14 January 2020

Countries To Watch In 2020, From Chile To Afghanistan: 5 Essential Reads

by Catesby Holmes

Where will the world's attention turn in 2020?

The United States' impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the United Kingdom's long-awaited Brexit are sure bets. And after the U.S. military withdrawal from northern Syria in October, Bashar al-Assad may well win his civil war this year.

Many other countries will see pivotal events in 2020, too. Here are five countries to watch.

1. Venezuela

This year will bring new depths of misery to Venezuela, which is suffering the worst economic collapse ever seen outside war.

"Most Venezuelans today are desperately poor," explains St. Mary's College professor Marco Aponte-Moreno, citing a U.N. statistic that 90% of the people in the South American country live in poverty - double what it was in 2014.

Try as It Might, Germany Isn’t Warming to Huawei

By Björn Alexander Düben

Few companies have elicited as much controversy in recent months as the Chinese electronics giant Huawei. Like many other states, Germany is presently faced with the choice of whether or not to involve Huawei in its rollout of the new fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecommunications networks – a critical infrastructure for future industrial and technological development. Due to its economic and political clout, Berlin’s choice of companies to supply 5G network components will likely set an example for other European states to follow. But for more than a year, Germany has been locked in an increasingly fierce political debate about this issue that shows no signs of abating.

Why does the choice of Huawei as a 5G network supplier arouse so much controversy in Germany? For China’s state-controlled media, the answer has been clear: a U.S.-led campaign of pressure and intimidation against its allies has sown distrust between Beijing and Berlin. Since early 2018, the United States has been investigating Huawei in connection with alleged sanctions violations. Citing security risks, Washington issued warnings to its allies – including Germany – to refrain from including Huawei equipment in their critical infrastructures, lest it would be compelled to curtail intelligence sharing with their governments. Consequently, leading Chinese media have observed that “Washington has done all it can to block Huawei equipment from entering European countries’ 5G networks, even threatening to stop sharing intelligence with allies that reject the warning.” They have consistently attributed Germany’s qualms and hesitation regarding its choice of 5G vendors to the “mounting pressure and intimidation from the United States administration” and its attempts at “defaming Huawei in a coordinated smear campaign.”

Did Twitter Help Stop War With Iran?

Tweets from US president Donald Trump and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif Tuesday offered a fascinating glimpse at how world leaders can communicate more quickly and directly than ever in times of crisis.

For all the Sturm und Drang about the toxic culture of Twitter, it seems possible that the leaders of both Iran and the United States turned to the social media site Tuesday to help ensure that a tense night in the Middle East didn’t escalate into all-out war.

After a week when Twitter seemed to bring out the worst impulses of President Donald Trump’s bombast—including an ill-conceived (and potentially illegal) threat over the weekend to bomb Iranian cultural sites—both Trump and Iran’s English-speaking foreign minister tweeted out Tuesday night that neither wished to escalate tit-for-tat attacks into a true war. Their exchange, what Middle East expert Ilan Goldenberg called “real time deescalatory twitter,” came in the hours after Iranian rockets targeted Iraqi bases that housed US and allied personnel, apparent retaliation for the US assassination of Iran’s Quds Force leader, General Qasem Soleimani, in a Baghdad airstrike.

The tweets proved a remarkable modern-day answer to the long-running challenge world leaders have faced in struggling to communicate between nations during unfolding crises—communications necessary both to understand adversaries’ intentions and to telegraph their own.

The Breathtaking Unravelling of the Middle East After Qassem Suleimani’s Death

By Robin Wright
Source Link

The flag-draped coffin of General Qassem Suleimani was thronged by wailing mobs in Tehran on Monday, as the fallout from his death, in a U.S. air strike, accelerated with breathtaking speed. Iran has not seen such an outpouring of emotion on the streets since the death of the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989. His successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wept openly—as did other political leaders and military officers—as he prayed over the casket. Esmail Gha’ani, Suleimani’s successor as head of the Quds Force, the élite wing of the Revolutionary Guards, vowed to confront the United States. “We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before, with the help of God, and, in return for his martyrdom, we aim to get rid of America from the region,” Gha’ani said at the funeral.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on five Sunday talk shows—curiously, wearing a red tie on two shows and a blue tie on three others—to brag about the U.S. operation. “We took a bad guy off the battlefield,” he said, on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There is less risk today to American forces in the region as a result of that attack.” Yet nothing seems further from the truth. Some form of conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic, overt or covert, seems more possible now than it has at any time since the 1979 Revolution. The U.S. investment in neighboring Iraq—thousands of American lives, hundreds of billions of dollars in American treasure, decades of American diplomacy—appears to be unravelling, with rippling effects across the Middle East. Diplomatic missions in other Middle Eastern and South Asian countries are on virtual lockdown, with American citizens urged to evacuate Iraq and Iran and lie low elsewhere in the region.

Why Hitting the Pause Button Is the Best the U.S. and Iran Can Hope For

Judah Grunstein 

Reactions in the United States to the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani have tended to fall into three broad categories. Those who support the strike argue that it eliminated a uniquely irreplaceable figure advancing Iran’s regional influence, while also reestablishing deterrence against Tehran. Those who oppose it fall into two groups. Some warn that by killing Soleimani, the U.S. took a step up the escalation ladder that will inevitably lead to open conflict with Iran. Others say that even short of causing all-out war, the strike was ill-advised because its strategic costs outweigh its benefits.

The first argument is almost certainly false. The second is probably exaggerated. And the third is almost certainly true. But whether killing Soleimani forestalls immediate conflict or fuels further escalation, it has locked the U.S. and Iran into a costly confrontation for the foreseeable future. ...

U.S. forces likely had warning before Iranian missile strikes

By Ken Dilanian and Mosheh Gains
Source Link

Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

U.S. forces at Iraqi bases most likely had some warning before missiles launched by Iran struck Wednesday morning local time, thanks to a facility devoted to detecting and providing alerts about launches anywhere in the world, according to public documents and a former senior intelligence official.

Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases hosting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq, the Defense Department said. The targeted bases, at Ain al-Asad and Irbil, had been on high alert, officials said.

"We are working on initial battle damage assessments," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Iran Attacks U.S. Forces, Then Both Sides Stand Down

By Robin Wright

On Tuesday, speaking to hundreds of thousands of mourners at the final funeral service for Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed that the United States would pay a price for the general’s murder. Passions were running so high that more than fifty people were killed and hundreds injured in a stampede around the funeral cortege. They, too, were considered “martyrs” whose deaths were blamed on the U.S. drone strike that killed Suleimani. “We will take revenge, a hard and definitive revenge,” General Hossein Salami said, in Kerman, Suleimani’s home town. In Tehran, the chairman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council told local media that the Islamic Republic was considering thirteen “revenge scenarios.” He warned that even the most limited option would be “a historic nightmare for the Americans.”

In the dark early hours of Wednesday morning, Iran launched missile strikes on two military bases in Iraq that are home to U.S. troops. They were flashy and noisy and a sharp shift from Iran’s past attacks on American targets, usually through proxies outside Iran’s borders to provide Tehran with plausible deniability. This time, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from its turf at Iraq’s sprawling Ain al-Assad base, about a hundred miles from Baghdad, and at Erbil, in northern Kurdistan. President Trump visited the Ain al-Assad base in December, 2018, on his only visit to Iraq.

How Donald Trump thinks about Iran

Thomas Wright

On October 6, 1980 Donald Trump was interviewed by Rona Barrett, one of America’s most famous gossip columnists, on NBC. It was several weeks before Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the presidential election and near the end of the Iran hostage crisis in which the Iranian regime took 52 American diplomats and citizens prisoner after the embassy was stormed and then held them for 444 days.

It was a long and meandering interview about Trump’s story to date (he was then 34). About half way though, Barrett asked Trump if he could make America perfect how would he do it. Trump replied that America “should really be a country that gets the respect of other countries.” The exchange continued:

Donald Trump: ….The Iranian situation is a case in point. That they hold our hostages is just absolutely, and totally ridiculous. That this country sits back and allows a country such as Iran to hold our hostages, to my way of thinking, is a horror, and I don’t think they’d do it with other countries. I honestly don’t think they’d do it with other countries. 

Rona Barrett: Obviously you’re advocating that we should have gone in there with troops, et cetera, and brought our boys out like Vietnam.

Iran Missiles Strike Iraqi Bases; Analysis: ‘War’ Unlikely


The answer is still unclear as of Tuesday evening, even after Iran fired 15 missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops, hitting Al Assad with 10 missiles, one falling near the Irbil airport, and four others failing en route.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley rushed to the White House to brief President Trump, who decided not to speak to the nation tonight. Trump tweeted “All is well!” noting that a damage assessment is underway.

Reached Tuesday evening, recently retired Centcom commander Gen. Jospeh Votel told us he is “not surprised” by the Iranian attack. “Iran has many options and this appears to be the one they choose — perhaps because it was direct and unambiguous…for both internal and external consumption.”

Earlier, we had asked some of Washington’s best informed and smartest people about the likely consequences.

How Israel Views Trump’s Strike Against Iran

By Bernard Avishai

In the United States, early analyses of the Trump Administration’s assassination of General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, tended to come with corresponding analyses of Iran’s array of choices for armed retaliation—attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, Saudi oil assets, Iraqi political targets, Israel, various diplomatic missions—suggesting that such a response is inevitable, and wondering, ominously, where it will come. By inference, the rationale for Donald Trump’s bolt-from-the-blue action will be justified, or not, by its consequences and their consequences. As General David Petraeus told Foreign Policy, “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. . . . Suleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria into southern Lebanon.” He added, “Now the question is: How does Iran respond with its own forces and its proxies, and then what does that lead the U.S. to do?”

Petraeus’s apprehension was unlikely to have been allayed by the Trump Administration’s alleged contingency plans for an Iranian counterattack. After Suleimani’s death, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, reportedly instructed his National Security Council that Iran’s response should not be carried out by proxies but, rather, by Iranian forces in a direct, proportional attack on American interests. If that were to happen, Trump tweeted, his Administration had plans to attack fifty-two Iranian targets—a number that recalls the fifty-two American hostages held in Tehran in 1979. Early on Wednesday morning, a first Iranian salvo came: units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed. There were no reported casualties, and the damage was apparently minimal. Later on Wednesday morning, in a brief address from the White House, Trump said—some would say gloated—that Iran “appears to be standing down.” After misrepresenting the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, he called on nato—an organization he has frequently scorned—to take a role and reiterated threats and sanctions against Iran but said that he was ready “to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

What We Know About the Missiles Iran Fired Into Iraq

Source Link

New guidance systems have increased the lethality of Iran’s missiles, including the short-range Fateh that appears to have been used in the attacks. But many unknowns remain.

“We don’t have a real good, high-fidelity count of the number of missiles that Iran has,” said Michael Elleman, director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Ellerman estimates that Iran has between 200 and 300 Scud missiles and about 100 Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missiles.

“Once you get beyond 100, it probably doesn’t matter because they have a limited number of launchers and launch crews,” he said.

Even less is known about the Fateh. That’s because Tehran makes them indigenously.

“My guess is that the numbers would be measured in the hundreds…if not the high hundreds,” Ellerman said.

Iran Launches Hunt For Soleimani ‘Mole;’ Back Channel Talks Open


TEL AVIV: The Iranian secret service is busy trying to put its hands on the person or persons that leaked the information that allowed the US to kill Maj. Gen Qassem Soleimani minutes after he got off a plane from Syria. If it was a leak…

Middle Eastern sources say that the Iranians are totally bewildered by the fact that the Americans knew enough about his movements to find him and kill him.

Two days ago an Iranian politician revealed in the press that the country’s security services have launched a massive investigation to locate the security holes and whether there is a “mole” in one of the Iranian
organizations that know details of the travel plans of senior figures.

The logistics of the Friday strike at Baghdad airport certainly raise intriguing questions about where the US got its intel.

The deadly drone that killed Qassem Soleimani weighs as much as an African elephant

The MQ-9 Reaper drone, which conducted the air strike to assasinate Iran's Qasem SoleimaniWikipedia

The MQ-9 Reaper drone is known for being one the deadliest unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the world.

Most recently it carried out the air strike to assassinate Iran's Qassem Soleimani, who's funeral is today with more than a million marching to mourn his death.

The drone weighs as much as an elephant, can fly higher than commercial aircraft yet be pin-drop silent a mere 250 meters from the ground.The MQ-9 Reaper, or ‘Predator B’ drone has only one objective — to find, fix and finish its targets. One of the deadliest drones in US’ arsenal is used against ‘ dynamic execution targets’. On January 2, it assassinated Iran’s military general, Qassem Soleimani.

Today, Soleimani’s funeral procession is one of the largest ever in Iran with more than a million people flooding the streets and chanting ‘Iran’s wearing black, revenge, revenge’.

The U.S. Public Still Doesn’t Want War With Iran


For a president who professes aversion to wars in the Middle East, in ordering the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, U.S. President Donald Trump may have made an already slippery slope toward military conflict with Iran much more slippery. To be sure, it is easy for Trump to point out to the U.S. public that Suleimani had much American blood on his hands, but that still doesn’t mean that the public believes that it is in the best interest of their country to go to war.

A September 2019 University of Maryland poll of a nationally representative sample of 3,016 respondents shows the trouble Trump faces with U.S. public opinion as the crisis with Iran escalates. There are three main takeaways: Three-quarters of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say that war with Iran would be unwarranted; the public mostly blames the Trump administration for heightened tensions with Iran and disapproves of Trump’s Iran policy; and Americans are deeply divided in assessing Trump’s goals in Iran.

Where U.S. Troops Are Based In The Middle East

by Niall McCarthy

After the death of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. missile on Friday in Baghdad, the Iraqi government has voted in a non-binding resolution Sunday to expel U.S. troops from the country. Prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi could now take back the invitation that allows 6,000 troops to currently stay in Iraq.

While the U.S. presence in Iraq is sizable, other Middle Eastern countries host many more U.S. troops. The largest U.S. base in the Middle East is in Qatar. The country hosts around 13,000 U.S. troops, according to numbers compiled by the Washington Post. Located southwest of Doha, Al Udeid Air Base has proven crucial in the fight against ISIS. Qatar invested $1 billion in constructing the base and it's also home to the the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center, responsible for coordinating U.S. and allied air power across the Middle East, particularly in airspace over Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The following infographic highlights just how important Qatar, along with Kuwait, is to the U.S. presence in the Middle East. Both countries hosts an estimated 13,000 U.S. troops. Neighboring Bahrain is also vital to American interests in the region, home to the Naval Support Activity Bahrain, the U.S. Fifth Fleet and a substantial military presence at Isa Air Base. 7,000 troops are based there.

The Mistaken Memo That Turned The Pentagon On Its Side


PENTAGON: A day after the Iraqi parliament voted to begin the process of kicking US forces out of the country, a leaked draft memo from the US military command in Baghdad set off a scramble in the halls of the Pentagon. Staffers, reporters, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs all publicly struggled, in real time, and sometimes together, to understand what was happening.

In a remarkable afternoon even by the current chaotic standards, the memo from Brig. Gen. William Seely, commanding general of Task Force Iraq in Baghdad, to the Iraqi military command offered, “we respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” Given the wishes of the local government, Seely said, Iraqis can expect increased US helicopter traffic around Baghdad as the US begins “repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.”

The memo began flying around Twitter in the early afternoon, leading some to declare it a fake and others to conclude the US was planning a quick pullout from Iraq even before the Iraqis formally ordered it. Pentagon staffers were just as confused, and printed-out black and white copies pulled from Tweets were soon flying around the E-Ring. Officials in Baghdad soon confirmed it was real.

For Trump, Venezuela Will Remain a Foreign Policy Priority Until Election Day

Frida Ghitis 

Among the many glaring pieces of unfinished business on President Donald Trump’s foreign policy ledger is Venezuela, where his campaign of “maximum pressure” on President Nicolas Maduro has failed. Venezuelans are preparing to mark the anniversary this month of a policy to oust Maduro that Trump launched with great fanfare and to high expectations nearly a year ago, when he declared Maduro’s presidency “illegitimate” and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate, interim president. At the time, Trump vowed to restore Venezuelan democracy, declaring that “all options are on the table.”

Yet in a sign of where things now stand in Venezuela, Maduro this week tried to seize the last remaining democratic institution in the country. Security forces and his supporters blocked opposition legislators from entering the National Assembly building, where they were set to reelect Guaido as the head of the legislature. The dramatic standoff led to a rival lawmaker, dissident opposition member Luis Parra, declaring himself head of the National Assembly, with the backing of Maduro and his party. ...

Why US Officials Are Revealing More about Cyber Ops


In foreign policy, it is essential to indicate to friends and foes alike where a country’s national interests lie. Some of this is done in documents such as the National Security Strategy. But potential challengers in the international system often choose to probe whether such documents truly reflect a nation’s interests and its willingness to defend them. So states signal their resolve in various ways intended to forestall more aggressive challenges and costly defensive operations. 

To prove they are not bluffing, states sometimes send “costly signals” — ones that impose some cost on the sender. This is what the Trump administration is doing when it publicizes various cyber activities against, say, Iran or Russia. Cyber tools and networks are a limited commodity; publicizing them makes them harder to use a second time. The hope is that burning this scarce commodity will persuade potential challengers of American resolve. 

Most of the information we have about recent U.S. cyber activities has come from unnamed, but likely authorized, government sources. These choreographed disclosures allow the Trump administration to signal to adversaries that it views certain actions as infringing upon U.S. national interests — yet they also create plausible deniability that keeps the administration’s options open and its domestic political risks down. 

Why Peacebuilding Is Laborious, Often Flawed, but Increasingly Necessary

The need for peacebuilding in post-conflict societies grew out of the realization that signing agreements to bring fighting to an end is a necessary but insufficient step toward true and enduring peace. Peacebuilding is now conceived of as a multistage process that includes approaches ranging from governmental capacity-building and economic development to reforms of the legal and security sectors, with each initiative intended to be a step toward improving human security and fostering societal healing and reconciliation.

It is often a laborious and expensive process—and one that can easily be undone. Witness Brexit’s triggering of the long-dormant fault lines between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland. Moreover, as peacebuilding has evolved, there is still no consensus on who should lead these efforts. In the wake of Sept. 11, the United Nations introduced a Peacebuilding Commission, intended to push for the adoption of post-conflict interventions and then aid and track their implementation. The PBC lacks any actual enforcement capacity, though, and has struggled to establish itself. It also suffers from the same problem as the broader U.N. system: Key member states can block U.N. involvement, which may explain why Syria is still not on the PBC’s agenda despite the denouement of that nation’s conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the opening session of the Paris Peace Forum at the Villette Conference Hall in Paris, France, Nov. 11, 2018 (SIPA photo by Eliot Blondet via AP Images).

No cellphones, laptops were allowed to go with Army 82nd paratroopers deploying to Middle East

Kyle Rempfer

Paratroopers deploying to the Middle East were told to leave behind their cellphones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronic devices, according to Army 82nd Airborne Division officials.

The move was made to ensure operational security was maintained during the emergency deployment, which saw 3,500 paratroopers from 1st Brigade Combat Team begin to fly out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, over the first week of January.

“Anything considered a personal electronic device. All those things,” Lt. Col. Mike Burns, division spokesman, told Army Times. “But banned is a harsh word. The decision was made so soldiers weren’t put at risk.”

Should the U.S. Expect an Iranian Cyberattack?

By Sue Halpern

Aday after Donald Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s élite Quds Force, the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin from its National Terrorism Advisory System. “Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the United States,” the alert said. “Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States.” Another bullet point noted that “an attack in the homeland may come with little or no warning.” Shortly after, hackers claiming to be affiliated with Iran took over the Web site of the Federal Depository Library Program, an American government agency that distributes government publications, and inserted a picture of Trump being punched in the face, with blood dripping from his mouth. “Martyrdom,” the accompanying message read, was Suleimani’s “reward for years of implacable efforts. With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident.” The hackers signed off with an additional threat: “This is only [a] small part of Iran’s cyber ability! We’re always ready.” It was a sophomoric attack on an obscure federal agency, but those last two sentences are unassailable.

In 2010, the United States and Israel covertly inserted malware into the automated control system at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, causing nearly a thousand centrifuges to self-destruct. The centrifuges were necessary to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, and the Stuxnet attack, as it came to be known, was credited with slowing down Iran’s nuclear program and driving the Iranians to the negotiating table. Though neither Israel nor the United States has claimed credit for the attack, the ensuing nuclear deal, signed in 2015, was seen as a triumph for the Obama Administration. (Trump unilaterally walked away from the deal in 2018.) But an unintended consequence of Stuxnet—along with the inadvertent release of the virus into the “wild,” where it continues to be used by nation-state and rogue hackers—was that it inspired the Iranian government to accelerate the development of its own cyber army within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The government also recruited thousands of volunteer “patriotic” hackers—among them, criminal gangs and ideologically aligned terrorist groups such as Hezbollah—who work independently, but with the regime’s implicit blessing. (In its most recent bulletin, the D.H.S. noted that “Homegrown Violent Extremists could capitalize on the heightened tensions to launch individual attacks.”) As Ed Parsons and George Michael, who research cyber threats in the private sector, have pointed out, “The Iranian regime has demonstrated greater appetite towards destructive or disruptive cyber-attacks in peacetime than any other nation.”

2020 trends to watch: Policy issues to watch in 2020

2019 was marked by massive protest movements in a number of different countries, impeachment, continued Brexit talks and upheaval in global trade, and much more. Already, 2020 is shaping up to be no less eventful as the U.S. gears up for presidential elections in November.

Brookings experts are looking ahead to the issues they expect will shape the world this year and the solutions to address them. Below, explore what our experts have identified as the biggest policy issues in their field for 2020, the ideas or proposals they encourage policymakers to consider, and the overlooked stories that deserve greater attention.

White House encourages hands-off approach to AI regulation

By James Vincent 

While experts worry about AI technologies like intrusive surveillance and autonomous weaponry, the US government is advocating a hands-off approach to AI’s regulation.

The White House today unveiled 10 principles that federal agencies should consider when devising laws and rules for the use of artificial intelligence in the private sector, but stressed that a key concern was limiting regulatory “overreach.”

The public will have 90 days to submit feedback on the plans, reports Wired, after which federal agencies will have 180 days to work out how to implement the principles.

Carbon Nanotubes & Quantum Dots: Army Thinks VERY Small

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WASHINGTON: While the rest of the Army works on new hypersonic missiles, robotic mini-tanks, and ultra-high-speed helicopters, the Army Research Office is diving deep into the submicroscopic world of nanotechnology and quantum mechanics.

The military is intensely interested in the potential to improve the costs and capabilities of its electronics, which in modern warfare are as vital to survival as guns and armor. But as with the Internet, radar, and other originally military technologies, there are civilian applications as well.

Carbon Nanotubes

One Army Research Office project is looking to replace traditional silicon-based semiconductors with more efficient carbon nanotubes, program manager Joe Qiu told me. The new technology is particularly useful at the very high frequencies (30-plus gigahertz) and very short wavelengths (millimeter wave) that the telecommunications industry wants to use for 5G networksincluding on military bases – and for whatever replaces 5G.

Carbon nanotubes. (University of Virginia photo via National Nanotechnology Initiative)

“The initial deployment of 5G, they will be lower than six gigahertz, but there are plans…to improve frequencies to 28 GHz and higher,” Qiu said. “It’s not just 5G — it’s beyond 5G.”

Congressional commission wants more cyberwarriors for the military

Mark Pomerleau

The U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a bipartisan organization created in 2019 to develop a multipronged U.S. cyber strategy, will recommend the Department of Defense add more cyberwarriors to its forces, the group’s co-chair said Jan. 7.

The cyber mission force was established in 2013 and includes 133 teams and roughly 6,200 individuals from across the services that feed up to U.S. Cyber Command. These forces reached a staffing milestone known as full operational capability in May 2018, however, some on the commission believe the cyber landscape has changed so that the force needs to adapt as well.

In a final report that’s expected in the coming months, the solarium will recommend adding more cyberwarriors.