12 February 2020

The Hidden Cost of Migrant Labor

By Deepak Unnikrishnan 

Iwas recently in Berlin to give a talk about my book, Temporary People, to a roomful of scholars whose work focuses on the countries of the Persian Gulf. Set in the United Arab Emirates, my fiction explores the lives of people like my parents, men and women who left their homes in the southern Indian state of Kerala in the 1970s to work abroad. It is steeped in the South Asian lingo of much of the UAE’s immigrant population. My stories dwell on the consequences of migration to the Gulf, on what that movement of people does to both home and host countries, to languages, and to families.

The day before the event, I had dinner with my European hosts. They surprised me by introducing themselves as “temporary people,” too, transplants from different countries and marginalized communities in Europe, now living and working in the largest economy of the European Union.

At first, I was a little taken aback by their description of themselves, however sincere. I was surprised that they related to me. I didn’t think we shared the same experiences. Did they have childhood memories of strangers noting their foreign nationality? Did they feel exposed by the color of their skin? And did they, like me, have a chip on their shoulder because they’d managed to jump social classes? As two European academics told me that they identified with Gulf migrants from South Asia, I thought that our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different.

Europe in Afghanistan: After Nearly 20 Years, What Has Been Achieved?

By Samina Ansari and Elliott Memmi

The arrival of a new EU Commission has seen the renewal of ambition in European foreign policy. This ambition is more necessary than ever for the EU’s approach to Afghanistan after months of immobility caused by EU and Afghan elections and the breakdown of U.S.-Taliban diplomacy. Documents leaked by TOLO News last October revealed the Afghan government’s preparation for a new round of “intra-Afghan dialogues,” which are projected to begin this year in Oslo with the cooperation of the EU and Norway after the Afghan government’s presidential transition of power is finally settled.

The new EU Commission has shown every desire to carry out a highly ambitious foreign policy — a foreign policy in which the EU’s international development clout is a central lever of its power. Successive published EU strategies for Afghanistan show a desire to be seen as upholding the core values of the EU’s founding treaties — human rights and democracy — while its upcoming monster reforms (the “EU green deal” being chief among them) purport to increase this ambition with the establishment of a “strong green diplomacy” that will champion a new global paradigm of sustainable capitalism. The EU has also clearly been trying to orient toward a role distinct from that played by the United States in its approach to a diplomatic solution to the Afghan war. Where the U.S. has for the last few years focused on direct peace between itself and the Taliban, the EU is focused on what it sees as a more long-term solution: peace between the adversaries within Afghanistan itself. A major argument in favor of the EU method is that the intra-Afghan dialogue includes the voices of Afghan civil society, who are actively trying to preserve the fragile progress Afghanistan has made since 2001. 

Why the Coronavirus Reminds Us of the Lesson of SARS

by Yuan Jiang
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The spread of the coronavirus has sparked global panic, causing more than 350 deaths and over seventeen thousand infections globally. The origin of this tragedy is purportedly from consuming wild animals in local Chinese seafood markets, a tradition that has occurred for centuries. Since the epidemic broke out, the world media, and some of my friends, have blamed the penchant of Chinese people for eating rare and weird animals. “I believe that as the second-largest economy in the world, China does not lack food. Why don’t Chinese eat some meat more normal?” one of my non-Chinese friends complained to me.

Admittedly, tamed animals such as chicken, cows and pigs have been consumed by human beings for thousands of years and the corresponding meat is suitable and healthy for humans to digest. By comparison, based on the common sense of science, the consumption of meat from rare species may potentially bring unpredictable dangers to human health. Behind this phenomenon, I argue that there hides a more profound rationale. Although China has been globally acknowledged for its extraordinary economic growth and modernization in the last forty years, the minds of some Chinese people, to some extent, still fall behind its economic wonder and haven’t been fully modernized, prioritizing their adverse culture over basic science.

Transatlantic Clash of the Titans: What America and China Will Fight Over Next

by Peter Rudolf
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Contrary to what the NATO summit meeting last December might have indicated, China will hardly become the new glue holding the transatlantic alliance together. On the contrary: The emerging Sino-American world conflict bears the risk to drive the United States and Europe further apart since threat perceptions and responses on both sides of the Atlantic will continue to differ.

For sure, the perception of China in Europe has changed. European policy towards China has long followed the liberal integrative approach. It was based on the optimistic expectations that in the process of integration China would be socialized into a constructive international actor and that economic modernization would lead to political liberalization. Hopes of political liberalization have been dashed. China's influence in and on Europe is clearly noticeable. Sometimes it makes a uniform position impossible when it comes to human rights or China's claims in the South China Sea. China is no longer seen primarily as an economic opportunity in Europe. A European Commission paper from March 2019 expressed a changed view, calling China a “cooperation partner,” an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance,” depending on the policy field. However, a more skeptical view of China does not mean that the zero-sum approach of the Trump administration is very popular in Europe

China's Military Is Hoping To Study Its Way Out Of Its Combat Experience Gap Vs. America

by Lyle J. Goldstein

Key point: At the grand strategic level, this Chinese Navy analysis assesses that Japan’s mistakes in the Guadalcanal campaign were partly a failure to reckon with the true significance of the Midway battle a couple of months prior in June 1942.

China's military has not had much combat experience in recent decades, and this is recognized among Chinese military leaders as a potentially serious problem. The reasons for this scarcity of battlefield know—how are obvious and might even be praise-worthy. It has been nearly four decades since Beijing undertook a significant military campaign, so how would its armed forces have attained this knowledge? As I have argued many times before in this forum, nearly four decades without resorting to a major use of force represents very impressive restraint for any great power.

By contrast, the U.S. military has been at war almost continuously since 2001 and fought several smallish wars during the 1990s as well. But for all the innovations that these recent American wars have spawned (e.g., aerial drones, heavily-armored vehicles), it remains unclear that the lessons learned from small, counter-insurgency wars, such as Afghanistan, are actually applicable to high-intensity warfare of the type that might occur in a great power showdown.

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.

The Geopolitics of the Novel Coronavirus

By George Friedman

Geopolitics is a fairly slow-moving process that unfolds in predictable ways. This is usually the case. There are then moments when a wild card enters the system from the outside, unpredictable yet significant. At the moment, we can’t tell if the new coronavirus is such an event. We don’t know exactly how it is transmitted, how lethal it is, whether it causes long-term illness and so on. We know it has broken out in a Chinese city, Wuhan; that the Chinese government regards it as serious enough to impose significant controls on movement in and out of Wuhan; and that a small number of cases in China, relative to the population, and a smaller number of cases outside of China have been reported. For this we depend on media reports, since our own knowledge of viral medicine is limited.

Geopolitically, communicable disease ranges from the common cold to the Black Death. The former is ever-present but of little consequence; the latter massively disrupted European society and, in some cases, shifted the regional balance of power. There is a trigger point between these two diseases where the political system erects disruptions in everyday life and commerce designed to limit the effect of the disease. To some extent these actions are effective, and to some extent they can be sufficiently disruptive to cause economic problems. We are at the moment teetering between these points, with the consequence of the disease and the consequence of protecting against the disease uncertain.

Social Credit and the Chinese Military: Counting the PLA’s Troubles?

By Meia Nouwens

‘If you’re a soldier in China, applying to leave the army is likely to leave a black mark on your social credit score.’ This was the striking opening line of a Sixth Tone article from April 2018 reposted on the Chinese military’s official website. The article was about the use of a social credit system by the People’s Liberation Army. However, it garnered surprisingly little attention for such a hot topic.

Excellent research has already been done on the various prototype social credit systems in China, but a big gap in that research is the question of how a social credit system might be applied to the PLA, particularly at a time when President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party are increasingly concerned about the military’s loyalty to the party.

The 2015 Chinese defence white paper stated that the PLA is enjoying a period of strategic opportunity and can therefore modernise through ongoing reforms. However, China has faced growing domestic and international criticism and pushback in recent months. The CCP is trying to put out fires on multiple fronts: continued freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea; a slowing economy; crises in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan; and the coronavirus outbreak.

Why Iran's Missile Attacks (And Threats) Matter to Americans

by Rebeccah Heinrichs
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President Trump boasted in military in his State of the Union address Wednesday night. Trump is right that the military has received significant investments during his tenure. But recent events also reveal where there are vulnerabilities. Iran's missile attack against bases in Iraq last month wreaked havoc, although mercifully not resulting in the deaths of Americans. But the attacks showcased the formidability of the Iranian missile force and provided a glimpse of what a missile attack could do to the United States homeland if we are insufficiently defended.

President Trump has repeatedly called for specific initiatives to greatly improve U.S. missile defenses of the homeland to stay ahead of the pressing missile threats, but those initiatives have not materialized. 

When Trump introduced his administration’s missile defense strategy at the Pentagon in January 2019, he said the U.S. sought the ability to "detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace." With only one last budget left in the term, which the administration will soon release, his vision remains unfulfilled. There have been no serious changes to the missile defense architecture Trump inherited from Obama—yet.

Will Irish Elections Lead to Unification?

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The United Kingdom has officially withdrawn from the European Union, and this weekend voters in Ireland will go to the polls in what could turn out to be one of the country’s most transformative elections in a century. The ruling Fine Gael party’s positive record on Brexit matters little to voters, increasing the chances that the leading opposition party, Fianna Fail, will return to power for the first time in a decade. By the time the dust settles, however, Fianna Fail will likely find itself well short of a majority, meaning it will have to pull together support from a collection of smaller parties to form a government.

One of those parties could be the staunchly nationalist, pro-Irish unity Sinn Fein. Brexit has reopened the debate over Irish unification, and if Sinn Fein wins enough seats to join a coalition with one of the larger parties, it could reshape the conversation by putting the party in the governments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the first time in history.

What is the political situation?

Greece Is at the Nexus of the Geopolitical Crossroads

by Eric Edelman Charles Wald
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In his recent White House meeting with President Donald Trump, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, emphasized that the United States should view his country as a “reliable and predictable ally” in an unpredictable part of the world.

Such a seemingly boilerplate statement actually might have sounded ludicrous just a few years ago, when the neighborhood was quiet and Turkey, not Greece, was the pillar of stability. But today Athens is becoming a crucial pro-American player at the center of important security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean. The United States must take advantage of this budding relationship, as part of a renewed strategic focus on the region.

The Eastern Mediterranean, and particularly Greece, were pivotal in America’s decisions to defend freedom and contain communism after World War II. The region largely receded from view once the Cold War ended, however, and Washington declared a peace dividend.

Now geopolitics and geology are bringing security competition back to this strategic crossroads, with Greece at the nexus.

Uncomfortable Lessons: Reassessing Iran’s Missile Attack

Nearly one month has passed since Iran attacked U.S. troops in Iraq with a barrage of ballistic missiles. As considerably more information has now come to light, a reassessment now seems in order. Initially characterized as a symbolic act to be shrugged off, newer information shows the attacks were of greater consequence. The available evidence, for example, no longer supports earlier assessments that Iran made a special effort to avoid killing Americans. The attacks also show that Iranian ballistic missile forces, both in technology and operational competency, have the potential to cause major disruption to the United States and partner military operations in the Middle East. Finally, the attack reveals that Iran is tolerant of strategic risk and less deterred by the threat of U.S. military action. This new situation may require the United States to adjust its posture of forward-deployed forces in the region.

Intent to Kill

On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) launched an estimated 15-22 short-range ballistic missiles against U.S. troops at two Iraqi bases, a reprisal for the U.S. killing of key IRGC leader Qassem Soleimani. While some of the missiles failed in flight, many found their targets with surprising precision.

The Muslim World’s Question: ‘What Happened to Us?’


What happened to us? The question haunts us in the Arab and Muslim world. We repeat it like a mantra. You will hear it from Iran to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and in my own country, Lebanon. For us, the past is a different country, one not mired in the horrors of sectarian killings. It is a more vibrant place, without the crushing intolerance of religious zealots and seemingly endless, amorphous wars.This article is an adapted excerpt from Ghattas’s upcoming book.

Though the past had coups and wars too, they were contained in time and space, and the future still held much promise. What happened to us? The question may not occur to those too young to remember a different world, whose parents did not tell them of a youth spent reciting poetry in Peshawar, debating Marxism in the bars of Beirut, or riding bicycles on the banks of the Tigris in Baghdad. The question may surprise those in the West who assume that the extremism and bloodletting of today have always been the norm.

Without an understanding of what was lost and how it happened—and, crucially, why the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran played such a crucial role in this unraveling—a better future will remain elusive, and the world’s understanding of the Middle East will remain incomplete.

All the King’s Men: Authoritarianism, Loyalty and the Syrian Collapse

Brandon C. Patrick

While the true social and economic origins of the Syrian civil war stretch back decades, the longstanding culture of government corruption and purchased loyalties hastened the final spiral toward war. Like in pre-war Iraq under Saddam Hussein, loyalty and favor had been traded like currency among the upper echelons of Syrian society since the early days of Hafez al-Assad’s rule.[i] Positions of sensitivity, high responsibility and public trust in the Syrian government (and other authoritarian systems of its kind) are often doled out to co-religionists, friends and family members on the basis of (and in exchange for) personal loyalty.[ii] This is the “loyalty exchange,” where personal allegiance is purchased away from the state by the authoritarian. What results are rickety and mismanaged government institutions run not by experts or “career officers” in their respective fields, but by dilettantes focused more on leveraging their newfound prominence into personal gain.[iii] The same can be true in the military sphere[iv] where promotions are often awarded based on personal association with the authoritarian, rather than merit or skill.[v] In this way “loyalty exchange” which stems from Assad’s authoritarianism actually weakens both the authoritarian and the state rather than truly strengthening them. 

The Syrian government grappled with the consequences of such nepotism in the opening stages of the civil war. In early 2011, discontented officers from units throughout the Syrian military, citing various motivations behind their decisions, began to defect. Competent and formally-trained battlefield commanders entered the ranks of the fledgling rebellion, from a young relative of former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass[vi] to Hussein Harmoush, a career officer of the Syrian army and a Colonel in the 11th armored division of Syria’s Third Corps. Frustrated by the dysfunction of a military that now served Assad’s instead of the state,[vii] Col. Harmoush would go on to launch the Syrian Free Officers Movement, a progenitor of the Free Syrian Army.

The Role of Aid and Development in the Fight Against Extremism

Leanne Erdberg

Extremist groups thrive in fragile states where basic needs go unmet. Development efforts can address the conditions that make people vulnerable to extremism. If you look at a map of where terrorist groups operate and where terrorist attacks occur, you will find that many coincide with locations of intractable conflict and deep development deficits. Low human development indicators, stark disparities in opportunity and access to resources, poor or scattered governance, and a history of conflict and social marginalization feature prominently among afflicted communities.

These factors do not predestine individuals to extremist ideologies or tendencies, despite the prevalence of this dangerous assumption. Still, these realities can and do contribute to environments where violent extremists can present themselves as an alternative to the grievance-inducing status quo.

As governments continue to search for ways to tackle the spread of violent extremism, increasing development efforts can help counter the belief that violent extremists present the only available option to improve one’s livelihood and bring about societal change. International assistance can address grievances that foster violent extremism, as well as help build resilience in practical and effective ways.

Ukraine: Conflict at the Crossroads of Europe and Russia

by Jonathan Masters

Ukraine has long played an important, yet sometimes overlooked, role in the global security order. Today, the country appears to be on the front lines of a renewed great-power rivalry that many analysts say will dominate international relations in the decades ahead. 

Motivated by many factors, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has triggered the greatest security crisis in Europe since the Cold War. While the United States and its allies have taken significant punitive actions against Russia, they have made little headway in helping to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

In recent elections, Ukrainians have clearly indicated that they see their future in Europe, but the country continues to grapple with extreme corruption and deep regional rifts that could impede its path.

Why has Ukraine become a geopolitical flash point?

Will Belarus Be the Next Ukraine?

By Jeffrey Mankoff

As political upheaval, a slow-burning war with Russia, and a general sense of chaos have engulfed Ukraine over the past six years, neighboring Belarus has come to seem like an oasis of stability: stagnant but calm. In recent weeks, that calm has been shattered by oil cutoffs, protests, government shuffles, snap military exercises, and sharp criticism of Russia by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus owes its stability in part to a closeness with Russia that it has never strongly resisted. But the equilibrium of that relationship has begun to change as Russia has stepped up efforts to yoke Belarus even more tightly to Moscow. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin began pushing to revive a half-forgotten agreement, the 1999 Union Treaty, which would allow the two countries to harmonize nearly every aspect of public policy. Some Kremlin officials have even implied that they would pursue political integration with Belarus, including a joint parliament and executive—steps that would effectively set the two states on a path toward unification. For added emphasis, Russia has threatened to stop furnishing its neighbor with cheap oil. 

FBI Director Warns of Ongoing Russian ‘Information Warfare’

By Eric Tucker

FBI Director Chris Wray said Wednesday that Russia is engaged in “information warfare” heading into the 2020 presidential election, though he said law enforcement has not seen ongoing efforts by Russia to target America’s election infrastructure.

Wray told the House Judiciary Committee that Russia, just as it did in 2016, is relying on a covert social media campaign aimed at dividing American public opinion and sowing discord. That effort, which involves fictional personas, bots, social media postings, and disinformation, may have an election-year uptick but is also a round-the-clock threat that is in some ways harder to combat than an election system hack, Wray said.

“Unlike a cyberattack on an election infrastructure, that kind of effort — disinformation — in a world where we have a First Amendment and believe strongly in freedom of expression, the FBI is not going to be in the business of being the truth police and monitoring disinformation online,” Wray said.

The Enduring Legacy of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials

By Wedyan Almadani

Noam Chomsky once said, “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” This was not the case for Germany and Japan post-World War II. The victorious Allied powers established the first international criminal tribunals to prosecute political and military officials for war crimes and other atrocities committed during wartime. The four major Allied governments – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union – set up the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg trials) in Nuremberg, Germany, to prosecute and punish the major war criminals of the European Axis.

The tribunal presided over a combined trial of senior Nazi political and military leaders, as well as several Nazi organizations. The less-recognized International Military Tribunal for the Far East was created (Tokyo trials) in Tokyo, Japan, following the 1946 proclamation by Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur. The tribunal presided over a series of trials of senior Japanese political and military leaders to prosecute and punish Far Eastern war criminals. The Nuremberg and Tokyo trials differed in several important aspects including their origins, compositions, and jurisdictions.

Top 10 Technology Trends for 2020

Ryan M. Raiker, MBA

Television shows of the 1960’s like The Jetsons predicted that the 21st century would be filled with flying cars, and airborne robots would be a part of our everyday lives. October 21st, 2015 marked the point in time in which Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) traveled to in Back to the Future Part II, the 1989 sequel to the time-travelling classic. The future he found was one which had captured the imagination of millions — instead today, we live in a world dominated by live streaming, smartphones and social networks, not flying cars or hover boards.

Within the span of 10 short years, or perhaps even less, service apps like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, AirBnB and others have spawned millions of users, and can be found on almost everyone’s smart phone. Personal assistants like Siri and Alexa have entered many of our lives. It would be terribly naive for anyone to say that the world hasn’t changed in the last 10 years. This technology growth and change is likely to continue for the next decade and beyond.

The Digital Dictators

By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Erica Frantz, and Joseph Wright

The Stasi, East Germany’s state security service, may have been one of the most pervasive secret police agencies that ever existed. It was infamous for its capacity to monitor individuals and control information flows. By 1989, it had almost 100,000 regular employees and, according to some accounts, between 500,000 and two million informants in a country with a population of about 16 million. Its sheer manpower and resources allowed it to permeate society and keep tabs on virtually every aspect of the lives of East German citizens. Thousands of agents worked to tap telephones, infiltrate underground political movements, and report on personal and familial relationships. Officers were even positioned at post offices to open letters and packages entering from or heading to noncommunist countries. For decades, the Stasi was a model for how a highly capable authoritarian regime could use repression to maintain control.

In the wake of the apparent triumph of liberal democracy after the Cold War, police states of this kind no longer seemed viable. Global norms about what constituted a legitimate regime had shifted. At the turn of the millennium, new technologies, including the Internet and the cell phone, promised to empower citizens, allowing individuals greater access to information and the possibility to make new connections and build new communities.

Sanctions Are Not an Alternative to War


Iranians organize their daily lives around the scarcities brought upon them by sanctions on basic goods, including life-saving medications.

It was September 2017, and I was back home in Iran. A few weeks earlier, I had received a phone call that my father had fallen critically ill. He had for a year successfully managed a rare, incurable neural disease. Soon, he was hospitalized after a series of extensive brain hemorrhages and, while in the ICU, would develop a pulmonary infection that would ultimately claim both of his lungs. Treatment was not out of the question, but he urgently needed drugs that were distributed by European and American companies.

Over the course of several days, my family would search in vain to secure his medication. Time and again, we were told that recently renewed American sanctions had made it impossible to procure many types of specialized drugs. Unrelenting, my mother reached out to friends, family, and strangers, hopeful someone could lend a helping hand—even if it meant pointing us to distributors on the black market. There were Iranian variants of the same drugs, but as my father’s doctors would politely inform us, “The Iranian alternatives will not give us the results that we need.”

Critical Infrastructure Companies Need to Better Protect Their Operational Technologies

By Dan Gouré

Cybersecurity is the set of practices, processes and systems for protecting Information Technologies (IT), which consists of computers, networks, software and stored information, from digital attack. Cybersecurity has become a preoccupation for the government, private sector, institutions and individuals. Billions are spent annually to defend governmental, corporate, and personal IT from cyber intrusion. Innovative companies have developed new ways of providing security.

A major aspect of cybersecurity is the protection of critical infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security defines critical infrastructure as “the physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to the United States that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on our physical or economic security or public health or safety.” There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, communications, food and agriculture, transportation, water and wastewater, nuclear power and materials, major manufacturing, and defense industries.

All these sectors are dependent on IT, not merely for communications or billing, but for the operation of major physical systems. Most of them employ IT-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to monitor and operate a wide variety of hardware. For example, the energy sector is critically dependent on SCADA technology to manage the flow of power, direct the operation of production and storage facilities, and monitor the state of energy usage.

Weak encryption means putting our military at risk – CyberScoop

by Ari Schwartz 

Feb 4, 2020 | CYBERSCOOPLast month, a brigade of U.S. soldiers deployed to the Middle East received instructions from their superiors to use two commercial encrypted messaging applications, Signal and Wickr, on their government issued cell phones. These leadership cues trickled down from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) position that strong encryption is critical to national security. While U.S. Attorney General William Barr continues to push for a broad mandate for backdoors for law enforcement, those on the front lines of protecting America have notably decided on a different approach. Simply put, weakening encryption means putting our military service members at risk.

In a recent letter to Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy made clear that the use of encryption to protect the mobile devices of our service members and their stored data is an “imperative.” Deasy makes clear that the use of commercial encryption and virtual private networks (VPNs) are key to DoD’s cybersecurity strategy. Therefore, “maintaining a domestic climate for state-of-the-art security and encryption is critical to the protection of our national security.”

Meanwhile, Barr continues to vilify encryption. He suggests that tech companies are refraining from building backdoors in their products because they feel that they can flaunt law enforcement’s role. Barr does not seem to consider that, if the United States asks for backdoors, other countries, including China and Russia, will do so as well. Even if tech companies decide not to do business in those countries, a backdoor becomes a known target for nation-state and criminal hackers to exploit.

Here are the Pentagon’s issues with the Army’s new command post set-up

By: Mark Pomerleau   

The Army’s new command post tool received lukewarm results from the Pentagon’s weapon testers, though the Army asserts that deficiencies have been fixed.

In its annual report, the Director Operational Test and Evaluation office, or DOT&E, stated that the Army needed to make several improvements to the Command Post Computing Environment in the way of software, hardware, cybersecurity and maintainability.

CPCE is a web-enabled system that will consolidate current mission systems and programs into a single-user interface.

The DOT&E report assessed that CPCE was not operationally effective, suitable or survivable in a cyber-contested environment. While soldiers found the CPCE concept to be an improvement over existing systems, the report notes that CPCE didn’t support leaders and soldiers with sufficient scalability, collaboration or operations management.