6 May 2016

Hope for Sino-Indian Multilateral Progress Evident, But Major Concerns Remain

By Sumantra Maitra
05 May , 2016

It has been an interesting couple of weeks between India and China. The Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei met with Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley in Washington at the sidelines of the annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, where both gentlemen agreed to greater mutual cooperation in “multilateral forums”.

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during a bilateral meeting during the Russia-China-India meet. Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar, met his counterpart Chang Wanquan in Beijing, as the two discussed bilateral relations and border disputes, and Chinese premier Li Keqiang met with India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in Beijing, attending the 19th round of talks between Chinese and Indian special representatives on boundary issues.

A round of important issues was discussed lately, most importantly during the border dispute issues. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (R), who is the Chinese special representative on China-India boundary issues, met with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval as the two sides had deep and extensive and candid talks, Xinhua reported. The report also stated bilateral ties had entered a new era between the two giants with the successful visit of Chinese President Xi Jingping to India in 2014 and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China in 2015. Both sides agreed that the only way to solve any border dispute or any bilateral problems was through official channels and negotiations.

Rostec subsidiary Technodinamika witnesses strong demand for after sales services of Russian aircraft in India

By IDR News Network
04 May , 2016

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Aims to fully localize maintenance process in India through a joint-venture
After-sales service for Indian Air Force in 2015 exceeded INR 166 Crores (1.6 Billion Rubles)

Basis strong demand for after sales services for Russian origin helicopters and aircraft in India, Technodinamika, a Rostec State Corporation company today announced that it has concluded after-sales service delivery contracts to the tune of INR 166 crores (1.6 billion Rubles) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the period 2016-2017. This was basis the scope of contracts signed with the IAF in 2015.

Currently, 900 aircraft produced in Russia (and the former Soviet Union) are in use by the IAF. “India is one of the largest after-sales service markets for us. By 2018 we plan to cover 15 % of the demand in India for repairs of assemblies and components for the aircraft produced in Russia,” said Maxim Kuzyuk, head of Technodinamika.

Going forward, an end-to-end service center set up in Delhi will be used to conduct repairs of Russian equipment used by the IAF. The service centre will be responsible for procuring hardware and ground equipment as well as supply components for Russian made planes and helicopters. The intention is that the process of maintenance will be fully localized in India. Technodinamika is currently in negotiations with its Indian counterparts to create a joint venture in this regards.

The ‘VVIP’ Helicopter Scandal: Steering towards a Positive Response

By Robert S Metzger
03 May , 2016

India should be vigilant to enforce its existing laws, principally the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). Section 7 of the PCA makes it a criminal offence for any public official to take “gratification.” Section 8 punishes perpetrators of bribery. The PCA has been faulted, by international standards, due to its poor enforcement record. The VVIP helicopter scandal is an opportunity for Indian authorities to improve the record and communicate to government officials and to companies, in and out of India, that corruption in defence procurement will not be tolerated.

Since February this year, investigators in Italy and India have been pursuing a scandal involving the sale by Finmeccanica of 12 AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopters to India for ‘VVIP’ travel. Allegations have been made that bribes and agent fees amounting to $65 million were paid to secure the $750 million sale. The investigation again focuses world attention on India’s defence acquisition process – and on the continuing problems of corruption that infect government processes in India.

…the VVIP helicopter scandal shows that the risk of official, large-scale corruption remains omnipresent in contemporary India.

Building an Aerospace Eco System, Brick by Brick

By Radhakrishna Rao
05 May , 2016

Aerospace manufacturing is a complex exercise that is both capital intensive and technology driven and underpinned by a long gestation period and certain amount of risk. Even so, the rapidly growing multi- billion dollar global market for aerospace products and services has been beckoning the entrepreneurs in India to take up the challenge of aerospace manufacturing to meet a part of the requirements of global aerospace OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Because for long, India’s state owned aeronautical major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) totally dominated the Indian aerospace, the private sector industry in the country could not hone its skill to become an active partner in the Indian aerospace sector.

…for long, India’s state owned aeronautical major HAL totally dominated the Indian aerospace, the private sector industry in the country could not hone its skill to become an active partner in the Indian aerospace sector.

Clearly and apparently, the callous negligence of the nationally important aerospace sector over the last six decades did result in the country failing to develop and evolve a robust domestic base for design and build capability model, which, is at the heart of a well endowed aerospace eco system.

What India Thinks About the South China Sea

March 29, 2016 

Developments in the South China Sea are bringing India into a debate it generally maintains a distance from. India's shift in its maritime policies and a relatively vocal stand on the issue may be a signs of a future where India is willing to play a more direct role in the South China Sea.

However, the reality on the ground couldn't be further from this scenario. Yes, there has been a shift in India's maritime policies and this is likely to continue, but has India really reached a moment where it will play a more prominent role outside of the Indian Ocean? Although this is being debated by strategists in India and abroad, the incentives for India to engage in such an act are close to nil. More importantly, India may also be on the same page as China as far as freedom of military navigation is concerned. Whether India enforces its view as aggressively as China does is again debatable.

Here are some of the reasons why India is unlikely to lend a helping hand in the South China Sea, as exciting as it may sound:

1. Foreign and Maritime Policy:

As laid out above, India's foreign policy would have to go through a drastic strategic change before it could commit to allocating resources in an area beyond its navy's primary area of interest. India has traditionally been continental in its defence strategy and will remain so, given the obvious troubles along its northern borders.

BBIN Initiatives: Options for Cross-Border Power Exchange

MAHENDRA LAMA 
APR 25 2016 


International borders are key to any cooperation in the sub-region of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN). This sub-region — once integrated as a powerful geographiceconomic entity and eventually disintegrating because of various politico-historical reasons — is now venturing to reintegrate. The challenge is to recognise borders as 'borderlands', where there exists an intrinsic interplay of natural resources, cultures, societies, trade and commerce, tourism, technology, roads, and communications. This demands a significant deviation from the orthodox treatment of borders as venues for military security. A critical area that shows potential is cross-border energy trading. Today there are fairly successful interconnection experiments in this area, as well as institutional linkages, buoyed by a considerable degree of political will. This paper describes the potentials of energy trading within BBIN.

India in a Reconnecting Eurasia

By Gulshan Sachdeva 
May 3, 2016 

Foreign Economic and Security Interests 

India in a Reconnecting Eurasia examines the full scope of Indian national interests in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and analyzes the broad outlines of Indian engagement over the coming years. It is part of a six-part CSIS series, “Eurasia from the Outside In,” which includes studies focusing on Turkey, the European Union, Iran, India, Russia, and China.

Gulshan Sachdeva is a professor of European studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. 

Publisher CSIS/Rowman & Littlefield 


Pakistan: Democracy failing to army, terror and ‘madarsas’

By Rakesh Kr Sinha
04 May , 2016

The international media has been recently abuzz with the assumption of a silent coup in Pakistan reducing Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif to a ceremonial position and the actual power wrested by the Pakistani army. There are few incidents also to corroborate this theory.

Democracy in Pakistan has reached the point from where it had started; controlled by the army, plagued by sectarian violence and indoctrinated by ‘ulemas’ of ‘madarsas’.

The attack on Pathankot air base by Pakistani terrorists was to remind the world and particularly Indians, that the ultimate authority is vested with army in Pakistan and not with the elected Prime Minister with regards to its strategic and foreign policy. Earlier in Oct 2015, the Army Chief, Gen Raheel Sharif had prevailed upon Nawaj Sharif to replace National Security Advisor (NSA), Sartaz Aziz with Lt Gen (R) Naseer Khan Janjua, an infamous former XII Corps Commander in Quetta and also known as ‘Butcher of Baluchistan’.

Similar situation arose when Pakistani Army Chief declined to meet visiting Iranian President along with Pakistani Prime Minister and rather had a separate one to one meeting with the visiting Head of State to make it loud and clear to all as to where does the actual power rest in the matters of foreign affairs.

Keeping up with China’s Evolving Military Strategy

May 4, 2016

Editor’s Note: Tickets to the 6th annual China Defense and Security Conference can be purchased here


For over two decades, the People’s Republic of China has been engaged in a grand project to transform its military into a modernized fighting force capable of defeating major foreign powers. After the first Gulf War saw the United States use precision-guided munitions and networked technologies to decisively defeat Iraq’s aging, mechanized forces, Chinese military thinkers concluded that a similar fate awaited the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in combat unless drastic changes were made. From that point onward, readying the PLA to fight in modern warfare has been firmly enshrined as one of China’s highest policy priorities.

Each of China’s successive leaders has left their own imprint not only on the PLA’s force structure, but also on its strategic guidance. Jiang Zemin’s initial focus on developing the PLA’s ability to win a “local war under high-tech conditions” gradually morphed into Hu Jintao’s emphasis on building an “informatized” force capable of surviving and winning at modern information warfare, as well as enabling the PLA to carry out what Hu termed the “New Historic Missions,” which emphasized military operations other than warfare (MOOTW) for the first time. Under Xi Jinping, China focuses on developing the capabilities necessary to win the “informatized local wars” that China may one day fight over its expanding list of “core interests” in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

What PRC President Is Really Doing; What The Uniform Means

May 03, 2016 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent appearance in a military uniform while touring a military command center and the attendant description of him as “commander in chief” of the facility, drew extensive Chinese and foreign media attention.

Was his appearance in uniform a reflection of a militarizing China? Was the description of him as “commander in chief” of this new entity a reflection of ongoing political tensions with the military? Unfortunately, those discussions have tended to miss the bigger picture.

In the first place, while Xi appeared in a camouflage uniform during this visit, video footagetaken aboard a Chinese submarine in 2013 and accompanying a story in 2014 show him in other uniform attire. So, this is not exactly setting a precedent.

Similarly, the term “zong zhihui” means overall commander. The phrase, as used here, has been applied to other persons in other situations. For example, in stories about the Shenzhou space program, the person in charge has been termed “zong zhihui.”

It is important to remember that Xi Jinping, in his role as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) is already essentially commander-in-chief of the military. Indeed, the Chinese coverage describes him as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, national president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission, before appending “overall commander.” So, whether that title was added or not, there is no more question that Xi commands the military, including this facility, than whether Barack Obama is overall commander of an aircraft carrier since he is commander-in-chief of the US armed forces.

Asia's 'Mach 5' Nightmare: China’s Hypersonic Weapons Build-Up

May 2, 2016 

Back just three years ago, in February of 2013, a high-ranking US naval official remarked that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was preparing to wage, if called upon, what he called “a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea …”

Capt. James Fanell, then deputy chief of staff intelligence and information operations for PACFLEET, made the remark in reference to training exercises being conducted by China when it came to Japanese holdings in the East China Sea. Such remarks took the press by storm, clearly a sign of the dangers presented by Beijing’s rapid military modernization as well as its constant saber-rattling over the Senkaku Islands.

But just like all strategic challenges, threats can evolve — and in the case of the broader Asia-Pacific, the region is a far more dangerous place than it was in 2013. Indeed, the amount of places that China is now challenging the status quo — in the East China Sea, once again pushing back against Taiwan and in multiple places within the South China Sea — is a troubling sign of not only Beijing’s reckless approach towards its neighbors, but further evidence of an unyielding quest to dominate the region all the way to the first and likely second-island chains.

So what would be the instruments used to wage such a short, sharp war in any of these above contested bodies of water if the unthinkable occurred? The most likely weapon of choice would be China’s much discussed anti-access/area-denial strategy (A2/AD). Such a strategy — loaded with various scores of cruise and ballistic missiles — would rain down on allied bases throughout the first island chain all the way to Guam as well as on any incoming US naval assets in the region and deploying to any possible combat zone China would conceivably want to wage war in. Various experts within the Pentagon that I have spoken to personally over the last several years worry Washington is not ready for the challenges presented by an asymmetric Chinese strategy that has been crafted to cause large losses of men and material very quickly or, what Beijing ultimately hopes for, an America deterred by the scale of the A2/AD threat that stands down — abandoning critical allies in the process. China hopes to win quickly … or simply not fight at all.

A Mysterious Weapon:

China bans Ramadan fasting in mainly Muslim region


18 Jun 2015 

Civil servants, students and teachers prevented from fasting and restaurants ordered to remain open in Xinjiang region.

Uighur rights groups say China's restrictions on Islam in Xinjiang have added to violent ethnic tensions in the region [AP] 

China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open.

Most Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month, which began on Thursday, but China's ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has restricted the practice in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

"Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan," said a notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang's Jinghe county.

Officials in the region's Bole county were told: "During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities," according to a local government website report of a meeting this week.

THE THEOLOGICAL BATTLE BETWEEN ISIL AND THE TURKISH STATE

MAY 4, 2016

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) recently declared Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs – the “Diyanet” as it is often referred to – an apostate. The Diyanet is in charge of Turkey’s nation-wide network of mosques, making this an attack on mainstream Sunni Islam in Turkey. The third issue of ISIL’sTurkish-language magazine argued that the Diyanet was Turkey’s tool of “adjusting the religion of Islam to the new religion of secularism.” The article featured photos of Görmez with the Pope and the Bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as photos of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the secularizing leader of modern Turkey, all of which, to ISIL, is akin to shaking hands with the devil. “The mosques of Diyanet are these people’s schools of jahiliya [the time of ignorance before the prophet],” the article says, “and its teachers are the regime’s imams who have sold their religion for a pittance.”

ISIL has never been shy about expressing its opinions about Turkey’s government, but it did not start this particular fight. The Diyanet did.

The Time Has Come For A 'Sexual Spring' In The Arab World


05/02/2016 

When we say that nowadays to call for sexual freedom in Arab and Muslim societies is more dangerous than the demand to topple monarchies or dictatorial regimes, we are not playing with metaphor or attempting to gain sympathy. We are stating a bitter and painful fact of the reality in which we are living.

In Arab and Muslim milieus, sex is considered a means and not an end, hedged by many prickly restrictions that make it an objectionable matter and synonymous with sin. Its function within marriage is confined to procreation and nothing else, and all sexual activity outside the institution of marriage is banned legally and rejected socially. Innocent children born out of wedlock are socially rejected and considered foundlings.

This situation cannot be said to be characteristic of Arab societies only, but we experience these miseries in far darker and more intense ways than in other countries. This is especially so because of the dominance of machismo, which considers a man's sexual adventures as heroics worthy of pride, while a woman who dares to give in to her sexual desires is destined to be killed -- or at best beaten and expelled from home -- because she has brought dishonor upon her family.

Will America's Asian Allies Go Nuclear?

May 4, 2016
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/will-americas-asian-allies-go-nuclear-16055?page=show

In Northeast Asia, where national security still overwhelmingly dominates the perspectives and behavior of states, nuclear proliferation, both vertical and horizontal, is gaining stronger momentum. China’s recent but substantial investment in modernizing its nuclear arsenal and improving its reprocessing capacity is alarming its neighbors, as well as the United States. The nuclear pursuits of North Korea and, in particular, the acceleration of nuclear and missile tests seem to be spiraling, whereas diplomatic efforts to stop Pyongyang's nuclear path have been futile to date. In addition to its fourth nuclear test in January 2016, a series of missile and rocket tests and the recentfiring of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), Pyongyang is reportedly preparing another nuclear weapons test in the coming months.

However, China and North Korea are not the only countries in Northeast Asia that are a cause for concern to the international community. Two close U.S. allies with advanced nuclear technology, South Korea and Japan, are also considered potential nuclear powers that might be able to develop a nuclear arsenal within a relatively short time frame, should they decide to do so. Growing concerns about nuclear proliferation in the region have cast doubts about whether these U.S. allies will continuously stay out of the military nuclear race. If South Korean and Japanese leaders came to be placed under more serious internal or external pressure due to growing military tensions, they might be tempted to pursue less restrained policy decisions about nuclear armament.

SYRIA HASN’T DEGRADED DETERRENCE AND NONPROLIFERATION REGIMES

MAY 5, 2016

The Syrian military’s employment of chemical weapons in 2012 and 2013 against insurgents within its borders led to a significant international intervention that ultimately resulted in the destruction of 1,380 metric tons of chemicals and Syria’s declared chemical production and storage facilities. Because this is the most significant event involving the use of chemical weapons since Halabjah in 1988, it has caused a substantial amount of discussion as to what it means for national security. Rebecca Hersman, writing for War on the Rocks, suggests the international community needs to step up its efforts to ensure the arms control and nonproliferation regime remains strong. However, we should not over-exaggerate the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons at the risk of identifying the wrong issues for future defense policy development.

The truth is that the nonproliferation regime is not in danger of failing due to this contemporary case. Moreover, deterrence still works, even in the face of Syria’s alleged continued use of chlorine barrel bombs.

World Bank: The way climate change is really going to hurt us is through water

May 3 2016 

The dried-up riverbank of the Ganges is seen from a bridge in Allahabad, India, on May 3. Much of India is reeling from a heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and left at least 330 million Indians without enough water for their daily needs. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP) This story has been updated.

As India, the world’s second-most populous country, reels from an intense drought, the World Bank has released a new report finding that perhaps the most severe impact of a changing climate could be the effect on water supplies.

The most startling finding? The report suggests that by 2050, an inadequate supply of water could knock down economic growth in some parts of the world a figure as high as 6 percent of GDP, “sending them into sustained negative growth.” Regions facing this risk — which can at least partly be averted by better water management, the document notes — include not only much of Africa but also India, China and the Middle East.

“When we look at any of the major impacts of climate change, they one way or another come through water,” said Richard Damania, a lead economist at the bank and the lead author of the report, on a call with reporters Tuesday. “So it will be no exaggeration to claim that climate change is really in fact about hydrological change.”

Canadian SIGINT Agency Won’t Disclose How Many Privacy Breaches It Has Committed

Alex Boutilier
May 4, 2016

Canadian spy agency CSE won’t reveal number of privacy breaches

OTTAWA—The Communications Security Establishment is refusing to release the number of privacy breaches the agency has logged since 2007.

Documents obtained by the Star state the intelligence and cyber defence agency has maintained a central database for certain privacy violations since 2007. These breaches are categorized as minor “procedural errors” or more serious “privacy incidents,” and reviewed by the CSE Commissioner’s office every year.

“In these files, CSE records any incidents it identifies that put at risk the privacy of a Canadian in a manner that runs counter to (or is not provided in) its operational policies,” a September 2014 letter from former CSE chief John Forster to a senior Treasury Board official.

The Star requested just the number of breaches — no details about what actually transpired or the Canadian personal information involved — but was told the agency could not comply due to “operational security concerns.”

“Releasing the number of (breaches) would provide insight into CSE’s capacity to conduct operations, the extent of its capabilities, the degree to which partner organizations benefit from sharing and the reach of the programs,” wrote spokesperson Ryan Foreman in an email last week.

SophosLabs Research Finds "Designer" Cyber Threats on the Rise

May 3, 2016

Sophos (LSE: SOPH), a global leader in network and endpoint security, today revealed SophosLabs research that indicates a growing trend among cybercriminals to target and even filter out specific countries when designing ransomware and other malicious cyberattacks. The research includes information from millions of endpoints worldwide and is analyzed by the team at SophosLabs

To lure more victims with their attacks, cybercriminals are now crafting customized spam to carry threats using regional vernacular, brands and payment methods for better cultural compatibility, according to Sophos. Ransomware cleverly disguised as authentic email notifications, complete with counterfeit local logos, is more believable, highly clickable and therefore more financially rewarding to the criminal. To be as effective as possible, these scam emails now impersonate local postal companies, tax and law enforcement agencies and utility firms, including phony shipping notices, refunds, speeding tickets and electricity bills. SophosLabs has seen a rise in spam where the grammar is more often properly written and perfectly punctuated. 

"You have to look harder to spot fake emails from real ones," said Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos. "Being aware of the tactics used in your region is becoming an important aspect of security." 

Researchers also saw historic trends of different ransomware strains that targeted specific locations. Versions of CryptoWall predominantly hit victims in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany and France, TorrentLocker attacked primarily the U.K., Italy, Australia and Spain and TeslaCrypt honed in on the U.K., U.S., Canada, Singapore and Thailand. 

The next national security crisis: We must make plans now to defeat growing cyber threat

By Eric Michael O'Neill 
May 03, 2016 

Working at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), I saw a multitude of attempts by America’s enemies undermine our national security. From terrorism to spies, our nation is always a target of its enemies. One of the newest and most dangerous threats to the country comes in the form of cyber threats, where a single actor with advanced knowledge of computers, networks and cyber security can do immense damage to the nation just by hitting the enter key on their laptop.

It is no secret that our government’s computer systems are under constant attack from hackers in Russia, China and North Korea. Records obtained by USA Today recently revealed that hackers infiltrated the Department of Energy's computer system over 150 times between 2010 and 2014. The DOE is an attractive target for our enemies, as it oversees our power grid and nuclear weapons stockpiles. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

The most concerning attacks will be against our electrical utilities, our transportation network and other critical systems. The technology that guards the critical infrastructure at the center of our lives has been neglected for far too long. The development and effectiveness of malicious cyber weapons like Stuxnet should have been a wake-up call. Stuxnet was a malicious worm that many believe was engineered to undermine Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon. In many ways, we are already engaged in a cyber war – many just don't know it yet.

Jammers, Not Terminators: DARPA & The Future Of Robotics

May 02, 2016

An “Intrepid Tiger II” jamming pod on an F-18 Hornet. DARPA wants to put artificial intelligence in such pods to come up with countermeasures “in real time.”

WASHINGTON: Robophobes, relax. The robot revolution is not imminent. Machine brainshave a lot to learn about the messy physical world, said DARPA director Arati Prabhakar. Instead, DARPA sees some of the most promising applications for artificial intelligence in theintangible realm of radio waves. That includes electronic warfare — jamming and spoofing — as well as a newly launched “grand challenge” on spectrum management: allocating and reallocating frequencies among users according to demand more nimbly than a human mind could manage, let alone the federal bureaucracy. In short, don’t think Terminators: thinkjammers.

DARPA director Arati Prabhakar

“Where it works well, we’re finding amazing new applications for artificial intelligence,” Prabhakar told an Atlantic Council conference this morning, extolling DARPA’s new unmanned ship, the Sea Hunter. “But we also see a technology that is still quite fundamentally limited.”

VCJCS Mulls Newest Domain: Electromagnetic Spectrum

April 22, 2016 

Air Force electronic warfare officers aboard an RC-135 Rivet Joint

WASHINGTON: The Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is taking a “very serious” look at to making the electromagnetic spectrum a formal “domain” of military operations, a top aide to the Pentagon’s chief information officer told me this morning. The move would elevate the ethereal realm of radio waves and radar to the same level of importance as land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace, with ramifications rippling across the military’s budget, training, and organization.

We’ve written for years about the military’s anxiety that it has “lost the electromagnetic spectrum” to increasingly sophisticated adversaries like Russia and China, who can jam or spoof the networks and sensors on which US operations depend. We’ve also written about the effort to elevate the spectrum to a domain to ensure it gets top-level attention and resources, an effort in which the Pentagon CIO plays a leading role. Now it looks like that effort is gathering major momentum.

Maj. Gen. Sandra Finan

Less than a Quarter of Businesses Are Cyberattack-Ready

20 APR 2016

On average, only 23% of organizations are capable of responding effectively to a cyber-incident. This is especially bad for companies in the retail and hospitality sectors, which were the top-attacked verticals in 2015. 

That’s the word from NTT Group’s annual Global Threat Intelligence Report, which found that not only do 77% have no capability to respond to critical incidents, but that the addressable fixable issues of social engineering and exploits of old vulnerabilities continue to be popular attack vectors. 

In fact, spear phishing attacks accounted for approximately 17% of incident response activities supported in 2015. In many cases, the attacks targeted executives and finance personnel with the intent of tricking them into paying fraudulent invoices. 

The bad guys are putting more effort into social engineering too. Activity related to the reconnaissance phase of the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain (CKC) accounted for nearly 89% of all log volume. These logs accounted for approximately 35% of escalated attack activity, making reconnaissance the largest single element in the CKC. 

The report also found that all of the top 10 vulnerabilities targeted by exploit kits during 2015 are related to Adobe Flash. In 2013, the top 10 vulnerabilities targeted by exploit kits included one Flash and eight Java vulnerabilities. That has changed as new Java vulnerabilities have dropped steadily since 2013. The number of publicized Flash vulnerabilities jumped by almost 312% over 2014 levels. 

Infographic Of The Day: History Of Hacking

It is difficult to go for a week without hearing a news story about a major corporation or business that has been compromised by hackers.

But only a tiny percentage of hacks make the headlines. The fact is that there are thousands of cyber-attacks every single day on everything from huge corporations and governments to private individuals.

But how has hacking become so commonplace? You might be surprised to learn that the word actually pre-dates personal computers and was first used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology all the way back in 1955. This infographic tracks the evolution of hacking through its history and shows you some of the most important hacking events and cases that helped to make it infamous.

Whether you think of cyber criminals stealing data and money from the vulnerable, or hacktivists exposing the dark secrets of governments and organisations, there’s no doubt that hackers play a huge role in modern life. Read on to learn more about the way hacking has changed over time – you might be surprised by just how many websites are hacked every single day. 

DDoS Attacks Growing Globally

May 2, 2016 

DDoS Attacks on on the rise around the globe

It's only fair to share...
DDoS attacks Growing in number and they are getting smarter

DDoS Attacks growing in Q12 016: Number Increases; Length Decreases, growing by almost fourfold according to Kaspersky Lab resources.

Kaspersky Lab has published its report on botnet DDoS attacks for Q1 2016 based on statistics gathered from Kaspersky DDoS Intelligence*. The reporting period saw a shift away from low-cost attacks that are easy to implement to more complex and focused ones.

Resources in 74 countries were targeted by DDoS attacks growing in Q1 2016. The vast majority of those resources were located in just 10 countries- China, South Korea and the U.S. top 3. Ukraine (4), Germany (9) and France (10) were all newcomers to the Top 10 this quarter. These changes correlated with the countries hosting the most Command and Control (C&C) servers for attack purposes – France appeared among the leaders in that rating too.

It's Time to Return to the Principles of War


Most modern military doctrine should be scrapped. The Pentagon would be far better served if our military thinkers got back to the basics and taught the principles of war—and little more.

Conflict just keeps getting more complicated. In the modern era, the general response has been to develop new concepts for the how the armed forces ought to conduct themselves. “Bold reimaginings” have sprung forth as quickly as weeds. Getting the “strategic narrative” right is but the latest doctrinal flavor of the month.

But while explanations of how we should fight keep getting more cerebral, sophisticated and sensitive to the conditions surrounding contemporary conflicts, the fighting hasn’t gotten any easier. Occam’s razor suggests that maybe all that fresh thinking isn’t helping win wars.

What do smart, elegant doctrines come up short? The easiest explanation would simply dismiss modern military theorists as feckless pseudo-intellectuals. Colin Gray has compared the defense community to the fashion industry. “Expert defense professionals quite literally follow the fashion in ideas. . . The bigger the idea, the greater its conceptual reach and hence its organizing potency, and hence the more compelling the felt need to jump aboard the intellectual bandwagon.” There may be some truth there, but more is going on.

Defense thinkers are not fashion designers. Their debates are about changing outcomes, not aesthetics.

The New Economy of Climate Change

APR 29 2016 

The New Economy of Climate Change 

Climate change presents significant risks to long-term economic growth and socioeconomic development in developing economies. Thus, the response to climate change necessitates major revisions around how economies are structured and how they function. ORF organised a symposium on the subject “The New Economy of Climate Change” on 15 March 2016. This Special Report builds on the key themes presented by the panellists, and draws policy lessons from the same.

ANNOUNCING THE ELIHU ROOT STUDY ON THE TOTAL ARMY

MAY 3, 2016

We are proud to announce The Elihu Root Study of the Total Army.


The U.S. Army finds itself at an inflection point. Fifteen years of war have yielded inconclusive results, and the American people have limited enthusiasm for new investments in blood and treasure. Yet the global security environment is one of growing complexity and danger, and the demand for an adaptive, agile military persists. The U.S. Army has a solemn responsibility to protect and defend the nation and the Constitution, and this requires critical assessment.

This report is an analysis of the Army conducted by the Carlisle Scholars Program at the U.S. Army War College. Recent studies of the Army have tended to fixate on the mismatch between the ends of national military strategy and the means available to execute it, epitomized by the 2011 Budget Control Act and the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. This approach to framing risk is a “short game” that has achieved limited results. This study recommends that the Army reframe its approach. We believe that Army leaders are missing a critical opportunity to use the forcing mechanism of resource constraints to make essential internal changes.

THE CATASTROPHIC SUCCESS OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

MAY 3, 2016

A retired U.S. Air Force officer recently told one of us about a conversation he had with a senior Air Force leader who outlined plans for a new type of Red Flag training exercise in Nevada (think Maverick vs. Jester in Top Gun). The new exercise would be designed to simulate a contested denied environment that would involve fighting integrated enemy air defenses and capable fighters. The retired officer drily replied, “Oh, you mean war?”

The stunning success of the Air Force in dominating its domain since the 1991 Gulf War has created two looming problems for the service leadership: The Air Force no longer has any substantive experience in how to fight and win in a highly contested environment, and its current airmen have never experienced serious losses of people and machines in air combat. The very profession of arms in air combat — “to fly, fight, and win” in Air Force parlance — may be at risk. The Air Force’s immense success resulting from the courage, skill, and technological superiority of American airmen has now perversely made the service much less ready to fight the next big war.

Top 10 defense budgets from around the world











Dear Reader,

In the above chart, you can see the top 10 defense budgets from around the world. However, the total amount a country spends on defense doesn’t tell you everything about its military power. Nor does the percent of GDP a country spends on its military. But taken together, these two data points can tell you a lot. They give you a sense of how powerful a country is and tell you how committed a country is to national defense -- and how worried the country is about national security. 

U.S. Army Is Getting Ready for Great Power War (Think Russia or China)

May 2, 2016 

The Army is developing its weapons, technologies and platforms with a greater emphasis on being ready for great-power, mechanized force-on-force war in order maintain cross-the-board readiness and deter near-peer adversaries from unwanted aggression.

While the service aims to be prepared for any conceivable contingency, to include counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and hybrid-type conflicts, the Army has been shifting its focus from 15-years of counterinsurgency war and pivoting its weapons development toward major-power war.

“We are excellent at counterinsurgency,” Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson, Military Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, told Scout Warrior in an exclusive interview last month. “We’re developing systems to be prepared for the full range of potential conflict.”

As a high-level leader for the Army’s weapons, vehicle and platform developmental efforts, Williamson explained that some technologies are specifically being engineered with a mind toward positioning the service for the prospect of massive great-power conflict; this would include combat with mechanized forces, armored vehicles, long-range precision weapons, helicopter air support and what’s called a Combined Arms Maneuver approach.

Combined Arms Maneuver tactics use a variety of combat assets, such as artillery, infantry and armored vehicles such as tanks, in a synchronized, integrated fashion to overwhelm, confuse and destroy enemies.