May 13, 2017

CPEC will continue to face resistance: Baloch Diaspora France President

ANI | New Delhi [India] May 14, 2017 06:13 AM IST

Baloch Diaspora France President Ali Akbar Mengal has said the China Pakistan Economic Project (CPEC), an initiative under the One Road, One Belt project that seeks to connect Pakistan's Gwadar port to Chinese Xinjiang Province, would continue to face stiff resistance by the Baloch people as the project intends to only benefit the Chinese and the Punjabis in Pakistan.

Describing the current phase as the fifth phase of the Baloch freedom movement, Mengal said, 🔴"Baloch will resist the CPEC, because they know very well that the project is not for the benefit of the Baloch people. The CPEC will only benefit the Chinese and Punjabis. So, we will resist it until there is last Baloch."

"🔴As the Baloch resistance gets momentum in the Gwadar port, where this major portion of this CPEC is going to be constructed, Pakistan security agencies are also strengthening their harsh policies of kill and dump Baloch," he added.

Mengal further said that Pakistan security agencies have been tormenting the Blaoch people who have been raising their voice against the project.

🔴"So, as this plan of the CPEC is started by China and Pakistan in Balochistan, worst kind of human rights violations have been happening. Earlier, Pakistan government tried to create a generation gap by killing all those who are young active people between the age of 16-40 years and especially the young educated class," he said.

Citing a report by the Human Rights Watch, Mengal said that more than 20,000 Baloch people went missing.

Baloch people and activists have been consistently protesting against the CPEC, alleging that Pakistan is only concerned about exploiting the resources of Balochistan for Beijing and its advantage.

Considered to be a part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative, the USD 51 billion CPEC will cover significant parts of Balochistan, Sindh and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 11, Issue 2 (2017)

Apr 2017

The contributions in this issue of Perspective on Terrorism focus on

1) the shifting content and style of two prominent extremist magazines (Dabiq and Rumiyah);

2) managing non-state threats, specifically by relying on cumulative deterrence-by-denial;

3) tracking radical opinions in US Muslim polls;

4) gauging the ambiguous effect of population size on the prevalence of terrorism; and

5) reviewing the pioneering, Saudi Arabian-based online counter-radicalization campaign known as ‘Sakinah’.

Download  English (PDF, 172 pages, 3.66 MB)

Author  Peter Wignell, Sabine Tan, Kay L O´Halloran, Rebecca Lange, Veronika Fajmonov√°, Sophia Moskalenko, Clark McCauley, James M Lutz, Brenda J Lutz, Abdullah bin Khaled al–Saud, Judith Tinnes, Berto Jongman, Parmida Esmaeilpour, Alex P Schmid, Joshua Sinai (Editor: Alex P. Schmid)SeriesPerspectives on Terrorism (PT)Issue2

Publisher Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI)Copyright© 2017 Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI)

Russia: A Land Power Hungry for the Sea

27/04/2017 Tom Fedyszyn Maritime Security

Courtesy of MASS MoCA/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 19 April 2017.

Trying to understand the military behavior of nations has been a hobby of Western academics, beginning with the great geopoliticians of former centuries, such as Nicholas Spykman, Sir Halford Mackinder, and Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan. Simply, the argument is that geography demanded that insular and coastal nations such as England, Japan, and the Netherlands develop strong navies to support their national economic and political interests. Conversely, Germany, the Turkish Republic, and the Roman Empire were required to use their formidable land armies to defend and expand their territories. Russia stands out as a one-off. Situated squarely on the borders of Eastern Europe and central Asia, she endured numerous land assaults, and, accordingly built large defensive and offensive land armies. However, in fits and starts, she has also assembled naval forces equal to or greater than most of her presumptive adversaries. Why does Russia, a traditional land power, engage in such counterintuitive and unique behavior? Do recent international events shed light on Russia’s future naval activities?

When Tsar Peter the Great embarked on building a navy 330 years ago, he did so to defend the homeland from Swedish and Turkish enemies, north and south, while at the same time buying Russia a seat at the “great power” diplomatic table. Serendipitously, his navy did enable him to expand Russian boundaries and give him access to the world’s oceans. A second noteworthy Russian foray into the sea was at the height of the Cold War when Soviet Adm. Gorshkov planned and built a naval force that rivalled American supremacy at sea. His submarines alone (385) outnumbered those of the NATO Alliance and they regularly patrolled off the American Atlantic and Pacific coasts until the fall of the Soviet Union. On the surface of the oceans, it was commonplace for U.S. warships visiting exotic ports around the world to be joined by their Soviet counterparts throughout the Cold War.

All this ended abruptly with the implosion of the Soviet Union. The Soviet 5th Eskhadra ingloriously slipped out of the Mediterranean in the dark of night once it was determined that there wasn’t enough money left in the Kremlin’s coffers to sustain its operations in late 1989. Russian ballistic-missile submarines gradually reduced their Atlantic Ocean patrols until they reached zero in 2001.

Almost as quickly as the Russian Federation Navy vanished, it reappeared. A convenient benchmark for this turnaround is 2008, since a number of factors began to congeal. First, the Russian military (including its navy) performed deplorably while defeating hapless Georgia in a short war of annexation. This incited the Putin-Medvedev team to spur Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov to reform the defense establishment. He mimicked U.S. initiatives to become more professional and “joint.” Additionally, he also addressed the training, morale, and recruit quality in the Russian navy, since it was equally unsatisfactory. Second, the price of oil (Russia’s only meaningful export commodity) began to skyrocket, filling Russian pockets with vast reserves of discretionary resources.  Third, and finally, Putin and Medvedev decided to invest much of this money building a bigger and better military, and the Russian navy got more than its fair share of the 10-year building plan.

Today, we once again are being treated to witness a land power whose sea power switch has been reactivated. For instructive purposes, let’s take a close-up look at Russia’s Syria interlude: The Russian navy had awakened from its Rip Van Winkle-like 20-year sleep and in 2013 re-established a “permanent flotilla” in the eastern Mediterranean, serviced by all four of its major fleets (Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific). After the Obama administration’s “red line” pronouncement on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons, only this Russian naval force was in position to escort the vessels carrying Syrian chemical weapons to their ultimate destruction. The world acknowledged Putin’s diplomatic lead on this navy-enabled initiative. Then, Russia’s air force required additional air defense and communications support in its operations in support of the Syrian regime. The Russian permanent naval flotilla obliged. The Russian air campaign was then augmented by the arrival of Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, last fall. Finally, in an act that surprised and impressed most of the world, the Russian navy launched multiple long-range Kalibr cruise missiles on so-called terrorist positions in Syria from both small Buyan-M patrol boats in the Caspian Sea as well as similarly small Kilo-class diesel submarines in the Mediterranean. Perhaps of greatest importance, Russia provides virtually all of its logistical support for its Syrian operation with logistic ships operating from the Black Sea and escorted and defended by the naval flotilla, enroute to its base in Tartus, Syria.

Worldwide, the Russian navy has made equally impressive gains, particularly in view of its low starting point in the 1990’s. Operating jointly with the Russian Air Force, there is no point on the Russian periphery where a foreign military can now operate with impunity. This is most obvious in Russia’s northern reaches where she has militarized the Arctic with a vengeance. This initiative is led by the Russian Northern Fleet, which has once again begun deploying submarines into the North Atlantic in great numbers. Given the political focus caused by Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and expansion of its base in Sevastopol, the Russian navy has also been rushing new frigates and submarines to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Former head of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, Admiral Mark Ferguson, has described this as Russia’s “Arc of Steel” from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, vaguely reminiscent of the Churchillian Iron Curtain.

What lessons might we learn about the future behavior of this land power with a hefty appetite for maritime power? Does the United States have reason for concern as it, too, launches naval cruise missile strikes into Syria, with the well-armed Russian navy observing on the sidelines?

From the perspective of the United States and its allies, the current status of the Russian navy offers both comfort and consternation. On the plus side for the West, irrespective of how much money Russia throws at its navy, no serious analyst thinks that the Russian navy can contend for control of the world’s oceans. This is eminently logical because the Russian fascination with the sea does not rest on economic necessity. Moscow never had, and still today does not have, an economy that is dependent on global trade, much less one that demands control of the seas. In addition, Russia’s stark inability to build large ships (think, aircraft carriers) ties its hands in any attempt at blue water sea control and power projection. Plus, it goes unsaid that the Russian economy is always at risk. Continued stagnation in Russian GDP growth probably is the death knell of expanding its navy.

Nonetheless, Putin’s navy continues to perform the missions outlined by Peter the Great, which should begin to offer a stew of comfort mixed with consternation. First, defense of the homeland. The Russian navy’s principal focus is on real estate close to the Russian border. Most of its operations and exercises are in waters adjacent to Russia. Think of it as high firepower potential but limited range. This, however, is comforting only if you are not a NATO member in Eastern Europe near the Russian border. Russia’s resumed deployment of ballistic missile submarines in the Atlantic could be unnerving, but is more readily construed as defense of the homeland, since these submarines, more than ever, will constitute Russia’s second strike – that is, deterrent — capability. Tsar Peter’s secondary consideration – gaining international diplomatic respect and recognition – continues to be supported by Russian Navy port visits and exercises around the world. In recent months, Russian ships have visited Namibia, the Philippines, South Africa, and the Seychelles and also conducted fleet exercises with the Indonesian and Chinese navies. While Putin has lost no ground to Peter the Great, this activity need not keep us awake at night.

Now, for the anxiety. The Russian naval mission appears to have quietly expanded to become a vehicle to sell sophisticated weaponry. Witness the salability of the Kalibr cruise missile and the Improved Kilo-Class diesel submarine, highlighted by its recent combat performance in Syria. Weapons exports follow behind the sales of petroleum products as the leading source of Russian foreign exchange. This may be of minimal concern, but even strategically important and friendly nations can unwittingly become client states as they realize weapons systems purchases addict the purchaser to follow-on supply, repair, and support contracts. Think India.

Of even greater concern is that Russia’s navy is now conducting military operations (Syria) some distance from its borders and it can apparently shoot straight. The U.S. Navy has learned over history that there is no alternative in learning to “fight the away game” than by sending naval forces beyond their security umbrella and forcing them to learn how to operate without an umbilical cord to fleet headquarters. This has never been a strong point of the Russian navy in the past. Also, should Russian national strategies be taken seriously, we might anticipate seeing the development of maritime hybrid warfare in the eastern Mediterranean, so well-perfected by Russian ground forces in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Perhaps the greatest and most serious concern is Russian national security decision making, concentrated in Vladimir Putin. He sure seems to love his navy. For unscientific proof, Google him and note the frequency with which he dons nautical fashion (hint: somewhat less often than bare-chested bear riding). At a recent press conference, he boasted that Admiral Kuznetsov’s deployment to the Mediterranean was his “personal initiative.” Based on the frequency with which he attends naval events and dresses in its uniforms, it is not unreasonable that he has a special affinity for his fleet. Further, he is a risk taker, known to overplay weak hands – and get away with it. And, finally, he is a judo master, fashioning himself along the lines of a navy destroyer: sleek, lean, lethal, vicious, stealthy and a very impressive sight to witness.

About the Author

Tom Fedyszyn is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. A retired Navy captain, his military assignments included command of a cruiser and naval attaché to Russia

OBOR projects are Goldplated, an act of pumping more money

"In the name of global trade and links, China is violating the sovereignty of Indian territories in the state of J&K. China should have discussed this project with India before going ahead with this plan through J&K. The One Nation policy preached by China, is equally applicable to every nation's case. India has every right to respond as it wishes in this case. Its sad to also see China supporting all irritant countries in the world. No idea what message China wants to send out to the world through these alliances."

OBOR, an economic initiative, places China right in the middle of the political affairs of the countries it benefits. To make the economic corridor secure, China had to make further investments to secure the political stability of the country it benefits and keep its armed forces in standby when there is a threat perception. So, the project involves economic, political and military costs.

Pakistan had already deployed 10K plus troops to secure the corridor from insurgency and unrest. The Middle East is on the boil and it takes another quarter of a century to bring it back to normalcy. The Eastern European countries are on the brink of an economic collapse. China, at best, can deliver package after package of relief to these nations. In the long run the projects may become inviable.

Some may come out as a success. Some needs localisation and testing ground realities. China, at best, can shed its aggressive posture with its neighbours, resolve Korean crisis, resolve bilateral disputes before venturing into global scale.

OBOR: It's going to be an act of pumping more money at last with little economic impact.

India's response to BRI/OBOR

🔴Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the BRI/OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position. No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

🔴Connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized international​ norms,good governance,rule of law,openness, transparency  & equalty-MEA

🔴We have been urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, awaiting a positive response from China: MEA

10 labourers killed in Gwadar as unidentified assailants open fire at construction site

10 labourers killed in Gwadar as unidentified assailants open fire at construction site


At least 10 labourers were killed in Balochistan's Gwadar district on Saturday as unidentified assailants opened fire at the construction site where they were working, Levies sources said.

Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on a group of labourers working at a road in Gwadar's Pishgan area, killing eight of them on the spot, Levies sources confirmed.

Key updates

Two gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on group of labourers in GwadarBaloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility of attackThe road where labourers were working was not a specific CPEC-funded project

A spokesman for the separatist Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the incident in a telephone call to AFP.

Two of the injured labourers succumbed to gunshot wounds while they were being rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital, they added.

Examine: The tough road to corridor

Local administration official Munir Zamari told AFP there were two gunmen riding on motorbikes who opened fire on the construction workers at the site.

The assailants attacked the men at two separate construction sites three kilometres apart along the same road. They then fled the scene.

"All the labourers were shot at close range," said senior levies official Muhammad Zareef.

A special military C-130 aircraft flew the remains of the slain labourers after funeral prayers to their hometown in Sindh's Naushahro Feroze district.

Frontier Corps, police and levies personnel have reached the spot and an investigation is underway.

Security challenges facing Balochistan and CPEC

The shooting incident occurs as Pakistan and China inks agreements aimed at boosting cooperation in various sectors between the two countries on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum, which is underway in Beijing at the moment.

China is also developing the warm water Gwadar port, a prominent feature of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan. The CPEC project — with an investment of $46 billion and the Gwadar port as its lynchpin — is billed to be a 'game-changer' and manifestation of strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.

Though the road where the labourers were working was not a specific CPEC-funded project, it was a part of a network of connecting roads that are part of the corridor ─ a common target for separatists militants who view construction projects as a means to take over their land.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti also confirmed the death toll while speaking to DawnNews. Condemning the incident, he said, "We will not bow down before terrorists."

The government has deployed a Maritime Security Force (MSF) and Special Security Division (SSD) to protect projects under CPEC, including Gwadar and other coastal areas, and ensure safety of locals and foreigners working on CPEC projects.

'44 workers killed since 2014'

The need to tighten security in Balochistan has grown over the years as separatist militants continue to wage their campaign against the central government for decades, demanding a greater share of the gas-rich region's resources.

Security officials have said previously that militants trying to disrupt construction on the economic corridor have killed 44 workers since 2014, all of whom were Pakistani but often hailing from other provinces.

Armed militants attacked at labourers camp in Turbat on April 11, 2015 killing 20 labourers. The defunct Baloch separatist organization Baloch Liberation Front had claimed the responsibility for the attack. Similarly, in April this year, four Sindhi labourers were gunned down by suspected militants while working on a road that was under construction in Kharan district

May 12, 2017

Switzerland’s Security» 2017: the Federal Intelligence Service presents its situation report

Download full report

Bern, 02.05.2017 – The challenges facing the security authorities are becoming increasingly complex. The number of relevant actors is growing, the security environment is increasingly fragmented and the strategic environment is marked by a European order under extraordinary pressure due to a variety of crisis situations. The annual situation report of the Federal Intelligence Service is intended to support the orientation of security policy.

Europe's crisis situations, which the FIS has been describing in its reports for years, have been intensified by  additional elements since last year's report: the UK's decision to leave the EU, the election of Donald Trump as the President of the USA and the constitutional change in Turkey. This has contributed further to the erosion of old certainties, whose place is being taken by fundamental uncertainty and reduced levels of predictability - the decisions are also shaking the foundations of Europe's security architecture. The European order is under extraordinary pressure, which has consequences for the strategic environment of Switzerland. An armed attack on Switzerland remains unlikely. However, it is undeniable that the European continent is becoming not only more polarised, partly because of the impact of cross-border influence and information operations, but also more heavily militarised.

In many respects, Syria is the epicentre of the crisis situations in the states on the eastern and south-ern Mediterranean coasts. The search for solutions has become even more difficult. The impact of the conflicts, which extend as a complex series of fractures right across the Middle East, reaches deep into the collective psyche of the Arab and Sunni worlds in particular. It also affects Sunnis in Europe. Despite intensified military operations, there is as yet no sign of any resolutions in Syria and in Iraq, still less a political solution. «Islamic State» continues to play a central role in these crises. Jihad-motivated terrorism remains a central element of the worldwide threat situation. In Switzerland, too, the terrorist threat remains heightened. The main threat is from «Islamic State» and individuals and small groups inspired or controlled by it. The threat posed by the al-Qaeda terrorist group remains unchanged.

Turkey is in a state of grave internal and external crisis. The turmoil in Syria and Iraq is perceived as a threat to its key national security interests. The attempted coup in summer 2016 presented a fundamental challenge not only to the stability of Turkish institutions: the President's response and his effective exploitation of broadly based Turkish nationalism injected new tension into relations between Turkey and Europe. The deterioration of Turkey's relationship with the EU in recent years points to the possibility of permanent damage to these relations. Turkey plays a vital role for Europe in containing the refugee flows and the terrorist threat.

Since April 2016, i.e. since the closure of the so-called Balkan route and the conclusion of the agreement between the EU and Turkey, last year's peak in migration movements to Europe has passed, but the pressure remains high. The potential for a crisis to develop remains, and therefore also the possibility that the security aspects of migration will be thrown into sharper relief. This applies firstly to terrorism carried out by perpetrators who reached Europe in this way and secondly to violent extremism. While right-wing extremists in Switzerland have thus far not, as has happened elsewhere in Europe, taken violent action against asylum-seekers or service providers working in the asylum field, left-wing extremists have made migration one of their core issues and have also taken violent action in this regard. This issue is the one most likely to cause an escalation of the generally calm situation as regards violent extremism - the potential for violence remains.

States continue to use espionage to procure information. In Switzerland too, espionage activities will continue - against Switzerland as well as against international organizations and non-governmental organizations based in our country. Sabotage activities in cyberspace are increasingly getting global attention. States which have their own offensive cyber capacities are working hard to develop these. Since the Snowden revelations provided deep insights into the cyber capacities of the USA and its allies in the Five Eyes partnership (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), the cyberspace activities of Russia-based actors, in particular, have become more aggressive. States without their own offensive tools are increasingly relying on services offered by hacker groups. Inter-state conflicts are also increasingly being waged in cyberspace

Switzerland faces ‘heightened’ terror threat in uncertain Europe

Defence minister Guy Parmelin. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Local

3 May 2017

12:09 CEST+02:00

“The question isn’t if an attack will take place in Switzerland, but when.” That’s the view expressed by Swiss defence minister Guy Parmelin at a press conference on Tuesday as the Swiss federal intelligence service (FIS) released its situation report.

The head of the FIS, Markus Seiler, took a calmer stance but spoke of an “elevated” threat, reported Le Temps.


In a statement to release its 2017 situation report, the FIS said the challenges it faced “are becoming increasingly complex”, in part because of the “extraordinary pressure” on Europe “due to a variety of crisis situations”.


These crises have been aggravated in the past year by Brexit, the election of US President Donald Trump and the recent political reform in Turkey, it said.


“This has contributed further to the erosion of old certainties, whose place is being taken by fundamental uncertainty and reduced levels of predictability,” it said. 


The “extraordinary pressure” on Europe is “not without consequences” for Swiss strategy, it added.


Contrary to Parmelin’s tone during the press conference the FIS said an armed attack on Switzerland “remains unlikely” but that it was undeniable that Europe was becoming more polarized and more heavily militarized.


The terror threat in Switzerland “remains heightened”, it added, principally due to the threat from Isis and the activities of isolated individuals inspired by the terror group.


Just under 500 internet users are on the radar of the FIS for visiting pages related to radical Islam or posting comments in support of jihadists, they said. 


Of those, 90 are considered a security risk. 


However the number of people leaving Switzerland to join jihad groups has gone down, they said. 


Switzerland hasn’t recorded a departure for a conflict zone since August 2016.


Since 2001 there have been 88 cases recorded in total, with 14 of those returning to Switzerland where some were convicted.


Violence related to political extremism, cyber attacks and espionage are among the other threats to Swiss security, said the organization.


However Parmelin and Seiler refused to address questions from the media on last week’s revelations of a Swiss spy arrested in Germany. 


“I cannot, nor do I want to, interfere in a current investigation in a country that is a friend and neighbour,” said Parmelin

Lifting the curtain on the Swiss intelligence service

MAY 12, 2017 - 15:00

Undercover agent working for the Swiss intelligence service? There's no black and white in the murky world of spies 


The ongoing scandal of an alleged Swiss spy arrested in Germany at the end of April has shone a spotlight on the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS). reveals what it gets up to – and who watches the watchers.

BANKING DATASwiss alleged to have spied inside German tax office

German investigators believe a mole spied for the Swiss intelligence service inside a German tax office, which was trying to catch German tax dodgers.

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What is the FIS’s job?

In a nutshell, the FISexternal link is “concerned with the early perception and prevention of terrorism, violent extremism, espionage, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery system technology as well as cyberattacks against critical infrastructure,” according to its website.

It is active at an international level to gain information relevant to security policy from abroad to help assess possible threats. The FIS cooperates with the government, the ministries and the military command and helps the cantonal authorities maintain inner security.

How many people work for it?

The intelligence service employed 284 people last year, an increase of 25 posts compared with 2014. Defence Minister Guy Parmelin has said at least 20 additional staff will be hired by 2019.

Who are they?

The FIS, led by Markus Seiler, says it hires policemen, IT specialists, electricians, engineers, biologists as legal experts, specialists in Arabic, Chinese and Slavic studies, archaeologists, office workers, translators and human resources staff. The list includes 26 job profiles.

Their tasks are described as computer experts, analysts, researchers and specialists in international relations.

How big is the budget?

The annual budget was CHF63.3 million ($63.2 million) in 2014 and stands at CHF72.7 million for the current year.

What partner organisations does the FIS work with abroad?

Dino Bellasi, former accountant in the military intelligence service, was sentenced to six years in 2003 for fraud   


Officially there are “about 100 other foreign services”, but the FIS has declined to give further information.

Following a court case with the tabloid Blick newspaper last year, the FIS for the first time released figures about the extent of data exchange with other agencies abroad. It emerged that the FIS obtained about 9,000 pieces of data and passed on about 4,500 in 2015.

Why does the Swiss secret service agency have no separate foreign and domestic branches like in the United States or in Britain?

Up until 2010 there was a domestic unit in the justice ministry and a foreign (or military) service responding to the defence minister. In response to repeated criticism, notably from parliament, the two units were merged into the FIS.

Historically, a federal military secret service was set up only in 1937, a few years before the outbreak of the Second World War. Previously, intelligence gathering had been left to police forces.

How secret is the secret service and who keeps an eye on its activities?

The FIS is supervised by the cabinet, parliamentary committees, the defence ministry and the federal administration.

As part of a new law to come into effect this September, another supervisory body has been added. On May 10, the government appointed Thomas Fritschi as head of a new independent watchdog body of the intelligence service.

Fritschi’s task is to ensure that the secret service, its cantonal branches and third parties act within the law and that they work efficiently. He is also due to coordinate the supervision by the different parliamentary and administrative units.

Claude Covassi was asked to infiltrate the Islamic Centre in Geneva for the Swiss intelligence service


In 2016, voters endorsed a parliamentary decision to boost the powers of the FIS, allowing the Swiss intelligence service to tap private phone lines and monitor cyberspace activities to prevent terrorist attacks.

How efficient has the secret service been in its 70-year history?

Given the nature of the secret service it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of successes or failures of an alleged Swiss spy investigating tax inspectors in Germany on behalf of the FIS, it seems easier to point the finger at the intelligence service.

But Swiss historian Christophe Vuillemier argues that the Swiss intelligence service has 70 years of experience building up an important network of contacts. He says the service suffers from a lack of resources, including personnel.

Speaking on Swiss public radio, RTS, he pointed out that Swiss spying activities have a certain tradition, as foreign powers hired Swiss agents to work for them, paying lucrative salaries. Vuillemier says the Swiss often had a competitive advantage as the country was neutral in the two wars.

Flops, failures and fumbles

In August 2016 the leftwing Wochenzeitung weekly described the FIS as a story of flops, failures and fumbles (“Pech, Pleiten und Pannen”). The paper told the story of an allegedly disgruntled IT expert working for the FIS who stole confidential data and tried to sell it before being arrested in 2012.

A recent article in the Tages-Anzeiger listed several high-profile cases that the FIS would prefer to forget.

For example former FIS accountant Dino Bellasi, who was arrested in 1999 on suspicion of defrauding his employer of CHF8.9 million ($8.8 million) over about ten years.

Then there is the story of Claude Covassi, asked to spy on a controversial Swiss imam in Geneva. But he leaked information about his mandate to the media and later apparently converted to Islam.

The Tages-Anzeiger also mentions an alleged scandal about a secret service agent investigating a case of tax fraud and adulterated wine. The computers of several journalists trying to dig up the story behind it were hacked.

The FIS is also suspected of failing to stop in time a French-Italian whistleblower, Hervé Falciani, who was allegedly behind the sale of stolen information of some 130,000 holders of Swiss bank accounts who were trying to evade taxes in other countries. Critics say the intelligence service and the Federal Office of the Attorney General already had enough information in 2008 to prevent the Switzerland’s biggest banking data leak. Falciani was sentenced in absentia in 2015 and given a five-year prison sentence for financial espionage.

In addition, there was the discovery in 1989 of secret service files on up to 900,000 people and organisations suspected of trying to undermine the Swiss state during the Cold War period. The “secret file scandal” shook the nation

Information warfare versus soft power

12 May 2017|Joseph S. Nye Jr.

Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and its suspected hacking of French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign servers, should surprise no one, given President Vladimir Putin’s (mis)understanding of soft power. Before his re-election in 2012, Putin told a Moscow newspaper that ‘soft power is a complex of tools and methods to achieve foreign policy goals without the use of force, through information and other means of influence.’

From the Kremlin’s perspective, color revolutions in neighboring countries and the Arab Spring uprisings were examples of the United States using soft power as a new form of hybrid warfare. The concept of soft power was incorporated into Russia’s 2013 Foreign Policy Concept, and in March 2016, Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov stated that responding to such foreign threats ‘using conventional troops is impossible; they can be counteracted only with the same hybrid methods.’

What is soft power? Some think it means any action other than military force, but this is wrong. Soft power is the ability to get what you want through attraction and persuasion rather than threats of coercion or offers of payment.

Soft power is not good or bad in itself. Value judgments depend on the ends, means, and consequences of an action. It is not necessarily better to twist minds than to twist arms (though the subject usually has more autonomy in mental rather than physical processes). Osama bin Laden neither threatened nor paid the men who flew aircraft into the World Trade Center in September 2001: he attracted them by his ideas to do evil.

The soft power of attraction can be used for offensive purposes. Countries have long spent billions on public diplomacy and broadcasting in a game of competitive attractiveness—the ‘battle for hearts and minds.’ Soft-power instruments like the Marshall Plan and the Voice of America helped to determine the outcome of the Cold War.

After the Cold War, Russian elites believed that European Union and NATO enlargement, and Western efforts at democracy promotion, were designed to isolate and threaten Russia. In response, they tried to develop Russian soft power by promoting an ideology of traditionalism, state sovereignty, and national exclusivity. This resonated in countries like Hungary, where Prime Minister Victor Orbán has praised ‘illiberal democracy,’ as well as among the diaspora along Russia’s borders, in impoverished countries of Central Asia, and among right-wing populist movements in Western Europe.

Information warfare can be used offensively to disempower rivals, and this could be considered ‘negative soft power.’ By attacking the values of others, one can reduce their attractiveness and thus their relative soft power.

Nongovernmental actors have long understood that multinational corporations are vulnerable to having their brand equity diminished through ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns. The available evidence suggests that when the Russians began their intervention in the American presidential election in 2015, their objective was to sully and discredit the US democratic process. The election of Donald Trump, who had praised Putin, was a bonus.

Now, Russian interference in European democracies’ domestic politics is designed to reduce the attractiveness of NATO, the embodiment of Western hard power, which Russia views as a threat. In the nineteenth century, the outcome of contests for mastery of Europe depended primarily on whose army won; today, it also depends on whose story wins.

Information warfare goes well beyond soft power, and it is not new. Manipulation of ideas and electoral processes by cash payments has a long history, and Hitler and Stalin were pioneers in radio attacks. But broadcasting that seems too propagandistic lacks credibility and thus does not attract—or produce soft power among—some audiences.

With international politics becoming a game of competitive credibility, exchange programs that develop personal relations among students and young leaders are often far more effective generators of soft power. In the 1960s, the broadcaster Edward R. Murrow said the most important part of international communications is not the ten thousand miles of electronics, but the final three feet of personal contact.

But what happens in today’s world of social media, where ‘friends’ are a click away, fake friends are easy to fabricate, and fake news can be generated and promoted by paid trolls and mechanical bots? Russia has perfected these techniques.

In addition to formal public diplomacy mouthpieces like Russia Today and Sputnik, Russia employs armies of paid trolls and botnets to generate false information that can later be circulated and legitimated as if it were true. Then, in 2016, Russian military intelligence went a step further, by hacking into the private network of the Democratic National Committee, stealing information, and releasing it online to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

Though information warfare is not new, cyber technology makes it cheaper, faster, and more far-reaching, as well as more difficult to detect and more easily deniable. But while Russian information warfare has been somewhat successful in terms of disruption, affecting the 2016 US election somewhat, it has failed in terms of generating soft power. The Portland Consultancy in London publishes a ‘Soft Power 30‘ index that ranks Russia 27th.

In 2016, Finland’s Institute of International Affairs found that Russian propaganda had little impact on mainstream Western media and had never resulted in any change in policy. And a Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll in December indicated that Russia’s popularity among Americans was the lowest since the Cold War year of 1986.

Ironically, rather than pocketing the Trump bonus, Russia’s information warfare has handicapped the US president by greatly reducing Russia’s soft power in America. As some analysts point out, the best response to a ‘fire hose of falsehoods’ is not to try to answer each lie, but to forewarn and inoculate against the process. As Macron’s victory has shown, the European elections of 2017 may benefit from such forewarnings.



Joseph S. Nye is a professor at Harvard and author of The Future of Power. This article is presented in partnership with Project Syndicate © 2017. Image courtesy of Flickr user Goshadron.

The Rise of the Commercial Threat: Countering the Small Unmanned Aircraft System

12 May 2017

By Anthony Tingle, David Tyree for National Defense University Press

According to Anthony Tingle and David Tyree, the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) is a disruptive commercial technology which is intrusive, undetectable, and potentially lethal. In short, sUAS’ pose a unique and currently undefined threat to national security, as illustrated by the 100+ adverse sUAS reports the US Federal Aviation Administration receives each month and the growing number of altercations law enforcement agencies are experiencing. Here’s how we should respond, say Tingle and Tyree.

This article was originally published in the Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter, April 2017) by the National Defense University Press, on 1 April 2017.

The Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) is a disruptive commercial technology that poses a unique and currently undefined threat to U.S. national security. Although, as with any new technology, the parameters of the capabilities regarding military use have yet to be fully discovered, recent events highlight the potential danger. In September 2013, an unarmed sUAS hovered near the face of German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she delivered a campaign speech.1 In January of 2015, an sUAS defied restricted airspace and landed, initially undetected, on the White House lawn.2 And more recently, in August of 2016, at least five sUASs disrupted wildfire fighting efforts near Los Angeles, grounding helicopters for fear of mid-air collisions.3Likewise, sUAS altercations with law enforcement are increasing, as the Federal Aviation Administration now receives over 100 adverse UAS reports per month.4These examples emphasize the intrusive, undetectable, and potentially lethal nature of this emerging technology.

The sUAS epitomizes the difficulties with rapidly advancing commercial technology.5 The sUAS is as prolific as it is disruptive, and it will challenge our joint air-defense procedures and doctrine and redefine our perspective on the military uses of commercial technology. In this article, we examine the characteristics and capabilities of the sUAS, report on current counter-UAS initiatives within the Department of Defense (DOD), and present policy ideas to mitigate the future threat from militarized commercial technology.

Microwave/Electro-Optic electronics engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, prepares alignment of various optical components using eye-safe visible lasers, Norco, California, April 19, 2011 (U.S. Navy/Greg Vojtko)

Characteristics and Capabilities

The rapid rate of commercial technology’s advance has directly contributed to the rise of sUASs. Improvements in communication equipment, cryptography, and lightweight materials have led to the current state of the multiple rotary-wing UASs, often referred to as “quadcopters,” and extremely small fixed-wing UASs. For this article, we define aircraft that fall into the DOD UAS Category 1 (weighing less than 20 pounds) as an sUAS6 because the interdiction of larger than Category 1 aircraft quickly approaches traditional defensive counterair operations.7

As technology advances, the sUAS will increase in lethality. If Moore’s law continues to hold, we will see an increase in sUAS command and control distances, electro-optical sensor resolution, GPS guidance accuracy, and battlefield autonomy. With advances in material science, especially considering adaptive (“3D”) printing techniques and carbon nanotubes, sUASs will become smaller, faster, and lighter, and will loiter longer and carry heavier payloads.

The basic physical structure of the sUAS (including the use of advanced materials) hinders radar technologies, the primary component of modern air defense. Radar works by bouncing energy off airborne objects and interpreting the return reflections. Although the carbon fiber and plastic components (of which the majority of most sUASs are comprised) naturally reduce radar return, size appears to contribute most to the shortcomings in sUAS radar identification and tracking.8 While modern radar technology has the capability to engage smaller objects. Additionally, concerning radar, sUASs are often indistinguishable from other airborne objects (specifically birds).9 While additional methods such as acoustic-phased arrays and electro-optical cameras show promise, a combination of these tracking and identification technologies may be necessary to defend against the growing sUAS threat.

It is hard to understate the current complexity and importance of positively identifying sUASs. As sUASs continue to be used for a variety of commercial and private purposes (including package delivery and photography), the sUAS operator’s intent becomes difficult to discern. Unlike traditional aircraft, which require runways and thus provide longer lead times for tracking, the average sUAS is able to become airborne quickly and close on its target. Additionally, positive identification is a necessary component of engagement authority, especially when considering deployment of sUAS countermeasures on U.S. soil, including interdiction by law enforcement and the possibility of civilian casualties. To effectively counter sUASs, it will be necessary to refine and practice procedures and doctrine, while developing the capability to effectively detect, track, and positively identify the threat.

Future advances in material and computational science will enable the sUAS to perform autonomously, increasing their efficacy as an offensive weapon. One of the characteristics of the sUAS is that it uniquely lends itself to advanced aerial tactics. As battlefield automation progresses, militaries are advancing toward the use of multitudes of sUASs in coordinated formations known as “swarming.” This swarming tactic could make defense difficult, especially for large objects or fixed facilities. The use of swarm tactics increases the destructive power of the sUAS and presents adversaries with a defensive dilemma.10 In this regard, militaries may have to reconsider the concept of mass on the battlefield.

Currently, the practical use of sUAS swarms suffers from a confluence of technological shortcomings seemingly resolved by relatively minor advances in technology. The lift capacity, speed, and agility of the sUAS is directly dependent on the amount of weight carried by the vehicle. Reductions in the weight of communications equipment, sensors, onboard processors, and kinetic payload (for example, “energetics”)11 will increase the range and maneuverability of these systems. Likewise, advances in small, lightweight power sources and materials such as carbon nanotubes (and corresponding manufacturing processes such as adaptive printing) will enable smaller and faster sUASs with longer loiter and greater operating distances.

While the size and maneuverability are defining characteristics of the sUAS, advances in automation algorithms are a necessary component of the swarming tactic. Simultaneous command and control of a large number of small objects necessitates autonomy technology that will undoubtedly be available in the near future.12 In fact, a number of UASs currently deployed or in development operate with varying degrees of autonomy.13 It is quite feasible that attacking sUAS swarms will be able to automatically sense and communicate weaknesses in the opposing defense, thus adapting their swarming tactics accordingly.

The development of sUAS swarm tactics and techniques in many ways mirrors the introduction of Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) technology in the early 1970s. The MIRV concept included the use of multiple nuclear warheads included in a single ballistic missile, greatly increasing the probability of successfully striking the enemy with nuclear missiles.14 Similar to the inability of the Soviets to counter a larger number of potential inbound nuclear warheads, the sUAS overwhelms those on the defense with possible multiple aggressors. Although similar in terms of using mass, sUAS differs from MIRV in terms of maneuverability and the ability to land and wait for more opportune times to attack. Not all the sUASs in the offensive swarm need to be deadly, as the parallels with MIRVs extend beyond a simple numerical advantage. Offensive sUAS tactics could co-opt the idea of decoys from MIRV technology. With the advent of MIRV decoys, or warheads that had the same physical characteristics as their nuclear counterparts, the economic efficiency of MIRV technology enabled asymmetric advantages.15 Similarly, the use of decoys may reduce the overall cost of simultaneously attacking with large numbers of sUASs, presenting adversaries with multiple deadly dilemmas.

Cadet-in-charge for Academy falconry team pulls lure as Ace, a black gyr-saker falcon, makes pass at it, September 10, 2010 (U.S. Air Force/Bennie J. Davis III)

Current Counter-UAS Initiatives

The U.S. military currently has a multitude of ways to effectively destroy UASs. Starting in 2002, the military exercise Black Dart focused on countering the UAS threat. The exercise has tested a number of kinetic and nonkinetic methods ranging from 0.50-caliber guns to Hellfire missiles.16 The ability to defend against this threat is, at its core, a problem of asymmetry and efficiency. How do we defeat swarms of $1,500 drones in a practical, cost-efficient manner? The following sections detail existing counter-UAS methods, including traditional kinetic and directed energy means, and examine their applicability to defending against sUASs.17

Traditional Kinetic Methods

Traditional kinetic means of air defense, while ostensibly effective in a single intruder scenario, are cost inefficient versus relatively cheap sUASs. Factoring in the possibility of multiple small, low, and fast targets, existing kinetic means of defense are tactically inadequate. Current kinetic defense systems lack the coverage, range, and accuracy to counter future sUAS swarms.18 It is unlikely that these weapons systems could create a necessary “dome of steel” around stationary positions. Although reducing the caliber of these defensive weapons may ostensibly increase the rate of fire, one would expect a corresponding decrease in range. Disregarding possible Gaussian-type weapons (for example, railguns) currently under development, the most viable direct-fire kinetic defense from sUASs may be small-caliber precision-guided rounds.

The miniaturization of precision-guided munitions may provide the capability to interdict a large number of sUASs at standoff distances. According to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, “We’re not too far away from guided 0.50-caliber rounds. We’re not too far away from a sensor-fused weapon that instead of going after tanks will go after the biometric signatures of human beings.”19 In the absence of a viable “brute force” or “shotgun” method of area defense (for example, massive amounts of “dumb” kinetic projectiles), these relatively cheap miniature guided munitions may hold the answer to countering swarms of sUASs. Another method to counter sUASs may be with the use of other sUASs.

One method to counteract swarms of attacking sUASs may be to use sUASs as “hunter-drones.” Currently, there is a “drone war” occurring over the skies of Tokyo as the Japanese Yakuza (an organized crime syndicate) frequently use sUASs to courier drugs across the city. When the Tokyo police use sUASs with nets to capture these drones, the Yakuza retaliate by attacking the police drones.20 Increases in battlefield automation might allow “hunting parties” of sUASs to degrade or destroy enemy sUASs with nets or other kinetic methods. Additionally, man-portable air-defense systems like anti-UAS weapons may prove effective against sUASs.21 In the near term, though, solutions may lie in more natural means of sUAS interdiction.

There has been research into the use of birds of prey for countering the sUAS threat.22 The U.S. Air Force Academy has recently conducted a year-long study involving gyr-saker falcons. Tests reveal the falcons were able to “detect, positively identify, track, and engage a specific sUAS already in flight.”23 Compared to soaring birds like hawks and eagles, falcons must actively flap their wings while in flight, limiting loiter time to around 20 minutes. Additionally, the training time per falcon is approximately 4 to 5 months.24 While this study did not address the use of falcons to interdict different types of sUASs, the study lead, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Rhymer, believes that it is possible to “train falcons to generalize to different types of UASs.”25

Directed Energy

If Army directed-energy systems are disadvantaged in terms of size and weight (compared with the Navy’s), then Air Force systems are even more so. The Air Force is constrained by attempting to develop directed-energy systems carried by aircraft. The Air Force scientific advisory board is currently assessing the requirements for these missions on the modified AC-130H model,26 with a projected demonstration date of 2020.27 While this lofty endeavor recalls memories of the now defunct Airborne Laser System, the mission and domain of the Air Force forces the Service to pursue small, lightweight laser systems that can be mounted on aircraft.

Perhaps the most promising directed-energy technology in terms of defeating multiple sUASs is the use of high-powered microwaves. These microwave devices have the capability to render the electronic components of an sUAS useless, much like an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).28 Although there may be practical considerations in the use of EMP devices in urban environments or on the battlefield (that is, necessitating controlled use of these weapons), microwave weapons are under development and, in the future, could be used simultaneously to destroy large numbers of sUASs.29

Addressing the Threat: Commercial Adaptive R&D

Since the early 2000s, DOD has acknowledged the necessity to increase the integration of commercial technology into military systems and procurement. But it is a recent phenomenon that commercial technology represents complete capabilities that circumvent the long lead times of traditional government research and development (R&D) and procurement. In other words, in many sectors commercial products are no longer simply contributing to military capabilities; they are the capabilities.30

While DOD has adapted to the commercial influence in defense procurement, it has failed to recognize the increasing rate of impact of technology on national security. The rising capabilities of commercial technologies, such as the sUAS, presage even greater future commercial threats. Similar to the impact of civilian malware across the spectrum of cyber operations (on both civilian and military concerns), future unforeseen commercial technologies will readily lend themselves to military applications, unnerving those most concerned with maintaining national security.

The challenge is to address this new and fast-moving commercial threat under the shadow of an antiquated and inadequate defense procurement process. The existing DOD procurement paradigm relies on establishing requirements that are fulfilled, in part, by commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) systems and components. Regarding DOD R&D, this requirements-based procurement happens either directly (from the national labs, for example) or indirectly through using COTS. As emerging COTS capabilities surpass the capacity of the government R&D establishment, the United States must develop policies to maintain its technical advantage over its adversaries.

In terms of contribution to national defense, the United States currently fails to take full advantage of its indigenous private industry. We recommend that DOD should work closer with private industry prior to the release of commercial technology, a policy that we call Commercial Adaptive R&D, or CARD.31 The CARD concept promotes the use of DOD partnerships and relationships with commercial firms to enhance DOD visibility of impending commercial technological release. In contrast with simply using the results of commercial R&D in the form of COTS, under the CARD concept, DOD would seek to conduct research on technology at different stages of development. This pre-market R&D has a number of advantages for both DOD and the firm.

First, DOD gains knowledge on market-shaping technology that will inevitably find its way into the hands of our adversaries. With commercial technologies’ rising level of capabilities, state and nonstate actors increasingly threaten U.S. ability to maintain technological overmatch. By conducting CARD, DOD gains vital knowledge on the possible uses of new technologies, and possible counters to these technologies, before our adversaries. Much like the development of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency after the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the use of the CARD strategy will help prevent the United States from being surprised by significant commercial technology.

Second, for both the firms and DOD, there exists a possible benefit from the discovery of additional uses for their technology. The dual-use nature of technology is rarely immediately apparent, especially if the government is not exposed to or knowledgeable of that technology.32 By working closely with large firms, DOD is able to discover new national defense applications for commercial technology, helping both the firm and the government.

Third, DOD can revive the chances for possibly useful technologies that have fallen “below the cut line”—or, in other words, are deemed by the firm as not commercially viable. By signaling its interest in these technologies, DOD provides an opportunity for a “second life” to the firm’s technology, resulting in possible commercialization.

Lastly, the CARD construct reduces government R&D risk. The government no longer directly vets new technology as the industry bears the brunt of maturation of the innovation. Utilizing these market-shaping firms in partnership roles with government R&D is disproportionately low given the amount of R&D that is conducted (for example, the Intel Corporation R&D budget for 2013 was roughly $10.6 billion).33 A majority of the risk is placed on the commercial firm, whereas DOD begins to conduct R&D on the product in mid-to-late stream.

By adopting new policies toward government defense procurement and the degree to which they conduct research with private industry before the commercial release of COTS products, DOD will develop early defenses against threatening technologies, help shape the development of defense-related technologies, and prevent technological surprise. The greater integration of DOD into private R&D, or CARD, will help better ensure national defense in a period of increasing commercial threats.

Sailors assigned to USS Jason Dunham, U.S. Air Force Academy Cadets, and engineers from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab test unmanned aerial systems aboard rigid hull inflatable boat during exercise Black Dart, September 20, 2016, Gulf of Mexico (U.S. Navy/Maddelin Angebrand)


Although current state-of-the-art sUAS capabilities are sufficiently threatening, we are on the cusp of technological advances that will make the sUAS exponentially more deadly. The asymmetric nature of the sUAS, especially when considering swarm tactics, makes the technology difficult to defend against. An sUAS is relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous (it is estimated that there are over one million sUASs in the United States alone).34 Conversely, most defense systems are—at least at this stage of development—restrictively expensive. It may be fiscally restrictive and grossly inefficient to attempt to counter this commercial threat with large military programs. Additionally, as technologically state-of-the-art as current commercial sUASs appear, small advances in supporting technologies will yield huge leaps in sUAS capabilities, further compounding defensive problems such as detection and identification.

To protect against this threat, the United States must develop doctrines both for sUAS attack and defense. It is necessary to improve our capabilities in both offensive and defensive sUAS technologies. Additionally, this is inherently a joint fight, with the technology and techniques developed by each Service synergistically contributing to the development of anti-sUAS doctrine. Now may be the time to establish a joint organization specifically to address the sUAS threat, similar to the Joint Improvised-Threat Defense Organization (formerly known as the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization), originally established to counter improvised explosive devices.

Additionally, since the early 2000s, it has been widely accepted that DOD needs to integrate COTS requirements solutions. In this “linear model” of innovation, private industry conducts R&D to develop the COTS product, and the government applies COTS to existing requirements. Most important, DOD needs to conduct R&D on the pre-COTS product to discover new requirements based on new capabilities. This form of R&D should supersede the old model of simply fulfilling government requirements. DOD can accomplish this through close interaction with private industry to discover uses for emerging COTS products before they are simultaneously released to the public and our potential adversaries.

In the history of modern warfare, there have been few purely commercial technologies that so readily lend themselves to immediate weaponization as the sUAS. The threat lies not only in the technology itself, but also in the degree to which that technology is sufficiently capable and available to all potential nefarious actors. In this sense, the potential threat from sUASs should catalyze new thinking in DOD about the uses of commercial technology. Moving forward, it is this commercial availability of advanced technology that is the true threat, and it is this new technological frontier that may pose the greatest future challenge to our national security. JFQ


1 Wallace Ryan and Loffi Jon, “Examining Unmanned Aerial System Threats and Defenses: A Conceptual Analysis,” International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace, no. 4 (January 10, 2015).

2 Faine Greenwood, “Man Who Crashed Drone on White House Lawn Won’t Be Charged,”, March 18, 2015, available at < won_t_be_charged.html>.

3 Michael Martinez, Paul Vercammen, and Ben Brumfield, “Above Spectacular Wildfire on Freeway Rises New Scourge: Drones,”, July 19, 2015, available at <>.

4 The latest Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports are available at <>.

5 While the militarization of the Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) would ostensibly increase its lethality, this article focuses on the possible capabilities of commercial sUASs (including the addition of an explosive payload).

6 Practically, the discussion of sUASs should not be limited to this weight. The FAA categorizes aircraft under 55 pounds as an sUAS.

7 UAS Task Force Airspace Integration Integrated Product Team, Unmanned Aircraft System Airspace Integration Plan (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, March 2011), available at <>.

8 William Camp, Joseph Mayhan, and Robert O’Donnell, “Wideband Radar for Ballistic Missile Defense and Range-Doppler Imaging of Satellites,” Lincoln Laboratory Journal 12, no. 2 (2000), 267–280.

9 In the same vein as radar, infrared systems have a similarly difficult time in detecting small heat signatures of an sUAS.

10 John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, Swarming and the Future of Conflict (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2000), available at <>.

11 Energetics refers to the reduction of explosive size while increasing explosive power. See John Gartner, “Military Reloads with Nanotech,” MIT Technology Review, January 21, 2005, available at <>.

12 Daniel Gonzales and Sarah Harting, Designing Unmanned Systems with Greater Autonomy (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2014), available at <>.

13 One example of autonomous UAS operations is the use of the Israeli Harpy 2 for suppression of enemy air defense operations. See T.X. Hammes, “Cheap Technology Will Challenge U.S. Tactical Dominance,” Joint Force Quarterly 81 (2nd Quarter 2016).

14 Lynn Etheridge Davis and Warner R. Schilling, “All You Ever Wanted to Know About MIRV and ICBM Calculations but Were Not Cleared to Ask,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 17, no. 2 (1973), 207–242.

15 John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, “China’s Ballistic Missile Programs: Technologies, Strategies, Goals,” International Security 17, no. 2 (1992), 5–40.

16 Richard Whittle, “Military Exercise Black Dart to Tackle Nightmare Drone Scenario,”, July 25, 2015, available at <>.

17 While possible sUAS countermeasures exist, this article does not discuss technologies and techniques associated with cyber effects, such as GPS spoofing and command link capture.

18 The 20-mm Phalanx (Close-In Weapon System) has a left-to-right limit of 300 degrees. For more information, see “USA 20 Mm Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS),”, June 16, 2010, available at <>.

19 Cheryl Pellerin, “Work Details the Future of War at Army Defense College,” Defense News, April 8, 2015, available at <>.

20 James Vincent, “Tokyo Police Unveil Net-wielding Interceptor Drone,”, December 11, 2015, available at <>.

21 Andrew Tarantola, “The SkyWall 100 Is a Net-launching Anti-Drone Bazooka,”, March 3, 2016, available at <>.

22 See Peter Holley, “Watch This Trained Eagle Destroy a Drone in a Dutch Police Video,” Washington Post, February 2, 2016, available at <>.

23 Don Rhymer et al., “Falconry: Alternate Lure Training (FALT),” Report nos. 56250 and 63300.

24 Don Rhymer, telephone interview by authors, November 11, 2015.

25 Ibid.

26 William P. Head, Night Hunters: The AC-130s and Their Role in U.S. Airpower (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2014).

27 Thomas Masiello and Sydney Freedberg, Jr., “Air Force Moves Aggressively on Lasers,”, August 7, 2015, available at <>.

28 For both microwaves and lasers, there exist the possibility of countermeasures. In terms of microwaves, electronic hardening of the sUAS could provide protection. Against laser attack, countermeasures such as smoke might provide a level of survivability.

29 Jason D. Ellis, Directed-Energy Weapons: Promise and Prospects (Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security, April 2015), available at <>.

30 Additionally, we especially see this commerciality phenomenon in the cyber domain.

31 The authors want to thank Dr. Terry Pierce for providing the opportunity to observe the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Innovation, the operations on which the Commercial Adaptive R&D (CARD) concept is based. Dr. Pierce also provided valuable input into developing the CARD theory itself.

32 John A. Alic, Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World (Cambridge: Harvard Business Press, 1992).

33 Michael Casey and Robert Hackett, “The Top 10 Biggest R&D Spenders Worldwide,” Fortune, November 17, 2014, available at <>.

34 Andrew Amato, “Drone Sales Numbers: Nobody Knows, So We Venture a Guess,”, April 16, 2015, available at <>.

About the Authors

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Tingle, USA, is a Strategic Initiatives Analyst at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

Second Lieutenant David Tyree, USAF, is a Flight Student Pilot at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma

The Rise and Fall of Erdoganocracy: Why Victory May Defeat Turkey`s President

12 May 2017

By Burak Kadercan for War on the Rocks

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has finally secured the “iron throne” he sought for more than a decade. However, the way he achieved his final victory, and the political environment over which he will rule as the “one man” for the foreseeable future, leads Burak Kadercan to conclude that the Turkish President’s grip on power will become increasingly shaky. Here’s why.

This article was originally published by the War on the Rocks, on 26 April 2017.

There was a time when following Turkish politics was more like following a soap opera. It had too many recurring characters, too many subplots, and absolutely too much repetition. The plots unfolded in a relatively “slow” fashion and were not necessarily exciting or thrilling to outsiders. Consequently, Turkey had only a small and select audience base. Not anymore. Not President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new Turkey. Turkey has gone primetime, and not necessarily in a good way.

More recently, Turkish politics has become somewhat of a mix between a twist-rich drama and an action-packed thriller (also a horror movie, according to some), attracting the full attention of global audiences. With the referendum of the past week, Turkish politics, which would make HBO’s popular series Game of Thrones look like The Smurfs or Teletubbies, now entered a new phase: Erdoganocracy, or, rule by Erdogan. Put bluntly, Erdogan finally secured the “iron throne” he sought for more than a decade. The referendum effectively ended the “old” Turkey’s parliamentarian regime, instead establishing a presidential system where the president faces little, if any, checks and balances on his power.

However, how he achieved his final victory, and the political environment over which he will rule as the “one man” for the foreseeable future, suggests that Erdogan’s grip on power will be increasingly shaky. In order to “win,” Erdogan pushed his hand too hard, contributing to the long-term structural challenges Turkey faced way before his time. Good or bad, Erdogan broke the “old” Turkey to build a new one in his image. The problem is that he probably broke it a little too much. Rebuilding a stable and strong “new” Turkey out of the broken, or even shattered, pieces will prove to be an overwhelming task, even for a skillful Machiavellian like Erdogan. His final victory will haunt him and his regime in the long run. Ironically, his own victory may eventually defeat Erdogan.

In the long run, Erdogan will face at least five core challenges. None of these emerged overnight, all were exacerbated by Erdogan’s drive for establishing his absolute presidency, and none are going away anytime soon. These challenges will render Erdoganocracy increasingly fragile, most likely forcing him to adapt further authoritarian and repressive (or suppressive) measures and policies. However, force and repression alone cannot solve these problems, but in fact will make them worse. Unless Erdogan directly addresses these challenges — not to “destroy” but to “solve” — he will be ruling over a potentially unstable political kingdom.

A Pyrrhic Victory in a Divided Turkey

Erdogan won the referendum, but three dynamics will haunt him. First, the result was a close call: 51.4 percent for Erdogan’s “Yes” to 48.6 percent for “No.” This is a win, but it is so close that it will effectively diminish the punch of Erdogan’s favorite term, “national will” (milli irade). An alternative scenario where Erdogan ends up with, say, 58 percent (as he did in a constitutional referendum in 2010), would have been infinitely more favorable for him.

Note that the very nature of the referendum is also categorically different from an election, where Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) can claim up to 50 percent of the votes. In a parliamentary election, voters vote among multiple options. In Turkey’s “unipolar” landscape, where AKP’s closest competitor can only claim 25 percent of the electorate, Erdogan can more easily claim that his 50 percent overwhelmingly represents the preferences of Turkish citizens, at least, better than the alternatives. In the referendum, the choice was more direct: 48.6 percent of the voters rejected Erdoganocracy. That he was able to win only with a small margin will sting him down the road.

It will sting because of a second, and more important, dynamic: The referendum was no fair fight. Erdogan might or might not have literally cheated on the referendum day, but he most certainly was not playing fair during the months leading to that point. Erdogan controls the state-run TV channels and has already subdued the entire mainstream (and opposition) media. While supporters of the “No” option barely found an opportunity to make their case, media coverage and support for “Yes” was overwhelming. Furthermore, “No” was directly or indirectly criminalized by numerous AKP affiliates, which most certainly is a daunting prospect in present-day Turkey. The state of emergency that was declared last July’s failed coup attempt is still in play. The math is simple: If Erdogan could get only 51.4 percent with the might of the state and mainstream media behind him, he would have done worse in a fair fight. Under fair circumstances with a free press and in the absence of emergency powers, the referendum would have probably yielded “No.”

Third, a number of fraud claims tainted the referendum results. Most notably, Turkey’s Electoral Board, on the day of the referendum, decided to accept unstamped ballots, which is not unprecedented, but it is most certainly a controversial practice. The main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) took formal issue with the relevant fraud claims, but its appeal was denied. For an overwhelming majority of the “No” camp, Erdogan rigged the referendum. They are fully convinced of the fraud and will not change their minds anytime soon.

So, why do these dynamics matter? First, they speak to the divided nature of Turkish politics. Such divisions exist in all polities. But in Turkey, political and identity-oriented divisions (for example, religious beliefs) are all crystallizing around one word: Erdogan. The emerging political warfare is all about one question: Are you with (or for) Erdogan, or are you against him? The referendum, for lack of better words, consumed the middle ground. Second, and more importantly, that the results were this close (despite unbalanced media coverage and thinly veiled criminalization of the “No” option), when combined with fraud claims, will keep anti-Erdogan flames alive within Turkey’s opposition, now also encouraged by the close call. In the post-referendum Turkey, “anti-Erdoganism” will be built on a sense of victimhood and injustice.

Erdogan will most likely attempt to more directly repress or even criminalize the opposition, which will only fuel anti-Erdoganism. One likely outcome is a repetition of the Gezi Park protests of 2013, where millions took it to the streets to, effectively, protest Erdogan. The main difference in today’s Turkey is that such an outcome will likely be much bloodier than original Gezi protests. And, if such a day comes, Turkey will be dancing with the risk of either civil war between Erdogan supporters and opponents (who have been traditionally divided over secular-conservative lines), or another coup attempt, which — different from last July — may be supported, if implicitly, by some segments of the anti-Erdogan camp.

A Broken Military

Erdogan’s new Turkey faces multiple security challenges ranging from its operations in Syria to its struggle with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). However, the military is broken in the aftermath of the purges that followed the failed coup attempt of last July.

What is less recognized is that it was Erdogan himself who, if inadvertently, paved the way for the coup attempt. Allied with the so-called Gulenists at the time and supported by Turkey’s liberal intellectuals, Erdogan put all his weight behind big trials such as Ergenekon and Balyoz, which gutted the secular core of the Turkish military between 2008 and 2011 and pacified those secularists who remained. The trials claimed that cabals within the Turkish military were making plans for a top-down (within chain of command) coup to oust Erdogan, who famously stated that he considered himself a “prosecutor” of the cases. Based partially on fabricated evidence and backed by Erdogan, these trials literally broke the military’s coherence and chain of command. As I argued in 2013 and warned in 2015, the Ergenekon and Balyoz trials eventually set the stage for a coup that would be launched outside chain of command.

Why did Erdogan ally with Gulenists — the very same people he calls terrorists today? At the time, the main threat to Erdogan’s rule was the Turkish military, then known for its zeal for intervening in politics and an enmity towards non-secular leaders. The Gulenists preach their own version of conservative Islam and shared with Erdogan a common enemy, so they collaborated to pacify the secularist threat before them.

After the coup attempt last year, Erdogan initiated numerous measures to reconstruct the military. However, he faces a dilemma: How can he make sure that the military remains operationally effective while being, at the same time, unquestionably loyal to him? There are no quick fixes and much uncertainty remains about Turkish military’s future. Another coup attempt seems unlikely, especially after the extensive purges, but not impossible — especially if it comes from outside chain-of-command. If anti-Erdogan protests trigger mass civilian casualties or major civil strife between his followers and opponents, it would be difficult for Erdogan to assure himself that the military officers will stay on his side.

The AKP’s “Human Resources” Trap

Less known to foreign spectators is the AKP’s human resources problem, which will hurt Erdogan’s rule in the long run. One main reason the AKP allied with Gulenists in the first place was their complementary capabilities. Having invested in the education sector, and thanks to their recruitment strategy (which focuses on “converting” talented youngsters in financial need from early on), Gulenists had many trained and talented followers they wanted to place within the state. The AKP, as a young political party, lacked such talent. Such a partnership then allowed the AKP to gradually oust the seculars — who dominated Turkey’s judiciary, bureaucracy, and military — from state institutions.

Eventually, the alliance fell apart in 2013, as Gulenists turned against Erdogan. The war between the two culminated in the coup attempt, which allowed Erdogan to purge most known Gulenists and opponents of all other ideological stripes from the state institutions and beyond.

Having relied on Gulenists as a substitute for secularists in the bureaucracy, this presents Erdogan with a human resource challenge. Erdogan and the AKP’s best bet in the short term is rewarding loyalty, not necessarily merit. The long term impact of this strategy will be dire: increased corruption and nepotism, decaying institutional effectiveness, and a flailing economy. Erdogan will likely blame all of this on Turkey’s opposition, but populist rhetoric has its limits, usually defined in terms of what everyday people experience in their own lives.

There will be a short term impact, too. Within the AKP, Erdogan will increasingly favor his die-hard loyalists. It is unlikely that the resulting resentment against unadulterated patronage within AKP ranks, as some commentators argue, will lead to the implosion of the party. More likely is a future where the AKP, marginalizing whatever is left of its own talent, will cannibalize what made it a big success story in the first place: institutional coherence and discipline. Put simply, one cannot have the cake and eat it too. As sociologist Max Weber recognized a century ago, “charismatic authority” and “bureaucratic authority” cannot easily co-exist. Erdogan’s rise as the “one man,” not only in Turkey but also within his own party, will also mean that AKP will start to decay as an organization.

The Looming “Refugee Crisis”

Everyday life in Turkey is changing for people from all walks of life, because of a simple fact: Turkey, a country of about 75 million, currently hosts almost 3 million Syrian refugees. If one is to compare scale, this is like the United States accepting 12.7 million refugees who do not speak English in just a few short years. One can only imagine what kind of a “shock” such change can create in the lives of Turkish citizens.

In a way that makes perfect sense in the Turkish context, but probably not to foreign spectators, Turkey’s looming domestic refugee crisis is barely receiving any real analytical coverage or reflection. By “moralizing” the Syrian refugee issue, Erdogan has successfully silenced any concerns or criticism. If you criticize Erdogan for any policy or long-term planning — or, more precisely, lack thereof — about the place of Syrian refugees in Turkey, you will find yourself being accused of racism (the dormant Arabophobia among some secular and ultra-nationalist segments of the society helps Erdogan make his case), or mere immorality (as in, not being humanitarian enough, especially about co-religious Syrians). This strategy helps jettison any reasonable discussion over the issue, but is just a quick fix that does not address the real challenges involved.

Over the long run, the domestic refugee crisis will prove extremely problematic for Erdogan in two ways. First, as early reports of xenophobia suggest, not all Turkish citizens are happy about the millions of barely-documented refugees parachuting into their everyday lives. It is likely that the trend will continue, creating significant resentment against, and conflicts with, the Syrian refugees. Erdogan will have to respond in some capacity, though it is not clear how far and how long his strategy of moralizing the issue can help him contain dissent. What people of Turkey, not only anti-Erdoganists, but also those who support him right or wrong, are realizing is that the million foreigners injected to their lives are re-shaping the Turkish social and economic landscape. Erdogan will find himself increasingly challenged by this trend and will be hard-pressed to choose between populism (on which he feeds) and realpolitik of social-economic facts on the ground.

Second, there is a good chance that Erdogan will eventually grant Turkish citizenship to many Syrian refugees. The strategic logic is simple: Assuming that the new citizens will prefer to vote for Erdogan, a million or so fresh votes can solve any “close margins” that he may be worried about in the future. This is an enticing option, though it runs the risk of alienating some of his followers, not to mention some ultra-nationalists who conditionally support Erdogan. There are millions who support Erdogan, but there are also millions who vote for him because they believe he takes good care of them, especially in the economic sphere. Millions of new citizens, which means a smaller slice from the same pie at the individual level, may easily infuriate the second group.

Stuck between Ultra-Nationalists and the PKK

Erdogan has always been a pragmatist. He allied with Gulenists to pacify secularists, and then initiated the so-called “peace process” with the PKK partially to consolidate his power. When the peace process failed in 2015 (partially thanks to a strategically brilliant attack by ISIL) and Erdogan suffered an electoral loss in June 2015 elections, he then turned to ultra-nationalists to boost his popular support. The problem is that he cannot claim support from ultra-nationalists and re-initiate peace talks with the PKK. Of course, one may wonder: Why would he need the peace talks when he has the support of ultra-nationalists?

The answer has a lot to do with the Syrian civil war. The ISIL crisis has been both a mortal threat and an unprecedented boon for the PKK. Its affiliate in Syria, also known as People’s Protection Units (YPG), has succeeded in establishing itself not only as a global media sensation for stepping forward as the most reliable and effective fighting force against ISIL, but also as a close U.S. ally. These Kurdish militants are focused on Syria, where the culmination point will be the liberation of Raqqa — most likely with YPG fighters at the tip of the spear. Once the YPG wraps up its operations in Syria — presumably within the next three to six months — it will likely turn its attention (not to mention hardware and experienced fighters) to Turkey. This is a slow-motion train-wreck in the making. Erdogan is most certainly aware of it and is desperately trying to get the United States to abandon its Kurdish partners in Syria before things reach the point of no return.

This forces Erdogan into a choice. His first option is to side with ultra-nationalists and confront the PKK with full force, to include in Syria, which will prove very difficult with a broken army and air force. His second option is to restart negotiations with PKK, which will lead to a backlash not only from ultra-nationalists, but also some AKP supporters. No matter how he chooses, there will be a cost for Erdogan, not to mention the risk of political instability, possibly reaching far beyond the Kurdish-majority southeast.

That these challenges do exist does not mean Erdogan will crumble under pressure. His pragmatism knows no bounds: He would make Sun Tzu smile, and fill Machiavelli with jealousy. However, the house of cards he has built is a very fragile one. Erdogan’s final victory, in this sense, may eventually defeat him. So, what happens to Turkey if that day comes? Nothing is for certain but one fact: With the referendum, Erdogan finally broke the “old” Turkey, and it is never coming back.

About the Author

Burak Kadercan is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College