23 August 2020

'It's very difficult to negotiate with the Chinese'


'Our biggest advantage is that the troops are much better trained and motivated than the Chinese and can improvise and manage with a part of the resources.'

"During meetings, they come with a prepared script and refuse to accept any change," says Major General M Vinaya Chandran (retd) who has negotiated the border issue with his Chinese counterparts as a commander at the Line of Actual Control.

General Chandran served the Indian Army for 36 years and retired as the senior instructor at the prestigious National Defence College in New Delhi which provides future decision-makers the necessary skills and background for filling senior positions in national security and associated fields.

The scholar-soldier is pursuing a PhD after his retirement from the army last year. In an interview with Rediff.com's Archana Masih, General Chandran says in the current situation, both India and China will continue to hold whatever positions they are holding and over a period of time it will become the new normal.

India’s electronic warfare units are archaic, but camouflage, concealment can blunt PLA


If the People’s Liberation Army of China leads a technology-driven attack on the Indian forces in high altitude terrain, what are India’s options? The PLA will rely more on Cyber and Electronic Warfare, and PGMs, rather than on an infantry-predominant close-combat attack from a position of disadvantage.

In the near future, cyber, electronic, space and artificial intelligence domains of warfare will be exploited, in addition to the traditional domains of land, air and sea. With full-scale wars between nuclear weapon States being a passé, these new domains will be the primary means of use of force in the competitive conflict among nations.

An article by a US think tank visualises the future of war well. Published in February this year, the authors create a ‘modern’ battlefield of 2035, involving India on one side and China-Pakistan on the other in Jammu and Kashmir. But kinetic and electronic attacks by drone swarms are no longer a fantasy. Nearer home, there was a report in Pakistan media last week about cyberattacks targeting Army personnel and government officials. It has been speculated that the May 2017 Sukhoi 30 crash in Arunachal Pradesh was caused by a cyberattack from China.

India needs to catch-up

At a Crossroads? China-India Nuclear Relations After the Border Clash


On June 15, 2020, a lethal military conflict over disputed territory in the Himalayas shook the edifice of China-India relations. The clash in the Galwan Valley along their shared border is the gravest military confrontation the two nuclear powers have faced in fifty years. This event and ongoing tensions focus attention on the long-standing but tempered competition between China and India. One of the most interesting puzzles of that relationship is why nuclear weapons, which both possess, have not played a more important role. With the potential for a major reset in China-India ties after the Ladakh crisis, are Beijing and New Delhi finally approaching a long-anticipated crossroads in their nuclear relations?1

Although India’s perspectives on such issues are relatively well documented, China’s views continue to be largely unknown, as there is very little public discussion of the bilateral nuclear relationship. To fill this information gap and help illustrate Chinese thinking about the present and future status of China-India nuclear relations, we reviewed publicly available relevant Chinese literature and conducted interviews with senior Chinese experts.

The findings reveal that while Indian security analysts give serious attention to China’s nuclear policy and capabilities, Chinese analysts maintain a dismissive attitude about the relevance of nuclear weapons in China-India relations. The attitude stems from a widely held view that India’s indigenous military technologies are significantly behind China’s and that China will continue widening the gulf between the two countries’ conventional and nuclear capabilities. However, Chinese analysts do not appear to fully appreciate the long-term destabilizing implications of this growing gap. India may feel pressure to build out its nuclear arsenal, and this could further threaten the fragile stability between India and Pakistan. Chinese experts tend to underestimate the role Beijing may have in shaping New Delhi’s threat perception and nuclear strategy.


Fizza Batool

The signing of the Doha Agreement between the Afghan Taliban and the United States in February 2020 represented a success for Pakistan, which had advocated and worked towards providing diplomatic resolution to the Afghan War for many years. The Doha Agreement gives Pakistan a double cause for celebration. First, as reflected in the presence of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister at the signing ceremony, Pakistan has managed to regain its forlorn status as the regional U.S. ally and has since openly asserted that it has a significant role to play in bringing peace to Afghanistan. Second, the deal has opened the door for a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan in which the Taliban are likely to play a significant role. The Taliban are the principal pro-Pakistan actor in Afghanistan, and Islamabad sees them as integral for securing Pakistan’s political and security interests in the region.

As the political leadership in Afghanistan prepares for the intra-Afghan peace talks, Pakistan is keen to remain influential in a post-U.S.-withdrawal Afghanistan and is relying heavily on the Taliban to sustain its presence. However, Pakistan-Taliban ties have their limitations, and it remains unclear how much leverage Pakistan holds over the future direction of the relationship. If history repeats itself and the Taliban establishes an authoritarian Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s national identity and security are both at risk. The former threat stems from the Taliban’s more radicalized Islamic identity—an offset to the relatively moderate and inclusive Islamic identity Pakistan projects—and the latter from a possible backlash from hostile Taliban factions.

Can Lebanon’s Fires Be Put Out?


Beirut’s identity is intertwined with its port. It was the city’s gateway to the world and the entry point to the wider Levant region. Beirut grew around its port in the early 1800s, when the city was transformed into a major trading center with Egypt. In 1888, under the Ottoman Empire, the port was expanded, and the city became the capital of its own Ottoman wilaya, or self-governing unit. The city’s crusader castle was demolished to make way for land reclamation and the elevated importance of Beirut. From its port, Beirut acquired its cosmopolitan identity as traders from far-flung corners of the world exchanged, engaged, and blended with the city’s inhabitants.

I spent a month in Beirut’s port archives in the summer of 1999. I was tracing the expansion and growth of the city and its transformation into a capital city. Those archives—which captured Beirut’s relations across the Mediterranean and beyond, the history of its trading families and property rights, and its cosmopolitan and cultural growth—are no more.

Yahya is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, where her research focuses on citizenship, pluralism, and social justice in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.

The twin explosion in the port on Monday devastated Beirut, affecting 50 percent of the city. More than 5,000 Lebanese were injured, 137 and counting lost their lives, and scores more are still missing. This comes as Lebanon faces the most existential crisis in its contemporary history as four out of the country’s five key pillars collapse. The political system is in doubt, the economic model is failing, and the massive wealth destruction that is happening as a result of the current government’s incompetence and the unwillingness of Lebanon’s politicians to place the interests of the country above their own has wiped out Lebanon’s middle class and the backbone of its innovative prosperity. And the culture of openness that once characterized the city is being forcibly restricted.

Who Will Benefit from a Successful Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine?

by Jennifer Bouey

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of people and brought the global economy to the brink of a deep depression in merely a few months. This crisis has also spurred an unprecedented race to develop a vaccine. Currently, 30 vaccines are already in human clinical trials, eight of which were sponsored by Chinese labs. Multiple countries have also agreed to partner with Chinese labs for the last stage of human trials given that China doesn't have large scale COVID-19 infections. There seems to be little doubt, then, that China could be among the countries that first produces a successful vaccine for COVID-19. There are several issues before large-scale benefits will accrue globally. Can China produce sufficient doses for its domestic use and for other countries? Which countries are likely to benefit?

China is already one of the world's largest producers of vaccines. It produces 700 million doses annually—about 20 percent of the global vaccine production. The majority of the production, however, targets the domestic market. Chinese vaccines are still very new on the world market. China's National Regulatory Authority (NRA), the quality control regulatory system for its vaccine development and manufacture, passed assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) less than 10 years ago. This assessment was the first step for China to receive the WHO vaccine pre-qualification (PQ).

There are three additional requirements (PDF) for the WHO PQ process: 1) the manufacturers must meet and comply with the standard Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements; 2) the manufacturers must provide publications of the clinical trials that provide evidence of vaccine efficacy in the target population; and 3) the manufacturers must provide vaccine samples to be tested at designated WHO labs (usually outside China) for independent testing.

An introduction to Asia-Pacific Regional Security

The Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2020 investigates US–China great-power competition, US alliances and partnerships, the implications for Asia of the end of the INF Treaty, the breakdown in Japan–South Korea relations, the diplomatic deadlock on the Korean Peninsula and the role of regional and extra-regional middle powers like Australia, Indonesia and European actors.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) had planned to convene its 19th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), the Asia-Pacific’s leading annual intergovernmental defence and security summit, in Singapore from 5 to 7 June 2020. The event has been held every year since its launch in 2002, so it was a matter of real regret when – in light of the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic – it was decided in late March 2020 not to convene the Dialogue. However, later in 2020 we will begin work to ensure an exceptionally strong IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in mid-2021, and a successful 9th IISS Fullerton Forum: Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting for senior officials and officers earlier that year. 

As well as planning for the next major events in the SLD process, the IISS is pleased to be able to continue its momentum with this seventh edition of the Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment, part of the IISS Strategic Dossiers series. Each chapter in this book bolsters focused, empirically based analysis with maps, graphs, charts and tables. Like its predecessors, the 2020 dossier investigates a wide range of important regional-security questions, complementing the analysis of Asian strategic, military and security issues in the Institute’s annual Strategic Survey: The Annual Assessment of Geopolitics, The Military Balance and Armed Conflict Survey. For the first time, chapters in this Regional Security Assessment carry author bylines.

It’s Time for Western Universities to Cut Their Ties to China


It’s time for Western universities to close their Confucius Institutes and end their academic cooperation with China. In the three decades following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, one of the ways China sought to rebuild its image abroad was by systematically forging partnerships with Western universities. At first, these partnerships mainly focused on research collaboration. Later, they grew to include the Confucius Institutes for language education, generous funding for various joint projects, and the establishment of Western universities’ branch campuses in China.

At a time when China was undemocratic but liberalizing, such engagement seemed like a sensible strategy. There have always been uneasy moments in Western universities’ relationships with China, whether prompted by tensions over hosting the Dalai Lama or controversies over university self-censorship on China-related topics. But these might have been dismissed as growing pains on China’s learning curve toward a more enlightened regime. It seemed that everyone—even Beijing—shared the same ultimate goal of a more liberal, more democratic China.

Now that China has tilted toward full-blown totalitarianism, the “values transfer” rationale for engagement with China has evaporated.

Two Thailands: Clashing Political Orders and Entrenched Polarization


The crux of polarization in Thailand is a sharp division between two worldviews that seek incompatible political orders. The royal nationalist worldview regards the Thai king as the country’s legitimate ruler; the competing democratic outlook contends that sovereignty resides with the Thai people. This clash can be traced back to Thailand’s unfinished regime transition of 1932, but tensions have intensified dramatically over the past fifteen years, as the warring camps have weaponized tit-for-tat protests and politicized supposedly independent institutions. Relentless political conflict has split Thai society down the middle, undermining social cohesion and fueling tensions even in moments of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

Ultimately, the country’s political conflict has morphed into an identity struggle, in which identification with one bloc is based on opposing the values and interests of the other side. The royal nationalists, in particular, view the democrats as an existential threat, and their fears have led them to scrap electoral democracy altogether. Their ongoing repression of prodemocratic networks has not only reinforced Thailand’s toxic polarization but also plunged the country deeper into authoritarianism.

The crux of polarization in Thailand is a sharp division between two worldviews that seek incompatible political orders.


Opinion: Israel And UAE's Accord Is A Big Win, But Don't Overplay It

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The flags of the United Arab Emirates and Israel are raised on the Peace Bridge in Netanya, Israel. The UAE flag was displayed to celebrate last week's announcement that the two countries have agreed to establish diplomatic relations.Ariel Schalit/AP

Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2), a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, served for more than two decades as a State Department Middle East analyst, adviser and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations. He's the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President.

Watching the hoopla over Israel and the United Arab Emirates' accord to normalize relations, I couldn't help recall sitting on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 13, 1993, as President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat concluded the historic Oslo Declaration of Principles. Caught up in the moment, I was persuaded we'd reached a point of no return and that peace between Israel and the Palestinians was now irreversible.

It clearly wasn't.

The Israel-UAE Accord is a Mere Sideshow | Opinion


Peace is good. Friendly relations between belligerent states in a fragile region plagued by conflict? That's a hallelujah moment, or so it might seem at first glance. But despite the hype, the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced by President Trump on Thursday (dubbed the "Abraham Accord") to normalize relations between the two countries is not a miracle of biblical proportions. It's cold, hard political opportunism taken at the expense of Palestinians. It is political theater in which Palestinians and the remains of their homeland offer a convenient backdrop. The UAE may wish to portray itself as Palestine's Arab savior, pulling Israel back from the brink of illegally annexing more Palestinian land, but the reality is that Palestinians and their rights had nothing to do with it.

For years, the UAE has been enjoying the benefits associated with military, intelligence and technological cooperation with Israel, but behind the scenes. So why be that Gulf state to step into the fray of Arab public opinion as the first—though likely not the last—to tear up the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offered Israel peace and normal relations with Arab states and dozens of other Muslim countries, in exchange for an end to Israel's now 53-year-old military occupation of Palestinian land? Blame it on the U.S. presidential elections and Trump's pandering to right-wing Evangelicals and big pro-Israel donors. Blame it on a microcopic virus that is taking down the unmasked and untethered president of the United States. Blame it on the fact that Arab regimes of questionable repute and in need of refurbishing their tarnished image believe that the road to redemption in Washington runs through Israel.

Belarus’s Turn for Change

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The irrepressible Poles, after many years of opposing the ruling communist party and enduring martial law in 1981–1983 for standing up for freedom, made the transition to democracy with the sound of roundtable negotiations with the regime.

During bitterly cold November nights in 1989, tens of thousands of Czechoslovaks gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. There, they held up their keys and jangled them. What sounds! They told the beleaguered communist leadership to lock up, throw away their keys, and leave.

It was a different sound in Romania. The sound of sniper gunshots. President Nicolae Ceauşescu tried desperately to cling onto power by resorting to force. Snipers from the dreaded and ubiquitous Securitate secret police tried to create chaos and fear. In the end, Ceauşescu and his wife, Elena, were executed. It’s hard to forget those images—and sounds.

There were other sounds, too. The hammering away at the Berlin Wall that had divided Europe. The cutting of the barbed wire at the Austrian-Hungarian border, signaling the way to freedom.

How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm?

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In mid-August, a Turkish and a Greek warship collided in the Eastern Mediterranean, raising tensions in the most combustible naval stand-off the region has witnessed in 20 years. The crisis had started two days before, when Turkey deployed an energy exploration ship along with its naval escort to search for oil and natural gas in waters near the Greek island of Kastellorizo—waters Athens claims as its own maritime territory.

More than ever before, the latest cycle of escalation risks spiraling into a multinational conflict. Making a show of staunch support for Greece against Turkey, France dispatched warships to the contested waters and promised more. Egypt and Israel, which hold regular joint military exercises with Greece, have also expressed their solidarity with Athens. With France and Egypt already in open conflict with Turkey in Libya, observers around the world fear that any further escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean could set off a Euro-Middle Eastern maelstrom.

How did the Eastern Mediterranean become the eye of a geopolitical storm?

Get Ready For Deepfakes To Be Used In Financial Scams

Jon Bateman

Last month, scammers hijacked the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama and dozens of other public figures to trick victims into sending money. Thankfully, this brazen act of digital impersonation only fooled a few hundred people. But artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling new, more sophisticated forms of digital impersonation. The next big financial crime might involve deepfakes—video or audio clips that use AI to create false depictions of real people.

Deepfakes have inspired dread since the term was first coined three years ago. The most widely discussed scenario is a deepfake smear of a candidate on the eve of an election. But while this fear remains hypothetical, another threat is currently emerging with little public notice. Criminals have begun to use deepfakes for fraud, blackmail, and other illicit financial schemes.

This should come as no surprise. Deception has always existed in the financial world, and bad actors are adept at employing technology, from ransomware to robo-calls. So how big will this new threat become? Will deepfakes erode truth and trust across the financial system, requiring a major response by the financial industry and government? Or are they just an exotic distraction from more mundane criminal techniques, which are far more prevalent and costly?


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Despite the opacity and secrecy over China’s nuclear weapons, a public debate has broken out in China about the country’s nuclear arsenal. Hu Xijin, the chief editor of Global Times — reportedly China’s highest-circulation newspaper — made repeated calls for China to quickly and massively build up its nuclear forces. Supporters of nuclear expansion believe that a larger Chinese nuclear arsenal is the key to prevent a war with Washington and “nothing else could work.” The overt nature of the debate is unprecedented and shifts public opinion toward greater enthusiasm for a more robust nuclear posture.

Hawkish, nationalistic opinion leaders add fuel to an already intensifying military competition between the United States and China that now risks spilling over into the nuclear domain. With an active arsenal of about 3,800 warheads, America’s nuclear stockpile is still almost 12 times larger than China’s, according to open-source research. But Beijing’s nuclear modernization efforts have raised the stakes. While it once was the smallest nuclear power among the five nuclear-weapon states under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (i.e., China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), it is now the third largest — behind only the United States and Russia. Worried that its arsenal will at least double before 2029, Washington has threatened to spend Beijing “into oblivion” unless it joins arms control talks. Senior U.S. officials even considered resuming nuclear testing to force China to the negotiation table.

Raising the Flag

by Kimberly Jackson

Research Questions

What professional experiences and other characteristics do the services' G/FOs tend to share as a result of each service's approaches to personnel management and other related factors, such as service culture?

How might these characteristics and experiences influence G/FO approaches to institutional leadership and management, and the type of strategic-level advice they might provide to civilian decisionmakers?

The 2018 National Defense Strategy directed the U.S. Department of Defense to rethink how it prepares and leverages its personnel to confront emerging global security challenges, particularly with regard to education and strategic decisionmaking. To help understand whether military leadership might need to change to better serve national security objectives, the authors of this report analyzed how the military services' approaches to personnel management might influence the ways in which general and flag officers (G/FOs) in each service lead, manage, and advise.

Trump and the Rise of Sadistic Diplomacy

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If there was one skill Donald Trump touted when he ran for president in 2016, it was his alleged ability to make good deals. The United States, Trump argued, had for decades gotten “ripped off” by allies and adversaries alike, who consistently got the best of the United States in negotiation after negotiation. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the “worst trade deal ever,” the nuclear deal with Iran was “disastrous,” and treaty allies in Europe and Asia were trying to “steal the wealth” of the United States by running trade surpluses and failing to pay enough for the U.S. troops on their soil. As the author of The Art of the Deal, Trump claimed he would put an end to free-riding, renegotiate bad deals, and strike new diplomatic agreements in areas where all his predecessors had failed.

After nearly four years in office, Trump has strikingly little to show for his efforts. For the past week, the administration has been making much of an agreement by the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize relations, a largely positive step but far more of an exception than a rule. In many more cases—such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Open Skies Treaty—Trump has torn up or abandoned existing agreements but not managed to put anything in their place. In other cases—including Israeli-Palestinian peace, North Korea, and Afghanistan—he has launched negotiations with great fanfare but failed to conclude any new deals. And in other cases—such as Libya, Ukraine, and Syria—the Trump administration has not really tried at all, often leaving the diplomacy to competing diplomatic powers such as Russia or Turkey.

The Postwar Global Order That Never Happened

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This year, as we remember the 75th anniversary of World War II’s end, we should also remember the road not taken for U.S. foreign affairs. An alternative vision for global order was developed during the war but lost during its aftermath. Although this view of world affairs—call it the “one world” vision—never cohered around a single set of precepts and never became official policy, many thousands of Americans rallied around its iconoclastic brand of popular internationalism.

The lead exponent of the one-world idea was Wendell Willkie, a charismatic speaker, business lawyer, world traveler, and bestselling author who had been the surprise Republican nominee for president in 1940. Little remembered beyond his ill-fated presidential run, Willkie should be recalled now for the picture of the world that he gave the country in 1942 and ’43, during the darkest months of World War II. His one-world ideals captured public imagination, only to be scorned as not tough-minded enough for the incipient Cold War. Recalling them now might help us unlock new ways to see our current global crisis and find responses equal to the complex interdependency that imperils the world today.

Why We Joined Over 70 Former Republican National Security Officials to Support Biden

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On Friday, Aug. 21, we will join with more than 70 former national security officials from Republican administrations stretching from former President Ronald Reagan to current President Donald Trump as well as former Republican members of the U.S. Congress to warn that Trump lacks the character and competence to lead the country and arguing that Joe Biden should be elected the next president of the United States. In a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, we and our colleagues list 10 points explaining how dangerous it would be for U.S. national security if Trump were allowed four more years to continue soliciting foreign interference, aligning with dictators, threatening allies, fueling divisions at home, and disparaging military service personnel, intelligence officers, and diplomats.

For those of us who have spent our careers advancing U.S. partnerships and prosperity in Asia, the prospect of another four years under Trump is particularly alarming. Asia policy has been one of the most bipartisan issues in Washington. To some extent, that continues for those in the current administration who are trying to advance the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy to ensure freedom of navigation and trade, promote economic prosperity, and foster peace and stability in the region.

How Social Media Is Shaping Political Campaigns

In his short-lived campaign for president, entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion of his own money before dropping out of the race in March. More than 70% of that budget went toward advertising.

The extraordinary spend highlights just how much cash it takes to run for public office in America and why it’s so difficult for political newcomers to gain momentum at the polls without connections to influential donors (or in Bloomberg’s case, his own deep pockets). The problem perpetuates through election cycles, which is why up to 90% of incumbents are reelected in what research calls “the incumbency advantage.”

But social media has changed the game, allowing incumbents and newcomers alike to speak directly to constituents on everything from policy to what they had for dinner. Barack Obama was the first presidential candidate to use the medium, which was still nascent during his 2008 bid, and Donald Trump takes to Twitter almost daily to express himself without the filter of traditional media.

Boeing & Lockheed Vie For Cyber/EW/SIGINT System, TLS


WASHINGTON: Army jargon can be notoriously bland, but Terrestrial Layer System may take the cake. Behind the nondescript name, however, is an ambitious program that will challenge the high-tech titans now competing to manufacture it: Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Boeing subsidiary DRT got a $7.6 million Other Transaction Authority contract in April to build TLS prototypes; Lockheed got its $6 million OTA in May. Both firms are now busily integrating their electronics onto Army-provided 8×8 Stryker armored vehicles.

“The advancement of the state of the art is really in two areas,” Boeing executive Paul Turczynski told me. “You hear a lot about ‘convergence,’ but this is really the first program that brings together the SIGINT, the EW and the cyber. And the second major difference from other programs is the open architecture.”

Boeing DRT’s proposal for the TLS cyber/EW/SIGINT vehicle

Infographic Of The Day: Big Tech's Might In Five Charts

Four of the Big Five recently appeared in front of the U.S. Congress to discuss their anti-competitive business practices and privacy concerns. Yet business is booming. Compared to the traditional economy, Big Tech operates within an intangible realm of business. This enables them to move faster, cheaper, and more profitably - with business models that possess widespread scale via the internet.

Viewpoint: Network Technology a Growing Liability

By John C. Johnson

The U.S. military has enjoyed a battlefield advantage for most of its modern-day existence in large part because it fields the most advanced and sophisticated weapon systems in the world. 

These state-of-the-art systems have allowed warfighters to communicate, compute and analyze enormous amounts of information in real time — far beyond what is humanly possible. As the defense industry, government research laboratories and universities continue to push the boundary of what is possible, the United States and its allies retain the technological advantage.

Yet, this reliance on technology may be exposing an Achilles heel. Is the dependence becoming a liability? If embedded processing is corrupted, communication links interrupted, and overhead surveillance/navigation denied, then the battlefield advantage will quickly erode, jeopardizing mission objectives while severely threating combatants in the field.

US Army report says many North Korean hackers operate from abroad

By Catalin Cimpanu 

North Korea has at least 6,000 hackers and electronic warfare specialists working in its ranks, and many of these are operating abroad in countries such as Belarus, China, India, Malaysia, and Russia, the US Army said in a report published last month.

Named "North Korean Tactics," the report a tactical manual that the US Army uses to train troops and military leaders, and which the Army has made public for the first time last month.

The 332-page report contains a treasure trove of information about the Korean People's Army (KPA), such as military tactics, weapons arsenal, leadership structure, troop types, logistics, and electronic warfare capabilities.

While the vast majority of the report deals with classic military tactics and capabilities, the report also shines a light into North Korea's secretive hacking units.

"Most EW [electronic warfare] and cyberspace warfare operations take place within the Cyber Warfare Guidance Unit, more commonly known as Bureau 121," the US Army said.

This assessment is the same as previous reports from the intelligence and cyber-security communities, which have also linked all of North Korea's hackers back to Bureau 121, a division of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a North Korean intelligence agency that is part of the National Defence Commission.

The US Army says Bureau 121 has grown exponentially in recent years, as North Korea has expanded its cyberspace activities.

A revolution in military affairs

From the advent of the Dreadnought battleship back in 1906 to the rise of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, militaries around the world have often talked about a ‘revolution’ occurring in military affairs but in truth, while the technology changed, the way in which wars were fought did not - whether that was in Korea, Vietnam, The Falklands or Iraq.

Today, however, there is a growing belief that over the next 20 years, or so, we will experience a revolution in warfare, with significantly more changes than we’ve seen at any time in the past 50 years – from weapons’ capabilities to the way in which wars are conducted.

Revolutionary technologies from new sensors and embedded computers to drones and robotics, together with developments in artificial intelligence and the use of big data, are being combined and will radically change the nature of warfare.

In terms of the future battlefield we could see swarms of robotic systems, both as sensors and weapons, the deployment of laser weapons, reusable rockets, hypersonic missiles and unmanned, autonomous vehicles.