25 March 2017

*** Green-on-Blue Attacks in Afghanistan: The Data

By Bill Roggio; Lisa Lundquist


Attacks on Coalition forces by Afghan forces — the so-called green-on-blue attacks — have emerged as a major threat in the 14-year-old war in Afghanistan. These attacks from within have increased dramatically between 2011 and 2013; in 2012 they accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths.

As the United States prepares to complete the withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, the US military and its Coalition partners are increasingly shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces. The success of this security transition depends greatly on the strength and competence of the Afghan military and police. Accordingly, the training of the newly-mustered Afghan forces has become a linchpin of Coalition strategy, which in turn hinges upon the work of trainers with Afghan security forces. This situation has placed Coalition troops at increasing risk as the drawdowns continue and Taliban efforts to infiltrate Afghan forces are being ramped up.

In 2012, attacks by Afghan forces on Coalition forces surged; in 2012, they accounted for 15% of Coalition deaths. In 2011, green-on-blue attacks accounted for 6%; in 2010, 2%; in 2009, 2%; and in 2008, less than 1%.

*** The U.S. Army May Have Prepared for the Wrong War

Daniel L. Davis

On February 7, Vice Chief of Staff for the Army Gen. Daniel Allyn stated that only three of fifty-eight combat brigades in the U.S. Army were sufficiently trained for wartime deployment, blaming the condition on sequestration. It is not the lack of money, however, that is behind the army’s inability to maintain ready forces. Rather, it is the obsolete force structure the army has maintained since World War II. Fortunately, modern thinking and a new organization for the army could reverse this trend—without requiring an increase in the budget.

Just four years earlier, then Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno claimed that the United States only had two trained army brigades, also blaming the lack of readiness on sequestration. The army is by no means under a cash crunch with an annual budget of $148 billion.

It is more, by itself, than the entire defense budgets for Russia, Germany and Japan combined. Sequestration is not what is making the U.S. Army inadequately ready. It is how the money is spent and the way the service is organized that makes the difference. Russia and China have both recognized the changing nature of war and have abandoned the formations born during World War II. Their armies have materially improved as a result.

Beginning in 2010, Russia’s ground forces began eliminating the division structure it had used since the battle of Stalingrad in favor of smaller, more lethal combined arms formations. An analysis of Russia’s reformation in the U.S. Army’s Infantry magazine last year warned that “in Eastern Europe, Russia has been employing an emergent version of hybrid warfare that is highly integrated, synchronized, and devastatingly effective.”

** A Counterproductive Afghan-Pakistan Border Closure

By Arwin Rahi

The recent deterioration in relations benefits neither country. 

For two weeks starting late February the Afghan-Pakistan border crossings at Torkham and Chaman-Spin Boldak were closed by Pakistani authorities. Thousands of people and vehicles were trapped on both sides of the border. Even Afghanistan-bound Afghan citizens with valid travel documents on them were stuck on the Pakistani side of the border, as Pakistan would not allow them to enter Afghanistan. The border crossings were closed unilaterally by Pakistani authorities following several deadly attacks across Pakistan in mid-February, which left around 100 dead and another 500 wounded. Apparently, the measure was intended to boost security in Pakistan, and to curb the influx of terrorists from Afghanistan – as if terrorists used regular border crossings to sneak into Pakistan.

It seems that Pakistani authorities did not properly take into account the long-term negative consequences of frequently closing their border crossings with Afghanistan. This move will have further deepened the growing divide between the two countries, and drive Afghanistan closer to India, Iran and Central Asian countries, among others. By closing its border with Afghanistan, Pakistan will achieve no substantive objectives.

** The Role of Think Tanks in Modern Governance

by Michael D. Rich
PDF file 0.1 MB 

RAND president and CEO Michael Rich gave the following remarks at the 2016 China Development Forum in Beijing on March 19, 2016. The China Development Forum is a high-profile international conference designed to promote engagement between senior Chinese policymakers and leading academics, foreign officials, and business leaders from throughout the world. The theme of the 2016 conference was “Engaging with the World for Common Prosperity,” and Michael delivered remarks as part of a panel discussion featuring leaders of international think tanks. 

** In Japan, Russia and China Find Common Ground

The Kremlin's anxiety over the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology worldwide has grown to include the Asia-Pacific as the United States completes its export of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea. (RALPH SCOTT/Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Department of Defense)

For the first time in three years, Russia and Japan have revived an avenue of negotiation that had stalled in the face of enduring tension between the two nations. Foreign and defense ministers from both countries met in Tokyo on Monday to hold 2+2 talks on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. As expected, Japan took the opportunity to question Russia's recent attempts to bolster its defenses on the southern Kuril Islands, to which Tokyo has long laid claim. Russia fired back with its own objections to Japan's desire to build up its ballistic missile defenses as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program.

For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern. The Kremlin's anxiety, on clear display in Europe over the past few years, has more recently come to include the Asia-Pacific as the United States wraps up its delivery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea. That these systems will extend the coverage of missile defense radars operated by U.S. allies to include Chinese and Russian territory is an obvious concern to Beijing and Moscow, since the systems will enable Washington to better track missile flights and tests in both countries. But their fears go far beyond these immediate consequences.

Why Manohar Parrikar Failed In Defence BloombergQuintOpinion

Bharat Karnad

Few Defence Ministers began their tenure with such high expectations and ended it on such low key with almost nothing to show for the two-odd years spent as the military’s boss, as Manohar Parrikar. Returning to Goa without making the slightest ripple in a ministry crying out for hard political decisions and implementation of even harder solutions, may be something of a record. Even so, were we all wrong in hoping Parrikar would do big things differently, logically, with oodles of practical good sense? For one as a graduate of IIT, Mumbai, it was expected that he would bring an engineer’s approach and problem-solving methodology to issues of national security, especially those relating to the conventional forces that in many respects are mathematical in nature.

He started out promisingly. The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) race was decided by the time the Manmohan Singh demitted office. It only remained for the incoming BJP government to sign on the dotted line of a contract for the Rafale aircraft that would enrich France, the French economy, the French aerospace sector, and specifically, Dassault Avions, without doing much for Indian Air Force's (IAF) fighting ability.

He did the unexpected, showing the greatest reluctance to sign a contract, Parrikar pondered more economical options in lieu of the Rafale. He came to the obvious conclusion that the entire ‘medium’ category in combat aircraft is a bit of a hoax perpetrated by IAF.

How India’s Demonetization Experiment Is Defying the Odds

By Henry Burrows

While demonetization appears to be defying expectations, opinion remains divided over the speed and secrecy of the move. 

Just under six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden decision to markedly reduce the amount of cash in circulation, the dust is now beginning to settle on arguably one of the boldest moves in Indian financial history.

Recent economic indicators suggest that the shock therapy administered through demonetization is defying expectations. The Reserve Bank of India recently reported growth of 7 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016, far exceeding economists’ forecasts of 6.1-6.4 percent. Not only does India remain the world’s fastest-growing major economy, it has outstripped Chinese growth in each of the last four quarters. At the same time, Modi appears to have strengthened his own position through some unconventional but effective political maneuvering.

The demonetization move can be fairly described as bold, because that is exactly what it was. India has withdrawn banknotes twice in the past – once in 1946 and again in 1978 – but the scale of this recent effort far surpassed anything before it. Overnight 86 percent of India’s cash supply – the equivalent of $220 billion – was effectively removed. The official intention was to combat corruption and terrorism. The wider objective, as stated by Modi’s Bharartiya Janata Party (BJP), was to force India and its 1.25 billion citizens to become part of the country’s digital economic grid. All of this in a country which pays 85 percent of its workers in cash – bold indeed.

The Fires in Tibet

China has forced world attention away from its religious repression. 

A 24-year-old farmer set himself on fire this weekend in Tibet’s first reported self-immolation of the year, and approximately the 150th since 2009. Pema Gyaltsen intended to protest Chinese repression and call for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama. When relatives went to find him afterward at a local police station, they were beaten severely and detained overnight in harsh conditions. It remains unclear whether he has survived or succumbed to his wounds.

This report, from Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service, is a reminder of the rough authoritarianism that still dominates life for millions of people in China, especially in remote areas with minority populations such as Xinjiang and Tibet. Amid the glitz of Shanghai and the intrigue of Beijing, it’s easy to forget—which is how Chinese leaders want it.

Not long ago Tibet was a humanitarian cause and cultural reference world-wide. The movies “Seven Years in Tibet” (starring Brad Pitt) and “Kundun” (directed by Martin Scorsese) appeared months apart in 1997, the latter an epic about the life of the Dalai Lama. Today major studios duck such material for fear of angering China’s government and losing access to the Chinese box office. Disney CEO Michael Eisner apologized to Beijing for “Kundun,” calling it a “stupid mistake,” before earning permission to build a Disneyland in Shanghai.

How America Should Confront China's Unchecked Maritime Bullying

Rep. Ted Yoho

China is increasingly operating not as a strategic rival of the United States, but as a strategic opponent.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific recently convened a hearing to discuss the U.S. policy response to China’s maritime push in the South and East China Seas. China has so far suffered no discernable cost for its destabilizing activities in these disputed waters. In Congress, there is growing desire to put a check on this belligerence, which Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis observed has “shredded the trust” of other nations and revealed China’s desire for “veto authority over the diplomatic, and security and economic conditions of neighboring states.” Underscoring the critical interests at stake, the hearing made evident that the United States has several unilateral tools available which could finally begin to impose costs on China’s destabilizing actions in the South and East China Seas. We should start using these tools.

Strategic Opponent?

China is increasingly operating not as a strategic rival of the United States, but as a strategic opponent, using force and coercion to consolidate control of these disputed maritime territories, which are vital strategic thoroughfares. More than $5 trillion in trade moves through these waters annually, including most of the energy supply of key U.S. partners like the Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Eight of the world’s ten busiest container ports are in the Asia-Pacific region, and nearly a third of the world’s maritime trade transits the South China Sea. Since World War II, the U.S. military has facilitated these trade flows and economic vibrancy throughout the region by maintaining security in East Asia.

What China’s PPP-Fueled Investment Boom Means for the Economy

By Spencer Sheehan

Public-private partnership infrastructure spending will boost China’s economy but increase local government debt. 

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are currently in vogue in China as a way to increase private investment in the economy and boost infrastructure spending. However, the growth of PPPs is raising concerns about local government debt, the central government’s commitment to genuine economic reform, and its ability to deliver sustainable growth.

In simple terms, PPPs involve private firms investing together with governments in projects and building and operating public facilities, with popular areas of focus including housing, road networks, rail lines, water utilities, and sewage systems.

Eager to reduce government spending, China’s government is pushing PPPs as a way to increase participation from the private sector in the economy and attract the technological expertise that established, experienced companies can bring to public services.

At the end of 2016, China had RMB 19.5 trillion ($2.8 trillion) of PPP infrastructure projects in the pipeline, according to research by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, up 62.5 percent compared with the RMB 12 trillion ($1.7 trillion) in projects registered in July 2016.

Indian and Chinese Engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Comparative Assessment

This monograph comparatively examines the content and country focus of high-level diplomacy for each of the two actors, as well as the volume and patterns of trade, the activities of Indian and Chinese companies in the region, and their relationship to their respective governments in eight sectors: (1) petroleum and mining; (2) agriculture; (3) construction; (4) manufacturing and retail; (5) banking and finance; (6) logistics and port operations; (7) technology such as telecommunications, space, and high technology; and, (8) military sales and activities.

This monograph finds that Indian engagement with the region is significantly less than that of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and concentrated on a more limited subset of countries and sectors. In the commercial and military sector, it finds that the efforts by the Indian government to support their companies in the region are generally more modest and less coordinated than those of the PRC. Nonetheless, despite such limitations, the nature of Indian companies and their engagement with the region create opportunities for significant advances in the future, in a manner that is relatively well received by Latin American governments and societies.

China outpaces India in internet access, smartphone ownership


India and China, the world’s two most populous countries, have long had a competitive relationship and have emerged as major economic powers. But in the digital space, China has a clear advantage. Since Pew Research Center began tracking advanced technology adoption in the two countries in 2013, the Chinese have consistently reported rates of internet and smartphone use that are at least triple that of Indians. That trend has continued through 2016.

In our latest poll, 71% of Chinese say they use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet users. In contrast, only 21% of Indians say they use the internet or own a smartphone.

The gap between China and India is similarly large when it comes to smartphone ownership alone. Nearly seven-in-ten Chinese (68%) say they own one as of spring 2016, compared with 18% of Indians. Reported smartphone ownership in China has jumped 31 percentage points since 2013, but only 6 points in India over the same time period. And while virtually every Chinese person surveyed owns at least a basic mobile phone (98%), only 72% of Indians can say the same. 

The digital divide between the two countries mirrors differences in their broader economic trajectories. Between 2001 and 2011, the share of middle-income Chinese, those making $10.01-$20 a day, jumped from 3% to 18%. In India over the same decade, the middle class share of the population grew from 1% to 3%. In 2015, China’s gross domestic product per capita (PPP) was over five times that of India. Our own research has shown a strong correlation between per capita income and levels of internet access and reported smartphone ownership. Furthermore, some analysts have argued that Chinese investment in digital infrastructure accounts for China’s technological lead over India.

ISIS is winning the cyber war. Here's how to stop it.


Despite U.S. efforts, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) remains a formidable opponent today. It holds territory in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Nigeria, while directing cells in Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Yemen and the North Caucasus, among other hotspots around the world.

The Trump administration has publicly committed itself to defeating ISIS. However, like the Obama administration before it, the current administration has primarily focused its efforts on using airpower and special forces to physically destroy ISIS. The administration's new plan to introduce more conventional military forces into the region to recapture Raqqa, ISIS's capital, is more of the same.

To defeat ISIS, we need an entirely new strategy, one that takes on ISIS where it is highly effective — in cyberspace.

While ISIS continues to foment regional instability in the greater Middle East, its prowess online has made it a threat to Western nations, as well. ISIS focuses significant resources on cyberspace, where it has a global presence, using sophisticated techniques to electronically communicate with its far-flung sympathizers, spread its propaganda and recruit operatives around the world.

Is Russia Getting Ready to Build a Massive Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier?

Dave Majumdar

Russia’s Krylov State Research Center is lobbying the Kremlin hard to build a new aircraft carrier called the Project 23000E Storm.

If built, the massive vessel would be comparable in size and capability to one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz or Ford-class super carriers. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) has no real interest in the project; nonetheless Krylov is attempting to convince a reluctant Russian Navy to buy one of the massive vessels. Moreover, the company hopes to convince a foreign customer—most probably India—to buy such a ship.

“Despite active interest in the project, there have not been proposals from our government client—the Russian Defense Ministry—or foreign partners,” Vladimir Pepeliaev, Krylov’s chief of planning told the Interfax news agency.

The company has also started concept development work on a smaller carrier that would be less costly, Pepeliaev told Interfax. Pepeliaev also told the news agency that Russia has the technical capability to build the massive 95,000-ton nuclear-powered carriers at the Sevmash yards on the White Sea near Severodvinsk. Pepeliaev noted that the massive shipyard had previously refurbished the former Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov into INS Vikramaditya for the Indian Navy. Nonetheless, post-Soviet Russia has never built a new aircraft carrier—all previous Soviet-era flattops were built at the Nikolayev shipyards in what is now an independent Ukraine.


IHS Janes’s story “Russia announces deepest budget cuts since 1990s” got a lot of attention this week, claiming the Russian defense budget will be reduced by $1 trillion rubles or 25%. It is also wrong and has a bombastic headline to boot. Here is a concise assessment of Russia’s defense budget, the cuts, and the reasons.

Bottom line, the Russian defense budget is going from 3.07 trillion RUB in 2016, to 2.84 trillion RUB in 2017, a reduction of ~7%, which about 1% harsher than announced in October of last year. The original estimate for the 2017-2019 budget plan was a 6% reduction over that period of defense spending. The cuts amount to about 230 billion RUB.

The Russian defense budget is undergoing a sequester to tamp down growth, but is not experiencing large scale cuts, especially relative to other federal departments who were dealt 10% reductions.

The defense budget in 2016 was 3.09 trillion RUB. However, Russia had a problem with debt in the defense industrial complex. Manufacturers had been withdrawing commercial loans to cover the costs of production (i.e. they must have been producing on IOUs from the MoD), but this resulted in financing costs, and those costs were being carried over into the price of equipment being produced. This was no small issue, the interest rate + inflation resulted in some notable costs to the manufacturers, and financing this debt was having a waterfall effect on the state armament program.

Strategy of "Constrainment"


"At a time when Russia is deliberately challenging US allies and interests around the world, it is more important than ever for the United States to renew its global leadership role and unite our allies behind a comprehensive strategy to defend our values and interests…The strategy laid out by the Atlantic Council presents a clear-eyed and comprehensive approach to relations with Russia that highlights the potential for cooperation on areas of mutual interest, while acknowledging the severity of the Russian threat and the need for sustained, US-led engagement to defend shared values and interests." - Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

Russia represents one of the most vexing geopolitical challenges facing the West today. In the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its unprecedented meddling in the US presidential election, relations between Moscow and the West have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. 

As the Trump administration begins to shape its national security strategy, how to deal with Russia will be a high priority. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Russia during the campaign, and his stated desire to “get along” with Vladimir Putin, suggest a new Russian “reset” may be in the offing. At the same time, senior administration officials have reiterated the importance of holding Russia to account for its actions in Ukraine and Syria.

The doctor-heroes of war

D.P. Ramachandran

The popular image of a war hero is that of a rifle or machinegun wielding infantry soldier or a tank man or a fighter pilot. A gentle physician with a stethoscope or a surgeon with a scalpel doesn’t exactly fit in as a war hero in the general perception. No wonder then that many an awe-inspiring feats of courage under fire by a galaxy of officers and men from the Indian Army’s medical corps remain largely unknown.

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, India dispatched a medical unit, the 60 Para Field Ambulance, comprising 346 men, including four combat surgeons, two anesthesiologists and a dentist, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Rangaraj. The unit and its commander had quite an illustrious combat record by then. Raised in Secundrabad in August 1942, 60 Para had seen action in Burma during the Second World War as part of the 2 Indian Airborne Division. Its Commanding Officer, Rangaraj, as a lieutenant in 1941 had the distinction of being the first Indian to make a parachute jump accompanied by Havildar Major Mathura Singh. He was then the Regimental Medical Officer of 152 Indian Para Battalion which, along with 151 British and 153 Gurkha Para Battalions and other support units, had formed the first-ever Indian airborne formation, the 50 Indian Parachute Brigade. He had his baptism of fire with the brigade during the Frontier Wars of the North-West and later saw extensive action with it in the Imphal Plains against the Japanese in 1944 before being promoted and taking over command of the 60 Para Field Ambulance.

The World's Arms Exports

by Dyfed Loesche

This was the highest volume for any five-year period since 1990. The total for 2016 stood at $ 31 billion. The biggest exporters by far are the United States and Russia.

This chart shows worldwide arms exports (in SIPRI trend-indicator value, US $ million) and major exporters (in %).

Assessing the Third Offset Strategy

On October 28, 2016, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a daylong conference, including senior defense and intelligence policymakers, military leaders, strategists, regional experts, international and industry partners, and others, to discuss the Defense Department’s Third Offset Strategy. In order to understand what the Third Offset Strategy is, it is first necessary to understand the challenges and trends it is addressing. Technological superiority has been a foundation of U.S. military dominance for decades. However, the assumption of U.S. technological superiority as the status quo has been challenged in recent years as near-peer competitors have sought a variety of asymmetric capabilities to counter the overwhelming conventional military advantages possessed by the United States. This report summarizes the discussions and analysis of the Third Offset that took place at CSIS.

Keep Your Eye on the Balkans

By Robert E Hamilton

“All wars result from conflicts of one kind or another, but not all conflicts lead to war”1

Renewed war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is not something that Western policymakers may wish to consider, but it is a distinct possibility unless the international community acts to assist the country in addressing its problems. These problems are similar to those which were a major cause of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina that began in 1992. In short, the country’s post-Dayton constitution institutionalizes identity divisions among Bosnia-Herzegovina’s people, in much the same way that the Yugoslav constitution did.

Institutionalized identity divisions occur when states label people according to ethnic, religious, or other objective criteria, and then apportion benefits based upon these labels. In a state with institutionalized identity divisions, a shock or crisis can catalyze conflict among identity groups, since leaders will use these identities as potent and readily available means of mobilizing followers. This escalating conflict inside a state often invites intervention by other states, further escalating the conflict.

Drone Proliferation and the Use of Force: An Experimental Approach

As more countries acquire drones, will their widespread availability lead to greater military adventurism and conflict? Will countries be more willing to put a drone in harm’s way? If so, how will other nations respond? Would they be more willing to shoot down a drone than a human-inhabited aircraft? And if they did, are those incidents likely to escalate?

To help answer these questions, in 2016 the Center for a New American Security conducted a survey experiment to better understand how experts and the general public viewed the use of force with drones. The survey evaluated expert and public attitudes about the willingness to use force in three scenarios: (1) deploying an aircraft into a contested area; (2) shooting down another country’s aircraft in a contested area; and (3) escalating in response to one’s own aircraft being shot down. For each scenario, half of the survey respondents read questions where a drone was used and half of the survey respondents read questions where a human-inhabited aircraft was used.

This experimental design was intended to better understand how the introduction of drones into militaries’ arsenals might change expert and public attitudes about the use of force relative to human-inhabited aircraft. Given the continuing integration of robotics into national militaries, as well as the proliferation of drones, this is a critical question for global politics. Moreover, while several studie sapproach the topic by looking at public opinion in the United States, we know less about how communities of foreign policy experts view drones.

How Technology is Unravelling the Global Order

Technological progress is a systemic threat to democracy, rule of law, and open markets — but only because we lack ambition.

Across each pillar of the liberal international order — open markets, democracy, and the rule of law — we have been complacent about adjusting to technological change. We have spent the last decade attempting to improve upon a system created for another time, believing that protecting our institutions is equivalent to protecting the principles that underpin them. Positive trends that would facilitate democracy and an open global economy have unfolded without the support needed for their consolidation, while negative trends that undermine the rule of law, facilitate state control, encourage humanity’s worst instincts, and abuse consumer trust have been allowed to run rampant.

An Open Global Economy

In the period in which the United States and the Asia-Pacific negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and saw it collapse (2008–2016), the internet gained two billion new users. As two billion people acquired the capacity to talk to anyone, learn anything, and reach any market, the world’s most senior international economic negotiators talked about milk, cars, and whether pharmaceutical companies should have a monopoly on their drugs for five years or seven. Its efforts to address digitization and technology were largely announcements of intent, or guidelines to follow, rather than enforceable rules.

How Russia adapted KGB ‘active measures’ to cyber operations, Part I

by Brad D. Williams

This article is Part I of a two-part series previewing the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Monday hearing on Russia. Part I looks at how active measures were created by and evolved with the Soviet security state, examples of historical active measures and key differences between U.S. and Russian worldviews that influence Russia’s tactics. Part II will look at the Post-Soviet evolution of Russian security services, the rise of the World Wide Web and how Russia has adapted historical active measures to cyber and information operations.

When referring to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the media often refers to Russian hacking, information warfare or influence operations. But the title of Monday’s hearing references “active measures.”

The term, “active measures,” and what it refers to may be unfamiliar to many. Even those who are familiar with Russia’s Cold War use of the term and methods may not know the relation between historical active measures and today’s Russian cyber and information operations.

Ahead of Monday’s hearing – which could provide more details on the who, what, when, where and how of Russia’s activities in the 2016 election – revisiting the historical concept of active measures and examining how the Russians adapted active measures to cyber will provide a deeper, underlying why of Russia’s tactics.

For the Army, drone and counter-drone ops go 'hand in hand'

By: Mark Pomerleau

In a first-of-its-kind multi-domain training lane at Fort Riley, Kansas, the Army is beginning to train and integrate small unmanned aerial system operators alongside counter-UAS operations.

Small UAS operations at the division level and lower are a two-way street, according to personnel involved in the multi-domain training range and UAS training at Fort Riley.

In an ideal scenario, the Army would like to prevent their small UAS assets from potential enemy jamming, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Sarah Good, 2 nd Brigade UAS Officer, told C4ISRNET in an interview. Advanced adversaries such as Russia havedemonstrated a very capable jamming tool kit in Ukraine against UAS.

"We have to do it both ways. We have to see what their capability is to jam and see what our capability is to avoid that jam or counter that jam,” Good added.

This involves integrating and training electronic warfare forces alongside UAS operators. “Now that [UAS operators] understand that the jamming is out there, the operator can understand when his aircraft is being jammed or when it’s just going lost link,” Chief Warrant Officer 4 Samuel Kleinbeck, Division UAS at Fort Riley, told C4ISRNET. “So he knows that he’ll be able to recognize that the EW is out there.”

Cyber in 2017: Responding to the Growing Threat

2016 was a tumultuous year in cyber security. But there were three stories in particular that will likely have implications for events this year.

The first is Russia’s cyber influence campaign that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential election. The Obama administration responded with targeted sanctions, the expulsion of 35 Russian embassy officials, and denying access to two Russian government owned compounds on US soil. Additionally, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a Joint Analysis Report containing technical information to help network defenders identify and detect malicious Russian cyber activities.

But those actions were too little, too late, and the benefits to Putin—Trump’s election—vastly outweigh the costs that were imposed on Russia. Similarly, the initial technical information released to aid network defenders was described as worse than useless. The second reportreleased last month was vastly more helpful. The US has since indicted a number of Russian hackers and their associates for criminal cyber activities.

Revealing this type of technical information will impose a real cost on Russian intelligence as they’ll have to retool to some degree. Such releases should form one element of a broader deterrence strategy, but it does come with costs to US intelligence. There’s a real risk of losing visibility of the cyber actors conducting these attacks, and it clearly took some time for the intelligence community to come to grips with publishing this further technical detail. But they need to be prepared to do this more regularly, with greater speed, and ideally in a way that maximises deterrence and minimises loss of capability.

24 March 2017

*** The Real Lesson from the London Attack: Perfect Counterterrorism Is Impossible

Daniel R. DePetris

No amount of resources can stop a single human being from doing something destructive to other human beings.

The grounds surrounding the Palace of Westminster are some of the most iconic in all of London. Tourists from around the world flock to the area on a daily basis, knowing that deep inside Westminster, members of Parliament are duking it out and shouting at one another with their distinguished British accents.

That wasn’t the situation today. The streets and yards that are normally bustling with people were on complete lockdown by London’s Metropolitan Police. A car, zooming at high speed on Westminster Bridge, rammed into a crowd of pedestrians before the driver jumped out of the vehicle and started stabbing police officers near the parliamentary complex. Police eventually shot the assailant to death, but not before at least three people were killed and twenty others were injured. Convinced this was far more than a random rampage with no discernible motive, Scotland Yard decided to treat the incident as a terrorist attack.

There are still a lot of aspects to this story that we don’t know. Was the attacker directed by Islamic State operatives in Syria to carry out this attack? Is the suspect a returnee from Syria? Was this another case of a lone-wolf sympathizer urged on or inspired by the group’s propaganda to take matters into his own hands, but without any further guidance? Are there any accomplices in London that helped the attacker carry out his operation? Did UK intelligence officers have any inclination whatsoever that something like this was going to happen? We don't know the answers to any of these questions.

*** In India, A State Election Shapes The Future Of A Nation


Sometimes an election resonates far beyond the place it directly concerns. Voters in one nation can create problems for foreigners, or voters in one region can shape the fate of an entire country. This is what the citizens of Uttar Pradesh have just done for India for the second time in three years. By delivering a resounding victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in elections held between Feb. 11 and March 8, the country's largest state has not only set the ruling party on the path toward another victory in general elections set for 2019. It has also upheld a multidecade pattern that will define the shape of the country for many years to come.

The Center of Empires

Uttar Pradesh's central importance to India is hard to overstate. It is the country’s steering wheel; anyone who wishes to control India must control Uttar Pradesh. Its importance stems from the Ganges River, whose vast drainage basin is the country's heartland. Uttar Pradesh dominates the center of this fertile alluvial plain, its population of 200 million equal to Brazil's and almost twice that of India's next biggest state. All streams converge here, both literally and figuratively.

The Ganges not only feeds a multitude but also creates a unity among its residents that isn't seen in the more fractured south, with its rugged terrain, numerous rivers and varied languages. By comparison, a large part of the north shares a common language, Hindi, while the great religion that sprung up upon its banks - Hinduism - has the river woven deeply into its spiritual values. In fact, India's British colonists found that they could only persuade indentured workers to board their ships if they brought along large cauldrons of Ganges water as well, such was Indians' aversion to leaving the sacred river behind.

*** A Strategic Perspective on "Information Warfare" & "Counter-Propaganda"

Matt Armstrong

Prepared remarks by Matthew Armstrong given before the Emerging Threats & Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Chairwoman Stefanik, Ranking Member Langevin, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to speak on information warfare and countering propaganda. 

This is an important conversation as information and informational activities create both opportunities and threats to our nation’s physical, societal, and economic security. This is a strategic problem requiring a strategic review of not just the threat but also of our constraints. We may develop good tactics, but any success from these will be undone if we fail to get the strategy right as well as properly align our efforts toward our objectives. Be confident that our adversaries are doing this realignment, and using our doctrine and public writings as their starting point.

The information domain is not a nuisance at the margins, but a central facet of international affairs. We have known this for a long time, even if we need constant reminding. A1918 report by the U.S. Army General Staff recognized that in the “strategic equation” of war there are “four factors — combat, economic, political, and psychologic — and that the last of these is coequal with the others.” Today, we refer to this as the DIME model of national power — diplomacy, information, military, economic. A July 1945 report from the State Department recognized that the “nature of present day foreign relations makes it essential for the United States to maintain informational activities abroad as an integral part of the conduct of our foreign affairs.”

** The US and China Make Nice

By Jacob L. Shapiro

March 21, 2017 Officials are striking a calmer tone but will this affect relations?

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited China over the weekend, meeting with China’s foreign minister on Saturday and President Xi Jinping on Sunday. By all accounts, the trip went well. Media in both countries pointed out that a spirit of cooperation emanated from the meetings. For those who follow U.S.-China relations, this is a marked difference from just a few months ago, when everyone was focused on the potential for a trade war and World War III in the South China Sea.

Two things must be addressed because of this change in tone. First, a little cold water needs to be thrown on the budding spirit of cooperation that has emerged between the two countries. Second, points of contention remain and will define the U.S.-China relationship no matter the optics. The two countries aren’t going to war, but they aren’t going to be best friends, either.

The U.S.-China relationship has always been a dizzying array of diplomatic protocol. When then-President Richard Nixon went to China in 1972, it took months of diplomatic legwork and interpretation of Chinese moves to realize that China was open to changing the nature of the relationship, and to come up with a diplomatic framework whereby China could consent to forge stronger ties. The thaw in relations was jump-started when the U.S. table tennis team was invited to China in 1972. The solidification of the relationship involved a complex word game where the U.S. recognized that there was only one China but still maintained an alliance with Taiwan.

The Yogi and the magic of numbers

Gopalkrishna Gandhi

Will India’s democrats let majoritarianism plant the seeds of counter-democracy?

We are a democracy.

What an original thought!

And with the second biggest population, the largest democracy in the world.

Cheers !

We are proud of being such a democracy.

But of course!

We must, as a democracy, respect the will of the majority.


Because the voice of the people — vox populi — is the voice of truth.


This is where bombast and its counter — sarcasm — ends. Where irony, humour retires. And hard-rock reality stares us in the face, the reality that is Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of India’s most populous State.

We cannot get anyone more democratic than him.

Gradual ascent

Born to no privilege in the hinterland isolation of the temple-town of Gorakhpur, he was raised in no metropolis, educated in no sequestered school or ivy-covered college. But being sharp-witted, he turned social stagnations into political steroids and taking his town’s eponymous dedication to cow protection seriously, became not just a priest but head priest of the temple. And then, as such head priest, offered himself as a parliamentary candidate, becoming the youngest member of the Lok Sabha to which he was first elected, winning each of the five subsequent elections that he contested as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. More, MP Adityanath remained that quintessence of parliamentary democracy — the private Member, the back or middle-bencher, sometimes of the party in power, sometimes in the Opposition, speaking the language of his people, the language of the masses as their chosen MP, the legislative digit that really counts, that makes up the numbers, the ‘body’ that gives that august body not its augusta meaning, in Latin, ‘majestic, grand’, but its body, its bones, sinew, muscle and flesh.

Enter Qatar: India Is Losing The Aviation And Airports War To Gulf-Based Carriers

R Jagannathan

Keeping Qatar Airways out with protectionist rhetoric will only retard our growth, for aviation generates huge economic spinoffs.

What we need is an integrated aviation and airport policy to challenge the hubbing advantages of Gulf-based carriers.

A proposal from Qatar Airways to start a 100 per cent-owned domestic airline in India is likely to prove contentious, not least due to opposition from domestic players like Indigo and Jet, who claim the field is tilted against them. Among other things, the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) is likely to cry foul over three issues: one, that Qatar does not give Indian carriers the right to start a domestic airline in that country; that no country allows 100 per cent foreign ownership in a domestic airline, and, three, that this will shift international traffic to a hub in West Asia, and out of India. After Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines, who have created hubs for international traffic from India in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Qatar will create another hub in its capital Doha. Jet Airways survives because it plays feeder airline to Etihad in Abu Dhabi after being rescued from near-death by the latter.

Most of these arguments are protectionist. For example, what growth will Indian carriers get by operating in Doha, which does not have a huge domestic market worth speaking about? Secondly, how does India gain by not allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership? Wasn’t this the exact ownership limitation that drowned Kingfisher Airlines? Under current rules, a foreign airline can own 49 per cent directly, and foreign non-airline interests the balance. Qatar’s domestic Indian operations will be 100 per cent foreign-owned through the subterfuge, but then most Indian airlines too have NRI or foreign ownership whose ultimate ownership is often shrouded in mystery. The third point – that the hub will move out of India – holds some water, but for that we have ourselves to blame not the Qataris.

Why America Can't Win the War in Afghanistan

Daniel L. Davis

America shouldn't send its troops overseas to participate in an unwinnable foreign war.

The Washington Post published an opinion piece written by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, which argued that the war in Afghanistan is in a stalemate and the only way to break that stalemate is to give the commanding general more combat troops. If the president follows their advice, then the almost certain outcome will be an increase in U.S. casualties without any strategic impact on the outcome. The war will continue on without end or purpose.

McCain and Graham claim that in recent years the U.S. government has “tied the hands of our military in Afghanistan.” To succeed this time, they said, “requires the right number of people in the right places with the right authorities and the right capabilities.” They also noted that it is “imperative that we see our mission through to success.” The only problem with their observations is that the two senators ignore the fact that this pattern has been repeated countless times since 2007 to no effect.

In February 2007, there were only twenty-six thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Gen. Dan McNeill was in command at that time and decided to “take a harder line with the militants than his predecessor.” In June 2008, McNeill complained that his command was “under resourced” and that the lack of resources had “been a constant theme since I’ve been here.” President George W. Bush increased that troop strength to thirty-three thousand. By September of that year, General McNeill’s replacement, Gen. David D. McKiernan, claimed that there weren’t enough resources to defeat the insurgency. He said an additional twenty thousand troops should do achieve that goal. Newly elected President Obama authorized an additional seventeen thousand troops to support the mission.