16 November 2019

World War One: Six extraordinary Indian stories

Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War One - and more than 74,000 of them lost their lives.

It's 100 years since the armistice of 11 November 1918 ended what was once called "the war to end all wars". But there are still many untold stories about the Indian Army from the conflict - personal accounts that show how global the war was, and how extraordinary Indian experiences were.

Historian George Morton-Jack relates some of these stories.

Arsala Khan

Of all the Indian troops who fought between 1914 and 1918 - there were four times as many as those from Australian, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the Caribbean combined - Arsala Khan of the 57th Wilde's Rifles was the first to go into battle.

He led the troops of the first Indian company to enter the British trenches on the western front, in Belgium on the night of 22 October 1914.

Arsala Khan went on to serve until 1918, in France, Egypt, German East Africa and India. Then, in the summer of 1919, he represented his regiment in London at the official Indian victory parade.

RCEP’s Economic Impact in Asia

By Xianbai Ji

RCEP, along with the CPTPP, will help drive deep integration in Asia. Holdouts like India will suffer the most.

At the third Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit held in Bangkok on November 4, leaders announced that participating countries had concluded “text-based negotiations” for “a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial” RCEP agreement. Lawyers and linguists will now step in to “scrub” the text before it can be put up for formal signature, possibly in February 2020, and ratification will follow.

RCEP negotiations got underway in May 2013, originally involving 16 East Asian countries: the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India (the six countries with which ASEAN had existing free trade deals). India pulled out in the last minute largely due to domestic political pressure and organized rallies against the deal, which critics claim will open India to the flood of Chinese consumer products and agricultural goods from Australia and New Zealand. Nevertheless, there are signs that India may reunite with RCEP partners should they accommodate India’s “core interests” in relation to market access, rules of origin, and automatic safeguard mechanisms among others. India should be welcomed to rejoin if and when it is ready.

Hunger, starvation and Indian soldiers in World War II

Diya Gupta

An Indian havildar, or junior officer, who was part of a Sappers and Miners unit stationed in Egypt during the height of World War II, wrote back home in June 1943: “From my personal experience I can tell you that the food we get here is much better than that we soldiers get in India. But whenever I sit for my meals, a dreadful picture of the appalling Indian food problem passes through my mind, leaving a cloudy sediment on the walls of my heart which makes me nauseous and often I leave my meals untouched."

The soldier identified with this imagined community of sufferers in his homeland through his own body, as the pain of distant hunger reached out, resulting in him being heartsick and unable to eat. Another havildar clerk, writing to relatives, related his feelings of helplessness to the extraordinary conditions of the Indian wartime marketplace: “I am terribly sorry to learn about the food situation in India and it seems as if there is no salvation for me.… What is the use of money when we are unable to obtain the necessities of life in exchange for it? The situation would drive even the most level-headed of us to madness and when we think of conditions in India we become crazy as lunatics."

We Still Don’t Know Who Won Afghanistan’s Presidential Election

By Catherine Putz

More than 40 days after the pivotal presidential election, we’re still unsure how many votes were cast — not to mention who the victor is.

On Sunday, current Afghan Chief Executive and presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah withdrew his team’s election observers from an official recount of ballots following disputes over exactly which votes to count.

Abdullah called on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to cease its recount of 8,255 polling stations. The core of Abdullah’s objection to the recount process is a dispute over what his team says are more than 300,000 “fraudulent votes.”

The 300,000 includes 137,630 votes quarantined by Dermalog’s servers due to “small mistakes.” Dermalog is the German company that provided the biometric technology used in the Afghan election. The rest consists of 102,012 votes reportedly cast outside of official polling hours, plus an unstated number of votes cast with duplicate photos or other irregularities.

Ali Yawar Adili and Jelena Bjelica wrote for the Afghanistan Analysts Network last week about the devilishly confusing and tumultuous array of turnout numbers that have been issued from various voices since the September 28 election.

The Growing Threat of Water Wars


In 2015, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include an imperative to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Yet, in the last four years, matters have deteriorated significantly.

NEW DELHI – The dangers of environmental pollution receive a lot of attention nowadays, particularly in the developing world, and with good reason. Air quality indices are dismal and worsening in many places, with India, in particular, facing an acute public-health emergency. But as serious as the pollution problem is, it must not be allowed to obscure another incipient environmental catastrophe, and potential source of future conflict: lack of access to clean water.

We may live on a “blue planet,” but less than 3% of all of our water is fresh, and much of it is inaccessible (for example, because it is locked in glaciers). Since 1960, the amount of available fresh water per capita has declined by more than half, leaving over 40% of the world’s population facing water stress. By 2030, demand for fresh water will exceed supply by an estimated 40%.

With nearly two-thirds of fresh water coming from rivers and lakes that cross national borders, intensifying water stress fuels a vicious circle, in which countries compete for supplies, leading to greater stress and more competition. Today, hundreds of international water agreements are coming under pressure.

EXCLUSIVE Pentagon’s AI Problem Is ‘Dirty’ Data: Lt. Gen. Shanahan


The military has all the data it needs to train machine learning algorithms for war – somewhere. Now the Joint AI Center has to find it all and clean it up. The goal: AI Ready data.

CRYSTAL CITY: “Some people say data is the new oil. I don’t like that,” the Defense Department’s AI director told me in his office here. “I treat it as mineral ore: There’s a lot of crap. You have to filter out the impurities from the raw material to get the gold nuggets.”

Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan learned this the hard way as head of the much-debated Project Maven, which he led for two years before becoming the founding director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center last year. The lessons from that often-painful process – discussed in detail below – now shape Shanahan’s approach to the new and ever-more ambitious projects the Defense Department is taking on. They range from the relatively low-risk, non-combat applications that JAIC got warmed up with in 2019, like predicting helicopter engine breakdowns before they happen, to the joint warfighting efforts Shanahan wants to ramp up to in 2020:

Two years in, how has a new strategy changed cyber operations?

By: Mark Pomerleau

By 2013 U.S. networks were already were under constant attack from sophisticated nation-state actors. Hackers stole millions of sensitive records from the Office of Personnel Management, gained access to White House networks and destroyed dozens of computers at Sony Pictures from thousands of miles away.

But the Department of Defense’s own cyber teams couldn’t hit back or work on enemy networks abroad because, officials said, the rules for such operations were incredibly stringent. In fact, one U.S. senator said DoD didn’t conduct an offensive operation for five years. That’s not to say the United States sat idly by in cyberspace — experts pointed to covert strikes and intrusions — but it does mean the Pentagon rarely or never used cyber operations as an overt response or to flex its power.

That was then. Now, it’s been nearly two years since the U.S. Cyber Command first publicly mentioned new approaches to cyber operations, known as defend forward and persistent engagement. The defend forward policy was formalized in the DoD cyber strategy in October 2018 and is best described as DoD working on foreign networks to prevent attacks before they happen. The way Cyber Command meets those goals is through persistent engagement, which means challenging adversary activities wherever they operate.

The Transatlantic Alliance and the China Challenge: Current Trends and Future Developments

By Prashanth Parameswaran

A closer look at the current state and future evolution of U.S. and European collaboration on China.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a visit to Germany coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the trip was expected and the agenda of Pompeo’s trip was wide-ranging, of particular note was the focus on transatlantic cooperation regarding the challenge posed by China in spite of the differences that remain on that front.

While strategic transatlantic interconnectivity in Asia has long been clear dating back centuries – with events from the U.S. Open Door policy with respect to China in the late 19th century to the calculations of European powers about how to manage their declining colonial role in the region in the 20th century – the attention to transatlantic cooperation in Asia has increased in recent years. This is due to a series of factors, including Asia’s own growing economic and strategic heft which has driven both the United States and Europe to invest more in the region, as well as growing concerns about the challenge posed by China, in spite of differences that remain about how to address it.

We’re underestimating China’s impact on governance in Latin America: Three persistent myths

By Jessica Ludwig 

China’s growing engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in recent years has captured the attention of policymakers, business leaders and foreign policy observers across the region. It seems nearly everyone these days wants to talk about China’s evolving presence and role in the region.

Much of this discussion has focused on the economic dimensions of the relationship, occasionally spilling over into concerns about the local social and environmental impact where Chinese companies or state-backed financing banks are involved. More recently, observers have also taken an interest in China’s global export of technology and what it could mean for the region’s development prospects. 

But largely absent from the conversation has been a serious, dedicated look at the normative impact of relations with Beijing on governance—and, in particular, on whether closer relationships with China’s party-state authorities will affect prospects for democracy in a region that has—at least theoretically—adopted a consensus around democratic values. At the same time, China has invested in a growing number of initiatives designed to shape public opinion and perceptions around the region, ranging from people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational partnerships and programs, as well as media enterprises and information initiatives—a phenomenon that is even more apparent at the global level.

China’s Risky Endgame in Hong Kong


In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that by the time the People’s Republic celebrates its centenary in 2049, it should be a “great modern socialist country” with an advanced economy. But following through with planned measures to tighten mainland China's grip on Hong Kong would make achieving that goal all but impossible.

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – Although the rapid escalation of violence in Hong Kong seems terrifying enough, things may be about to get much worse. The communiqué of the recently concluded fourth plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) indicates that Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to tighten his grip on the former British colony at any cost. He should prepare to rack up a formidable bill.

The communiqué includes two ominous pledges. First, China’s central government will “control and rule” (guanzhi) Hong Kong (and Macau) using “all the powers vested in [it] under the constitution and the Basic Law,” the mini-constitution that defines Hong Kong’s status. Second, it will “build and improve a legal system and enforcement mechanism to defend national security” in both special administrative regions.

Hong Kong’s Violence Will Get Worse


Hong Kong’s protests have seen their first death, and there will be more to come. After months of demonstrations over Beijing’s growing influence tore the city apart, a protester who fell several stories under dubious circumstances died on Friday, while another is fighting for his life after being shot at close range by police on Monday while unarmed. Another man, meanwhile, was set on fire by protesters for shouting pro-Beijing slogans and is in critical condition. Mass tear gassings of Central, Hong Kong’s business district, caused many professionals to stay home, while clashes between police and protesters—previously mostly restricted to weekends—raged through the city on a Monday morning following an attempt to declare a general strike.

So violence is worsening on both sides?

Yes, but it’s disingenuous to compare police and protesters. For one thing, the protest movement is deeply decentralized, and protest leaders—who have repeatedly called for a commitment to nonviolence—have no power to control or discipline individual extremists. That’s not the case with the police force, and accountability for the police is a significant part of the protesters’ remaining demands. Take today’s violence: Protesters have nearly universally condemned the fire attack, while the police are defending the shooting.

How dominant are Chinese companies globally?

The world economy is shaped not just by states, but also by an assortment of influential companies. These firms are critical elements of national economic power that generate revenue, drive trade, and support research and development. In conjunction with China’s emergence as an economic superpower, several Chinese companies have climbed the ranks to be among the largest in the world. With the revenue of China’s largest businesses now measured in the trillions, assessing their presence in the global marketplace provides insight into China’s expanding economic clout.

Iran’s Protests and the Threat to Domestic Stability

As protests surge in Iraq and Lebanon, the Iranian regime also has to deal with its own protest movement. Since late 2017, there have been hundreds of protests in Iran per month about such issues as deteriorating economic conditions, environmental degradation, and political grievances. However, these protests are unlikely to threaten regime survival—at least for now. The Iranian protest movement is currently too decentralized and Iranian security forces are likely too strong to overthrow the regime. Still, the litany of grievances in Iran suggest that the regime will have to deal with persistent domestic discontent.

Weeks of mass demonstrations have engulfed Lebanon and Iraq, two countries where Iran wields significant influence. On October 29, 2019, for example, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned following massive protests. In Iraq, violent demonstrations erupted as protesters complained about poor economic conditions, the government’s failure to deliver adequate public services, and Iran’s influence in the country.

Erdogan Has No Idea What He’s Doing in Syria

By Steven A. Cook

In contrast to the profound confusion in Washington over the past two weeks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have been relentlessly on message about their invasion of Syria. Operation Peace Spring, as Turkey calls it, is a counterterrorism operation, providing safety for Turks and Syrians alike—including Kurds. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is no different from the Islamic State. Full stop. No amount of international pressure and outrage has moved Ankara from these talking points.

Yet perhaps because the Turks have been so good at their messaging (mostly to other Turks), they have not been as clear on what it is they want to achieve in Syria over the longer term and how they will know when they achieve it. In sending its forces into Syria, the Turkish government seems to have four primary goals: make the establishment of a Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria impossible, boost Erdogan’s popularity, destroy the YPG, and resettle Syrian refugees.

Dashing Kurdish Hopes Will Not Bring Erdogan Peace

By Henri J. Barkey

Only a few months ago, Kurds in the Middle East were optimistic. They enjoyed a newfound international recognition, and a major political breakthrough glimmered on their horizon. Their confidence sprang in large part from the achievements of the Syrian Kurds.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) mostly dominated the multiethnic umbrella militia group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. That group had worked for almost five years in close alliance with the world’s premier superpower, the United States, to defeat the Islamic State, or ISIS. The affiliation was extraordinary, from the Kurdish point of view, because the Kurdistan Workers’ Party was initially behind establishing the militia. Based in Turkey, that party has long battled the Turkish government, and it is on the U.S. terrorist list. In the Syrian territories that the militia forces liberated, Kurds quickly established their own governmental structures and institutionalized their rule.

Let Russia Be Russia

By Thomas Graham

Since the end of the Cold War, every U.S. president has come into office promising to build better relations with Russia—and each one has watched that vision evaporate. The first three—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—set out to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community and make it a partner in building a global liberal order. Each left office with relations in worse shape than he found them, and with Russia growing ever more distant.

President Donald Trump pledged to establish a close partnership with Vladimir Putin. Yet his administration has only toughened the more confrontational approach that the Obama administration adopted after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Russia remains entrenched in Ukraine, is opposing the United States in Europe and the Middle East with increasing brazenness, and continues to interfere in U.S. elections. As relations have soured, the risk of a military conflict has grown.

U.S. policy across four administrations has failed because, whether conciliatory or confrontational, it has rested on a persistent illusion: that the right U.S. strategy could fundamentally change Russia’s sense of its own interests and basic worldview. It was misguided to ground U.S. policy in the assumption that Russia would join the community of liberal democratic nations, but it was also misguided to imagine that a more aggressive approach could compel Russia to abandon its vital interests.

Russia's F-35 Killer: Report Claims S-500 Air Defense System Was 'Tested' in Syria

by Mark Episkopos

A defense industry source told Russian news outlet Izvestia last month that the S-500 recently underwent field testing in Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces continue to maintain a significant presence. Moscow denied it--but won't dey what they think this air defense platform could do in battle. 

Russia’s next-generation air and missile defense system is on the verge of entering serial production, according to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov. “On time, they are putting a new system into operation-- the S-500,” Borisov told Russian news outlet Interfaks earlier today.

Borisov is the latest top-tier Russian official to tease the readiness of the S-500 over the course of this year, joined by the likes of Aerospace Forces Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Yuri Grekhov and Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov. The Russian government and defense industry continues to reaffirm that the S-500 will be delivered within the timetable set by Russia’s 2027 state armament program, which established that the first, serially-produced S-500 will enter service in 2020.

Britain didn’t fight the second world war — the British empire did

William Dalrymple

In 1929, when Edwin Lutyens handed over the newly completed building site of New Delhi to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, many believed he had created a capital for a British empire in India that would last if not 1,000, then at least 100 years. It was, as Lord Stamfordham wrote, ‘a symbol of the might and permanence of the British empire’ that had been commissioned specifically so that ‘the Indian will see for the first time the power of western civilisation’.

The plan of New Delhi was deliberately intended to express the limitless power of the Viceroy. In the words of Sir Herbert Baker: ‘Hurrah for despotism!’ Every detail of New Delhi was meant to echo this thought — from the stone bells on the capitals, which could never ring to announce the end of British rule, to the sheer imperial monumentality of the scheme, which even Lutyens’s greatest champion, Robert Byron, described as ‘an offence against democracy’.

Yet just 18 years later, in 1947, Lord Mountbatten lowered the Union Jack and moved out of Viceroy’s House, and the first president of democratic, independent India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, moved in. At the same time, imperial India was partitioned, creating two independent nation-states, Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. After 300 years in India, the British divided and quit.

Trends in Russia's Armed Forces

PDF file 0.5 MB

The authors provide an overview of the current state of the Russian military in terms of funding and capabilities across the bulk of its forces. They describe how Russian defense budgets have increased over the course of the past 15 years, even as Russian defense spending has now entered a period of decline. They also portray a Russian military in transition, on a path to adapt its general-purpose forces to provide options more suitable to Russia's needs and intentions. They conclude that, based on the location of Russian forces and the systems that the Russian government and military have emphasized for modernization, the Russian government and military have successfully strengthened Russia's military capabilities for a distinct set of future conflict scenarios. It is important to pay close attention to Russia's modernization of its advanced air defenses and ground forces, especially its long-range fires systems — a process that has improved both its offensive and defensive capabilities. The Russian military has also improved its overall readiness level, which has resulted in an ability to quickly generate significant ground forces and to rapidly project antiair and antisea capabilities around its borders. This gives the country substantial offensive potential against bordering states, especially other former Soviet republics.

Macron Is Right About NATO and the EU, but Will Europe Listen?

Judah Grunstein

It is an enduring mystery how French President Emmanuel Macron can simultaneously be such an insightful and articulate political analyst and such a ham-fisted politician. Whatever the explanation, he never fails to deliver on both counts.

The most recent example is Macron’s interview with The Economist on what is ailing NATO and the European Union, and how Europe got into its current predicament. If Macron were simply a university professor or international affairs analyst, the interview would be an informative read. Because he is the president of France, it has already created one diplomatic incident with a non-EU government and generated anxiety and alarm among his EU partners across the continent. ...

The United States’ Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapons Are Dangerously Entangled

By James M. Acton , Nick Blanchette

In October 1973, an unreliable radiation detector could have caused the end of the world. The setting was the Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, and the superpowers found themselves being sucked into the conflict. In the war’s febrile final days, the United States detected what appeared to be radiation from a Soviet freighter headed for Egypt and concluded—almost certainly incorrectly—that Moscow was transferring nuclear warheads to Cairo. Partly in response, on Oct. 24, Washington placed its nuclear forces on a global alert for only the fourth time in history—a step it has taken only twice since. The U.S. alert prompted the Soviet Union to reportedly issue a preliminary order to begin the alerting of its own nuclear forces.

This chain of events, which could have culminated in a nuclear war, provides a timely warning. The United States’ ability to detect and track nuclear warheads has improved immeasurably over the last 46 years, making an exact replay of 1973 unlikely. However, growing entanglement between nuclear and nonnuclear weapons is exacerbating closely related dangers. In particular, nuclear-armed states are relying ever more heavily on dual-use weapons, which can accommodate nuclear or nonnuclear warheads, thus exacerbating the risk that one side might wrongly conclude that another had deployed nuclear weapons. In a crisis or conflict, the result could be an escalation spiral that, unlike in 1973, spins all the way to nuclear devastation.

Shifting Poles In The Middle East: Implications For US Regional Strategy – Analysis

By Christopher J. Bolan*

(FPRI) — The Arab uprisings and subsequent civil wars sweeping the region beginning in late 2010 have fundamentally shifted the internal regional balance of power in ways that U.S. policy has yet to account for. Pro-Western autocrats in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen who played key roles in U.S. regional policies for decades were suddenly ousted by public protests and pressures that had been building for decades. More recently, widescale public protests in Lebanon and Iraq are threatening to unseat existing governments there promising even more uncertainty and tumult in a region already teetering on the edge. Meanwhile, civil wars raging in Syria, Libya, and Yemen have left these countries divided, weak, and desperately poor with little prospect of meaningful recovery for a generation or more. Additionally, various Arab states are backing a host of divided and competing factions and militias—increasing regional instability and draining the limited economic and manpower of all states engaged in this competition.

These developments have left the traditional centers of power in the Arab world in a state of atrophy while bolstering the relative power of the non-Arab states in the region: Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Saudi Arabia has emerged as perhaps the most significant exception to this trend as Riyadh has thus far successfully exploited its oil wealth, claims of religious leadership, and strong connections to Washington to bolster its domestic and international standing.

US ballistic missile defenses, 2019

Matt Korda &Hans M. Kristensen

The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists, and Matt Korda, a research associate with the project. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. This issue examines the status of US missile defense, a key driver of the global nuclear arms race. According to the latest Missile Defense Review, the United States will continue to enhance its four primary missile defense systems – one for homeland defense and three for regional defense – without “any limitation or constraint.” Doing so is likely to be destabilizing, as potential adversaries will attempt to build offensive systems to offset the United States’ defensive systems. This dynamic is currently on display with Russia and China, both of which are developing missiles that are specifically designed to counter US missile defenses.

Missile defense systems can have a significant effect on nuclear weapons postures, the strategy for their potential use, and crisis stability and international security. The defenses don’t even have to work very well; the uncertainty that they might work, or could become more capable in the future, are enough to trigger the effect. Advocates argue that missile defenses don’t threaten anyone and can help deter adversaries, but those adversaries are unlikely to simply give up; they are more likely to be stimulated to try to beat the defenses to ensure their own deterrent forces remain effective and credible. This dynamic is clear from many cases during the Cold War and remains evident today.

This is How America's National Debt Could Grow by $7 Trillion

by Rachel Greszler

Tacking as much as $6.7 trillion onto our national debt to cover broken pension promises would raise the average household’s debt burden by $52,000, to $230,000.

On Oct. 31, the national debt hit $23 trillion. That’s equivalent to a credit card bill of $178,000 for every household in America.

This marks an enormous increase. Even after adjusting for inflation, it’s a jump of $60,000 over just 10 years for the average household.

In other words, even after accounting for inflation, the U.S. added more debt per household over the past 10 years than it did over its first 200 years.

Low interest rates today make our debt seemingly manageable, but the higher America’s debt grows, the more likely it is that rates could suddenly spike, sending terrible shocks throughout the economy.

In Chile, Protests Show No Signs of Dying Down

With Chile's protests poised to enter their fifth week, the prospects for a timely and tidy resolution are dim. Already, the sustained demonstrations in Santiago and other cities have led to at least 20 deaths, cost the economy an estimated $1.5 billion and forced the government to cancel the mid-November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the last minute. Following the spread of demonstrations into Santiago's wealthier neighborhoods earlier this week, President Sebastian Pinera unveiled a carrot-and-stick approach on Nov. 7: While announcing plans to enhance the government's ability to monitor and punish violent protesters, he also heralded the beginning of "citizen dialogues" next week.

But government concessions and efforts at dialogue will be hard-pressed to resolve the factors fueling the protests for two reasons: the deep-seated nature of the grievances and the fragmented nature of the groups voicing them. And for businesses operating in Chile, that will mean continued disruption to operations and transportation in urban areas, as well as the threat of more arson and looting.

Workplace Romance: Did McDonald’s Make the Right Call?

The recent firing of McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook over a consensual relationship with an employee highlights the thorny issue of workplace romance in the #MeToo era, which has heralded a number of CEO resignations over inappropriate behavior that previously was condoned or overlooked.

The company announced the dismissal Sunday after Easterbrook sent an email to employees expressing regret over the relationship with the unidentified subordinate and calling it “a mistake.” McDonald’s confirmed that its board of directors determined Easterbrook violated company policy, which prohibits employees from “dating or having a sexual relationship” with direct or indirect reports.

McDonald’s decision to fire Easterbrook was the right call, according to Wharton management professor Stephanie Creary, whose research focuses on identity and diversity in the workplace.

“There’s a policy [at McDonald’s] that said that people who are in a reporting relationship … should not be in a position to control the rewards or punishment of somebody else who’s in a subordinate role in that relationship. And that policy was broken,” Creary said during a segment on the Wharton Business Daily radio show on SiriusXM.

Here’s how Cyber Command is using ‘defend forward’

By: Mark Pomerleau

U.S. Cyber Command is gaining important insights into malware and adversarial actors by working with partner nations to help secure their systems, according to a top official.

“We’re also working with our partners, participating in defending U.S. critical infrastructure from malicious cyber activity,” David Luber, executive director of Cyber Command, said at CyberCon 2019. “That’s where we have a chance to see what our adversaries are doing in cyberspace because we now have the authority under the National Defense Authorization Act 2019 to operate outside the DoD networks to help our allies defend forward. That’s a big difference, because in the past the DoD could only operate in its own networks. But, when invited by our allies, we can now work and help defend inside of their networks.”

This action is what the Department of Defense calls “defending forward,” or getting as close to adversaries as possible to see what they’re planning as a means of informing others to prepare or take action themselves.

The World Needs Twice as Many Cybersecurity Pros, Report Says


In the U.S., an industry nonprofit found that two of every five cybersecurity jobs is going unfilled.

Demand for cyber expertise is skyrocketing across the U.S. as more organizations start prioritizing their digital security, but today there are only enough cybersecurity pros to fill about 60 percent of those jobs, according to a recent survey.

And if you look beyond the U.S., the talent gap is even more stark.

Today, there are about 2.8 million cybersecurity professionals around the world, but that workforce would need to grow by roughly 145% to meet the global demand for digital security expertise, according to a report from cybersecurity nonprofit (ISC)2. In other words, that means there are nearly five cybersecurity jobs available for every two people who work in the industry today.

Researchers found the global shortage of cyber professionals grew nearly 40 percent over the past year, rising from 2.93 million vacant positions in 2018 to 4.07 million in 2019. According to the report, the talent gap isn’t distributed evenly around the globe. About 560,000 cybersecurity positions sit vacant across North America—about 90% of which are in the U.S.—but in Asia, the number of unfilled positions exceeds 2.6 million.

Let's get phygital: Most disruptive tech of 2020

by Macy Bayern

After gathering global insights on intelligent tech solutions from clients, NTT experts determined the future's most impactful disruptive technologies. Gartner's IT glossary defines digital disruption as "an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviors in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets." 

While the word disruption may have a negative connotation, digital disruption is a positive movement for the tech world.

"Disruption is actually a good thing, it's not a bad thing at all," Reinecke said. "Disruption could improve and transform a business model, giving professionals the opportunity to re-engineer their organization in a much needed manner.

Reinecke offered predictions on the technologies that will result in the most digital disruptionAt the heart of all digital disruption is data, which fuels operational and digital transformation. The disruptive technologies listed are all related to how data is collected, what data is used for, what platforms manage data, and how data is made available, he explained. 

The Army Is Overhauling its Battalion Commander Selection Process

Matthew Cox

Army officers bucking for a battalion command will soon have to go through a five-day assessment course aimed at evaluating their mental and physical potential for the sought-after assignment.

Beginning in January, officers selected from the lieutenant colonel centralized selection list will attend the Battalion Commander Assessment Program (BCAP) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, according to a recent Army news release.

Until now, battalion commanders have been selected by a board review of personnel files.

"We spend more time and more money on selecting a private to be in [75th] Ranger Regiment than we do selecting what I would argue is one of the most consequential leadership positions in the Army, our battalion commanders," Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in October at the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting, according to the release.