22 November 2019

Upgrading Digital India’s Cybersecurity Model

By Connor Fairman

After weathering two major cyberattacks this fall, India needs to step up its cybersecurity measures.

In the past two weeks, India has acknowledged two major cyberattacks, both of which demonstrated evidence of North Korean involvement. The first attack was carried out against India’s newest and largest nuclear power plant, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, while the second targeted the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India’s space agency, during its failed moon landing mission in September.

These two incidents underscore criticism that India’s cybersecurity capabilities have failed to keep pace with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India Initiative. Inadequate cybersecurity could turn the Digital India Initiative, which hopes to “transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy,” into a serious economic and national security vulnerability. To address its cybersecurity gaps, the Indian government should follow the examples of other Asian governments, such as Taiwan, and implement cybersecurity training for its government employees that meets international standards, develop a domestic cybersecurity workforce, and increase cybersecurity exercises with partner nations, especially in Asia.

Memorable Hindu Kings Of Kashmir (304 BC-1346 AD) – Analysis

By Dr. Rajkumar Singh

With Asoka, the great Buddhist Emperor of India, the history of Kashmir begins. The authentic facts of history safely held the view that Ashoka’s sovereign power extended to Kashmir. He was the contemporary of Hannibal and his Kingdom extended from Bengal to the Deccan, to Afghanistan and the Punjab, and the results of whose influence may be seen to this day in Kashmir, in the remains of Buddhist temples and statues, and in the ruins of cities founded by him 250 years before Christ. 

It was Asoka who founded Srinagari, the ancient capital of Kashmir with its’ ninety-six lakhs of houses resplendent with wealth. According to Hiuen Tsiang, Asoka settled 5,000 monks in Kashmir which had in earlier times played a great part in the traditions of Buddhism. With the three Turkish Kings, Huska, Juska, and Kanishka, Buddhism achieved new popularity and power. Kanishka, identified with the great Kushan ruler of north- western India, held the third great Buddhist council in Kashmir and withdrew the northern canon. Hiuen Tsiang on his visit to Kashmir in the seventh century found local traditions about that king . 
Powerful ruler of Kashmir

The Looming Governance Crisis in Pakistan

By Umair Jamal

Has Imran Khan overplayed his hand in Pakistani politics?

Pakistan’s ruling party has faced serious political setbacks over the last two weeks. A number of developments that have taken place recently in the country’s domestic politics suggest that trouble is brewing for the ruling party.

The country’s opposition has made huge gains over the last few weeks, which underscore that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI)’s approach to eliminate political opposition has not only failed but proved counterproductive. For instance, the way Imran Khan’s party has handled the case of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, points towards serious divisions within the party. Moreover, the entire case of Sharif has not only made him a central figure in Pakistan’s politics again but also created another popular wave of unrest, particularly among parliamentarians from Punjab. Besides, the recent sit-in of the Jamiatul Ulama-i-Islam Fazal (JUI-F), demanding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation has further weakened the ruling party’s combative approach to deal with political opposition. JUI-F may not have been able to take Khan’s resignation but the party has certainly revived opposition hopes of forming an alliance against the ruling party.

Nepal Between China and India

By Ankit Panda

Tika P. Dhakal discusses Nepal’s geopolitical circumstances between India and China.

In October 2019, President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to visit Nepal. Relations between China and the Himalayan state have been quickly advancing in recent years amid growing concerns in India and elsewhere that Kathmandu is decisively pivoting toward Beijing. Xi’s visit elevated ties between the two countries a “strategic partnership of cooperation.” To probe Nepal’s geopolitical circumstances between its two giant neighbors, The Diplomat’s senior editor, Ankit Panda, spoke to Tika P. Dhakal, a foreign affairs commentator from Nepal. Apart from writing regular column in Kantipur Daily, Dhakal engages with regional think tanks and the strategic affairs community.

The Diplomat: Has Nepal started an irreversible geopolitical shift away from India, or is this perception exaggerated?

Russo-Kazakh Relations: The China Factor – Analysis

By Chris Cheang

Kazakhstan’s relations with China have strengthened in recent years, not least because of the important role it plays in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Yet, the Kazakh government is under increasing pressure to sensitively manage its ties with China and Russia.

For China, Kazakhstan is crucial to its politico-security and economic interests. Sharing a common border of 1,780 km with Xinjiang, Beijing wants to ensure that ethnic, religious and cultural affinities between the Kazakhs and the population in Xinjiang do not adversely affect bilateral relations, especially vis-a-vis Chinese security concerns.

Economically, Kazakhstan is a key node in the BRI; it was not a coincidence that President Xi Jinping announced the BRI in 2013 in Astana (now renamed Nur-Sultan). There are reportedly 55 projects underway, amounting to US$27.5 billion. China is a major player in Kazakhstan’s energy sector, reportedly controlling up to 30% of its oil extraction, and an important trading partner, accounting for 12% of total trade turnover with value amounting to $11.7 billion in 2018.

China's Crisis Is That It Can't Control Hong Kong

by Paul Monod

Is there hope for a Hong Kong revolution?

Hong Kong may seem like an unlikely place for a revolution. In this relatively affluent and privileged city, young people might be expected to be more concerned with making money than with protesting in the streets. Yet day after day, demonstrators in Hong Kong risk injury and death confronting security forces backed by the massive power of the Chinese government.

Among their demands are democratic elections for the city’s Legislative Council and chief executive. Their desire for fundamental change has mounted, and they increasingly see their own lives as lacking meaning unless circumstances change.

Historians have long argued that revolutions are built not on deep misery but on rising expectations. Since the 18th century, societies, clubs and associations of intellectuals have been seedbeds of radical change in countries throughout the world. They provided leadership for the French Revolution in 1789, the European revolutions of 1848 and the Russian Revolution of 1905.

How China Influences Media in Central and Eastern Europe

By Ivana Karásková

China has successfully planted its narratives on topics like the Hong Kong protests into major news outlets across Central and Eastern Europe.

The ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu believed that it is better to attack the enemy’s mind than to attack fortified cities. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a rather keen disciple of Sun Tzu, and it has been using modern media and social networks to “attack the minds” and win the hearts of Europeans in a rather skillful and so far underreported way.

A prime example of the China’s strategy to dominate the discourse in European media has been its attempts to change the narrative on Hong Kong’s ongoing protests. China Observers in Central and Eastern Europe, a network of China specialists in the region, discovered that during the protests in Hong Kong from August to October, PRC embassies in Central and Eastern Europe approached local media with an offer to publish an ambassador’s op-ed or an interview with the head of the embassy promoting the official “real account” on the protests.

With an Eye Toward China, Pentagon Weighs Slashing Global Hawk Drone

By Lara Seligman

Just months after Iran shot down an expensive U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz, the Defense Department is weighing scrapping about two-thirds of the Air Force’s roughly three dozen Global Hawk unmanned aircraft as part of a shift toward building the new capabilities needed to counter China and Russia. 

The Air Force has proposed retiring as many as 21 of its 35 RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude drones, which currently collect intelligence across the Middle East and elsewhere, as part of a series of steep cuts to legacy programs, current and former U.S. defense officials told Foreign Policy. The proposal has been submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for review as part of annual budget negotiations.

“The Air Force continues to refine its budget submission,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said. “We don’t expect details to be available until the President’s Budget is submitted to Congress in February 2020.”

The proposed cut is part of the Pentagon’s shift from the counterterrorism fight of the last few decades toward so-called great-power threats from China and Russia. The strategy was laid out in the Pentagon’s guiding doctrine, the National Defense Strategy, rolled out by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis in January 2018.

China, Capitalism, and the New Cold War


As Branko Milanović notes in his new book, capitalism convincingly triumphed over socialism at the end of the Cold War. That does not mean that struggles between the emerging variants of capitalism—liberal-meritocratic and political—will be any less fierce.

“Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.”

― John Milton, Paradise Lost

When politicians, pundits, and academics speak of a growing competition, or even a New Cold War, between the United States and China, one thing that is not asked enough is what is being competed for. Likewise, when we speak of an “American” or “Western” model, in contrast to a “Chinese” one, it is worth asking what or who exactly is being modeled, and to what end. One of the virtues of Branko Milanović’s new book, Capitalism, Alone, is that it addresses these questions head-on and with useful insights and results. The answer, according to Milanović, is that the competition is to win the hearts and minds (or, as we will discuss, at least the pocketbooks) of the leaders of what used to be called the Third or developing world, and which is now generally referred to as the Global South.

The Pressure on China

George Friedman

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has begun minor operations to try to quell the unrest in Hong Kong. This is a step that the Chinese hoped to avoid. For one thing, they wanted to portray the unrest as minor, not requiring their intervention. For another, they did not want issues raised about Chinese human rights violations, which inevitably emerge in such interventions. At a time when China is trying to portray itself as the global alternative to the United States, it doesn’t want other countries, particularly those in Europe, noticing human rights abuses.

This strategy took another huge blow with the leak over the weekend of government documents describing in detail a broad Chinese assault that has been underway for several years on the ethnic minority Uighur community in the western province of Xinjiang. The documents gave detailed accounts of massive detention camps for “retraining” purposes and the separation of families on a scale that is startling even for China. Beijing clearly wants to break the back of Islam in the province.

South Korea Faces Major Decision Over Military Pact With Japan

A look at the General Security of Military Intelligence Agreement, or GSOMIA, which expires on Saturday unless Seoul renews it.

Squeezed between a growing North Korean threat and a shaky alliance with the United States, South Korea must decide this week whether its national pride and deep frustrations with Japan are worth killing a major symbol of their security cooperation with Washington.

After exchanging haymakers with Japan over history and trade, South Korea expanded the feud to military matters in August when it gave three-months’ notice on its plans to terminate a 2016 bilateral military intelligence-sharing agreement it signed after years of prodding by the United States.

The announcement drew unusually blunt criticism from Washington, which described Seoul’s decision to end the pact as detrimental to the security of its Asian allies and increasing risk to U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.

Seoul has since said it could keep the agreement if Tokyo reverses a decision to downgrade South Korea’s status as a trade partner.

Japan and South Korea: Headaches and Headlines

By Duncan Bartlett

The media in Japan show great enthusiasm in covering their country’s dispute with South Korea – but not all reports are credible.

The images of South Korea that appear in the Japanese media can be either friendly or frightening, depending on which articles you read. One of the most sensational recent stories suggested that, in the event of a war, a majority of South Koreans would side with North Korea in attacking Japan.

This wild claim was based on a completely unscientific survey, yet it nevertheless generated plenty of coverage – especially on social media, which cares little for credibility.

By contrast, South Korean pop stars, such as Twice, are wining positive press as they undertake a musical charm offensive. Next year, the girl group will play the Tokyo Dome, Japan’s largest venue. Tickets on secondary markets are already selling for the equivalent of $500.

The media coverage enjoyed by even most successful K-Pop stars, however, pales into comparison to the headlines generated by South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in.

Can a Young Saudi Prince End the War in Yemen?

By Colum Lynch , Lara Seligman , Robbie Gramer

Four and a half years ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led a military coalition against a Houthi insurgency in Yemen, drawing Saudi Arabia into the most disastrous war in its modern history. Now, he is looking to his little brother, Khalid bin Salman, to get him out of it.

Last week, Khalid bin Salman traveled to Muscat, Oman, for a meeting with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said to prepare the groundwork for high-level talks with the Iranian-backed Houthis, who seized control of Yemen’s presidential palace in January 2015, forcing the Saudi-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to flee the capital of Sanaa. The meeting marks the culmination of more than three years of highly discreet, mostly secret direct talks between Saudi and Houthi officials.

The prince’s diplomatic mission to Oman sends a “strong signal” of a shift in Saudi Arabia’s war policy, reflecting “a commitment to a final comprehensive peace … and a realization that there is no military solution to the conflict,” said Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, a former Yemeni foreign minister. “I believe Prince KBS hopefully has come with a new vision to put an end to a costly war which has created great regional stability.”

Why No Arab Spring in Palestine?


The same grievances—corruption, lack of trust in governing elites, and the breakdown of basic services—that have been driving thousands into the streets of Lebanon and Iraq also apply in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet Palestinians have been unable or unwilling to harness people against their own leaders in a sustained way. What does the absence of such protests say about the Palestinians and their politics? And is it only a matter of time, as journalist Hani Masri recently predicted, until the next wave of the Arab Spring arrives in Palestine?


As corrupt, inefficient, and dysfunctional as Palestinians believe their leaders to be, getting rid of them has never been their top priority. It is intriguing, though, that the first intifada in December 1987 was in fact a revolt against both the occupation and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), then operating not in the West Bank and Gaza, but in exile. Indeed, the PLO had to play catch-up to try to regain control of events on the ground. Still, among both the elite and the general public, the primary focus has been ending the occupation, not bringing about the end of their own governing regimes. At least, not yet. Given Mahmoud Abbas’s increasing unpopularity, that state of affairs is no longer guaranteed. But to date, Palestinian independence has been the single most compelling factor driving Palestinian tactics and strategy.

Al-Qaeda’s Long Game in the Sinai

By: Michael W. S. Ryan

Executive Summary

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s long-game strategy has created international networks with the ultimate intention of creating a united Islamic Emirate to take the place of the lost Ottoman Caliphate, across a continuous band from Turkistan to the Atlantic coast. [1] Bruce Hoffman brought the implications of al-Qaeda’s expansive international presence, including countries beyond Zawahiri’s traditional caliphate, into bold relief over a year ago when he argued that al-Qaeda “should now be considered the world’s top terrorist group.” [2] A renewed look is especially important now that the United States has shifted its national security priorities away from counterterrorism in the Greater Middle East and North Africa to focus on the threats posed by Russia and China. Now, President Donald Trump has also signaled his intention to abandon the successful American counterterrorism strategy that is based on strategic relationships with local partners who provide ground forces and are assisted by small cadres of American Special Forces.

We Must Rebuild American Uranium, Rare Earths Infrastructure


Rare earths are 17 chemical elements used in military equipment as varied as missile guidance systems to lasers. China controls much of the world’s rare earth production, which has made them a concern of the Pentagon and the White House. Uranium is another critical military material largely controlled today by foreign sources. What should be done? Read on! The Editor.

One way China and Russia are successfully undermining American leadership is by flooding the global market with state-subsided rare earths, including the nuclear materials that power critical American aircraft carriers and submarines.

Immediate, direct federal purchases of uranium is one key way that we can counter the malign influence of China and Russia by securing the U.S. nuclear supply chain for national security. Utilizing his newly-created Nuclear Fuel Working Group, President Trump can strengthen America’s position in the world and restore a finite and diminishing American uranium supply with direct federal uranium purchases.

Israel launches air strikes in Syria; Damascus says two killed

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said its aircraft struck dozens of Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria on Wednesday in retaliation for rockets fired towards Israel a day earlier.

Syrian state media reported two civilians were killed and several others injured in the attacks, but said Syria’s air defenses destroyed most of the missiles fired by Israeli jets over Damascus, the capital, before they reached their targets.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said 11 people were killed, including seven who were not from Syria, citing its own sources.

An Israeli official who requested anonymity said a preliminary and yet unconfirmed tally put the number of fatalities at between 10 and 20 military personnel, “about two-thirds of them Iranian and a third (of them) Syrian.”

Israel’s military said its missile defense system shot down four rockets fired from Syria toward Israel on Tuesday.

New Missions and New Capabilities for Russia’s Navy

By: Stephen Blank

One of the hallmarks of Vladimir Putin’s leadership has been the steady rise in capabilities and mission sets for the Russian navy—the Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF). Already in February 2014, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu outlined an agenda for a network of global bases for the VMF (RIA Novosti, February 26, 2014), not coincidentally on the same day as Russian forces began their invasion of Crimea. The timing strongly suggested that Moscow’s Ukrainian war, from its outset, was somehow connected to a larger strategic plan. And more recent developments have further buttressed this supposition, revealing that, along with the quest for naval outposts in all corners of the world, Russia is apparently endeavoring to achieve a global strike capability.

Certainly, the latest military exercises over the past month suggest an ambitious set of mission requirements and training to achieve those capabilities. Upon concluding its annual nuclear exercise, Grom 2019, which gave the nuclear navy a prominent role (Mil.ru, October 14), Russia then sent 12 submarines and 17 supply vessels into the North Atlantic. The location and makeup of this latter force grouping clearly suggested an intention to rehearse either missile strikes on North America and/or training for interdiction of allied naval forces or assaults on lines of communication in that ocean. Those forces also deployed first into the Barents and Norwegian seas, thus pointing to the heightened role that the Northern Fleet now plays in Russian military planning (Interfax, November 8).

Does South Korea Still Need U.S. Troops? In Short, Yes

by David Axe

Trump’s demand for a few billion dollars could achieve what decades of military posturing by North Korea has failed to do: deeply undermine South Korea’s defenses.

Mutual-defense talks between the United States and South Korea abruptly broke down on Nov. 19, 2019 when the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that the government in Seoul increase, from $1 billion to $5 billion annually, what it pays to support the roughly 29,000 U.S. troops in the country.

The diplomatic row follows several years of increasing tensions between Trump and the South Koreans as Trump repeatedly has tried to secure a deal with North Korea whereby the North would give up its growing nuclear arsenal.

In a concession to North Korea, Trump ordered U.S. forces in South Korea to suspend major training exercises with their South Korean counterparts. With the six-decade U.S.-South Korean alliance seemingly on the verge of collapse, it’s worth asking just how much South Korea, the world’s 12th-largest economy, needs U.S. troops.

What’s Behind Washington’s Unsettling West Bank Announcement?

Philip H. Gordon

By announcing that Israeli settlements do not violate international law, the Trump administration continues a pattern of policy shifts that further weakens the prospects for Palestinian statehood.

How significant is this announcement, and what is its basis in international law?

For decades, U.S. administrations have avoided calling Israeli settlements in the West Bank “illegal”—the position of much of the rest of the world—but they never formally repudiated a 1978 legal opinion that such settlements are inconsistent with international law. Until now, the United States had signaled its opposition to settlement activity, calling it “illegitimate” or an “obstacle to peace.” By announcing the view that settlements are not necessarily inconsistent with international law, the Donald J. Trump administration is signaling a reduction in opposition to Israeli settlement expansion. What’s odd is that the administration didn’t provide a legal explanation of its decision or clarify why it disagrees with the traditional interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s ban on settlements by occupying powers. In that sense, the announcement is much more a political statement than a genuine interpretation of international law.

The Tectonic Forces of Global Discontent

Anirban Lahiri

The ink had barely dried on my last article when the second Latin American country in as many weeks was in the throes of violent unrest: enter Bolivia, exit Evo Morales. I had predicted that the unrest in Chile would catalyze a wave of riots in other LATAM countries into 2020 but even I was taken aback by how soon this actually materialized.

Sure, tensions had been simmering for a while under Morales' model of "oligarchic socialism" or "crony socialism" in a country with deep divisions and still haunted by the long shadow of the institution-less model of Spanish colonial rule that encompassed large swathes of South and Central America. But, this kind of discontent can simmer and has simmered for decades. The catalyst that led this simmering discontent to spill out onto the streets of La Paz was, in my view, the violent riots that engulfed Chile a few weeks earlier. In the digital age, people can find inspiration even from far-flung countries. This was why the Chinese authorities tightened their grip on the internet economy and social media in the wake of the Arab Spring -- it was less due to a knee-jerk realization of what could happen in a connected society of discontent and more a fear of the inspiration that Chinese youth might have drawn from the Facebook-fueled swell of mass unrest that swept up one Arab nation after another, domino style, albeit half-a-world away from China's glittering new cities.

Which Countries And Industries Use The Most Robots?

Industrial robots are fully autonomous machines that can be reprogrammed to perform several manual tasks.[ 1] In this post, we discuss the rising deployment of industrial robots in industries around the world.

In 2017, nearly 2 million industrial robots were in use around the world, up nearly 280% since 1993. The use of robots has more than doubled in the last 20 years in most advanced economies. The top users of industrial robots in 2017 were China, Japan, and South Korea, using nearly 50% of the world’s stock of robots. European nations were also significant users of industrial robots in 2017, with Germany employing around 200,000 robots.

Russia Adopts National Strategy for Development of Artificial Intelligence

By: Sergey Sukhankin

On October 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the National Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence (NSDAI) for the period until 2030. During the unveiling of the new strategy, Putin noted that “the global market for products using artificial intelligence will grow almost 17-fold by 2024, to roughly $500 billion.” To make the most of these global trends, the Kremlin leader called for “a partnership of large companies with the state to promote science and technology” in pursuit of integrating AI-related technologies into various spheres of the Russian economy (TASS, October 11). Subsequently, Putin announced a series of orders (porucheniya) that would de facto form the backbone of the NSDAI. The most distinctive feature of these orders was premised on active involvement of large Russian corporations, including Gazprom Neft, Sberbank, Rosatom, Rostekh, Rostelekom, and Russian Railways—essentially making these entities responsible/accountable for the whole process of implementation. A second crucial element was the creation of the Digital Economy (Tsifrovaya Ekonomika) national program (natsproyekt)—a federal project, fully financed from the state budget, that would be specifically concerned with the practical implementation of a broad spectrum of initiatives concerned with AI and related fields (It-world.ru, June 19).

China’s Achilles’ heel when it comes to cyberspace

By: Mark Pomerleau

If “mutually assured cyber destruction" were to occur, one Marine Corps leader said, authoritarian nations such as China might have more to lose than the United States.

Top national security experts have warned that despite the United States’ cyber prowess, the country is vulnerable to cyberattacks because of how interconnected society is with essential services and the internet. But in the case of a cyber catastrophe, “we’ll still be America. We’ll be a little beaten up, a little dirty, but China won’t be China anymore because they will not maintain control,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the deputy commandant for combat development and integration. Smith spoke at an AFCEA Northern Virginia chapter lunch Nov. 15.

Smith said if much of the country goes offline, places like Plano, Texas, will essentially be the same. While certain elements of daily life could get ugly, residents could still rely on local-, county-, state- and national-level law enforcement entities.

China, however, as an authoritarian state, must maintain central control, Smith said. This, in turn, become an Achilles’ heel.

Nanotechnology Is Shaping the Hypersonics Race


New materials to deflect massive amounts of surface heat don’t come from nature.

A protective coating of carbon nanotubes may help the Pentagon field warplanes and missiles that can survive the intense heat generated at five times the speed of sound.

Researchers from Florida State University’s High-Performance Materials Institute, with funding from the U.S. Air Force, discovered that soaking sheets of carbon nanotubes in phenol-based resin increases their ability to disperse heat by about one-sixth, allowing a thinner sheet to do the job.

Carbon nanotubes have shown potential in a wide variety of applications in recent years, everything from space elevators to drug delivery. The flexible molecules, just a billionth of a meter wide, are 100 times stronger than steel but only 16 percent of the weight. The sheets also both disperse heat and insulate well.“Carbon nanotubes have magnitudes higher in-plane thermal conductivity than carbon fiber,” researcher Ayou Hao explained to Defense One in an email. “Once heat reaches the carbon nanotube thermal protection layer surface, it is quickly dispatched.”

Preparing the Military for a Role on an Artificial Intelligence Battlefield

by Megan Lamberth

The Pentagon could emerge as a leader and a model for how to ensure ethics are embedded into artificial intelligence systems.

The Defense Innovation Board—an advisory committee of tech executives, scholars, and technologists—has unveiled its list of ethical principles for artificial intelligence (AI). If adopted by the Defense Department, then the recommendations will help shape the Pentagon’s use of AI in both combat and non-combat systems. The board’s principles are an important milestone that should be celebrated, but the real challenge of adoption and implementation is just beginning. For the principles to have an impact, the department will need strong leadership from the Joint AI Center (JAIC), buy-in from senior military leadership and outside groups, and additional technical expertise within the Defense Department. 

In its white paper, the board recognizes that the AI field is constantly evolving and that the principles it proposes represent guidelines the department should aim for as it continues to design and field AI-enabled technologies. The board recommends that the Defense Department should aspire to develop and deploy AI systems that are: 

Fighting Disinformation Online

A Database of Web Tools

The rise of the internet and the advent of social media have fundamentally changed the information ecosystem, giving the public direct access to more information than ever before. But it's often nearly impossible to distinguish accurate information from low-quality or false content. This means that disinformation—false or intentionally misleading information that aims to achieve an economic or political goal—can become rampant, spreading further and faster online than it ever could in another format.

As part of its Countering Truth Decay initiative, and with support from the Hewlett Foundation, RAND is responding to this urgent problem. Our researchers identified and characterized the universe of online tools developed by nonprofits and civil society organizations to target online disinformation. These tools were created to help information consumers, researchers, and journalists navigate today's challenging information environment.

Great Power Rivalry Is Also a War For Talent


China’s military is working harder to find and keep good people. The U.S. must step up its own efforts.

China’s technological prowess suggests that United States cannot indefinitely assume a military advantage based on weapons and equipment. Yet Pentagon leaders tempted to find comfort in the superiority of the American servicemember — “people are our greatest asset,” as they are wont to say — should note that the People’s Liberation Army is prioritizing efforts to catch up in its ability to find, attract, and retain talented people. If the U.S. military is to keep this edge, it needs to improve its own efforts, and quickly.

Traditionally, human capital has been a relative weakness for the PLA, which has been more generally known for its quantity, not the quality, of its personnel. However, ongoing reforms have shrunk and reshaped that a force that once relied heavily on conscription, including the demobilization of several hundred thousand personnel. Increasingly, the PLA is trying to recruit more educated and “high-quality” officers and enlisted personnel. In the process, the Chinese military has also changed its system for recruiting civilian personnel, including to concentrate on those with technical proficiency. China is also explorating of new options to apply a national strategy of military-civil fusion to talent development.

It's Time for a Massive U.S. Navy Base in Australia

by James Holmes

Today the time has come to expand and deepen the transpacific relationship beyond periodic U.S. Marine deployments and air-force exercises.

Some ideas are worth broaching even when it’s plain no one will act on them instantly, in whole, or even in part. They make sense even when vagaries of politics or strategy may rule out implementing them. They force people to think—and on occasion, the times catch up with the idea. Case in point: back in 2011 my wingman Toshi Yoshihara and I bruited about the idea of basing U.S. naval forces in Australia. We went big. Under our proposal, an aircraft-carrier expeditionary strike group or another heavy-hitting fleet contingent would call some Australian seaport home.

That would make Oz a U.S. naval hub on par with Japan, where Yokosuka and Sasebo play host to the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

The idea occasioned some buzz in policy circles, and it was more than whimsy. There is a historical precedent. After all, Australia acted as an unsinkable aircraft carrier during the Second World War. It was a staging point floating just outside imperial Japan’s “Southern Resource Area” in the South China Sea. Fremantle, in Western Australia, offered safe haven to U.S. Navy submarines sent forth to raid Japanese mercantile and naval shipping. The ledger of Australian contributions to Allied victory unrolls virtually without bound.

This Is How World War III Would Begin (As in a U.S.-China War)

by Robert Farley

How does the unthinkable happen? As historians continue to contemplate the various historic anniversaries around World War I through next year, the question of unexpected wars looms large. What series of events could lead to war in East Asia, and how would that war play out?

The United States and China are inextricably locked in the Pacific Rim’s system of international trade. Some argue that this makes war impossible, but then while some believed World War I inevitable, but others similarly thought it impossible.

In this article I concentrate less on the operational and tactical details of a US-China war, and more on the strategic objectives of the major combatants before, during, and after the conflict. A war between the United States and China would transform some aspects of the geopolitics of East Asia, but would also leave many crucial factors unchanged. Tragically, a conflict between China and the US might be remembered only as “The First Sino-American War.”

How the War Would Start: 

Fifteen years ago, the only answers to “How would a war between the People’s Republic of China and the United States start?” involved disputes over Taiwan or North Korea. A Taiwanese declaration of independence, a North Korean attack on South Korea, or some similar triggering event would force the PRC and the US reluctantly into war.