28 August 2019

China’s Defence White Paper – An Analysis

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

… Beijing’s latest Defence White Paper reads more as a report card on the status of PLA reforms than a strategic policy document. This White Paper identifies the United States as the single most precarious threat to China’s national security and strikes an increasingly assertive tone towards Taiwan…

India scores a diplomatic win on Kashmir


On August 15, India’s 72nd independence day, a massive crowd of people, many waving Pakistani or Kashmiri flags, gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London to protest against the Indian government’s measures to prevent protests in Kashmir.

As the crowd got out of hand and the British authorities pushed the panic button, India pressed on in a battle of wits and strategy that it is clearly winning.

On August 5 the Narendra Modi government had revoked Article 370, a constitutional provision that had given a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Among other things, it had allowed India’s only Muslim-majority state to pass its own laws, have a separate flag and also prevent other Indians from buying land in the state.

Three days after the protests in London, India lodged a complaint with the British authorities. This was timed with leaked reports that the UK had sided with the Pakistani and Chinese delegations in a Security Council meeting to discuss the Kashmir issue. The British reacted with alacrity, and even issued a formal statement denying that the British delegation at the UN had agreed with the Pakistani or Chinese delegation and their position on Kashmir. Privately, British diplomats in New Delhi reached out to key counterparts not only to deny the reports from the UN in New York, but also to assure their understanding of India’s sensitivities.

Why China is eying Ladakh

A few years ago, a Ladakhi friend recounted a telling story; one evening he was invited at the Chinese embassy in Delhi. In the course of the party, he enquired with an official that he would like one day to visit Tibet. His interlocutor immediately answered that “there is no problem, everything can be arranged”. My friend was delighted; then he asked: “What about my visa?” The Chinese official retorted: “You don’t need one, you are one of us”.

On Jammu and Kashmir, India must bear short-term pain for long-term gain

Brahma Chellaney

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is a core issue of national security and secular identity for India. Its changed constitutional status marks a watershed for India. To advance J&K’s greater integration and development, India must bear short-term pain to secure long-term gain.

While the people of Hong Kong are fighting for democracy, the armed jihadists in India’s Kashmir Valley reject democracy and wish to establish a caliphate. They have been replacing the Kashmir Valley’s syncretic traditions with a Wahhabi/Salafi culture.

Control of the original princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is divided among India, Pakistan and China, but only India was maintaining special powers and privileges for its portion, which makes up 45% of the erstwhile kingdom. Take Pakistan, which seeks to redraw borders in blood by grabbing the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley from India: Far from granting autonomy or special status to the parts of J&K it holds (the sprawling Gilgit-Baltistan and the so-called Azad Kashmir), Pakistan has treated them as its colonies, exercising arbitrary control over them, recklessly exploiting their natural resources, and changing their demographic profiles. In fact, Pakistan unlawfully ceded a strategically important slice of the increasingly restive Gilgit-Baltistan to China in 1963.

Is Peace with the Taliban Possible?


US President Donald Trump desperately wants to disentangle America from a seemingly unwinnable war in Afghanistan, preferably through a political settlement with the Taliban. But it is doubtful that the Taliban would be able to control other armed opposition groups or enlist the support of a cross-section of Afghanistan’s diverse population.

CANBERRA – Despite ongoing peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, the bloody conflict in Afghanistan continues to take a heavy toll on the country’s people. The recent suicide bombing by the Khorasan branch of the Islamic State (IS-K) at a wedding in Kabul, which killed more than 60 and injured close to 200, is a stark reminder of Afghanistan’s poor security situation. It also shows that the Taliban are not the only armed opposition fueling the conflict. A US-Taliban peace pact is therefore unlikely to bring any respite.

The US-Taliban negotiations in Doha – in which the Afghan government is not a participant – are comparable to two previous peace processes: the Paris talks that resulted in the January 1973 peace treaty between the US and North Vietnam; and the negotiations that led to the 1988 Geneva Accords, signed by the Afghan and Pakistani governments with the Soviet Union and the US acting as guarantors.

The Afghan Withdrawal That Isn't

by Edward Chang

This plan to reduce force levels in Afghanistan seems to be a maintenance of the status quo.

One of the most obvious, yet often-ignored facts regarding President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2013 is that it wasn’t a withdrawal at all. It was merely a transference of primary security responsibilities from the U.S.-led coalition to the Afghan government; a residual force would remain in the country to advise and assist the Kabul government in its enduring struggle against the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Thus, it should hardly surprise anyone that the United States still has more than eight thousand troopsin-country—though that number seems to vary depending on who’s doing the counting.

So it would appear history is repeating itself yet again following the news that the United States is preparing to withdraw thousands of troops as part of an agreement with the Taliban whereby the latter would, among other things, commit to never allowing Afghanistan to become a safe-haven for terrorists ever again. If reached, then the agreement would be extraordinary, as it would mark the first time the United States and the Afghan government have achieved any step towards peace with the Taliban after nearly eighteen years of bitter fighting.

Diplomacy Can’t Solve All of Afghanistan’s Problems

By Barnett R. Rubin

On the night of August 17, as over 1,000 guests danced at a wedding celebration in Dubai City, a hall in Kabul named after the Afghan elite’s favorite weekend getaway, a 23-year-old interloper detonated his suicide vest by the bandstand. The blast killed 80 people and wounded nearly 200 more, mostly from the Hazara ethnic group, followers of the Shiite sect of Islam predominant in that neighborhood of western Kabul. The groom and bride, who are both Shiite, miraculously survived. “I will never see happiness in my life again,” the groom, a tailor named Mirwais Elmi, told Afghanistan’s TOLOnews.

This was the worst of the bloody events that have punctuated nine rounds of peace talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators since July 2018. Ten days earlier, a Taliban suicide attack on a Kabul police station left 14 dead and 145 wounded. On the night of August 11, a joint U.S.-Afghan unit of the Khost Protection Force, a “counterterrorist” unit run by the CIA, captured and summarily executed 11 unarmed male civilians in the Zurmat district of Paktia Province, on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan. The victims were abducted at night while celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Adha and shot in the head at close range. On July 20 and 22, bombing raids by U.S. and Afghan Air Forces killed 12 civilians, including nomads and farmers in Badghis and Logar Provinces.

Russia and China's Cosplay Alliance

By Mark Galeotti

Much is made of the supposed Sino-Russian alliance, and Beijing's denunciation of Western “interference” behind the Moscow protests appears to give more evidence of an axis of authoritarianism. And yet a shared desire to blame the West for their problems and to undermine what they see as U.S. global hegemony cannot obscure the very real tensions in this relationship.

In their own ways, both are grappling with the growing gap between the expectations of the most liberal and Westernised elements of their populations, the metropolitan Muscovites and the Honk Kongers, respectively. It is undeniably convenient for them to blame meddling by the usual suspects of Western intelligence agencies, NGOs and journalists (not that they tend to see a great distinction between them). Some of the policy-makers on both sides probably even believe it.

Hong Kong: The Anatomy of a Protest

By Bonnie Girard

The first two hours of the protest march that took place in the Kwun Tong district of Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon offered no indication that the day would end in tear gas and petrol bombs.

Indeed, the demonstration, which had been given legal sanction by Hong Kong authorities to proceed, was peaceful, but purposeful. Demonstrators, most wearing black, and many wearing face masks to thwart the ubiquitous face-recognition systems that have been installed in Hong Kong, mostly did nothing more than chant anti-government slogans and carry posters and placards expressing their discontent with various aspects of Hong Kong’s political relationship to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled government in Beijing.

The Time for Honor: A National Security Strategy for 2020

By Gregory Miller

“The honor of a nation is its life. Deliberately to abandon it is to commit an act of political suicide.”

—Alexander Hamilton, “The Warning No. III,” 21 February 1797 Alexander Hamilton portrait by John Trumbull (Wikimedia)

Realists frequently cite Niccolò Machiavelli’s assertion that it is better to be feared than loved, but often omit his preference to be both feared and loved.[1] At the end of the Cold War, states feared and loved the United States, but a growing distrust gradually replaced that love. More people view U.S. power as a major threat, and allies are increasingly uncertain the U.S. will keep its commitments.[2] This is a trend going back three decades. As a result, regardless of who is President in January 2021, the central theme for the next National Security Strategy should focus on regaining U.S. honor.

Thucydides famously wrote that states go to war for reasons of fear, honor, and interest.[3] But that is not just an explanation for war; it accounts for most state behavior, including why they trade, form alliances, and join international organizations. The U.S.’s recent emphasis on interests generated higher levels of fear in the international community. The best way to reverse that trend is to focus more on honor, or to at least increase the degree to which honor is viewed as a vital national interest. Unlike Thucydides, who criticized the Melians for acting out of honor rather than being rational when threatened with the overwhelming power of Athens, this article does not treat honor as a synonym for blind pride. Rather, it involves preserving and keeping commitments and generally emphasizing honorable behavior towards the international community.

Turning 'Small' Wars into 'Big' Wars: How Tacticians Endanger Us All

By Heather Venable

This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. More information about the writing contest can be found here.

Dr. Heather Venable is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies at the Air Command and Staff College, where she teaches classes on airpower and the historical experience of combat. She has written a forthcoming book entitled How the Few Became the Proud: Crafting the Marine Corps Mystique, 1874-1918. She also has written for War on the Rocks, Strategy Bridge, and other online blogs. Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group.

Title: Turning “Small” Wars into “Big” Wars: How Tacticians Endanger Us All

Date Originally Written: May 31, 2019.

Date Originally Published: August 26, 2019.

The Anatomy of the Coming Recession


Unlike the 2008 global financial crisis, which was mostly a large negative aggregate demand shock, the next recession is likely to be caused by permanent negative supply shocks from the Sino-American trade and technology war. And trying to undo the damage through never-ending monetary and fiscal stimulus will not be an option.

NEW YORK – There are three negative supply shocks that could trigger a global recession by 2020. All of them reflect political factors affecting international relations, two involve China, and the United States is at the center of each. Moreover, none of them is amenable to the traditional tools of countercyclical macroeconomic policy.

The first potential shock stems from the Sino-American trade and currency war, which escalated earlier this month when US President Donald Trump’s administration threatened additional tariffs on Chinese exports, and formally labeled China a currency manipulator. The second concerns the slow-brewing cold war between the US and China over technology. In a rivalry that has all the hallmarks of a “Thucydides Trap,” China and America are vying for dominance over the industries of the future: artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 5G, and so forth. The US has placed the Chinese telecom giant Huawei on an “entity list” reserved for foreign companies deemed to pose a national-security threat. And although Huawei has received temporary exemptions allowing it to continue using US components, the Trump administration this week announced that it was adding an additional 46 Huawei affiliates to the list.

Trump’s Economic Iron Curtain Against China

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A poignant new Netflix documentary called American Factory—ironically produced by former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama—shows what happened when a Chinese owner took over a shuttered U.S. plant in Ohio. The result was a disturbing culture clash in which U.S. workers were thrust into laboring 12-hour days at less than half their previous wages and found themselves pressured to adhere to the company line like good communists.

To many of the China hawks advising U.S. President Donald Trump, and to the president himself, that experience sums up the delusion that previous U.S. administrations—including Obama’s—have labored under vis-à-vis China. Since China’s opening to the world in 1978 and the increasing marketization of its economy, Americans have sought to integrate Beijing into a rules-based, Western-style economic system—and they’ve found they can’t, the hard-liners say. China and the United States cannot share the same economic and geopolitical space: The living standards and social and ideological expectations are just too different. And, meanwhile, the Chinese are stealing America’s jobs, its intellectual property, and its prosperity, or so the argument goes.

Project Pluto and the trouble with Russia’s nuclear-powered cruise missile

By John Krzyzaniak

It’s hard to know exactly what happened on August 8, when an accident offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site in northern Russia caused an explosion. But we do know that it left five Russian nuclear scientists dead and caused a spike in radiation levels in the surrounding area. The available evidence has led some US intelligence officials, arms control experts, and President Trump to conclude that the Russians were testing an engine for a nuclear-powered cruise missile (though there are skeptics).

If the suspicions are correct, then this accident (and prior setbacks) show that the Russian quest for a nuclear-powered cruise missile may be a quixotic one. Before pressing on, Vladimir Putin would be well-advised to review some of the myriad problems that the United States’ own nuclear-powered cruise missile program, Project Pluto, experienced in the late-1950s and early-1960s. Below is a brief overview of the technical, environmental, and political challenges that Project Pluto faced.

It’s the economy, Dummkopf! German slowdown spells trouble

BERLIN — If there’s one factor that could be described as the key to Angela Merkel’s longevity as German chancellor, it’s the economy.

German output has expanded in all but one of her 14 years in office, stuttering only during the financial crisis of 2009. Though growth has been modest, averaging about 1.6 percent during her tenure, it's been fairly steady, ensuring Germans have the stability they crave. Some economists even refer to the Merkel years as a “golden” era for Europe's largest economy.

But now, just as Merkel enters the final stages of her chancellorship, her Midas touch appears to be fading. News last week that the German economy had contracted in the second quarter of the year sparked fears of a looming recession. If that happens, the effects would be felt far beyond Germany’s borders, with the impact rippling across the Continent.

What’s Next for Vietnam-South Africa Military Ties?

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Last week, South Africa’s defense minister embarked on a scheduled trip to Vietnam. The visit spotlighted the ongoing efforts by both sides to continue to develop the security aspect of their relationship amid ongoing changes at home and abroad.

As part of their wider bilateral ties, Vietnam and South Africa share a defense relationship that was institutionalized during the inking of a memorandum of understanding back in 2006. The two sides have continued to work to develop this aspect of their relationship in various areas, including visits, exchanges, and dialogue mechanisms like the Vietnam-South Africa Defense Dialogue.

Last week, their defense ties were in the spotlight again with the visit of South Africa’s defense minister to Vietnam. Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula led a high-ranking defense delegation for an official visit to Vietnam that lasted from August 22 to August 26, which was billed by both sides as a way to boost momentum for the development of their defense relationship.

It’s Time the Pentagon Finds an Alternative to Djibouti

by Michael Rubin

BERBERA, SOMALILAND—Djibouti’s role in U.S. national security has for decades been inversely proportional to its size. The tiny East African country has long been a logistical hub for the U.S. military. Its airfield helped supply U.S. forces in Somalia in the early 1990s, and U.S. Navy vessels visited its port frequently. Because Djibouti—a French colony or territory for nearly a century before its 1977 independence—hosted French forces, the U.S. military could utilize the French infrastructure when necessary.

The real import of Djibouti to U.S. security calculations, however, came after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when the George W. Bush administration formed Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) first to coordinate and conduct regional stability operations and then to oversee counterterrorism operations in both Yemen and across the broader region. The Obama administration’s growing reliance ondrone strikes—many of which it launched from Djibouti—only increased the country’s importance. Since formally arriving, the Pentagon has invested several billion dollars in Camp Lemonnier, today the largest U.S. military base in Africa and the keystone of U.S. Africa Command operations, hosting four thousand soldiers, sailors, and Marines spread over five hundred acres.

US To “Drown The World” In Oil – Analysis

By Nick Cunningham

The U.S. could “drown the world in oil” over the next decade, which, according to Global Witness, would “spell disaster” for the world’s attempts to address climate change. 

The U.S. is set to account for 61 percent of all new oil and gas production over the next decade. A recent report from this organization says that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, “we can’t afford to drill up any oil and gas from new fields anywhere in the world.” This, of course, would quickly cause a global deficit, as the world continues to consume around 100 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil. 

Global Witness notes that the industry is not slowing down in the United States, notwithstanding recent spending cuts by independent and financially-strapped oil and gas firms. If anything, the consolidation in the Permian and other shale basins, increasingly led by the oil majors, ensures that drilling will continue at a steady pace for years to come. 

It isn’t as if the rest of the world is slowing down either. The global oil industry is set to greenlight $123 billion worth of new offshore oil projects this year, nearly double the $69 billion that moved forward last year, according to Rystad Energy. In fact, while shale drilling has slowed a bit over the past year amid investor skepticism and poor financial returns, offshore projects have begun to pick up pace. 

The Case for Restraint: Drawing the Curtain on the American Empire

Stewart M. Patrick

In a provocative new book, three scholars from the libertarian Cato Institute—John Glaser, Christopher A. Preble and A. Trevor Thrall—counsel the United States to abandon the pursuit of global primacy for a policy of prudence and restraint. “Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better)” is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. American foreign policy professionals may cast the United States as a benevolent hegemon, defending the liberal or “rules-based” international order. But this self-serving argument is hard to take seriously, they write, given the hubris, hypocrisy and coerciveness of the American imperium.

The most surprising argument in “Fuel to the Fire” is that this misguided orientation has persisted under Donald Trump. This seems counterintuitive. Washington’s mandarins have recoiled in bipartisan horror as the president dismantles their handiwork and pursues his “America First” agenda. Glaser, Preble and Thrall see Trump—the “least informed, least experienced, and least intellectually prepared U.S. president in modern memory”—as more bark than bite. True, he has altered specific U.S. positions on trade (more protectionism), immigration (greater closure) and human rights (deafening silence). But, on balance, they perceive a depressing continuity between Trump’s foreign policy and what preceded it. Abetted by an invertebrate Congress and emboldened by the military-industrial complex, Trump has doubled down on the imperial presidency, on inflated threat perceptions, on defense spending and on the pursuit of global domination. In so doing, they claim, Trump is setting a course for continued interventionism that is at odds with U.S. ideals and dangerous to American liberty. ...

Why Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are bad for the climate

By Dawn Stover

Earlier this year, the video-sharing website YouTube updated its systems “to begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways”—for example, videos claiming the Earth is flat. More recently, YouTube, which is one of the two most widely used online platforms in the United States, announced in a blog post that it would remove “content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.” It’s all part of YouTube’s efforts to eliminate hate speech and “denialism.”

Climate denialism, however, appears to be unaffected by this house-cleaning. A recent study analyzing the content of 200 randomly selected YouTube videos related to climate change found that a majority of the videos either propagated conspiracy theories about climate change and climate engineering (such as the notion that the government is using “chemtrails” to manipulate the weather), or denied the scientific consensus that human activities are the primary cause of climate change. One conspiracy video alone had been viewed more than 5.3 million times.

The false promise of nuclear power in an age of climate change

By Robert Jay Lifton, Naomi Oreskes

Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 & 2 cooling towers and containment buildings.

Commentators from Greenpeace to the World Bank agree that climate change is an emergency, threatening civilization and life on our planet. Any solution must involve the control of greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels and switching to alternative technologies that do not impair the human habitat while providing the energy we require to function as a species.

This sobering reality has led some prominent observers to re-embrace nuclear energy. Advocates declare it clean, efficient, economical, and safe. In actuality it is none of these. It is expensive and poses grave dangers to our physical and psychological well-being. According to the US Energy Information Agency, the average nuclear power generating cost is about $100 per megawatt-hour. Compare this with $50 per megawatt-hour for solar and $30 to $40 per megawatt-hour for onshore wind. The financial group Lazard recently said that renewable energy costs are now “at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation”—that is, fossil fuels—and much lower than nuclear.

The Myth and Meaning of Resistance

By Robert Zaretsky

Seventy-five years ago, Charles de Gaulle, leader of France’s provisional government, returned to Paris. For four years, he had lived in exile in London. Now he made his way through an exuberant crowd at the Hôtel de Ville, the site at which France’s earlier revolutions and republics were consecrated, greeting the leaders of the nation’s resistance movements. De Gaulle had not planned or rehearsed the speech he gave on this occasion, but it was perhaps his greatest. “Do not let us hide this deep and sacred emotion,” he said. “There are moments that go beyond each of our poor little lives. Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the armies of France, with the support and the help of the whole of France, of France that is fighting, of France alone.”

De Gaulle’s words cemented an idea of the French Resistance that has endured—that of a rebellious nation united under his command. Over the decades that followed, historians burnished the fairy tale that the general offered to a grateful and exhausted nation. As Paris prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its liberation, the convenient myth and inconvenient truth of the Resistance bears revisiting, both for its own sake and for the parallels it offers in our own time.

Keep Russia Out


By all accounts, Donald Trump is not pursuing anything resembling a strategic initiative by antagonizing Denmark. “Greenland was just an idea, just a thought,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday, addressing his reported interest in purchasing the artic territory from Denmark. Copenhagen’s reluctance to part with its territory was the ostensible reason why the president rejected an invitation from Danish Queen Margrethe II to visit America’s NATO ally as part of a visit to Europe. Thus, what Trump concedes as being nothing more than an errant thought has inaugurated a minor international incident.

It is unfortunate that this undiplomatic debacle has overshadowed another of far more relevance. In that same conversation with reporters, Trump endorsed Russia’s bid to reenter the group of highly industrialized nations—the G7, which would once again become the G8 upon Russia’s ascension. “It would be a good thing if Russia was there,” Trump said, adding the unseemly non sequitur that Russian President Vladimir Putin “made a living outsmarting President Obama.”

Theory of Battlespace Technology—Technology and Warfare

By Joanne C. Lo
Source Link

For the practice of principles must precede their derivation, articulation, and institutionalization. You may be looking at clouds, like Polonius, but you’ll need to have both feet firmly planted on the ground.
—John Lewis Gaddis, On Grand Strategy

In this paper, we will explore how the battlespace technology model can be used to connect the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of the Technical Union in order to flexibly generate synchronized effects. We will do so by defining the elements presented in the graph of the structure of the Technical Union presented in a previous paper and situating the battlespace technology theory in those elements. This theory and strategy will be written in an iterative process; one with a defined goal and readied plan, but no presumed solutions. This relatively short theoretical work is by no means a comprehensive theory, nor a deep historical analysis of any kind. This is a theory written to be executed, not merely an academic exploration.

Army could develop new tools to help cyber operators

By: Mark Pomerleau

U.S. Cyber Command teams will likely use Army-provided platforms to help deliver cyber consequences on the battlefield, a service official said Aug. 23.

These joint common access platforms, as they’re known, are essentially what allow cyber operators to connect to their target and to deliver the effect beyond friendly firewalls.

The decision to have the Army provide these platforms is pending with Cyber Command, Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber within Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told Fifth Domain at TechNet Augusta. The Army would develop the capabilities to all of the service cyber components.

Cyber Command created what it calls the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, which governs all its capability development across the force proving a common framework. Maj. Gen. Karl Gingrich, director of capability and resource integration, J-8, Cyber Command, previously told reporters that the organization itself doesn’t have enough acquisition authority to meet the needs of the entire cyber mission force.

Donald Trump’s dance of defeat

As the United States and China escalate the past year’s trade dispute into full-scale economic war, the decisive fact in the conflict has gone entirely unmentioned: China has already won the critical engagement in the conflict.

It did so when Washington cajoled and threatened its allies to boycott Huawei’s rollout of 5G broadband, and suffered the most humiliating rebuff in this writer’s memory.

China has triggered a global network effect that begins with the domination of ultra-fast wireless broadband and extends to e-commerce, finance, logistics and transportation – the means to commercialize the labor of billions of people in the Global South. China’s lead in 5G also gives it a head start in a vast array of industrial and consumer applications.

Of these applications, the one that most unnerves the American security establishment is quantum cryptography, a technology pioneered by China that is theoretically unhackable.
Intelligence agencies

David Ignatius: Return to the G-8? Not in a cyberwar

By David Ignatius
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WASHINGTON — As the G-7 gathered this weekend in Biarritz, President Trump expressed hope for the return of Russia, the missing guest at the table. But any consideration of this issue requires dealing with Trump’s least favorite subject — Russian cybermeddling in U.S. elections.

The stark reality is that the United States is now fighting a low-level cyberwar to combat Kremlin political interference and other malign actions. U.S. Cyber Command launched this “hunt forward” campaign last summer to deter Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. It’s part of a broader strategy of “persistent engagement” with adversaries.

If Trump truly wants to invite President Vladimir Putin to the 2020 version of a re-christened G-8, there’s an obvious price he should demand from Putin: a verifiable commitment to stop Russia’s egregious cyber-interference in the elections of the U.S. and other members of the current G-7.

Trump last week floated the idea of readmitting Russia, which had been expelled from the then G-8 in 2014 following its invasion of Crimea. “I could certainly see it being the G-8 again,” he told reporters before a meeting with President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.”


WHILE THE CYBERSECURITY world took a collective deep breath after the Black Hat and Defcon hacker conferences, there was still plenty of news to be had this week. After first announcing an iOS-compatible YubiKey in January, Yubico has finally released it. We also took a deep dive into the security and privacy enhancements coming to Android 10, the first Android version to ditch the dessert naming system. You can jailbreak your iPhone again for the first time in years, but probably shouldn't. And that's just for starters!

As the robocall crisis rages on, state attorneys general and a dozen major telecoms finally decided to do something about it. Google, Mozilla, and Apple all fought back against Kazakhstan's attempts to spy on its citizens' encrypted internet traffic. China used fake accounts and state media to spread disinformation and denigrating comments about Hong Kong protestors across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And Facebook introduced a long-awaited privacy feature, but (of course) it comes with a catch.

We looked at the state of library cybersecurity and what it means for the upcoming 2020 census. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing some bad security hygiene in its new rules around debt collection.


THE BATTERY IS the most important component in your smartphone, because if the battery isn't working, nothing else can. With the right sort of care and attention, you can make sure your battery stays charged for longer—and lasts longer overall, as well.

There is good news, which is the lithium-ion batteries inside today's phones are more reliable, longer-lasting, and safer—well, mostly—than ever before. That said, we've got some tips for keeping them healthy and happy.
Top It Off

The chemical reactions inside lithium-ion batteries are more comfortable with shorter charges and discharges, rather than being drained all the way down and then topped all the way up.

Managing battery life is a delicate operation.



For the first time in over 43 years, the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, has overhauled One-Station Unit Training for initial-entry infantry soldiers. The familiar 14-week training model dates to 1978 and remained relatively unchanged for over four decades.

Now 22 weeks in duration, this new and improved initial-entry training intends to achieve more than familiarization in core infantry tasks. Instead, the new and expanded program of instruction focuses on achieving expertise. Soldiers leaving Fort Benning will arrive at their first units of assignment ready to deploy, fight and win on today’s battlefield.

While initial results are anecdotal, the strong performance of the first cohort of 22-week One-Station Unit Training (OSUT) graduates in their gaining units validates the Army’s sizable investment in more extensive training. The addition of eight weeks to the program of instruction requires additional NCOs, officers and resources in order to produce the approximately 20,500 infantry soldiers required annually for the force.

Honing Drill Sergeants’ Skills

Wearing The Network To War


TECHNET AUGUSTA: Wifi gunsights that tell your smart goggles where to aim. Artificial intelligence that tells distant artillery batteries whenever you spot a high-priority target. Backpack transmitters, remotely controlled by technicians miles away, that jam enemy communications while you focus on the fight. A jamming-resistant GPS that double-checks your location against a wearable inertial navigation system and pedometers in your boots. These are all technologies the Army is now developing or, in some cases, fielding in a few months.

The American grunt has gotten ever more high-tech since 2001. Handheld GPS, tactical radios, night vision goggles, electronic gunsights, and more have accumulated to the point where the weight of batteries has become a major burden.