The CSS Blog Network

iWar: Apple’s Military Market

US Marines recharge their army-issue iPods / Photo: Randy,flickr

This week, the biggest names in the mobile phone industry declared war on Apple Inc by forming an alliance to combat the iPhone’s dominance over the apps market. And on Tuesday Microsoft launched a counterattack on the handset with its new Windows Phone 7. The battle waged by rival companies against Apple’s growing monopoly in the world of consumer electronics has become a commonplace media fixture, with the metaphor of war a recurring theme in press coverage.

But outside of the public consumer sphere, Apple’s market has extended to the world of actual warfare. The iPod touch is now being issued to US military personnel due to its multitude of battlefield applications and cost-effectiveness. This single device can be programmed to process the multitude of data of modern warfare, including linking soldiers and drones via wireless internet networks, and as a navigation and translation tool. Apps have been created that allow soldiers to receive intelligence on their local area, translate Arabic, Kurdish and several Afghan languages, and make ballistics calculations.
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ISN Weekly Theme: Critical Infrastructure Protection

Oil Pumping Station in Alaska, photo: Mike Smail/flickr

This week the ISN takes a closer look at the fluid, expanding threat to those assets which are essential to the proper functioning of society and economy. Governments are finding that answers to the question of how best to protect this ‘critical infrastructure,’ ranging from telecommunications to transportation systems, remain elusive.

The Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Dr Myriam Dunn Cavelty of the ETH Center for Security Studies examines a dual challenge facing governments: how best to protect critical infrastructure from attack and how to most quickly rebound following an inevitable attack.
  • A Podcast interview with researcher Jennifer Giroux explores the blurring of lines between political and criminal intent in pipeline attacks.
  • Security Watch stories about cybersecurity threats from Washington to Estonia.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a recent Center for Security Studies’ paper on the challenges of public-private cooperation for critical infrastructure protection.
  • Primary Resources, like the full text of the US Department for Homeland Security’s ‘National Infrastructure Protection Plan.’
  • Links to relevant websites, among them the Critical Infrastructure Protection Blog, which provides extensive information on CIP programs in the US and Europe.
  • Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, including the Center for Secure Information Systems at George Mason University that examines information secrecy, integrity and availability problems in military, civil and commercial sectors.

The ISN at the ISA Convention

If you’re at the International Studies Association (ISA) convention in New Orleans 17-20 February, feel free to stop by the ISN booth to meet our PR and Marketing Coordinator Sabrina Kaiser and Head of Project Controlling Patricia Moser. They’ll be at booths 711 and 713. This year’s ISA theme is ‘Theory vs Policy? Connecting Scholars and Practitioners.’


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The ISN Quiz: Power-sharing

You’ve got the power! Now exercise it by taking this week’s quiz on power-sharing, which we’re highlighting in this week’s Special Report: Power Sharing in Perspective.


Militant Munchies

Because insurgency is hard work / Photo: Mike Chaput-Branson/flickr

Forget MREs. Terrorists in the Caucasus reportedly keep their tummies full during the winter by downing Snickers bars.

Acccording to a post on RFE/RL’s Transmissions blog, Wahhabbi militants snowed under in the Chechen region get their nutrition from that peanut, caramel and chocolate concoction that has kept American schoolkids bouncing off of rec room walls for decades.

[…]A few tens of militants may hide in Chechen gorges. Now when mountain passes are covered with snow and delivery of food from abroad is impossible, bandits eat snickers bars.

(Are Snickers halal? This person says yes. This site says no. This site says…well I’m not sure.)

But there’s a down side to succumbing to the scent of Snickers. According to the post, folks seen purchasing five bars or more are under “special control” by authorities.

Whether that’s security control or weight control, I’m not sure.

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