19 December 2019

***Cyber Attack on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant – A Wake Up Call

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The media is agog with the report of a cyber attack in India’s largest civil nuclear facility - the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu. Cyberspace provides a new opportunity for determined adversaries to wreak havoc at nuclear facilities possibly without ever setting foot inside the nuclear plant. If the network that runs the machines and software controlling the nuclear reactor are compromised, cyber attacks on nuclear power plants could have physical effects. This can be used to facilitate sabotage, theft of nuclear materials and sensitive information, or at its worst, a reactor meltdown. In a densely populated country like India, any radiation release from a nuclear facility would be a major disaster. Threats may be posed by nation states, terrorists, extremists, criminals including organized groups, outsiders such as suppliers or insiders acting intentionally or negligently. 

There is no such thing as a perfectly secure system. Systems are going to be breached - even one that may be disconnected from the Internet. Those looking to attack critical infrastructure can wait for years for a single mistake to be made. This is cyber warfare and vulnerabilities are going to be found. There have been over 20 known cyber incidents at nuclear facilities since 1990 all over the world which shows that the nuclear sector is not immune to cyber related threats. As the digitalization of nuclear reactor instrumentation and control systems increases, potential for malicious and accidental cyber incidents also increases. Authorities responsible for cyber security of nuclear installations have to be constantly on the vigil.The media is agog with the report of a cyber attack in India’s largest civil nuclear facility - the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu. Cyberspace provides a new opportunity for determined adversaries to wreak havoc at nuclear facilities possibly without ever setting foot inside the nuclear plant. If the network that runs the machines and software controlling the nuclear reactor are compromised, cyber attacks on nuclear power plants could have physical effects. 

Following Kashmir Reorganization, China and India Should Negotiate a Land Swap

By Daniel Shats

When India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous status in August, Pakistan was predictably outraged. But the move also provoked China, which controls the disputed Aksai Chin region in greater Kashmir. Although India insisted the India-China territorial disputes would be unaffected, China called the reorganization “unacceptable” and requested a closed UN Security Council meeting to discuss the matter on behalf of Pakistan and itself.

Instead of exacerbating the trend of polarization, China and India should move to finally resolve their border issues. If India formally cedes Aksai Chin to China in exchange for China recognizing India’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh, the two can reduce tensions, remove a layer of complexity from the Kashmir conflict, and gain more flexibility in their international relations.

Setting aside political feasibility (for now), China and India must first recognize that there is no path short of war for either country to “regain” the regions it does not already control. To China, Aksai Chin is logistically vital to military and internal security operations, because the highway running through it is the main route connecting Xinjiang and Tibet. To New Delhi, it is a barely inhabited wasteland that has been outside India’s control for many decades. By contrast, Arunachal Pradesh is home to 1.2 million Indian citizens and is a crucial buffer against possible attack on India’s isolated northeast. China, meanwhile, willingly vacated Arunachal Pradesh after winning the 1962 Sino-Indian War, finding it too hard to defend from across the Himalayas.

India Gets Serious About the Indo-Pacific

By Saurabh Todi

Competition in the Indo-Pacific is heating up and China is challenging India’s historical dominance in the Indian Ocean region. Chinese submarines have been spotted in the Indian Ocean and recently, a Chinese research vessel had to be expelled from India’s exclusive economic zone.

It is therefore crucial for India to finally walk the talk on its self-declared role as a net security provider in the Indian ocean region or see its influence steadily wane. Nonetheless, it does seem like India is finally gearing up for this challenge. Enhanced defense cooperation and partnerships between India and other Indo-Pacific nations suggest that New Delhi is seeking to strengthen its foothold and expand its operational reach in the region.

India has emphasized that its idea of Indo-Pacific stands for a free, open, and inclusive region — one that includes all nations within this geography as well as others beyond with a stake in it. India’s External Affairs Minister recently laid out his case for why India should stitch new partnerships based on common interests rather than ideological constructs. He further outlined the geographic expanse of the Indo-Pacific – from the east coast of Africa to the island nations in the Pacific Ocean and everything else in between, including the Middle East, Arabian Sea, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

US Senator Says US Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan Is Coming in 2020

By Tameem Akhgar

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, speaks during a press conference at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday that President Donald Trump will announce an American troop drawdown from Afghanistan this week, which will likely begin next year.

Graham, speaking from the Afghan capital of Kabul, said the president could reduce troop numbers to 8,600, down from the current estimated 12,000.

“The Afghan security forces are getting more capable,” said Graham. “As they achieve capability, the number of U.S. forces necessary can go down.”

Despite his past reluctance to embrace a troop withdrawal, Graham said he supports Trump’s expected drawdown. That’s because Graham says 8,600 U.S. troops would be sufficient to guarantee “Afghanistan never becomes a launching pad for another attack against the United States homeland.”

Here’s How U.S.-Taliban Talks Can Succeed

Aziz Amin Ahmadzai

Following the prisoner swap between the Afghan government and the Taliban – a deal facilitated by the United States, Qatar and Pakistan – it appears that the Afghan peace talks may soon resume. US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is reportedly in Qatar holding informal talks with the Taliban. While the year-long marathon peace talks failed for several reasons, a new round of talks may present an opportunity to redress the mistakes.

The US-Taliban peace talks were problematic from the outset as they excluded a key player in the Afghan conflict—the democratically elected Afghan government. Many critics voiced concern that the exclusion of the Afghan government, civil society and public from the process cast serious doubts over the integrity of the negotiators and their intended end game, with the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) saying peace would only come through direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani raised objections over a process that appeared to undermine – even delegitimize – the elected government’s position and legitimacy at the national, regional and international levels. And when Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib’s comments stirred controversy in Washington last March, his words merely reflected the frustration of the Afghan government as well as large segments of the Afghan public. Similarly, Washington appeared divided on the issue, with widespread skepticism over whether or not the talks would yield the desired outcome. With signs now that US negotiations with the Taliban may soon resume, once the Afghan presidential election results are announced, the US and other international partners must acknowledge the elected government as the only legitimate representative of the Afghan people at the negotiation table.

The Taliban’s Miscalculation

Report: China, Russia Have Draft UN Security Council Resolution Proposing Sanctions Relief for North Korea

By Ankit Panda

China and Russia are preparing a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that will propose a wide-ranging package of sanctions relief for North Korea, according to a Reuters report on Monday. The draft resolution is set to propose relief for North Korea from sanctions imposed by previous Security Council resolutions, including those on Pyongyang’s exports of seafood, statues, and textiles. The draft resolution would also loosen restrictions on North Korean laborers overseas and support exemptions for inter-Korean projects.

For now, it’s still uncertain when the vote might be tabled for a vote in the Security Council. China and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council, would need an affirmative vote or abstentions from the United States, United Kingdom, and France—the other three permanent members—for the resolution to succeed. It is unlikely that these countries will support sanctions relief for North Korea. The resolution would not require any specific nuclear disarmament steps by North Korea too, effectively rewarding Pyongyang for its two years of restraint from nuclear and long-range missile testing.

China Looks to Central Asia as an Economic Alternative

By James Grant

The United States and China reached a limited trade agreement on Friday, narrowly avoiding the White House-imposed December 15 deadline, which would have seen tariff increases on $156 billion of Chinese goods.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump has heralded the December 13 deal as “phenomenal.” Under its terms, Chinese negotiators agreed to purchase more U.S. agricultural products, including soy beans and farm equipment, while the U.S. agreed to cut down tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese goods (Tranche 4A) from 15 percent to 7.5 percent. But the devil remains in the details, with little clarity on the state of intellectual property, pharmaceutical rights, and access to China’s financial markets – thorny topics that will supposedly be addressed later. That makes the so-called “Phase One” agreement is more of an armistice in the trade war than a peace-treaty.

It’s no wonder, then, that – even as it continues its negotiations with the U.S. – China has begun pivoting to its regional neighbors. As faith in its largest trading partner, the U.S., continues to wane, and great power competition escalates, China’s impetus to foster economic relations with other advanced markets – like the EU – has become more urgent. This is one of the many drivers behind China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a mammoth economic project that is projected to cost the PRC between $1 and $4 trillion.

China Has Increasing Sway in US Science, JASON Report Says

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Alarmed about how the Chinese government is chilling the political speech of athletes like LeBron James? Wait until Beijing starts influencing U.S. scientists. A new report from the Defense Department’s JASON research group says U.S. scientific research can be threatened when Chinese nationals who come to the United States for post-graduate degrees in science and technology return home and are pressed to cooperate with China’s intelligence and security services.

The report, out this month, looked at research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. It found that “actions from Chinese government and its institutions…are not in accord with U.S. values of science ethics.” Specifically, the report says that the Chinese government just doesn’t get something essential about the way scientific research is done in the United States and in the West: that conflicts of interest have to be spelled out very clearly. In the case of the Chinese students, it’s a legal obligation to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party’s security and intelligence services, as laid out in the 2017 National Intelligence Law.

Everyone has moved past the US-China trade war—except the US and China

By Parag Khanna
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Fifteen years ago, while sitting in a windowless cubicle in a Washington, DC think-tank, I took out my writing pad and drew a long line down the middle.

In the left column, I listed every country­ that the United States ­had labeled a “rogue state” during George W. Bush’s administration (the more diplomatic euphemism was “states of concern”).

The so-called Axis of Evil topped the list, of course: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. There was also Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Myanmar, Sudan, and several others.

In the right column, I set out to list every country to which China was providing military, diplomatic, or commercial aids, or other lifelines. I didn’t need to write anything down. It was a mirror image of the left column.

Drawing a line

How a Huge New Gas Pipeline Boosts Russia’s Strategic Entente With China

Artyom Lukin 

Natural gas started flowing from Russia to China for the first time on Dec. 2 when Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, officially launched the initial phase of a huge new pipeline known as the Power of Siberia. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, claims it is expected to generate $400 billion in revenue—its largest export contract ever. The potentially lucrative pipeline also has clear geopolitical undertones, accelerating the strategic entente between the world’s second-largest gas producer and Asia’s biggest economy at a time when both Russia and China are pushing back against the global influence of the United States and its allies.

“This contract kick-started an unprecedented high-tech project in eastern Russia,” Putin said at an inauguration ceremony that he and Xi participated in via video link. Indeed, the Power of Siberia is an impressive feat of engineering. From the newly developed Chayanda gas field in the frigid northern Russian region of Yakutia, it stretches more than 2,200 kilometers (1,300 miles) southeast to the Chinese border, where it crosses beneath the Amur River to enter Heilongjiang province, in northeastern China. It passes through a variety of treacherous terrain, in extremely harsh conditions: Winter temperatures in Yakutia can reach 62 below zero Celsius.

A Fragile and Costly U.S.-China Trade Peace

News broke late on Thursday that the United States and China have reached a “phase one” deal that would mark the beginning of the end to their long and bitter trade war. Pardon me if I don’t pop champagne, but aside from a cessation of continued escalation, there is not much worth cheering. There is still significant ambiguity about what is in the deal but based on what we can surmise, it is unclear if the struggles of the past two and a half years have been worth it. The costs have been substantial and far reaching, the benefits narrow and ephemeral.

Stop the Credits

I feel like we are watching a movie in which the credits start rolling only to fade away for the story to continue on, again and again. This is the fifth instance during the U.S.-China trade dispute that a deal has been prematurely declared. In July 2017, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross seemed to accept a promise from Chinese vice premier Wang Yang that China would rapidly reduce overcapacity in its steel industry only for President Trump to nix the arrangement at the last second. In May 2018, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin reached a “framework agreement” with Vice Premier Liu He only for President Trump to again turn aside the deal a few days later. In late April 2019, with markets declaring that a big U.S.-China deal was within reach, the Chinese suddenly walked back much of their offer, leading the United States to raise tariffs and impose sanctions on telecom giant Huawei. In early October 2019, President Trump announced a phase one deal when what he really meant was that the negotiations were only just getting started.

Plan for the day that US and Israeli interests conflict over Iran


It was not long ago that President Obama told the Saudis to “share the neighborhood” with Iran, as part of his solution for regional stability in the Middle East. So it would not be hard to imagine a future American president who would also say we must accept Iran as a nuclear power because the alternative would be war, which would not be in American interests.1.2

But what if the Israelis think differently, seeing a nuclear Iran as their existential threat that cannot stand? Israel still adheres to the Begin Doctrine, when Prime Minister Begin said after Israel’s preemptive attack against the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, “We shall not allow any enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction turned against us. … This attack will be a precedent for every future government in Israel.” 

One of Israel’s respected senior intelligence experts told me there is broad consensus within Israel’s intelligence, security, political and military sectors that if Iran is about to cross the nuclear threshold, Israel will act unilaterally. Israel also believes it has the capacity to effectively delay the Iranian nuclear program. 

How Iran’s Cyberattack Claims Aim To Establish A Powerful Cyber Warfare Player

Kate O'Flaherty
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Iran is claiming it has thwarted a cyberattack on government servers, just days after allegedly foiling another cyber assault on its electronic infrastructure. According to Iranian state media, the country is investigating following the latest cyberattack on December 15, which it claims was perpetrated by a foreign state actor to obtain government information. 

Iran’s minister of communications and information technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, said via Twitter that the cyberattack had been detected and thwarted by Iran’s so called “security shield.”

He claimed that "spying servers were identified and the hackers were also tracked.”

Speaking about last week’s attack, Jahromi said Iran’s electronic infrastructure had been targeted but did not give further details, other than to confirm a report would be released. Just one day earlier, he denied reports that hacking operations were targeting Iranian banks. 

Iran panic: Royal Navy deliver stark warning to 'aggressive' Tehran as conflict fears grow


The destroyer will join the frigate HMS Montrose, which is currently stationed there. Admiral Tony Radakin, head of the Royal Navy, warned that Iran remains a very real threat to British vessels in the region. His comments come after a British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero, was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in July for allegedly breaking maritime rules.

The vessel was taken in the Strait of Hormuz two weeks after an Iranian tanker was held off Gibraltar with the help of the UK Royal Marines.

Tehran has strongly denied that it took the ship as an act of retaliation.

The Stena-Impero was subsequently allowed to leave Iran at the end of September, from where it headed to Dubai.

US Forces Can’t Hide from Ubiquitous Satellites. They Need to Fool Them.

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We are accelerating, on the wings of 5G and long-endurance drones and low-earth-orbit satellites, toward a future where everyone will have easy access to realtime geolocation and even video of U.S. military forces. The countermeasures of past decades, from shutter control to careful timing of sensitive force movements, are all but drained of their potency. Powerful states and non-state actors alike will soon be able to track U.S. and allied military equipment, detecting patterns of training and operations.

This phenomenon — I’ve called it a GEOINT singularity — was not unpredicted. Nearly 20 years ago, a thesis titled “The End of Secrecy” by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Beth Kaspar discussed the implications of transparency to U.S. military competitiveness and recommended a variety of activities ranging from innovating new doctrine and developing fast decision-making processes to integrating camouflage, concealment, and deception both vertically and horizontally into military operations. In her work, Lt. Col. Kaspar wrote, “DoD should go back to basics and actively incorporate deception into all organizational levels and all levels of warfare.”

To Avoid a Security Dilemma: Complex Warfare with Japanese Characteristics

Thomas A. Drohan

Japan’s security strategy is a uniquely regarded admixture of isolation and engagement. This blend is common to many countries, but poses a stark dilemma for Japan’s citizens. Theirs is a country whose economic zone is five times the size of China’s, that is dependent on external sources for over 90 percent of its energy needs, and which is supposed to react to threats in self-defense under a constitution imposed during a postwar occupation (1945-1952). The so-called Peace Constitution (1947) forever renounces: war; the use or threat of force to settle disputes; military forces; and war potential.

How can Japan resolve this security dilemma? A security dilemma, as introduced by John Herz (1950), is when an actor seeking security from attack increases power thus rendering others more insecure. Finding solutions involves strategy: the how of avoiding relative isolation and aggressive engagement. Both extremes destroy enduring competitive advantage.

Using concepts of complex warfare explained in the SWJ article, Competing to Win: Complex Warfare with Chinese Characteristics, this article offers a solution to Japan’s security strategy dilemma. We work within current Japanese constitutional and policy proscriptions. This restraint leaves ample room for a proactive strategy involving combinations of different effects. While Japan’s use of violent conflict is constitutionally limited to self-defense, its use of non-violent competition can be quite expansive—indeed, “normal.”

How businesses are confronting the crisis of water scarcity

by John Engen 

Constellation Brands is a New York-based brewing company that produces beverages around the world. In 2016, it announced plans to build a state-of-the-art brewery in Mexicali, Mexico, to export its Mexican beer brands, including Corona and Modelo, to the US. Community leaders gushed about the 700-plus permanent jobs it would create, hailing the $1.5 billion project—expected to send 58 million cases of beer to the US in its first year—as evidence of the local economy’s vibrancy.

“Mexicali is growing like it never has in its history,” crowed Baja state’s economic development secretary, Carlo Bonfante, “and part of the reason is that Constellation Brands is coming to the city.”


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By most measures Jimmy Carter’s presidency was a lackluster one. Americans were experiencing malaise at home and a string of apparent defeats abroad, highlighted by the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Yet it was these twin crises that produced the Carter Doctrine, which has served the United States and its allies well ever since. The Carter Doctrine explicitly committed the United States to defend the oil fields of the Persian Gulf against external threats. Carter’s successor, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, built on this strategy with what should be seen as a “Reagan Corollary,” which committed Washington to defending the free export of Gulf oil against threats from within the Middle East as well. Since then, both Republican and Democratic administrations have recognized that the United States’ role in protecting Gulf oil exports constitutes a critical component of the international order the United States built after 1945—an order that has made America stronger, more secure, and more prosperous than it otherwise would have been.

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger distinguished professor of global affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. His latest book is False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East.

The United States Made Information Free and Foreign Manipulation Possible

By Diana Lemberg 

Today the above sentence sounds like one ripped from a news story about the role of social media—or cyberwarfare—in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But the statement predates the Internet, and the anxiety it voiced was not American but French. The encroaching information superpower that the French government feared was in fact the United States, which at that time—and for decades to follow—assertively promoted its own right of way in international media traffic.

Back in the 1960s, most countries outside the Western Hemisphere publicly operated their broadcasting systems. This arrangement gave national authorities in Europe, Asia, and Africa the power to shape what people heard and saw. The United States, however, had developed a technology with potentially global reach: satellite television. U.S. companies dominated early satellite technology and anticipated enhancing the “free flow of information” by developing satellites that could broadcast directly into individual households all over the world. To Washington, a global media system dominated by the United States seemed like a positive development, both for U.S. interests and for democracy writ large. Outside of the United States, however, the prospect of unrestricted broadcasting, disseminated through a technology controlled by a foreign power, did less to inspire paeans to freedom than to set off diplomatic alarm bells.

Unmerited Inequality and the New Elite

By Nicholas Lemann 

About 25 years ago, I spent a memorable afternoon in London with Michael Young, the author of the strange 1958 dystopian novel in the form of a dissertation called The Rise of the Meritocracy, which introduced that term into the English language. In the United States, for years, people have liked to insist that wherever they work or go to school is a meritocracy, meaning, roughly, that they understand it as an open competition in which the most deserving succeed. Americans assume meritocracy to be an unalloyed good; the term implies a contrast to some past system or an era when success went instead to lazy inheritors, timeservers, or adept players of office politics. 

Young, however, wanted not to celebrate meritocracy but to warn the world against it. He had the detached air of someone who has quietly noticed everything, and a sense of humor so bone-dry that most people missed it. By the time I met him, he was Baron Young of Dartington—an oft-noted irony. But intellectually, he was a creature of the post–World War II British Labour Party, in which he served as an important adviser on education, and of the impoverished East End, where he did his sociological research. He had been involved in the great expansion of the state-run school system after the war, which was an aspect of the broader socialist project aimed at creating structured mass opportunity for the first time in British history. It was in keeping with the tenor of the time that this effort relied on administering intelligence tests to masses of 11-year-olds, who were then each directed into what was, essentially, a blue-collar or a white-collar educational track and who would, when they were a few years older, take another set of exams that would anoint a small cohort as bound for higher education.

In Markovits’s maximally bleak view, meritocracy has ruined American life.

Chained to Globalization

By Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman 

In 1999, the columnist Thomas Friedman pronounced the Cold War geopolitical system dead. The world, he wrote, had “gone from a system built around walls to a system increasingly built around networks.” As businesses chased efficiency and profits, maneuvering among great powers was falling away. An era of harmony was at hand, in which states’ main worries would be how to manage market forces rather than one another.

Friedman was right that a globalized world had arrived but wrong about what that world would look like. Instead of liberating governments and businesses, globalization entangled them. As digital networks, financial flows, and supply chains stretched across the globe, states—especially the United States—started treating them as webs in which to trap one another. Today, the U.S. National Security Agency lurks at the heart of the Internet, listening in on all kinds of communications. The U.S. Department of the Treasury uses the international financial system to punish rogue states and errant financial institutions. In service of its trade war with China, Washington has tied down massive firms and entire national economies by targeting vulnerable points in global supply chains. Other countries are in on the game, too: Japan has used its control over key industrial chemicals to hold South Korea’s electronics industry for ransom, and Beijing might eventually be able to infiltrate the world’s 5G communications system through its access to the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Germany hires Rafael and Atos to create a ‘glass battlefield’

By: Seth J. Frantzman 
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JERUSALEM — Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has partnered with French company Atos Information Technology on a project involving the creation of a so-called glass battlefield, in which unmanned aerial systems and combat vehicles are used to create a 3D picture of mobile operations in real-time. The work will be performed for the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support.

The term “glass battlefield” — sometimes referred to as a “transparent battlefield” in other countries — comes from the German phrase “gläsernen gesichtsfeldes.” A real-time, 3D picture of a battlefield would bolster situational awareness and provide additional knowledge to leadership.

Winning a German tender for this project, which continues through 2025, gives Atos and Rafael a chance to demonstrate existing and future battlefield technologies linked to the digitization of operations. “It opens a direct dialogue with the Bundeswehr [German military] on the important subjects of incorporating artificial intelligence, computer vision and advanced C4I technologies in the battlefield,” a Rafael spokesman said. Germany has shown interest in using drone swarms controlled by AI to support combat vehicles and future battle tanks.

U.N. Climate Talks End With Few Commitments and a ‘Lost’ Opportunity

By Somini Sengupta
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In what was widely denounced as one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations, United Nations talks ended early Sunday morning with the United States and other big polluters blocking even a nonbinding measure that would have encouraged countries to adopt more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year. 

Because the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it was the last chance, at least for some time, for American delegates to sit at the negotiating table at the annual talks — and perhaps a turning point in global climate negotiations, given the influence that Washington has long wielded, for better or worse, in the discussions.

The Trump administration used the meeting to push back on a range of proposals, including a mechanism to compensate developing countries for losses that were the result of more intense storms, droughts, rising seas and other effects of global warming.

The annual negotiations, held in Madrid this year, demonstrated the vast gaps between what scientists say the world needs and what the world’s most powerful leaders are prepared to even discuss, let alone do.

What on Earth Is Going On?

Protect Your Data Or Lose DoD Business: Maj. Gen. Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)


Chinese J-20 fighter prototype, considered suspiciously similar to the American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

PENTAGON: “I would rather not have to shove this down industry’s throat,” the director of the Protecting Critical Technology Task Force told me here. “I would rather this be a conversation than direction, but we’ve unfortunately seen over the years … if there’s no repercussions to not having security, there’s no incentive to have it.”

“We haven’t really held them to account. Our data that’s been exfiltrated by adversaries over decades, it’s really no harm, no foul,” Maj. Gen. Thomas Murphy told me. “I don’t blame them, [but] now we’re going to provide that incentive.”

“A company’s security or lack thereof has no bearing on whether we do business with them today,” he said. “It’s not something we hold as important as cost schedule and performance.” That needs to change.

The Department of Defense Posture for Artificial Intelligence

by Danielle C. Tarraf

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act mandated a study on artificial intelligence (AI) topics. In this report, RAND Corporation researchers assess the state of AI relevant to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and address misconceptions about AI; they carry out an independent and introspective assessment of the Department of Defense's posture for AI; and they share a set of recommendations for internal actions, external engagements, and potential legislative or regulatory actions to enhance the Department of Defense's posture in AI.

Key Findings

The state of AI and its implications for DoD

Many technologies underpin AI. Recent significant technological advances have been primarily in supervised machine learning, specifically deep learning. Success in deep learning is predicated on the availability of large labeled data sets and significant computing power to train the models. The current crop of approaches are fragile, artisanal, and are optimized for commercial rather than DoD uses.

Pentagon AI Efforts Disorganized: RAND


WASHINGTON: A congressionally mandated study warns the Defense Department’s current efforts to harness artificial intelligence are “significantly challenged” by shortfalls in organization, planning, data, and talent, and testing, setting the stage for changes in the next defense policy and spending bills.

The problems RAND identified include a major mismatch between the sweeping responsibilities assigned to the year-old Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and its authority to achieve them, “making it exceedingly difficult for the JAIC to succeed.” To solve the problem, the RAND report’s central recommendation is to strengthen the JAIC — a recommendation Congress is now certain to at least consider next year as it drafts the 2021 defense bill.

A word of caution. It’s the Joint AI Center director, Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who hired RAND to do the report in the first place. (Congress required him to submit a report, but it didn’t dictate who should write it). While RAND is highly respected for its independent, in-depth scholarship, it’s not known for challenging the fundamental premises of the questions the Defense Department asks.

Is using TikTok a national security risk?

Andrew Eversden

The chairman of a national security subcommittee in the House of Representatives is worried that federal employees who use TikTok, Grindr and other mobile applications owned by foreign governments could be susceptible to blackmail or become national security vulnerabilities.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., chairman of the subcommittee on national security on the House Oversight Committee, wrote to the chief executives of Apple and Google to ask the tech giants how they screen mobile app developers and those companies’ overseas affiliations before they can appear in an online app store.

“By collecting personal information on U.S. government personnel who have access to classified information, foreign adversaries may attempt to expose them to blackmail, tailor intelligence spotting or recruitment activities to specific targets, or exert undue foreign influence in U.S. policy making,” Lynch wrote to Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai. “In addition, artificial intelligence could enable foreign adversaries to manipulate user-provided data to create profiles on average U.S. citizens that could be leveraged in future military conflicts or diplomatic disputes.”

Ten highlights from our 2019 researchDecember 2019 | Article

From artificial intelligence (AI) and inequality to globalization and the future of work, research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) in 2019 shed light on major trends reshaping the world’s economy, and uncovered how these global shifts are manifesting locally in Africa, Asia, America, and more.

This infographic showing ten charts is just a sample of MGI’s research published in 2019.

The truth about transformation

Most organization-wide transformations fail. In this special collection, we help executives overcome the odds by bringing together fact-based insights about the roles of strategy, innovation, technology, and organization in creating successful transformations.

Getting to ‘all in’: The six questions every executive team should ask

Transformation is about improving performance, not just cutting costs. Companies boost the odds of achieving breakthrough results when they simultaneously improve their operating discipline and make portfolio moves that collectively redefine their business.

How the Battle of the Bulge Got Its Name


On Dec. 16, 1944, more than 200,000 Germans launched a surprise attack on the Allied troops via the Ardennes, the densely forested area of World War II’s Western Front, bordering eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeast France. What began that day — and what is seen now as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s last attempt to turn the tide in his favor — would become the Battle of the Bulge, in which more U.S. troops fought than any other battle in the war’s European theater.

As maps were released of the Allied lines, it was easy to notice a strange shape: a bump, which some experts have described as about 50 miles wide and 70 miles deep, where the German offensive had pushed the line back. According to Peter Caddick-Adams’ Snow & Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45, American war correspondent Larry Newman was shown such maps by Gen. George Patton, and knew he’d have to communicate the development to readers.

Bad Idea: Assuming the Small Wars Era is Over

Alexandra Evans, Alexandra Stark
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To see where the foreign policy winds in Washington are blowing, look to D.C.’s graduate schools, where aspiring civil servants and future defense strategists compete for national security jobs. In 2010, entering students studied counter-insurgency strategies and terrorist networks, polishing language skills in Arabic, Pashto, and Dari. In 2015, their successors enrolled in classes on grey-zone warfare and limited interventions in order to get to the field’s cutting edge. Security studies students matriculating in 2020, however, know the market demands have shifted. What Washington wants now is expertise in strategic competition.

“After being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century, great power competition [has] returned,” the 2017 National Security Strategy declared. Concerned by Russian revanchism in Eastern Europe and growing tensions with China in Asia, U.S. scholars, commentators, and policymakers alike have convened conferences, tested historical metaphors, and probed the origins of the term itself. “For all the acrimony in Washington today, the city’s foreign policy establishment is settling on a rare bipartisan consensus: that the world has entered a new era of great-power competition,” Center for a New American Security CEO Richard Fontaine recently wrote in Foreign Affairs.