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THAAD MAD BAD, Pt. IV: Great Power Geostrategic Play in the South China Sea

Dr. Matthew Crosston

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] T [/yt_dropcap] here is a fascinating interplay that goes on today on the global level when it comes to foreign affairs. On the whole, the United States often feels that it can present information across enough disparate venues that potential adversaries will not be able to strategically connect the dots in a manner that they might find threatening.

Many times this has often proved true. But in the case of the South China Sea it has horribly backfired against American objectives. Two primary examples illustrate this point. First, War on the Rocks contributor Robert Haddick analyzed an intriguing piece written earlier in the year by David Barno and Nora Bensahel, who argued that U.S. policymakers and military planners should think about how to prepare for the next big war. Their stimulating essay identified six gaps — munitions, weapons platforms, manpower, planning, technology, and stamina — that a big war against a peer competitor could reveal. These important articles combined together were ultimately a de facto call for the United States to improve its planning for mobilization and on a surface level would seem fairly benign to almost all readers, ie, there is no specific ‘big target’ named in either article or intimation against whom the next big war and American mobilization should be aimed. At least, there isn’t until a completely separate piece of information is connected to it.

On March 18, 2016, Deputy Secretary for Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Amy Searight, told reporters that the Department of Defense had already submitted notification to Congress about a new maritime capacity-building initiative for Southeast Asian states near the South China Sea. While the DoD has been relatively secretive about the exact details, some information has leaked out about the point and purpose of the initiative:

Speaking generally due to the sensitivity of the issue, [a DoD source] said that more advanced intelligence, surveillance and radar (ISR) capabilities might enhance ‘sensing’ of allies and partners in the South China Sea; technical “supporting infrastructure” would facilitate ‘sharing’ maritime information across the region to build a common operating picture; and expanded exercises, training and other engagements would lead to more ‘contributing’ from allies and partners. MSI is more about equipment, supplies, training and small-scale construction that fit within this broad approach, rather than hardware.“What you hear is improving the ability of allies and partners to sense, share and contribute,” the source said.

In other words, this maritime capacity initiative is built around improving planning, manpower, platforms, technology, and stamina of most if not all of the smaller littoral South China Sea states. It is built around improving the abilities of American allies in exactly the manner in which contributors to the War on the Rocks articles declared as being crucial for US readiness in fighting the next big war. The idea that China would be unable to piece this together or draw its own stark strategic conclusions was wishful diplomatic thinking, at best. As it turns out, it was wishful thinking misplaced.

At almost exactly the same time period as when the above events were transpiring, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a huge announcement to ‘buoy the country’s faltering economy’ by bringing military research and development back under the jurisdiction of the People’s Liberation Army. The reason for this new restructuring was in order to launch a new agency that would be modeled directly after the famous US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This new agency will aim to ‘strengthen management of defense science and technology, promote indigenous innovation in national defense, and coordinate integrated development of military and civilian technologies.’ In other words, China, having connected the dots between disparate American strategic analyses and policy developments, responded with basically doing the exact same maneuvers and initiatives. Arguably, the timing and speed of the Chinese response is directly predicated upon what it considers to be disconcerting American initiatives that seem more potentially offensive and aggressive rather than defensive and reactive. Even this distinction, between offensive and defensive, between action and reaction, is a constant source of opacity between China and the United States when it comes to the South China Sea.

The following are excerpts taken from an assessment of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper given to Sen. John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It was a formal letter meant to address the ‘Chinese reclamation and militarization of disputed holdings in the South China Sea.’

Feb. 23, 2016

Dear Chairman McCain:

Thank you for your letter of 29 January 2016 in which you articulated concerns about China’s reclamation activity in the South China Sea and the impact this will have on China’s ability to deploy military capabilities across the area. Unclassified answers to the specific questions contained in your correspondence follow:

Would you assess China has militarized its reclaimed features in the Spratly Islands?

We judge that China has the capability to provide basic self-defense at its Spratly Islands outposts. China has also installed surveillance systems to improve situational awareness and is building airfields and ports that can support military operations. Based on the extent of land reclamation and construction activity, we assess that China has established the necessary infrastructure to project military capabilities in the South China Sea beyond that which is required for point defense of its outposts. These capabilities could include the deployment of modern fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles (SAMS), and coastal defense cruise missiles, as well as increased presence of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) surface combatants and China Coast Guard (CCG) large patrol ships.

Has the United States observed the construction of infrastructure or deployment of capabilities that would enable military-grade early warning, target acquisition, and/or target track radars?

China has installed military radars, most likely air-surveillance/early warning radars, at Cuarteron and Fiery Cross Reefs and a beacon for aircraft direction at Fiery Cross. Additionally, China is employing a combination of solar, wind, and stable base-load generators to power the outposts.

Has the United States observed the construction of infrastructure or deployment of capabilities by China that would enable the deployment of surface-to-air missile systems?

None of the infrastructure developed to date is consistent with the deployment of SAM systems to any of China’s Spratly Islands outposts. However, China’s mobile SAMS are field-deployable and do not require fixed, prepared sites

Do you assess China will pursue further reclamation in the South China Sea or East China Sea?

While we have no evidence that China has plans for any significant additional land reclamation at its Spratly Islands claims, there is sufficient reef area at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs to reclaim more than 1,000 additional acres. We further assess that the underwater features at the four smaller reefs would support additional land reclamation. We do not assess that China will conduct reclamation efforts in the East China Sea.

Do you assess China will seek to militarize its reclaimed features in the Spratly Islands in the 2016-2018 time period?

We assess that China will continue to pursue construction and infrastructure development at its expanded outposts in the South China Sea. Based on the pace and scope of construction at these outposts, China will be able to deploy a range of offensive and defensive military capabilities and support increased PLAN and CCG presence beginning in 2016. Once these facilities are completed by the end of 2016 or early 2017, China will have significant capacity to quickly project substantial offensive military power to the region. China’s continued construction activity and press reporting indicate that Beijing may view the establishment of “defensive” capabilities similar to what some other claimants have installed as consistent with not “militarizing” the dispute. The Intelligence Community continues to monitor these and other critical developments in the region using our full array of collection capabilities to produce analysis with explanatory and predictive power to inform decision makers ahead of emerging trends. Please contact me with any additional questions you might have.

Sincerely,

James R. Clapper

What usually gets overlooked on the American side (but emphasized on the Chinese side) is how much Clapper’s analysis confirms maneuvers that are being positioned militarily and declared diplomatically as ‘defensive’ in nature, only to quickly counter with the retort that America believes it would not be difficult to adapt and transform such defensive postures into dangerous offensive ones. But that same retort was used by the Chinese in not only discussing the creeping deployments of the THAAD missile defense system but with general American postures and initiatives throughout the region:

China has taken aim at the United States over its criticism of what it considers China’s militarization of the disputes in the East and South China Seas. Washington has considered such actions as violations of “international norms.” As a result, it resumed freedom of navigation patrols in the western Pacific last year. But China considers Washington’s reaction as hypocritical. How, Chinese officials ask, can the United States criticize China for militarizing the South China Sea, when it uses military forces to conduct its freedom of navigation patrols near Chinese-held islets and has expanded its Asian military alliances, most notably through the Expanded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines?

The purpose of these excerpts, indeed of the entire analysis, is to show just how much of the disputes and tension in the South China Sea are about competing narratives over intentions, objectives, and ‘real’ meanings. It has very little to do with verifiable dispassionate evidence based on military action. Most important is to acknowledge that these competing narratives do indeed exist and that the effort to characterize one as wholly righteous and another as wholly unjustified is not only unhelpful but actually exacerbates conflict in the region. There is strategic manipulation, diplomatic exploitation, and military posturing going on all over the South China Sea today. But it would be naïve and unproductive to think all of this is happening only on the Chinese side. It is happening on all sides, by and against all the players, and will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Matthew Crosston is Vice Chairman of Modern Diplomacy and member of the Editorial Board at the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.

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Artificial intelligence and intelligence

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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As was also clearly stated by Vladimir Putin on September 4, 2017: “whichever country leads the way in Artificial Intelligence research will be the ruler of the world”.

According to Thomas Kuhn’s old, but still useful, epistemological model, every change of the scientific paradigm – rather than the emergence of new material discoveries – radically changes the visions of the world and hence strategic equilibria.

Hence, first of all, what is Artificial Intelligence? It consists of a series of mathematical tools, but also of psychology, electronic technology, information technology  and computer science tools, through which a machine is taught to think as if it were a human being, but with the speed and security of a computer.

The automatic machine must representman’s knowledge, namely show it, thus enabling an external operator to change the process and understand its results within the natural language.

In practice, AI machines imitate the perceptual vision, the recognition and the reprocessing of language -and even of decision-making – but only when all the data necessary to perform it are available. They do so creatively, i.e. they self-correct themselves in a non-repetitive way.

As can be easily imagined, this happens rarelyin a complex system with a high rate of variation over time and space, as is exactly the case in war clashes.

Just think about the intelligence reserved for the Chiefs of Staff, which obviously no one ever feeds into any machine to “run” it.

Hence, first and foremost, AI is about making the machine imitate the human reasoning process, which is achieved by applying the Turing test.

As you may remember, Alan Turing was the mathematician who devised for the British intelligencea number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers and cracking intercepted coded messages that could find settings for the Enigma machine used by the German Nazi Intelligence Services.

Due to the large amount of data to be checked and translated, his mathematics required an electromechanical machine, a sort of computer which was in fact created at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre, with the technologies of the time: vacuum valves, copper wires and electric engines.

To be precise, the Nazis had developed a primitive computer, namely Z1, that was hard to program, while the British Colossuspermitted the introduction of cards and tapes that allowed its adaptation to the various needs of the British SIGINT of the time.

Furthermore, in Turing’s mind, the Imitation Game involving three people (a sort of deception game) could be replaced by a machine – and here the mathematical theory permitting AI comes into play.

The machine takes the place of either human beings who try to prevent the correct identification of the third human being (C) – an identification that remains hidden to both A and B.

Hence Alan Turing claims that man A can be replaced by a machine and that this can be correctly defined as “thinking”.

Hence, according to Alan Turing,the human thought can be creatively imitated and recreated through a Finite State Machine (FSM) that can simulate other Discrete State Machines.

In principle a Finite State Machine is a machine allowing  to fully describe – in mathematical terms – the simultaneous or non-simultaneous behaviour of many systems.

With a view to better understanding this concept, we can think of an image: the warp of a fabric with respect to its weft, which can have various colours or designs.

Conversely, a Discrete-State Machine is a calculator, i.e.a machine evolving by sudden jumps from one state to another.

The same evolutionary jumps that the epistemologist, Thomas Kuhn, thought as steps of a scientific paradigm.

Finally, in Turing’s mind, the Discrete State Machine was the most suitable for simulating the human thought-behaviour.

Currently, in AI, almost exclusively “hybrid spots” are used, i.e. systems unifying various types of finite or discrete state machineswhich develop and process also probabilistic scenarios.

There is no need for going further into this network of technical reasoning, which only partially regards the topic of this article.

It is worth recalling that the issue has its true conceptual and strategic origin in March 2017, when a computer program developed by Google, namely AlphaGo, beatthe world champion in the ancient Chinese board game Go, an extraordinary strategy game.

According to some US analysts, it was the game that inspired the Head of the North Vietnamese Armed Forces and of the Viet Mihn Communists, Vo Nguyen Giap, in his confrontation with the United States and its allies.

A game in which – unlike what happens in chess-there is no immediate evidence of the victory of either contenders.

Years before, in 1997, a much less advancedalgorithm than AlphaGo had beaten the chess champion Gary Kasparov.

With a view to better understanding what an AI system is, it is worth recalling that AlphaGo is made up of two deep “neural networks” having millions of neural connections very similar to those of the human brain.

A neural network is a mathematical model inspired by the structure of the neural networks typical of the human brain.

It consists of information interconnections and it is a mathematical-information system made up of artificial neurons and processes using computational connections common to all “neurons”.

Furthermore the AlphaGo system self-corrects and learns by itself, because it stores and quickly processes the many matches and games in which it participated.

As can be easily imagined, this also makes it largely unpredictable.

In the future, however, the new military robots with high autonomy of movement and selection of targets – and, sometimes, even of the AI ​​procedure to be used – will incorporate a great deal of Artificial Intelligence.

This will make the difference between a losing robot and a winning one on the ground.

Hence, at some point of technological evolution, they may also take autonomous actions.

Therefore the problem arises of how much autonomy can be given to robots, whether they are mobile on the ground or centralized in a command brigade.

Tactical autonomy, while the neural connections between the various military robots are managed simultaneously by a “classic” human system and by a 2.0 AI mechanism?

Probably so.

But here factors such as each country’s doctrine and the assessment of the probability of a war clash and with whom, must be considered.

Therefore many human lives can be saved even in a conflict and on the war theatre, except in a counter-resource robot action, which hits the civilian population.

It will also be easier to resortto armed confrontation, but a higher cost of automated defense or attack operations will be expected.

Obviously considering that the AI systems are derived from “natural thought”, if – in the activities – very few changes are to be made to an already-defined program, the machines always work better than human beings.

They are faster, much more precise and they never rest. Moreover, they have no parallel reasoning patterns deriving from personal tastes, ideologies, feelings, sensations, affections.

They are not distracted by value, cultural, symbolic, ethical and politicalissues and probably not even by the typical themes of the Grand Strategy.

In principle, however, if what is at stake are substantially equivalent technical choices or similar evaluations of the final future scenarios, on which the machine has no pre-set programming, man will always prevail in the match between man and robot.

Hence Metaphysics – or the “science of aims”, to put it in Aristotle’s words – is the unique attribute of our species.

But the process to achieve extra-technical goals can always be formalized and hence there is always at least one finite state machine in the world that can imitate it – on its own, however, without further support of the homo sapiens sapiens.

It must also be considered that the techniques for the AI “autonomous weapons” cannot be completely classifiedbecause, in these technologies, the commercial sector can often overcome the efficacy of “covered” technology weapons.

If we open up to commercial technologies, that would be the end of confidentiality.

In fact all AI, ranging from finance to machine tools up to biological and environmental programming, is a market-driven technology controlled by open markets- or rather  still oligopolistic ones.

However, what are the limits and the merits of a war or global strategy technology entirely rebuilt according to  AI standards?

The simple answer is that firstly no finite state or hybrid machine can evaluate the reliability of the data and systems it receives.

Hence we can imagine a new kind of intelligence action, that is the possibility of “poisoning” the command systems of the enemy’s AI machines.

The deep Internet, the area of ​web​sites – often having  criminal relevance – not resulting in the official search engines, could also host viruses or even entire opposing systems, which directly reach our AI machines, thus making them fulfill the enemy’s will and not ours.

It is worth recalling that Von Clausewitz defined victory as “the prevailing of the opponent’s will or of our will”.

Nevertheless the Artificial Intelligence systems can be extremely useful in the military and intelligence sector, when it comes to using them in the “computer vision”, where millions of data must be analyzed creatively in the shortest possible time.

In fact, the Turing machine and the derived AI ​​machines can imitate abduction, a logical process that is very different from that of deduction and induction.

Deduction, which is typical of traditional machines, such as the calculator, is the logical process that, starting from a non-analyzed premise, rationally derives particular propositions describing the perceivable reality.

Conversely, induction is a logical process that, with a number of finite steps fully adhering to the natural logic, allows to shift from empirical data to the general rule, if any.

Hence abduction is an Aristotelian syllogism in which the major premise is certain while the minor one is only probable.

The Aristotelian syllogisms are made up of a general statement (the major premise), a specific statement (the minor premise) and a conclusion that is inferred.

They are adaptable to both induction and deduction.

Furthermore,  in the various types of syllogism the Stagirite developed, the major premise is the general definition of an item belonging or not to a whole.

For example, “All men are bipeds”.

The minor premise is that “George is a man (or is a biped)” and hence the conclusion is that “George is a biped (or a man)”.

Finally, in abduction, there is an opposite reasoning compared to the other two: it is used when we know the rules and the conclusion and we want to reconstruct the premise.

The definition of abduction given by Charles S. Peirce, who long evaluated it in his pragmatist philosophy, is the following: “the surprising fact, C, is observed; but if A were true, C would be a matter of course.

Hence there is reason to suspect that A is true”.

If I have white beans in my hand and there is a bag of white beans in front of me, there is reason to believe  that the beans in my hand were taken out of that bag.

In fact, this is exactly the way in which an AI machine corrects or enhances its knowledge starting from the program we put in it.

Another military use of AI is the “deep” face recognition, far more analytical and fast than it can be done today.

There is also voice recognition, the immediate indication of the sources of an enemy communication and its almost simultaneous comparison with the countless similar or anyway opposing communications.

Artificial Intelligence can also be used for military logistics issues or for the multi-variable resolution of war games, and even for combat automation in mixed environments with men and machines in action.

Therefore recourse to a limited war will be ever more likely if there are no human victims and if the confrontation is directed by advanced automatic systems.

There will also be an impact on political responsibility, which could be shifted to AI systems and not to  commanders or decision-makers in the flesh.

What political and strategic effects would an automatic clash have and what immediate psychological mechanisms would it trigger in the population?

However, who wins in the recently-started war for dominance in AI military and intelligence technologies?

For the time being, certainly China.

In fact, in November 2017 the Chinese startup company Yitu Tech won the contest for the best face recognition system.

The challenge was to recognize the greatest number of passengers accidentally encountered in a civilian airport.

The Chinese government has already approved a project called “Artificial Intelligence 2.0” having specific applications both in the economy and in military and intelligence structures.

The Chinese  Armed Forces are now working on a unified project in AI 2.0, an initiative regarding precisely the relationship between AI civilian and military applications.

As already noted, this is the strategic weak point of the AI military programming, because it verifies strong competition between the market and state organizations, at least in the West.

In fact, for the US Intelligence Services, the line to be currently followed in the smart war automation is to implement the new technologies to enrich the information already present on the President’s table.

In China the “merger” between market and State in the AI ​​sector is directly regulated by the Commission for Integrated Military and CivilianDevelopment, chaired  personally by Xi Jinping – and this says it all.

In the framework of the new AI strategic evolution, the Chinese Armed Forces follow the criterion of “shared construction, shared application and shared use” with private individuals and entities – at least for all innovations in the programming and automatic management of information (and actions) on the battlefield and in the intelligence area.

Therefore the Chinese AI 2.0 puts together robotic research, military systems without pilot or other staff and  the new military brain science.

A new theoretical-practical branch that affects even the mental and remote control of machines through human applications such as headsets detecting and interpreting the brain activity of the wearer, thus allowing them to control the machines.

This already happened at the Zhengzhou Military Academy in August 2015, with students guiding and controlling  robots through sensors placed on their skullcaps.

Hence the new AI activities in the intelligence sector can be easily imagined: infinitely broader and faster data collection – and even structured and semi-processed – creation of automatic intelligence contrast systems; entry into electronic media systems and networks available to  “anonymous” data decision-makers that change the perception of the battlefield and of the whole enemy society.

Finally, the synergic coverage of the civilian and military data of the country that has achieved dominance in AI technologies.

Each new technology in the AI military sector is protected and, hence, implies a civilian, military or hybrid battlefield , in which all the operations of those who possess the advanced tool always hit the target with the minimum use of soldiers and with the utmost confidentiality.

It would be good for the EU to think about these new scenarios, but currently imagining that the European Union is able to think is mere theory.

Furthermore China has created a new Research Institute on AI and related technologies linked to the Central Military Commission and the Armed Forces.

Liu Ghuozhi, the Director of this Research Institute, likes to repeat that “whoever does not disrupt the adversary will be disrupted”.

The current rationale of the People’s Liberation Army is that the new and more advanced AI environment 2.0 –  i.e.  that of war, of the strategic clash and of the apparently peaceful political one – is already a new stage in military thinking.

This is a qualitatively different level, far beyond the old conflict information technologies – a stage requiring a “new thinking” and a completely different approach to military confrontation, which immediately turns into a social, economic, technological and cultural one.

Hence a Chinese way – through technology –  to the Russian “hybrid warfare”, but a strategic thinking remaining along the lines of the Unrestricted Warfare theorized by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui in 1999, at the dawn of globalization.

In fact, the origin of globalizationshould not be found in the fall of the Berlin Wall, but in the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernizations in 1978.

It is also worth noting that, from the beginning, the implicit planning in the “Unrestricted Warfare” theorized by the two Chinese Colonels had been thought against “a more powerful opponent than us”, namely the United States.

Hence merging of technical and intelligence services in the area of ​​operations;union of intelligence and AI networks; integration of command functions with other activities on the ground, obviously also with intelligence, and finally use of the large mass of information in real time.

This is made possible thanks to the adaptation of the Chinese Intelligence Services to the speed and wide range of data provided by all technological platforms and by any “human” source.

The ultimate goal is unrestricted warfare, in which you do not dominate the “enemy’s will”, but all its resources.

Therefore China currently thinks that “technology determines tactics” and the People’s Liberation Army intends to develop also support systems using Artificial Intelligence to back strategic decision-making.

Still today this should work also on the basis of the old US program known as Deep Green created in 2005 by the  Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA).

It is an AI system intended to help military leaders in the strategic evaluation of scenarios, of their own options and of the enemy’s options, as well as their own potential – at such a speed enabling to counteract any enemy move before it could be fully deployed.

Finally what is the Russian Federation doing in the field of modernization of its Armed Forces by means of Artificial Intelligence?

It is doing many things.

First and foremost, Russia is carefully studying unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), such as Uran-9, Nerekhta and Vir.

They are all armoured tanks that can host anti-tank missiles and mid-sized guns.

Secondly, since 2010 Russia has favoured the development of its Armed Forces in relation to what its military doctrine  defines as “intelligence exchange and supremacy”.

In other words, the Russian military world believes that the intelligence superiority is central both in times of peace and in times of war.

Superiority vis-à-vis its own population to be protected from others’ dezinformatsjia and superiority with respect to the enemies’ propaganda in their own countries – an information action that must be mastered and dominated, so that the enemy’s public can develop an ideological universe favourable to Russian interest.

This psycho-intelligence “exchange” – always based on AI supports – implies diplomatic, economic and obviously military, political, cultural and religious tools.

It is mainly developed through two intervention areas: the technical-intelligence and media area and the other one  more traditionally related to psychological warfare.

Russia is also developing a program to adapt its supercomputers to deep learning, with an AI system  significantly callediPavlov.

The deep learning of computers having hundreds of petaflops (a petaflop is equivalent to 1,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second)is an AI system allowing to fully imitate not only the “normal” human thought- which is defined as “logical” – but also the possible statistical variations, which are in fact involved in abduction, of which we have already spoken.

It is worth repeating that the EU closely follows America with regard to drones, computer science and information technologies and it is also starting to fund some projects, including military ones, in the 2.0 AI sector.

However, they are technological goals far away in time and, in any case, despite the dream, or the myth, of a  European Armed Force, intelligence, advanced battlefield doctrines and intelligence neural networks – if any – are strictly limited to the national level.

With the results we can easily imagine, above all considering the intellectual and technological lack of an EU doctrine on “future wars”.

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Information challenges in security agencies

Sajad Abedi

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An effort to maintain information security is the responsibility of each individual. This person can be a normal user, technical expert, system administrator, network leader and manager of a system or network in the organization. Paying attention to the importance of information security makes it necessary to ensure the necessary protection of systems and the use of an effective set of security policies is an important step in ensuring this.

In most cases, computers and information will be protected from unauthorized access, and the information can be exchanged securely on the network with others. Information security in electronic organizations, especially municipalities, has been emphasized as one of the basic infrastructures and requirements, because their databases contain confidential information from citizens or customers.

Adopting appropriate security policies and implementing them reduces the risk of sudden loss of information, makes it much more difficult to access the system and provides security tools for detecting attacks and fixing security breaches. To maintain confidential information and to help integrate programs and information stored, a combination of policy making and implementation should be undertaken. This paper covers various components of effective security policies for e-organizations, especially municipal organizations.

In small organizations, the information security requirements can easily be met, and everyone is responsible for their computers and their files.

However, for larger groups such as organizations dealing with business transactions or groups that hold confidential data from citizens or customers (such as municipalities), the need for more formal security policies and procedures becomes more important.

When managers and employees consider the issue of information security, they will always face similar issues. As a result, attention to the role of information as a valuable commodity in today’s trade and the need to protect it is necessary.

Each group needs a certain level of security for its information and clear procedures for implementation by employees, the ability to create and maintain awareness of the needs of customers, and an understanding of how security policies are implemented in an operational environment.

Managers must pay close attention to information security policies in order to achieve their goals. Also, understanding the cost of implementing effective security policies is very important. Technologies Security procedures are a kind of investment and should be evaluated against the cost of likely losses.

Information is like blood in the veins of the organization and without the information of the board of directors (the company’s brain) cannot make key decisions, and the purchasing and financial resources (mouth, heart, etc.) cannot obtain the resources they need to survive the organization’s life.

The role of data and information is crucial in the management of organizations, the more the information system of an organization is more accurate, coherent and systematic, the better the organization can achieve its goals.

Regarding the importance of information, it can be said that the discussion of access to information and, on the other hand, the security and protection of information on the national level have been raised for rulers and managers since ancient times. Access to information can lead to the destruction of the organization. The possibility of data loss due to physical factors and threats to the information of the organization exists. But with the development of information technology and the use of information as a commercial tool and profitable capital, the issue of information security is a new dimension. In today’s trade, information plays the role of capital of a company, and the protection of information in the organization is one of the key pillars of its survival. In this way, categorizing and valuing and protecting information resources is very important and important.

In today’s world, the more we go into machining; the other face-to-face relationships and old solutions cannot answer our problems. In today’s cities, we are faced with increasing levels of traffic and, consequently, increasing urban traffic. Previous paperwork can no longer be an appropriate method for addressing the administrative work of citizens. Of these important organizations, such as the municipalities in the big cities, which are somehow the heart of the city, we must abandon the previous methods and enter the world of information technology and the e-government world.

This is where the Municipal Electronic and Information Technology (IT) have a crucial role in most municipal organizations. After the implementation of the electronic program of municipal services, citizens through their international networks or the Internet can provide their services, such as paying tolls, repairs, fees, and application fees, electronic referrals, and circular letters in various stages Receive in the municipality without a face-to-face visit to the municipality.

Nowadays, IT infrastructure is in an environment that is increasingly being added to the number of enemies and attackers who are not interested in continuous, reliable, and useful computer systems. A world where activities are much faster and more reliable and do not require population density in the physical world. We have to think about ways to reduce urban traffic, the cost of doing work, confrontations, mental ill-health, corruption, etc. that we face every day in municipal organizations, and it is the best solution to create an active and dynamic security framework for each organization.

Implementation and deployment of information security in organizations may be reviewed based on the efficiency, ease of use, and communication with other departments and organizations. Since public procurement is not generally a question of profitability, there is a controlling budget, which limits the ability of the organization to provide the latest hardware and software security. At the same time, municipalities should focus on data protection, as their databases contain sensitive information about individuals; information such as personal and medical records, and taxes.

Unfortunately, even in state-owned organizations of the country, it is difficult to protect information, and it suffers from obsolete systems, inappropriate investments, and employees of the disabled who lack the necessary information security dimension.

However, there are tensions between managerial levels. Without a general plan to create a secure environment for information technology, each episode may develop a solution to the security of information that comes from the missions, goals, and operational intentions of the same section, and may be as good as it is for a particular part. Other parts are not used too much. These different strategies may cause information security in some areas to be over-needed or less than the required level, while the presence of supervision on the part of the high-level management will ensure that security experiences are set in such a way that the organization can functionedits better.

In addition to securing its own intelligence resources, an organization must commit itself to set up a set of policies to safeguard its organization’s information. These policies play an important role in information security, but there is still a contradiction in the fact that the policy framework of the organization should be able to increase the level of security. Methods of dealing with insecurity are identified through crisis identification and insecurity and limitation of insecurity as well as its control tools.

There are sufficient information and adequate systems for the use of information as well as appropriate programs for preventing and, in the event of occurrence, controlling the crisis (proper urban programs) of the main components needed to maintain and develop information security.

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Islamic State after ISIS: Colonies without Metropole or Cyber Activism?

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With the world constantly following the events in the Middle East, much now depends on the shape, form and ‘policy’ Islamic State is going to take. What form will the IS take? What role will cryptocurrencies play in funding terrorists? How can Russia and the US cooperate in fighting mutual security threats? RIAC expert Tatyana Kanunnikova discusses these issues with Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, Associate Professor of Political Science in the Intelligence and National Security Studies program at Coastal Carolina University.

Islamic State is perceived as an international threat. In which regions is it losing ground and in which ones is it on the rise? Could you please describe IS geography today?

Groups like the Islamic State are mobile. They tend to move and redeploy across international borders with relative ease, and are truly global in both outlook and reach. It is worth noting that, from a very early stage in its existence, the Islamic State incorporated into its administrative structure the so-called vilayets, namely semi-autonomous overseas provinces or possessions. These included parts of Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Nigeria, and of course Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. By the first week of 2018, the Islamic State had all but eclipsed from its traditional base of the Levant. How has the loss of its administrative centers affected the organization’s strategy?

Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis

There are two competing answers to this question. The first possible answer is that ISIS’ plan is similar to that of the Great Britain in 1940, when the government of Winston Churchill was facing the prospect of invasion by the forces of the German Reich. London’s plan at the time was to use its overseas colonies as bases from which to continue to fight following a possible German takeover of the Britain. It is possible that ISIS’ strategy revolves around a similar plan —in which case we may see concerted flare-ups of insurgent activity in Egypt, Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya, and elsewhere. The second possible answer to the question of ISIS’ strategy is that the group may be entering a period of relative dormancy, during which it will concentrate on cyber activism and online outreach aimed at young and disaffected youth in Western Europe, the Caucasus, and North America. According to this scenario, ISIS will use its formidable online dexterity to establish new communities of Millennial and Generation Z members, and renegotiate its strategy in light of the loss of physical lands in the Levant. This scenario envisages an online geography for the Islamic State, which may eventually lead to the emergence of a new model of activity. The latter will probably resemble al-Qaeda’s decentralized, cell-based model that focuses on sharp, decisive strikes at foreign targets.

Commenting for an article in Asia Times, you said that ISIS returnees are extremely valuables sources of intelligence. How can they be effectively identified in the flow of migrants? How exactly can security services exploit the experience of these militants?

In its essence, the Sunni insurgency is a demassified movement. By this I mean that its leaders have never intended for it to become a mass undertaking. The Islamic State, like al-Qaeda before it, does not depend on large numbers of followers. Rather it depends on individual mobilization. Senior Islamic State leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Mohamed Mahmoud, Tarad Muhammad al-Jarba, and others, have no interest in deploying 10,000 fighters who may be reluctant and weak-willed. They are content with 100 fighters who are unswerving in their commitment and prepared to devote everything to the struggle, including their lives. Consider some of the most formidable strikes of the Sunni insurgency against its enemies: the attacks of 9/11 in the United States, the 7/7 bombings in the United Kingdom, the November 2015 strikes in Paris, and the fall of Mosul in 2014. There have been more large-scale strikes on Russian, Lebanese, Afghan, Egyptian, and other targets. What connects all of those is the relatively small number of totally dedicated fighters that carried them out. The fall of Mosul, for example, which brought the Islamic State to the height of its power, was carried out by no more than 1,500 fighters, who took on two divisions of the Iraqi Army, numbering more than 30,000 troops.

The reliance on a small number of dedicated fighters mirrors the recruitment tactics of the Islamic State (and al-Qaeda before it). The latter rested on individual attention paid to selected young men, who are seen as reliable and steadfast. This is precisely the type of emphasis that should be placed by European, American and Russian security agencies on suspected members of terrorist groups that are captured, or are detected within largest groups of migrants. What is required here is individual attention given by security operatives who have an eye for detail and are knowledgeable of the culture, customs and ways of thinking of predominantly Muslim societies. However, most governments have neither the patience nor expertise to implement a truly demassified exploitation campaign that targets individuals with an eye to de-radicalization and — ultimately — exploitation. The experience of the Syrian migrants in countries like Italy and Greece is illustrative of this phenomenon. The two countries — already overwhelmed by domestic political problems and financial uncertainty — were left primarily to their own means by a disinterested and fragmented European Union. Several members of the EU, including Poland, Hungary, and the United Kingdom have for all practical purposes positioned themselves outside of the EU mainstream. At the same time, the United States, which is the main instigator of the current instability in the Middle East, shows no serious interest in de-radicalization and exploitation programs. This has been a consistent trend in Washington under the administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

In your opinion, will cryptocurrencies become a significant source of terrorism funding? Some experts believe that pressure on traditional methods of financing may facilitate this process.

In the old days of the 1970s and 1980s, most terrorist groups raised funds primarily through extortion, kidnappings, bank robberies and — to a lesser extent — drugs. Things have changed considerably in our century. Today, cryptocurrencies are not in themselves sources of funding — though it can be argued that the frequent rise in the value of many cryptocurrencies generates income for terrorist organizations — but more a method of circulating currency and providing services that generate funds. With the use of cryptocurrencies and the so-called Darknet, terrorist organizations are now able to engage in creative means of generating cash. They include the sale of pirated music, movies and, most of all, videogames. They also engage in the sale of counterfeit products, including clothing, electronics and other hi-tech accessories. Additionally, they sell counterfeit pharmaceutical products and even counterfeit tickets to high-profile sports events and music concerts. Those who buy those products often pay for them using cryptocurrencies, primarily through the Darknet. Looking at the broad picture, it is clear that the use of cryptocurrencies constitutes a form of asymmetric finance that circumvents established financial structures and operates using irregular means that for now remain largely undetected. Few terrorist groups will resist the temptation to employ this new method of unregulated financial transaction.

How can Russian and US intelligence and security services cooperate in combating terrorism? In December 2017, media reported that CIA had helped its Russian counterpart foil a terror attack in St. Petersburg. What should be done to deepen and broaden such kind of cooperation?

Despite friction on the political level, cooperation between Russian and American intelligence agencies in the field of counter-terrorism is far more routine than is generally presumed. Last December’s report of the CIA sharing intelligence with its Russian counterpart was notable in that it was publicly disclosed. Most instances of intelligence cooperation between Washington and Moscow are not publicized. In February 2016, the then CIA director John Brennan stated publicly that the CIA works closely with the Russian intelligence community in counter-terrorism operations directed against Islamist militants. He described the CIA’s relationship with Russian intelligence officials as a “very factual, informative exchange.” He added that “if the CIA gets information about threats to Russian citizens or diplomats, we will share it with the Russians”. And he added: “they do the same with us”. Brennan gave the example of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He said: “We worked very closely with [Russian intelligence agencies]” during the Sochi games to “try to prevent terrorist attacks. And we did so very successfully”. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of Brennan’s statement.

Professionals are always more likely to find common areas of interest. So, in what areas, apart from combating terrorism, can Russian and US intelligence services cooperate?

There is a virtually endless list of common concerns that ought to and often do bring together American and Russian intelligence agencies. To begin with, there are two major existential threats to the security of both countries and the whole world that demand close cooperation between Washington and Moscow and their respective intelligence agencies. The first threat is the black market in weapons of mass destruction, notably chemical weapons, biological agents, and even radioactive material. In the past 20 years, there have been several cases of individuals or groups trying to sell or trade radioactive substances. The fear of such weapons possibly falling into the hands of non-state insurgents should be sufficient to entice close cooperation between American and Russian intelligence agencies. The second existential threat is that of global warming and its effects on international security. It is no secret that the rise in global temperatures is already having a measurable negative impact on food production, desertification, sea-level rise, and other factors that contribute to the destabilization of the economies of entire regions. Such trends fuel militancy, political extremism, wars, and mass migrations of populations, all of which are serious threats to the stability of the international system. Solving this global problem will require increased and prolonged cooperation on the political, economic, and security/intelligence level between the United States and Russia. The two countries must also work closely on a series of other topics, including standardizing the global regulation of cryptocurrencies, diffusing tensions between the two rival nuclear powers of India and Pakistan, tackling the tensions in the Korean Peninsula, preventing the destabilization of Egypt (the world’s largest Arab country), combating the growth of Sunni militancy in West Africa, and numerous other issues.

Among other things, you are an expert in the Cold War. At present, Russia and the USA are experiencing a period of tensions in their relationship. In your opinion, what should be done in order to overcome these challenges and mend fences?

For those of us who remember the Cold War, and have studied the development of Russia–US relations in the postwar era, the current state of affairs between Washington and Moscow seems comparatively manageable. Despite tensions between Washington and Moscow, we are, thankfully, very far from an emergency of the type of the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or even the 1984 collision between the US plane carrier Kitty Hawk and the K-314 Soviet submarine in the Sea of Japan. How do we avoid such dangerous escalations? The answer is simple: regularize communications between the two countries on various levels, including executive, political, economic and security-related. Such communications should continue even or, arguably, especially at times of rising tensions between the two nations. The overall context of this approach rests on the indisputable truth that Russia and the United States are the two central pillars on which the idea of world peace can be built for future generations.

First published in our partner RIAC

*Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Intelligence and National Security Studies program at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to joining Coastal, he built the Security and Intelligence Studies program at King University, where he also directed the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies. An award-winning professor, Dr. Fitsanakis has lectured, taught and written extensively on subjects such as international security, intelligence, cyberespionage, and transnational crime. He is a syndicated columnist and frequent contributor to news media such as BBC television and radio, ABC Radio, Newsweek, and Sputnik, and his work has been referenced in outlets including The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Politico, and The Huffington Post. Fitsanakis is also deputy director of the European Intelligence Academy and senior editor at intelNews.org, a scholarly blog that is cataloged through the United States Library of Congress, and a syndicated columnist.

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