2 April 2020

Coronavirus Live Updates: Humanity Faces Gravest Challenge Since World War II, U.N. Says

President Trump told of “hard days that lie ahead” as his top scientific advisers released models predicting that the U.S. death toll would be 100,000 to 240,000. Governors complained about chaos in obtaining critical supplies.

ImageTriage tents outside Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Tuesday.Credit...Juan Arredondo for The New York Times

Americans are told to brace for “very, very painful” period, and U.N. says virus threatens global stability.

The United Nations warned on Wednesday that the unfolding battle against the coronavirus would lead to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

As Americans steeled themselves for what President Trump said would be a “very, very painful two weeks,” the scale of the economic, political and societal fallout around the world came into ever greater focus.
“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people’s lives,” the United Nations declared in a report calling for global solidarity in the fight.

“This is much more than a health crisis,” the report added. “The coronavirus is attacking societies at their core.”
With more than 30,000 dead across Europe and the virus still spreading ferociously, millions across the continent resigned themselves to hunkering down for weeks more, and possibly months.
Britain, France and Spain all experienced their highest death tolls on Tuesday.
At the White House, the scientists charged with leading the battle against the virus made it clear that there were two distinctly different campaigns underway in the United States.

One was taking place in the New York metropolitan region, where more than half of the nation’s cases have been detected — the death toll in New York City alone surged past 1,000. More than 2,000 nurses, 500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, as well as 250 ambulances from across the country, were converging on the city, joining the Navy and the National Guard in assisting the region’s front-line medical workers.
Adding to the warlike atmosphere, the home of the U.S. Open tennis championship in Queens was being turned into a triage center, and hospital tents were being set up in Central Park.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the nation’s coronavirus response, pointed to the exponential growth of cases in New York and parts of New Jersey as just the thing that national officials were trying to prevent in other parts of the country.
The charts — with multicolor lines representing the virus in each of the 50 states — looked like the maps used to track hurricanes. And as with the weather, there is a good deal of uncertainty in the predictions.
Dr. Birx said that there had been worrying outbreaks in other metropolitan regions, including Detroit and Miami, but that the second broad campaign at the moment was to keep the lines tracking the virus in the rest of the country from looking like those in New York and New Jersey.
The best tool at the government’s disposal, she said, remained strict adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Even if those guidelines are followed perfectly, officials said, the estimated death toll in the United States is 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.
President Trump called for another month of social distancing.

Trump confronts a new reality before an expected wave of disease and death.

The Islamic State’s Increasing Focus on India

By Saurav Sarkar

On March 25, a lone terrorist affiliated with Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) carried out an attack on a Sikh place of worship, the Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib, in Kabul, Afghanistan killing 25 worshipers. Some reports mentioned the presence of three attackers, including suicide bombers, in an attack that lasted for hours holding some 80 people hostage. The terrorist behind the Kabul gurudwara attack has been identified as Abu Khalid al-Hindi (real name Mohammed Mohsin) from the Indian state of Kerala. A statement by the Islamic State’s (IS) Amaq media claims the attack was “revenge for the Muslims in Kashmir” who were facing alleged atrocities at the hands of the Indian government.

The recent attack, scattered violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and recent propaganda directed toward Indian Muslims suggest a reorientation of IS strategy in an attempt to garner support by capitalizing on recent incidents of civil unrest in India. IS has always thrived on polarization between religious groups and social chaos for its activities and recruitment, and India is no exception.

This was the second ISKP attack on Afghanistan’s minority Sikh community after the 2018 suicide bombing of a convoy of Hindus and Sikhs in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, which killed 19 people. Attacking non-Muslims such as Sikhs — and even Muslims that do not adhere to its Salafi leanings, such as Shias — is a hallmark of IS ideology.

Melting Of Glaciers And Possible Climate Change In Region Of Gilgit-Baltistan – OpEd

By Huma Kashif*

Glaciers have been shaping our world for millions of years, but because of climate change glaciers are disappearing, altering not only our landscapes but changing our oceans, weather, and life on earth. The glaciers have been melting since the last ice age, but during the past few years these are retreating at a much higher rate because the earth’s average temperature has been increasing dramatically for more than a century and the temperature is expected to rise around 1.4 to 5.8 °C by the end of this century, which would again accelerate the melting of glaciers, such continuation of the melting of glaciers during the coming years will lead to formation of glacial lakes, avalanches and water shortage thus affecting millions of people around the globe. 

Gilgit-Baltistan is amidst the world’s greatest mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakorum, and the Hindu Kush holding more than 7000 glaciers. The rugged, lofty and snow-capped mountains and glaciers have added to the beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan, but the melting of these glaciers have wreaked havoc in this region. According to the study, with an estimate of 7250 number of glaciers no country on the earth, outside the Polar Regions, has the greatest number of glaciers than Pakistan. The scientists have predicted that a third of the world’s glaciers will be disappearing by the end of this century that would be having several consequences to Pakistan, especially to the people living in the northern areas of the country are dependent on these glaciers. 

China, Russia, and Arctic Geopolitics

By Ling Guo and Steven Lloyd Wilson

In late February, a Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Dranitsyn, successfully carried out a record supply run for the MOSAiC international research expedition representing 20 countries, including the United States, China, and Russia. As the operator of the world’s largest fleet of major icebreakers, Russia’s monopoly on icebreaker operations has largely gone unchallenged. However, China’s new icebreaker, Xuelong 2, which is due to return home in April from its maiden journey, has also been slated to assist with the MOSAiC expedition. While Russia has long enjoyed dominance in the Arctic, the expanding presence and influence of other countries — most notably, China — suggest a tidal shift is on the horizon, one that does not necessarily include the United States.

The Competing Strategic Visions of Russia and China in the Arctic

As the thawing of the Arctic has increased its geopolitical prominence and potential economic viability, Russia and China have emerged as major players in the future of the region. Their partnership on Arctic affairs, both formally and informally, represents an important component of understanding the long-term strategic balance in the Arctic.

The Strategic Value And Vulnerability Of China’s South China Sea Bases – Analysis

By Mark J. Valencia

Recent US freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea have re-raised the questions of purpose and vulnerability of China’s bases there

One argument has it that the bases are not significant either strategically or tactically; and in any case can be easily neutralized in a conflict. But others argue that the bases are a critical part of China’s strategy to dominate the South China Sea and Southeast Asia. They also argue that these bases serve as command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (C4 ISR) nodes that would give China a distinct advantage in the early stages of a military conflict. The difference between these contending premises is a yawning chasm with implications for the whole region and beyond. For US policy makers it can determine the US political and potential military response to China’s bases there.

Gregory Poling, Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington’s Center for International and Strategic Studies. https://warontherocks.com/2020/01/the-conventional-wisdom-on-chinas-island-bases-is-dangerously-wrong/ says the “conventional wisdom throughout Washington still seems to be that [these military outposts] can be safely dismissed as lacking strategic value”. In his opinion “That’s wrong.” 

The Multilateral System Still Cannot Get Its Act Together on COVID-19

by Stewart M. Patrick

In the three months since China first reported a novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO), international cooperation has been missing in action and global solidarity has been AWOL. Rather than cooperate to defeat a shared threat, nations have repeatedly taken unilateral steps to shield themselves and engaged in counterproductive sniping over who is to blame for the pandemic. This week was supposed to offer a reprieve, with the Group of Seven (G7), Group of Twenty (G20), and the United Nations announcing important international initiatives. Instead, it underscored just how divided and unprepared the world remains as it confronts the greatest threat to global public health since the Great Influenza of 1918. The biggest disappointment has been U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who has been more preoccupied with countering Chinese propaganda than exercising global leadership.

A Fractured G7

There were a few glimmers of hope, notably on international economic coordination among G7 nations. On Tuesday the finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s most important advanced democracies issued a joint statement pledging to “do whatever is necessary to restore confidence and economic growth, and to protect jobs, businesses, and the resiliency of the financial system.” They promised to use all the fiscal and monetary tools at their disposal to ensure liquidity and maintain aggregate global demand, while implementing the public health measures to stop transmission of the coronavirus, and to support the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as they grappled with “the human cost and the economic challenges posed by COVID-19.” The unified statement reassured financial markets and suggested that the Trump administration, which had upended recent G7 summits and been slow to invoke the forum in the current crisis, might finally be warming to the group.

COVID-19: How Pandemics Disrupt Military Operations

By Sim Tack

Measures to contain and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly impact global military readiness for at least the next several months.

Even though immediate disruptions to military operations will be temporary, the economic stress resulting from the pandemic could yield long-term setbacks in development 

The potential impact from COVID-19 provides a general template of how future pandemics could affect military capabilities and activites, albeit with different timelines and severity of impact depending on the disease.

Amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world are facing widespread disruptions to not only the health of their populations and economies, but their militaries. Even if the virus itself doesn't leave key personnel severely ill (or worse), quarantine measures can still severely thwart military operations. Meanwhile, military powers such as the United States may increasingly be forced to deploy additional forces to the frontlines of unfolding COVID-19 outbreaks at home. The resulting fallout could, in turn, result in setbacks in the fight against multiple non-state actors abroad, and potentially even the long-term development of military capabilities. 

Operational Limitations

China Is Waging A Coronavirus Info War

by Helle C. Dale

Less than three months ago, however, when the first cases of COVID-19 showed up, the Chinese government began censoring social media that employed keywords such as “unknown Wuhan pneumonia.” It punished users for “spreading rumors” and fomenting “social unrest.”

A typical hardline authoritarian reaction to an obviously home-grown disaster.

The propaganda campaign began accelerating Jan. 20, when it no longer was possible for China to conceal the coronavirus outbreak. 

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The communist regime’s highly coordinated approach has been threefold: 

Directing Chinese diplomats across the world to tout the nation’s accomplishments through hundreds of interviews and articles. 

Accusing the United States of creating the new coronavirus and spreading it in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. 

Charging President Donald Trump with racism for referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus.” 

Coronavirus Is Risking China's Dream Of Global Leadership

by Joshua Eisenman Devin Stewart 

One cloudy September morning in 2008, we were sitting in a conference room at a research institute in Beijing when, one after another, our hosts’ cell phones began vibrating on the table. The American investment bank Lehman Brothers had collapsed. The “Lehman Shock,” as it was called in parts of Asia, sparked what would be known as the Great Recession in the West. As our Chinese hosts looked up from their phones and back at our American delegation, their eyes filled with a combination of concern, pity… and, we thought, a glint of opportunity. 

For many Chinese leaders, among them then-Vice President Xi Jinping, that 2008 moment was a clear sign that the time had come for their country to shift from “hiding and biding” and “never taking the lead,” to a more ambitious approach to international affairs. Simply put, it was time for China to step out.

The next year, we returned to the country and, in meeting after meeting, we were asked what it would take to mitigate the perceived threat of a rising China in the West and create support for Beijing’s global leadership. Our interlocutors generally dismissed the concept of China as a “responsible stakeholder” – an idea that had been advocated by former Bush administration official cum World Bank president Robert Zoellick. Instead, they suggested that China, given its size and history, had a greater role to play than merely upholding the U.S.-led international order. 

Competition or Coordination: Coronavirus in the Developing World

How will the United States respond as the coronavirus spreads through the developing world, and what role will China play?

In times of crisis, the United States has always taken a global leadership role. In light of the spreading coronavirus, it should again lead a global coalition to address the crisis in the developing world. The coalition should include some of its closest allies, including France, Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, South Korea, and Germany. The United States is also undergoing an unprecedented crisis, and it is struggling to focus on the problems at home, much less abroad. But it should not ignore its central global role. The United States should not forget that it has the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department with global reach, deep health expertise, and thousands of veterans of past outbreaks, such as H1N1, Ebola, and avian flu among others, and it should deploy them. The United States should help developing countries not only because it is the right thing to do but also because it is in its enlightened self-interest to do so as the coronavirus pandemic directly impacts U.S. foreign policy and national security interests.
Coronavirus in the Developing World

The coronavirus will hit developing countries hard in a few weeks, with the first wave of cases confirmed in Africa and the number of cases steadily increasing in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Health care systems in the developing world are already underfunded, understaffed, and unprepared to handle a high influx of patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 40 percent of the world’s population lacks access to basic handwashing facilities (soap and water), the vast majority of which are in the developing world. Many people can’t afford hand sanitizer.

In War Against Coronavirus: Is China Foe—or Friend?

by Graham Allison 

Can the US and China be ruthless rivals and intense partners at the same time? Holding two seemingly contradictory ideas in our head simultaneously will be difficult. But success in defeating this demon will require nothing less. 

For America to defeat the coronavirus and return to a version of life as it was before this nightmare, should we identify China as an adversary against whom to mobilize? Or alternatively, must we recognize it as a partner whose cooperation is essential for our own victory? While the consensus in Washington has moved sharply toward defining China as part of the problem, the fact is that we cannot succeed in this war against coronavirus without making China part of the solution.

The increasingly ruthless rivalry between the U.S. and China will be a defining feature of their relations as far as any eye can see. This is an inescapable consequence of structural realities: however anyone tries to disguise or deny it, a rapidly rising China really is threatening to displace the U.S. from our position at the top of every pecking order. The question is whether despite this reality, when confronting specific threats neither can defeat by itself, statesmen can be wise enough to find ways for rivals to simultaneously be partners. 

Coronavirus: Cyber Experts Team Up To Battle Covid-19 Related Hacking

Taking on the criminals using the Coronavirus pandemic to carry out hacking, group of 400 cyber-security experts is established 

Four hundred cyber-security experts from around the world have come together in order to battle the scourge of Coronavirus-related hacking.

The group is called the Covid-19 CTI (cyber threat intelligence) League. It is made up of cyber experts from 40 countries and includes professionals in senior positions at major tech firms including Microsoft and Amazon, Reuters reported.

The need for the group comes as hackers unbelievably exploit the Coronavirus pandemic that is killing thousands around the world to carry out their criminal activities.

A virology expert answers key questions on COVID-19

As of 23 March, there were 336,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, with more than 250,000 cases outside China. Despite these numbers, much is still misunderstood or unknown about the virus which has brought regions of the globe to a standstill and placed huge pressure on the global economy.

Even what we do know – that elderly people are more at risk, that this is a new virus but resembles other known epidemics, that it is highly infectious – requires more explanation.

Here, Belgian virologist Guido Vanham, the former head of virology at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, helps answer questions about COVID-19's origins, its behaviour and its future.

Have you read? 

This interview, conducted by Maria Epifanova, was originally published by Novaya Gazeta. This English translation has been updated and authorized for sharing with the World Economic Forum.

Suicide Drones: Israel's Secret Weapon in a Shadow War Against Iran In Syria

by Sebastien Roblin

Key point: Israeli warplanes have launched hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria since the start of the civil war, seeking to disrupt arms transfers to Hezbollah and the buildup of Iranian forces.

On January 21, 2019. Iranian, Syrian and Israeli forces unleashed a hail of missiles upon each other in what is becoming yet another flare-up of violence along the Syria-Israel border. Afterwards, the Israeli Defense Force released a video depicting unidentified munitions eliminating two or three short-range air defense systems—apparently including Russia’s latest short-range system, the Pantsir-S2.

In fact, the recent raids may reveal improvements to Syria’s air defense forces due to ongoing Russian training and weapons transfers. However, they also reveal Israel’s continuing ability to defeat, including through likely use of kamikaze-drones.

The succession of tit-for-tat attacks apparently began with the launch of a Fateh 110 short-range ballistic missile by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, targeting an Israeli ski-resort on Mount Hebron in the Golan Heights. As the solid-fuel rocket blazed towards to the snowy mountain, it was intercepted and destroyed by two missiles from the Israel Iron Dome air defense system, as you can see in this video.

The Pentagon's big problem: How to prepare for war during a pandemic


Large-scale field exercises canceled. Recruiting stations shuttered. And most alarming: a steady rise in coronavirus infections aboard warships, in special operations units, among troops in Afghanistan and at boot camp.

The pandemic is bearing down on military readiness. And with predictions that the outbreak could last for months, concerns are growing inside the Pentagon and Congress that the virus could seriously erode the military's preparedness to fight.

The Army's top officer on Thursday said that while he does not yet see any major impact on his forces' ability to carry out their mission, the service needs to start planning for the longer-term implications. A top Air Force general predicted the outbreak will have serious consequences for readiness the longer it goes on. And the Pentagon is now concerned enough that it's withholding information about which fighting units are most affected out of fear of alerting potential adversaries to weak spots.

Meet the "Big Six": The Technologies and Weapons of America's Future Army

by Sebastien Roblin

Key point: The Pentagon is always planning for worst-case scenarios. Here is how the Army wants to fight and win the wars of the future.

The U.S. Army is at a crossroads as the Pentagon is reorienting itself to fight a capable great power opponent after nearly two decades focused on counter-insurgency conflicts.

Russia poses a traditional land-power challenge for the U.S. Army with its large mechanized formations threatening the Baltics, as well as formidable long-range ballistic missiles, artillery and surface-to-air missiles.

By contrast, a hypothetical conflict with China would focus on control of the sea and airspace over the Pacific Ocean. To remain relevant, the Army would need to deploy long-range anti-ship-capable missiles and helicopters to remote islands, allied nations like Japan and South Korea and even onto the decks of U.S. Navy ships.

Almost all the Army’s major land warfare systems entered service in the 1980s or earlier. Five ambitious programs to replace aging armored vehicles, artillery and helicopters consumed $30 billion only to fail spectacularly.

Thus, in 2017 the Army formed eight cross-functional teams led by brigadier generals to rapidly cost-efficiently develop a new generation of hardware. These far-reaching modernization initiatives are collectively called the “the Big Six.”

Can Europe Spend Enough Money to Stop a Coronavirus Recession?

What Happened

As the coronavirus outbreak begins to bite deeper into economic growth, Europe is scrambling to provide lifelines to the increasing number of households and businesses now struggling to make ends meet under quarantine. On March 16, the finance ministers of the eurozone discussed the possibility of using the European Union's permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to support countries in distress. In recent days, the governments of Europe's five largest economies have also all unveiled multiple measures intended to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, including cheaper credit lines, tax delays, and additional support for workers whose incomes have been affected:

Germany announced some 500 billion euros ($549 billion) in guarantees for credit for companies, and said it would also take on additional debt to pay for new measures if need be. 

The United Kingdom announced a package of 330 billion pounds ($398 billion) in loans for companies facing financial problems due to the outbreak. 

France announced it will guarantee up to 300 billion euros ($330 billion) of bank loans to companies. On March 17, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also announced a separate 45 billion euro ($49 billion) package that includes delays in tax payments and payroll charges for companies. 

A Timeline of South Korea’s Response to COVID-19

South Korea saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case on January 20. The rate of infection gradually moved to 30 by February 17. Then on February 18, media reports surfaced that a 61-year-old Korean woman tested positive for the virus in Daegu, South Korea’s third-largest city. Dubbed “Patient 31,” this particular case not only represented a critical point that led to the rapid transmission of the virus through the rest of Korean society. It also came to serve as a warning to the rest of the world by underscoring the grave consequences of failing to practice social distancing and self-isolation.

South Korea saw a steep spike of case numbers in the following weeks and reached its peak daily case count on February 29 – forty days after its first confirmed case on January 20 – with 909 new cases and up nearly 500 from the previous day. It became the second most infected country after China by early March. South Korea undertook a massive public and private sector effort to fashion a national response to the pandemic. Korea’s drive-through testing gained media attention around the world and was hailed as an ingenious measure to protect healthcare workers from exposure while providing expeditious results to prospective patients.

U.N. Security Council Paralyzed as Contagion Rages


The United Nations Security Council is watching the greatest global health crisis in a century unfold from the sidelines, quarreling over the wisdom of working online, batting down proposals to help organize the response to the pandemic, and largely ignoring the U.N. secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire.

The paralysis comes at a time when the United States is pressing the 15-nation council to adopt a resolution that would largely blame China for unleashing the pathogen on the world. The initiative—which appears to be part of a broader U.S. strategy to deflect responsibility for its own sluggish response to the spread of the virus—is certain to be blocked by China, which wields veto power.

The council’s inaction marks a stark contrast from the Security Council’s previous response to international threats, from al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack on the United States to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. During that health crisis, the Obama administration rallied the council behind a plan to flood the region with medical workers and to shift the mandate of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the region—working with the support of the U.S. military—to help contain the spread of disease, which killed over 10,000 people.

Booz Allen analyzed 200+ Russian hacking operations to better understand their tactics

By Catalin Cimpanu

Booz Allen Hamilton, the largest private contractor for the US intelligence community, has published a comprehensive report this week detailing 15 years (2004 to 2019) of cyber operations carried out by Russia's military hackers.

The report is a rarity in the cyber-security community because it focuses on the bigger picture of how Russia's military uses its hacking units to support its foreign policy all over the globe.

This is in contrast with most other reports from the infosec industry that usually focus their investigations on isolated events, avoiding any political analysis, and rarely attributing attacks back to foreign governments.

Instead, the Booz Allen report takes all the previous reporting on past Russian hacks and puts them in a broader political context, in order to understand why they happened, rather than how, which malware was used, and who pushed what button and when.

More specifically, the Booz Allen report focuses on the cyber-operations carried out by the intelligence service attached to Russia's military.

It Was Always Going to Be Horrible.’ Britain’s Former Top Emergency Planner on COVID-19

Alex Evans, David Steven

Bruce Mann is one of the most experienced emergency planners in the world. As the former director of the British Cabinet Office’s Civil Contingencies Secretariat, he was in charge of Britain’s planning for and response to emergencies and disasters. He coordinated the U.K. government’s response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic and the 2007 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and played a key role in creating Britain’s Emergency Planning College. We caught up with him last week.

Mann didn’t pull his punches. “A pandemic virus tops every country’s risk register,” he told us, warning that the crisis has barely begun to unfold. “If football is a game of two halves,” he said, “we’re still in the first ten minutes.”

Political decision-makers are grappling with incredibly difficult dilemmas and trade-offs, as a public health emergency runs alongside an economic one. While President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized in recent days for focusing too much on the economic risks of the pandemic in the United States, in his usual inept way, Mann’s reply when we asked what single aspect of the crisis was keeping him up at night was striking: “The economy and employment, no question, because what is being done is novel, and there is little previous analysis and planning which decision-makers can draw on.”

Wht It Will Take to Save Economies From the Coronavirus Pandemic

Daniel McDowell

In 1873, Walter Bagehot, a prominent businessman in British high society and a journalist who served for 16 years as editor-in-chief of The Economist, wrote a treatise on banking and finance in which he left his most enduring mark on the world. In “Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market,” he laid out a playbook for policymakers facing an unfolding economic and financial crisis. When up against such a challenge, Bagehot asserted, leaders must enact a policy response that is both swift and large. “By that policy,” he argued, “they allay the panic; by every other policy they intensify it.”

Economic policymakers around the world today find themselves facing an incredible challenge. As the novel coronavirus spreads, governments are swiftly implementing drastic measures to limit the scope of the pandemic, including banning public gatherings, closing national borders and shuttering all non-essential businesses.

These emergency measures are unquestionably justified, as millions of lives hang in the balance. But they have hit economies with a shocking intensity that seems to get worse by the day. Entire economic sectors have been shuttered and seemingly carved out of society in less than a week. The wrenching effects of these unprecedented events hit hardest at the individual level in the form of wage cuts and job losses.

Viewing the crisis from a higher altitude, however, financial markets are responding to widespread fears about the pandemic’s aggregate economic impact. Global equity markets are volatile. In the United States, stocks have lost three years of gains in less than a month. In Europe and Asia, equity and bond markets have been hammered.

Adapting For Victory: DOD Laboratories For The 21st Century – Analysis

By William T. Cooley, David J. Hahn, and John A. George*

In an era of renewed Great Power competition, the technological advantage of the U.S. military—long the cornerstone of our military assurance and hence world security—is threatened. Strategic competitors, chief among them the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, are now approaching parity in many areas. Their stated intent is to reach full parity, and then achieve technological dominance themselves, in an accelerated timeframe. The consequences of that to the United States and the rest of the world are unacceptable.

The U.S. military excels from undersea to cyber to space, but as the National Defense Strategy reminds us, “America’s military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield.”1 In this challenging moment, the process by which the Department of Defense (DOD) and military Services conduct research and develop new capabilities for our warfighters must be reviewed, renewed, and reimagined. We must maintain our edge and also achieve advantage in emerging fields such as directed energy, artificial intelligence, hypersonics, autonomy, quantum capability, synthetic biology, and technologies of the future that have not yet been imagined. We, as commanders of the science and technology (S&T) laboratories of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, are working together to ensure the continued U.S. advantage in the race for military technological superiority.

Call to Action for a New Era

White House Releases National Strategy for 5G Security


The White House this week released its National Strategy to Secure 5G of the United States to formally frame how the nation will safeguard fifth-generation wireless infrastructure at home and abroad.

The 7-page policy document sets forth the president’s “vision for America to lead the development, deployment, and management of secure and reliable 5G communications infrastructure worldwide, arm-in-arm with [its] closest partners and allies.”

Its release marks President Trump’s initial move to meet the requirements laid out in the Secure 5G and Beyond Act, which he signed Monday. The new law directs the president to produce a strategy “to ensure security of next generation wireless communications systems and infrastructure,” within 180 days of its enactment.

The publication was first reported by Politico Wednesday morning, but someone close to the White House confirmed to Nextgov Wednesday afternoon that the strategy was first released Monday—the same day the legislation was signed.

A debate between AI experts shows a battle over the technology’s future

by Karen Hao

Since the 1950s, artificial intelligence has repeatedly overpromised and underdelivered. While recent years have seen incredible leaps thanks to deep learning, AI today is still narrow: it’s fragile in the face of attacks, can’t generalize to adapt to changing environments, and is riddled with bias. All these challenges make the technology difficult to trust and limit its potential to benefit society.

On March 26 at MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech Digital event, two prominent figures in AI took to the virtual stage to debate how the field might overcome these issues.

Gary Marcus, professor emeritus at NYU and the founder and CEO of Robust.AI, is a well-known critic of deep learning. In his book Rebooting AI, published last year, he argued that AI’s shortcomings are inherent to the technique. Researchers must therefore look beyond deep learning, he argues, and combine it with classical, or symbolic, AI—systems that encode knowledge and are capable of reasoning.

Danny Lange, the vice president of AI and machine learning at Unity, sits squarely in the deep-learning camp. He built his career on the technique’s promise and potential, having served as the head of machine learning at Uber, the general manager of Amazon Machine Learning, and a product lead at Microsoft focused on large-scale machine learning. At Unity, he now helps labs like DeepMind and OpenAI construct virtual training environments that teach their algorithms a sense of the world.

What’s in the $2.2 Trillion Stimulus for Defense?

By Mackenzie Eaglen

Trump’s first war was not the one anyone expected to fight.

President Trump recently called himself a wartime president for confronting a pandemic that threatens the lives and livelihood of so many Americans. Congress heard the (bugle) call and responded with what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called a “wartime level of investment into our nation.”

Calling coronavirus (COVID-19) the "invisible enemy," the president has called for “shared sacrifices” and a “response unseen since World War II.”

The president is getting a hefty fiscal fix through a $2 trillion stimulus spending bill moving to his desk shortly for signature. Spanning nearly twenty years of conflict, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost the taxpayer roughly $1.5 trillion dollars by comparison.

The stakes are high, and no one is immune. The military is ramping up to support state and local authorities in responding to the pandemic. The Department of Defense is also confronting the rise of infected servicemembers, families, and defense civilians, all while it deals with impacts on the defense industrial base – the Defense Department needs this new funding.