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& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics



Shane Harris                    Headline, November 2105 (pb)

A very topical subject. Harris introduces the book with the example of China’s theft of much technical data of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. So its performance parameters are well-known by our enemy even before it has has entered service with the RAF!


The underlying theme of this book is the increasing desire of some states to advance their national interests with aggressive attempts to take control of other nations’ infrastructure and intellectual property. At the head of the list in terms of resources devoted to this warfare is China. Those who favour stepping up political and commercial links with this nation – step forward George Osborne – should read this book  before prostituting our future.


Most of the material is devoted to the US, and one wonders whether Harris would have had enough if Edward Snowden had not spilled beans by the truckload. Whilst he claims that all of his material is on public record, most readers will have a nagging doubt that he is nonetheless helping the enemies of Western economies by spelling out their cyber defences.


The relationship between the US security services, advisers, and industry, is examined at great length. Incestuous relationships abound; and Harris underlines that the State has an ongoing battle to retain its trained cyber warriors, as commercial companies are prone to poach them at much higher salary levels. Their new employer then contracts them back to the state – sound familiar?!


The book is not a page-turner. One of its most irritating facets is that the narrative loops round and round – the timeline is very disjointed. Some events crop up several times – as though one is in some unedifying cyber vortex. Very disconcerting. A potentially fascinating subject that warrants a book from a European perspective, and one that has a more defined timeline


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