6 March 2020

Why China’s Growing Military Might in Tibet Should Worry India

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Last month, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engaged in a major military exercise in the Tibet region. The engagement showcased some of the latest weapons in the Chinese military inventory and also spotlighted its deployments in the region more generally.

According to reports, the exercise last month in Tibet witnessed the deployment of several key aspects of Chinese military capabilities, including the Type 15 light battle tank and the new 155 mm vehicle-mounted howitzer. A Chinese military analyst speaking to the Global Times said that both “had powerful engines, allowing them to maneuver efficiently in Tibet’s terrain.” The same Global Times report also stated that the PLA Tibet Military Command had deployed helicopters, armored vehicles, heavy artillery, and anti-aircraft missiles across the region, from Lhasa, which has an elevation of around 3,700 meters, to border defense frontlines at an altitude higher than 4,000 meters.

These developments were by no means surprising. Indeed, the PLA has been beefing up its overall combat proficiency in the last few years by engaging in training and joint exercises, especially in high-altitude regions, with implications for how China’s military operates and how other actors in the Indo-Pacific region respond in kind.

Wildlife Killing In Northeast India And Potential Threat Of New Deadly Virus – OpEd

By Chandan Kumar Duarah*

Wildlife and smuggling of their parts in Assam as well as in Northeast Indian states likely to be dangerous bringing out new fatal virus. These wildlife parts or animals have been supplied to Chinese and wildlife markets of southeast Asia. As killing, poaching and cpturing are taking place, deadly virus may spread from wild to human in near future. Some animals like bats, pangolins are host of many fatal virus and massive deforestation and poaching are taking place to catch or kill such animals to meet the demand prevailing in China and Southeast Asian countries. So if such illegal poaching, catching and killing are not stopped deadly microbes can transmit to human.

As China is battling the outbreak of coronavirus, many studies have been doing the rounds linking the virus with wild animals. Experts with the World Health Organization (WHO) say there’s a high likelihood the new coronavirus came from bats. The Corona virus has so far killed around 3000 people in China and sickening more than 84,000 — eight times the number sickened by SARS. It is believed that a wildlife market in Wuhan in China could have been the starting point for the outbreak. First infected were those who worked in with sea food animals. So it was assumed to be the virus came from sea animals, but it was from the bat and the pangolin.

Explainer: The US-Taliban Deal in Afghanistan


What's in the recent agreement between the United States and the Taliban? What might still derail it?

After more than eighteen years of war in Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban reached an agreement in what were both sides’ most intensive efforts yet to end the war. Central to the deal is a significant drawdown of U.S. troops and guarantees from the Taliban that the country will not become a safe haven for terrorists.

However, experts stress that the deal between U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s administration and the Taliban leadership is only the first step to achieving lasting peace. The bigger challenge, they say, will be negotiating an agreement between the Islamist fundamentalist group and the Afghan government on Afghanistan’s future. Many Afghans, exhausted by a war that has killed thousands of people and forced millions to flee as refugees, fear that a U.S. withdrawal could spark new conflict and eventually allow the Taliban to regain control.

What did the United States and the Taliban agree to?

Afghanistan: Between Hope and Hopelessness

By Daud Khattak

There are several strong reasons to believe that Afghanistan is finally heading toward a durable peace. But other indicators suggest the post-February 29 situation may plunge the country into a new war instead of opening a window to a new beginning. Either the risks are overstated, or the level of optimism is too high. Which is it?

Right now, at the very early stage of the so-called new beginning, the peace process has hit the first snag – as expected.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, whose government always responded with measured enthusiasm to the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, refused to accept the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan jails as a precondition for the beginning of the promised intra-Afghan dialogue. The prisoners’ release “cannot be a prerequisite for talks,” Ghani told journalists in Kabul.

In a knee-jerk reaction, the Taliban announced an end to the week-plus “reduction in violence” and ordered its field commanders and fighters to launch attacks against the Afghan government and security forces.

Enduring Peace Requires Reforms to Afghan Governance

By Ian J. Lynch

After signing an agreement with the Taliban, the United States has said it will begin withdrawing forces from Afghanistan. Beyond a reduction in American troop levels, it is still unclear what the agreement will accomplish.

The agreement sets the stage for intra-Afghan peace talks between the Taliban and the National Unity Government (NUG) in Kabul. However, with President Ashraf Ghani reluctant to release Taliban prisoners, a precondition for talks outlined in the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the next phase of conflict resolution is on shaky ground.

Meanwhile, Ghani was only recently declared the winner of last year’s presidential election, a ruling that is contested by his chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, with whom Ghani has shared power within the extra-constitutional NUG since it was brokered in 2014. Even if Ghani’s victory was accepted outright, dismal voter turnout gave him less than a million votes in a country of over 35 million people.

The United States Wants Peace. The Taliban Wants an Emirate.

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DOHA, Qatar—At the pyramid-shaped seaside luxury hotel in Doha where the United States and the Taliban signed their long-awaited agreement, the 100 or so black turbans in attendance occasionally fluttered in the wind. The bearded Taliban leaders nonetheless had cheerful looks on their faces. For them, the Americans’ agreement to leave Afghanistan, even without any commitment to a cease-fire, was a declaration of victory for their side.

The United States has promised to initially reduce its troops from 13,000 to 8,600, and eventually remove them all, along with other coalition forces, within the next 14 months. The withdrawal is binding only if the Taliban keeps its side of the bargain, by not allowing any terrorist organization to again attack the United States or its allies from Afghan soil, as happened on 9/11.

Around 3,500 U.S. and coalition soldiers have died in the conflict; the number of Afghan deaths is estimated at more than 150,000. Both the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump and the Taliban have agreed they would now like to end their war. Far less clear is whether they have any common vision of the future.

We Must Make the Right Kind of Peace in Afghanistan, If We Are to Honor Our Sacrifice There.

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As we take the first major, halting steps toward a peace agreement in Afghanistan, all I can remember is how we got there in the first place. On 9/11, I was a newly promoted one-star admiral, working on the Navy staff in the Pentagon. My office was in the new section of the building, and I literally watched the airplane hit the Pentagon. As I stumbled out onto the grassy field below from the burning building, the irony of the moment struck me: here I was, in the safest building on earth, guarded by the strongest military in history, in the capital of the richest country in the world. If the Pentagon wasn’t safe, what was?

We all knew that everything would change, especially for those of us in the U.S. military. I was wrenched out of my comfortable assignment as a strategic budget officer and selected to lead “Deep Blue,” a hastily created think tank that was charged with charting a new course for the Navy in what would become known as the “War on Terror.” We didn’t really know what that meant, nor did we appreciate all that would unfold in so many places around the world, and how many would die as a result of our retaliation. But we did know that the plot that killed 3,000 Americans had begun in Afghanistan, and very quickly the focus of the U.S. military became going there, finding Al-Qaeda, and destroying them. The Taliban – who had harbored them – were at the time a small obstacle that we quickly overcame. As tens of thousands of U.S. troops deployed to a strange, foreboding nation whose geography seemed to resemble the surface of the moon we could never have predicted we were embarking on the longest war in U.S. history.

Why Afghanistan Became an Invisible War

By Juliette Love and Rod Nordland

In a century of American wars, no other has been rendered quite so invisible to the public. Americans don’t want to fight in Afghanistan, they don’t want to die in Afghanistan and they don’t really want to hear about Afghanistan.

Why? This war is different. 
Fewer Soldiers, Fewer Veterans

Fewer American soldiers have fought in Afghanistan than any American war in the last century. At most, about 12,000 American soldiers remain there and a total of about 600,000 have rotated through there over 18 years.

That number is less than a quarter of the number who fought in Vietnam and about half the number who went to Iraq, where more soldiers fought and died in less than half of the time, increasing the visibility of their sacrifices.

China, ASEAN Band Together in the Fight Against Coronavirus

By Lucio Blanco Pitlo
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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, poses for a group photo with some of the Foreign ministers of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from left, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Binh Minh, Philippines’ Foreign Affaires Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, ahead of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia in Vientiane, Laos, Feb. 20, 2020.Credit: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

As the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 spreads around the world, China and its neighbors understand that the struggle against the epidemic will require more than their individual national efforts. Hence, the foreign ministers of ASEAN and China met in Vientiane, Laos on February 20 to discuss joint measures to combat the threat of COVID-19.

The meeting was remarkable for tackling not only the health dimension of the crisis, but also its social and economic impacts, as well as how technology can be harnessed to mitigate the fallout. Turning the crisis into an opportunity, it is possible for Beijing to promote this cooperative template to its Northeast Asian neighbors, Japan and South Korea, and to other regions like the Middle East and Europe where the virus is fast making headway.

Will the Coronavirus Topple China’s One-Party Regime?


CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – It may seem preposterous to suggest that the outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has imperiled the rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC), especially at a time when the government’s aggressive containment efforts seem to be working. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the political implications of China’s biggest public-health crisis in recent history.

According to a New York Times analysis, at least 760 million Chinese, or more than half the country’s population, are under varying degrees of residential lockdown. This has had serious individual and aggregate consequences, from a young boy remaining home alone for days after witnessing his grandfather’s death to a significant economic slowdown. But it seems to have contributed to a dramatic fall in new infections outside Wuhan, where the outbreak began, to low single digits.

Even as China’s leaders tout their progress in containing the virus, they are showing signs of stress. Like elites in other autocracies, they feel the most politically vulnerable during crises. They know that, when popular fear and frustration is elevated, even minor missteps could cost them dearly and lead to severe challenges to their power.

China’s 5G tech is a national security issue ... or is it a trade one?

By: Andrew Eversden 

SAN FRANCISCO — How the Trump administration has approached banning Huawei’s technology for 5G networks has raised a question at the annual RSA Conference: Is the decision rooted in national security issues or trade issues?

“The unfortunate answer is, it’s both,” said Kathryn Waldron, a fellow at the public policy research organization R Street Institute. “And it depends on who you’re talking to as to which one they’re going to prioritize.”

Katie Arrington, CISO for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and czar for the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, told Fifth Domain her thoughts on CMMC's “constant state of evolution.”

Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and lecturer at Harvard, said that while Huawei is a national security issue, the Trump administration has approached it as a trade issue. Throughout many of the last few years, Huawei has been a bargaining chip in trade negotiations between the United States and China.

“Either this is a national security issue, in which case, there are things we do and we don’t do, or this is a trade issue, in which case we negotiate on a variety of things," Schneier said. "It cannot be both; it just doesn’t work.”

He later added, “we really hurt ourselves with our allies when we try to play both ends of that."

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is the Shape of Things to Come

Stewart M. Patrick 

The Wuhan coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, reveals how vulnerable humanity remains to virulent pathogens. A century after the devastating Spanish flu pandemic, public health officials are scrambling to prevent this latest plague—which as of Feb. 24 had infected more than 79,000 people in at least 29 countries, most of them in China—from becoming another pandemic. As they do, it’s worth taking a step back to consider the stubborn staying power of infectious disease. Far from an anomaly, this outbreak is the shape of things to come.

Humanity is currently experiencing its fourth great wave of infectious disease. The first coincided with the agricultural revolution some 10 millennia ago. A more sedentary lifestyle, higher population density, closer proximity to domesticated animals and the appearance of parasitic species like rodents and insects in human settlements enabled more pathogens to jump between species. A second great wave began during classical antiquity and lasted through the Middle Ages, as commercial and military contact among major centers of civilization exposed formerly isolated societies to new diseases and created new vectors—rats, fleas—that spread pestilence across the Mediterranean and Asia. Between the 14th and 17th centuries alone, more than 200 million people died of bubonic plague. The third phase occurred after 1500, as explorers, conquerors and colonists from Europe brought new pathogens to the Americas, Africa and Australasia, and sometimes back again, with devastating results. ..

Pompeo’s State Department Keeps Supporting Islamic Extremists

by Michael Rubin
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Qatar on Feb. 29 to celebrate the U.S. peace deal with the Taliban. The deal might provide cover for the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, but it will not bring peace.

Rather, the deal empowers the Taliban at the expense of Afghanistan’s elected government. It is easy to talk about intra-Afghan dialogue, but the Taliban were not fighting to be part of the democratic order but rather to overthrow it. This is why Taliban leaders have already announced they will keep fighting the elected Afghan government as the United States withdraws its forces. Taliban leaders know that if they competed at the ballot box, they would likely not achieve more than five percent of the vote. Afghans broadly speaking do not want to live under the Taliban’s conception of an Islamic emirate with an unelected leadership imposed from above. Pakistan, meanwhile, has been willing for decades to fan the flames of extremism in the belief that promoting Islam as the chief source of identity in Afghanistan will diminish the threat Afghan and Pushtun nationalism might pose to Pakistan’s own unity.

Alas, Afghanistan is not the only country in which the State Department’s default position has been to support Islamist extremism. Consider Libya: Neither Fayez al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya; nor Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army whose coalition dispute Sarraj’s legitimacy and also control the bulk of Libyan territory.

Russia's Power Struggle Over the Syrian War Has Prompted Turkey to Seek U.S. Assistance

by Ali Demirdas
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In early February, for the first time in the rebel-held stronghold of the Idlib province, the Syrian government directly hit Turkish targets, killing eight Turkish soldiers and civilian contractors in one of the observation posts that Turkey built to monitor the de-escalation zone. It was a shock for the Turks; the blame immediately was placed on Russia; without whose permission the Syrian Armed Forces is not able to “move a muscle.” Turkish president Recep Erdogan then issued an ultimatum to Damascus to pull back from the observation posts south of the Idlib city that the Syrian forces had surrounded. So, what went wrong in a seemingly blooming strategic partnership? We need to first understand what Syria’s Idlib province means for Russia and Turkey.

Despite the growing partnership, Idlib has always remained a sore spot between Ankara and Moscow. An estimated four million civilians are trapped in the rebel exclave surrounded by Turkey’s sealed border on the west and the Syrian regime, which is encroaching on it from the south and east. Thirty thousand are believed to be members of the Salafi Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). HTS has fighters from groups such as the Caucasus Emirate, Soldiers of the Caucasus and the Turkistan Islamic Party, who came from Russia’s Caucasus region and Central Asia. Being casualty-averse due to the bitter experience in the 1990s where Chechen fighters killed some ten thousand Russian soldiers, Moscow wants to do everything to prevent those fighters from reaching the Russian homeland. In 2015, Putin said, “More than 2,000 fighters (some estimate four-thousand) from Russia and the ex-Soviet republics are in the territory of Syria. There is a threat of their return to us. So, instead of waiting for their return, we are better off fighting them on Syrian territory.” So, in Idlib, Russia has employed “the Grozny Model” whereby urban warfare is avoided in favor of intense and indiscriminate bombings, which sometimes damage mosques and hospitals and claim a high-civilian-death toll. These bombings have created a constant refugee inflow towards Turkey, which is already inundated with more than four million Syrian refugees. Simply put, Russia wants to eliminate those fighters by any means necessary and Turkey doesn’t want any more refugees. Additionally, there is no clear solution to the Idlib problem.

History Proves Beyond Any Doubt Global Warming Can Kill

by Alan N Williams Chris Turney Haidee Cadd James Shulmeister Michael Bird Zoë Thomas

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease in our use of fossil fuels, we are on track for a global average increase of 2℃ in the next few decades, with extremes of between 3 to 6℃ at higher latitudes.

But 2℃ doesn’t really sound like much. Wouldn’t it just mean a few more days of summer barbeques?

While 2℃ might seem negligible, the peak of the last ice age was characterised by a 2-4 ℃ drop in global temperatures. This shows just how great an effect this seemingly small change in temperature can have on Earth.

The last ice age occurred primarily as a result of changes in Earth’s orbit, and relationship to the Sun. Coolest conditions peaked 21,000 years ago. Reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and sea surface temperatures reinforced the cooling trend.

Globally, the most significant impact of the ice age was the formation of massive ice sheets at the poles. Ice sheets up to 4km thick blanketed much of northern Europe, Canada, northern America and northern Russia.

Japan’s Space Dream? Cleaning Up the Mess.

By Thisanka Siripala

At last year’s G-20 Summit in Osaka, the government announced measures to promote Japan’s name in space innovation. Japan has leapt at the opportunity to commercialize technology in the new experimental market of space garbage removal.

Even as humans struggle to clean up the environmental mess on Earth, there is growing space pollution hurtling around Earth. Earth’s orbit is increasingly crowded by inactive and defunct spacecraft and satellite parts, ranging from the size of a bus to nuts and bolts and specks of paint.

When pieces of debris collide, it sparks a chain reaction where fragments continue to collide with each other, breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces. The magnitude of man-made space debris is staggering. NASA is currently tracking 500,000 pieces between 1 and 10 centimeters in diameter. But the latest figures show there are 900,000 pieces debris ranging from 1 cm and 10 cm and 128 million fragments between one millimeter and one cm. There are also 5,000 satellites orbiting Earth, of which only 3,000 are active.

What Is a Moral Foreign Policy?


CAMBRIDGE – Many Americans say they want a moral foreign policy, but disagree on what that means. Using a three-dimensional scorecard encourages us to avoid simplistic answers and to look at the motives, means, and consequences of a US president’s actions.

Consider, for example, the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes. When people call for a “Reaganite foreign policy,” they mean to highlight the clarity of his rhetoric in the presentation of values. Clearly stated objectives helped educate and motivate the public at home and abroad.

But that was only one aspect of Reagan’s foreign policy. The success of his moral leadership also relied on his means of bargaining and compromise. The key question is whether he was prudent in balancing his objectives and the risks of trying to achieve them.

Reagan’s initial rhetoric in his first term created a dangerous degree of tension and distrust between the United States and the Soviet Union, increasing the risk of a miscalculation or accident leading to war. But it also created incentives to bargain, which Reagan later put to good use when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union. Reagan advanced US national interests, and he did so in a manner that did not exclusively benefit American interests.

The Age of Mass Protests: Understanding an Escalating Global Trend

We are living in an age of global mass protests that are historically unprecedented in frequency, scope, and size. Our analysis finds that the mass political protests that have captured media attention over the past year, such as those in Hong Kong and Santiago, are in fact part of a decade-long trend line affecting every major populated region of the world, the frequency of which have increased by an annual average of 11.5 percent between 2009 and 2019. The size and frequency of recent protests eclipse historical examples of eras of mass protest, such as the late-1960s, late-1980s, and early-1990s. Viewed in this broader context, the events of the Arab Spring were not an isolated phenomenon but rather an especially acute manifestation of a broadly increasing global trend. Analysis of the root causes of these global protests suggests they will continue and could increase in 2020 and beyond. While each protest has a unique context, common grievances overwhelmingly center on perceptions of ineffective governance and corruption.

Executive Summary 

Mass protests increased annually by an average of 11.5 percent from 2009 to 2019 across all regions of the world, with the largest concentration of activity in the Middle East and North Africa and the fastest rate of growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Analysis of the underlying drivers of this growth suggests the trend will continue, meaning the number and intensity of global protests is likely to increase.

Global Migration Is Not Abating. Neither Is the Backlash Against It

Around the world, the popular backlash against global migration has fueled the rise of far-right populist parties and driven some centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration. But with short-term strategies dominating the debate, many of the persistent drivers of migration go unaddressed, even as efforts to craft a global consensus on migration are hobbled by demands for quick solutions.

Around the world, migration continues to figure prominently in political debates. In Europe, far-right populist parties have used the Migrant Crisis of 2015 and latent fears of immigrants to fuel their rise and introduce increasingly restrictive border policies in countries, like Italy, where they have entered government. The popular backlash against immigrants has also pushed centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration at home, while working with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration, whether through improving border controls or strengthening economic incentives for potential emigres to stay in their home countries.

Trump’s High Court Hears Its First Abortion Case

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

Louisiana, with nearly one million women of reproductive age, now has only three abortion clinics. A woman who chooses to have an abortion — as about a quarter of American women do — must make her way to one of those facilities, where she will be legally required to sit through counseling intended to discourage her from having the procedure as well as an ultrasound that must be shown and described in detail to her. She then must wait at least 24 hours before returning to the clinic for the procedure. If she is a Medicaid patient, her bill will most likely be hundreds of dollars paid out of pocket.

As daunting as these hurdles are, the outcome of a soon-to-be-heard Supreme Court case out of Louisiana could erect even more, and not just for the women in that state. The right to have an abortion, which exists in name only in some areas of the country, could soon be even further whittled away — and the justices could do so without overturning Roe v. Wade. The case’s outcome could also upend how reproductive rights cases are litigated, making it harder to fight other anti-abortion laws in the future.

Hypersonic Missiles: Plethora Of Boost-Glide & Cruise

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Lockheed Martin’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)

PENTAGON: Hypersonic missiles will be deployed across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, not as “niche” weapons but as a broad new capability, according to DoD’s two top officials charged with managing department wide development efforts.

“It’s not going to be one or two hypersonic weapons,” Mark Lewis, director of modernization at DoD’s Research and Engineering office headed by Mike Griffin, told reporters here today. “Hypersonics isn’t a single thing. It’s a range of capabilities. It’s intermediate range. It’s long range. It’s things coming off of ships. It’s things coming off of trucks. It’s things coming off the wings of airplanes and out of bomb bays.”

Lewis said the Pentagon’s focus this year on hypersonic weapons — weapons that can fly faster than Mach 5 — will be on transitioning from science and technology development work to prototype weapons that can be used in the field by all of the services.

Time to Recommit to Syria

By Jennifer Cafarella 

Syria is now nine years into a civil war that frequently promises, but never manages, to wind down. President Bashar al-Assad has retaken much of the country, but broad swaths remain combat zones. Just this month, Assad’s forces, with Russia’s backing, advanced in Idlib Province, the opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria, after a nearly ten-month-long offensive. Since December 1, 2019, more than 800,000 Syrians have fled their homes. 

Assad may have gained territory, but his regime remains deeply fragile, and the regions under its control are unstable and growing more so. This war is not one that Assad can decisively win, even with help from Iran and Russia.

The United States must recognize that the conflict in Syria is unlikely to end in the near future. The prospect of more war is devastating, but it means that Syria’s fate is far from decided. Leveraging American diplomatic, economic, and military capabilities, which dwarf those of every other actor in Syria, could change the trajectory of the conflict, help contain the humanitarian crisis, and lay important groundwork for an eventual political transition. With so much still at stake, even limited U.S. involvement could make a difference.


How to secure the U.S. government’s technology supply chain

Anthony Pelli, BSI
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Fears of a full-on cyberattack, or more insidious scattered technical invasions, have escalated since the 2016 U.S. presidential election was found to be influenced by foreign hacking. More recently, unrest in the Middle East following U.S. threats of war against Iran, as well as the 2020 elections have fueled concerns about vulnerability in the American government’s technical supply chain.

At the same time the U.S. government is working to prevent foreign telecommunications firms like China-based Huawei from building 5G networks in the United States, as well as for allies’ networks that they could breach, the country could face a more menacing risk from its own IT supply chain exposure.

Comprehensive policies lacking

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in a 2018 report on this threat declared that U.S. government laws and policies do not currently address supply chain risk management comprehensively. The commission, created by Congress to report on the national security implications of the U.S.-China trade relationship, stated that Chinese companies are used to further state goals and target U.S. federal networks and those of its contractors.

The Great Power Competition over 5G Communications: Limited Success for the American Campaign against Huawei

Hiddai Segev, Assaf Orion
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Despite increasing US pressure on its allies not to install Chinese fifth generation (5G) communications infrastructure, and along with the possibility of punitive measures against those who ignore such warnings, the American campaign against the Chinese company Huawei has met with limited success. Other countries face a dilemma between acceding to the US demands to avoid installing Chinese technology in their communications infrastructure and maintaining proper economic relations with the Chinese power. While some have decided in favor of China, many are adopting equivocal midway solutions combining certain practical limitations with restrained declarative statements. The world's advanced communications system is at the start of a process of technological decoupling with broad strategic ramifications, in which Israel will no doubt be on the Western side. In this framework, Israel, based on its advanced technological capabilities, must take an active role in establishing and contributing to a Western technology coalition. Since Chinese communication infrastructure is not expected in Israel, this position can be leveraged by Israel to strengthen its overall relations with the US in an era of Great Power strategic competition. In parallel, and similar to the US and other countries, Israel should continue advancing its relations with China in areas where commercial and economic ties do not involve serious risks to its national security, and above all, to its relations with the United States.

Making Sense of the Information Environment

Robert S. Ehlers Jr., and Patrick Blannin

Core Aspects of the Information Environment

The Department of Defense (DoD) and its Five Eyes (FVEY) counterparts (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) spend increasing time and effort trying to make sense of the Information Environment (IE). While the IE appears new as a reality and a concept, it is not. In fact, it is merely the latest definitional means for making sense of how human beings use information to influence the direction and outcome of competition and conflict. A brief reading of any well-known military theory, from any age and across cultures, reveals the important and often decisive role of having a superior understanding of one’s adversaries, and the centrality of using that understanding wisely to gain advantage over them. In short, information is the means by which all parties to a conflict build understanding of one another and themselves, and “the IE” is the medium through which this information flows as the various players use it to influence each other’s decision calculus. While DoD and FVEY comprehension of the IE is still maturing, its fundamental qualities are evident. It is ubiquitous. It is largely unbounded, relatively unregulated, hyper-connected, and it exists simultaneously in—and permeates—all domains and problem sets.[i]

The IE is global in nature, although there are multiple information-heavy complex problems (ICPs) within the global IE. Accordingly, the global IE is a highly complex and emergent system of systems in which information moves and produces impacts with rapidly increasing speed and often high-order and unanticipated impacts. The global IE and ICPs comprise a wide range and diversity of actors with much greater aggregate influence than they had in the previous century. Because information flows are often not controllable even by powerful states, they can produce effects far beyond what any state could create. To make things more complex, non-state actors, which often seek to create influence to achieve their own strategic aims, now play a central and often disruptive role as influencers and force multipliers within the global IE. Further, they often act outside of accepted international norms. Non-state actors use new media and advances in information communication technology to lessen the impact or even undermine the effectiveness of statecraft. Consequently, a diverse group of actors can now generate alternate information-centric forms of power to exert influence in various ICPs.[ii]

5G Supply Chain Security: Threats and Solutions

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “5G Supply Chain Security: Threats and Solutions,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The hearing will examine the security and integrity of the telecommunications supply chain and efforts to secure networks from exploitation in the transition to 5G. The hearing will also examine the federal government’s role in mitigating risks to telecommunications equipment and services in the U.S. and abroad. 


Mr. Steven Berry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Competitive Carriers Association
Mr. Jason Boswell, Head of Security, Network Product Solutions, Ericsson
Ms. Asha Keddy, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Next Generation and Standards, Intel Corporation
Mr. Mike Murphy, Chief Technology Officer, Americas at Nokia
Dr. James Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Technology Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Cybersecurity: Let's get tactical (free PDF)

The sophistication, frequency, and consequences of cyberattacks continue to evolve and grow. Private companies and public agencies alike must adapt their security techniques, strengthen end-user training, and embrace new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered defenses.

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet and TechRepublic special feature, looks at how companies implement new cybersecurity strategies, artificial intelligence and machine learning’s role in cybersecurity measures, the most common cybersecurity attacks with prevention tips, as well as case studies and original analysis.

In this ebook:

AI is changing everything about cybersecurity, for better and for worse. Here’s what you need to know

Survey: Despite new tactics, companies still face challenges implementing cybersecurity measures

Most common cyberattacks we’ll see in 2020, and how to defend against them

The future of defense contractor cybersecurity standards

Andrew Eversden

SAN FRANCISCO — The Department of Defense official leading the overhaul of cybersecurity requirements for the Department of Defense contractors sees the model as being in a “constant state of evolution” over the next few years.

Katie Arrington, the chief information security officer for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and czar for the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, told Fifth Domain in an interview at the RSA Conference that work on CMMC will be a “perpetual thing.”

After the CMMC requirements are written into contracts around October, Arrington said she wants to “have some data to say ‘okay, these controls — are they really worth the return on investment? Do we need to tweak the model?’”

CMMC 1.0 was released at the end of January.

Right now, Arrington said, she is working with staff to create the audit training. One of the challenges in building the training, like creating CMMC itself, is ensuring that it is simple and easy to understand.

A hacker group says it has major defense companies’ data

Dylan Gresik
DoppelPaymer, a ransomware group, claims to have accessed sensitive data from major defense industry companies through the hacking of Visser Precision LLC, a Colorado-based aerospace, automotive and industrial parts manufacturer. 

A manufacturing subcontractor in the defense industry has become the latest victim of hackers, Emsisoft, a cybersecurity and anti-malware company, told Fifth Domain.

Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and SpaceX are among dozens of companies named as victims of compromised data, accessed through the hacking of Visser Precision LLC, a Colorado-based aerospace, automotive and industrial parts manufacturer.

DoppelPaymer, a ransomware group, perpetrated the hack, according to Brett Callow, a threat analyst with Emsisoft.

[To see a photo (courtesy of Brett Callow/Emsisoft) posted to a hacker group website listing dozens of U.S. businesses whose data hackers claim to possess, click here.]

How Does One Really Prepare for Combat

Morgan Smiley

The “thousand-yard stare” from an infantry officer talking about his time in Iraq; routine bursts of anger from a former soldier who watch his friend step on an IED; a seasoned NCO who exited his track only to turn around and desperately scream to get back inside. Despite the myriad of training maneuvers, large-scale training center rotations, life-fire exercises, shoot-house drills, etc... nothing in training really prepares one for the visceral ugliness of combat. Assuming it is possible, how does one correct this in order to better prepare our forces for their eventual deployment to a hostile zone? How does one replicate the complex scenarios and subsequent decisions involved when lives really aren’t “on the line”?

I recall speaking to a fellow infantry major who had served as a company commander in Iraq sometime in 2004-2005. He was telling us about a particular day when his company was ordered to hold a part of a small town. He told us of a boy, about 10 or 11, who was wearing a radio-controlled suicide-vest and was approaching the checkpoint he was at with his soldiers. At this point, I could see that he was no longer looking at us but was looking back a thousand yards. 

The child continued to approach despite his soldiers and interpreters shouting at him to stop. Some soldiers were demanding to open fire while others were screaming that shooting a child was illegal. The commander gave the order to shoot. After the child fell, he detonated. The commander made a good call, he saved his men. But that’s not what he remembered, only the voices of those who criticized him for shooting a kid.