15 July 2019

India’s Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission and Its Strategic Impact

By Namrata Goswami

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on its surface. Next week, as we gear up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that historic landing, there is another lunar mission that will be on its way to the moon. India’s Chandrayaan 2 moon mission is scheduled to be launched on July 15. The landing site is between Manzinus C and Simpelius N, about 70 degrees south of the equator, closest to the South Pole of the moon. The mission will consist of an orbiter, a lander called Vikram, and a rover known as Pragyan. The touchdown of the lander is scheduled for September 6 this year. While the motivations for the Chandrayaan 2 mission likely preceded the global dialogue on space resources that has animated the world this year, India is rebranding the mission within that emerging discussion on space resources, especially with a landing close to the lunar South Pole.

Can India Become an AI Power on Its Own Terms?

By Tridivesh Singh Maini and Prannv Dhawan

The Narendra Modi-led Indian government recently presented its first budget, with ambitious announcements to lay out the roadmap for a $5 trillion economy. The new Union Budget has indicated a policy intention to equip India’s youth with new-age skills for attaining high-value jobs.

With regard to the government’s approach to put this intent into action, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid emphasis on the government’s plans to focus on areas like artificial intelligence, big data, and robotics in its skill-enhancement programs so as to develop capacities for the country’s dynamic participation in the so-called fourth industrial revolution. This is consistent with the government’s proposals in the interim-budget presented in February 2019, when the erstwhile Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had announced that the Union Government had envisaged a National AI Program with aim to “take the benefit of the new technology to the common people.” Under this program, a hub of Centers of Excellence, National Center for AI, is envisioned in addition to a National Portal for AI to emphasize nine priority areas including agriculture, health, education, and skill-development.

Not the US, not China. India holds the cards in the Indo-Pacific

Rupakjyoti Borah

India has ties with all the major regional players and the heft to alter the balance of power, if it so wished

But a long tradition of ‘strategic autonomy’ is likely to see the status quo maintained, unless Beijing provokes change

The first focused on “how the three countries can work together towards an open, stable and rule-based Indo-Pacific region”, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry. The latter, meanwhile, provided an important opportunity for “the world’s leading economies [to have an] exchange of views … on the economic, political and security situation of the world”, according to Indian Prime Minister 

US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Modi before their G20 meeting. Photo: AP

The two meetings reflect how India, with its growing economic and military heft, wields a measure of strategic influence in an  Indo-Pacific region that is in flux.

In the recent past, the US has looked to counterbalance China’s rising influence in the region. But President  Donald Trump’s unpredictability and diplomatic moves with  North Korean strongman  Kim Jong-un have upset the calculations of the leaders of China, South Korea and America’s closest ally in the region, Japan. This also extends to India, which is not sure how Trump will deal with China in the long-run.

The World Needs A Water Treaty – Analysis

By Conn Hallinan*

During the face-off earlier this year between India and Pakistan over a terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, New Delhi made an existential threat to Islamabad. The weapon was not India’s considerable nuclear arsenal, but one still capable of inflicting ruinous destruction: water.

“Our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan,” said Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkarikin on February 21. “We will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.” India controls three major rivers that flow into Pakistan.

If India had followed through, it would have abrogated the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between the two counties, a move that could be considered an act of war.

Pakistan: Court Frees Pastor Charged With Blasphemy

By Kamran Chaudhry

A court in the Pakistani city of Lahore has acquitted a Pentecostal preacher two years after his arrest for alleged desecration of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Judge Zafar Iqbal cleared Jadoon Masih of charges under the nation’s penal code.

Masih, an ordained pastor of the Nasiri Pentecostal Church, was arrested by law enforcement officers on Feb. 2, 2017, two months after local Muslims reputedly found 150 pages of the Quran lying on the ground. Some 100 of these pages were said to have been “martyred,” according to a complaint filed at a local police station.

The name of a Christian faith healer named Babu Shahbaz was said to have been inscribed on the pages with a blue marker pen. It was alleged that a similar incident occurred in 2016.

DOD Releases Report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan

Today the Department of Defense provided to Congress the semiannual report “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” covering events during the period from Dec. 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019. The report was submitted in accordance with requirements in Section 1225 of the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act as amended by Sections 1231 and 1531 of the fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 NDAA.

The principle goal of the South Asia Strategy is to conclude the war in Afghanistan on terms favorable to Afghanistan and the United States. During this reporting period, the United States and its partners used military force to drive the Taliban towards a durable and inclusive political settlement. There have been some notable developments—the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces emerged from the most hard-fought winter campaign since 2002, the U.S. continues to engage in “fight and talk” approach with the Taliban, and despite atypical levels of violence and heavy losses, ANDSF recruitment and retention outpaced attrition for the first time in several reporting periods.

Report: Military leaders must speak up to prevent another Afghanistan

By: Todd South  

Military and civilian leaders ignored a lot in both the planning and the ensuing 18 years of fighting in Afghanistan. A new report finds the most important thing they ignored was each other.

That’s one of a number of findings that the Center for Strategic and International Studies report “Tell me how this ends: Military Advice, Strategic Goals and the ‘Forever War’ in Afghanistan,” and the subsequent panel held Wednesday.

The eventual picture of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan should look something like what’s happening now in Somalia or Libya, a retired Army lieutenant general who sat on a panel discussing the report said.

Fresh Kidnappings of Chinese Nationals in Nigeria

By Eleanor Albert

In early July, two Chinese nationals were kidnappedby armed gunmen in Edo State in southern Nigeria. The two expatriates reportedly work for a glass company. This was the latest in a string of kidnappings of Chinese citizens in Nigeria in the past several years. Most recently, two other Chinese nationals working for a road construction company were abducted and later rescued by police in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Ebonyi in late April. Incidents of this nature typically garner little international press and are a byproduct of Nigeria’s often volatile security conditions and China’s increased investment and presence in the west African nation.

Sporadic kidnappings have not stymied the growth of economic ties between China and Nigeria. As Africa’s largest economy, endowed with oil reserves and a booming population, Nigeria is an attractive destination for Chinese outbound investment and exports. Cooperation between the two countries has led to the development of critical industrial infrastructure for Nigeria, including railways, roads, airports, and telecommunications networks. Currently, Nigeria has taken more than $70 billion in loans from China to finance its development.

The Problem With China's Investments -- From Malaysia To Sri Lanka, Pakistan, And Uganda

Panos Mourdoukoutas

China has been on an investment spree in recent years, at home and abroad. At home, investment has been one of the engines that, together with exports, have fueled its robust growth. Abroad, investments have served China’s ambitions to control the South China Sea and secure a waterway all the way to the Middle East oil and Africa’s riches.

The trouble is that many of these projects aren’t economically viable; they are built at inflated costs; and leave the host countries heavily indebted to Beijing.

They aren’t economically viable because they serve the needs of Beijing’s central planners rather than the needs of the local markets.

“Chinese President Xi aims to realize the ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ by projecting power overseas through the “Belt and Road” initiative, which covers both Southeast Asia and Africa,” says Xiaomeng Lu of Access Partnership. “This political economy effort is paired with China’s growing military might in the South China Sea and the African continent, posing a growing challenge to the U.S. security umbrella worldwide.”

They are inflated because they are mostly built by Chinese state construction companies in partnership with local contractors rather than by private contractors under transparent bidding.

China will be US military's 'primary challenge' for decades, says top general

By Jessie Yeung

US Army Gen. Mark A. Milley testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Capitol Hill July 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

(CNN)China will remain the "primary challenge" to the United States military for as long as a century, warned President Donald Trump's nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

China had learned from watching the US go to war in the Middle East, and was using those lessons to advance the development of its own military, said current Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee
"China went to school on us," Milley said, responding to a question from Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

About half of China’s loans to developing countries are ‘hidden,’ study finds

Weizhen Tan

Between 2000 and 2017, other countries’ debt owed to China soared ten-fold, from less than $500 billion to more than $5 trillion, according to the study from Germany-based think tank the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

For 50 developing countries which have borrowed from China, that debt has increased on average from less than 1% of their GDP in 2015, to more than 15% in 2017, according to estimates by the study’s researchers.

The documentation of China’s lending has been at best “opaque,” the report said, with such transactions “missed even by the most ambitious recent attempts to measure international capital flows.”

China’s lending to other countries has surged in the past decade, causing debt levels to jump dramatically, and as much as half of such debt to developing economies is “hidden,” a new study has found.

Such “hidden” debt means that the borrowing isn’t reported to or recorded by official institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, or the Paris Club — a group of creditor nations.

The Too-Good-to-Be-True Way to Fight the Chinese Military

Hal Brands

An American war against China or Russia would be truly awful. Even if the U.S. won — no sure thing — it could well suffer costs and casualties that would make the toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem minor by comparison. So is there a way the U.S. could stymie a Chinese attack in the Pacific, or a Russian land-grab in Eastern Europe, without having to defeat enemy forces head-on? This is the motivating question behind the idea of “horizontal escalation.”

Horizontal escalation is a strategic concept that relies on attacking an adversary's weaknesses outside the theater where the fighting started, so as to avoid confronting its strengths within that theater. It is an alluring idea that has won support from some key national security professionals. Unfortunately, it probably won’t work.

Horizontal escalation is a response to a genuinely difficult problem: The immense challenges associated with directly defeating Chinese or Russian aggression.

Osaka G20 Summit: Mixed Outcome – Analysis

By Pradumna Bickram Rana and Jason Ji Xianbai*

ON 28-29 JUNE 2019, the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders representing two-thirds of the world population and 85 percent of the global output assembled in Osaka, Japan for their 2019 summit.

At the gathering of leaders, a wide range of topics including data governance, quality infrastructure, financial resilience, international taxation, gender equality and climate change were covered. But it was trade that preoccupied the leaders. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, a mixed picture of relief and disappointment on trade issues emerged.
Relief: US-China Trade Truce

The Osaka Summit was held against the background of aggressive trade confrontations between the United States (US) and China which have roiled the global economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, global growth is expected to slow to 3.3 percent this year from 3.6 percent in 2018 and globally the economic losses from the US-China trade war could amount to US$455 billion in 2020.

Are Iran and the United Kingdom on a Collision Course?

by Matthew Petti 

Iran appeared to retaliate for a British seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Straits of Gibraltar, attempting Wednesday afternoon to seize a British oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, according to the British Ministry of Defense. While a nearby Royal Navy frigate blocked the Iranian raid without firing a shot, the latest tit-for-tat is a dangerous escalation in the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

“Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz,” a spokesperson for Britain’s Ministry of Defense told British media. “HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away.”

“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the spokesperson warned.

Iran ‘to ramp up production’ at secret nuclear enrichment bunker built under a MOUNTAIN to protect it from US attack

Tehran’s nuke scientists are ready to massively step up uranium enrichment at the heavily-fortified Fordow Plant, a top security think tank said on Wednesday.

The Institute for Science and International Security says the Fordow Nuclear Enrichment Site is on the verge of upping its uranium enrichment programme to as high as 20 per centCredit: institute for science and international security

Know This: North Korea Isn't Desperate for a Nuclear Deal with America

by David Axe 

North Korea hardly is desperate to negotiate an agreement with the United States ending or even merely limiting North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.

“Pyongyang would certainly appreciate the lifting of sanctions, a peace treaty, investment and trade, but it has other options, too,” an analyst from 38 North, a think-tank associated with the Washington, D.C. Stimson Center, explained in a July 2019 report.

38 North’s assessment of the geopolitical dynamics around North Korea comes just a few weeks after U.S. president Donald Trump on June 30, 2019 stepped across the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea and shook hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

In New York City, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.

G20 Compact with Africa is a Long Game

By Peter Fabricius

Africa’s ‘development partners’ still struggle to define and manage their relationship with the continent. This was apparent at the G20 summit in Osaka that ended on Saturday.

The G20 has been accused of treating Africa exclusively as a development problem, thereby excluding it as an equal participant from deliberations about climate change, the future of work, the global trading system and other mammoth issues the G20 presumes to be capable of addressing.

‘If one lacks a seat at the table, then one is probably on the menu,’ says Cobus van Staden of the SA Institute of International Affairs. Perhaps, although Africa is represented through South Africa’s permanent membership and the regular participation of the African Union and New Partnership for Africa’s Development chairs at summits. The developed world clearly dominates, but Africa isn’t the only other region that’s under-represented.

MIDDLE EAST 2019-Geo Politically Challenged -US’s Dilemmas:

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Middle East 2019 geopolitical landscape presents unprecedented dilemmas challenging the very fundamentals of US policy formulations. United States can ill-afford to ignore the predominance of non-Arab regional powers and prop alternative regional powers devoid of critically significant basic attributes of power.

The Middle East has only two powerful Regional Powers with all major significant attributes of power---Turkey and Iran. Both are non-Arab powerful States well-endowed with geostrategic locations and both Turkey and Iran having a historical lineage of establishing flourishing Empires in past centuries. Saudi Arabia emerged as a nation-state in the aftermath of the First World War.

The United States is in an adversarial and confrontationist mode with Iran. With Turkey, a long standing NATO Ally, the United States relations in the past two decades have been riven with friction and irritants.

Saudi Arabia may be a powerful oil-rich Arab monarchy with financial resources to bankroll billions of arms and weaponry purchases from the United States but is woefully short of the natural attributes of power. Most significantly its population base, industrialisation and skilled technical manpower are minimal.

The Limitations and Capabilities of the United Nations in Modern Conflict


Following the Second World War, the international community was reinvigorated to design an international body with the capability to limit the onset of another world war. Enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Charter was the vision for the organization to be “a guardian of international peace and security, as a promoter of human rights, as a protector of international law, and as an engineer of socioeconomic advancement”.[1] The intergovernmental organization has risen as an essential platform for the promotion of global governance in which states “can elaborate and extend international law in areas such as human rights, international trade, the sea, and the fight against terrorism”.[2] Mindful of the failures of its predecessor, the League of Nations, the founders of the redesigned body established the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and awarded it “almost limitless power when it came to dealing with violations of peace”.[3] Vested with the authority to enact international sanctions and authorize military action through UNSC resolutions, the principal organ of the UN has become an essential enabler in advancing the UN’s primary objectives. While geopolitics have shifted significantly since the creation of the UN, its original structure and the necessity of the body as a vital mechanism of diplomacy remains unchanged. Evidently, transitions in power dynamics have ultimately impacted the way in which war is fought, with civil unrest and internalized strife growing increasingly common in the twenty-first century. Given increases in regionalized conflict, the primary threat to the United Nation’s intended goal of universal peace and security is “the denial of human security to the citizens in one or more states as a result of civil conflict and strife”.[4] As the international community attempts to address the growth in unrest, the question remains: “who responds when basic rights are threatened and citizens are subjected to further privations in their daily lives”?[5] Is the UN and its principle organs capable of responding to and mitigating modern, multi-faceted conflict? This paper will examine the extent to which the present structure of the UNSC and tenets of international law can enable intervention and mediation when responding to civil unrest and internal conflict.

The UN and its contemporary challenges

The West Fears Russia’s Hybrid Warfare. They’re Missing the Bigger Picture.


In 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of the General Staff, published an articlein a relatively obscure Russian military policy journal. In it, he outlined his observations on a new, whole-of-government style of warfare—one that blurs the line between war and peace. It would come to be known in the West as the Gerasimov doctrine.

A year later, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, deployed “little green men” to eastern Ukraine, and launched a massive worldwide disinformation campaign.

Since then, this so-called hybrid warfare—the use of proxies, disinformation, and other measures short of war—has dominated discussion of Russia’s newly assertive posture on the world stage. These tactics have been classified as a distinct, special form of warfare. Russia has used them in the Middle East, in the United States, and in Europe. This has reinforced the perception that Russian foreign policy is entering a new chapter of bold and risky adventurism, guided by the Gerasimov doctrine.

Criminals, Kleptocrats, and the NGO


When it comes to the human rights NGO, the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF), nothing is black and white, but given that broad coalitions that stand both for and against them, few other organizations have polarized opinion to such an extent. Certainly, few other NGOs have done so much to advocate on behalf of oligarchs and those accused or convicted of crimes ranging from fraud to murder. Sources of funding behind the NGO are opaque. Some assert it is under the ‘direct control’ of fugitive oligarch, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who has judgements against him totaling $4.7 billion in Britain alone, and in a New York court case stands accused of co-mingling funds with former Mayor of Almaty, Viktor Khrapunov to launder money by flipping Trump SoHo condos. From the aforementioned to recently convicted Russian fraudster Nail Malyutin, the list of supposedly ‘politically persecuted’ people the ODF has lobbied on behalf is extensive. Despite the fact that they had a contract to supply military equipment and have ties to companies linked to the online gambling sector, however, the NGO maintains that a significant proportion of their funding comes from street collections. In the words of Bartosz Kramek, head of the ODF’s Management Board and husband of its president, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, ‘it’s impossible to identify donors who put their money in charity boxes.’

AI in the sky: can drone surveillance technology replace CCTV?

By Talal Husseini

At the Security and Counter Terrorism Expo (SCTX) 2019, Dronestream CEO Harry Howe presented his firm’s collaborative effort with artificial intelligence (AI) firm Skylark Labs, in the form of new drone surveillance capabilities for autonomous crowd scanning and threat detection, as well as mounted CCTV cameras.

Skylark uses AI and machine learning to autonomously scan crowds of people in real-time and identifies a large variety of potential threats. Dronestream specialises in low latency live-streaming video feeds, adding insights such as mapping software and alert functions to help users quickly locate a threat that Skylark’s AI system has detected, contained within one app or website.

The Skylark system, according to its developers, can detect almost anything you feed into the system’s dataset including missing persons and persons of interest, potential weapons, and criminal ‘buzz words’, according to the company. It does so through real-time rapid analyses of faces, gaits, objects, and has a lip reading capability.

Crashed UAE Military Spy Satellite Raises Possibility Of Enemy Cyberattack

Zak Doffman

An investigation has been launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) and French aerospace group Arianespace into the failed launch of a rocket carrying a military spy satellite into space for the United Arab Emirates. Two minutes after take-off, a "major anomaly" sent the expensive, high-tech payload into the Atlantic—the first failure for Arianespace's Vega rockets after 14 successful missions.

The two French-built Falcon Eye satellites, of which this was the first, were designed "to provide a wholly new capability to [the UAE's] military," according to defense analysts, "representing the most advanced optics France had ever sold to another country." So much so that the program suffered significant delays as security regulations over certain component parts were worked through between France and the U.S.

Tensions remain high in the Middle East between the U.S. and regional allies on one side, and Iran on the other. The UAE is seen by Teheran as part of that enemy axis led by the U.S. and set against Iranian interests. One of the core military objectives of the Falcon Eye satellites is to monitor UAE's borders—especially its long maritime shoreline. And when it comes to the integrity of that maritime border, given those ongoing tensions, that means monitoring the activities of Iran in the Persian Gulf.

The lost art of ideological warfare

By Mike Gallagher

In our strategic competition with China, Americans have focused up until now on economic and military contests — at the expense of one of the most important tools in our arsenal. The 2017 National Security Strategy argues that the United States is locked in “fundamentally political contests between those who favor repressive systems and those who favor free societies.” But we are ignoring this important insight. If the United States fails to emphasize the ideological dimension of its competition with China, it will ignore one of the primary lessons of President Ronald Reagan’s twilight struggle with the Soviet Union.

Reagan understood the primacy of the political. While his ideological offensive was less heralded than his military buildup, it was no less important. It targeted the foundation of Soviet identity: Marxist-Leninism. As the United States again grapples with a challenge to its principles and its power, it will have to relearn the lost art of ideological warfare. Only by challenging the basic legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party can the United States win this competition, and thereby ensure the survival of the free, open and prosperous world that Reagan did so much to foster.

What Really Happened in the Cyber Command Action Against Iran?

By Vishnu Kannan 

Amid rising tensions with Iran following the country’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone last month, President Trump reportedly ordered and then called off military strikes against targets in Iran. Soon, news reports indicated that, in lieu of those strikes, U.S. Cyber Command had taken offensive action against Iranian targets. The operation was first reported by Yahoo News, which described it as a “retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group.” Shortly afterward, several other outlets picked up the story.

After the news broke, Bobby Chesney, writing about the legal context for the reported operations on Lawfare, offered a note of caution: “Details remains sparse, and so the analysis that follows is necessarily subject to revision as more emerges.” But two weeks later, the specifics of the operation remain unclear. The Pentagon has declined to provide further details, saying that “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.” Moreover, the available reports demonstrate a lack of agreement, even among major news outlets, as to what precisely happened. But a careful reading of the reporting suggests that the U.S. response consisted of three distinct operations.

The Microsoft Nadellaissance

Michael K. Spencer 

Microsoft became the third US company to pass a market cap of $1 trillion in late April, 2019. Its stock has had an incredible 2019 so far. If you think about it, under Satya Nadella, its CEO that has pivoted a software giant into the Cloud, Microsoft has more subscribers than Netflix, more cloud computing revenue than Google and feels like a new company, not a behemoth of the past.

As of May 2019, Microsoft even overtook Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, a stunning climax in a year that also saw it pass Amazon and Google’s Alphabet Inc. with its business model of solid diversification. It doesn’t need to fight in low profit margin wars like Amazon or depend on Ad-revenue like Google or pivot to services like Apple. This is Microsoft, a company now linked to new avenues with a new spirit.

The old one, run by Bill Gates and feared as the “Evil Empire”, has become something else and is actually arguably a more ethical force in business and technology than either Google, Facebook or Amazon. Managers don’t make questionable decisions and employees don’t have to protest multiple times a year. There’s no exodus of top talent and executives and not the kind of controversy on working conditions.

America is woefully unprepared for cyber-warfare

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. (iStock)

War in cyberspace is fully on, and the United States is losing it, according to about two dozen national security experts.

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. Without strong protections, offensive attacks can be invitations for disaster instead of deterrents.

“I believe we are in a declared cyberwar,” said Michael Bayer, a longtime Pentagon adviser who led a recent review of Navy cybersecurity. “It is aimed at the whole of society and the state. I believe we are losing that war.”

Whether the attack is a hack of a Pentagon contractor or misinformation spread on social media, U.S. adversaries are increasingly successful in this ethereal battleground. U.S. leaders are only slowly realizing how much the rules have changed, and the required focus, leadership and strategic thinking remain woefully wanting, critics charge.

5G in five (not so) easy pieces

Tom Wheeler

Tom Wheeler served as the 31st chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2013 to 2017. This paper is adapted from a presentation made at the request of the Government Accountability Office.

Throughout the world, ink is being spilled and electrons exercised in a frenetic focus on fifth generation wireless technology, or 5G. The 5G discussion, with all its permutations and combinations, has grown to resemble an elementary school soccer game where everyone chases the ball, first in one direction, then another.

In classic network engineering terms, the “noise” surrounding 5G is interfering with the “signal” about just what 5G is and what is necessary for its introduction. Consideration of 5G is far more serious than the so-called 5G “race” concocted by those seeking to advantage themselves in the business or political market—especially the political market.

White House objects to new cyber proposal from Congress

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The White House has raised objections to a cyber provision in the House of Representatives’ version of the annual defense policy bill that requires the Secretary of Defense to notify Congress within 15 days anytime leaders delegate specific authorities for military cyber operations.

A statement of administration policy released July 9 said such language could hinder operations, interfere with established processes for military cyber operations and violate the president’s constitutional prerogative to not disclose privileged information.

“The Administration strongly objects to this provision, as it would require the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress with operationally sensitive documents regarding authorities delegated by the President to the Secretary for military operations in cyberspace, including execute orders, a list of countries in which such authorities might be exercised, and defined military objectives for the use of such authorities,” the statement read.

Military Spy Satellite Targeting Iran Crashes To Earth After Catastrophic Failure

Zak Doffman

A military spy satellite has come crashing down to earth after the failure of its launch rocket, sending the expensive payload into the Atlantic. The UAE-owned Falcon Eye 1 was intended for dual-use, meaning both military and civilian reconnaissance applications. And on the military side, one of the objectives of a UAE satellite—given the current situation in the region—would have been monitoring Iran.

Tensions in the Middle East remain high, between the U.S. and regional allies on one side, and Iran on the other. The UAE is seen by Teheran as part of that enemy axis led by the U.S. and set against Iranian interests. One of the core military objectives of the two Falcon Eye satellites—of which this was the first— is to monitor UAE's borders—especially its long maritime shoreline. And when it comes to the integrity of that maritime border, given those ongoing tensions, that means monitoring the activities of Iran in the Persian Gulf.