9 May 2016

*Parrikar Confronts Chiefs to End Monopoly of the Forces in Promotion Procedure

By Pradip R Sagar
08th May 2016 
Source Link

NEW DELHI: Targeting transparency in promotion procedures in the three services has been Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s mission. He is contemplating a proposal to introduce a civilian observer in the promotion boards. The move is aimed to reduce litigation, as nearly 5,000 cases pertaining to promotion are pending in tribunals and courts. The Service Headquarters isn’t amused.

Though the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) move is at its nascent stage, it has started creating ripples in the Service Headquarters, with many opposing civilian authority intruding into their territory. Simultaneously, many officers supporting the move, claiming that a closed-door selection procedure needs to be transparent to end doubts and “rumour mongering”.
Parrikar has often said that soldiers should not spend time in courts instead of being at the border.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has often said that soldiers should not spend time in courts instead of being at the border.

In this regard, a five-member committee of experts for reduction of litigation in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and strengthening mechanisms of redressal of grievances was formed few months ago. Its report submitted to the ministry observed that many appeals in military service matters “are fuelled by prestige and official egotism”.

“Efforts are only aimed to have 100 per cent transparency in promotions,” said a top official of South Block, which houses the MoD.

Infiltration from Pakistan and Incursions by Chinese Troops

PIB Press Release

Apr 30, 2016 

There have been no instances of incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory. There is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China. There are areas along the border including areas in Ladakh where India and China have differing perception of LAC. Due to both sides undertaking patrolling upto their perception of the LAC, transgressions do occur.

Regarding construction activities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Government has seen such reports and has conveyed its concerns to China about their activities and asked them to cease such activities. As per assessment, details of infiltration by terrorists in J&K are as under:

S. No. Year Attempted Infiltration Successful Infiltration

1. 2015 118 33
2. 2016 24 18
(upto 31st March) 

Government regularly takes up any transgression along LAC with the Chinese side through established mechanisms including Flag meetings, Border Personnel meetings, meetings of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs and diplomatic channels.

Deployment along Indo-Pak Border

PIB Press Release
Apr 27, 2016 

The Border Security Force (BSF) has informed that nothing has so far come to the notice to conclude any route adopted by the terrorists through the Area of Responsibility (AOR). However, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the terror attack on Pathankot Airbase, has informed that the terrorists had infiltrated from Pakistan side crossing the border. The exact mode and route taken by them are still under investigation.

The following steps have been taken to strengthen security at the Indo-Pakistan border to meet the shortage/lapses in border security:

i. In order to strengthen border domination, one more Battalion has been inducted in Gurdaspur sector on Punjab Border.

ii. One pilot project for deploying technological solutions in 2 patches of 5-6 kilometers of riverine gaps and sensitive areas of Jammu Frontier has been sanctioned.

iii. Introduction of Force Multipliers and Hi-tech surveillance equipment’s to reduce stress level of troops and to enhance the surveillance of border.

iv. Upgradation of Intelligence Network and coordination.

v. Conduct of special operations along the Border and in-depth areas.

vi. Review of vulnerability mapping of BOPs along Indo Pak Border from time to time.

vii. Approval of four Pilot Projects of approx 30-40 kilometers each in different terrains and sensitive riverine gaps in Jammu, Punjab, Gujarat and West Bengal States.

viii. Forty five more laser / IR Intrusion detection system are being fabricated and being installed in Punjab (eight have already been fabricated and installed). This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to a question by Smt Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Shri Rahul Kaswan and Dr. K.Gopal in the Lok Sabha.



*** The Military and the Academy Overcoming the Divide

By Thomas G. Mahnken
May 6, 2016
Christopher Sims’ “Academics in Foxholes: The Life and Death of the Human Terrain System” contributes to the ongoing debate about the U.S. military’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan and, more specifically, the relationship between the U.S. government and the academy. As the authors point out, there is much that both scholars and practitioners can learn from the successes and failures of the Human Terrain System (HTS), which brought together civilian academics and military personnel. Even more broadly, however, the experience reveals much about the relationship between the U.S. armed forces (primarily the army) on the one hand and academic social scientists (primarily anthropologists and sociologists) on the other.

HTS was created in 2007 as a response to the U.S. military’s need to better understand the cultural and ethnic geography of Iraq and Afghanistan. In part because of long-standing lack of institutional emphasis on cultural factors, U.S. forces had a poor understanding of the composition of Iraqi and Afghan society. At times they overlooked sources of support for insurgency; at other times they alienated potential allies. Addressing the shortcoming in the middle of a war inevitably came at a great expense and the process was less effective than diagnosing and remedying the problem in peacetime.

The effort to improve soldiers’ social and cultural understanding was further hampered by the U.S. military’s approach to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: even as the United States sought to fight a war “among the people”—that is, with and alongside them—it generally kept the local population at arm’s length, a reflection of a military organizational culture built around avoiding casualties and penalizing risk-taking. But a failure to work with local populations made it all the more difficult to understand the dynamics that perpetuated the conflicts.

The attempt to solve this problem—HTS—came with its own difficulties. The program brought into Iraq and Afghanistan academic communities that held very different values from the military and were at best indifferent and at times hostile to cooperation with the U.S. government. The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association went so far as to deem HTS “an unacceptable application of anthropological expertise.”

HTS has received the most attention, but it was only one in a series of initiatives meant to improve the capability of the U.S. military to work with local forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Efforts that predated HTS included the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), which consisted of military officers, diplomats, and development experts, who were meant to support reconstruction efforts first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq.

Why India must be wary of Nepal's Lumbini Project

May 06, 2016 
Source Link


For India to endorse Nepal's Buddhist conference will be like sipping from a poisoned chalice, warns former RA&W official Jayadeva Ranade.

IMAGE: An idol of Buddha is silhouetted at the Tibetan Monastery in Lumbini, south-west of Kathmandu.

Media reports claim that Nepal's government is organising a three-day international Buddhist conference in Kathmandu from May 19-21, 2016, on the occasion of the 2560th Buddha Jayanti, Lord Buddha's birthday.

The objective of the conference is to obtain support for the development of Lumbini as a spiritual centre and to promote Nepal's religious and cultural tourism.

For India to endorse this conference will be like sipping from a poisoned chalice.

Hundreds of monks, scholars and representatives of governments have been invited by the 501-member committee headed by Ananda Prasad Pokharel of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified-Marxist- Leninist) and Nepal's minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation, to the conference where Lumbini has been advertised as the 'the cradle of Buddhist philosophy' -- though it is Bodh Gaya where the Buddha attained enlightenment!

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a practicing Buddhist who in the past supported a China-backed Buddhist centre in Lumbini, has been invited as have India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China's President Xi Jinping.

The pro-Dalai Lama, Delhi-based International Buddhist Confederation, has also been invited though India gains nothing from the venture.

China has for many years been trying to establish a presence in Buddha's birthplace Lumbini as part of its efforts to ensure that Nepal is not used as a base to destabilise the Tibet Autonomous Region as well as to undermine the Dalai Lama's influence and fracture the cohesiveness of Tibetan Buddhist sects and the Tibetan community in exile.

As a visiting senior Chinese official told a Nepalese journalist a few years ago, 'We visit Nepal because you have Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.'

Chinese NGOs have earlier also attempted to get India's endorsement for the development of Lumbini. Their plans include building hotels, an airport and, most importantly, to develop Lumbini as a China-backed centre of Tibetan Buddhism.

In 2012, the Asia-Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation, promoted by the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department, unveiled a $3 billion plan for the development of Lumbini.

Included were a Chinese-financed and managed monastery providing religious instruction and free for all monks from the region. It additionally proposed to allocate plots of land to various Tibetan Buddhist high lamas and sects.

IMAGE: The Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini province.

More recently the Beijing-headquartered China Buddhist Association, of which the Beijing-selected 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu is the vice- president, announced it would take over the $3 billion project for the development of Lumbini.

While its proposal is less ambitious, it nevertheless still envisages an airport and the allocation of plots of land to various Tibetan Buddhist high lamas and sects.

Military Review, May-June 2016, v. 96, no. 3



o Old Generation Warfare: The Evolution—Not Revolution—of the Russian Way of Warfare

o Unconventional Art and Modern War

o Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold

o Understanding Today’s Enemy: The Grand Strategists of Modern Jihad

o The Particular Circumstances of Time and Place: Why the Occupation of Japan Succeeded and the Occupation of Iraq Failed

o The AFRICOM Queen

o To Respond or Not to Respond: Addressing Adversarial Propaganda

o A Rigorous Education for an Uncertain Future

o Precedent and Rationale for an Army Fixed-Wing Ground Attack Aircraft

o Social Factors and the Human Domain

o Force Agility through Crowdsourced Development of Tactics

o Army ROTC at One Hundred

** Modern Warfare: Why the U.S. Army Must Reform

There are several concrete steps that the Army could take to improve both ambidexterity and agility.
Structural reform in the military is long overdue. Thirty years ago, when the last major overhaul of the military’s structure was implemented due to the passage of the Goldwater Nichols Act, desktop computers and cell phones were largely viewed as novelty items, the Berlin Wall still stood firm, and terrorists were seen as more of a nuisance than an existential national security threat. The world has changed a lot in the past thirty years, and so has the nature of the threats faced by our military. So far, proposals to reform the military’s structure to better address contemporary challenges have been focused on the service Chiefs of Staff and above. That should change, starting with a closer examination of the military’s largest service, the US Army.

Structural reform, hardly the stuff of cocktail hour repartee, is finally on the agendas of our most senior civilian officials. Just last month, for example, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter unveiled a plan to reform aspects of the military’s command and control structure, and the issue is currently under discussion as Congress debates the form of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act. One of the themes underlying these conversations is a sense that the service chiefs have been frozen out of major decisions such as acquisition and operational planning—to the detriment of the military as a whole. Another theme is that the military has become too “top-heavy”—i.e., that the sheer number of top brass is depleting valuable resources and detracting from the agility of the force.

The tone in any organization is set at the top, so it’s no surprise that similar problems with inefficient decision-making, top-heavy commands, and outmoded organizational structures permeate into each of the services. The size of the Army alone provides reason to examine its structure more closely for inefficiencies. But, for a service that may be ‘outmanned and outgunned’ in its next war; that is shrinking while the threats that it may need to address in the future continually expand, structural reform provides a way to improve the efficacy of the Army, regardless of the resource constraints that it currently faces or may face in the future.

The changing threat environment since 1986 has also drawn the role of ground forces into question more than naval, amphibious, or air-based instruments of military power. Russia’s revanche and the ongoing conflict against ISIS notwithstanding, large land wars, a la Desert Storm or Iraqi Freedom, have become increasingly unpalatable to the civilian political class. The need for a large standing Army has thus been drawn into question, not least of all by the current administration. The Army has and is taking several steps to adapt to changing budgetary and threat environments, including undertaking projectsthat rethink the role of ground forces both in and out of kinetic conflict. But, so far, many of the structural problems facing the Army have received less attention.

** Sun-Tzu, Clausewitz, and Thucydides: It’s Only a Lot of Reading If You Do It


Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a major in the US Army, but until recently I hadn’t read Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, often considered the seminal work on military theory.

In my defense, however, I’ll say this: Though the great minds of military strategy are often invoked, they’re rarely read—and even then, almost never in full.

Over the past few months, I committed myself to reading the three greatest military thinkers of all time: Chinese philosopher Sun-Tzu, the Prussian military theorist Clausewitz, and the Greek historian Thucydides. Though there’s certainly much widsdom in all three works, their greatest value hasn’t been in helping to grasp good strategy, per se. Rather, every military leader should read all three works to help spot bad strategy.

Let’s face it, nearly every budding defense writer knows that the credibility of your argument goes up 1000% by slapping a quote from one of the greats somewhere before your thesis. Clausewitz is among the most abused of those great strategists—Clausewitz’ sage wisdom was invoked in 2002 tojustify the Iraq War, then afterwards to repudiate it. Indeed, Clausewitz is so vague at times, he can be used to justify, well, pretty much anything.

The problem, of course, lies in the fact that the vast majority of Clausewitz quotes are pulled from the first twenty pages of his book—in a book which generally runs over 500 pages. The publishers of one of the most prominent editions of Clausewitz have even speculated that writers commissioned to write forewords rarely read beyond the first chapter themselves.
On War is basically like Moby Dick. Sure, the beginning and ending are delightfully quotable and fascinating, but there’s that vast swath of drivel in the midsection involving the drudgery of life in the 1830s. (Clausewitz’s Book VI is about as interesting as Melville’s entire chapter dedicated to the “Whiteness of the Whale.”)

Perhaps adding to the confusion is the fact that Clausewitz’s first chapter refers to absolute war—an abstract style of war even the author admits has never happened in history, and likely never will. And while the simplicity and rationality of absolute war and its zero-sum game may sound appealing, Clausewitz is quick to point (in Book One, Chapter Two) out that wars are often fought for irrational and limited purposes, subject to the whims of the individual commanders.

Haqqani Network Unifying the Fractured Taliban Command Structure in Afghanistan

Afghanistan faces tough battle as Haqqanis unify the Taliban
Associated Press,May 7, 2016
SLAMABAD (AP) – A shadowy, Pakistan-based militant faction is on the rise within the Taliban after its leader was appointed deputy and played a key role in unifying the fractured insurgency.
The ascendency of the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, could significantly strengthen the Taliban and herald another summer of fierce fighting in Afghanistan. The firepower it brings to the Taliban was shown by a Kabul bombing last month that killed 64 people, the deadliest in the Afghan capital in years, which experts say was too sophisticated for the insurgents to have carried out without the Haqqanis.
The network’s role could also further poison already tainted relations between Islamabad and Kabul. Afghanistan is pressing Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqanis, accusing it of tolerating the group, a charge the Pakistanis deny.
An audio recording of a recent meeting of the top Taliban leadership, obtained by The Associated Press, offers a glimpse into the influence the Haqqani network now holds within the movement. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s leader and newly elevated deputy head of the Taliban, tells the gathering that they must end differences and focus on fighting. “It is time to work. The mujahedeen (Islamic holy warriors) are happily going to the battlefield,” he is heard saying. The voice is recognizable as Haqqani’s.

Haqqani’s rise to the deputy post is the highest, most direct role that the network is known to have taken in the Taliban leadership. The network pledged allegiance to the Taliban years ago but has traditionally operated independently.
The network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a one-time ally of the United States who achieved fame fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and who developed close ties to the slain al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. After his death, his son Sirajuddin Haqqani took over.
The elder Haqqani aligned his group with the Taliban after the insurgents were driven from power in the U.S.-led invasion that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was a formidable militant financier, traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to raise money. The network maintained close ties to al-Qaida and is believed to have large numbers of Arab and other foreign fighters.

The network is believed to command thousands of fighters on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. Over the years, the Haqqanis emerged as the Taliban’s strongest asset because of their battle-hardened fighters and traditional links to Pakistan’s security agencies. Both U.S and Afghan intelligence agencies say Pakistan’s intelligence network, known as ISI, has allowed the Haqqanis to live freely for decades in Pakistan’s tribal regions, a claim Islamabad denies.
“There’s no one sole source of the Haqqani network’s strength, though three places you can point to are its personnel, its links to Pakistan, and its ties to the Gulf region,” said Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

The Art of the Military Deal


Trump should recognize U.S. alliances are a good investment.
In his April 27 foreign-policy speech in Washington, Donald Trump leveled a number of critiques at U.S. allies around the world. He began to flesh out his now-familiar critiques of how America’s many allies and security partners—which number about sixty around the world—fail to do their fair share for the common defense.

It is only fair to acknowledge that some of Trump’s arguments about military burden sharing have merit. Most notably, America dramatically outspends most allies on its armed forces. Of course, the United States has the largest economy of any Western ally and thus, rather naturally, the largest defense budget by far. But relative to GDP, its contributions are still disproportionate. The United States spends about 3 percent of gross domestic product on its military. NATO allies are pledged to devote 2 percent of GDP each to their armed forces, but the alliance average is less than 1.4 percent. Only the UK, France, Poland, Greece, and Estonia are near or above 2 percent. Germany is at just 1.1 percent of GDP; Italy and the Netherlands and Turkey check in at 1.2 percent; Belgium and Canada do not even reach 1.0 percent. Yes, some of these countries contribute impressively—more than the United States does, relative to national economic strength—in areas such as development assistance and refugee receptivity, but Trump still has a fair point on this basic and important measure of military preparedness.

On balance, however, Trump’s explanation of the economics of America’s security alliances misses several core realities. The benefits of certain alliances can be debated—but they hardly constitute the wholesale drain on American coffers that he has made them out to be.
First and foremost, counting the United States as well, the broad coalition of U.S.-led western alliances accounts for some two-thirds of world GDP and two-thirds of global military spending. This situation is exceedingly advantageous to America. Never before in history has such a powerful strategic block of countries been created, especially in the absence of a clear central threat. Of course, America’s allies do not always do as it would wish. But today’s situation is far better than having two or more rivalrous groups of strong countries jostling for position with each other, and potentially engaging in arms races or open conflict.

Two Months After Bin Laden Killed, CIA Station Chief in Pakistan Evacuated Fearing That He Had Been Poisoned by ISI

Greg Miller
May 6, 2016

After presiding over bin Laden raid, CIA chief in Pakistan came home suspecting he was poisoned by ISI

Two months after Osama bin Laden was killed, the CIA’s top operative in Pakistan was pulled out of the country in an abrupt move vaguely attributed to health concerns and his strained relationship with Islamabad.

In reality, the CIA station chief was so violently ill that he was often doubled over in pain, current and former U.S. officials said. Trips out of the country for treatment proved futile. And the cause of his ailment was so mysterious, the officials said, that both he and the agency began to suspect that he had been poisoned.

Mark Kelton retired from the CIA, and his health has recovered after he had abdominal surgery. But agency officials continue to think that it is plausible — if not provable — that Kelton’s sudden illness was somehow orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI.

The disclosure is a disturbing postscript to the sequence of events surrounding the bin Laden operation five years ago and adds new intrigue to a counterterrorism partnership that has often been consumed by conspiracy theories.

That 2011 time frame was marked by extraordinary turbulence in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan, a wary alliance that was close to collapse when U.S. Navy SEALs descended on the al-Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad.

Even if the poisoning suspicion is groundless, the idea that the CIA and its station chief considered the ISI capable of such an act suggests that the breakdown in trust was even worse than widely assumed.

Kelton, 59, declined multiple requests for an interview, but in a brief exchange by phone he said that the cause of his illness “was never clarified,” and he added that he was not the first to suspect that he had been poisoned. “The gen­esis for the thoughts about that didn’t originate with me,” he said.

In the conversation, Kelton declined to answer questions about his illness or his tenure in Pakistan. “I’d rather let that whole sad episode lie,” he said. “I’m very, very proud of the people I worked with who did amazing things for their country at a very difficult time. When the true story is told, the country will be very proud of them.”

Afghanistan Visit



A three-member team comprising Dr. Radha Kumar, Mr. Rana Banerjee and Ambassador Rakesh Sood from Delhi Policy Group visited Afghanistan between April 15th to 19th to interact with representatives from the government, academia and media.

The major highlight of the visit was the launch of Delhi Policy Group's latest report, Afghanistan 2016 Turbulent Transitions, which was released in Kabul at a function organised by the Afghan Institute for Security Studies, with a panel discussion by H.E. Andisha, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, H.E. Manpreet Vohra, Ambassador of India to Afghanistan and General Karimi, former chief of the Afghan National Army. Reviewing the political, security and economic transitions in Afghanistan, the report notes the series of crises that have beset Afghanistan since the international drawdown and asks what regional governments and especially regional powers such as India, Russia and China can do to help stabilize the country and prevent it from becoming a sanctuary for terrorist groups again. 
Read the Afghanistan Report 2016: Turbulent Transitions here

Why Won't Pakistan Act against the Haqqani Network?



The Pakistani Taliban’s brutal attack at an Army Public School in 2014, which killed more than 140 children, forced the country’s powerful military into launching a massive military operation against militants based in the tribal regions along the Afghan border. While for years, the Pakistani leadership is known to have patronized and sheltered various militant groups for different security related reasons, to everyone’s surprise, this operation promised to decimate all terrorist groups: “All foreign fighters and local terrorists will be wiped out without any exception,” including the Haqqani network, said the military.
On November 5, 2014, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, a senior commander for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in a Pentagon hosted press conference noted that Pakistan’s military operation in the country’s tribal areas had “fractured” the Haqqani network and the group’s ability to strike in Afghanistan had been reduced significantly. “They are fractured. They are fractured like the Taliban is. That's based pretty much on the Pakistan [operations] in North Waziristan this entire summer-fall,” Anderson said.

However this apparent major doctrinal shift in Pakistan’s strategic security and defense policy has proved another hoax. Before the operation, Pakistan Army’s media wing in a statement said that this will be an indiscriminate operation and when the soldiers “go there, they will eliminate everyone,” and by that the spokesperson meant “any terrorist who is on the soil of Pakistan right now within the area of operation.”

The military operation named Zarb-e-Azb, as announced has targeted all foreign or local militant groups except those who had left the region before the operation. Reportedly, the Haqqani network was tipped off before the start of the operation and moved its assets across the Durand Line, border dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan.

* Ten behavioural traits India must change to successfully counter Pakistan


Apr 27, 2016 

One of the reasons why India is unable to deal with the Pakistan problem is its faulty thinking. The Pakistani establishment (ISI, Army, Government) knows how to expose our fault lines because India's behaviour is so predictable. It is able to keep India on the defensive and export terror relentlessly.

Here are ten behavioural traits that have not served India in the past, which must change if it has to successfully counter Pakistan:

1. India will not capitalise on gains made by its armed forces

Under the Tashkent Agreement, India agreed to return the strategic Haji Pir Pass, which overlooks POK, to Pakistan in exchange for an undertaking by Pakistan to abjure the use of force to settle mutual disputes and adherence to the principles of non-interference. Ditto in 1972 when Mrs Gandhi returned 92,000 prisoners of war in lieu of verbal promises.

But why is Haji Pir Pass important for India?

* Cyber operations come out of the shadows

By Mark Pomerleau 
May 05, 2016 
https://defensesystems.com/articles/2016/05/05/us-cyber-war-isis.aspx 

Cyber operations, which have long been conducted in the background, have been gaining more prominence. With high-profile intrusions into U.S. systems – the Office of Personnel Management and the email system for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to name a couple – cyber conflict, capability and awareness has been brought to the attention of the public. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper even acknowledged the practicality of the OPM breach, saying that the United States would do the same thing. Despite these apparent setbacks, the United States is also publicly stepping up its cyber game.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has tasked Cyber Command to “take on the war against ISIL as essentially the first major combat operation of Cybercom,” he said in front of Congress last week, using another acronym for ISIS. “The objectives there are to interrupt ISIL command and control, interrupt its ability to move money around, interrupt its ability to tyrannize and control population, interrupt its ability to recruit externally – all of that it does in a cyber-enabled way,” he continued. “We’re talking about cyber operations in Syria and Iraq and my feeling about that was and is very direct, which is we’re bombing them and we’re going to take out their Internet and so forth as well…This is the first big test of Cybercom. I have very high expectations that they can be successful.”

“The overall effect we’re trying to achieve is virtual isolation and this compliments very much our physical actions on the ground. And the particular focus is external operations that might be conducted by ISIL,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. 

This Will Not Be Bofors, Parrikar Tells Rattled Cong On Agusta

May 6, 2016, 
http://swarajyamag.com/politics/this-will-not-be-bofors-parrikar-tells-rattled-cong-on-agusta

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Agusta scam could have been stopped in 2012

“You cannot run the government by practising politics of vendetta”, said Cong MP Jairam Ramesh in the Rajya Sabha

“What we could not do in Bofors, we may be able to do now,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday. India hopes that Parrikar keeps the promise as the nation has been suffering due to institutionalised corruption. 

He made a statement in Lok Sabha and explained why the government believes the Congress designed a corrupt deal to buy AgustaWestland helicopters, and then did not take any action.

Parrikar’s Bofors reference was aimed at Sonia Gandhi and the decades-old corruption scandal that cast shadow on Rajiv Gandhi, though he was not convicted of any charges. 

A few weeks ago, a Milan court convicted Agusta officers for paying bribes in India. The judge referred to documents seized from middlemen and Agusta executives. In them, Congress leaders including party president Mrs Gandhi are referred to. The judge has said that though there is evidence that Indian politicians and bureaucrats were bought, it is up to India to uncover the guilty - a comment Parrikar referenced in his speech.

Tawang Deaths: India Loses Moral Ground

Jaideep Mazumdar 
May 6, 2016,

Police in Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) opened fire on about 200 people, including Buddhist monks, demanding the release of Lama Lobsang Gyatso (a monk) 
Gyatso had been leading popular protests against a series of big dams 
He was arrested on a flimsy charge 
Firing resulted in two deaths (unofficial toll is 8) 

Beijing is gloating over India’s ineptness. Long accused by the world of terrible repression, including those of Buddhist monks demanding greater autonomy or independence for Tibet, China is now happy that India has now joined its ranks on this count. India, say the Chinese, has lost the moral ground to lecture Beijing on its treatment of Tibetans and Buddhist monks in Tibet. Chinese newspaper have, over the past few days, carried reports of how “Indian occupation forces” are repressing the people of “south Tibet”, as China refers to large parts of Arunachal Pradesh that it claims as its own.

Monday’s firing by the police on a group of 200 gathered outside the Tawang police station demanding the release of a Buddhist monk arrested on specious charges led to the death of two, including a woman (the toll, say locals, is eight and includes a monk). This is a major setback for India. There have been widespread protests in Tawang and the rest of the state over the construction of a hundred small and big dams in the state. Of these, 13 dams, with a total generating capacity of 2791.90 megawatts, are in Tawang district alone.

IPCS Discussion Who Sets the Table: Negotiated Sovereignty and the Indo-Naga Relationship

Lydia Walker 
6 May 2016 

On 2 May 2016, the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) conducted a round-table discussion, titled ‘Who Sets the Table: Negotiated Sovereignty and the Indo-Naga Relationship’. This is a report of the proceedings. 

PhD candidate, Department of History, Harvard University, & affiliated scholar, IPCS

This period of study covers the pivotal years of the Naga Peace Mission between 1963-1966. The mobilisation for the Naga nationalist cause – unlike in the case of Namibia or Katanga (southeastern Congo) – was more of an attempted objective than one that was fully realised. 

The years 1964-66 witnessed sporadic and intermittent negotiations between the Indian Government and Naga nationalists. While the core negotiating parties were the Government of India (GOI), the State Government of Nagaland (GON), and the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), the principal figures involved were Bimala Prasad Chaliha (the then Chief Minister of Assam), JP Narayan (Congress leader), and Michael Scott (an Anglican Minister). 

These individual figures did not represent any particular organisation but were asked to join the Peace Mission owing to specific allegiances. While JP and Chaliha were asked to join the Mission because they were followers of Mahatma Gandhi, Scott was invited on board by the Naga Baptist Church because of his religious leanings. Scott got involved essentially because Naga nationalist leader Angami Zapu Phizo had heard of his tremendous work in Namibia from his nephew in Chicago. Although Scott was an outsider in the Northeast, he was not new to anti-colonial decolonisation in the post-colonial world.

Haqqani Network Unifying the Fractured Taliban Command Structure in Afghanistan

May 7, 2016

Afghanistan faces tough battle as Haqqanis unify the Taliban

ISLAMABAD (AP) – A shadowy, Pakistan-based militant faction is on the rise within the Taliban after its leader was appointed deputy and played a key role in unifying the fractured insurgency.

The ascendency of the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, could significantly strengthen the Taliban and herald another summer of fierce fighting in Afghanistan. The firepower it brings to the Taliban was shown by a Kabul bombing last month that killed 64 people, the deadliest in the Afghan capital in years, which experts say was too sophisticated for the insurgents to have carried out without the Haqqanis.

The network’s role could also further poison already tainted relations between Islamabad and Kabul. Afghanistan is pressing Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqanis, accusing it of tolerating the group, a charge the Pakistanis deny.

An audio recording of a recent meeting of the top Taliban leadership, obtained by The Associated Press, offers a glimpse into the influence the Haqqani network now holds within the movement. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s leader and newly elevated deputy head of the Taliban, tells the gathering that they must end differences and focus on fighting. “It is time to work. The mujahedeen (Islamic holy warriors) are happily going to the battlefield,” he is heard saying. The voice is recognizable as Haqqani’s.

Haqqani’s rise to the deputy post is the highest, most direct role that the network is known to have taken in the Taliban leadership. The network pledged allegiance to the Taliban years ago but has traditionally operated independently.

The network was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a one-time ally of the United States who achieved fame fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and who developed close ties to the slain al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. After his death, his son Sirajuddin Haqqani took over.

The Shifting Contours of China's Maritime Strategy

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-shifting-contours-chinas-maritime-strategy-16079?page=show
May 6, 2016
Has there been a recent shift in China's maritime strategy in the South China Sea? Has Beijing tempered its land reclamation and island building campaign, choosing to highlight positive aspects of its maritime security conduct? Is the PLAN becoming more accepting of the realities of the South China Sea, recalibrating its strategy to emphasise a more passive and benevolent presence?
In a recent Lowy Institute Report, Rory Medcalf and Ashley Townshend point to an interesting evolution in China's maritime thinking. The duo contend that not only has China turned more conciliatory in its maritime policy, Beijing is now advocating confidence-building measures that until recently it had refused to consider, helping lower the risks of maritime incidents, miscalculations and accidental conflict. Yet this behaviour is also facilitating what the authors say is a form of 'passive assertiveness' that challenges Asia's maritime status quo.
The authors note that while China's creation and militarisation of disputed islands, its establishment of new zones of military authority, and its conduct of expansive patrols in the East and South China Seas are tactically non-threatening, these actions represent a long-term strategic challenge to the regional order. Beijing's new strategy, Medcalf and Townshend point out, forces regional states to assume a degree of cost and risk in assessing China's latent aggression, complicating their strategic calculi and leading to ineffective responses.
What is needed, the authors recommend, is a prudent balance between the 'open display of tactical resolve and the pursuit of other indirect strategies' to shape Chinese behavior in ways that minimise the risks of escalation. Doing so, they say, needs a multidimensional international effort, one that is likely to impose costs on Beijing even as it offers incentives linked to its 'reputational, strategic, and economic interests'.

China Will Probably Implode

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/china-will-probably-implode-16088?page=show
From politics to the economy to the environment, the end may be near.
May 7, 2016
In July of 2001, Gordon Chang predicted an inevitable meltdown of the Chinese Communist Party in his best-selling book The Coming Collapse of China. Since then, China’s economy has increased by more than eightfold, to surpass even the United States on a purchasing parity power basis. Oops?
In Chang’s defense, he could not have anticipated the colossal blunder of President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress in paving China’s ruthlessly mercantilist way into the World Trade Organization just five months after his book was published. That mother of all unfair trade deals—a well-deserved target of both the Sanders and Trump presidential campaigns—kept China’s Great Walls of Protectionism largely intact. However, it also opened U.S. markets to a flood of illegally subsidized Chinese imports, and catalyzed the offshoring of millions of American manufacturing jobs.
Since China’s entry into the WTO in 2001, the center of the world’s manufacturing base has seismically shifted as the People’s Republic of Unfair Trade Practices has used a dizzying array of illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, intellectual-property theft, sweatshop labor and pollution havens to seize market share from both Europe and North America. To date, more than seventy thousand American factories have closed, over twenty million Americans have been put out of work and Chinese Communist Party leaders have laughed at Gordon Chang—all the way to their Swiss, Panamanian and Caymanian bank accounts.
China’s mercantilist WTO windfall notwithstanding, there are nonetheless growing signs that the collapse of China as Gordon Chang once predicted, andDavid Shambaugh is now intimating, may soon be at hand. As Exhibit A of the signs of China’s troubles I offer, in the remainder of this missive, an email correspondence directly from the Chinese mainland. It’s from an American citizen living and working with his Chinese wife and son in the PRC.

Germany: Do Terrorists Want to Target Europe’s Nuclear Facilities?

April 29, 2016 
German newspapers reported this month that documents about a German nuclear facility were found at the Brussels apartment of alleged Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam. However, German authorities quickly denied the existence of such material.
According to news service RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), documents relating to the Jülich Research Center, which sits about 20 miles from the Belgian border in North Rhine-Westphalia, were found in Abdeslam’s apartment in Molenbeek (RND, April 13). Among this supposed trove of documents was a photograph of the nuclear facility’s CEO, Wolfgang Marquardt. Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency—the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)—briefed politicians in the strictest confidence following the discovery, RND reported. The BfV denied there had been any such meeting or that the documents even existed (The Jerusalem Post, April 14).

RND, which supplies 30 German newspapers with content, based its report on unnamed sources in a parliamentary committee. However reliable those sources, there is a real fear that Europe’s nuclear facilities could be vulnerable. In the police raids that followed the Brussels attacks, Belgian authorities discovered dozens of hours of secret video footage of the director of Belgium’s nuclear research program supposedly filmed by Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, two brothers involved in the attacks (La Dernière Heure, March 25). Meanwhile, a report from the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation distributed in March acknowledged for the first time that Britain’s 15 operational nuclear facilities are potentially at risk from a terrorist threat (Independent, March 26).
Speculation continues regarding exactly what that threat would be, whether it be terrorists hoping to infiltrate a nuclear site, obtain nuclear material, or simply aiming to attack the facility. The report by RND reflects concerns that Islamic State (IS) is trying to obtain nuclear material (Deutsche Welle, April 14), presumably for a dirty bomb. There were similar concerns voiced in the media earlier in the year when it was revealed a laptop-sized case of such material had gone missing from an oil services company’s storage facility in Iraq (The New Arab, February 18). In theory, however, Europe’s facilities should be well-protected and—given the myriad uses for which radioactive material is utilized—there are easier ways to obtain such material than from a nuclear plant.

Russia’s Dysfunctional Defense Industry

Roger McDermott
The National Interest, May 5, 2016
Despite Russia’s defense budget sequestration, ranging from 5 to 10 percent depending on the source, the political-military leadership continues to put a brave face on meeting the expectations generated by its fantastically ambitious rearmament plans to 2020. The Kremlin, no doubt buoyed by the performance of the Russian Armed Forces in seizing Crimea and during ongoing military operations in Syria, has much to boast about concerning progress toward a high-tech, compact and modern military. However, many of these advances are being pursued at breakneck speed without really addressing long-term underlying issues that are sure to create internal tensions and that could, ultimately, trigger some type of defense industry crisis in the future. In this sense, though there are remarkable advances occurring within the Russian military and its modernization, visible in its operations and exercises and carefully shown on Red Square during the annual Victory Parade, there is pretty much no prospect that papering over the cracks in the unreformed defense industry will yield success. The driver behind the longer term crisis looming in the defense industry stems from the very success currently achieved toward a high-tech conventional force with robust Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities (C4ISR). In turn, this will only exponentially increase the insatiable demand on domestic enterprise to research, design and innovate in order to satisfy technology-centric appetites (see EDM, April 19).

Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova, a survivor of the Anatoly Serdyukov era (defense minister in 2007–2012), is convinced that the “5 percent” sequestration will not negatively impact on the Armed Forces or its modernization plans. She describes using “reserve funds,” by implementing the “effective army” program, which allows some skimming off from funds originally intended for the maintenance of the Armed Forces. Such optimization plans to counter the current storm in state finances appear calculated to mitigate any tangible impact on military modernization. Yet, Shevtsova admits that spending costs have risen due to unforeseen events, such as Crimea and forming the Crimean group of forces, the intervention in Syria, or the flooding in the Russian Far East. Shevtsova says this compelled the maneuvering of costs and developing a flexible financial policy. If the level of cuts to defense spending increases, Shevtsova is confident this will not prove to be burdensome (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 22).
Putin notes the pressures on the defense industry to cope with these issues, while praising their ability to deliver modern or innovative weapons and hardware to the Armed Forces. In 2015, for example, despite some delays, most orders were delivered in full and on time, resulting in the Armed Forces receiving around “4,000 major advanced models of arms and military equipment.” These deliveries included 96 aircraft, 81 helicopters, 2 multi-purpose submarines, 152 anti-aircraft missile complexes, 291 radars, and more than 400 pieces of artillery and armored vehicles (Interfax, March 11).

In late April, the deputy general director of Uralvagonzavod, Aleksey Zharich, reported that around 20 T-14 Armata tanks had passed military tests, and he said that “serial deliveries” could begin soon. The promise of the long-awaited latest air defense system—the S-500—is also characterized as imminent, but with no specific target date announced. Meanwhile, senior commanders are full of praise for advances in modernizing Russia’s electronic warfare (EW) assets. The chief of the Electronic Warfare Forces, Major-General Yury Lastochkin, claims that re-equipping the Armed Forces with the latest EW complexes has reached 46 percent of the total force structure (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 17).
In an article in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, Boris Voronkov, a specialist in military engineering, argued that the highly technical field of hydro acoustics is falling victim to a bureaucratic vicious circle: in his view, the Navy is creating a situation that will most likely further complicate its future development. According to Voronkov, as the Navy struggles with adopting a clear method of enhancing existing detection capabilities, which extend to 16 kilometers at present, the defense industry scientific structures and the defense ministry are in disagreement over how to resolve fundamental differences. Until these issues are finally resolved, the author suggests that progress will be inhibited, thus stalling advances in such a critical area (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 15).
Major-General (retired) Igor Semenchenko, a former leading advisor to the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security (2003–2013), on the other hand, sees continued systemic problems plaguing the defense industry, resulting from an acute shortage of qualified personnel. These shortages have long been known to Russian and foreign experts, who have regularly raised these issues in commentaries on the condition of the domestic defense industry. But this topic has resurfaced due to Semenchenko’s dire assessment of the state educational pans to 2030, which he regards as having potentially damaging consequences for future defense industry staffing (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 26).
Semenchenko observers that leaked information on pre-planning for the new ten-year state armament program to 2025 focuses upon non-contact warfare and C4ISR systems. In his view, such leaks serve to increase the demand for highly qualified personnel in the defense enterprises. But he also notes that the comparatively low levels of salaries and social protection for such employees fails to attract sufficient numbers of young skilled workers. Semenchenko says that the share of workers at their most productive (35 years old) does not exceed the threshold of 25 percent, meaning that its current levels fail to promote the transmission of knowledge to the next generation. In this context, planned reductions in the numbers of state high schools across the country and other education policy initiatives will only worsen these issues, Semenchenko asserts (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 26). He recommends, like others, the creation of a ministry for the defense industry, a federal law on the “military-industrial complex” to determine state monopoly control, as well as various tax reforms and incentives.
While there may currently be scope for optimizing and adopting financial flexibility to protect defense spending from unexpected challenges, the dysfunctional nature of an unreformed defense industry is ignored by the state’s leadership at its peril. It is precisely due to the increasingly high-tech demands placed on the domestic defense industry that serve to exacerbate these issues. Despite these inherent institutional weaknesses, military modernization advances are certainly in evidence, but the system is likely to over-heat and, with it, destroy the elite’s hope that the defense sector can become a driving force within the wider economy.
This piece originally appeared in the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Monitor

The Once and Future Superpower Why China Won’t Overtake the United States


U.S. NAVY / HANDOUT VIA REUTERSA U.S. Navy F/A-18 launches from the USS Carl Vinson in an undated handout picture released in November 2014.

After two and a half decades, is the United States’ run as theworld’s sole superpower coming to an end? Many say yes, seeinga rising China ready to catch up to or even surpass the United States in the near future. By many measures, after all, China’s economy is on track to become the world’s biggest, and even if its growth slows, it will still outpace that of the United States for many years. Its coffers overflowing, Beijing has used its new wealth to attract friends, deter enemies, modernize its military, and aggressively assert sovereignty claims in its periphery. For many, therefore, the question is not whether China will become a superpower but just how soon.

But this is wishful, or fearful, thinking. Economic growth no longer translates as directly into military power as it did in the past, which means that it is now harder than ever for rising powers to rise and established ones to fall. And China—the only country with the raw potential to become a true global peer of the United States—also faces a more daunting challenge than previous rising states because of how far it lags behind technologically. Even though the United States’ economic dominance has eroded from its peak, the country’s military superiority is not going anywhere, nor is the globe-spanning alliance structure that constitutes the core of the existing liberal international order (unless Washington unwisely decides to throw it away). Rather than expecting a power transition

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UK REAPER Drones Now Carrying Probable SIGINT Antennae

May 6, 2016
UK Reaper seen fitted with new ‘classified’ antenna
Gareth Jennings and Martin Streetly
IHS Jane’s International Defence Review
May 6, 2016
The unidentified antenna can be seen on the underfuselage of a UK Reaper ZZ206, between the vertical stabiliser and the main undercarriage. This is one of a few frames in the Sky News report where the antenna was not blurred out to disguise its shape and possible function. Source: Sky News
The United Kingdom has equipped at least one of its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with a hitherto unknown antenna that may be for signals intelligence (SIGINT), communications, or the long-distance transmission of data, a media report from “somewhere in the Middle East” has shown.
Footage shown on Sky News on 5 May shows a Reaper ZZ206 fitted with a large underfuselage antenna not normally fitted to the aircraft. The appendage is deemed classified enough for the broadcaster to blur it out of several frames of the report, most likely at the insistence of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Interestingly, Sky News has omitted to disguise the system in a number of key shots, probably in error. These multiple-angle shots show the antenna to be a blade fairing, perhaps with a secondary aerodynamic function.
While the antenna’s function is not apparently clear, it may well be some form of communication intelligence receiver for the collection of SIGINT, such as mobile phone intercepts and the like. The fact that the MoD apparently felt the need to request its blurring indicates that the antenna does have some sort of clandestine function, though SIGINT configurations usually entail an array of antennas, as opposed to just one. Another option is a communications antenna for special forces on the ground to direct attacks on enemy positions. Its location under the aircraft would certainly be best placed for either hoovering up data or communicating with the ground.
Alternatively, the blade could be a high frequency (HF) transmitter/receiver for the broadcast/receipt of data over intercontinental distances. Bandwidth limitations are one of the key inhibitors to UAV operations today and such a system, were it to be an HF antenna, would be a major force enabler in their use over the battlefield. Such an upgrade would enable UK operators to obviate the need to use valuable satellite bandwidth, which would ordinarily be in great demand for UAV communications links.
The Royal Air Force is understood to have all 10 of its Reapers flying out of Kuwait in support of UK operations over Iraq and Syria; dubbed Operation 'Shader’. It is unclear if ZZ206 is the only platform equipped with this new system, or if it is a fleet-wide enhancement. What is clear is that it has not previously been seen on any other Reaper in service with the UK or any other operator.

FBI Now Using Password Cracking System Built by Company Headed by Former KGB University Graduate

Bill Gertz
Washington Free Beacon
May 6, 2016
The Justice Department and FBI are using password-breaking software produced by a Russian technology firm set up by a cryptographer who attended a school linked to the KGB.
The U.S. government’s contracts and use of the Russian-origin password-cracking software produced by the Moscow-based company called Elcomsoft is raising security concerns among some U.S. officials and security experts.
The company was founded by Alexander Katalov, who stated in a 2001 online interview that he once “studied at the highest school of the KGB,” the Soviet-era political police and intelligence service. He also said the FBI “on many occasions” purchased forensic software programs from Elcomsoft.
Password-breaking software was used by the FBI to access the locked iPhone of the Islamist terrorist Syed Farook, who carried out the Dec. 2 shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. News reports have said an Israeli security firm helped the bureau hack the iPhone 5s that was owned by a local government agency that had employed Farook.
Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov, Alexander’s younger brother, denied the company has ties to the KGB’s successor, the Federal Security Service. He stated in an email to the Washington Free Beacon that the company does business with both the FBI and FSB, as the Russian spy service is known.
“We only develop and sell the software, and do not cooperate with any intelligence or security service,” Katalov said. “However, our software is being widely used by government, military, forensic and law enforcement organizations all over the world, from FSB to FBI.”
Public records show the Justice Department, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security have purchased Elcomsoft software since at least 2012.
In August 2014 and in March 2015 the FBI signed contracts worth $1,495 and $2,542 respectively for Elcomsoft software with a Nevada company called Password Mining LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of Elcomsoft.
Password Mining’s officers include two officers of Elcomsoft, the Katalov brothers.
Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi and FBI spokesman Matthew Bertron declined to comment.
The FBI purchased what records describe as “Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit, Full Version,” in 2014 and “Elcomsoft Blackberry Backup Explorer and Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit Renewal” a year later.

Earlier in September 2012, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division purchased the “Elcomsoft Password Bundle Forensic Edition” from a company called H-11 Digital Forensics Co. LLC, a Utah-based reseller of forensics software and hardware.
The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection also purchased Elcomsoft’s Password Recovery Suite in June 2015.
A DHS spokesman did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Infographic Of The Day: How Do You Look In Google

Google is either you or your business' best friend or worst enemy, depending on first impression search results.


In Google’s own words, they are “…the biggest kingmaker on this Earth”. This is probably an accurate description, conversely Google is also “the biggest BRAND-KILLER on this earth”. After all, the smallest and largest organizations stand or fall, depending on their Google search results.

The sad truth is, if you don’t take control of your Google search results, then a malicious competitor or unreasonable customer will do it for you, and that will almost always end badly.



Source: http://infographixdirectory.com/computers/how-do-you-look-in-google/