28 April 2017

*** Afghanistan: The Future of the National Unity Government

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Two and a half years after it was created to prevent the bitterly contested 2014 presidential election from plunging Afghanistan into turmoil, the future of the National Unity Government (NUG) is shaky, as is broader political stability. The NUG is beset with internal disagreements and discord and facing a resurgent insurgency. Several options are being discussed in Afghan and international circles for how best to tackle the political and constitutional tensions that, if left unresolved, would increase the risk of internal conflict and insecurity in an already fragile state. The only promising way forward is for the two protagonists, President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdullah Abdullah, to acknowledge that the stability of their government and country requires them to work together.

*** Afghans Want More ‘Mothers of All Bombs’

BY RUCHI KUMAR

KABUL, Afghanistan — The sky-tearing blast last week was unlike anything the villagers around the Acchin valleys in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar had ever heard. It set off panicked phone calls and fearful speculations until word spread that the explosion was not a new insurgency strike but an air attack by the United States. The onslaught employed one of the few bombs to have its own set of names — the GBU-43/B, otherwise known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB).

It was the first time the 21,000-pound bomb, which covers a 1,000-yard radius, has been used in combat. The strike, directed at a network of tunnels used by insurgents, drew global attention to the long-running conflict in Afghanistan. “It was the right weapon, for the right target,” General John W. Nicholson, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, told a room of journalists in Kabul on Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t just Americans who were enthusiastic about the strike. Despite the worries sparked worldwide by the news, local Afghan leaders were cheering the MOAB.

*** Bhutan’s Relations With China and India


By: Sudha Ramachandran

The 14th Dalai Lama’s April 4-13 visit to Tawang in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, over which China lays claim, drew thousands of followers. Among these were some 3,000 Bhutanese, who trekked across mountains to see the Tibetan spiritual leader (India Today, April 9). Bhutan shares a disputed border with Tibet and has close ties with Tibetan Buddhism, complicating its relationship with China.

The Sino-Bhutanese border dispute involves 764 square kilometers (sq km) of territory. Beijing claims 495 sq km of territory in the Jakurlung and Pasamlung Valleys in north-central Bhutan and another 269 sq km in western Bhutan, comprising the Doklam Plateau (Bhutan News Service, January 1, 2013). Doklam Plateau abuts Chumbi Valley, which like the Tawang salient that adjoins Bhutan’s eastern border has enormous strategic significance for China, Bhutan as well as India. India’s defense of its northeast would be undermined should Bhutan cede control over it to China.

** The Politics of Reincarnation: India, China, and the Dalai Lama

By Tshering Chonzom Bhutia

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh from April 7 to 11 garnered plenty of media attention. One of the most prominently discussed questions centered around the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.

The Chinese side was unequivocal in not only objecting to the visit but also commenting on the reincarnation issue. The Chinese position, as encapsulated in remarks by scholars from important Chinese think tanks, is that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation has to be approved by the Chinese government and selection has to be based on a combination of not just “historical rules” but also current “Chinese laws.” The reference to Chinese laws is with respect to the 2007 State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) regulation delineating procedures for the selection of reincarnated monks, including eligibility conditions, application procedures and the government and religious institutions to be approached for approval. The regulation basically excludes “any foreign organization or individual” from the reincarnation selection process, obviously in an attempt to legitimize China’s authority and exclude the Tibetan Diaspora (and others) in the selection of the next Dalai Lama.

The Chinese have consistently maintained that any reincarnation must be determined on the basis of the late 18th century procedure instituted by the Manchu Qing rulers of China. Under this “golden urn system” of selecting reincarnations, the names of prospective candidates would be placed in an urn, from which lots would be drawn to pick the real incarnation. Therefore, any other method being suggested by the Dalai Lama is seen as contrary to established rules and illegitimate, for it denies the Chinese government’s authority in the process.

Bastar: Proposing A Radical Solution


Jaithirth Rao

Perhaps it is time for the government of India to practise some magnanimity and farsightedness and reach out to the descendants of Pravir Chandra.

Getting them on board, perhaps giving Bastar a Union Territory status with a popular Rajpramukh might just make the difference.

It is fashionable among leftists to deride monarchs and monarchies. They have no objection to new hereditary leaders – the Nehru-Gandhis, the Trudeaus, the Assads – but kings and queens are objects of derision.

Conservatives know the value of legitimate institutions like monarchies. Our Founding Fathers and that outstanding duo – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and V P Menon knew it well. Rajas and Nizams were retained. The Maharaja of Jaipur was reincarnated as a Rajpramukh and in order to cater to the sensitive situation, the Maharaja of Udaipur was called a Maharajpramukh.

Jawaharlal Nehru invited the said monarch to come to the citadel of Delhi in 1947. The gracious Maharaja did what his ancestors had sworn never to do until Delhi was really free – at least in his family’s assessment. Even the obdurate Nizam was made a Rajpramukh. By a clever sleight of hand, the story was spread that the Nizam was wise and reasonable and had been the victim of Qasim Rizvi and the Razakars rather than what many felt was the other way around. This made Hyderabad’s integration that much easier and eliminated the possibility of an international dispute bubbling up.

IT’S MUCH BIGGER THAN AFGHANISTAN: U.S. STRATEGY FOR A TRANSFORMED REGION

BARNETT RUBIN

The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.

The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, says he ordered the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb, known colloquially as the “mother of all bombs”) for purely tactical reasons: “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.” The jubilation expressed by U.S. media in purely tactical destruction, however, sent a strategic message to some Afghans: that the United States considers their country a collection of targets to destroy rather than a country with a history and, hopefully, a future. A senior pro-government political analyst in Kabul whom I have known for decades points out that even if the Islamic State flees the area, the government’s weakness means the Taliban, who pose a greater threat to the government, will fill the vacuum.

Why China's New Aircraft Carrier Should Worry India

Mihir Sharma

The launch of China’s second aircraft carrier this week is an important and depressing moment for India. The “Type 001A” -- likely to be named the “Shandong” -- will give China an edge for the first time in the carrier race with its Asian rival, a literal two-to-one advantage. After decommissioning the INS Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, INS Vikramaditya. Worse, the Shandong has been built at China’s own giant shipyard at Dalian; Vikramaditya is merely a repurposed 1980s-era Russian carrier formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov.

Even more telling than the raw numbers is what China’s progress says about India’s ability to provide security in its own backyard. Chinese naval strategists have open designs on the Indian Ocean: According to one, “China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean.” The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked a great deal about revitalizing the Indian military; it’s opened the defense sector up to greater foreign investment and is building a much-closer relationship with the U.S. military, largely with China in mind. But spending has lagged. Worse, successive governments simply don’t seem to have thought through where best to direct those scarce resources.

XINJIANG: OUR OTHER NORTHERN NEIGHBOR.


East Turkestan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centre of commerce for more than 2000 years. The land of East Turkestan gave birth to many great civilizations and at various points of history it has been a cradle of scholarship, culture and power.

The current territorial size of East Turkestan is 1.82 million square kilometres. The neighbouring Chinese province annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949.

East Turkestan borders with China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.

East Turkestan has a rich history and a diverse geography. It has grand deserts, magnificent mountains, and beautiful rivers, grasslands and forests.

People

East Turkestan is the homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other Central Asian peoples such as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tatars and Tajiks.

China reshuffles 84 corps-level military units

Xinhua 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks at a meeting with chief military officers of newly adjusted or established corps-level military units in Beijing, capital of China, April 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China announced Tuesday a military reshuffle with 84 corps-level units newly adjusted or established, a move hailed by President Xi Jinping as another major step in strengthening the country's armed forces.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks while meeting chief military officers Tuesday in Beijing.

Decided by the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, the reshuffle is important in building strong armed forces through reform, said Xi.

It will also have a profound influence on meeting the targets of enhancing the military in a new situation and building world-class armed forces, Xi noted.

China’s Vision of the Future Networked Battlefield

By James Johnson

Compared to the extensive coverage on China’s traditional war-fighting capabilities (e.g. its ‘carrier killer’ anti-ship missiles) far less ink has been spilled on Chinese thinking on the critical systems and nodes (or C4ISR in military lexicon), which enable and enhance these advanced weapons. These systems expand the range, accuracy, and lethality of Beijing’s military power projection.

This war-fighting toolkit includes: long-range precision strike missiles for use in early and preemptive strikes; stealth jet fighters to bypass enemy air defenses, and destroy its command and control centers; anti-satellite missiles to take out critical space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems; and other emerging technologies such as rail-guns, ‘stealth-defeating’ quantum radars, and autonomous systems. 

A more integrated Chinese warfighting force could fundamentally alter the regional military balance, which is already rapidly moving in Beijing’s favor. According to the authors of a Chinese military magazine, China must prepare to fight to safeguard and secure its “central leadership” in the South China Sea. 


To be sure, a fully networked fighting force would prove highly effective during a future amphibious assault in the Senkakus, an island blockade against Taiwan, or a blockade on critical trading sea-lanes in the South China Seas — which China’s neighbors would unlikely be unable to resist. 

The Folly of Investing in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’


By Patrick McCabe

On May 13, Beijing will host a summit meeting of countries participating in its massive infrastructure initiative known as “One Belt, One Road”—a belt of overland corridors and a complementary road of sea routes linking China to Eurasia and Africa. Neighboring countries may benefit from Beijing’s investment, but investors have reason to be wary.

The summit follows President Xi Jinping’s January star turn at the Davos World Economic Forum where he touted OBOR as an investment opportunity: “Over three years ago, I put forward the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. Since then, over 100 countries and international organizations have given warm responses and support to the initiative . . . and our circle of friends along the ‘Belt and Road’ is growing bigger.”

USIP’s Work on the ISIS Threat


As a U.S.-led international coalition helps local forces recapture most of the territory once seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the two countries face underlying conflicts and sectarian tensions that continue to fuel cycles of violence and extremism. At the same time, as many as 31,000 foreign fighters—from 86 countries on five continents—have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS and other extremist organizations, and some are heading home. Meanwhile, ISIS has gained a foothold in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. Cementing military gains and curbing extremist violence requires long-term stabilization based on political settlements, social reconciliation, and improved governance. 
USIP's Work 

The U.S. Institute of Peace has operated on the ground in Iraq since 2003 and in Afghanistan since 2002, as well as in Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. As a small, agile institution, USIP works with local leaders and the U.S. government, including the military, to stabilize areas devastated by ISIS, end cycles of revenge, and address the root causes of radicalization, including corrupt and abusive governance. USIP has had impact in: 

Sustaining the Peace. USIP and its local partners provide advice and training to strengthen the ability of community and national leaders to resolve their own conflicts without violence. 
In Iraq, teams of mediators have facilitated, with cooperation from officials in Baghdad, starting in 2007 during an earlier insurgency in Mahmoudiyah, and more recently in Bartella, Tikrit, Yathrib, and Hawija. A 2015 agreement in Tikrit allowed more than 300,000 people to return to their homes, and the mediation methods developed are being applied elsewhere, including near Mosul. 

The U.S. Military’s Master Plan to Fight Russia and China in a War Is Already Here

Dan Goure

When faced with adversaries who seemed able to match or counter U.S. military-technological superiority, the Department of Defense began an intensive effort to invest in a new generation of capabilities designed to restore U.S. military preeminence or overmatch. This effort was labeled the Third Offset Strategy in recognition of two prior technology investment strategies that had, or so it was asserted, successfully countered advances in Soviet military capabilities.

The first two offset strategies were designed with a particular adversary in mind, the Soviet Union and its allies, with a specific problem to overcome: a rapid conventional offensive against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe backed up by the threat of nuclear escalation. The first offset strategy was the widespread nuclearization of the U.S. military as a way of cost-effectively countering the massive Soviet/Warsaw Pact advantage in conventional forces. Once the Soviet Union achieved strategic nuclear parity with the U.S., the first offset strategy was rendered moot.

U.S. Defense planners then invested in stealth, precision navigation and targeting, and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to defeat Russian conventional forces. The best-known element of this second offset strategy was the AirLand Battle concept which sought to employ U.S. ground forces to fix advancing Soviet formations while airpower conducted deep strikes, including by early stealth aircraft, intended to disrupt the Soviet offensive.

Americans Are Not Ready to Go to War for Ukraine

Christopher A. Preble

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson committed what amounts to an unconscionable sin in the eyes of many foreign policy watchers when he wondered aloud two weeks ago during a meeting in Lucca, Italy, "Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?"

The Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum responded with an emphatic, “Yes, Rex Tillerson, U.S. Taxpayers Should Care,” but conceded, with an eye to Tillerson’s corporate roots:

There is no calculation, no balance sheet that can prove any of this. There is nothing that would appeal to a CEO or his shareholders. Whatever we have “invested” in Ukraine...will not show an immediate profit. To see the value of a secure, pro-Western Ukraine, you have to see the value of an alliance going back 70 years.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, stressed that abandoning Ukraine to Vladimir Putin’s tender mercies could spur more states to pursue nuclear weapons. Ukraine was encouraged, under the Budapest Memorandum of December 1994, to relinquish its nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in exchange for security assurances from both Russia and the United States.

“America’s Dangerous Love for Special Ops” - The Real Story

by Hy Rothstein

Mark Moyar’s op-ed, “America’s Dangerous Love for Special Ops,” is at best, ill-informed and at worst, contemptuous of special operations forces. To be sure, special operations have not been able to deliver what Moyar calls, “strategic success.” This, to a significant degree, has been the result of misuse of special operations forces or more specifically, “conventionalizing” their missions. But Moyar’s assertion that “strategic victory has required the integration of special operations with both convention forces and civilian national security agencies” is laughable. What strategic victories is he referring to, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam?

While Moyar claims that special operations rarely produce strategic success, he acknowledges that special operations have produced “frequent and impressive tactical results.” In one of Clausewitz’s lectures on “Small Wars” held at the Prussian War College in 1810 and 1811, he said that ”…the entirety of Small Wars belongs to tactics,” but what becomes clear is that the reasons for small wars is based on the necessities of strategy, or perhaps for the US, conventional military strategic ineffectiveness. Clausewitz is clear that Small War can serve tactical, strategic and policy ends. We see the confluence of tactics and strategy in both small wars and special operations.

U.S. Air Force invests millions this month on cyberweapons projects

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Three of the United States’ largest military contractors each won multimillion-dollar projects in the last month to boost American offensive power in the cyber domain.

Raytheon, Northrop Grunman and Booz Allen Hamilton have all seen their stock prices rise 10 to 20 percent since the November 2016 U.S. election. Investors sprinted to military contractors based on Trump’s promises for higher spending on — among other warfighting capabilities — the cyber domain. Many of the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers are expanding aggressively into offensive and defensive cybersecurity in search of the same level of profitability found in building conventional weapons systems.

Raytheon will build the Air Force’s newest Cyber Command and Control Mission System (C3MS) operating location — at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base — after winning an $8.5 million contract this week. Lackland is home to the 24th Air Force, the organization tasked with operating and defending the Air Force’s networks. It’s currently commanded by Maj. Gen. Christopher Weggeman.

The C3MS system is designed, by the military’s description, to extend the U.S. Air Force’s “global reach, power and vigilance” into the cyber domain by providing permanent operational support to combatant commanders around the world. In addition to securing Air Force networks and information processing systems, C3MS includes offensive cyberspace operations, expansive real-world and cyber domain surveillance capabilities and close coordination with other key cyber domain commands including the United States Cyber Command.

Time for America to Follow China’s Lead

By Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani is a former Singaporean diplomat who served twice as ambassador to the United Nations. Currently, he is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World.” This piece is part of a special RCW series on the U.S.-China geopolitical relationship. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

In a 2005 speech before the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, former World Bank President Robert Zoellick famously called upon the Chinese government to become a responsible stakeholder in the global system, and to work with other international powers to maintain stability and security around the world. One can assume that when Zoellick delivered his speech on that fall day in New York, there was no doubt in his mind -- nor in the minds of most American leaders and policymakers -- that the United States was in fact the responsible stakeholder in the international system, and that China was not. 

However, last year’s election of Donald Trump has spurred a remarkable reversal in global perceptions of the United States and China. President Trump has loudly proclaimed that he will pursue unilateralist “America First” policies, and he has also threatened to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization. In a 2016 interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said, "[W]e’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out. These trade deals are a disaster. The World Trade Organization is a disaster." By contrast, after the two brilliant speeches delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Davos and in Geneva in January 2017, China has projected itself as a defender of the prevailing multilateral order. Zoellick would not be able to deliver his 2005 speech in 2017. The roles have reversed.

Clinton's Subtle Warning

This need not and should not have happened. As a power that is, by the president’s own admission, in relative decline, it is increasingly in the national interest of the United States to strengthen multilateral rules and processes. Articulating this truth in a visionary 2003 speech at Yale University, Former President Bill Clinton said:

The Armed Forces Officer

By General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC

In 1950, the great Soldier-Statesman George C. Marshall, then serving as the Secretary of Defense, signed a cover page for a new book titled The Armed Forces Officer. That original version of this book was written by none other than S.L.A. Marshall, who later explained that Secretary Marshall had “inspired the undertaking due to his personal conviction that American military officers, of whatever service, should share common ground ethically and morally.” Written at the dawn of the nuclear age and the emergence of the Cold War, it addressed an officer corps tasked with developing a strategy of nuclear deterrence, facing unprecedented deployments, and adapting to the creation of the Department of Defense and other new organizations necessary to manage the threats of a new global order.

Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, our nation is again confronted with a volatile and complex security environment, and addressing the challenges of our time will place new demands on military leaders at all levels. We in the Profession of Arms will continue to adapt our training and education programs, as we have always done, to provide our officers with the intellectual and practical tools necessary to succeed in this unpredictable and unstable world.

Lessons from Israel’s Response to Terrorism

Fiamma Nirenstein,

Effective solidarity among states has become a prerequisite for ultimately succeeding in the war of the West against jihadist terrorism. Yet, in the aftermath of the Islamic State’s brutal attacks in Paris during 2015 that left 129 dead, there began a discussion in the international media of whether the terrorist attacks against Israelis could be compared with the newest jihadist assault on European capitals. Recent events have challenged this European distinction. A cohesive military strategy is needed for the West, the Arab states that are threatened, and Israel. It stands to reason that, just as all three face similar threats, the models developed in Israel for dealing with terror merit attention in Europe and beyond.
Fiamma Nirenstein: Resilience, the Israeli People’s Weapon against Terror

An important component of Israel’s struggle against terrorism is its population’s psychology, resilience, and capacity to counter what has unfortunately been one of the characteristics of this state from its very origins: the constant attacks against civilians in the streets, public structures, cafes, and buses. How do the Israeli people overcome being on the front line against terror? The answer lies in Israel’s history, sociology, education, and social values, from which today’s vulnerable Europe can learn much.
Brig-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: The National Security Aspect of Fighting Terror – The Israeli Experience

Israel’s overall strategy of fighting terror is a comprehensive approach that was developed out of ongoing learning efforts. Understanding the goals and strategy of the enemy and the context in which it operates, and being agile enough to rapidly adopt adequate responses that build on former solutions enabled Israel to become a world leader in the fight against terror.

CO2 Levels And Global Warming

by Martin Armstrong

Scott Pruitt, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told CNBC that he does not believe that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a primary contributor to climate change, essentially exonerating the influence of human beings on global warming.

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Given that the role of CO2 in the raising of temperatures on earth is by now basic and commonly accepted scientific fact, these comments from a man in such a crucial position in one of the largest CO2 producing countries in the world are alarming to say the least. Our infographic brings together NASA and NOAA data to show how earth's surface temperature has risen since 1880 - and in particular since1960 - and the upward curve of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1958.

Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter, April 2017)

By William R. Gery, SeYoung Lee, and Jacob Ninas


Major William R. Gery, USAF, is Program Manager for the U.S. Air Force Weapon System Evaluation Program at Air Combat Command. Major SeYoung Lee, Republic of Korea (ROK) Army, is a Student in the Military History Institution of ROK Army Headquarters. Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Ninas, USA, is a Branch Chief in the 704thMilitary Intelligence Brigade.

In the past week, how many devices have you used that were connected to the Internet or relied on an algorithm to accomplish a task? Likely, the number is upward of 10 to 15, and most of those devices are used daily, if not hourly. Examples may include a Fit-Bit, cell phone, personal computer, work computer, home monitoring system, car, Internet television, printer, scanner, maps, and, if you are really tech savvy, maybe your coffee pot or refrigerator.

The US and Europe Need to Coordinate Their Cyber Weapons

BY JEPPE T. JACOBSEN

The question isn’t just 'How do we use them together?' but 'Who gets to use them first?'

It is no surprise that the United States and its European allies are looking to integrate offensive cyber capabilities as part of their military operations. Last year, the Pentagon boasted about dropping “cyber bombs” on the self-declared Islamic State group. France and the United Kingdom have built similar capabilities, as have smaller European states, such as Denmark, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, as NATO members rush to build their capabilities, they will quickly have to confront challenging trade-offs. Cyberweapons—or specifically the vulnerabilities they exploit—tend to be single use weapons: once a defender or vendor identifies a vulnerability being exploited, they can patch it, rendering the attacker’s capability useless as well as the capability of any other potential attacker who built a weapon around the same vulnerability. In other words, one state’s exploitation of a vulnerability will affect its allies’ ability to do the same.

As the United States’ European allies develop their capabilities, Washington will be forced to deconflict their use of cyberweapons with European capitals, especially as they look to fight the same enemies such as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Similarly, a European country would want to tip off their U.S. counterparts before attempting to dox Vladimir Putin given the fact that rendering compromising information public could tip off Russia of its vulnerabilities in specific Kremlin networks, perhaps the same vulnerabilities the United States exploits for foreign intelligence purposes.

Outgoing CIA lawyer says the top threat facing US is cyber

By JENNA MCLAUGHLIN 

During her tenure as the CIA's top lawyer, Caroline Krass dealt with investigations into the CIA's enhanced interrogation programs and black sites, unrest in Ukraine and Crimea, the rise of ISIS, normalizing relations with Cuba, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Russian meddling. Now headed out the door, she says the most challenging threat the United States faces comes from cyberspace.

"I think the hardest [legal questions] were those that surrounded cyber," Krass said on Tuesday at an event at Georgetown University Law School. "It's an evolving area of the law, trying to determine answers to questions like what constitutes a use of force…what are the measures to combat such a use of force?"

President Donald Trump is hoping to confirm a new top lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency this week to replace Krass, who is stepping down after three years. She'd previously worked in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Treasury.

Getting the legal lay of the land correct in cyberspace is still on Washington's to-do list, even though think tanks and experts have spent years arguing about what the rules of the road for cyberspace might look like. Washington, for example, has no formal definitions for cyber warfare or any clear standards for how to retaliate for cyber attacks.

The Countries With The Fastest Internet

by Martin Armstrong

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With an average connection speed of 26.1 Mbps - 8.9 more than the U.S - in Q4 2016. Despite Norway gaining some ground since Q3, coming within 2.5 Mbps of the top spot, no other country really comes close.

This chart shows the countries with the highest average internet connection speed in Q4 2016.

You will find more statistics at Statista

ICIT Analysis : The Cyber Shield Act


Industry experts and federal agencies such as NSA, NASA and NIST have repeatedly pushed for the implementation and standardization of the bare essentials of Information Security, such as security-by-design, cyber-hygiene training, and layered defenses, to be recognized as crucial topics on the Hill. The Cyber Shield Act is an excellent idea for improving informed consumer decision making concerning electronic devices and introduces meaningful dialog between industry and Congress in a manner that shifts the conversation away from counterproductive, bureaucratic partisanship. If developed and implemented meaningfully, The Cyber Shield Act would not only empower consumers, but would facilitate a much-needed cultural shift in secure device manufacturing and upkeep.

27 April 2017

*** The Naxal attack in Sukma is proof the CRPF has not learnt the lessons of the past

Ajai Sahni

A candle light vigil to pray for CRPF jawans who lost their lives in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, in Patna. (PTI)

While sufficient details of the April 24 attack in Sukma that has resulted in the loss of the lives of at least 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel are not yet available to make any definitive assessment of the circumstances that led to this latest debacle, there is no doubt that a sequence of negligence and neglect of the basic lessons of the past, as well as, possibly, established standard operating procedures (SOPs), will have afflicted the deployment and actions of this unit, as was found to be the case in the March 11 incident in which 12 CRPF jawans were killed in the same district. In both incidents, the target units were deployed to protect road building parties, and were following a predictable routine in an area of significant and enduring vulnerability. 

*** In the Age of Nationalism, the World Takes a Back Seat

By Ambika Vishwanath

Contributor Perspectives offer insight, analysis and commentary from Stratfor’s Board of Contributors and guest contributors who are distinguished leaders in their fields of expertise.

Editor's Note:

The Global Affairs column is curated by Stratfor's board of contributors, a diverse group of thinkers whose expertise inspires rigorous and innovative thought. Their opinions are their own and serve to complement and even challenge our beliefs. We welcome that challenge, and we hope our readers do too.

Last month, India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, voted the nation's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power. The party then selected a deeply divisive figure from within its ranks to serve as Uttar Pradesh's chief: Yogi Adityanath, at best a Hindu fundamentalist and at worst a politician capable of splitting his state and country along religious lines. The appointment doesn't bode well for a nation with a long and bloody history of religious violence. But in some ways, it's also hardly surprising.

*** Has AQAP Traded Terrorism for Protection?

By Scott Stewart

As I've often said before, some of the most interesting stories to come across my desk are those from abroad that the U.S. mainstream media has failed to pick up. A recent article by Norwegian news outlet Verdens Gang (VG) only reminded me of that fact when it reported it had been in contact with an unidentified member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The piece, written by Erlend Ofte Arntsen, raised some interesting points — not least of which was the suggestion that the Yemeni al Qaeda franchise has set aside its mission of conducting attacks in the West.

** Cyber Warfare Beyond Domains

JACQUELYN G. SCHNEIDER

In 2010, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III made a pivotal decision for the future of cyberspace and the U.S. military: He saw to it that the U.S. Department of Defense declared cyberspace a “domain” of warfare.

This decision created the organizational impetus for the DoD to organize and equip forces to defend and attack from cyberspace. Lynn anticipated that the future of warfare would be determined by competitions for information and that without the ability to organize for missions in cyberspace, the DoD would be unable to ensure the digital freedom it needed to win modern wars. Since that time, the DoD has not only developed an overarching Cyber Strategy and stood up an entire Cyber Command with more than 6,000 personnel, and has also brought to initial operating capability 133 teams for its Cyber Mission Force. Under the auspices of the cyberspace domain, the DoD has made huge strides to defeat and deter adversaries in cyberspace.

A First: India Successfully Tests BrahMos Supersonic Land-Attack Cruise Missile

By Ankit Panda

On Friday, the Indian Navy successfully carried out the first-ever test of a supersonic land-attack cruise missile (LACM). A “land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired for the first time from an Indian Navy’s stealth frigate, off the eastern coast, at a land target,” an unnamed Indian Ministry of Defense source noted. To date, the only variants of the BrahMos tested by the Indian Navy were the anti-ship variants.

The Indian Navy released a video of the launch that shows the missile’s successful vertical launch ejection from the INS Teg, a Talwar-class stealth frigate, successful directional engine engagement, and, ultimately, successful boost and horizontal flight.

“The land-attack variant of BrahMos provides Indian warships the capability to precisely neutralize selected targets deep inland, far away from the coast, from stand-off ranges at sea,” an Indian Navy source told the Times of India. “The maiden firing significantly enhances the Navy’s prowess and places India in the club of a select few nations to have this capability. Majority of our frontline warships, like the Kolkata-class of destroyers and Teg-class of stealth frigates, are capable of firing this missile,” he added.

Somalia’s Pirates Are Back in Business

BY JASON PATINKIN

NAIROBI — After being all but stamped out by international naval forces following its late-2000s heyday, piracy has made a sudden return to the Horn of Africa. In the past month, there have been six suspected piracy incidents near Somalia, five of them successful, including three in the last week. That’s compared with zero successful attacks in 2016.

Three more murky maritime incidents off the coast of Somalia’s Galmudug state, where suspected illegal fishing vessels paid “fines” that may in fact have been ransoms, suggest that piracy has rebounded on a scale even larger than previously reported.

Unmasking the Unmaskers

What Susan Rice did used to be unusual, but it was encouraged by years of expanding access to signals intelligence.

“Now it’s in the original home of piracy, in an area they thought they cleaned up,” said John Steed, a senior maritime expert at the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime. “It’s very disappointing.”

The spike in banditry on the high seas off the Horn is a blow to the decades-long battle to stem piracy there, and bad news for the international shipping industry, which transports $700 billion worth of cargo through the dangerous corridor each year. It’s also a stark reminder that one of the main drivers of piracy, rampant illegal fishing that depletes local fish stocks and drives some fishermen to take up arms, remains as big a problem as ever.

Appoint GOC-in-C/Corps Commanders on basis of merit, not ‘residual service’: MoD panel

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina

The panel observed that litigation is pending before various benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal related to the non-grant of promotion/pay benefits to senior officers of the Army due to lack of residual service as per rules in vogue.

A panel on military reforms has recommended to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to review the current policy of appointing Army Commanders (GOC-in-C) and Corps Commanders on the basis of their ‘residual service’ in the Army which depends more upon the matter of chance and “fortuitous condition of the date of birth” instead of merit and capability.

The panel has asked the government to consider the feasibility of examining the issue in depth where a deserving officer misses the chance to command a Corps or an become the GOC-in-C of a command just because he falls short of the number of years of service that is left with him before retirement.

Is It Time for America and Afghanistan to Part Ways?

Daniel R. DePetris

It is unlikely that Trump will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but he should reevaluate America's role in the country.

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for such a long period of time that it’s almost become a ritual for a new administration to take a bottom-up, comprehensive look at America’s war strategy during its first two months on the job. The movie has been repetitively played over the last decade and a half: the generals running the war are ordered by the new president and his national security adviser to assess whether the plan is working; the generals conduct the review, which usually concludes with the commanders requesting more U.S. troops on the ground; and the administration (with varying degrees of resistance) eventually provides the commanders the authority and resources that they have forwarded to the White House. President Obama was a bit of anomaly in this regard. He did, after all, set a timeline for troop withdrawals that the Pentagon wasn’t especially pleased about. But even Obama authorized nearly fifty thousand additional American troops into the conflict during his first year in office.

Pakistan and the Panama Papers Verdict


The long awaited Panama Papers verdict on 20 April, 2017, by the five-judge bench of Pakistan's Supreme Court has stopped short of disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and given him a temporary reprieve by ordering investigation by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of officials, including those from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), within 60 days, under Court supervision.

The 3-2 split verdict suggests that while there may have been enough substance to justify that Sharif may not have been either `sadiq’ (honest) or `ameen’ (trustworthy), thus meriting disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of their Constitution, this power could not be exercised by the Supreme Court in its `original jurisdiction’ powers under Art 184(3), as it did not relate to a question of public importance related to a Fundamental Right. It purports though, that there were enough grounds to believe that the prime minister and his family members had obfuscated the money trail about the off-shore accounts and especially, the transaction pertaining to purchase of the Mayfair flats in London. 

The JIT has been tasked to work on a `thirteen point’ list of items pertaining to the money trail covering the setting up of the Gulf Steel Mill in Dubai; subsequent sales in Saudi Arabia and Qatar; and details of purchase transactions of the Mayfair flats. The judgment virtually dismisses the veracity of the Qatari Sheikh, Jabbar al Thani’s bailout letters about the money transactions. It also opens up the possibilities of re-opening of the Hudaibiya Paper Mills money laundering investigations of the early 1990s by either the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) or the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The role of NAB Chief Qamar Zaman in not challenging the September 2014 Lahore High Court verdict exonerating the Sharifs in the Hudaibiya case has been castigated. The JIT’s would now be `a criminal investigation’, which would have to be placed before a fresh bench of the Supreme Court to finally decide on the matter.

Kabul and the Challenge of Dwindling Foreign Aid


This report offers a comprehensive look at the capital city of Kabul and its unique role in Afghanistan’s transition away from more than a decade of foreign occupation and violence. Social tensions are simmering just under the surface in the capital, even more so than in other Afghan cities, and have the potential to foment serious unrest. Yet, if there is a place in the country that offers the potential for mobilization, technical and intellectual capacity, communication, and acceptance by the rest of the country, it is Kabul. 

Summary 

Afghanistan’s capital city is a natural focal point for the country’s transition away from more than a decade of foreign occupation. 

Kabul’s economy is foundering. Developing new policies to stimulate investment and reorient production and trade on a more sustainable basis is critical. 

Economic competition over scanty resources has the potential to foment serious unrest in a city already simmering with tensions. Better urban planning and management would help allay tensions. 

Distribution of public services has conspicuous room for improvement. Receipt depends on location but is uncertain: poor households receive the least, health care is inferior, electricity is unreliable, waste collection is a shambles, and water is available but controlled by private parties. 

The Real Risk of US Military Force Against North Korea

By Daniel Amick

Escalating tension between the United States and North Korea has prompted fevered public focus on the possibility of war — even nuclear war — on the Korean Peninsula. The risk is real, and observers are right to emphasize it. Amid the debate, however, another potential scenario remains underexplored: That American use of military force against North Korea might not change much at all. This troubling possibility is not as unlikely as it may seem and would damage U.S. influence in East Asia and around the world. Washington would find itself back where it started, but with a less credible military threat to drive North Korea and other rogue states to the negotiating table.

Washington’s recent posturing aims to force North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to decide once and for all whether his nuclear and missile programs are worth the mounting cost. It attempts to present Kim with a binary — almost apocalyptic — choice: back down immediately and engage with the United States on Washington’s terms, or risk an all-out war that brings down his regime.

To sharpen the decision point, President Donald Trump has prodded China to increase economic and political pressure on Kim and has signaled that he will address the North Korean threat unilaterally if necessary. Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the toughening U.S. stance this week in Seoul, declaring that the “era of strategic patience” is over. He pointed to U.S. airstrikes earlier this month in Syria and Afghanistan as demonstrations of American “strength and resolve.”