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Global defense postures moderating, but new “Fault Lines” emerge

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Economic development and flat defense budgets are reducing the reliance of the world economy on defense spending, but tensions are rising along five global “fault lines,” according to Deloitte’s global Public Sector Defense practices’ report entitled 2016 Global Defense Outlook.

This report examines policies, practices and trends affecting the defense budgets and strategies of the 50 nations whose combined defense budgets total over 95% of global defense spending (the “Top 50”). In the report Deloitte also introduces its unique Defense Posture Index, a numerical ranking of national-level commitments to defense, allowing comparisons of national defense approaches and tracking of changes in national defense policies over time.

Rapid, sustained economic growth combined with broad-based declines in global levels of military operations continues to transform the global defense environment. The 2016 Global Defense Outlook report makes clear that over the next five years, economic forces appear likely to continue moderating global commitments to defense, and to increase the relative parity between armed forces capabilities worldwide.

“Only nine of the fifty largest defense spenders have raised their defense posture since 2008. One of these is in Europe; the other eight are in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” says Jack Midgley, Asia Pacific Region Public Sector Defense leader for Deloitte Global. “Some 41 countries, including the United States, Russia and China have held the line, or lowered their overall commitment to defense. Pakistan, India, Iraq and Russia maintain the highest defense postures, while Belgium, Canada, Argentina and Germany display the lowest ones among the Top 50 defense spending nations.”

According to the report, the combined annual defense budget of the 50 largest defense spenders is projected to remain flat at about US$1.6 trillion through 2020. Twelve of the Top 50 nations are projected to reduce annual defense budgets by a total of $44B, paced by the projected US reduction of US$38B (2020 vs. 2016).

Sixteen of the Top 50 will increase defense budgets by more than US$1B annually, adding US$91B to the total global defense budget. China, India, South Korea, and Australia―all Asia-Pacific states―plan the largest defense budget increases, accounting for US$70B or 80 percent of the total global increase through 2020.

“Even as commitments to defense continue to moderate worldwide, economic forces are creating significant new tensions among military powers,” said General Charles Wald, vice chairman and Federal Practice Senior Advisor of Deloitte LLP in the US. “These new tensions have produced five emerging fault lines around the globe, signaling that countries must be prudent and strategic with their investments in defense to address emerging threats to their nation and their implications on the world at large.”

These five emerging “fault lines” are identified in this report as:

Russia/NATO – The combination of close proximity, expanding military forces deployed near the Russia/NATO borders, and loss of previous arms control and crisis management capabilities, have created a new fault line in Europe posing increasing risks of accidental conflict.

China/Asia-Pacific States – This deepening fault line has its roots in the growing importance of maritime commerce to all Asia-Pacific economies, combined with the absence of international laws, treaties or institutions equipped to manage conflicting national economic interests.

Terrorists/Organized States – As this fault line between terrorist groups and the governments these groups are working to undermine deepens, the lack of local or global institutions to address terrorist activity, and the new tools provided by emerging technology, indicate that terrorism-related challenges appear likely to persist.

Mature/Emerging Nuclear Powers – A new global fault line has emerged, indicating that the proliferation, accidental use or even theft of nuclear weapons or fissile material may be increasingly likely in the absence of revised and more generally accepted international principles for governing these dangerous weapons.

Information Economies/Emerging Economies – A small group of advanced economies, heavily dependent on the internet, appears highly vulnerable to cyberattack and exploitation by military organizations or private hackers in countries whose limited reliance on the internet makes them far less vulnerable.

Additional Report Highlights

Global commitments to defense have moderated, as economic development reduces dependence on defense spending. Pakistan, India, Iraq and Russia maintain the world’s highest commitments to defense, as measured by Deloitte’s Defense Posture Index.

Deloitte’s Defense Posture Index reveals that only nine of the fifty largest defense–spending nations raised their commitments to defense over the past five years. Only one of these is in Europe (France); the other eight are in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

Forty-one nations including China, Russia and the United States maintained or lowered their commitments to defense. These nations account for about 80 percent of the total global defense budget projected for 2020.

Terrorist incidents in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 840 percent in 2012-2014 compared to 2005 – 2007. Over 140 “persistent” terrorist groups now operate worldwide – double the number operating in 2005 – 2007.

The “Cyber Ten” – led by South Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Finland – appear six times more vulnerable to cyberattack than the ten least vulnerable Top 50 countries.

Industrial control systems (ICS) are a growing source of vulnerability to cyberattack. The ten countries most dependent on these systems present over forty times more internet-exposed ICS than the least-dependent countries.

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Defense

Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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