19 July 2020

Cyber Wargame - An Indian Scenario

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd), Consultant, VIF

Immediately after the first gulf war in the early 1990’s the theories of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Information Warfare were being studied all over the world as a new kind of warfare. During that time, a course on Information Warfare was conducted at the National Defense University of USA. The course participants were from senior officers of the armed forces, representatives of Department of Defence and Department of State and policy makers from the government. Rand Corporation of US was conducting this course. Continue reading.......

China’s Engagement With Nepal’s Ruling Party Troubles India

By Arun Budhathoki

KATHMANDU – Recently, Nepal’s ruling party, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), was on the verge of splitting due to an internal rift. But the active participation of the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yangqi, likely averted the party’s split, preventing the dissolution of parliament and announcement of a general election.

On April 30, before a crucial NCP Secretariat meeting on May 1, Hou met with Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, and NCP co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), ostensibly to discuss China’s role in Nepal’s response to coronavirus pandemic. The development, however, was significant since Prachanda and senior party leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had sought Oli’s resignation at an April 28 secretariat meeting. The tussle for power within the party continues and Oli has even gone to the extent of blaming India for trying to oust him.

The schisms between Oli’s faction and Prachanda’s over several governing issues had pushed the country to the brink of political instability yet again. Prior to a 2018 merger that created the NCP, Oli and Prachanda had each headed up separate political parties, and had previously tussled over leadership and representation in the new NCP.

Minorities Under Attack as Prime Minister Imran Khan Pushes ‘Tolerant’ Pakistan

By Kathy Gannon

It’s been a tough month for religious minorities in Pakistan, and observers warn of even tougher times ahead as Prime Minister Imran Khan vacillates between trying to forge a pluralistic nation and his conservative Islamic beliefs. 

A Christian was gunned down because he rented in a Muslim neighborhood in northwest Peshawar, not far from the border with Afghanistan. 

Another Christian, pastor Haroon Sadiq Cheeda, his wife, and 12-year-old son were beaten by their Muslim neighbors in eastern Punjab and told to leave their village. The attackers screamed, “You are infidels.”

An opposition politician was charged this week with blasphemy after declaring all religions were equal. A senior political figure, allied with the government and backed by Islamic extremists, stopped construction of a Hindu temple in the capital Islamabad. 

Analysts and activists blame an increase in attacks on an indecisive Khan. They say he preaches a vision of a tolerant Pakistan where its religious minorities thrive as equals among an overwhelming Muslim majority. They say that at the same time he cedes power to extreme Islamic clerics, bowing to their demands and turning to them for the final say, even on matters of state.

Pentagon: US has withdrawn from 5 bases in Afghanistan after Taliban agreement


The Defense Department announced Tuesday that U.S. troops have withdrawn from five military bases and reduced the size of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement reached with the Taliban in February.

Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that "U.S. forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by U.S. forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners."

"We maintain the capabilities and authorities necessary to protect ourselves, our Allies and partners, and US national interests," Hoffman said. "We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise, Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as they work to secure peace in the country."

The U.S. and the Taliban earlier this year signed a historic deal with the goal of winding down what has become America's longest war. The U.S. agreed to a reduction in troops in exchange for a commitment from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not be used by terrorists to attack the U.S. 

Will America’s Alliances Survive the Trump Era?

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On Sept. 19, 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address appeared in the American Daily Advertiser, the first successful daily newspaper in the United States. Much of the text concerned the new country’s domestic affairs, with the outgoing president warning Americans against the dangers of political parties and sectionalism. But he did not refrain from airing his views on foreign policy, stating in no uncertain terms that the country should “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

“The nation which indulges toward another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave,” Washington wrote. “It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.” In his inaugural address, President Thomas Jefferson sounded a similar note, pledging “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

It should come as little surprise, then, that for its first 165 years, the United States had only one alliance: its 1778 pact with France, under which France provided badly needed military supplies to the new nation as it fought for its independence. It was not until after World War II that the United States came to see alliances as critical to its national security: Between 1948 and 1955, Washington formed security guarantees with nearly two dozen countries in Europe and Asia. Today, the United States has defense pacts with more than 60 countries, accounting for one-quarter of the world’s population and nearly three-quarters of global GDP.

Myanmar: Shattered Hopes for Peace

By Robert Bociaga

In Myanmar, the hopes of ethnic groups for a better future remain overshadowed by conflicts that have smoldered for decades. In the upcoming parliamentary elections, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, may pay the price for the failures to deliver on their democratic promises.

Ten years ago, Maung’s family faced a difficult choice. On one chilly morning, the rebels of the Shan ethnic group demanded that one of their sons join the ranks of the insurgent group.

“My family relieved me by paying money,” recalls Maung, who back then dwelt in the hills of the remote Mong Hsu in Shan state. The town is famous for its ruby crystals, with a distinctive deep violet core and a red rim.

For decades, the Shan State Army (SSA) has been fighting for independence from Myanmar, and exerting control over the mining areas is only one of the facets of the conflict. In the past 10 years, a ceasefire was achieved with many of the ethnic armed groups across the country. Notwithstanding this, the largest rebel groups do not trust the Myanmar government, blaming it for stopping humanitarian aid convoys and a lack of protection of the rights of civilians.

5G Technology: An Interview with Two Top Cyber Warriors

This week, Proceedings interviewed General Keith Alexander, former Director of the National Security Agency and Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and Vice Admiral Jan Tighe, former Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, about the challenges and opportunities coming with the transition to 5G cellular communications. Hear more from them during their public talk on 21 July in the ongoing Naval Postgraduate School’s “Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture Series."

By General Keith Alexander, U.S. Army (Retired) and Vice Admiral Jan Tighe, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Proceedings: What are the key technology competitions the nation is facing today and why are they important?

General Alexander: There are several key economic competitions that are simultaneously occurring now: 5G, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), nuclear-power generation, quantum computing, and biotechnology. We have fallen behind in most of these critical areas. Each is critical for our future economic success and raises core national security issues. Each of these areas will be critical to our future economic well being; and perhaps most important, all will have significant impacts on our national security and our military. As such, we should consider each of these as arenas of “Grand Economic Competition” and approach them with the combined power of our government, industry, and academic institutions.

China’s Deepening Geopolitical Hole

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The UK's decision to ban Huawei from its 5G networks is only the latest diplomatic setback for China. So, as China’s leaders ponder how to respond, they should heed the first rule of holes: when you are in one, stop digging.

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – The United Kingdom’s decision to ban Huawei from its 5G networks has dealt a painful blow to China. Until recently, China was still counting on the UK to stick to its earlier decision to allow the Chinese telecom giant to supply non-core equipment for the country’s 5G networks.

But two recent developments made such a decision untenable. The first was the United States’ escalation of its war on Huawei. The US instituted a new sanction in May banning suppliers that use American technology from providing semiconductors to Huawei. Because US technology is used to manufacture the advanced semiconductors that Huawei’s products, including 5G base stations, require, the company’s supply will be cut off, making production of its 5G equipment in the future nearly impossible.

The prospect that a key supplier of the UK’s 5G networks would no longer be able to build and maintain its system is a far more serious threat than potential Chinese snooping is. No responsible government can afford to take such a risk. So, Huawei’s days were numbered as soon as the US government pulled the trigger in May. The only question was when Prime Minister Boris Johnson would tell President Xi Jinping the bad news.

Have Russia And China Already 'Militarized' Space?

By Peter Pry

Space “Militarization” Hypocrisy

President Trump’s U.S. Space Force is constantly under attack, from critics both foreign and domestic, as a giant step toward supposedly violating long-standing international norms and treaties against “militarizing space.” Russia, China, and perpetual domestic critics of U.S. defense programs like the Arms Control Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Federation of American Scientists are particularly opposed to U.S. space-based missile defenses.[i]

According to Beijing, Moscow, and their like-minded U.S. allies, it is OK to use space satellites for sensors, communications, and global positioning to support terrestrial military operations on land, sea, and air. It is also OK to launch nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and hypersonic warheads through space without being guilty of its “militarization.”

But to base defensive weapons in space capable of intercepting nuclear warheads would violate international norms, destabilize the principle of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), and ignite another costly and dangerous arms race for control of the “high frontier.” Or so it is argued not only by Russia, China, and the American Left but by enough officials in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense to thwart the near-term deployment of space-based missile defenses.

Disappointed Hopes for U.S. Space Force

China warns UK: 'Dumping' Huawei will cost you

Guy Faulconbridge, Martin Quin Pollard

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) - China warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday that his decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network would cost Britain dearly in investment, casting the move as the result of politicised pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hours after Johnson ordered Huawei equipment to be purged from the nascent 5G network by the end of 2027, Trump claimed credit for the decision and said that if countries wanted to do business with the United States they should block Huawei.

But China, whose $15 trillion economy is five times the size of Britain’s, warned the decision would hurt investment as Chinese companies had watched as London “dumped” the national telecoms champion.

“Now I would even say this is not only disappointing - this is disheartening,” Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told the Centre for European Reform, adding that Britain had “simply dumped this company”.

“The way you are treating Huawei is being followed very closely by other Chinese businesses, and it will be very difficult for other businesses to have the confidence to have more investment,” he said.

The Chinese Decade

By Ross Douthat

It is quite extraordinary that a pandemic originating in a Chinese province, a disease whose initial cover-up briefly seemed likely to deal a grave blow to the Communist regime, has instead given China a geopolitical opportunity unlike any enjoyed by an American rival since at least the Vietnam War.

This opportunity has been a long time building. Across the 2000s and early 2010s, China’s ruling party reaped the benefits of globalization without paying the cost, in political liberalization, that confident Westerners expected the economic opening to impose. This richer-but-not-freer China proved that it was possible for an authoritarian power to tame the internet, to make its citizens hardworking capitalists without granting them substantial political freedoms, to buy allies across the developing world, and to establish beachheads of influence — in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, American academia, the NBA, Washington, D.C. — in the power centers of its superpower rival.


The Chinese Navy’s Destroyer Fleet Will Double by 2025. Then What?

By Rick Joe

It seems that every year, English-language focus on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) increases in depth and scope. This has been reflected in some increasingly detailed and far-ranging predictions for the PLAN’s growth, most often in terms of the number of ships it may field in whatever particular year in the near future. This author is not immune, and has written similar pieces in the past.

As of mid-2020, a number of PLAN surface combatant programs are either drawing to a close or about to shift gear. As various other major navies around the world begin to implement their own surface combatant programs and evaluations of their own future force structure, it is useful to reflect on where the PLAN’s own force balance will be in immediate future once the current phase of construction enters service – and what comes after.

From 20 modern destroyers to 39 (or 40)

As of mid-2020, the PLAN currently fields 20 modern aegis-type* destroyers in its order of battle, supported by another 11 older, non-aegis-type destroyers. These 20 modern aegis-type destroyers are made up of six Type 052Cs, 13 Type 052Ds, and one lead Type 055.

US Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation Near China-Held Features in Spratlys

By Ankit Panda

On Tuesday, a U.S. Navy warship conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) near Chinese-held features in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The operation was the first publicly reported FONOP since May 28.

USS Ralph Johnson, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef — the sites of two Chinese artificial islands — in the South China Sea. The operation coincided with the release of an updated position by the U.S. government on the South China Sea.

“#USSRalphJohnson steams near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday in the midst of a deployment to the region conducting #USNavy maritime security operations for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet noted on its Twitter account.

The operation coincided with the announcement of a new position by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific David Stillwell at a virtual event hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Why Is China Going to Mars?

By Namrata Goswami

2020 is an optimal year for Mars missions, given the close distance between Earth and Mars. This opportunity occurs every 26 months, enabling us to send probes to the Red Planet with less time and less fuel. Consequently, there are three Mars missions planned for mid-July through August: the U.S. Perseverance Mars rover mission, the UAE’s Al-Amal (Hope Mars orbiter probe), and China’s Tianwen1 (Heavenly Questions) orbiter, lander, and rover Mars mission.

China’s Path to Mars

China’s first Mars orbiter mission, Yinghou-1, launched on the Russian rocket Phobos-Grunt Spacecraft in 2011, failed to leave Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and fell back onto the Pacific Ocean. Thereafter, China officially launched its independent Mars mission in 2016, named Tianwen-1 after one of China’s ancient poems. China National Space Administration (CNSA) Director Zhang Kejian indicated that Chinese space scientists have overcome difficult technical problems, steadfastly solving them by independent innovation and self-reliance for its upcoming Mars mission.

The US Announces a New Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea: First Takeaways

By Ankit Panda

On Monday, July 13, the U.S. Department of State unveiled an important set of clarifications concerning U.S. policy in the South China Sea. Specifically, the new policy positions explain in greater detail the U.S. government’s legal interpretations of certain excessive maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, with a focus on pushing back on Chinese claims.

The announcement came one day after the four year anniversary of the July 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling in the Philippines’ 2013 case against China over maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. In that ruling, a Hague-based international tribunal granted an award overwhelmingly in the Philippines’ favor, rejecting China’s maritime entitlement claims around specific features in the Spratly Islands.

“We are strengthening U.S. policy on South China Sea maritime claims, according to international law, in rejection of Beijing’s intimidation, bullying, and claims of maritime empire,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

COVID-19 Has Exposed a Chink in China’s Cyber-Suppression Armour


The novel coronavirus pandemic, which has spread beyond the borders of mainland China has brought the world to a screeching standstill, with the global infection count swelling to upwards of 9.5 million people having already left 4,85,740 dead.

During the initial reports on the virus, which emerged in China last year, the nation’s government attempted to place a blanket cover on the flow of such information that has led to delaying the international response to the virus as the Chinese health officials declared the outbreak as “preventable and under control.”

Only in January, when news of the epidemic could no longer be kept under wraps, Beijing admitted the existence of the coronavirus, which it had earlier described as being an “unusual pneumonia.”

Yet the censoring of information as well as the suppression of voices critical of the government’s policies continues to this day.

The most indicting of events occurred in January when whistleblower, Dr Li Wenliang was interrogated by the authorities for posting about the COVID-19 pandemic in a private WeChat group.

His subsequent death due to the virus has reignited outrage over the Communist Party's lack of transparency and accountability.

China’s Propaganda Network

Did Iran Suffer a Nuclear Setback?

By Ray Takeyh, CFR Expert
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An explosion has caused heavy damage to an Iranian nuclear facility just as the country approaches a bold new energy partnership with China, but Iran shows no signs of slowing down its nuclear program.

What happened at the Natanz nuclear plant earlier this month?

A satellite image shows a close-up view of a building damaged by fire at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. Maxar Technologies/Reuters

It appears that a huge explosion occurred at the plant, specifically at a warehouse used to construct advanced centrifuges. Iran had hoped to roll out a large number of such machines to boost its uranium enrichment capacity. The U.S. press has speculated that Israel was responsible. In the past few months, there have been various accidents at Iran’s military facilities, including at a missile production factory.

Economic might, national security, and the future of American statecraft

I. Introduction

Given the many significant challenges America faces today — including high levels of debt, political discord, the rise of China, and the emergence of Asian economies as the drivers of global growth — what is the country’s plan for preserving its great power primacy? In this article, the authors examine the power that resides at the intersection of economics and national security, and propose how better to sustain the country’s economic might and leverage it in the service of American primacy.

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic devastation have fueled already growing concerns about the state of the U.S.-led world order. For the past decade, public figures have raised concerns about the rise of China, the erosion of the American dream, the perceived failures of American leadership, and America’s relative loss of power. Now, suffering through a tragic international crisis, it is only natural that people might wonder what the future holds. Whether one agrees with these concerns or not, it is undeniable that many Americans are uneasy about their country’s future.

Erdogan is erasing Ataturk’s stamp on Turkey

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NEW YORK – Under normal circumstances, the most important news out of Turkey last weekend would have been a new law that, critics say, represents a blow to the country’s already weakened judicial system. But you might have missed it for the furor over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to convert the famed Hagia Sophia museum, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, into a mosque.

Opposition figures such as Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu say Erdogan is using the Hagia Sophia controversy to distract from missteps by his government, from the management of the economy to the handling of the coronavirus crisis. But the conversion is consistent with the president’s lifelong political goal: the reassertion of Turkey’s Muslim identity, and its corollary, the rejection of the secular nationalism of the country’s modern founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Throughout his career, Erdogan has systematically chipped away at the secular foundations Ataturk laid in the 1920s and 1930s, by encouraging overt expressions of religiosity in government as well as society. That he has done so while claiming to uphold Ataturk’s founding father legacy testifies to the latter’s outsized political footprint.

The Politics of a COVID-19 Vaccine


NEW YORK – The global toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous: more than a half-million lives lost, hundreds of millions out of work, and trillions of dollars of wealth destroyed. And the disease has by no means run its course; hundreds of thousands more could well die from it.

Not surprisingly, there is tremendous interest in the development of a vaccine, with more than a hundred efforts under way around the world. Several look promising, and one or more may bear fruit – possibly faster than the several years or longer it normally takes to bring a vaccine on line.

But even if one or more vaccines emerge that promise to make people less susceptible to COVID-19, the public-health problem will not be eliminated. As any medical expert will attest, vaccines are not panaceas. They are but one tool in the medical arsenal.

No vaccine can be expected to produce complete or lasting immunity in all who take it. Millions will refuse to get vaccinated. And there is the brute fact that there are nearly eight billion men, women, and children on the planet. Manufacturing eight billion doses (or multiples of that if more than one dose is needed) of one or more vaccines and distributing them around the globe could require years, not months.

CDC: 40 Percent of People Infected with COVID-19 are Asymptomatic

by Rachel Bucchino 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance that estimates 40 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic - a five percent increase from data posted late last month.

The CDC also included that the reproductivity of the virus “is likely to infect” 2.5 people, and asymptomatic patients are 75 percent likely to transmit the virus, according to the guidance posted on July 10.

The CDC added an “Infection Fatality Ratio,” which considers both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and provides a more accurate depiction of the coronavirus’ “disease severity.”

The ratio said that 0.65 percent of people that have COVID-19 are predicted to die.

As of Monday, there are more than 3.3 million cases in the U.S. and around 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data. In recent weeks, Florida has grown to be a new hotspot for the virus with almost 300,000 confirmed cases. 

Want Better Strategists? Start With a Better Definition of Strategy

By Jeffrey Meiser  Patrick Quirk

A strategy is a theory of success. Other definitions of strategy abound but are unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. Several recent essays call attention to why we need a clear, consistent definition of strategy and why other definitions of strategy are inferior to the theory of success definition. Regardless of whether the authors are attacking, defending, or reinterpreting strategy, they share the common characteristics of misunderstanding the nature of strategy and lacking an analytically useful definition of strategy.

These pieces and the associated debate come at a juncture when strategy is increasingly important for the United States and its position in the world. China uses military expansion, economic coercion, political subversion to exert its influence, and challenges the U.S. position in the world. Recognizing this threat, the U.S. is posturing itself for the new era of great power competition. Militarily, it shifts resources to theatres like the Indo-Pacific to contest Chinese aggression and counter China’s predatory economic practices through tariffs and other means. The U.S. has repurposed foreign aid and launched the International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) to push back on the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Even as the United States deploys “strategies” to guide aspects of its economic, military, and diplomatic domains, it lacks a common understanding for—and definition of—strategy. This plays into the hands of our adversaries, China, Russia, and Iran chief among them. Therefore, a more productive way to advance the debate around strategy would be to push the U.S. to develop a realistic, actionable definition of and approach to developing strategy. Here, we critique the above referenced recent pieces, pull out the most useful aspects, and offer a way ahead.

Advancing US-Vietnam Relations: Past, Present, and Future

By Prashanth Parameswaran

On July 11, the United States and Vietnam commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which occurred under former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1995 after grappling with the legacies of the Vietnam War. The commemoration is an occasion not just to reflect on the remarkable trajectory of ties to date, but also to appreciate the work that continues to be done to develop relations and to assess the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for both partners.

By any stretch of the imagination, the development of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship in the past quarter century is a remarkable story, and the anniversary is a reminder that this is worth celebrating. In just over two decades, the two countries have broadened and deepened ties across a series of realms and thereby evolved from former Cold War adversaries to increasingly strategic partners in the Asia-Pacific. While the historic trajectory of the relationship has been in no small part due to Vietnam’s own transformation into a dynamic economy and strategic leader in Southeast Asia, it was also because of personalities and peoples on both sides, whether it be towering figures such as John McCain, who helped manage ties through domestic political difficulties, or the shifting attitudes of Vietnamese people over time, with the country registering as one of the most pro-American in the Asia-Pacific in key polls even as Vietnam’s official foreign policy continues to prioritize diversification of ties with multiple powers.

A New Approach Is Needed to Secure the Internet of Things

By Dan Gouré

Most of us have enough trouble just trying to keep the security programs on our computers and cell phones up-to-date. But we are going to have to adjust to a future in which virtually everything in our lives will be rendered “smart” and connected in what is characterized as the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The construction of networks built on 5G technology will accelerate this process. With this explosion in connectedness, cybersecurity is being completely reconceptualized. Recently, a set of vulnerabilities was found in a software program used to connect hundreds of millions of IoT devices. While this vulnerability is being addressed, more are sure to be discovered. To guard against bad actors exploiting vulnerabilities in the IoT, it will be critical to ensure the ability to automatically surveil all the devices on networks, identify those that are unauthorized or vulnerable to attack, and isolate them before they can be compromised or do harm.

While virtually everyone is familiar with the Internet and its common use to connect devices such as computers and mobile phones, the IoT concept is relatively new. As sensors and computing devices became smaller and more capable, it became possible to embed them in just about anything connected via a network. These miniature devices made simple electronics smarter and allowed ever more complex systems to be managed remotely. Today it is possible to control and supervise every device in your home from heating and cooling to the refrigerator sprinkler system to baby monitors.

One subset of the IoT is called Operational Technologies (OT), referring to those devices used to remotely manage physical systems and processes. Much of the world's industrial processes, medical facilities, and physical infrastructure will be monitored and controlled through these OT devices. Even the U.S. military will be part of the IoT with platforms, headquarters, and even individual weapons and warriors all linked together. As an article in Wired Magazine, succinctly explained the IoT: "Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices – from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables – connected together."


Robert Cassidy 
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“There is no betrayal more intimate than being sent to kill or die for nothing, by your own countrymen.”

“Numbers, names, and percentages don’t go in the graveyard. People do.”

— Erik Edstrom

It is impossible to look back at the past nineteen years and ignore the glaring mismatch between policy, strategy, and the violence of war that has characterized America’s post-9/11 war making. A new memoir by Army veteran Erik Edstrom, Un-American, offers a biting indictment of that mismatch. The book is personal, raw, very critical, soul-bearing, obscene, profound, and seething with underlying ire in places. Edstrom, a West Pont graduate and former infantry officer, propounds a cogent and candid counterargument to the wars America has waged and continues to wage in response to those terrible attacks of 9/11 almost two decades ago. His book is an unsparing condemnation of US senior civilian and military leadership for failing to think through and devise a viable strategy that aligned America’s instruments of war with ends that America and its allies could achieve, within a reasonable magnitude in cost and duration. The overarching purpose of war is to improve a country’s security and bring a better and durable peace. Yet, there are markedly more Islamist terrorists and more violent Islamist groups fomenting violence around the globe today who remain intensely inimical to the United States than there were in 2001.

NATO Is Dying


MADRID – NATO may be “the most successful alliance in history” – as its secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, claims – but it may also be on the brink of failure. After a turbulent few years, during which US President Donald Trump has increasingly turned America’s back on NATO, tensions between France and Turkey have escalated sharply, laying bare just how fragile the Alliance has become.

The Franco-Turkish spat began in mid-June, when a French navy frigate under NATO command in the Mediterranean attempted to inspect a cargo vessel suspected of violating a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. France alleges that three Turkish ships accompanying the cargo vessel were “extremely aggressive” toward its frigate, flashing their radar lights three times – a signal indicating imminent engagement. Turkey denied France’s account, claiming that the French frigate was harassing its ships.

Whatever the details, the fact is that two NATO allies came very close to exchanging fire in the context of a NATO mission. That is a new low for the Alliance – one that may herald its demise.

Lord Hastings Ismay, NATO’s first secretary-general, famously quipped that the Alliance’s mission was to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” The dynamic obviously changed over the subsequent decades, especially the relationship with Germany. But the broad basis of cooperation – a common perceived threat, strong American leadership, and a shared sense of purpose – remained the same.