13 February 2017

*** High Time The CSIR Proved Its Mettle

Gautam Desiraju

CSIR is an organisation that conveys the results of scientific research onto a platform from where these results can lead to economic betterment.

The government seems to expect CSIR to work on populist themes while attaining leadership in frontier scientific research and get top prizes simultaneously. 

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, was set up in the pre-independence days. It consists of a string of 37 laboratories all over the country, across a whole variety of scientific disciplines. Its lofty mission is to “provide scientific, industrial research and development that maximises the economic, environmental and societal benefit for the people of India”.

In simple language, this has been taken to mean that CSIR is an organisation that conveys the results of scientific research onto a platform from where these results can lead to economic betterment. In even simpler language, it means that CSIR is an intermediate stage between the often non-intersecting worlds of pure science and science-based industry.

It stands as testimony to the wisdom of our founding fathers that an organisation like CSIR was even envisaged. In advanced Western countries, there is no intermediate stage between academia and industry. Scientists trained in universities are directly absorbed by industry, which has heavily funded research facilities, and they more or less get involved directly into corporate research.

** Ukraine, Russia and Recent Fighting

By Antonia Colibasanu

Geopolitical Futures’ forecast for 2017 is that the frozen conflict in Ukraine will be formalized in some way. Increased fighting in Ukraine since Jan. 29 poses a potential challenge to this forecast and therefore warrants a close look. Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cut short his visit to Germany amid news of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, near the town of Avdiivka. Both sides – the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists – accuse each other of starting the most recent fighting. To understand why this is happening now, it is necessary first to understand what is happening and then to take a step back and understand the strategic position of each of the major players. This line of analysis leads to the conclusion that at present, the forecast remains on track.

It’s not unusual for Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists to shell each other in Donbass, but in terms of casualties and number of attacks, last week represented a significant uptick. In Avdiivka, north of Donetsk, shelling has been ongoing since Jan. 29, peaking on Feb 2-3. Attacks on the Oktyabr coal mine and the city’s coke chemical plant cut the energy supply for local residents (power has since been mostly restored). Donetsk Filter Station stopped operating due to the destruction of electricity infrastructure. Since Feb. 1, a water pipeline leak near Avdiivka disrupted the water supply to residents of Mariupol. On the night of Feb. 4, more shelling damaged electricity infrastructure for the city of Horlivka. Hostilities also further escalated in Luhansk and Mariupol. Over 33 people have been killed and dozens more injured since the violence began to escalate last month.

** Whither navy's LCA?

By Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)

The peremptory rejection of the shipborne variant of Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) by the Indian Navy (IN) seems to have surprised most navy-watching analysts. Their confusion has been compounded by the near-simultaneous issuance of a global request for information (RFI) for procurement of “57 multirole fighters for its aircraft carriers” by Naval HQ. One can deduce two compelling reasons for this, seemingly, radical volte face by the only service which has shown unswerving commitment to indigenisation (lately labelled ‘Make in India’) for the past six decades.

Firstly, by exercising a foreclosure option, the IN has administered a well-deserved and stinging rebuke to the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for its lethargic and inept performance that has again disappointed our military. The second reason arises from the navy’s desperate hurry to freeze the specifications of its second indigenous aircraft carrier (dubbed IAC-2). The choice of configuration, size and propulsion of a carrier has a direct linkage with the type of aircraft that will operate from it. This constitutes a ‘chicken and egg’ conundrum -- should one freeze the carrier design first or choose the aircraft first? The IN has, obviously decided the latter. 

The IAC-2 will enter service, in the next decade, at a juncture where a balance-of-power struggle is likely to be under way in this part of the world -- with China and India as the main players. It is only a matter of time before China’s carrier task-forces, led by the ex-Russian carrier Liaoning and her successors, follow its nuclear submarines into the Indian Ocean. Since the Indian response to such intimidation will need to be equally robust, the decisions relating to the design and capabilities of IAC-2 (and sisters) assume strategic dimensions. Essentially, there are three options for selection of aircraft for the IAC-2. 

** Trouble In The North American Empire

Reva Goujon

Eighteen minutes of history condemned Mexico to live in the shadow of its northern neighbor. The year was 1836, and the scene was a tallgrass prairie between Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was brimming with confidence: He had sacked an army of Texian rebels at the Alamo and, if he could stamp out the remainder of the rebellion, he would soon have the keys to North American empire - the mouth of the Mississippi River Basin, at the port of New Orleans - within his grasp.

Above graphic: The surrender of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna after the Battle of San Jacinto capped an unlikely victory for the Texians under Gen. Sam Houston that set the modern relationship between Mexico and the United States. (WILLIAM H. HUDDLE/Texas State Preservation Board)

But as fate would have it, Santa Anna’s siesta in a field one spring afternoon turned into a deadly ambush as Gen. Sam Houston led his exhausted, demoralized and outnumbered troops to an unlikely victory that would change North America's course forever.

In the Texas Capitol in Austin, a famous oil painting shows a wounded Houston lying against a tree holding out his hand in respect to a solemn Santa Anna standing above him, ready to surrender. Over hits of opium, the two battle-worn generals sat down together to negotiate an end to a war that would eventually pave the way for Texas' annexation by the United States and raise the question of whether the U.S.-Mexico border would be determined by the Nueces River, as the Mexicans argued, or the Rio Grande, as the Americans insisted. When money and diplomatic pressure failed to sway the Mexican government in negotiations a decade later, the United States invaded its southern neighbor, bringing the country to its knees in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Mexico ceded nearly a million square miles comprising present-day California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Nevada to the United States, fulfilling U.S. President James Polk's Manifest Destiny dream to extend America's continental domain "from ocean to ocean."

** New Threat Realities and Deterrence Requirements

National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP)

Adapted from remarks at the “Strategic Weapons in the 21st Century” Conference, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC, January 26, 2017

Dr. Keith B. Payne is a co-founder of the National Institute for Public Policy, the director of the Graduate School of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

The SW-21 conference sponsors have asked multiple worthy and overarching questions. But given the time available, we must narrow the aperture for our respective remarks. In doing so, I would like to discuss two of these overarching questions briefly: 

First: What are the changes in the security environment posed by regional powers? 
Second, and, correspondingly: What do these changes suggest regarding the possibility of new requirements? 



Most of my remarks along these lines today focus on Russia and deterrence policy considerations because that has been the focus of my work for decades. But there are important parallels with regard to US-Chinese relations that we can discuss as well.

Previous speakers have focused on the first question regarding changes in the security environment. So I will offer a brief, up-front conclusion in this regard: the world has become a much more dangerous place since the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Western security policies and practices need to adjust to this new reality.

Until recently, that conclusion would have been deemed far-fetched. Indeed, a basic presumption underlying past NPRs was of an increasingly benign world order in which nuclear weapons would play a declining role in terms of both the threat they pose and their security value. The post-Cold War world supposedly was moving beyond such methods and concerns. Nuclear deterrence was deemed decreasingly relevant to US relations with Russia and China, and irrelevant to the most serious threat, nuclear terrorism.

DeMo Critics Need To Pipe Down: FM’s Deposit Numbers Suggest Big Black Money Catch

R Jagannathan

The human and institutional costs of DeMo no longer look unacceptable, given the potential scale of black money discovered in the deposits surge.

Not too many people commented on the biggest set of numbers revealed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2016-17 budget: not the fiscal deficit, not the tax collections, but the sheer size of deposits made in several crore accounts post-demonetisation.

If nothing else, the knowledge that so many Indians hoarded so much cash in their homes and offices, much of it probably undisclosed incomes, is itself worth the whole effort.

Barring TN Ninan, who wrote about this huge cache of potential black money in his Business Standard column, few people took note. This is what Jaitley said in his budget speech:

After the demonetisation, the preliminary analysis of data received in respect of deposits made by people in old currency presents a revealing picture. During the period 8 November to 30 December 2016, deposits between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 80 lakh were made in about 1.09 crore accounts with an average deposit size of Rs 5.03 lakh. Deposits of more than Rs 80 lakh were made in 1.48 lakh accounts with average deposit size of Rs 3.31 crores.

Demographic changes making Jammu a ticking timebomb

By Brig Anil Gupta (Retd)

Consequent to eruption of militancy in Kashmir in the late 1980s and its extension to Doda District and Rajouri-Poonch in the 1990s, the migration of Hindu families to Jammu began. This was soon followed by migration of Muslims belonging to the militancy-affected areas. A large number of Gujjar settlements also erupted all of a sudden close to the International Border and around Jammu City. 

However, this was followed by a very serious event which appears like a well-planned conspiracy to alter the demography of Jammu. A large number of members of a particular community commenced buying landed and built-up properties in parts of Greater Jammu. Even illegal encroachments of forest and government land by them were ignored by the government machinery.

During the last decade-and-half exclusive Muslim colonies have mushroomed around Jammu, some of them openly advertising in papers that plots will be sold to Muslims only. Though being illegal, these colonies are provided amenities like water and electricity by the government machinery. The settlements have been planned in such a manner that Hindu-dominated localities have been encircled.

Jammu is basically a Hindu-dominated area. In 1981, there were only two Muslim-dominated localities within the city. As per official figures of 1986-87, the religion-wise breakdown of Jammu was Hindus 88.5 per cent, Muslims 4.5 per cent, Sikhs 6.4 per cent and others 0.6 per cent. Thereafter, due to disturbed conditions in the state, proper census could not be conducted in 1991 and 2001. 

CPEC: A game changer or debt enhancer for Pakistan?

By Tilak Devasher 

There are several issues with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. For one, transparency and accountability have been sacrificed because details of the projects have not been shared, there is no public bidding or even announcement. Clearly, the intention is that the major proportion of these loans will be channelled back to China to benefit only Chinese companies. Worse, since there is no transparency, issues such as cost efficiency, economic feasibility and viability, environmental concerns are likely to be ignored that could lead to serious economic and environmental issues later on. Recently, the federal minister for planning and development, Ahsan Iqbal, has laid to rest the debate about transparency by telling the Senate that the CPEC agreement is sensitive and cannot be disclosed.

As important as the provincial concerns are the issues of finances, especially because there is no clarity about them. So much so that even the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, the main financial regulator of the country, was constrained to say in an interview to Reuters that he did not know how much was going to be financed by debt and how much by equity. He openly called for the CPEC to be more transparent. The governor must be a worried man because the $46 billion CPEC is three times the reserves held by the State Bank and repayments would become a huge issue. Given Pakistan’s loan repayment situation the last thing it needs is further accumulation of unspecified debt. Even the World Bank, in its report titled Global Economic Prospects 2016, released in January 2016, has cautioned that ‘Sovereign guarantees associated with CPEC could pose substantial fiscal risks over the medium term.’ Former finance minister Hafiz Pasha has projected that loans contracted under CPEC will push the country’s total external debt to $90 billion from the current about $70 billion.

How China Plans to Beat the Rebalance

By Timothy Heath

China’s plan to supplant U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific. 

In early January, China’s Foreign Ministry published a White Paper on “China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation,” signaling an intensification of China’s effort to establish itself as the dominant power in Asia and dislodge U.S. influence. Building on the country’s economic strength, China is challenging U.S. power in Asia at its source: America’s role as a security provider. The paper provides a glimpse into China’s ambitions by outlining a three-part strategy to build an alternative architecture, normalize U.S. acceptance, and enforce regional compliance with Chinese leadership preferences through rewards and punishments.

Since 1998, China has issued security-related white papers, but these have largely centered on developments related to the country’s military and national defense policy. The “China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation” white paper, by contrast, focuses on the broader strategic question of how to ensure security for the Asia-Pacific region. As such, it is the first official policy document to provide China’s view of its leadership role in Asia. An accompanying People’s Daily commentary noted that this is the “first time” China has “provided a systematically organized policy on Asia-Pacific security cooperation.”

Numerous high-level meetings paved the way for the policy. In 2013, China held its first work forum on foreign policy to the Asia-Pacific region. At the 2014 Shanghai summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), President Xi Jinping proposed a vision for how Asians could manage security for themselves. In 2016, Xi elaborated on his concept of Asia’s security at a follow on CICA meeting.

People's Liberation Army Navy's Silk Road Campaign


BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese navy task force has wrapped up visits to four Persian Gulf states as the increasingly capable maritime force grows its presence in the strategically vital region.

The three ships departed Kuwait on Sunday after stopping in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the Defense Ministry said on its website Monday. They had previously completed an assignment escorting commercial shipping and patrolling for pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the 24th Chinese task force to be dispatched for such duties since China joined the multinational effort in December 2008.

China's navy has used the patrols to build its capacity to operate far from home ports and expand its use of the military as a tool of diplomacy following the model of other major nations. In its report, the ministry said the visits aimed to stir interest in China's project to link European and Asian economies along the ancient Silk Road land and sea routes.

In addition, the deployments have prompted Beijing to build a logistics and support center in Djibouti that is widely considered to be China's first overseas military base.

The Horn of Africa nation already hosts U.S., French and Japanese bases for logistical support and to facilitate African military operations. Japan, China's longtime Asian rival, is now seeking to expand its Djibouti facility as a counterweight to China's presence, Japanese media report.

The patrols have also given China ready access to the Mediterranean, and, in 2011, it took the unprecedented step of sending one of its most sophisticated warships together with military transport aircraft to help in the evacuation of about 35,000 Chinese citizens from Libya.

Iran’s cyber strategy: A case study in Saudi Arabia


by Brad D. Williams

In November, a mysterious hacking group called Shamoon unexpectedly reappeared after four years of dormancy. The reason behind Shamoon’s reemergence is currently unknown to security researchers, but the group marked its return by reviving one of the most devastating malware variants ever discovered.

The Shamoon group infiltrated Saudi Arabia in January with a targeted cyberattack, which used a highly destructive malware component named W32.Disttrack.B. The specialized malware first steals data from victim computers, then wipes all data and finally renders machines unbootable by overwriting master boot records (MBR). Among government and industry targets was Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture between Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco.

The January cyberattack followed a systemic attack in November 2016, which targeted Saudi government entities and destroyed thousands of computers.

The November 2016 cyberattack signaled Shamoon’s first reemergence since August 2012, when it used W32.Disstrack – an earlier variant of W32.Disstrack.B – against Saudi Aramco to destroy 35,000 computers in what then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called “probably the most destructive attack the business sector has seen to date.”

The 2012 Aramco attack followed an April 2012 cyberattack by an unknown threat actor on Iran’s Kharg Island, the country’s most important oil export terminal.

Is a Border Fence an Absolute Essential along the India-Myanmar Border?

Pradeep Singh Chhonkar

The construction of border fence by Myanmar has led to resentment among the people on both sides of the Indo-Myanmar border. The affected people mainly are Konyak, Khiamniungan and Yimchunger Nagas who inhabit the areas of Eastern Nagaland in India and the Naga Self Administered Zone (NSAZ) in Myanmar. The formation of Myanmar as a separate State in 1935 and decolonisation of the sub-continent in 1947 divided ethnic communities living along the Indo-Myanmar border. These communities, particularly Nagas, found the newly created boundary to be inconsistent with the traditional limits of the region they inhabited. And they felt a deep sense of insecurity because they became relegated to the status of ethnic minorities on both sides of the border. To address their concerns and enable greater interaction among them, the Indian and Myanmarese governments established the Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allowed Nagas to travel 16 kilometres across the border on either side without any visa requirements.

The people living in the Eastern districts of Nagaland and in the areas of NSAZ in Myanmar have close family ties and engage in cultural and economic exchanges. In some instances, the imaginary border line cuts across houses, land and villages. People, especially those living on the Indian side, own land holdings including cultivated lands and forested areas across the border and are completely dependent on such areas for their livelihood. From the Myanmar side, a lot of villagers come to the Indian side to buy basic essentials. Taking advantage of the FMR, a sizeable number of students from NSAZ also study in schools on the Indian side of the border.

Why Australia Sticks With the United States


Australia's isolation gives it a vast buffer against military threats, granting it free rein in its near abroad, along with considerable wealth and stability. At the same time, because Canberra lacks the resources to sustain a globally capable navy of its own, it has tried to prove its value to maritime powers capable of securing critical sea-lanes on its behalf. To that end, Australia has routinely participated in U.S.-led military operations of marginal relevance to its interests. But the new U.S. administration's apparent ambivalence toward traditional alliance networks and its possible willingness to force a confrontation with Beijing have cast doubt on the future of the established economic and security architecture of the Western Pacific.

Australia's underlying imperatives have not changed. Isolationism is not an option, and the United States is the only maritime power it can rely on to guarantee the security of the seas. But the shifts underway in Washington and the Western Pacific are forcing Canberra to consider how to secure its interests and assume greater responsibility for regional peace and prosperity.

America Must Stand Tall


By DAVID H. PETRAEUS 

A little more than a century ago, at the dawn of the 20th century, Americans had reason to be hopeful. The great powers were at peace. Economic interdependence among nations was increasing. Miraculous new technologies were appearing with dizzying speed.

Yet this optimistic vision would soon fall to pieces. The first half of the 20th century would prove to be the bloodiest, most devastating period in human history, with the two most destructive wars in history; the worst economic collapse in history; and the near-takeover of the planet by an alliance of dictatorships responsible for the worst crimes against humanity in history.

The United States came of age as a world power amid the rubble left by this succession of calamities—and resolved, in the wake of the most devastating conflict the world has ever known, to try to prevent them from ever happening again.

To keep the peace, we led an effort to establish a system of global alliances and security commitments, underwritten by U.S. military power and the deployment of our forces to bases in Europe and Asia.

To create a foundation for prosperity, we put in place an open, free and rules-based international economic order intended to safeguard against the spiral of protectionism that produced the impoverishment and radicalization of the 1930s.

And to protect freedom here at home, we adopted a foreign policy that sought to protect and, where possible, promote freedom abroad, along with human rights and rule of law.

Academics and Practitioners Give Open Advice to President Trump on ‘Eradicating’ Terrorism

by Georgetown Security Studies Review

January 26th-27th witnessed a convergence of academics and practitioners from across the world descend upon Georgetown University to offer policy lessons and advice to the new administration of President Donald Trump on the pressing issue of terrorism and counterterrorism in a seminal conference co-hosted by Georgetown University and the University of St Andrews-Scotland, “What the New Administration Needs to Know About Terrorism and Counterterrorism.” Comprising four panels across two days and two keynote speeches, the conference engendered lively and thorough discussion driven by a number of seasoned experts. Academics from farther afield such as Jytte Klausen and Audrey Kurth Cronin sat alongside prominent scholars from both Georgetown and St. Andrews, two universities that have enjoyed close partnership since Professor Bruce Hoffman co-founded the Handa Centre at St. Andrews (CSTPV) with the late Professor Paul Wilkinson in 1994. Additionally, the conference welcomed pivotal practitioners including Gary Ermutlu of the UN and career US Intelligence Community public servants Paula Doyle and Paul Pillar.

Surgical strike a copybook execution of precise planning

Surendra Singh

The Army gave an account of the combat operation and the raw courage displayed by them in the citations of the gallantry award.

NEW DELHI: "You don't get a maroon beret, you have to earn it," this is said about all those men who aspire to join Parachute Regiment, the Army's premier airborne strike force. The September 29 surgical strike on terror launch pads+ across LoC was the latest feat of daredevilry by the men from this elite force. But the government had refused to divulge the details of the operation in which 19 Para soldiers took part.

It was only while bestowing medals to these bravehearts+ on the 68th Republic Day, the Army gave an account of the combat operation and the raw courage displayed by them in the citations of the gallantry awards, accessed by TOI. While scores of Army personnel might have been involved in the planning and execution of the cross-LoC operation, the 19 para soldiers were integral part of the surgical strike, the citations say.

One Colonel, five Majors, two Captains, one Subedar, two Naib Subedars, three Havildars, one Lance Naik and four Paratroopers of the 4th and 9th battalions of the Para Regiment took part in the surgical strike.

While Major Rohit Suri from the 4th Para was awarded a Kirti Chakra, Col Harpreet Sandhu, commanding officer of 4 Para, was honoured with a Yudh Seva Medal. The team also won four Shaurya Chakras and 13 Seva Medals. Colonel Harpreet Sandhu, who was tasked to undertake two simultaneous strikes on launch pads, was awarded a Yudh Seva Medal for formulating the strike plan and ensuring its execution flawlessly.

The Finger on the Nuclear Button



Scientists who study the risk of nuclear war recently moved the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock to 2½ minutes before midnight — meaning they believe that the world is closer to nuclear catastrophe than it has been since 1953 after the United States and Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the clock in 1947, says that President Trump is the main reason for this worrisome development.

Mr. Trump came to office with little knowledge of the vast nuclear arsenal and the missiles, bombers and submarines it contains. He has spoken, alarmingly, about deploying this weaponry against terrorists and about expanding America’s nuclear capabilities. He has said he values unpredictability, meaning presumably that he wants to keep other nations on edge about whether he will use nuclear weapons.

“Let it be an arms race,” he told a television interviewer in December. During a debate three months earlier he contradicted himself, saying that “I would certainly not do first strike,” then adding, “I can’t take anything off the table.” What’s worrisome about all this is that it is the opposite of what Republican and Democratic presidents have long sought, which is to ensure that these weapons are not used precipitously if at all.

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

New Threat Realities and Deterrence Requirements

By Keith B. Payne

Adapted from remarks at the “Strategic Weapons in the 21st Century” Conference, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC, January 26, 2017

Dr. Keith B. Payne is a co-founder of the National Institute for Public Policy, the director of the Graduate School of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

The SW-21 conference sponsors have asked multiple worthy and overarching questions. But given the time available, we must narrow the aperture for our respective remarks. In doing so, I would like to discuss two of these overarching questions briefly: 

First: What are the changes in the security environment posed by regional powers? 

Second, and, correspondingly: What do these changes suggest regarding the possibility of new requirements? 

Most of my remarks along these lines today focus on Russia and deterrence policy considerations because that has been the focus of my work for decades. But there are important parallels with regard to US-Chinese relations that we can discuss as well.

Previous speakers have focused on the first question regarding changes in the security environment. So I will offer a brief, up-front conclusion in this regard: the world has become a much more dangerous place since the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and Western security policies and practices need to adjust to this new reality.

Until recently, that conclusion would have been deemed far-fetched. Indeed, a basic presumption underlying past NPRs was of an increasingly benign world order in which nuclear weapons would play a declining role in terms of both the threat they pose and their security value. The post-Cold War world supposedly was moving beyond such methods and concerns. Nuclear deterrence was deemed decreasingly relevant to US relations with Russia and China, and irrelevant to the most serious threat, nuclear terrorism.

PHYSICAL FITNESS IS NOT THE KEY TO WINNING AMERICA’S FUTURE WARS

Jahara Matisek

A recent article on The Hill by Maj. John Spencer and Dr. Lionel Beehner—both scholars at the Modern War Institute at West Point—argued that growing obesity rates in American society and in its military are undermining combat readiness. The authors conclude that “we cannot win our future wars without a physically fit military,” citing as evidence a Pentagon estimate that about 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 are physically unable serve, primarily due to obesity.

While these figures are undoubtedly worrying, it is not poor physical fitness that threatens our military readiness, but poor intellectual fitness.

Spencer and Beehner are correct that the proportion of Americans physically fit enough to serve appears low, but the real numbers tell a rather different story. If the United States were to activate the 29 percent of physically fit 17- to 24-year-old Americans for war, we would have a force of 9.86 million personnel. Such a military would be larger than the combined forces of the Chinese military at 2.3 million, North Korean military of 1.2 million, and a Russian military numbering over 3 million. There is hardly any reason for us to be concerned about not having enough Americans for combat, especially when only about 20 percent of military jobs are combat-related.

More troubling figures come from American classrooms. A 2016 US Department of Education report shows that American education is not keeping par with the rest of the world. How bad is it? Vietnamese students are now outperforming American students on most educational metrics. Being surpassed by students from a communist state with a per capita GDP approximately 1/27 that of the United States is hardly a good prospect for the American economy and military.

People…the Army’s Legacy of Leadership

by Matt Rasmussen

There’s an old adage you’ve likely heard, “The Army is not about people, it is people.” Army leaders and soldiers pay attention to endstrength more than any other service because people are the power behind everything the Army does. And because people are so critical to the Army, leadership is the fundamental action that Army leaders must understand and master in the course of their career. Leadership provides soldiers and junior leaders the purpose, direction, and motivation to execute the tasks to fulfill the mission, large or small.

If the Army is people, the Army is also family…and I’d like to tell you about mine. My family is an Army family. We count at least twenty of us who have served and most of those are combat veterans of World War I, World War Two, the Cold War, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Since 2001, between two uncles, myself, and three cousins, our family has almost continually had at least one member deployed. This rich history of mostly Army service was impressed on us mainly by my grandfather, BG (retired) Jim Shelton.

Matt Rasmussen has been a US Army Infantry Officer since 2001. He has served from platoon to division level in operational assignments and has had broadening assignments as a Small Group Instructor, Infantry Branch Assignment Officer, and ARCIC Staff Officer.

My grandfather was an infantryman whose career stretched from graduation from the University of Delaware in 1957 to his retirement in 1983. During that time he and my grandmother raised eight children and moved numerous times. He commanded at every level from company to brigade and retired as a Brigadier General after commanding the 4th ROTC Region at Ft Lewis, WA and serving as an Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. In Vietnam, he was a battalion S3 for 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division from 1967-68. My grandfather is a big guy, a former college football player, and has a big personality – one of those people who always runs into someone he knows and has never met a stranger.

Why The World Needs To Police The Growing Anarchy Of Cyberspace

Richard Haass

Three quarters of a century ago, a new technology with multiple uses, benign and malign, literally burst on the world scene. The question was how governments could encourage what was viewed as desirable and discourage what was not. This meant trying to limit the number of countries possessing nuclear weapons, negotiating quantitative and qualitative limits on the arsenals of those countries that did, and allowing countries to develop nuclear energy programs for peaceful purposes under conditions meant to provide confidence that they were not a stealth means of producing weapons. 

It turns out the challenge has proven to be at least partly manageable. The number of countries with nuclear weapons has been limited to nine and no weapon has been detonated. Building and operating nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants are demanding undertakings that require significant resources, access to technology, advanced manufacturing skills, and space. Only a few governments are capable of doing such things on their own; most require assistance from another government. Nuclear programs (or indications of them) tend to be observable. Confidence is high that attacks using nuclear weapons could be traced back to their origin, something that would invite retaliation and, as a result, discourage an attack in the first place. 

The US Does An About-Face on New Cyber Norms

BY JOSEPH MARKSSENIOR

The US delegate now says a UN cybersecurity group should pause hashing out new rules for online behavior and instead try to get governments to adhere to the ones we have. 

A United Nations cybersecurity experts group meeting this month in Geneva should focus on encouraging UN member states to adopt existing cyber rules of the road and confidence-building measures rather than developing new ones, the U.S. delegate said Monday.

That’s a significant shift from a 2015 series of Group of Governmental Experts, or GGE, meeting, during which the U.S. pushed vigorously for a set of peacetime cyber norms, including that nations should not attack each other’s critical infrastructure such as energy plants and electrical grids.

During a round of GGE meetings in 2013, the experts group concluded the international laws that govern armed conflict should apply in cyberspace just as they do on land or at sea.

“We don’t need a continual norms machine ramping out a lot of norms,” State Department Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues Michele Markoff told an audience Monday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“What we need to do is consolidate what we’ve done and get states to implement,” she said, “both in the internalization of the norms but also in the operationalization of [confidence-building measures] which will help the norms.” 

The Tallinn Manual 2.0, Sovereignty 1.0

By Andrew Keane Woods

Yesterday, the Texas Law Review hosted a fantastic daylong symposium on the Tallinn Manual 2.0, which is being released to the public today. (Details of the event at Texas Law School can be found here—I highly recommend the event to anyone interested in cybersecurity and the laws of war.) The Tallinn Manual is a remarkable document, partly because of the breadth of issues that it covers and partly because the cyber terrain shifts like quicksand. I focus here only on one small aspect of the manual—its application of the law of state sovereignty.

As the Manual notes, international law typically distinguishes jurisdiction to prescribe, adjudicate, and enforce the law. Jurisdiction to enforce and adjudicate are usually limited to what the state can actually get its hands around—including foreign assets and persons within the state’s reach. Jurisdiction to prescribe is believed to be broader, including legislative steps to protect the state’s own citizens at home or abroad, regulate conduct on the state’s soil, prevent attacks against the state, and so on. Given these fairly fundamental distinctions, it might seem sensible enough for the Tallinn Manual 2.0 to begin with a survey of the law of jurisdiction. After all, one cannot talk about cybersecurity for very long before hearing all sorts of anxiety about sovereignty—anxiety about one state’s ability to breach the territorial border of another through the civilian internet, questions of who constitutes a state actor, and so on. 

But when it comes to the laws of cyberwarfare, very little actually turns on the most basic jurisdictional distinctions. Imagine, for example, what happens if a state alleges that its citizen is the victim of a cyber attack abroad. What follows from that fact—that the state has the jurisdiction over a response? If there is actual harm to the victim, few will question the state’s legitimate interest in protecting its citizens; the relevant questions will turn on attributing the attack and delimiting the state’s response. Or suppose a state is upset about a cyber campaign that has domestic territorial effects. Does the state’s claim that its “sovereignty was violated” change their legal or military response? It is simply not clear what follows from this assertion. 

‘You’re Fired!’ Will Not Fix Federal Cybersecurity


Sacking agency heads after a breach won’t make data and systems safer. Here’s what will. 

In briefings late January, President Trump promised that he would hold agency heads accountable for failures in cybersecurity. He plans to issue an executive order to do that early this month. While on its surface, the idea that executives in both the public and private sector need to be held accountable for cybersecurity, there is just one problem with the approach. It’s already required by law.

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) puts responsibility squarely on the shoulders of agency heads. In July 2015, President Obama showed what that means when Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta was forced to step down from her post.

Archuleta likely won’t be the last agency head fired for a breach, but this approach has its limits.

In the private sector, we have seen the recurring phenomenon of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) hired–then blamed and fired after a breach. The average tenure for a CISO is eighteen months–while the average tenure for a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is five years. The days of blaming and firing the CISO are short-lived; it will not make government information systems any more secure than it has private sector information systems, but security responsibilities continue to move up into the executive ranks.

How a U.S. team uses Facebook, guerrilla marketing to peel off potential ISIS recruits


By Joby Warrick

Sometime today, a teenager in Tunis will check his smartphone for the latest violent video from the Islamic State. But the images that pop up first will be of a different genre: young Muslims questioning the morality of terrorists who slaughter innocents and enslave girls for sex. 

“Don’t you kill our own Muslim brothers?” a mop-haired youth asks a terrorist recruiter in one animated video showing up on Arabic Facebook accounts in North Africa. “So much of this, it doesn’t seem right.” 

The video is one of several paid ads that are turning up on millions of cellphones and computer screens in countries known to be top recruiting grounds for the Islamic State. The ads offer a harrowing view of life inside the self-proclaimed caliphate, sometimes with photos or cartoons and often in the words of refugees and defectors who warn others to stay away. 

Most of them make no mention of the ads’ sponsor: a small unit inside the State Department that is using guerrilla marketing tactics to wage ideological warfare against the Islamic State. U.S. officials are using Facebook profile data to find young Muslims who show an interest in jihadist causes. Then they bombard them with anti-terrorism messages that show up whenever the youths go online. 

Other government agencies have tried unsuccessfully to compete with militant jihadists in cyberspace. But officials at the State Department’s new Global Engagement Center say they’re the first to tap into the Internet’s vast stores of personal information to discourage individual users from joining the Islamic State.