4 April 2020

C.I.A. Hunts for Authentic Virus Totals in China, Dismissing Government Tallies

By Julian E. Barnes

Intelligence officials have told the White House for weeks that China has vastly understated the spread of the coronavirus and the damage the pandemic has done.

China has reported about six coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, well below the rates in Italy, Spain, the United States and elsewhere.

WASHINGTON — The C.I.A. has been warning the White House since at least early February that China has vastly understated its coronavirus infections and that its count could not be relied upon as the United States compiles predictive models to fight the virus, according to current and former intelligence officials.

The intelligence briefings in recent weeks, based at least in part on information from C.I.A. assets in China, played an important role in President Trump’s negotiation on Thursday of an apparent détente with President Xi Jinping of China. Since then, both countries have ratcheted back criticism of each other.

Obtaining a more accurate count of the Chinese rate of infection and deaths from the virus has worldwide public health implications at a time of grave uncertainty over the virus, its speed of transmission and other fundamental questions. For American officials, the totals are critical to getting a better understanding of how Covid-19 will affect the United States in the months to come and of the effectiveness of countermeasures like social distancing, according to American intelligence agencies and White House officials.

So far, to the frustration of both the White House and the intelligence community, the agencies have been unable to glean more accurate numbers through their collection efforts.

Tablighi Jamaat - its other, evil side

S Gurumurthy, Chairman, VIF

Global security experts call it the antechamber of fundamentalism, claim it is used to nurse and indoctrinate terrorists. Except intelligence officials, national security experts and the wary among police officials, not many Indians would have heard of the name Tablighi Jamaat [TJ] before the explosive Nizamuddin coronavirus episode gave it the publicity it studiously avoided. On the face of it, TJ’s six principles suggest Islamic piety in its extreme. But that is merely its cosmetic exterior, inviting the innocent and idealistic young Muslims into an ideological line that ultimately turns them as terrorists. The less known and dangerous side of the century-old TJ began unfolding the world over since 2001, but not in India.

Nursery and gateway to terror

“TJ is another system driver and integral element of Islamist Violent Non-State Actors’ internal dynamics; in many cases it has acted as nursery for indoctrinating Islamist terrorists,” writes Dr Farhan Zahid, a Pakistani counter-terrorism and security expert, in his analysis titled “Tablighi Jamaat and its links with terrorism” [Foreign Analysis March 2015 Centre Francais de Reserche Sur le Renseignement]. Dr Farhan says, TJ “in a way plays the role of recruiter and sympathiser [for terrorism]. TJ’s congregation allows radical elements worldwide to meet and discuss violent activities and provide them with the best opportunity to coordinate”. Adding “many of its followers have dual and overlapping membership with jihadist groups”, Dr Farhan cites references and says “TJ has now been considered as a ‘gateway to terrorism’.

Terror record in Europe, US

Genpact’s response to coronavirus is a lesson in what not to do during a pandemic

By Ananya Bhattacharya

At the beginning of March, Genpact recognised coronavirus as a risk to its India business. But for nearly three weeks after that, the company seems to have paid little heed to the health and wellbeing of its workforce in the country.

Even as other firms began adopting remote work policies in early March, India’s second-largest business process outsourcing (BPO) firm forced its employees to come to work, several people have alleged on Twitter.

“Genpact is included as a designated essential service and is fully compliant with all India government mandates,” the company told Quartz. “We provide critical support to industries such as medical, food supply, and banking—global businesses that are essential to keep people safe.”

IT & IT-enabled services are recommended—but not required—to encourage their staff to work from home. Industry body Nasscom, though, specified on March 20 that firms should move all assets immediately to enable employees to work from home and only have a handful of staff on-site.

As confirmed coronavirus cases in India climbed upwards of 500 and the government made lockdowns more stringent late last week, Genpact finally and fully woke up to work-from-home. However, this was too little too late for its 65,000-strong India workforce.
Bungled response

Taliban Fragmentation: Fact, Fiction, and Future

BY: Andrew Watkins 

For years, the U.S. military pursued a "divide and defeat" strategy against the Afghan Taliban, attempting to exploit the supposedly fragmented nature of the group. Drawing on the academic literature on insurgency, civil war, and negotiated peace, this report finds that the Taliban is a far more cohesive organization than a fragmented one. Moreover, Taliban cohesion may bode well for enforcing the terms of its February 29 agreement with the United States, and any eventual settlement arising from intra-Afghan negotiations. A soldier walks among a group of alleged Taliban fighters at a National Directorate of Security facility in Faizabad, September 2019. The status of prisoners will be a critical issue in future negotiations with the Taliban. 

The U.S. and Afghan governments have, at various times, intentionally pursued strategies of “divide and defeat” in an attempt to fragment and weaken the Taliban. These approaches have proved ineffective and, as long as peace efforts are being pursued, should be discontinued. Contrary to lingering narratives from earlier eras of the Afghan conflict, the Taliban today are a relatively cohesive insurgent group and are unlikely to fragment in the near term. This has not happened by accident: the Taliban’s leadership has consistently, at times ruthlessly, worked to retain and strengthen its organizational cohesion. To this day, the group is unwilling to cross internal “red lines” that might threaten that cohesion. 

Taliban Fragmentation: Fact, Fiction, and Future

Andrew Watkins

For years, the U.S. military pursued a "divide and defeat" strategy against the Afghan Taliban, attempting to exploit the supposedly fragmented nature of the group. Drawing on the academic literature on insurgency, civil war, and negotiated peace, this report finds that the Taliban is a far more cohesive organization than a fragmented one. Moreover, Taliban cohesion may bode well for enforcing the terms of its February 29 agreement with the United States, and any eventual settlement arising from intra-Afghan negotiations.


The U.S. and Afghan governments have, at various times, intentionally pursued strategies of “divide and defeat” in an attempt to fragment and weaken the Taliban. These approaches have proved ineffective and, as long as peace efforts are being pursued, should be discontinued. Contrary to lingering narratives from earlier eras of the Afghan conflict, the Taliban today are a relatively cohesive insurgent group and are unlikely to fragment in the near term. This has not happened by accident: the Taliban’s leadership has consistently, at times ruthlessly, worked to retain and strengthen its organizational cohesion. To this day, the group is unwilling to cross internal “red lines” that might threaten that cohesion.

The Coronavirus Crisis Has Just Begun

by Daniel L. Davis 

While much of Washington engages in a fierce debate about whether Trump’s declared hope of getting America “back to work” by Easter is foolish or a prudent risk, a potentially weightier issue remains unaddressed: what’s going to happen to our country after this initial wave washes over later this summer? If we don’t start—right now—to make crucial decisions and start preparing for what comes next, we’ll be caught just as unprepared this fall as we were for the first wave.

Whether consciously or not, the prevailing mindset among most leaders and decisionmakers is how the United States is going to get through the next month or two, how the stock market performs, and how fast Americans can get back to normal. But that’s not how this is going to work. Many seem to view the situation as analogous to the troublesome government shutdowns of recent years.

The Mathematics of Predicting the Course of the Coronavirus

IN THE PAST few days, New York City’s hospitals have become unrecognizable. Thousands of patients sick with the novel coronavirus have swarmed into emergency rooms and intensive care units. From 3,000 miles away in Seattle, as Lisa Brandenburg watched the scenes unfold—isolation wards cobbled together in lobbies, nurses caring for Covid-19 patients in makeshift trash bag gowns, refrigerated mobile morgues idling on the street outside—she couldn’t stop herself from thinking: “That could be us.”

It could be, if the models are wrong.

Until this past week, Seattle had been the center of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. It’s where US health officials confirmed the nation’s first case, back in January, and its first death a month later. As president of the University of Washington Medicine Hospitals and Clinics, Brandenburg oversees the region’s largest health network, which treats more than half a million patients every year. In early March, she and many public health authorities were shaken by an urgent report produced by computational biologists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Their analysis of genetic data indicated the virus had been silently circulating in the Seattle area for weeks and had already infected at least 500 to 600 people. The city was a ticking time bomb.

How to keep the new coronavirus from being used as a terrorist weapon

By Richard Pilch

On March 26, CNN reported that US agencies now consider the intentional spread by extremist groups of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, to be a growing threat in the United States. The referenced agency documents have not been made public; however, one such Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document is quoted as saying: “Members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, to targeted groups through bodily fluids and personal interactions.”

The CNN report seems to contemplate the possibility of US domestic terrorism and “the threat from white supremacist and other extremist groups related to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Last year, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies completed a detailed assessment of the risk that Islamist terrorists might use infected humans to spread a contagious disease. Our experts found that Islamist terrorists, and extremist groups more generally, are not bound by ideological or psychosocial norms that prohibit such behavior. In addition, the use of infected humans to spread a contagious disease requires comparatively limited technical know-how. Our experts concluded that such an attack “could prove to be highly lethal to the targeted population(s), provide a low cost weapon, have a traumatic psychological shock value … undermine a country’s public health and medical infrastructure’s ability to respond, and erode faith in the government’s ability to protect the public.”

Ebola Should Have Immunized the United States to the Coronavirus

By Christopher Kirchhoff

In international crises, policymakers and politicians rarely have a dress rehearsal before their debut on the main stage. Yet in retrospect, the Ebola outbreak of 2013–15 amounts to exactly that—a real-life test of Washington’s ability to detect and contain an infectious disease that threatens global security. Precisely because those who fought the spread of the Ebola virus knew how close we came to global catastrophe, the National Security Council initiated a detailed study of the successes and failures of the international and domestic responses. Starting in February 2015, 26 departments and agencies across the U.S. government participated in a “lessons learned” process headed by the White House that produced a 73-page analysis with 21 findings and recommendations. I led this effort, under the stewardship of National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Ebola Czar Ron Klain, and I authored the NSC report recently made public by The New York Times.

It was clear to those who responded to the Ebola outbreak that the response system of the United States and the international response system would risk collapse if faced with a more dire scenario. It was equally clear that a more dire scenario taking place was a question of when, not if. As the NSC report concluded, “future epidemics, especially those that are airborne and transmissible before symptoms appear, are plausibly far more dangerous.” It continued: “An appropriate minimum planning benchmark . . . might be an epidemic an order of magnitude or two more difficult . . . with much more significant domestic spread.”

The U.S. Economy Is Uniquely Vulnerable to the Coronavirus

By Mark Blyth 

Two competing epidemiological models currently guide and divide expert opinion on how best to respond to the novel coronavirus. The first, from Imperial College London, scared the U.S. and British governments into instituting strict social-distancing measures. It predicted that if left unchecked, COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, could kill over half a million people in the United Kingdom and 2.2 million in the United States—not counting the many additional deaths caused by the collapse of each country’s health-care system. The second model, developed by researchers at Oxford University, suggested that the virus had already infected as much as 40 percent of the British population but that most had shown mild or no symptoms. According to this model, COVID-19 would still cause many deaths, and it would still severely stress health-care systems. But because it predicted fewer critical cases to come, the Oxford model suggested that an indefinite lockdown might not be necessary.

The attractions of the Oxford model are obvious. But if political leaders plan based on the Oxford model and turn out to be living in a world described by the Imperial College London model, they will have made a bad situation much, much worse

COVID-19: As China Recovers, Will Its Economy Follow?

By Stephen Nagy

President Xi Jinping’s visit to the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan in mid-March should be understood as the end of the first-order problems associated with the outbreak in China. With the health crisis potentially under control, what lies ahead will further challenge the authoritarian regime as the second- and third-order problems associated with the mismanagement of the initial outbreak ensue and serious downstream consequences for China and the global economy emerge.

The draconian quarantining of Hubei province, as well as nationwide measures to stem the spread of the elusive virus, have been costly. China’s exports plunged 17.2 percent in the January-February period compared with last year. Imports fell 4 percent. On March 6, the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) released the results of another survey assessing the Q1 performance of 299 large manufacturers, and more than 95 percent of companies saw revenues drop, while more than 80 percent saw operational costs go up.

The purchasing managers’ index, which measures China’s service sector activity, fell by half last month and public transport in Beijing was at 15 percent capacity. Importantly, consumption fell significantly from 51.8 in January to 26.5 in February.

These are the second-order effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant drop in consumption in China, a slow return to the full functioning of the economy, and the slow return of migrants and other workers to manufacturing centers and cities mean one of the engines of global growth is running on half speed.

Has the U.S.-China Cold War Now Begun?

Among the biggest victims of the coronavirus pandemic is the fiction of amicable U.S.-China relations. Those ties have been worsening for years, even before President Trump decided to call out Beijing’s predatory behavior starting in 2017. With the crisis now pitting America and China openly against each other, it seems impossible to salvage the old working ties. Washington now faces an unambiguously adversarial relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, one in which global ideological blocs may be drawn. Losing this new cold war would be a grievous blow to global transparency and liberal order. It would also threaten a significant reduction of American power and influence abroad. 

Even just a few months ago, it appeared that traditional engagement between the United States and China might survive. The trade agreement was the most visible sign that elites in both countries wanted to return to some level of normalcy. Outstanding issues such as Huawei and 5G were slouching towards a state of permanent irresolution, the imprisonment of a million Uighurs was largely forgotten, and cultural and student exchanges were escaping any serious interruption. A stalemate in the South China Sea was also emerging, with the Trump administration dramatically increasing the number of freedom-of-navigation operations, but with the Chinese dug into their new military bases. All that has been swept away by the coronavirus crisis. 

What China Did and Did Not Do 

How China’s consumer companies managed through the COVID-19 crisis: A virtual roundtable

By Xin Huang, Alex Sawaya, and Daniel Zipser

How China’s consumer companies managed through the COVID-19 crisis: A virtual roundtableMarch 2020 | Article

How China’s consumer companies managed through the COVID-19 crisis: A virtual roundtable

During a virtual roundtable, China-based executives discuss their experience managing operations at leading consumer companies during the coronavirus crisis.

On March 19, China reported no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 for the first day since the outbreak of the virus in the Hubei province capital of Wuhan. Extraordinary containment measures limiting the movement of millions, coupled with rapid medical response, appear to have proved effective in preventing new infections.

As a result, China’s economy is resuming activity after a near total shutdown. Factories are restarting production, offices are reopening, and consumers are tentatively venturing outdoors and returning to stores. As China lifts its lockdown, Europe and North America are entering their own period of uncertainty, with governments closing borders, issuing self-containment advisories, and banning public gatherings.

A blueprint for remote working: Lessons from China

By Raphael Bick, Michael Chang, Kevin Wei Wang, and Tianwen Yu

As home to some of the world’s largest firms, China offers lessons for those that are just now starting to embrace the shift to remote working.

From Alibaba to Ping An and Google to Ford, companies around the globe are telling staff to work from home1 in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Such remote working at scale is unprecedented and will leave a lasting impression on the way people live and work for many years to come. China, which felt the first impact of the pandemic,2 was an early mover in this space. As home to some of the world’s largest firms, it offers lessons for those that are just now starting to embrace the shift.

Working from home skyrocketed in China3 in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis as companies told their employees to stay home. Around 200 million people4 were working remotely by the end of the Chinese New Year holiday. While this arrangement has some benefits, such as avoiding long commutes, many employees and companies found it challenging. One employee at an internet company quipped his work day changed from ‘996’ to ‘007,’ meaning from nine to nine, 6 days a week, to all the time. On the personal front, employees found it difficult to manage kids’ home-schooling via video conference while coordinating with remote colleagues. At a company level, many felt that productivity rapidly tailed off if not managed properly.

Fighting Pandemic, Europe Divides Again Along North and South Lines


Anasty North-South divide is tearing Europe apart over the question of how to respond to the economic wreckage of the coronavirus pandemic, conjuring up the worst days of the 2008 financial crisis and the European Union’s subsequent near-death experience.

At issue is how countries can respond to the unprecedented economic toll wrought by the pandemic and the near-total national lockdowns needed to contain the spread of the virus. Over the weekend, Spain put its entire economy, already wheezing, into hibernation, while Italy has extended its lockdown and France is running at two-thirds capacity. Governments need to find hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of euros to pay idled workers, maintain overworked health care systems, and kindle what they hope will be a recovery in the second half of the year.

Countries in Southern Europe, led by France, Spain, and Italy, have called for a common European response to the challenge—such as a massive “eurobond” underwritten by richer and less rich countries alike to better share the pain. Even Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), has called for Europe to step up and do what it’s never done before. But countries in the North, led by Germany and the Netherlands, have balked at the idea of a eurobond, which they say is a nonstarter because it would mean their own taxpayers would be on the hook for countries they say have long lived beyond their means.

Coronavirus has slashed global emissions. Can it last?

For the first time, a pandemic has brought many of the world’s major economies to a virtual standstill. Supply chains have been disrupted and the free movement of people restricted. No one knows how long this will last, or how severe a blow it will land on the global economy. 

But when the dust clears, the air will be clearer. One of the most striking effects of the global spread of Covid-19 has been the reduction in pollution from nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide. Millions of people around the world have virtually stopped traveling by car, airplane, or even leaving their homes. Factories are shut down. Manufacturing is grinding to a halt. Personal and professional lives are moving online as social distancing becomes required from Seoul to San Francisco.

That is already having a profound effect on global emissions. In the urban sprawl of southern California, never known for its fresh air

A Global Pandemic Is No Time to Maintain Punishing Economic Sanctions

Kimberly Ann Elliott 

Iran is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. As of March 30, it was behind only the United States, China, Italy, Spain, Germany and France in the number of confirmed cases, with more than 40,000. Its death rate is also one of the world’s highest, at around 7 percent, though it is well behind Italy’s staggering 11.4 percent.

Yet in the face of this public health crisis, President Donald Trump is continuing his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran with crippling U.S. economic sanctions that were imposed after Trump unilaterally abandoned the international nuclear agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program in May 2018. As recently as two weeks ago, the Trump administration imposed further sanctions against Iran as punishment for its behavior in the Middle East. A decision last fall to tighten sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran made it nearly impossible to actually use long-standing exceptions for shipments of food and medical supplies to Iran—from any country, not just the United States.

Why Does Russia Use Disinformation?

By Kasey Stricklin

Editor’s Note: Russian disinformation is extensive and growing, with major efforts in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world. The content of Russia’s campaign is increasingly understood, but the motives behind it are often simplified. CNA’s Kasey Stricklin explains Russia’s efforts, detailing how it fits into Russia’s worldview and broader strategic concerns.

While there is much discussion about Russian disinformation in today’s popular discourse, the conversation about why Russia uses disinformation usually doesn’t get beyond general notions of Moscow wanting to “divide us” or “muddy the waters.” After the revelations that Russia is working to help Bernie Sanders in the 2020 primary, a Wired article stated, correctly, that Russia doesn’t actually care if Sanders gets elected, but the headline went further to propose that, instead, Russia wants “chaos.” Similarly, at a recent conference on disinformation that I attended, a senior U.S. government official working in cybersecurity said Russia’s goal with regard to disinformation is just to “watch the world burn,” comparing the country to the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight.

Top US general warns Pentagon against plan to ‘destroy’ Iraqi group

A top US general in Iraq has warned over a Pentagon’s secret directive, which called on US military commanders to prepare a campaign against Iraq’s pro-government anti-terror Kata’ib Hezbollah group.

Several American officials, who saw the directive or were briefed on it, told The New York Times on Friday that the Pentagon had last week ordered planners at the US military’s Central Command and in Iraq to draw up a strategy to dismantle Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is part of the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi.

In response, the officials said, US army lieutenant general Robert P. White had written a memorandum warning about the costs and risks of any such attack, saying it could be “bloody and counterproductive.”

They added that General White had also cautioned that a new military action would require thousands more American troops be deployed to Iraq and divert resources from existing missions there.


by Caleb Larson

Tactical nuclear weapons — compacts, small-yield atomic bombs that are not necessarily designed to be rained down on cities from bomber aircraft, nor delivered via Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, but could be an artillery shell, a nuclear torpedo, landmine, or other small and easily transportable devices.

One of these tactical nuclear devices is the so-called “backpack” or “suitcase nuke” — essentially a nuclear device so small, it could be transported in a backpack or in a person’s luggage.

Limited Nuclear War:

In the early days of the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union were able to envision warfare in which the limited use of nuclear weapons would take place.

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.

Dulce bellum inexpertis – “War is Sweet to Those Who Have Never Experienced It”

W. R. Baker

While March 29th is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the “official” federal remembrance day (August 18th in Australia and New Zealand), each of us who went to war will probably remember not only the date we left the United States and the date we returned, but also certain events in-between that occurred in the land which President Reagan called “…100 rice paddies and jungles in a place called Vietnam.”

The individual Vietnam remembrance day might be the day you were first fired upon (perhaps shelled, mortared, or shot at) or the day wounded – occurring with those who became your closest family, who you relied upon each day, just as they did you. War has a way of throwing the best and the worst things at you all at once and Vietnam certainly proved that.

One of the most important remnants of the Vietnam War seems to be how it is still popularly reported by historians who mostly never had a stake in the game. The repetitive nature of their books and articles continue to remain distorted, inaccurate, and often just plain wrong, no matter how often they repeat each other.

As COVID-19 Runs Rampant, the U.N. Security Council Must Act

Stewart M. Patrick 

On Dec. 30, 2019, the world first learned that a dangerous new coronavirus had emerged weeks before in China’s Wuhan province. Three months, nearly 740,000 infections and 34,000 deaths later, as of this writing, it’s well past time for the United Nations Security Council to declare COVID-19 a threat to international security. Such a designation would carry immediate symbolic and practical weight, signaling to anxious populations around the world that U.N. member states are united in confronting this plague and determined to deploy their entire multilateral arsenal against it. It would also carry the binding force of international law, as the U.N. Charter obliges all states “to accept and carry out” decisions by the Security Council.

Given these potential benefits, it is beyond maddening that infighting between China and the United States is blocking any forceful action. China, which has held the rotating presidency of the Security Council since March 1, has been dragging its feet on a resolution or even a joint declaration of concern. Zhang Jun, China’s U.N. envoy, explained earlier this month that this “public health” matter did not fall within the Security Council’s “geopolitical” ambit. Washington has reinforced Beijing’s obduracy, demanding that any resolution specify the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, as well as of the 2003 SARS epidemic. The Chinese blasted the United States for “politicizing the outbreak and blaming China” in an email to U.N. missions, declaring: “The groundless accusations and malicious fabrication from the U.S. aim at shirking its own responsibilities, which severely poisoned the atmosphere of global cooperation in containing the outbreak.”

Why a common data platform is the first step to JADC2

Frank Dimina, Splunk

Since the earliest days of warfare, command and control have been vital elements to strategic success. We enter the third decade of the 21st century in a time where the world is mostly at peace. However, with growing rivalries, economic shifts and increasingly scarce resources, the future of this status quo is far from certain. 

While peace is always preferable to conflict, pragmatic leaders recognize that being ready for a fight that never develops is better than facing a fight for which the nation is unprepared. 

As the world becomes faster, more connected and more reliant on technology, the U.S. Department of Defense is preparing for the future battlefield — one that is more contested, automated, real-time and complex than has ever been seen before. 

Already over the past decade, the Pentagon has invested significant capital into modernizing our military readiness. These investments have ranged from developing advanced robotics and augmented reality to securing high-powered cloud computing capabilities that support data analytics and artificial intelligence. 

Informatizing Operations: The Other Half of All-Domain Warfare

Michael D. Phillips and Thomas A. Drohan

Warfare has become all-domain, all-effects, and all-information. This reality is well outside the conventional wisdom of a “threshold of armed conflict.” Operations in and across land, sea, air, space, and the electro-magnetic spectrum (cyber-plus) depend on information and more importantly, create information. Our combined arms approach to warfare focuses on operationalizing information. That is, using information to support all-domain operations. To win wars in the Information Age, we must complete the other half of the job: informatizing operations. That is, we need to use operations to create superior information effects.

We begin by pointing out a logical fallacy that matters: DoD definitions of information (104-105) are circular. That is, they use information to define information. Why care? Because this conceptual failing is an operational failing, too. Information needs to be testable so decision makers can judge the strategic effectiveness of operations. At this level of significance, information effects matter. Superior combinations of diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and social effects (DIMES) win wars from battles. So we turn to Information.


War economy


We are at war. It is not a war between good and evil, it is a war against a virus, a new, invisible enemy that multiplies every week. The human brain is not well prepared to manage novelty, it needs a script to help it navigate. It also doesn’t know how to adapt to what it can’t see, that’s why we are scared of darkness. And, above all, it does not understand processes that are not linear; the rapid multiplication of infections and deaths, although predictable, generates panic. This war, in addition to victims, generates anguish and fear.

The enemy must be attacked at the root, fast, without hesitation. With a strategy based on three pillars.

First, health policy must take command of the situation, providing it with all the economic, material and human resources necessary to quell the virus and minimize victims. The key is to flatten the contagion curve to avoid the collapse of the health system, and this requires social distancing and that we all behave as if we have already contracted the virus and do not want to spread it to anyone. Let’s all strictly comply with the health recommendations; solidarity begins with oneself.

Army makes $85.7 million order to Raytheon for Excalibur satellite-guided smart munitions artillery rounds

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – Smart munitions experts at the Raytheon Co. potentially will build hundreds of additional M982 Excalibur satellite-guided heavy artillery shells for the U.S. Army under terms of a $85.7 million four-year order announced Thursday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., are asking the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to produce additional Excalibur projectiles. Excalibur first was fielded in Iraq in 2007 for urban or complex-terrain engagements in which collateral damage must be kept to a minimum.

Excalibur has a ruggedized Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation receiver and uses satellite signals to help guide itself to its intended targets. The 155-millimeter artillery shell can hit targets as far away as 25 miles, or detect and attack moving targets in cities and other complex terrain after being fired at high angles and high altitudes.

The M982 Excalibur precision-guided, extended-range artillery shells are fire-and-forget smart munitions with better accuracy than existing 155-millimeter artillery rounds. These shells are fin-stabilized, and are designed to glide to targets with base bleed technology, as well as with canards located at the front of the munition that create aerodynamic lift.