12 May 2019

What Slows Urban Mobility in India — and How to Fix It

Urban economic development indicators such as higher income levels and higher motorization rates are generally associated with better overall mobility, chiefly because people can spend their time more productively than idling away in traffic snarls. Among the tools urban planners typically use to increase mobility is congestion pricing, such as New York City’s recent decision to impose tolls on vehicles entering its busiest areas.

However, such mechanisms will not work in urban India, where planners must focus more on so-called “uncongested mobility” than on reducing actual congestion caused by vehicular traffic. Uncongested mobility essentially refers to the speeds vehicles can reach after navigating everyday obstructions, such as pedestrians, hawkers, stray dogs and cattle. That is the central finding of a research paper titled “Mobility and Congestion in Urban India.”

“One thing that surprised us the most is that on average, across urban India, there is not actually that much congestion,” said the paper’s co-author, Wharton real estate professor Gilles Duranton. “Traffic flows are slow, but they are slow all the time.” The paper’s other co-authors are Prottoy A. Akbar from the University of Pittsburgh; Victor Couture of the University of California, Berkeley; Ejaz Ghani, lead economist at the World Bank; and Adam Storeygard of Tufts University.

Assessing Measures for India to Tackle Biowarfare Threats

Over the past century, weapons systems have evolved in concert with humankind’s understanding and mastery over the sciences – physics, chemistry and biology. Nuclear weapons, and other advanced weapons and delivery systems have brought far-flung targets closer. While debate of arms and potential disarmament rages on, biowarfare remains the one arena where most countries have signed up to not only disallow use, but even destroy their own arsenal1 . 

In a landmark announcement in 1969, the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, addressed the world with his intention to eliminate all existing US stockpiles of biological weapons2 . Major powers including UK3 and Russia4 followed suit under the auspices of the Biological Weapons Convention which came into force in 1975. No intentional use of bioweapons by a state has been known to occur since then. But does this stand to change with the advent of new gene editing technologies such as CRISPR which can potentially transform bioweapons from a weapon of mass destruction to a targeted killing system? 

This discussion document briefly studies the history and development of biological weapons, the impact of recent technological advances on the field, the Biological Weapons Convention and related treaties, and the threat of bioweapons to India and the means of strengthening bio-defence capabilities of India.

Pashteen: PTM Hurt Pakistan Military's Terror-Sponsoring Industry

Hasib Danish Alikozai 

In response to last week's accusation by the military that Pakistan's Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has been receiving funds from Afghanistan's and India's intelligence agencies, its leader, Manzoor Pashteen, blamed the country's most powerful institution of turning the war on terror into a lucrative business in their region.

Pashteen alleged to VOA in a telephone interview from Islamabad that Pakistan's military has been trying to sow confusion among people about PTM.

"These are baseless accusations that we receive funding from foreign intelligence agencies. They cannot produce a single evidence," Pashteen said. "There is an English saying that if you cannot convince them, confuse them. That's exactly what the military has been doing against us.

"They [military] train militants here and then the militants carry out attacks in my country and other countries of the world. With PTM's emergence as a movement, the military can no longer operate with impunity to do that and their so-called business has been faced with difficulties," he added.

Military's Warning

Beijing’s Persecution of the Uyghurs is a Modern Take on an Old Theme

By Arch Puddington

Last year, a series of shocking reports appeared in the New York Times and other outlets, revealing a network of concentration camps that the Chinese government had established in the western region of Xinjiang to punish and “re-educate” Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. According to these accounts, over 1 million Muslims had been dispatched to the camps under the regime’s Strike Hard campaign, a project aimed at promoting “stability” in the region. Among the victims were children of the camp inmates, many of whom were packed off to orphanages, boarding schools, or fostercare while their parents served out their indefinite detentions.

Initially, the Communist Party leadership responded to the reports with flat denials that the camps existed. Faced with satellite images and a number of detailed personal testimonies from former inmates, however, the regime quickly did a pirouette. Not only did government officials acknowledge that the camps existed, they presented them as a combination job-training and deradicalization project meant to fight extremism and promote interethnic harmony. This is the message the party now puts forward at international forums when the persecution of the Uyghurs comes up. This message is also conveyed to foreign journalists during guided tours of the camps.

No, There Is No US-China ‘Clash of Civilizations’

By Dingding Chen and Junyang Hu

The world has changed dramatically over the past few decades and is trending today toward greater complexity and diversity. The popular “clash of civilizations” theory proposed by Samuel P. Huntington is somewhat too simple for modern society. However, this thought is now coming back to life, and might even be unilaterally implemented into policy practice in the United States toward China. Kiron Skinner, the U.S. State Department’s policy planning head, has reignited this discussion with her recent observation that China is “not Caucasian” at a recent event. Her broader remarks made clear that the U.S. State Department taking pains to prepare for a “clash of civilizations” with China.

From once a “economic competitor” to now a rival on the level of civilization, what is behind these perceptions in the U.S. bureaucracy toward China?

To understand that, it is first necessary to get a taste of the policymakers in the American government today. These practitioners who cope with China on a day-to-day basis at both the policy and implementation levels see China as more energetic, assertive, and less reserved over the past few years. But they are missing memories of a time when China was weak and poor, mainly due to the process of internal generational replacement.

The U.S.-China Trade Talks Have Already Changed the World


Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, is no one’s idea of an optimist. He and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been leading trade talks with China for the past several months, and Lighthizer has been careful to point out there’s no guarantee of success. “If there’s a great deal to be gotten, we’ll get it —if not, we’ll find another plan,” Lighthizer told NPR recently. That’s a lot of ifs for the most important economic relationship in the world.

Pessimism won the day on Monday, when Lighthizer and Mnuchin announcedthat the U.S. would execute President Donald Trump’s recent threat to raise tariffs on China once again. The punitive action in the midst of a negotiation was a departure from Trump’s generally optimistic tone about the talks, but it was a return to form for Lighthizer, an experienced negotiator with a reputation for brinkmanship. China, he believes, poses a grave danger to Americans’ way of life. Talks with China have been something of a moon shot for Lighthizer; an agreement that closes off vectors of illegitimate influence is difficult but, if a deal is reached, extremely valuable. And so despite the additional tariffs, the U.S. is not walking away from the talks yet, the negotiators said Monday. Chinese negotiators will arrive Thursday for more talks. But if the negotiations do fall through, Washington has already taken steps to ensure that China doesn’t get the upper hand.

The Panama Canal Could Become the Center of the U.S.-China Trade War


The winner of the May 5 vote, Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo is a 66-year-old former cattle rancher. With swept-back hair, a gravelly voice, and a sharp black suit, he has the air of a late-era Johnny Cash. On TV, he walked the line: unleashing a few jabs at his relatively more corruption-tainted opponents and saying little that could jeopardize his lead. But there’s one topic that Cortizo and his opponents barely touched throughout the campaign: their country’s growing ties with China.

Following outgoing president Juan Carlos Varela’s unexpected decision to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan in order to establish formal ties with Beijing in June 2017, a tidal wave of Chinese investment is in the works. Major infrastructure projects and an imminent free trade agreement will allow Panama, a country of 4 million people, to maximize its potential as a hub for regional trade, manufacturing, and logistics and ease the strain on a financial services industry damaged by the Panama Papers. In return, for a relatively modest outlay, China is poised to become the most important commercial partner in a country that controls a key chokepoint of world trade.

China Rises in U.N. Climate Talks, While U.S. Goes AWOL


In a bid to slow the pace of global warming, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has invited major powers, including Britain, China, India, France, and Turkey, to help shape the environmental agenda at a major U.N. climate summit in New York in September. The United States, which the U.N. encouraged to participate, has yet to say whether it will attend the high-level meeting and has opted out of the preliminary negotiations—leaving it to others, including rivals like Beijing, to write the rules.

The absence of U.S. negotiators from the U.N. talks risks undercutting the White House’s effort at the U.N. to contain the rise of China, which has taken the lead in several forums on environmental issues. With Washington on the sidelines, Beijing—at Guterres’s invitation—will co-chair discussions at the U.N. with New Zealand on “nature-based solutions” to global warming, including management of forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

U.S.-China Trade: Is a Deal Imminent?

The trade standoff between the U.S. and China had the world riveted last year, although recently it seems that tensions are cooling. Charlene Barshefsky, a former U.S. trade representative who served during the Clinton administration, predicts there will soon be a trade deal with China that will secure some gains for the United States. But President’s Trump’s often combative negotiating style could harm the U.S. in the long run, she noted during an interview with Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett at a recent Penn Wharton China Lecture.

Barshefsky, who is a senior international partner at WilmerHale, was a cabinet member under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In her interview, she noted how China is increasingly diverging from Western capitalistic models. She further pointed out that laws allowing the Chinese government to override Chinese companies on privacy-related issues make it impossible to know how much to trust Huawei’s technology — it could be compromised down the road regardless of today’s status. She also discussed how China’s true level of economic growth is likely far below official claims, and recommended the best ways for the U.S. to respond to the China’s growing economic influence.

Washington’s war on Chinese telecom giant


Huawei’s rise to dominance plays into the technology war between China and the US. The Chinese telecommunications firm is one of the most successful technology companies in the world. It makes nearly US$10 billion in profit every month and has overtaken Apple in the sale of mobile handsets.

But with success comes a backlash – especially from the US.

Last year, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested and detained in Canada at the request of the US. And there are alarming warnings from the US Central Intelligence Agency that Huawei is financed by Chinese state security and involved in international espionage. The company has insisted the concerns are unfounded.

So is Huawei simply a victim of American jealousy or is it a genuine threat to global security?

How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks

By Nicole Perlroth, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane

Chinese intelligence agents acquired National Security Agency hacking tools and repurposed them in 2016 to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia, a leading cybersecurity firm has discovered. The episode is the latest evidence that the United States has lost control of key parts of its cybersecurity arsenal.

Based on the timing of the attacks and clues in the computer code, researchers with the firm Symantec believe the Chinese did not steal the code but captured it from an N.S.A. attack on their own computers — like a gunslinger who grabs an enemy’s rifle and starts blasting away.

The Chinese action shows how proliferating cyberconflict is creating a digital wild West with few rules or certainties, and how difficult it is for the United States to keep track of the malware it uses to break into foreign networks and attack adversaries’ infrastructure.

The losses have touched off a debate within the intelligence community over whether the United States should continue to develop some of the world’s most high-tech, stealthy cyberweapons if it is unable to keep them under lock and key.

In Israel-Gaza Conflict, an Airstrike Response to a Cyberattack Will be Closely Watched by Experts

by Kate Fazzini 

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday it responded to a cyberattack from a Hamas-controlled compound in Gaza with an airstrike, a rare mix of physical and cyber conflict on the world stage.

The cyberattacks emanating from the Gaza facility were aimed at harming Israeli civilians and was thwarted online before the strike, the IDF said, though they did not immediately release further details about the cyberattack.

In Gaza, Hamas militants have launched 600 rockets into Israel, while the country has retaliated with hundreds of strikes on military targets there.

International organizations and militaries have long debated how or when countries should use military force to respond to cyberattacks that could harm citizens.

The incident is certain to spark further debate on how cyberattacks and live conflict should mix. It’s an important distinction as countries including the United States grow increasingly concerned at the possibility a cyberattack on the electric grid, water supply or other infrastructure could lead to loss of human life, and create norms for how they will respond to those threats, either immediately or preemptively…

A Strange Symbiosis: Why Israel and Gaza Keep Fighting Brief Battles

by David M. Halbfinger

More than two dozen people were killed and homes and businesses destroyed in the weekend’s fightingbetween Israel and Gaza, but on Monday leaders on both sides declared themselves satisfied with the outcome.

The cycle of violence-ceasefire-repeat that keeps verging on all-out war may look like pointless destruction to the outside world. But analysts say it is amply serving the interests of the two main antagonists.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel gets to batter Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, while bolstering his argument that the Palestinians are not ready for peace and that a two-state solution is impossible.

Hamas, which sought and apparently received renewed assurances of a loosening of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, gets to show skeptical, impoverished Gaza residents that its strategy of armed resistance is working.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Becoming Dangerous


On May 5, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton issued a stark warning to Iran.

The United States, he announced, would deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group along with a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf, “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” The United States, he continued, “is not seeking war with the Iranian regime” but is “fully prepared to respond to any attack.”

It remains unclear what triggered the deployment and Bolton’s strong language. Initial reports suggested that it may have come in response to indications that Iranian-backed Shiite militias were planning attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Other reporting suggested that Israel had tipped off U.S. officials to an impending Iranian attack against U.S. interests, personnel, or allies in the Gulf. An anonymous U.S. official said the deployment had been ordered to bolster “deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on U.S. forces in the region,” but the official added that there were no signs of an imminent Iranian attack.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Becoming Dangerous


On May 5, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton issued a stark warning to Iran.

The United States, he announced, would deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group along with a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf, “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” The United States, he continued, “is not seeking war with the Iranian regime” but is “fully prepared to respond to any attack.”

It remains unclear what triggered the deployment and Bolton’s strong language. Initial reports suggested that it may have come in response to indications that Iranian-backed Shiite militias were planning attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Other reporting suggested that Israel had tipped off U.S. officials to an impending Iranian attack against U.S. interests, personnel, or allies in the Gulf. An anonymous U.S. official said the deployment had been ordered to bolster “deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on U.S. forces in the region,” but the official added that there were no signs of an imminent Iranian attack.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Counterproductive


Iran is not an existential threat to the United States, but treating it as such could turn it into one. The Trump administration’s concerns about Iran are understandable, but its latest policy is unnecessary, counterproductive, and harmful to American interests.

On April 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will soon start sanctioning anyone—even vital allies—who imports Iranian oil. With pressing challenges from North Korea and China, it makes no sense to harshly punish important allies such as Japan and South Korea—or important future allies like India—just because they import oil from Iran. Nor should the United States be encouraging Tehran to conclude that it needs nuclear weapons after all.

Persuading Iran to forgo nukes, using sanctions relief and trade, was the point of the Obama-era nuclear deal. Then President Trump reinstated oil sanctions against Iran last May, and on Nov. 3 formally withdrew the United States from the agreement, citing worries about Tehran’s persistent missile testing and support for various terrorist groups in the region.

Why America Will Face Even Deadlier Insurgents in the Future

by Steven Metz 

The United States, especially the American military, hates counterinsurgency. It is ethically and politically difficult, at times impossibly so. To do it, American troops and government officials must prod a problematic ally to undertake deep reforms while facing off against an often ruthless enemy. Terrorism, assassination, subversion and sabotage are persistent and more common than the type of pitched but conventional battles that the U.S. military prefers, in which it can assert its technological advantages. 

Whenever the United States becomes involved in counterinsurgency, it eventually wishes that it hadn't. As Judah Grunstein wrote this week, the recent counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were just "the latest episode in the U.S. military's long cyclical history of fighting counterinsurgencies—known variously as small wars, unconventional warfare and asymmetric warfare—as they arise, then tossing aside the operational lessons learned when they were no longer needed." Yet the U.S. military keeps repeating this pattern, believing that the defeat of an ally would be worse than attempting counterinsurgency, or that it can keep its involvement limited. Afterwards, American officials often vow that they will never do large-scale counterinsurgency again, but then they do. 

In strategies to counter violent extremism, politics often trump evidence

Eric Rosand

As dozens of countries develop national frameworks for countering violent extremism (CVE), they now have the benefit of research to help guide their strategies and policymaking. But despite this more sophisticated understanding of the multiplicity of factors that fuel radicalization and recruitment, policies and programs to counter violent extremism are too often driven by political factors and other considerations rather than data and other evidence. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to the role of religion in CVE, where religion plays a much greater role in policy response than the research indicates it should.


There is little empirical evidence that religion (or ideology) is a main motivator for violent extremism; radicalization is primarily a social issue that can provide opportunities for drivers that are more fundamental, but often less visible. Case studies have typically implicated non-religious and non-ideological grievances such as corruption, injustice, economic inequality, and political discrimination. Those who are recruited into militant groups or radicalized to extremist violence are typically not motivated by religion, but rather view religion as way to address their grievances and deliver the promise of adventure, belonging, or becoming a hero.

Under Trump, the Language We Use to Create Political Reality Is Crumbling

By Masha Gessen

“The President provides the hunches and instincts,” Kiron Skinner said, at the annual Future Security Forum, “and it’s my job, and that of Secretary Pompeo, to turn those hunches and instincts into hypotheses.”

One of the most frightening things I’ve witnessed in recent months was a very polite conversation in a well-lit room in the Ronald Reagan Building, in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The director of policy planning at the State Department, Kiron Skinner, was interviewed onstage by a woman who used to hold her job: Anne-Marie Slaughter, who is now the head of the New America Foundation (where I am a fellow this year). The occasion was the annual Future Security Forum, and the audience consisted of several dozen foreign-policy and security experts, many of them in uniform.

The Pentagon Still Buys Software Like It’s 1987


The Defense Innovation Board recently discovered that a 32-year-old report "pretty much said it all."

The Defense Innovation Board warned that the Defense Department’s age-old approach to software procurement and development could dull the military’s technological edge.

“A large amount of DOD’s software takes too long, costs too much, and is too brittle to be competitive in the long run,” the board said in the study’s executive summary of its Software Acquisition and Practices report. “If DOD does not take steps to modernize its software acquisition and development practices, we will no longer have the best military in the world, no matter how much we invest or how talented and dedicated our armed forces may be.”

The SWAP study was mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act in fiscal 2018. It examines how the agency procures and advances software and offers recommendations on how it could do so more efficiently.

Three questions about emerging economies

Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute analyzed the per capita GDP growth of 71 economies over 50 years. The results were striking. About one in four were “outperformers,” with real annual per capita GDP growth of 3.5 percent for the entire period; 11 of these achieved annual per capita GDP growth of at least 5.0 percent between 1995 and 2016.

Are these outperformers the secret to future global growth? What challenges will they face?

To answer these questions on emerging markets, the McKinsey Global Institute spoke with Peter Henry, the dean emeritus of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and William R. Berkley professor of economics; Acha Leke, a senior partner at McKinsey; Anu Madgavkar, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute; and Rakesh Mohan, senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University and distinguished fellow at Brookings India. The following is a transcript of their responses.

VideoWhat’s the outlook for emerging economies?

Can emerging economies continue to drive the global economy?

Manufacturing Can’t Create Enough Jobs. Infrastructure Can.

By Louis Uchitelle

Manufacturing is not shrinking in the United States.

Quite the contrary, production is growing, and it appears that corporate America — and corporate Europe and corporate China for that matter — intends to put even more factories in this country.

But jobs in manufacturing are another matter. Unlike big infrastructure projects, which are under discussion between President Trump and Democratic leaders of Congress, manufacturing is unlikely to be capable of producing a great deal of additional employment.

Here’s why.

Modern assembly-line machinery continues to eliminate jobs. Production has been increasing, but factories are doing this with fewer people.

DARPA’s R3D2: Big Company Makes Small Sat Fast


Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle separates from DARPA R3D2 experimental satellite in LEO

SATELLITE 2019: Northrop Grumman’s R3D2 experimental DARPA satellite hasunfurled its cutting-edge antenna and successfully gone through initialization – but it’s the rapid prototyping that the company’s team leader Scott Stapp is excited about.

“Most of the defense industry is not known for being super fast” or for taking risks, he told me in an interview today. “We got it to orbit super fast, and we took very high risks.”

DARPA’s goal for the R3D2 (Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration) was to demonstrate a new type of light-weight, small-volume antenna to help validate concepts for a resilient sensor and data transport layer in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) – a capability being pursed by the Missile Defense Agency, the Air Force and the Space Development Agency (SDA) for a variety of missions including missile defense and space-based Internet communications. It was also to demonstrate rapid development to launch capability by relying on commercial acquisition practices, with the program taking slightly more than 18 months from contract to launch (the latter was delayed about a month due to the government shutdown earlier this year.)

Are Cryptocurrencies Ready to Break Out of Their Niche?

Ten years after the mysterious figure or group of people known as Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are still largely seen as an exotic invention that most regular folks view with skepticism. While the bitcoin’s underlying ledger technology, the blockchain, is enjoying greater experimentation and adoption by companies and countries, cryptos are still tough for most people to fathom. It doesn’t help that the biggest headlines tend to be about theft of these assets.

“Cryptocurrency — no one owns any and no one uses it. That’s kind of where we are today,” said Ari Paul, chief investment officer of BlockTower Capital, a crypto-asset investment firm, during a keynote speech at the second annual Penn Blockchain Conference held at Wharton. By no one, he meant relatively few people. He estimates that around 35 million people globally own cryptos — less than 1% of the world’s population. Among these crypto owners, Paul believes that fewer than 2 million actually are active users. Most hold it for speculation. “This is an incredibly tiny niche industry with very little usage and adoption.”

Israel Bombing ‘Cyber Operatives’ Isn’t Cyber War, It’s Just War

On Sunday, amidst Israel’s deadly bombing campaign in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces announced it had taken out a building housing “Hamas cyber operatives” after thwarting a “cyber offensive” from the group.

The IDF announced the strike in a tweet that included a nerdy, macabre joke. The apparent novelty of targeting hackers with bombs, and the way the announcement was made set off a flurry of reactions on infosec Twitter.

For some, the strike heralded a new moment in cyberwarfare. Hackers had just been bombed, apparently for their hacking efforts. Mikko Hypponen, a well-known security researcher who’s tracked malware for more than 20 years, said in a Tweet that “we just crossed a line we haven’t crossed before.”

But according to other experts, the reality is that this may not be an escalation in so-called “cyberwar” but just a continuation of aerial bombing campaigns. And it’s not the first time that hackers have been targeted by a major military power.

Aggressive Changes to Deterrence, International Response and the Use of Offensive Cyber Capabilities on the Horizon

Scott Ikeda

In the wake of World War II, Japan and the United States signed a security agreement that placed U.S. military bases in the Pacific in return for a promise to defend their host if attacked. A late April joint statement in Washington added a very interesting wrinkle to that arrangement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that certain types of cyber attacks on Japan could trigger an armed response from the United States. This level of military commitment by the Trump administration is unusual in the realm of international response to offensive cyber maneuvers, and could signal a broader sea change in foreign policy.

To date, United States public response to cyber aggression by rival nations and foreign enemies has tended to be tepid. Russia has made regular incursions in recent years, including meddling in elections and exploring critical infrastructure such as power grids. Public responses have tended to consist of little more than naming and shaming, however. There has been no visible and serious effort to coordinate an international response to these attacks.

Buckeye: Espionage Outfit Used Equation Group Tools Prior to Shadow Brokers Leak

Key Findings

The Buckeye attack group was using Equation Group tools to gain persistent access to target organizations at least a year prior to the Shadow Brokers leak.

Variants of Equation Group tools used by Buckeye appear to be different from those released by Shadow Brokers, potentially indicating that they didn't originate from that leak.

Buckeye's use of Equation Group tools also involved the exploit of a previously unknown Windows zero-day vulnerability. This zero day was reported by Symantec to Microsoft in September 2018 and patched in March 2019.

While Buckeye appeared to cease operations in mid-2017, the Equation Group tools it used continued to be used in attacks until late 2018. It is unknown who continued to use the tools. They may have been passed to another group or Buckeye may have continued operating longer than supposed.

Pence: 5G Plan Will Spur Space Innovation


Vice President Pence says administration’s 5G plans are key to innovation

WASHINGTON: The Trump Administration’s plans for increasing access to 5G spectrum will help spur innovation in the space industry, Vice President Mike Pence told the Satellite 2019 commercial satellite industry conference here today.

“President Trump has made it clear that the race to 5G is a race America will win,” Pence said. He pointed to the plan by the Federal Communications Commission to hold the “largest spectrum auction ever” in December as a key marker. And, Pence stressed, “we will make sure these 5G networks are secure.”

The administration has been concerned about the fact that Chinese company Huawei, which US officials see as a vector for Beijing’s industrial and national security espionage, is a leader in the global market with its low-cost 5G technology. Washington has been pressuring its allies abroad to reject Huawei as a provider. While some allies have gone along with the US, other such as Italy remain open to buying from Huawei. Indeed, the company’s participation in Western 5G networks is so controversial that British Defense Secretary Gavin Williams was fired last week over a leak to the press that the government’s secretive National Security Council had voted to let Huawei have some role as Britain builds its network.


Coercion: New Means & Methods

Social Media Warriors: Leveraging a New Battlespace by Buddhika B. Jayamaha and Jahara Matisek

Technological Innovation: Problems & Prospects

Innovation Tradecraft: Sustaining Technological Advantage in the Future Army by Adam Jay Harrison, Bharat Rao, and Bala Mulloth

Technological Change & War's Nature

Profession at the Crossroads by Lieutenant Colonel Donn A. Starry

Failure IS An Option: Army Gen. Murray


AUSA: “God help us, if, the first time something fails — and something will fail — we crush whoever it was … whoever’s responsible,” the Army’s four-star chief of modernization warned today.

“A culture that avoids risk at all costs,” Gen. Mike Murray said, means it takes too long to field new technology, if it makes it into service at all. Program managers and modernization team directors are the ones who’ll have to take risk to move faster, he said. “If we crush ’em, we’re never going to change that culture.

“It’s easy to say we want to become more accepting of risk. It’s easy to say we want to fail early and fail cheaply,” Murray warned officers, contractors, and retirees at the Association of the US Army‘s Arlington HQ this morning. “The proof will be in the pudding, because there will be a failure.”