10 August 2016

*** The USA Military's Force Structure: A Primer

from the Congressional Budget Office

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Department of Defense (DoD) has experienced sustained budget cuts in recent years: Annual appropriations (excluding additional appropriations for ongoing military operations) for 2013 through 2016 averaged about 5 percent less, in nominal terms, than the funding in 2012.

The possible need to accommodate constraints on DoD's budget in the future - because of caps on discretionary spending through 2021 enacted in the Budget Control Act of 2011, as amended - raises the question of how best to prioritize the various tasks that the department performs and how best to assess any proposed changes to the force. At the same time, the enormous size and complexity of DoD, the many specialized organizations it includes, the wide array of weapon systems and platforms it operates, and the complexity of its budget documents make the task of understanding how the department operates - and how its budget could be changed - daunting to many observers.

Privatisation of the Indian Aerospace Industry: Problems and Prospects

By Gp Capt AK Sachdev
09 Aug , 2016

“Make in India” has been around for some time now, both as a slogan and as a rallying point for industrial lobbies. As far as the aerospace industry is concerned, the single major act of faith the government can perform is to level the playing field for private players. The only way that can be done is to permit fair competition between PSEs and private industries so that their individual strengths are pitted against each other in ‘May the best man win!’ gladiatorial, free market arenas. The private sector has amply demonstrated its capability and willingness to outdo public sector achievements. All it needs is a chance to do so.

Private entities entered the fray late due to the patronage given by government to the PSEs at the cost of private entrepreneurship…

The Economic Survey 2015-16 released earlier this year reveals that, at the end of the previous financial year, the accumulated losses of sick Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) added up to Rs 1.04 lakh crore. This figure does not account for inflation since the individual years that these losses were incurred in. During the 1950s, in its wisdom, the leadership of our newly independent country had decided that the public sector route was inevitable if progress was to be made. While the intent was indeed laudable, unfortunately, the baggage of the colonial past led to a public sector culture that was steeped in government protectionism, hobbling bureaucratic procedures resulting in considerable internal inefficiencies. There is no authentic figure available for the summated investment into PSEs but, as can be judged from the loss indicated above, a colossal amount of taxpayers’ money has been pumped into them. Even for those PSEs that are not loss-making, the dividends, in terms of results, are unfortunately not very impressive.

Government investment in terms of subsidised or free land, largely imported machinery, hangars, test-beds and other infrastructure, liberal salary and perks, has been huge. The work culture is one of “union working hours” in contrast to private corporate organisations where working hours are fairly ‘flexible’, in favour of the management and productivity! Incidentally, the large and potent unions, that the PSEs were permitted to spawn, are one of the major reasons for the government’s impotency in dealing with our ailing PSEs whose productivity is under a big interrogation mark. However, as Tennyson put it, “the old order changeth, yielding place to new.” There is a change in the last decade or so in the aerospace industry inasmuch as private participation is on the rise. The capability is evident, but there are impediments to the growth of private enterprise in the Indian aerospace industry.

Civil Aircraft

Are Russia and NATO inching Towards a Conflict?

By Rajorshi Roy
09 Aug , 2016

The Joint Communique issued by the recent NATO summit, held on July 8-9 in Warsaw, appears to have sown the seeds of a renewed confrontation with Russia. It identifies Russia as a key threat to European security, emphasises upon ‘deterrence’ and ‘defence’ through a NATO military build-up along Europe’s eastern arc to counter the Russian threat, and indicates NATO’s intent to strengthen its outreach in the post-Soviet space of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The other vital roadmaps identified by the Joint Communique include Montenegro’s accession as a NATO member, the operationalisation of missile defence systems in Romania and Poland, and the cultivation of a defence partnership with, hitherto neutral, Sweden and Finland.

While these initiatives may reassure Eastern European members about NATO’s commitment to counter the Russian threat, they are also likely to reinforce Russia’s hostile perceptions of this ‘Western’ alliance. It can even be argued that NATO’s blueprint amounts to breaching the Kremlin’s red-lines, which is particularly significant given the adversarial relationship between Russia and the ‘West’ post the 2014 Ukrainian crisis.

Russian and NATO Threat Perceptions

The roots of the ongoing Russia-‘West’ rivalry lies in the inability of the latter to accommodate the former as an equal partner on the global stage. Their historical mutual distrust and fundamental differences over the global strategic balance finally culminated in the Ukrainian standoff. The West’s imposition of economic sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia in the global arena have reinforced Russia’s suspicions about the US-led ‘Western’ strategy to contain it in its own neighbourhood. Against this backdrop, NATO is seen by Russia as a key instrument for pushing this ‘Western’ agenda, which is particularly reflected in the alliance’s expanding footprints eastwards, despite an assurance to the contrary.

Russia’s Historical Anxiety

Skilling in the Age of Robots

July 24, 2016

India’s draft circular on the regulation of drones stifles innovation, raises operational risks, and creates substantial uncertainty for organizations, individuals, and enforcement agencies.

Some 11 million by 2036 in the UK alone; 5 million worldwide by 2020. These apocalypse-sounding figures are the estimated number of jobs that will be lost to automation in the very near future. 

R. Shashank Reddy is a research assistant at Carnegie India. 

Automation lies at the forefront of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’, a process whereby the interaction of cyber and physical systems will profoundly change established economic and social structures. And this will happen on a scale, size and speed unseen as of now. 

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and the big question that everybody from the World Economic Forum to Raghuram Rajan is asking is about its effect on employment. Are our policymakers listening? 
Relevant and irrelevant skills 

The Prime Minister’s flagship Skill India mission is a laudable programme. A skilled and trained population is the basis for sustainable long-term growth, and at present there exists a massive gap between the demands of industry and skill level of the populace. But what if the skills become redundant within a few years? Welding. Automobile repair. Basic programming. Entry level management. Even driving. All jobs that can easily be turned over to robots. 

Can India develop without industrialization?

Vivek Dehejia

Across the world, large, labour-abundant economies have all relied on a manufacturing boom to climb the ladder of economic development

In a previous Economics Express column, I considered worrying new evidence from the World Bank which suggests that the convergence in income per capita between emerging and advanced economies has slowed down in recent years. This means that it may well take many more years for poorer countries to catch up with richer ones, if at all they do, than had been optimistically believed during the quarter-century of rapid growth preceding the global financial crisis.

But what if it’s not just convergence speed we should worry about, but the nature of that convergence, for those emerging economies which are still growing at a healthy clip? In other words, is the pattern of convergence, not just its speed, changing?

This is the question, and implied possibility, put forward in a recent challenging and thought-provoking research paper by the well-known economist and polymath blogger Tyler Cowen. His suggestion is that the growth successes of the future may be “less inclusive and involve higher levels of income and wealth inequality” than has heretofore been the norm.

Why would this be the case? Cowen’s hypothesis is that a more inegalitarian pattern of growth and convergence in the emerging economies may be driven by a change in the nature of manufacturing success stories, which, he contends, are becoming, and are likely to remain, less productive of gainful middle-class employment than has been the case historically.

Watch: Nandan Nilekani On Technological Disruption And Indian Economy

August 05, 2016

Swarajya held the second edition of ‘Conversations’ along with the Indic Academy and in association with the Public Policy Club of IIM-Bangalore. The speaker at this session of ‘Conversations’ was former chairman of the UIDAI project—Nandan Nilekani. Having led massive technology-driven projects over a long career, Mr Nilekani spoke on how technological disruption, changes, and growth, will alter and affect the Indian economy and all those participating in it. 

These disruptions would come at a time of increasing automation of jobs and when domestic demand would have to drive growth. Mr Nilekani spoke of both the dangers and opportunities, some of them unexpected, that such a scenario offered. 

The session was hosted by Swarajya editorial director Mr R Jagannathan ‘Jaggi’. 

The first video given below is of Mr Nilekani’s speech, the second is of his interaction with Mr Jagannathan. The last few minutes of the second video includes questions from the audience too.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

July 2, 2016

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project may be based on economic principles, but broader strategic and security interests are driving both Beijing and Islamabad.

Carnegie India, in collaboration with the India International Centre, New Delhi, brought together a number of scholars and policymakers in a roundtable discussion on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its implications for the region. The discussion was led by Daniel S. Markey of John Hopkins University and moderated by the former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan, T.C.A. Raghavan.


The Trajectory of an All-Weather Partnership: Pakistan and China share a strong strategic relationship that dates back to the middle of the last century, participants explained. The CPEC, which is being developed as part of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, marks a further consolidation of what has long been billed as an all-weather partnership. Markey underlined China’s current imperative to export excess infrastructural capacity and Pakistan’s massive need for such investments. The economic rationale is reinforced by a powerful strategic quest in Beijing to strengthen its position in the critical regions of Southwest Asia and the Arabian Sea. Although based primarily on economic principles, the project is also driven by broader strategic and security based rationale, Markey added. This, he said, makes the project invulnerable to a purely commercial cost-benefit calculus.

** The Problem With Pakistan’s Continuing Support of Terrorism in Afghanistan and India

August 7, 2016

India-Pakistan: The Blame Game

A growing number of Afghans now believe that Pakistani support for Islamic terrorists attacking Afghanistan is more of a problem than Islamic terror groups already inside Afghanistan. This includes the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). Going public with this sort of thing is another after effect of the July 23 ISIL suicide bombing in Kabul that killed over 80 people. President Ghani and senior Afghan (and American) intel officials agree that this attack was only possible because of Pakistani support for ISIL. Thus Afghanistan now believes Pakistan is the biggest threat to Afghanistan because Pakistan makes the drug trade possible and supports Islamic terror groups, in addition to the Taliban, inside Afghanistan. Pakistan denies all this but most Afghans and a growing number of Pakistanis believe the accusations are true. 

The Afghan government had long been complaining to Pakistan about the continued presence of Islamic terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. These complaints were largely ignored and since 2014 the Pakistanis have been boasting about their military operation to eliminate the sanctuary in the northwest (North Waziristan). But the Afghans knew that the operation in North Waziristan was mainly about Islamic terrorists who carried out attacks against the Pakistani government. The Islamic terrorists who operated against Afghanistan were largely untouched. In early 2016 there were more and more spectacular attacks inside Afghanistan by Islamic terrorists who could be traced back to Pakistan. A lot of the evidence was collected by Afghan special operations troops. Pakistan continued to deny responsibility and the Afghan government quietly agreed to an American plan that would go after the Taliban and other Islamic terrorists operating against Afghanistan where they were. This led to the first American UAV missile attack in southwest Pakistan, which killed the head of the Afghan Taliban as he returned to Quetta after visiting Iran. President Ghani has offered to provide Pakistan with the addresses of Afghan Taliban leaders who have been living (mainly in the city of Quetta) since 2001. 

A Connected Subcontinent: South Asia in 2030

July 25, 2016 

By 2030, South Asia is bound to be a far more connected place within itself as well as the rest of the world, thanks to a number of new factors reshaping the region’s economic and political geography.

A common image of the South Asian Subcontinent is that it is the least integrated part of the world. The lack of progress in regional integration under the aegis of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is widely lamented. The dominance of strategic pessimism in the Subcontinent may suggest that the situation is unlikely to change in any significant manner by 2030. 

There are sound reasons indeed for this pessimism. The Great Partition of the Subcontinent had sundered apart spaces that were united, and coherent, for millennia. The inward economic orientation of India and its neighbors throughout the second half of the 20th century reinforced the political partition of the Subcontinent. Meanwhile, the persistence of the India-Pakistan conflict even 70 years after the Partition has cast a shadow over the main regional forum, SAARC. 

Notwithstanding a strong negative inheritance, there is much room for strategic optimism about the future of the Subcontinent. By 2030, South Asia is bound to be a far more connected place within itself as well as the rest of the world, thanks to a number of new factors reshaping the region’s economic and political geography. 

The first is the fact that after the turn of the 1990s, most of the region has traded economic insularism of the past for economic globalisation. This very different condition, despite the slow pace of economic reforms, has begun to reorder the economic geography of the Subcontinent. The impact of this economic redirection is likely to be far more visible by 2030. 

Mr Wang, Reopen Demchok

By Claude Arpi
09 Aug , 2016

In my previous post, I mentioned the railway lines which will soon reach Purang/Taklakot, north of Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand and Yatung in the Chumbi Valley, sandwiched between Sikkim and Bhutan.

In this connection, The China Daily published a couple of days ago, an intriguing article entitled Tibet envisioned as hub of Himalayas.

What does it mean?

Is China unilaterally planning to open/reopen the Himalayan passes which were closed in 1962, without informing India?

Today, only three passes have been reopened for trade: Shipki-la in Himachal Pradesh, Lipulekh-la in Uttarakhand, and Nathu-la in Sikkim.

According to The China Daily: “Tibet could become the cultural, economic and humanitarian hub of the Himalayas and so build a peaceful, cooperative relationship with its South Asian neighbors.”

It conveniently quotes some ‘experts’ who attended the Sixth International Forum on Tibetan Studies in Beijing.

Note that it has never been difficult for Beijing to find ‘experts’.

The article explains:

South China Sea Ruling: India Takes a Stand

July 15, 2016

India's stance is not about China's rise or a reaction to Chinese actions, but a necessary step to lend its voice on a matter of principle critical to peace and stability in the region.

The South China Sea dispute verdict has been delivered in favour of the Philippines, and the infamous 'nine dash line' now has no basis in international law. 

Without taking sides on the dispute, India has chosen to take a stand on the principle and application of international law, issuing a statement that said: 'As a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS), India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans.' The statement indicates that New Delhi recognises the ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and will uphold it. 

In the days leading up to the ruling, there was much debate in New Delhi as to whether India should take a stand on this issue at all. Choosing to stay quiet on the matter was never an option, but India could have issued a statement to the effect of 'all parties should resolve the matter in a peaceful manner'. India's choice wasn't about picking sides, but about voicing concerns at a defining moment which could very well form the foundations of a new security architecture in the region. The course of China's subsequent actions and responses from around the region will set a precedent for future disputes. 

What's At Stake In China's Claims To The South China Sea?

05 August 2016

It's now official: the South China Sea does not belong to China.

Official, that is, according to a new ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitrationunder the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Not so official, however, for China itself, which has summarily rejected the ruling, saying it "will neither acknowledge it nor accept it."

The court ruled that China has no standing to claim the vast area within the famous "nine-dash line," encompassing roughly 90 percent of the South China Sea and thus all the resources that may exist within it.

The court's decision, announced on July 12, was widely anticipated and, in some quarters, eagerly awaited. The case had been brought in 2013 by the Philippines after China refused arbitration regarding its territorial claims.

China’s Longer Term Strategy: Cooperation, Competition and Avoiding Conflict

August 8, 2016

There is a natural tendency to focus on the crisis of the moment, and in the case of China, this has become the South China Sea. The U.S. and China’s neighbors also, however, need to look at China’s overall strategy and goals, and to what is likely to be a set of far broader challenges that will shape Asian and Pacific security over at least the next quarter century.

China is emerging as a major global power after centuries of outside attack, invasion, and exploitation from the first Opium War in 1839 to Deng Xiaoping’s decision to adopt the major economic reforms that have allowed China to develop one of the world largest and most competitive economies. Chinese strategists may see China’s growing military power and challenge to the U.S. and neighboring states as both defensive and a reaction to what some call centuries of humiliation. They also see the need for caution, the necessity for China to avoid direct confrontation with the U.S. until its forces are fully ready, to rely on limited advances using asymmetric means like fortifying offshore reefs, and emerge securely as the key power in Asia without any serious conflict.

The problem for China – and all the other states affected by its rise – is that there is no clear way to predict how peaceful China’s rise will be, how far China will go, and the end result in changing the balance of power in Asia, the Pacific, and the global economy. These challenges and uncertainties also create a clear need for China to use its declared strategy as a political tool and to do so with care. All nations use their declared military strategies and policies as a form of political leverage, but China has even more incentive than most.

5 Lethal Chinese Weapons of War (Stolen or Copied from Russia and America)

August 7, 2016 

As the People’s Republic of China (PRC) emerged from war and revolution in 1949, it became apparent that the Chinese economy lacked the capacity to compete with the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. in the production of advanced military technology. Transfers from the Soviet Union helped remedy the gap in the 1950s, as did transfers from the United States and Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Still,the Cultural Revolution stifled technology and scientific research, leaving the Chinese even farther behind.

Thus, China has long supplemented legitimate transfers and domestic innovation with industrial espionage. In short, the PRC has a well-established habit of pilfering weapons technology from Russia and the United States. As the years have gone by, Beijing’s spies have become ever more skillful and flexible in their approach. Here are five systems that the Chinese have stolen or copied, in whole or in part:


In 1961, as tensions between the USSR and the PRC reached a fever pitch, the Soviets transferred blueprints and materials associated with its new MiG-21 interceptor to China. The offering represented an effort to bridge part of the gap, and suggest to China that cooperation between the Communist giants remained possible.


By Jon Costello

This piece was originally published by the Jamestown Foundation. It is republished here with permission. Read it in its original formhere.

Gao Jin (高津) is the PLASSF’s Commander. Note that he was promoted to major general in June 2006 and to lieutenant general occurred in July 2013. (Xinhua)

On December 31, 2015, Xi Jinping introduced the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF; 火箭军), Strategic Support Force (PLASSF; 战略支援部队), and Army Leadership Organ. The move came just within the Central Military Commission’s deadline to complete the bulk of reforms by the end of the year. Most media coverage has focused on the Rocket Force, whose reorganization amounts to a promotion of the PLA Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) to the status of a service on the same level of the PLA Army, Navy, and Air Force. However, by far the most interesting and unexpected development was the creation of the SSF.

According to official sources, the Strategic Support Force will form the core of China’s information warfare force, which is central to China’s “active defense” strategic concept. This is an evolution, not a departure from, China’s evolving military strategy. It is a culmination of years of technological advancement and institutional change. In the context of ongoing reforms, the creation of the SSF may be one of the most important changes yet. Consolidating and restructuring China’s information forces is a key measure to enable a number of other state goals of reform, including reducing the power of the army, implementing joint operations, and increasing emphasis on high-tech forces.

The Strategic Support Force in Chinese Media

How we all reinforce a narrative of Islam versus the West

August 4, 2016 

“Our way of life is under threat by Radical Islam and Hillary Clinton cannot even bring herself to say the words,” tweeted Donald Trump after Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday. There’s really no difference between his rhetoric and that of ISIS on this: both say there’s a war raging between Islam and the West.

It’s true that ISIS says it wants to destroy the West, and kill “infidels.” But let’s not forget how it acts: On July 23, it killed at least 80 Shiitesprotesting in Kabul. On July 2, during Ramadan, it killed nearly 300 people in Baghdad who had been out shopping and enjoying the post-Iftar hours, women and children among them. 

Jihadi groups—ISIS, the Taliban—don’t just attack Western targets or the Western way of life. They bomb schools and markets and mosques in Muslim countries. But that truth is an inconvenience for the Republican nominee for president. He casts the war that is being fought devoid of context. He never mentions that the majority of victims of what he calls “Islamic terror” worldwide are Muslims. Instead, he holds all Muslims complicit in the creation of terror.

We know he is wrong. We know that militant groups distort Islam to justify their violent quest for power. And those who join militant groups or pledge allegiance to them are typically troubled individuals, in no way representative of all Muslims, or immigrants, or refugees who come to the West. We just don’t say it enough.

More terror in the West only makes Trump more popular. And the support for Trump—and the hate and venom directed toward Muslims at his rallies—all alienate the “gray zone”: the Muslims in the West who are assimilated, well-adjusted. It is ISIS’ goal to eliminate this gray zone; Trump is doing it for them.

Tools of Modern Terror How the AK-47 and AR-15 Evolved Into Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers

By C.J. Chivers with illustrations by Attila Futaki

Time and again it’s the same. A lone gunman or a small group of killers with rifles commits spectacular crimes that seize the attention of the world.

The list reaches back decades: the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972; the school takeover in Beslan, Russia, in 2004; the attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008; the mall assault in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013; the killing of more than 100 people in Paris in 2015.

Often the rifles are variants of the AK-47, the world’s most abundant firearm, an affordable and simple-to-use assault rifle of Soviet lineage that allows a few people to kill scores and menace hundreds, and fight head-to-head against modern soldiers and police forces.

In recent years they have also been descendants of the AR-15, the American military’s response to the Kalashnikov’s spread. Semiautomatic versions of the AR-15 were used by sympathizers of the Islamic State in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015, and a Mini-14 and an MCX, rifles that fire the same cartridge as the AR-15 and compete with it for market share, were used in the mass shootings in Norway in 2011 and in Orlando, Fla., in June.

In the hands of terrorists, military-style rifles have repeatedly been used for swiftly killing on a large scale. How did the Kalashnikov — a disruptive technology that flooded the world almost three generations ago and still retains an outsize role in organized violence — become such a ready amplifier of evil and rage? In what ways did it drive the AR-15 and its competitors to such prominence, too?

ISIS in Afghanistan claims it has confiscated sensitive U.S. military equipment

August 6, 2016 

The Islamic State group is circulating photos of potentially sensitive American military equipment and identification cards purportedly confiscated by militants after recent battlefield engagements in Afghanistan.

The photos show a variety of weapons, ammunition, communications gear and accessories. Perhaps the most chilling image is a closeup of someone holding two ID cards belonging to a U.S. soldier, Spc. Ryan Jay Larson.

Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in U.S. Proxy War

Mark Mazzetti, Anne Barnard and Eric Schmitt
August 7, 2016

Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in U.S. Proxy War

WASHINGTON — The Syrian military was foundering last year, with thousands of rebel fighters pushing into areas of the country long considered to be government strongholds. The rebel offensive was aided by powerful tank-destroying missiles supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia.

Intelligence assessments circulated in Washington that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, was losing his grip on power.

But then the Russians arrived, bludgeoning C.I.A.-backed rebel forces with an air campaign that has sent them into retreat. And now rebel commanders, clinging to besieged neighborhoods in the divided city of Aleppo, say their shipments of C.I.A.-provided antitank missiles are drying up.

For the first time since Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Russian military for the past year has been in direct combat with rebel forces trained and supplied by the C.I.A. The American-supplied Afghan fighters prevailed during that Cold War conflict. But this time the outcome — thus far — has been different.

“Russia has won the proxy war, at least for now,” said Michael Kofman, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Russia’s battlefield successes in Syria have given Moscow, isolated by the West after its annexation of Crimea and other incursions into Ukraine, new leverage in decisions about the future of the Middle East.

Guide To The World's Tallest Buildings

Although not explicitly an exhaustive list of the world's absolute tallest buildings, technically there are a few omitted from this list.

The NAFTA Debate

Aug. 4, 2016 

Those for and against free trade are often motivated by political agendas. 


There is no definitive evidence illustrating NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. job market, though the debate over whether the agreement has helped or hurt the U.S. economy has been around since its implementation in the early 1990s. The lack of decisive evidence is due to the fact that both sides of the debate provide numbers to support their arguments that are at best estimates given the complexities of the economy and shortfalls in modeling.

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has brought renewed focus on the agreement and evolved the debate from whether it hurts jobs to what extent it should be changed to protect U.S. jobs. 


U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have raised the possibility of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the United States and Mexico. While campaign speeches should often be considered political white noise, the core issues being addressed sometimes have geopolitical significance. The future of NAFTA is one of these core issues. It currently serves as the framework that dictates how the U.S., the world’s largest economy, carries out trade with two of its top three trading partners. It also encompasses the three major economies of theWestern Hemisphere, distinct for its stability while much of Eurasia is in crisis

NAFTA’s impact on U.S. employment is the main point of contention inspiring calls for a renegotiation or even an end to the agreement. This debate over the cost of more open trade to U.S. jobs is nothing new. The balance between the benefits of trade and accompanying adjustments in the U.S. job market has been a divisive issue in U.S. domestic policy for decades. In a 1962 message to Congress, President John F. Kennedy noted: "The burden of economic adjustment should be borne in part by the federal government.... [T]here is an obligation to render assistance to those who suffer as a result of national trade policy."

Controversy over whether NAFTA, which was implemented in 1994, has helped or harmed the U.S. economy dates back to the early 1990s when the agreement was first being negotiated. In the U.S. Congressional debate over NAFTA, the question of employment featured prominently. Of the 141 statements against NAFTA in the House of Representatives and Senate, 112 asserted that NAFTA would destroy jobs. Meanwhile, 199 of the 219 pro-NAFTA statements argued it would create jobs. And the debate has continued ever since.

However, we appear to be at the start of a shift in the debate. It is no longer about whether it hurts jobs but rather to what extent it should be changed to protect U.S. jobs. Trump has said, if elected, he plans to immediately renegotiate NAFTA so that it is more beneficial for U.S. workers. If such a deal cannot be reached, Trump says he will submit notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from the agreement. Clinton has publically said she would like to renegotiate NAFTA to give American workers a level playing field, though she does not foresee ending NAFTA. Rather, she has stated that there have been benefits to free trade, corporations share the blame for lost jobs and globalization is here to stay. Neither candidate has specified which aspects of NAFTA he or she wants to renegotiate. In any case, this issue will continue to be relevant beyond the election.

Impact on Jobs: Initial Expectations

To better understand the current debate over whether NAFTA has been a success or failure, we need to first look back at the initial expectations for its impact on the job market. Many studies were conducted prior to the signing of NAFTA to help determine its potential impact. A comprehensive review of 10 pre-NAFTA impact studies on U.S. jobs was published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Seven used variants of a Computable General Equilibrium model, a class of economic modeling that uses available data to project how an economy might react to changes in policy, technology or other factors. The others used different macroeconomic modeling methods.

Four of the studies determined that NAFTA… 

World Gone Backwards

By John Mauldin
Aug 07, 2016

“The growth model China has relied on for the last 30 years – one predicated on low-cost exports to the rest of the world and investment in resource-intensive heavy manufacturing – is unlikely to serve it well in the next 30 years.”

– Gary Locke

“In this 21st century world, some of our country’s most significant exports extend beyond goods and services. They also include innovation, knowledge, discovery, and healing.”

– Kathleen Sebelius

John here. This Friday, writing day finds me in Grand Lake Stream, Maine; but fortunately for me, this week’s letter has been written by my associate Patrick Watson, giving me a week off. Patrick takes up where I left off last week, when we discussed the uneven distribution of the benefits of globalization. That globalization has in fact been positive for humanity and for our country is incontestable – you would have to ignore mountains of data to dispute that fact – but there is no doubt that the benefits have not accrued equally to everyone, leaving large swathes of the US population (and many in the rest of the world) feeling like they weren’t invited to the party, but have been forced instead to watch through the windows at all the other participants enjoying themselves.

Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality

By Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, Jacques Bughin, Eric Labaye, and Pranav Kashyap

July 2016

The real incomes of about two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies were flat or fell between 2005 and 2014. Without action, this phenomenon could have corrosive economic and social consequences.

Most people growing up in advanced economies since World War II have been able to assume they will be better off than their parents. For much of the time, that assumption has proved correct: except for a brief hiatus in the 1970s, buoyant global economic and employment growth over the past 70 years saw all households experience rising incomes, both before and after taxes and transfers. As recently as between 1993 and 2005, all but 2 percent of households in 25 advanced economies saw real incomes rise.

Yet this overwhelmingly positive income trend has ended. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, Poorer than their parents? Flat or falling incomes in advanced economies, finds that between 2005 and 2014, real incomes in those same advanced economies were flat or fell for 65 to 70 percent of households, or more than 540 million people (exhibit). And while government transfers and lower tax rates mitigated some of the impact, up to a quarter of all households still saw disposable income stall or fall in that decade.

USASOC - Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide - 6 April 2016

August 3, 2016 

This guide is a quick reference of Unconventional Warfare (UW) theory, principles, and tactics, techniques and procedures. It is not a complete treatment of the subject. To guide further study, it includes (in annotated form) as many references as possible starting with established law, policy and doctrine, includes scientific studies, and finishes with recommended reading on the subject.

The term UW often elicits strong responses both negative and positive, though many have a fundamental misunderstanding of the term itself, and its application supporting U.S. policy. Simply, UW is the support to a resistance movement. Historically and most often, the U.S. supported a semi-organized militarized irregular force -- known in doctrine as a Guerrilla Force, as part of an insurgency -- such as the U.S. support to the Afghanistan Northern Alliance in 2001. This is most often due to a foreign policy decision on when to get involved.

However, the application of UW is much broader and adaptive. The methods and techniques used and the planning for the operations are dependent on the state of the resistance movement, environment, and the desired end state. Support to a resistance organization in its incipient state requires significantly different planning and support than one in the war of movement state (using Mao's phases). The first will most likely be small, very sensitive, longer in duration, and often conducted under Title 50 authority, whereas the latter is large scale and open, as with the Northern Alliance in 2001.

U.S. Military About to Get More Cyber Attack and Defense Missions from the White House

August 6, 2016

Obama prepares to boost U.S. military’s cyber role: sources

The Obama administration is preparing to elevate the stature of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, signaling more emphasis on developing cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders into U.S. networks and tackle adversaries such as Islamic State, current and former officials told Reuters. 

Under the plan being considered at the White House, the officials said, U.S. Cyber Command would become what the military calls a “unified command” equal to combat branches of the military such as the Central and Pacific Commands. 

Cyber Command would be separated from the National Security Agency, a spy agency responsible for electronic eavesdropping, the officials said. That would give Cyber Command leaders a larger voice in arguing for the use of both offensive and defensive cyber tools in future conflicts. 

Both organizations are based at Fort Meade, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Washington, and led by the same officer, Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers. 

A former senior intelligence official with knowledge of the plan said it reflects the growing role that cyber operations play in modern warfare, and the different missions of the Cyber Command and the NSA. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. 

A Cyber Command spokesman declined comment on the plan, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Established in 2010, Cyber Command is now subordinate to the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees military space operations, nuclear weapons and missile defense. 

Where machines could replace humans—and where they can’t (yet)

By Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi

July 2016

The technical potential for automation differs dramatically across sectors and activities.

As automation technologies such as machine learning and robotics play an increasingly great role in everyday life, their potential effect on the workplace has, unsurprisingly, become a major focus of research and public concern. The discussion tends toward a Manichean guessing game: which jobs will or won’t be replaced by machines?

In fact, as our research has begun to show, the story is more nuanced. While automation will eliminate very few occupations entirely in the next decade, it will affect portions of almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the type of work they entail. Automation, now going beyond routine manufacturing activities, has the potential, as least with regard to its technical feasibility, to transform sectors such as healthcare and finance, which involve a substantial share of knowledge work.

VideoFrom science fiction to business fact
McKinsey’s Michael Chui explains how automation is transforming work.

How foreign governments spy using PowerPoint and Twitter

By Ron Deibert 
August 2 

It's not just the DNC. Activists all over the world are hacked, and the results are deadly.

Ron Deibert is Director of Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

News of the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computers has riveted the world. But for many, this kind of behavior is a daily reality.

Take, for example, Syrian Nour Al-Ameer. A former vice president of the Syrian National Council, Al-Ameer was arrested and sent to infamous Adra prison in Damascus, where she was brutally tortured. Upon release, she became a refugee, fleeing to relative safety in Turkey.

Or so she thought.

Al-Ameer is a net savvy activist, and so when she received a legitimate looking email containing a PowerPoint attachment addressed to her and purporting to detail “Assad Crimes,” she could easily have opened it. Instead, she shared it with us at the Citizen Lab.

As we detail in a new report, the attachment led our researchers to uncover an elaborate cyberespionage campaign operating out of Iran. Among the malware was a malicious spyware, including a remote access tool called “Droidjack,” that allows attackers to silently control a mobile device. When Droidjack is installed, a remote user can turn on the microphone and camera, remove files, read encrypted messages, and send spoofed instant messages and emails. Had she opened it, she could have put herself, her friends, her family and her associates back in Syria in mortal danger.

Group5: Syria and the Iranian Connection

By John Scott-Railton,* Bahr Abdulrazzak,* Adam Hulcoop,* Matt Brooks,* & Katie Kleemola**
August 2, 2016

*The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; **Lookout Inc.

Executive Summary

This report describes an elaborately staged malware operation with targets in the Syrian opposition. The operators use a range of techniques to target Windows computers and Android phones with the apparent goal of penetrating the computers of well-connected individuals in the Syrian opposition.

We first discovered the operation in late 2015 when a member of the Syrian opposition spotted a suspicious e-mail containing a PowerPoint slideshow. From this initial message, we uncovered a watering hole website with malicious programs, malicious PowerPoint files, and Android malware, all apparently designed to appeal to members of the opposition.

Elements of the Syrian opposition have been targeted by malware campaigns since the early days of the conflict: regime-linked malware groups, the Syrian Electronic Army, ISIS, and a group linked to Lebanon reported by FireEye in 2015 have all attempted to penetrate opposition computers and communications. Some of these operations are still active as of the time of writing. This report adds one more threat actor to the list: Group5, which we name to reflect the four other known malware groups.

Group5 stands out from the operations that have already been reported on: some of the tactics and tools used have not been observed in this conflict; the operators seem comfortable with Iranian Persian dialect tools and Iranian hosting companies; and they appear to have run elements of the operation from Iranian IP space.

Short History of US Army Electronic Warfare

One of the world’s leading experts on Electronic Warfare (EW) provides an insightful look into current U.S. Army EW capabilities -- and the path that brought us here. 

Electronic Warfare (EW) seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. It’s certainly been in the news.

In the last three years, we’ve seen: a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on “Strengthening EW capabilities within the Department of Defense (DoD)” [1]; a Defense Science Board Study on “21st Century Military Operations in a Complex Electromagnetic Environment;” [2] and numerous articles on the most recent Russian escapades in the Ukraine, most of which echo the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe, LTG Ben Hodges’, comments on Russian EW capabilities (“eye-watering”). [3]

But what exactly is Electronic Warfare?

It is not Cyberspace Operations, which uses computer networks, some of which may be connected through wireless means – although even many often use the terms interchangeably. It is not Signals Intelligence, which uses the Electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) to collect intelligence for Title 50 authorities, although SIGINT resources can also be used for EW targeting. 

Hackers at BLACK HAT Las Vegas Convention Have Practical Advise on How to Avoid Being Hacked

Tim Johnson
August 5, 2016

How to avoid hacking? Read this story, then turn off your computer

Here’s some advice for newbies to the largest cybersecurity and hacking conferences in the world, taking place in Las Vegas this week: Hackers are going to hack, so do everything you can to get out of their way.

Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your cellphone. Turn off your computer. Do not use ATMs near the convention site this week. Pay for everything with cash.

Sound extreme? Not to experts at the Black Hat and DefCon 24 conventions, which have drawn about 16,000 people from 108 countries, many of them trained to snoop on other people’s digital devices.

In fact, some of the sessions at the three-day Black Hat convention, which started small in 1997 but now has corporate sponsors and plenty of law enforcement attendees, offered training on how to break into networks or how to attack them surreptitiously. Information security officers find the sessions helpful in understanding the evolving coding of malware, the software tools through which hackers break into systems.

In the unseen air around the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, it’s mano a mano among digital combatants, hackers and security specialists.

“We’re not stopping attacks. We’re just observing them,” said Neil R. Wyler, speaking at a network monitoring facility with multiple large screens at the convention center.

Wyler goes by the user name of “Grifter” and his day job is with RSA, a network security company based in Bedford, Massachusetts. His business cards describe him as “hacker-in-residence” and “threat hunting & incident response specialist.” As a security expert, he usually spots network intrusions and goes after them. But at Black Hat, he’s had to take his hand off the holster even while observing that “there’s a significant amount of malware flying around.”

Mad Scientist Conference: Strategic Security Environment 2050

August 3, 2016

SUBJECT: Mad Scientist Conference: Strategic Security Environment 2050

1. Purpose. To provide information on the upcoming U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Mad Scientist Conference cosponsored by Georgetown University Center for Security Studies, and the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group, with a specific focus on the Strategic Security Environment in 2050.

2. Facts. 

a. Mad Scientist is a TRADOC G-2 initiative that supports continuous dialogue between Joint military partners, international partners, academia, policy institutions, and private sector organizations to help the Army explore the evolution of the Operational Environment (OE) through the year 2050. Mad Scientist also seeks to examine the effects of all aspects of technology as well as other OE factors on the far future of armed conflict. 

b. Mad Scientist events are part of the G-2’s continuous study of the future Operational Environment and the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) Campaign of Learning. Mad Scientist facilitates dialogue between Joint military, international partners, academia, and industry – key partners in defining the future OE. 

c. The strategic environment is defined as the set of global conditions, circumstances, and influences that affect the employment of all elements of U.S. national power. The strategic environment is essentially the sum of all of the OEs in which the commanders and units could find themselves conducting decisive action operations. The conditions of the strategic environment must be understood, captured and factored into Army decision-making, training, capabilities, and leader development and education.