11 February 2020

CDS makes renewed push for Defence University

The matter is also set to be raised with the chiefs of the defence services and the defence minister. The Indian Defence University (IDU), a plan mooted first 53 years ago and had its foundation stone laid in 2013, has been envisioned for addressing deficiencies in India’s security management and formulate policies on strategic challenges.

New Delhi: Establishment of an Indian Defence University, which has faced several delays and cost revisions, is now getting a renewed push from the chief of defence staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat.

Officials have taken a two-pronged approach — through the CDS and the bureaucracy — to ensure faster clearance of the draft Indian Defence University (IDU) Bill from the Prime Minister’s Office. The matter is also set to be raised with the chiefs of the defence services and the defence minister. The Indian Defence University (IDU), a plan mooted first 53 years ago and had its foundation stone laid in 2013, has been envisioned for addressing deficiencies in India’s security management and formulate policies on strategic challenges. The draft IDU Bill has been lying at the PMO for the past one and a half years, officials said. Establishment of the university is among the priorities of the CDS. One of the first presentations made before General Rawat after he took over as the CDS was on the IDU, officials said Shaurya Karanbir Gurung 3 Comments Save Establishment of an Indian defence university, which has faced several delays and cost revisions, is now getting a renewed push from the chief of defence staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat. 

India to Test Nirbhay Cruise Missile With Indigenous Propulsion System

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The Indian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) will test fire a nuclear-capable Nirbhay Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile (LRLACM) fitted with an indigenous propulsion system in April, according to an Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) official who spoke to IHS Jane’s during the February 5 to 9 Defexpo 2020 exhibition in Lucknow, northern India.

The indigenous Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE) is under development by DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE). The new engine along with a new radio frequency seeker is expected to be tested during two developmental trials in April, with a live firing slated to take place in January or February 2021. Development of the LRLACM is scheduled to be completed the same year. 

Nirbhay is India’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range cruise missile. 

The Nirbhay is a subsonic LRLACM that can be armed with a 200-300-kilogram warhead. The nuclear-capable, solid fuel missile can reportedly reach top speeds of 0.6-0.7 Mach and can strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers. It can be launched from multiple platforms — the first test of the air-launched variant is expected to take place in 2021. The Nirbhay reportedly has loitering capability.

Coronavirus: what Xi fears most is Chinese turning on the Communist Party

Wang Xiangwei

Back on January 21 last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a gathering of senior officials that they must be on guard against “black swans” and “grey rhinos” which could threaten the rule of the Communist Party amid a slowing economy.

At that time, Xi’s use of animal metaphors sparked discussions among observers who generally interpreted his warnings as being related to different kinds of economic risks. “Black swans” are events that cannot be predicted but have a profound impact on markets, while “grey rhinos” are known risks that have the potential to cause great harm but which people choose to ignore.

One year later, Xi’s wildlife metaphors about the dangers facing the country have proved prophetic on a more literal level.

Scientists and medical experts have pinned down bats as the probable source of the 
coronavirus outbreak originating from a wet market which has stalls for trading wildlife animals in Wuhan of Hubei province. The bats are believed to have infected other animals which transmitted the virus to humans.


By Han Zhang

Around 5 p.m. on December 30th, Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, messaged his college-classmates group on WeChat. He told them that “seven confirmed cases of sars” were in quarantine at the hospital, then followed up with a correction: it was an unspecified coronavirus, which later became known as 2019-nCoV. Li wasn’t authorized to share the information, but he wanted to warn his former classmates—mostly fellow-physicians—so that they would know to protect themselves. He asked them not to share the news outside the group, but soon the chat had spread—via screenshot, with Li’s name attached—throughout and beyond Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital. Li was irritated at first, but understanding.

Eight hours later, at one-thirty in the morning, Li received a phone call summoning him to the offices of the municipal health commission, where his superiors were attending an emergency conference; there, hospital leadership questioned him about the WeChat message. Later that day, while at work, Li was called to the “inspection section”—essentially a political arm of the hospital, which concerns itself with political transgressions, as opposed to professional ones—for more disciplinary meetings. On January 3rd, Li’s local police station called and informed him that he was required to sign and fingerprint an admonition letter for spreading “untrue speech.” Meanwhile, CCTV, the primary state broadcaster, had reported that police had contacted eight people in Wuhan who had spread rumors about a new, sars-like strain of pneumonia. “The Internet is not a land outside the law,” the station warned its viewers.

The Coronavirus Will Send Political and Economic Shockwaves Far Beyond China

Frida Ghitis

The fast-spreading new coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan is, at its most immediate level, a public health crisis. But it is also much more than that. As governments struggle to contain the epidemic, the virus is already having economic ramifications in China and around the world. That’s the second level of its impact. And as the epidemic threatens to become a pandemic, and the speed of the contagion exceeds the number of cases of the 2003 SARS outbreak, there is a third level of consequences that has received far less attention: This coronavirus could leave a lasting political mark far beyond China that could ultimately be its most profound legacy.

Much will depend on how long this health crisis lasts, which, in turn, depends on how fast the virus continues to spread and how effective public health measures prove to be. Although the virus remains largely confined to China two months after it was first detected in Wuhan, it is all but certain that it will send shockwaves to every corner of the world, even if there isn’t a single new case outside of mainland China. ...

Refocusing the China debate: American allies and the question of US-China “decoupling”

Lindsey Ford

The common wisdom in Washington is that policymakers and experts have settled into a new consensus about China. Engagement is dead, long live strategic competition!

But ongoing policy debates suggest this consensus may not be as well-formed as it first appears. Beyond the desire for a new approach toward Beijing, there is still relatively little agreement on where to go from here. How should U.S. policymakers turn a relatively vague concept of “competition” into a more coherent set of policies? What objectives and assumptions should drive U.S. strategy? And what role are U.S. allies and partners willing to play in this new approach?

Unfortunately, many of the past year’s China debates provided few answers to these questions. Instead, the U.S.-China narrative has often mired down in increasingly stark disagreements over history, ideology, grand strategy, and geoeconomics. The flaw of many of these debates is that they miss the center of gravity when it comes to managing China’s rise. “Competition” does not necessarily require a unified vision of the sources of Chinese conduct, but it does require a deeper consensus on how the United States will define its own role in the Indo-Pacific region and a firmer consensus with allies and partners about how to align our political and economic strategies.

The Geo-Technological Triangle Between the US, China, and Taiwan

By Hannah Kirk

In the 21st century, the battlefield between superpowers relies more on the trade of bits, bytes, and computers than bombs, bullets, and coal. Technological dominance is a key factor in power struggles, replacing “arms race” with “AI race” and “space” with “silicon.” The software armory of sophisticated technology running on artificial intelligence is birthed from hardware chips no larger than a postage stamp. The entire digital ecosystem runs on silicon, made fragile by highly interconnected semiconductor supply lines.

The media view China-U.S. technology competition as a bitter rivalry. Apple and Huawei, two sparring tech companies, fight for ground, jostling for better, faster, and smarter phones, representing their nations in the technology battle. Despite seemingly stark differences, Apple and Huawei have ended up with an identical problem: They rely on Taiwan for outsourced manufacturing of all-important silicon components. With increasing trade tensions threatening to disrupt semiconductor supply chains and sanctions inhibiting the sharing of technology between the United States and mainland China, Taiwan has been thrust into a difficult geopolitical (or more aptly, geo-technological) situation. Were the technology economies of the world’s two strongest powers to fully decouple, Taiwan may ultimately have to choose which to trade with.

Misreading Clausewitz: The Enduring Relevance of On War


In 1996, Delbert Thiessen commented that ‘The Persian Gulf War was perhaps the last Clausewitzian war ever to be fought’ (cited in Shimko 2010, 22). Thiessen is not the only professor who foresaw an age of war in which Clausewitzian dicta held little relevance. Some of the most prominent writers in strategic and security studies have published analyses on the character of modern warfare which take the declining relevance of Clausewitzian theory as its starting point (Handel 2008; Schuurman 2010; Williams 2013; Strachan 2014; Lonsdale 2016). Martin van Creveld (1991), for example, sees the trend in global warfare toward irregularity and asymmetry as a sign of the obsolescence of Clausewitzian theory, claiming that ‘[if] low intensity conflict is indeed the wave of the future, then strategy in its classical sense will disappear’ (p. 207). In the same vein, Mary Kaldor dismisses Clausewitz with the assertion that states have lost their primacy in war and have instead been replaced by groups who identify on the basis of religion or ethnicity (Kaldor 2007; Schuurman 2010). Such criticism, however, is based on a fundamental misreading of Clausewitz’ theory of war and the philosophical framework in which it is set.

In reviewing the literature of those scholars eager to dismiss the writings of Clausewitz as inappropriate for modern war, it becomes apparent that their criticism misrepresents Clausewitz’ thinking in two fundamental ways: it presupposes (1) that Clausewitz’ theory of war is state-centric, and only state-centric, and (2) that changes in the modes of war are equal to changes in the nature of war (i.e. warfare as opposed to war). Both are false and are likely based on a misreading of Clausewitz’ On War, which is notoriously dense and contradictory. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate the enduring relevance of Clausewitz’ theory of war, the following text intends to examine how this criticism of Clausewitz can be offset by first looking at the distinction between the primary and secondary trinity, and second by interpreting On War as a primarily philosophical exercise on the nature of war as a broad social phenomenon.

Democracy Is Good for Your Health—And Vice Versa

By Thomas J. Bollyky 

Next week, Iowans will caucus to choose a Democratic candidate for president. But an observer might be forgiven for thinking that the future of U.S. health care was the real choice on the ballot.

Health care has been the most discussed topic at the Democratic Party debates, to the dismay of commentators who would like the conversation to expand beyond Medicare and its financing to highlight the candidates’ other policy differences with President Donald Trump. Yet politicians and debate moderators are merely responding to recent polls: health care is the only issue that a majority of Americans agrees is extremely important in the 2020 presidential election.

The public’s concern is warranted. The United States now suffers from twin pathologies—one afflicting the health of its citizens and the other the health of its political system. Reversing the simultaneous declines in U.S. health and U.S. democracy depends on recognizing that they are related.


The Fossil Fuelled Monster and the Climate Failures of States


Millions of school students, by striking to protest at government inaction on climate change, have brought popular rebellion back to the centre of international politics. The “Fridays for Future” strikes could turn out to be among the roots of deeper, wider, civil society movements to avert dangerous global warming. Whether or not the students see themselves as anti-capitalist, they are up against a web of relationships inherent to capitalism. Powerful older men such as US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin have not contained their anger at the school strikes – a tribute to their effectiveness. Far more important, though, is the strikes’ political character. Unlike many past protesters, the school strikers are not trying to convince governments with good arguments in letters or petitions. Their starting point is governments’ failure to act on climate change. As Greta Thunberg, who initiated the school strikes, said in her speech to the UN climate summit: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”

Putin recycled the myth that greenhouse gas emissions are rising mainly due to higher living standards in poor countries, and claimed Thunberg did not understand that people in the global south “want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden”. Perhaps Putin did not listen carefully to Thunberg’s speech, which made clear she understands a great deal about the global south. She pointed out that global warming is not only about the future, but about suffering there, now. On the idea of halving emissions in ten years, which the science says produces a 50% chance of keeping global temperatures no more than 1.5 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels, Thunberg said:


By Steve Coll

On January 23, 2017, Donald Trump’s fourth day as President, he met with congressional leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House. “You know, I won the popular vote,” he started off, and then repeated the calumny that Hillary Clinton had re­ceived three to five million illegal votes, owing to fraud. “That’s not true,” Nancy Pelosi replied, according to “A Very Stable Genius,” the recently published account of the Trump Presidency by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. “If we’re going to work together,” Pelosi said, “we have to stipulate to a certain set of facts.” Steve Bannon, then Trump’s chief strategist, who was in the room, whispered to colleagues, “She’s going to get us. Total assassin.”

Pelosi did become one of Trump’s most unflinching adversaries, in part because she grasped early on that invitations to his White House are often just call sheets for unscripted television; her finger-jabbing readiness to get in Trump’s face has made her a recurring meme of the Democratic resistance. She offered her most vivid performance yet on February 4th, during the President’s third State of the Union address. As Trump spoke, Pelosi, wearing suffragist white, sat behind him in the high-backed chair reserved for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and conspicuously shuffled and reshuffled a printed copy of the President’s speech. After he finished, she tore the text in half. Twitter blew up, as the Speaker had clearly intended; she explained that she had abandoned decorum because Trump’s speech “was a manifesto of mistruths.”

Getting practical about the future of workJanuary 2020 | Article

By Bryan Hancock, Kate Lazaroff-Puck, and Scott Rutherford

What story will people tell about your organization over the next ten years? Will they celebrate an enthusiastic innovator that thrived by adapting workforce skills and ways of working to the demands of the new economy? Or will they blame poor financial or operational results, unhappy employees, and community disruption on a short-sighted or delayed talent strategy?

Our modeling shows that by 2030, up to 30 to 40 percent of all workers in developed countries may need to move into new occupations or at least upgrade their skill sets significantly. Research further suggests that skilled workers in short supply will become even scarcer. Some major organizations are already out front on this issue. Amazon recently pledged $700 million to retrain 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs in technology (for example, training warehouse employees to become basic data analysts). JPMorgan Chase made a five-year, $350 million commitment to develop technical skills in high demand—in part targeting its own workers. And Walmart has already invested more than $2 billion in wages and training programs, including Walmart Pathways, which educates entry-level employees about the company’s business model and helps workers develop valuable soft skills.1

Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impactsJanuary 2020 | Report

By Jonathan Woetzel, Dickon Pinner, Hamid Samandari, Hauke Engel, Mekala Krishnan, Brodie Boland, and Carter Powis

After more than 10,000 years of relative stability—the full span of human civilization—the Earth’s climate is changing. As average temperatures rise, climate science finds that acute hazards such as heat waves and floods grow in frequency and severity, and chronic hazards, such as drought and rising sea levels, intensify (Exhibit 1). In this report, we focus on understanding the nature and extent of physical risk from a changing climate over the next one to three decades, exploring physical risk as it is the basis of both transition and liability risks.

Why We Need A New Cold War Strategic Approach


Those strategies will help fulfill the National Defense Strategy (NDS). America faces an uncertain world — the fate of the New START Treaty, revanchist geopolitical land-grabs, the race towards 5G, the drive for supremacy in Artificial Intelligence, and military modernization are frequently discussed in a vacuum. Though crucial, they often fail to be prioritized because they are not clearly linked to an overarching strategy. If the United States cannot better align its actions, messaging, and strategy and do it in a unified fashion — as it did during the Cold War — it risks reductions to military readiness and our ability to effectively compete with adversaries.

Recent events like the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani elicited responses from across the American political spectrum. Republicans heralded them as a show of American strength, one that sent deterrence signals to malign actors. Democrats — while not heartbroken over the killing — pushed back against the decision and questioned the Trump administration’s strategy.

The social contract in the 21st century

By James Manyika, Anu Madgavkar, Tilman Tacke, Sven Smit, Jonathan Woetzel, and Abdulla Abdulaal

Life has changed substantially for individuals in advanced economies in the first two decades of the 21st century as a result of trends including disruptions in technology, globalization, the economic crisis of 2008 and its recovery, and shifting market and institutional dynamics. In many ways, changes for individuals have been for the better, including new opportunities and overall economic growth—and the prospect of more to come as the century progresses, through developments in science, technology and innovation, and productivity growth. Yet, the relatively positive perspective on the state of the economy, based on GDP and job growth indicators, needs to be complemented with a fuller assessment of the economic outcomes for individuals as workers, consumers, and savers.

How the social contract has changed in the 21st century

In a report, The social contract in the 21st century: Outcomes so far for workers, consumers, and savers in advanced economies (PDF–2.7MB), the McKinsey Global Institute takes an in-depth look at these changes in 22 advanced economies in Asia, Europe, and North America, covering 57 percent of global GDP. Among the findings: while opportunities for work have expanded and employment rates have risen to record levels in many countries, work polarization and income stagnation are real and widespread. The cost of many discretionary goods and services has fallen sharply, but basic necessities such as housing, healthcare, and education are absorbing an ever-larger proportion of incomes. Coupled with wage stagnation effects, this is eroding the welfare of the bottom three quintiles of the population by income level (roughly 500 million people in 22 countries). Public pensions are being scaled back—and roughly the same three quintiles of the population do not or cannot save enough to make up the difference.

Fractious Party Politics Threatens to Upend a Succession Plan in Malaysia

Michael Hart 

Malaysia’s veteran 94-year-old prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, returned to power in May 2018 after promising voters that his archfoe-turned-ally, Anwar Ibrahim, would succeed him partway through his five-year term. Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan coalition agreed on the succession plan ahead of its upset victory over Najib Razak’s scandal-plagued government in the 2018 elections. Mahathir himself said shortly after being sworn in that he would lead for an “initial stage, lasting one or two years,” before stepping down. Yet as the two-year mark approaches, no date has been set for that handover and calls for a transition are growing louder.

Mahathir’s proposed time frame for stepping down keeps shifting. Last May, a year after becoming prime minister, he suggested he could continue for “at least” another year, indicating a desire to stay on past mid-2020. Then, in December, Mahathir told Reuters in an interview that he would not vacate his post before November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, due to be held in Kuala Lumpur. He raised eyebrows in Malaysia by adding that “if people don’t want [Anwar], that’s their business,” implying that not all parliamentarians support a change in leadership.

The 2020 presidential candidates need to stop using Black Americans as symbols, and deliver substance

Andre M. Perry
At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump used parts of his speech to make inroads into the Black electorate, a demographic where he faces his worst approval numbers—as low as 9%, according to some polls.

Trump introduced Army veteran Tony Rankin, who lost his home after battling addiction, and spoke on how Rankin was able to find a job because of the Opportunity Zones initiative created by the 2017 tax legislation. Trump also honored Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, and McGee’s great-grandson Iain Lanphier, an eighth grader from Arizona and aspiring Space Force member. These were among several moments in the address where Trump recognized Black people’s contributions.

Yet, in an economy that many would call “booming,” Black unemployment rates remain double that of whites. Black homeownership rates have fallen to pre-1968 levels, before the Fair Housing Act outlawed housing discrimination. And the rising college attendance rate for Black students has been hamstrung by the soaring costs of college.

Black people need more than symbolism and representation. We need policy that will address the persisting structural inequality that predated Trump and the 2016 election.

Are We Witnessing the End of Multilateralism?

The United Nations’ ability to carry out its mission has been severely constrained in recent years by its member states. And many of its agencies are now facing funding shortages that could severely curtail their work. In fact, multilateralism of all stripes is under strain, from the International Criminal Court to the World Trade Organization.

The United Nations is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of an international order built on balancing sovereign equality with great-power politics in a bid to maintain international peace. But its capacity to do that—and to meet its other objectives, which include protecting human rights and delivering aid—have been severely constrained in recent years by its member states.

The real power in the U.N. lies with the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council—the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France. And they have used their positions to limit the institution’s involvement in major recent conflicts, including civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, peacekeeping operations, one of the U.N.’s critical functions, are in need of significant reform. Blue helmets are ensnared in difficult, unwieldy missions in places like Mali and South Sudan. But Russia and the United States shut down attempts to act on initial reform discussions that began last year.

Containment is the Correct Strategy for the Bipolar Middle East

by Rep. Mark Green

While many political scientists, Kenneth Waltz being perhaps the most prominent, believe that a bipolar world structure is the safest, the fact remains that alignment into bipolarity preceded every major war since the Peace of Westphalia. Perhaps that is why Richard Haass asserts the opposite, peace comes from multipolarity. Waltz suggests that the Cold War was proof of stability in a bipolar world. However, the Cold War was not so cold. Over three million people died in the Korean War, a conflict that was clearly a part of that East-West struggle. Whether it was the alignment leading up to World War I or The War of Spanish Succession, throughout history bipolarity established an opportunity for war on a grander scale. The current alignment into a bipolar Middle East presents just such a concern.

Following most great conflicts, exhaustion of nations led to peace, and peace treaties, attempts at what Secretary of State Henry Kissinger labeled “legitimacy.” This often created a multipolar region or world. As time passed, nations and their leaders would rely less on the created legitimacy and begin to rely on the balance of power to guarantee their survival and advance their agendas. Balance of power policies then led to alignments with like-minded nations. Soon the multipolar structure transitioned back to a bipolar one. What followed, sometimes instantaneously, was a major war.

Hundreds Of Millions Would Die In A Nuclear War. Could It Happen?

by Kyle Mizokami

Key point: While the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union has ended, the United States now faces the prospect of a similar war with Russia or China.

It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threads realistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period.

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Adversarial artificial intelligence: winning the cyber security battle

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Once thought to be a technology that would struggle to find its place in the real world, it is now all around us. It’s in our phones, our cars, and our homes. It can influence the ads we see, the purchases we make and the television we watch. It’s also fast becoming firmly embedded in our working lives — particularly in the world of cyber security.

The Capgemini Research Institute recently found that one in five organisations used AI cyber security pre-2019, with almost two-thirds planning to implement it by 2020. The technology is used across the board in the detection and response to cyber attacks.

But as with any advancement in technology, AI is not only used for good. Just as cyber security teams are utilising machine learning to ward off threats, so too are bad actors weaponising the technology to increase the speed, effectiveness and impact of those threats.

A game plan for quantum computingFebruary 2020 | Article

By Alexandre Ménard, Ivan Ostojic, Mark Patel, and Daniel Volz

Pharmaceutical companies have an abiding interest in enzymes. These proteins catalyze all kinds of biochemical interactions, often by targeting a single type of molecule with great precision. Harnessing the power of enzymes may help alleviate the major diseases of our time.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact molecular structure of most enzymes. In principle, chemists could use computers to model these molecules in order to identify how the molecules work, but enzymes are such complex structures that most are impossible for classical computers to model.

A sufficiently powerful quantum computer, however, could accurately predict in a matter of hours the properties, structure, and reactivity of such substances—an advance that could revolutionize drug development and usher in a new era in healthcare. Quantum computers have the potential to resolve problems of this complexity and magnitude across many different industries and applications, including finance, transportation, chemicals, and cybersecurity.

5G could bring new speed to military operations

By: Chiara Vercellone

If the U.S. military introduced a fifth generation network in to its C4ISR systems, decision-making in high profile military operations would improve because critical information would arrive faster, according to a Jan. 31 Congressional Research Service report.

Today, leaders often rely on satellites for long-distance communications, which can cause the information to be delayed and, consequently, slow the decisionmaking process in tactical operations, the report found. With 5G technologies, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems would process and disseminate information from battlespace sensors and rely the information immediately.

The Department of Defense is expected to test 5G applications at four military bases this year, according to a November solicitation. The bases, located in Georgia, Utah, Washington and California, would experiment with smart warehouses, augmented and virtual reality in training scenarios and the optimization of wireless communication channels.

How to Get the National Defense Strategy Out of Its Mideast Rut


We need less talk about why we need to leave, and more about why we need to compete elsewhere.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper is working hard to reorient the Pentagon toward China and Russia. Last month, he directed everyone in his vast enterprise to give “ruthless prioritization” to great power competition, and on Thursday, he preached the message at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. But for all his efforts, the U.S. military remains mired in the Middle East — and even the conversations about it have little advanced in the two years since the National Defense Strategy arrived.

Here’s the problem: while plenty of people are arguing that the Middle East should matter less, far fewer are talking about why other regions — Asia, Africa, Latin America — should matter more.

When I asked the secretary about it at his SAIS talk, he acknowledged the problem, and said he was working with the regional combatant commanders to rethink and reorder their priorities. “People might say that in SOUTHCOM [U.S. Southern Command], number one is counterdrug and in AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command] it’s counterterrorism. What I’m trying to do is move up great power competition.” 

5 Places Where World War III Could Start in 2020

by Robert Farley 

As the United States enters an election year, prospects for global stability remain uncertain. President Trump’s foreign policy stood at odds with those of his predecessor, and will likely a central point of contestation in the election. At this point, several crises might emerge that would not only turn the election, but potentially bring about a wider global conflict.

Here are the five most likely flashpoints for world war in 2020 (See my World War III lists from back in 2017, 2018 and 2019).

Iran and Israel are already waging low-intensity war across the Middle East. Iran supports anti-Israel proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere, while Israel feels comfortable in striking Iranian forces across the region. Israel has taken steps to quietly build a broad anti-Iran coalition at the diplomatic level, while Iran has invested deeply in cultivating ties with militias and other non-state actors. 

It is hardly difficult to imagine scenarios that might bring on a wider, more intense war. If Iran determines to re-embark on its nuclear program, or decides to discipline Saudi Arabia more thoroughly, Israel might feel the temptation to engage in broader strikes, or in strikes directly against the Iranian homeland. Such a conflict could easily have wider implications, threatening global oil supplies and potentially tempting the United States or Russia to intervene.