30 September 2013

Yaogan 17 Launch confirms operational status of China’s ASBM


ISSSP Reflections No.1, September 29, 2013

Authors: Professor S. Chandrashekar and Professor Soma Perumal

On September 1, 2013 at 19:16 UTC a Chinese Long March 4 C rocket placed a new ELINT constellation of Yaogan satellites into an 1100 km 63.4 degree inclination orbit.

The three satellites Yaogan 17A, 17 B and 17 C fly in a stable triangular formation. This arrangement of satellites made possible by the inclination of the orbit helps in the location of electronic emission signals over a very large area.

Modern naval ships are constantly emitting electronic signals as part of their regular activities. Capabilities to sense these emissions and then locate the sources of these emissions are critical for anti-access and area denial strategies over the oceans.

The Yaogan 17 triplet joins the Yaogan 9 and Yaogan 16 constellations of ELINT satellites. All of them are launched from the Jiaquan Satellite Launch Centre and fly in similar 1100 km 63.4 degree inclination orbits. The Yaogan 17 constellation would complement the Yaogan 9 constellation (which may be nearing the end of its life) and the more recently launched Yaogan 16 triplet of satellites to provide a near continuous global update on the location of high value naval targets such as aircraft carriers.

Though the Chinese media reported the purpose of new satellites as remote-sensing/scientific applications, land survey, crop yield assessment and disaster monitoring it is clear from the orbit characteristics that this is a part of the operational Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has put in place as a part of its anti-access and area denial strategy.

In addition to the Yaogan 9, Yaogan 16 and Yaogan 17 ELINT constellations, a number of other Yaogan satellites carry high resolution optical imaging and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors. These work in tandem with the ELINT satellites to provide more precise location information on potential high value targets. The ELINT satellites cover a large area of the sea within which the target is identified and located coarsely.

The orbits and launch times of the SAR and optical imaging satellites are chosen in such a way as to pass over the same areas covered by the earlier ELINT passes.

The inheritor as insurgent

Sep 30 2013

Why Rahul Gandhi's outburst against the government strains credibility

The voters of Andhra Pradesh had been so loyal to the Indian National Congress from the very first general election that even when large parts of the country threw the Congress out after the Emergency was lifted in 1977, the Telugu people stood by Indira Gandhi. She wielded so much power that she could overlook the claim of every senior party leader and appoint the diminutive T. Anjaiah as chief minister. So beholden was Anjaiah to the Delhi durbar that he spent more time in Delhi than Hyderabad. He was loyalist par excellence.

Then one day Rajiv Gandhi landed at Hyderabad's Begumpet airport, wagged his finger at Anjaiah, admonished him for some reason on the tarmac, in full view of the state's council of ministers and the media, got into his plane and flew away to Delhi. Poor Anjaiah was reduced to tears. The media captured that unfortunate moment.

That photograph, of Rajiv admonishing Anjaiah and Anjaiah's pathetic expression, was splashed across every newspaper in the state the next day. The revulsion of the Telugu people at New Delhi's arrogance generated a sympathy wave for Anjaiah, which N.T. Rama Rao immediately took advantage of. NTR swept to power on Anjaiah's bent back.

Those who have inhabited Delhi's durbar have always been given a reality check every now and then by the ordinary people of this subcontinent. If Rajiv had good reasons to upbraid Anjaiah, he could easily have done that in private. Why did he have to do it on an airport tarmac in full view of the media? Everyone concluded that Rajiv was either arrogant or immature.

The Anjaiah episode sprang to mind as I watched Rahul Gandhi seek to project himself as the angry young man of the Congress Party rebelling against the sleaze and the corruption of his seniors. It would have been one thing if Rahul had in fact publicly upbraided someone known to be sleazy or corrupt and ejected him from a position of power. That would turn him into a hero. Instead, he chose to embarrass his own party spokesperson, who was first defending a decision of the party's own government and was then forced to criticise it, and worse, he embarrassed the entire government by describing a decision of the Union cabinet as "nonsense".

Perhaps the decision was wrong. But why was this view not expressed when the issue was being discussed in the preceding weeks? Even if it was the case that wisdom suddenly dawned on a newly enlightened party vice president, was the method adopted to seek change of policy and the language used appropriate? And all this anger directed at a government led by a prime minister who has never deviated from party line. Why admonish the government in public?

That error of judgement with respect to the manner of expressing dissent and the visible lack of grace has angered many around the country. It was like Rajiv's Begumpet admonishment. The issue was not the admonishment. It was the method, manner and mode of expression. Poor Anjaiah was in his own state capital. Manmohan Singh was on foreign soil with a series of important meetings lined up. That made the episode even more unwholesome.

The China vs. India News War

By Reshma Patil 
September 29, 2013

A look at how Beijing and New Delhi are spinning events across their border.

Once again Beijing finds itself vexed by the raucous Indian press.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is campaigning against Indian newspapers – which form the world’s largest newspaper market outside China, and combine with hundreds of hypercompetitive news channels. The campaign is driven by the belief in Beijing that it is the media that has emerged as the segment of Indian civil society most hostile towards China.

In August, Global Times released the findings of a unique news survey conducted in 2010-12 on both sides of the disputed frontline that separate Asia’s two largest territorial rivals. Only 1 per cent of Chinese news on India is “negative,’’ the tabloid claimed, compared to 9.5 per cent of Indian news on China. For New Delhi, the Chinese government-run Global Times has itself been seen as Beijing’s most belligerent mouthpiece since 2009, given its reminders of the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and its warnings of the perils of provoking China.

Sino-Indian relations have been strained since a 21-day face-off in April-May, after a unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) camped 10-km across the Line of Actual Control in a disputed stretch of Ladakh. Now Chinese officials and diplomats tasked with spinning Indian media are sweating. Unable to come to grips with the role of a free, market-driven press, they have turned to some of the tactics used to gag their own Party-run media with suggestions that Indian media outlets report positive news and reject the example of Western media. As Indian news channels now regularly feature border reports with headlines such as “China’s soft invasion,” the CCP reaction is noteworthy for what it says about Chinese diplomacy toward India.

Chinese demands that India regulate media coverage of the bilateral relationship are not new. Srikanth Kondapalli, a New Delhi-based professor of Chinese studies traces them as far back as 1976 during talks to normalize Sino-Indian relations, and again after India’s nuclear test in 1998. However, Beijing’s media strategy, which combines soft power outreach and aggressive editorials against the Indian news industry, has become more evident since a worsening of bilateral ties from 2008.

It’s effectiveness is questionable. As many as 83 percent of Indians in a 2013 Lowy Institute poll named China as a security threat second only to Pakistan. The Pew Research Center last year found “only a third of urban Indians have a favorable view of China,” compared to about a quarter of Chinese with favorable views of India. Anti-China distrust is on the rise in India for reasons that include a growing 40 per cent bilateral trade deficit, widespread and mutual unawareness and the unpredictability of Chinese actions. New Delhi and Beijing have sparred in the last five years over new disputes from Tibet to Pakistan to Kashmir, from remote mountain paths to busy sea lanes, but perhaps the single largest source of Indian public distrust comes from a surge in reports of Chinese border incursions and aggressive patrols.

China: Succinctly broadening the border issue with India

By Bhaskar Roy

Media heat is yet to start over Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in late October. A prime ministerial visit cannot rest on mere dialogue and photo opportunities. This will be Dr Singh’s last visit to China as prime minister of India. He will at least sign the bilateral “Border Management Agreement” (BMA) a Chinese proposal to start with but reportedly reconstructed with Indian inputs.

Little or nothing is known to the Indian public about the contents of the BMA. The people and political parties will be looking towards what the prime minister bequeathes to the nation on the very critical India-China border issue through the BMA. It would be recalled that during his visit to China in 2003 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had signed off on Tibet as per China’s demand, hoping China will do so on the Sikkim issue on reciprocity. But that was not to happen. The Chinese did not sign any agreement to accept Sikkim as a sovereign territory of India. In 2005, the Chinese showed one map to their Indian counter parts with Sikkim as part of Indian territory. But this was the only map of the kind the Indians had seen. Soon after, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman stated in Beijing that the “Sikkim issue” will be resolved along with the “boundary issue”. In plain language, India was tricked. From the Chinese point of view, it was negotiated on the basis of equality. This is also correct.

It boils down to the determination of each side concerned and superior tactics. It involves periodic pressure and periodic friendliness; bursts of aggressive propaganda followed by tactical silence; denial and deception; finally indirectly demonstrating immense military power to make the other party step back and consider. Recently, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi remarked at a South East Asian conference that it was a fact that China was “big” and the others were “small”. He did not have to elaborate any further. China’s detailing of its growing military might to counter the US, the world’s only super power, reinforced Wang Yi’s message. Where bilateral issues, especially on territory are concerned, China has ditched its old policy of putting them away. Now with massive economic and military strength Beijing is not going to put territorial issues in cold storage and behave like an angler catching a fish with a fishing rod.

Since the April 2013 BRICS conference in South Africa where prime minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese president Xi Jinping, China has stepped up its psychological war on India regarding the border issue. President Xi gave a message to their official news agency Xinhua that he would like to see India and China work for an early solution to the border. New Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s first visit to India was scheduled for May 22. Great expectation was created. But it was suddenly discovered that a battalion plus Chinese soldiers had pitched tents in India controlled Depsung Valley along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China border. Next came Chinese intrusion in Chumar destroying cameras and surveillance equipment of Indian soldiers. India decided to compromise in both cases. 

Will the 2020 Olympics Really Help Tokyo?

By Tony Roshan Samara and Elleka Watts
September 29, 2013

Hosting major events like the Olympics brings some well-known issues. Tokyo would be wise to address them now.

month to allow Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics was greeted with jubilation across Japan, and earned the nation congratulations from around the globe. To many, the upcoming 2020 Games will provide a much-needed boost for the economy and the country’s morale, similar to the role played by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Touching on these sentiments, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe predicted that hosting the 2020 Olympics would be an “explosive agent” for the national economy and would place Tokyo at “the center of the world.”

The celebratory rhetoric is understandable, but the promises made, particularly those involving tangible costs and benefits, demand a more sober scrutiny, even as the champagne corks pop. With the event itself years away, there are few repercussions for those who promise the moon today if, almost a decade later, their assurances prove to be hollow. The consequences for residents of the city, however, can be substantial.

Aside from worries about the Fukushima nuclear plant leak, there are at least three other challenges Tokyo will confront as event preparations begin in earnest, and which have bedeviled other host cities. These involve debt accumulation, infrastructure construction and post-event utilization, and finally, concerns about residential displacement and deepening inequality.


Increasing attention to costs and benefits in recent years is due in large part to the noticeable shift towards awarding major events to countries struggling with poverty and inequality. India, China, and South Africa have each held events in recent years, and Brazil will soon host both the World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016). Yet, as we saw with London in 2012, the global recession and a turn towards austerity policies have made spending large sums of money on short-term events more difficult to sell than in earlier years, even in wealthy nations. A boost in status alone is no longer sufficient justification, and proponents – as with the case of Abe earlier this month – increasingly must frame these events as economic opportunities that will generate profit and contribute to the development of the host city.

While this shift encourages a welcome scrutiny of the economic value of major events, it is in fact notoriously difficult to make a meaningful calculation of total expenditure versus total revenue, especially years before the event takes place. Pre-event estimates of costs, in many cases from reports commissioned by government agencies, are filled with rosy predictions and often read like public relations documents. Years of research, on the other hand, reveal how often these reports vastly underestimate the costs and inflate the benefits of the event.

India-ASEAN Ties Get a (Limited) Boost

By Prashanth Parameswaran
Sep 27, 2013

While all eyes will be on U.S.-India relations today when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, New Delhi has also seen some recent advances much closer to home in Southeast Asia.

Last week, in the realm of defense exchanges Vietnam’s Vice Minister of National Defense Do Ba Ty visitedIndia, while Indian Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi arrived in Malaysia for a five-day trip. ASEAN-India economic and business ties also appeared to get a shot in the arm when the Exim Bank of India opened a branch in Myanmar on September 9, and progress was made on increasing cooperation between India’s Tata Group and two Southeast Asian-based airlines – AirAsia and Singapore Airlines. People-to-people initiatives highlighting New Delhi’s historic cultural affinity to the region have also been in the limelight in recent weeks. Most prominently, this week the Indian embassy in Jakarta is holding a week-long festival to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema

The events this week are just latest signs of progress in the ASEAN-India relationship since it was elevated to the level of a “strategic partnership” last December at a special commemorative summit marking two decades of dialogue relations. In 2013, cooperation in several functional areas has increased, including infrastructure connectivity under Brunei’s chairmanship of ASEAN, and the launch of the ASEAN-India Center in New Delhi in June, which will serve as a hub and resource center for policymakers, experts and think tankers interested in advancing the relationship. These steps are geared toward realizing the plan of action to build an ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity by 2015, which also coincides with Southeast Asia’s own scheme to realize its ASEAN Community.

Yet for all the flurry of recent activity in ASEAN-India relations, the status of the relationship remains decidedly mixed. Security-wise, for instance, despite the visits of the past week, Indian analysts have recently noted that the Ministry of Defense’s high-level defense diplomacy with ASEAN has been lagged behind the efforts of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister’s office. Notably, Indian Defense Minister AK Anthony failed to attend two key meetings already this year – the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus in Brunei.

Imagining a Remapped Middle East

September 28, 2013

THE map of the modern Middle East, a political and economic pivot in the international order, is in tatters. Syria’s ruinous war is the turning point. But the centrifugal forces of rival beliefs, tribes and ethnicities — empowered by unintended consequences of the Arab Spring — are also pulling apart a region defined by European colonial powers a century ago and defended by Arab autocrats ever since.

A different map would be a strategic game changer for just about everybody, potentially reconfiguring alliances, security challenges, trade and energy flows for much of the world, too.

Syria’s prime location and muscle make it the strategic center of the Middle East. But it is a complex country, rich in religious and ethnic variety, and therefore fragile. After independence, Syria reeled from more than a half-dozen coups between 1949 and 1970, when the Assad dynasty seized full control. Now, after 30 months of bloodletting, diversity has turned deadly, killing both people and country. Syria has crumbled into three identifiable regions, each with its own flag and security forces. A different future is taking shape: a narrow statelet along a corridor from the south through Damascus, Homs and Hama to the northern Mediterranean coast controlled by the Assads’ minority Alawite sect. In the north, a small Kurdistan, largely autonomous since mid-2012. The biggest chunk is the Sunni-dominated heartland.

Syria’s unraveling would set precedents for the region, beginning next door. Until now, Iraq resisted falling apart because of foreign pressure, regional fear of going it alone and oil wealth that bought loyalty, at least on paper. But Syria is now sucking Iraq into its maelstrom.

The battlefields are merging,” the United Nations envoy Martin Kobler told the Security Council in July. “Iraq is the fault line between the Shia and the Sunni world and everything which happens in Syria, of course, has repercussions on the political landscape in Iraq.”

Over time, Iraq’s Sunni minority — notably in western Anbar Province, site of anti-government protests — may feel more commonality with eastern Syria’s Sunni majority. Tribal ties and smuggling span the border. Together, they could form a de facto or formal Sunnistan. Iraq’s south would effectively become Shiitestan, although separation is not likely to be that neat.

The dominant political parties in the two Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq have longstanding differences, but when the border opened in August, more than 50,000 Syrian Kurds fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, creating new cross-border communities. Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, has also announced plans for the first summit meeting of 600 Kurds from some 40 parties in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran this fall.

“We feel that conditions are now appropriate,” said Kamal Kirkuki, the former speaker of Iraq’s Kurdish Parliament, about trying to mobilize disparate Kurds to discuss their future.

The state of al-Qaeda

The unquenchable fire
Adaptable and resilient, al-Qaeda and its allies keep bouncing back

Sep 28th 2013

THE atrocity visited on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre by al-Qaeda’s Somali affiliate, the Shabab, was a bloody reminder that reports of the terrorist network’s demise have been much exaggerated. From Somalia to Syria, al-Qaeda franchises and jihadist fellow travellers now control more territory, and can call on more fighters, than at any time since Osama bin Laden created the organisation 25 years ago.

The September 21st raid and the subsequent three-day stand-off left at least 67 people dead and nearly 200 injured (see article). The attack resembled in some ways that perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani outfit also linked to al-Qaeda, in Mumbai in 2008: non-Muslims were singled out for execution; hostages were taken to prolong the drama; well-trained fighters were able to hold off security forces for a considerable time; and, as at least six dead Britons bear witness, the killers picked a target with a Western clientele. Such attacks are easier to plan and execute than blowing up airliners and more glamorous (for the fighters involved) than suicide bombings. As a result Western intelligence agencies fear that they may become increasingly popular. 

The Shabab’s attack is not a sign of strength. Ousted from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, last year by a UN-backed African Union force that includes some 5,000 Kenyan troops, subject to American drone strikes from nearby Djibouti and suffering internal divisions after the decision by the group’s emir, Ahmed Godane, to merge fully with al-Qaeda in 2011, the Shabab has been under severe pressure. But it has a hunkered-down resilience. The Shabab has proved impossible to dislodge from its southern Somali redoubts and has promised that the Westgate attack will be followed by others of its kind.

Life after Abbottabad

The Shabab’s ability to strike back after a serious drubbing mirrors that of al-Qaeda at large. In July 2011, two months after the Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden, America’s then defence secretary Leon Panetta boasted in Kabul that America was “within reach of strategically defeating” the network. Mr Panetta said that intelligence gathered in Abbottabad pointed to an organisation that was broke and reeling from American drone strikes. With a bit of further effort aimed at ten to 20 key leaders in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, Mr Panetta went on, “We can really cripple al-Qaeda as a threat to this country.”

Specifically, America’s leaders thought that such assassinations would leave the organisation incapable of carrying out complex plots against targets in the West. “Lone wolf attacks” carried out by misfits and madmen indoctrinated by al-Qaeda over the internet might continue; “spectaculars”were increasingly beyond the beleaguered organisation’s abilities.

Al-Qaeda was not only getting killed in the field. The tide of history seemed to be against it. In the first half of 2011 the Arab spring had shown that oppressive regimes that had resisted al-Qaeda, such as those of Egypt, Tunisia and the Yemen, could be removed by peaceful protests. Political parties with an Islamist agenda could contest and even win democratic elections without the West stepping in to stop them. This, many Western analysts and officials held, meant that al-Qaeda’s day was done.

Threat Inflation 6.0: Does al-Shabab Really Threaten the U.S.?

September 26, 2013 

Sometimes you read a news story that brilliantly illuminates just what is wrong with the basic U.S. approach to national security these days. Case in point: today's New York Times story headlined "U.S. Sees Direct Threat in Attack at Kenya Mall." Of course we do. When was the last time something bad happened somewhere and the U.S. government didn't see it as a threat?

The article goes on to describe how the FBI has already sent more than 20 agents to investigate the bombing, and it quotes various government officials and think-tank pundits about the need to respond lest al-Shabab (the Somali extremist group that conducted the attacks) turn its attention to America.

For instance, here's former counterterrorism official Daniel Benjamin: "You never know when a terrorist attack in a faraway place could be a harbinger of something that could strike at the United States." Of course, we also never know when such an attack is a harbinger of nothing at all. The article also quotes Katherine Zimmerman of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute: "One of the misconceptions is that we can let al Qaeda or other terrorist groups stay abroad and not fight them there, and that we would be safe at home." The Times' reporters adopt this same line themselves, writing that "the American government has learned the hard way what happens if it does not contain groups responsible for faraway attacks," a point they illustrate by referring to al Qaeda's attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the 1990s.

Got it? For Americans to be 100 percent safe on American soil, the U.S. government has to get more deeply involved in the local politics and national security problems of this troubled East African region -- using the FBI, CIA, special operations forces, drones, whatever -- in order to root out bad guys wherever they might be.

There are two obvious problems with this line of reasoning. First, it fails to ask whether America's repeated interference in this and other parts of the world is one of the reasons groups like al Qaeda and al-Shabab sometimes decide to come after us. Indeed, to the extent that the United States might face a threat from al-Shabab, it might be because Washington has been blundering around in Somali politics since the early 1990s and usually making things worse. The same goes for Kenya too. Al-Shabab attacked the mall because Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 and their intervention had undermined al-Shabab's position in that troubled country. Kenya may have had its own good reasons for intervening; my point is simply that the tragic attack it suffered wasn't a random act. On the contrary, it was a direct consequence of Kenya's own policy decisions. To say that in no way justifies this heinous attack -- it merely identifies cause and effect.

Hammond's £500m new cyber army: As he reveals top-secret Whitehall bunker for the first time, Defence Secretary says future wars will be fought with viruses

Hammond gives interview from MoD's top-secret Pindar nuclear bunker

Conventional weapons are to be replaced with cyber strike forces, he says
Attack force being built in conjunction with GCHQ spy chiefs
But Defence Secretary admits conventional forces face cuts to pay for it

28 September 2013 

A new ‘cyber strike force’ costing up to £500 million is being secretly built by Britain to wage war with a regiment of computer geeks instead of bombs and bullets.

Fighter planes, warships and regiments face being replaced by futuristic cyber assaults using lethal computer worms and viruses to wipe out enemy targets.

And the Army’s tough fitness tests are to be lowered to allow weedy or overweight ‘computer geniuses’ to join the new front line of ‘keyboard commandoes’.

Keyboard commando: Defence Secretary Philip Hammond in the top-secret bunker beneath the Ministry of Defence, from where the cyber wars of the future will be fought and won by weedy 'computer geniuses' 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who will announce the new plans at the Tory conference today, has hailed the changes as the biggest military revolution since tanks replaced cavalry brigades in the First World War a century ago.

He told The Mail on Sunday that Britain is the first nation in the world to announce publicly that it has a ‘cyber strike capability’.

And he revealed work on developing the ‘laptop army’ is already under way. Future wars would be fought by ‘IT geeks in rooms like this rather than soldiers marching down the streets, or tanks or fighter aircraft’, he said.

‘More and more, modern warfare will be about people sitting in bunkers in front of computer screens, whether remotely piloted aircraft or cyber weapons.’

It is believed Israel, the United States and Iran have already developed such weapons, though no country has admitted to it.

Mr Hammond said clinical ‘cyber strikes’ could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware. And, in contrast with bloody, dangerous and inaccurate bombing raids, entire cities could be conquered without a single loss of life, helping Britain to avoid a military war – and a public relations battle.

‘People think of military as land, sea and air,’ he said. ‘We long ago recognised a fourth domain – space. Now there’s a fifth – cyber.

‘This is the new frontier of defence. For years, we have been building a defensive capability to protect ourselves against these cyber attacks. That is no longer enough.

‘You deter people by having an offensive capability. We will build in Britain a cyber strike capability so we can strike back in cyber space against enemies who attack us, putting cyber alongside land, sea, air and space as a mainstream military activity. Our commanders can use cyber weapons alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts.’

Britain already has a defensive cyber military force to fend off cyber attacks by terrorists and others. It will now develop an attack force in conjunction with GCHQ spy chiefs.

Mr Hammond admitted this expansion is already under way.

GCHQ Headquarters: The controversial signals intelligence agency is to help develop Hammond's cyber attack force

The significance of the announcement was underlined by his decision to deliver it in an interview with this newspaper conducted in the Ministry of Defence’s vast Pindar nuclear bunker, or ‘Current Contingencies Task Room,’ situated way below Whitehall.

It is the first time any Defence Secretary has been photographed or interviewed there.

Appropriately for a quantum leap in the Armed Forces, the bunker is crammed with modern technology, including the ability to take over Britain’s entire communications network.

More than 100 top politicians, generals and others will live in the bunker, built on the orders of Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, in the event of nuclear war, a chemical weapons onslaught or other major attack.

The Prime Minister is the only person provided with a bunker for his wife and children – so their welfare does not affect his judgment in deciding whether to press the nuclear button.

The new face of British special forces: A new 'Cyber National Guard' will be open to whizzkids who cannot pass Territorial Army fitness tests. (Stock image)

The room is named after Greek lyric poet, Pindar. When Alexander the Great devastated Thebes in 335 BC, he spared the house of Pindar.

Mr Hammond says Britain will spend ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ on the new strike force.

The Mail on Sunday understands the figure could be as high as £500 million in the next few years.

It will change the appearance of the Army in more ways than one. A new ‘Cyber National Guard’ of part-time reservists will be open to computer whizzkids who cannot pass the current Territorial Army fitness tests, on the basis that press-ups do not aid computer skills. ‘A TA for computer geniuses’, as Mr Hammond called it.

He poured scorn on ‘crude and bonkers attacks by armchair generals’ who have criticised him for cutting the number of soldiers – and made it clear conventional forces faced more cuts in the switch.

‘Military capability doesn’t stand still. You cannot fossilise it.

‘As much as we love and cherish our military traditions, the defence of the nation means we must spend money on the capabilities of tomorrow, not yesterday.

‘I’m sure a healthy debate raged 100 years ago about whether to invest in new-fangled tanks and stop buying hay for the horses. Some will have said, “Buy more hay, not tanks.”

‘Those who think they are defending our military capability by defending the shape of the military of last year or the last decade aren’t defending it at all.’

He spelled out the advantages of cyber warfare: ‘Years ago, you’d go into a target area and bomb it with freefall bombs. Western public opinion increasingly demands precision attack – no civilian casualties, no collateral damage.

‘Cyber weapons provide the tantalising possibility of being able to cripple the enemy without inflicting lasting damage on them.

‘No cities to rebuild, no infrastructure to reconstruct. One of my American counterparts put it to me like this: “Why would you want to bomb someone’s airfield if you could just switch it off with a cyber attack?” ’


It will mean further cuts in soldiers, airmen, sailors, tanks, ships, fighter planes and more – though Mr Hammond refused to say where the axe will fall.

‘We only have one pot of money and if we going to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in cyber capabilities, we have to stop doing something else.

‘That is the tough message. As our cyber capability builds, we will look at how the military would be likely to use it and where that allows us to reduce other capabilities.

‘Where we can tackle a target with cyber weapons, we may need fewer conventional weapons in that area but I can’t say yet where those areas will be. It will be a constant evolution.

‘The trigger of the gun, bomb or missile will always have a role but as the world becomes more dependent on IT systems, one way of delivering incapacitating blow to the enemy will be by delivering a blow to his IT systems.’

Facing further cuts: Hammond admitted that the funds for his cyber army would lead to less for other forces

Unlike soldiers marching in the street, the Armed Forces’ computer geeks would be invisible, but no less effective, said Mr Hammond, clearly worried that the move may be seen as an attempt to conceal cuts in conventional weapons.

However, he added: ‘A man with a rifle is not state-of-the-art modern warfare.

‘A modern infantryman has more firepower than an entire platoon in Wellington’s army at Waterloo.’

The cyber strike force was a further leap forward, he stressed. ‘Looking at nations in terms of how many servicemen and women they have is completely bonkers.

‘It would tell you North Korea is second most powerful nation on earth after China, and the US about number ten.’

Why the nation needs a US Cyber Force

By James Stavridis 
September 29, 2013 

david gothard for the boston globe

IN THE early 1980s cyber fiction film, “War Games,” a young hacker played by Matthew Broderick almost managed to start World War III when he accidentally nearly launched nuclear strikes against the Soviet Union. It seemed unlikely in those relatively primitive days before the widespread use of the Internet, but it foreshadowed the emerging era of the profound intersection of national security and the cyber world.

If we think of cyber as we did of aviation a little more than 100 years ago, we are just now on the beach at Kitty Hawk. In the cyber world, we have much yet to finalize. While some nascent structures and norms exists, we do not have functional equivalents for: precisely developed and institutionalized norms for air traffic control; airports operating under national and international regulation; well-defined international civil aviation routes; methods and means for military uses of air power; a civilian Federal Aviation Authority with broad jurisdiction and powers; or a Transportation Security Administration.

And just as the United States realized the need for a professional military cadre to operate in the air — the US Air Force — it should now consider the need for military professionals to serve and defend in the cyber world with the creation of a US Cyber Force.

Consider the history of the creation of the Air Force. During and after the First World War, both the Navy and the Army explored the use of aviation assets for reconnaissance, surveillance, and ultimately for offensive attack operations. In the interwar period, a series of experiments demonstrated the capability of air attack, notably against large, slow US Navy capital ships. Throughout the Second World War, the use of long-range bombers, tactical fighter aircraft, over-land and over-water surveillance, troop transport and insertion, and many other aviation missions came to the fore.

As aviation operations became more specific and needed expert execution, proponents of a separate service built a coherent case. Over the objections of the Army in particular, the old Army Air Corps was transformed into a separate US Air Force in 1947, about 40 years after Kitty Hawk.

It is time we considered the creation of a US Cyber Force for many of the same reasons we needed a US Air Force.

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

September 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, testified on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This slide from an N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation shows one of the ways the agency uses e-mail and phone data to analyze the relationships of foreign intelligence targets.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

Indian Diplomats Revert Back to Typewriters to Escape NSA and GCHQ Surveillance

By Rahul Bedi
September 28, 2013

Indian High Commission returns to typewriters

Daily Telegraph

Officials also apparently step out of the embassy’s premises in Aldwych to discuss sensitive matters in order to dodge ‘dedicated’ satellites and possible bugs installed on the premises.

"Top secret cables are now written on typewriters which cannot be tracked" Indian High Commissioner to London Jamini Bhagwati told the Times of India.

No classified information is disclosed inside the embassy building, Mr Bhagwati added, who bemoaned the fact that it was “tedious” to go out into the garden every time something sensitive needed discussing.

Mr Bhagwati, however, said he was not aware whether Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spying agency responsible for providing signals intelligence, had bugged the Indian High Commission.

"The British might have probably got bored with what they hear us talking inside the embassy" he said.

According to Snowden GCHQ partnered the NSA in its spying operations around the world.

Such protective measures follow Edward Snowden’s revelations that the NSA had bugged India’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations in New York and its embassy in Washington.

The NSA is believed to have installed four different electronic devices at these premises to monitor telephone calls, emails, SMS’ and Skype chats and videos. These devices were also capable of copying computer hard drives.

The US, which is a key strategic ally of India’s, was reportedly targeting its military secrets, negotiating positions on various issues including civil nuclear commerce and numerous overseas commercial ventures.

McAfee Plans to Sell Device That Will Defeat NSA Eavesdropping on Personal Communications

San Jose: John McAfee reveals details on gadget to thwart NSA

September 29, 2013

Tracy Kaplan

SAN JOSE — John McAfee lived up to his reputation Saturday as tech’s most popular wild child, electrifying an audience with new details of his plan to thwart the NSA’s surveillance of ordinary Americans with an inexpensive, pocket-size gadget.

Dubbed “Decentral,” the as-yet-unbuilt device will cost less than $100, McAfee promised the enthusiastic crowd of about 300 engineers, musicians and artists at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

"There will be no way (for the government) to tell who you are or where you are," he said in an onstage interview with moderator Dan Holden at the inaugural C2SV Technology Conference + Music Festival.

And if the U.S. government bans its sale, “I’ll sell it in England, Japan, the Third World. This is coming and cannot be stopped.”

The ambitious — some would say quixotic — project is the latest chapter of McAfee’s colorful life.

The anti-virus software pioneer’s antics have included his widely publicized flight last year from Belize, where he remains wanted as a “person of interest” in the shooting death of his neighbor.

Even so, he remains an icon in the annals of Silicon Valley’s history of entrepreneurship. In 1989, he founded the anti-virus software company that still bears his name and once was worth $100 million. In 1994, he ended his relationship with the company and moved to Colorado.

During the interview, the 68-year-old with spiky black hair tipped blond, who wore light blue cargo pants and a black sweatshirt, remarked on a wide range of topics, from how quickly he gets bored once one of his creations comes to fruition (including the software security company he founded) to how yoga helped him 30 years ago to quit using drugs, including his favorite (psychedelic mushrooms).

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Venezuela's Manchurian President

By Juan Nagel 
September 26, 2013 

Much has been written lately about China's growing influence in the developing world, particularly in resource-rich Latin America. While China holds significant sway over many countries, rarely has this influence been as pivotal as in cash-strapped, oil-rich, revolutionary Venezuela.

This became clear last week as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro embarked on a state visit to China. While there, Maduro signed a dozen agreements, but the real reason for his visit was to beg for an injection of cash to save his ailing government.

It is still not clear whether he got one.

Venezuela is suffering an acute shortage of foreign currency, and while the country is not yet in a balance-of-payments-crisis, there are plenty of warning signs of impending trouble. Importers complain that access to official dollars through the government's byzantine foreign exchange controls has all but dried up. This has impacted all sorts of businesses, from manufacturers who say they do not have access to spare parts for their machinery, to newspapers complaining of a lack of paper.

In theory, Venezuela should not be going through this given how oil is at near-record prices. However, with black market rates at seven times the official rate, the incentive for arbitrage is simply too great. Anyone who manages to get access to official dollars finds it profitable to save them abroad or sell them in the black market instead of using them to import the basic staples the country needs.

Faced with dwindling foreign reserves and growing demands for hard currency, Maduro went to China to, essentially, ask for a rescue package.

Instead of winning cash, Maduro appears to have signed many deals -- deals involving oil, mostly, but also loans earmarked for infrastructure projects such as a new port. China also got first dibs at Las Cristinas, a promising gold mine in southeastern Bolívar state.

Maduro also signed a financing agreement for $5 billion, but the terms of the agreement have not been made public. However, based on unnamed sources inside the government, Caracas' daily newspaper El Nacional is reporting that Venezuela wanted the $5 billion to be handed over in cash, but that China refused.