21 November 2017

ADVANCEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY AND CHANGES IN CHARACTER OF WAR

   ADVANCEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY AND CHANGES IN CHARACTER OF WAR
                                                             
                                                                                - Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

Introduction

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz outlined two facets of war: its nature, which remains constant under all circumstances; and its character, which encompasses the varying ways and means by which war is fought.

In December 1995, there were 16 million internet users in the entire world. In September 2016, there are about 3.8 billion – and growing every day. In only 21 years, half the world’s population became connected. The proliferation of technology into everything will radically change the future military and operational environment. In 2035-2050 the battlespace will be elongated and deepened – and hyper-connected. Engagements will occur at home station military bases through ports of debarkation to tactical assembly areas all the way to the adversary’s motor pool. From space to the ocean floor; from military to nonmilitary; from governmental to non-governmental; from state to nonstate; from physical to virtual. The operational area will be wherever effects are generated – and the array of stimuli that will generate effects is staggering. The interconnected and global nature of everything will produce physical and virtual effects that have tremendous range, saturation and immediacy – along with daunting complexity and stealth. More than ever before, the tactical fight will be influenced less by the tactical fighter and more by actors or organizations either unknown to the warfighters, or beyond their ability to affect. A hacked and corrupted computer server in the Defense Logistics Agency will have a disproportionally greater impact on a brigade’s combat readiness than an enemy’s attack on a main supply route.

Increased adversary reach and the ubiquitous battlespace in the future will mean freedom of action in all domains will be heavily contested and both sides will take asymmetric cross-domain approaches to offset overmatch. An advantage in fighter aircraft quantity and quality will be offset by adversary interdiction of airfields, radar spoofing, and cyber paralysis of air command and control. Overmatch in ground combat systems will be offset by multi-domain deception, cyber-corrupted logistics networks and swarms of autonomous lethal and non-lethal weapons. An advantage in strategic mobility will be offset by formidable anti-access capabilities, sophisticated information campaigns, and contested deployment that extend into service members’ homes, families and private lives.

We are approaching a period where commercial markets will cause bleeding edge technologies to spread faster than the key technologies of the past generation, such as stealth or precision guidance. The technologies that are part of the third offset strategy – artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, cyber, directed energy, and others. Militant groups are employing modified commercial drones to threaten ground forces, which represents an early manifestation of commercial diffusion informing cross-domain threats.

In general, the larger the commercial applications of a technology, the faster it spreads due to market forces. These emerging technologies are more like the combustion engine than a new type of rifle. They will be part of everything, and thus many will have access to them, from allies and partners to adversaries.

Today fast moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly transforming the nature of all aspects of society and human life – including the character of warfare. These trends include significant advances in science and technology, where new discoveries and innovations are occurring at a breakneck pace; a dizzying pace of human interaction and a world:


  • That is connected through social media and the “Internet of Things” and all aspects of human engagement where cognition, ideas, and perceptions, are almost instantaneously available.
  • Where economic disparities are growing between and within nations and regions; where changing demographics—like aging populations and youth bulges—and populations moving to urban areas and mega cities capable of providing all of the benefits of the technological and information-enabled advances.
  • With competition for natural resources, especially water, becoming more common.
  • And where geopolitical challenges in which near-peer competitors, regional hegemons, ideologically-driven non-state actors, and even super empowered-individuals are competing for leadership and influence in an ever-shrinking world.


The result is a conventional military power may find itself with the very real potential of being out-gunned, out-ranged, out-protected, outdated, out of position, and out of balance against their adversaries. These potential foes have had time to refine their approaches to warfare, develop and integrate new capabilities, and in some cases expedite growing changes in the character of warfare.

The Drivers

An assessment of the Operating Environment’s trajectory in future reveals two critical drivers : one dealing with rapid societal change spurred by breakneck advances in science and technology, the other with the art of warfare under these conditions, which will blur the differences in the art of war with the science of war. 

These drivers work along a continuum beginning in the present in a nascent form, and rapidly gaining momentum through a culmination point around 2050. First, the trends referenced above will create an OE marked by instability, which will manifest itself in evolving geopolitics, resurgent nationalism, changing demographics, and unease with the results of globalization creating tension, competition for resources, and challenges to structures, order, and institutions. Instability also will result from the rapid development of technology and the resulting increase in the speed of human interaction, as well as an increasing churn in economic and social spheres. A global populace that is increasingly attuned and sensitive to disparities in economic resources and the diffusion of social influence will lead to further challenges to the status quo and lead to system rattling events like the Arab Spring, the Color Revolutions in Eastern Europe, the Greek monetary crisis, BREXIT, and the mass migrations to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa, many of which will come with little warning. Also, the world order will evolve with rising nations to challenging the post Cold War dominance of the U.S.-led Western system. New territorial conflicts will arise in places like the South China Sea, compelling USA to seek new partnerships and alliances, while climate change and geopolitical competition will open up whole new theaters of operation, such as in the Arctic.

Global Trends and Challenges to Structure, Order, and Institutions 

   · Evolving geopolitics 

   · Resurgent nationalism 

   · Changing demographics 

   · Unease with globalization 

   · Competition for resources 

   · Challenges to structures, order, and institutions 

   · Rapid development of technology

   · Disparities in economic resources and social influence 

   · Perceived Relative Depravations

The second driver deals with the combination of this instability with adaptive, thinking adversaries who are modernizing, and will continue to modernize their capabilities and adjust them to this changing Operating Environment. Throughout this continuum, these adversaries will present an array of threats that will be lethal and will be presented across multiple domains (land, sea, air, space, and cyber.) Adversaries will operate in and among populations and in complex terrain, and endeavor to mitigate many of traditional technological advantages and force us to operate with degraded capabilities and take advantage of the infrastructure and other resources cities offer. They will adopt complex strategies that take advantage of a range of capabilities that deny us a conventional force-on-force fight unless the situation is advantageous to the adversary. They will use proxy forces that provide plausible deniability, yet directly allow them to not only shape the battlespace, but even achieve their objectives without risking a wider conflict. Similarly, they also may choose to work with, sponsor, or support terrorist or criminal entities to achieve a similar end. Adversaries will rely on strategic capabilities, such as weapons of mass destruction, information operations, and direct cyber-attacks. Space will become a contested domain.

Expanding Doctrine and Capabilities Our adversaries already are working to develop new methods and new means to challenge the United States. These efforts will only continue in future. We can expect to encounter: 

   · Multi-domain threats 

   · Operations in complex terrain, including dense urban areas and even megacities 

   · Hybrid Strategies / “Gray Zone” Operations 

   · Weapons of Mass Destruction 

   · Sophisticated anti-access/area denial complexes 

   · New weapons, taking advantage of advances in technology (robotics, autonomy, AI,       
    cyber, space, hypersonics etc.) 

   · The relationship and trade space between precision and mass 

   · Information as a decisive weapon

Future Trends

Recent decades have witnessed far-reaching changes in how people live, create, think, and prosper. Understanding of these changes is a prerequisite to further understand how the strategic security environment and the character of warfare itself transformed the present into the Era where the combination of technology, speed of human interaction, and the convergence in the realms of nanotechnology, quantum computing, biology and synthetic biology, neurological advancements, and the omnipresence of information moves us into the Era of Contested Equality.

Convergence. The impact of the development of so many new and potential revolutionary technologies is made all the more disruptive by the convergence phenomenon. Virtually every new technology is connected and intersecting to other new technologies and advances. The example of the contemporary “smart phone”, which connects advances in cellular telephones with a camera, gaming, miniaturized computing and the Internet has completely transformed, and in many ways disrupted contemporary life. Future convergences between various technological advances are likely to be equally disruptive and equally unpredictable, but the areas in which we foresee the most likely convergences are:

   · Biology and bio-engineering, to include optimizing human performance 

   · Neurologic enhancement 

   · Nanotechnology 

   · Advanced Material Sciences 

   · Quantum Computing 

   · Artificial Intelligence 

   · Robotics 

   · Additive Manufacturing

Potential Game Changers 

Evolutionary technologies that, if matured and fielded, can provide a decisive edge over an adversary unable to match the capability or equal the capacity. 

   · Advanced ATGM & MANPADS - Proliferate more rapidly than Active Protection  
     systems develop, putting armored vehicles and helicopters at risk. 

   · Robotics – 40+ countries develop military robots with some level of autonomy. 

   · Space - 50+ nations operating in space. Increasingly congested and difficult to monitor. 
     PNT at risk.

   · Chemical Weapons –Non-traditional agents developed to defeat detection and  
      protection capabilities. 

   · Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Denial, & Deception (C3D2) – Creates                     uncertainty and challenges multi-discipline intelligence. 

· Cannon/Rocket Artillery - Long range artillery, hardened GPS munitions defeat jamming. Point air defense systems defend against PGM. 

· Missiles – Developed for greater range and improved accuracy using inertial guidance.

 · Computing/Cyber - Human-Computer interaction is transformed. Processing power       increases exponentially. Big Data and Quantum Computing.

Revolutionary technologies that, when developed and fielded, will provide a decisive edge over adversaries not similarly equipped. This technological advantage will most probably be temporary. 

· Laser and Radio Frequency Weapons – Scalable lethal and non-Lethal directed energy weapons can counter Aircraft, UAS, Missiles, Projectiles, Sensors, and Swarms. 

· Swarms – Leverage autonomy, robotics, and artificial intelligence to generate “global behavior with local rules” for multiple entities – either homogeneous or heterogeneous teams. 

· Rail Guns and Enhanced Directed Kinetic Energy Weapons (EDKEW) – Non explosive electromagnetic projectile launchers provide high velocity/high energy weapons.

· Energetics – Provides increased accuracy and muzzle energy. 

· Synthetic Biology – Engineering and modification of biological entities has potential weaponization. 

· Internet of Things – Linked internet “things” create opportunity and vulnerability. Great potential benefits already found in developing U.S. systems also create a vulnerability.

· Power – Future effectiveness depends on renewable sources and reduced consumption. Small

Effect of Technology on Character of Warfare

The character of warfare will change. These changes included warfare that was contested in all domains, required faster decisions and decision analysis to be made, needed to take advantage of narrower – in terms of time and space – opportunities, often characterized as windows, saw the proliferation of WMD, occurred in complex, congested terrain, involved hybrid strategies and combatants, and was increasingly difficult to resolve conclusively. Warfare will be enhanced by more advanced, sophisticated capabilities, take advantage of artificial intelligence to improve decision-making and even further increase speed in terms of integration, decision-making, and operational imperatives, occur at even longer ranges, and deliver a range of effects whose impact and destructiveness are both broader and more precisely delivered. Unmanned systems, including advanced battlefield robotic systems acting both autonomously and as part of a wider trend in man-machine teaming means, will become increasingly common, could make up significant elements of a combatant force. In some cases, swarms of small, cheap unmanned systems will be used in novel ways, both offensively and defensively, creating targeting dilemmas for sophisticated, expensive defensive systems. Laser and radiofrequency weapons drawing upon small, lighter, and much more portable sources of power, will become more practical, and will further increase the ranges and lethality of direct fire weapons, particularly defensive weapons designed to counter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ground systems. Communications will be critical, and advances in quantum computing, networking, and the Internet of Things will make the need to communicate both easier, and more difficult in the face of the same technologies used to counter an enemy’s communications capabilities. 

Advances in hypersonic delivery systems, space systems, hypervelocity rail guns, and other systems, coupled with new types of conventional and unconventional warheads will dramatically increase the scope of battlefields, with precision strike effects capable of being delivered rapidly from a continent away. Advances in weapons of mass destruction, including the development of a range of nuclear payloads, advanced chemical weapons employing new technologies and understanding of chemistry and chemical engineering, and perhaps most significantly, biological weapons, present a devastatingly lethal and disruptive WMD threat profile. Exquisite precision weapons allow an adversary to regularly produce critical effects necessary to further their plan. Destruction of key nodes in an opposing force or enemy nation allows measured effects to produce desired conditions. The speed of engagements in this era – which routinely involve lasers, hypersonic weapons, cyber-attacks, and artificial intelligence – will far exceed the reaction time of humans. The decision-making process will require much greater speed; information and intelligence will need to be quickly gathered and assessed so that commanders can make the decisions at increasingly rapid rates. As a result, engagements will be fast, but campaigns could be protracted series of kinetic engagements or conflicts short of war.

No one nation will have an overwhelming technological advantage over its rivals. As a result, sophisticated information operations, enabled by advances in artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, detailed socio-political analysis, data analytics, and a detailed understanding of social media means that competitors will engage in a fight for information on a global scale. The information battle will be waged with well-crafted ideas and Human Evolution Boosted by Technology. Winning the war before the battle is fought through information operations will become an imperative, and land forces will need to contribute to perception management in the cognitive dimension as a core element of military operations.

The Changing Character of Warfare. 

Changes in the operational environment and technology that are so significant, extensive, and pervasive, that they collectively manifest a distinct, and transformed character of warfare that is faster, occurs at longer ranges, is more destructive, targets civilians and military equally across the physical, cognitive, and moral dimensions, and if waged effectively, secures its objectives before actual battle is joined. The nature of war, which has remained relatively constant from Thucydides through Clausewitz, to the Cold War and to the present, certainly remains constant. War is still waged because of fear, honor, and interest, and remains an expression of politics by other means. However, it becomes apparent that the character of warfare has changed to a point where other basic questions, such as those contemplating the very definition of war or those looking at whether fear or honor are removed as part of the equation. In future warfare does indeed look different from its early century model in several key areas

A Changed Character of Warfare

· The moral and cognitive dimensions are ascendant. 

· Integration across the DIME 

· Limitation of military force. 

· The primacy of information.

· Expansion of the Battle Area / hyper-destruction. 

· Ethics of warfare shift.

Homeland Sectors Vulnerable to Disruption

Targeting the Homeland allows an adversary to delay own ability to deploy or intervene in a conflict and directly target the nation’s political decision-making process and will to fight.

· Agriculture & food supply – Those areas affecting acquisition, processing and availability of foodstuff 

· Finance, banking and commerce – Disruption of financial networks, availability of funds, and confidence in markets…access to retail 

· Rule of Law / Government Institutions – Degrade confidence in the Government’s ability to provide functioning, stable, and legitimate law and order, services, and governance. 

· Transportation – Prolonged interruption of air, cargo and public sectors

· Medical – Loss of services, corruption of supply chain, inability to react to pandemics

· Water – Contamination of public supply, disruption of distribution and loss of access to water 

· Power - Disruption to the electromagnetic spectrum over wide areas and interdiction of power generation 

· Entertainment and Information – Attacks against arenas and public gathering places, prolonged internet denial, loss of confidence in journalism.

Conclusion

The ultimate drivers of outcome in the future will depend largely on the imminent decisions we make today with respect to strategy and policy, concepts, innovation, and adaptation, and our ability to become a fully integrated member of a whole-of-government, joint, and combined team designed to succeed under changing conditions. Although the future postulated in this paper is not certain, the trends we see demonstrates that the character of warfare is changing. For the nation to succeed, we must quickly learn and internalize this fact, and lay the groundwork today for success in the future.

[ TRADOC Paper on The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare ]

A Vision for India’s Future

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According to a Pew survey released this week, 88 percent of Indians hold a favorable view of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and 83 percent are satisfied with the state of the economy. Most notably, 70 percent said they were satisfied with the direction their country is moving in. Just 29 percent felt this way in 2013, which means there has been a seismic shift in public sentiment in India.

The Real Source of China's Soft Power

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I can imagine that American studio executives and foreign policy wonks breathed a sigh of relief when the 2016 film The Great Wall (directed by Zhang Yimou) “bombed” at the global box office. Representing a co-production between China and the United States through the Wanda Group’s recent acquisition of Legendary Entertainment, The Great Wall was meant to bring together American film making and marketing skills with Chinese capital in order to showcase China to the world. Starring Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe and Chinese star Jing Tian alongside Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, the film was rocked by controversy before its release, including accusations of whitewashing and a formulaic yet meaningless story. Earning $171 million in China and $163 million from the rest of the world including the United States, The Great Wall made a modest profit but nothing of the magnitude of The Fate of the Furious (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight(2017) or the Chinese production Wolf Warrior 2 (2017) which made 5.7 billion yuan domestically ($860 million).

Afghanistan’s Stabilization Can Ensure Maritime Security

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On November 5, a cargo train from Kokshetau, North Kazakhstan, carrying 30 containers of wheat, arrived in the Turkish harbor city of Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast. What made this event so notable was that this was the first train from Kazakhstan to use the new 826-kilometer-long Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, inaugurated in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku, on October 30. The ceremony in Kokshetau was attended by the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Recep Tayip Erdoğan and Ilham Aliyev, respectively. These heads of state were also accompanied by the prime ministers of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia— Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Abdulla Aripov and Giorgi Kvirikashvili (Inform.kz, November 5).

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With Mosul and other key cities now liberated from the horrible scourge of ISIS, Iraq stands at a crucial crossroads. Iraqis and Americans have squandered historic opportunities to build a new, stable and prosperous country together before. We must not let that happen again. The key danger, as before, is this: extremism combined with sectarianism build on each other in a vicious spiral. That dynamic, in the absence of a functional state, further polarizes populations within Iraq and produces and endless cycles of violence, which creates opportunities for foreign meddling and a deepening of the kinds of resentments and paranoias that led to the emergence of ISIS—and even Al Qaeda before that. We must secure military gains with a political victory. Otherwise, we risk the emergence of an ISIS 2.0 among embittered Sunni populations.

Pentagon data leak: Massive trove of global social media data left accidentally exposed online

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The Pentagon accidentally exposed classified US Department of Defense (DoD) databases containing information that the US gathered on social media users across the world. A security expert found three "publicly downloadable" Amazon S3 servers, one of which contained nearly 1.8 billion social media posts made by people across the globe, including Americans, which appears to have been collected by the DoD over nearly eight years.

The three publicly exposed S3 buckets were discovered by UpGuard security researcher Chris Vickery and were named "centcom-backup," "centcom-archive," and "pacom-archive."

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This article was originally published in Strategic Trends 2017 by the Center for Security Studies on 22 March 2017.

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Dealing with the Russian Bear: Improving NATO’s Response to Moscow’s Military Exercise Zapad 2017

By Guillaume Lasconjarias and Lukáš Dyčka


This article was originally published by Istituto Affari Internazionali on 12 October 2017.

Major military exercises are never a simple routine but carry important political significance. This is the case with the recent Russian military manoeuvres of Zapad 2017, which took place in Belarus as well as in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad – bordering the territory of two NATO Baltic States – on 14-20 September. The exercise was closely monitored by European and US military and political elites and caused considerable concern in Poland and the Baltic states.

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Russian Military Spreads Fake Intelligence

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While the investigation as to whether the Russian government coordinated its efforts with the Trump campaign is still ongoing, Freedom House’s 2017 Freedom of the Net report reveals that the United States wasn’t the only country whose election has been meddled with over the past year. According to Freedom House, online manipulation and disinformation played a key role in the elections in at least 18 countries between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017.

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20 November 2017

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Ali Shihabi explains what the media won’t about Saudi Arabia


Larry Kummer

Summary: This is the best analysis I have seen of the recent events in Saudi Arabia, which will shake the region and perhaps the world. It is by someone with deep knowledge of that nation. It is a perspective seldom seen in the US news media — but which matches the known facts and is consistent with history. However, remember when reading it that there are no neutrals among experts. The bottom line: change was necessary, since Saudi Arabia could not long continue as it was.

This past weekend, Saudi Arabia detained numerous members of the royal family, as well as current and former ministers and prominent businessmen, on charges of corruption. Many argued that the detentions constitute a thinly veiled attempt by the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to consolidate political power. However, this narrative misses the mark; the “purge” is not about removing political rivals who threatened MBS’s position as heir apparent but rather about sending a message to political and economic elites that their entitlement to extreme wealth and privilege, and their impunity, is coming to an end.

Monthly Summary of Russian Military and Security News


Despite being under all sorts of sanctions for bad behavior Russia is backing the Assad government of Syria (subject to even more sanctions and war crimes charges) in its efforts to be considered the legitimate government of Syria and able to invoke international law to order American (and other unwanted UN member) forces out of the country. Even before the 2011 Arab Spring and subsequent rebellion against the Assad government it was generally agreed that the Assad clan were bad people with decades of well-documented misbehavior to prove it. The 2011 rebellion would have won had it not been for regional curse of fanatic factionalism within the Islamic world.

William Lind: China’s fateful decision about North Korea


Larry Kummer

Summary: William Lind gives a brilliant analysis of the situation in East Asia — North Korea’s provocations, China’s fateful choices, and the response of our allies if they choose unwisely. Trump’s visit to Asia provides an opportunity for him to display Bismarck-level geopolitics.

America’s fixation on the threat from North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons evinces the usual American dive into the weeds. If we instead stand back a bit and look at the strategic picture, we quickly see that the North Korean threat to China is far greater than its threat to us.

Omar Ali: Islam vs. Western liberalism; only one can win

Larry Kummer

Summary: The clash of Islam and West has just began and none can see its end — or its consequences for us all. Here Omar Ali looks at Islam’s effect on the West, and draws some fascinating conclusions.From a demonstration in Kabul on 25 October 2009. 

“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such…. That is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

Can Two Nuclear Powers Fight a Conventional War?

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BY MARCUS WEISGERBER

The Pentagon just wargamed that scenario as part of its effort to determine what it needs for 21st-century deterrence.

As the U.S. military reviews the makeup of its nuclear arsenal, among the questions being asked is: Can two nuclear powers fight a conventional war without going nuclear?

Just last week, this scenario was among the mock battles when U.S. Strategic Command ran its annual Global Thunder nuclear wargame, Army Brig. Gen. Greg Bowen, the command’s deputy director of global operations, said Thursday at the Defense One Summit.

“It gets into a very difficult calculus,” Bowen said. “It’s clearly a place that we don’t want to go.”

Nudging the world

Some economists spend their professional lives in a cloud-cuckoo-land building abstract models of a rational economy that doesn’t exist, never existed, and never will exist. But Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who just won the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics, is that rare academic whose ideas not only address real-world problems but have also been put into effect. In the United Kingdom, for example, a “nudge unit” (actually, the Behavioural Insights Team) inspired by his work aims to develop policies helping citizens make better choices. It got its nickname from the title of the book Thaler wrote with Harvard’s Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, about applying behavioral economics to the functions of government. As Thaler said in a 2011 McKinsey Quarterly interview, “My number-one mantra from Nudge is, ‘Make it easy’”—one of many principles that are no less applicable to business. Read “Nudging the world toward smarter public policy: An interview with Richard Thaler.”