5 June 2017

*** Regime Collapse and a US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

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By George Friedman and Kamran Bokhari

There is a paradox when it comes to perceptions about Afghanistan. No one would disagree that after 15 years the Afghan state built by the West remains ineffective. Yet, no one is willing to acknowledge that if present trends continue the logical outcome will be regime collapse.

Kabul is unable to thwart a growing jihadist insurgency dominated by the Taliban. It also is unable to prevent the Islamic State from expanding its footprint in the country. Worse is that increased factional infighting is gutting the Afghan political system from the inside.

*** France's Macron Gets to Work

Forecast Highlights

French President Emmanuel Macron's economic reform agenda will face stiff resistance from unions and other social groups. 

Though union membership is declining in France, labor groups will remain capable of disrupting the country's economy. 

Macron's government will try to exploit divisions among unions and make symbolic concessions to get most of its reforms approved. 

Emmanuel Macron won this month's French presidential election on a promise to balance state intervention in the French economy and reforms intended to make it more competitive. His electoral platform included a promise to introduce public investment initiatives worth some 50 billion euros (roughly $56 billion) over the next five years, for example, but it also includes proposals to make labor laws more flexible and to cut public sector spending by 60 billion euros.

The new president's ability to implement his agenda will hinge, in part, on the backing it receives in the French National Assembly. Parliamentary elections will take place in two rounds next month, on June 8 and June 15, and opinion polls suggest that Macron's En Marche! party is close to winning a majority of seats. Should the president's party fail to secure a majority, it will be forced to form alliances with other parties to pass legislation. This could take the shape of a formal coalition of two or more parties, or of ad hoc negotiations with the opposition.

** Forget stone-pelters, there's a new kind of terror in Kashmir

Using phones and computers to spread rumours, jihadis are waging a new, unconventional war in the Valley, reports Sumir Kaul.

After years of fighting armed terrorists with bullets and brickbats, security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir are now facing a new enemy -- ‘bedroom jihadis’ who manipulate social media from the comfort of their homes to spread rumours and influence youths.

It’s a new battleground and a new battle, say senior officers. Far removed from conventional weaponry and the conventional fighting zones of the warren of narrow streets and forests, these new age jihadis use computers and smartphones to wage war from just about anywhere -- in Kashmir or outside, safe inside their homes or out on the streets, from a nearby café or even just a convenient roadside.

An immediate worry for security agencies is the Amarnath Yatra that starts June 29. Armed with access to platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, there are fears that the new band of jihadis could instigate communal riots in the Valley ahead of the 40-day pilgrimage to the high altitude shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.

“It is a virtual battleground where a bloody war is fought, but with words. However, this has an impact on the young minds,” said a senior police officer. 

** Considerations for Planning Humanitarian Operations in Hybrid Warfare

by Scott Porter

Andrew F. Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, stated in his February 18, 2016, article in the Wall Street Journal, that “the Army's biggest problem is its declining ability to wage the kind of protracted irregular wars that America's enemies increasingly prefer to fight.” 1 Even Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unified Land Operations (2011) states the most likely security threats that Army forces will encounter will be within an irregular warfare environment that includes hybrid forces; a mix of regular, irregular, criminal, and terrorist forces in various combinations, usually seeking to fight a protracted war in populated areas. 2

Therefore, it is apparent that the United States military must be capable of operating within an irregular war against hybrid forces, including in support of large-scale humanitarian operations to relieve suffering and prevent more refugee crises. This is important for three reasons; mass migrations of populations and their potential impact on national security, the ethical considerations in the planning of humanitarian operations, and the necessity for the government and military to be proactive in complex emergencies.

Migration as a Weapon

Syria stands out as a current example of hybrid warfare (HW). 3 The war has caused over half of the prewar population to displace with over five million Syrians fleeing their country (Washington Post). 4 The magnitude of the Syrian mass exodus has strained the ability of those countries who care for and feed them, and has brought to light significant security concerns for Europe and the United States. 5

* NATO’s Diminishing Military Function

By Antonia Colibasanu

NATO heads of state met to inaugurate the alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels on May 25, and the two main topics of conversation were defense spending and the alliance’s role in fighting terrorism. Both issues indicate that NATO is increasing its political role while diminishing its military function.

The alliance’s link to the national interests of its member states is breaking, meaning that discussions on strategy rarely take place within the alliance. Its military function is declining because alliance members no longer share a common interest as they once did. This is evident from the way member states decide to buy new equipment and prioritize defense spending. In an ideal world, the U.S. would like Europe’s collective military capability to equal at least 50 percent of U.S. military capability. Washington would argue that it is unfair for the U.S. to account for more than 70 percent of NATO members’ defense spending while its gross domestic product is only 48 percent of their combined GDP.

U.S. President Donald Trump has talked about his desire to see Europe increase its contributions and capabilities. The Europeans, on the other hand, have suggested that the fact that they spend less on defense should not be interpreted as contributing less to the alliance. Each side has presented the issue in its own way, focusing on how these statements will play at home. NATO has moved its headquarters into a new building in Brussels and that, along with these disagreements, seems to signal that it is shifting from being a primarily military alliance to a more political one.

No tears for Ummer Fayaz

by Srijana Mitra Das

Recently, two Kashmiri men were assaulted. One man was tied to an army jeep and paraded about villages, labelled — via a placard — a stone-pelter. The other man lost his life. The first man, understandably traumatised, received an outpouring of support, angry editorials, incensed articles, TV outrage, online fury. The other man received barely a tweet. There hangs a tale.

By now, the story of Budgam’s shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmed Dar, who stepped out to vote on April 9 and found himself strapped to an army jeep, is well-known. Anyone with a halfway-decent armchair has expressed a vociferous opinion on Dar. Many of us, whose combat is not much deadlier than choosing between the cream bandhgala or the herringbone tweed, huffily pronounced that Army Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, who used Dar as a human shield, was unconstitutional, violent, violating, condemnable for deciding, in the split-second he had, to use Dar and not fire at the hundreds of stone-pelters surrounding his troops, and the election officials they were protecting. One critic remarked, the human shield was unnecessary since Gogoi’s troops could shoot in self-defence. Apparently, in this strange moral world, where good and bad slide and elide, killing people is ok.

Perhaps that explains the resounding silence over the murder of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz. The young Kashmiri — just 22, his birthday on June 8 — was inducted into the Rajputana Rifles last December. He was home on May 9, his first leave, to attend his cousin’s wedding. He was abducted by suspected militants from his Shopian house — picked up as he sat beside the bride — his body, riddled with bullets, dumped at a chowk. Ummer, like Dar, was unarmed: Just a person passing through, a brother, a nephew, a child of an apple farmer.

Afghanistan Blames Pakistan for Planning Deadly Kabul Attack

KABUL - At 8:20 a.m. Wednesday, the Afghan capital of Kabul shook as a massive explosion rippled across the city. A septic tanker loaded with explosives had been triggered at a major traffic junction in Wazir Akbar Khan, the diplomatic area, in the middle of rush hour. At least 85 people were killed and more than 650 injured, making the attack the worst in Afghanistan since 2001, when the Taliban regime was toppled with the help of the United States.

The numbers are still rising. Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s intelligence agency, took responsibility for failing to prevent the assault, with one official admitting to Foreign Policy that the NDS had prior intelligence that it would occur. But even as nobody has yet claimed credit for the bombing, the NDS has pinpointed a culprit.

Just hours after the explosion, the NDS pointed to the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group in the Afghan-Pakistani borderlands that shares close ties with the Taliban, as the perpetrators. But Afghan intelligence lay ultimate blame with their Pakistani counterpart, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which it claimed had planned the blast.

It’s an extraordinary accusation, but a plausible one. ISI has been accused of involvement in other terror attacks, including the assault on Mumbai, India, in 2008 carried out by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. ISI was also complicit in the establishment of the Taliban, supporting and funding its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, in the 1990s.

Afghan-Pakistani relations have become exceptionally strained in the past few years precisely because of Afghan suspicions about such support…Read on.

America's Afghan Mission Is No Longer Serving Its Purpose

Daniel L. Davis

On Wednesday morning in the Afghan capital, a terrorist detonated a massive truck bomb near Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, killing at least eighty and wounding more than 350 others. A NATO statement on the bombing emphasized that “attacks such as these only serve to strengthen our commitment to our Afghan partners as they seek a peaceful, stable future for their country.” Yet even as Kabul and NATO hunt down those responsible, there are bigger questions for U.S. policymakers: are American military measures actually improving security in Afghanistan? Evidence clearly reveals the answer is no. Before the president deploys one more soldier to Afghanistan, a change in strategy is required.

At a press briefing at the Pentagon last December, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan restated long-standing policy there. “Our main objective in Afghanistan,” Gen. John W. Nicholson told reporters, “is to prevent the country from being used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack to the U.S. or our allies.” While the aspiration is certainly understandable, the policy has been an abject failure for sixteen long years. Without a major change of course, current and future U.S. policies in Afghanistan will likewise fail. There are three critical reasons why.

It’s Time to Deepen Integration Around the Bay of Bengal


Summary: Economically reintegrating the Bay of Bengal is a promising way for India and other nearby states to enhance their prosperity. Doing so will require government-led coordination and private investment.

Even as maritime disputes in the South China Sea rightly capture the world’s attention, the Bay of Bengal is coming into focus as an emerging strategic and economic hub in the greater Indo-Pacific region. The bay once nurtured a flourishing maritime community and could do so again. The governments of the region’s littoral states are committed to reintegrating the bay and have launched a number of cross-border maritime and transport-related agreements toward this end. The requisite investments in infrastructure are enormous, so private sector financing will be essential.

Attracting private funds will require substantially improving the business climate in the littoral states, implementing trade-liberalizing agreements, structuring public-private partnerships that benefit all participants, carefully managing the Chinese-Indian rivalry, and engaging constructively in regional and global integration initiatives.

The Convenient Disappearance of Climate Change Denial in China


In December 2009, climate-watchers the world over were trying to make sense of how the most promising attempt to date at preventing a global climate disaster went so horribly wrong. The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference had just come to a close, and the summit, which had brought together 192 countries, was meant to create the world’s first legally binding treaty on global warming. But in its final days, during negotiations between China and the United States, talks had sputtered, teetered, and ultimately collapsed. To observers eager for good news, the result came as a stunning and disheartening anticlimax.

To most of the West, it appeared that China had come intent on playing the spoiler. The country’s coal consumption had been growing steadily for decades as the government pushed industrialization. In the four years preceding Copenhagen, the country added 500 new 600-megawatt coal plants; it was responsible for more than 40 percent of global coal consumption in 2009. From the outside, the rationale for China’s alleged resistance was rather simple. It just wasn’t in China’s interest to put the brakes on its rapid growth for environmental considerations. What could the country possibly gain by capping emissions?

Back in Beijing, however, there was no doubt about the threat of climate change. Behind closed doors, officials were telling a different story about the failed negotiations in Copenhagen.

How will the Belt and Road Initiative advance China’s interests?

On May 14-15, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the leaders of 28 countries and representatives from several other countries at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Announced in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (also known as One Belt, One Road or OBOR) aims to strengthen China’s connectivity with the world. It combines new and old projects, covers an expansive geographic scope, and includes efforts to strengthen hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, and cultural ties. At present, the plan extends to 65 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $23 trillion and includes some 4.4 billion people.

The below map traces China’s infrastructure projects. It covers all Eurasian states and other countries that attended the Belt and Road Forum. The shading of each country is determined by the intensity of its bilateral trade with China. Secondary filters – such as Chinese investment and the Human Development Index – can be selected from the scrollable panel to the right of the map. Infrastructure data provided by Reconnecting Asia.

Could the U.S. and China end up in a terrible war that neither wants?

By Joshua Rovner 

Is a dangerous pattern emerging in U.S.-China relations? International relations scholar Graham Allison coined the term “Thucydides Trap” in 2012 to explain how a rising power can instill fear in an existing power, leading to hostility and mistrust that can escalate into war. 

In his new book, Allison argues that China and the United States are falling into this trap, which owes its name to Greek historian Thucydides’s famous history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, which proved disastrous for both sides. Fast-forward a couple of millennia, and some observers worry that Washington and Beijing are heading toward the same fate. 

But the focus on whether the United States and China will follow this path has obscured another insight from Thucydides’s classic work, “The Peloponnesian War” — how the geography of East Asia would shape what a U.S.-China war might look like, and just how dangerous and destructive such a war may be. 

There is another way to look at rising powers 

The Thucydides Trap we often see in debates about rising powers is actually a simple version of power transition theory, which dates back to the 1950s. The idea is that a war between great powers is more likely when a rising state seeks to topple the international pecking order. It is easy to see why this idea might be applicable to contemporary U.S.-China relations. 

Telecom Company Linked To China's Military Has Been Providing Gear To The Pentagon

Jonah Bennett

A major Chinese telecom company with links to Chinese military and intelligence services has been indirectly selling equipment to the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.

In order to bypass attempts to block the use of Chinese telecom gear, ZTE Corporation has partnered with a U.S. equipment contractor that sells to the Pentagon, rather than attempting to sell equipment directly, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with the Free Beacon.

While subcontracting through a U.S. company is not illegal, U.S. security officials are beginning to worry about possible penetration of the military supply chain and the use of malicious software implanted in devices for espionage.

This fear has its roots in a brief by Northrop Grumman Corp for the 2012 congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which stated that ZTE had close connections to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

According to the brief, ZTE has worked on research with the PLA specifically on satellite navigation and data link jamming.

The Weaponization of Information

by Rand Waltzman

Testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on April 27, 2017.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation testimony series. RAND testimonies record testimony presented by RAND associates to federal, state, or local legislative committees; government-appointed commissions and panels; and private review and oversight bodies.

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The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement Is Immoral And Irrational

Gwynne Taraska

Ditching the climate agreement would run counter to the economic and security interests of the American people.

The Paris Agreement is a historic pact to curb climate change and build global resilience to its effects. A decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the agreement would be a moral violation—and an attack on the interests of the American people.

The Significance of the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a major feat of diplomacy, given that more than 190 countries are signatories. It is also a major feat for the planet, given that it is well positioned to be effective in limiting carbon pollution. First, the agreement is a springboard for sustained efforts to curb climate change. Every five years, countries submit new national-climate goals and take stock of their collective progress in limiting warming.

Second, the agreement draws all countries into the climate effort, making it a truly global movement. Both developed and developing countries—including the major emerging economies, such as China and India—submit national goals under the pact. In fact, it was leadership from the United States that was pivotal in bringing all countries to the table.

The CSS Blog Network

By Glenda Sluga

These days, the pulse of the world’s political health is running fast. The general prognosis is terminal, the end of the international world order, as we know it. But determining what order we are on the verge of losing could do with more diagnosis, including tracking the symptoms of the disorder (and order) back to their beginnings. One of the useful roles that historians can play in this regard is to offer a longer view of what we have lost, or, at least, the international order that seems to be disappearing from view. So bear with me as I offer a “Cook’s tour” of two centuries in search of the point where the end possibly began, in order to understand better the history of the aims—or “ends”—of international order itself.


European historians have long assumed that the early nineteenth century made “international” politics possible: In 1814, after decades of continental wars against French hegemony, a coalition led by Russia, including Sweden, Prussia, Austria, and Britain (as well as some smaller now non-existent sovereignties) emerged victorious and established what became known as the “Congress system.” At its most basic, this comprised negotiations through discussion—famously identified with the Congress of Vienna—and transnational cooperation in the interests of permanent peace. In the years that followed, ambassadorial conferences in London, and occasional conferences around the smaller towns of the European continent, became a method for managing territorial and ideological flashpoints. Within a few years, the British foreign minister Lord Castlereagh confidently reported to his Prime Minister the practical value of this transformation of European politics:

War Without Fear: DepSecDef Work On How AI Changes Conflict


A soldier holds a PD-100 mini-drone during the PACMAN-I experiment in Hawaii.

APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY: “Brothers and sisters, my name is Bob Work, and I have sinned,” the Deputy Secretary of Defense said to laughter. There’s widespread agreement in the military that artificial intelligence, robotics, and human-machine teaming will change the way that war is waged, Work told an AI conference here Thursday, “but I am starting to believe very, very deeply that it is also going to change the nature of war.”

“There’s no greater sin in the profession” than to suggest that new technology could change the “immutable” nature of human conflict, rather than just change the tools with which it’s waged, Work acknowledged. (He wryly noted he’d waited to make this statement until “my boss, the warrior monk, happens to be out of the country”). But Work is both a classically trained Marine Corps officer and the Pentagon’s foremost advocate of artificial intelligence.

“The nature of war is all about a collision of will, fear, uncertainty, and chance, Work said, summarizing Clausewitz. “You have to ask yourself, how does fear play out in a world when a lot of the action is taking place between unmanned systems?”

Human fallibility is central to Clausewitz and to classic theories of war as far back as Sun Tzu. But if machines start making the decisions, unswayed by fear, rage, or pride, how does that change the fundamental calculus of conflict?

The War Algorithm: The Pentagon’s Bet On The Future Of War


Thinking about robots and war often brings to mind HAL, the apparently well-meaning but ultimately destructive computer in 2001, or the metallic creatures of death in the Terminator series.

Today, however, the Pentagon wants to push the concept in a different direction. With advanced adversaries like Russia and China copying the smart weapons, stealth fighters, and networked electronics that were once an American monopoly, the Defense Department is urgently seeking a new technological edge. They think they’ve found a key part of it in AI, artificial intelligence.

The Pentagon wants to develop software that can absorb more information from more sources than a human can, analyze it and either advise the human how to respond or — in high-speed situations like cyber warfare and missile defense — act on its own with careful limits.

The War Algorithm

Call it the War Algorithm. Imagine the holy grail of a single mathematical equation designed to give the US military near-perfect understanding of what is happening on the battlefield, helping its human designers to react more quickly than our adversaries and thus win our wars — or better yet, deter the enemy from attacking at all.

Army Future Force Experimentation Unified Challenge 16.1

Maj. Richard G. Ricklefs

Download the PDF   As part of the Army’s campaign of learning, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) conducts a series of experiments to help develop the Army of the future.1 The current focus of Unified Challenge, TRADOC’s current campaign of learning, is on the 2030 timeframe and involves a wide variety of specialties across the full array of Army skills, anticipating an extremely challenging environment. It is an excellent stress test for our future (2030) concepts. Our experimentation focuses on limited aspects of the future environment, allowing the Army to gain a deeper understanding of its challenges while properly husbanding its limited resources into areas we think we need to address the most. Some of these include required future capabilities, future formation structures, roles and responsibilities (primarily of brigade, division and corps), and what needs to be contained within the formation (organic) and what formations need to access from other organizations (task-organized).

We innovate based on a reasonable understanding of the environment and capabilities that are likely to be available in that timeframe, while still having enough time to make those ideas and capabilities real and suffusing them throughout the future Army force. This “sweet spot” between big ideas and hard reality is most useful in maximizing the Army’s ability to influence its future. Experimentation allows us to anticipate and adapt to future challenges before we invest our country’s treasure in development and production of a force that might not be suitable for tomorrow’s battlefield.

Fog clears over industrial licensing for defence industry but questions remain

Amit Cowshish

The notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 19, 20171 delegating the power to issue licences for the manufacture and sale etc. of arms and ammunition to the Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) raises more questions than it provides answers.

The powers and functions delegated through this notification are the ones that are exercisable by the MHA under the following provisions of the MHA-administered Arms Act, 1959: sub-section (1) of section 5 (dealing with licences for manufacture, sale, etc. of arms and ammunition), clauses (b) and (c); section 7 (dealing with prohibition of acquisition or possession, or of manufacture or sale, of prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition); and, Chapter III (containing provisions relating to licenses).

The notification also says that the delegated powers are to be exercised in respect of the category of arms and ammunition and defence items specified in the schedule that forms a part of the notification. This would have been alright but for the fact that the items mentioned in this schedule are actually defence items that were notified by the DIPP vide Press Note 3 of 2014 series 2 with a view to bringing about absolute clarity about the defence items that require industrial licence under the provisions of the DIPP-administered Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.

Why the Military Needs a Technology Revolution

Jason M. Brown

In the future, winning or losing will depend on how fast young military minds can develop software and leverage artificial intelligence.

If you want to see one of the fundamental ways warfare has changed, you should visit our airmen who work in warehouse-sized, windowless buildings scattered around the world. They operate something that we call the Distributed Common Ground System, which is military parlance for a vast network that feeds data to Air Force intelligence analysts in real time. The analysts work around the clock staying in constant contact with U.S. troops fighting the Islamic State while simultaneously keeping an eye on global hotspots.

As revolutionary as these networked intelligence ground stations are, they are showing their age. We are in the midst of transforming the machinery and networks in these sites to cutting-edge cloud-and-app-based systems. As I’ve talked with our troops about this effort, a young airman told me he had already created an app that does his job of processing and reporting intelligence data. He then joked that he calls his app “Stonewall,” because every time he tries to implement it he runs headfirst into bureaucratic obstacles.

A Geneva Convention for cyber security

Dr. Abdullah Shibli

Cyber security and the threat by hackers have been in the news headlines in the recent past. Two of the most recent incidents are well known: the Bangladesh Bank cyber theft in February 2016 and the recent WannaCry attacks for ransom in May 2017. The lesson from these and other attacks is that nobody is immune from cyber invasions and we can only expect these threats, if not actual break-ins, to increase as technology becomes more sophisticated and makes inroads into our everyday life. Since we are all vulnerable from these attacks, Microsoft has floated the idea of a Digital Geneva Convention to codify the do's and don'ts in cyber-warfare. Just as the Geneva Convention protects civilians during armed warfare, the call for a Digital Geneva Convention is an attempt to codify measures to spare the civilian hospitals, academic institutions, and other clearly identified sanctuaries.

For those who have not kept track of the recent global outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware, I will briefly summarise the issue. A ransomware is a malicious software or “malware” that will block access to your computer's data unless the hackers' demands are met. On May 12, 2017, a group of hackers unleashed a virus known as WannaCry, which attacked about 200,000 computers in 150 countries. When WannaCry found its way to a PC, data were encrypted and users were told to pay USD 300 in Bitcoin, an electronic money system, in return for a key to decrypt the data.

Rising cyber attacks compels governments across the world to invest in cyber intelligence and cyber weapons

The world has woken up to the announcement of a $350 billion deal between the United States of America and Saudi Arabia that will be part of a 10-year agreement and long term cooperative relationship between the two countries.

Indeed the deal includes conventional weapons such as tanks, helicopters and ships along with intelligence gathering aircraft and missile defense radars but it also interestingly and very strategically introduces cybersecurity tools and perhaps cyber weapons to this growing world market.

We also see rising demands for cyber weapons from countries such as India and according to “Transparency Market Research” (TMR), the global cyber weapon market was valued at $390 billion in 2014 but expected to go up to $600 billion by the end of 2021.

While vital intelligence and cybersecurity ventures projects $1 trillion will be spent globally on cybersecurity between 2017 and 2021, the world is likely to see these figures escalate possibly even two-fold if the private sector takes heed and realizes that hacking techniques like the recent “Wannacry” ransomware attack that saw the world media create panic and unprecedented chaos with a simple to fix solution.

As in the real world the cyber space must have certain security elements put in place so as to maintain some form of rational that creates a platform and scope for law and order for the stealth cyber thieves, cyber-terrorists and indeed espionage community.

Ex-Obama cyber czar defends government rules for hacking tools


Former President Barack Obama’s cyber czar is defending rules governing the hoarding of hacking techniques following the global ransomware attack — in which it’s possible a National Security Agency cyber tool was used against targets like hospitals and governments. 

Michael Daniel, a top adviser to Obama on cybersecurity from mid-2012 to the end of the Obama administration, said U.S. intelligence agencies have to arm themselves for a cyber war and that critics who argue for a disarmament are not living in a realistic world.

He also argued the rules ultimately make the U.S. safer.

“It is naive to believe that in the 21st century, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies are not going to have the need to discover software vulnerabilities and exploit them for intelligence purposes,” Daniel told The Hill in an interview.

“In fact, it’s what we want them to do. It’s part of the way we catch terrorists, it's part of how we discover the intentions of those who plan to do us harm. As a society, we want those decisions to occur.”

Congress divided on Army’s battlefield comms future

By: Jen Judson

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress appear divided over the performance of the Army’s key battlefield communications capability — the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical — and whether to accelerate or do away with the program.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told senators Thursday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he was taking a hard look at the program and the network as a whole to make sure it functioned properly now and could hold up in more contested operations in the future.

Service leaders are “driving a rigorous, thorough and painful review of the entire communication, electromagnetic capabilities of the U.S. Army, of which WIN-T is one part,” he said.

Milley had ordered a review and a new Army network strategy earlier this year.

Milley said he’d have a comprehensive report on the network as a whole in four to six weeks in order to help guide Congress as it marked up policy and spending bills.

A group of 178 House lawmakers signed a letter last month sent to Milley to encourage fielding the service’s WIN-T capability faster, proposing a new fielding approach that would fund the procurement of six brigade sets of WIN/T over the next five years.

What defense leaders (are now willing to) tell us about offensive cyber ops

The Defense Department as well as the individual services have slowly but surely provided details regarding their offensive efforts in cyberspace, most notably the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter trotted out his assignment to Cyber Command to start generating offensive effects against the organization. His deputy, Bob Work, who continues to serve as the acting deputy secrecy of defense, went as far to say DoD is dropping “cyber bombs” on ISIS.

The effort, dubbed Joint Task Force-Ares, was stood up by Adm. Michael Rogers, the commander of Cyber Command, “to coordinate cyberspace operations against ISIS,” he said in written testimony to Congress. “JTF-Ares’ mission is to provide unity of command and effort for USCYBERCOM and coalition forces working to counter ISIS in cyberspace. The JTF model has helped USCYBERCOM to direct operations in support of USCENTCOM operations, and marks an evolution in the command-and-control structure in response to urgent operational needs.”

“The Task Force has brought cyber out of the shadows and successfully demonstrated the value and capabilities of cyberspace operations to the Joint Force when integrated as part of broader coordinated military effort,” Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of Army Cyber Command and JTF-Ares, wrote in congressional testimony this week.