12 December 2016

*** Winning the Asymmetric Wars: Matrix of Instruments of War

By Navneet Bhushan

Using Ivan Arreguin Toft’s hypothesis of strategic interaction proposed and studied on a sample of asymmetric conflicts since year 1800,in “How the weak win wars – a theory of asymmetric conflict”, Ihave proposed the three step rapid strategy switching process for winning the asymmetric wars.

The three steps include the discovery of adversary’s strategy. Whether it is belonging to one of the two clearly demarcated Toft classes, i.e., indirect or direct. The second step involves creating and executing the most appropriate counter strategy that should be in the same class as the adversary’s. Finally, as the opponent changes its strategy from direct to indirect strategy, or indirect to direct strategy, we need to adapt by shifting our strategy to the same class as is done by the adversary. As per Toft, Symmetric Strategic Interaction is the key for winning the asymmetric wars for the stronger player. Of course, for the weaker player it has to be asymmetric option. Toft’s book was published in the year 2005. Since then a new term has emerged called the hybrid war. The hybrid warfare combines regular war with irregular warfare and cyber warfare.

This three-domain war (3-Domain war), as one can see, requires a peculiar blend of conventional, special ops, irregulars and cyber/information warriors that conventional armed forces are typically unable to provision because of the siloed way in which these forces have been designed and developed. A cunning and agile adversary, focused on achieving its political and military objectives can combine the three domains in an eclectic game, that the regular conventional forces, with their linear thinking and capabilities, are not designed to even comprehend, forget about playing it.

*** Trump, Taiwan and an Uproar

By George Friedman
Putting China on the defensive.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the telephone with the president of Taiwan. This caused deep upset because it was counter to an understanding in place since President Richard Nixon opened the door with China in 1972. This understanding included an American endorsement of the one-China policy, which held that Taiwan is part of China but would continue to behave as if it weren’t. The United States agreed not to have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and pretend it isn’t a close ally. The agreement was a fairly meaningless concession that allowed the Chinese to domestically claim they had forced the U.S. to capitulate on an important issue. This was important for China. By speaking with the Taiwanese president, Trump undermined that agreement. The Chinese responded by saying that President Trump will be judged differently than President-elect Trump, and they remained calm.

The context of this agreement should be recalled. When Nixon went to China, the Vietnam War was still being fought, and it had weakened U.S. military capabilities sufficiently that it was unclear if the U.S. could resist Soviet military action in Europe. The Chinese fought a major battle in 1969 with the Russians on the Ussuri River, along the Siberian-Chinese border. Sino-Soviet relations had plummeted in the 1960s, and China was worried about a Soviet attack, including a nuclear strike.

*** Is China deferring on disarmament?

This week we begin the third and final round of the Development and Disarmament Roundtable on China’s role in the nuclear world order. Is China a responsible nuclear stakeholder? Is Beijing abandoning the banning of the bomb? Or is the country merely waiting for the United States and Russia to lead the way?

Read on for more insights into how China should address disarmament and nonproliferation as its power and confidence increase.

Hua Han, Rajesh Rajagopalan, Gregory Kulacki

Individual roundtable articles:

Hua Han

Rajesh Rajagopalan

Gregory Kulacki

** Cover: Smarter Power, Stronger Partners, Volume IRead Online Smarter Power, Stronger Partners, Volume I


The proliferation of anti-access and area denial (A2AD) capabilities threatens to undermine the viability of offensive force projection. Thus, certainty that the United States could decisively defeat any state in all circumstances could be eroding. The U.S. military has taken steps to mitigate these A2AD challenges, but the focus has been primarily on technical and tactical fixes to maintain offensive force-projection capabilities. Meanwhile, the problem is growing, and strong underlying factors favor A2AD over force projection economically and operationally. The research reported here examined trends in military capabilities among potential U.S. adversaries, and the report proposes an alternative way for the United States to secure its interests. Specifically, after accounting for the underlying motivations, technology, and economics of A2AD, the authors argue that countering A2AD will require a new and fundamentally different strategy. Informed by case studies involving China, Russia, and Iran that are detailed in a companion volume and expanded on here, the authors conclude that the United States should, with its partners, adopt a military strategy based on using A2AD to prevent aggression to defend its interests rather than defeating A2AD outright. This strategy would seek to prevent international aggression by enhancing U.S. and allied A2AD capabilities (Blue A2AD), pursuing new approaches to limiting the vulnerability of U.S. and allied forces to enemy A2AD, and employing nonmilitary means of coercing would-be aggressors. They conclude that such a strategy would be more effective and likely less expensive than the current approach to securing U.S. global interests.


Pravin Sawhney

India appears to have overreached itself in its zeal to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region, which Defence Minister Parrikar is keen on. It does not have the capability yet. Moreover, uncertain external factors can be an impediment to the grand dream

In his public address at the commissioning of INS Chennai on November 21, Minister for Defence Manohar Parrikar stated that the Indian Navy will be the “net security provider in the adjoining seas”. Asked to explain what he meant by ‘adjoining seas’, he said, “the Indian Ocean”. Over the next few days, senior Naval officers I met with either expressed an inability to explain the term or conceded that it was both fuzzy and unachievable.

‘Net security provider’ is an American phrase, which was perhaps first used in the Indian context by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates at the 2009 Shangri-la Dialogue. In its militarised avatar, the phrase was used by US Pacific Commander, Admiral Harry Harris, in a one-on-one interview with me in February 2015. Asked what role he visualised for the Navy, the US top commander replied that he saw “India as the pivot in the Indian Ocean”. This explains the US’s zeal to sell its military equipment to India and seek joint patrols in the Indian Ocean Region — to achieve interoperability or the ability to combat together.

India, Bangladesh Talk Coast Guard Cooperation

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Both sides are looking to strengthen collaboration in the maritime realm. 

This week, the India hosted a delegation from Bangladesh for a three-day visit for both sides to discuss coast guard cooperation.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) hosted a four-member delegation led by Director General of the Bangladesh Coast Guard Rear Admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury.

According to a press release by the Indian defense ministry, in addition to meeting senior officials, the delegation will be discussing issues of mutual cooperation in fields such as maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and marine pollution response.

In addition, the Bangladesh Coast Guard delegation is also traveling to Mumbai and Kolkata, where it will visit ICG facilities and hold discussions with coast guard commanders. No further details were publicly provided.

India-Pakistan Tensions: Multilateral Diplomacy Caught in the Crossfire

By Meha Pumbay

Trouble in the India-Pakistan relationship is blocking progress at SAARC and the Heart of Asia process. 

The Uri attack of September 2016 has set the tone for recent Pakistan-India relations. Soon after the incident, which claimed the lives of 18 soldiers, the Indian leadership accused Pakistan of state involvement in the attack, based on evidence including Pakistan-manufactured weaponry found at the scene. However, India’s National Investigation Agency stated shortly after the Uri attack that no solid proof had been discovered to link Pakistan’s involvement.

The Uri terrorist attack is one incident among many in the ongoing deadly turmoil over Kashmir and has resulted in further deepening the historic resentment between the two states. Many longstanding diplomatic institutions have fallen prey to this strained relationship, with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process as recent examples.

India to Train Vietnam Fighter Pilots

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Both countries conclude yet another pact in their burgeoning defense relationship. 

India will begin training Vietnamese fighter pilots starting next year, according to an agreement inked by the two countries this week.

On December 5, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart, General Ngo Xuan Lich, signed a pact with Hanoi to train the pilots of its Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 multirole combat aircraft. The inking of the agreement came during Ngo’s much-awaited four-day visit to India, which began on December 3.

India and Vietnam have been strengthening their defense ties over the past few years, and that had already translated into some significant collaboration, such as New Delhi’s training Vietnamese submariners. But the two sides have also been looking to further boost relations, with greater momentum from the Indian side under Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his inauguration in May 2014 under the “Act East” policy.

India Major Defence Partner of United States - Wither Multi-Alignment

Rahul Bhonsle 

The seventh meeting between U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and India’s Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar on 8 December saw firming up of the framework for “major defence partner,” marking a new partnership between the two countries. This was the mandate given to the defence ministers in the joint statement issued after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in June 2016

The Joint Statement states “Noting that the U.S.-India defence relationship can be an anchor of stability, and given the increasingly strengthened cooperation in defence, the United States at this moment recognises India as a Major Defense Partner. As such: (1) The United States will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. The leaders reached an understanding under which India would receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives. (2) In support of India's Make In India initiative, and to support the development of robust defense industries and their integration into the global supply chain, the United States will continue to facilitate the export of goods and technologies, consistent with U.S. law, for projects, programs and joint ventures in support of official U.S.-India defense cooperation”.

Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war

Zia Mian

In April 2016, speaking at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, which had brought together more than 50 government leaders, President Obama described what he saw as the three major nuclear weapons challenges. Along with difficulties in achieving further nuclear arsenal reductions by the United States and Russia and the problem of North Korea, President Obama listed Pakistan and India and the need, as he put it, for “making sure that as they develop military doctrine that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” The White House press secretary later explained that underlying the President’s concern about South Asia was “the risk that a conventional conflict between India and Pakistan could escalate to include the use of nuclear weapons.” It is a well-founded fear and one that has become more urgent as tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated.

Kashmir. A potential trigger for armed conflict that might escalate to nuclear war between Pakistan and India is the dispute over the land and people of Kashmir. Pakistan has claimed this territory since the partition of British India in 1947 that created the borders of India and Pakistan. The dispute has led already to three wars, in 1947, 1965, and 1999, and left Kashmir divided between Pakistan and India along a Line of Control where the armies of Pakistan and India now confront each other in an uneasy stalemate. There are recurring artillery exchanges along this Line of Control, despite a 2003 cease-fire agreement. At times this firing has claimed significant military and civilian casualties.

Could India’s bold nuclear war plan survive a clash with Pakistan?


If massive retaliation is retained in the nuclear doctrine, it will be not because of its efficacy as a strategy of deterrence.

Debate on the review of India’s nuclear doctrine heated up recently after Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar’s “personal” remarks on the no-first-use element of the doctrine. Parrikar’s statement provoked responses from former Indian government officials, politicians, domestic experts and international observers, which delved into another critical element of the doctrine — massive retaliation. Disagreements on whether massive retaliation serves the stated purpose of nuclear deterrence do not take into consideration the changing political scenarios which should ideally influence New Delhi’s nuclear weapons policy. Recalibration of roots, rationale and relevance of massive retaliation, with consideration of recent developments in the India-Pakistan nuclear dynamic, leads to the conclusion that massive retaliation fails to serve the stated objective of nuclear deterrence. If massive retaliation is retained in the nuclear doctrine, it will be due to the lack of a better alternative, not because of its efficacy as a strategy of deterrence.

Its not Pakistan, Its Kashmir...!

By Alpana Kishore

Indian policy makers could do well to adopt it in their prescriptions for the perpetual hostilities at the border. Since 1947, Pakistan has almost completely occupied India’s strategic mindspace, its defence budgets, border management, diplomatic outreach, nuclear manoueuvring and internal security. In all this, an obvious truth has been repeatedly overlooked. The answer to the problem with Pakistan is not Pakistan. It’s Kashmir….

During 1992’s US presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist James Carville coined the phrase “The economy, stupid!” to keep internal staffers on track with the campaign’s core message. The phrase later became its de facto slogan.

Journalists tweaked it as a signature phrase for everything from “It’s the deficit stupid!” to “It’s the corporation stupid!” etc, to call attention to obvious core issues hiding in plain sight and the urgent need to focus on them.

Indian policy makers could do well to adopt it in their prescriptions for the perpetual hostilities at the border. Since 1947, Pakistan has almost completely occupied India’s strategic mindspace, its defence budgets, border management, diplomatic outreach, nuclear manoueuvring and internal security.

Are Nuclear Weapons Pushing India and Pakistan towards War?

Prateek Joshi

The nuclear doctrines of India and Pakistan have more or less clearly defined contours, especially in the event of an Indo-Pak conflict. The twin pillars of “No First Use” and “Credible Minimum Deterrence” define India’s policy. Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is still not officially declared, though the missiles, named after medieval invaders who plundered the Indian subcontinent, leave no doubt that India is their destination. As bilateral relations continue to experience a downward spiral, both nations are looking for new strategies to inflict maximum punishment on each other, further stretching the limits of their nuclear umbrellas.

Anchoring the Threshold

With Pakistan going nuclear, India’s superiority in conventional strength got blunted and the more balanced equation gave further impetus to protracted sub-conventional warfare with India. The emergence of a wide spectral vacuum allowed Pakistan to escalate tensions, yet discouraged New Delhi to engage conventionally. Only a year after its nuclear tests in 1998, Pakistan launched a limited war in Kargil. Although India responded firmly and recaptured the intruded positions, the Kargil misadventure also prompted Pakistan to develop a successful deterrence strategy which would later thwart New Delhi’s ability to engage with a nuclear Pakistan following the 2001 Parliament Attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Don't Shrink Iraq to Save It

Albert B. Wolf

The logic sounds great. It's the evidence that doesn't add up.

The Islamic State is likely to be forced out of Mosul and Raqqa. Yet many of the conditions that led to its emergence in the first place still remain. Military force is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for defeating ISIS. However, the proposal that we partition Iraq along sectarian lines will not solve the problem. It is a dangerous idea that is brought up every time we face an ethnic civil war in the Middle East. Joe Biden endorsed it in 2006. If pursued, it will make Iraq’s problems worse, allow Iran’s influence to grow in Baghdad and exacerbate regional tensions. It is time that we discarded it once and for all.

Iraq is facing a situation somewhere between Yugoslavia and Somalia – a complete breakdown and fragmentation on the one hand where each region becomes fully independent, and a softer partition on the other where the federal government is weak and each province is responsible for itself. When watching news about the fight for Mosul, look carefully at your television and computer screens. You’ll notice that many of the fighters entering Mosul to take on ISIS are not carrying the flag of Iraq. Instead, many are carrying sectarian flags of the Shia Popular Mobilization Units or of the Kurdish Peshmerga.

The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State

Daniel L. Byman

When it comes to the Islamic State, who doesn’t want to “bomb the shit out of them,” as our president-elect so eloquently put it? The group is violent, aggressive, and almost cartoonishly evil: torture, mass murder, and sexual slavery are only a few of the abhorrent practices the Islamic State embraces. Left unchecked, it may consolidate power and expand. After years of surviving largely underground, in 2014 it took over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, and it has established so-called “provinces” in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and other countries.

Bombing is attractive because Americans are rightly leery of a prolonged ground campaign in the Middle East. The Iraq debacle still colors our thinking on intervention. A poll taken in August showed that only 42 percent of Americans favored deploying a significant number of ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State, though a slight majority is comfortable with limited numbers of special operations forces.

Air power seems like the perfect middle ground between a large ground force invasion and inaction: a way to hit the Islamic State hard while avoiding an Iraq-like quagmire. The previously cited poll also showed that 72 percent of Americans favor airstrikes on the Islamic State, and apparently our president-elect is among their ranks. As Eliot Cohen, one of our country’s leading military analysts, once wryly remarked, “Air power is an unusually seductive form of military strength, in part because, like modern courtship, it appears to offer gratification without commitment.” Yet air power, if not used carefully, runs all the risks of a one-night stand: it can create false expectations, drag America into unwanted relationships with flawed partners, and winds up meaning little in the long-term.

Why would Rouhani cyber-attack the Saudis? There's far too much at stake

Shahir Shahidsaless

Saudi Arabia suggests the digital fingerprints of Iran are on a recent virus attack. But such action is illogical – and suggests invisible hands at work

This month, Bloomberg reported that state-sponsored hackers had conducted a "series of destructive attacks" on Saudi Arabia over the last two weeks, erasing data and wreaking havoc at the agency running the country’s airports, and hitting five additional targets. 

According to the report, "thousands of computers were destroyed at the headquarters of Saudi’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, erasing critical data and bringing operations there to a halt for several days". 

A false-flag operation by a foreign country aiming to escalate tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Several US internet security companies later suggested the attacks were carried outby hackers using a virus called "Shamoon", which has been linked to the Iranian government. 

The Middle East's Worst Nightmare: A War between Israel and Russia

Michael Peck

The news that Israel had attacked targets in Syria was a yawner. The Israeli Air Force has been regularly paying visits to Syria for years, attacking convoys transporting Iranian weapons to Hezbollah, or destroying a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.

But this time, Syrian media reported that Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles at a military airport. Yet much more significant is that fact that the airport was located outside Damascus, probably at least twenty-five miles from the Israeli border.

If in fact the attack occurred—and Israel is neither confirming nor denying that it has—what does this mean?

For starters, a missile that can reach Damascus isn’t some tactical anti-tank rocket fired by the Israeli army at some Hezbollah or ISIS gunmen on the border. Most likely it was a stand-off missile, perhaps an air-launched Popeye or Delilah, or some top-secret guided weapon never before used. Presumably Jerusalem was not crazy enough to use a nuclear-capable Jericho ballistic missile.

But as Israeli military commentator Ron Ben-Yishai perceptively asks, why did Israel use missiles instead of the aircraft that it usually does? “Accurately dropping bombs is usually cheaper than firing surface missiles,” Ben-Yishai writes. “The cost of one accurate rocket is higher than the cost of accurate aerial munition, even when taking into account the cost of operating the plane and the pilot. It’s reasonable to assume, therefore, that if Israel did in fact use surface-to-surface missiles, as the Syrian media claimed, it had a good reason to do so.”

Russia Expects a Taste of Its Own Cyber Medicine

By Leonid Bershidsky

Russia, demonized as the biggest cyber-villain in the world in the wake of the U.S. election campaign, must now take special care of its own information security. Its adversaries don't just possess powerful cyber-spying and offensive capabilities -- they suspect Russian involvement in every incident, and that makes Russia vulnerable to all kinds of retaliation. 

After it was accused of trying to influence the U.S. presidential race, Russia faces the same charges in Germany. Given Chancellor Angela Merkel's support of anti-Russian sanctions and her deep-seated support of a close partnership with the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin has strong motives to undermine her. Last week, WikiLeaks, which appeared to closely coordinate its U.S. election-related publications with Russian propaganda outlets such as the RT channel and Sputnik network of websites, published material from a German parliamentary inquiry into the cooperation between Germany's BND intelligence service and the U.S. National Security Agency. The issue is politically sensitive to privacy-minded Germans, who do not appreciate their country's collaboration with the intrusive U.S. service. The Russian propaganda organizations were on it immediately.

Energy 2050: Insights from the ground up

By Scott Nyquist

How will the world satisfy its need for energy? McKinsey research offers a perspective. 

When it comes to energy, there is one matter everyone agrees on. For the near future, at least, the world will need more of it—and how it is produced and used will be a critical factor in the future of the global economy, geopolitics, and the environment. With that in mind, McKinsey took a hard look at the data, modeling energy demand from the bottom up, by country, sector, and fuel mix, with an analysis of current conditions, historical data, and country-level assessments. On this basis, McKinsey’s Global Energy Insights team has put together a description of the global energy landscape to 2050. 

It is important to remember that this is a business-as-usual scenario. That is, it does not anticipate big disruptions in either the production or use of energy. And, of course, predicting the future of anything is perilous. With those caveats in mind, here are four of the most interesting insights from this research. 

Transformation with a capital T

By Michael BucyStephen Hall, and Doug Yakola

Companies must be prepared to tear themselves away from routine thinking and behavior. 

Imagine. You lead a large basic-resources business. For the past decade, the global commodities supercycle has fueled volume growth and higher prices, shaping your company’s processes and culture and defining its outlook. Most of the top team cannot remember a time when the business priorities were different. Then one day it dawns on you that the party is over. 

Or imagine again. You run a retail bank with a solid strategy, a strong brand, a well-positioned branch network, and a loyal customer base. But a growing and fast-moving ecosystem of fintech players—microloan sites, peer-to-peer lenders, algorithm-based financial advisers—is starting to nibble at your franchise. The board feels anxious about what no longer seems to be a marginal threat. It worries that management has grown complacent. 

In industry after industry, scenarios that once appeared improbable are becoming all too real, prompting boards and CEOs of flagging (or perhaps merely drifting) businesses to embrace the T-word: transformation. 

Comprehensive Terrorism Strategy Needed


The Cipher Brief sat down with Bruce Hoffman, Director for Security Studies at Georgetown University, to discuss President Obama’s counterterrorism legacy and the outlook for the terrorist threat in the coming year. According to Hoffman, although the U.S. has achieved “tactical gains” against al Qaeda and ISIS during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. currently faces the “most parlous international security situation in terms of terrorism, at least since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.”

The Cipher Brief: How has U.S. counterterrorism policy developed in the eight years under President Obama?

Bruce Hoffman: Clearly during the eight years of the Obama Administration there was an effort to shift from the deployment of U.S. ground forces for prolonged periods overseas to using other forms of engaging terrorists, principally unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, as well as the increased deployment of Special Operations forces. Tactically, it was successful – it eliminated at least three-dozen senior al Qaeda commanders following the ramp up of drone strikes in 2009 – and it crystalized of course with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. These tactics served to disrupt terrorist operations and keep these groups off balance. Tactically, it was unquestionably successful.

Being patient-centric in a digitizing world

A Danish pharma company’s strong customer focus and determined digital drive have important lessons for other businesses. 

From company headquarters, in the suburbs of Copenhagen, LEO Pharma has been stepping up its strategy to become the world’s leading company for people with skin diseases. McKinsey senior partner Martin Møller recently talked with LEO Pharma’s president and CEO, Gitte Aabo, about the group’s efforts to better understand the needs of patients and about its recent investment in LEO Innovation Lab, a stand-alone unit designed to develop digital solutions for patients. 

The Quarterly: At LEO Pharma, everything seems to be about the patient. What exactly does patient-centricity mean—and to what extent is this idea new? 

Gitte Aabo: Clearly, it’s always been the case at LEO Pharma—as it should be at any pharma company—that we care about delivering excellent treatments to patients. But we’ve taken this one step further by asking ourselves not just whether our treatments are safe and efficacious but also are they convenient and do they truly address patients’ needs. 

One of the obstacles we face is that even though skin diseases can have a profound impact on the lives of patients, patients don’t always adhere to treatments, often because they find it too difficult to use the products. We need to remember that patients are people like you and me, who get up in the morning, go to work, and pick up their kids after school. So if we come up with a treatment, like an ointment, that takes patients a long time to apply every day, they most likely won’t. We want to respond to this. 

As India Goes Digital, Symantec Warns Of The Rise Of “Fileless Malware”, “Dronejacking”

Enterprises of all sizes and consumers in India are at equal risk as advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers, a Symantec executive has said, adding that “dronejacking” and “fileless malware” will increase in the upcoming year.

In its Security Predictions for 2017, Symantec said that with the proliferation of the Cloud Generation, enterprises will need to shift their focus from safeguarding endpoint devices toward protecting users and information across all applications and services.

Symantec also highlighted that in 2017, fileless infections - those written directly onto a computer's RAM without using files of any kind and are difficult to detect and often elude intrusion prevention and antivirus programmes - are set to go up.

With the technology explosion and increase in the use of drones, 2017 could see these devices being used for espionage and explosive attacks.

With inputs from IANS

Transforming government through digitization

By Bjarne Corydon, Vidhya Ganesan, and Martin Lundqvist

By digitizing processes and making organizational changes, governments can enhance services, save money, and improve citizens’ quality of life. 

As companies have transformed themselves with digital technologies, people are calling on governments to follow suit. By digitizing, governments can provide services that meet the evolving expectations of citizens and businesses, even in a period of tight budgets and increasingly complex challenges. Our estimates suggest that government digitization, using current technology, could generate over $1 trillion annually worldwide. 

Digitizing a government requires attention to two major considerations: the core capabilities for engaging citizens and businesses, and the organizational enablers that support those capabilities (exhibit). These make up a framework for setting digital priorities. In this article, we look at the capabilities and enablers in this framework, along with guidelines and real-world examples to help governments seize the opportunities that digitization offers. 

The online battlefield heats up

Emboldened by a deal with western countries that has lifted sanctions in exchange for a curtailment of its nuclear weapons programme, Iran has ramped up its meddling throughout the Middle East.

In Yemen, for example, Tehran has fostered ­chaos and instability through its support for Houthi rebels who have recklessly held the country hostage for years. Seemingly unsatisfied with encouraging direct violent conflict on the ground, Iran has turned to cyberwar with an audacious attack on critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. At the end of November, Iranian state-sponsored hackers targeted computer systems responsible for Saudi Arabian airports, banks and other critical internet architecture.

This is not the first attack by Iran on the Saudi internet. Hackers were able to take down servers of Saudi Aramco in 2012, but the timing of this attack raises several important issues.

Not only will American president-elect Donald Trump have to contend with the cyberwar unfolding in this region when he steps into office, but Iranian hackers appear to be gaining a new level of sophistication with their malware. This is especially worrying considering that Iranian hackers appear to be learning from the Stuxnet attack that was launched by Israel and the United States on their country’s nuclear programme between 2007 and 2009.

CMC Neller Wants More Cyber, Intel and Electronic Warfare Marines

By: Sam LaGrone

Washington, D.C. – If an additional 3,000 Marines Congress has authorized for the U.S. Marine Corps gets approved, that end-strength will be routed to emerging cyber, intelligence and electronic warfare missions, the service’s top officer said on Wednesday.

“They’ll be performing tasks and providing capabilities that we don’t think are existing in the current force in sufficient quantity, or they don’t exist at all,” Marine commandant Gen. Robert Neller said during the Defense Forum Washington conference hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute.

“What capabilities? Information operations, intelligence analysis, targeting, electronic warfare [and] cyber.”

Even if the Marine Corps doesn’t grow from 182,000 to 185,000 – as proposed in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act – Neller said the requirements of the modern battlefield are pushing the Marines to a higher-end fight than the Corps conducted in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When we grew the force to 202,000, what we did was make more of the same capability that we had, more infantry battalions, more tank companies, because that was what we needed for that fight,” Neller said.

Cyber security war game set in 2022 hopes to prepare governments, businesses for the worst

By Matthew Clayfield

Australia's first simulated cyber security "game" was set in 2022 and explored two equally unpalatable cyber attack scenarios in the hopes to prepare governments and businesses for the inevitable.

The game was co-hosted by the National Security College at the Australian National University and the RAND Corporation, bringing together 90 participants from government, business and academia.

Michelle Price, senior adviser in cyber security at the National Security College who helped to co-ordinate the game, said Australians "human behaviour" in cyber space needed to improve.

"It's in large part why we're such a significant target for malicious activity," she said.

Australia is currently losing up to $17 billion each year through malicious cyber activity.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

And the attacks on this year's Census website remain an equally stark reminder of what can happen when organisations are unprepared.