27 May 2016

*** Will Communist China Give Nuclear Aid to Pakistan?

During the late 1970s, for example, the CIA acquired information suggesting and later confirming that China had aided the Pakistani nuclear weapons program by providing it with weapons design information. According to recently declassified State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) reports published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, years earlier, not long after China's first nuclear test (October 1964), INR wondered whether China would help Pakistan, among other countries, acquire a nuclear capability. INR experts believed that China had limited resources and seemed "cautious and indecisive" on the question of nuclear assistance, but they saw "reasons for continued concern."

A year later, intelligence reports concerning visits to China by Pakistani defense and science advisers sparked the question, "Will Communist China Give Nuclear Aid to Pakistan?" INR analysts downplayed their significance, arguing that both countries would see risks in nuclear weapons cooperation, although assistance for peaceful purposes was possible. One of the visitors to Beijing, the future Nobel Prize winner Abdus Salam, later played a central role in the 1972 Pakistani nuclear weapons decision, but INR could not foresee that.

Document 19: Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, "Will Communist China Give Nuclear Aid to Pakistan?" 12 August 1966, Intelligence Note 506, Secret, Distribution List Attached

Source: RG 59, UD-UP 131, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Reports Coordination and Review Staff, Intelligence Reports, 1961, 1963-67, box 2, IN-500-579 

** Dealing with Xi Jinping and the Rise of Chinese Power

Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill
May 20, 2016
Presentation to Congressional Staff

*This presentation is drawn from two Council on Foreign Relations Special Reports, Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China (March 2015), by Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis; and Xi Jinping on the Global Stage: Chinese Foreign Policy Under a Powerful but Exposed Leader (February 2016), by Robert D. Blackwill and Kurt M. Campbell.

I. Chinese Grand Strategy

China’s primary strategic goal in contemporary times has been the accumulation of “comprehensive national power.” This pursuit of power in all its dimensions—economic, military, technological, and diplomatic—is driven by the conviction that China, a great civilization undone by the hostility of others, could never attain its destiny unless it amassed the power necessary to ward off the hostility of those opposed to this quest.

This vision of strengthening the Chinese state while recovering China’s centrality in international politics—both objectives requiring the accumulation of “comprehensive national power”—suggests that the aims of Beijing’s grand strategy both implicate and transcend the United States’ and China’s other Asian rivals, to replace U.S. primacy in Asia writ large. For China, which is simultaneously an ancient civilization and a modern polity, grand strategic objectives are not simply about desirable rank orderings in international politics but rather about fundamental conceptions of order.

Because the acquisition of comprehensive national power is meant to both increase the Chinese state’s control over its society and maximize the country’s overall capabilities relative to its foreign competitors, Beijing has consistently pursued four specific operational aims since the revolution—though the instruments used to achieve these ends have varied over time

China’s Four Strategic Goals

** The space between borders and lines of control They may have proposed the Geospatial Bill, but is the government drawing the line consistently in its dealings?

by Lt Gen H S Panag
May 23, 2016

‘Frontier’,’border’ and ‘international boundary’ are terms used to describe the in-between space between contiguous nation states in ascending order of legitimacy and international acceptance. Sir Henry McMahon, Foreign Secretary of British India and negotiator of the McMahon Line had once said:

“A frontier is a wide tract of border land which by virtue of its ruggedness or other difficulty, served as a buffer between two states. A boundary is a clearly defined line expressed either as verbal description (delimited), or as a series of physical marks on the ground.”

In between the terms ‘frontier’ and ‘international boundary’ rests the term ‘border’, which more often than not is created as an interim measure during the transition of a frontier into an international boundary. It can be defined as a mutually-accepted line or zone — more often the latter — established to maintain status quo, pending a final settlement of the erstwhile frontier region in form of delimited international boundary via negotiations or failing which, by conflict.

Two Years of NDA Government: Defence Preparedness and Modernisation need Attention

By Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal
26 May , 2016

The defence budget has dipped to 1.72 per cent of the country’s GDP – the lowest level since the disastrous 1962 War with China. Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence and the armed forces have repeatedly recommended that it should be raised progressively to 3.0 per cent of the GDP if India is to build the defence capabilities that it needs to meet future threats and challenges and discharge its growing responsibilities as a regional power in Southern Asia.

During its first two years in office, the NDA government gave a free hand to the army to act pro-actively on the LoC with Pakistan. It worked assiduously with the leadership of the armed forces and the bureaucracy to give a fillip to the stalled process of military modernisation. However, the state of defence preparedness continues to merit the government’s urgent attention.

The army reportedly has some varieties of ammunition for barely ten days of conflict and it will cost Rs 19,000 core to replenish stocks.

In the remaining years in power, the Modi government must address the ‘critical hollowness’ plaguing defence preparedness – a term used by General V K Singh, former Army Chief, in the letter he wrote to the then Prime Minister in May 2012. Also, major operational voids in the war establishment of the three Services must be made up early in order to enhance combat readiness.

The takeaway from Tehran

May 26, 2016 

The Prime Minister’s visit has given India another chance to craft a strategic relationship with Iran and to enhance its influence in West Asia. But New Delhi has its work cut out for it

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Iran marks a new beginning in bilateral relations and beyond. The centrepiece of the trip was the basket of agreements on the development of the Chabahar port and onward connectivity with Afghanistan. The government deserves praise for the manner in which various pieces of this were put in place. The ground was prepared by extensive interaction of key Ministries — External Affairs, Transport, Finance and Petroleum — with their Iranian counterparts to overcome persistent hurdles and ensure synergies. In consequence, we have a set of interlinked outcomes: a contract for the development and operation for 10 years of two terminals and five berths; the extension of credit lines of $500 million for the port and of Rs.3,000 crore for importing steel rails and implementation of the port; memorandums of understanding on provision of services by Indian Railways, including financing to the tune of $1.6 billion, for the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line — a line that is also part of the trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan on a transit and trade corridor. 

Years in the making 

To be sure, the real challenge for India is in delivery. If MoUs were an index of influence, New Delhi should have had a lot more of it. Still, the level of coordination within the government is noteworthy given that it has taken us nearly 13 years since the idea was first mooted. The proposal was mired in three sets of problems. The Finance Ministry initially applied the brakes on plans for development of the port, insisting that there had to be a certain assured return on investment for the project. The strategic import of the project, especially by way of providing access to Afghanistan, did not figure in their calculations. By the time the Ministry was persuaded of the need to press ahead, other complications had crept into the picture. 

The court’s future is in its own hands

May 26, 2016

CAP OFF: “While the right to a pollution-free environment can be traced to Article 21, it is neither a problem unique to Delhi nor the exceptional responsibility of taxi drivers to redress.” Picture shows a taxi waiting to be filled at an outlet in New Delhi. 

The Supreme Court’s attempt to orchestrate environmental governance in a case relating to diesel taxis in Delhi hurtles it towards a new frontier, and one for which it is wholly unprepared

Alexander Hamilton, one of the authors of The Federalist Papers, foundational documents for the U.S. Constitution, presciently wrote that the judiciary “has no influence over either the sword or the purse”. Instead it only has its power of judgment, using which it must earn the respect of the people. Few courts have demonstrated the truth of this proposition more amply than the Supreme Court of India. At its inception in 1950, its greatness lay in the erudition of its judges, the majesty of the legal profession and the sheer breadth of power invested in it by the framers of the Constitution. As India evolved, so did the reasons for the Supreme Court’s greatness — it was a court that spoke truth to power, with judges who were both erudite and conscious of their constitutional and social responsibilities. Popular respect for it was always undergirded by an unquestioned faith in judicial competence to do the right thing. 

 Arghya Sengupta 

Agusta Scam: Why Target Ex-Air Chief Tyagi While Letting Off The Babus And Netas?

May 25, 2016

One does not have to hold a brief for Tyagi to note that one man could not have tweaked the Agusta deal all on his own. 

The investigative agencies can surely check Tyagi’s involvement, but can they afford to presume everyone else is squeaky clean?

At the very outset, I have to enter this caveat, because it is the right and proper thing to do, and also because the protagonist in this essay would want me to do it.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (Retd), the former IAF chief (CAS) for about 11 years. During this period, ever since we held out our hands of friendship to each other, I have developed a distinct liking for this air warrior and he has reciprocated in full measure. At our very first meeting, he introduced himself as “Bundle” or “Shashi”. Either would do.

That is how it has been over the last decade. So, in this essay, he will be either the former CAS or SPT or either of the two names by which he is addressed by his friends.

I mentioned to SPT during our first interface that I had been his guest on a couple of occasions at the annual Air Force Day parade and fly-past. With some trepidation, I told him I admired a CAS who arrived at the function by doing a para-jump from a chopper.

India’s National IPR Policy: A Balancing Act – Analysis

MAY 24, 2016

In the knowledge driven era, companies have no time to waste in creating an intellectual property strategy. The 21st Century belongs to entrepreneurs – driven by Creativity and Innovation, which need to be protected and channelized for better use in future. Enhancing the protection of IPR beyond the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Indian government has announced National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy that is compliant with global norms. IPR policy will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. It recognizes the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India and the need to tap into and channelize these energies towards a better and bright future for all. Intellectual property (IP) is a collection of ideas and concepts, which can be protected through trademarks, copyrights and patents. If you make it easy for others to steal your ideas, you can ultimately end up washing away your own path to success. The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create synergies between all forms of intellectual property, concerned statutes and agencies. It aims to set in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review of IPR regime. National IPR Policy is designed in a way to facilitate the ease of doing business in India. The policy ensures credibility with potential investors and strategic partners encourages them to invest in India. India claims to have been pressurized by the US to make the IPR protection stricter in India to curb the piracy of music, movies and unlicensed software, which causes losses of $7 billion annually.

Competition in the Indian Ocean

Author: Eleanor Albert
May 19, 2016


The Indian Ocean is the world's third largest body of water and has become a growing area of competition between China and India. The two regional powers' moves to exert influence in the ocean include deep-water port development in littoral states and military patrols. Though experts say the probability of military conflict between China and India remains low, escalated activities (such as port development and military exercises) and rhetoric could endanger stability in a critical region for global trade flows. But the diverse nontraditional security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) also offer areas of potential collaboration for China and India, as well as other regional actors. 
What is the importance of the Indian Ocean? 

The Indian Ocean covers at least one fifth of the world's total ocean area and is bounded by Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (known as the western Indian Ocean), India's coastal waters (the central Indian Ocean), and the Bay of Bengal near Myanmar and Indonesia (the eastern Indian Ocean). It provides critical sea trade routes that connect the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia with the broader Asian continent to the east and Europe to the west. A number of the world's most important strategic chokepoints, including the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca through which 32.2 millions of barrels of crude oil and petroleum are transported per day—more than 50 percent of the world's maritime oil trade—are found in the Indian Ocean Region, which itself is believed to be rich with energy reserves. Nearly 40 percent (PDF) of the world's offshore petroleum is produced in the Indian Ocean, coastal beach sands and offshore waters host heavy mineral deposits, and fisheries are increasingly important for both exports and domestic consumption.

India's Maritime Stakes in the South Asian Littoral

by Abhijit Singh 
May 3, 2016

In recent weeks, two developments involving India have absorbed discussions within maritime circles. First, the Indian Navy positioned a guided missile frigate, the INS Karmuk, off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, leading to speculation that New Delhi is implementing plans to secure the eastern Indian Ocean. The Straits Times even suggested that India is fortifying the Bay of Bengal to prevent Chinese submarines from visiting the Indian Ocean region (IOR). [1] A few days later, during U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi, India and the United States agreed to sign a logistics exchange pact in the coming months. The agreement—a key foundational pact aimed at operationalizing India-U.S. maritime cooperation in the wider Asian commons—led some political commentators to conclude that New Delhi has acquiesced to partnering with Washington in a maritime coalition aimed at countering China. [2]

Speculation surrounding India’s real intentions in the Indian Ocean—though overblown—is not entirely off the mark. India’s efforts to reclaim its maritime space have been evident since January, when New Delhi positioned two P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the Andaman Islands following reports that a Chinese submarine tender had ventured close to the strategic archipelago. Last month, the Indian Navy deployed another P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, this time to the Seychelles, for surveillance missions and antipiracy patrols. The trigger for the move, analysts claim, was again growing concern in New Delhi that a Chinese submarine support ship had come too close to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, suggesting the presence of a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarine in the region. [3]

While there have been clear signs of India’s consolidation of its naval power in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, some analysts see the recent developments as part of a larger strategic design in the wider eastern littoral. It is not happenstance, for instance, that India’s new aircraft carrier, the INSVikramaditya, visited ports in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Malè, Maldives, in January; it is rare for an Indian aircraft carrier to visit two South Asian littoral states in the same deployment.

Pakistan Army Chief’s Dash to China May 2016 Analysed

By Dr Subhash Kapila
26 May , 2016

Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s hurried dash to Beijing on May 15 2016 for a two day visit is a pointer to Pakistan’s growing strategic insecurities and re-seeking Chinese security assurances for Pakistan and Pakistan Army

Scouring the Pakistani media one failed to find any advance references to the visit of Pak Army Chief’s visit to China. The first sentences of the visit were visible on Tweets and Facebook by ISPR Chief, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa on May 16 2016 evening which was the day after Pak Chief’s arrival in Beijing and after he had met top Chinese political leaders and Chinese military hierarchy. No information available that he met the Chinese President.

The follow-up Tweets by ISPR Chief on conclusion of Pak Army Chief’s visit reflected that the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission stressed that “the security of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor was the unshirkable responsibility of the two militaries”. Notice the stress by China on the “two militaries” and not that of China and Pakistan.

Summing-up his ‘Impressions” on the China visit, the ISPR Chief tweeted that the visit was “Very intense, highly formal visit, strategic relationship manifested in talks and interactions.” The stress on “intense” should be read as signifying the serious discussions on Pak Army –centric strategic concerns.

It should be evident that China’s strategic investments in Pakistan including the latest flagship project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, do merit re-assuring each other’s firm intentions to stand by each other. The China-Pakistan Army Axis is a vivid example of how China and Pakistan use and exploit each other’s strategic uncertainties.

Killing of Taliban Leader a Less Than Subtle Message to the Pakistani Government

Mark Landler and Matthew Rosenberg
May 24, 2016

U.S. Strike on Taliban Leader Is Seen as a Message to Pakistan

WASHINGTON — Early on Saturday, a middle-aged Pashtun man used forged documents to cross from Iran into Pakistan. A few hours later, on a lonely stretch of highway, he was incinerated by an American drone.

It is not exactly clear how the Americans tracked Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, leader of the Afghan Taliban, to a white sedan rattling across the arid expanse of Baluchistan Province. The United States picked up a mix of phone intercepts and tips from sources, American and European officials said, and there were reports that Pakistan also provided intelligence. President Obama described Mullah Mansour’s death on Monday as an “important milestone” — but the strike was also an illustration of the tangled relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

Not since Mr. Obama ordered Navy SEALs to hunt down Osama bin Laden in May 2011 has he authorized a military incursion in Pakistan as audacious as this one. The White House did not inform the Pakistanis in advance of the operation, which occurred outside the frontier region near Afghanistan, the one place where Pakistan has tolerated American drone strikes in the past.

By using the military’s Joint Special Operations Command rather than the C.I.A. to carry out the attack, the United States denied Pakistan the fig leaf of a covert operation, which in the past has given the Pakistanis the ability to claim they had been consulted beforehand.

Vietnam, the US and the Centrality of Geopolitics

By George Friedman 
May 24, 2016 

A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics. 

Based on ideology, Washington should not sell weapons to Hanoi, but it is. 

U.S. President Barack Obama in Hanoi yesterday announced an end to the decades-long arms embargo on Vietnam. Vietnam may purchase weapons from the United States under the same terms as other nations. This would not be major news except for the fact that the United States fought and lost a seven-year war with Vietnam.

One would think that history and ideology would make arms trade impossible. But when we look at the post-war history of the region, the unimportance of ideology in the decisions that nations make is actually startling.

The reason for this decision is China. In my view, the Chinese do not yet pose a significant military threat globally or in the region. At the same time, their intent is to increase their capabilities and the United States must plan accordingly.

Geography dictates that the United States must find allies who have significant disputes with China and need support to cope with a potential threat. China and Vietnam were allied during the Vietnam War, with China providing massive amounts of weapons, material and some advisers to Vietnam. The Chinese saw the defeat of the United States as diminishing the American threat to China.

China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works

May 23, 2016 

Commuters using smartphones stand in line at a bus station in Beijing on March 2. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg) BEHIND THE FIREWALL: How China tamed the Internet | This is part of a series examining the impact of China’s Great Firewall, a mechanism of Internet censorship and surveillance that affects nearly 700 million users. 

BEIJING — First there was the Berlin Wall. Now there is the Great Firewall of China, not a physical barrier preventing people from leaving, but a virtual one, preventing information harmful to the Communist Party from entering the country. 

Just as one fell, so will the other be eventually dismantled, because information, like people, cannot be held back forever.

Or so the argument goes.

But try telling that to Beijing. Far from knocking down the world’s largest system of censorship, China in fact is moving ever more confidently in the opposite direction, strengthening the wall’s legal foundations, closing breaches and reinforcing its control of the Web behind the wall.

Relentless Detention and Prosecution of Tibetans under China’s “Stability Maintenance” Campaign

MAY 22, 2016 

A paramilitary police officer stands guard in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China on November 17, 2015. © 2015 Damir Sagolj /Reuters

We have followed the law in striking out and relentlessly pounding at illegal organizations and key figures, and resolutely followed the law in striking at the illegal organizations and key figures who follow the 14th Dalai Lama clique in carrying out separatist, infiltration, and sabotage activities, knocking out the hidden dangers and soil for undermining Tibet’s stability, and effectively safeguarding the state’s utmost interests [and] society’s overall interests.

This report documents the Chinese government’s detention, prosecution, and conviction of Tibetans for largely peaceful activities from 2013 to 2015. Our research shows diminishing tolerance by authorities for forms of expression and assembly protected under international law. This has been marked by an increase in state control over daily life, increasing criminalization of nonviolent forms of protest, and at times disproportionate responses to local protests. These measures, part of a policy known as weiwen or “stability maintenance,” have led authorities to expand the range of activities and issues targeted for repression in Tibetan areas, particularly in the countryside. 

The analysis presented here is based on our assessment of 479 cases for which we were able to obtain credible information. All cases are of Tibetans detained or tried from 2013 to 2015 for political expression or criticism of government policy—“political offenses.”[1]

Scores Killed by ISIS Suicide Bombs in Assad Coastal Stronghold in Syria

Martin Chulov
May 24, 2016

Scores dead in Isis attacks on Syrian coastal cities

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of blasts that killed more than 120 people in a loyalist coastal enclavethat has remained the most tightly controlled part of Syria throughout the civil war.

The attacks targeted Tartous, which hosts a Russian naval base, and Jableh, 50 miles to the north. Both cities had been spared the destruction that has laid waste to other parts of the country over more than five years.

Isis announced that the explosions were its work within hours of sending suicide bombers and car bombs into the area.

Four blasts, several carried out by suicide bombers, caused chaos in Jableh, killing more than 70 people, while three more detonated near a petrol station in Tartous, killing about 50 people and maiming scores more.

The terror group said it was targeting supporters of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and gatherings of the Alawite sect, to which Assad and many of Syria’s ruling class belong. 

Assad has been heavily backed by Russia since the war began. Moscow’s backing had become more resolute over the past seven months, after Vladimir Putin launched a large-scale intervention last October against rebel groups and jihadis, which has since laid waste to many opposition-held areas in northern Syria.

Satellite Imagery Shows ISIS Destroyed Russian Attack Helicopters During Attack on Key Air Base in Syria

May 24, 2016

Syria conflict: IS ‘destroyed helicopters’ at T4 base

New satellite imagery appears to reveal extensive damage to a strategically significant airbase in central Syria used by Russian forces after an attack by so-called Islamic State (IS).

Four helicopters and 20 lorries were destroyed in a series of fires inside the T4 base last week, the images from intelligence company Stratfor suggest.

The cause of the fires is unconfirmed.

A pro-Kremlin website said the helicopters had been “used by both Russian and Syrian air forces”.

Russia has not officially commented on the incident.
A Russian opposition website quoted Syrian sources as saying “a large fire in the Syrian part of the T4 airbase spread to the fleet of vehicles, and after a fuel tank exploded four Russian helicopters nearby went up in flames”.

“The cause of the fire is being established,” it added.

These high-speed Iraqi commandos are leading the charge into Fallujah

May 24, 2016
An elite Iraqi force that just led a mission to retake an Islamic State group stronghold near the Syrian border now has its sights set on getting Fallujah back into the hands of the government.

The commandos — part of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service — is leading the charge to retake Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to ISIS in January 2014. It was considered a devastating blow to the Iraqi government, and to the Marines who fought two of the Corps' bloodiest battles there.

The Counter-Terrorism Service, or CTS, stormed Fallujah on Sunday, backed by Iraqi soldiers and the national police, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. About 1,500 members of the CTS were involved in the fight to retake the Iraqi city, along with about 10,000 local soldiers and roughly 8,000 members of the police force, CBS reported Monday.

About a week earlier, the CTS led the charge to wrest the strategic town of Rutbah from ISIS, Army Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters after that mission ended. As federal police cordoned off the village, the CTS directly engaged ISIS fighters.

A Picture of American Empire

By Jacob L. Shapiro 
May 25, 2016 

A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics. 

The U.S. wants to be liked, but knows it is feared. 

White House photographer Pete Souza posted this image of President Barack Obama on Instagram with the caption, "Beers and dinner with Anthony Bourdain last night in Hanoi." Pete Souza / White House 

A century from now, when people visit Barack Obama’s presidential library, this should be one of the very first things they see because of how much it reveals about his presidency and the United States’ current role in the world. Obama arrived in Vietnam on May 22 to continue building on the growing strategic partnership between Hanoi and Washington, but he had to counter the historical overtones of an American president traveling to Vietnam to ask something of it.

Suing Russia: Litigating Over MH17 – OpEd

MAY 24, 2016

Thirty three relatives of the MH17 tragedy from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, have taken to legal avenues against Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin. The claim was filed by Sydney-based LHD Lawyers in the European Court of Human Rights, seeking $A10 million per passenger. The application, running into 3,500 pages, is awaiting acceptance.

The legal steward behind the action is Jerry Skinner, who has some form in this rather niche field of aviation law. He managed to successfully seek compensation for families of victims over the Pan Am 103 flight bombing over Lockerbie that killed 270 people, though this also required a series of political moves to take place. “Our clients,” explained Skinner, “want them to accept responsibility and be accountable in some measure that will be satisfying to the individuals.”

Skinner does not necessarily do his clients much of a service in then describing their motivation and state of mind. It is one of grief and confusion followed by dollar signs of reassurance. “What it takes for an individual to be satisfied after the loss of a loved one and a big political essentially act of war, is something that can only be determined later as time passes and as people’s feelings change, people’s feeling solidify” (ABC News, May 22). The desire for monetary compensation is one such solidified feeling, presumably.


Jamestown Foundation

· China Brief, May 11, 2016, v. 16, no. 8 http://www.jamestown.org/uploads/media/_CB_16_8_1.pdf

o Brief: A Mass Line for the Digital Age

o The Eclipse of the Communist Youth League and the Rise of the Zhejiang Clique

o The Human and Organizational Dimensions of the PLA’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems

Army to test cyber toolkit

May 24, 2016 

The Army is about to enter pilot testing on a new software system to help commanders in the field respond more nimbly to rapid variations in cyber threats.

Known as the Assured Compliance Assessment Solution (ACAS) Reporting Toolkit, or ART, this capability aims to provide commanders and program managers with the most up-to-date information available on their own cyber posture and to help keep those defenses current.

Designed by Army’s Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO-C3T), the ART solution addresses multiple challenges including a lack of centralized control over security in battlefield applications, known as clients.

“Right now every tactical unit has their own domain. We don’t have administrative privileges over those clients,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Ebeler, who spearheaded the project for Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). “We want to be able to see all clients, to see the [security] compliance level within those clients so then we can patch those vulnerabilities,” he said.

To that end, NETCOM expects to launch a pilot of ART soon at the regional cyber center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, with an expected rollout to tactical units in early 2017.

How the Internet works: Submarine fibre, brains in jars, and coaxial cables

by Bob Dormon
May 24, 2016 

A deep dive into Internet infrastructure, plus a rare visit to a subsea cable landing site. 

Ah, there you are. That didn't take too long, surely? Just a click or a tap and, if you’ve some 21st century connectivity, you landed on this page in a trice.

 But how does it work? Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP, or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet.

And perhaps even more importantly, as our reliance on omnipresent connectivity continues to blossom, the number of our connected devices swells, and our thirst for bandwidth knows no bounds, how do we keep the Internet running? How do Verizon or Virgin reliably get 100 million bytes of data to your house every second, all day every day?

Well, we’re going to tell you over the next 7,000 words.

3 Down, 8 To Go: Are Payment Banks Already Losing Their Allure? Not Quite

May 25, 2016

Three of the 11 banks given tentative nods by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up payments banks have said “No, thank you”. The latest to drop out is Tech Mahindra, which pointed to the long-gestation period and thin margins as reasons for exiting. Earlier, pharma billionaire Dilip Shangvi, and Cholamandalam Distribution Services bid adieu to the idea.

This leaves eight players in the ring, including Aditya Birla Nuvo, Airtel M-Commerce, India Post, Reliance Industries, the National Securities Depository Ltd, Vodafone m-Pesa, Paytm and Fino PayTech.

What’s up? Has the payments bank business model gone bust even before takeoff?

Not quite. What is probably happening is that the peripheral players, those who earlier thought this was a good way to get into banking through the side-door, are getting out. The players still left, though, are the serious ones who can invest in it for the long-term and have connected businesses and infrastructure to support the foray.

Payments banks, as the name itself suggests, are about making payments using small deposit balances. They have low capital requirements (Rs 100 crore minimum), and they have to invest 75 percent of the money raised in government securities. The rest of the money can be kept with banks for liquidity management. Hence there is little chance of bad loans doing them in. Payments banks can accept deposits upto Rs 1 lakh.

47 Seconds From Hell: Last-Ditch Robotic Missile Defense

May 20, 2016

Defense against a notional Russian missile barrage. (CSBA graphic)

WASHINGTON: In a report out this morning, CSBA scholars Bryan Clark and Mark Gunzinger argue that we don’t just need new technology and new tactics to confront the growing missile threats from China and Russia, though lasers, railguns, and hypervelocity projectiles are all useful. We need a different missile defense mindset than what we have today, one that trusts computers to shoot down incoming weapons at literally the last minute.

“Shifting to a scheme in which a preponderance of threats is engaged in a 10-40 nm (12-58 statute mile) range band by autonomous systems will remove the redundancy of today’s approach and turn over decision making to machines,” said a draft of the report that the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments provided to us in advance. Those are distances a supersonic missile can cross in under a minute, whereas current missile defense invests in long-range interceptors with time to take multiple shots. But that won’t work against a massive missile barrage, Clark and Gunzinger write: “Assumptions that layered air defense schemes are more robust than a single layer and that humans will be more effective than machines at battle management are both false.”

Robert Work

Snapchat Is The Hottest Social Network Among U.S. Teens

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

When it comes to their social media preferences, U.S. teens are about as loyal as Brutus was to Caesar.

Facebook? Is for parents! Twitter? Not nearly enough selfies! Instagram? So 2015! According to Piper Jaffray's bi-annual survey of teenagers in the United States, Snapchat is where the cool kids get their social media fix these days.

28 percent of the 6,500 teenagers polled this year named Snapchat as their most important social network, propelling the chat app past Instagram and Twitter, which both saw their popularity among America's youngsters decline over the past 12 months. Snapchat may have conquered the hearts of teenagers, but it has yet to win over advertisers. According to a recent report, the app trails its peers by a mile in terms of utilization in advertising campaigns.

The chart shows which social networks U.S. teenagers prefer in Spring 2016.

Here's how the US military is beating hackers at their own game

There's an unseen world war that has been fought for years with no clear battle lines, few rules of engagement, and no end in sight.

But it's not a shooting war; not a war where combatants have been killed or wounded — at least not yet.

It's a war that pits nations against each other for dominance in cyberspace, and the United States, like other nations employing professional hackers as "cyber soldiers," sees it as a battlefield just like any other.

“It’s like an operational domain: Sea, land, air, space, and cyber," Charlie Stadtlander, chief spokesperson for US Army Cyber Command, told Tech Insider. "It’s a place where our presence exists. Cyber is a normal part of military operations and needs to be considered as such.”

As US military leaders warn of the growing progress of Russia, China, and North Korea in cyberspace, the Pentagon has ramped up its own efforts in what it calls the "cyber domain" after the release of a new cyber strategy in April 2015.

"This ephemeral space that's all around us, literally, is a space where operations can be performed against us," Frank Pound, a program manager who leads DARPA's "Plan X" cyber warfare platform, told Tech Insider. "And how do we defend against that? How do we detect that?" 

Building a cyber army 

Hacking Experts Say John McAfee's Cyberattack Warnings Will Make America Safer

May 23, 2016
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Will America be reduced to pre-industrial chaos? No. Does that mean we should feel protected? Absolutely not.

To live in the information age is to live on the brink of conflict. Increasingly, it seems, Americans are coming to terms with this idea: the forever cyber war. But this awareness, a back-of-mind sort of static, hasn’t come to the fore of public debates about national security, much less the presidential election. This silence is in part because the screaming headlines rule the day, and there are few cybersecurity specialists both loud and respected enough to compete. John McAfee, the cybersecurity influencer and founder of McAfee Associates, is one of them — and he’s not afraid to yell himself hoarse.

“There is a cyber war looming on the horizon, which will be many times more devastating than any imaginable nuclear war,” John McAfee tells Inverse. “We will be back in the Stone Age.”

A half-century ago, as the nuclear threat loomed large, civilians knew where fallout shelters were, how many iodine pills to take, and how to hide under their desks. Today, Americans are more concerned about cyberattacks than ballistic missiles, but, because there is no real consensus on what a massive cyberattack could look like, there is no cultural imperative to prepare. And no wonder: while some experts spin apocalyptic prophecies — the more grandiose the vision, the greater the screen time — others point to the finite impacts of targeted assaults on discrete weaknesses. As it stands, the only way to make sense of the borderline ridiculous civilian conversation about national cybersecurity is to contextualize the rhetorical warnings that make headlines within the context of the concerns that don’t.

The Department of Defense and the Power of Cloud Computing

Maj Steven C. Dudash
2016, 39 pages

AU Press Code:WF-52 

The Department of Defense and the Power of Cloud Computing ThumbnailCloud computing, a shared pool of computing resources that are readily available to meet the user’s rapidly changing demands, has opened up many new opportunities and risks for society that in many ways are revolutionary. The Department of Defense (DOD), because of its size and mission, faces significant opportunities and security challenges when implementing a cloud computing environment. A cloud based infrastructure can provide extensive savings for the DOD. However, a cloud configuration introduces new potential security risks that DOD IT professionals must weigh when evaluating the potential cost savings associated with cloud computing.


MAY 26, 2016

On October 8, 2009, a day before President Obama and his team reviewed General Stanley McChrystal’s troop proposals for Afghanistan for the first time, George Packer noted that two well-known books about decision-making during the Vietnam War — A Better War (1999) and Lessons in Disaster (2008) — had been circulating among members of the administration. While sympathizing with the analogies between Afghanistan and Vietnam, Packer memorably expressedconcern about “this official binge of historical consciousness”:

The similarities teach certain lessons that are more or less permanently true, but they cannot serve as fixed guides to each new and unique situation. Thinking-by-analogy can be just as dangerous as historical amnesia: because A looks like B, there’s a strong temptation to abandon the immense difficulty of understanding B on its own terms, and instead to let the outcome of A do the thinking for you.

I find myself revisiting Packer’s admonition now that I am working with the staff of the Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council to consider how the United States can pursue a foreign policy grounded in “dynamic stability.” In a report last April expounding that notion, Barry Pavel, Peter Engelke, and Alex Ward explain that while “U.S. policymakers should continue to seek stability in key regions,” they must also “leverage dynamic megatrends that are unfolding across the globe.” They cannot undertake these tasks, however, if they misinterpret the trends that are shaping world order — an analytical error that is more likely if they indulge misguided historical comparisons. Writing in these pages in early 2014 to caution against facile analogies, Lawrence Freedman cited a few episodes that are often invoked improperly: