19 March 2020

** Cyber Wargame - An Indian Scenario

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd), Consultant, VIF


Immediately after the first gulf war in the early 1990’s the theories of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Information Warfare were being studied all over the world as a new kind of warfare. During that time, a course on Information Warfare was conducted at the National Defense University of USA. The course participants were from senior officers of the armed forces, representatives of Department of Defence and Department of State and policy makers from the government. Rand Corporation of US was conducting this course.

At the end of the course a cyber war game was conducted. The following scenario was painted: .... Read More

Troop Exodus: Why the War In Afghanistan Has Become Another U.S. Foreign Policy Failure

by Lawrence J. Korb 

The deal that the Trump administration signed with the Taliban on Feb. 29, 2020, ends U.S. military involvement in the war in Afghanistan over the next fourteen months. But was it a good deal?

My experience with two separate incidents, one as a member of the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and the other as a member of a team tasked with ending the war in Afghanistan, has influenced my opinion.

The first incident occurred in 1965 when I was a junior Naval Flight Officer deployed to Vietnam. Like my colleagues, I was initially thankful to be part of an effort to prevent what we were told was Soviet Communist expansion in Southeast Asia (the Domino Theory) by defeating Communist North Vietnam’s attempt to destroy the democratically elected South Vietnamese government. However, a few months into my deployment, it became clear to me that the government we were fighting for was corrupt and did not have the support of the majority of the South Vietnamese people. Moreover, it was also clear to me that it would be impossible for us to achieve our goal at an acceptable cost.

Will the First Steps of the U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal Be Enough?

by Stratfor Worldview 

After a weeklong reduction in violence in Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban are set to sign a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 29. Both sides hope the deal will be the first step toward ending U.S. involvement in the Afghan war and bringing peace to a land that has been in an almost constant state of war since 1979. Two of the most important points of the agreement include the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and a promise from the Taliban that it will not allow transnational militant groups to use the country as a base. Once it's signed, the next step will be talks among the Afghan government, the Taliban and other parties to establish a durable cease-fire and eventually end the country's war. But the road ahead will be strewn with pitfalls. 

A U.S. Withdrawal 

Among the stickiest issues to be addressed that could derail peace talks or cause other complications is the size of the U.S. security footprint in Afghanistan. As a U.S. withdrawal begins, the size and composition of its contingent in the country will be a point of contention. The strength of remaining conventional U.S. military forces, the number of troops devoted to counterterrorism operations and remaining U.S. intelligence assets will be points of contention. The Taliban has firmly maintained a public stance of demanding the withdrawal of all foreign forces, while the United States seems intent on maintaining a presence. 


Amrit P. Acharya and Arabinda Acharya

AMRIT P. ACHARYA is a consultant at McKinsey & Co and a former employee at Monsanto’s Corporate Venture Capital group and ITC Ltd’s Agribusiness group. ARABINDA ACHARYA is Associate Professor in the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University.

For years, the international community has grappled with the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorism. And although al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) [1] have demonstrated interest in and some capability to develop and use such weapons, there have been no successful mass casualty terrorist attacks involving them. Attempted attacks involving radiological dispersal devices or chemical and biological means have either failed or had a very limited impact. Experts such as John Parachini [2], Jeffrey Bale and Gary Ackerman [3], Adam Dolnik[4], and Rajesh Basrur and Mallika Joseph [5] argue that the reason is terrorists’ inability to weaponize chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material. Others, including Brian Michael Jenkins, believe that the lack of mass causality attacks [6] also has to do with self-restraint: perpetrators might not be able to control the consequences of such an attack. It could end up harming the members of the communities that the terrorists are purportedly fighting for and could therefore be counterproductive [7].

Potential for al-Qaeda-Islamic State Cooperation in Afghanistan

By: Farhan Zahid

Frequent speculation has recently been posited that Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda affiliates could eventually coalesce again, or at the least, begin cooperating at a more notable level than was seen at the height of the conflict in Syria. The death of IS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi provided fresh evidence of likely cooperation between the two, despite their strategic differences and turf wars. Outside of Syria, most notably in Afghanistan, circumstances on the ground could further necessitate such cooperation.

The Case of Barisha, Idlib

U.S. special forces conducted Operation Kayla Mueller on October 26-27 in the village of Barisha in Syria’s rebel-controlled Idlib province. The well-executed operation resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi along with his children and guards, seriously damaging the organizational structure of IS. Scores of children were rescued and several IS militants were taken into custody. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had reportedly supplied critical intelligence about Baghadi’s presence in Barisha, just five kilometers from the Turkish border. The most notable aspect of where Baghdadi was killed was that it was located in an area controlled by Jamaat Huras ad Din (HaD) an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria led by Khalid al-Aruri, an al-Qaeda veteran of ethnic Palestinian origin.

Could China Be Weaponizing Your Personal Information?

by Lizandro Pieper

As if identity theft alone isn’t enough of a concern for Americans, the Equifax hacking indicates that China’s military wants to weaponize sensitive personal information to undermine U.S. national security.

Three members of China’s People’s Liberation Army have been indicted by the Justice Department in the 2017 data breach of Atlanta-based Equifax Inc., one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies.

The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, economic espionage, and wire fraud.

This was a data breach—a “release of personally sensitive, protected, and/or confidential data”—rather than a security breach, which refers only to the hacking of websites and applications without theft.

Coronavirus: China Having Trouble Exporting Medicine—But Not Fentanyl

by Roger Bate

The Trump administration attempted to isolate China with its 2018-2019 tariff efforts. Some companies (EU, US as well as Chinese) moved some production from China to other Asian nations, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and elsewhere. With the COVID–19 outbreak some of these producers are better positioned because China is bearing the brunt of the outbreak. But the vast majority of chemical producers did not move. There was one exception. In addition to the pressure from tariffs, the Trump administration pushed Beijing to clampdown on fentanyl production. Fentanyl is the most potent opioid and is related to tens of thousands of fatal overdoses in US. While other opioid overdoses fell for the first time in a decade last year, those from fentanyl still rose.

Will Coronavirus Kill the European Union?

by Doug Bandow
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It took COVID-19 several weeks to mass migrate from China to Europe, but the continent is now awash in the virus. The pandemic has fully arrived in Italy and Spain. Other nations await the disease, hoping to slow its spread. It will kill many Europeans. It also might kill the European Union, at least the idea of a European community in any meaningful sense.

It took COVID-19 several weeks to mass migrate from China to Europe, but the continent is now awash in the virus. The pandemic has fully arrived in Italy and Spain. Other nations await the disease, hoping to slow its spread.

It will kill many Europeans. It also might kill the European Union, at least the idea of a European community in any meaningful sense.

In the name of solidarity Italy approached its neighbors to assist in the coronavirus crisis that threatened to overwhelm its health care resources. Running out of intensive care beds, doctors were ordered to “aim to guarantee intensive treatment to patients with the greatest chance of therapeutic success.” Those most likely to die will to be left to … die.

Will Coronavirus Stop You From Getting Your Medication? An Expert Answers Your Questions

by Jacob Heilbrunn 

Former top FDA official Howard Sklamberg: “I would say that the longer the coronavirus pandemic goes on, the greater the risk of shortages. Yes, if you’re experiencing a shortage and it’s the drug you rely on, it’s a big problem for you. It is hard to predict how widespread that would be and where the shortages would arise. Some drugs are considered by the FDA as more essential than others. So if the drug is the only treatment for a particular condition...”

Heilbrunn: Is the American drug supply in jeopardy because of our reliance on supplies from China and the fall out from the coronavirus?

Sklamberg: I think that there are two separate issues, regarding our drug supply from China and India. First, by way of background, the United States obtains a large amount of its drugs from China and India. Both the active pharmaceutical ingredients—which are basically the parts of drugs that cure diseases—and the finished drugs themselves. And it’s a wide range of drugs, from oncology drugs to over-the-counter drugs, to everything in between. So we depend on drugs from China and India. 

The EU Is Abandoning Italy in Its Hour of Need

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Italy is in lockdown. Schools and universities are closed, soccer games suspended, and restaurant visits banned amid a rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. Just grocery stores and pharmacies are allowed to stay open, and only absolutely necessary travel is permitted. One might think that fellow European Union countries would count their blessings and send their Italian friends a few vital supplies, especially since the Italians have asked for it. They have sent nothing.

EU countries’ shameful lack of solidarity with the Italians points to a larger problem: What would European countries do if one of them faced an even greater crisis?

The Union Civil Protection Mechanism is the bland name under which the EU’s crisis hub—the Emergency Response Coordination Centre—operates. It monitors natural and manmade disasters around the clock, and when an EU member state can no longer handle a crisis on its own it can turn to the crisis hub. The hub forwards the appeal to other member states, which can then volunteer assistance. (The assistance is later reimbursed by the recipient country.)

Will the coronavirus kill globalization?

John Feffer

At a dinner party in mid-February, an architect told me that he was having a problem finishing his building projects. It was the carpets.

Most wall-to-wall carpeting for big construction projects in the United States, he explained, comes from China. The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan — and the subsequent shutdown of many Chinese factories — was having a ripple effect across the global economy all the way down to the carpeting in U.S. buildings.

The global spread of a new pathogen has exposed the fragility of modern life. As it moves around the world, the coronavirus has compromised the circulatory system of globalization, dramatically reducing the international flow of money, goods, and people. The disease has done so rather economically, by infecting fewer than 100,000 people so far. Extrapolation and fear have done most of the work for it.

In the world of things, the coronavirus has infected the global supply chains that connect manufacturers and consumers. Port traffic in Los Angeles, the largest U.S. port, declined by 25 percent in February. Container traffic in general was down over 10 percent last month.

The Next Phase of China’s Fight with the Coronavirus

By Phillip Orchard

The Communist Party of China would like you to know it’s winning the war against the coronavirus, and that we all have Xi Jinping to thank. That’s been the core message from Chinese state media over the past few weeks, which marked a major turning point in the crisis. Internally, China’s massive mobilization against the virus appears to have stemmed the tide, with new infections slowing to single digits and Chinese industry gingerly getting back to work. And as the outbreak became a pandemic, Western governments’ spotty responses have put both Beijing’s early missteps and its later successes in a more favorable light.

It’s been a boon to Beijing’s propagandists, who can now call attention to China’s triumphs and the world’s woes. Their messaging has also made it clear that Xi and his inner circle will emerge from the public health crisis intact – and perhaps even stronger. Xi has commanded the decisive battles in the “People’s War” against an invisible enemy, at least according to state media hell-bent on elevating the president to almost Mao-like status.

But if Xi is safe on his throne, his realm is not. The Chinese economy is, to put it plainly, in really bad shape. Nearly every problem Beijing couldn’t figure out how to fix has been made an order of magnitude worse by the coronavirus crisis. And while the virus going global may be a shot in the arm for China’s hype machine, its spread may very well shut down the country’s most promising roads to a rapid recovery.

Xi’s Glorious Battle

China's information warfare is failing again


Once again, China is waging its infamous public opinion warfare against the rest of the world. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman tweeted in English last Thursday that “It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! U.S. owe us an explanation!” Naturally, this infuriated the Americans.

The U.S. Department of State promptly reacted. The assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific summoned the Chinese ambassador to Washington. The United States strongly protested Beijing’s reference to the “U.S. army” and its attempt to deflect criticism that China had started a global pandemic by not telling the truth.

Anonymous U.S. officials reportedly stated, “Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous” and “We won’t tolerate it.” Of course, for most Americans China’s recent propaganda campaign is unacceptable because as U.S. President Donald Trump said, “They know where it came from, we all know where it came from.”

Many in Tokyo, however, are not so surprised by China’s propaganda. The Japanese are very much used to Chinese fabrications, which have been very frequent over the past few decades.

How China Is Expanding Beyond Western Institutions

By Eva Seiwert
China’s foreign policy should be understood as a large puzzle made up of many small pieces. Treated individually, most of them seem rather unspectacular. Altogether, however, they provide an impressive network of alternative institutions in a world struggling with growing American unilateralism. The crisis-stricken liberal democracies should start taking the smaller pieces of the puzzle seriously if they don’t want to lose track of the big picture of international relations being reshaped by an increasingly powerful China.

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) should be understood in this context. The annual forum was due to be held in late March but has been postponed in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. The BFA brings together leaders from government, business, and academia from Asia and beyond to discuss economic issues important to the region. Although the BFA itself was first initiated by the leaders of the Philippines, Australia, and Japan, ever since its establishment in 2001, it has been carrying China’s thumbprint more than anything. Modeled after the World Economic Forum in Davos, the BFA has an expressed focus on the “Asian perspective.”

A War Plan for the Next Coronavirus Starts Now

by James Stavridis

History tells us that every century or two, there is a particularly virulent pathogen that poses a significant global threat to humans. We don’t know if the coronavirus will have the transmission rate of the Spanish Influenza of a century ago — which infected more than a third of the world’s population — and it hasn’t had anything like the 60% lethality of the Avian Flu of 1997. But what if someday we face a biological opponent that combines both?

Obviously, we are in an all-hands-on-deck moment. Our best scientists and physicians are working desperately to develop both a vaccine to prevent infection and drugs to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, the actual disease caused by the coronavirus. But even as we struggle to contain, treat and ultimately defeat the coronavirus, we need to be thinking about next pandemic. How can experience from past crises be useful in combating this one? How can we ensure that lessons learned from the coronavirus fight are used to prepare us for the next time?

Escalation nation: Iraq and the US-Iran rivalry

Sajad Jiyad

While Washington and Tehran appear eager to avoid a direct conflict with each other, the cycle of military aggression in Iraq could drag the country into deeper instability.

After a short lull, things are heating up again in Iraq. The United States and Iranian-allied militias are carrying out a new round of attacks against each other. This time, the United Kingdom has also been caught in the crossfire: on 11 March, a rocket attack on Iraq’s Camp Taji killed one British soldier along with two American troops. The US swiftly responded with airstrikes against Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi militia group it blames for the attacks.

Even as the world focuses on the coronavirus, there remains a real risk of dangerous escalation in the Middle East. With regular military clashes between US forces and Iranian proxies in Iraq – and in the absence of a direct political process between Washington and Iran – it is hard to imagine how they can sustainably de-escalate the situation.

Camp Taji hosts forces from the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group. Initial reports suggest that militias fired 107mm Katyusha rockets at the base from improvised truck launchers, with 18 of the 30 projectiles landing in the camp. Beyond the British and American fatalities, 14 coalition personnel were also injured. No group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but General Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said that Kataib Hezbollah had previously conducted similar operations against US forces. Shortly after, Kataib Hezbollah released a statement that seemingly denied responsibility for the attack but praised whichever group was accountable, asking it to identify itself.

China-Iran Relations: The Not-So-Special “Special Relationship”

By: John Calabrese


Over the years, unremitting hostility between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran has created opportunities as well as dilemmas for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and the subsequent adoption of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, presented mixed challenges and opportunities for the PRC. Beijing has sought to exploit the rift between Washington and Tehran without further fueling Sino-American tensions.

For the past year, Washington and Tehran have been locked in an action-reaction cycle of escalation. This dangerous spiral reached new heights with the January 2 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimani, which was followed by retaliatory Iranian missile attacks on two coalition bases in Iraq that injured dozens of American troops. Although both sides managed to pull back from the brink of war in early January, underlying tensions remain—as does the possibility of a more direct military confrontation.

In what manner and to what extent has the current unstable situation affected China’s interests in, and relationship with, Iran? What is the likelihood that, as this latest round of high-stakes poker between Washington and Tehran continues to unfold, Beijing will seize it as yet another opportunity to profit from America’s entanglements in the wider Middle East?

Why Current Saudi-Russia Oil Price War Is Not Déjà Vu

by Amy M. Jaffe

It’s happened several times before: geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia have led to a dramatic drop in oil prices in years past. But the breakdown in Saudi-Russian cooperation in oil markets over the weekend is strikingly different this time.

It’s happened several times before: geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia have led to a dramatic drop in oil prices in years past. But the breakdown in Saudi-Russian cooperation in oil markets over the weekend is strikingly different this time. That’s because the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis could significantly influence outcomes.

That two major producers would differ on oil strategy has been a frequent occurrence in the geopolitics of oil. As I have chronicled in my book with Rice econometrician Mahmoud El-Gamal, petro-states have been struggling to manage the up and down cycle of oil prices for decades, with a host of negative outcomes including wars, terrorism, financial meltdowns, and social repression. But the current conflict comes amid strikingly new circumstances. First and foremost, COVID-19 is rapidly destroying demand for oil. Secondly, the oil demand shock comes amid long run signals that some of the world’s oil reserves will need to remain unexploited.

Why a Solar-Rich UAE Is Turning to Nuclear Energy

by Paul Dorfman

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is building the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, capable of generating 700 megawatts. During daylight, solar power will provide cheap electricity, and at night the UAE will use stored solar heat to generate electricity.

But at the same time, four nuclear reactors are nearing completion in the UAE, built by the South Korean Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO. The nuclear power plant is named Barakah - Arabic for divine blessing.

The UAE’s investment in these four nuclear reactors risks further destabilising the volatile Gulf region, damaging the environment and raising the possibility of nuclear proliferation.

Safety flaws

Space Force Just Received Its First New Offensive Weapon


U.S. Space Force has begun operating a new offensive weapon system, an upgraded version of a ground-based satellite communications jamming system, for the first time in its short history. The first iteration of the Counter Communications System entered U.S. Air Force service in 2004 and the program has now gotten transferred to the newest branch of the American military.

The Space Force declared it had reached initial operational capability with the Counter Communications System Block 10.2, or CCS B10.2, on Mar. 9. The Harris Corporation, which merged with L3 Technologies last year to form L3Harris Technologies, had received the contract from the Air Force to develop this upgraded variant of the system in 2014. 

The National Defense Authorization Act for the 2020 Fiscal Year, which Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed in December 2019, officially established Space Force as a separate service within the Department of the Air Force. Units and assets previously assigned to Air Force Space Command now form the core of the new service, which is still very much in the process of standing up.

The Gulf's True Weakness Is Its Water-Supply Resources

by Geoffrey Kemp Lydia Grossman

Water is a vital strategic resource in the Middle East. Assuring its security requires the same vigilance that has been applied to protect oil. The growing populations of the region and the parallel increase in economic activity has dramatically increased the demand for fresh water. But access to fresh water is increasingly costly, especially for those countries that have few natural water sources, including underground aquifers, rivers, and lakes. There are no permanent lakes or rivers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Qatar. Consequently, Gulf states are almost totally dependent on desalination plants to produce fresh water.

In September 2019, crippling attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities hammered home the region’s exposure to potential strikes on essential infrastructure, including desalination plants and storage facilities, which are susceptible to a number of threats. These include oil spillage and pollution, terrorist attacks, missile, air and cyber-attacks, and sabotage of power stations that are essential to the operation of desalination plants. To appreciate the vulnerability of fresh water supplies for the security of key U.S. allies in the Gulf and large numbers of U.S. forces based in the region, it is useful to review the current capacities of Gulf countries to produce and store fresh water.

How to Lose Friends and Strain Alliances

By Michael H. Fuchs 

Since launching the trade war in 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump has tried to corral U.S. allies into joining a wider struggle against China. So far, few countries are willing to follow Trump’s lead.

In January, the United Kingdom announced its decision to allow the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to build part of its 5G wireless network—an investment that U.S. officials fear poses a security threat. The U.S. president was reportedly “apoplectic” in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Weeks later, at the annual Munich Security Conference, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that when it comes to China, “we are asking our friends to choose.” But observers at the conference noted that Washington’s warnings about China fell on “deaf ears” and that the United States and Europe were “speaking a completely different language” regarding the rising Asian superpower.

We're about to learn a terrible lesson from coronavirus: inequality kills

Owen Jones

The British class system is, at its worst, a killer. Men living in the poorest communities in the UK have an average of 9.4 years shorn off their life expectancies compared with those in the richest areas; for women, it’s 7.4 years. If you travel on the Jubilee Line from Westminster to Canning Town, every stop represents a year less in the average lifespan of local citizens. For the poorest women, life expectancy is in reverse.

The coronavirus pandemic is about to collide with this engine of inequality. The super-rich are fleeing on private jets to luxury boltholes in foreign climes, while the well-to-do may deploy their private health insurance to circumvent our already struggling and soon to be overrun National Health Service. Meanwhile, Britain’s army of precarious workers have nowhere to hide, including from employment that puts their health at risk. Uber drivers, Deliveroo riders, cleaners: all in low-paid jobs, often with families to feed. Many will feel they have no choice but to keep working. While many middle-class professionals can protect themselves by working from home, supermarket shelves cannot be stacked remotely, and the same applies from factory workers to cleaners. How many could truly afford to live on £94.25 a week, which is our country’s paltry statutory sick pay? 

Asia’s economic transformation: Lessons for Africa

Arkebe Oqubay

African policymakers and scholars try to learn from Asia—from both its successes and failures. However, the challenge often is finding lessons that match their starting positions as “late” latecomers to industrialization. Thankfully, recent research—in particular, the new book “Resurgent Asia: Diversity in Development” by Deepak Nayyar—has identified lessons that have direct relevance for African countries and their current development trajectory.


The Asian experience shows that diversity in development paths is the rule rather than the exception. While there are some discernible patterns, generally, Asia’s transformation illustrates the diverse paths that countries have taken in their development. In this way, the lessons for African countries are threefold: First, there is no prescribed path or magic wand that can be leveled as the “Asian model” and applied elsewhere; second, even late latecomers traveling along their own paths have the opportunity to catch up; and, finally, instead of searching for a “one-size-fits-all” model, African countries should discover and pursue their own economic development paths based on their own specific conditions and contexts. In fact, Africa’s recent experience confirms these lessons. For instance, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana are examples of success stories over the last two decades. Notably, they each have taken different paths: Ethiopia’s growth was achieved by pursuing an “unorthodox” economic development model and the principles of “policy independence,” while Ghana and Kenya followed what may be broadly regarded as mainstream orthodoxy and the economic liberalization prescriptions of the Washington Consensus, where the role of the state and active industrial policy is less significant.


How Should the World Respond to the Coming Wave of Climate Migrants?

Stewart M. Patrick 

By 2050, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will have left their homes as a result of climate change—a mass displacement that will make already-precarious populations more vulnerable and impose heavy burdens on the communities that absorb them. Unfortunately, the world has barely begun to prepare for this impending crisis.

Those displaced by climate change are neither true refugees nor traditional migrants, and thus occupy an ambiguous position under international law. The world needs to agree on how to classify environmental migrants, as well as what their rights are. It also needs to strengthen its capacity to manage these mass migrations, without weakening existing international regimes for refugees and migrants.

4 strategies for securing the tactical edge

Brandon Shopp, Solar Winds

The military has invested significant time and money implementing edge computing on the battlefield, but at what cost?

The Army’s efforts to leverage the tactical cloud to process data on the edge will get information into soldiers’ hands more quickly, allowing them to make decisions in near-real time. This could influence the course of combat and save lives.

But these benefits come with significant challenges, particularly regarding security. The more endpoints being used to collect and send data to the edge, the larger the potential attack surface and the greater the risk a bad actor will be able to access military networks.

Given these concerns, military IT administrators must ask: Is the low-latency and real-time decision-making provided by edge computing worth the security trade-off? If the answer is “yes,” how can they balance the need to deliver data at the speed of the mission while still protecting it?

After tug-of-war, White House shows cyber memo to Congress

Mark Pomerleau

Following a months long battle, the White House has made available to members of Congress classified documents that describe the approval process for conducting offensive cyber operations outside the United States.

Lawmakers, particularly within the House and on both sides of the aisle, have pushed the administration to provide these documents and stressed that reviewing them is essential for oversight. The effort has been led primarily by Rep. Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island.

Rep. Mac Thornberry said the Trump administration will provide policy documents related to approving cyber operations.

International Law on Cyber Security in the Age of Digital Sovereignty


Thomas Aquinas in his magnum opus Summa Theologica mentioned,“law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by those who have care of the community” (Aquinas, 1981). Unfortunately, this adage does not necessarily resonate to international law on cyberspace. The absence of effective international legal instruments on cyberspace has largely been discussed in theoretical and policy-making debates as the complexities in cyberspace render difficult for actors to come into agreements, let alone making agreeable binding law. The contentious academic debates chiefly divide those who believe that states must take more influential roles in formulating international law on cyberspace and those who insist that cyberspace should remain a free and diffused domain.[1] Beyond academic textbooks, more dynamic debates take place by stakeholders and in international institutions (World Economic Forum, 2019; Opinio Juris, 2019). All of these debates reach into one converging point: the absence of international legal regime on cyberspace is derived from actor’s complexity and jurisdiction on cyber realm. 

This is further complicated by the fact that in the past few years several international actors, mostly state actors, promote the idea of digital sovereignty to promote their interest to take back control on information, communication, data, and infrastructure related to the internet (Gueham, 2017). Consequently, this creates harder challenges on possible future international law on cybersecurity. Hence, this puzzle requires an answer to the question I would like to address in this paper: does international law apply to states’ conduct on cyberspace in the age of digital sovereignty? This article is divided into two main discussions: 1) Existing challenges on international law and governance on cyberspace, and 2) International law on cyberspace and digital sovereignty. My main argument in this article is that the binding and well-adjudicated international law on cyberspace does not effectively apply to states given challenges taken place in public international law related to jurisdiction, arbitration, and legal instruments & jurisprudences. The future of international law on cyberspace would also hardly apply to states’ conduct due to the increasing trend of promotion of digital sovereignty norms.

Are We Ready for Quantum Computers?

By Rolando Somma 

A recent paper by Google claiming that a quantum computer performed a specific calculation that would choke even the world’s fastest classical supercomputer has raised many more questions than it answered. Chief among them is this: When full-fledged quantum computers arrive, will we be ready?

Google achieved this milestone against the backdrop of a more sobering reality: Even the best gate-based quantum computers today can only muster around 50 qubits. A qubit, or quantum bit, is the basic piece of information in quantum computing, analogous to a bit in classical computing but so much more.

Gate-based quantum computers operate using logic gates but, in contrast with classical computers, they exploit inherent properties of quantum mechanics such as superposition, interference and entanglement. Current quantum computers are so noisy and error-prone that the information in its quantum state is lost within tens of microseconds through a mechanism called decoherence and through faulty gates.

High-Stakes Security Setups Are Making Remote Work Impossible

It's a rule of thumb in cybersecurity that the more sensitive your system, the less you want it to touch the internet. But as the US hunkers down to limit the spread of Covid-19, cybersecurity measures present a difficult technical challenge to working remotely for employees at critical infrastructure, intelligence agencies, and anywhere else with high-security networks. In some cases, working from home isn't an option at all.

Companies with especially sensitive data or operations often limit remote connections, segment networks to limit a hacker's access if they do get in, and sometimes even disconnect their most important machines from the internet altogether. Late last week, the US government's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an advisory to critical infrastructure companies to prepare for remote work scenarios as Covid-19 spreads. That means checking that their virtual private networks are patched, implementing multifactor authentication, and testing out remote access scenarios.

But cybersecurity consultants who actually work with those high-stakes clients—including electric utilities, oil and gas firms, and manufacturing companies—say that it's not always so simple. For many of their most critical customers, and even more so for intelligence agencies, remote work and security don't mix.