September 24, 2005

Geospatial Awareness for the Battlefield

Combat Terrain Information Systems is supporting network-centric operations with geospatial capabilities to help commanders and warfighters on the battlefield.

By Linda Graff and Lesley M. Kennedy

CTIS is the project management office (PMO) responsible for the acquisition of tactical terrain analysis capabilities for the U.S. Army. PMO CTIS was chartered by the Army to create a system that provides geographic information system (GIS), digital satellite-image processing and three-dimensional terrain visualization capabilities, as well as high-volume digital map printing. These system capabilities are an integral requirement of the Army Battle Command System (ABCS), the Distributed Common Ground Systems-Army (DCGS-A) and Future Combat Systems (FCS).

PMO CTIS is providing warfighters with tools and information necessary to support today’s operations in disparate threat environments. “The need for soldiers to see as much relevant mission information as possible has caused the demand for specially tailored, high-resolution, detailed geospatial products to increase,” said Mark Hainsey, the project director for CTIS at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. “These products are essential for accurate and timely decision making. An Army that is more geospatially aware and prepared reduces operational risk, especially for the warfighters in theater.”

The systems developed under PMO CTIS provide warfighters with the geospatial information needed to effectively face the asymmetrical challenges of the 21st century battlefield.

As a pioneer for the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, CTIS has developed and fielded the Digital Topographic Support System (DTSS) using state-of-the-art COTS software and hardware. DTSS provides updated geospatial data and analysis that can be merged with real-time military intelligence to provide mission planners, battlefield commanders and warfighters with unprecedented situational awareness.

According to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott Owens, “Without the CTIS Program and the DTSS, we would not have had the tools or the skills to accomplish our mission so successfully.” Owens is in the Directorate of Training at the U.S. Army Engineering School, and during Operation Iraqi Freedom the V Corps Terrain Analysis Technician.

System Overview

Before the development of DTSS, topographers in the Army relied on paper maps and manual terrain analysis to help theater commanders plan strategic movements and attacks. “Twenty five years ago, the Army recognized the need to modernize its terrain analysis capabilities,” Hainsey explained. With the identification of this requirement, the DTSS program was initiated. The CTIS project office was stood up in 1989 to manage the DTSS program.

DTSS provides terrain analysis and visualization capabilities, along with terrain database development and management and graphics reproduction. Through a combination of operator workstations, commercial and government off-the-shelf software packages, custom software components, and large-format printing and plotting devices, DTSS enables mission planners to compile information from a multitude of government and commercial U.S., coalition and host nation sources. This information is used to create or enhance digital data that provides the common map background for all ABCSs.

The DTSS family of systems includes four DTSS configurations:
DTSS-Deployable (DTSS-D)
High Volume Map Production (HVMP) system

These systems are fielded to the U.S. Army Engineer Terrain Teams at theater, corps and division; Maneuver and Aviation Brigade Combat Teams; Stryker brigades; and special forces groups. More than 180 DTSS systems (light and deployable) have been fielded to Army Terrain Teams and are deployed around the world.

DTSS-L is a tactically mobile system configured with an environmentally controlled shelter on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. DTSS-L provides the capabilities to analyze, generate, manage and disseminate geospatial information. The DTSS-L includes the Army map server, a server and storage device created mostly from COTS software that centrally manages the Army’s geospatial data. Using a Web browser over the Army’s tactical Internet, other ABCS and Army net-centric systems can access specific geospatial data and terrain products from the Army map server for use on their own systems.

DTSS-D is a ruggedized computer system with components that are placed into hardened transit cases to facilitate deployment with tactical forces. DTSS-Ds are highly mobile and typically used to augment the DTSS-Ls when a unit deploys.

DTSS-B is a theater-level asset in a fixed facility located with select engineer battalions and at bases of operation in theater. It gives the theater-level terrain team the capability to generate data and to augment existing databases to provide commanders and warfighters with geospatial information and terrain data for mission-critical areas.

HVMP is a tactically mobile, forward deployed system. Using the updated geospatial information, it has the capability to generate hardcopy maps, charts, and situation overlays at a high rate for distribution to warfighters and commanders in theater. It is especially important for supporting coalition forces, which do not have the same level of battle command digitization.

Supporting the Warfighter

DTSS is an integral part of the 11 systems that make up ABCS. DTSS manages all of the geospatial information that feeds the common operating picture. DTSS meets the requirements of the ABCS architecture for state-of-the-art, detailed terrain analysis, terrain visualization, and terrain data management and dissemination capabilities.

DTSS provides the ability to use geospatial information as the background on top of which situational awareness information is displayed, such as the locations of friendly forces, enemy forces and man-made and natural obstacles. Other DTSS terrain analysis products, such as intervisibility and mobility analyses, can also be integrated into the common operating picture.

In addition to the wide variety of software tools being provided to the warfighter on the DTSS, PMO CTIS also responds to specific requests for additional software tools. Early in Operation Iraqi Freedom, mission planners, commanders and warfighters identified the need for 3-D terrain visualization fly-through capabilities that could be distributed to non-ABCS systems. PMO CTIS responded by procuring, fielding and providing training for the Skyline Terra suite of 3-D visualization software to deployed units, allowing individual soldiers to fly-through the terrain on any computer workstation or laptop.

Every major combat unit in both Operation Enduring Freedom and OIF has DTSS functional capabilities. DTSS supports U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by providing geospatial information in direct support of daily counter-insurgency missions, including combat patrolling, infrastructure rehabilitation and improvised explosive device suppression.

The DTSS terrain teams also support the commander’s military decision-making process. In many units a DTSS fly-through is a part of every battle update brief and operations plan, and the information provided gives the battle staff the ability to visualize the area of operation. For rapid operations, DTSS gives commanders the capability to view the same geospatial information simultaneously at different locations and aid one another with mission planning and analysis.

The Future Battlefield

With the availability of new geospatial data sources and types, the Army is learning to become more geospatially aware. “Every mission, every weapons system, and every plan requires the most precise, up-to-date terrain information and analysis available,” Hainsey said. “PMO CTIS is tasked with geospatially enabling current and future commanders, soldiers and warfighters.”

The war on terrorism has highlighted the need for current high-resolution imagery and elevation data to support combat operations in complex terrain. For example, current combat operations in Iraqi urban environments require very detailed up-to-date image maps and products, which are being produced on DTSS systems.

In order to merge multiple intelligence domains and geospatial operations, the Army is developing the Distributed Common Ground System-Army. DCGS-A is merging the capabilities of existing intelligence, surveillance, imagery exploitation, terrain and weather systems into a single system. As part of this development, PMO CTIS is merging DTSS geospatial capabilities into DCGS-A.

In October 2005, PMO CTIS will move from Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical to Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. Under the new command, CTIS will meet the geospatial data and application service requirements of DCGS-A. By merging geospatial and intelligence capabilities into a single system, DCGS-A will provide full-spectrum intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functionality for the Army.

As part of the DCGS-A program, DTSS capabilities developed under PMO CTIS will transition to FCS. FCS is a cohesive system of systems where the whole of its capabilities are greater than the sum of its parts.

The DTSS capabilities are part of the FCS Battle Command Mission Planning and Preparation Package and the 10 Situation Understanding Package. As part of the Battle Command Mission Planning and Preparation Package, DTSS will support the development of deliberate, anticipatory and rapid response plans. DTSS will also support the ability to perform plan assessments, plan evaluations and mission rehearsals. The 10 Situation Understanding Package services allow warfighters to better comprehend the battlespace and gain information superiority. To support this package, DTSS will provide terrain analysis and geospatial information.

Editor’s note: Linda Graff is the technical management team leader for CTIS. Lesley M. Kennedy currently supports the CTIS team in communications. For more information, please visit or contact ERDC/TEC Public Affairs at (703) 428-3736.

India, U.S. must act responsibly

San Mateo County Times, 22 Sep 2005

Arvind Kumar

Congressman Tom Lantos of San Mateo has criticized India's
relationship with Iran, calling the statements of Natwar Singh, the
Indian external affairs minister, "Stalinist rhetoric."

Expectedly, this led to an acrimonious response from the Indian government.

While Congressman Lantos' complaint is certainly genuine, what is of
concern is his statement that they "really don't care about what we
think" assumes that Indians always ought to behave in a manner
beneficial to Americans, while Americans can do what they please.

American support for avowed Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and
Pakistan is in the same league as India's support for Iran. Such
support hurts innocent people and American self-interest is no excuse
for allying with those who indulge in gross violation of human rights
and show scant regard for individual liberty. Thus, while Lantos'
complaint is valid, it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

It is true that Congress I, the political party to which India's
Foreign Minister belongs, swears by Nehruvian-Stalinism and once
shared a close relationship with Josef Stalin. Therefore, "Stalinist
rhetoric" is expected behavior from the Foreign Minister. Indians in
America realize that they are economic refugees who escaped the harsh
conditions imposed by the Stalinist economic system in India, and
appreciate that they got the opportunity to unleash their
entrepreneurial spirit in America.

Yet, most Indians do not approve of American foreign policy,
especially its aggressive nature and its support for various dictators
and Islamic theocracies, as these go against the principles of
non-violence. It has pained Indians in the bay area and elsewhere
whenever Americans have displayed one standard for themselves while
holding others to another standard.

Americans have routinely rationalized, often with a straight face,
their support for violent regimes and occasionally even terrorists,
and explained it away as a necessary situation to further their
objectives. This assumes that others exist in order to further
American interests, even if it means that they die in the process of
enriching Americans. Americans also have been guilty of supporting
Indian Marxists and recently appointed a prominent Marxist from India
to one of the chairs in the Library of Congress. Thus, the complaint
about "Stalinist rhetoric" by Congressman Lantos sounds a bit

For its part, India's vote-bank politics has meant that it has
extended support to Islamist states such as Iran, and framed its
domestic policies to appease its Muslim population even if it meant
trampling on women's rights and hurting people of other religions
including the religion of the majority of its people. During the cold
war, India's politicians also reduced it to a satellite state of the
Communist bloc. Thus, the complaint against India is not completely
out of place.

While India must cease to support Islamists and move away from
Stalinism, America too should stop profiting by supporting violent
regimes. Until then, criticism by American policy makers cannot be
taken seriously. If American politicians acted in a manner consistent
with their rhetoric, stopped being aggressive, and withdrew support to
violent regimes, Congressman Lantos and his colleagues would find that
they would have many admirers and earn the respect of everyone around
the world.

Interview : Director of US Defense Information Systems Agency

Interview with Lt. Gen. Charles E. Croom Jr.

Director, Defense Information Systems Agency Commander, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations

Lieutenant General Charles E. “Charlie” Croom Jr. is director, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); commander, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO); and deputy commander for global network operations and defense, U.S. Strategic Command, Joint Forces Headquarters-Information Operations.

As director, Croom leads a worldwide organization of more than 6,600 military and civilian personnel. This organization plans, develops and provides interoperable command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems to serve the needs of the President, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders, and other Department of Defense components under all conditions during peace and war.

As the JTF-GNO commander and deputy commander for global network operations and defense, he is responsible for directing the operation and defense of the Global Information Grid to assure timely and secure net-centric capabilities across strategic, operational and tactical boundaries in support of DoD’s full spectrum of warfighting, intelligence and business missions.

Croom entered the Air Force in 1973 as a distinguished graduate of the Rutgers University ROTC program, where he was commandant of cadets. The general has had four commands and has served at the major command, numbered air force, Air Staff, defense agency, Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense and unified command levels.

Prior to his current assignment, Croom was director, information, services and integration, Secretary of the Air Force Office of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer.

Croom was interviewed by MIT Editor Harrison Donnelly.

Q: How would you describe your goals for your tenure as DISA director?

A: Foremost, I want to make sure that DISA continues to stay with the warfighter—at the tip of the spear with the operator. DISA is a combat support agency. Information and communication have played increasingly critical roles in our nation’s security. DISA will continue to deliver capabilities to America’s soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen; but to do this we need to strengthen our partnerships in the department. There’s a tremendous amount of talent in the Department of Defense, and we can use it most effectively by cooperatively establishing a clear vision as well as distinct roles and responsibilities.

I also want to increase the speed that DISA delivers services and capabilities. We can use DISA’s strong industry partnerships to help us build only what we can’t buy. The commercial world is rapidly implementing information technologies and services the government can use without any modification. It’s time-consuming to reproduce and manage technologies and services independent of a commercial market. I know our customers are looking for collaborative tools. A number of them exist in the commercial world. Right now we are determining what if any risks we incur by moving these technologies directly to our customers. I hope to establish a process that will rapidly evaluate commercial technologies and make them available to our customers. DISA will be using evaluation capability modules to pilot technologies to a small audience for evaluation before fielding it to a broader audience.

Finally, I want to establish clean and open books. Most of our funds come from the warfighters we support. It is essential that we can show them full accountability of each dollar they invest in a capability. This isn’t an easy task. Imagine trying to balance a checkbook where hundreds of people are making deposits and withdrawals daily. Accurate, reliable and timely financial information improves our decision-making. In an environment where resources are so limited, we must properly account for every dollar entrusted to us.

Q: What is the mission of the DISA director?

A: DISA’s mission is to plan, engineer, acquire, field and sustain global net-centric solutions. My mission is to make sure that DISA delivers capabilities to the warfighter quickly and efficiently. As a community, we’ve done this well in the past, but I think with more coordination we can do better. We need to partner with OSD, Joint Staff, COCOMs, services and defense agencies as we help synchronize the efforts of the entire department. Together we should look at major IT acquisitions, consider the expertise we have across the department and adopt solutions that already exist within the services to use our resources as efficiently as we can.

Q: DISA is one part of the overall DoD transformation to network-centric operations. How would you define its role specifically in the broader process?

A: DISA should have a leadership role in the department. I want to make sure that we establish standards and a common infrastructure. An oversimplified analogy is DVD video. A DVD video can be produced by one of many studios and viewed with any DVD player. There are some features that almost all video DVDs have—digital encryption that allows only authorized users (by region) access, instant search to particular data types, such as title or chapters, and the data itself. The producer may include additional data like director commentaries, film trailers, language and subtitle alternatives, or even interactive content like quizzes or games. This idea of seamless information flow, regardless of who produces the information, is the fundamental premise of a net-centric environment. DISA’s role is to create a net-centric environment that does not limit how users exchange information. We will ensure that shared standards and infrastructure exist to enable authorized users in the department to quickly locate and acquire information they need using resources from across the department.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing DISA in the next year or two?

A: We need to change our process for acquiring services and capabilities. I’ve already talked about the need to develop and field new capabilities faster and the need to work more cooperatively within the department during every stage of the product lifecycle. Sharing a clear vision and teaming across the department is the fastest way to improve our processes and eliminate redundant costs.

We also need to assert DISA’s role as the end-to-end Global Information Grid [GIG] engineer. Smart growth and configuration management are always challenging. Doing it for the GIG, with its thousands of applications, classified and unclassified networks, and millions of computers on more than a thousand bases, camps, posts and stations requires a deliberate process and lots of teamwork.

It will also be a challenge to fully realize the NetOps concept and ensure the availability of our networks. On August 15, General Cartwright, the STRATCOM commander, signed the “Joint CONOPS for GIG NetOps Version 2” with a memo stating the need to continue to evolve our understanding of the NetOps mission, how we operate and defend the GIG. Our network is the target of increasingly capable adversaries who launch frequent attacks, and securing it is an incredible challenge. A comprehensive defense coordinated across DoD’s services and agencies is the best way we can protect it. This may seem like a challenge unique to the JTF-GNO, but the NetOps concept is also critical to how we field net-centric capabilities and services.

That brings me to the last challenge I’d like to share: DISA also needs to define net-centric enterprise services with more clarity. There isn’t a common understanding about net-centricity and what it will provide to the department. Once there is a better understanding, we can work together to provide a seamless, interconnected architecture.

Q: Your predecessor, Lieutenant General Harry Raduege, was widely seen as reviving and improving the agency during his five-year tenure. What lessons have you learned from observing him that will guide you in your work, and specifically do you intend to use his strategy of developing a 500-day plan?

A: Above all else, Lieutenant General Raduege recognized that DISA needed to strengthen relationships with our customers. The 500-day plans published in 2002 and 2004 helped DISA better understand warfighter requirements and helped show services, combatant commanders and defense agencies the progress DISA was making on projects critical to their efforts. I want to build on his successful customer engagement. I’m connecting the 500-day plan process to the strategic planning process so I can ensure that we link the development of needed capabilities and services to the resource cycle. This will give us a better opportunity to acquire resources and apply them to development process when we can be most efficient and effective.

Q: You will also serve as commander of the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations. How can your two roles complement each other, and do you see any potential conflicts in your separate responsibilities?

A: These roles complement each other well. DISA engineers, acquires, implements and supports the GIG and the JTF-GNO operates and defends it with forces from DISA. It takes a great deal of coordination to operate and defend something that large, and it’s constantly changing. Having both organizations under unified leadership allows a consistent approach. Capabilities can enhance our operations and defense. Operations and defense are critical to delivering capabilities. NetOps can be thought of as the unification of the two efforts to deliver capabilities that are secure, robust and trusted.

Q: What would you say have been DISA’s greatest successes in supporting operations in Southwest Asia, and, based on feedback from warfighters, do you see any areas of service in which there is significant room for improvement?

A: One of DISA’s greatest successes was having bandwidth in place when the warfighter arrived on the battlefield. The commercial satellite service that eventually amounted to 80 percent of the satellite bandwidth leaving the area of operations had been established prior to any combat operations. There has been tremendous use of the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Service (Iridium satellite telephones). Since 2001, there has been an 80-fold increase in the number of satellite call minutes, with the majority originating from Southwest Asia. In 20 months, between September 11, 2001, and May 2003, DISA rapidly increased terrestrial throughput 138-fold, SATCOM throughput 10-fold, data throughput six-fold and voice call minutes grew 39-fold. Secure video teleconferencing grew from two conferences per day to 44 per day.

DISA also contributed to the stabilization of Iraq by expanding the Defense Information Services Network [DISN] to the Coalition Provisional Authority [CPA] and by the establishing and maintaining a cellular network serving more than 10,000 phones in Baghdad, with more than 4,000 used by local Iraqi businesses and government. The only way DISA was able to accomplish this was by deploying with the warfighter. More than 100 military, civilian and contractor personnel deployed to Baghdad to support the CPA, and the majority of these were volunteers.

Q: Looking at the Global Information Grid from a broad perspective, how far along would you say the DoD was in achieving the potential of that vision?

A: Like the Internet, the GIG is constantly evolving. It’s not possible to define how far along we are when we have a system that will continue to grow and change as we face new threats and realize new technologies. However, we could better define capabilities we desire on a yearly basis as well as establishing a five to 10 year plan we could adjust as we learn. We need to do this as a joint effort to better align and focus all our efforts.

Q: What is your assessment of the current status and future direction of the GIG-Bandwidth Expansion program?

A: The GIG-Bandwidth Expansion [GIG-BE] program is going very well. We are currently conducting operational assessments and plan for the full operational test and evaluation to begin September 19. We should complete the last few installations late this fall. Once a site is completed, it has a minimum of 10 gbps of bandwidth. The GIG-BE program effectively establishes an optimized backbone similar to an interstate system where data traveling great distances can be moved at high speeds without bottlenecks. You can think of the DISN as the interconnecting highways that let data flow efficiently to and from major paths. Together they form a single integrated network that allows information to flow quickly and efficiently across DoD.

Q: What do you see as the key information assurance challenges facing the military, and how can DISA contribute to strengthening DoD information assurance?

A: Information and the way we deliver it has become ever more critical to the warfighter. Because of this, the risk of disruption and denial acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable. In some cases this means adjusting the traditional balance between risk and operator convenience to ensure information is available to warfighters when it’s needed. Adjusting this balance and changing our business processes may, like all change, cause some initial angst, but this is something we’re going to have to address with the warfighter.

Q: What is your vision for the Net-Centric Enterprise Services [NCES] program, and how will and should it affect services offered by the military services and agencies?

A: NCES will create an information-sharing environment for the DoD where warfighter, business, and intelligence users share knowledge on a global network that facilitates information superiority and accelerates decision-making, effective operations, and net-centric transformation. Military services and agencies will be able to use the NCES environment and its core services to exchange information across the entire department. NCES will establish the standards and infrastructure that information consumers across the DoD will use to discover information.

Q: What do you see as the key acquisition contracts to be awarded by DISA in the next year?

A: A few of the key acquisition contracts to be awarded by DISA in the next year are the Encore II, Defense Video System-II [DVS], DISN Access Transport Services and the Joint Hawaii Information Transfer Service contracts.

Based on the success of the Encore I contract, DISA plans to award Encore II contracts by March 2006. The Encore II acquisition is intended to establish contracts capable of providing the full range of IT solutions required by DoD and other federal agencies. Although the existing Encore contracts will not expire until March 2009, their overall success, as demonstrated by their use and very favorable customer satisfaction ratings, will cause the $2.0 billion ceiling to be reached much sooner than anticipated. As a result, a need exists to put in place a follow-on set of contracts that will continue to provide essential IT solutions to the DoD and other federal agencies.

The Encore II acquisition is intended to continue to support DISA’s mission areas by providing DISA and other users access to contracting solutions with net-centric capabilities. The Encore II contracts are intended to provide timely, agile and responsive contract vehicles that meet user needs and provide capability to users in weeks versus months. The Encore II contracts will replace the current Encore multiple-award contracts and will be awarded under full and open competition with partial small business set-asides.

DVS-II will be a real-time video service that allows simultaneous video and audio, multi-point and point-to-point conferencing both secure and non-secure. The envisioned DVS-II architecture will provide the infrastructure for both synchronous-based H.320 and IP-based H.323 capabilities for video services. DVS-II will have the capability for Web-based conference scheduling, reservation-less conferencing, in-conference control and directory and discovery services. The system includes a 24x7 contact center with Tier 1 through Tier 3 support in addition to multi-level managed services (end-to-end management and monitoring). DVS-II services will provide network bridging, speed matching, bandwidth management, and seamless connectivity of users and resources through the DISN.

The DISN Access Transport Services [DATS] will replace the existing DTS-C contract, which currently provides access to over 4,500 end users. This contract is a major building block of the GIG within CONUS as it connects the DISN backbone to its more than 600 military locations. DATS will provide a “one stop shopping” vehicle, handling all domestic and local exchange carrier coordination to connect any access site within CONUS. DATS will also permit integration with the new robust ground-based optical network program

One of the most important acquisitions in the coming year will be the award of the Joint Hawaii Information Transfer Service [JHITS]. JHITS provides DISN services for all Hawaii DoD users and authorized agencies, including switched voice and data, voice conferencing, ISDN, dedicated transmission services, cable plant and cable, and customer premise equipment. In other words, JHITS is the DISN for Hawaii. It’s a robust network with diverse routing, redundant switches and strong network management under DISA oversight with over 32,000 users on 68 military sites.

Q: DISA has undertaken a reorganization, and changes in the acquisition process, in recent years. What evidence do you see that these efforts are yielding benefits?

A: DISA was challenged by the assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration to transform itself in to a world-class acquisition organization. We accepted that challenge, and established a dedicated component acquisition executive [CAE] for the agency to allow us to acquire joint systems and services with acquisition authority similar to that of the services.

We have also placed an additional emphasis on our acquisition workforce, specifically restructuring the current workforce to ensure our agency’s members receive the right training, are knowledgeable in key acquisition practices, and placed in the right positions based upon their skill set and the agency’s needs. We are also continuing to seek credentialed personnel to lead our programs and service acquisitions.

We have also partnered with the Army to ensure that our military acquisition personnel are placed in the appropriate positions. This is a win-win situation for both DISA and the Army. Soldiers get the opportunities to rotate through acquisition positions within our major programs, and DISA retains knowledgeable service men and women who can bring their vision to the agency and assist us in implementing capabilities necessary for the warfighter.

Our management structure has evolved over the past two years within the agency. The CAE has set up a Program Executive Office [PEO] like structure with specific emphasis on program oversight. Senior staff designated as system program directors [SPDs] have acquisition oversight responsibility for non-designated programs, projects and services within their organizations. This allows acquisition oversight closer to individual projects and services. The SPD is a qualified decision authority for key acquisition events, responsible for ensuring cost, schedule, and performance adheres to strategic guidance and is managed in accordance with the DoD 5000 acquisition policy.

Q: Based on your experience in managing skilled professionals in the technology field, how should DISA be addressing the personnel challenges that lie ahead?

A: We need to be aggressive in addressing this on multiple fronts, and I believe DISA has been and will continue to do that. DISA has a workforce plan in place that addresses our strategies for recruiting, developing and retaining the talent we need now and in the future. This includes a blended approach of bringing new talent into the agency at all grade levels while also providing developmental and advancement opportunities for the current workforce. One example of this strategy is the DISA intern program, whereby the agency has been hiring a minimum of 100 recent college graduates per year the past few years into a three-year program. Most of these new hires are being brought into technical positions, and the program has helped us add 15 percent more engineers and almost double the number of computer scientists at DISA. In addition, it has helped us retain 70 percent of the workforce entering under the program.

At the same time, DISA invests heavily in the development of the current workforce through a wide range of training and development programs. Many of these opportunities are technically focused but DISA has also implemented an executive leadership development program, which is a succession planning strategy to develop future leaders for the agency. We also continue to place emphasis on quality of worklife programs to include compressed work schedules, tele-work and a wellness program. If we take care of our people, they will be able to focus on the critical missions they perform for DISA and the department.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I’d like to close by saying how honored I am to be part of the DISA and JTF-GNO team. The military, civilians and contractors are highly motivated and incredibly talented. My senior leadership, headed by my deputy, Major General Marilyn Quagliotti, is experienced, technically talented and motivated to constantly change and improve the way we provide capabilities and services.

I’m also blessed with tremendous support from OSD/NII, the Joint Staff J6, the service CIOs, and fellow combat support agencies. I’m looking forward to partnering with them to meet our future warfighters’ needs

Special Operations : USA army for extending UAV

The Army is seeking a new unmanned aerial vehicle with more range and endurance to replace the Hunter.

By Peter A. Buxbaum

As this issue of Military Aerospace Technology went to press, the Army announced that it had selected General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.(GA-ASI) for the next development stage of a new Army unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). A team led by GA-ASI had been vying with one led by Northrop Grumman (NGC) for the $900 million contract.

At issue is the Army’s extended range multipurpose (ERMP) UAV, an aircraft designed to replace the Hunter, which provides surveillance and reconnaissance for Army corps commanders. The NGC team has weighed in with its Hunter 2 design, an aircraft based on the original Hunter, which it manufactures. GA-ASI has offered its Warrior UAV, a design based on its earlier Predator, which has been deployed by the Air Force. The Predator has been noted for its performance in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, while the Hunter has accumulated over 32,000 flight hours, 13,000 of those in the Balkans and Iraq.

UAVs have emerged as an increasingly important weapon of modern warfare, capturing the imagination of military planners for several reasons. First, the war on terrorism places a high premium on UAVs’ primary mission: intelligence gathering. Second, UAVs offer advantages over manned aircraft in their cost-effectiveness and in minimizing risk to life. Third, the services have both innovatively experimented with and exploited the capabilities of UAVs, in the case of the Predator, by arming it with missiles, to good effect in recent conflicts.

Finally, UAVs dovetail with the Pentagon’s plans for military transformation. A network-centric fighting force relies heavily on data provided by UAV sensors. The Bush administration’s proposed fiscal 2006 budget increases allocations for unmanned vehicles to $1.7 billion, continuing a trend that has seen funding nearly triple since 2001.

Each of the services fields fleets of UAVs. The Air Force has Predators and Global Hawks; the Navy and Marine Corps, the Pioneer; and the Army, the Hunter, Shadow and I-GNAT. Additionally, several UAV developmental efforts are on the drawing board, including three contemplated by the Navy and Marine Corps and another envisioned as a joint Air Force-Navy system.

Both sides in the current Army competition emphasize that their offerings are based on existing successful models. They contend the track record of their respective designs reduces the risk inherent in choosing a new combat system.

At a competitive fly-off in Fort Huachuca, AZ, earlier this year, each team demonstrated a series of capabilities according to a predetermined script. Among the attributes under consideration will be each aircraft’s maximum altitude and speed, takeoff and landing performance, endurance, ability to carry different payloads, and other advanced technological features.

The Army plans to purchase five systems, the first of which will be deployed in fiscal year 2009.

Core Asset

The Army has released few details about its impending decision. The decision may reveal more of the Army’s strategic thinking, analysts suggest, than the technical capabilities of either of the aircraft under consideration.

The ERMP UAV will replace the Hunter as one of the Army’s “core asset of UAVs,” according to Bob Hunt, a spokesman for the program. “The program demands a big increase in endurance and range over the Hunter.”

The current Hunter boasts flight endurance of eight to 12 hours. The Army is demanding the new ERMP UAV “go out 300 km, stay on area 12 hours, and return safely,” Hunt explained. “That equates to 40 hours of endurance. It also provides 100 kilometers in additional range over the Hunter.”

GA-ASI’s Warrior offering provides the Army with “the lowest risk solution for persistent ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] and tactical strike operations,” said Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., president of the Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI.

“The Warrior solution utilizes common Army systems and processes to reduce financial, technical and operational risks,” he explained. “The system we put together is based on the Predator, which has been flying since 1993 and has about 120,000 flight hours, including extensive flight hours over the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. We have included numerous upgrades over the years and it is still performing brilliantly. It is the most proven UAV in the world.”

The Army demanded several additional requirements for the ERMP UAV that GA-ASI designed into the Predator, Cassidy added.

The Predator first flew reconnaissance and target acquisition missions over Bosnia in 1995. The medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV, roughly half the size of an F-16, is outfitted with a 450-pound surveillance payload, including two electro-optical cameras and one infrared camera. Following the initial contract in the early 1990s, the Air Force has ordered 12 more Predators.

Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan saw a major improvement in the Predator’s command and control system. In the Balkans, the UAV’s video feeds had been relayed to an operations center, which then uploaded data to pilots in the air. In Afghanistan, methodologies were improved to allow targets to be struck within five minutes of their identification.

Predators worked in concert with the Air Force’s AC-130 gunship and the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet, locating targets for the strike aircraft and using a laser designator to aid in target acquisition. In addition, Central Command outfitted the AC-130s with terminals that enabled the aircrews to receive Predator feeds directly in the airplane, a major improvement over operations in Kosovo.

In 2002, the Air Force began equipping some Predators with Hellfire missiles, and changed its designation from RQ-1B (reconnaissance unmanned) to the MQ-1 (multi-mission unmanned) due to its added capabilities of laser designation and missile-firing. An armed Predator UAV belonging to the CIA, carrying Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, was credited with a hit on a senior al-Qaeda operative in Yemen in November 2002, as well as one against al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, press reports indicate that the Predator took out an Iraqi anti-aircraft installation using a Hellfire missile in March 2003. It flew decoy missions over Baghdad to expose Iraqi air defenses, and its cameras allowed U.S. commanders to oversee the rescue of an Army prisoner-of-war in April 2003. The precision of the Hellfire missile has meant the Predator has been called upon to deliver fire power in Iraqi urban areas.

Common Systems

For NGC, the Hunter 2 system “is part of a broader strategy to penetrate the medium altitude endurance UAV marketplace,” according to Rick Crooks, the company’s manager of business development for tactical UAV systems. Although he would not elaborate on other specific opportunities the company is pursuing, he said that they involved “homeland security applications.” The competition now under way is “one of our near-term targets of opportunity to offer this system to that set of requirements,” he added.

For Crooks, the most important feature offered by the Hunter 2 is that it “shares a lot of common infrastructure” with current Army systems. “The Hunter 2 will leverage existing Army infrastructure in the form of training, doctrine, personnel and facilities,” he explained. “It reduces the training required to introduce the system and it leverages existing maintenance and support organizations. Those elements are very important, and translate into a system that is more effectively able to be utilized.”

In addition, there are elements of avionics architecture, communications and ground architecture that the Hunter 2 also shares with its ancestor. “The avionics subsystem also shares common software components,” Crooks said. “All of these elements of commonality reduce risks and ensure that the new system is introduced smoothly and that it operates effectively and efficiently.”

The NGC Hunter 2 design brings together technologies common to the Fire Scout, a Navy shipboard UAV that has since been cancelled, and the Air Force’s Global Hawk, a high-altitude, high-endurance vehicle, in the areas of information management and data distribution, according to Crooks. The Hunter 2 thus offers the Army “built-in interoperability,” he said.

The Hunter is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor payload for day/night operations and has been deployed exclusively for reconnaissance and surveillance, as opposed to combat strikes. But the Army has also conducted tests of other potential missions, including teaming it with armed and unarmed helicopters and arming it with missiles. It has also been deployed domestically for homeland security purposes.

The Hunter first proved itself as an intelligence and reconnaissance asset in the Balkans. The UAV was used extensively during Operation Allied Force in 1999. The Hunter conducted 246 sorties during that operation, totaling 1,357 flight hours, the highest among all NATO reconnaissance platforms, providing imagery and real-time data.

U.S. Army Europe has requested the Hunter each year since 1999, to aid in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans region. According to the CRS, however, “one vulnerability of the Hunter UAV is that it cannot fly in bad weather. It is sent home each year from the Balkans once the winter weather season begins.”

In January 2003, the Hunter UAV system began a new phase of operations, when the UAV was deployed to the CENTCOM area of operations to aid in the war on terror. The aircraft was also sent to Iraq in 2003 to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Last summer, Hunter passed the 30,000 flight-hour mark. More than one-third of its flight time has been spent in reconnaissance missions in the Balkans and Iraq.

During 2002, Hunter was involved in experiments with the Apache and Comanche reconnaissance and attack helicopters, in which the choppers controlled the Hunter airframe and its sensor in flight, in an effort to extend the helicopters’ reach. Also, the Army, emulating the Air Force’s success with the Predator, has been experimenting with UAV weaponization. In October 2002 Brilliant Anti-Armor submunitions were successfully dropped from a Hunter UAV at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The BAT submunitions destroyed a BMP combat vehicle and incapacitated a moving T-72 tank.

In August 2003, the Army successfully deployed a derivative of the BAT, the Viper Strike precision munition with a semi-active laser seeker and a 1.8 kilogram warhead, to the Hunter UAV. The Army is reportedly considering the purchase of Hunter UAVs armed with Viper Strikes. Since November 2004, two Army Hunter UAVs have been used for border patrolling by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Unfathomable” Factors

Observers said they did not see a clear favorite in the competition. “Both companies have made good changes to their respective systems,” said Larry Dickerson, a military analyst with Forecast International. “It will all depend on what happens during the competition and what attracts the Army evaluators’ attentions as far as meeting their requirements.

“It also depends on a lot of unfathomables we don’t have access to right now,” Dickerson added. “The fact that one system is already in use by the Army doesn’t necessarily give it a leg up because it depends on what the evaluators are looking for.”

Some of the unfathomables involved in this analysis could include strategic considerations more so than technical specifications. The NGC system shares common attributes with systems already deployed by the Army, thus having the potential to reduce the costs of deployment and maintenance.

But the GA-ASI offering is based on a UAV system the Air Force already uses. As the CRS has noted, “In the past, tension has existed between the services’ efforts to acquire UAVs and congressional initiatives to encourage a consolidated DoD approach.”

The recently released budget proposal incorporates transformation plans that emphasize network-centricity, interoperability and jointness of command and operations. Thus, if the Army has the transformational strategy of joint operations and systems on its mind, it could give the GA-ASI system the advantage.

Bangladesh — a Rogue State? PART 1

EN Rammohan

The Sentinel, Guwahati, 22 September 2005
On August 17, 2005 there were 459 explosions in 63 of the 64 districts in Bangladesh. All explosions occurred within a span of 30 minutes. It is obvious that the explosions were synchronized. Two civilians were killed in the bomb blasts. There were 28 blasts in Dacca, all directed at Government establishments. The Jamiatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JUMB) claimed responsibility for the blasts through leaflets left at the site of the explosions. Leaflets in Bangla and Arabic said — "We are the soldiers of Allah. We have taken up arms for the implementation of Allah’s law. It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh. There is no future with man-made law."1

The serial incidents were not a surprise for Bangladesh watchers, particularly for those who had been warning the Government of India that Bangladesh was increasingly becoming an Islamist state. What was a surprise for the security experts was the synchronizing of 459 explosions across 63 of the 64 districts of Bangladesh. This is a grim portend of the developments in this country.

The euphoria generated by the liberation war of 1971 was misplaced. The Islamization of Bangladesh after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman has its origins in the beginning of the 20th century. It was the leaders of Muslim Bengal, not of the western part of the subcontinent who led the movement for the separation of Muslims from the Hindus. The desire was originally articulated by Urdu speaking westernized politically conservative Bengali Muslims. The formation of the Muslim League in December 1906 in Dacca was at the initiative of Nawab Salimullah of that city2

The Liberation war of 1971 is all but forgotten by the people of Bangladesh. So is the role played by the Indian Army. Sadly they have even forgotten their own heroes of that war and the lakhs of people who were killed by the Pakistan Army and the Razakhars. They have even forgotten the thousands of young girls raped and killed by the Pakistan Army in that war. The Jamiat-e-Islami (JEI) of Bangladesh who sided with the Pakistan Army in killing and raping Bangladeshi men and women have now 17 seats with two ministers in the state assembly. Among the most notorious of the Jamiat’s leaders was Abdul Khader Molla, who became known as the butcher of Mirpur in 1971. He fled to Pakistan when Bangladesh was liberated. Today he is back as the Publicity Secretary of the JEI. Another leading collaborator was Ghulam Azam, who reportedly exhorted the Pakistani Army to rid the country of anti-Pakistani Bengali Muslims. He fled to Britain after the liberation, but returned in 1978, after which he was protected by every successive government, including that of Sheikh Hasina from 1996 to 2001. In 1991, Ghulam Azam became the Amir of the JEI Bangladesh. It is pure fiction that the Bangladeshis hate Pakistan. Many have a nostalgic attachment to Pakistan and a mistrust of India. They now hate India. Their main aim is to drive out the remaining Hindus and Buddhists in Bangladesh and then occupy the north-eastern States of India and the Arakhan State of Myanmar.

Illegal Migration

The security threat from Bangladesh is much greater than that of Pakistan. Its threat is four-fold. The first threat is the continual migration from Bangladesh into India. This is the only country in the world that pushes its citizens at gunpoint across its borders. The problem of illegal migration at least into Assam was created by the British East India Company, who first brought the Bengali Muslim peasant from East Bengal to the Brahmaputra valley in the beginning of the 19th century. Within thirty years, the Bengali Muslim migrants had settled in four districts of Assam clearing forest lands and cultivating waste lands and multiplied so fast that the Census Commissioner C.S.Mullen wrote prophetically in his Census report of 1931 — "Whither there is vacant land, thither goes the Mymensinghia. Without fuss, without tumult, without undue trouble a population amounting to about half a million has transplanted itself from Bengal to Assam during the last twenty five years. A time will come when Sibsagar district will remain the only district that the Assamese can call their own." The Government realizing the gravity of the situation introduced the line system that designated the area in each district that could be settled by the immigrant Bengali Muslim. However, the fourth Sir Sadullah Ministry — 1944-45 de-reserved grazing reserves in Kamrup, Darrang and Nowgong districts for settling East Bengali peasants, ostensibly for increasing paddy production. Lord Wavell described the settlements as — Grow more Muslims, rather than grow more food.

After the partition very few Bengali Muslims migrated to East Pakistan from Assam and West Bengal. However the migration of Bengali Hindus from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal was in lakhs. Very soon the pressures on land in East Pakistan led to almost all the Bengali Muslims who had migrated from Assam, West Bengal and Tripura to remigrate to these three States. In Assam, when there were no more vacant lands to settle, the hardy Bengali Muslim peasants began to colonize, the sars and sapories (sandbanks) on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. It was only the hardy Bengali Muslim peasant who could live on the sars and sapories. During the annual floods they sit out the rising waters in boats and resettle on firm ground when the sars and sapories reappear after the water recedes. By 1960 most of the sapories in the Brahmaputra in Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang and Nowgong districts were occupied by immigrant Muslim peasants. It was in 1991 that the objectives of the Bangladesh government in this regard was reflected in an article in Holiday, October 1991, titled Lebensraum for Bangladesh written by a leading intellectual Sadiq Khan. To quote — "The question of lebensraum or living space for Bangladesh has not yet been raised as a moot issue. All projections indicate that by the next decade Bangladesh will face a serious crisis of lebensraum. No possible performance of population planning, actual or hypothetical alters that prediction. A natural overflow of population pressure is therefore very much on the cards and will not be restrained by barbed wire or border patrol measures. The natural trend of population overflow from Bangladesh is towards the sparsely populated lands of the southeast in the Arakhans and the northeast of the seven sisters side of the Indian subcontinent."3 The old objective of the Muslim League to get Assam included in East Pakistan was obviously very much on the minds of the leadership in Bangladesh.

In the first twenty years after partition, it was the venality of the petty bureaucrats that helped the illegal migrant both Hindu and Muslim from East Pakistan to get settled on land in Assam. In West Bengal and Tripura, no attempt was made to prevent illegal migration. It was the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, B.N.Mallick who first pointed out the dangers of unrestricted illegal migration of Bengali Muslims into Assam and West Bengal to the Government of India. The Government of India set up a Pakistan Infiltration Post scheme in Assam and Task Forces in West Bengal and Tripura to detect illegal migrants from East Pakistan. The scheme was established in Assam and did some good work initially. In West Bengal and Tripura, the scheme never took off. By the early seventies, the politicians discovered that the illegal Muslim immigrants was an infallible vote bank. The early seventies was also the period when the concept of committed bureaucracy became firmly established. In Assam, there had been considerable detection and deportation of illegal Muslim and Hindu immigrants throughout the sixties. All this gradually petered off as compliant bureaucrats humbly acquiesced with the political leadership in the seventies. By the mid seventies, the political leadership in Assam was proclaiming that there were no foreigners in Assam. In West Bengal, the political leadership and their pliant bureaucrats were claiming openly that there was no difference between the proletariat of Bangladesh and West Bengal!

In 1971, when Bangladesh was liberated, Ms. Gandhi committed a conscious blunder when she agreed with the President of Bangladesh that he would not take back any of the citizens of East Pakistan who had migrated to India before March 25, 1971, the date of creation of the Government of Bangladesh in exile in India. At one stroke, Ms. Gandhi had accepted several lakhs of people of East Pakistan who had illegally migrated to India and who had not been detected. This act was clearly in violation of the Citizenship Act of India. The Government of India was in a fix, when a foreigners agitation was started in Assam in 1979 demanding detection and deportation of Bengali Muslims and Hindus who had migrated into Assam and had been taken on the electoral roll. This issue started when the sitting member of the Mangaldoi constituency died and a by-election was ordered. There were representations to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Ahom Jatiyatibadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) that a large number of illegal migrants had settled in Mangaldoi constituency and were likely to be included in the voters list. After a preliminary inquiry, the CEC announced that the election in Mangaldoi could be held only after the electoral rolls were revised. More than 35,000 applications were filed about illegal migrations in the constituency. At this time the Janata government in Delhi was toppled by giving bait to Chaudhary Charan Singh to become a lame duck Prime Minister. The Congress sitting in the back seat ran the new government. The Muslim lobby persuaded the Congress to pressurize the CEC not to revise the electoral rolls of the Mangaldoi constituency. The CEC humbly recanted and said that the revision of electoral rolls in the Mangaldoi constituency could not be done and the by-election would be held on the 1976 electoral rolls. The reaction from Assam was electric. Realizing that the Centre was discriminating against Assam, the AASU and the AJYCP formed the Gana Sangram Parishad and started the foreigners’ agitation. This was an agitation, unique of its kind and on the lines of the civil disobedience movement of 1942 and was to leave its indelible mark on the Assamese people and the history of India. It culminateed in the brutal election of 1983, that was forced on the Assamese people and which ended in a bloodbath with more than 3000 people killed in police firings and ethnic clashes in the Brahmaputra valley. In 1985 an accord was signed with the AASU and the Gana Sangram Parishad, where the AASU leaders agreed to 1971 being made the cut off year for regularizing the citizenship of illegal migrants from the erstwhile East Pakistan. The Government of India must have given a huge sigh of relief when the AASU leaders agreed to this. The government promptly amended the Citizenship Act inserting a clause of the Assam accord as the basis for making 1971 as the cut-off year for determining the citizenship of illegal immigrants from East Pakistan. The blunder committed in 1971 was regularized in 1985. The AASU leaders should never have agreed to 1971 being made the cut-off year. They should have insisted that the people of East Pakistan who had illegally migrated into India after 1951 could be given work permits and allowed to stay in India but not allowed to become citizens. This would not have given them voting rights. Also, the issue of further illegal migrants getting voting rights by compliant bureaucrats at the instance of their political masters would have been avoided as the option of work permits was there. The basic issue of the vote bank could thus have been avoided. (To be concluded)

September 23, 2005

China is Flexing Its Military Might

The organisational dimension

China’s fourth biannual Defence White Paper, published in December 2004, and the Pentagon’s eighth annual report to Congress on ‘Selected Military Capabilities of the People’s Republic of China’, issued in July 2005, provide a good general account of China’s security strategy, the types and estimated numbers of weapon systems currently in its military inventory, and what systems might feature in the future. But the administrative and operational structure of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – an important determinant of military effectiveness – also needs to be better understood. Here, significant change has been underway at most levels.

Shrinking numbers, developing capabilities

China’s armed forces are composed of PLA active and reserve units, the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and ordinary and primary militia units. According to the Defence White Paper, the active PLA will number 2.3 million and the primary militia 10m by end-2005. Since 1950, the PLA has implemented ten force reductions. When the People’s Republic was established in 1949, the PLA had 5.5m troops, growing to 6.3m by the end of the Korean War. Infantry constituted the bulk of these forces. The PLA Navy (PLAN) and Air Force (PLAAF) did not exist until 1949, with the Second Artillery (the strategic rocket force) formed in 1966.

Force reductions have focused on reducing the number of officers and the size and number of headquarters organisations; reducing and consolidating the Army from an infantry-dominant force to one based on group armies; developing the capabilities and organisational structure of the PLAN, PLAAF and Second Artillery; and improving the capabilities of the ‘grassroots’ fighting organisations (battalion and below). Against this backdrop, the high command is also evolving in important respects.

High command, ministry and general departments

The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the PLA’s primary policy-making body. Its chairman is also president of China and secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Two of the vice-chairmen are on the CCP Central Committee’s Politburo, but not its Standing Committee, and one vice-chairman is on the CCP’s Secretariat. The CMC’s size has declined from over 80 members in the late 1970s to eleven today, making it less cumbersome.

The Army dominated the CMC until 2004, when the PLAN, PLAAF and Second Artillery commanders were added. This was the first time that PLAN and Second Artillery commanders had held these positions, and only the second time for a PLAAF commander (the first occasion having been some years before). Their inclusion indicated more emphasis on what the Defence White Paper calls ‘strengthening the capabilities for winning both command of the sea and command of the air, and conducting strategic counter-strikes’.

A factor of the past - quantity
By contrast, the Ministry of National Defence (MND), which comes under the State Council (cabinet), is a small organisation with the sole function of dealing with foreign militaries. The Minister of Defence derives his power not from this institutional affiliation but from his concurrent positions as a CMC vice-chairman and member of the CCP Central Committee’s Politburo.

Crucial to the PLA’s bureaucratic structure are the four General Departments, consisting of the General Staff Department (GSD), General Political Department (GPD), General Logistics Department (GLD), and General Equipment Department (GED). They serve concurrently as the PLA’s joint staff and as Army headquarters and, with a few exceptions, are staffed primarily by Army officers: it was only in 2004 that the GSD assigned its first PLAAF officer, and its second PLAN officer, to the position of deputy chief. Each of the General Departments has several subordinate second- and third-level departments and bureaux, which function as either joint organisations or Army departments.

The military regions

Since the early days of the PLA, which was founded in 1927, the CMC has tried to organise the Army into regional areas and functional groupings that would facilitate centralised control. In 1947, the CMC began consolidating its forces into five regional field armies. As part of the 1948 reorganisation, the CMC established military regions (MRs) with subordinate military districts (MDs) and sub-districts. At that time, there were tens of MRs, each associated with a specific field army and subordinate infantry units. By the early 1950s, these had been reduced to six. In 1955, however, the CMC renamed and reorganised these six MRs into twelve.

Following the 1949 creation of the PLAN and PLAAF, the PLA also established six air regions for air defence and three naval districts to control fleet operations in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. After more adjustments in the 1960s, the PLA began the 1970s with eleven MRs. Finally, in 1985, China consolidated its MRs into the following seven (in protocol order): Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Today, each MR consists of 2–5 MDs, organised along provincial borders. In addition, the PLA has four garrisons: in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing.

In the mid-1990s, the PLA began creating war zones that would control operations during wartime joint campaigns, such as the Nanjing War Zone for any campaign against Taiwan. These war zones will incorporate all the necessary forces to prosecute a campaign, including ground forces from more than one MR, plus PLAN, PLAAF and Second Artillery units. Today, almost all personnel assigned to an MR headquarters are Army personnel. However, when a War Zone Headquarters is created, personnel from the PLAN, PLAAF and Second Artillery will augment them.

Ground forces

Traditionally, the ground forces – considered a PLA service – have been organised into a three-tiered structure, including main force units, local or regional forces and militia units. Today, the Army has eight branches: infantry, armour, artillery, air defence, aviation, engineering, chemical defence and communications.

Modern Battle Group
Until the early 1980s, the ground forces were primarily an infantry force, consisting of 35 infantry corps, each with about 45,000 troops. The PLA also had some independent tank divisions. At the end of 1984, the PLA had over 200 divisions and over 200 independent regiments of all types, which were subordinate to the MR commanders or the GSD. Following the 1979 border conflict with Vietnam and the shift toward positional defence against a large Soviet attack, the PLA began restructuring its ground forces into combined-arms group armies, which ranged from 45,000–60,000 personnel. By 1988, the Soviet threat was receding and the 35 infantry corps had been consolidated to under 24 group armies. Their number was again cut, to 21, by the end of the 1990s. Today, the PLA has 18 group armies, each with 30,000–50,000 troops.

Although the group army structure has varied, they are essentially corps-sized combined-arms units, generally consisting of: 2–3 infantry divisions or brigades; a tank division or brigade; an artillery division or brigade; an anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) division or brigade; a communications regiment; an engineer regiment; a reconnaissance battalion; possibly a pontoon bridge regiment and/or an anti-chemical regiment; other combat service support units, such as transportation and medical units; and, in a few cases, a helicopter group. Since the early 1990s, relatively small special operations units have been formed in each MR. These are subordinate to the MR headquarters.

The group army structure has also been refined. Many, if not all, have lost one or more infantry divisions through deactivation, re-subordination or downsizing. Others may gain units or equipment from deactivated headquarters. At the same time, new equipment is replacing older equipment, which could have an impact on force structure. In July 2005, the PLA announced that it would further restructure its group armies by reducing the number of divisions and increasing the number of brigades.

Naval forces

The PLAN currently consists of five branches: submarines, surface, aviation, coastal defence and marines. Initially focused on coastal defence as a support element to the ground forces, the PLAN gradually moved from ‘a navy capable of escorting and transporting’ in the 1950s to ‘a light combat naval force using air, subsurface, speed, and the commensurate branches’ in the 1960s and 1970s. This change was made possible as China began producing its own vessels. In the 1980s, the PLAN began acquiring better domestically produced destroyers and frigates and China’s maritime trade interests increased. As such, the CMC approved an ‘offshore defence’ strategy for the PLAN in 1985.

The PLAN has a four-tiered command structure. PLAN Headquarters is the highest tier. The three fleet headquarters (North Sea, East Sea and South Sea) make up the second tier. The PLAN’s eight corps-level bases make up the third and are primarily charged with the composite support of all naval forces within their area of responsibility. Division-level garrisons and flotillas make up the fourth tier. The PLAN has several types of flotillas, including submarine, destroyer, frigate, speedboat and landing ship flotillas, with some consisting of more than one type of vessel. The PLA did not begin to fully integrate the PLAN into the campaign command structure until the late 1980s, when the three fleet commanders became concurrent deputy commanders for the Jinan, Nanjing, and Guangzhou MRs.

Strategic Rocket Forces - "Multipurpose missile"
Air forces

The PLAAF currently consists of four branches: aviation, AAA, surface-to-air missiles and airborne troops. The PLAAF’s chain of command is organised into four operational and administrative levels: Headquarters Air Force, seven Military Region Air Forces (MRAFs), twelve corps-level command posts and operational units and elements. From 1949 to 1971, the PLAAF created 50 air divisions. Since the late 1980s, however, the number has gradually been reduced to just over 30, plus one division-level training base in each MRAF. Each regiment has 20–40 aircraft, depending on type. The reduction has taken place to incorporate new weapon systems, retire older systems, meet new mission requirements and reduce personnel.

The PLAAF’s campaign command structure at the MRAF level did not match the ground force structure until 1985, when the PLA reorganised its eleven MRs into seven. As with the PLAN, the PLA did not begin to fully integrate the PLAAF into the campaign command structure until the late 1980s, when the MRAF commanders became concurrent MR deputy commanders.

Strategic rocket forces

The Second Artillery, which is considered an independent branch, not a service, has six organisational levels: Second Artillery Headquarters, six corps-level missile bases, missile brigades, launch battalions, launch companies and launch platoons. Company and platoon launch entities are sometimes referred to as launch fendui. These strike organisations normally have only one type of missile, although a single base may have more than one. For the strategic nuclear and conventional missile force, the structure differs below launch battalion level. For the strategic nuclear force, each launch battalion has several subordinate launch companies; these are the smallest nuclear force launch organisations. The Second Artillery currently has at least 16 – and probably 19 – missile brigades subordinate to the six missile bases.

This structure has developed over time. Beginning in the 1920s, the Red Army tried to systematically structure its forces using what is known as the 3-3 system. As a general rule, the 3-3 system means that each entity in the chain of command has three subordinate entities. For example, a corps has three divisions or brigades, which in turn have three subordinate regiments each, proceeding through the chain of command. In 1948, the PLA underwent a major reorganisation, using the 3-3 system as a basis. Although significant organisational changes have taken place in the ground forces’ group armies since 1985, the legacy of the 3-3 system is still seen throughout much of the PLA today, especially in the Second Artillery.

The Second Artillery apparently uses the 3-3 system for some bases and a 4-4 system for others. In essence, a 3-3 system means a missile brigade has three subordinate launch battalions, each of which has three subordinate launch companies or equivalent launch company/fendui for a total of nine launchers per brigade. Some brigades may have a 3-3-3 system, which includes three launch platoons per launch company/fendui for a total of 27 launchers per brigade. A 4-4 system means each missile brigade has four subordinate launch battalions, each of which has four subordinate launch companies/fendui, making a total of 16 launchers per brigade.

Ready to go
More change on the way

CMC Chairman Hu Jintao will have his first significant opportunity to influence the composition of the senior officer corps, including the CMC, General Departments, military regions, PLAN, and PLAAF, during the biannual promotion cycle for three-star generals and admirals in mid-2006 and the 17th Party Congress in 2007. During China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010), the PLA will probably institute yet another large force reduction, with the primary goal of preparing for ‘military struggle under informationalised conditions’ by creating a leaner, more technologically sophisticated force capable of mobile, offensive, joint operations. To accomplish this, the PLA will continue to experiment with divisions and brigades to see which structure is best suited to carry out the PLA’s campaign and tactical mobile operations. The PLA will also consolidate administrative organisations in the four General Departments down to regiment level as a means of eliminating more flag-rank positions and reducing headquarters staff sizes.

This article is taken from the latest issue of Strategic Comments and appears by permission of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which retains the copyright. Strategic Comments, published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, provides fact-based analysis on issues of strategic significance. It responds to breaking developments in international affairs and anticipates policy questions that are likely to loom large in the calculations of governments, analysts and businesses. Ten issues, each containing five 1,700-word illustrated articles, are published each year. If you would like to subscribe to Strategic Comments, please email James Hackett at or click here

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September 22, 2005

The Modernization of the Chinese Navy

number of advanced warships will gradually come into service in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (P.L.A.N.) in the next two years. The bulk of these ships will belong to two new guided missile destroyer classes called 052B and 052C. The 052C will be fitted with an advanced integrated air defense system, supposedly similar to the U.S. Aegis phased-array radar display, with a high capability to engage multiple targets simultaneously.

Evolution of the Chinese Fleet

Chinese shipyards have already completed two 052C class ships, which are expected to be commissioned in 2005. It is probable that P.L.A.N. intends to bring at least six ships of this class into service, deploying them in the three main operative battle groups that form the bulk of Beijing's fleet. This strengthening of forces will constitute a notable improvement in the performance of China's high sea forces. The 052C class warship is equipped with an air defense system based on a sensor apparently similar to the Aegis device and equipped with an HQ9 surface-to-air missile (SAM), considered a long-range vertically launched missile with a 90 km range (56 miles).

The HQ9 will be installed in eight vertical launch system revolver-like stations (six forward, two aft), each with six missiles. Destroyers of this class will also have the capability to conduct long-range surface war missions using two kinds of surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs): the HN3 (a modern cruise missile with a range of 2500 km (1553 miles) capable of delivering a conventional or nuclear warhead) and the YJ12 (a supersonic missile with a range of 200 km (124 miles)). Also, if air defense will be the main duty of 052C class ships, the presence of a variable depth sonar array is expected to give them good anti-submarine warfare performance.

Deployment of this class is proceeding in parallel with the construction and acquisition of a number of new surface and submarine vessels. This emerging situation can suggest some foreign policy scenarios related to Beijing's moves in the next years.

In regards to China's surface fleet (presently consisting of 64 large combatant units: 21 destroyers and 43 frigates), for the next decade Beijing will be committed to the demanding process of replacing obsolete ships, that had for so long reduced the Chinese Navy to a mere coastal fleet, with more modern units. For this reason, P.L.A.N. continues to bring into service units of Russian Sovremenny class destroyers, while pursuing the construction of 052B and 052C class warships, in addition to the construction of a completely new ship, being built in China's Dalian shipyard, that is expected to be very large and loaded with heavy surface armament (probably similar to Russia's Slava class cruisers).

At the moment, the creation of an extensive ship-borne air force by building and deploying aircraft carriers does not seem to have priority in China. Beijing appears more interested in gaining time studying foreign equipment (as the case of the aircraft carrier Varyag, a former Soviet carrier initially acquired from Ukraine, which is badly deteriorated and only 70 percent completed in terms of becoming militarily operational) and then proceeding, in the future and without particular haste, to build its first domestically built aircraft carrier.

For its underwater fleet (presently consisting of 57 units: 51 diesel submarines (SS) and six nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN)), P.L.A.N. is following the same pattern of its surface forces. With significant help from Russia, P.L.A.N. is modernizing the diesel sub fleet as highlighted by the decision to acquire eight other Kilo class boats, following the first four-unit batch purchased during the 1990s; as for Sovremennys, the possibility of having and deploying top units (in their category) will enable the Chinese fleet to achieve a considerable upgrade in both operative effectiveness and technological standards (in particular in the sensor and weapon fields).

P.L.A.N., at the same time, is proceeding with the construction of diesel submarines based on domestic projects (Type 039 and 039A), which has been slowed down by a number of problems discovered in the planning phase. However, in the next few years, this process will give rise to the complete replacement of the large but ineffective diesel submarine force (packed with old Soviet-design vessels) with a modern and efficient diesel fleet. The building of the new SSN Type 93 class is proceeding in the same direction; these vessels, according to P.L.A.N.'s intentions, should allow a significant improvement in Chinese submarine warfare capabilities, especially if the rumors suggesting that the Type 93 class can perform like the Soviet Victor III class or even like the early U.S. Los Angeles class are confirmed.

It is important to note that construction of the new Type 094 nuclear powered ballistic missile class submarines (SSBN) is proceeding very slowly, even if China can now deploy one unit of this kind (Xia-class).

Regional Crisis and the Protection of Sea Lines of Communication

The naval construction plan as a whole indicates that the duties that P.L.A.N. will be called upon to tackle in the next few years will be the protection of sea lines of communication to keep open the "choke points" relevant to China's trade flow, and power projection in areas identified as vital for China's national interests. All these tasks coincide with China's anxiety to acquire and protect the necessary natural resources (especially oil) to sustain the growing energy requirements of its national industrial system. Increased dependence on overseas resources will bring Beijing to require a greater effort by Chinese naval forces to protect the trade flows and show the flag in ports of countries that are considered important trading partners.

Moreover, P.L.A.N. will be required to conduct long-range missions in the open sea to defend exclusive economic zones and to control areas with uncertain sovereignty, as in the case of the Spratley Islands. These isolated islands, situated in the South China Sea, are claimed by China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, due principally to the rich oil deposits believed to be located there. The ships commissioned in P.L.A.N. will enable China to conduct missions of this kind, with the aim of deploying a fleet overwhelmingly superior to those of all other Asiatic countries (especially Taiwan) with the exception of the Indian and Japanese navies which Beijing can try, at least, to counterbalance.

The submarine fleet will have the same duties as surface vessels, but is also expected to be assigned the hard task of facing the "traditional" Taiwanese adversary and, supposedly, coping with U.S. battle groups. In fact, it appears that Beijing discarded the possibility of deploying a limited number of aircraft carriers (which would appear excessive in relation to other regional navies) since they would have little hope of prevailing in an engagement with U.S. naval forces. This explains why China's aircraft carrier planning and construction is slowing in pace. Indeed, Beijing now prefers a well-stocked fleet of diesel submarines and nuclear powered submarines to have the difficult role of exerting some deterrence against American ships in case of a crisis.

Following this path, China will rise to a respectable level of underwater power, partially repeating the Soviet strategy during the Cold War. However, unlike the past Soviet submarine fleet (essentially dedicated to attacking N.A.T.O. forces and protecting bastions full of SSBNs), Chinese submarine forces seem to be assigned the role of supporting surface forces -- in their attempts to control sea lines of communication, with the additional mission of trying to exert some form of counter-power against U.S. forces.

In this context, moreover, the Taiwan issue requires careful examination. In fact, the expansion and improvement of the Chinese submarine fleet, especially in diesel submarine numbers, can give Beijing an additional card to play against Taipei under the form of a submarine blockade. Such a blockade is potentially very hard to neutralize and cope with, even for Taiwan's respectable anti-submarine warfare forces; this strategy can exert stronger pressure than diplomatic threats, but is not comparable to a real attempt at invasion, hazardous and hard to carry out -- and also fraught with unforeseeable political and military consequences.


The Chinese fleet's evolution in the coming years suggests that P.L.A.N. will be essentially concerned with protecting sea trade with the aim of assuring an uninterrupted flow of energy resources to satisfy the needs most dependent on overseas resources and to safeguard sea lines of communication. The enlargement and modernization of the Chinese fleet will inevitably alarm the surrounding countries and other regional powers (such as India and Australia) and will oblige other states to renew their surface and submarine forces. However, it appears unlikely that P.L.A.N. can, or will, become a force with global projection (notably far behind the U.S. Navy's capabilities, or those of the Soviet Navy during the 1980s) in the next decade.

The chief missions that P.L.A.N. will be called upon to perform are eminently regional, such as power projection to support claims to areas of dubious sovereignty, but with rich subsoil resources (such as the Spratley Islands), to achieve the same operative capability as the more powerful Asian fleets, and ability to engage such a demanding adversary as the Taiwanese fleet (able to perform at high levels due to continuous acquisition of American equipment). In relation to U.S. Navy battle groups, P.L.A.N. can, at most, aim for the possibility of exerting some form of deterrence (especially through the use of submarine forces), thus refuting all those who, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, have imagined American and Chinese battle groups confronting one another to decide which state will rule over the Pacific Ocean.

Report Drafted By:
Giuseppe Anzera

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

The Situation of Dalits in Pakistan

Name of the Book: Hamey Bhi Jeeney Do: Pakistan Mai Acchoot Logon ki Suratehal (Urdu) ['Let us Also Live: The Situation of The Untouchables in Pakistan']

Author: Pirbhu Lal Satyani (
Publisher: ASR Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan (
Year: 2005
Price: Rs. 20 (Pakistani)
Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand

Caste, the scourge of Hinduism, is so deeply entrenched in Indian society that it has not left the adherents of Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Buddhism—theoretically egalitarian religions—unaffected. So firmly rooted is the cancer of caste in the region that it survives and thrives in neighbouring Pakistan, where over 95% of the population are Muslims, as this slim book tells us.

Pirbhu Lal Satyani, the author of the book, is a Pakistani Hindu social activist based in Lahore, working among the Dalits in his country. Of Pakistan’s roughly 3 million Hindu population, he says, over 75% are Dalits, belonging to various castes, the most prominent being Meghwals, Odhs, Valmikis, Kohlis and Bhils. They reside mainly in southern Punjab and Sindh. Satyani provides startling details about the plight of the Dalits of Pakistan, which appears to be no different from that of the Dalits of India.

In a speech in 1944, Satyani writes, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, declared that the Muslim League would protect the rights of the Dalits, and he assured them of full security. Accordingly, Jogendra Nath Mondal, a Dalit from East Bengal, was appointed as the leader of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the first Law Minister of the country. This suggests, Satyani says, that Jinnah was genuine in his concern for the Dalits of Pakistan. However, things began to change after Jinnah’s death, and in 1953 Mondal resigned from the Cabinet and migrated to India. This was an indication of the growing intolerance towards minorities in post-Jinnah Pakistan. Today, as Satyani shows, minorities lead a bleak existence in Pakistan, the worst sufferers among them being the country’s Dalits.

Following the Partition of India, Satyani says, most Hindus living in what is now Pakistan migrated to India. The vast majority of those who stayed back in Pakistan were Dalits. In the years after the Partition, he writes, there has been a steady migration of Hindus to India, especially in the immediate aftermath of the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in India in 1992 and the ensuing massacre of Muslims in different parts of India by Hindutva extremists, led to a heightening of insecurity among the Pakistani Hindus, causing a sizeable number of them to migrate to India. Most of these migrants were ‘upper’ caste Hindus. Lacking money and resources, Dalits in Pakistan were unable to make the same choice. In addition, Satyani writes, ‘The Dalits are so caught up with mere day-to-day survival issues that Hindu-Muslim conflicts or Pakistan-India disputes are not as important for them as they are for rich ‘upper’ caste Hindus’. To add to this probably is the fact that life for Dalits in India is hardly better than in Pakistan.

Most Pakistani Dalits work as landless agricultural labourers and sweepers, Satyani writes. In rural areas their huts are located in separate settlements outside the main village and they generally lack even basic amenities. Large numbers of Dalits also lead a nomadic existence, traveling from village to village in search of manual work. Many Dalits live in temporary structures in the land of landlords for whom they work and they can be expelled from their whenever the landlords wish, having no title to the land. They generally earn a pittance and are often forced into free labour by powerful ‘upper’ caste Hindu and Muslim feudal lords. Many Dalits eke out a miserable existence as bonded labourers, being heavily indebted to landlords and moneylenders. If they protest false cases are lodged against them and the police does little or nothing to protect them. Local administrative officers routinely harass them and even forcibly take away their cattle and other such belongings. Land mafias in rural Sindh often forcibly grab the land on which Dalits set up their huts. In most places Dalits have no temples of their own. They have few places where they can burn their dead, and many of these are illegally occupied by local Muslims.

In schools in the villages, Satyani tells us, Dalit students routinely face discrimination and are not allowed to use utensils that are used by other students. In schools Dalit students are often badly treated by Muslim teachers and students. Despite being the poorest of the poor, they do not receive any scholarships on the grounds that money for scholarships comes from zakat funds and hence it is not permissible for non-Muslims to avail of them. Further, owing to desperate poverty few Dalits can afford to send their children for higher education, and, generally, children are withdrawn from school at an early age to engage in manual work to help supplement the family’s meagre income. In many cases, Dalits do not send their girls to school fearing that they might be kidnapped, raped or forced to convert to Islam.

In towns and cities Dalits generally live in the poorest parts, in squalid slums. There are no organizations working among them for their welfare, and, lacking a strong political leadership of their own, they are not able to effectively assert their voice in demanding their rights from the state or from the larger society, not even to protest in cases of human rights violations. Many of them do not possess national identity cards, and so cannot access various government developmental schemes. Government facilities for religious minorities are almost monopolized by the country’s more powerful and organized Christian and ‘upper’ caste Hindu communities, leaving the Dalits untouched.

Because of acute poverty, rampant illiteracy and discrimination and the absence of a Dalit movement as in India, Dalits in Pakistan have no political influence at all, Satyani says. In many places, Dalits are not allowed to freely vote for candidates of their own choice. They are often forced by powerful ‘upper’ caste Hindu and Muslim landlords to vote for particular candidates, and if they are refused they are pressurized into leaving their homes or are beaten up. The problem of Dalit political marginalisation is complicated by the acute divisions among the Dalits, with various Dalit castes practicing untouchability among themselves. For its part, the Pakistani state, Satyani says, prefers to promote the economically and socially more influential ‘upper’ caste Hindus as ‘leaders’ of the Hindus, instead of trying to promote an alternate Dalit leadership. Thus, for instance, in 2002, of the nine seats reserved for the Sindh provincial assembly for religious minorities, seven were for Hindus and only one for Dalits, while Dalits account for more than 70% of the Hindu population of the province. The state’s lack of commitment to helping the Dalits is also evident from the fact that despite there being some 3,50,000 Dalits in southern Punjab (mainly in the Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur districts) there are no reserved seats for Dalits or Hindus in the provincial assembly. All the seats reserved for minorities in the assembly for minorities are occupied by Christians. Further, government affirmative policies meant especially for Dalits have been done away with, Satyani writes. While Jinnah had provided a 6% job quota for Dalits in some government services, in 1998 the government of Nawaz Sharif, assisted by some ‘upper’ caste Hindu and Christian leaders, changed the Dalit quota to a general minorities’ quota, thus effectively denying Dalits assured access to government jobs.

Dalits, like other minorities in Pakistan, Satyani tells us, are also victims of religious discrimination, by both Muslims as well as ‘upper’ caste Hindus. Despite the Hindus being a minority in Pakistan, ‘upper’ caste Hindus continue to discriminate against the Dalits. Generally, Dalits are refused entry into Hindu temples belonging to the ‘upper’ castes. ‘Upper’ caste Hindu landlords and businessmen in Sindh, Satyani writes, show little concern for the plight of the Dalits, and, instead, are often complicit, along with Muslim feudal lords, in oppressing them. As in large parts of India, in eateries in the rural areas of Sindh, owned both by ‘upper’ caste Hindus as well Muslims, Dalits are forced to use separate utensils and are expected to wash them themselves after use. When they visit hospitals for treatment they are generally left unattended and, being considered as untouchables, are not allowed to touch utensils meant for public use there. Often, Dalit women are gang-raped, murdered or are forced to convert to Islam, but no action is taken against the perpetrators of these crimes. Besides this, due to discrimination by ‘upper’ caste Hindus, many Dalits have converted to Islam and Christianity on their own.

Satyani ends his book with a list of recommendations for addressing the plight of Dalits in his country. He suggests that the government of Pakistan should insist that the question of Dalit human rights and amelioration of their pathetic conditions be placed as part of the SAARC agenda. This, presumably, would force all the SAARC member states, including India, to take the issue of caste oppression seriously. He calls for the setting up of a national commission in Pakistan to monitor the conditions of the country’s Dalits and to work for their welfare. Dalits, he says, should be given reserved seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies in accordance with their population as well as adequate representation in all government services. In areas with a high Dalit population, councils should be created by the state for development of the Dalits. All ‘black laws’ against religious minorities should be repealed, Satyani advises, and to improve relations between different religious communities the educational curriculum should be revised and negative portrayals of non-Muslim communities and their religions should be deleted. Landless labourers should be granted titles to land; Hindu, including Dalit, employees should be given holidays on the occasion of their festivals; Dalit communities that do not have any cremation grounds of their own should be provided with such facilities; Dalits should be given the right to use public wells and taps and to live within the villages, instead, as of now, outside them; and Hindu temples presently under the control of the Waqf Department should be given back to the community. In schools with a sizeable Hindu population, Hindu children should be provided facilities to study their own religion instead of Islam.

Whether the state authorities willing to accede to these demands, however, is another question.

VIRAT HINDU SABHA (VHS) (Greater Hindu Assembly)

VIRAT HINDU SABHA (VHS) (Greater Hindu Assembly)


Press Release

For Immediate Release September 22, 2005


The Third Annual HEC, held from Friday Sept. 16 to Sunday Sept. 18, 2005, in Houston, Texas, was a great success where over 110 Hindu leaders, from all over the world, participating by invitation only, resolved to address numerous challenges facing the worldwide Hindu community.

Among the major resolves were to accelerate the movement to assimilate the so-called untouchables in the Hindu society and to honor everyone=s human rights equally, as well as to stop the governmental looting of Hindu temples in India by organizing a drive to transfer the control of Hindu temples from state governments to elected bodies modeled on the Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

In view of the fact that historically more Hindus have been subjected to atrocities and terrorism, and massacred, than most other peoples combined, both a proposed Hindu Holocaust Museum and a proposed August 14th as the Annual Hindu Memorial Day, to commemorate all Hindu victims, gained significant momentum at this HEC.

Discussed among major threats to Hinduism were the huge campaigns of conversion to Christianity, funded by massive influx of foreign funds, the equally dangerous influx of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims in India, and the ever increasing threat of terrorism in India, while Hindus in other countries, Bangladesh in particular, continue to be persecuted.

Possible solutions to long-simmering problems, such as generally distorted media coverage of Hindus and Hinduism, were explored, and implementation of solutions, such as highlighting hard scientific evidence to debunk the so-called Aryan invasion and to overcome the propaganda to divide Hindus, were examined. Establishment of Dharmalaya, an extensive internet resource of Hinduism=s texts, analysis and teachings for all ages, received tremendous support.

The attendees were treated to insightful talks, ranging from The Hindu Case Against Christianity by Belgian scholar Dr. Koenraad Elst to Islam=s Weakness by Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy to remarks by legal scholars Bhishma Agnihotri, Esq., and Ved Nanda, Esq.

HEC ’05 Spokesperson:

Chandrakant Pansé, 617 967 8430,