21 January 2018

Eastern India's Embrace of China

By Tridivesh Singh Maini

In recent years, a number of Indian states, including, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have been proactively reaching out to Chinese provinces, seeking foreign direct investment. Chief ministers of various states, cutting across party lines, have been visiting China in recent years, such as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s 2016 visit to China. The India-China Forum of State Provincial Leaders, which was inaugurated during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s China visit, was initiated with an eye on promoting robust links between Chinese provinces and Indian states. There have been efforts on both sides to explore new opportunities, and look at underexplored investment destinations. For India, that means looking beyond the usual destinations of Guangzhou or Shanghai; on the Chinese side, the effort has been to look beyond Maharashtra, Gujarat, and southern Indian states.

Why Haj Subsidy Is Not Comparable To What The Government Spends On Indic Religious Events

It is not surprising that as soon as the National Democratic Alliance government announced an end to the Haj subsidy earlier this week, the “secular” media popped the question: what about the subsidies paid for Hindu pilgrims going to Manasarovar? And what about the crores spent on the Kumbh melas? India’s rising mini-Jinnah, Asaduddin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, even asked what about Article 290A, which promises all of Rs 46.5 lakh to the Travancore Devaswom Board.

China’s clout grows in South Asia, but can India raise its game?

Harsh V. Pant

Harsh V. Pant says the Chinese offers of economic cooperation and infrastructural development in India’s own backyard are reshaping regional relationships, and are a test of India’s own global ambitions The past year has marked a turning point in Sino-Indian relations in more ways than one. If 2017 began with India taking a strong stance against China’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative”, it ended with China’s tightening grip in South Asia. In between was the 73-day long Doklam stand-off between Asia’s two giants. The year’s events underscore the challenges for this bilateral relationship in ways few would have anticipated in the recent past. India and China increasingly jostle with each other for strategic space. And South Asia is fast emerging a theatre of Sino-Indian rivalry.

INS Arihant Accident Raises Questions About the Sustainability of India's SSBN Force

By Robert Farley

As news emerged of an accident that may have damaged INS Arihant, it’s worth considering just how difficultgetting a sea-based nuclear deterrent off the ground (or under the sea) can be. India has embarked on the pursuit of an SSBN force much differently than any previous nuclear power, and even other navies have struggled to make it work. The idea of putting part of a nuclear deterrent on submarines emerged in the 1950s, as the United States and the USSR experimented with arming diesel-electric boats with rudimentary cruise and ballistic missiles. The value of nuclear propulsion was immediately obvious, as it allowed subs to remain on patrol for long periods of time.

India tests-fires Agni-V ballistic missile, a nuclear-capable ICBM

India tests-fires Agni-V, a nuclear-capable ICBM 

The nuclear-capable Agni-V is believe to be India’s most advanced ICBM. It was fired Thursday morning India time from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, the ministry said in a tweet.It called the test a “major boost” to the country’s defense capabilities.‘Stepping up the complexity’ India is believed to have around 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, according to the Federation of American Scientists, compared to several thousand for the US. Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies nuclear proliferation, said Thursday’s test did not demonstrate any “new capability, (this) was simply a developmental test before India inducts it into operational range."Narang said it’s possible India’s armed forces were testing the canister the missile is launched out of, as well as its ejection, flight performance and accuracy – a "regular technical test in that regard."Ajai Shukla, a New Delhi-based defense analyst and former Indian army colonel, said the country has been "gradually stepping up the complexity of the testing process."The Agni-V has been tested five times since 2012, with the most recent being in December 2016

What Pakistan's Decision to Pull Out of a Mega Dam Project Tells Us About the Future of CPEC

By Umair Jamal

About a month ago, Pakistan withdrew its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project citing strict monetary conditions on Beijing’s part as being against the country’s national interests. The fact that an energy-starved country like Pakistan has pulled out of a dam project that it has not been able to complete on its own for years is significant. While the exclusion of a single major project doesn’t mean that the whole infrastructure scheme between the two countries is in danger, observers warn that Beijing’s strict monetary conditions have landed the future of Pakistan’s whole economy in a tight spot. The whole process of Chinese-funded projects has not been transparent. There are alarming reports about the levels of debt these secret dealings will impose on Pakistan.

What Pakistan's Decision to Pull Out of a Mega Dam Project Tells Us About the Future of CPEC

By Umair Jamal

About a month ago, Pakistan withdrew its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project citing strict monetary conditions on Beijing’s part as being against the country’s national interests. The fact that an energy-starved country like Pakistan has pulled out of a dam project that it has not been able to complete on its own for years is significant. While the exclusion of a single major project doesn’t mean that the whole infrastructure scheme between the two countries is in danger, observers warn that Beijing’s strict monetary conditions have landed the future of Pakistan’s whole economy in a tight spot. The whole process of Chinese-funded projects has not been transparent. There are alarming reports about the levels of debt these secret dealings will impose on Pakistan.

China prepares to deploy nuclear submarines at Pakistan's Gwadar Port: True face of CPEC?

China has already begun work on infrastructure required to station nuclear submarines at the Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan. This vindicates India's long-standing discomfort over the possibility that the true purpose of China's involvement in Gwadar is strategic more than trade. Gwadar Port, which China has financed and built, would give Beijing the direct strategic access and to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) that it has always craved, and give it blue water naval capability. The stationing of a submarine fleet there would also allow China to keep close tabs on the operations and influence of the Indian Navy.

The Risk of a Nuclear-Tinged South Asian Crisis Is Rising

By Sameer Lalwani and Hannah Haegeland

The latest U.S. spat with Pakistan, initiated by President Donald Trump’s inaugural tweet of 2018, suggests that the recently revamped U.S. South Asia strategy may already be in jeopardy. The South Asia strategy was in some ways a test run for the National Security Strategy (NSS). As the first major strategy review conducted by the Trump administration, it began as a review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, but eventually expanded over nearly six months into a U.S. strategy for the region. Both reflect that the risks of South Asian crises are high on the list of U.S. concerns. Trump’s speech announcing the new South Asia strategy on August 21, 2017, stated that “Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.” The subsequent NSS released in December described India and Pakistan as “two nuclear-armed states…present[ing] some of the most complicated national security challenges.” The implication of course is that conflict between India and Pakistan — which have fought four wars, numerous skirmishes, and regularly exchange fire across their disputed border — could potentially result in a mushroom cloud.

How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms


Last year, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte made an announcement to great fanfare: The university would soon open a branch of the Confucius Institute, the Chinese government-funded educational institutions that teach Chinese language, culture and history. The Confucius Institute would “help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world,” says Nancy Gutierrez, UNC Charlotte’s dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and “broaden the University’s outreach and support for language instruction and cultural opportunities in the Charlotte community,” according to a press release.

China’s involvement in Africa is changing from “business only” to include peacekeeping and other political interests.

By Felipe Cruvinel

It would be tempting to write off the Chinese-built Doraleh port in Djibouti, inaugurated in late May, as another phase of Beijing’s African investment spree. China’s state companies have spent years entrenching themselves in the continent’s shipping, mining and defense industries. The port, however, adds a whole new dimension to China’s role in the most tangible of ways: an adjacent military base, currently under construction, which represents Beijing’s first permanent overseas installation and may bring an end to its long-held policy of “non-intervention” across the African continent, from the Horn of Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Long home to French, US, and Japanese forces, Djibouti has found its niche in its strategic position atop the shipping lanes connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Its relative stability in the fractious region belies an authoritarian government ruling over an ethnically divided nation. Since 1999, President Guelleh’s tenure has been marked by reliable economic growth at the expense of individual freedoms.

Here’s How to Stop Squelching New Ideas, Eric Schmidt’s Advisory Board Tells DoD

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“DoD does not have an innovation problem; it has an innovation adoption problem,” reads one of the new recommendations from the Defense Innovation Board. It even has an “innovation theater” problem: the preference for small cosmetic steps over actual change. The advisory is chaired by former Alphabet chief executive Eric Schmidt. Their latest series of recommendations, to be voted on and then (after a successful vote) delivered to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, suggests that the Pentagon too often tends to squelch its new ideas with outdated bureaucratic models and obsolete cultural notions. Obtained exclusively by Defense One before the meeting, A draft of several new recommendations include:

ASEAN’S Continuing South China Sea Dilemma – Analysis

By Mico A. Galang*
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“There is currently no alternative to ASEAN’s convening power in Asia [since the] great powers are not capable of leading Asian regional institutions because of mutual mistrust and a lack of legitimacy,” Amitav Acharya argued. Albeit a loose grouping of diverse countries, ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a key player in shaping the multilateral architecture of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Indeed, ASEAN is at the center of various multilateral platforms—which include the major powers like the United States (US) and China—such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN-Plus Three (APT), ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM), among others.

So The Eurozone Is Finally Recovering? Think Again!

by Elliott Morss
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For example, Derek Halpenny comments as follows:
In the second quarter of 2017, annual real growth in gross domestic product rose above 2 per cent for the first time since 2011. The Eurozone unemployment rate is also falling more sharply than expected. Recent data from the ECB reveal that foreign investors bought a record €238bn worth of Eurozone equities between May and July of this year....Because of fluctuations in the exchange rate, US investors have experienced an 8.1 per cent loss, while the S&P 500 is up 28.5%....Investors have woken up to the Eurozone recovery. They look set to stay.

Avoiding Armageddon in Korea Or Launching a War for the Ages

Most people intuitively get it. An American preventive strike to wipe out North Korea’s nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, or a commando raid launched with the same goal in mind, is likely to initiate a chain of events culminating in catastrophe. That would be true above all for the roughly 76 million Koreans living on either side of the Demilitarized Zone. Donald Trump, though, seems unperturbed. His recent contribution to defusing the crisis there: boasting that his nuclear button is “bigger and more powerful” than that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Exclusive: Here Is A Draft Of Trump’s Nuclear Review. He Wants A Lot More Nukes.

By Ashley Feinberg

In his first year in office, President Barack Obama gave a landmark address in Prague in which he famously affirmed “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” The commitment to total nuclear disarmament was a major departure from the George W. Bush administration — the first time, in fact, that the United States had declared a nuclear-free world a major policy goal.



The Pentagon plans to build two new nuclear weapons to keep up with the modernizing arsenals of Russia and China, according to a comprehensive Department of Defense review on the U.S. military’s nuclear capabilities, sparking heated debate about the strategy: Will it bolster the U.S. military's ability to deter threats, or make a nuclear war more likely?  "While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction," an unclassified draft of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states. "The United States must be capable of developing and deploying new capabilities, if necessary, to deter, assure, achieve U.S. objectives if deterrence fails, and hedge against uncertainty."

U.S., Iran: The Nuclear Deal Survives Another 120 Days

In Stratfor's 2018 Annual Forecast, we wrote that the United States' continued hard-line policy toward Iran would jeopardize the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action but that the nuclear deal would survive the year. U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to approve the deal, while also promising not to renew it again and pursuing further sanctions against Iran, confirms that forecast.

The Slippery Task of Balancing Supply and Demand in the Oil Market

Russia and many OPEC members view higher prices with cautious optimism. They've tried to curb production enough to keep oil prices stable without curbing it so much so as to direct investment to North American shale oil production or alternative energies. There are conflicting views about how much U.S. production has actually increased and how sustainable the increase is, but many producer countries remain concerned. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring a massive productivity boom

What good is technology?

I believe technology serves us best when it gives us more time to do things that are uniquely human. This includes activities that are enjoyable, creative, and productive.

For nations and societies, the “good” or benefit of technology is often expressed in economic terms, in measures such as workplace productivity and business growth.

As we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital transformation of life as we know it, the potential benefits and risks of this new era are in ongoing discussion, in Davos and elsewhere.

Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms

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A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks. For decades, American presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States. But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.

As America’s Nukes and Sensors Get More Connected, the Risk of Cyber Attack Is Growing

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Building nuclear weapons and warning systems that can be relied upon is harder than it was during the Cold War, thanks to the growing number of digital connections between various parts of the nuclear enterprise. Those links are intended to improve everything from commanders’ response times to the accuracy of missile defenses, but they also provide more avenues of attack and make it harder to know your exact level of readiness, according to new reports from U.S. Air Force advisors and a London think tank. 

Time to Get Serious about Hardware Cybersecurity

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities should be the kick in the pants that moves the US government past wishful thinking.  When we hear about a new cyber vulnerability, we often think of software bugs or poorly written code — serious problems to be sure, yet typically solved with an appropriate patch. But fixing hardware problems like the recently discovered vulnerabilities in chips made by Intel, ARM, AMD, and Qualcomm is generally far more expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive. Eliminating the threat posed by the Meltdown and Spectre exploits, for example (and despite the reassurances being issued by major technology companies) will likely take more just a software patch. The fix will probably require some sort of hardware replacement in each of the millions of devices and systems that use these ubiquitous chips: laptops, smartphones, cloud servers, critical infrastructure control systems, weapons from missiles to fighter jets, other defense-related systems, and more.

CSA MiIley Bets On ‘Radical’ Tech, Promises No More FCS

CRYSTAL CITY: The Army needs revolutionary technologies from robot tanks to a long-range super-rifle, the Chief of Staff said today — and it can get them without repeating the mistakes that doomed high-tech programs in the past. By reforming the acquisition bureaucracy, embracing commercial technology and rigorously prototyping new tech to work out bugs, Gen. Mark Milley said, the Army can improve 10-fold on its current weapons without falling into the pitfalls that doomed its last attempt to leap ahead, the canceled Future Combat System.

What’s Behind Vietnam’s New Military Cyber Command?

By Prashanth Parameswaran

On Monday, Vietnam officially announced what the government characterized as a designated cyberspace operations command. The development was just the latest in a series of moves we have seen from the Southeast Asian state as it seeks to boost its capabilities to respond to growing challenges in the cyber realm. Vietnamese officials have repeatedly stressed that a confluence of several trends, including the increasing number of Vietnamese going online and the emphasis on the fourth industrial revolution, presents opportunities but also major challenges for Hanoi, especially in the cyber realm where opponents can use various means to sabotage the regime. Not unlike some of its other Asian neighbors, the Vietnamese government has come to recognize that cyber is a critical fifth combat area for the country to master, following land, water, air, and space.

Becoming an Officer and a Gentleman

By Mark Thompson 
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Have no fear, Air Force Academy cadet: the service is seeking outside help to calm those Aim-High-society jitters. The Colorado Springs, Colo., academy “has a requirement for a comprehensive etiquette training program instructing cadets and staff in military protocol for social and business situations as well as the skills they need to succeed in the U.S. Air Force and in life,” it said in a Thursday contract solicitationThat’s because being an Air Force officer is not all tarmac, cockpits and ready rooms. According to the academy, it’s also “table etiquette (settings, seating, decorum, conversation), the art of conversation (tact and diplomacy, small talk, use of proper language style, body language and non-verbal communication), social conduct in stressful situations, leadership roles outside the military structure, and ceremonies.”

20 January 2018

Modi govt saddling India’s military with more bureaucracy


Recent media reports indicate that India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has decided to allow private companies to manage and operate all Army Base Workshops (ABWs) and station workshops in eight cities across six states. The scheme is called GOCO (Government Owned, Contractor Managed). Ostensibly, the move is part of a major restructuring by the government of India to modernize the military. It claims that this will sharpen the teeth (fighting units), while shortening the tail (logistics). But if one takes a closer look the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, substantial reforms haven’t even taken off. The Modi administration, despite being in charge since May 2014, has not even commenced the process to define a national-security strategy.

China and India: An Emerging Gulf in Infrastructure Plans

By N. Janardhan

As 2017 drew to a close, Beijing made two surprising proposals to further the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): one, extending the China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation (CPEC) to Afghanistan; and two, linking Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar Ports. These propositions assume significance because as BRI continues to hog the global limelight, India has been quietly promoting its own North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC). These infrastructure plans not only intensify Sino-Indo competition — even potentially working at cross-purposes — but also risk duplicating partnership opportunities for several countries, including those in the Gulf interested in contributing to the projects.

Is China really building a military base in the northern province of Afghanistan?

By Kemel Toktomushev

Beijing has long refrained from engaging militarily beyond its borders. However, as some recent reports suggest, this situation may soon change. Ferghana News reported that China will build a military base in the northern province of Afghanistan, and, according to the news agency, the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan is already expecting a Chinese expert delegation to discuss the location and further technicalities for the base. If these reports are true, China will fully fund the new military base in Badakhshan, covering all material and technical expenses, including both lethal and nonlethal weaponry and equipment.

Rohingyas and the Unfinished Business of Partition

As Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) celebrated70 years of independence in January 2018, the “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing unfolding in the northwestern part of the country continued. The plight of the Bengali-speaking Muslim population of Rakhine state (formerly Arakan province), which can be traced back to the 19th century, follows the larger pattern of violent ethnic conflicts rooted in religion, language, and mass migration that have plagued the Indian subcontinent immediately prior to and soon after its 1947 Partition.

China Is Hard At Work Developing Swarms Of Small Drones With Big Military Applications


Amass drone attack on Russian forces in Syria has highlighted the very real danger that small unmanned aircraft increasingly pose, even in the hands of non-state groups. At the same time, it underscores how small drone swarms could be a game-changing capability for larger nation states, including the United States’ near-peer opponents, such as China, who are already developing this technology in more structured environments.

As North Korea Goes Nuclear, U.S.-China Relations Sour

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The decision to attack North Korea or to allow its government to acquire nuclear weapons was always a choice between the lesser of two evils. One option brings with it the death and destruction that come with war. The other option brings with it the chance, however remote, that the United States could be nuked by an enemy state. Both options bring an additional consequence that must be taken into account: a worsening of U.S.-China relations. China promised to help with North Korea so that the U.S. wouldn’t have to choose either evil. China has failed, and the U.S. appears to be moving toward a decision to accept a nuclear North Korea. That, in turn, creates yet another decision the U.S. must make: whether to hold China accountable.

As North Korea Goes Nuclear, U.S.-China Relations Sour

By Jacob L. Shapiro
Source Link

The decision to attack North Korea or to allow its government to acquire nuclear weapons was always a choice between the lesser of two evils. One option brings with it the death and destruction that come with war. The other option brings with it the chance, however remote, that the United States could be nuked by an enemy state. Both options bring an additional consequence that must be taken into account: a worsening of U.S.-China relations. China promised to help with North Korea so that the U.S. wouldn’t have to choose either evil. China has failed, and the U.S. appears to be moving toward a decision to accept a nuclear North Korea. That, in turn, creates yet another decision the U.S. must make: whether to hold China accountable.

China’s big favor

According to Bloomberg, China is considering whether to slow, or even stop, purchases of U.S. Treasuries. At $3.14 trillion, China holds the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves. It is also the largest underwriter of U.S. debt. Financial experts and political observers have long worried that becoming financially dependent on an unfriendly and rival nation is not good for the U.S. in the long term. In the short term, however, should Beijing choose to pull back its major underwriting of America’s $20 trillion debt, it could force politicians to do something they have heretofore seemed incapable of doing: halt spending and start reforming or eliminating unnecessary and outmoded government programs.

Africa Should Think Twice About Accepting China's Aid

By Ibrahim Anoba

A recent report on Chinese loans and aid published by the College of William & Mary found that Beijing has disbursed $350 billion across the world since 2000. Out of that substantial figure, Africa received $94 billion, including $3 billion in the form of foreign aid. While China remains secretive in most of its dealings in Africa, its financial assistance has increased in a similar way to how U.S. funds to Africa grew in the 1980s, a process that created economic problems for the latter. Much of the continent is still recovering from the burden of U.S. foreign loans, and contemporary Chinese activities could condemn it to carry a new and similar debt load. It also threatens to increase corruption and build African economies dependent on China.


By Peter Pomerantsev

The other week, I was looking at a photograph of a penis-shaped vegetable, wondering about its significance for geopolitics. The picture, and thousands like it, had been posted by a pro-Kremlin Twitter account popular in Germany. But between images of bum-like pumpkins, the handle retweeted horrific photographs of children wounded or killed as a result of the war in East Ukraine, their fates blamed on Kiev and the West. The amusing vegetables were there to pull in followers; the other images to promote a political cause. Later the Twitter feed transformed, instead retweeting Kremlin state media and far-right parties.

I Heard Their Screams, and Then They Were Gone'

By Fiona Ehlers
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Seven Muslim refugees from Africa were recently convicted in Italy of throwing Christians from a dinghy on the journey across the Mediterranean. Prosecutors say it was a crime of faith. But was it? Eight men from Africa step in front of the prison gate. It is a dark night and they look around expectantly. It is their first step into freedom, a moment for which they have been waiting for quite some time - the end of a journey during which they have faced more than human beings can bear: crossing the desert,the war in Libya, fleeing across the sea, people drowning, and then two years locked away in this high-security prison near Palermo, Sicily.

Korea's Place In History

by Rodger Baker
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"In the dynamic world of international relations in which the struggle for power among the great is the basic reality, the ultimate fate of the small buffer state is precarious at best." The approach of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, may bring a respite, however brief, from the perception of imminent war on the Korean Peninsula. Feeling squeezed by the United States and China, the two sides of the 38th parallel agreed to resume talks with each other. Seoul and Pyongyang alike face economic pressure from Beijing, after all, and both fear Washington's military posturing, because while North Korea would be the target of a U.S. preventive war,

While Germany Slept


Many Germans may prefer the modesty and incrementalism that have characterized Angela Merkel’s past chancellorships. But a minority government forced to muster coalitions of the willing to address the critical issues confronting Germany and Europe could escape the constraints of such expectations, enabling much-needed reform. BERLIN – Few people outside Germany are familiar with the caricature of themselves that many Germans hold in their minds. Far from the aggressive bully of twentieth-century war propaganda, the perfectionist engineer of Madison Avenue car advertisements, or the rule-following know-it-all of the silver screen, the German many picture today is a sleepy-headed character clad in nightgown and cap. Sometimes clutching a candle, this German cuts a naïve, forlorn figure, bewildered by the surrounding world.

Here Is What America Should Learn from Hawaii's Missile Scare

Wallace C. Gregson
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Hawaii endured a now-famous false alarm on Saturday. The alarm this time was about an inbound ballistic missile, not a tsunami. Ridicule of Hawaii’s system and management followed quickly, validating the cliché that no good deed goes unpunished. Hawaii’s effort should be applauded, not scorned, but dismissive scorn is easier. Politicians demand action to find cause, and assurance that it won’t happen again. Translation: Fire the poor blighter who pushed the wrong button, fire all the officials in the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s chain of command from the top to the button, and change the system to require more supervisory layers. Washington’s response is “not our problem, this is a state issue.” Perhaps this belated recognition of the nature of our federal system—with states’ rights and responsibilities—will turn out to be a good thing. But now it sounds like disregard.

Europe’s biggest test will come in Poland

Europe’s biggest test will come in Poland The country has become a proving ground for the strength of populism across the west GIDEON RACHMAN Add to myFT Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share on Whatsapp (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Gideon Rachman JANUARY 15, 2018 189 Poland was where the second world war started and where the Soviet empire began to crumble. Now the country may once again play a crucial role in European history. A struggle between the European Commission in Brussels and the Polish government is shaping up as an existential test for the EU. In December, for the first time ever, the commission started a formal procedure that could strip a member state of its voting rights. 

DISA preps for the ‘terabyte of death’

By: Amber Corrin 

When Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn retires as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency next month, he’ll leave behind a tangle of threats to the agency’s networks and a host of cutting-edge commercial technologies to offset them. Naturally, those networks are a target for attackers and DISA leaders such as Lynn are anticipating a worst case scenario. “We call it the terabyte of death,” he said. “We’re preparing for it, we know it’s coming and it’s just a matter of time before it hits us.” This approach is indicative of the evolution of threats. “When I first took over as director, we’d get a 1-gig to 2-gig attack at the internet access point, and we thought, ‘Ooh that’s a big deal.’ And we did all the things we were supposed to do. Fast forward a couple years, now we get 600-gig attacks on the internet access points. Unique, different ways of attacking that we haven’t thought of before,” Lynn said.

NotPetya: From Russian Intelligence, With Love

Mathew J. Schwartz 

Citing no sources by name, The Washington Post report instead references "classified reports cited by U.S. intelligence officials." It says the CIA concluded last November with "high confidence" that Russia's GRU military intelligence agency was behind NotPetya, aka SortaPetya, Petna, ExPetr, Diskcoder.C, Nyetya and GoldenEye. The CIA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the report. European intelligence agencies also reportedly attributed NotPetya to the Kremlin, which may have been probing how quickly Ukraine could respond to a cyberattack. The Ukrainian government was quick to blame Russia for unleashing NotPetya. The Kremlin has denied those accusations.

Terrorists Could Use Teslas to Kill Us


It's a calm Saturday morning in August of next year. Suddenly, across the nation, 12,000 Tesla Model S sedans start up at the same time. They engage Tesla's vaunted autopilot feature and head out onto the road. Some of them make their way to local gas stations. Some to electrical substations. And then, as they approach, they accelerate to top speed. The explosions are fantastic as the Model S batteries rupture and spark fires, which ignite anything flammable in the area. The power grid in the Los Angeles area is brought down almost immediately. Hundreds of fires rage. America is under attack. This might sound like science fiction. It's not. * * *

Business​ ​Risk​ ​Intelligence​ ​-​ 2017​​ ​Review​,​ ​2018​ ​Flashpoints

by Grace Johansson

China leads the hacking charts with the highest combination of impact factors ticked off on a matrix combining the potential capability and impact of possible attacker groups, thus presenting the highest risk.  China leads the hacking charts with the highest combination of impact factors ticked off on a matrix combining the potential capability and impact of possible attacker groups, thus presenting the highest risk, forming one of three actors with a potential tier 6 catastrophic impact (alongside Russia and the Five Eyes) according to a new report by Flashpoint. The authors say that this Decision Report reinforces the need for decision makers inside the enterprise to incorporate Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) into their risk assessments and strategies.

Cyber-attacks are a top three risk to society, alongside natural disaster and extreme weather

By Danny Palmer

Nations' reliance on the internet and connected services means the potential damage from cyber-attacks is one of the biggest risks facing the world today, according to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). The threat of cyber-attacks and cyberwarfare sits behind only extreme weather events and natural disasters in terms of events likely to cause disruption in the next five years, according to the WEF's Global Risks Report 2018. The WEF is an international body which brings together business, political, academic, and other leaders to help shape the global agenda. The report highlights ransomware in particular as a cyber-threat, and says that 64 percent of all malicious phishing emails sent during 2017 contained file-encrypting malware.

A Year After Trump, Davos Elite Fear Cyberattacks and War

Stephen Morris 

The threat of large-scale cyberattacks and a “deteriorating geopolitical landscape” since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump have jumped to the top of the global elite’s list of concerns, the World Economic Forum said ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The growing cyber-dependency of governments and companies, and the associated risks of hacking by criminals or hostile states, has replaced social polarization as a main threat to stability over the next decade, according to the WEF’s yearly assessment of global risks, published Wednesday at Bloomberg LP’s new European headquarters in London. The Davos forum starts Jan. 23 in the Swiss ski resort. While the economic outlook has improved, nine in 10 of those surveyed said they expect political or trade clashes between major powers to worsen. Some 80 percent saw an increased chance of war.

Planning for Electronic Warfare - The Communication Problem

by Oliver B. Gagne

The purpose of this essay is to generate discussion regarding a new way to incorporate near-peer Electronic Warfare (EW) threats into the operations planning process. In my experience, maneuver commanders have been known to focus less on Electromagnetic Spectrum (EM)[i][ii] considerations in a decisive action environment. The root cause of this often boils down to a communication problem: On one side, the information owner must present information which can be difficult to deliver to decision makers in an impactful manner. On the other side, nearly 20 years of COIN operations and the habit of containing EW to a counter-IED role has created an institutional bias regarding the role of EW that must be overcome. EW is often cast aside during planning with the ever-ready catchall of “well, that’s METT-TC dependent.” In other words, we will get to it if it becomes an issue, but I do not see this as having an operational impact. There is little U.S and NATO experience opposing an adversary capable of employing EW measures against a friendly maneuver element. The operational impact has remained largely theoretical. That being the case, EM considerations have largely remained in the purview of the Cyber, Signal, and Air and Missile Defense communities, receiving much less subject matter expertise in battalion level infantry formations.