10 August 2019

No going back to Taliban repression, Afghan businesswomen say

Orooj Hakimi

KABUL (Reuters) - Businesswomen in Afghanistan are adamant that there will be no going back to the days of repression under the Taliban, and the progress women have made over the past 18 years will not be reversed.

Entrepreneur Narges Aziz Shahi, 29, prepares coffee for herself at her cafe in Kabul, Afghanistan August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Talks between the hardline Islamists and the United States to end the war make it likely that any pact would allow the Taliban to return to some role in government.

But the women who have blazed a trial in business since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 say they have come too far to be robbed of their achievements.

“I don’t think Afghan women will ever go back,” Kamila Seddiqi, 41, said an entrepreneur involved in businesses that include Afghanistan’s first taxi app, Kaweyan Cabs.

Managing the Rise of China's Security Partnerships in Southeast Asia

Over the past few years, while China has continued its criticism of the U.S. alliance system in the Asia-Pacific, Beijing has in fact been developing a network of new security partnerships of its own in the region. The emergence of these security partnerships is of potentially great significance, not just for Beijing’s own growing regional influence, but the alignments of other countries such as the United States and the broader regional security architecture. While there has been some attention to this broad trend, there has been comparatively less focus on the systematic development of these security partnerships and their specific components, particularly in Southeast Asia where they have thus far manifested most clearly.

This report attempts to fill this gap by examining China’s ongoing efforts to develop security partnerships in Southeast Asia and their strategic implications for the region. Drawing on written Chinese and Southeast Asian accounts as well as conversations with officials on both sides, it argues that the rise of Chinese security partnerships creates both opportunities and challenges that need to be properly understood and managed by Beijing, relevant Southeast Asian states, and external actors including the United States and like-minded allies and partners.

What Are the Long-term Costs of the China-U.S. Trade War?

Dark times loom for the U.S. economy in the aftermath of President Trump’s latest threat on August 1 to levy 10% tariffs on some $300 billion of imports from China. In response, China allowed allowing the yuan to weaken against the dollar and thereby cushion the impact for Chinese exporters. In a tweet, Trump accused China of “currency manipulation” and called upon on the Federal Reserve to respond.

Monday’s yuan-dollar rate of 7-to-1 was at its lowest since 2008. “[The] trade war has now become a currency war, which raises the potential economic harm to another level,” The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial.

On Monday, the Dow Jones and the S&P indices fell 3% and stock markets and currencies in emerging markets weakened, and an economic downturn seemed closer than before. The spread between the 3-month and 10-year Treasury yields – an indicator of recessions – inverted to its widest level since 2007.

Security Architecture In The Gulf: Troubled Prospects – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Russia, backed by China, hoping to exploit mounting doubts in the Gulf about the reliability of the United States as the region’s sole security guarantor, is proposing a radical overhaul of the security architecture in an area that is home to massive oil and gas reserves and some of the world’s most strategic waterways.

Chinese backing for Russia’s proposed collective security concept that would replace the Gulf’s US defense umbrella and position Russia as a power broker alongside the United States comes amid heightened tension as a result of-tit for-tat tanker seizures and a beefed up US and British military presence in Gulf waters.

Iranian revolutionary guards this weekend seized an alleged Iraqi tanker in the Gulf of Hormuz.

Iran said the vessel was smuggling oil to an unidentified Arab country. The taking of the Iraqi ship followed last month’s Iranian seizure of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero.

How people in China are trying to evade Beijing’s digital surveillance

Jane Li

In the face of mounting pressure on personal freedom, Chinese internet users appear to be trying more actively to push back against tightening digital surveillance from Beijing.

On both Chinese and foreign websites, discussions, tips and software hacks to combat the government’s grip over cyberspace have picked up in recent months. The advice represents a rare wave of resistance to the government’s use of intrusive surveillance tools to gather data on its citizens, and comes as a number of recent media reports have reignited the fears of many that they could face repercussions for seeking out content deemed “sensitive” by the ruling Communist party.

People in China are already aware that their online communications, even messages sent in private chats, are subject to monitoring and censorship. But recently, there has been a string of events that have left many worried that surveillance is becoming even more intrusive. There’s been coverage about phone-monitoring apps being installed on citizens’ devices, along with widely shared reports of police in Beijing conducting checks on people’s mobile phones, as well as accounts from some Chinese Twitter users on being questioned (link in Chinese) by the police for accessing the banned social network in China.

In Hong Kong, It’s Now a Revolution

“In Hong Kong, revolution is in the air. What started out as an unexpectedly large demonstration in late April against a piece of legislation—an extradition bill—has become a call for democracy in the territory as well as independence from China and the end of communism on Chinese soil.”

Defying stern warnings from both the local government and Beijing, people in seven districts in Hong Kong—most notably teachers, airport workers, and civil servants—participated in a general strike Monday, shutting down portions of the territory. For instance, more than a hundred flights were cancelled. 

The strike followed weeks of sometimes violent protests in the territory, a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Youthful demonstrators over the weekend surrounded and attacked police stations, and enraged residents drove riot police from their neighborhoods.

Roving protesters, dressed for urban combat, created a series of confrontations across the territory, even closing the main tunnel linking Hong Kong Island with the rest of the territory. A beleaguered police force, demoralized and fatigued, was unable to keep up with the mobile bands of radicalized youth.

‘Hidden debts’ reveal risks of China’s lending spree


For many poor nations, it is a long and winding road to ‘debt’ and ‘corruption.’ A journey littered with economic potholes in the shape of China’s signature foreign policy project which was unveiled by President Xi Jinping six years ago.

In short, the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative, along with other foreign funding, has become a magical mystery tour, baffling the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Or, according to critics, a diplomatic car crash waiting to happen.

“Compared with China’s dominance in world trade, its expanding role in global finance is poorly documented and understood,” a report released last week by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy stated.

“Over the past decades, China has exported record amounts of capital to the rest of the world. Many of these financial flows are not reported to the IMF, the BIS [the Bank for International Settlements] or the World Bank,” authors Sebastian Horn, of Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University, Carmen M Reinhart, of the Harvard Kennedy School in the United States, and Christoph Trebesch, of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany, wrote.

How influential is China in the World Trade Organization?

China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001 was heralded by the international community as a victory for free trade and economic liberalization. During its arduous, 15-year accession process, China made extensive commitments to reform domestically and reduce trade barriers. Since joining the WTO, China has been one of the organization’s most active members and its economy has become an integral link in global supply chains. Yet, Beijing has not instituted deep, systematic reforms and its mixed compliance with WTO dispute rulings has at times challenged the WTO’s underlying norms.

The WTO serves three main functions: facilitating trade negotiations, monitoring compliance, and arbitrating trade disputes. The dispute settlement system (DSS) is the WTO’s legal mechanism for resolving trade conflicts between members. Members may be involved in the DSS in one of three ways. They can bring a dispute against another member as a complainant, or be the subject of a complaint as a respondent. Countries with “substantial trade interests” in a dispute may also join as a third party. All final rulings of the DSS are binding and mandatory.1

Inclusive Deployment of Blockchain for Supply Chains: Part 3 – Public or Private Blockchains – Which One Is Right for You?

For supply chain organizations launching new blockchain projects, one of the most fraught considerations typically is whether to use a public or private ledger and what permission models. This decision affects functionality, security, compatibility with other stakeholders’ systems and, perhaps most important, competitive positioning for companies. It is important that supply chain decision‑makers can sort through the marketing hype to pick the best solution for their particular requirements. This paper explores important considerations in making the public‑versus‑private decision and demystify elements of the public-versus-private debate. The findings in this paper were gleaned from research as well as detailed interviews with blockchain users across diverse industries, geographies and applications. This paper is the third in a series covering the co‑creation of new tools for the responsible deployment of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in supply chains.

China’s Paramilitary Police Could Crush Hong Kong

By Hilton Yip

Monday saw the latest escalation of the Hong Kong protests that began more than 2 months ago: a day of citywide strikes, protests, and numerous clashes with the police. With the Hong Kong police unable to dampen the protests, Beijing has responded with warnings, prompting concerns of a potential intervention by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) if the police lose control. The release of a three-minute video on July 31 showing the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison troops advancing on rioters in an urban area served to intensify these fears.

With Hong Kong now in the global spotlight, the sight of PLA soldiers moving in would be a brutal blow to Beijing’s reputation. Yet more likely, but just as worrying, is the introduction of the People’s Armed Police (PAP). Because despite the PLA being notorious for crushing the Tiananmen protesters in 1989, the PAP is often used to quell domestic unrest across China.

Currency War With China Dooms Trade Talks

Keith Johnson

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is turning into a currency war—dooming prospects for any sort of trade agreement between Washington and Beijing and ratcheting up the likelihood of a global recession.

This week, in response to Trump’s abrupt decision to hike up tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, Beijing briefly let its currency weaken, a natural, market-driven response to a big exporter facing additional hurdles to selling goods overseas. But by allowing the Chinese currency, or renminbi, to fall below the psychological threshold of 7 yuan to the U.S. dollar, Beijing crossed another psychological threshold: Trump’s.

Late Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department officially designated China a “currency manipulator,” the first time the United States has made such a move in 25 years.

The latest U.S. moves all but ensure that catatonic trade talks with China will lapse into a coma, probably until after next year’s presidential elections.

The Future of the PLA

By Zhou Bo

In October 2017, at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled an ambitious road map for the future of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the largest armed force in the world. According to his report, the PLA is to become mechanized by 2020, modernized by 2035, and world-class by the mid-21st century.

By some measures, the PLA already is one of the world’s strongest militaries. Despite Western prohibitions on trading arms and military technology with China, the Chinese defense industry has been able to produce some of the world’s most sophisticated weapons systems and platforms. According to a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “[s]ince 2000, China has built more submarines, destroyers, frigates and corvettes than Japan, South Korea and India combined.” China’s first domestically designed aircraft carrier took a mere five years to be built. And when finished in 2020, the restructuring of the PLA, including downsizing by 300,000 service members, will make the 2 million-strong PLA leaner but mightier. Meanwhile, the application of artificial intelligence, which China vows to lead by 2030, will speed up the development of “intelligent military.”

Why the China-U.S. Trade Conflict Won’t Become a Currency War

The U.S. trade war with China reached a new phase on Aug. 5 after the U.S. labeled China a currency manipulator. That followed a surprise move by the Chinese government to let the yuan break through the long-standing 7-to-1 exchange rate for the first time in 11 years. Tensions eased slightly when China’s central bank fixed the exchange rate a bit higher than the lowest point the yuan hit, but global financial markets remained rattled.

Recent events in the trade dispute have been fast-moving. On Aug. 1 President Trump announced new tariffs on China – 10% on an additional $300 billion in goods — saying China had not bought large amounts of U.S. farm products as promised. Four days later, China devalued the yuan, and the U.S. currency manipulation charge followed. Then on Aug. 6, China said it may increase tariffs on U.S. farm products. But Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett explains why U.S.-China dispute is unlikely to become a full-on currency war, in this opinion piece.

Global markets were spooked yesterday by the Chinese Renminbi crossing the psychologically important barrier of 7 RMB to the greenback—sparking speculation that the current trade war will metastasize into a currency war between the world’s two biggest economies. The fact that the Trump administration responded immediately by officially labeling China a “currency manipulator,” for the first time in 25 years, is only grist for the mill.

NATO needs to address China's rise, says Stoltenberg

John Mair, Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) - NATO needs to understand the implications of China’s rise as Beijing expands its power around the world, including areas that may challenge members of the North Atlantic security body, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

China’s increasing assertiveness, including in the South China Sea, has raised concerns about its intentions, and the United States has called on NATO to recognize and adapt to new emerging threats, including China.

“This is not about moving NATO into the Pacific, but this is about responding to the fact that China is coming closer to us,” Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview in Sydney.

“Investing heavily in critical infrastructure in Europe, increased presence in the Arctic and also increased presence in Africa, and in cyberspace,” he added.

“So all of this makes it important for NATO to address the rise of China, and we do that not least by working closely with our partners in this region – Australia, New Zealand, but also Japan and South Korea,” Stoltenberg said.

The UAE Withdraws from Yemen

By Dr. James M. Dorsey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A UAE decision to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Yemen shines a spotlight on hard realities underlying Middle Eastern geopolitics. The pullback suggests that the UAE is preparing for the possibility of a US military confrontation with Iran in which the UAE and Saudi Arabia could emerge as prime battlegrounds. It also reflects longstanding subtle differences in the approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE toward Yemen.

The UAE decision to pull out of Yemen highlights its concern for its international standing amid mounting criticism of the civilian toll of the war, as well as a recognition that the Trump administration’s unquestioning support may not be enough to shield its allies from significant reputational damage.

The withdrawal constitutes a fine-tuning rather than a reversal of the UAE’s determination to contain Iran and thwart political Islam. Witness the Emirates’ involvement in the Libyan civil war and support for renegade Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, as well as its support for the embattled Sudanese military and autocrats like Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South


This Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says a new-type tactical guided missile launched from an airfield in the western area of North Korea landing in an islet in waters off the country's eastern coast. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises.

The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast.

Seeing How Computers ‘Think’ Helps Humans Stump Machines, Reveals AI Weaknesses

One of the ultimate goals of artificial intelligence is a machine that truly understands human language and interprets meaning from complex, nuanced passages.

When IBM’s Watson computer beat famed “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings in 2011, it seemed as if that milestone had been met. However, anyone who has tried to have a conversation with virtual assistant Siri knows that computers have a long way to go to truly understand human language. To get better at understanding language, computer systems must train using questions that challenge them and reflect the full complexity of human language.

Researchers from the University of Maryland have figured out how to reliably create such questions through a human-computer collaboration, developing a dataset of more than 1,200 questions that, while easy for people to answer, stump the best computer answering systems today. The system that learns to master these questions will have a better understanding of language than any system currently in existence. The work is described in an article published in the 2019 issue of the journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

Russian Soft Power in the Middle East

By Shay Attias

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Russian soft power efforts in the Middle East are bearing fruit, as many young Arabs now view Moscow as an ally and the US as unreliable. Russia wants to build more ties with the Muslim world and views Trump’s presidency as an opportunity in that regard. This ambition is tempered somewhat by the Muslim jihadist threat in Russian areas and, of course, the painful legacy of the war in Afghanistan.

For some time now, Russia has been striving to establish itself as the Middle East’s preeminent external great power. Through its military involvement in the Syrian conflict and deep partnership with Iran against the US, its relations with neighboring countries have gathered new momentum.

In 2019, the Taliban and Russia gathered together and called for the withdrawal of US coalition forces from Afghanistan. Meetings were held in Moscow after the failure of direct negotiations between the US and the Taliban. They were organized not by official Russian diplomats but by an organization called The Afghan Diaspora in Russia. This event, while unofficial, involved both the Afghan diaspora and Afghan citizens and was thus a significant expression of Russian soft power within the region (although, when asked about Putin’s involvement, one of the organizers said Russian diplomats had “provided only technical support”). The event included representatives of all the Taliban and Afghanistan’s major politicians, including the country’s most powerful leaders, and is considered to have been a success.

Python is eating the world: How one developer's side project became the hottest programming language on the planet (cover story PDF)

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Frustrated by programming language shortcomings, Guido van Rossum created Python. With the language now used by millions, Nick Heath talks to van Rossum about Python's past and explores what's next.

This download provides the magazine version of the article as a free PDF for registered TechRepublic and ZDNet members. You can also read the online version of this Python cover story.

From the story:

In late 1994, a select group of programmers from across the US met to discuss their new secret weapon.

Barry Warsaw was one of the 20 or so developers present at that first-ever workshop for the newly-created Python programming language and recalls the palpable excitement among those early users.

“I can remember one person in particular who said, ‘You cannot tell anybody that I'm here because our use of Python is a competitive advantage.’ It was their secret weapon, right?”

Even at that early meeting, at the then US National Standards Bureau in Maryland, Warsaw says it was evident that Python offered something new in how easy it was to write code and simply get things done.

Five Conundrums: The United States and the Conflict in Syria

By Michael A. Ratney

For the past 8 years, two U.S. administrations, the United Nations (UN), and numerous foreign governments have sought to end the catastrophic war in Syria and reach a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. Their efforts have repeatedly been complicated, even thwarted, by the highly contested and violent politics underlying the conflict, the sheer number of conflict actors inside and outside of Syria, and those actors’ diverse and often irreconcilable objectives.

Many of the complications for U.S. policy have stemmed from the need for policymakers to focus on three separate but intertwined dimensions of the Syrian conflict, even while policy options to deal with one dimension of the conflict had significant but often unpredictable effects on the others. The first dimension has been the campaign to deal an enduring territorial defeat upon the so-called Islamic State (IS), an element of U.S. policy that enjoyed near unanimous international consensus and adequate means to accomplish the task. The second is the central conflict between the Bashar al-Asad regime and its opponents, an existential power struggle that drew in multiple foreign powers and yielded nearly unimaginable destruction of Syrian property, infrastructure, and lives. And the third is the strategic challenge of Iran and its drive to eliminate U.S. influence in the Middle East.

Who Will Save the Amazon (and How)?

By Stephen M. Walt

Aug. 5, 2025: In a televised address to the nation, U.S. President Gavin Newsom announced that he had given Brazil a one-week ultimatum to cease destructive deforestation activities in the Amazon rainforest. If Brazil did not comply, the president warned, he would order a naval blockade of Brazilian ports and airstrikes against critical Brazilian infrastructure. The president’s decision came in the aftermath of a new United Nations report cataloging the catastrophic global effects of continued rainforest destruction, which warned of a critical “tipping point” that, if reached, would trigger a rapid acceleration of global warming. Although China has stated that it would veto any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Brazil, the president said that a large “coalition of concerned states” was prepared to support U.S. action. At the same time, Newsom said the United States and other countries were willing to negotiate a compensation package to mitigate the costs to Brazil for protecting the rainforest, but only if it first ceased its current efforts to accelerate development.

British Army ramps up information warfare capability to meet 21st-century threats

Jonathan Owen

The British Army is reconfiguring its forces to better enable it to fight in what is an escalating information war.

As part of the changes, the specialist information warfare unit, the 77th Brigade, will be among the elements of a new 6th Division.

The restructure to confront what the Ministry of Defence has dubbed "evolving threats" comes in the wake of the government’s national security capability review last year, which stated that comms "must be part of the frontline of our defences".

A rebalancing of the army is needed to "ensure that it can compete with and defeat adversaries both above and below the threshold of conventional conflict", the MoD said.

Announcing the plans last week, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, commander Field Army, said: "The character of warfare continues to change as the boundaries between conventional and unconventional warfare become increasingly blurred."

He outlined how three British Army divisions would harness the wide range of the army’s capabilities.

Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises.

The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast.

Its four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations and after President Donald Trump repeatedly dismissed the significance of the tests, even though the weapons show North Korea’s ability to strike at U.S. allies South Korea and Japan and its military bases there.

Experts say Trump’s downplaying of the North’s weapons displays allowed the country more room to advance its capabilities and build leverage ahead of negotiations, which could possibly resume sometime after the end of the allies’ drills later this month.

Will Congress ever get better at technology security?

Andrew Eversden 

LAS VEGAS ­— A technologically challenged Congress has numerous limitations hampering its ability to modernize the federal government’s approach to cybersecurity and IT modernization, according to two former congressional innovation fellows speaking at BSides Las Vegas, an information security security held August 6-7.

Maurice Turner — a former participant in a program that places technology professionals in congressional offices to serve as temporary technology advisers, and now a senior technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology — said that a significant challenge on technology issues in Congress is that conversation can quickly shift elsewhere.

“Priorities can change,” Turner said, pointing to his experience working in Congress when the health care debate took over earlier in the Trump presidency, shifting focus away from some of the tech issues he was working on.

And with so many members working on similar issues, another challenge facing Congress was coordinating the work.

Privacy is dead. So, it’s time to turn data into a bargaining chip


Tech firms offer services in exchange, but the government will argue it needs your data for national security. Why not trade it then.

This year, Google bought Nest. Why was the world’s biggest search engine acquiring a thermostat company? Because through Nest, Google will get to know what temperature you prefer in your home, or when you come in and go out during weekdays and weekends.

Everyone wants data. It is why The Economist claimed that “(t)he world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”.

In today’s digital world, fighting for privacy is fighting a losing battle. What we can instead fight for is making privacy a bargaining chip. Giving up your data to different people only makes sense if you know what you get in return.

Earlier last year, when US Senator Orrin Hatch asked Mark Zuckerberg how Facebook remained free, a mildly amused Zuckerberg replied, “Senator, we run ads”. The clip went viral and highlighted the need for regulators to get up to speed with technology.

U.S. Naval War College Holds War Game Looking at Cyber Defense of the Private Sector

NEWPORT, R.I. — When a cyberattack hits an American financial institution, or the energy grid of a major U.S. city, what role should the U.S. military be prepared to take?

That was one of the central questions posed at a U.S. Naval War College war game last week. The Defend Forward: 2019 Critical Infrastructure War Game gathered more than 100 people from finance, energy, government and academia to participate in an unclassified two-day event on July 25 and 26.

It was the third in a series of cyber critical infrastructure war games held by the college’s Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute.

“The Naval War College stands at the forefront of efforts to better understand the interconnectedness of the public-private partnership, especially in the increasingly contested realm of cyberspace,” Acting President Lewis Duncan told the group in his welcoming remarks.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Pete Brown, deputy assistant to the president and homeland security and counterterrorism adviser at the National Security Council, told the players that they can play an important role in cyber defense.

How Blockchain Will Redefine Supply Chain Management

When does blockchain become a significant technology in supply chain management? Only when it adds value by automating interactions and by building trust, notes Stefan Gstettner, partner and associate director at Boston Consulting Group. Gstettner expects blockchain to have the greatest impact in dispersed networks with many participants. “It will have most impact in complex environments and less impact in, say, one factory.” In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Gstettner discusses how blockchain can transform supply chain management, and some of the myths and realities that surround it.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: How would you define supply chain management and blockchain?

Stefan Gstettner: Supply chain management isn’t well defined across industries. I like to put it is as “end-to-end synchronization of entire value chains.” There are two new words in this — “end-to-end” and “synchronization.” Both are important.

End-to-end means we need to think through supply chains from the end-customer perspective. For example, consumer goods companies would want to understand what is happening in the downstream end consumer market, at the point of sale, and also on the upstream side into a multi-tier supplier chain. It’s complex and end-to- end, not restricting our search to one company. Synchronization means reacting to changes in the market. In the volatile world that we all live in, it’s essential that supply chains react to changes in the market and be synchronized with the market.

The Marawi crisis—urban conflict and information operations

The seizure of Marawi in the southern Philippines by militants linked to Islamic State (IS) and the response to it by Philippine authorities provides useful insights to Australian and other policymakers, with relevance for force structure, concepts of operations and the breadth of activity required to deal effectively with the consequences of an urban seizure. One overall insight is that the increasing urbanisation of global populations, combined with proliferating information technologies, means there’s a need to be prepared both for military operations in urban environments and for a widening of what policy/decision-makers consider to be ‘the battlefield’ to include the narrative space.

The siege showed the unpreparedness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for an urban fight: the AFP took five months to recover the city, leaving it in ruins and sustaining a notable number of casualties. This will obviously provide a set of lessons and insights to the Philippine military and authorities, but it also can allow other governments and militaries to assess their own readiness to deal with urban operations, either as assisting partners or in their own territories. This seems especially relevant to considering capability options for supporting allies facing comparable challenges, which could reduce military and civilian casualties in future operations.

Army Seeks AI, Robotics For Grunts


WASHINGTON: Want Army funding to test your robot or artificial intelligence algorithm? You’ve got less than three weeks to convince the Maneuver Center at Fort Benning, Ga. that your idea can save lives and help win fights on the battlefield of the future. It’s the latest example of the Army seeking high-tech help with everything from better rifles to VR training to targeting goggles for what’s traditionally been the lowest-tech and highest-casualty branch of the armed forces, the infantry.

The service has big ambitions. It wants both “robotic technologies that will equip a dismounted Infantry platoon, making it 10 times more effective than the current dismounted Infantry platoon” and “AI tools that can take large amounts of information from different sources” — including new scout robots — to help troops “make better decisions 10 times faster.”

Working with Georgia Tech and the public-private National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC), the Army will select the best white-paper proposals and conduct simulations in October to assess them. (You must belong to NAMC to apply). What works well in simulation will then get funding — the amount available hasn’t been disclosed — to develop prototypes for real-life field demonstrations in September 2020, under the watching eyes of unspecified “Army senior leaders.”

Army Seeks Small Satellites To Support Ground Troops


Such smallsat payloads, hosted on commercial satellites, are an important piece of the Army's evolving concept of Multi-Domain Operations, which seeks to combine efforts on land, the sea, air, space, and cyberspace to defeat sophisticated adversaries such as Russia and China.

SPACE AND MISSILE DEFENSE SYMPOSIUM: The Army is trying out not one but three different small satellite programs over the next few years. The objective: provide direct support from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) — reconnaissance, communications, navigation, and more — to frontline tactical units on the ground.