successful counter-LWE policy.

(i) Democracies and Terrorism: the debate whether a totalitarian state or a democracy is better equipped to fight terror is inconclusive. Until recently, scholars did consider democracies are inherently prone to terrorism, as terrorists are able to exploit the openness provided by such regimes. Especially following the watershed 9/11 attacks, democracies, in the name of protecting themselves from terrorism, started adopting laws and embracing practices which violated the very principles of liberal democracy. Policy makers and practitioners talked openly about how a free press, which provides a wide audience for acts of spectacular violence, do provide the terrorists some sort of ‘strategic influence’. Individual states attempted in vain to curb such press freedom.

Can India’s Economy Return to High Growth?

While India’s GDP has fallen to a six-year low, the country’s economy has some areas of strength. Gaurav Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia Group Holdings, a holding company for business and financial assets, believes that if India can take hard decisions, “there is no reason why we can’t grow at 10%.”

Dalmia has invested significantly in private equity and real estate, including sponsoring some top quartile funds. He was chosen as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2000. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton during a visit to the Penn campus, Dalmia spoke about the Indian economy, opportunities and risks in private equity, and his own leadership journey.

An edited transcript of the conversation appears below.

Knowledge@Wharton: The Financial Times recently noted that India’s GDP is in the fifth consecutive quarter of deceleration and has now fallen to a six-year low. Why is the economy faltering?

Cyberattack scare dogs India’s nuclear plants


Two days ago a well-known cybersecurity researcher sent alarm bells ringing when he claimed that he had found a data dump that indicated India’s newest nuclear power plant had been hacked. As the Indian government scrambled to come up with a response, cybersecurity researchers across the globe began to sift through the data looking for clues.

India has a number of nuclear power plants across the country.

The fact that the nuclear power plant had ostensibly been hacked was also known to Pukhraj Singh, a respected Indian cybersecurity professional who had also served in India’s technical intelligence agency, the NTRO (National Technical Research Organization). The NTRO is India’s equivalent of the US National Security Agency. Singh left a few years ago and has been working on cyber-threat intelligence as a private consultant for a few years. It was Singh who pointed to the independent security researcher who had posted details of the hack on Twitter.

How China's Rise Has Remade Global Politics

As much as any other single development, China’s rise over the past two decades has remade the landscape of global politics. Beginning with its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, China rapidly transformed its economy from a low-cost “factory to the world” to a global leader in advanced technologies. Along the way, it has transformed global supply chains, but also international diplomacy, leveraging its success to become the primary trading and development partner for emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But Beijing’s emergence as a global power has also created tensions. Early expectations that China’s integration into the global economy would lead to liberalization at home and moderation abroad have proven overly optimistic, especially since President Xi Jinping rose to power in 2012. Instead, Xi has overseen a domestic crackdown on dissent, in order to shore up and expand the Chinese Communist Party’s control over every aspect of Chinese society. Needed economic reforms have been put on the backburner, while unfair trade practices, such as forced technology transfers and other restrictions for foreign corporations operating in China, have resulted in a trade war with the U.S. and increasing criticism from Europe.

The United States Should Fear a Faltering China

By Michael Beckley 

The defining geopolitical story of our time is the slow death of U.S. hegemony in favor of a rising China. Harbingers of Beijing’s ascent are everywhere. China’s overseas investments span the globe. The Chinese navy patrols major sea lanes, while the country colonizes the South China Sea in slow motion. And the government cracks down on dissent at home while administering a hefty dose of nationalist propaganda.

Beijing’s newfound assertiveness looks at first glance like the mark of growing power and ambition. But in fact it is nothing of the sort. China’s actions reflect profound unease among the country’s leaders, as they contend with their country’s first sustained economic slowdown in a generation and can discern no end in sight. China’s economic conditions have steadily worsened since the 2008 financial crisis. The country’s growth rate has fallen by half and is likely to plunge further in the years ahead, as debt, foreign protectionism, resource depletion, and rapid aging take their toll. 

What You Need to Know Before Going to Hong Kong

Protests are threatening Hong Kong's reputation as a safe and stable business environment. Given the political deadlock, the unrest isn't expected to end anytime soon. Personnel can certainly still operate in the region, but they will need to be more cautious to avoid getting caught up in the violence.

Editor's Note: ­This security-focused assessment is one of many such analyses found at Stratfor Threat Lens, a unique protective intelligence product designed with corporate security leaders in mind. Threat Lens enables industry professionals and organizations to anticipate, identify, measure and mitigate emerging threats to people, assets and intellectual property the world over. Threat Lens is the only unified solution that analyzes and forecasts security risk from a holistic perspective, bringing all the most relevant global insights into a single, interactive threat dashboard.

The United States Overthrew Iran’s Last Democratic Leader

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Mohammad Mosaddeq is a name that evokes strong emotions in the average Iranian. A charismatic French- and Swiss-educated lawyer from an aristocratic family, Mosaddeq served two terms as prime minister of Iran from 1951, when he led the movement to nationalize the British-controlled Iranian oil industry, until August 1953, when his government was toppled by a royalist military coup backed by the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

The nationalization of Iranian oil was not only a blow to Britain’s economic interests in Iran but to the very survival of the British Empire in the Middle East. While U.S. President Harry Truman encouraged British Prime Ministers Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill to compromise with Mosaddeq, even hosting the Iranian premier in Washington in October 1951, the United States eventually lost patience as Anglo-Iranian negotiations failed. Fearing that continuing crisis and instability in Iran would lead to a takeover by Iran’s communist Tudeh Party, the newly elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the CIA to topple Mosaddeq in 1953.

New Al-Baghdadi Raid Footage Is Released by Pentagon

The Pentagon on Wednesday released new footage showing the assault by U.S. Special Operations forces on the compound where the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding.

Here's How America Will Stop Iran from Invading Saudi Arabia

by Bradley Bowman Andrew Gabel

In response to the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans 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 September 20 press conference, 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.” Three weeks ago, 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.

Will Abandonment of the Syrian Kurds End America's Involvement in Unconventional Warfare

by Steven Metz

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump ended U.S. support for Kurdish forces in Syria. “Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds” he tweeted, abruptly abandoning an alliance that had taken shape during the Obama administration and eventually led to the battlefield defeat of ISIS.

Trump’s decision ignited a debate over whether the United States is leaving Syria altogether. Even the president seems to be vacillating, at times saying all U.S. forces were coming home and at others indicating that they would move to Iraq or even a different part of Syria. But whatever the final disposition of the U.S. military one thing is clear: the way the relationship with the Kurds ended could undercut the American approach to irregular warfare.

The United States first became involved in irregular warfare in a big way during the 1960s. After Vietnam, it fell out of use but was revived in the 1980s when a number of Soviet client states emerged in what was then called the Third World and again after the September 11 attack demonstrated the danger posed by transnational networks of terrorists and insurgents. As the 2010 Joint operational concept explained, “To prevent, deter, disrupt, and defeat irregular threats, the U.S. military applies some blend of counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, counterinsurgency, and stability operations.”

Baghdadi’s Death Will Make Global Affiliates More Independent

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The recent death of Islamic State leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a major blow to the Islamic State. Although many of the group’s fighters have said in interviews over the years that they were not fighting for any individual but for the larger cause—an Islamic state-building project—it is undeniable that Baghdadi held a kind of elusive charisma for the organization. He will be replaced, but this does not mean that the Islamic State will simply go back to business as usual.

Baghdadi was radicalized after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and his religious training set him apart right away as an individual who would have an important future in the jihadi movement. Baghdadi was captured by U.S. forces and transferred to the famous “jihadi university” of Camp Bucca, the U.S. detention center in Iraq that housed some of the Iraq War’s most radical captives, in February 2004.

In the camp, as the journalist Joby Warrick has observed, the young Baghdadi learned quickly that his religious and academic training gave him some degree of credibility, and he was able to interpret and translate sharia to make it more accessible to aspiring jihadis. In fact, he was considered so bookish that the Americans released him from prison in December 2004. While in prison, though, the medical team at Camp Bucca took cheek swabs and collected his DNA, a move that would prove particularly useful after the raid that killed him over the weekend.

5 lessons from the death of Baghdadi

Daniel L. Byman

Daniel L. Byman writes that although the specifics remain elusive, what we do know about the raid that led to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death — and its consequences — illustrates a series of lessons about US counterterrorism since 9/11, when the United States put the fight against groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State at the top of its priority list. This piece originally appeared on Vox.com.

Success has a thousand fathers, and it’s too early to know who exactly did what when it comes to the reported killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Every agency and ally will want to claim some share of the credit. Although the specifics remain elusive, what we do know about the raid that led to his death — and its consequences — illustrates a series of lessons about US counterterrorism since 9/11, when the United States put the fight against groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State at the top of its priority list.

The US Kurdish allies in Syria — the same ones the United States abandoned when it abruptly withdrew most of its forces from Syria and greenlit a Turkish invasion — reportedly played a key role in providing intelligence for the raid. So, too, did Iraqi allies. This is the norm, not the exception. Much of the intelligence war on terrorism is done by, with, and through allies, which have on-the-ground information as well as a capacity to act locally, neither of which can be replaced without massive US troop deployments.

In Iraq, Lebanon and Chile, Locally Driven Protests Can Have a Global Impact

Judah Grunstein 

From Lebanon and Iraq to Ecuador and Chile, popular protests have shaken governments and captured the imagination of pundits worldwide in the past few weeks. Combined with the mass demonstrations that forced regimes in Algeria and Sudan to cast aside longtime leaders earlier this year, as well as the Yellow Vest movement that stunned France from December 2018 through the late spring, some observers are wondering whether we are witnessing a revolutionary moment of global proportions. Has popular dissatisfaction with the unfair distribution of globalization’s spoils reached a tipping point? Or are these protests locally driven, offering little or no insights into broader trends?

At first glance, any attempt to draw broad conclusions from the disparate protest movements runs into formidable obstacles. The differences between the countries where they erupted seem to outweigh by far whatever common characteristics they share. ...

The Middle East’s Lost Decades

By Maha Yahya 

Since the 9/11 attacks, the Arab world’s relative economic, social, and political underdevelopment has been a topic of near-constant international concern. In a landmark 2002 report, the UN Development Program (UNDP) concluded that Arab countries lagged behind much of the world in development indicators such as political freedom, scientific progress, and the rights of women. Under U.S. President George W. Bush, this analysis helped drive the “freedom agenda,” which aimed to democratize the Middle East—by force if necessary—in order to eradicate the underdevelopment and authoritarianism that some officials in Washington believed were the root causes of terrorism. Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, criticized one of the cornerstones of the freedom agenda—the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003—but he shared Bush’s diagnosis. In his first major foreign policy speech as president, delivered in Cairo in 2009, Obama called on Middle Eastern governments to make progress in democracy, religious freedom, gender equality, and “economic development and opportunity.” Implicit in his remarks was a widely shared view among Western observers of the Middle East: that the Arab world’s dysfunction was a product of social and political arrangements that thwarted human potential, furthered inequality, and favored a small elite to the detriment of the broader population.

During the first decade of this century, progress was slow. Under the surface, however, discontent was rising. This discontent culminated in the protests of 2010–11, commonly known as the Arab Spring. In countries as diverse as Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia, ordinary citizens took to the streets to challenge their authoritarian rulers and demand dignity, equality, and social justice. For a moment, it seemed as if change had finally arrived in the Middle East.

Russia Is the Only Winner in Syria

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ANKARA, Turkey—The current Syria crisis has a number of losers and one big winner: Russia. While President Donald Trump came under fire at home and abroad for abruptly pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, Turkey invaded, resulting in the deaths of at least 250 Kurds and displacing 300,000. Russia, on the other hand, has leveraged its influence with Ankara and Damascus to emerge as kingmaker.

On Oct. 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement to expel the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from northern Syria. Russian and Turkish troops will jointly patrol a strip of Syria near the border. Under a previous agreement, the Kurds will also join the Syrian army’s 5th Corps, which includes foreign volunteers and is controlled by Russia.

Then, in a reversal of policy, the Trump administration announced it would send some 500 U.S. troops to protect Syria’s oil fields from future Islamic State attacks. In reality, Trump seeks to use control of the oil as leverage against the Syrian government. Damascus and Moscow denounced the move as a violation of international law since the oil fields are in Syrian territory.

How the New Syria Took Shape

Russia, Turkey and Bashar al-Assad carved up northern Syria as the Americans retreated

In just a few weeks, the American withdrawal from northern Syria dramatically reordered power in the country after eight years of civil war. Here’s how Syria looked three weeks ago: American-backed Kurds controlled the northeast, while the Syrian government controlled most of the rest.

Turkish forces were already in northwest Syria, but Turkey had long wanted to establish a roughly 20-mile-deep buffer along the whole border. It sees the Kurdish-led forces there as terrorists.

Nuclear strategy in a changing world

By Rod Lyon

The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons continues to shape the international strategic balance, not least Australia’s place as a close ally of the United States in an increasingly risky Indo-Pacific region.

What is the continuing utility to America’s allies of extended nuclear deterrence? Where is the risk of nuclear proliferation greatest? How should the world deal with the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea? Is the nuclear order as sturdy and stable and it needs to be?

These and other pressing issues are addressed in this volume by one of Australia’s leading thinkers on nuclear weapons and the global strategic balance, Rod Lyon.

Rod’s career spans academic research and teaching at the University of Queensland, and strategic analysis for Australia’s peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (now the Office of National Intelligence). Since 2006 he has been a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a frequent contributor on nuclear issues to The Strategist, Australia’s best online source of analysis on defence and strategic issues.

Putin May Want to Be an Emperor, but Russia Isn’t an Imperial Power


To an observer in 2019, it may seem like Russia has always had—and will always have—an immutable interest in maintaining authoritarian control at home and imperial control abroad. According to this line of thinking, Russian President Vladimir Putin is merely the latest in a long line of Russian rulers to pursue his country’s natural priorities vigorously. The implications for the West are obvious. If Putin is simply drawing on the same playbook as any other Russian leader, the available responses are either accommodating his authoritarianism and expansionism or war—and no one wants war.

But what if Putin is not pursuing immutable and objectively definable Russian national interests? It could be that he is captive to the same pressures as all other leaders: perceptions, ideologies, institutional legacies, and historical developments that lead to policies that are not necessarily in the best interest of his country.

U.S. Strategy—Strategic Triage and the True Cost of War: Supporting Enduring Commitments versus “Endless Wars”

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Burke Chair at CSIS is circulating a new working paper that updates its assessments of the cost of the Afghan and Iraq/Syria Wars, and highlights how these costs have been cut through major changes in the nature of U.S. ground forces and air commitments. It also highlights the affordability and present size of U.S. military bases and commitments overseas.

This working paper is entitled U.S. Strategy — Strategic Triage and the True Cost of War: Supporting Enduring Commitments versus “Endless Wars.” It is available on the CSIS web site at https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/191029_True_Cost_War_Final.pdf.

The analysis shows that there are good reasons why the United States should constantly reexamine its military commitments and deployments overseas, and especially its active uses of military force. The U.S. may not face endless wars, but it does face endless threats and instability. History has not ended and will not end, and “Globalism” has not put the world on a path towards growth, progress, peace, and stability.

Amb. W. Robert Pearson: Sooner or Later, Putin Will Force Turkey out of Syria

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Amb. W. Robert Pearson, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey (2000-2003) and director general of the U.S. Foreign Service (2003-2006), told Middle East Forum Radio on October 23 that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bid for "hegemonic control over the geography of Syria south of the Turkish border" is likely to fail, even with an American green light:

[Erdoğan] has tried for years now, offering in Idlib, Aleppo, and along the northeastern border to establish that kind of hegemony and get the Russians to agree to it. But the Russians have never agreed to it. They'll push the Turks out of every bit of that geography they can and they will complete that job. Now that they're doing patrols along the border with Turkish forces, something Erdoğan really did not prefer to have happen but is happening – backed by Syrian government, state armed forces – sooner or later, the Russians are going to say to the Turks, "please leave Syria," and it will happen.

Since Erdoğan surely understands this reality, Pearson reasons that the real reasons for the Turkish invasion earlier this month were "purely political." The Turkish leader "needs to shore up a base that is weakening" and compensate for his party's defeat in Istanbul's mayoral election in June. "This was his way of trying to rally his supporters to back his other domestic actions. A lot of people have suffered as a result of it."

The Risks and Rewards of Moscow's Mission in Syria

Omar Lamrani

Russia, which only sent a comparatively small force to Syria, will continue to reap significant diplomatic, commercial and military rewards from its operations there. Russia's continued presence in Syria, however, raises the risk that its operation could turn its operation there into a costly quagmire.  In particular, Russia might find it more difficult to keep apart Syrian and Turkish forces as they come into greater contact in northeastern Syria. 

Just over four years after the Russian military intervention in Syria began, Moscow continues to enjoy the diplomatic, commercial and military rewards of its operations in the Levant. By driving a wedge between its NATO foes, testing out new weaponry and more, Russia has notched up a number of strategic and tactical successes in Syria. These gains notwithstanding, it's not all clear sailing for Moscow ahead: From greater exposure to militant attacks to the prospect that Russia will suffer collateral damage in regional power battles, there are plenty of risks ahead for Moscow.

The Big Picture

Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

o Islamist Terrorism, Diaspora Links and Casualty Rates

o “The Khilafah’s Soldiers in Bengal”: Analysing the Islamic State Jihadists and Their Violence Justification Narratives in Bangladesh

o Islamic State Propaganda and Attacks: How are they Connected

o Towards Open and Reproducible Terrorism Studies: Current Trends and Next Steps

o Taking Terrorist Accounts of their Motivations Seriously: An Exploration of the Hermeneutics of Suspicion

o An Evaluation of the Islamic State’s Influence over the Abu Sayyaf

o Countering Violent Extremism Globally: A New Global CVE Dataset

Mark Zuckerberg admits Facebook scans some of the contents of your private Messenger conversations in the latest blow to the scandal hit firm

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Facebook scans the contents of messages that people send each other on its Messenger app, blocking any content that contravenes its rules, it has emerged.

The scandal-hit firm, still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica debacle, checks images and links for illegal or extreme content using automated systems.

What you write in your messages may also be read manually if it's flagged to moderators for breaching Facebook's community guidelines.

While the intentions behind the practice may be well-meaning, the news is likely to add to users' concerns over what the social network knows about them.

It follows revelations that the Trump-affiliated consulting firm obtained data on at least 50 million unsuspecting Facebook users.

This information was used to target voters in the US, based on psychological profiling, with political adverts spreading disinformation.

Your Data Is Shared and Sold…What’s Being Done About It?

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the most sweeping state data privacy regulations in the country. The law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, regulates how data is collected, managed, shared and sold by companies and entities doing business with or compiling information about California residents. Some observers contend that because no business would want to exclude selling to Californians, the CCPA is de facto a national law on data privacy, absent an overarching federal regulation protecting consumer information.

“The new privacy law is a big win for data privacy,” says Joseph Turow, a privacy scholar and professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “Though it could be even stronger, the California law is stronger than anything that exists at the federal level.” Among other stipulations, the CCPA requires businesses to inform consumers regarding the types of personal data they’ll collect at the time they collect it and also how the information will be used. Consumers have the right to ask firms to disclose with whom they share the data and also opt out of their data being sold.

How the Pentagon still struggles to explain its massive cloud contract

By: Andrew Eversden
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Testimony by the Pentagon’s top IT official on Capitol Hill Oct. 29 highlighted the department’s continued struggle to explain and assuage concerns about its new enterprise cloud.

At his confirmation hearing, Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s CIO, was asked to explain several details about the DoD’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, ranging from the basics of the cloud and security to alleged pressure applied by President Donald Trump. On Oct. 25, the Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft, which beat out Amazon Web Services for the potential 10-year, $10 billion contract.

But some attention to the cloud centered on revelations made in a new book that President Trump, who has a longstanding feud with Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, ordered then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to “screw” Amazon and award the contract elsewhere. In the hearing, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked Deasy if he could “categorically assure" that the president or the White House didn’t sway the final decision.

Sources: Apple mobilizes suppliers to launch first 5G iPhone range

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TAIPEI -- In a quest to reclaim its crown as the world's most innovative tech company, Apple is mobilizing suppliers to produce its first ever 5G iPhones next year, with the three flagship models also set to include the most advanced mobile processors available and leading-edge screens, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

The upgraded iPhones, which Apple hopes will vault the company over Huawei's current position as the second-biggest smartphone maker, will also likely accelerate global carriers to roll out 5G telecoms infrastructure -- especially outside China, which has already invested heavily in the nascent technology.

Apple has been slow to embrace 5G; its iPhone 11 series this year only features 4G wireless technology. However Apple will push to reclaim its former glory as the maker of the world's "must-have" smartphone with the major product line overhaul in 2020, sources told Nikkei. The iPhone, first launched in 2007, still accounts for around half of company revenues.

Apple plans to ship at least 80 million of the new 5G phones, one of the sources said. Rivals such as Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone supplier, China's Huawei Technologies and second-tier competitors such as Oppo and Xiaomi, have already launched 5G phones.

Can Pentagon acquisition keep up with electronic warfare?

By: Mark Pomerleau

The cat-and-mouse nature of electronic warfare means systems need to always be up to date, but the Pentagon’s acquisition authorities don’t always allow for the Department of Defense to move fast enough, a senior acquisition official said Oct. 28.

Speaking at the Association of Old Crows international symposium in Washington, Alan Shaffer, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said success in electronic warfare means agility, speed and low-cost systems.

“We’ve got to stop doing just one-size-fits-everything for development of new systems and fielding capabilities," he said. “We’ve got to get away from the linear large scale … major capability acquisition process when we can.”

Building agility in the British Army’s headquarters

By David Chinn, Jonathan Dimson, Christopher Handscomb, Jesper Ludolph, and Xavier Tang

The British Army’s headquarters is the central hub of strategic thinking and planning for more than 80,000 regular and 30,000 reservist soldiers deployed in the United Kingdom and across the world. The army’s operating environment is arguably more complex now than ever, and the nature and purpose of military force have shifted significantly. In the field, the British Army is exceptionally agile and flexible in its operations (see sidebar “In operations, the army knows how to be agile”), being well prepared for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) situations—VUCA is, after all, a military term from the 1990s.

As the pace of change accelerates, the threats faced by the British Army are myriad—particularly in a time of constant competition and rapid technological advancement. Embracing this era of transformation has required Army HQ to modernize its way of working for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

One way to bring the clarity and flexibility needed to prosper in an uncertain and fast-moving world is to adopt agile working practices and approaches. The British Army has initiated this transformation in the heart of its HQ in the Directorate of Personnel, which comprises 250 civilian and uniformed employees responsible for the design and delivery of personnel strategy and policy that increases inflow, minimizes outflow, and maximizes the talent of all personnel, in order to enhance the operational effectiveness of the army.