Center for Strategic Communication

Gunpowder & Lead (Drunken Predator Drone) –Pakistan’s “Sovereignty” Canard 

….Every time I cross the border, every time an American missile hits Pakistani soil, Pakistan’s government exercises their sovereignty by choosing not to blow me out of the sky. I operate openly, and Pakistan’s doing so would be a huge bummer, butwell within their technical capacity. Yes, the sole act of not starting a war doesn’t equate to government permission. But sovereignty implies a range of options and authorities beyond war, and Pakistan has visibly exercised that sovereign authority in the recent past.

After the May 2011 bin Laden raid (which, as a side note, constituted a real sovereignty violation, with no warning whatsoever and American boots on the ground deep inside Pakistan) bilateral relations were already sour. But on November 17th of that year, a nighttime gun battle between NATO and Pakistani forces (the latter of whom were suspiciously close to fleeing Taliban) resulted in an air strike that killed 26 Pakistani border police near a village called Salala. Pakistan halted trucks resupplying NATO forces in Afghanistan, kicked American drone operations out of the Shamsi air base, and demanded an unprecedented cessation of drone strikes.

And we listened. Drone strikes that had been commonplace ground to a total halt. It took six weeks before U.S.-Pakistani ties had mended to the point where the strikes could resume. In contrast, it took six months of diplomacy and a public apology before Pakistan reopened the “Ground Lines of Communication.” This incident made it clear that, behind closed doors, Pakistani authorities could grant authority for American air strikes in the tribal areas- but they could also take it away. That’s sovereignty.

Pundita –Lara Logan to Gen. John Allen: “American soldiers continue to die because of the support Pakistan gives to America’s enemies.” Allen to Logan: “You’ve just stated the truth.” 

CBS correspondent Lara Logan has earned respect as a war reporter in the only way anyone can earn such respect — through sheer slog work over years in very dangerous situations. So today her views are as much an important part of her interviews as those of the persons she questions.  Her latest report from Afghanistan, The Longest War, broadcast during last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, features her discussion with a Taliban commander about al Qaeda in Afghanistan and ‘insider’ killings of NATO troops, and with ISAF/US commander Gen. John Allen and Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai. The entire report is worth viewing (also available in transcript form) but here I focus on her exchanges about Pakistan:

CTOvision (Alex Olesker) –History of Cyber Intelligence Discussion 

….Gourley began with his own question for the panelists. Can we meaningfully explore the history of cyber in an unclassified way? Jay Healey, who is currently the lead investigator for the Cyber Conflict Studies Association’s cyber history book, thought you could. Right now so much information comes from the private sector, and hence is unclassified. Today’s model of cyber information sharing relies on the private sector to provide the intelligence, as it is typically their networks and infrastructure that comes under attack. In the theoretical division of labor, it is then the government’s role to solve the problem, but in practice, it has always been the network owners and private companies that take action, suggesting that the relationship should be reversed. As it stands, classified information isn’t terribly important as it stays within the government anyway. Devost added that while classified information is valuable and government agencies should be studying that history themselves, we can still form a cogent story without it for the private sector. Sean Kanuck noted that the unclassified parts of the story are typically the most important. More critical for the full story is including two kinds of cyber analysis that work best together: the forensic, which is done both by government and industry, and the analytic, which can determine why the attack occurred and is performed by the intelligence community but also by business intelligence. RADM Cox answered that while the classified aspects of history are required to get the full picture, the account without them can still be a useful and accurate one.

The first comment from the audience was that when we study history to understand cyber, we should go back even further, which led to a discussion of valuable historical works that can inform intelligence. Some suggested reading from audience members and panelists included Machiavelli, Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s War and Anti-War, the 1999 Chinese PLA manual Unrestricted Warfare, international law and humanitarian law textbooks, and The Victorian Internet, which explores the first cyber attacks and cyber espionage using telegraphs.

Volokh Conspiracy –Cybersecurity and Attribution — Good News At Last? 

….Right now, policymakers are intent on improving network security, perhaps by pressing the private sector to improve its security, or by waiving outmoded privacy rules that prevent rapid sharing of information about attackers’ tactics and tools.

Those things would improve our network security, but not enough to change our strategic position – which is bad and getting worse.  The hard fact is that we can’t defend our way out of the current security crisis, any more than we can end street crime by requiring pedestrians to wear better and better body armor.

That’s why I’ve been urging a renewed strategic focus on catching attackers and punishing them.  Catching and punishing rulebreakers works for street crime.  It even works for nation states.  So why hasn’t it worked in the realm of network attacks?  Mostly because our intelligence community insists that attribution is just too hard.

I think that’s wrong, and I’ll spend this post explaining why.

My theory is simple: The same human flaws that expose our networks to attack will compromise our attackers’ anonymity. Or, as I put it in speeches, “The bad news is that our security sucks.  The good news is that their security sucks too.”

War is Boring – I’m Hit! I’m Hit!’

City Journal (Sol Stern) –The Curriculum Reformation

The Carnegie Endowment – New Leaders, New China?

The Hudson Institute –Global Tribunals V. U.S. Values

The Claremont Institute –Boys to Men

Slate – Cormac McCarthy Cuts to the Bone (hat tip to Feral Jundi

RAND –Do Targeted Killings Work?