15 February 2020

Is India Betting Big on Huawei?

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Countries all around the world are busy creating their policies around the next generation of wireless technology, the 5G network. With greater speed and capacity, 5G is expected to spur innovation and underpin future smart city technology. In India, for example, it will not only provide economic benefits—estimated by some to be as much as $1 trillion by 2035—but can also be a crucial tool for social transformation by increasing access to quality education, health care, and transportation services.

Not surprisingly, New Delhi wants to be at the forefront of adopting and deploying 5G networks. In 2017, India’s Ministry of Communications set up a High Level Forum comprising representatives from key ministries, academia, experts, and industry stakeholders to approve a road map for deploying 5G by 2020. By mid-2018, the committee submitted its report with policy recommendations for technology demonstration, 5G trials, and spectrum allocations.

How China Defeated India in a Terrifying 1962 War

by Robert Farley 
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In 1962, the world’s two most populous countries went to war against one another in a pair of remote, mountainous border regions. In less than a month, China dealt India a devastating defeat, driving Indian forces back on all fronts. Along with breaking hopes of political solidarity in the developing world, the war helped structure the politics of East and Southeast Asia for generations. Even today, as Indian and Chinese forces square off on the Doklam Plateau, the legacy of the 1962 resonates in both countries.

Who Fought?

While both the Chinese and Indian governments were relatively new (the People’s Republic of China was declared in Beijing in 1949, two years after the India won its independence), the armed forces that would fight the war could not have been more different.

The Indian Army developed firmly in light of India’s imperial heritage. Large Indian formations had fought in several theaters of World War II, including North Africa and Burma. These forces would, in many ways, form the core of the new Indian military. The post-independence Indian armed forces were structured along lines broadly similar to that of India’s colonial antecedent, the United Kingdom, and in the early years operated mostly with Western equipment. This incarnation of the Indian Army saw its first action in the 1947, in the first Kashmir War, fighting against its erstwhile associates in the Pakistani Army.

The Price of Primacy

By Stephen Wertheim 

The collapse of the Soviet Union revealed the bankruptcy of international communism. In time, the absence of a Cold War foe also exposed the bankruptcy of Washington’s global ambitions. Freed from major challengers, the United States had an unprecedented chance to shape international politics according to its wishes. It could have chosen to live in harmony with the world, pulling back its armed forces and deploying them only for vital purposes. It could have helped build a world of peace, strengthening the laws and institutions that constrain war and that most other states welcome. From this foundation of security and goodwill, the United States could have exercised leadership on the already visible challenges ahead, including climate change and the concentration of ungoverned wealth.

Instead, Washington did the opposite. It adopted a grand strategy that gave pride of place to military threats and methods, and it constructed a form of global integration that served the immediate interests of a few but imperiled the long-term interests of the many. At best, these were mistaken priorities. At worst, they turned the United States into a destructive actor in the world. Rather than practice and cultivate peace, Washington pursued armed domination and launched futile wars in Afghanistan in 2001, in Iraq in 2003, and in Libya in 2011. These actions created more enemies than they defeated. They killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and overextended a generation of U.S. service members. They damaged laws and institutions that stabilize the world and the United States. They made the American people less safe.

Withdrawal deadlines in war: Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan

Paul D. Miller

At the outset of some of the most impactful wars in history, policymakers have assumed that the duration of conflict would be brief. Unfortunately, their assumptions were often wrong, as may wars like those in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan only grew more complicated with the passage of time. However, at least in these three cases, the reality of prolonged stalemate did not stop policymakers from setting withdrawal deadlines to assuage public anxieties and improve military performance. The pressures contributing to these consistent decisions across time are still relevant now. Therefore, as the United States currently seeks to deter great-power rivals and rogue regimes while combating terrorism, it is as important as ever to understand the roles and potential outcomes of withdrawal deadlines in war.

In this new Atlantic Council report, Withdrawal Deadlines In War: Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Dr. Paul D. Miller examines the effect of withdrawal timetables on public opinion, military success, and policymakers’ goals across the three titular case studies. He finds that “Withdrawal timelines do not achieve the political benefits that policymakers desire, but they do incur the risks policymakers rightly fear.” In the face of prolonged and difficult military challenges, withdrawal deadlines can exacerbate outcomes at crucial moments, and thus policymakers must tread carefully.

Islamic State’s Lingering Legacy in Afghanistan

By Giuliano Battiston

MAMAND VALLEY, ACHIN DISTRICT, NANGARHAR – “It was four years ago, more or less. They approached me carrying long swords and heavy weapons and told me: ‘You have 10 minutes to leave your home. If you don’t, your head is gone.’ I was not allowed to bring with me even a handful of soil.”

Zarlal is a 45-year-old farmer who lives in Mandatay, a small village of just a few homes, most of them fully destroyed or partly collapsed, at the far end of Mamand Valley, in the Achin district. Approximately 50 kilometers south of Jalalabad city, in the south of Afghanistan’s key eastern province of Nangarhar, the district borders the tribal areas on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line.

To access Mamand Valley takes a long trip on an unpaved, rough road surrounded by a spectacular environment, mostly dominated by the Spin Ghar mountain range. Since 2015, this highly mountainous, rugged, and extremely isolated terrain has been the main stronghold of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the local branch of the radical, Islamist group.

According to the Afghan government, ISKP (generally referred to in Afghanistan as Daesh) has been completely dislodged from Nangarhar province after a 7 week-long military operation that took place in late 2019. Residents like Zarlal have indeed started to return to their homes, but ISKP’s legacy still looms large, and the security situation is fragile.

Why Egypt and Ethiopia Can't Agree on How to Manage Water Resources

by Michael Greco
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In a final push before the self-imposed deadline to call upon an official mediator, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Sudanese ministers met in Washington last month to reach a consensus over the filling, or “impoundment,” period of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt demanded at least seven years to fill the reservoir, whereas Ethiopia, anxious to reap the dam’s long-awaited benefits, would accept no more than five years.

Two years may seem insignificant, but to Ethiopia, it means another two years before pre-schools, hospitals, and industrial parks receive access to electricity. For Egypt, the additional two years would prevent permanent damage to a significant area of the Nile River Delta, the loss of livelihoods of an estimated one million farmers, one of the state’s most vulnerable groups, and a resulting $1.8 billion dent in the national economy.

The outlook for the three riparian states reaching an agreement was bleak as Ethiopia and Egypt came away from the January 8–9 meetings pointing fingers at one another. However, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury released a statement on Wednesday afternoon reporting a breakthrough over the filling period and the long-term operation of the GERD.

China’s Scary Vision of Future Warfare: Humans Are Obsolete

by Michael Peck
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In China’s terrifying vision of future warfare, humans are almost obsolete.

An article appearing in multiple Chinese government journals paints a picture of what Chinese experts call the “intelligentization” of warfare, a term coined by Chinese scholars in which artificial intelligence dominates the battlefield.

“Human fighters will fade away from the first line of fighting,” says the article, excerpts of which were translated by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office. “Intelligent equipment will be brought onto the battlefield in large quantities and as whole units. ‘Human-on-human’ warfare in the traditional sense will be superseded by ‘machine-on-human’ or ‘machine-on-machine’ warfare.”

“Such means of human-machine combination as brain-machine interfaces, external skeletal systems, wearable devices, gadgets implanted into human bodies will comprehensively enhance the inherent cognitive and physiological capacity of human fighters, and will forge out ‘superman combatants.’

Europe Must Recognize China for What It Is


MUNICH – Neither the European public nor European political and business leaders fully understand the threat presented by Xi Jinping’s China. Although Xi is a dictator who is using cutting-edge technology in an effort to impose total control on Chinese society, Europeans regard China primarily as an important business partner. They fail to appreciate that since Xi became president and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he has established a regime whose guiding principles are diametrically opposed to the values on which the European Union was founded.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states at the EU-China summit in Leipzig in September. Europeans need to understand that they will hand him a much-needed political victory unless he is held accountable for his failure to uphold human rights, particularly in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.

The rush to embrace Xi is greater in Britain, which is in the process of separating itself from the EU, than in the EU itself. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to distance the United Kingdom from the EU as much as possible and to build a free-market economy that is unconstrained by EU regulations. He is unlikely to succeed, because the EU is prepared to take countermeasures against the type of deregulation that Johnson’s government seems to have in mind. But in the meantime, Britain is eyeing China as a potential partner, in the hope of reestablishing the partnership that former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was building between 2010 and 2016.

The Coronavirus Will Not Cripple China’s Economy


SHANGHAI – Just five days before the Chinese New Year, the authorities in Beijing finally declared the coronavirus epidemic that originated in Wuhan to be a major public health emergency. Because Wuhan’s municipal government had initially withheld information and failed to control the virus effectively, about five million residents and temporary workers left the city for the Lunar New Year holidays before the city was officially closed off on January 23. As a result, the virus spread rapidly throughout China and beyond, leading to the current high-profile international health emergency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states at the EU-China summit in Leipzig in September. Europeans need to understand that they will hand him a much-needed political victory unless he is held accountable for his failure to uphold human rights, particularly in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.

Unsurprisingly, China’s economy is slowing down. The services sector, which includes retail, tourism, hotels, and transportation, and accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, is suffering severely. Disruption in this sector will in turn affect manufacturing. And growing international concern at the continued spread of the virus might further strain trade and limit the movement of people. But the key question is whether we believe it will last longer.

China, Ultra-Competence and Coronavirus

By George Friedman

The Communist revolution brought to power Mao Zedong. It created a state based on ideology, the belief that what would emerge from the long revolution would be a nation based on communism, and that with that China would experience both a prosperity and community it had never had. But the price that had to be paid to reach that goal would be ruthless oppression and suffering. This was designed both to build communism and expunge the anti-communist habits that were ingrained in the Chinese people. Mao was the prophet of this transformation of the human condition, and the Communist Party would be his instrument. But since bad habits were to be found in the Communist Party as well as among workers and peasants, the party itself had to be periodically and ruthlessly cleansed.

China experienced multiple campaigns for purification, each more intense, and these outlived Mao himself. The Chinese people endured them for two reasons. First, they, or at least their children, would enter the new world. Second, the Chinese Communist apparatus and the forces it mobilized were pitiless and powerful. They could not be defeated.

After Mao’s death there was a political struggle, and Deng Xiaoping emerged. He was an enemy of Maoism when Maoism was gone, and he took a different approach to the future of China. It would be a state still ordered by the Communist Party, but its ends would not be millenarian. His goal was simply prosperity, achieved by empowering entrepreneurs to become rich. They would become rich because they would be free to employ their competence, and their competence would cascade on the Chinese people. He gave the Chinese people not only hope in a real future, but also the opportunity to exploit their talents. The Communist Party was still there, guaranteeing stability and practicing a systemic corruption in which the party and its senior members benefited disproportionately, but it was a small price to pay for a competent regime.

The Struggle for Power: U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century

The Aspen Strategy Group recently released The Struggle for Power: U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century bringing together preeminent experts to explore how to compete effectively with the military and technological rise of China and how to engage U.S. allies amidst this great-power rivalry.

Authors include: Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, Nicholas Burns, Kurt Campbell, Elizabeth Economy, Joseph P. Federici, Kathleen H. Hicks, Anja Manuel, Shivshankar Menon, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Michael Pillsbury, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Ely Ratner, Condoleezza Rice, David E. Sanger, David Shambaugh, Pavneet Singh, and James B. Steinberg.

Modern Russian and Chinese Integrated Air Defence Systems: The Nature of the Threat, Growth Trajectory and Western Options

Justin Bronk

Integrated air defence systems (IADS) are a key feature of modern warfare. IADS – like the one Russia has deployed on NATO’s Eastern Flank and which China is creating within the First Island Chain – are complex, multilayered defence systems incorporating a range of ground-based and aerial sensors, as well as surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. Modern SAM systems are highly mobile, able to set up and pack away in minutes prior to and after firing. They are also supported by point-defence systems, electronic warfare assets and deception measures such as decoys. This makes them very difficult to reliably track, target and destroy from long ranges. They are also increasingly equipped with digital radars capable of frequency-hopping, offering much better resistance to jamming interference and also making them harder to detect when in operation.

IADS are not in themselves a new phenomenon. However, the SAM systems and radars which make up modern IADS are much more capable than previous generations. The territory which they can cover is also much larger than in previous generations due to several very long-range SAM systems such as the Russian S-400 (SA-21 in NATO terminology), S-300V4 (SA-23) and Chinese HQ-9. These systems mean that Russia and China, as well as other overseas users of such systems, can threaten to restrict freedom of manoeuvre well outside their own land borders. Advertised maximum range for SAM systems is usually for large, non-agile targets like tankers flying at medium-high altitudes. Against agile, lower flying targets practical ranges are significantly shorter. However, the long-range SAM systems are connected to a larger number of medium- and short-range SAM systems, as well as other sensors such as those carried by AWACS aircraft. Drawing on these external sources of target data allows systems like the SA-21 to fire their own long-range active seeker missiles against targets far beyond their own radar-horizon. Therefore, for Western air forces, planning operations against modern IADS is more complex and challenging than against a standalone system – even a very modern one like the SA-21.

The key conclusions are:

Seven Ironies of Reconstructing a New Security Paradigm in the Gulf

Dr. Mohammed Cherkaoui

During the month of January 2020, most world capitals, diplomats, and think tanks sought to evaluate the status of the already-fragile balance of power in the Gulf. The U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad has triggered the most acute escalation between Washington and Tehran since 1979. The White House’s pursuit of neutralizing the second most important figure in Iran, after the spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has shifted the US-Iranian rivalry into a fierce confrontation between Washington’s “maximum pressure” and Tehran’s “maximum resistance”. There have been several interpretations and predictions of Iran’s possible direct or indirect acts of retaliation vis-à-vis Trump’s threats of targeting 52 sites, which have political and cultural significance for the Iranians.

Some Washington-based analysts have been wary that “the U.S. and Iran are now in a traditional escalatory slope, and although neither side wants war, there is a real risk that it might happen.”(1) Anthony H. Cordesman, leading analyst at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, has cautioned that the new US-Iran crisis “has now led to consistent failures in the U.S. strategy when dealing with Iraq and the Middle East for the last two decades – and has already turned two apparent ‘victories’ into real world defeats.”(2)

World Population: 2020 Overview – Analysis

By Joseph Chamie*

Governments, businesses and investors find regular demographic reviews of the world population to be useful as considerable variations exist across regions – rich and poor, young and old, good health care or not, secure climates or not – that create enormous push-pull forces behind increased international migration flows. An understanding of world population levels, trends and projections constitutes an essential ingredient in strategic planning, policy development and program implementation for addressing global challenges and emerging issues.

The world population now stands at 7.8 billion inhabitants, having reached the 7 billion milestone in 2011. Demographers expect the 8 billion milestone in 2023, with global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2037 and 10 billion by 2056. This growth is slightly faster than projections from just a few years ago.

World population currently grows at 1 percent annually, having peaked at 2.1 percent in 1968. That annual growth rate is expected to continue declining, reaching 0.5 percent by midcentury. The current annual increase of world population is 81 million, lower than the peak level of 93 million in 1988. Annual additions are projected to continue declining, reaching 48 million by 2050. Of the nearly 2 billion increase in world population expected by midcentury, most will take place in less developed regions. Africa leads, expected to add more than 1 billion people over the coming three decades, followed by Asia with about 650 million. Europe’s population, in contrast, is projected to decrease by 37 million over this period.

Ancient Antarctic Ice Melt Increased Sea Levels By Over 3 Meters, And It Could Happen Again

Mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was a major cause of high sea levels during a period known as the Last Interglacial (129,000-116,000 years ago), an international team of scientists led by UNSW’s Chris Turney has found. The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The extreme ice loss caused a multi-metre rise in global mean sea levels – and it took less than 2°C of ocean warming for it to occur. 

“Not only did we lose a lot of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but this happened very early during the Last Interglacial,” says Chris Turney, Professor in Earth and Climate Science at UNSW Sydney and lead author of the study. 

Fine layers of ancient volcanic ash in the ice helped the team pinpoint when the mass melting took place. Alarmingly, the results indicated that most ice loss occurred within the first millennia, showing how sensitive the Antarctic is to higher temperatures. 

“The melting was likely caused by less than 2°C ocean warming – and that’s something that has major implications for the future, given the ocean temperature increase and West Antarctic melting that’s happening today,” Professor Turney says. 

Climate Change Could Trigger more Landslides In High Mountain Asia

More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.

High Mountain Asia stores more fresh water in its snow and glaciers than any place on Earth outside the poles, and more than a billion people rely on it for drinking and irrigation. The study team used satellite estimates and modeled precipitation data to project how changing rainfall patterns in the region might affect landslide frequency. The study team found that warming temperatures will cause more intense rainfall in some areas, and this could lead to increased landslide activity in the border region of China and Nepal.

More landslides in this region, especially in areas currently covered by glaciers and glacial lakes, could cause cascading disasters like landslide dams and floods that affect areas downstream, sometimes hundreds of miles away, according to the study. The study was a collaboration between scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington; and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

High Mountain Asia stretches across tens of thousands of rugged, glacier-covered miles, from the Himalayas in the east to the Hindu Kush and Tian Shan mountain ranges in the west. As Earth’s climate warms, High Mountain Asia’s water cycle is changing, including shifts in its annual monsoon patterns and rainfall.

After the End of the 'Pink Tide,' What’s Next for South America?

Earlier this year, it seemed as if the “pink tide” of leftist governments that swept across Latin America in the early 2000s had all but retreated. The wave of conservative governments that replaced them owed their rise in part to the region’s economic difficulties following the end of the commodities boom of the first decade of the 21st century. But they also took advantage of the failure by many of the leftist leaders to translate that economic boom into sustainable advances for the lower and middle classes. The election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil in 2018, after a campaign spent vilifying women as well as marginalized and indigenous communities, was a particular blow to the region’s progressives.

More recently, the South American left has shown signs of a revival. Argentina’s center-left Peronist candidate, Alberto Fernandez, ousted the market-friendly incumbent, Mauricio Macri, in that country’s presidential election in October. Macri had won office in 2015 pledging to remedy the economic missteps of his Peronist predecessor, but his austerity measures and heavy borrowing triggered an economic crisis that cost him the presidency. And massive protests in Ecuador and Chile forced the governments in those countries to backtrack on austerity measures, calling into question in the case of Chile the country’s longstanding neoliberal economic model.

From climate change to cyber attacks: Incipient financial-stability risks for the euro area

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The European Central Bank’s November 2019 Financial Stability Review highlighted the risks to growth in an environment of global uncertainty. On the whole, the ECB report is comprehensive and covers the main risks to euro-area financial stability, we highlight issues that deserve more attention.

This Policy Contribution was prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) as an input to the Monetary Dialogue of 6 February 2020 between ECON and the President of the European Central Bank. The original paper is available on the European Parliament’s webpage (here).
Copyright remains with the European Parliament at all times.

• First, the assessment of risks in the housing market should be more nuanced. Current housing markets relative to those pre-crisis seem to be far less driven by mortgage credit, and the size of the construction sector has not increased. This is possibly good news for financial stability because a house price correction would transmit less into mortgage defaults and corrections to economic activity.

• Second, there should be greater emphasis on changes in market expectations of interest rates, which can have substantial effects on asset prices. This could be particularly relevant if interest rate changes are not driven by real-economy developments.

• Third, the financial system relies on a safe asset as a reference. We show that the supply of safe sovereign assets in the euro area has fallen dramatically, driven by deteriorating sovereign credit ratings and reduced supplies of bonds from the safest countries. More safe assets would support financial stability.

Understanding Financial Crime Risks in E-CommerceAnton Moiseienko

E-commerce, or the sale of goods and services online, has reportedly reached $29 trillion in 2017. In the UK alone, the volume of e-commerce sales in 2017 was estimated at $586 billion. Inevitably, this vast amount of legitimate activity offers opportunities for the concealment of criminal transactions. E-commerce businesses can be exploited for criminal purposes in four major ways:

Committing fraud against the customer by failing to deliver goods or services.

Buying goods or services using stolen bank card data.

Creating e-commerce businesses as a front for illicit transactions (for example, to accept bank card payments for drugs).

Abusing online marketplaces to move criminally obtained funds (for example, through the sale of computer-generated books sold via Amazon).

War on Autopilot? It Will Be Harder Than the Pentagon Thinks


MCLEAN, Virginia — Everything is new about Northrop Grumman’s attempt to help the military link everything it can on the battlefield. One day, as planners imagine it, commanders will be able to do things like send autonomous drones into battle, change attack plans midcourse, and find other ways to remove humans and their limitations from decision chains that increasingly seem to require quantum speed. Northrop’s Innovation Center in McLean, Virginia, looks so new it could have sprung up in a simulation. Its Washington metro rail stop doesn’t even appear on many maps yet.

Northrop is hardly alone. Over the last few months, various weapons makers have begun showing off all sorts of capabilities to reporters, while military officials detail their own efforts to link up jets, tanks, ships, and soldiers. As they describe it, it’s a technological race to out-automate America’s potential adversaries. 

But real questions remain about the Pentagon’s re-imagining of networked warfare. Will it ever become more than glitzy simulations? And have military leaders thought through the implications if it does?

Artificial Intelligence and the Manufacturing of Reality

by Christopher Paul and Marek N. Posard

In 2016, a third of surveyed Americans told researchers they believed the government was concealing what they knew about the “North Dakota Crash,” a conspiracy made up for the purposes of the survey by the researchers themselves. This crash never happened, but it highlights the flaws humans carry with them in deciding what is or is not real.

The internet and other technologies have made it easier to weaponize and exploit these flaws, beguiling more people faster and more compellingly than ever before. It is likely artificial intelligence will be used to exploit the weaknesses inherent in human nature at a scale, speed, and level of effectiveness previously unseen. Adversaries like Russia could pursue goals for using these manipulations to subtly reshape how targets view the world around them, effectively manufacturing their reality. If even some of our predictions are accurate, all governance reliant on public opinion, mass perception, or citizen participation is at risk.

One characteristic human foible is how easily we can falsely redefine what we experience. This flaw, called the Thomas Theorem, suggests, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”[1] Put another way, humans not only respond to the objective features of their situations but also to their own subjective interpretations of those situations, even when these beliefs are factually wrong. Other shortcomings include our willingness to believe information that is not true and a propensity to be as easily influenced by emotional appeals as reason, as demonstrated by the “North Dakota Crash” falsehood.[2]

Mediation Perspectives: Artificial Intelligence in Conflict Resolution

By Marta Lindström
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How is artificial intelligence (AI) affecting conflict and its resolution? Peace practitioners and scholars cannot afford to disregard ongoing developments related to AI-based technologies – both from an ethical and a pragmatic perspective. In this blog, I explore AI as an evolving field of information management technologies that is changing both the nature of armed conflict and the way we can respond to it. AI encompasses the use of computer programmes to analyse big amounts of data (such as online communication and transactions) in order to learn from patterns and predict human behaviour on a massive scale. This is potentially useful for managing corporations and shaping markets, but also for gaining political influence, conducting psychological warfare and controlling populations.

I argue that peace practitioners need to engage AI instruments proactively rather than reactively to be strategic about dealing with AI-related issues in peace processes. To the extent that peace practitioners use these methodologies, they also need to develop ethical, constructive and transparent uses of AI while constantly reflecting upon possible negative consequences of these methods. New technologies will never make the human-to-human interaction of mediation irrelevant, and their use is limited by the mediator’s need to gain the consent and trust of the conflict parties. At the same time, it is important for mediators to consider if and when AI-based technologies are being used in the environments where they operate, and how this impacts their own role and function in the wider context.

AI is Changing Conflict Dynamics

Cyber Policy Next: National Security Strategy

Cyber weaponry has emerged as the primary way nations compete with and undercut each other in short-of-war conflict. Yet there are few international rules that govern the daily battles — or prevent escalation. As a shadow war emerges in cyberspace, President Trump has given far more powers to the United States Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.

Should a presidential order be required to launch a cyber strike against another country, just as it is required to launch a nuclear strike?

No. Cyber is a relatively new domain of warfare, but military activity in cyberspace can encompass a wide range of activities. While some of these may have such a significant impact on civilian targets that a presidential order is appropriate, others may be so precise or contained that a presidential order is unnecessary. The president should set the overall cyber strategy for engagement that takes into account all elements of national power when contemplating cyber operations.


In a newly released "Intelligence Insights" paper, INSA's Cyber Council consolidates key information regarding the increased risk of nation-state sponsored cyberattacks on the private sector and offers a list of helpful resources organizations can use to strengthen cyber defenses. The paper notes that on January 6, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity arm, posted Alert AA20-006A, "Potential for Iranian Cyber Response to U.S. Military Strike in Baghdad," which recommends that organizations:

Adopt a state of heightened awareness
Increase organizational vigilance
Confirm reporting processes
Exercise organizational incident response plans
Risk Assessment: Nation-State Threats to the Private Sector

U.S. companies have long been under significant risk of attack by foreign intelligence agencies or their proxies. This is particularly true for industries with highly sensitive data - such as the advanced technology, defense, legal and finance sectors - and for operators of U.S. critical infrastructure.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operation: Lessons Learned and Implications for Future Warfare

Lt Col John D. Duray

ARLINGTON, VA (January 3, 2020)—The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the release of the newest entry in its Mitchell Forum short paper series, “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Future Warfare,” by Lt Col John D. Duray, USAF, an experienced MQ-9 Reaper and U-28 pilot. 

There are few military capabilities that have proved more transformational for American military power in recent years than the remote piloted aircraft (RPA), Duray writes. Since September 11, 2001, RPA have rapidly evolved from niche intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike assets into an essential tool for the global campaign against violent extremism. In particular, the use of the MQ-1 Predator and its successor the MQ-9 Reaper has mushroomed, with these aircraft amassing unprecedented flight hours and facing unrelenting demand from commanders. However, the author points out that smarter employment of these aircraft could further enhance the value they will afford in future missions. 

Using contemporary vignettes of real-world RPA sorties, the author lays out key lessons for defense officials and policymakers now evaluating the future of RPA in the Air Force’s force structure, and their utility in modern war. Duray focused on key takeaways from each vignette, such as noting the perils of ignoring airpower doctrinal lessons, the need to improve mission planning practices, eliminating “platform bias” in mission areas such as close air support, and tapping RPA potential in multi-domain operations and rapid acquisition trials. “A fundamentally different approach to RPA employment and development is required if the United States is to fully realize the potential of these aircraft systems,” the author notes.