21 April 2018

China and Russia are 'aggressively pursuing' hypersonic weapons, and the US can't defend against them, top nuclear commander says

Amanda Macias 

America's top nuclear commander said the U.S. doesn't have defenses against hypersonic weapons. "Both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities," said Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Earlier this month, Russia announced a slew of new nuclear weapons as well as hypersonic missiles. America's top nuclear commander described a grim scenario for U.S. forces facing off against a new breed of high-speed weapons that Russia and China are developing. "We don't have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us," Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. This means that, as of now, the U.S. has to rely on deterrence against these so-called hypersonic weapons, he said.

U.S. politicians get China in Africa all wrong

By Deborah Bräutigam 

Loans from China helped Uganda build a speedy new road to its main airport. But critics say the country is now too deep in debt to Beijing. Deborah Bräutigam is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her latest book is Will Africa Feed China? In Washington, Republicans and Democrats generally look at China as a new imperial power in Africa: bad news for Africans. But is this really the case? Just before his visit to Africa last month, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson accused China of using “predatory loan practices,” undermining growth and creating “few if any jobs” on the continent. In Ethiopia, Tillerson charged the Chinese with providing “opaque” project loans that boost debt without providing significant training. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton sang the same tune, warning Africans to beware of this “new colonialism.” China, we are often told, is bringing in all its own workers or “grabbing” African land to grow food to send back to feed China. 

Should the West suspect Chinese tech?

Karishma Vaswani

Both the US and UK have issued warnings about the Chinese technology and telecoms giant ZTE. The decision by the US Commerce Department to ban American firms from selling equipment to ZTE for the next seven years dates back to a case from a few years ago, when ZTE was accused by the US government of violating sanctions against Iran. At the time, the US said if ZTE refused to comply, there would be consequences. This week, the US made good on those threats and is hitting ZTE where it hurts. A shortage of US components is likely to cause ZTE to miss shipment deadlines and lose orders, according to investment firm Jefferies. It has cut its estimates for ZTE sales by 13.5% in 2018 and 7.6% in 2019.

Chinese Influence Activities with U.S. Allies and Partners in Southeast Asia

This report originally appeared as testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Thank you to the Commissioners for convening this hearing today and inviting me to testify. The Commission has asked me to focus on assessing China’s relations with U.S. allies and partners in Southeast Asia—specifically, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore. I was also asked to address the various tools with which China seeks to influence these countries and their relations with the United States, and to provide related recommendations to the United States Congress.


The Horn of Africa is one of the most geo-strategically important regions of the world, and one of the main theatres in which the Sino-African four-pronged approach – based on economic, ideological, political and security interests – unfolds.This Policy Brief unpacks the dynamics of Chinese engagement with the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia as a case study. The brief maintains the view that although European Union (EU) and Chinese activities in the Horn of Africa often differ in ideological and political interests, there is significant complementarity in economic and security interests.


China’s new J-10C fighter jets have been put into service, which marks an improvement in the combat capabilities and defense of the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Air Force announced in a statement on Monday. The J-10C is a third generation home-made fighter with multiple functions and is equipped with an avionics system. It is also equipped with multiple advanced armament and be effective in land or sea combat, said the statement released on the official Weibo account of the PLA Air Force. The fighter jet was first revealed to the public at the military parade marking the 90th founding anniversary of the PLA in July 2017 and has attracted wide attention.

Are Iran and Israel Headed for Their First Direct War?

Thomas L. Friedman

SYRIA-ISRAEL BORDER, Golan Heights — Ever since the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran and Israel have been fighting each other in the shadows — through proxies, assassination squads and cyber-virus attacks, but never as rival armies meeting on the field of battle. That may be about to change, and if it does, it will have vast implications for Syria, Lebanon and the whole Middle East. I’m sure neither side really wants a war. It could be devastating for Israel’s flourishing high-tech economy and for Iran’s already collapsing currency. But Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force seems determined to try to turn Syria into a base from which to pressure Israel, and Israel seems determined to prevent that. And in the past few weeks — for the first time ever — Israel and Iran have begun quietly trading blows directly, not through proxies, in Syria.

A Norm in Crisis: Implications of Persistent Chemical Weapons Use

By Natasha Lander

The recent chlorine attack in Douma, Syria, which reportedly killed over 40 men, women and children, prompted a predictable reaction from the international community. Governments around the world issued statements condemning the attack. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting in response. Russia dismissed reports of the attack as false and traded insults with the U.S. Doctors scrambled inside Syria to treat those afflicted, while aid workers searched homes to locate more victims. 

United States-Russia Military Confrontation 2018 & its Implications for Indian Foreign Policy

By Dr Subhash Kapila

United States and Russia are in a state of edgy military confrontation which has all the potential of a flare-up and military showdown. Inherent in this are serious implications for India and its foreign policy would be severely tested. Geopolitically, strange is the emerging reality that the United States has chosen the Middle East for a showdown with Russia where the strategic challenges to United States are much lower in scale than in Indo Pacific Asia where China has already thrown the military gauntlet in the South China Sea against the United States. Here perceptionally, the United States has shied away from a military showdown with China and where United States for safeguarding its Superpower image in Asian capitals should have challenged China.

Operational-Level Strikes Finally Enforce Obama’s Red Line | National Review

by Lauren Fish

A Syrian firefighter is seen inside the destroyed Scientific Research Centre in Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)Plenty of future challenges remain, in Syria and elsewhere around the globe. But Friday’s strikes are victory worth celebrating.By all accounts, Friday night’s strikes against the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons facilities were successful — they reduced their targets to rubble, and there were no reported threats to allied forces or equipment in their aftermath. Armchair strategists are quick to point out that the strikes didn’t fit into any broader American Syria strategy. But the chemical-weapons attack of April 7 demonstrated, once again, the Syrian regime’s flagrant disregard for international moral and legal norms. And unlike last April’s retaliatory American strike on aircraft used for chemical-weapons delivery at Shayrat Air Base, Friday’s strikes sought to hit the heart of the regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities, and were coordinated with our oldest and closest allies.

America and China duel for influence over North Korea


North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese president Xi Jinping last week for the first time since coming to power in 2011. Such a meeting between the two leaders would normally be not be surprising since China and North Korea are allies. But these are not normal times. The meeting between Kim and Xi took many experts by surprise because the relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing has been tense for some time. Since Kim came to power, there have been fewer high-level exchanges between Chinese and North Korean officials, and reports indicate that bilateral trade significantly decreased in recent months.

Could Russia and West be heading for cyber-war?

By Gordon Corera

The latest warning of Russian intrusions is another sign that cyber-space is becoming one of the focal points for growing tension between Russia and the West.But so far, much of the talk about cyber-war remains hypothetical rather than real. It is true that Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is on high alert for the possibility of some kind of Russian activity. More people and resources have been devoted to monitoring and investigation. There has also been outreach to companies to warn them on what to look out for and what to do.

The Future of the United States and Europe: An Irreplaceable Partnership

How the EU responds to the Trump administration will be the hallmark of how it sees its role in the world, and how successful it will be in promoting its worldview. European Council President Donald Tusk speaks to US President Donald Trump as he welcomes him at EU headquarters in Brussels as part of a NATO meeting, 25 May 2017. The partnership between the United States and Europe has been an anchor of the world’s economic, political and security order for more than seven decades, but we should not take it for granted. The transatlantic relationship faces many dangers. However, the issues that bring the two sides together ultimately carry much greater weight than those that might divide them.

Greece and Turkey Are Inching Toward War

The relationship between Greece and Turkey has never been easy. The neighboring countries have been at war with each other several times in the 20th century and were close to military conflict over the Greek islet Imia in 1996, before the United States stepped in to avert disaster.The NATO allies are now at the brink again, goaded by populists on both sides — and this time, Washington is nowhere to be found. On Monday, a Greek-Turkish confrontation rekindled old memories. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, during an event in Ankara, claimed that the Turkish coast guard had removed a Greek flag from an islet near the island of Fournoi, after it was placed there earlier by three Greeks. The Hellenic National Defense General Staff responded that no Turkish boat had been seen in the area in the last 48 hours; the mayor of Fournoi then visited the islet and reported that the Greek flag was still there.


John C. Hale

Operationalizing the Decisive Point: Operation OQAB “Eagle” – Combined and Unified Action “The fight against the guerrilla must be organized methodically and conducted with unremitting patience and resolution. Except for the rare exception, it will never achieve spectacular results, so dear to laurel seeking military leaders.” -- Roger Trinquier. Modern Warfare—a French View of Counterinsurgency. 1964.[i]  Trinquier accurately assessed that a deliberate and methodical process must be conducted, to defeat an insurgency that does not present a single decisive battle that turns the tide of war. The development of a methodical campaign plan for Counter-insurgency (COIN) requires planners to use a new method of thinking in the way they approach their mission. Campaign Design for COIN incorporates many non-traditional aspects to planning that many have practiced in the field yet have not be codified into doctrine until recently.

How Social Media Built the Case for Trump’s Strike on Syria


Portraits of the Russian and Syrian presidents are displayed at the government-held Wafideen checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus on April 3. Social media has emerged as a key battleground in the U.S. and Russian media campaign to promote their sharply divergent accounts of chemical weapons in Syria. The intelligence assessments presented over the weekend by the United States and France to justify missiles strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb relied to an unusual degree on information gleaned from open source material and social media. Russia, meanwhile, is mustering an army of internet trolls to shift blame for the chemical weapons attack.

US and UK blame Russia for 'malicious' cyber-offensive

Ewen MacAskill

Security officials issue alert directly blaming Kremlin for attack as US warns Moscow it is ‘pushing back hard’ The decision of the US and UK governments to go public reflects a loss of patience with Moscow after a series of cyber-attacks and hacks allegedly originating from within Russia. Photograph: Yui Mok/PAThe cyberwar between the west and Russia has escalated after the UK and the US issued a joint alert accusing Moscow of mounting a “malicious” internet offensive that appeared to be aimed at espionage, stealing intellectual property and laying the foundation for an attack on infrastructure.

Russia Vs The West: A War Scenario And A New Logic Of Confrontation – Analysis

By Ivan Timofeev*

The aggravation of rivalry between Russia and the West in the past few months is raising the urgent question of a possible further escalation of tensions and its forms and consequences. Political relations between Moscow and Western capitals have gone beyond the critical point. The threadbare thesis about the lack of trust can be confidently discarded. Things are much worse. The sides do not want to and cannot listen to each other. Official positions and signals are perceived as provocations and trolling. Any opinion is described from the very start as manipulation, propaganda or diversion. Pragmatic voices are sinking in the growing flow of populism. The small islands of dialogue on common issues are rapidly narrowing or disappearing altogether. Hysteria in the media, hostility and vulgarity of rhetoric far exceed Cold War levels. We have entered a new and much more dangerous stage of the conflict, a stage that did not exist several weeks ago.

Trump's Syria Strategy Actually Makes Sense


The Trump administration is coming in for an avalanche of complaints that it conducted military operations against Syria without having a strategy for Syria. This is inaccurate.
President Obama had grandiose goals that he omitted to attain. He wanted Bashar al-Assad to go. He wanted the Russians to leave Syria. He wanted to promote democracy and protect human rights unless it became too costly (see: vacillation on military aid to Egypt). He wanted to advance the remit of international organizations and international law. His administration talked about “whole of government operations” but failed to conduct them.


By Michel Gurfinkiel

The Lubyanka building (former KGB headquarters) in Moscow, photo via Wikimedia Commons The Soviet Union was not vanquished by the West in the Cold War. It simply disintegrated in the late 1980s, the result of cumulative failures. A military defeat or a popular insurrection might have resulted in the elimination of its seventy-year-old totalitarian infrastructure and superstructure (the Soviet “deep state”). A mere collapse, however, had very different consequences. Beyond the abandonment of the Eastern European glacis and the formal independence of the fifteen Soviet Republics, the ruling Soviet elite stayed largely in place. This was especially true in the very heart of the Empire, the former Federative Socialist Soviet Republic of Russia, rebranded as the Russian Federation. The army and secret police stayed intact, the planned economy was turned into a state-controlled oligarchy, and nationalism was substituted for communism. Soon, Russia began to engage in systematic rebuilding and reconquest.

War and the Asymmetry of Interests

By George Friedman

This past weekend, I attended a re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington, the battle that started the American Revolutionary War, in Massachusetts. The pleasure of being with children and grandchildren was my primary motive. But as I watched the superb re-enactment, an obvious question came to mind: Why did the Americans defeat the British, not just at Lexington but in the war itself? The British forces were better armed and better trained, and there were potentially far more of them. On a purely military basis, the British should have won, yet they didn’t.

Globalization Helps Spread Knowledge And Technology Across Borders

by Aqib Aslam, Johannes Eugster, Giang Ho, Florence Jaumotte, Carolina Osorio-Buitron, and Roberto Piazza

It took 1,000 years for the invention of paper to spread from China to Europe. Nowadays, in a world that has become more integrated, innovations spread faster and through many channels. Our research in Chapter 4 of the April 2018 World Economic Outlook takes a closer look at how technology travels between countries. We find that the spread of knowledge and technology across borders has intensified because of globalization. In emerging markets, the transfer of technology has helped to boost innovation and productivity even in the recent period of weak global productivity growth.

Tech firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, vow not to aid government cyber attacks

Dustin Volz

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 (Reuters) - Microsoft, Facebook and more than 30 other global technology companies on Tuesday announced a joint pledge not to assist any government in offensive cyber attacks. The Cybersecurity Tech Accord, which vows to protect all customers from attacks regardless of geopolitical or criminal motive, follows a year that witnessed an unprecedented level of destructive cyber attacks, including the global WannaCry worm and the devastating Not Petya attack. “The devastating attacks from the past year demonstrate that cyber security is not just about what any single company can do but also about what we can all do together,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement. “This tech sector accord will help us take a principled path toward more effective steps to work together and defend customers around the world.”

The Machine That Can Never Be Hacked: ‘Random Number Generator’ Is Created Using Quantum Physics — And, Even Supercomputers Can’t Steal Its Data

Tim Collins posted an April 12, 2018 article, with the title above, in London’s the DailyMail.com. Mr. Collins begins by noting that “random number generators are never truly random. Most, rely on mathematical formulas to produce their sequences; and, these formulas can be uncovered by supercomputers,” he wrote. “But now, scientists say they have created a generator, using the weird behavior of quantum mechanics, which they believe really is unpredictable,” Mr. Collins noted. “The technology could lead to new encryption methods that are unbreakable using traditional ‘brute force,’ trial-and-error methods.”

Army Service Could Be the Answer to Europe’s Integration Problem

France’s Foreign Legion is the stuff of military legend: a band of mostly foreign men serving the French government essentially as mercenaries — and doing so with extraordinary success. Though the legion was formed in the 19th century to police France’s far-flung dominions, it has evolved into an all-purpose combat force. Indeed, thanks to its dependability in combat, the legion has become so useful that the French government is now significantly expanding it. Other European countries should follow France’s lead. All European Union nations need to do more for the Europe’s security — but their armed forces are struggling to find enough new recruits. The answer may be in plain sight; many of these countries have a growing population of young male immigrants who could be an asset to the military.

20 April 2018

Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons

Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons In sign of shifting balance of power, Islamabad buying advanced military equipment from Beijing Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Kiran Stacey in Islamabad 13 HOURS AGO Print this page92 In the last few months of the Obama administration, the US state department made an announcement which caused a new breach in Washington’s tumultuous relationship with Pakistan. John Kirby, then the department’s spokesman, said Congress had decided to approve the sale of eight fighter aircraft to Pakistan. 

Pakistan’s Growing Dependency on China

By Shirin Naseer

For several years now, Chinese financial assistance has been an important source of support for Pakistan’s economy. China was Pakistan’s largest lender in the year 2017. Since then, Chinese support has only further intensified; according to reports, China recently offered commercial loans worth $1 billion to Pakistan. There are additional reports suggesting China and Pakistan are presently deliberating signing another deal of perhaps about the same estimated value. While these events may allow room for some optimism regarding the future of Pakistan’s economy, with the country’s recent inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey-list (to take effect in June), there is perhaps a need to exercise some caution in increasing dependency on China.

Pakistan’s Western Frontiers Restive: The Pakhtun Awakening

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Pakistan’s Western Frontiers comprising Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunwa Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), have been restive for decades but recent Pakhtuns widespread protests in Islamabad and in rest of Pakistan has been described by Pakistani columnists as “The Awakening” and the “Pakhtuns Spring”. That this new phenomenon emerging on Pakistan’s domestic politics milieu is worrisome can be judged from a virtual blackout imposed on Pakistani media, obviously on orders of the Establishment. Easily dismissed as a limited occurrence but surely, it cannot be wished away when it is kept in mind that this discontent is seething for decades.

Mainstreaming Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Source Link

Pakistan’s government has recently approved mainstreaming of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in an effort to bring the FATA region within the legal and governance structures of the rest of Pakistan and place it on a footing of parity. The mainstreaming should aid the FATA people economically and reduce militancy in the region, which would contribute greatly to Pakistan’s peace and security. Despite government approval and repeated assurances by the country’s top leadership that changes in the FATA governance system is a must and the status quo must end, the process has been stalled, as there are differences in opinion on the future status of FATA. Still, many tribesmen are hopeful the government will go ahead with the approved plan of mainstreaming FATA and their agony will end. 

Asia Pacific pivots beyond a Trump-led America

Pradumna B Rana and Xianbai Ji, RSIS 

US President Donald Trump has taken a radically protectionist approach to trade. Trump has launched a series of unilateral moves including increasing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on national security grounds and announcing plans to impose tariffs on US$60 billion of Chinese imports. Uncertainties regarding continued access to the US market have forced Asia Pacific countries, for whom trade is an economic lifeline, to pivot beyond Trump-led America by adopting a three-pronged policy response: the acceleration of mega free trade agreements (FTAs), the enhancement of regional connectivity and the deepening of interregional economic cooperation. 

One Belt, One Road, One Happy Chinese Navy


Chinese leaders tout their trillion-dollar Belt and Road project, especially in the Indian Ocean, as a win-win commercial proposition meant to bring modern infrastructure and prosperity to an underdeveloped part of the world. In reality, Beijing’s acquisition of more than a dozen ports across the Indian Ocean is a state-directed effort to bolster Chinese political influence and extend its military reach from Indonesia to East Africa, according to a detailed new study released 

Can China Realize Africa’s Dream of an East-West Transport Link?

By: Cobus van Staden

African development hinges on a maddening paradox: its greatest asset—the sheer size and diversity of its landscape—is also the greatest barrier to its development. Landlocked countries are cut off from ports, and the difficulty of moving goods from country to country weighs down intra-continental trade (only 15% of African trade is within Africa. (African Development Bank, 2017) African consumers bear the brunt of these difficulties. [1]. Costs are driven up by a host of factors: tariffs, border delays, corruption. But the biggest challenge is that no streamlined transport route exists between West and East Africa – only a decaying and underdeveloped road and rail system which pushes up costs and drags down efficiency.

U.S., Britain Issue Warnings Over Chinese Telecom Equipment Maker ZTE

By Jason Douglas and Robert Wall

“Made in China 2025” is Beijing’s industrial plan to dominate high-tech industries including robotics, aerospace and computer chips. The Trump administration argues China is using the plan to give its tech companies unfair advantage over foreign rivals. But what is it exactly? U.S. and British officials struck separate blows at telecommunications-equipment giant ZTE Corp., ratcheting up national-security scrutiny of a big Chinese company amid broader

Competing in Africa: China, the European Union, and the United States

Witney Schneidman and Joel Wiegert

Given recent developments in the global economy, especially Brexit and the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, it is worth assessing how Africa’s three largest commercial partners—China, the European Union, and the United States—are likely to impact the region in the near future as it relates to trade and investment trend. The China-in-Africa story may be increasingly familiar, but its complexity cannot be overstated. As China’s domestic growth began to surge at the end of the last century, demand for natural resources and job creation forced China to look for markets abroad. Africa was a willing partner, due to its abundance of commodities and need for infrastructure development.

How Chinese People View the US-China Trade War

By Mu Chunshan

Close observers can glean clues about Chinese government policy based on the degree of censorship on discussions of certain topics. For example, I have been following the North Korean issue closely. After the conclusion of the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on March 20, many articles related to North Korea on my WeChat public account were deleted by the network management department, even including those posted back in 2015. At that moment, I predicted that there would soon be some changes in Chinese policy toward North Korea because I criticized North Korea in many of my articles. It turned out that Kim Jong-un visited Beijing shortly after that.

Systems Confrontation and System Destruction Warfare

by Jeffrey Engstrom

How the Chinese People's Liberation Army Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

Research Questions 
What is the concept of systems confrontation and system destruction warfare in PLA writings? What is the template of the PLA's operational system? What are some examples of task-organized operation system of systems? 

This report reflects an attempt to understand current thinking in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) regarding system of systems and systems warfare, as well as current methods of warfighting. It also serves as a guidebook to the already substantial number of systems and systems-related concepts that abound in PLA sources. By examining numerous Chinese-language materials, this report (1) explores how the PLA understands systems confrontation and comprehends prosecuting system destruction warfare, (2) identifies the components of the PLA's own operational system by looking at the various potential subsystem components and how they are connected, and (3) examines selected PLA operational systems identified in PLA literature and envisioned by the PLA to prosecute its campaigns, such as the firepower warfare operational system. This report should be of interest to military analysts and scholars of the PLA, policymakers, and anyone else who seeks insight into how the PLA conceptualizes and seeks to wage modern warfare.

What Iran Really Wants

Paul R. Pillar

THE ADVENT of the Trump administration has put U.S.-Iranian relations into a deep freeze. President Trump has repeatedly indicated his displeasure with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear program. His appointment of Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state, and the ascension of John Bolton to become national security advisor, suggest that he wants to adopt a much harder line toward the JCPOA even at the expense of isolating the United States from its European allies. Trump has said, “When you look at the Iran deal—I think it’s terrible; I guess [Rex Tillerson] thought it was okay. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process.”

Clash of the Strategists

Dov S. Zakheim

AT A time when President Trump’s National Security Strategy claims to be one of “principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology,” three new books take different sides in the long-standing battle between realists and neoconservatives. Robert Kaplan’s collection of essays, The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century, presents a well-crafted case for a hard-headed approach to international security that nevertheless incorporates America’s idealistic impulse. Elliot Abrams, on the other hand, makes an impassioned plea for a return to the democracy agenda so beloved of the neocons. As the title of his book, Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring, makes clear, however, he attempts to cloak his interventionist views in realist terminology. Harlan Ullman charts a third course. His Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts asserts in effect that neither approach has been consistently underpinned by what he terms “sound strategic thinking,” with the result that U.S. policy has suffered setbacks both on and off the battlefield.

The Land, Space, and Cyberspace Nexus: Evolution of the Oldest Military Operations in the Newest Military Domains

Over the last century, the domains of air, space, and cyberspace have joined the traditional warfighting domains of land and sea. While the doctrine for land operations is relatively mature, the doctrine for space and cyberspace continue to evolve, often in an unstructured manner. This monograph examines the relationships among these domains and how they apply to U.S. Army and joint warfighting. It concentrates on the central question: How are U.S. military operations in the newest domains of space and cyberspace being integrated with operations in the traditional domain of land? This inquiry is divided into three major sections: 

• Existing Doctrine: This section presents an overview of the current state of joint and U.S. Army doctrinal development for each of the domains of land, space, and cyberspace.

Is Russia on the Doorstep of the Seventh Military Revolution?

By Sergey Sukhankin

Army General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, presented his reflections on future conflicts, on March 24. Notably, he argued that “the enemy’s economy and command-and-control system (C2) will be priority targets [for potential Russian attacks].” And aside from traditional warfighting domains, Russian forces will increasingly operate in the information sphere and outer space (Tvzvezda.ru, RIA Novosti, March 24; see EDM, April 3). Gerasimov outlined five practical steps Russia needs to take to be ready for future wars (TASS, March 24): Develop an inter-service automated reconnaissance system. This should profoundly reduce the time cycle for completing fire missions (by 2–2.5 times) and increase the accuracy of targeting (by 1.5–2 times).  

Russia Hacks Its Way to “the High Ground of the Internet”


On Monday, the U.S. and UK jointly blamed Moscow for cyber intrusions into the backbone of the internet – the routers and switches that are the gateway for internet access in major corporations and your home office. “Since 2015, the U.S. government received information from multiple sources – including private and public sector cybersecurity research organizations and allies – that cyber actors are exploiting large numbers of enterprise-class and SOHO/residential routers and switches worldwide,” said the technical alert published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “The U.S. government assesses that cyber actors supported by the Russian government carried out this worldwide campaign. These operations enable espionage and intellectual property that supports the Russian Federation’s national security and economic goals,” it continued.

The Russian "Firehose of Falsehood" Propaganda Model

by Christopher Paul, Miriam Matthews

Full Document

Since its 2008 incursion into Georgia (if not before), there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia's approach to propaganda. The country has effectively employed new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO allies. The Russian propaganda model is high-volume and multichannel, and it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency. Although these techniques would seem to run counter to the received wisdom for successful information campaigns, research in psychology supports many of the most successful aspects of the model. Furthermore, the very factors that make the firehose of falsehood effective also make it difficult to counter. Traditional counterpropaganda approaches will likely be inadequate in this context. More effective solutions can be found in the same psychology literature that explains the surprising success of the Russian propaganda model and its messages.

Russian Social Media Influence Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe

by Todd C. Helmus, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Joshua Mendelsohn, William Marcellino, Andriy Bega, Zev Winkelman

A RAND Corporation study examined Russian-language content on social media and the broader propaganda threat posed to the region of former Soviet states that include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and, to a lesser extent, Moldova and Belarus. In addition to employing a state-funded multilingual television network, operating various Kremlin-supporting news websites, and working through several constellations of Russia-backed "civil society" organizations, Russia employs a sophisticated social media campaign that includes news tweets, nonattributed comments on web pages, troll and bot social media accounts, and fake hashtag and Twitter campaigns. Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine, which has been an active propaganda battleground since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Other countries in the region look at Russia's actions and annexation of Crimea and recognize the need to pay careful attention to Russia's propaganda campaign.

AIR, INTEL & CYBER ‘A Computer That Happens To Fly’: USAF, RAF Chiefs On Multi-Domain Future

“I grew up flying fighters,” says Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, "and I will tell you, when I see the F-35, I don’t see a fighter. I see a computer that happens to fly."

F-35 cockpit

ARLINGTON: “I grew up flying fighters,” says Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, “and I will tell you, when I see the F-35, I don’t see a fighter. I see a computer that happens to fly.” It’s not just the F-35, Goldfein told a Mitchell Institute audience this morning: “You also have to think about an Aegis cruiser in a different way. You’ve got to think about a Brigade Combat Team in a different way.” “I’m so adamant that, if we start thinking about these systems as not the planes or ships or what have you but as computers we need to connect….it gives you new insight,” Goldfein elaborated to reporters after his public remarks.

The “Known Unknowns” of Russian Cyber Signaling

Source Link

Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu after a state awards ceremony for military personnel who served in Syria, at the Kremlin in December 2017. Recent Russian cyber intrusions in U.S. critical infrastructure have been interpreted as a signal that Moscow "could disrupt the West's critical facilities in the event of a conflict." But is that the signal the Kremlin meant to send? Erica D. Borghard is a research fellow at the Army Cyber Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The views expressed here are personal and do not reflect the policy or position of the U.S. government. You can follow her @eborghard.

CTIIC’s Role in Keeping America Safe in Cyber


One day last May, employees of Britain’s health service logged on to their computers to find a startling discovery: their data had been encrypted, rendering it inaccessible until and unless they paid a ransom to have their data unscrambled and their access to it, returned.They were the first known victims of the WannaCry attack and in the days that followed, the virus spread rapidly, infecting more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, creating a global crisis. As the threat rapidly spread from Europe to Russia to China, a U.S. government team that sits within the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (more affectionately known in acronym-loving circles as CTIIC) brought the concerning developments to the attention of their director, Tonya Ugoretz. As with all significant threats, she remembers the details well.

Defence Against the ‘Drone’ Arts: Surviving the swarm & an eleventh principle of war

by Greg Rowlands

Scenario 1: A light infantry platoon advances cautiously without tank support[1] along a narrow rubble strewn street in a regional town, recently occupied by an extremist group.[2] Then with no warning a swarm of flying attack drones appears 100 meters forward of the lead rifle section. Each semi-autonomous quad-copter[3] carries a nanoexplosive device, which when detonated acts as an anti-personnel grenade. As two-dozen+ ‘flying nano-grenades’ hurtle towards the rifle platoon, a prescient Section Commander does not hesitate in ordering the rifle section to open fire. The drones are too close to call for indirect fire support, but accurate rifle and machine-gun fire destroys most of them. 

Innovation and the Challenger Mentality

By Kareen Hart



An inherent tension exists in U.S. military culture. Intellectually, military members recognize the need to embrace technological innovation and change to survive in a complex and adaptive environment, yet the military organizational structure favors slow and deliberate development. Bureaucracies prefer stability, because innovative ideas are inherently risky and can create losses if they fail. The safer strategy is to embrace tried and true approaches, which are both easier to defend from an investment standpoint, and comfortable and familiar.[1] Therefore, particularly in an age of fiscal limitations, the military is more apt to invest in proven technologies and to find efficiencies that it is to experiment with innovations. It is hard to accept risk when you are in the lead. So how do strategic innovators resolve this paradox? The answer lies in changing the military mentality.

New Challenges in Cross-Domain Deterrence

This Perspective places deterrence within the broader spectrum of influence strategies available to international actors. It focuses on the domains of space and cyberspace and on two subareas of the land domain of warfare: hybrid warfare and terrorism. Potential in-domain and cross-domain strategies of deterrence by denial or by threat of punishment are suggested for each focus area. The author concludes that establishing effective deterrence against attacks in space and against the use of hybrid warfare tactics are the two most urgent priorities. Legislative action, demonstrative exercises, collective security agreements, retaliatory strikes against opponent systems, and creating a visible ability to hold adversary systems of political control at risk are recommended as remedial steps in the space domain. Enhanced abilities to interdict "troll armies," conduct information operations, identify the national origin of combatants, respond collectively, and deploy military quick reaction forces to neighboring states by prior agreement with them are suggested as remedial steps for hybrid warfare. The Perspective outlines criteria by which to prioritize between strategies of deterrence: denial over punishment, nonescalatory strategies over escalatory ones, and reversible strategies over irreversible ones. Even when limited to deterring terrorism and war with China and Russia, implementing a doctrine of cross-domain deterrence would be complex and would have significant resource implications. Political capital would need to be spent to achieve allied consensus and international political support for the strategy, and agencies stood down at the end of the Cold War might need to be reestablished.