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The Wolves of Zhurihe: China’s OPFOR Comes of Age

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Publication: China Brief Volume: 15 Issue: 4

February 20, 2015 02:10 PM Age: 1 day By: Gary Li

The PLA’s “Stride” exercise in 2014, with “Blue Force” helicopters and “Red Force” ground forces. (Credit: China Military Online)

Between May 31 and July 28, 2014, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began the annual large-scale exercise codenamed “Stride 2014.” The Stride exercises have been a regular occurrence, focusing largely on the rapid deployment of large field formations into unfamiliar territory and conducting confrontation drills. The 2014 version, however, was different in its scale, unit composition, intensity and the nature of the opponent the units faced. No fewer than seven of the PLA’s top brigades from seven different group armies (GA) were deployed to the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia, under the Beijing Military Region. During the six confrontation exercises that followed, only one resulted in a victory for the visiting “Red Forces” (REDFOR), and at heavy cost. The drubbing received by the REDFOR actually reflects a new age in PLA training that is closely linked with the unit that taught them the lesson, China’s first dedicated opposing forces brigade (OPFOR). [1] Read the rest of this entry »

Spreading Tentacles: The Islamic State in Bangladesh

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Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 13 Issue: 3   February 6, 2015 11:08 AM

Samiun Rahman, a British man of Bangladeshi origin, was arrested due to his alledged involvement with recruting for terrorist organizations in Bangladesh (Source: Alamy).

Growing evidence suggests that the influence of the Islamic State organization has reached the South Asian, Muslim-majority country of Bangladesh. The country has long been home to small, but significant, numbers of radicals from both local militant groups, such as the Jama’at ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the country’s most significant local jihadist group, and those linked to transnational jihadist formations, such as al-Qaeda. However, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate and the promise of it’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to return to all Muslims their “dignity, might, rights and leadership” seem to have infused a renewed Islamist fervor within a section of Bangladeshi youths and among existing radical elements. [1]

Arrests Expose Militant Links

One of the clearest indications of this development came in late September 2014 when the government’s arrest of a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Samiun Rahman (a.k.a. Ibn Hamdan), who lived in the capital Dhaka’s Kamalapur area, unearthed an apparent Islamic State recruitment drive in the country (Daily Star [Dhaka], September 30, 2014). Read the rest of this entry »

Mercyhurst University’s Tom Ridge School Hosts Fourth Global Intelligence Forum

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English: Seal of the United States Department ...
English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GlobeNewswire

 

ERIE, Pa., Dec. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — From public health challenges like Ebola to the effect of climate change on food safety in the coming decades, international experts in public health, higher education, business and traditional intelligence will gather in Dungarvan, Ireland, for the fourth biennial Global Intelligence Forum — The Dungarvan Conference July 12-15, 2015.

 

Sponsored by the Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, the conference comes on the heels of highly successful summits that welcomed prominent intelligence leaders like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden; former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh; and Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

 

Panelists for this year’s expanded forum — “Intelligence-Informed Decision-Making to Build a More Secure Future” — will address how leaders can effectively establish intelligence practices to enhance decision-making as they address pressing global concerns.

 

Keynote speakers include one of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity, Howard Schmidt, who served as cyber advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He also held positions as vice president and chief information security officer for eBay Inc., and operated as chief security officer for Microsoft Corp. Currently, he is a partner with Tom Ridge in Ridge-Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s “Political Prisoner Cleansing”

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ISIS cyber capability judged more ‘aspirational’ than operational

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By Sean Lyngaas  Sep 17, 2014

Shutterstock image: unfunctional computer.ISIS terrorists have announced their intention to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.

Interviews with cybersecurity experts and questions posed to public officials reveal an assessment of the cyber warfare capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that, while potentially dangerous, remains more aspirational than operational.

It is common for a terrorist group like ISIS to develop cyber capabilities to complement their ambitions to carry out violent attacks, experts say. But being slick with social media is a world apart from being able to hack segments of U.S. critical infrastructure.

ISIS terrorists have said online that they aim to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. infrastructure, according to a Sept. 14 Fox News report. Doing so might prove difficult, but it wouldn’t cost much to begin probing networks. One could buy a tablet for a few hundred dollars, set up some encryption tools and start running vulnerability analyses of code used by critical infrastructure like the electric grid, said Tony Cole, vice president and global government CTO at FireEye, a network security firm. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran Unveils New Missiles, Drones

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Aug. 24, 2014 – 03:45AM   |   By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

 

A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran's defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran.
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran‘s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran’s defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran. (AFP)

TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani.

The Ghadir (Mighty), with a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles), is a ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missile, the official IRNA news agency said.

It is in the same family as the Ghader or Qader cruise missile, which has a range of 200 kilometers.

The other missile unveiled on Sunday, the Nasr-e Basir (Clear Victory), is equipped with a seeker homing head. Its range was not given. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Ramps Up Spying on ISIS, Paving the Way for Possible Airstrikes

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In ordering hundreds of military advisors to Iraq and dramatically ramping up intelligence-gathering on jihadist fighters threatening Baghdad, President Barack Obama sent his strongest signal yet that U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) may be likely.

Since ISIS fighters took control of two key Iraqi cities last week, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have blanketed portions of the country with spy satellites and drones, giving them what one senior administration official called “round-the-clock coverage” of locations where ISIS is active. The military personnel headed to Iraq — as many as 300, Obama said — will work alongside Iraqi military forces in special intelligence centers, using drone video feeds and spy satellite photographs to track and attack ISIS fighters. They’ll also be in a prime position to help carry out U.S. airstrikes the moment Obama orders them.

In remarks from the White House Thursday, Obama didn’t say that airstrikes are imminent. He stressed that the only long-term solution to Iraq’s stabilization will come from political reconciliation between the Shiite-led government and the marginalized Sunni minority. But he left no doubt that he’s putting all the pieces in place to launch the first significant military action in Iraq since U.S. forces left there in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »