6 June 2015

Army launches huge operation against North-East terrorists

June 05, 2015 

Although India has sought inputs from the Myanmar army since most of those involved in Thursday's ambush would have sneaked across into Myanmar, the fresh operations would smoke out insurgents based in hideouts on the Indian side along the border, says Nitin A Gokhale.

The gloves are off in the North-East.

After nearly a decade of low-key, scaled down operations, the Indian Army is about to deploy a massive force to neutralise the re-emerging threat from a group of insurgents operating across three states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur -- bordering Myanmar.

The Dimapur-based 3 Corps -- currently the largest field formation in the Indian Army with nearly 6 divisions strong troop strength -- has already launched a massive operation along the Manipur-Myanmar border in Chandel district after Thursday's deadly ambush that killed 18 soldiers.

PM proposes, babu disposes

June 03, 2015

'We should hope and pray that the PM's sentiment is not held to ransom by machinations and craftiness of a few junior babus who throw in an imaginary impediment at every welfare measure and snigger and giggle at the sidelines every time a soldier is ill at ease,' says Major Navdeep Singh on the one rank one pension debate.

The bogey of the paramilitary perceivably demanding the applicability of One Rank One Pension (OROP) at par with the military is yet another case of throwing an additional spanner in the works by the lower bureaucracy of our great nation, thereby totally confusing the political executive.

As most even slightly connected with the subject would be aware, though the concept of OROP seems ideal for all government employees, it is the defence services which deserve it the most and the foremost because of their early retirement with no guarantee of post-release employment.


June 4, 2015 

Western authors, most notably journalist Carlotta Gall in her early 2014 book, The Wrong Enemy, and more recently, Seymour Hersh in a much ballyhooed article, “The Killing of Osama bin Laden,” have written that senior Pakistani intelligence and military figures knowingly hid bin Laden and actively worked to sustain his organization, al Qaeda, within Pakistan. Adding to the notion that bin Laden and al Qaeda remained in Pakistan with state support after fleeing Afghanistan in early 2002 has been a series of Pakistani press releaseshinting that Pakistan’s premier intelligence outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency, conspired with the United States government to both identify bin Laden’s hideout and then to deliberately orchestrate failure of Pakistan’s air defense system for the period of time necessary for U.S. special operators to conduct a raid into and out of Abbottabad.


June 1, 2015 
“The Islamic State Could Get Their Hands On NUCLEAR Weapon From Pakistan,” Warns Indian Minister of Defense

John Hall and Jenny Stanton, writing in the June 1, 2015 edition of London’s TheDailyMailOnline,says that Islamic “militants aren’t just merely exaggerating when they recently boasted of potentially acquiring nuclear weapons from Pakistan,” India’s Defense Minister has warned. Speaking at a security conference in Singapore [the same one SecDef Ash Carter attended], Rao Inderjit Singh, said that “with billions in the bank, and contact with powerful Pakistani arms dealers, it is feasible that the Islamic State could buy a nuclear bomb.” Last month, the Islamic State made the sensational claim that it is ‘infinitely’ closer to buying a nuclear bomb and bringing it into the United States and exploding it. An article, apparently penned by [current Islamic State hostage] John Cantile, writing for the terror group’s magazine Dabiq — says the scenario ‘is more possible today than it was one year ago. In an article entitled ‘The Perfect Storm,’ ISIS claims it has billions of dollars in the bank; and, describes a ‘hypothetical operation,’ which involves buying a nuclear weapon “through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in Pakistan.”

Afghan Intel Agency Arrests Two Men Reportedly Tied to Haqqani Network for Kabul Hotel Attack

Ali M. Latifi
June 4, 2015

Two with Pakistani terror ties held in Afghan hotel attack that killed 14

Afghanistan’s intelligence service said Wednesday it had arrested two men, including one employed by a foreign aid agency, for planning an attack on a Kabul hotel that left 14 people dead last month.

The National Directorate of Security said in a statement that the men were working for the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied group based in Pakistan, when they were apprehended earlier this week in Kabul.

Burma's Stateless Muslims: The World's Most Persecuted Minority

By Katrin Kuntz in Sittwe, Burma

In Burma, thousands of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority are fleeing persecution from Buddhists. Abused by smugglers, they are being turned away from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Nuralam often sits awake for hours at night when a lukewarm wind blows through the hut, carrying with it the smell of the sea. He peers over at his sister lying next to him on the mat. He sees his brother at his feet and his mother, both of whom are sleeping. If he were to run to the sea as he once did and surrender himself to it facing in the direction of Malaysia, as he once did, then he would have to leave them all alone here, in a refugee camp in western Burma.

Of course they would miss him. But wouldn't this provide his siblings with more room in the hut? And couldn't Nuralam -- a 23-year-old diminutive young man with a quiet voice and an ankle-length cloth wrapped around his waist -- finally become a real person? "A person with work," he says. "And with rights."

Made in China 2025

By Scott Kennedy
JUN 1, 2015

Q1: What is "Made in China 2025"?

A1: "Made in China 2025" is an initiative to comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry. The initiative draws direct inspiration from Germany's "Industry 4.0" plan, which was first discussed in 2011 and later adopted in 2013. The heart of the "Industry 4.0" idea is intelligent manufacturing, i.e., applying the tools of information technology to production. In the German context, this primarily means using the Internet of Things to connect small and medium-sized companies more efficiently in global production and innovation networks so that they could not only more efficiently engage in mass production but just as easily and efficiently customize products.

The Chinese effort is far broader, as the efficiency and quality of Chinese producers are highly uneven, and multiple challenges need to be overcome in a short amount of time if China is to avoid being squeezed by both newly emerging low-cost producers and more effectively cooperate and compete with advanced industrialized economies. The English translation of "中国制造2025" -- "Made in China 2025" -- does capture the goal of localization, but it misses the focus on the manufacturing qua manufacturing. The plan was drafted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) over two and a half years, with input from 150 experts from the China Academy of Engineering.

China's Military Strategy: A Cyber Perspective

June 3, 2015

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense recently released its first-ever white paper on military strategy. “China’s Military Strategy” (abbreviated “CMS” for readability) outlines a strategy of “active defense” and emphasizes China’s commitment to “winning informationized local wars” and becoming a maritime power. Although this defense white paper has no surprises for longtime China watchers and analysts, CMS also contains the first official acknowledgement of China’s commitment to building a cyber force with the capability to engage in offensive cyber operations. When evaluated in the context of concurrent domestic developments and recent incidents, this new strategy offers an indication of what to expect as China seeks to advance and defend its “cyber sovereignty” from perceived threats at home and abroad. 

Reaching for the “Commanding Heights” of Cyberspace

Trouble in Shangri-La

America and China are at odds over the South China Sea May 31st 2015 | SINGAPORE | Asia

LAST year’s session of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a shindig in Singapore for Asia-Pacific defence chiefs, was better for journalists than for diplomats. A vitriolic public row over China’s behaviour in the East and South China Seas made for good headlines. But it did little to advance peaceful compromise. So at this year’s dialogue, which took place from May 29th to 31st, both America, in the person of the secretary of defence, Ash Carter, and China were at pains to keep their tempers, and to couch their disagreements in as positive a way as possible. Alarmingly, however, those disagreements seem even more profound and irreconcilable than a year ago.

The particular bone of contention is an extraordinary building boom in the South China Sea, where China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping and competing territorial claims. All claimants apart from Brunei have built on one or more of the tiny rocks and islands over which they claim sovereignty. China, however, has taken this to unprecedented lengths.

China's Military Strategy: A Cyber Perspective

June 3, 2015

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense recently released its first-ever white paper on military strategy. “China’s Military Strategy” (abbreviated “CMS” for readability) outlines a strategy of “active defense” and emphasizes China’s commitment to “winning informationized local wars” and becoming a maritime power. Although this defense white paper has no surprises for longtime China watchers and analysts, CMS also contains the first official acknowledgement of China’s commitment to building a cyber force with the capability to engage in offensive cyber operations. When evaluated in the context of concurrent domestic developments and recent incidents, this new strategy offers an indication of what to expect as China seeks to advance and defend its “cyber sovereignty” from perceived threats at home and abroad. 

Reaching for the “Commanding Heights” of Cyberspace

A Chinese Cybersecurity Firm Suggests, Obliquely, that US Hacked Networks

JUNE 3, 2015

Mimicking American security firms that point fingers in Beijing's direction, Qihoo 360 says that a foreign group has launched persistent attacks on China.

Last week, SkyEye, Qihoo 360‘s threat intelligence service, released a report entitled OceanLotus. The report describes the working of an APT(Advanced Persistent Threat) group engaged for at least three years in cyber espionage against Chinese targets, including ocean affairs agencies, the departments in charge of China’s territorial waters, research institutes, and aviation, aeronautics, and shipping companies. Over 90 percent of the infections were in China, most in Beijing and Tianjin. According to SkyEye, the sophistication of OceanLotus suggests that it is a nation-state-backed group, though it does not name the country. The report does identify the locations of the IP addresses and command and control servers used in the attacks: Bahamas, United States, Ukraine, Nigeria, Israel and others.

'Build Sovereignty' in the South China Sea

Professor and Vice Dean at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University 

SHANGHAI -- Lately the U.S. has issued some pointed remarks in regard to China's reclamation activity on some of its islands in the South China Sea. It is not impossible to understand some of the American apprehension, especially over how China would use its expanded capacity. The U.S. has long been keen on the freedom of flight and navigation in international space and water and is thus wary of the implications of China's reclamation. Such issues have prompted both countries to set up some 90 official mechanisms to channel respective concerns and to promote cooperation. The upcoming U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue this summer and the following summit in September in New York are top-level dialogues for such exchanges.

Threats Not Helpful

The Two Words that Explain China’s Assertive Naval Strategy

JUNE 3, 2015 

"Active defense" was a favorite tactic of Mao Zedong. How will China use it to harry U.S. ships in the Pacific? 
The just-completed Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore dwelt largely on China’s maritime ambitions, zeroing in on its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. In his keynote address, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter vowed to “continue to protect freedom of navigation and overflight principles that have ensured security and prosperity in this region for decades.” There should be no mistake, continued Carter, that “the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world.” The United States, its allies, and its partners will exercise “the rights of all nations” to their fullest, he said. That the U.S. secretary of defense traveled to the far side of the world to speak so bluntly shows how seriously Washington takes the China challenge.

The Right Way to Stop Muslim Radicalization

June 3, 2015

It's easy to point out flaws and criticise government policies. The harder part is to offer an implementable road map to solve the delicate problem of Islamic radicalism in Australia. The policy solution, however, can only come once the right diagnosis has been made and the roots of radicalism understood.

In my previous article, I did just that by challenging the myths of radicalism and arguing that home-grown radicalisation arose from an identity crisis, one that starts in the household and leaves some Australian Muslims unable to integrate into mainstream society. Such Muslims, I argue, are most likely to fell prey to radical Islamist propaganda through social media or through the physical networks of radical organisations.

The issue of countering radicalism, then, is really about how to integrate Australian Muslims into mainstream society. 


June 4, 2015

Republican presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul has finally done the unthinkable. He has opened Lemarchand’s Box and sparked a critical foreign policy debate that has been avoided since the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in June 2014. Namely, who is responsible for what is happening in Iraq and Syria? Not only did he directly blame the more hawkish wing of the Republican Party, but he also claimed that they have been wrong about most foreign policies for the past 20 years — cue rancorous indignation.

While this might just be a political strategy or an attempt to distinguish himself from a crowded field of presidential candidates, one unequivocal fact remains — and it is something that all people who have lived and worked in Iraq already know. ISIL, along with its predecessors, was a result of decisions made during the U.S. campaign in Iraq. This is a very hard truth for most Americans to face, even those who supported the initial invasion, and one most politicians are not keen on advertising.

Why the World Ignores S. Sudan's Killing Fields

June 3, 2015

At around 5 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2013, Okot stepped out of the doorway of his hut to see the aftermath of the war’s first day. He tried to appear inconspicuous — or, at the very least, nonaggressive — as he walked along a dirt road toward one of Juba’s paved thoroughfares.
He knew SPLA soldiers were patrolling the area, and he suspected they wouldn’t appreciate finding him out and about. At the edge of the thoroughfare he stopped, leaned against a building and silently prayed that his friend, a Bari man named Joseph, would arrive soon in his Toyota Land Cruiser.

The guillotine of dusk cut slowly to the horizon and the scent of garbage laced the air. In the distance, a group of soldiers guarded the gate of the SPLA Headquarters and watched for any sign of an incoming attack. Gunfire resounded from near and far-off pockets of the capital, and the aural pattern of violence seemed to beat against Okot’s sternum and the sides of his face.


by RC Porter 
June 3, 2015 

Islamic State ‘Magazine,’ – Dabiq – Claims It Could Transport a Nuclear Weapon From Nigeria Into The United States — From Mexico

Edwin Mora, writing on the June 3, 2015 edition of the website, Breitbart, notes that the Islamic State, in the latest edition of its propaganda magazine — Dabiq — “indicated it could purchase a nuclear weapon in Pakistan, take it to Nigeria, and then smuggle it into the U.S. through Mexico — by using existing trafficking networks in Latin America.”

“In an Op-Ed, published in the ninth edition of the Islamic State Dabiq Magazine, released in late May,” Mr. Mora writes, “the jihadist group claims it could transport a nuclear device in the same way illicit drugs are smuggled into Europe and West Africa, adding Boko Haram’s presence in Nigeria could facilitate the transaction.”

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq

Seumas Milne
4 June 2015

The efforts of western states are fruitless – the sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the same power that incubated it in the first place
The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.

The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead withthe trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition

Saudi Arabia Takes Out Its Energy Weapon

JUNE 3, 2015 

Riyadh is pushing to keep the oil taps open at Friday’s OPEC meeting. That’s a direct challenge to enemies in Tehran and Moscow, not U.S. wildcatters. 

The OPEC oil cartel made a surprising decision last fall to keep pumping oil into a market already awash in the black gold. On Friday in Vienna, they’ll almost certainly double down on that strategy.

Despite plenty of brave rhetoric from OPEC ministers this week, that’s less a reflection that the cartel is winning the oil wars than a recognition that its most powerful member, Saudi Arabia, is in a long-term fight to defend its privileged position — and take geopolitical rivals like Iran and Russia down a notch.

Emerging Neo-Feudal World Leaving U.S., Global Security Behind

By Steven Metz
May 29, 2015

U.S. soldiers participate in a training mission with Iraqi army soldiers outside Baghdad, Iraq, May 27, 2015 
As the conflict with the so-called Islamic State (IS) swings back and forth, one thing is increasingly clear: Even if Iraq survives the fight intact, there is no chance it will ever return to the pre-war status quo where the government in Baghdad controls the entire nation. Neither the Kurds nor Sunni Arabs will trust the Shiite-dominated central government to protect them. The newly empowered Shiite militia leaders also will cling to their autonomy from Baghdad. If Iraq holds together at all, it will have a titular national government in the capital while regional potentates actually run the place. Local authorities may express fealty to the national government, but Baghdad will exercise little real authority outside the city itself.

Battle Lines : Want to understand the jihadis?

Jihadi poetry circulates online and makes self-conscious use of the genres, metres, and language of classical Arabic verse.CREDITILLUSTRATION BY CHAD HAGEN

On October 11, 2014, according to Islamic State-affiliated Twitter accounts a woman going by the name Ahlam al-Nasr was married in the courthouse of Raqqa, Syria, to Abu Usama al-Gharib, a Vienna-born jihadi close to the movement’s leadership. ISIS social media rarely make marriage announcements, but al-Nasr and al-Gharib are a jihadi power couple. Al-Gharib is a veteran propagandist, initially for Al Qaeda and now for ISIS. His bride is a burgeoning literary celebrity, better known as “the Poetess of the Islamic State.” Her first book of verse, “The Blaze of Truth,” was published online last summer and quickly circulated among militant networks. Sung recitations of her work, performed a cappella, in accordance with ISIS’s prohibition on instrumental music, are easy to find on YouTube. “The Blaze of Truth” consists of a hundred and seven poems in Arabic—elegies to mujahideen, laments for prisoners, victory odes, and short poems that were originally tweets. Almost all the poems are written in monorhyme—one rhyme for what is sometimes many dozens of lines of verse—and classical Arabic metres.

Russian Navy Begins Stockpiling Military Supplies and Equipment at Remote Arctic Bases

Atle Staalesen
June 4, 2015 

Russian navy sending nearly 45,000 tons of goods to Arctic bases 

Vessels are shuttling Arctic waters to bunker up the Northern Fleet’s 48 remote bases in Russia. 

The first vessel loaded with foodstuff, technical equipment and various other goods this week left towards Ostrovnoy, the closed military town located on the eastern end of the Kola Peninsula. 

The vessel will soon be followed by a string of more ships, some of them navy vessels, other civilian, a press release from the Northern Fleet says. In the course of summer, a total of 44,800 tons of goods will be send to the Navy bases. The Northern Fleet operates a total of 60 military units based in 48 sites all over the Russian Arctic, many of them in the Kola Peninsula and along the White Sea.

Red Neckties and Defiance from Ukrainian Separatists

June 1, 2015

Across Russia, the media is celebrating the one-year anniversary of declarations of independence by two separatist entities in Ukraine - the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics - and the start of war against Kiev. According to the Russian military's official online magazine, Krasnaya Zvezda, or RedStar, "due to Kiev's termination of funding and support for (Donetsk) state institutions, its curtailment of banking activities, and its failure to fulfill social obligations... people's republics set up their own management structures and social security agencies."

Russian authorities and the media are highlighting their view that the war in Donetsk had nothing to do with Moscow, but was a reaction to events in Kiev in early 2014: "This armed struggle was not the choice of Donbas residents," the journal insisted, using the name given to the regions of Southeastern Ukraine, "they were forced to confront the military actions of Ukrainian politicians who seized power in Kiev as a result of the February 2014 revolution.

The Role of Inertia in Geopolitics

June 3, 2015

Geopolitics, at least in the sense that we practice, is neither deterministic in its approach to understanding nations and their interactions nor simply synonymous with current events or international relations. At its most basic, geopolitics as a discipline seeks to explain the intersection between place and people, or more specifically between place and the nation, and the impact they have on one another. Practitioners assess geography, politics, economics, security, history and society inclusively to build a deeper understanding of nations, sub-nations, regions and the world.

Constraints, Compulsions and Circumstances

Geopolitics teaches us how to identify and assess the compulsions and constraints on nations and their principal actors - the driving forces and limiters that shape the behavior and direction of nations and their interactions. The balance between "compulsions" (what must be done) and "constraints" (what cannot be done) - a tension that induces or restricts certain behaviors, actions and directions - changes with differing "circumstances," or the current state of being domestically, regionally or internationally at a given moment in time. Thus, some compulsions may exist for years or decades, but only in a very special set of circumstances do they really induce action.

Why Has America Stopped Winning Wars?

At 9:44 p.m. on July 27, 1953, Harold Smith had just 16 more minutes of the Korean War to survive before a ceasefire came into effect at 10:00 p.m. You can imagine this 21-year old Marine from Illinois out on combat patrol that evening, looking at his watch, mentally ticking down the seconds. Suddenly, Smith tripped a land mine and was fatally wounded. As one soldier recalled, “I was preparing to fire a white star cluster to signal the armistice when his body was brought in.” 

Twenty-two years later, on April 29, 1975, Darwin Judge and Charles McMahon were serving as Marine guards near Saigon in South Vietnam. Judge was an Iowa boy and a gifted woodworker. His buddy, McMahon, from Woburn, Massachusetts, was a natural leader. “He loved the Marines as much as anybody I ever saw in the Marines,” said one friend. They had only been in South Vietnam for a few days. At 4:00 a.m. on April 29, a communist rocket struck their position and the two men died instantly. 

Israeli Cyber Security Chief Focused on Future Threats

June 2, 2015

Warns Iran, terror groups could greatly increase their capabilities in the next three to five years

WASHINGTON—Israel’s top cybersecurity official said the country has launched a comprehensive strategy to prevent increasingly sophisticated computer attacks, warning that Iran and terrorist networks could greatly expand their capabilities in the next three to five years.

Eviatar Matania, the head of the Israeli National Cyber Bureau, said the Israeli government was working with universities, businesses, and government agencies to both attract cybersecurity investment and improve safeguards against attacks.

“I think the important thing is to better understand what is going to be important in the future,” Mr. Matania said in an interview. “Even those who are not there yet will be there in the coming years.”

A father's heartbreaking essay about the untimely death of his 22-year-old Goldman Sachs analyst son

JUN 2, 2015

Goldman's San Francisco office is located at 555 California Street.

In a heartbreaking essay posted on Medium, the father of a deceased Goldman Sachs analyst writes about how his son was dealing with stress at work before his untimely death this spring.

Sarvshreshth Gupta worked as a tech/media/telecom analyst for Goldmanin the bank's San Francisco office.

He was from New Delhi, India. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He previously did summer internship at Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Sarvshreshth began working at Goldman in the fall of 2014

3 Ways To Break Free From Materialism

From the moment we are born, we are indoctrinated by our parents, our school system, the media to think that success is defined by material gain. Happiness, contentment, and relationships are secondary to income. Because our culture values material success the most, we currently live in a world that is enslaved to the dollar.

We Don’t Need a Crisis to Act Unitedly Against Cyber Threats

Cybercrime has led to one of the greatest thefts of money, information, intellectual property and state secrets in modern history. The security, economy, vital infrastructure and personal safety of people in the U.S. and other countries are at risk. The risks are ubiquitous and systemic, yet the efforts to address them have been largely uncoordinated.

In this opinion piece, David N. Lawrence, founder of the Risk Assistance Network and Exchange (RANE); Jay Clayton, co-managing partner of Sullivan and Cromwell’s general practice group in New York City; Frances Townsend, executive vice president of MacAndrews & Forbes and former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, and their associates lay out a plan to ensure that businesses and governments work collectively and cooperatively to address looming cyber threats.

On Senior Leaders and Social Media

May 26, 2015

On Senior Leaders and Social Media: An Interview with Brigadier Mick Ryan

Several years ago, I discovered the power of social media and its potential impacts on the military profession and us as individuals. From sharing articles and ideas to connecting with those who are miles and oceans removed from our social and professional circles, mediums such as Twitter and Facebook afford us developmental opportunities that weren’t available over a decade ago. While many of the rising leaders in the national security community are making great use of these tools, I’ve seen very few senior leaders in the military follow suit. Several have opened public affairs type accounts, with a team controlling all tweets and posts, but the engagement is almost always one-sided and comes across as inauthentic.

One of the few senior leaders who have taken advantage of the numerous opportunities that social media offers is Brigadier Mick Ryan, the commander of 1st Brigade of the Australian Army. He recently shared his thoughts with me on using social media as a senior leader in his military. 

How Russian and American Weapons Would Match Up in a New Cold War

As tensions between the two states rise once more, here's how their weapons systems compare 

It's easy to fall into Cold War calculations when comparing the militaries of Russia and United States. After all, a lot of the same equipment from that conflict is still in use. And because Russia and the U.S. are the world's chief arms suppliers, Cold War weapons are found in the arsenals of armies around the world.

These, however, are next-generation weapons systems being designed and fielded, and they are the ones that will shape the next Cold War—and its proxy conflicts. Here are a few match-ups for these future clashes and who will have the edge.

Commentary: Military's management practices can't compete

By Tim Kane
June 3, 2015 

As debate intensifies in Congress about reforming the Pentagon's retirement and personnel policies, a new survey I conducted in partnership with Military Times yielded high scores for leadership culture in the U.S. military services compared to private sector firms, but far lower scores in talent management. The survey measures 40 elements of leadership and management practices in any organization, with goal of getting beyond narrative critiques of the armed forces.

Everyone from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to junior officers and noncommissioned officers seems to agree that the personnel system needs reform. But how exactly? I've talked to hundreds of reformers in recent years, all sincere and full of passion, but diverging wildly on what is broken, and more wildly in what should be done about it.

Swarm Technology Could Revolutionize Military Combat

By Matt Danzer
May 22, 2015

The Washington Post: “One of the highlights of the Pentagon’s first-ever Department of Defense Lab Day in Washington, D.C. on May 14 was the demonstration of new micro aerial vehicles known as CICADAs. These micro-drones, which can be deployed from military aircraft at altitudes close to 50,000 feet and still fit in the palm of your hand, could represent the next big thing in the way wars are waged. Think military infestations rather than military invasions.”

“Some of the scenarios outlined by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory include dropping CICADA drones tens of thousands of feet above enemy lines, where they can be used to eavesdrop on troop movements once they are equipped with microphones. At the very least, they might provide a clue about traffic or activity at checkpoints on roads leading into and out of difficult terrain. If you add magnetic sensors, they might even be able to pick up the movement of submarines below the water’s surface.”

“In an era of asymmetric warfare, tiny innovations such as the CICADA are what might be needed to take the fight to the enemy in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine if the U.S. military had been able to drop off hundreds of these CICADAs over mountainous areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan in the search for Osama bin Laden. Forget ‘boots on the ground,’ ‘insect wings in the sky’ might be a better metaphor.”

What A Retired Army Colonel Taught Me About Money

By Kalen Bruce

As a military member myself, I’ll be the first to say that most active duty service members have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to their finances. It’s true that most people in general don’t have a clue, but it almost seems worse in the military. That being said, when I do meet someone in the military who shares my love of finances, it’s an automatic friendship. Enter my friend Eric. A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and now a financial advisor for First Command.

With 20+ years in the service, Eric knows a thing or two about the military and he also knows about money. That’s a rare combination, which is what makes him so interesting.

Here’s what this retired Colonel taught me about money…

The Life of Eric

A Strategic Blending: When RMA Meets the Revolution in IW

June 3, 2015 

SWJ: What are the lessons that NATO’s competitive adversaries have taken from Ogarkov’s military technical revolution?

Jim Thomas: It is interesting in 2015 to look back almost 31 years ago. 1984 is a good place to start telling the story. Nikolai Ogarkov outlined the basic thesis of the military technical revolution involving long-range precision weaponry coupled with advanced sensors to create a reconnaissance-strike complex. If you then look ahead to the 1991 Gulf War there were two basic interpretations of what the war meant. At the risk of over-simplifying, I would call one approach the American military’s interpretation and the other the Chinese interpretation. Many American military observers viewed a lopsided victory in Desert Storm as validating many of the ideas that Ogarkov had despite the fact that the fact that the vast majority of the munitions that were used during the First Gulf War were not PGMs. Nevertheless, many Americans believed they had just glimpsed of the future: the potential for the satellite communications, GPS, launching a single weapon against a target. In the American interpretation, an RMA was seen as something that would allow to US to extend its domination and preponderance in the military sphere, in particular to be able to conduct power projection operations in the distant regions of the world and maintain control of various domains – the seas, skies, land, space and cyberspace.

Human Security in the Digital Age: A Relocation of Power and Control over Security from State to Non-State Actors

June 3, 2015

Human Security in the Digital Age: A Relocation of Power and Control over Security from State to Non-State Actors

The purpose of his article is to examine the increasing role of non-state actors in security issues. This paper sheds light on the relocation of power and control over security from state to non-state armed actors, such as drug cartels, paramilitaries, terrorists, self-defense groups, warlords, private security, and military companies as an effect of technological and informational revolutions, a phenomenon unfolding over the last decade. It seeks to better understand privatization of both security as well as violence in an increasingly globalized world.

Background: State-buildings and its Relations with Non-state Actors

Stanley McChrystal on how to shake up the military

By Lillian Cunningham 
May 15 

The retired Army general says we should break down barriers between the military and business world. (Lillian Cunningham, Jayne Orenstein, Jhaan Elker, Kyle Barss and Julio Negron/The Washington Post)

"I've dealt with a lot of chief executive officers who could walk in and be general officers in the military tomorrow. All we'd have to do is get them a uniform and a rank."

And not only could CEOs jump right in as high-ranking officers, says retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but he adds that the military would be much better for it.

This is a bold statement coming from one of the most prominent modern-day Army commanders, but then Gen. McChrystal has never been one to hold back ideas. Five years ago, he was asked to resign as commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, following comments he and his staff made about the administration in a Rolling Stone profile.

6 Remarkable Excerpts From Patton’s Famously Vulgar 3rd Army Speech

By Corey Adwar 
May 29, 2015

Enlisted troops loved every profanity-laden bit of Patton’s speech, which the general’s wife believed was not for civilian ears.

Seventy-one years ago this week, U.S. Army General George S. Patton, Jr. delivered what is considered one of the most rousing military speeches of all time to the American 3rd Army waiting to do battle in German-occupied France.

Patton actually recited the widely revered speech four to six times between late May and early June 1944, without consulting any notes, writes Terry Brighton in his book “Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War.” The content of each of those speeches from one to the next was substantially, but not entirely, identical. Every time, Patton wore his helmet and polished cavalry boots, gripping a riding crop that he snapped occasionally for dramatic effect.

McChrystal’s Plan To Shake Up The Service Shouldn’t Stop At Senior Ranks

By Carl Forsling 
June 1, 2015

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal speaks during a forum at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, March 11, 2013.

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal has proposed letting people with great business experience into the military at senior ranks. He’s on to something.

The military personnel system is frequently credited with the oft-cited “brain-drain,” the Defense Department’s longtime problem with personnel retention. Many believe that the military loses its best performers to private industry due to its rigid personnel process.

Usually, these discussions are long on problems and short on solutions. Recently, though, retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, known as a man who’s been around, discussed one possible solution in an interview with the Washington Post.

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I?

JUN 3, 2015
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An early morning attack by British forces on the Western Front in 1917AP

In the spring of 2015, my undergraduate son and I drove the length of the 1914-1918 Western Front, from the British battlefields in Flanders through the French zone in Champagne and Lorraine to the American cemeteries and monuments: Chateau-Thierry, St. Quentin, Belleau Wood, the Argonne. The nearer we approached the American sector, the fewer tourists shared the sites with us. Under the Menin gate at Ypres—a massive memorial to Britain’s lost—we were jostled among half a thousand men and women, boys and girls. In the overwhelming Meuse-Argonne cemetery, the largest American military burying place in all Europe, we stood alone.