17 November 2019

Army wants officers to deactivate Facebook accounts, stay away from WhatsApp


The Indian Army advisory says WhatsApp is a vulnerable platform and Facebook has turned out to be a crucial source of collecting intelligence.

New Delhi: The Indian Army wants its officers holding critical posts to deactivate their Facebook accounts and not use the popular messaging application, WhatsApp, for any official communication.

In an advisory issued last month, the army has cautioned officers holding sensitive posts in all headquarters, divisions and brigades that WhatsApp is a vulnerable platform and so should not be used for any official communication.

It added that although WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, the encryption would cease to be effective if the mobile handset on which it is being used gets compromised.

WhatsApp was recently in the eye of a storm after it admitted that surveillance software called Pegasus — owned by an Israel-based NSO group — had been used to compromise some of its Indian users, including journalists and activists.

The advisory comes after the army cyber group conducted an analysis of social media trends in which it has identified a new set of problems on the ways its personnel use the internet.

RCEP15 Without India: Why Still Big Step Forward – Analysis

By Pradumna B. Rana

Last week’s RCEP agreement allows room for India to join when it is ready. But even if this does not happen, the East Asian region will benefit significantly from the 15-nation RCEP (RCEP15).

At the Third Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit held in Bangkok on 4 November 2019, leaders announced that 15 of the 16 participating countries had concluded the “text-based negotiations” for “a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial” RCEP agreement. Lawyers and linguists will now step in to “scrub” the text and put it up for formal signature, possibly in February 2020.

Although it had negotiated hard, India was still not ready to join the group. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Bangkok that from the perspective of India the present form of RCEP agreement did not fully reflect the basic spirit and the guiding principles of RCEP. It also did not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns. “In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join RCEP Agreement,” he added. There were also domestic political pressures by various opposition parties against the deal. The critics claimed that RCEP would open India to a flood of Chinese consumer products and farm produce from Australia and New Zealand.

Afghanistan on Notice: Why America Needs to Establish a Troop Withdrawal Deadline

by Christopher J. Fettweis

For nineteen years, the United States has sent the wrong message to Kabul. One president after another has assured America’s Afghan allies that U.S. troops would stay until stability came, which has given the Afghans no incentive to bring about that stability.

President Donald Trump wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. The Democrats and the American people want to remove U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. And the troops certainly want to leave Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, no one seems to know how to do it.

Many fear that a precipitous withdrawal would create a power vacuum that the Taliban would soon fill. Afghan spaces would soon be ungoverned; Al Qaeda would return; our allies would be massacred. After eighteen years of assistance, the Afghan government does not appear capable of standing on its own, and U.S. forces seem stuck. 

There is a way out of Afghanistan, however, and it can be accomplished before Trump leaves the White House. But it would need to be clearly explained to the American people since it would create a good deal of backlash and misunderstanding.

In Asia, Disruptive Technonationalism Returns


Summary: Technonationalists, whatever their nationality, take a strategic view of industry and technology. They view it as fundamental to national security and economic competitiveness and take on faith that economic policies must have strategic underpinnings.
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In a pointed speech on October 24, US Vice President Mike Pence warned that Beijing has “smashed the barriers between civilian and military technological domains.” Pence then offered this flatly contradictory statement of policy: “People sometimes ask whether the Trump Administration seeks to ‘de-couple’ from China. The answer is a resounding ‘no.’”

Here’s the problem: If Pence is right that Beijing leverages all technology for military purposes, then the United States should have no interest in enabling flows of capital, people, hardware, and software that might aid the military modernization of a strategic competitor.

But Beijing is not the only government that takes an increasingly integrated view of technology. And technonationalism everywhere threatens to disrupt flows of technology and talent that have enabled decades of innovation.

America Can Beat China In Asia, But Not Alone

by Julia Famularo

As China continues to exhibit assertive—and sometimes provocative—behavior toward the United States and the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, tensions are gradually rising in and around the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS). However, Washington’s regional allies and partners—Manila, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo—possess a historic opportunity to enhance peace and stability in and around these troubled waters. By establishing a quadrilateral dialogue, they can facilitate mutual understanding of regional challenges as well as greater cooperation and collaboration; build more mutual trust and consensus; and develop an enduring forum and mechanism for strategic dialogue to manage tensions and maintain peace.

In 2008, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf reflected upon the “strange rise and fall” of the quadrilateral dialogue established by Australia, India, Japan and the United States. The dialogue quickly faltered, with observers arguing that it lacked a concrete agenda and raised fears of containment in Beijing. The experiment nevertheless “helped to cement awareness of the need for collaboration among those countries willing and able to address regional issues, like disaster relief or sea lane security, while confirming that such ventures” will ultimately prove “more sustainable if they are based on convergent interests and the ability to contribute rather than on supposed shared values.”

How China Sees the Hong Kong Crisis

By Andrew J. Nathan

Massive and sometimes violent protests have rocked Hong Kong for over 100 days. Demonstrators have put forward five demands, of which the most radical is a call for free, direct elections of Hong Kong’s chief executive and all members of the territory’s legislature: in other words, a fully democratic system of local rule, one not controlled by Beijing. As this brazen challenge to Chinese sovereignty has played out, Beijing has made a show of amassing paramilitary forces just across the border in Shenzhen. So far, however, China has not deployed force to quell the unrest and top Chinese leaders have refrained from making public threats to do so.

Western observers who remember the violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago have been puzzled by Beijing’s forbearance. Some have attributed Beijing’s restraint to a fear of Western condemnation if China uses force. Others have pointed to Beijing’s concern that a crackdown would damage Hong Kong’s role as a financial center for China.

Why The Hong Kong Protests Have Gone Global – Analysis

By Dawn Brancati and Nathan Law*

Democracy protests in Hong Kong have unleashed global concerns about the implications of China’s rise.

Most democracy protests are short-lived, garner little international attention and are confined to state capitals. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are exceptional, having endured for more than 22 weeks. They’ve spread to cities and college campuses across the globe, challenged international businesses, and attracted the support of foreign governments as well as politicians of contrasting ideological stripes.

Few protests have the potential to go global like those in Hong Kong due to the large number of people from Hong Kong and mainland China studying abroad – about 700,000 in 2018 – the high level of foreign investment in Hong Kong, and the centrality of Hong Kong to China’s flagging economy.

Hong Kong students abroad have organized numerous protests, sit-ins, and rallies – often wearing black, masks, and the occasional Winnie-the-Pooh costume – to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity with the pro-democracy protests. Masks are an emblem of defiance in Hong Kong where they are banned, as is Winnie-the-Pooh. The storybook toy bear is banned due to comparisons with President Xi Jinping. Students also give lectures, flood social media with messages of support and erect Lennon Walls, modeled after the one first created by John Lennon in Prague for passersby to post opinions about the quest for democracy. They also attend basketball games in the United States, wearing masks and t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Stand with Hong Kong” and holding placards in support of the protests, human rights, and democratic freedom more generally. National Basketball Association Games became a focal point of protest because of the backlash Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, received for Tweeting a message in support of the protesters.

China Focuses on Iran after CPEC Setbacks in Pakistan

By: Adnan Aamir

At the end of August, Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIN) Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif visited Beijing for what appeared to be a routine visit. However, soon after the visit, it was reported in the media that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had agreed to invest a vast sum of $400 billion in Iran. This would be the biggest investment that China has pledged to any one country as a part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the details of the agreement, China has pledged to invest $280 billion in the oil, gas, and petroleum sector of Iran. In addition to this, Beijing has also announced an investment of $120 billion in the transportation infrastructure of Iran. It was further revealed that these amounts will be invested in the first five years of the agreements, and that further investments can also be made if both parties agree. The PRC has also announced its intent to continue importing oil from Iran despite the imposition of sanctions by the U.S Government (Petroleum Economist, September 3).

Per the available details, Chinese companies will be provided the first right of refusal in all of the projects in which China is investing—meaning that Chinese companies will be offered the projects first, and only after their refusal will the projects be made open for bidding by companies from any other country. Another particularly striking aspect of the agreement is that the PRC will reportedly station around 5,000 security personnel in Iran to protect its investments—the first time that China has openly asked for such a large security presence in any agreement with a BRI participant country (The Nation (Pakistan), September 9).

China’s New Encryption Law Highlights Cryptography as a Strategic Priority


More than two years after China’s State Cryptography Administration (SCA) published an initial draft of an encryption law, an updated version of that law has now been passed by China’s National People’s Congress. The so-called “cryptography law” will regulate the role of encryption in both the public and private sector, as well as set forth guidelines for how cryptography should be used to help safeguard national security. Now that this encryption law has been passed, look for greater Chinese state support of cryptography efforts within the commercial sector – including the development of blockchain technology and the creation of digital currencies, both of which rely on cryptography.

Commercial and economic purposes of the new encryption law

There are a variety of ways that one can view this new Chinese encryption law. First and most importantly, it can be seen as an unshackling of the private sector, spurring efforts by Chinese firms to develop innovative new industries based around cryptography. Experts also see the rollout of the new encryption law as a signal that China is open for foreign investment and partnership, since the law attempts to define the rights and responsibilities of foreign economic actors within China. China is officially “open for business” when it comes to commercial encryption. Products and services based around cryptography now have a legal basis.

Iraq as a Failed State

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The last few weeks have shown that Iraqis have effectively run out of patience with what has become yet another failed, corrupt government. Part of this is sheer frustration with the government’s incompetence and corruption – coupled with its failure to develop an effective recovery effort in the large Sunni areas in the West affected by the fight against ISIS, and its chronic failures to meet the needs and expectations of the rest of its population.

What is less apparent, however, is just how bad things in Iraq really are. Its problems are not short-term political issues that can be solved by reforming its government and cutting corruption. They are products of almost continuous war or crisis from 1990 to the present – a period of some 30 years. In some cases, like its agricultural development, and creation of some of the most expensive and unproductive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the world, they trace back to at least the fall of the monarchy in July 1958.

These structural problems are so great that they make Iraq the equivalent of a failed state – a reality that the U.S. seems unready to face. They have been compounded by Iran’s exploitation of its influence in Iraq, and by the fact that the defeat of the physical “caliphate” in Iraq has not meant the defeat of ISIS, the end of terrorist attacks and extremism, or the end of ethnic and sectarian tension. At the same time, they have been compounded by the lack of any coherent U.S. effort to help Iraq deal with the full range of its structural problems, fully rebuild its military forces, and make it strong enough to become a key buffer between Iran and the rest of the Gulf.

Dressed to Kill: Arming Ukraine Could Put It on a Path Towards War

by Kyle Ropp

Even after Russian military forces withdrawal, deep-seated resentments will linger in Donbas. The lethal aid policy’s greatest flaw is that it completely fails to address these resentments, and in doing so, artificially simplifies the conflict to a proxy war with Russia.

Yet the aid policy has a number of fundamental shortcomings: its effectiveness at the tactical level is limited; it will likely encourage, not deter, Russia’s engagement in the conflict; and it fails to address the root causes of the Donetsk and Luhansk (collectively—Donbas) rebellions.

For these reasons, weapons aid should cease. Instead, the U.S. policy in Ukraine should focus on facilitating the negotiation process.

Limited Tactical Utility—With Risks

Two years on and weapons aid has failed to challenge the status quo in Donbas. The war has held in a stalemate along the four-hundred-kilometer “line of contact,” with intermittent skirmishes but no signs of a breakthrough since aid flows began.

Moscow Places Growing Priority on UAV Strike Groups

By: Roger McDermott

Russia’s Armed Forces are placing increased emphasis on the introduction of greater numbers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) both for reconnaissance and combat strike purposes. A critical element in this process is the design and development of “heavy strike” systems, with the capability to operate not only in conjunction with other platforms in a network-enabled operational environment, but also to form an independent strike group. Experimental designs such as the heavy strike, reconnaissance, unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”), first publicly seen in early 2019, underwent its first test flight in August. But the recent strategic exercise Tsentr 2019, occurring a month later, revealed a deeper and more complex vision for how these and similar UAVs will fit into future Russian war planning (see EDM, October 9). The Tsentr 2019 experiment with heavy strike drones is critical in understanding how the Russian top brass see the role of these systems in future warfare (C-inform.info, November 7).

Russia’s Comeback Isn’t Stopping With Syria

By Dmitri Trenin

For many in the West, Russia’s return to the world stage over the past few years has come as a surprise, and not an especially pleasant one. After the downfall of the Soviet Union, the country was written off as a regional power, a filling station masquerading as a state.

Five years later, however, Russia is still resilient, despite the Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine. It has effectively won, militarily, in Syria: Today it is a power broker in that country; the victory has raised its prestige in the Middle East and provided material support for Moscow’s claims to be a great power again.

Those who experience this moment with some discomfort should get used to it: Russia is not a superpower, but it is back as an important independent player. And it will be playing in various regions around the world in the years to come.

To the Russians themselves, this feels natural enough. In the 1990s, when the world saw Russia on its back, Russia’s leaders never looked at the country as finished. Rather, they saw its post-Soviet decline and withdrawal from the world scene as only temporary — something that Russia had experienced before and would eventually overcome. The only question was what form it would take.

As Challenges Mount, Can Europe Correct Its Course?

The liberal European order that emerged after World War II and spread after the collapse of the Soviet Union is now under attack from both within and without. The European Union—the ultimate expression of the European project—has become a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, as anti-EU sentiment has become part of the broader populist platform of protectionism and opposition to immigration. The EU still managed to withstand its latest challenge when the gains made by populist parties in recent European Parliamentary elections fell short of expectations.

Nevertheless, Britain’s withdrawal from the union, known as Brexit, continues to loom over the grouping, and there is no way of knowing whether the populist wave has crested. Illiberal governments hold power in Hungary and Poland, and a far-right party was part of a coalition government in Austria until its recent collapse. Centrist leaders seem unable to come up with a response to immigration that doesn’t alienate more voters than it unites.

Trump and the Military: A Dysfunctional Marriage, but They Stay Together

By Helene CooperJulian E. BarnesEric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

WASHINGTON — Days after President Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw 1,000 American troops from Syria, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saw a way to turn it around.

The businessman in Mr. Trump had focused on the Syrian oil fields that, if left unprotected, could fall into the hands of the Islamic State — or Russia or Iran. So General Milley proposed to a receptive Mr. Trump that American commandos, along with allied Syrian Kurdish fighters, guard the oil.

Today, 800 American troops remain in Syria.

“We’re keeping the oil,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Wednesday before his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. “We left troops behind, only for the oil."

That is a far cry from where Mr. Trump was last month, when he ordered the withdrawal of all American troops from northern Syria. But now, for the second time in less than a year, the Pentagon has softened the president’s initial decision.

Kim Jong Un’s Warning for Trump

Earlier this year, as talks between North Korea and the United States broke down, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set a deadline—the end of 2019—for getting thing back on track. With that deadline nearing, and with the Trump administration set to continue joint air drills with South Korea, Kim issued a warning. “The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence,” an official statement from the regime read. Noting the “betrayal” of the joint drills, the regime threatened to escalate tensions.

A transcript of the statement, attributed to a North Korean spokesman, is below. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

We explicitly defined the joint military drill being planned by the U.S. and South Korea as a main factor of screwing up tensions of the Korean Peninsula and the region out of control, and have expressed deep concern over it and repeatedly warned them to stop it.

Despite our repeated warnings, the U.S. and the South Korean side decided to push ahead with the military drill hostile to the DPRK at the most sensitive time. This has further enraged our people, making it hard for them to keep the patience they have so far exercised.

Trump Isn't Serious About Removing U.S. Troops from the Middle East

by Daniel R. DePetris

The war in Afghanistan goes on despite the president’s supposed revulsion about the conflict.

Like all presidential candidates, Donald Trump made a boatload of promises when he was running for the nation’s top job in 2016. He was the overly blunt, prickly, obnoxious non-politician who was going to turn the United States around with lower taxes, more jobs, a booming economy, fewer federal regulations, and a complete overhaul of the country’s broken immigration system. 

Trump’s most significant commitment during the campaign, however, was pulling the United States out of the unending, costly wars that have dominated U.S. foreign policy for nearly twenty years. In the typical, coarse language he was known for throughout his four decades in the Manhattan real estate business, Trump blasted the war in Iraq as a “big, fat mistake” and called out Republican candidates on the debate stage (like Jeb Bush) who were unwilling to admit it. He condemned the stupidity of U.S. leaders for continuing to throw tens of billions of dollars into Afghanistan, declaring as far back as 2012 that it was time for U.S. troops to get out of the country. Trump has continued with the theme in his first term as president: Iraq was a disaster; Afghanistan was a tragic waste of lives of resources; Syria was a land of “sand and death”; and the nation-building campaigns in the Middle East were a sad joke. 

US Defense Secretary: US Could Alter Military Drills to Boost North Korea Talks

Mark Esper said that he is open to the possibility of altering U.S. military activities in South Korea if it would help advance a diplomatic deal with North Korea.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that he is open to the possibility of altering American military activities in South Korea if it would help advance a diplomatic deal with North Korea to eliminate its nuclear program.

In an interview with reporters flying with him to Seoul, Esper said any changes in military exercises or training would be done in ways that did not jeopardize troops’ combat preparedness. And he said they would be done in consultation with the South Korean government.

He would not say what specific adjustments might be contemplated. The United States and South Korea already scaled back their 2018 and 2019 military exercises in the hope that it would help move North Korea toward agreement to give up its nuclear weapons. So far that has not worked.

“We will adjust our exercise posture, either more or less, depending on what diplomacy may require,” Esper said, adding, “We have to be open to all those things that empower and enable our diplomats” in the nuclear talks.

The EIA Is Grossly Overestimating US Shale – Analysis

By Nick Cunningham

The prevailing wisdom that sees explosive and long-term potential for U.S. shale may rest on some faulty and overly-optimistic assumptions, according to a new report.

Forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), along with those from its Paris-based counterpart, the International Energy

Agency (IEA), are often cited as the gold standard for energy outlooks. Businesses and governments often refer to these forecasts for long-term investments and policy planning.

In that context, it is important to know if the figures are accurate, to the extent that anyone can accurately forecast precise figures decades into the future.

A new report from the Post Carbon Institute asserts that the EIA’s reference case for production forecasts through 2050 “are extremely optimistic for the most part, and therefore highly unlikely to be realized.”

What the Impeachment Inquiry Means for the U.S. Relationship With Ukraine

Casey Michel

The quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump has already ensnared many other people, while raising more and more questions. From the extent of Trump’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals to the culpability of prominent officials in and outside his administration in that scheme, the public hearings that started this week have set the stage for an impeachment vote that could be among the most pivotal political moments in recent American history.

One of the questions swirling around this scandal is what the revelations about Trump will mean for future U.S. policy toward Ukraine. That is, can the Ukrainian government continue to rely on Washington as a reliable partner in its efforts to dislodge Russian-backed separatists from eastern Ukraine, while steering a course toward the European Union and fulfilling the promise of the country’s successful, pro-democracy revolution five years ago?

The Enemy Within

by James Mattis

Our grasp on what it takes to sustain a democracy is slipping.

In 1838, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois. The subject was citizenship and the preservation of America’s political institutions. The backdrop was the threat posed to those institutions by the evil of slavery. Lincoln warned that the greatest danger to the nation came from within. All the armies of the world could not crush us, he maintained, but we could still “die by suicide.”

And now, today, we look around. Our politics are paralyzing the country. We practice suspicion or contempt where trust is needed, imposing a sentence of anger and loneliness on others and ourselves. We scorch our opponents with language that precludes compromise. We brush aside the possibility that a person with whom we disagree might be right. We talk about what divides us and seldom acknowledge what unites us. Meanwhile, the docket of urgent national issues continues to grow—unaddressed and, under present circumstances, impossible to address.

How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong

By Eugene Linden

For decades, most scientists saw climate change as a distant prospect. We now know that thinking was wrong. This summer, for instance, a heat wave in Europe penetrated the Arctic, pushing temperatures into the 80s across much of the Far North and, according to the Belgian climate scientist Xavier Fettweis, melting some 40 billion tons of Greenland’s ice sheet.

Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the Arctic and produce Sahara-like temperatures in Paris and Berlin, the prediction would have been dismissed as alarmist. But many worst-case scenarios from that time are now realities.

Science is a process of discovery. It can move slowly as the pieces of a puzzle fall together and scientists refine their investigative tools. But in the case of climate, this deliberation has been accompanied by inertia born of bureaucratic caution and politics. A recent essay in Scientific American argued that scientists “tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold” and said one of the reasons was “the perceived need for consensus.” This has had severe consequences, diluting what should have been a sense of urgency and vastly understating the looming costs of adaptation and dislocation as the planet continues to warm.

The Real Fight for the Future of 5G

By Scott Malcomson 

In late October, Germany and China began commercial-scale rollouts of 5G, the wireless technology infrastructure that is transforming the way the world computes. Machines and people will still talk to each other over the borderless network we call the Internet. But with 5G, a new networking infrastructure is emerging, dependent on the Internet but distinct from it and subject to much more government and private control.

With 5G it is possible to do enormous amounts of computing at very high speeds and without having to connect the input device—a cell phone, say, or a self-driving car—to a wire of any kind. But those high speeds are possible only if the rest of the system (signal towers, base stations, distributed servers, and the megascale centers that house the data and do a great deal of computing themselves) is physically near enough to these input devices. Having your phone, car, or pacemaker in constant contact with vast computational power in the so-called cloud sounds amazingly untethered and extraterritorial. Yet in its physicality and focus on location, the emerging system is more grounded than the Internet ever was.

Can social media ‘targetcasting’ and democracy coexist?

Tom Wheeler

Speaking recently at Georgetown University, Mark Zuckerberg told an audience “I’ve focused on building services to do two things: give people voice, and bring people together.” He later said “More people being able to share their perspectives has always been necessary to build a more inclusive society.” The speech anointed Facebook as the “Fifth Estate” in which “people no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard.”

The problem is that the platform Zuckerberg created does more than “give people voice, and bring people together.” It is economically incentivized to drive people apart. In the process it shatters an underpinning of democracy.


Since the time of the early advertising-supported newspapers, economic incentive has worked to bring people together around a common set of shared information. Maximizing ad revenue meant offending as few readers as possible by at least attempting a balanced presentation of the facts. The search for balance began to retreat with the arrival of cable television, but the economic model of maximizing revenue by maximizing reach still governed. The targeting capability of social media algorithms, however, has extinguished the traditional economic model. Now profit comes not through the broad delivery of common information, but the targeted delivery of selected information. The result is an attack on the model of shared information that is necessary for a democracy to function.

Don’t Rush Quantum-Proof Encryption, Warns NSA Research Director


Quantum computers could crack the codes that secure the world’s digital information but racing to a solution could create more threats.

In 1994, an American mathematician named Peter Shor discovered a way to crack the codes that banks, e-commerce platforms and intelligence agencies use to secure their digital information. His technique, dubbed Shor’s algorithm, drastically shortened the time it took to find the prime numbers that underlie public-key cryptography, making codes that typically take thousands of years to break solvable in a matter of months. 

But there was a catch: Shor’s algorithm could only run on a quantum computer, and those didn’t exist yet.

A quarter-century and many research dollars later, the world still hasn’t created a quantum computer capable of breaking public-key encryption in any reasonable amount of time. However, those machines are much closer to the horizon today than they were in the mid-1990s, and the cybersecurity community is already hedging its bets against a future when digital secrets are knowable to anyone with the right hacking chops and a couple dozen qubits.

How the government wants to secure industrial control systems

By: Nathan Strout 

With one year under its belt, the newly established Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is ready to take the next steps in protecting the nation’s industrial control systems.

“This Saturday, Nov. 16, marks one year of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency from when it was established. I’m very proud of what my agency has accomplished over the past year,” said Richard Driggers, CISA’s deputy assistant director for cybersecurity, at CyberCon2019. “That being said, we’ve entered into our second year. We aim to accomplish even more.”

In that first year, the agency has developed a list of critical functions, contributed to election security efforts and worked with industry to protect the supply chain, with a special focus on 5G technology. Now, the agency wants to refocus its efforts on securing national industrial control systems, said Driggers.

Why Are American Companies Helping China Build an Artificial Intelligence Authoritarian State?

by William Giannetti

If the future looks like China’s digital autocracy, then lawmakers ought to set a new standard for business ethics on the internet now, before it’s too late.

President Xi Jinping wants China to dominate artificial intelligence by 2030. But all it seems the Middle Kingdom’s new AI entrepreneurs want to talk about ancient history. Take Kai-Fu Lee, for example. Born in Taiwan, he emigrated to America at eleven years old. After earning a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon in the 1980s, Lee worked his way up at Apple, Microsoft, and eventually, Google. In his book AI Superpowers, he likens Chinese entrepreneurs to “gladiators” fighting in a new tech war arena, where it’s “kill or be killed.”

Electricity brought America’s early twentieth-century industrial revolution to life. Lee predicts AI will electrify China’s next tech boom. To meet Xi’s goal, he says China is raising a well-trained army, but not one clad in breastplates and helmets. No, this new army is made up of businessmen, software developers, and engineers who are hungry to make millions for China First. “The only recourse when an opponent strikes a low blow,” writes Lee, “is to launch a more damaging counterattack, one that can take the form of copying products [or] smearing opponents.” Other attacks come from China’s courts whose cybersecurity laws abet intellectual property hijacking. Unforgiving magistrates will imprison foreign competitors if they don’t submit their designs to a one-sided national security review.

China Says It’s Developing 6G. What Does That Mean?


Just as the US and the West grapple with China's lead in next-gen 5G networking gear, Beijing announced two working groups focused on advancing 6G.

After booting up 5G networks across 50 cities early this month and ahead of its initial deployment deadline, China officially set its sights on 6G innovation. The Ministry of Science and Technology unveiled plans last week to launch a nationally coordinated research effort specifically focused on developing 6G technology. 

Science- and policy-based experts spoke to Nextgov about what the sixth generation of mobile technology is and entails, as well as what federal leaders should take away from the announcement, as they work to advance the United States’ cellular landscape. 

“I saw [the announcement] largely as typical Chinese exaggeration,” James Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. “Part of it is that the Chinese are playing to a domestic audience that has to hear that the party, all-seeing and wise, is keeping them up with the Joneses. This is telephone envy by the Chinese. I don’t take it that seriously.”

SOCOM is working on a mechanical ‘third arm’ that may tout a drone-killing weapon system

Jared Keller

U.S. special operations forces could eventually deploy with an articulated mechanical ‘third arm’ that could potentially detect, track, and classify incoming unmanned aerial systems, Task & Purpose has learned.

The system, currently called the Small Arms Stabilization Platform/Counter Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Weapon System, is one of several subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the “Iron Man suit,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

The system “combines a lightweight modular gyro-stabilization device to enable the operator to engage targets with more accuracy,” Hawkins told Task & Purpose. “It’s essentially a system that has a multirole capability against air-ground-and maritime threats.”

“Not only are we talking the stabilization device that enables the operator to engage with greater accuracy, but detecting tracking and targeting and classifying targets prior to engagement,” Hawkins added. “There’s potential for an auto-detect feature. The specific capabilities aren’t sketched out yet, but we’ve identified several for further maturation and testing.”

China Investing in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Warfare to Threaten US Military Superiority


NEW YORK—China is eroding America’s military superiority and conventional deterrence through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) systems in its military strategies, operations, and capabilities, an independent U.S. federal commission warned, adding that the United States needs to step up investment in the technology and apply it to national security missions.

China’s communist regime has established research and development institutes to advance its military applications of AI. Those institutes are equivalent to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—a U.S. agency under the Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for military use. 

Military applications of AI technologies are being developed by Chinese researchers in the areas of “swarming, decision support, and information operations,” while the country’s defense industry is pursuing the development of “increasingly autonomous weapons systems,” an interim report released by The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence said on Nov. 4. 

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) declared it would be the world leader in AI by 2030, part of its broader strategy to challenge America’s military and economic position in Asia, as Beijing also pursues a process of “intelligentization” as a new imperative of its military modernization. The commission’s members described China as “our most serious strategic competitor” in their preface. China is also making an “active effort” to recruit global AI talent and to convince Chinese nationals working abroad to return to their home country.