26 December 2019

CDS was needed. But Modi govt also creating Department of Military Affairs is a big bonus


Without the DMA, it would have been a challenge for the Chief of Defence Staff to fulfil role. With it, the CDS can be the prime mover in Indian military.

The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM Narendra Modi formally approved the post of Chief of Defence Staff Tuesday, and in the process, carried out a long-pending and major defence reform by creating an additional Department of Military Affairs in the Ministry of Defence and the post of Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (PC-COSC).

While the intention of creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech earlier this year, the creation of a separate department with the CDS as its head was a necessary step for functional effectiveness. It is indeed a feather in the cap of the Modi government because political and bureaucratic resistance had stymied these reforms despite the recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GOM) Report which followed the Kargil War.

Inside the Taliban’s Afghanistan, violence remains the path to power

By Susannah George
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WAZIR TANGI, Afghanistan — Deep inside Taliban territory, high in the mountains that line the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a top-ranking militant commander cradling a Kalashnikov boasted of the group's victory against the Islamic State here. He declared that "when the Taliban comes, the peace will also come."

But a deadly Taliban attack on the U.S. military base in Bagram just hours earlier undermined his message of comity. Even as the group dispatched negotiators to forge a peace deal with the United States, commanders and fighters were describing a militancy committed to the use of violence to achieve its goal of regaining political power after more than 18 years at war with U.S. and Afghan forces.

The extraordinary briefing earlier this month by the acting director of the Taliban’s military operations, Moulawi Muhammad Ali Jan Ahmed, for a small group of Western journalists signaled the militants’ quest for legitimacy on the global stage after years of being seen as enemy combatants. The Taliban controls or contests roughly half of Afghanistan, and peace talks could formalize the group’s power.

Huawei releases report dispelling false claims against the embattled company

By Stephen Fenech 

Huawei might have been excluded from the 5G bid in Australia and the US but the company is not going down without a fight releasing a report detailing a long list of false claims others have made and setting the record straight.

Huawei claims the US Government is spreading misinformation about the embattled Chinese company while implying the State Department knows networking technology better than the telecom operators themselves.

Huawei also has a gripe with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who based his decision to ban the company from the Australian tender on incorrect information.

So here is Huawei’s long list of false claims:

False claim 1: Huawei offers the cheapest equipment because it gets Chinese government funding.

Why the US-China Trade War Could Re-escalate


WASHINGTON, DC – After nearly 18 months of tit-for-tat tariff increases, the United States and China have reached a “phase one” agreement to start de-escalating their trade war. As part of the deal, US President Donald Trump canceled further tariff increases on Chinese goods that had been scheduled to take effect on December 15, and halved a 15% tariff on $120 billion worth of imports from China. As for China, it shelved its planned retaliatory measures and committed to import some $50 billion worth of US agricultural products in each of the next two years.

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.9Add to Bookmarks

Power of Siberia or power of China?

by Mikhail Krutikhin

On December 2, China's Chairman Xi Jinping looked very pleased as he presided over an elaborate ceremony in Beijing inaugurating a new cross-border pipeline, the Power of Siberia, supplying natural gas from Russia.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, looked gloomy as he watched the proceedings via video link from Moscow.

The Russian president had reason to appear concerned about his new pipeline even though he referred to it as a "historic event". The volume of natural gas the Power of Siberia is to deliver in 2020 will be just a modest 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, less than two percent of China's national consumption. Even if (and this is a very big "if") the pipeline reaches its full capacity of 38 bcm by 2025, it will contribute just about nine percent of China's expected gas demand, at best. This is a far cry from Moscow's dream of making China dependent on Russian gas deliveries.
Unprofitable project

Trump Will Make China Great Again


NEW YORK – Financial markets were cheered recently by the news that the United States and China have reached a “phase one” deal to prevent further escalation of their bilateral trade war. But there is actually very little to cheer about. In exchange for China’s tentative commitment to buy more US agricultural (and some other) goods, and modest concessions on intellectual-property rights and the renminbi, the US agreed to withhold tariffs on another $160 billion worth of Chinese exports, and to roll back some of the tariffs introduced on September 1.

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.9Add to Bookmarks

The good news for investors is that the deal averted a new round of tariffs that could have tipped the US and the global economy into recession and crashed global stock markets. The bad news is that it represents just another temporary truce amid a much larger strategic rivalry encompassing trade, technology, investment, currency, and geopolitical issues. Large-scale tariffs will remain in place, and escalation may well resume if either side shirks its commitments.

We Asked a Military Expert to Fight a U.S.-China War. We Wished We Didn't.

by Robert Farley
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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.

Is China Beating America to AI Supremacy?

by Graham Allison
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OVER THE past year, I have been collaborating with a prominent leader in the technology industry to combine his decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and my decades of experience in national security decisionmaking, on the other. Together, we have been trying to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

WE BEGIN with four key points. First, most Americans believe that U.S. leadership in advanced technologies is so entrenched that it is unassailable. Likewise, many in the American national security community insist that in the AI arena China can never be more than a “near-peer competitor.” Both are wrong. In fact, China stands today as a full-spectrum peer competitor of the United States in commercial and national security applications of AI. Beijing is not just trying to master AI—it is succeeding. Because AI will have as transformative an impact on commerce and national security over the next two decades as semiconductors, computers and the web have had over the past quarter century, this should be recognized as a matter of grave national concern.

As the US, China, and Russia build new nuclear weapons systems, how will AI be built in?

By Matt Field

Researchers in the United States and elsewhere are paying a lot of attention to the prospect that in the coming years new nuclear weapons—and the infrastructure built to operate them—will include greater levels of artificial intelligence and automation. Earlier this month, three prominent US defense experts published a comprehensive analysis of how automation is already involved in nuclear command and control systems and of what could go wrong if countries implement even riskier forms of it.

The working paper “A Stable Nuclear Future? The Impact of Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence” by the team of Michael Horowitz, Paul Scharre, and Alexander Velez-Green comes on the heels of other scholarly takes on the impact artificial intelligence (AI) will have on strategies around using nuclear weapons. All this research reflects the fact that militaries around the world are incorporating more artificial intelligence into non-nuclear weaponry—and that several countries are overhauling their nuclear weapons programs. “We wanted to better understand both the potentially stabilizing and destabilizing effects of automation on nuclear stability,” Scharre, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told the Bulletin.

What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier?

Five years after commissioning its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, China launched its second carrier, the Shandong, on April 26, 2017. Unlike its Soviet-built predecessor, the Shandong is China’s first domestically built carrier. Both carriers are similar in size and use a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for the launch and recovery of aircraft. Although similar to the Liaoning, the Shandong features some notable enhancements and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program.

The Shandong was commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on December 17, 2019, in Sanya on the island province of Hainan. Prior to being commissioned, the Shandong underwent nine sea trials over the course of 18 months. By comparison, the Liaoning, completed 10 sea trials in 13 months before being commissioned in September 2012. During construction and sea trials, the Shandong was known as the Type 001A; however, the December 2019 commissioning ceremony indicated that it is officially designated the Type 002.

Key Facts

A New Approach for the UN to Stabilise the DR Congo

The Security Council has an opening to rethink its approach to DR Congo with this month’s mandate renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission. The council should prioritise local conflict resolution and bolstering President Tshisekedi’s efforts to improve regional relations to combat over 100 armed groups ravaging the east.

What’s new? The Security Council is seeking new ways to stabilise the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with an eye to drawing down the long-running UN peace operation there. In parallel, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi wants to strike a new security agreement with neighbouring countries to suppress armed groups in the country’s east.

Why does it matter? The persistence of over 100 armed groups in the eastern DRC is a threat to both Congolese civilians and regional stability. The country’s neighbours have also often used these militias as proxies to attack one another and control economic resources.

What should be done? The Security Council should strengthen the UN mission’s capacity to analyse the armed groups’ political links and resolve local grievances these groups can exploit. The UN should support President Tshisekedi’s regional diplomacy, with an emphasis on political reconciliation and economic integration among the DRC’s neighbours as steps to increase security.

North Korea and the Threat of ICBMs

Rumors have been swirling that North Korea is about to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. The source for this latest rumor is U.S. intelligence, though North Korea has been warning it will perform such a test. North Korea tested three ICBM boosters in 2017. Those tests didn’t prove mastery of missile reentry capabilities or an effective guidance system, but if North Korea does successfully demonstrate such capabilities for an ICBM, it will change the dynamic between the North and the United States. Pyongyang has demonstrated its ability to field a nuclear weapon and to successfully test-fire non-intercontinental weapons. That means that the continental United States is not at risk of a nuclear attack from the North. But if an ICBM is successfully tested, that means that, regardless of intentions, North Korea has the ability to strike the United States. That would force the U.S. to rethink its strategy.

U.S. Strategy

The U.S. has accepted the idea that North Korea has the ability to strike neighboring countries allied with the United States, including Japan and South Korea. The United States had no strategy for neutralizing the North’s nuclear capability. An attack on nuclear facilities with non-nuclear weapons would have probably eliminated the weapons, but its success would have depended on two things. First, that the intelligence the U.S. had on the location of these facilities was completely accurate. Second, that all facilities that needed to be struck were vulnerable to air attack or possibly attack by special operations forces. Some, particularly those housing key facilities and storage, might have been buried deep underground or hardened in some way to render them minimally vulnerable to non-nuclear military action.

60 Years Later, a Cold War Scandal Still Holds Lessons for the United Nations

Richard Gowan

Like many classic mystery stories, the Povl Bang-Jensen affair involved an agitated dog. The name and breed of the animal are not recorded. But we know that at roughly 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 1959, Paul Carahalios of Bayside, Queens, took his dog for its regular morning walk. Temperature records suggest that it was chilly but tolerable as they made their way as usual through Alley Pond Park, a stretch of reclaimed marshland on the north shore of Long Island where New York City meets the suburbs. Yet it soon became clear that something was amiss.

The dog, Carahalios told investigators, “seemed to go crazy for no reason at all.” Unable to calm his pet down, he grumpily headed back home. It was only later that Carahalios would deduce that they had been within 50 or 100 feet of the body of Povl Bang-Jensen, a former Danish diplomat, United Nations official and humanitarian worker. Bang-Jensen was found by two other dog-walkers later that day with, in the hard-boiled prose of a later U.S. Senate report, “a bullet through his right temple, a revolver in his right hand, a suicide note in his wallet.” ...

The United States Needs a Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

In the coming years, artificial intelligence will dramatically affect every aspect of human life. AI—the technologies that simulate intelligent behavior in machines—will change how we process, understand, and analyze information; it will make some jobs obsolete, transform most others, and create whole new industries; it will change how we teach, grow our food, and treat our sick. The technology will also change how we wage war. For all of these reasons, leadership in AI, more than any other emerging technology, will confer economic, political, and military strength in this century—and that is why it is essential for the United States to get it right.

That begins with creating a national strategy for AI—a whole-of-society effort that can create the opportunities, shape the outcome, and prepare for the inevitable challenges for U.S. society that this new technological era will bring. The United States has taken important steps in this direction. In February, the White House launched the American AI Initiative, which articulates a comprehensive vision for American leadership in AI. Last month, the Congressionally-mandated National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) released its interim report, which outlines five lines of effort to help ensure U.S. technological leadership.

The United States Can Offer the People of Lebanon and Iraq Something Tehran Can’t

Protests and upheaval are sweeping Iraq and Lebanon. The wrath of demonstrators in the streets is being directed against their own political classes and at Iran’s government. Citizens in Lebanon and Iraq are not only fed up with economic mismanagement, ineffective governance, and entrenched corruption of political elites at home, but they also directly link their dismal situation to Tehran’s corrupting influence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s exploitation of their countries to fund and arm militias unaccountable to their countries.

Taken together with the extensive riots in Iran, U.S. President Donald Trump sees these developments as proof that his administration’s so-called maximum pressure policy of squeezing the Iranian economy is working. Not surprisingly, the administration is now determined to double down on its sanctions policy, convinced this will force Tehran to capitulate and seek negotiations with a new willingness to concede on the regime’s nuclear program and regional behavior.

The administration’s critics doubt this policy will work—believing that it will simply back the Iranian government into a corner, prompting it to escalate conflict in the region rather than surrender.

The Syrian Civil War Might Be Ending, but the Crisis Will Live On

The Syrian civil war that has decimated the country for eight years now, provoking a regional humanitarian crisis and drawing in actors ranging from the United States to Russia, appears to be drawing inexorably to a conclusion. President Bashar al-Assad, with the backing of Iran and Russia, seems to have emerged militarily victorious from the conflict, which began after his government violently repressed civilian protests in 2011. The armed insurgency that followed soon morphed into a regional and global proxy war that, at the height of the fighting, saw radical Islamist groups seize control over vast swathes of the country, only to lose it in the face of sustained counteroffensives by pro-government forces as well as a U.S.-led coalition of Western militaries.

Assad now faces the challenge of rebuilding the country, including areas where he allegedly deployed chemical weapons against his own citizens. The question of who will foot the bill is still an open one. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been eager to distance itself from the situation in Syria, highlighted by his abrupt decision in October to withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. Assad’s allies in Moscow are unlikely to take on the costs of reconstruction, which the United Nations has estimated at $250 billion.

Toward a Privileged EU-UK Partnership

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BERLIN – Following Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in the United Kingdom’s general election this month, Britain is now on track to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020. Johnson has a clear parliamentary majority with which to secure a deal for an orderly exit from the bloc. Although the UK and the EU now face long and difficult negotiations to establish a mutually beneficial trade arrangement, Brexit itself is now a certainty.

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.9Add to Bookmarks

What will this mean for Europe? The UK is the EU’s second-largest national economy, one of only two European nuclear powers, and a permanent, veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council (alongside France). The country has always been vitally important to Europe, both culturally and historically. Whenever Europe’s liberty and security have been at stake, Britain has reliably come to its defense.

The Crisis of 2020


NEW HAVEN – Predicting the next crisis – financial or economic – is a fool’s game. Yes, every crisis has its hero who correctly warned of what was about to come. And, by definition, the hero was ignored (hence the crisis). But the record of modern forecasting contains a note of caution: those who correctly predict a crisis rarely get it right again.

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.9Add to Bookmarks

The best that economists can do is to assess vulnerability. Looking at imbalances in the real economy or financial markets gives a sense of the potential consequences of a major shock. It doesn't take much to spark corrections in vulnerable economies and markets. But a garden-variety correction is far different from a crisis. The severity of the shock and the degree of vulnerability matter: big shocks to highly vulnerable systems are a recipe for crisis.

In this vein, the source of vulnerability that I worry about the most is the overextended state of central-bank balance sheets. My concern stems from three reasons.

King Boris’s First Test


LONDON – Wars end when the belligerents give up fighting. The surest way for this to happen, and sometimes the least destructive, is through a decisive battle that leads to unconditional surrender. Boris Johnson’s overwhelming victory in the United Kingdom’s general election this month was such a battle. With the opposition parties completely routed, Johnson now enjoys the unlimited power bestowed on British prime ministers with large majorities. Britain’s unwritten constitution dispenses with the checks and balances in other national constitutions, allowing an absolute sovereignty to the majority in Parliament often described as “elective dictatorship.”

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.9Add to Bookmarks

Johnson’s reputation for recklessness makes this a frightening prospect, but history suggests that elective dictatorship has one important redeeming feature. The concentration of power means concentration of responsibility. With parliamentary opposition now irrelevant, Johnson will have to confront a more powerful opponent: economic and social reality. Johnson will now have to reconcile his many contradictory promises and inconsistent policies – and he will be personally blamed if he cannot make two plus two equal five.

Trump Created The Space Force. Here's What It Will Actually Do

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday, notably creating the new Space Force.Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When President Trump signed a $738 billion defense spending bill on Friday, he officially created the Space Force. It's the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Services, and the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947.

"Space is the world's newest war-fighting domain," President Trump said during the signing ceremony. "Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we're leading, but we're not leading by enough. But very shortly we'll be leading by a lot."

The idea was widely mocked when it was first floated, providing fodder for late night hosts, newspaper cartoonists and comedy writers. Senior military officials have previously raised concerns about what it will cost, and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned against rushing into creating the force without clearly defined goals.

The Demolition of U.S. Diplomacy

By William J. Burns 

In my three and a half decades as a U.S. Foreign Service officer, proudly serving five presidents and ten secretaries of state from both parties, I’ve never seen an attack on diplomacy as damaging, to both the State Department as an institution and our international influence, as the one now underway.

The contemptible mistreatment of Marie Yovanovitch—the ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed for getting in the way of the president’s scheme to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections—is just the latest example of President Donald Trump’s dangerous brand of diplomatic malpractice. His is a diplomacy of narcissism, bent on advancing private interests at the expense of our national interests.

Ambassador Yovanovitch is not the first professional diplomat to find herself in political crosshairs in the history of the State Department. Trump is not the first demagogue to bully career personnel. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not the first secretary of state derelict in his duty. But the damage from this assault—coming from within the executive branch itself, after nearly three years of unceasing diplomatic self-sabotage, and at a particularly fragile geopolitical moment—will likely prove to be even more severe to both diplomatic tradecraft and U.S. foreign policy.

Death of efforts to regulate autonomous weapons has been greatly exaggerated

By Neil C. Renic

Arms control has seen better days. In August, the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The Open Skies Treaty will likely soon follow suit. There are doubts as to whether the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty will be renewed before it expires in February 2021, as well as concerns over the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “The painstakingly constructed arms control regime is fraying,” argued UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in a recent statement.

The forecast looks equally gloomy for efforts to regulate emerging military technologies, such as lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS. For example the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has been striving since 2013 to secure a pre-emptive ban on the use of this weaponry, but no prohibition has materialized. Instead, some states have been intensifying their investment in autonomous weapons, in cooperation with the private sector. We seem to be moving ever closer to the use and normalization of this technology in war.

This raises two closely related questions: Has the regulation of LAWS failed?

And if so, where exactly should we assign blame?

Infographic Of The Day: Mapping A Changing Arctic

Today's infographic shows the location of major oil and gas fields in the Arctic and the possible new trade routes through this frontier.

2020: The Futility Of Predictions - Understanding The Risk

“Predictions Are Difficult…Especially When They Are About The Future" - Niels Bohr

We can’t predict the future. If we could, fortune tellers would win all of the lotteries. They don’t, we can’t, and we are not going to try to.

However, we can analyze what has happened in the past, weed through the noise of the present, and discern the possible outcomes of the future. The biggest problem with Wall Street, both today and in the past, is the consistent disregard of the unexpected and random events they inevitability occur.

There was once a study done of the accuracy of “predictions." The study took predictions from a broad range of professions from psychics to weathermen. The study came to two conclusions. The first was that “weathermen" are the MOST accurate predictors of the future. The second conclusion was that the predictive ability was only accurate out to 3-days. Beyond 3-days, and the predictive ability was no better than a coin flip.

When it comes to trying to predict what will happen in the financial markets over the next year, which is an annual event, it is essentially an act of futility. Given the markets are affected by a broad spectrum of inputs from economics, to geopolitics, monetary policy, rates, and financial events, any prediction should be taken with a very high degree of skepticism.

How Your Phone Betrays Democracy

By Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson

IN FOOTAGE FROM DRONES hovering above, the nighttime streets of Hong Kong look almost incandescent, a constellation of tens of thousands of cellphone flashlights, swaying in unison. Each twinkle is a marker of attendance and a plea for freedom. The demonstrators, some clad in masks to thwart the government’s network of facial recognition cameras, find safety in numbers.

But in addition to the bright lights, each phone is also emitting another beacon in the darkness — one that’s invisible to the human eye. This signal is captured and collected, sometimes many times per minute, not by a drone but by smartphone apps. The signal keeps broadcasting, long after the protesters turn off their camera lights, head to their homes and take off their masks.

In the United States, and across the world, any protester who brings a phone to a public demonstration is tracked and that person’s presence at the event is duly recorded in commercial datasets. At the same time, political parties are beginning to collect and purchase phone location for voter persuasion.

Escaping the Inequality-Data Dark Ages

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PARIS – We are living in the Dark Ages of inequality statistics. More than a decade after the “Great Recession,” governments are still unable to track accurately the evolution of income and wealth. Statistical agencies produce income-growth statistics for the population as a whole (national accounts), but not for the “middle class,” the “working class,” or the richest 1% and 0.1%. At a time when Google, Facebook, Visa, Mastercard, and other multinational corporations know intimate details about our private lives, governments still do not capture, let alone publish, the most basic statistics concerning the distribution of income and wealth.

Despite the latest Sino-American "skinny deal" to ease tensions over trade, technology, and other issues, it is now clear that the world's two largest economies have entered a new era of sustained competition. How the relationship will evolve depends greatly on America's political leadership – which does not bode well.

This failure has huge costs for society. The perception that inequalities are reaching unjustifiable heights in many countries, combined with a lack of any possible informed choice for voters, is fodder for demagogues and critics of democracy.

5G, AI, and big data: We’re building a new cognitive infrastructure and don’t even know it

Brad Allenby

“Infrastructure” is a broad term for the physical and institutional systems that support human communities at all scales, from physical systems that have been necessary since the beginning of human urbanization, such as Rome’s road and water infrastructure, to newer forms that reflect cutting edge technology, such as 5G wireless systems. All infrastructure combines two functions. One is explicit: a road carries traffic, for instance, and water pipes carry water. The more subtle one is an enabling function, as all infrastructure also supports other technologies and more infrastructure. Electric infrastructure, for example, performs the explicit function of generating and distributing power; more importantly, it enables electrified housing, industrial production, and information and communications technology.

In the past, most people recognized a new railroad, canal, or university as infrastructure. They knew why it was important. This has changed. A new form of infrastructure, unlike any we’ve seen before, is rapidly developing around us. A host of internet connected devices, communications networks, servers, artificial intelligence programs, and other digital technologies, as well as the humans and communities who use them, are combining to create an emergent cognitive infrastructure that stands in stark contrast to older systems: We don’t recognize it as being infrastructure, and we don’t know exactly what its implications will be.

Shaping a 21st Century C2/ISR Infrastructure: The Emergence of C312/22/2019

By Robbin Laird

This discussion was subsumed within a growing emphasis on multi-domain operations, and the need for the kind of C2 which can leverage the right information at the right time to make the right decisions within a multi-domain environment with the right package of combat force.

In effect, this capability is what precedes any discussion of what a 6th generation fighter aircraft might be.

What clearly the F-35 has generated is the “renorming of airpower” which we predicted some years ago.

But what it is also generating is a significant rethink of how to fight at the speed of light in terms of high confidence data to deliver capabilities to for decisive decision making at the tactical edge.

In effect, C3 is emerging as a key driver of change Command, Control and Confidence in the most relevant ISR data is required at the tactical edge to make the decisions necessary to prevail in the evolving battlespace.

Sergeant Silicon: Lessons From An Army Cyber NCO


As old-school Sergeant Rock types give way to NCOs with advanced degrees, ARSOUTH Command Sgt. Maj. William Rinehart is helping build up both US and allied cyber forces.

US and Latin American personnel plan out the international PANAMAX exercise, which now includes cyber warfare.

WASHINGTON: “I have not come across a single country down there that has said that they would rather work with China,” the Army’s most senior sergeant in Latin America told me.

After helping stand up the Army’s first offensive cyber battalion – more on that below – and its cyber center at Fort Gordon, William Rinehart was tapped two years ago to be Command Sergeant Major for US Army South because, as he put it, militaries around the region were “screaming” for help on cybersecurity. At last year’s Panamax wargames, for example – the first time the international exercise included a cyber element – Rinehart asked a tent full of Latin American officers if any of them had not been hacked by the Chinese.

Who’ll Fix EW? Task Force Gropes For Answers


Russian and Chinese jammers could cripple US radio, radar, and GPS. The Pentagon's still wrestling with who should fix that, let alone how.

ARLINGTON: Five years ago, Pentagon research & engineering chief Alan Shaffer warned that “we have lost the electromagnetic spectrum.” Today, after the Russians have jammed US and allied radio, radar, and GPS from Syria to Ukraine to Norway, are we doing better?

“I’m going to characterize it this way….I want to be careful,” Maj. Gen. Lance Landrum told reporters at an Association of Old Crows roundtable this morning: “I can very firmly say we’re challenged in the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Landrum, an Air Force fighter pilot on the Joint Staff, leads the group Congress ordered the Pentagon to create, the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team. (Officially, the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. John Hyten, is the task force’s director, but Landrum runs things day to day as deputy director).