5 June 2024

Chipko’s Lessons for Today’s Global Environmentalism - Opinion

Adarsh Badri

In the early 1970s, precisely three things happened in global environmental history: at the institutional level, the United Nations held its first Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm; at the academic level, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring gained prominence for advocating environmentalism; and at the local level, the Chipko (tree-hugging) movement began in northern India as a response to the state’s neglect of ecological concerns. While the Stockholm Conference and Carson’s seminal book have remained the referents of global environmentalism, Chipko’s novel environmental activism articulations have often been forgotten. With the independence from British colonialism in 1947, the Indian leadership focused on rapid development centred around modern industries and agriculture. Once combative against colonial policies, after independence, the Indian State retained most of the authoritarian aspects of colonial rule. These included the regressive forest policies that disenfranchised farmers, forest dwellers, pastoralists, women, Adivasis, etc.

Despite all its tall claims about forest conservation and efforts at turning 33 per cent of India into forests, there was barely any proposal for alternatives in the 1952 “forest policy”—and in most parts, the colonial structure of exploitation persisted. The idea of “reserved forests” was maintained in the name of “national needs”. However, forest resources were exploited, and tree felling was permitted commercially. The State’s favour for commercial interest also came at the cost of peasants and forest dwellers’ “subsistence needs for fuel, fodder and small timber”. Therefore, Chipko began a peasant movement that sought to reclaim and defend community rights over forests.

Balancing Interests and Promoting Democracy: The India-EU Trade and Technology Council

Saurav Narain


The European Union has actively focused on diversifying and strengthening its partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, increasing its presence in the region. In September 2021, the EU joined the group of countries to formalise an Indo-Pacific strategy.1 The strategy outlines the EU’s resolve to promote a rules-based order in the region, respect for democracy and human rights, contributing to the international climate goals, strategic autonomy, and common public goods as key goals. To this end, the EU has signed multiple bilateral partnerships in the region including with Japan, Singapore, and South Korea and a strategic partnership with ASEAN amongst others.2 The EU envisions itself maturing into a geopolitical union.3 There are similarities in the Indian strategy as it balances its partnerships within different economic, security and trade blocs, such as the Quad and the BRICS+.4 Amid this era of ad hoc coalitions, the EU and India have launched a Trade and Technology Council (TTC), which had its first ministerial meeting on the 16th of May 2023.

This FOCUS paper aims to analyse the TTC in conjunction with broader significance for both the EU and India. The first section provides an overview of the TTC’s three working groups, thereby establishing a context, and an understanding of its mandate. The subsequent section delves into the broader potential of the TTC and highlights the strategic opportunities that could be mutually beneficial for both parties. The third section critically comments on the democratic backsliding in India through examples. Lastly, this paper concludes with a call for the EU to leverage its partnership and the benefits of the TTC, to ensure the rule of democracy in India and by extension in the Indo-Pacific.

Addressing a Human Rights and Looming Terrorism Crisis in Afghanistan

Lisa Curtis and Annie Pforzheimer


Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, the human rights situation in Afghanistan, especially for women and girls, has substantially deteriorated. Female citizens are banned from attending school past grade six, working in almost all professions, and traveling outside their neighborhoods without a male companion. The Taliban also imposed a strict dress code on women and girls, prevented them from going to parks, and closed all beauty shops—further denying women sources of income and social recreation. The Taliban enforces its harsh edicts through detention, jailing, whipping, torture, rape, and disappearances.

Meanwhile, terrorist threats are growing, especially from the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), which has begun striking targets outside Afghanistan, such as at a concert hall in Moscow in March and at a commemorative ceremony in Kerman, Iran, in January. Regional groups like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Central Asia–focused Jamaat Ansarullah are active and face few constraints on their activities from the Taliban—with whom they share core ideological beliefs.6 According to reports by experts affiliated with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1988 sanctions regime monitoring committee, al-Qaeda leaders are now part of the Taliban’s administrative structure and are constructing their own training camps in the country.

The AfD and China’s Marriage of Convenience - OPINION

Marcus Andreopoulos

The arrest of German citizen Jian Guo on 23 April 2024, catapulted the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party back into the center stage of German and European politics. Accused of acting as an agent for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Guo had been a parliamentary assistant for Maximillian Krah, the AfD’s lead candidate in the upcoming European elections. If true, these allegations represent yet another attempt by the CCP to compromise and spy on the political environment of the West, using a tried and tested strategy. For the AfD, Guo’s arrest raises further questions about the party’s close ties to China, solidifying the view that it has become a trojan horse for hostile state actors to undermine German and European democracy.

Krah is not the first AfD politician to have murky connections with authoritarian regimes, having previously been questioned by the FBI over allegedly receiving payments from Russian agents. Another leading AfD candidate for the European Parliament’s June elections, Petr Bystron, has his own troubled history with hostile state actors. In the same week that news of Krah’s aide broke, Bystron was accused of taking €20,000 from a pro-Kremlin news broadcaster, Voice of Europe. The allegations were brought to light by Czech intelligence, who claimed to have video evidence of Bystron receiving the cash from a senior figure within Voice of Europe at a time when the website had been sanctioned by the Czech government. These developments, coupled with the fact that members of the AfD had been invited to ‘observe’ Russia’s recent elections, expose the AfD as one of many conduits for Russian influence in Europe.

China outsourcing its cyberattacks to hackers-for-hire


Every year ahead of the June 4 commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government tightens online censorship to suppress domestic discussion of the event.

Critics, dissidents and international groups anticipate an uptick in cyber activity ranging from emails with malicious links to network attacks in the days and weeks leading up to the anniversary.

Much of this cyber activity by Beijing is done covertly. But a recent restructuring of China’s cyberforce and a document leak exposing the activities of Chinese tech firm i-Soon have shed some light on how Beijing goes about the business of hacking.

As a China expert and open-source researcher, I believe the latest revelations draw the curtain back on a contractor ecosystem in which government officials and commercial operators are increasingly working together.

In short, Beijing is outsourcing its cyber operations to a patchwork army of private-sector hackers who offer their services out of a mix of nationalism and profit.

Does US need a Cyber Force to tackle China, Russia?


The US is moving to establish a new Cyber Force to close emerging cyberspace defense gaps with near-peer rivals Russia and China, both of which are blending cyber and information operations to strategic effect.

Late last month, multiple media outlets reported that the US Congress is considering establishing an independent Cyber Force as part of the 2025 defense authorization bill, a response to long-held concerns about the current cyber defense structure.

An amendment, led by Representative Morgan Luttrell and included in the House Armed Services Committee’s markup, mandates a National Academy of Sciences study on creating the proposed new military branch.

The proposal, which has passed the committee and awaits a full House vote, seeks to address the inadequacies and complexities of the existing US military cyber formations, as highlighted by various studies and analysts.

The proposed Cyber Force aims to enhance cyber operations, recruitment and retention, which are currently hampered by being dispersed across multiple service branches.

China’s Economy Cannot Export Its Problems Away


In less than a month, leaders from business, government, civil society, and international organizations will be heading to China for an annual meeting organized by the World Economic Forum. This year’s “Summer Davos” is expected to focus on the next frontiers for growth, and China’s economy is set to be in the spotlight. It is well known that the world’s second-largest economy is struggling to achieve the government’s desired level of growth as it confronts large capital outflows, a real-estate bubble, an incipient debt crisis, and other issues. Yet deciphering the exact state of the country’s economy is difficult. With access to official data decreasing fast, some analysts question the credibility of publicly reported GDP statistics.

Among several China-related topics expected to be discussed in Dalian, trade is likely to feature prominently, given its direct implications for the rest of the world. China’s export performance was exceptional through 2020 and 2021, when it had the excess capacity to produce for a world in lockdown. And in 2023, its reported trade surplus, at $823 billion, was more than double that of the pre-COVID era. (Although its exports actually fell somewhat since 2022, that was from a very high base).

Meanwhile, imports have remained subdued as China has substituted foreign goods for domestic production, especially manufacturing. Intuitively, this all sounds like a story of an economy with very strong foundations, making its recent sluggish macroeconomic performance look like a cyclical downturn. But the reality is quite different.

Sovereignty with Chinese Characteristics? Norms in a Changing World Order

Merete Looft

The modern state system is understood to be based on the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which is said to have established the primary norms of state sovereignty and non-intervention. While this system first only applied to European states, it has since expanded to be the primary regulating system in the international realm. Due to this origin the concept is criticized as inherently Eurocentric, as it imposes a system based on Western ideas and values on the world.

Nevertheless, the notion of sovereignty is not only accepted but also embraced by non-Western countries, such as China. The utilization of the term ‘sovereignty’ has become prominent in the Chinese state’s communication: following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s President Xi Jinping emphasized that “China is willing to work with Russia to continue supporting each other on their respective core interests concerning sovereignty and security” (U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2022). The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, furthermore, announced that the visit of U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan postulated an “infringe[ment] on China’s sovereignty” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, 2022). Does this embrace of the concept of sovereignty by China thus serve as a proof that the concept of sovereignty is not Eurocentric?

Unpacking China’s industrial policy and its implications for Europe

Alicia García-Herrero & Robin Schindowski

China is often credited with a successful application of industrial policy. One important particularity of China’s industrial policy is that it aims at levelling the playing field between the state economy and the private economy in access to finance, yet within a framework of strategic goals. This aim is not relevant for market economies, such as those of the European Union, but only for those where state enterprises are clearly privileged.

Notwithstanding the difficulties in making valid comparisons, our analysis of how China conducts industrial policy in a variety of sectors points to success in some sectors but not all. More importantly, productivity growth in China has already been declining for two decades.

Given the very large resources that China has put into industrial policy, with subsidies being only one part, it is surprising that success is not more evident. This relates partly to factors including cronyism and regional protectionism. While the former might be less relevant for the EU given the different institutional background, the latter certainly is relevant since the EU faces the potential consequences of member country-level industrial policy for its single market. A lesson from China seems to come from the sectoral focus, with a long-term and economic-security mindset. The EU is far from this, but it is in the process of linking economic security to industrial policy.

Rippling out: Biden’s tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and their impact on Europe

Uri Dadush

On 14 May, United States President Joe Biden announced new tariffs on China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (unfair trade) 1 . The additional tariffs – on top of earlier tariffs, including those imposed by President Trump – cover imports from China in several sectors, including semiconductors (tariff rises from 25 percent to 50 percent), solar cells (from 25 percent to 50 percent), electric vehicle batteries (from 7.5 percent to 25 percent) and electric vehicles (EVs; from 25 percent to 100 percent).

Most of these products are already subject to high duties or extensive trade-remedy measures, so the amount of imports from China covered by the new tariffs, including EVs, is small at $18 billion. In fact, the US imports essentially no EVs from China. However, it is a sector of great concern to the European Union, which in October 2023 opened an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese EVs, which may trigger countervailing duties 2 . The US move may therefore have implications for the pending EU decision on countervailing duties on China.

Houthis Claim Attack On US Aircraft Carrier In Retaliation For Deadly Strikes

Saeed Al-Batati

Yemen’s Houthi militia said on Friday that it fired a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower in the Red Sea in revenge for the US and UK airstrikes on Thursday, which it claims killed and injured 58 people.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said that 16 persons were killed and 41 injured in the last wave of US and UK missile attacks on the Red Sea province of Hodeidah alone on Thursday, which targeted Hodeidah Radio, a coast guard facility on Al-Saleef port.

Other US and UK strikes hit the capital Sanaa, Sanaa province, Houthi-controlled sections of Taiz province, and two mansions in Hodeidah owned by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and former Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmer, injuring another person.

“This is an obvious targeting of civilian targets, a flagrant breach of all international law, and a full-fledged war crime,” the Houthi spokesperson said in a televised statement.

Ret. General weighs in on global conflicts

Ralph Mancini 

A potpourri of global concerns were addressed and dissected by US Marine Corps Major General Michael Regner during his May 28 visit with the Isle of Palms Chamber of Commerce, where he analyzed a new method of warfare that will be prevalent in future years.

One of Regner's missions during his 47 years of service was as a "Chinese expert," as he described it, who monitored the Asian country's relations with other neighboring nations, such as Taiwan.

And though Taiwan manufacturers a variety of chips (i.e. semiconductors) that activate phones, cars, computers and data centers, China still considers the island nation as a province that will soon be back under Beijing's control.

This despite the fact that Taiwan sees itself as an independent entity from China and is currently a close ally with the Unites States.

Why Republicans Go Crawling Back to Donald Trump


Donald Trump has been convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. But this is unlikely to make much difference to the Republican Party. Not only is he still the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee; Republicans have repeatedly proved perfectly willing to forgive his indiscretions, however serious.

To be sure, Trump’s position is not nearly as strong as the headlines suggest. In fact, his lead in the polls remains within the margin of error, and in the ongoing Republican primaries, he continues to lose 10-20% of the vote to Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race more than two months ago. Were it not for the assistance of right-wing media like Fox News, third-party and independent candidates, dark-money groups, and Russian influence operations, Trump’s numbers would be far worse than they appear today.

Nonetheless, high-profile Republicans – including those who have criticized Trump sharply in the past – have been scrambling to get on the former president’s good side before November. We know their motivation is not to “Make America Great Again” (MAGA), as Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan promised. So, what is going on?

Assessing National and International Responses to Climate-Induced Migration - Opinio

Radhey Wadhwa 

Climate change is causing extreme and intolerable conditions in many parts of the world. The worsening problem has stoked the debate over classifying and protecting Climate Migrants under International law. Termed as “World’s forgotten victims“, climate migrants are the worst sufferers of the adverse effects of climate change. Climate-induced Migration is already a reality in the present world due to the occurrence of extreme events like floods and cyclones. According to the Ecological Threat Report (2022), the number of forcibly displaced people has increased to 89.3 million. And by 2050, the number will reach 143 million, according to the World Bank. Despite clear scientific evidence linking climate change to Migration, the evolution of international legal frameworks has not seen substantial development.

The idea of Climate-induced migrants has been in public discourse since 1985 when UNEP expert Essam El-Hinnawi coined the term “environmental refugees,” denoting individuals compelled to abandon their homelands due to profound environmental disruptions. The lack of consensus on addressing the issue is particularly noticeable, as various terms like “climate refugee”, “climate migrants”, and “environmental migrants” are used interchangeably. This article will focus on the multifaceted evolution of international legal instruments and their efficacy in addressing the complexities of climate-induced migration. Secondly, how different governments globally are evaluating the issue and the mechanisms they are implementing in response.

Rishi Sunak’s National Service Pledge and the Case Against Conscription - Opinion

Andreas Yiannaros

On May 25, 2024, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, pledged to reinstate mandatory national service, a practice that has been suspended in the UK since 1963. The government was quick to explain that the scheme does not amount to conscription, however, I argue that terming this scheme as “national service” rather than “conscription” does not alter its fundamental nature; the defining characteristic of conscription is its compulsory nature, meaning individuals are legally obligated to participate. Regardless of the terminology used to describe this practice, if the service is mandatory and enforced by law, with legal consequences for those who refuse to complete it, it constitutes conscription. Thus, the essence of the requirement—its obligatory enforcement and the penalties for non-compliance—remains unchanged despite the name used to describe it. It is also argued that contrary to claims that national service can help promote a sense of “social unity” and “heterogeneity” among young people, “conscription” or “national service” will not be a quick fix to systemic staffing issues within the UK’s Armed Forces and cannot be seen as a panacea to the decreasing numbers of military personnel, a 32% decrease since 2000 according to the Forces Network.

The UK suspended conscription in 1963, shifting towards a professional volunteer army. The relationship between professional service personnel differs significantly from that of conscripts. Professional soldiers enter into a contract of employment with the armed forces, agreeing to specific duties and responsibilities. This professional framework ensures a higher level of commitment and expertise as service members voluntarily choose this career path. This volunteerism is central to maintaining a motivated and efficient military force, as it attracts individuals who are genuinely committed to their country’s defence.

A new axis?

It has become a cliché to say that this is an unusually dangerous time in world politics. The list of threats to help make the point has become familiar: Russia, persisting with its aggression in Ukraine and menacing all its European neighbours; China, reminding Taiwan that reunification is bound to come, if necessary by force; Iran, close to a nuclear capability and stirring up trouble around the Middle East and elsewhere; North Korea, developing its weapons of mass destruction.

These countries are by no means the only ones making the world dangerous, but they share two features. They are all deeply hostile to the US and its allies and increasingly they work together. Thus China, North Korea, and Iran have all become important, in different ways, to Russia’s war effort. They have also been taking bilateral and multilateral steps to institutionalise their developing relationships, meeting regularly and issuing communiques which claim that they are the ones upholding global norms and that is the West that is undermining them.

There is growing concern that in this way they are becoming less a set of separate threats and instead are coalescing into one big threat. They may still have their differences but have concluded that a united front is essential to confront the West. Recently Philip Zelikow, with a distinguished career both as a historian and a diplomat, has written a rich and substantial essay about a new Axis in the tradition of the anti-American partnerships that led to the Second World War (Italy, Germany, Japan) and which marked the early Cold War (The Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China). He shows the continuities between the current Axis and those of the past as well as its distinctive features.

The failed Gaza pier proves our military isn’t prepared for extreme weather


The U.S. Army’s recent difficulties in utilizing its $320 million floating pier to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza is a warning that the Department of Defense is failing to adequately prepare for and deal with weather-related hazards.

High seas caused four of the landing craft to become unmoored, resulting in their beaching on the Eastern Mediterranean shore. This was preceded by the injury of three soldiers supporting the pier operation, one of whom was critically injured. Such hazardous conditions should have come as no surprise to the U.S. Central Command leaders overseeing this operation, as severe weather delayed the mission by several days in the first place.

This concerning lack of preparation cannot be for lack of attention, as the Gaza pier was a top policy priority in President Biden’s State of the Union address this year. One would hope that political pressure from the White House did not force the Pentagon to disregard its safety standards and thereby place the lives of the U.S. service members involved with the operation at risk.

Russia opens a new front: Mapping three key battles in the Ukrainian war

Lou Robinson and Sophie Tanno

Russia has opened up a new front in its invasion of Ukraine, launching a surprise offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv after focusing much of their forces this year on the east.

The assault, which began earlier this month, saw thousands of Russian soldiers punch through the northern border, and forced Ukraine to move in troops from other areas to defend positions.

It serves as an example of how Russia has been exploiting Ukraine’s main vulnerabilities: insufficient manpower, artillery shortages, sparse air defenses and inadequate defensive fortifications.

Ukraine’s frontline brigades are clinging on as they desperately await munitions from allies and fresh recruits to provide some much-needed manpower.

Ukraine's special forces have developed new tech that allows drones to fly without GPS, so Russia can't jam them: report

Sinéad Baker

Ukraine's special forces have developed new software that allows drones to fly without the use of GPS, limiting the impact of Russian jamming.

The software, called Eagle Eyes, allows unmanned drones to travel using sight rather than satellite-based GPS navigation, The Economist reported.

It uses AI to compare live video of the area below the drone to a map made from photos and video that a reconnaissance aircraft previously collected, the report said.

This means that drones can keep flying even if Russia tries to jam them.

The software can also recognize targets, like missile launchers and tanks, and can drop bombs or fly into them without the drone operator needing to give the order, according to The Economist.

Kurt Volker, a former US ambassador to NATO and former special representative for Ukraine, told the outlet that the technology could be a big factor in helping Ukraine turn the tide against Russia, but that it will take time to see how effective it is.

Ukraine: Russia Wont Escalate, US Will – OpEd

M.K. Bhadrakumar

The United States’ proxy war with Russia is at another inflection point. The battleground is shifting dramatically to Russian territory — something without precedent even in the Cold War. How this pans out will be a momentous event in 21st century politics.

There are three defining issues here. One, the NATO strategy going forward, given the realisation in the West that there is no question of Russia being defeated in Ukraine; two, the constitutional crisis in Kiev with the presidential term of Vladimir Zelensky having run out on May 21; and, three, germane to all this, Russia’s intentions.

To be sure, the NATO and the EU are revamping their strategy while Russia hopes to remain “one foot ahead” of the West, as President Vladimir Putin put it.

Russia is not interested in an escalation as it is doing well in the war of attrition with Ukraine. Russia has effectively countered the US’ Mission Creep so far to push through all of its self-imposed limitations on aid to Ukraine and eventually breach those limits.

Ukraine Gets US OK To Hit Targets Inside Russia: Now What? – Analysis

Mike Eckel

Earlier this week, a Russian early warning radar installation was hit by unidentified projectiles; Ukrainian drones, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency claimed.

It was unclear if there was any significant damage, but of more significance was where the facility was located: around 1,800 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Throughout the 27 months since Russia launched its all-out invasion, Ukraine has been attacking sites inside Russia: first quietly and sporadically, then boldly and loudly, including cross-border raids by loosely affiliated paramilitary groups and spectacular drone strikes in the heart of Moscow.

But Ukraine has chafed at the restrictions that have kept it from utilizing its Western-supplied arsenal to make more substantive attacks further inside Russia: on troop staging grounds, or railways, or weapons depots, for example. A 3-week-old offensive near Kharkiv in the northeast that has stretched Ukraine’s forces thin has added to the impatience.

Ukraine War rips veil off of US weapons superiority


As Russian forces steadily advance in the Kharkiv region, it is becoming ever more clear that the Ukraine war has been a disaster for the U.S. defense machine, and not just because our aid has failed to save Ukraine from retreat and possible defeat. More importantly, the war has pitilessly exposed our defense system’s deep, underlying, faults.

Critics have long maintained that our obsession with technologically complex weapons inevitably yields unreliable systems produced in limited numbers because of their predictably high cost. They are furthermore likely to fail in combat because of the military’s lack of interest in adequate testing (lest realistic tests reveal serious shortcomings and thereby threaten the budget.) The unforgiving operational test provided by the Ukraine war has shown that the critics were absolutely right. Successive “game changing” systems - such as the Switchblade drone, the M-1 Abrams tank, Patriot air defense missiles, the M777 howitzer, the Excalibur guided 155 mm artillery round, the HIMARS precision missile, GPS-guided bombs, and Skydio drones endowed with artificial intelligence, were all dispatched to “the fight,” as the military like to call it, with fanfare and high expectations.

All were destined to fail for reasons rooted in the fundamental problems cited above. The $60,000 Switchblade drone, produced in limited numbers due to cost, proved useless against armored targets and was quickly discarded by Ukrainian troops in favor of $700 Chinese commercial models ordered online. The $10 million Abrams tank not only proved distressingly vulnerable to Russian attack drones but in any case broke down repeatedly and was soon withdrawn from combat, though not before the Russians put several out of action and captured at least one, which they took to Moscow and added to a display of Nato weaponry in a Moscow park that included an M777 howitzer and other items of NATO hardware.

Why Diego Garcia Matters

Nitya Labh

Last month, the United States deployed two B-52 bombers to the Indian Ocean as part of its Pacific Air Forces’ training program. According to the U.S. Air Force, the engagement was part of a mission to strengthen readiness and deterrence in a region that has become an increasingly contested part of the world, whether it’s the Houthi attacks on vessels sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ military drills in the Strait of Malacca.

Army chief lays out what he wants from industry for C2 Next


Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George signed off on new requirements for Next Generation C2 (NGC2) Wednesday, highlighting the new program’s desired functionalities and how industry can contribute to the program.

Among the key attributes George hopes to see out of this effort: a consolidated network architecture, servicemembers using commercial mobile devices provided by the Army and collaboration throughout the service. But most of all, the Army’s top officer is looking to make things as easy as possible for forces in the field.

“I have been a customer of the network for most of my career. Nothing is more frustrating to me in doing this and going out as a brigade commander, as a division commander, or as a corps commander and seeing people struggling more with time to get the network to work than actually fighting the enemy,” he said during a panel at a technical exchange meeting Wednesday.

NGC2 is the Army’s joint effort with industry to build a “data-centric” command and control system facilitated through network transport. The goal is to reinvent the service’s enterprise data architecture and revamp its operational software framework. Basically, the program is designed to create one common data access layer.



Continuous transformation is one of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s four focus areas that aims to prepare the Army for the rapid technological advancements that have the potential to change the character of war itself. The technical know-how required to operate, maintain, and sustain technologically complex aircraft, artificial intelligence systems, communication systems, weapons systems, and vehicles in future combat environments may be beyond the capability of many army personnel. Additionally, many of these advanced systems and software are proprietary. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan required extensive augmentation by highly skilled contractors partially due to these reasons. As a result, the military does not intend to, nor can it operate without contract personnel in a future conflict. In fact, contractors are now considered part of the Total Force. From Joint Publication 4-10, Operational Contract Support:

The reliance on contractors as part of the total force introduces several benefits, considerations, challenges, and risks; many of which are identified in Joint Publication (JP) 4-10. However, JP 4-10 does not address how the inclusion of contractors as part of the total force could impact GEN George’s other focus areas. The intent of this article is to explore the extent to which the use of (and even reliance upon) could affect the culture of warfighting in the Army.