3 November 2021

India in Space Domain - Pathbreaking Developments

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


India is now a major spacefaring nation. Initially, the Indian space programme was focused primarily on societal and developmental utilities. Today, like many other countries, India is compelled to use space for several military requirements like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Hence, India is looking to space to gain operational and informational advantages.

India has had its fair share of achievements in the space domain. It includes the launch of the country’s heaviest satellite, the GSAT-11 which will boost India’s broadband services by enabling 16 Gbps data links across the country, GSAT-7A, the military communication satellite and the launch of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III-D2, the GSAT 29. The Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test is an intrinsic part of today’s geopolitics and the national security context.

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.

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The Taliban Haven’t Changed, But U.S. Policy Must

Haroro J. Ingram, Andrew Mines, Omar Mohammed

The people of Afghanistan are once again trapped under the Taliban’s tyrannical rule, but rather than facing condemnation and ostracism, much of the world seems ready to embrace the new regime. Indeed, the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan has been largely met with not just acquiescence justified in the name of counterterrorism but concerted efforts to whitewash the jihadists, often with counterfactual claims.

This practice is a product of more than just the wishful thinking of its proponents. It too-often reflects an enthusiasm to continue a dangerous shift in U.S. foreign policy toward a posture that is more insular (despite the rhetoric), less predictable for allies and more willing to abandon democratic values for the sake of expediency. The governments of the United States and other countries must accept that the Taliban are tyrannical jihadists and decide how to engage with them to ensure the provision of aid to the Afghan people. To prevent a humanitarian catastrophe for Afghans this winter, what matters most is getting U.S. and international aid to Afghans immediately, free of diplomatic grandstanding or conditions that would further legitimate the Taliban. Even as it provides aid, the United States should lead its allies in rebuking recognition of the Taliban regime as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and holding it accountable for human rights violations. And as the United States creates a policy to move forward, it needs to reflect on its actions with a comprehensive, accurate accounting of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan over the past 20 years—including the most recent period of Taliban whitewashing.


This quarter, SIGAR issued four performance audit reports and five financial-audit reports. The performance audit reports examine:

  • whether the Afghan government had been making progress toward achieving its anticorruption objectives, addressing impunity of powerful individuals, and meeting international commitments
  • the failure of the State Department (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop strategies or plans for future reconstruction efforts following Afghan peace negotiations
  • the failure of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan’s (CSTC-A) to hold the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to account by enforcing the conditions it established to make it stronger, more professional, and more self-reliant
  • the Department of Defense’s (DOD) management and oversight of the NATO Afghan National Army Trust Fund since 2014, and its associated challenges

Opinion – Saving Myanmar?

Martin Duffy

In over three decades at the coalface of United Nations fieldwork, the scenes witnessed by the author during humanitarian service in Myanmar in the past two years, are among the worst visited on any people, in any part of the world. Having served extensively in the Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Tigray, these conflicts all brought their unique challenges, but there is a desperation to the Myanmar situation that exceeds even the misery of those other notorious conflicts. First, the Myanmar crisis has created the world’s largest camp of displaced populations. Second, the country is ridden with internecine, intractable and atavistic ethnic conflict of a brutality seldom evidenced in the modern world. And finally, as of February 2021, the entire country, and its sprawling communities of the displaced, has just imploded in a vicious coup.

Myanmar once again leaves all those advocating human rights with a sense of deep despair. Military rule in all but name, the violent suppression of protest, the incarceration of the innocent, and the fate of the displaced, all cry out for international action. Yet virtually the only moral victory achieved so far is ASEAN’S token rejection of the country’s military thugs at its own far from scrupulous diplomatic table. Street resistance has been ongoing throughout Myanmar since the army took over on 1 February 2021, suffocating a legitimately elected government and effectively disappearing its leadership. Elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party are among those detained (Cuddy, 2021.)

“Greening” China: An analysis of Beijing’s sustainable development strategies

Main findings and conclusions
China’s leadership acknowledges climate change and environmental degradation as real and pressing threats to long-term regime survival and economic prosperity. However, while a trend towards a concerted push for sustainability shows in national-level policies, the lack of forceful sectoral and local-level incentives leaves China with a mixed track record on sustainability.

China’s Covid-19 stimulus measures are more targeted at investing in carbon-heavy infrastructure for economic stability. However, the pandemic has not stopped Beijing’s policy machinery for more sustainability and a greener economy.

China’s authorities pursue a non-disruptive and incremental green policymaking approach, always concerned about political stability and economic costs.

China has started making the same mistakes as the Soviets

Hal Brands

It’s boom time for historical analogies in America’s China policy. Beijing’s test of an orbital weapon has been compared to a “Sputnik moment” by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley among others. Analysts, including me, have argued about whether the U.S. and China are in a “new Cold War” and what lessons America can learn from the old one.

China, however, is moving in the opposite direction: It has been un-learning some of the most important lessons it gleaned from the U.S.-Soviet conflict. In doing so, it is testing whether it can still prosper strategically as it casts aside insights that served it well.

The Chinese Communist Party takes history seriously. State-sponsored studies have examined the rise and fall of great powers and the causes of the Soviet collapse. Beijing learned from that event — as well as from the Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989 — never to allow splits within the party, to enforce ideological loyalty, and to keep a watchful eye on dissent before it gets out of control. The reason the Soviet Union disintegrated, President Xi Jinping said in 2013, was that “nobody was man enough to stand up and resist” the deadly trend toward democracy.

Why China’s Supply Chains Are Breaking Down

James Palmer

The highlights this week: A storm of issues in China is causing global supply chain disruptions, President Xi Jinping isn’t likely to attend the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, and the government introduces another round of COVID-19 restrictions due to delta variant cases.

Supply Chain Disruptions Aren’t Going Anywhere Soon

Global supply chains are clogged up amid booming consumer demand—and are expected to remain that way through the holidays—and many of the bottlenecks are in China. Smaller companies have reported up to nine-month fulfillment delays on orders from China, while larger ones are struggling to keep shelves filled in the United States.

One reason for the slowdown is the surprising resilience of both U.S. consumption and Chinese production after the coronavirus pandemic began. The U.S. recession that followed was relatively short, and wealthier Americans are now spending wildly. Chinese manufacturing also recovered faster than expected from its crisis period early last year. But shipping companies had already cut their schedules, causing disruptions that are still reverberating through the overstretched global system.

If China Wants to Waste Its Money on Missiles, We Should Let It


The cold war with China is very nearly on. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a House hearing Wednesday that China’s hypersonic missile test this past summer amounts to a “Sputnik moment.” Actually, he said, “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that”—a distinction without much of a difference.

Last week, when the Financial Times first reported this test, I wrote a column deriding it as hype—nothing new here, not really a threat to our missile defense systems, which don’t work very well anyway and were never meant to deal with a Russian or Chinese attack. Now that Milley (who last appeared in the media as the savior of democracy against the onslaught of Donald Trump) has not only confirmed the FT story but sanctified it as the harbinger of a dangerous new era, let’s take a close look at the meaning of “Sputnik moment”—which suggests that our top military officer is complicit in the danger.

What Will Drive China to War?

Michael Beckley and Hal Brands

President xi jinping declared in July that those who get in the way of China’s ascent will have their “heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of steel.” The People’s Liberation Army Navy is churning out ships at a rate not seen since World War II, as Beijing issues threats against Taiwan and other neighbors. Top Pentagon officials have warned that China could start a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait or other geopolitical hot spots sometime this decade.

Analysts and officials in Washington are fretting over worsening tensions between the United States and China and the risks to the world of two superpowers once again clashing rather than cooperating. President Joe Biden has said that America “is not seeking a new cold war.” But that is the wrong way to look at U.S.-China relations. A cold war with Beijing is already under way. The right question, instead, is whether America can deter China from initiating a hot one.

Opinion – The Status of China’s Confucius Institutes in American Universities

Craig Myers

Great Power competition normally plays out far from the classrooms where the concept is studied as international relations theory. But sometimes it occurs just outside our windows. Over the past 1½ years, a “soft power” skirmish in that IR conflict has reached critical mass as dozens of U.S. universities have broken ties with Confucius Institutes (CI) sponsored by the People’s Republic of China. Two Universities central to my academic life and career are on this ideological front line—my alma mater Troy University, and Middle Tennessee State, where I work and study International Affairs. With this debate reaching its zenith just as I began studying IR, I began to view the issue from that perspective: Is the demise of CIs is a U.S. victory over Chinese propaganda, or merely a strategic retreat by the Chinese after accomplishing their goal?

MTSU broke off a 10-year relationship with its CI in August 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic. With most faculty, staff, and students working from home and interacting through ubiquitous Zoom, not many noted the move. As with many universities that have rejected CIs, the official explanation was vague:

Details of China info war revealed

Bill Gertz

China‘s People’s Liberation Army plans to conduct extensive non-kinetic warfare operations in any future conflict with the United States, according to an internal PLA report.

The 438-page report, “Lectures on Joint Campaign Information Operations,” was translated and published by the Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute and reveals the strategy of seeking “information dominance” over enemies as a major weapon that will be a key factor in determining victory or defeat in battle.

“The manifested forms of joint campaign information operations (IO) mainly are: electronic warfare, network warfare, intelligence warfare, psychological warfare, physical destruct warfare,” the report from 2009 states.

“Amongst these, electronic warfare and network warfare are the main forms of IO.”

Rational Not Reactive

James Shires, Lauren Zabierek

Executive Summary

The increasing tempo of offensive cyber operations by Iran and its adversaries, including the U.S. and Israel, has led many commentators to label them as “tit-for-tat”: a cyclical action-reaction dynamic where each side seeks to respond appropriately to an earlier violation by the other. However, this interpretation has significant theoretical and empirical deficiencies. Why, then, does a tit-for-tat narrative dominate our understanding of Iranian cyber activity, and what are the consequences?

This paper revisits the longer-term arc of Iranian cyber operations, as well as examining a key “negative” case of the aftermath of the U.S. killing of IRGC General Qassem Suleimani in January 2020, where relevant expert and policy communities expected an Iranian cyber response that was not forthcoming. It argues that unfulfilled U.S. expectations of Iranian cyber responses can be explained by two key factors.

Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

Max Morton

Acovert operation is an operation planned and executed in a manner that conceals the identity of, or permits plausible denial by, its sponsor. Correspondingly, a covert influence operation is an information operation planned and executed in a manner that conceals the identity of the sponsor and provides an element of plausible deniability. Covert influence operations require plausible deniability because the sponsors could lose credibility if their sponsorship were known.

There has been a lot of talk lately about misinformation, disinformation, and fake news. So much so that calls to censor public information are gaining traction within the government and the private sector corporations that control much of the digital landscape. Some of these arguments for censorship are themselves information operations within the context of political warfare between rival political factions. It is almost impossible to know what to make of these competing claims of misinformation and calls for censorship without an understanding of how information operations work and how they are integrated into political and unrestricted warfare.

U.S. Military Jury Condemns Terrorist’s Torture and Urges Clemency

Carol Rosenberg

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — In a stark rebuke of the torture carried out by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks, seven senior military officers who heard graphic descriptions last week of the brutal treatment of a terrorist while in the agency’s custody wrote a letter calling it “a stain on the moral fiber of America.”

The officers, all but one member of an eight-member jury, condemned the U.S. government’s conduct in a clemency letter on behalf of Majid Khan, a suburban Baltimore high school graduate turned Qaeda courier.

They had been brought to the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to sentence Mr. Khan, who had earlier pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. They issued a sentence of 26 years, about the lowest term possible according to the instructions of the court.

New White House Cyber Director Wants to Fight Like Cobra Kai


The first U.S. National Cyber Director wants the government to take a tougher, more proactive approach to those who threaten America’s networks: degrade their capabilities and demonstrate how they would suffer should they attack.

John "Chris" Inglis’ vision for his brand-new office somewhat resembles the match-day strategy employed by the Cobra Kai dojo in the original Karate Kid: aim to cause your opponent pain. In other words: sweep the leg.

Earlier this week, Inglis outlined how his office will coordinate the various agencies and entities tasked with warding off and responding to cyber attacks. He and his staff will shape and coordinate budgets, ensure that federal cybersecurity operators are at least as good as their private counterparts, watch for emerging vulnerabilities in digital supply chains, and more.

We Lost – But Who Won The War In Afghanistan: Critical Lessons For Future Western Engagement

Far from an “orderly drawdown” and without conferring with NATO allies, President Biden in April announced the end of the US engagement in Afghanistan. This opened the window for the Afghan Taliban to effectively exploit the lack of opposition power and overrun rural Afghan government forces in the provinces.
In English-language media and expert forums, questions who lost the war in Afghanistan to the Afghan Taliban and why had already risen. After another disgraceful strategic intervention failure, the question we ask is: who actually won America’s Longest War?

This paper by Friso Stevens addresses the lack of a clearly stated end goal, along with the problem that the nationally oriented Afghan tribal groupings were never our enemy nor threatening the homeland of the US or its European allies. What the US in essence did, and NATO later signed up on, was immerse itself into an existing stalemated civil war.

With the West now facing new challenges such as the great power competition with China and Revolution in Military Affairs-fought symmetric battles, the papers concludes with the lessons learned for future Western engagement based on restraint.

VIDEO: US ‘Did Not Fail’ In Afghanistan, Legendary French Writer Says

Richard Miniter and Hamil R. Harris 

After Afghanistan, America must not retreat from the world, says the famed French journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy, a man so famous in France that everyone from taxi drivers to diplomats refers to him simply as “BHL.”

Like the similarly named shipping company, BHL delivers. He gives us intimate portraits of Afghan warlords, Nigerian gunmen and tough-minded Iraqi monks in his new film, “The Will to See.” Its U.S. premiere is Thursday at the French embassy in Washington, D.C., and Yale University Press published his book on Tuesday.

BHL saw gaunt, haunted faces of Libyans still mourning their relatives, lying in mass graves, Uyghur Muslims who have been displaced and dispossessed by Han Chinese communists, and the sad, resigned faces of hopeless Arab refugees on the Greek isle of Lesbos.

Gen. H.R. McMaster on America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan

The word “surrender” is rarely used to describe American foreign policy. Yet that is how H.R. McMaster characterizes the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Testifying to Congress after a chaotic end to America’s 20-year campaign in the country, the retired Army general and former national security adviser lambasted both the Trump and Biden administrations for their roles in unwinding what he calls “a lost war.”

It was not the first time he made important people uncomfortable. You might say he’s made a career of it.

McMaster was a young but accomplished officer and a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina when he wrote “Dereliction of Duty,” critically examining the failure of senior military leaders to oppose policies that ultimately led to America’s downfall in Vietnam. He later advised Gen. David Petraeus as he developed counterinsurgency strategies during the Iraq War, and served in the Training and Doctrine Command, crafting the Army’s long-term philosophies. But he was also passed over for promotions that some believe he deserved, even as young soldiers studied battles he won in Iraq.

The return of 'FOBS': China moves the space arms race into the nuclear sphere


China recently demonstrated a new orbital hypersonic glide vehicle weapons system, to the surprise and alarm of senior leaders in Washington and allied capitals around the world. Their concern is well placed. This specific weapon is designed to be launched into space on a rocket and then race to targets at near-orbital velocity. The hypersonic payload is designed to reenter the atmosphere at high rates of speed, more than five times the speed of sound, and then maneuver to targets in ways difficult to intercept with current missile defense technologies.

Defenses and tracking sensors against that sort of threat do not presently exist. That’s precisely why it is time for the U.S. Space Force to organize, train and equip to address threats in a warfighting fashion. That means defeating these sorts of capabilities.

The deployment method used by the Chinese for their hypersonic glide vehicle is not new. From the 1960s to 1980s, the Soviet Union tested and deployed such a weapon. This system, called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), was designed to launch thermonuclear warheads on a south-to-north trajectory to take out northern-facing North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) ballistic missile early-warning radars. Following the destruction of those radar sites, a Soviet bomber and missile strike force could launch undetected over the North Pole and take out the Strategic Air Command’s missile and bomber bases in a decapitating first strike.

Biden, Macron and the rise of the ‘meh’ men


Forget Machiavelli.

In the world of politics these days, it’s not better to be feared than loved. Nor is it better to be loved. The key to success in the Western world’s hyper-polarized political culture is to be neither.

Just look at Joe Biden. Or France’s Emmanuel Macron. Or Mario Draghi. Or even Germany’s Olaf Scholz (who?).

What these men — all of whom are gathering this weekend for the G20 meeting in Rome — have in common is not just their whiteness, but that most voters in their home countries find them at best to be more or less meh.

Biden, though loved by his party faithful, has the dubious distinction of having the lowest approval rating of any president at this stage of his term with the exception of Donald Trump. At just 41 percent, Macron’s rating is even worse — though not bad by recent French standards. By comparison, Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, who won his office by appointment, not election, looks like a man of the people with 47 percent approval.

How Joe Biden Has Undermined Europe’s Democracies

Michael Rubin

In his first major foreign policy address as president, Joe Biden declared, “America is back, diplomacy is back.” It was welcome rhetoric, but two episodes of diplomatic negligence may adversely affect Europe’s security for decades to come.

The first decision was high profile. As Biden moved to reverse the policies of his predecessor, he lifted American sanctions on the Nord Stream II pipeline and enabling its completion and operation. This amounted to no less than a generational win for Russia’s strategic ambitions in Europe as it enabled Russian President Vladimir Putin both to blackmail those in Europe who have become dependent on Russian gas and to punish those countries like Ukraine by potentially cutting them off as a pipeline route.

The second blow to Europe’s security came just last month and largely passed under the radar. On its surface, the Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, was a triumph. The agreement cements the relatively new U.S.-Greek bilateral (as opposed to NATO) defense cooperation. Rather than renew this defense cooperation annually, the new agreement lasts five years, with a more permanent extension possible. It also facilitates greater training and cooperation between Greece and the United States.

The Climate Crisis Is Also a Global Health Crisis

Stewart M. Patrick

Climate change is bad for your health. That is the unequivocal finding of The Lancet’s annual “Countdown” report, which was published last week by a team of nearly 100 scientists from 43 institutions around the world. Global warming, the authors write, is not just an environmental disaster, but is also exposing humans to searing heat and extreme weather events; increasing the transmission of infectious diseases; exacerbating food, water and financial insecurity; endangering sustainable development; and worsening global inequality. And, they conclude, the data in this year’s report should represent a “code red for a healthy future.”

For the past two years, the coronavirus pandemic has naturally been the overwhelming focus of global public health discussions, having infected nearly 250 million people, while killing almost 5 million and upending the world economy. The health effects of climate change have been more subtle, yet relentless. The pandemic will pass, sooner or later, but the health challenges created by global warming will last decades, even centuries.

Solving the net-zero equation: Nine requirements for a more orderly transition

As leaders prepare for COP261 at the end of this month, the need for addressing the looming climate crisis seems to be grasped more broadly than ever before.2 Already, 74 countries—accounting for more than 80 percent of global GDP and almost 70 percent of global CO2 emissions—have put net-zero commitments in place.3 And more than 3,000 companies have made net-zero commitments as part of the United Nation’s “Race to Zero” campaign.4 Capital markets are increasingly building emissions risk into asset prices, and venture investments in transition technologies are at an all-time high. For their part, an ever-greater number of companies are recognizing how shifting investor preferences—as well as changes in technology, regulation, and consumer behaviors—are changing the basis for competition and are calling for an altogether greater level of global and local collaboration.

Yet, these developments do not mean that net zero is in sight. The well-known words of Winston Churchill, pronounced in another context, seem to apply here too: “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Indeed, the struggle to reach net zero requires the world to both rapidly reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions to the greatest extent possible and also preserve, regenerate, and develop the natural and man-made stores of greenhouse gases to balance all that cannot be reduced. Today, however, emissions continue apace without sufficient abatement and are not counterbalanced by removals. Nor can the goal be achieved on the current trajectory. Indeed, while the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook report, released earlier this month, acknowledges that the transition to cleaner energy sources is occurring at a rapid pace, it also highlights that it is still not aligned to a pathway that would stabilize global temperature increases at 1.5°C and achieve other energy-related sustainable-development goals.

Article (23 pages)

Look out below: What will happen to the space debris in orbit?

Chris Daehnick and Jess Harrington

Space is having a moment. China launched the initial Tianhe module for its Tiangong space station this spring, and SpaceX followed shortly after with the first crewed mission from US soil since 2011. In July, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin inaugurated suborbital tourist flights with their company leaders on board. Almost every week, it seems, more private companies and governments announce new concepts, flights, and projects.

The recent activity, although exciting, raises some concerns. The amount of space debris is growing, despite requirements for satellite deorbit and disposal, and the problem will soon escalate. About 11,000 satellites have been launched in the 64 years since Sputnik 1 in 1957 (Exhibit 1).

No. 292: From Robots to Warbots: Reality Meets Science Fiction

Dominika Kunertova

The ongoing robotization of armed forces raises concerns about the desirability of autonomous systems with lethal capacity. In contrast, unarmed military robots have already improved and supplied capabilities unconstrained by human physical limitations. But despite the long-​term efforts to develop fully autonomous systems, no military robot can lift the fog of war.

The 1920 play “R.U.R.” by Czech writer Karel Čapek introduced the term “robot”, derived from the word robota, meaning labor or servitude. Echoing Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein from one century earlier, Čapek’s dystopian story about mass production, dictatorships, and post-human beings depicted robots not as mechanical devices but as artificial biological anthropoid organisms that can eventually develop self-awareness and experience human emotions. In contrast, today, robots are widely understood as unmanned machines with a certain degree of automation and, increasingly, autonomy.


Israel’s Givati Brigade Trains for Future Combat

Seth J. Frantzman

On the last day in October Israel began a nationwide drill that saw the country preparing for a crisis on the homefront while having to face possible rocket barrages from Hezbollah. The idea was to learn lessons from the May 2021 war with Hamas in Gaza and see how the country can best respond to both rocket salvos and possible sectarian strife amid cities in Israel. This is because the May conflict spawned riots between Jews in Arabs in some localities.

Other issues are facing Israel as well. Iran has accused Israel and the United States of a recent cyberattack on its gasoline network and Israel is now drilling for the possibility of facing cyber threats as well. The week-long drill that began on October 31 was about facing Hezbollah and massive missile barrages that could see thousands of rockets rain down on Israel.

Two weeks before the nationwide drill the countries Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were also putting one of its infantry brigades through a special drill that brought together the Givati brigade as well as the Armored Corps, the Artillery Corps, the Air force, Intelligence and Engineering units. This included thousands of soldiers with a brigade combat team of Givati fighters working alongside armored and artillery units to practice the kind of multi-dimensional and combined arms fighting that Israel wants to bring to the forefront in future conflicts.

Do We Disdain Intellectual NCOs?

Chris Melendez

Former officer and scholar James Joyner critiqued anti-intellectualism within the U.S. military. Opinions will diverge on Joyner’s assessment on whether such bias exists or whether an ideal balance can be struck between the classroom and “muddy boots.” The problem is not that we debate such things, but that we practically exclude enlisted service members from the discussion. [Cue the eye rolling; I’ll wait.]

One paragraph into this piece and you are already thinking, “Come on! Everyone knows that officers are responsible for the ‘what and why.’ Of course they need education. Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) simply translate those orders into ‘the how’ of action.” If only execution was that simple. Yet, therein lies the misconception. Many of us refuse to acknowledge that conditions have changed not only the operating environment, but also in officer/NCO relations and the complexity of their roles in profound ways.

To belabor an obvious but easily overlooked point, technological capabilities create a near-insatiable demand for information and instantaneous feedback. They also require a level of expertise to leverage them. Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte never dreamed of such information advantages; however, globalization was not a significant factor and the speed of ideas was considerably slower.

Preserving the Warrior Ethos


In war, the moral is to the material as three to one.

— Napoleon

The warrior ethos that emerged in the modern Western world has its origins in the warrior myth as embodied by Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War in the Iliad. In America, the warrior ethos evolved into a covenant that binds warriors to one another and to the citizens in whose name they fight and serve. It is grounded in values such as courage, honor, and self-sacrifice. The ethos reminds warriors of what society expects of them and what they expect of themselves.

One might wonder why this esoteric topic deserves attention, especially when our nation has experienced multiple traumas and faces many practical challenges at home and abroad. Understanding war and warriors is necessary if societies and governments are to make sound judgments concerning military policy. American citizens’ expectations help the military establish standards that guide recruitment, training, personnel policies, and even how forces organize and modernize to deter war and defend the nation. In democracies, if citizens do not understand war or are unsympathetic to the warrior ethos, it will become difficult to maintain the requirements of military effectiveness and to recruit the best young people into military service. The warrior ethos is what makes combat units effective. And because it is foundational to norms involving professional ethics, discipline, and discrimination in the use of force, the warrior ethos is essential to making war less inhumane.

Review – Power Politics in Africa

Adeleke Olumide Ogunnoiki

Power Politics in Africa is an edited volume that examines Nigeria and South Africa’s bilateral relations, military and economic capabilities, soft power, and indeed, their hegemonic rivalry in Africa. Comprising twelve chapters in total, the book meets four cardinal objectives. First, it inserts the African perspective on regional hegemony into International Relations (IR). Second, it juxtaposes the hard power of Nigeria and South Africa. Third, it includes the element of soft power in regional hegemony studies in Africa. Finally, it offers a comparative perspective on the leadership role of the aforementioned countries at the sub-regional level, and in Africa at large.

Over the years, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in particular has been marginalised in the generation of knowledge in IR. Interestingly, the editors of the book bring this long-standing issue of the “intellectual marginalisation” (p.3) of Africa to the forefront in chapter one. Chapter two takes a step further by employing Afrocentricity to expound the multifaceted relations of South Africa and Nigeria. Starting from 1999, the chapter gives instances of cooperation, competition, and disagreement between the two African countries.