13 September 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


The Deterrence Theory was developed in the 1950s, mainly to address new strategic challenges posed by nuclear weapons from the Cold War nuclear scenario. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a survivable nuclear force to present a ‘credible’ deterrent that maintained the ‘uncertainty’ inherent in a strategic balance as understood through the accepted theories of major theorists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, and Thomas Schelling.1 Nuclear deterrence was the art of convincing the enemy not to take a specific action by threatening it with an extreme punishment or an unacceptable failure.

Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

Afghanistan Is Not Done With Us; Four Long-Term Dangers Await


With the departure of the last aircraft from Kabul, most Americans were ready to be done with the Afghanistan misadventure. However, Afghanistan is not done with us.

Even putting aside the fact there are reportedly still American citizens stuck in the country, along with tens of thousands of Afghans who desperately wanted to leave but were unable to make it onto the last flights out of HKIA, there are going to be long-term effects of the Taliban takeover. Among them: Captured data, waves of refugees, the weapons on the global market, and emboldened radical Islam.

As with our experience in Vietnam, Afghanistan will shape our politics and diplomacy long after the last servicemember withdrew.

Islamic State-Khorasan’s Reach Extends Far Beyond Afghanistan

Robert Muggah

In a grim reminder of the threat posed by Islamic State-Khorasan, the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, a lone suicide bomber detonated roughly 25 pounds of explosives at Kabul airport on Aug. 26, killing 13 U.S. troops and up to 170 other people. The U.S. military responded less than 48 hours later with an unmanned airstrike in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, killing two suspected Islamic State-Khorasan members. A second airstrike targeting a suspected Islamic State-Khorasan suicide bomber followed in Kabul a day later—killing as many as 10 civilians.

Islamic State-Khorasan is a violent extremist group familiar to terrorist watchers: It has carried out scores of attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan since first establishing itself in 2015. Islamic State-Khorasan also maintains a lively presence on social media and encrypted messaging platforms across South and Central Asia.

Many media outlets have highlighted the Taliban’s strategic use of the internet for social control. But with internet use growing exponentially across the region, Islamic State-Khorasan is potentially even more destabilizing than the Taliban, given its potential to reaching an ever-widening audience.

Examining Extremism: Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)

Catrina Doxsee
Source Link

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is a branch of the Islamic State active in Central and South Asia. This piece provides an overview of ISKP, including the group’s history, ideology, organizational structure, tactics, and targets. It concludes with an assessment that ISKP poses a significant threat within Afghanistan and will likely continue to perpetrate attacks against civilians and the new Taliban government—including against high-profile targets. This threat is exacerbated by the withdrawal of U.S. and partner forces, whose counterterrorism capabilities previously constrained ISKP activities.


ISKP emerged in 2014 with the defection of Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), al Qaeda, and Taliban fighters active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the wake of these defections, the Islamic State dispatched emissaries from Iraq and Syria to meet with local fighters, including a number of TTP commanders. In January 2015, these efforts were formalized when the Islamic State announced the formation of its “Khorasan” province. At the same time, Islamic State emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appointed Hafiz Khan Saeed as the first ISKP emir. Khan Saeed had previously served as a TTP commander with responsibility for operations in Orakazi in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), affording the newly formed ISKP deep Pakistani networks through which to recruit. Among ISKP’s early leaders who pledged allegiance were several TTP commanders responsible for areas of Pakistan’s FATA, deepening ISKP’s toehold in this strategic border area.

Afghanistan Is Not Done With Us; Four Long-Term Dangers Await


The message was clear, from the mouths of military officials, the State Department and President Joe Biden himself: Aug. 30 marked the official end of the US war in Afghanistan. But, as Mark Cancian writes below, just because the US has decided it is done with Afghanistan does not mean Afghanistan is done with the United States.

With the departure of the last aircraft from Kabul, most Americans were ready to be done with the Afghanistan misadventure. However, Afghanistan is not done with us.

Even putting aside the fact there are reportedly still American citizens stuck in the country, along with tens of thousands of Afghans who desperately wanted to leave but were unable to make it onto the last flights out of HKIA, there are going to be long-term effects of the Taliban takeover. Among them: Captured data, waves of refugees, the weapons on the global market, and emboldened radical Islam.

The Afghan tragedy and the age of unpeace

Mark Leonard 

The images of desperate Afghans scaling the perimeter fence at Kabul’s airport in an attempt to flee Taliban rule provide a heartbreaking record of our geopolitical moment. The brutal way in which the West’s former allies in Afghanistan are being left to their fate encapsulates the determination of US President Joe Biden’s administration to shed old international commitments as it embraces a new strategy.

There is much to criticise about the United States’ hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, not least the lack of concern for the rights of Afghan women and girls, intelligence failures, and the absence of planning. But underlying many of the critiques is an unshakeable nostalgia, even grief, at the passing of an era. The US-led intervention in Afghanistan that began 20 years ago was the last vestige of a different world, defined by the quest for a liberal international order and the stated mission of bringing democracy and the rule of law to far-flung regions. Many in the West who attack Biden’s policy are in fact upset about the return of brutal geopolitical competition.

Welcoming Committee—Every Time an American Flattop Enters The South China Sea, Chinese Bombers Launch

David Axe

The Chinese air force is very clear how it would respond if, during wartime, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier were to sail into the South China Sea—waters that Beijing increasingly claims as its own, in violation of longstanding international law.

In a word, bombers. Every time an American flattop has sailed into the South China Sea in recent months, a powerful formation of Chinese warplanes—always including H-6 bombers—has launched the very same day.

Twitter user @duandang, a popular purveyor of so-called “open-source intelligence,” highlighted the trend.

Duan Dang’s shorthand tells a story. On or right before Jan. 23, the Nimitz-class nuclear supercarrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sailed with her escorts—a cruiser and two destroyers—into the South China Sea via the Luzon Strait.

How 9/11 helped China wage its own false ‘war on terror’

Kristian Petersen

Over the past two decades, the crisis in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has drastically worsened. This has much to do with the major expansion after 2001 of repressive measures directed at suppressing dissent among Uighurs, dressed in the rhetoric of anti-terrorism.

Following the 9/11 attacks, the United States launched the global “war on terror”, which supported efforts in other countries to dismantle terror organisations. It is following these events that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defined Uighur resistance as part of the worldwide “terrorism” emergency and not as a local issue of “separatism” as it used to in the past.

This definition was directly validated by the US government when it classified the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an obscure armed group operating in Afghanistan, as a “terrorist organisation” and imprisoned Uighurs in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Thus America’s “war on terror” helped China launch a massive crackdown on the Uighur population, which has gone as far as the imprisonment of 1 million ethnic Uighurs in a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”, according to the United Nations.

China: The Ground Shakes, Is An Earthquake Coming?

François Godement

China’s party state is multiplying disciplinary and regulatory actions that amount to a top down shake up of China’s urban economy and society. This received only limited attention due to the events in Afghanistan dominating the news. The most notable were a succession of societal announcements, which are due to intensify control and eliminate any informal or grey zones that have long coexisted with CCP authoritarianism. To cite just a few examples, they include restricting teens (in the world’s most digitalized society) to three hours of video games a week, banning tutoring schools, which are very common in East Asia, "rectifying" the mass entertainment industry, and going after LGBT behavior or looks. These are all themed challenges to a civil society that had already been rendered politically passive but nonetheless kept important areas of free behavior, including pre-Covid mass tourism abroad.

Simultaneously, the personality cult of general secretary Xi is reaching a new intensity, from a relentless occupation of the People’s Daily front page, to having "Xi Jinping Thought" imposed on all school curricula. Purges - admittedly a permanent feature of life under Xi - are happening in Zhejiang province (where Alibaba and Jack Ma originally took off), but now also in show business and the arts.

How Much Does Beijing Control the Ethnic Makeup of Tibet?

Andrew M. Fischer

Over the past year, government and non-governmental bodies around the world have focused attention on the ethnic demography of China’s far-western region of Tibet, often lumping it together with Xinjiang. On April 7, 2021, in its “List of issues in relation to the third periodic report of China,” the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights requested that China “provide information on the trend in the demographic composition in the Xinjiang Uighur and Tibet Autonomous Regions [TAR] over the past five years.” The United States Department of State’s recent 2020 Tibet human rights report mentions “reports of coerced abortions and sterilizations” in Tibet, and suggests that development projects “contributed to the considerable influx of Han Chinese into the TAR and other Tibetan areas.” The 2021 “Freedom in the World” report of U.S.-based Freedom House asserts (as it has since 2017 when it started to include “Tibet” as a territory in its reports): “State policies, including incentives for non-Tibetan people to migrate from other parts of China and the relocation of ethnic Tibetans, have reduced the ethnic Tibetan share of the population.”

The Islamic world has changed over the past 20 years. The Taliban is about to feel it

Fareed Zakaria

If you want to understand what Islamist militancy today is really about, pay attention to this statement by the Taliban’s spokesman last week: “China is our most important partner, and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us.”

Let me remind you that China is credibly accused of massive and pervasive persecution of its Muslim population — including mass incarceration, systematic “reeducation,” 24/7 surveillance and, in some cases, forced sterilization. In other words, the world’s most ideologically committed Islamist government has said that its closest ally will be a nation engaged in what many observers call cultural genocide against Muslims. Lesson: The Islamist militant movement has always been more about power than about religion.

Twenty years after 9/11, we are still not clear on how to think about radical Islam. It is real, it is evil, but over the past two decades, it has lost the ideological argument. The real clash of civilizations was never between the West and Islam. It was within the world of Islam, between the existing regimes and their Islamist opposition movements, and more broadly between moderates and radical religious groups.

American soldiers today: Lions led by donkeys


The phrase “Lions led by donkeys” has an ancient provenance but is most associated with World War I, where it so aptly described the appalling contrast between the astounding bravery of the ordinary soldiers, whose corpses by the millions filled the bloody trenches of the Western Front, and the stunning incompetence of the callously hidebound and unimaginative leaders — political and military alike — who sent them to their deaths.

The phrase comes to mind now in the agonizing aftermath of the dark August days we have just witnessed in Afghanistan, as well as the futility and needless sacrifice of the preceding 20 years of an inexplicable and retrospectively pointless war. Delighted enemies and despairing friends alike are seeing the emergence of a new global strategic calculus. Free peoples who long had viewed the United States as reliable and capable have watched in shock as events clearly demonstrated that we sometimes are neither.

Christopher Wray: Hard-earned lessons from 9/11 offer a playbook for combating today’s threats

Christopher Wray

Those of us who lived through 9/11 will always remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the United States was attacked. As a new Justice Department official, I spent much of the day in a jam-packed command center at FBI headquarters. There was a swirl of activity and emotion — concern for loved ones, anger toward those who attacked us, uncertainty about what might be next. But I will never forget the incredible sense of solidarity in that room. We were united in our resolve to find those responsible and determined to prevent another attack.

Now, two decades later, the threats have evolved, but the hard-earned lessons of Sept. 11, 2001, still provide the playbook for confronting today’s challenges.

After 9/11, the country united behind a common purpose. We focused on disruption — gathering intelligence to stop bad actors before they could attack. All levels of government removed barriers that had stifled collaboration and prevented information-sharing. Federal agencies strengthened relationships with state and local partners, whose front-line observations proved essential. And with the backing of the American people, a generation of public servants answered the call to tackle the new terrorism threat.

It’s been twenty years since 9/11. The US Army still hasn’t learned to speak Arabic or Dari.

Jon Tishman

As the Taliban retook Afghanistan just as the United States completely departed the country on August 31, US military leaders seeking to better understand their faults should ask themselves a simple question: how well could I communicate with my security partners?

The August withdrawal ended close to twenty years of combat operations in Afghanistan, while the US aims to end seventeen years of combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year. After such lengthy conflicts, one might expect the US Army to be overrun with soldiers fluent in Arabic and Dari. Despite repeated deployments and enough time to educate current senior leaders in the ranks from grade school skills to bachelor’s degree-level, the overall rate of soldiers conversant in target languages remains abysmally low in combat arms, even among codified linguist positions.

While military leaders may lament nation-building and Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations, the fact remains that the army has always been at the forefront of such efforts. Even in operations where the US plans to forego such nation-building, stability operations remain a critical task for the army, as it maintains a monopoly on the conflict until a new security force is developed. Upon cessation of offensive operations, stability operations take priority to “maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment and provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.”

How to prevent future Afghanistan-like disasters

Joshua Sinai

The quick and relatively easy takeover by the Taliban of the Afghanistan state, following the precipitous collapse of the government and its security forces, could have been prevented. This would have avoided the current political and humanitarian catastrophe facing the country and its population. This is especially pertinent today during the 20th anniversary of al Qaida’s catastrophic 9/11 attacks, which, like the current precipitous failure of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, could have been prevented had the proper counterterrorism campaign measures been in place at the time.

Many lessons have been assembled over the years from previous counterinsurgency campaigns in which a Western country intervened to support a local government and its military forces to counter its threatening terrorism and guerrilla army insurgencies, whether in Vietnam or Somalia, with ten crucial measures of effectiveness standing out that are required to defeat a protracted insurgency.

How Equipment Left In Afghanistan Will Expose US Secrets


The ultimate winner of two decades of war in Afghanistan is likely China. The aircraft and armored vehicles left behind when U.S. forces withdrew will give China—through their eager partners, the Taliban—a broad window into how the U.S. military builds and uses some of its most important tools of war. Expect the Chinese military to use this windfall to create—and export to client states—a new generation of weapons and tactics tailored to U.S. vulnerabilities, said several experts who spent years building, acquiring, and testing some of the equipment that the Taliban now controls.

To understand how big a potential loss this is for the United States, look beyond the headlines foretelling a Taliban air force. Look instead to the bespoke and relatively primitive pieces of command, control, and communication equipment sitting around in vehicles the United States left on tarmacs and on airfields. These purpose-built items aren’t nearly as invincible to penetration as even your own phone.

“The only reason we aren’t seeing more attacks is because of a veil of secrecy around these systems,” said Josh Lospinoso, CEO of cybersecurity company Shift5. “Once you pierce that veil of secrecy…it massively accelerates the timeline for being able to build cyber weapons” to attack them.

Biden the Realist

Joshua Shifrinson and Stephen Wertheim

President Joe Biden was supposed to return U.S. foreign policy to its pre-Trump path. A septuagenarian with a half century of experience in national politics, he was the presidential candidate who most clearly embodied the American establishment. Surely, the expectation went, he would bring back the United States’ pursuit of political and military preeminence designed to reshape the world in its own image. Biden even presented the restoration of U.S. leadership in global affairs as his hallmark: “America is back,” he proclaimed after taking office.

But Biden’s decision to terminate the U.S. war in Afghanistan has revealed another side of the United States’ 46th president. In ending the two-decades-long war, Biden rejected every “liberal internationalist” premise of the enterprise, including the notion that building a democratic Afghanistan and transforming the region served U.S. interests or advanced universal values. He repeatedly argued that the United States had only one valid reason to use force there: to “get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11” and might attack again. Once that objective had been achieved, the United States had no business waging war. It was for “the Afghan people alone to decide their future,” he said, including whether they would live in a Western-style democracy or under Taliban rule.

Joe Biden Would Be A Fool To Ask China For Help On Afghanistan

Gordon Chang

Recent pronouncements from the Biden administration suggest China, once again, will be the biggest beneficiary of Taliban terrorism. History is not only rhyming for Beijing, it is, thanks to American obliviousness, repeating.

“Well, I think many countries in—immediately neighboring Afghanistan and in the broader region, including China, have interests in Afghanistan,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New Delhi on July 28, answering a question from Zakka Jacob of CNN-News18. “And as it happens, those interests largely align.”

“Everyone has an interest in a peaceful resolution of the conflict and some kind of government that emerges that’s truly representative and inclusive,” he continued in a hopeful vein. “And so if China is acting on those interests, if other countries are acting on those interests, that’s a positive thing.”

The war in Afghanistan is over but military leaders are still trying to hide their failures


With the Taliban in total control of Afghanistan, Americans deserve to know how the Afghan security forces collapsed in little more than a week despite a nearly 20-year and $88 billion effort by the U.S. military to train, equip, and mentor Afghan troops and police.

Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the last commander of all U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, could provide lawmakers with some of the answers when he testifies next week before Congress – but the broader American public won’t hear any of that. The hearing will be behind closed doors.

This enforced secrecy has become the norm for Miller and other military leaders, who made it nearly impossible to get basic information about the state of the war in Afghanistan for at least the past three presidential administrations.

What We Didn’t Know on 9/11


On Sept. 11, 2001, I was in my seventh year as the Boston Globe’s New York bureau chief, spending much of my time writing fun features and profiles, a welcome respite after three years as the paper’s Moscow correspondent and, before that, a decade as its military affairs reporter. Those seven years were my own variation on the “holiday from history” that much of the nation was enjoying. At 8:50 a.m., my editor phoned, telling me that an airplane had crashed into one of the twin towers. I got dressed and turned on the TV in time to watch the second plane hit the other tower. This was no sightseeing pilot’s accident—my initial assumption—but a plot, an attack.

I dashed to the subway. On the ride from Brooklyn into Manhattan, I could see black smoke billowing from the buildings, streaking the clear blue sky like an oil spill. It looked like a Hollywood special effect. I arrived at the World Trade Center station, one of the last people to cross its turnstiles for many months to come, and ran up the steps. A large crowd had gathered to watch the towers burning. I found myself standing next to a reporter friend, and we wondered how long it would be before anyone would go back into those buildings.

What If We Are Wrong?

Francis J. Gavin

I recently re-read historian Ernest May’s slim classic, “Lessons” of the Past: The Use and Misuse of History in American Foreign Policy. Published in 1973, the year the United States left Vietnam in defeat and disgrace, the book possesses a dark, gloomy feel. “Lessons,” is in quotes, emphasizing May’s belief that, while statesmen naturally mine the past for answers, more often than not they do so poorly. Makers of “foreign policy are often influenced by beliefs about what history teaches or portends” but “ordinarily use history badly.”1 Their primary sin is to fight the last war and draw linear analogies in a simplistic manner, usually based on the more recent events. With the sting of the Vietnam fiasco all too fresh, perhaps it is not surprising that May largely saw America’s Cold War policies as erratic, shaped by bureaucratic in-fighting and often faulty logic. Even Franklin Roosevelt, the president who successfully guided the nation through a global depression and world war, was not immune from misunderstanding history. He is charged with an obsession with avoiding the mistakes Woodrow Wilson made after the previous world war, leading Roosevelt to overemphasize the danger of a German and Japanese resurgence while underestimating the risk of postwar Soviet belligerence.

The Topography of Geopolitics: Net Resources and the Past, Present, and Future of American Power

Christopher Shaw

Quantifying power has always been central to the conduct of strategy. David Baldwin’s book Power and International Relations quoted Sir Francis Bacon who, in 1612, noted that “there is not any thing amongst civil affairs more subject to error than the right evaluation and true judgement concerning the power and forces of a state.”[1] He also quoted Stephen Jones who, more recently, stated that “so long as there is power among sovereign states, there will be estimation of power. Even though the best estimates are only rough, they are better than reliance on intuition or emotion.”[2] Both Sir Francis Bacon and Stephen Jones are correct. The need to estimate power remains central to politics, strategy and statecraft, but it continues to be a subjective and problematic undertaking.

Our ability to estimate power is improving, thanks to the insight of Professor Michael Beckley at Tufts University, who proposed a measurement of “net power” to take into account gross inputs against a state’s inherent efficiency.[3] While subjective analysis and commentary may struggle to quantify relative power between states, net power offers a more objective insight into geopolitical rivalries and great power competition. Michael Beckley went on to claim, using his concept of net power, that America is and will remain unrivaled as a geopolitical super-power.[4] Closer analysis of historical great power rivalries and net resources shows that this is an inaccurate interpretation. Instead, net resources offer an insight into the current and emerging geopolitical balance of power that indicates, while the United States will remain unsurpassed, China will represent a far more powerful competitor than America faced in the 20th century.

American Spies Are Fighting the Last War, Again


Twenty years ago, al-Qaeda hijackers carried out the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil, killing nearly 3,000 innocents, terrifying the nation, and forever changing the course of history—ushering in America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet September 11 was also something else: our worst intelligence failure in more than half a century. It was a surprise attack that should not have been a surprise. The agonizing truth is that American intelligence agencies saw the danger coming but failed to stop it because they were hardwired to fight a different enemy from a bygone era. My research found that when the Cold War ended and the threats shifted in the 1990s, America’s intelligence community failed to adapt.

Today, we face a similar challenge. Since 9/11, spies have become adept at countering al Qaeda but al Qaeda is no longer the overarching problem it once was. The global threat landscape has become much more crowded and complex, encompassing escalating cyberattacks, a rising China, Russian aggression, nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, the fallout from climate change, and more. And once again, spy agencies are struggling to keep up.

JADC2 Implementation Plan ‘Weeks Away’: J6’s Parker


WASHINGTON: The Defense Department is “weeks away” from finalizing the implementation plan for its Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept, J6 Deputy Director and Cross-Functional Chair Brig. Gen. Robert Parker said today.

The implementation plan represents the start of the next key phase in the DoD’s journey to move JADC2 from concept to operational technology.

The implementation plan will be classified, but Parker hinted at some of what it will entail, including objectives, tasks, transactions, and milestones, as well as service contributions and combatant command efforts.

Parker told the audience at the Defense News Conference the implementation plan will cover “6+1 minimum viable products,” including DevSecOps, transport (think networks), cloud, and identity and credential access management (ICAM).

Army Chief Calls for Afghanistan Review: ‘Let the Cards Fall Where They Fall’


The Army’s chief of staff wants a review of the decisions that led to the fall of Kabul and the U.S. military’s withdrawal.

The last few weeks have been “heartbreaking” for soldiers who fought there, including members of his own family, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said during the Defense One State of Defense event, his first extensive public comments since the war’s end. “Let the cards fall where they fall.”

But the general also stressed that the Army and Americans concerned about “forever wars” should be prepared for “infinite competition” against terrorism and nation-states, and that leaders should reconsider what happens when American forces who have trained and supported foreign armies are pulled out.

“The capacity was there,” McConville said of the Afghan armed forces who eventually gave up, and so was the equipment. But, he continued, “did they have the will to fight” after 20 years?

War Games Are No Game


MOSCOW – Since the Ukraine conflict in 2014, clashing worldviews have become deeply ingrained among NATO and Russian policymakers, and distrust is the default mindset. We are witnessing a new kind of confrontation that is fraught with military risk. As we approach another “Autumn Exercise Season” – with key events such as Russia’s Zapad-2021 and NATO’s Ramstein Alloy and Joint Warrior – there is an urgent need to mitigate the danger that training exercises become a flashpoint for conflict.

To be sure, a major-power rivalry with a strong military component is nothing new. In the past, it was the principal and decisive factor shaping and reshaping the political map and the international system. Today, military rivalries are one factor among many forces driving geopolitics, operating alongside economic development and technological prowess. But when push comes to shove, it is the military dynamic that can be expected to play a decisive role, either as a deterrent or as an instrument of coercion. That is why all major powers – the United States, its NATO allies, China, and Russia – are conducting military exercises more often and on a larger scale than ever.

Hybrid Wars: Technological Advancements and the Generational Evolution of Warfare

Tamseel Aqdas

With respect to its evolving tendencies, warfare can be depicted as dynamic in nature. A discussion of the contemporary geopolitical environment discloses advancements in the philosophy and art of war. Those developments are associated with technological progression, resulting in novel strategies and implications for warfare. Contemporary evolving methods have merged with traditional understandings of warfare, marking the concept of hybrid warfare.

As a general concept elements of hybrid warfare can be observed throughout history. George Washington’s Continental Army displayed elements of hybrid warfare in its surprise attack at Trenton, and his use of militias in the southern states. Another highlight of the evolution of hybrid warfare can be witnessed in the Arab revolt too, where the British military forces devised a formulation of irregular forces and conventional operations made famous by T.E. Lawrence. Nevertheless, the contemporary concept of Hybrid warfare has grown into hyper complexity “due to the rise of non-state actors, information technology, and the proliferation of advanced weapons systems.”

Analysing armed forces transformation: methodology and visualisation

Mauro Mantovani, Ralf Müllhaupt

Adapting one's armed forces to a real or perceived threat is a constant political aim and keeps military staffs and defence planners around the globe busy, both on a national level and within alliances like NATO. Armed forces defence – as opposed to operations – planning is oriented towards the future and follows its own methods, which try to square various requirements like doctrine, organisation, training, materiel, personnel, finances, infrastructure, IT, etc. The current buzz phrase is “capability-based approach,” a concept with no agreed definition, let alone a common methodology. A key feature of planning is that it is based on specific assumptions about a future enemy with certain capabilities, which need to be countered, and aims at offering a range of decision-making options to policy makers.1

Completely different, however, is retrospective analysis of armed forces transformation in that it pursues the question in terms of the ways in which armed forces have developed in the past: its primary focus is on explaining the changes that have in fact taken place. There is a wide academic literature on armed forces transformation in NATO and in neutral European states.2

Michelangelos of Strategy: Linguistic Chisels, Sculptural Forms, and the Art of Strategy

Elena Wicker

Strategy is often described as both an art and a science. Complete oeuvres on the art of war litter military reading lists, and a professional education would be inadequate without a military science component. Yet, as Bernard Brodie stated in his lecture to the Naval War College in 1958, but for a few exceptions “both art and science have generally been lacking in what is presumed to be strategic studies.”[1] A great deal of attention has been paid to the scientific aspects of strategy, and processes abound to steer strategists through stepwise methodologies to calculate capabilities and answer strategic problems. Given that strategy is as much art as it is science, how is the art of strategy trained? Furthermore, what can critique of art reveal about strategy?

Sculpture, like strategy, is a three-dimensional art form that relies on spatial relations and perspective to alter and reflect its environment. As opposed to a painting that can only be viewed from a single plane, sculpture can be seen and experienced from infinite points of view. Sculpture moves the intellect and the senses; strategic sculpture moves armies. Just as Michelangelo Buonarroti worked in marble and fresco, the strategist shapes orders, concepts, memos, white papers, budgets, and strategies. Michelangelo’s tools were hammer, chisel, and paintbrush, and the tools of the strategist are language and logic. This article draws lessons from four classical sculptural techniques—casting, carving, modeling, and assemblage—to illustrate questions and challenges for the modern artist of strategy. These styles are not mutually exclusive. Over the course of a lifetime an artist is likely to draw on multiple styles, media, and subjects, just as the strategist will encounter a variety of questions, assumptions, and challenges over the course of their career.