1 May 2015

China blames hacking attack for recent Internet problems


APComputer users sit near a monitor display at an Internet cafe in Beijing, China.
Developers from wpkg.org had said they were unsure why traffic from inside China was being redirected to their site.

A hacking attack using malware from overseas servers was to blame for Internet problems in China earlier this week that prevented users accessing a number of popular foreign websites, an official state-run newspaper said on Friday. Social media users first reported on Sunday that they were being sent to software website wpkg.org and travel website ptraveler.com when trying to access news websites like cnn.com, news portal yahoo.co.jp, and games website runescape.com, among others.

The incident was the latest in a series of challenges businesses and individuals have faced going online in the world's second-largest economy. The English-language China Daily, citing the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Centre, an agency that monitors China's Internet safety, said the redirection happened because some servers in China were “contaminated” by malware from overseas servers.

Building a young nation of character

SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY

The Hindu“Knowledge is gender neutral and can level the gender inequity of the last thousand years in India.” 
It is not enough to only foster cognitive intelligence among the youth. A well-structured national policy for development of multiple intelligences is vital for making India a global power.

The world has come around to the view that democracy is essential for full human development. And only education and skill development can make this possible. The view of the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on the one hand, and Communists on the other, that economic development must be first achieved before democracy is possible, has been decisively rejected. But democracy cannot be sustained unless the electorate is well informed, chooses its leadership wisely, and this leadership is intellectually empowered by a multi-dimensional intelligence.

The world view of economic development has completely changed: it is no longer believed to be driven by human labour, as Karl Marx said, or by capital, as Alfred Marshall stated, but is knowledge-driven. For application of knowledge, innovations are required, and for more original research, we need many more young minds at the frontier. Knowledge is gender neutral, and hence the 21st century offers a great opportunity to level the gender inequity of the last thousand years in India.Educational empowerment

The youth require a a mental faculty endowed with multi-dimensional intelligence. It is not adequate to foster cognitive intelligence alone — as is being done in India’s educational campuses today — but to also develop the other dimensions of intelligence: emotional, social, moral, spiritual, environmental, and innovational. India’s vast youth population is its demographic potential dividend, but only if equipped and enabled with this seven dimensional intelligence.

Tagore's Collective Arts and Secular Festivals: From Bengal To Bangladesh

Shumon Sengupta
28/04/2015

"Collective art' is not an individual 'leisure time' occupation, added to life; it is an integral part of life itself, corresponding to a basic human need. It means the same as ritual; it means to respond to the world with our senses in a meaningful, skilled, productive, active, shared way. The need for the creation of collective art and ritual on a non-religious basis is at least as important as literacy and higher education."


(Vasanta Utsav: Spring Festival in Shantiniketan)

THE ECONOMICS OF SUICIDE POLITICS.


The apparently horribly gone wrong suicide stunt of Gajendra Singh at the AAP farmers rally being addressed by Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi has turned a tragedy into a nauseating rotating stage drama by politicians of all hues and colors. They see votes in death. Few of them seem to understand the reality that has overtaken farming in India. With almost 60% of the population still dependent on it, Agriculture’s share of the GDP has declined to just 13% and declining fast. Very simply it means that farming only ensures greater relative poverty.

To make farming profitable two things need to happen. One is that less people are involved in it and the other is that farm produce gets higher prices. Only rapid industrialization will ensure the former and a drastic reduction in the cross web of state interference to curb prices for urban people. Neither is happening in India. This is a huge challenge and politicians, be it Narendra Modi or Sonia Gandhi or Mulayam Singh Yadav or Arvind Kejriwal, but being politicians they will always take the easy way out. They will keep visiting the homes of the suicides.

But are farmer suicides more recent phenomena or has the incidence grown recently? Suicides have been a part of our life since time immemorial. People in all walks of life kill themselves for various reasons. And some people are more predisposed to killing themselves than most. The incidence of farmer suicides is actually not as high as the protesting decibels would suggest. In fact the incidence of suicides among farmers is far less than the general trend.

Taliban Onslaught: What is Happening in Afghanistan?

April 29, 2015
This year’s fighting season in Afghanistan began with a vengeance. Last week, hundreds of Taliban fightersattacked army and police installations around the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. The battle is still raging, with heavy casualties on both sides.

Two weeks prior to the offensive in Kunduz city an estimated 1,000 Taliban fighters overran Afghan army positions in Jurm District in Badakhshan Province. Additonally, heavy fighting has been reported in several other provinces, including Sar-i-Pul, Jowzjan and Faryab the New York Times reports.

To make matters worse, the Islamic State (IS) may be making headway into the country as illustrated by a recent suicide attack in Jalalabad on April 18, although the Afghan Analysts Network cautions that IS “has been prominent in Afghanistan largely on social media and in reports by the media and Afghan officials.”

Chinese Chequers in Pakistan

30 Apr , 2015

$46 billion! A figure like this not only makes for a great headline but also creates a hype which deflects from the fine print and details that lie behind this number. Not surprisingly, the focus of attention – in Pakistan, in India and in other parts of the world, including the US – is the big number and how it will be a ‘game-changer’, how it will change the destiny of Pakistan, how it will change the strategic balance in the region and so on and so forth.

But start breaking down the number into its component parts, and the hyperbole surrounding China’s grand plans for Pakistan appear to be somewhat over the top. Equally important, the sort of alarm being sounded by some Indian analysts is also a trifle misplaced. While India must keep a hawk-eye on the China-Pakistan nexus, it surely doesn’t behove India to have a knee-jerk reaction to every Sino-Pak collaboration.

India should overcome hesitation to play greater role in Afghanistan

Britta Petersen
27 April 2015

There is a certain - surprising - amount of unease ahead of the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to New Delhi. India has been consistently among the largest donor nations in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 and is one of the most popular partners in the country. With $2 billion of development aid pledged last year and an even larger soft power through Bollywood movies, India is surely a champion of hearts for most of the people on the western side of the Hindukush.

This raises the question why analysts and policymakers in India alike are worried, that their country could lose out on the latest developments in Afghanistan? The main reason seems that with the change of government in Kabul last year, a new sound keeps emanating from the Afghan capital. But it would be a mistake to interpret it as directed against India.

The Af-Pak map is about to get a make over

Vikram Sood
29 April 2015

In the first week of April, the United States cleared Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters and AGM-114R Hellfire II Missiles as part of a $1-billion deal. Before this deal came through, the US had released $1 billion for Pakistan from the Coalition Support Funds in 2014, in addition to the $30-odd billion already given under some or the other head to the country. 

The helicopter and missile deal is the largest one since $5.8 billion in 2006 for upgrading F16 aircraft. This latest agreement, like the previous ones, has been cleared despite the fact that Pakistan has steadfastly worked against the US' interests in Afghanistan, used the Haqqani Network, controlled and manipulated the Taliban and misled the US on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts. 

So there must be very good reasons why the US is choosing to ignore Pakistan's track record and reward it. Could it be for the services rendered to the US in the past or is it a payment for the future? This economic and military support to Pakistan could also be an insurance in the futile hope that Islamabad will stay away from Beijing, which is making very strong moves in Afghanistan and Iran.

India-Pakistan: Why South Korea Matters


April 28, 2015: Despite more economic and military aid from China Pakistan still has to face that fact that their military spends $7 billion a year compared to $40 billion a year for India. While China spends over $120 billion a year China is currently confronting most of its neighbors and the United States over territorial claims in the South China Sea. There are also claims against Indian territory, but India is part of a much more powerful anti-China coalition. Moreover India has a GDP of $2 trillion compared to $245 billion for Pakistan. While the per capita income for Pakistan and India has long been about the same, since economic reforms in the 1990s (less socialism more free markets) India has pulled ahead. Even more humiliating is the fact that many East Asian nations had the same per capita income as Pakistan and India in 1960 but are way ahead now. South Korea, for example, now has per capita income 17 times larger than Pakistan’s. South Korea concentrated on free markets, education and reducing corruption. That’s simple enough, but doing that has proved impossible so far for Pakistan (or India, which is at least trying). Worse for Pakistan’s rulers is the fact that more Pakistanis are aware of these discrepancies and asking “Why?”

Afghanistan: So Many Targets, So Many Casualties


April 27, 2015: With the return of warm weather the government has ordered the security forces (police, military, national intelligence services) to cooperate in finding and attacking local drug gangs and Islamic terrorists. These operations also receive support from foreign troops, mainly in form of intelligence (gathered by aerial surveillance by UAVs and manned aircraft and informants on the ground) and a few thousand special operations troops plus the few warplanes still available. The UAVs also make attacks on key Islamic terrorists, killing 10-15 a month. Killing these leaders disrupts the Islamic terror groups involved and Afghan security forces can often take advantage of that. In response the Islamic terrorists and drug gangs have increased their efforts to bribe or intimidate the security forces (especially the commanders) to leave the drug operations alone. Russian experts on Afghanistan and the drug business estimate that at least 30 percent of the Afghan security forces (mainly police) have been bribed or intimidated to work for the drug gangs. This drug gang subversion is having some success despite most of the population hating the drugs (and the growing number of addicts created by all that cheap opium and heroin) and those that produce the drugs and protect that process while pretending to be religious zealots (the Taliban). When there have been similar situations in other parts of the world (Burma, Colombia, Peru) guns and money tend to have the advantage even though the drug gangs are often defeated (or at least driven away) eventually. The problem in Afghanistan is that the country is landlocked and most of the drugs must be exported. While a lot goes out via Pakistan (which borders Helmand) a growing portion goes north to Central Asia, Europe and East Asia. The old Silk Road has become a Trail of Tears. It has also turned northern Afghanistan, a very anti-drug and anti-Taliban part of the country into a battleground as the drug gangs fight to maintain access to their smuggling routes.

Pakistan, the Saudis’ Indispensable Nuclear Partner


By PERVEZ HOODBHOY
APRIL 21, 2015 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani Parliament, even while stating its commitment to protect the territory of Saudi Arabia, recently adopted a resolution not to join the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. Many Pakistanis are worn out by the Taliban insurgency at home and oppose intervention abroad, especially to fight an enemy whose name they are hearing for the first time and risk worsening relations with its backer, Iran.

The foreign affairs minister of the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, blasted the decision as “contradictory and dangerous and unexpected,” accusing Pakistan of advancing Iran’s interests rather than those of its own Persian Gulf allies. Pakistan was choosing neutrality in an “existential confrontation,” he said, and it would pay the price.

Lessons on Disaster Preparedness from the Nepal Earthquake

Apr 29, 2015 

The recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal left a wide swath of devastation, and the death toll keeps rising. As the Nepalese cope with the tragedy, there are lessons for the U.S. and other countries to learn when it comes to disaster preparedness.

To discuss this topic, Knowledge@Wharton sat down with Howard Kunreuther, co-director of Wharton’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center and professor of operations and information management.

In the interview, Kunreuther notes that Nepal is not alone when it comes to being taken off guard by such disasters. Even developed countries such as the U.S. have seen their fair share of events that have stressed the limits of their own preparedness, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “What happened in Nepal is something that happens everywhere in the world. If something doesn’t happen for a long period of time, ‘it isn’t going to happen to me’ is basically how people feel,” he says.

China's South China Sea Strategy Is Asia's Worst Nightmare

April 29, 2015

In a remarkable public speech at ASPI’s Future Surface Fleet conference last month, the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet—Admiral Harry B. Harris—criticized China for engaging in an “unprecedented land reclamation” effort, creating a “great wall of sand” in the South China Sea (SCS). He went on to point out:

“When one looks at China’s pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states – the lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law and the deep asymmetry between China’s capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors – well it’s no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raise serious questions about Chinese intentions.”

How China's Ministry of Public Security Controls Cyber Policy

April 29, 2015

On 13 April, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and State Council issued new guidelines on strengthening internal security in the wake of unprecedented terrorist attacks inside the country, rising public order concerns and increasing online dissent. The guidelines called out the use of new high-technology and cyber-based assets, including data mining, closed circuit TV and satellites, to help restore central government control. This is the second in a series of five brief items (see: Part I: The National Database as a Security Tool”) by Greg Austin, based on his 2014 book, Cyber Policy in China, providing some political context on how the country is using its cyber power in the service of internal security. 

Part II: The Ministry of Public Security as Driver of Cyber Policy

Parsing Chinese-Russian Military Exercises


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China and Russia have engaged in an increasing number of joint exercises in recent years. These drills aim to help them deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats, such as Islamist terrorists trying to destabilize a Central Asian government, while at the same time reassuring their allies that Russia and China would protect them from such challenges. Furthermore, the exercises and other joint Russia-China military activities have a mutual reassurance function, informing Moscow and Beijing about the other’s military potential and building mutual confidence about their friendly intentions toward one another. Finally, the joint exercises try to communicate to third parties, especially the United States, that Russia and China have a genuine security partnership and that it extends to cover Central Asia, a region of high priority concern for Moscow and Beijing, and possibly other areas, such as northeast Asia. Although the Sino-Russian partnership is limited in key respects, the United States should continue to monitor their defense relationship since it has the potential to become a more significant international security development.

China: Literally A Matter Of Life Or Death


April 26, 2015: Many people in the financial community, both in and outside China, fear that Chinese economic growth is not just slowing down but about to stall and quite possibly go into decline. Some call it the Japan Syndrome because the current Chinese situation is similar to Japan’s in the 1990s. Both China and Japan experienced explosive GDP growth for decades mainly because of highly efficient export industries. But there was something else going on in both countries that got less attention internationally; a lot of that GDP growth was sustained by massive internal spending on construction (of infrastructure, housing and all sorts of stuff both countries lacked before their spectacular economic boom). Eventually there was no more need for massive construction efforts but in both cases the government realized that it would have a lot of unemployed people if the construction effort was cut back as much as reality required. So a lot of money was borrowed until the banks got into trouble and threatened to trigger an economic depression. This forced the Japanese to make a lot of adjustments and while Japan escaped economic disaster, for over two decades Japanese economic growth has been stalled.

Tom Cotton Lashes Out at “Cowardly” Iranian Foreign Minister

April 29, 2015

Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, a vocal critic of the emerging Iran nuclear deal, has made a direct attack on the character of Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is visiting New York City for the review conference of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Zarif had stated this morning that the sanctions relief in a nuclear deal would be codified in a United Nations Security Council resolution which all states must follow “whether Senator Cotton likes it or not.” Cotton’s office issued a statement suggesting that Zarif’s remarks highlighted a divergence between the Obama administration’s claims about the deal and Iran’s own interpretation. What came next was far more unusual: Cotton took to his Twitter account to attack Zarif’s character and personal history, saying to Zarif: “I hear you called me out today. If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution. Here’s offer: meet in DC [...] time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery & terror. I understand if you decline [...] after all, in your 20s, you hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die [...] Not badge of courage [...] to hide in US while your country fought war to survive-but shows cowardly character still on display today.”

What Did Saudi Arabia Achieve in Yemen?

APRIL 28, 2015

After nearly four weeks of consistent aerial bombardment against Houthi military positions across Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — with full backing from its colleagues in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, and Morocco — announced with great fanfare on April 21 that Operation Decisive Storm had ended.

“Operation Decisive Storm was designed to eliminate the threats facing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, told reporters at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. “We’ve degraded their [Houthis] capabilities substantially and thereby eliminated the threat that they pose to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Adel concluded on a triumphant note: “Those objective[s] have been achieved, so now we enter a new phase.”

Could the Islamic State and al Qaeda Reconcile?

April 28, 2015

Over the course of the past couple weeks I have talked to several people who have asked my opinion on the possibility of a reconciliation between al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The question is being brought about by a number of factors.

First is the fact that the Islamic State is losing ground in Iraq and in parts of Syria and has suffered significant losses in men, materiel and in its financial apparatus. This is taken to mean the group has been humbled a bit, and now that it is under heavy pressure, its leaders might be tempted to join forces with al Qaeda. Second, al Qaeda has lost some sub-groups to the Islamic State, and it is commonly perceived to be losing ground to the Islamic State in the propaganda war. Furthermore, in parts of Syria, such as in Qalamoun, some local Islamic State commanders have periodically cooperated with the local al Qaeda franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra, to fight regime forces and Hezbollah. Finally, some unconfirmed rumors are floating around the Internet jihadisphere saying al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is going to dissolve al Qaeda and give the regional franchise groups their independence.

A Time for Middle East Realism


DENVER – The Middle East has not been easy on US presidents over the past seven decades. Historically, support for Israel and its right to exist within defensible borders has been tenuously balanced against the need to defend shipping lanes for oil and otherwise protecting world energy supplies. But the difficulties faced by previous US administrations pale in comparison to those created by the challenges of today’s Middle East.

Israel is still there, but it has become a much more difficult ally. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of the US Congress in March, at the invitation of President Barack Obama’s domestic opponents, has subjected a key foreign-policy issue to the distortions of America’s deep and disabling partisan polarization.

Meanwhile, ensuring secure oil supplies and shipping lanes has become more complicated, because the US must now play the entire chessboard of Arab issues. Worse, it has sometimes seemed to be playing blindfolded, with significant gaps between local realities and policymakers’ understanding of them.

Thucydides Was Right: Defining the Future Threat


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To define future threat is, in a sense, an impossible task, yet it is one that must be done. The only sources of empirical evidence accessible are the past and the present; one cannot obtain understanding about the future from the future. The author draws upon the understanding of strategic history obtainable from Thucydides’ great History of the Peloponnesian War. He advises prudence as the operating light for American definition of future threat, and believes that there are historical parallels between the time of Thucydides and our own that can help us avoid much peril. The future must always be unpredictable to us in any detail, but the many and potent continuities in history’s great stream of time can serve to alert us to what may well happen in kind.

Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. Policy

April 28, 2015

In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Stephen Sestanovich argues that if Russian President Vladimir Putin emerges victorious in his conflict with Ukraine, Russian nationalist mood deepens, or the democracies of Europe and the United States fail to stay the course, Putin will grow more dangerous in the future—both for his neighbors and for the United States. 

South Korea's Liberal Party Woes Continue

April 30, 2015

The more things change politically in South Korea, the more they stay the same. Despite rock bottom approval ratings for Park Geun-hye’s administration and the ongoing bribery scandal, the main opposition party New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) could not capitalize at the ballot box in the April 29 by-elections.

In two of the four constituencies in contention where liberal candidates have historically fared well – Gwanak-B (Seoul) and Seo-B (Gwangju) – the NPAD candidate lost. In Gwanak, Saenuri candidate Oh Shin-hwan defeated NPAD candidate Chung Dae-ho, and in Gwangju NPAD candidate Cho Young-taek lost to independent candidate Cheon Jung-bae.

Russia and Kazakhstan's Trade War

April 30, 2015

The Eurasian Economic Union, launched in January of this year and set to expand with the addition of Kyrgyzstan next month, should be a driving force of economic integration throughout the region. Trouble, however, has arisen between the EEU’s two largest economies.

Russia and Kazakhstan have been sparing since the union launched: swapping trade restrictions and disagreeing over a single currency. The trade war, if indeed it can be called such, stems directly from Kazakhstan dealing with the consequences of Russia’s looming recession. The crumbling of the ruble over the past year has flooded Kazakhstan with cheap Russian goods.

Kazakhstan’s consumer rights committee seized several kinds of Russian products over the past few months for “not meeting technical regulations.” Five tons of meat were seized by Kazakh authorities. Over two tons of milk, which Kazakh authorities say were tested and contained coliform bacteria, were also seized in March. Russia, for its part, stopped 60 tons of cheese at the border for “not meeting quality and safety requirements.”

Keys to the Kingdom: Who Will Govern the UK?

April 30, 2015

Voters in the United Kingdom, who go to the polls on May 7, could well wake the next morning to discover a constitutional quagmire unfolding. For although it is sometimes touted as a model of continuity and stability in the democratic world, the UK system of government is actually highly susceptible to confusion—especially owing to its many uncodified constitutional rules. And next month, once the country’s General Election results have been tallied, the political conditions might just align to cause some serious turmoil.

If the opinion polls are to be believed, then the Conservatives and Labour—Britain’s two main political parties—look likely to grab just over two-thirds of the popular vote between them.

World War I's 'D-Day' Disaster: The Gallipoli Tragedy

April 29, 2015

On April 25, 1915, 78,000 British, French, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers stormed ashore the Gallipoli peninsula amid a fury of Ottoman machine guns and shellfire. They struggled up treacherous bluffs wreathed with barbed wire, reading from maps as much as seventy years out of date. This was D-Day fought with the tactics and technology of World War I. The amphibious assault, intended to dismantle the Turkish guns that dotted the straits of the Dardanelles, would fail decisively. Facing hardened trench lines and determined Turkish defenders, the Entente forces would spend eight months and 47,000 lives to advance—at their maximum—four bloody miles. They would never come close to their day-one objective.

What Central Europe Really Thinks About Russia

By IVAN KRASTEV
APRIL 27, 2015 

SOFIA, Bulgaria — It was only a decade ago that Central Europe, in the American imagination, was Donald Rumsfeld’s “New Europe,” a collection of freedom-loving, heroic small nations — and America’s most loyal allies. Washington ushered them into NATO as a bulwark against Middle Eastern instability and Russian expansionism. Today, however, that perception has changed. Many fear that a number of these plucky, strategically vital states have become Moscow’s Trojan horses in the Western alliances.

The willingness of the Czech president, Milos Zeman, to attend the military parade in Moscow this spring marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany — an event boycotted by Western heads of state — was widely read as a symbolic break with Central Europe’s Western orientation. (After intense pressure, Mr. Zeman withdrew from attending the parade but not from the trip itself.)

Meanwhile, the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, has signaled that his government would block the proposed establishment of a European energy union, a core part of Brussels’ strategy to reduce Russia’s influence in the region.

Russian nuclear forces, 2015

Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris

Russia is modernizing its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear warheads. It currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads, of which roughly 1,780 strategic warheads are deployed on missiles and at bomber bases. Another 700 strategic warheads are in storage along with roughly 2,000 nonstrategic warheads. Russia deploys an estimated 311 ICBMs that can carry approximately 1,050 warheads. It is in the process of retiring all Soviet-era ICBMs and replacing them with new systems, a project that according to Moscow is about halfway complete. The outgoing ICBMs will be replaced by the SS-27 Mod. 1 (Topol-M), the SS-27 Mod. 2, two follow-on versions of the SS-27 which are still in development, and a new liquid-fuel ÒheavyÓ ICBM. Following technical problems, the Russian Navy is also rolling out its new Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. RussiaÕs upgrades to its nuclear arsenal help justify modernization programs in other nuclear weapon states, and raise questions about Russia's commitment to its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons.

A Grim Picture of the Evolving Global Cyber Espionage Threat

Sidney J. Freedberg, Jr.
April 29, 2015

GEORGETOWN: Four days after Defense Secretary Ash Carter launched the Pentagon’s new cyber strategy, experts and officials offered a grim picture of the global threat. The threat is metastasizing in ways that will require new kinds of defenses — even while many US companies and government agencies lag on basic cybersecurity measures.

“The Chinese in particular are cleaning us out” by exploiting well-known vulnerabilities it would be easy to patch, said Stephanie O’Sullivan, principal deputy to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Meanwhile, Russiaremains the most sophisticated threat, she told a Georgetown University cyber conference, while Iran and North Korea are less capable but more “unpredictable and aggressive.”

But sophisticated, destructive cyber threats no longer come only from nation-states, a panel of experts warned just hours later. “The nation-states of the world…no longer have a monopoly on developing this APT [advanced persistent threat] phenomenon,” said Tom Kellermann, the chief cybersecurity officer atTrend Micro. “You’re seeing the true commoditization” of hacking tools, he said.

Another Brick in the Wall: The Israeli Experience in Missile Defense


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For the last 4 decades, Israel has been challenged by the rise of ballistic arsenals in the Middle East. If, at first, the country kept relying on its traditional offensive doctrines, it eventually developed missile defense programs in the early-1980s through U.S.-Israel cooperation and then in the 2000s with the building of its iconic Iron Dome. This Israeli experience in missile defense reveals crucial lessons on the military adaptation to both new threats and new remedies that have direct implications for the United States and its allies.

Networks through NATO Centers of Excellence “Raptor 14” Multinational Training Team Approach (JMRC, Germany)



The following post was provided by Victor R. Morris, a former Army Captain and current Army contractor at the U.S. Army Europe’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of FORSCOM, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, the United States Government or Booz Allen Hamilton. 

“It takes a network to defeat a network,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal, reflecting on operations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan within the complexity of today’s adversarial networks. That phrase could not be any more relevant in today’s highly networked and dynamic operational environments.

AUTONOMY WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT

April 29, 2015 

Whether opponents realize it or not, weapon autonomy — to include the choice to kill — will win, and in some cases has already won, the drone debate. The false wall in the public’s understanding between “drones” and existing weapons is publicly cracking. Before long, military necessity will take over. In fact, it already has.

Two words from the headlines, “suicide drone,” show the contrived division of drones from existing military technology and the futility of counter-autonomy ethical arguments. Also called “kamikaze drones,” these weapons broadly surfaced in the public eye during Iran’s December 2014 Straits exercise, where they revealed the “innovation” of mass deploying“suicide-ized” Yasir drones.

A Grim Picture of the Evolving Global Cyber Espionage Threat

Sidney J. Freedberg, Jr.
April 28, 2015

GEORGETOWN: Four days after Defense Secretary Ash Carter launched the Pentagon’s new cyber strategy, experts and officials offered a grim picture of the global threat. The threat is metastasizing in ways that will require new kinds of defenses — even while many US companies and government agencies lag on basic cybersecurity measures.

“The Chinese in particular are cleaning us out” by exploiting well-known vulnerabilities it would be easy to patch, said Stephanie O’Sullivan, principal deputy to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Meanwhile, Russiaremains the most sophisticated threat, she told a Georgetown University cyber conference, while Iran and North Korea are less capable but more “unpredictable and aggressive.”

But sophisticated, destructive cyber threats no longer come only from nation-states, a panel of experts warned just hours later. “The nation-states of the world…no longer have a monopoly on developing this APT [advanced persistent threat] phenomenon,” said Tom Kellermann, the chief cybersecurity officer atTrend Micro. “You’re seeing the true commoditization” of hacking tools, he said.

Preparing for Warfare in Cyberspace

APRIL 28, 2015 

The Pentagon’s new 33-page cybersecuritystrategy is an important evolution in how America proposes to address a top national security threat. It is intended to warn adversaries — especially China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — that the United States is prepared to retaliate, if necessary, against cyberattacks and is developing the weapons to do so.

As The Times recently reported, Russian hackersswept up some of President Obama’s email correspondence last year. Although the breach apparently affected only the White House’s unclassified computers, it was more intrusive and worrisome than publicly acknowledged and is a chilling example of how determined adversaries can penetrate the government system.

Watch DARPA successfully test bullets that can change direction in midair

APR 28, 2015
DARPA has released footage of a successful test of a new "smart bullet" that can change direction in midair.

Teledyne Scientific and Imaging's Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which is being developed with funding from DARPA, has developed a self-steering bullet. Intended for long-distance shots, the EXACTO bullet is able to change course in order to strike moving targets.

"This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds," wrote Jerome Dunn, a DARPA program manager. "Fitting EXACTO's guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers."

Counter-Terrorism: The Special Forces Scrutinize FaceBook


April 26, 2015: After years of informally using social networking sites and Internet activity in general to find, monitor and sometimes manipulate terrorist suspects U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) revealed in recent Congressional hearings that this is becoming a more formal technique. This will involve custom software for more effectively searching social media and training SOCOM personnel in how best to handle potentially useful information. This will involve using the cultural and language skills of Special Forces operators to more effectively seek out and evaluate terrorist threats. The Special Forces has one of the largest collections of experienced counter-terrorism operators who know the culture and languages of areas where there is a lot of Islamic terrorist activity. These soldiers have spent years learning about cultures and languages and honed that knowledge by actually operating in those areas. In addition to combat missions, most of the time Special Forces are usually there for advising and training local forces in their own language and with a knowledge of local languages. The CIA has long seen Special Forces as a primary source of expert analysts and field operatives.

Electronic Weapons: A Sense Of Being Hacked To Death


April 24, 2015: Civilian and military vehicle manufacturers are become increasingly aware that the many (dozens) of small computers in their vehicles and increasingly common wireless communications capability makes these vehicles vulnerable to hacking. There have been a growing number of vehicle hacking incidents and while manufacturers of commercial vehicles worry about criminal hacking and general liability for accidents related to hacking, military users are concerned about such hacking by opponents in a combat zone rendering their combat vehicles useless.

Most people are unaware of how much computers have become a key part of their vehicles. The people who maintain vehicles know all about it, because those who have been in the business since the 1990s can remember a time when you didn’t have to plug a PC into a vehicles network to find out what was wrong and how to fix it. Over the last decade it has reached the point where you don’t just start your car but boot it, like a computer. Even when the vehicle engine is turned off, there’s a lot more battery drain than in the pre-computer days because many systems remain on nearly all the time so users don’t have to go through the kind of boot process PC users are accustomed to.

Electronic Weapons: What Technology Wants (Aside From World Domination)


April 22, 2015: Would you fly an airliner lacking a flight crew and operated by software and a few back-up pilots on the ground? Actually many people would, just as many people are keen to try out a driverless car (or use existing self-parking software). The fact of the matter is that all this automation has been sneaking up on us, just has it has been doing for over half a century, until it is fully developed and accepted. This is all despite the fear of new technology, often for good and practical reasons.

Let’s go back a long time to the first people who learned how to control (start when needed) fire. There were probably warnings that this would lead to more burn injuries and even then it was probably realized that inhaling too much smoke was bad for you. Today there are still hundreds of millions of people depending on open fire for cooking and heating and there are medical statistics to show that this population suffers many more burn injuries and ill effects (on lungs and other organs) of all that smoke. Yet no one has seriously advocated outlawing controlled fire, just making it safer. Same with more recent tech, like steam engines (the early ones, be they for boats, railroads or factories, were quite dangerous) and automobiles (which are still dangerous, but much less so that a few decades ago, thanks to a lot more software and microprocessors). The same thing has been happening with automated flight controls (for engines, other equipment and piloting as well). If all this seems inevitable well, that’s because it has been.

WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE: A STORY OF U.S. ARMY LINEAGE, FROM 1915 TO 2015

April 30, 2015

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the Air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.

Michael Haskew opens his recent book, West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On, with this note, written by Eisenhower and to be released only in the event of the failure of the D-Day landings that he oversaw as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. For any historical work in which Eisenhower is a central figure, this would be appropriate. The invasion was the most consequential event of Eisenhower’s already consequential military career. As a literary, scene-setting technique, such an opening foreshadows the climactic moment that neatly separates the rising and falling actions of World War II. And the note is quite rightly lauded as a supreme act of leadership and character in an institution — the U.S. military — that instills these virtues in its people as a matter of necessity.

PARSIMONIOUS ALBION: IS THE UK GOING WOBBLY?

April 30, 2015

In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher supposedly warned her ally, U.S. President George H. W. Bush, “George, this is no time to go wobbly.” A look at the current and projected U.K. defense budgets reveals a marked reduction in that country’s capacity to make a significant contribution to sustaining the international order. The lack of debate about defense in the upcoming British general election set for May 7 reinforces the perception of retrenchment. These debates suggest that the strategic and operational value of the special relationship is at risk. Is the United Kingdom going wobbly on the United States and losing interest in doing what it takes to be a major power?

The upgrading of India's forces is still a long way off

Manoj Joshi
27 April 2015

Speaking at the Annual Unified Commanders' Conference for Tri-Services Commanders in New Delhi on Thursday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Government was committed to modernise the armed forces, but "that there is a need to exercise financial prudence and optimise all available resources". 

Parrikar does not realise that the principal blame for the fiscal irresponsibility of our armed forces rests on the political leadership of the country. 

His statement comes in the wake of a somewhat modest increase of 11 per cent in the 2015-2016 Union Budget. 

It comes, too, following two decisions whose implications are yet to be digested. The first was the surprise decision to bypass the longrunning plan to buy and licence manufacture 126 Rafale aircraft at about Rs 1,00,000 crore, and, instead, go for a government-to-government deal to get 36 aircraft off the shelf. 

Infantry: Israel Teaches Tunnel Tactics


April 21, 2015: Given the extent to which anti-Israel Islamic terror groups have adopted the use of tunnels to get into Israel and shelter their forces when attacked by Israel, the Israeli Army has decided to give all their combat troops training in detecting, destroying and fighting in tunnels. To facilitate the training of over 100,000 active duty and reserve troops the army is spending several million dollars to build ten tunnel training facilities. In addition to realistic sections of tunnel, where troops can also use their weapons, there is also a highly detailed computer simulator for planning and carrying out a combat operation against an enemy tunnel.

Israel has known of Hamas use of tunnels for over a decade. Until recently most of the tunnels were for smuggling people and goods from Egypt to Gaza. But in 2014 Israel became aware that Hamas was building many more tunnels into Israel as part of a major terror and kidnapping operation.