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Showing posts from April 4, 2014

China Starts to Target Military Corruption


Lt.-Gen. Gu Junshan, the former deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army's logistics department, was formally charged March 31 with a series of "economic crimes." The decision to levy corruption charges against a senior military officer has surprised some observers because they largely have been spared from the Communist Party of China's anti-corruption campaign. The expansion of that campaign to the People's Liberation Army signals Beijing's determination to pursue public, high-profile shows of discipline.

Until now, the Chinese military had considered itself exempt from prosecution, despite reports of widespread corruption. Any attempt by the Chinese leadership to purge the military must be carefully balanced with the need to reshape the relationship between the Party and the armed forces. Gu's arrest comes at time when China is actively seeking to transform its military into a fighting force capable of protecting Chinese global interests.

Demystifying the Criminal Planning Cycle

By Scott Stewart

Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to teach a couple of classes on situational awareness to different audiences. One of the assertions I make during these training classes is that criminals follow a process very much like the terrorist attack cycle while planning a crime. As I was teaching a class last week, it occurred to me that I have hinted at this fact in past analyses but that I've never written about the topic and fully explained the criminal planning cycle.

Understanding the criminal planning cycle is important, because that understanding can then be used by potential victims and law enforcement officers to look for the various aspects of the cycle as it progresses and then take action to thwart crimes before the criminals' plans can be executed.
The Terrorist Attack Cycle and the Criminal Planning Cycle

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When one spends some time thoughtfully examining what we have long referred to as the "terrorist attack cycle"…

U.S. Naval Update Map: April 3, 2014

The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.

Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Harry S. Truman CSG with CVW 3 embarked is underway in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
The USS George H.W. Bush CSG with CVW 8 embarked is underway for a deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet AORs supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperatio…

In Cuba, Claims of U.S. Social Media Efforts Stoke Controversy

That the U.S. government manipulates social media as a part of its counterintelligence campaigns should surprise no one. However, allegations that emerged April 3 about a Cuban social media program funded by the U.S. Administration for International Development provide insight into the tactics Washington uses.

The Cuban government restricts public access to global communications. To circumvent the challenges of influencing a population isolated from the Internet, USAID partnered with a private contractor, Creative Associates International, to create a platform for sharing social information via text message. The ultimate goal, according to the report, was to slowly introduce anti-government political messaging to the service, called ZunZuneo, in an effort to generate momentum for public unrest outside of the mainstream Cuban democracy groups, which are largely ineffective. At its height, it managed to reach tens of thousands of Cubans sharing text messages with one another, in addition…

Afghanistan: Uncertainty Surrounds the Presidential Elections

Afghan security forces are helping to secure polling stations ahead of the April 5 presidential elections. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Afghanistan will hold elections April 5 to elect a successor to outgoing President Hamid Karzai. A successful transition of power in Kabul is critical for rebuilding security in southwest Asia. But a successful electoral process alone will not ensure stability in the country, much less in the region. The next Afghan president will have to deal with a variety of domestic and international issues to keep regional security from deteriorating further. The new government will struggle to consolidate power and stifle the insurgency.


Despite the specter of the Taliban regime, the Afghan state built by the West is engaging in a democratic exercise with enthusiasm. In fact, the 2014 presidential election campaign has been the most vibrant one since the first vote took place a decade ago. The reason for this enthusiasm is that the country is headed …

Kazakhstan: Massimov Returns as Prime Minister

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at The Hague on March 24. (Evert-Jan Daniels - Pool/Getty Images)


Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has reshuffled his government again, reinstating Karim Massimov as prime minister. Nazarbayev is looking for a strong leader to implement tough economic and financial restructuring and to bring in large foreign investment. Massimov's return could raise tensions with Russia if the reinstated premier courts large non-Russian foreign investment, especially from China and the West. His return also will shake up the balance of power among the political circles vying to succeed Nazarbayev.


Nazarbayev named Massimov to the premiership April 3, the day after the Cabinet -- including former Prime Mister Serik Akhmetov -- resigned. Pressure had been mounting on Akhmetov's government in recent months as a number of financial and economic issues combined into a potential crisis for Kazakhstan. Neighboring Russia's economic position…