3 December 2019

2+2 Dialogue Will Further Cement India-Japan Strategic Relations

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
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India and Japan are holding their inaugural 2+2 defense and foreign minister level dialogue on November 30, ahead of the annual summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December. While the dialogue will be heralded as yet another step that advances India-Japan bilateral relations, it also has broader implications as well.

The decision to hold a ministerial level 2+2 dialogue was taken this summer during a telephone call between India’s new foreign minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, and his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono. The inaugural US-India 2+2 dialogue was held in September 2018.

The mechanism itself is quite significant. Japan is only the second country (after the United States) with which India has such a dialogue format. The India-Japan 2+2 dialogue is an endorsement of the special strategic partnership between New Delhi and Tokyo.

Pakistan’s Highest Court Suspends the Army Chief’s Term Extension. What Now?

By Umair Jamal
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The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended a government-issued directive that approved a three-year term extension for the current chief of army staff. It’s an extraordinary development, as never in the country’s history has a court intervened to question — let alone suspend — an army chief’s extension or appointment.

The current army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, will see his constitutionally fixed three-year tenure ended on Friday, November 29. After three days of hearings, the court has decided to give Bajwa six months’ extension with a condition that the parliament will amend the constitution to find a permanent solution to the issue. Regardless, the situation will have far-reaching implications for Pakistan’s politics. The case’s hearing not only challenged the technicalities presented by the government, but has also asked some fundamental questions concerning the entire subject of army chief term extensions.

To begin with, the Supreme Court didn’t have to intervene in the army chief extension debate, particularly after the original petitioner withdrew the case. However, the court overruled the application to withdraw the petition, stating that the case fell into the “domain of public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.” The Supreme Court’s forceful involvement is a extraordinary development that has raised concerns as to whether the intervention is an independent decision or if something else is at play.

A Brief Flurry of Summitry in Central Asia

By Catherine Putz

On November 27-28, the heads of the six members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) gathered in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for a series of meetings, including a session of the organization’s Collective Security Council. The headline items include a joint statement expressing regret about the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and concern over the future of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The organization also established two new membership categories, observer and partner, in an effort to expand.

The meetings, which closed out Kyrgyzstan’s term as chair, were attended by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

At present, due to a dispute last year over who had the right to chose the CSTO’s formal head, the organization is still led by Acting Secretary General Valery Semerikov. This is not the first time the CSTO has had difficulty selecting a head. As of January, though, Stanislav Zas, secretary of state of Belarus’ security council, will be the new CSTO head.

China tests killer drones for street-to-street urban warfare, plans sales overseas

Liu Zhen
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A Chinese tech firm is testing a drone designed to carry out both reconnaissance missions and close-range strikes against armoured vehicles or individuals in an urban environment. A Chinese technology firm is testing a new attack drone specifically designed to help ground troops in street-level combat, in the hope that it can sell the unit abroad, reports say.

Engineers recently completed a successful air-to-ground test firing exercise for the mini quadcopter named Tianyi, Modern Weaponry reported.

The developer, Tianjin Zhongwei Aerospace Data System Technology, said the unmanned aerial vehicle had been designed to carry out both reconnaissance missions and close-range strikes against armoured vehicles or individuals in an urban environment.

“It is suitable for circumstances that include asymmetric combat, counterterrorism and special forces [operations] and street battles,” the report said.

Trump Signs Bills in Support of Hong Kong; China Warns of Consequences

China reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s signing of two bills on Hong Kong human rights and said the United States will bear the unspecified consequences.

A foreign ministry statement Thursday repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will counteract. It said all the people of Hong Kong and China oppose the move.

It’s still unclear, however, how China will respond exactly.

Trump signed the bills, which were approved by near unanimous consent in the House and Senate, even as he expressed some concerns about complicating the effort to work out a trade deal with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

Chessboard or Player? The EU Role in US-China Competition

By Körber-Stiftung

Every year, Körber-Stiftung publishes the “Berlin Pulse,” a project that contrasts perspectives on German foreign policy by high-ranking international authors with current German public opinion based on representative surveys. This year’s edition contains a whole chapter on Germany’s role in the Asia-Pacific, with contributions from analysts around the globe. This interview with Thorsten Benner, Co-Founder and Director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin and Torrey Taussig, Research Director for Transatlantic Relations 2021 at the Harvard Kennedy School, first appeared in 2019/20 edition of The Berlin Pulse.

Körber-Stiftung: Brussels and the U.S. share a number of grievances vis-à-vis China, but disagree on the means. How do both parties see each other’s role and their respective relations with China?

China Joins the Global Disinformation Order .

By Philip N. Howard & Samantha Bradshaw

China’s global disinformation campaign—which recently painted Hong Kong’s democracy advocates as violent and unpopular radicals—should cause concern for democracies around the world. In addition to highlighting the many ways in which technology can be used to suppress freedom of speech, China’s ascent to the global disinformation order demonstrates a deeper insidious trend: governments increasingly see social media as a powerful tool to manipulate public opinion both domestically and abroad.

At Oxford University, we have tracked how governments use social media to spread computational propaganda. Over the past three years, we have found evidence of disinformation campaigns run by state actors in more than 70 countries around the world. Many of these countries are authoritarian regimes that use networks of fake accounts to spread pro-government propaganda, drown out opposing voices, and threaten activists and journalists with hate and violence. But the case of China is particularly worrying.

The Chinese government has a long history of censorship and information control. Even before ‘fake news’ was weaponised by US President Donald Trump, Chinese officials used the term to crack down on political dissent and discredit opinions that challenged the position of government. And it has become well known that fake online commentators—employed by the Chinese government—are responsible for fabricating hundreds of millions of online posts on Chinese native platforms every year to divert criticism away from the state. But until recently, China’s disinformation efforts have largely remained within the boundaries of its Great Firewall.

Secret Weapon: How AI Will Help America Win a War in Space

by Warrior Maven
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(Washington, D.C.) If a Russian or Chinese Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon streamed into space and exploded U.S. military satellites, friendly forces would instantly become very vulnerable to significant and extremely destructive enemy attacks….-- space-based infrared missile detection could be destroyed, GPS communications could be knocked out, guided weapons could jam and derail before hitting their targets and war-critical command and control could simply be “taken out.”

Any, all or part of this could happen in as little as 10 to 15 minutes once a satellite attacking missile is launched from the ground. Lives will hang in the balance as alerts are sent through U.S. command and control and decision-makers scramble to determine the best countermeasure with which to protect its space assets. Space war is no longer a distant prospect to envision years down the road --- it is here.

America Cannot Afford to Lose the Technology Race to China

by Eli M. Gold
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With our Mid-East policy in disarray, China and Russia have not missed a beat and are stepping in to fill the gaps. It is clear the intention of their advances in technological research and development (R&D), military and otherwise, is to surpass the U.S.’s global distribution and ultimately become the dominant player in this area. As recently as May 2019, it has been reported that U.S. allies in the region have been meeting with the Chinese to become a Cyber hub for their Belt and Road Initiative.

While President Trump has been engaging China on trade talks, Xi Jinping has continued the largest military buildup of the last hundred years. On October 1st China’s military exhibited to the public much of their high-tech weaponry, of which about half have never been seen before, leading many to question what they are not showing.

With Russia's hypersonic weapons and China’s cyber and space capabilities, it is no longer enough to keep up with the Jinpings, but rather is the time for the U.S. to step up and leave these questionable characters in our technological rearview mirrors. One such opportunity for the U.S. to take a significant step forward is with the upcoming merger of Raytheon Co (RTN) and United Technologies Corp (UTX). The mergers of such companies would create innovation powerhouses that would not only place the U.S. on track but give the necessary bandwidth to surpass competing nations in relatively short form.

Here's the Chinese Air Force's Biggest Problem (Not America or a War)

by Robert Farley 
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The Chinese defense industrial base is infamous for its tendency to “borrow” from foreign designs, particularly in the aerospace industry. Almost the entirety of China’s modern fighter fleet have either borrowed liberally from or directly copied foreign models. The J-10 was reputedly based on the Israeli IAI Lavi and by extension the United States’ General Dynamics F-16; the J-11 is a clone of the Russian Su-27; the JF-17 is a modern development of the Soviet MiG-21; the J-20 bears an uncanny resemblance to the F-22, and finally, the J-31 is widely believed to rely heavily on technology appropriated from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Appropriation saves China time and money on research and development, allowing it to modernize the PLAAF at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. However, the appropriation strategy remains constrained by bottleneck technologies due to lack of testing data and industrial ecology. This problem is starkly illustrated by China’s ongoing difficulty in producing a high-quality indigenous jet engine.

The problem of technology mismatch, at its root, is that the thief lacks trade secrets and human capital associated with the manufacturing and assembly of a system. At the very least, this absence can make the replication of foreign systems a costly and time-consuming process, as the thief needs to develop manufacturing procedures from scratch. At worst, it can lead to seriously substandard components that reduce the capabilities and reliability of a system. Chinese efforts to reverse engineer certain Russian jet engines during the 1990s and 2000s invariably produced engines with extremely short lifespans, and without the power of their Russian counterparts. Even today, jet engines remain an obstacle for PLAAF fighter modernization, with its early 5th generation prototypes notably underpowered. Further complicating the problem, Russia is wary of supplying engines more powerful than the AL-31 used to power its Su-27s. However, China has several avenues to work around this.

Eyewitnesses on the Unrest in Iran

By Susanne Koelbl
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Thousands have been protesting against the government and revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei in dozens of Iranian cities for more than a week now. The security forces have responded with lethal force, with human rights organization Amnesty International reporting more than a hundred deaths. The announcement made on the night of Nov. 15 that gasoline would be rationed and prices would increase dramatically -- in some cases tripling -- triggered the protests. Under sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran is only able to export small amounts of oil and goods, which has created a financial and economic crisis in the country. One of the aims of the American sanctions is to provoke protests. Officials in Washington hope a counterrevolution can bring down the regime. DER SPIEGEL spoke with Iranians who have witnessed the protests. To protect the interviewees, their names have not been used in this article, although their identities are known to the journalist.

Teacher, 37, from Tehran: "The news that gasoline prices would now double, from 1,500 toman to 3,000 toman (around 60 euro cents) per liter hit like a bang. At first, there was a silent protest in front of the university building. In addition to being a high school teacher, I am also completing a doctorate in architecture. I happened to be there when security forces in civilian clothes surrounded and removed some of the demonstrators. I wanted to get home fast, but the Revolutionary Guards stopped me. They called me a "traitor" and a "slut" and said I wasn't a real Muslim. They arrested me too. The police station was totally overcrowded. They insulted and intimidated me. I was allowed to leave after a few hours.

Jeremy Corbyn Reminds Us Why Israel Exists


Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech in London, England, April 2018. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)Corbyn hasn’t merely 'tolerated' anti-Semitic attitudes. He has actively transformed Labour into a safe haven for Jew hatred.

In a now-deleted tweet, the Washington Post informed its 14 million followers that the historic condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom was triggered by Labour Party leader’s strong support for “Palestinian rights.”

As numerous people quickly pointed out, this is a detestable falsehood. Indeed, the article to which the tweet linked notes that a review of online posts by Labour members uncovered “examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one individual who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.”

The world needs a grand coalition to tackle climate change

Fatih Birol
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More than 40 years after the International Energy Agency (IEA) published the first edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO), the report’s overarching aim remains the same – to deepen our understanding of the future of energy. It does so by examining the opportunities and risks that lie ahead, and the consequences of different courses of action or inaction. The WEO analyses the choices that will shape our energy use, our environment and our wellbeing. It is not, and has never been, a forecast of where the energy world will end up.

This year brings many changes. I would like to highlight two in particular. First, we have renamed the 'new policies scenario' as the 'stated policies scenario', making more explicit our intention to hold up a mirror to the plans and ambitions announced by policy-makers without trying to anticipate how those plans might change in future.

Second, the sustainable development scenario – which provides a strategic pathway to meet global climate, air quality and energy access goals in full – has been extended to 2050 and set out in greater detail. This delivers sharper insights into what is required for the world to move in this direction.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining the economy as we know it

Katica Roy
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The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) upends current economic frameworks. Who makes money - and how - has changed. Demographics have changed. Even the skills that brought our society to where we are today have changed. Leaders must account for these transformations or risk leaving behind their companies, their customers and their constituents.

The top three economic frameworks in most urgent need of a 4IR overhaul include income generation, labour force participation and gross domestic product (GDP) measures. Let’s unpack these concepts one at a time and redefine what they mean as we advance bravely into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Making money in a world of increased automation

The global middle class will play an influential role in how we make money in the future. Today, more than 50% of the world’s 7.7 billion people live in middle-class households.

France is back, but where is Germany?


PARIS — Franco-German relations are tense. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be just a passing phase, but something more systemic. The reason is simple: The differing political fortunes of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (or indeed her successor) and their respective governments has turned the relationship upside down.

Berlin is weak while Paris is strong.

What this means for the EU is still taking shape, but the first tremors are already being felt.

Senior German officials acknowledge that the first misstep in the relationship with Paris was theirs. When Macron came to power, he tried to correct the wrongs of his predecessor, François Hollande, by initiating and implementing reforms in France before he sought Germany's cooperation to secure a budget dedicated to stabilizing shocks in the eurozone.

UK Countering Drones Competition: A Case Study in SME Innovation

The MOD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) was set up in 2016 to "to help UK military and security users access innovative ideas, equipment and services more quickly".

As part of their strategy, DASA established Open Calls for Innovation and a series of themed competitions, which are designed to encourage the private sector, and specifically SMEs, start-ups and non-traditional defence companies, to be part of the MOD’s problem-solving eco-system and submit ideas to tackle some of the UK’s most pressing challenges.

One such competition, launched earlier this year, focuses on Countering Hostile Drones. DASA received 90 bids from industry, and on 5 November they announced £2 million worth of contracts to 18 companies to develop "robust and cost-effective next-generation solutions to the risks posed by hostile UAS”.

To find out more about the competition, Defence iQ spoke to Ben Cook, founder of Airspeed Electronics, one of the SMEs involved in the competition. We discuss DASA competitions, the difference between SMEs and primes when it comes to innovating, and the wider benefits SMEs offer the defence community.

Economics Belongs in the NSC

The Trump administration’s decision this month to allow some technology sales to Huawei has revived criticism of the White House for being inconsistent in its approach to the blacklisted Chinese technology giant. To be sure, the president’s apparent willingness to use Huawei as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with Beijing partly explains the waffling. But more fundamentally, the problem is the White House’s failure at the outset to consider the Huawei challenge from a 360-degree perspective, balancing national security concerns with practical commercial considerations and broader economic ones such as rural access to broadband.

This example highlights the importance of integrating economic and national security decisionmaking at the White House. From tariffs to control of critical technologies to answering China’s increasingly assertive use of its financial clout, economic considerations are more central than ever to U.S. foreign policy. Against this backdrop, the decision by the Trump White House to move economic capabilities out of the National Security Council (NSC) is hard to understand.

How Max Weber Explains Impeachment


A leader who had promised the best of times had led the nation to the worst of times. Impulsive and ignorant, he disdained the civil servants his predecessors depended upon and had instead surrounded himself with a clique of craven counselors. Given to pronouncing rambling speeches and driven to prove himself on the world stage, he had a weakness for military parades and provocative claims. “The sad and worrisome thing,” concluded one of the ruler’s closest advisers, “is that for him appearance trumps substance.”

So stood the state of affairs in Wilhelmine Germany in November 1917 when the sociologist Max Weber gave a public lecture at the University of Munich. The talk was published under the title “Science as a Vocation”, along with its companion piece “Politics as a Vocation,” two years later. At first glance, a lecture devoted to science and vocation seems as irrelevant to imperial Germany’s dire political situation as it does to our own a century later. Yet the essay remains one of the most lucid accounts of the relationship between policy and power­—or more starkly, between those who propose and those who dispose—and one that casts a powerful light on last week’s House impeachment hearings.

Is Disaster-Prone Japan Facing Economic Derailment?

By Thisanka Siripala

Last month, a spate of devastating typhoons battered Japan, prompting the government to prioritize economic stimulus measures to help bolster recovery and reconstruction. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to draw from a reserve fund containing 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) to rebuild disaster-stricken areas, address economic damage to regional businesses, and improve disaster mitigation infrastructure.

Mega-typhoon Hagibis lashed eastern Japan in mid-October, killing 91 people with record-breaking hurricane force winds and flooding not seen in four decades. Japan is known around the world as a disaster-prone country. But as preliminary damage estimates trickle in, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries highlighted an alarming trajectory — Typhoon Hagibis is likely to be more costly than last year’s deadly torrential rains and flooding that killed 155 people.

Typhoon Hagibis left a deadly message, giving high disaster risk areas a taste of the future as the globe temperatures climb. Businesses reported damaged to farmland, irrigation canals, roads, rice, and apple crops exceeding 130 billion yen. But when combining the devastation from Typhoon number 15, which swept through in early September, figures exceed 180 billion yen.

Macron Isn’t the First French Leader to Attack NATO

by Andy Law

Ultimately, France’s actions today are in line with the Gaullist policies of its past. President de Gaulle had wanted a Directorate of Three (the United States, the United Kingdom, and France) to dictate Western security.

French president Emmanuel Macron said last week that “we are experiencing the brain death of NATO,” calling for the development of a “true, European army.” And he has been backing his words with action. On Tuesday, European Union ministers proceeded with thirteen defense projects under the Permanent Structured Cooperation initiative, with France taking the lead on ten of them. The irony is that the idea of a European army, which dates back to the immediate postwar years, may have come to fruition were it not for France and its president, Charles de Gaulle.

In the years following World War II, a robust debate ensued over the question of German rearmament: would Germany ever again be allowed to build up a military? Plenty of domestic and international sentiment was against it. Kurt Schumacher, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and leader of the opposition in the Bundestag, decried rearmament for fear that it would preclude German unification. Nor were European states ready to see a rearmed Germany so soon after the war. Even John J. McCloy, appointed as the Allied High Commissioner for Germany in September 1949 to supervise Germany’s economic, military, and foreign policy matters, agreed with this sentiment.

UK Election: Why Jeremy Corbyn Is Surging Against Boris Johnson

by Peter Harris 

Voters in the United Kingdom will head to the polls on December 12. Determined that their country should leave the European Union without further delays, they will rally around their pro-Brexit prime minister, Boris Johnson, and expel from parliament every establishment politician who has spent the past three years frustrating the will of the British people. Having been returned to power in a landslide, Johnson’s government will move swiftly to terminate Britain’s EU membership, bury the left-wing Labour Party as a credible electoral force, and lay the groundwork for a new era of Tory hegemony in UK politics.

At least, that is what Johnson is hoping will happen. He might be right. But even if recent opinion polls show the Conservatives to be trouncing the Labour Party, their nearest rivals, by as much as 17 percentage points, a victory for Johnson is far from assured. One need look no further than Johnson’s immediate predecessor, Theresa May, to find an example of a prime minister who began a General Election campaign with a strong wind to her back, only to finish in a worse position than she started.

Why Trump’s Drone War Shows He Wants American Global Supremacy

by Peter Harris
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Mark Esper has a euphemism for America’s wars in the Middle East: “mowing the lawn.” The Secretary of Defense used the term to describe U.S. military actions in Libya, where U.S. air forces are reported to have killed one-hundred fighters belonging to the ISIS terror group in September alone. But comparing perpetual warfighting to mowing the lawn is, to say the least, an inappropriate and misleading metaphor. Looking past innocuous descriptions over America’s sprawling military footprint ought to be an urgent task for those interested in reforming a failed and worsening foreign policy. 

Nearly three years after he was elected President, the idea that Donald Trump is committed to a foreign policy of restraint, retrenchment, or isolationism can safely be put to rest. For while Trump has used his time in the Oval Office to slash U.S. participation in international organizations and turn back the tide of trade liberalization, he has nevertheless been more than eager to keep in place the most expensive, visible, and important aspect of America’s global role: its worldwide military presence and near-constant use of lethal force. So have advisers like Esper. 

Can Trump Turn the Tables on His Impeachment Accusers?

by Hunter DeRensis 

On Wednesday, a combative President Donald Trump posted a picture of his head superimposed on the photo of a musclebound Sylvester Stallone, the star of the Rocky series of movies, on his twitter feed. It was consistent with his message of punching back against his adversaries, whenever and wherever he can. In contrast to the numerous advisers who are warning that he should instead focus on governing, Trump has embraced the impeachment hearings to try and wield them as a weapon against his political foes.

There is plenty for him to attack. The House Intelligence Committee has finished its hearings and will send a report to the House Judiciary Committee. The latter announced that it will start hearings with constitutional law experts next Wednesday and invited Trump himself to attend or to send counsel. The White House has until Sunday to decide whether or not it wants to participate. 

Since the inquiry deals with a matter semi-related to intelligence, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) was quick to take the lead on conducting impeachment, still unfulfilled after the Mueller Report he had long hyped turned into a dud. Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler (D-NY) will take over proceedings and initiate his committee’s traditional role of drawing up and voting on articles of impeachment. From here, the articles will be sent to the House floor, where a final vote will take place, probably before the Christmas recess.

Could Naval Mines Win Iran A War Against the United States?

by Charlie Gao
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Hypersonic missiles and fast attack boats may dominate the headlines as the primary threats to the U.S. Navy, but the naval mine remains one of the deadliest threats to the modern warship. Mine technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with advances in networking and sensing allowing mines to become more lethal.

With recent tensions stepping up with Iran, the need for effective minesweepers is rapidly rising. But a recent report by ProPublica suggests that the American minesweeper fleet is hardly ready to be deployed, and the replacement ships are some ways off.

Can the U.S. Navy mobilize effective minesweepers in time? Will the capability be important in the future?

While the ProPublica article paints the situation as dire, the U.S. Navy does have a plan that could be put into action to field minesweeping capability relatively quickly. The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are built around the idea of modular “Mission Packages” that can potentially be swapped out to equip the ships for different roles. One of the packages is the Mine Countermeasures Mission (MCM) package, which includes a variety of sensors, drones and helicopters to allow a ship to effectively minesweep.

A decade of hacking: The most notable cyber-security events of the 2010s

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How the Defense Digital Service revamped Army cyber training

By: Mark Pomerleau

Earlier this year, the Defense Digital Service — the Pentagon’s cadre of coders and hackers performing a short stint in government — finished the second phase of a pilot program to streamline cyber training for the Army.

The Army wanted to streamline two phases of cyber training: the Joint Cyber Analytics Course, or JCAC, which takes 27 weeks in Pensacola, Florida, and provides basic cyber training for joint forces that have no prior experience in cyber; and the more tactical training that happens at Fort Gordon in Georgia. Combined, the two phases take a minimum of 36 weeks.

To accomplish this, the Defense Digital Service, working with the Army Cyber Center of Excellence and a private vendor, built a course to conduct training in three months — everything a cyberwarrior needed to know from JCAC, said Clair Koroma, a bureaucracy hacker at DDS.

L3Harris wins contract for handheld tactical radios for SOF operators

US defence contractor and information technology services provider L3Harris Technologies has secured an $86m order from the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for handheld tactical radios that will improve the communications capabilities of Special Operations Forces (SOF) operators.

Under the order, L3Harris will provide Falcon IV AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld tactical radios to USSOCOM, reinforcing the company’s position as a major provider of software-defined radios to the US Department of Defense.

In 2015, USSOCOM awarded a $390m indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract under the Next Generation Tactical Communications (NGTC) programme to deliver an advanced two-channel radio for SOF operators, and the order won by L3Harris Technologies is part of the contract.

The company has also secured an NGTC contract from USSOCOM to deliver multichannel next-generation manpack radios, which form a crucial part of the ecosystem of SOF-focused solutions that L3Harris is providing to USSOCOM.



The interwar years between the Great War and World War II were a precarious period when industrialized military powers struggled to innovate with doctrine and tactics even as they incorporated emerging technologies.

Though Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. claimed victory in the most costly confrontation in European history, each power failed to fully leverage the multiplicity of combined arms and joint concepts initiated—yet never fully matured—between 1914 and 1918. The failure to realize this latent potential would exact a heavy price just two decades later when the stagnant democracies once again mobilized for global campaigns of imposing scale and mass against modernizing peer competitors.

Now, almost 75 years later, these institutional setbacks hold cautionary insights for the U.S. as it similarly transitions to great-power competition. The experience of the British Empire, in particular, remains relevant for U.S. forces as they focus on countering rising powers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and East Asia that seek to limit American access and influence with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

What if a Progressive President Cut U.S. Defense Spending Dramatically?

by Robert Farley 
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Although foreign policy has generally not taken center-stage in the Democratic Presidential primary thus far, some of the candidates have begun to speak out about the size and extent of the U.S. defense establishment. This discussion has come as “progressive” foreign policy thinking has become more sophisticated and forward-thinking, especially with regards to defense. Although the perspectives of the candidates differ, most seem to believe that the defense budget has become too large and should be constrained in preference for domestic priorities. Some candidates, however, have hinted at a thorough-going rethinking of the size of the Department of Defense that would see a major reduction in funding, necessitating radical reforms in how the United States does national security.

Nations have, of course, conducted radical reductions in their defense profiles in the past. The U.S. budget declined dramatically at the end of World War II, and declined by nearly 50% in the 1970s from the peak of 1968. But even the defense reductions at the end of the Cold War were modest, and were soon forgotten as spending on new programs accelerated. The entire idea of significantly cutting the DoD budget fell by the wayside after 9/11 and the onset of the Wars on Terror. Consequently, there hasn’t been enough sophisticated thinking on what serious cuts to the U.S. defense budget might look like, despite the rise of centers of progressive foreign policy thinking on the left, and the rise of quasi-isolationist thinking on parts of the right.