27 October 2015

India’s Geostrategic Problems and Opportunities in the 21st Century

By Ashok Kapur
25 Oct , 2015

India’s strategic problems took shape in past centuries and Indian history reveals two recurring patterns.

First, foreign powers will not leave India alone and they have the tools to keep Indian power and influence in check, and to keep its leaders on the defensive in strategic and economic affairs. India’s debilitated strategic situation is the result of recurring and successful foreign interventions – by European colonisers after the ascendency of the Mughals, and following India’s independence – by Pakistan, USA and China.

India needs to gain Confidence of Neighbours

By Aniket Bhavthankar
Date : 25 Oct , 2015

With invitations to leaders of seven countries from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Mauritius for his oath-taking ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pulled off a diplomatic masterstroke

However, over the period of one and half years Pakistan, Maldives and very recently Nepal have emerged as weak links in ‘Neighbourhood first’ policy, an important foreign policy formulation of the Modi government.

Cancellation of Modi’s visit to Maldives in March this year has wrinkled the bilateral relationship with this tiny island nation too. External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Male in the second week of October to hold the first joint commission meeting in 15 years, suggests that India is seriously reworking its strategy towards Maldives and neighours.


J Gopikrishnan 
26 October 2015 

The Wikileaks’ latest exposé on CIA Director John Brennan’s private emails reveals the role of Pakistan’s use of militant proxies for creating terror in India. The tranche of emails leaked by unidentified hackers also shows the Intelligence agency urging the US Government to refrain from antagonising Pakistan as regards its role in Afghanistan, especially its ties with the Taliban, to counter growing Indian influence there. It suggests that the US President should appoint a “Special Coordinator” to look for ways “to alleviate Pakistan’s concerns about India’s influence in Afghanistan”.

Among the volley of emails, the India-specific portions related to the period of 2008. The details of the November 7, 2008 report (just three weeks before the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reveal the cautious treading of the US with both India and Pakistan while keeping Islamabad in a good mood for success of its Af-Pak operations. It also talks about the negativity of certain officers in Pakistan military and Intelligence services. 

Al Qaeda Operates in Southern Helmand Province

October 25, 2015

Foreign jihadists, including members of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), are training at facilities in southern Helmand province in Afghanistan. The camps are used to prepare fighters to conduct attacks throughout Southeast Asia, according to reports reviewed by The Long War Journal. The discovery of the training centers in Baramcha, a town in southern Helmand province, indicates that al Qaeda and affiliated groups are training in multiple regions of Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the US military raided two significant al Qaeda camps in the neighboring province of Kandahar. One of the facilities was approximately 30 square miles in size, according to a US military spokesman. [See LWJ report, US military strikes large al Qaeda training camps in southern Afghanistan.]

India-Pakistan: No alternative to talks

By D K Kotwal
Date : 24 Oct , 2015

I’m to remind every genuine and concerned citizen of both the nations -India and Pakistan of their affable trust in the belief that any war, terrorism, cross-border and LOC ceasefire violations or any clashes, conflicts and confrontations can’t resolve the outstanding issues and problems between the two countries that were once one nation before 68 years.

A Pakistani columnist in an article published in ‘The Tribune’ says, “The reality is that nobody supports our claims over Kashmir and even Kashmiris don’t want to join Pakistan….”

It is unfortunate that both the countries have miserably failed to revive their age old relations and cultural ties that once existed between the two. It is natural that the separation among those living jointly is inevitable but when they separate from one another doesn’t mean the snapping the binding that once glued them together based upon mutual respect, love and care for each other. Here in our case the things are all together different, we have developed hatred, malice and inimical bearings upon our age old relations. There is a misunderstanding between the two nations regarding the inherent distribution of land and other allied assets at the time of partition of the two nations on the basis of unnatural and uncalled for religion that was caused by some vested interests.

USAF Giving Away for Free Its 41 RC-12W LIBERTY SIGINT Aircraft Used in Iraq and Afghanistan

October 25, 2015

Intelligence: The USAF Plays Santa Claus

The U.S. Air Force is giving away its 41 RC-12W electronic reconnaissance aircraft. These were acquired by the air force starting in 2008 to deal with the shortage of Predator UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now eleven RC-12Ws are going to the army, 26 to SOCOM and four to another (not named) agency. The air force does not usually give fixed wing aircraft to the army, which is one reason most of the RC-12Ws went to SOCOM. But there was still demand for the RC-12W and the air force is trying to cut expenses.

The MC-12s were quite useful and could stay in the air for up to eight hours per sortie. Not quite what the Predator can do (over 20 hours per sortie) but good enough to help meet the demand. The MC-12 has advantages over UAVs. It can carry over a ton of sensors, several times what a Predator can haul. The MC-12 can fly higher (11 kilometers/35,000 feet) and is faster (over 500 kilometers an hour, versus 215 for the Predator). The MC-12s cost about $20 million each, more than twice what a Predator goes for. The MC-12’s crew consists of two pilots and two equipment operators. Since 2009 the air force MC-12Ws flew 79,000 combat sorties averaging about five hours each. The sensors and operators enabled ground troops to kill or capture over 8,000 Islamic terrorists along with hundreds of terrorist hideouts, bomb workshops or storage sites. 

Xi’s State Visit To UK: Turning To British History For China’s Future – Analysis

By Benjamin Ho*
October 24, 2015

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s four-day state visit to the United Kingdom was met with great pomp and ceremony by his British hosts, which included a royal banquet and having a 41 – gun salute in his honour. By referencing the illustrious history of the UK, Xi is clearly making a statement about how he wants China’s future to be like.

With the state flags of the United Kingdom and China lining the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, one could be forgiven for thinking that central London was, for a moment, a street scene outside Tiananmen. By blending the best of traditional pageantry and modern British hospitality, the Cameron administration spared no effort to make President Xi Jinping feel almost at home.

Xi’s visit to the UK, less than a month after his visit to Washington to meet with President Obama, comes at a particularly challenging time for China’s foreign relations, given the recent Chinese economic slowdown as well as increased tensions with its neighbours, especially countries with which it has territorial disputes.
The Xi factor

The Tipping Point: Has the U.S.-China Relationship Passed the Point of No Return?

October 26, 2015

Conflict between a rising power and an established power is not inevitable as most realist scholars suggest. However, in every relationship, there is a tipping point or a point of no return, and China and the United States are rapidly approaching this point. As traditional diplomatic outlets have done little to resolve the more challenging issues presently affecting the Sino-American relationship, these two great powers have been increasingly relying on their military capabilities and hard power tactics. That’s especially true in the South China Sea, which is one of the single greatest points of contention between China and the United States. While there is a realization on both sides of the Pacific that a kind of strategic stability is necessary to prevent great power conflict, both China and the United States remain unwilling to compromise and make the kind of meaningful concessions required to move the relationship further from confrontation and conflict and closer to cooperation and rapprochement. Instead, these two countries are drawing lines in the sand and preparing for the worst.

Failed pursuit of strategic stability

Myths and Realities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

October 26, 2015

The ink was hardly dry on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the first major multilateral trade agreement in two decades, when the snipers began taking shots at it. The stakes are high, yet a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the fate of TPP.

In the U.S., Republicans in Congress who had been strongly supporting it began to express doubts. Hillary Clinton, who as Secretary of State was its leading advocate as the leading edge of the U.S. “pivot” to Asia which she championed, now as a U.S. Presidential candidate came out against it—in effect, trading her Asia policy for AFL-CIO support. TPP was a major factor in the Canadian elections this week, and the resulting Liberal Party victory may put TPP at risk. Even in Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees TPP as key to his “third arrow” to revive the economy, appointed a committee to address those in Japan who may be negatively impacted by it.

In fact, one of most intriguing and all-but-unnoticed aspects of TPP is that it is in effect, a backdoor entry into a de facto U.S.-Japan free trade agreement. A U.S.-Japan FTA has been discussed since the 1980s as a way to deepen the U.S.-Japan alliance and better balance bilateral trade, but from agriculture to beef and autos, the obstacles always made it seem like a bridge too far.

The Real Threat to America's Military (And It's Not China, Russia or Iran)

October 26, 2015

What should replace the Air Force? Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. 

In Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force, I argued that America should disband the United States Air Force and disperse its assets across the remaining three services. I won’t recap that argument in this space, but suffice to say that the current constellation of U.S. military bureaucracy is bad for procurement, bad for inter-service conflict, bad for strategic planning and bad for warfighting.

As Bryan McGrath has observed, the fundamental problem with American procurement and strategic planning, at this point, lies in our inability to think beyond the static division of resources between the four services. While Bernie Sanders supporters often decry the unwillingness of the United States to shift military spending towards social services, we remain far more capable of exchanging strategic bombers or aircraft carriers for schools, than for each other. We can reallocate resources within services, or allocate resources away from the military, but we cannot reallocate resources across services. And this is the foundation of strategic disaster.

But What Comes Next?

Russia and China: Beware the Budding Eurasian Colossus?

October 25, 2015

As Russia’s unexpected military intervention in Syria has dominated headlinesacross the globe in recent weeks, more than a few media outlets have speculated on whether Chinese forces could enter the fray. While that particular “twist” on the story remains extremely unlikely, the question is not entirely outlandish. After all, it was only a few months ago that a Chinese naval squadron was in the Black Sea exercising with the Russian fleet. Moreover, the Chinese Navy’s profile has been steadily rising in the Middle East as it sent its first flotilla into the Persian Gulf in the fall of 2014, has also conducted competent evacuation operations in Yemen in 2014 and Libya in 2011, while the PLA Navy maintains its continuous anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden as well. Major foreign and defense policy dilemmas await Beijing as it continues to plot out the future of its “one road, one belt” – China’s own strategic “pivot” to the west.

Get Ready, America: Here Comes China's Ballistic Missile Defenses

October 25, 2015

It's time for America to worry about Chinese ballistic missile defenses (BMD).

That's the conclusion of a new study by the Federation of American Scientists, which found that while Beijing has not yet decided to build strategic missile defenses, Chinese leaders are seriously thinking about it.

"Unlike some years ago, there is little doubt today that China is developing a strategic BMD capability; their flight tests alone make that clear," said authors Bruce MacDonald and Charles Ferguson, who spoke with more than 50 Chinese and American experts, including Chinese officials, military officers and academics. While ChineseBMD is in the development stage, it does give Beijing the option of deploying a missile defense capability – or not – depending on its assessment of the international situation.

"At a minimum, it appears that a Chinese deployment of strategic BMD is probably less unlikely than most U.S. defense analysts have in the past assessed," the study said.

China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the ASBM: October 2015 Update

S. Chandrashekar and Soma Perumal
October 24, 2015 

China’s Constellation of Yaogan Satellites & the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: October 2015 Update

To read the complete report in PDF click here

With the recent launches of the Yaogan 26 and Yaogan 27 satellites China has demonstrated its ability to routinely identify, locate and track an Aircraft Carrier Group (ACG) on the high seas. This space capability is an important component of an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) System that China has set up.

The current operational satellite constellation consists of ELINT satellites, satellites carrying Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors as well as satellites carrying optical imaging sensors.

Based on the orbit characteristics, their local time of equatorial crossing and other related parameters, these satellites can be grouped into different categories that perform the various functions for identifying, locating and tracking the ACG.

Yaogan 9 (Yaogan 9A, 9B, 9C), Yaogan 16 (16A, 16B, 16C), Yaogan 17 (17A, 17B, 17C), Yaogan 20 (20A, 20B, 20C) and Yaogan25 (25A, 25B, 25C) are the five triplet cluster equipped with ELINT sensors that provide broad area surveillance over the Oceans. With a coverage radius of about 3500 Km, they provide the first coarse fix for identifying and locating an ACG in the Pacific Ocean. Yaogan 20 and Yaogan 25 may be replacements for the Yaogan 9 and the Yaogan 16 that may be nearing the end of their lives.

What to Expect at China's Upcoming Fifth Plenum

October 26, 2015

The fifth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party Central Committee (CPCC) will take place from October 26 to 29 and will result in the thirteenth Five-Year Plan, a lengthy document outlining the Chinese government’s economic objectives and the policy approaches for attaining those objectives through 2020. International investors and China-watchers alike will be eagerly anticipating the outcomes of the highly secretive Fifth Plenum this week. Given the volatile summer in Chinese equity markets and the recent release of GDP figures that seemed “too good to be true” by some, the steps that China’s top leaders will outline in the coming week will be incredibly important. As I’ve done in the past for The Diplomat ahead of other CPCC plenaries, I look at a few things that can be reasonably expected this week. As with all CPCC plenary meetings, the proceedings are hermetically sealed away from the eyes of all but a select few within China’s state media apparatus.

First, a bit of context that should help ground some of the expectations for this Fifth Plenum. China’s twelfth five-year plan, endorsed in March 2011 by the National People’s Congress, set in motion the latest shift in the “Chinese model” of growth. In broad strokes, per the twelfth five-year plan, the Party would encourage a shift away from the investment-led model of growth that had served China so well through the noughties and move toward a consumption-led model leveraging the demand-side of the growth equation. The idea was to make the most of urbanization, rising per capita incomes, and the rising economic appetite of a new middle class.

Saudi Nuclear Blustering Remains Hollow, For Now – Analysis

By Emad Mekay*
October 26, 2015

Flag of Saudi Arabia. Photo by Ayman Makki, Wikipedia Commons.

When the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal was announced in July, the image in state-controlled Saudi media was of Western powers caving in to a new powerful neighboring foe. The usually reticent Saudi officials paid the usual diplomatic lip-service to the agreement but social media, academia and state-owned news outlet all portrayed a different picture; profound Saudi anxiety that included statements that the oil-rich country can use its wealth to go nuclear.

“The kingdom can only look to itself to protect its people, even if it means implementing a nuclear program,” wrote Nawaf Obaid, Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. A nuclear Iran, he said, “represents a state of extreme danger to multiple nations, but few more so than Saudi Arabia, which has long been Iran’s primary opponent in the Middle East power balance.”

Ironically, the deal that alarmed the Saudis was designed to produce a different result. The framework would in fact gradually lift sanctions on Tehran for its agreement to cut back its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent for 15 years and reducing its installed centrifuges. Yet, Saudi Arabia and other regional Gulf Arab allies saw the deal as nothing short of a dramatic shift of the balance of regional power.

Is the Syrian regime a bigger killer than the Islamic State?

‘The West is obsessed with the security risk the jihadists represent. Local people, however, are the jihadists’ main casualties. And the worst terrorists are regime forces.’

Sometimes I get angry on camera. It happened once when Finnish public television’s Paris correspondent asked me in an interview, “Aren’t you afraid of the jihadi threat? After all, there are more than a thousand French people involved in the jihad in Syria. Is this not a serious danger?”

I was too stunned to speak for a moment. Then I got annoyed.

At the time of writing, only one of these French jihadists has returned to Europe and is suspected of having committed a terrorist attack: Mehdi Nemmouche, who is accused of killing four people – including two Jews and a Muslim – in the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Syria: The End of GWOT or a case for Renewed Crusade?

By Brig Amar Cheema
26 Oct , 2015

If history was to define a moment when the modern world changed before our eyes, it would be that fateful day when ‘Islamic Jihadis’(sic),in true kamikaze style, rammed commercial airliners to fire bomb the Twin Towers in Downtown, New York – the financial hub of the most powerful nation of the world, and the symbolic seat of the Multi-Nation United Nations.

…the immediate challenge that confronts the world is the explosive situation brewing in the desolate wastelands of Syria-Iraq.

Viewed with a strategic perspective, the indignity of 9/11 provided Washington the direction and energy to switch from her bridgehead made in (Soviet) Eurasia and extend her domination over the energy hub of the world. Skilfully packaged as a humanitarian crusade for fighting a Global War on Terror (GWOT), 9/11 provided the opportunity for an expanded role of the American military-industrial complex, an alibi for extending US’s occupation from Eurasia to the Middle East and South Asia; military operations in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan followed in quick succession. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a Cold War creation for the defence of Western Europe was used to partake in military operations beyond European the guise of bringing peace to the people. While, US led operations in Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan followed, ongoing operations in the continent of resource rich Africa were given fillip by the creation of the Africa Command (AFRICOM), the ninth Unified Combat Command of the USA.

Map Showing Where American-Made TOW Anti-Tank Missiles Have Been Used in Syria

October 24, 2015

The cyber threat intelligence company Recorded Future has placed online a really great map showing all the places inside Syria where Syrian rebel groups have been detected or filmed using American-made TOW anti-tank missiles against Syrian army tanks. The map can be accessed here.

U.S. and Saudi Arabia Agree to Increase Their Military Support for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups

October 25, 2015

U.S., Saudi Arabia to bolster support for moderate Syrian opposition

RIYADH (Reuters) - The United States and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase support to Syria’s moderate opposition while seeking a political resolution of the four-year conflict, the U.S. State Department said after Secretary of State John Kerry met King Salman on Saturday.

Kerry was in Riyadh for meetings with the Saudi monarch, crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister - the last stop in a trip that also included Vienna, where he met counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia.

“They pledged to continue and intensify support to the moderate Syrian opposition while the political track is being pursued,” the State Department statement said after Kerry’s meetings in Saudi Arabia. It did not spell out what kind of support would be offered.

Rebels have appealed for more military support from foreign backers, including Saudi Arabia, to confront major Syrian army offensives. Those offensives are backed by Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian fighters and Russian air strikes.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, together with other states opposed to Assad, already provides some military support to Syrian rebels. That includes training by the Central Intelligence Agency and anti-tank missiles.

Making Sense of a Syrian Proxy War Gone Amok

October 26, 2015

In recent weeks, the United States appears to be simultaneously scaling back and increasing the magnitude and quality of support it is providing to various Syrian rebel groups. On the one hand, on October 9, the White House announced that it would be terminating the Pentagon’s $500 million train-and-equip program to stand up an army of “vetted” Syrian rebels to take the fight to the Islamic State in Syria. The program was a manifest failure, with American-trained rebels deserting, demonstrating ineptitude on the battlefield or handing over their weapons to the Nusra Front and other “bad guys.”

On the other hand, reports surfaced a few days later, on October 12, that the covert CIA program to arm different Syrian rebel groups (separate from the Pentagon’s train-and-equip program) was apparently escalating, with Syrian rebels reporting no-strings-attached drops of anti-tank missiles. The appearance of TOWs in large quantities represents a significant upgrade for rebels who, up until this point, had been restricted to light arms—videosshowcasing Syrian rebels with a mere handful of TOWs surfaced in early April of last year, but the numbers were insufficiently large to suggest that a U.S.-led effort to supply the rebels with heavier weapons was underway at that time.

Thinking about American Power: A Primer for the Candidates

October 26, 2015

American political campaigns often seem a contest about machismo. The current presidential race is no different. Leading candidates of both parties compete to demonstrate their toughness, especially in foreign affairs. (Bernie Sanders and to a lesser extent Rand Paul are the principal exceptions.) President Obama is deemed to have been too soft in dealing with Iran, Syria, Russia, China, extremists and terrorists of various stripes, and even American friends and allies. The two female candidates, Hillary Clinton and CarlyFiorina, are no less assertive than their male rivals.

Sounding tough and celebrating American power may make for good politics, but today’s foreign policy realities call for a more nuanced approach to the many challenges the next president will face.

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, coming on the heels of the extraordinary display of American military might in the Persian Gulf War earlier that year, resulted in a rare historical moment when a single country, by nearly every conceivable measure of power, towered over the rest of the world. The United States was the world’s “sole superpower,” the “global hegemon,” or, as the French foreign minister unadmiringly put it, the “hyperpower.” Scholars, journalists, and policy analysts alike spoke of American primacy or hegemony, of unipolarity and the “unipolar moment,” of a Pax Americana.

Spy v. Spy: South Korea Wants to Recruit Hackers to Go After North Korean Hackers

Anna Fifield
October 26, 2015

Seoul seeks hacker troops to fend off North Korean cyberattacks

SEOUL — A new army of South Korean soldiers was intently focused on fending off the enemy attack. Where were they coming from? What tactics were they using? And how best to neutralize them?

The attackers were probably North Korean — that’s a given on this divided peninsula, which remains stuck in a state of war — but those manning the defenses weren’t armed conscripts along the demilitarized zone. They were some of South Korea’s savviest computer whizzes, and they were dealing with that most 21st-century of invasions: the cyberattack.

“I do think about how I’m going to defend us against an attack from North Korea,” said Lee Kyung-won, a 16-year-old high school student from Suwon who was part of a team fighting a hypothetical cyberwar during a “white hat” hacking competition last week.

Having endured numerous cyberattacks — apparently stemming from North Korea — in recent years, South Korea is bolstering its technological defenses.

The National Intelligence Service and the Defense Ministry have this month been hosting a competition to find computer geniuses to use their skills for good — hence the “white hats” — by intercepting attacks from nefarious “black hat” hackers.

The Economic Impact Of The Commercial Drone Sector

by Felix Richter, Statista.com
24 October 2015

Drones are becoming increasingly common in our skies.

It comes as little surprise that commercial UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) are set to contribute billions to the U.S. economy over the next decade or so. By 2025, the direct economic impact of the commercial drone sector will reach $5 billion. Read more in Statista's latest Forbes feature.

This chart shows the direct economic impact from the UAV industry in the United States.

Defense Intelligence Analysis In The Age Of Big Data – Analysis

By Paul B. Symon and Arzan Tarapore
October 23, 2015

Crew chief with 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Osan Air Base, South Korea, checks computer data during Red Flag-Alaska 14-2, ensuring F-16 Fighting Falcon readiness 

Over the past decade, the U.S. and Australian intelligence communities have evolved rapidly to perform new missions. They have developed new capabilities and adapted their business processes, especially in support of joint and complex military operations. But in the coming decade, their greatest challenge will be to develop new capabilities to manage and exploit big data.1

We use the term big data to mean the exponentially increasing amount of digital information being created by new information technologies (IT)—such as mobile Internet, cloud storage, social networking, and the “Internet of things”—and the advanced analytics used to process that data. Big data yields not simply a quantitative increase in information, but a qualitative change in how we create new knowledge and understand the world. These data-related information technologies have already begun to revolutionize commerce and science, transforming the economy and acting as enablers for other game-changing technology trends, from next-generation genomics to energy exploration.2 In defense intelligence communities, some of these technologies have been adopted for tasks, including technical collection and operational intelligence fusion—but big data’s impact on all-source intelligence analysis has scarcely been examined.

Waging (cyber)war in peacetime

Oct. 22, 2015 

Editor’s note: In this post, the second in a series drawing from Fergus Hanson’s new book, “Internet Wars: The Struggle for Power in the 21st Century,” Hanson makes the case that the United States has a strong interest in leading a more robust global discussion on cyberwarfare as cyberattacks in times of peace increase. A version of this piece appears on the Lowy Institute’s blog The Interpreter.

It was only mid-2009, when the U.S. secretary of defense ordered the establishment of a dedicated Cyber Command. Now more than 100 countries have military and intelligence cyberwarfare units. In the words of then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, cyber has become “one of the most serious threats to national security.” A key problem is the absence of well-accepted norms of behavior spanning both their use in conflicts and, more concerning, a broad spectrum of peacetime scenarios.

Russia was first to synchronize cyberattacks with a ground offensive when it invaded Georgia in 2008 and there is no doubt cyber will be integrated into future conflicts. Less clear are the appropriate applications. International law suggests attacks should be proportionate and limit civilian casualties. However, the Internet makes civilian targets the easiest to strike and in many instances causalities are not immediate. For example, disabling an electricity grid during summer might lead to deaths through heat exhaustion.
Responding appropriately to cyberattacks

Surveillance Drones Go to Sea

October 25, 2015

The American firm that makes the 1.1 ton Predator and 4.7 ton Reaper UAVs is developing a maritime patrol kit for the Reaper. It takes about 12 hours to install the maritime patrol kit which includes maritime search radar, sonobuoys and the ability to transmit data collected by the sonobuoy sonar back to land or airborne analysts for further processing. Also carried are Hellfire missiles that can be used against surfaced submarines or small warships. The maritime reaper would be able to fly to a spot more than 3,000 kilometers off shore, patrol the area for up to ten hours and then return. This new maritime patrol kit was developed in an effort to get a contract with the British Royal Navy to provide maritime patrol UAVs the British are seeking. This would provide a maritime patrol at less than half the cost of the larger U.S. Navy RQ-4B Triton UAV.

The Reaper already has some experience with maritime reconnaissance. In 2009 several MQ-9s were sent to the Seychelles (a group of 115 islands 1,500 kilometers from the east African coast) to aid in the anti-piracy patrol. This apparently was successful enough to encourage further work in this area. At the same time Israel was using a Predator size UAVs (the Heron) equipped with a synthetic aperture radar and onboard software to provide automatic detection, classification and tracking of what is down there on the waters off the Israeli coast. Human operators ashore, or on a ship or in an aircraft, are alerted if they want to double check something the software was programmed to consider suspicious. Operators used video cameras on the Heron to determine exactly what was down there. Also carried are sensors that track the sea state (how choppy it is). Israel still uses this version and has sold some to India.

Russia’s Winning the Electronic War

OCTOBER 21, 2015

In Ukraine and Syria, Russian forces are using high-tech equipment to jam drones and block battlefield communications -- and forcing the U.S. to scramble to catch up.

It comes at different times, and in different forms. But as they have charted the war in southeast Ukraine over the past year, drones flown by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have run into the same problem: Russian troops on the ground are jamming them into virtual blindness.

It’s just one part of a sophisticated Russian electronic warfare (EW) effort in Ukraine that has proved a sobering experience for the U.S. Army. Faced with how the newly modernized Russian army is operating in Ukraine and Syria — using equipment like the Krasukha-4, which jams radar and aircraft — American military officials are being forced to admit they’re scrambling to catch up.

The Coming Age Of Cyberterrorism

23 October 2015

The Islamic State is trying to hack U.S. power companies, U.S. officials told a gathering of American energy firms Oct. 15, CNNMoney reported. The story quoted John Riggi, a section chief at the FBI's cyber division, as saying the Islamic State has, "Strong intent. Thankfully, low capability ... But the concern is that they'll buy that capability."

The same day the CNNMoney report was published, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of Ardit Ferizi - a citizen of Kosovo and known hacker, apprehended in Malaysia - on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant. The Justice Department charged Ferizi with providing material support to the Islamic State, computer hacking and identity theft, all in conjunction with the theft and release of personally identifiable information belonging to 1,351 U.S. service members and civilian government employees stolen from the servers of an unnamed U.S. retail chain.

According to the Justice Department, Ferizi provided the stolen personal information to the Islamic State's Junaid Hussain (aka Abu al-Britani) who was subsequently killed in an airstrike in the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria.

Thailand’s Growing Links With Qatar

By Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat
October 25, 2015

As I mentioned in a piece last year, Qatar has become increasingly interested in pursuing a “Look East” policy of expanding and strengthening relationship with the countries of Southeast Asia. This has been primarily driven over the past several years by an increased acknowledgement of the region’s significant growth and large potential markets that Southeast Asia has to offer. It has deepened considerably due to significant development and industrialization pressure, and to a lesser degree, by the momentary cessation of Western markets after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Qatar’s interest in Southeast Asia has been further invigorated by the rise of China, the 2008 financial crisis, as well as growing instability in the Middle East.

War: Science or Art?

By Lt Gen SC Sardeshpande
26 Oct , 2015

Science is the field of knowledge, investigation, compilation. It explains nature’s phenomena and unveils its new vistas. Art is the province of creation, construction, action, “doing”. It is difficult to strictly separate the two in our daily transactions for knowledge prompts and feeds art and art uncovers science.

Man wants to know; having known, he wants to create; and having created he wants to know more; and so the chain continues. Creativity and quest are the two faces of human coin. But it is not always necessary that the etchings and weights on the two faces should be identical.

Some crave more for knowledge while some others specialise in creating, doing. One is always present in the other in good measure. Both are indispensable. But since nature has ordained that man should “live”, that is to “do”, to “act”, perhaps art then can be said to predominate.