18 June 2015


June 16, 2015 ·

In the wake of India’s hot pursuit of militants into Myanmar, Pakistan has raised numerous alarms about Indian aggression. It has issued various warnings that no such Indian incursion into Pakistan will be tolerated. As often happens in such circumstances, the international media has raised the tocsin of the potential for yet another “Indo-Pakistan” clash. Unfortunately, much of this coverage of the so-called India-Pakistan conflict is deeply problematic in that writers, perhaps with good intentions, seek to impose a false equivalence on both nations’ conduct, giving the impression that India and Pakistan contribute equally to the fraught situation that currently exists.

Former US Spymaster: China Could Use OPM Data to Recruit Spies

June 17, 2015

A former NSA and CIA chief outlines the damage the OPM hack could unleash. 
Retired General Michael Hayden is somewhat of an authority on spycraft, having led both the U.S. National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency over his long career. So when he notes that the recent breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management—in which the personal information and background information of millions of current and former U.S. federal government employees was stolen by attackers presumed to be based in China—was a “tremendously big deal,” people will listen.

Hayden noted that the OPM data was a “legitimate foreign intelligence target.” Hayden continued: “To grab the equivalent in the Chinese system, I would not have thought twice. I would not have asked permission…This is not ‘shame on China.’ This is ‘shame on us’ for not protecting that kind of information.” Highlighting a possible use case for the information, Hayden noted that the information could help China recruit spies in the United States—a deeply troubling outcome for the United States.

China's Military Strategy

June 16, 2015

China recently published its new Military Strategy. Within this strategy China must be given credit for clearly articulating its version of the “Monroe Doctrine” for the Asia-Pacific region and its desire to no longer play second fiddle to the U.S. globally. Unlike the current U.S. national security strategy, China’s strategy is more narrowly focused on securing its near abroad (the first island chain) while also expanding its military reach to secure its interests globally. Meanwhile, the U.S. faces a complex global landscape, and must confront threats perceived and real emanating from multiple angles while managing significant fiscal constraints.

China’s strategy document — which indicates a more aggressive maritime approach—along with setbacks in Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s continued aggression in the Ukraine, demonstrates the inability for the U.S. to dictate events throughout the globe. Rather the U.S. is forced to react, which raises questions regarding its ability to pivot in any direction. The current U.S. National Security Strategy and subsequent military strategies are designed to simply maintain the status quo while the Chinese Military Strategy seeks to accommodate its rise as a global power.

China Stays Coy on Fighting Islamic State

June 17, 2015

Strangely, Chinese reports of meetings with Iraq’s foreign minister made no mention of IS. 

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has been in China since June 13 for an official visit, including meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

On June 14, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairsdescribed the purpose of his visit: “he will, during the visit to China, address the world to side with Iraq in its legitimate war against IS [Islamic State]” (all sic). Jaafari noted that China has “expressed its readiness to support Iraq in its war against the terrorist Islamic State (IS) gangs without joining the international coalition,” referencing a conversation he had with Wang in September 2014. At that time, Jaafari said that Wang had offered China’s help in defeating IS, including providing support for air strikes – although Wang made it clear that China’s existing policies would not allow it to join the U.S.-led international coalition against IS.

Government Oversight with 'Chinese Characteristics'

June 17, 2015

Why feedback machines in government offices aren’t a substitute for political reform. 

Chinese people returning from abroad and passing through customs often see the following: at the immigration counter where passports are checked, there’s a small electronic panel. The panel has four buttons: “very satisfied,” “satisfied,” “taking too much time,” and “negative attitude.” This allows passengers to give feedback to customs officers while passing through the passport check.

This panel has made foreign friends who enter China with me very curious. They stare at the panel, looking it up and down as if it were an antique from the Qing dynasty. When they realize its purpose, they always seem surprised.

China's Military Practices Invading Taiwan

China’s military is practicing invading Taiwan, IHS Jane’s notes.

In a new analysis by Richard Fisher and James Hardy, IHS Jane’s reports that “A series of Chinese military exercises between late May and early June showcased the ability of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to project land, air, and naval power into the area around Taiwan.”

The exercises demonstrated the People's Liberation Army’s plan to use civilian ships during emergencies to help boost its forces.

“To compensate for the relatively small size of its formal naval amphibious transport fleet the PLA has co-funded construction of a large number of ferries used by civilian companies. They will be made available to the PLA during emergencies and are a frequent element in civil-military transport exercises,” Fisher and Hardy write.

How to Save U.S.-China Ties

In his new book, The China Challenge, Christensen provides a guide for salvaging the U.S.-China relationship.

China’s large-scale construction of artificial islands in the hotly disputed waters of the South China Sea has led many in Washington to call for a tougher stance against Beijing. While China no doubt bears much responsibility for pursuing murky and ambitious territorial claims with aggressive actions,contending with China’s rise also requires a lot more than just getting tough.

During the course of the Obama administration, Beijing has reacted negatively not just to the administration’s gestures of goodwill but also to its more confrontational actions and rhetoric. A look back at the missteps early in the Obama administration would offer a useful guide to prescribing future action.The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power, a new book by noted China scholar Thomas Christensen, provides precisely such a guide.

5 Chinese Cyber Attacks That Might Be Even Worse Than the OPM Hack

JUNE 15, 2015

If the Chinese government is in fact behind the OPM hack, it would not be their boldest alleged move in cyberspace; only the most recent. 

Part of the reason I am a bit blasé about the Office of Personnel Management hack, is if the Chinese government is indeed behind it, it’s not by any stretch the most dastardly thing they have done in cyberspace. It’s just the most recent one that we know about. It’s getting a lot of press because personally identifiable information (PII) was compromised.

Rob Knake is a Senior Fellow for Cyber Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His work focuses on Internet Governance, public-private partnerships, and cyber conflict. He served from 2011 to 2015 as Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council. In this role, he was ... Full Bio

4 Trillion Reasons China’s Currency Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

JUNE 16, 2015 

China isn’t ready to supply the rest of the world with RMB. So why does it matter if the currency gets the IMF's stamp of approval? 

A lot of hyperventilation has lately been devoted to the future international role of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB). The latest flurry of excitement centers on China’s bid to have the RMB included in the basket of currencies represented in the Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund. According to accepted wisdom, the RMB’s inclusion in the SDR basket would be a landmark step, formal recognition of its coming-of-age as a global reserve currency. SDR status, many say, would give central banks the green light to add RMB to their reserves and encourage investors to pour money into Chinese stocks and bonds.


June 16, 2015

Editor’s Note: This piece on the War on the Rocks Hasty Ambush blog is published in partnership with the Hoover Institution’s new Military History in the News, a weekly column from the Hoover Institution that reflects on how the study of the past alone allows us to make sense of the often baffling daily violence, not by offering exact parallels from history, but rather by providing contexts of similarity and difference that foster perspective and insight — and reassurance that nothing is ever quite new.

On June 2, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken told France Inter radio that the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIL had killed 10,000 members in the nine months since the attacks began. This was undoubtedly a salvo in the information campaign against the extremist group, as well as an attempt to downplay the recent loss of Ramadi to the Islamic State. The statistic is interesting, but irrelevant unless it means that the number of fighters in the Islamic State ranks is declining. The count on this score is not encouraging, with indications that ISIL is recruiting enough replacements to balance its losses to air attacks.

Iran and the Islamic Finance Crown

By Jacopo Dettoni
June 16, 2015

Could an Iranian financial comeback challenge Sunni dominance of global Islamic finance? 

Iran is one of the pioneers of Islamic finance. In 1983, four years after the revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah, the Islamic government passed the Riba-Free Banking Act, forcing local banks to rebuild their business around sharia-compliant products.

More than 30 years on, the Iranian banking industry remains completely regulated by sharia law and is by far the world’s largest center of Islamic banking. Yet its experience is unique within the global Islamic community, as it is inspired by Shia jurisprudence, which often diverges from mainstream Sunni jurisprudence. Sunni scholars have repeatedly questioned the “rightfulness” of Iranian banks, with some even claiming that they “are merely carrying Islamic labels and are rather dummy version [sic] of Islamic banks,” to put it in the words of a paper published by the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM).

What the US Should Do About ISIS Now

JUNE 15, 2015

More than a dozen experts and scholars weigh in on how the U.S. should regroup as the coalition nears the end of its first year of fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. 

The past few years have seen the official conclusions of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the United States had no time to breathe a collective sigh of relief before the rapid advances of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) were presenting us with another political, ideological, possibly military quandary in the Middle East. How should the United States respond? We asked leading foreign policy intellectuals to propose their best answers.

Russia to Begin Testing Three More Stealth Fighter Prototypes

JUNE 16, 2015

PARIS — United Aircraft Corp. plans to deliver three more prototypes of an advanced stealth fighter jet to the Russian military for testing as early as next year, a company official said.
The president of the Moscow-based company, Yuri Slyusar, said three more of the T-50 PAK-FA, a fifth-generation stealth fighter made by United Aircraft subsidiary Sukhoi, will be transferred to the Russian air force in late 2016 or early 2016 as part of a test program.

“We can say that we are in the schedule and these three additional prototypes will allow us to greatly expand the testing program and do it faster,” he said through a translator during a briefing with reporters Monday at the Paris Air Show. “What we’re speaking about in the schedule is to deliver the first batch at the end of 2016, beginning of 2017 to the customer, the ministry of defense, so the aircraft demonstrate all necessary and design characteristics.”

Russia warns of 'new military confrontation' in Europe

Russia-West relations took a downturn this week when Moscow warned that any stationing of military equipment along its border with Europe could have "dangerous consequences" and President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would add more than 40 ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.

At a military and arms fair on Tuesday, Putin announced the addition of the intercontinental ballistic missiles which, he said, were able to overcome "even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems."

After the announcement, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said that Putin's statement was one reason why the international military alliance was upping its deterrence measures.


June 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: It is with great pride that I announce Patrick Porter joining WOTR’s stable of regular contributors. He will be writing a monthly column for us titled “Offshore Balancer.” – RE

Almost 30 years ago, Yale historian Paul Kennedy touched an American nerve. His study, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000, argued for a broad historical pattern. Great powers, in order to remain great powers, had a task that was simple to understand but difficult to execute: to balance wealth and their economic base with their military power and strategic commitments. These states therefore faced a constant triple tension between investment, defense and consumption. Failure to get this balance right risked overextension as a large economy vulnerable to predators like nineteenth century China, as a stagnating over-militarized power like the Soviet Union, or as a credit-addicted, inflexible failure like Phillip II’s Spain.

US Mulls New Asia Infrastructure Facility to Rival Regional Players

June 17, 2015
“One-stop shop” would better coordinate and market what the United States can offer. 

The United States is mulling the development of a new facility based in Asia to coordinate and market U.S. infrastructure to the region in the face of growing competition by China and other countries, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The facility, which is still in the works, would serve as a “one-stop shop” for various U.S. actors to better coordinate and market their activities to Asian nations and other relevant regional institutions, James Carouso, Director of Maritime Southeast Asia Affairs at the U.S. State Department, told a roundtable at the Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Why Congress Must Pass the TPP

If America is going to lead Asia in the future, it has to modernize the economic underpinnings of that role or suffer marginalization.

President Obama’s own party last week defeated his central foreign policy initiative in Asia – the legislative package for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement— and rendered U.S. policy in the region as unserious. If America is to save its leading role in Asian politics, diplomacy and security, which it has enjoyed since the end of World War II, it has to modernize the economic underpinnings of that role or suffer marginalization. Congress voted for marginalization. It needs to correct that immediately.

This happened as voices in Congress are raising their decibel level over Chinese hybrid diplomacy and territorial salami-slicing in the South and East China Seas. These critics claim the Obama administration is all talk and no action, and they have a point. Across Washington, policymakers and think tanks are searching their thesauruses for tougher adverbs and adjectives to describe Chinese behavior, but uniformly fail to come up with effective alternatives.

America's Dilemma: Juggling the Gulf-Iran Cold War

Time for Washington to demonstrate that it is willing to pursue an enhanced relationship with Iran and a balance between competing actors in the region.

Last month, President Barack Obama reiterated that there is “no military solution” to the Syrian conflict. The sentiment rings true, but considering the militias that dominate Syria, it seems equally unlikely that they will negotiate their way to a solution. Despite rebel advances in the south last week and gainsagainst the regime in the north in March and April of this year, it remains unclear whether Assad will fall, but even if he should, the fight that will emerge amongst the fractured opposition to fill the power vacuum will be brutal and unlikely to result in stability or a solution. What happens in Syria, however, cannot be examined in isolation. Though the war began in Dara’a and Damascus, the country has since been enveloped into a larger conflict between the Gulf states and Iran. Following Syria’s path, Yemen has found itself sucked into the same regional fight. With substantial foreign involvement in both of these conflicts, a meaningful solution must be much larger in scope, and it must be the result of a great balancing of power in the Middle East that challenges the current relationships that are mainly based on inertia—especially the relationship with Saudi Arabia. 

America's Worst Nightmare: Assad Is Too Big to Fail

June 17, 2015
Source Link

"There are usually very real costs that flow from intervening in the affairs of others."

The war in Syria began over four years ago. Since then, hundreds of thousands of civilians have died and millions more have lost their homes. For most people in the West, the human toll imposed by the war is literally unimaginable. Yet Western governments have been active participants in the conflict since its inception, both militarily and diplomatically. All the while, however, the goal of western involvement in Syria—and of the U.S. government in particular—has been unclear. So what exactly is the point of U.S. foreign policy in Syria?

An idealist might hope that individual U.S. foreign policies, including its involvement in Syria, should be judged against something of a humanitarian measuring stick. Has U.S. involvement lessened the human costs of the war in Syria? Is human life and dignity better protected as a result of U.S. actions, or are more people dying and living in abject physical insecurity? While few kid themselves that this is the sole preoccupation of decision-makers in Washington, most would hope that the principle of “do no harm” carries at least some weight.


A drumbeat of reporting in recent months has cast a sudden spotlight on China’s aggressive actions aimed at expanding its influence in the South China Sea. Numerous accounts have highlighted China’s frenetic efforts to construct artificial islands in the Spratlys, a tiny cluster of islets 660 miles from mainland China. China is building a large airfield on the biggest of these reclaimed isles that will have significant military utility once finished. Moreover, in April, U.S. surveillance satellites detected two Chinese motorized artillery pieces on one of the islands.

Squandering away the Myanmar advantage

By Ajai Shukla
16 June 2015

In 1986, as the intelligence officer of an army brigade in Nagaland, I oversaw the first Indian army patrol that went into Myanmar. With clearance from Yangon, we linked up with a forward post of the Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw, and proposed joint action against insurgents fighting for Nagaland’s secession from India.

Myanmar’s military government controlled just 20 per cent of the country’s territory, the remainder being in the hands of Kachin, Keran, Wa and Shan separatists, and powerful Naga groups along the Indian border. Even knowing that, our officers were surprised at how embattled the Tatmadaw unit was, and how relieved at the prospect of Indian collaboration against Naga undergrounds holed up in Myanmar’s Sagaing division, bordering Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Top Secret (Fake) Memo to Putin on How to Counter NATO’s Latest Move

JUNE 16, 2015 

Is the Kremlin worried about U.S. tanks in Europe? 

1. Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, on our outstanding series of strategic moves in Europe. We have consolidated our annexation of Crimea, which now finds its rightful place back as part of Mother Russia. Your series of “snap exercises” all around the periphery of our country have clearly frightened NATO. Additionally, the brilliant concept of “hybrid warfare,” combining the deployment of Spetsnaz special forces, additional Russian troops and trainers in unmarked uniforms, vigorous propaganda, information warfare, and cyberattacks has everyone’s attention. And NATOfreely admits it is not ready to face our new mix of tactics.

Obama’s Asia Trade Deal, on Life Support, Lives to See Another Day

JUNE 16, 2015

It took a tongue-lashing from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to give renewed life to a White House-backed trade bill that’s turningtraditional Beltway enemies into allies and long-time friends into foes.

Hours after Boehner ripped nearly three dozen Republicans who voted against a procedural rule that would shape how the House debates the Trans-Pacific Partnership, lawmakers voted 236 to 189 Tuesday to give the lower chamber until the end of July to debate the trade bill. Last Friday, conservative members of the GOP caucus who were skeptical of the dealjoined with some Democrats to defy the White House and derail a path toward a final agreement.

For Now, U.S. Ready to Shelve Iran’s Past Military Programs to Win Nuclear Deal

JUNE 16, 2015 

The Obama administration is ready to drop a long-standing demand that Tehran open up about its secret missile research, provided Iran agrees to tough inspections going forward. 

For years, the United States and other world powers have demanded that Iran come clean about its past nuclear weapons research. But with a deadline for a landmark deal rapidly approaching, President Barack Obama’s administration is now saying such an accounting of prior military activity would be redundant, as the United States already possesses a detailed understanding of Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. It has the ability to devise a stringent U.N. monitoring system capable of preventing it from cheating down the road.

Make Way for the RMB

JUNE 16, 2015 

If the IMF wants to keep Beijing in the tent, it's time to reward China's progress on making its currency more free market-friendly. 

Will the renminbi (RMB) join the elite basket of currencies that determines the value of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR)? The decision whether or not to include China’s currency rests mainly with the members of the G-7 economies that have a strong hold on the IMF. If they know what’s good for them, they’ll say yes.

This is a technical decision with deep political implications. It will pave the way for the RMB to be a key international reserve currency, alongside the dollar, the euro, the pound, and the yen. As IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in March, this a not a matter of if but when: this year — or in 2020, when the IMF will again review the composition of the SDR’s basket.

At this point, there’s no reason to wait. Including the RMB this year or, at the latest, in 2016 would send the positive message that China is a welcomed and trustworthy member of the international monetary and financial community — a message that would benefit everyone.

The Fifth Frontier- Cyberspace


In recent times, a fifth domain has emerged in addition to the four traditional war domains, land, sea, air and space--cyberspace. 

Remember Captain Kirk talking about “Space, the final frontier”? — To explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no man has gone before. As we dawn upon new vistas of technological advancement, the power of the cyberspace seems limitless. Its sovereignty, however, is under constant threat. Different technologies are being introduced every day, often outpacing the ability to properly assess associated risks.

Cyberspace reckons the emergence of war in the fifth domain

They think, therefore they are

Why the life of the mind is so important in France Jun 13th 2015

How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People. By Sudhir Hazareesingh. Allen Lane; 427 pages; £20. To be published in America by Basic Books in September.
IN 2003, as America was gearing up for the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a tall Frenchman with a thick silvery mane took the floor at the UN in New York. Dominique de Villepin was then France’s foreign minister, and what marked minds was not only his uncompromising anti-war message, but the way he uttered it: his speech was a magnificent rhetorical appeal to values and ideals. In a deep, silky tone, he spoke for an “old country” that has known war and barbarity but has “never ceased to stand upright in the face of history and before mankind”. As the “guardians of an ideal, the guardians of a conscience”, the UN, like France, he declared, had a duty to plead for disarmament by peaceful means.

Directed Energy Weapons: Will They Ever Be Ready?

By Ariel Robinson 
July 2015 

If Nikola Tesla had been deployed with the USS Ponce this past year, he would have been proud. A directed energy weapon — similar, in some ways, to his own 1934 invention “Teleforce” — was proved to be operationally effective on board a Navy ship for the first time.
The trials of the Navy’s laser weapon system (LaWS) were hailed as a success. But despite promising test results and decades of research and development, it could be many more years before the military is ready to bring directed energy weapons into the mainstream.

The Defense Department defines directed energy as a “weapon or system that uses directed energy to incapacitate, damage or destroy enemy equipment, facilities and/or personnel.” They require power levels of around 50 kilowatts or higher. To destroy anti-ship cruise missiles would require a beam of 500 kilowatts and demand megawatts of power.

North Korea: The Other Anti-Access Threat?

June 17, 2015

It’s time to apply anti-access thinking beyond China — or risk losing a limited conflict to North Korea. 

When we think about anti-access warfighting concepts, we typically think of China. Think again. The technologies that make an anti-access approach to coercion and combat possible have proliferated throughout Asia, including to North Korea. The strategists, policymakers, and contingency planners who make up the U.S.-South Korea alliance must begin thinking about North Korea in these terms, or risk coming up on the losing end of a limited conflict.

In The Diplomat and in a conference where I recently presented on North Korean nuclear strategy, I’ve explained why North Korea seeks an assured retaliation nuclear posture, and why in the midst of a conflict that posture will likely shift to an asymmetric escalation posture. In practical terms, the former implies North Korea would withhold nuclear weapons use to conduct second-strikes in retaliation if attacked, while the latter implies that North Korea would be willing to launch nuclear first-strikes.

Japan: The Philippines' New Best Friend?

By Richard Javad Heydarian
June 17, 2015

“More than ever, the Philippines has come to rely on an external partner other than the United States.” 

The Unite States has long stood as the backbone of the Philippines’ national security. During its 333 years of colonial rule, Spain had limited impact on the modernization of the Southeast Asian nation’s institutions, but things changed with the advent of full-scale American colonial rule in the early 20th century.

Though the Philippines gained formal independence toward the end of World War II, it effectively outsourced its external security obligations to its former (and most benign) colonial master. Thanks to a series of landmark agreements, namely the Military Assistance Pact (1947), the Military Bases Agreement (1947), and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951,Washington became the de facto guarantor of (the nominally-sovereign) Philippine national security.

Erdogan's Moment: Forging a New Turkish Foreign Policy

The election results may well have ended Erdogan’s dream of a more powerful Turkish presidency, but it doesn’t mean that his legacy is over.

With Turkey’s elections now over, chaos in the Middle East continues and international observers are left trying to discern the contours of Turkey’s foreign policy moving forward. Despite the number of political obituaries that have been prematurely written about President Erdogan as a result of the shellacking his AKP took, foreign policy remains the one area over which he can continue to exert leadership. Regardless of what shape the new Turkish government takes, focusing on repairing Turkey’s relations both in its neighborhood and the near abroad would bolster President Erdogan and the power of the new AKP, as the party pushes for an early election, whether it happens within the year or not.

Who Will Own the Robots?

By David Rotman 
June 16, 2015
Source Link

We’re in the midst of a jobs crisis, and rapid advances in AI and other technologies may be one culprit. How can we get better at sharing the wealth that technology creates?

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles about the effects of software and automation on the economy. You can read the other stories here and here.

The way Hod Lipson describes his Creative Machines Lab captures his ambitions: “We are interested in robots that create and are creative.” Lipson, an engineering professor at Cornell University (this July he’s moving his lab to Columbia University), is one of the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence and robotics. His research projects provide a peek into the intriguing possibilities of machines and automation, from robots that “evolve” to ones that assemble themselves out of basic building blocks. (His Cornell colleagues are building robots that can serve as baristas and kitchen help.) A few years ago, Lipson demonstrated an algorithm that explained experimental data by formulating new scientific laws, which were consistent with ones known to be true. He had automated scientific discovery.

Why we need to stop talking about the cloud

We all do it, we’ve all been doing it for years but perhaps now, in 2015, it’s time for us to make the transition and stop talking about “the cloud.” As an industry we still regard cloud computing as an emerging trend, we talk to our customers about a “new” way of doing things—but the reality is, with the presence and predicted growth of “the cloud” we can no longer pretend that this is the future—it is our present.

As a technology service provider, we work closely with our customers every day to identify solutions to best fit the needs of their organization to enable growth and success. For many years, this one buzzword has dominated the IT industry but as an industry we need to acknowledge cloud for its tangible business outcomes and the success it enables through innovation—rather than for its “game-changing potential.”

5 Differences Between Army and Marine Infantry

June 16, 2015

The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps infantrymen pride themselves on being some of the biggest badasses on every block they roll into. They have more similarities than differences, but they’re unique forces. Here are 5 ways you can tell Marine and Army infantry apart:

Note: For this comparison we are predominantly pulling from the Army’s Infantry and Rifle Platoon and Squad field manual and the Marine Corps’ Introduction to Rifle Platoon Operations and Marine Rifle Squad. Not every unit in each branch works as described in doctrine. Every infantry unit will have its own idiosyncrasies and units commonly change small details to deal with battlefield realities.

1. Platoon Organization

Why Cops and Soldiers Fell Out of Love with Colt Guns

JUNE 15, 2015

Colt guns may have won the West. But they aren’t sufficient for winning modern wars, and now the iconic American weapons-maker, which has been making arms since the 19th century, has filed for bankruptcy.

In 2013, the Pentagon decided Colt’s M4 rifles weren’t up to snuff andawarded a key $77 million contract to supply the Army with rifles to F.N. Herstal, a weapons-maker based in Belgium. The Belgian guns allow soldiers to fire continuously; the Colt weapon fires in three-round bursts.

The loss of the DoD business, combined with the decreasing demand for guns after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, raise serious questions about whether Colt can raise the $350 million it needs to pay off its debt.

For their part, law enforcement officers are increasingly turning to Glock pistols as a sidearm, as opposed to Colt’s 1911 gun. This is because many believe the Glock to be a more reliable pistol; there is a long record of complaints about the Colt gun jamming.

U.S. Coast Guard had a Pigeon-Powered Sensor

June 16, 2015

One rainy morning in February 1979, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter took off from the island of Maui to scour the ocean for five missing fishermen. Inside a cage underneath the chopper, three pigeons—yes, pigeons—kept watch for any signs of the sailors or their boat.

It was a real-life demonstration of Sea Hunt, the military’s pigeon-powered sensor. A day before, the 14th Coast Guard District in Honolulu asked the Naval Ocean Systems Center—a.k.a., NOSC—if it could use the experimental device in the search.

Three years earlier, the Coast Guard had teamed up with the Navy to build Sea Hunt. “Research … demonstrated pigeons can perform the ocean searches better than the crew flying the helicopter,” one Navy report on the project declared.

The birds “remain vigilant to complex visual tasks for many hours,” the report added.

Original M4 Carbine Maker Files for Bankruptcy

June 15, 2015

Colt Defense LLC., today filed Chapter 11 in federal bankruptcy court to remain open during an accelerated sale of long-time gun maker’s business operations in the US and Canada.

The move is the latest attempt by the struggling company to survive in an extremely competitive small arm industry.

Colt, the original maker of the M4 Carbine, seemed to lose some of its standing when the U.S. Army acquired expanded licensing rights in 2009 that made it possible for the service to invite other gun companies compete for contracts to build the weapon.

Before that happened, Colt had been the sole maker of the M4 for about 15 years.

In surprise move, Colt outbid FN Manufacturing to win four-year contract, worth $126 million, to make M240B machine guns for the U.S. Army in the fall of 2009.