4 May 2020

India’s National Cyber Security Strategy : How to Go About It

By Maj. Gen. P K Mallick

The exponential growth and rapid adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) with its associated economic and social opportunities have benefited billions of people around the world. The Internet has become the backbone of modern businesses, critical services and infrastructure, social networks and the global economy. The confidentiality, integrity and availability of ICT infrastructure are challenged by cyber threats including electronic fraud, theft of intellectual property and personal identifiable information, disruption of service and damage or destruction of property. Cyber security is a foundational element for achievement of socio-economic objectives of modern economies. It encompasses governance policy, operational, technical and legal aspects.

A Chinese bid raises the trust deficit

Srikanth Kondapalli,

As the Indian side stood up to it, China began a backdoor entry into the Indian market through what seemed like the first salvo of potential ‘hostile take-overs’. This boomeranged on Beijing. China’s latest, ill-advised move to gradually increase its stakes in one of the largest financial institutions of India, the Housing Development Finance Corporation, was met with stiff Indian opposition last week.

The nearly two decades of China’s pressure to bend India have failed. Invoking the 1988 “pathbreaking” visit by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing that led to putting the territorial dispute on the backburner and expanding bilateral relations in other fields, including in the economic, China intended to influence India.

To an extent, it was successful in the trade surpluses. Bilateral trade increased from $200 million in the early 1990s to last year’s $92 billion. The devil, however, is in the detail. In the last decade, while trade increased, bilateral accumulated trade deficit increased to an unsustainable $650 billion in favour of China. The trade deficit in favour of Beijing in 2019 alone was $56 billion. New Delhi’s suggestions for course correction fell on deaf ears in Beijing.

The Realpolitik of the Reliance Jio-Facebook Deal

By Arindrajit Basu and Amber Sinha

In this Aug. 12, 2019 file photo, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited Mukesh Ambani, center, with wife Neeta Ambani arrives for 42nd Annual General Meeting of Reliance Industries Limited in Mumbai, India.Credit: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File

Facebook is betting big on India again. Last week, it was formally announced that Facebook Inc. had signed binding agreements to make investments to the tune of $5.7 billion into Reliance Industries Limited’s subsidiary Jio Platforms. Reliance Industry Limited is one of India’s biggest multinational companies, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani. As of January 2020, Jio is the largest mobile network operator in India with over 370 million subscribers — a feat it had attained by initially offering the service free of charge.

Over the last five years, we have witnessed several alliances between pharmaceutical and agricultural giants such as the Bayer-Monsanto deal and the systematic horizontal expansion of companies in India, such as Walmart’s $16 billion acquisition of leading Indian e-commerce player Flipkart. While Facebook’s minority share in Reliance Jio is nothing like the 77 percent controlling share that Walmart acquired in Flipkart, the Facebook-Reliance Jio deal has to be evaluated closely due to its potential implications for the global tussle on data governance, and for politics on data sovereignty in the world’s largest democracy.

Sparring on Data Localization

Return of the Taliban: Pashtunistan holds key to India’s Afghan strategy

By: P Stobdan

The problem isn’t the Taliban, but Pakistan’s devilry and its manipulation with the Pashtun sense of identity that has traditionally been a thorn in the flesh of Islamabad

A dramatic change in Afghanistan is on the horizon. India should quickly and positively respond to the evolving political reality and play a role that goes with its standing as a civilizational power.

It would be wiser for New Delhi now to move beyond the Pakistan-centric thinking and stop falling into the trap of complacency in the US handling of Afghanistan.

Washington's inability to foresee the Afghan endgame has proved glaringly. When the 18 years of war became unwinnable, the US has chosen to escape the status quo by reconciling with the Taliban. India has to fend for itself.

Mike Pompeo Defends U.S. Funding For Wuhan Virology Lab

by Matthew Petti 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended U.S. funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a program “to protect American people from labs that aren’t up to standard” in a Fox and Friends interview on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have suggested that the 2019 novel coronavirus was initially released in an accident at the Wuhan laboratory. The institution’s coronavirus research had been supported by U.S. grants, attracting the ire of Republican politicians who blame the laboratory for the pandemic.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.) attacked U.S. funding for the laboratory last week, telling Fox News host Tucker Carlson that “at best, Americans are funding people who are lying to us and at worst, we're funding people who we knew had problems handling pathogens, who then birthed a monster virus onto the world.”

Democratic lawmakers have also called for confronting the Chinese government over a lack of transparency related to the coronavirus pandemic, although none have endorsed the laboratory-origin theory.

China is taking these steps to avoid a second wave of COVID-19

Douglas Broom
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China is easing lockdowns as the number of new coronavirus cases dwindles.

But it remains vigilant to stop a second wave of infections. New measures promote “civilized behaviour”.

Social distancing and hygiene measures remain in force.

China has announced new measures to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 infections as it gradually reopens its economy and releases citizens from coronavirus lockdowns.

But as travel and work restrictions are eased, authorities in Beijing have imposed new curbs to prevent a second wave of the virus. People who feel ill must wear a face mask in public, and anyone who doesn’t cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing will be fined.

The laws, designed to promote what Beijing calls “civilized behaviour”, also include a requirement for people to use their own utensils when eating shared meals. Under the new guidelines, eating on public transport is banned.

Here's What Disinfectants and UV Light Really Do to Your Body

THESE ARE STRANGE times, when the hashtag #DontDrinkBleach trends on Twitter and the makers of Lysol feel compelled to respond to “recent speculation and social media activity” by putting up a statement that “under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion, or any other route).” It’s easy to laugh, as many have, about President Donald Trump’s musing about killing the virus that causes Covid-19 by ingesting disinfectant or somehow shining UV light inside the human body. Yet medical professionals at poison control centers around the country aren’t amused.

In the 18 hours after Trump’s Thursday evening press briefing, the New York City Poison Control Center handled nine cases of exposure to Lysol, 10 related to exposure to bleach, and 11 exposures to other household products, New York City Health Department spokesperson Patrick Gallahue told WIRED. In the same 18-hour time frame in 2019, no callers mentioned Lysol specifically, two called about bleach exposure, and there were only 13 total cases related to a household cleaning product. Even looking overall at the week of April 20, poison control calls related to bleach or disinfectant spiked in New York City just on Thursday and Friday.

Global China: Technology

China aspires to global technology leadership. Can it achieve its ambitions? What would the impacts be at home and abroad?

This installment of papers for the Brookings Foreign Policy project “Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World” assesses China’s growing technological reach in the world by focusing on both thematic and technology-specific topics.

The U.S. is not prepared for the superpower marathon with China — an economic and technology race likely to last multiple generations.

Rather than embracing a China-like consecration of a select few companies, America’s digital competition with China should begin with meaningful competition at home and the all-American reality that competition drives innovation.

As technological competition emerges as an ever more prominent element of U.S.-China rivalry, it is clear the Chinese military and defense industry have undertaken active initiatives in research, development, and experimentation around autonomous weapons.

What Role Does the Intelligence Community Play in a Pandemic? ANALYSIS

Carol Rollie Flynn
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Many questions remain about the precise source of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), and yet there is one thing of which we can all be certain: there will soon be a collective rush to identify those responsible for our country’s systematic failure to get in front of the pandemic, and to assign blame for the lost lives and ruined economy. As in previous national crises, including September 11 and Pearl Harbor, some fingers will be pointing at the Intelligence Community (IC) for its perceived failure to provide adequate warning. Unlike 9/11, the IC is unlikely to receive a surge of funding to build its capacity to gather pandemic-related intelligence around the world, as our country focuses primarily on the homeland and seeks ways to cover the cost of the CARES Act and other coronavirus-related spending. This is, however, an international crisis that has yet to play out fully in much of the world, including in the developing world, where its impact may be most acutely felt due to poverty and lack of adequate medical resources. Accordingly, the capabilities of the IC are more important than ever to track the pandemic’s geopolitical impacts—large and small—that could ultimately affect the U.S. economy and national security.

The IC plays the same role in a public health crisis as it does in any crisis: It collects and analyzes information and intelligence, that special category of information that is secret and timely, so that policymakers can understand complicated situations, avoid surprise, and make sound decisions in planning and responding to potential threats. It is important to note that the IC only provides intelligence analysis; policymakers must determine whether and how to act on that intelligence. Unfortunately, history abounds in examples of intelligence that was ignored: a recent example being the infamous August 6, 2001 President’s Daily Brief that warned of impending al-Qaeda terrorist activity in the U.S.

The Role of the IC in a Crisis

Will Macron Pay the Price for France’s Heavy-Handed COVID-19 Response?

Judah Grunstein 

The violent protests in Paris’ banlieues this week, after an incident of police brutality, are a clear indication of the social tensions fueled by France’s strict national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Neither the violence by police nor the riots come as any surprise, given the history of both in the suburban ghettos surrounding France’s major cities, where much of its immigrant and immigrant-origin population lives.

But the tensions between France’s overstretched security forces and its population extend beyond the banlieues. Combined with popular dissatisfaction over French President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the pandemic, they risk making Macron a lame-duck president, creating a power vacuum that could jeopardize France’s ability to navigate the lengthy crisis ahead.

Wuhan lab 'most likely' coronavirus source, U.S. government analysis finds

By Bill Gertz 
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A Wuhan laboratory is the “most likely” source of the COVID-19 outbreak now ravaging the globe, according to a U.S. government analysis that catalogs the evidence and concludes that other explanations for the origin of the coronavirus are less credible.

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” the document concludes. A copy of the report, compiled this month, was obtained by The Washington Times.

Iran Policy By Tweet? Mike Pompeo and Elizabeth Warren Debate International Law On Twitter

by Matthew Petti

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) sparred with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over international law on social media as the Trump administration increasingly signals that it is angling for a showdown over Iran at the United Nations Security Council.

The Trump administration has focused on undoing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 agreement between Iran, Germany, and the five permanent members of the Security Council. Pompeo’s State Department is now arguing that it can use an arcane legal maneuver to last vestiges of the deal.

Warren wrote a public statement defending the deal on Tuesday. Pompeo took the opportunity to test out his legal argument in public two days later.

Iran is banned by the United Nations from buying and selling weapons, but under Security Council Resolution 2231, the arms embargo will expire five years after the JCPOA was implemented—unless a “participating member” to the deal objects.

Iran Is Hauling Gold Bars Out of Venezuela’s Almost-Empty Vaults

Patricia Laya and Ben Bartenstein

Out of cash and desperate for help in propping up its oil industry, Venezuela is raiding its gold vaults and handing tons of bars to its long-time ally Iran, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Government officials piled some 9 tons of gold -- an amount equal to about $500 million -- on Tehran-bound jets this month as payment for Iran’s assistance in reviving Venezuela’s crippled gasoline refineries, the people said. The shipments, which resulted in a sudden drop in Venezuela’s published foreign reserve figures, leave the crisis-ravaged country with just $6.3 billion in hard-currency assets, the lowest amount in three decades.

The two nations -- both pariahs of sorts in international circles -- are working more closely together as they try to withstand withering U.S. sanctions and a coronavirus-sparked collapse in the price of oil, their main source of revenue. For Iran, the deals provide a fresh source of revenue. For Venezuela, they ensure that its supply of gasoline doesn’t totally run out.

Iran is the latest destination for Venezuelan gold after the U.S. cracked down on similar deals that the Nicolas Maduro regime was conducting with Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

America's Coronavirus Nightmare: Debt, Deflation and Mass Unemployment

by Desmond Lachman

If before today’s grim unemployment numbers Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had reason to worry about engineering a post-coronavirus U.S. economic recovery, he now has even more reason for concern. 

Today’s unemployment numbers have to remind him that the U.S. economy has entered waters unchartered in the post-war period. It also has to be worrying him that we could soon be revisiting economic challenges similar to those last faced by the United States in the 1930s.

Not even during the Great Depression did unemployment increase at nearly as rapid a pace as it is now doing. Over the past six weeks, as the country has been locked down, a staggering 30 million or around one in five American workers has been forced to file for unemployment benefits. It is all too likely that before the lockdown is lifted, the U.S. unemployment rate will peak at well above 20 percent of the labor force. 

Managing COVID-19: How the pandemic disrupts global value chains

COVID-19 has struck at the core of global value chain hub regions, including China, Europe and the US.

Industrial production in China has fallen by 13.5% in January and February combined, compared with the previous year.
The pandemic has severe implications for international production networks and may leave its legacy for years to come.

Over the past four decades, much of manufacturing production world-wide has been organized in what has become known as global value chains (GVCs). Raw materials and intermediate goods are shipped around the globe multiple times and then assembled in yet another location. The final output is re-exported to final consumers located in both developed and developing markets. For many goods, China is at the heart of such GVCs – for example, as a primary producer of high-value products and components, as a large customer of global commodities and industrial products, and as a major consumer marketplace. China is also producing many intermediate inputs and is responsible for processing and assembly operations. Foxconn, an electronics contract manufacturer, is a well-known example. Its assembly plants, located in mainland China, produce for many world-leading electronics companies, among them Apple, Intel and Sony. China, along with Japan, the United States and the European Union, forms the very core of the global production network.

Oil's Collapse Is a Geopolitical Reset In Disguise

Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She is a professor of international affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School and is on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served on the National Security Council from 2004 to 2007.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Bloomberg Opinion will be running a series of features by our columnists that consider the long-term consequences of the crisis. This column is part of a package on how to navigate turmoil in energy markets. For more, see Liam Denning on how to build a more sustainable U.S. energy system and Nathaniel Bullard on why developing countries should speed up their energy transition.

The world is on the cusp of a geopolitical reset. The global pandemic could well undermine international institutions, reinforce nationalism and spur de-globalization. But far-sighted leadership could also rekindle cooperation, glimmers of which appeared in the G-20’s offer of debt relief for some of the world’s poorest countries, a joint plea from more than 200 former national leaders for a more coordinated pandemic response and an unprecedented multinational pact to arrest the crash in oil markets. 

The Perfect Storm

by Dimitri K. Simes

IF EVER the modern world faced a “perfect storm,” this is it. The combination of a deadly and highly infectious virus, an emerging worldwide economic depression, the collapse of global governance, and an absence of a coordinated and effective international response—all have contributed to a tragedy of historic magnitude, one that will not be easily overcome. While quarantines and self-isolation have helped mitigate the crisis, few believe that these measures alone can solve it, let alone provide a roadmap for the future.

How this storm will end remains unknown, beyond the virtual certainty that the world will eventually weather it. Eventually, a satisfactory remedy will emerge through some combination of vaccines, improved treatment methods, social distancing, and new mechanisms of international trade. Exactly when and how this solution will be arrived at is difficult, if not impossible, to predict. But it is clear that the internecine political feuding that has consumed America and diverted its attention from dangerous threats must come to a halt. The costs have been enormous.

Pentagon’s ‘Willingness to Kiss the President’s Ass’ Worries Top Lawmaker


‘I am worried about a culture developing,’ says House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., after the latest delay in Navy captain’s fate.

Senior defense officials are making decisions based out of fear they will upset President Donald Trump, exposing a growing culture problem at the Department of Defense, a top Democratic lawmaker and others allege. 

The charge comes as a senior Trump administration official at the Pentagon on Wednesday sent back the Navy’s recommendation on the fate of Capt. Brett Crozier, demanding a deeper investigation into his dismissal from command of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt. 

The problem, critics say, is not that Trump is interfering in the chain of command — exerting what’s known as “undue command influence” on decisions that are meant to be adjudicated within a strict military hierarchy — but that military officials are acting based out of fear that he will.

Forget Washington and Beijing. These Days Global Leadership Comes From Berlin.

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At the beginning of April, the university hospital in the central German city of Jena dispatched two doctors, two medical assistants, and assorted medical supplies to Naples, Italy. A couple of days before, the Bundeswehr, Germany’s military, had airlifted French and Italian patients to German hospitals. That’s just a tiny part of Germany’s coronavirus assistance to allies.

Germany’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak was not exactly covered in glory. At the beginning of the year, Italy, the first European country badly hit by the coronavirus, logged an appeal for medical supplies with the European Union’s emergency hub. But the German government reacted the way every other EU government did: It sent nothing. Then, in early March, the German government imposed an export ban on vital medical supplies including face masks, medical gloves, and protective gowns. By March 14, Italy had still not received any medical aid from its EU allies.

Two days later, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy announced that the delivery of 400,000 face masks to Italy had been approved by the government. With that, Germany changed the tenor of the Europeans’ response to Italy: Soon medical supplies were arriving from around the continent. When there’s a crisis, the world’s collective instinct is often to pick on the Germans. This time, we owe them a thank you—and a request for more global leadership.

WHO Becomes Battleground as Trump Chooses Pandemic Confrontation Over Cooperation

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The Trump administration is seeking to enlist the support of key allies to restore Taiwan’s status as an observer at the World Health Organization, setting the stage for a fresh confrontation with China as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, according to diplomatic sources and notes of internal meetings at the global health agency.

The United States and Japan are asking key like-minded nations, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, to co-sign a draft letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, requesting he invite the Taiwanese delegation to the World Health Assembly, the United Nations health agency’s key decision-making body, which is expected to meet virtually in mid-May.

The WHO initiative has a limited chance of success since nothing irks Beijing more than support for Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province, and China is likely to retaliate against any move by Tedros or by other governments to include Taiwan in deliberations on public health. But the Trump administration’s bid provides the latest sign that Washington is placing a higher priority on eliciting criticism of China, its chief geostrategic adversary, than exploring ways the two superpowers, or other governments for that matter, could collaborate in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Navy Delays Reinstating Captain of Infected Carrier

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The U.S. Navy has expanded an investigation into the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, delaying the restoration of command to Capt. Brett Crozier, who pushed for the service to more aggressively combat the outbreak on the nuclear-powered ship.

In a statement on Wednesday, acting Secretary of the Navy James McPherson said he had directed the service’s top officer, Adm. Mike Gilday, to conduct a deeper investigation after both men briefed Defense Secretary Mark Esper on their findings on Friday, recommending that the Pentagon chief reinstate Crozier.

“Following our discussion, I have unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified and that can only be answered by a deeper review,” McPherson said. “Therefore, I am directing Adm. Gilday to conduct a follow-on command investigation. This investigation will build on the good work of the initial inquiry to provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt.”

Data Security in a 5G World Why It Matters More than Ever

by Robert Spalding
Data is the key resource of the 21st century. The 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) mentions data eighteen times and recognizes that “data, like energy, will shape U.S. economic prosperity and our future strategic position in the world.” The NSS calls for the government to “do a better job of protecting data to safeguard information and the privacy of the American people.” Data is core to the rapidly developing technologies from artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT). In a 5G era, these and similar information technologies will be increasingly powerful and harder to avoid in everyday life. For example, 5G can unleash the power of smart cities, where IoT devices embedded in the city will pick up speech, facial expressions, and gestures, transforming them into virtual push buttons for things like calling a rideshare. In a 5G world, all this data will go directly to the tech companies, presenting users—and democracies—with the question of who owns the data.

Current U.S. debates on who should build 5G networks are too narrowly focused and do not address the root of the problem, particularly when it comes to U.S. geopolitical competition with China in these spaces. This commentary will examine the technology, business, and social layers of this problem and share ideas for how U.S. policymakers could do a better job of protecting data.

Why Facebook is Mapping the Entire World’s Population

Alex Heath

That strategy was on display Tuesday, when the social network announced that it had used artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to build a hi-res population map for the entire continent of Africa.

The next step? Facebook told Cheddar that within “months” the company will have mapped the entire world’s population.

“It’s months, not years,” James Gill, a Facebook software engineer who is working on the project, said when asked about the timeline.

Creating such a large map—which involves training Facebook’s advanced AI systems, pulling high-resolution satellite imagery, and working with local governments and NGOs—represents the incredible degree to which Facebook works to bring internet access to far corners of the globe.

Interestingly, Facebook isn’t keeping its maps confidential. It’s sharing them openly and freely with anyone. That means nonprofits, telecoms, researchers, and even internet competitors like Google could potentially leverage the map data to further their own ends.

10 technology trends to watch in the COVID-19 pandemic

Yan Xiao, Ziyang Fan

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated 10 key technology trends, including digital payments, telehealth and robotics.

These technologies can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus while helping businesses stay open.

Technology can help make society more resilient in the face of pandemic and other threats.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, technologies are playing a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns and quarantines. And these technologies may have a long-lasting impact beyond COVID-19.

Here are 10 technology trends that can help build a resilient society, as well as considerations about their effects on how we do business, how we trade, how we work, how we produce goods, how we learn, how we seek medical services and how we entertain ourselves.

1. Online Shopping and Robot Deliveries

The Horizon Bias in Human Innovation


WELLINGTON – We are beguiled by technology and what it can do for us, be it colonizing Mars, ending human aging, or connecting the entire world within a single network. But, especially in an age that offers seemingly limitless technological promise, we should step back, suspend our credulity, and consider why we are so inclined to believe that what could happen will inevitably happen soon.

Consider the case of cancer, that most vexing of diseases. Modern bio-, nano-, and other technologies promise us a “cure,” such that one can now easily imagine a “world without cancer.” And yet there is little reason to expect a decisive victory over cancer anytime soon.

To be sure, we already have therapies that can kill most cancer cells. The problem is that killing 99% of cancer cells is not the same thing as killing 99% of enemy soldiers in a war. The cells that resist the near-cure multiply, enabling the tumor to make up lost ground. And while we can address this problem with better targeting, there is a persistent gap between the near-cure and the cure. As Siddhartha Mukherjee shows in his best-selling “biography of cancer,” The Emperor of all Maladies, that is why the fight against cancer has been a long story of dashed hopes and overwrought expectations.

Army Rebuilds Artillery Arm For Large-Scale War


WASHINGTON: Call it the once and future king of battle. The Army’s artillery branch, neglected over 20 years of hunting guerrillas, is being revived as the long-range striking arm for multi-domain warfare against Russia and China. That will affect everything from what missiles the service buys, to which officers get promoted, to how the service organizes itself for battle – a force structure outlined in a new Army Futures Command study called AimPoint.

The biggest change? Having already created two experimental Multi-Domain Task Forces built around artillery brigades, the Army now plans to build new high-level headquarters called Theater Fires Commands to coordinate long-range missile warfare on a continent-wide scale.

“That is a direct output of AimPoint,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, whose Futures & Concepts Center developed the force structure plan. While the Theater Fires Commands do not exist yet, he said, the service has already begun setting aside manpower in its Total Army Analysis process to staff them.