19 May 2020

How coronavirus sparked a wave of innovation in India

There are a number of reasons for the quick response, including the urgency of the humanitarian situation and a proactive approach to crowdsourcing ideas from the government. India also has a wealth of trained engineering talent and helps foster what’s called jugaad – a frugal innovation mindset to find hacks to problems with limited resources.

Robots, apps and ventilators

Around the world, social distancing and contact tracing have been the buzzwords of the response to COVID-19. A particular problem as lockdowns begin to ease will be how to stop the virus spreading in public spaces such as airports or bus stations. Asimov Robotics, a start-up based in Kerala, has deployed robots at entrances to office buildings and other public places to dispense hand sanitiser and deliver public health messages about the virus.

Robots developed by Asimov Robotics are also being deployed in hospital isolation wards to carry food and medicines, which eases the pressure on medical staff.

U.S. says Islamic State conducted attack on Kabul hospital

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday blamed Islamic State militants — not the Taliban — for a gruesome hospital attack in Afghanistan this week that killed two newborn babies, and it renewed calls for Afghans to embrace a troubled peace push with the Taliban insurgency.

But it was unclear if the U.S. declaration would be enough to bolster the peace effort and reverse a decision by the Kabul government to resume offensive operations against the Taliban.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered the military on Tuesday to switch to “offensive mode” against the Taliban following the hospital attack in Kabul and a suicide bombing in Nangarhar province that killed scores of people.

U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad blamed Islamic State for both attacks in a statement issued on Twitter, saying the group opposed any Taliban peace agreement and sought to trigger an Iraq-style sectarian war in Afghanistan.

“Rather than falling into the ISIS trap and delay peace or create obstacles, Afghans must come together to crush this menace and pursue a historic peace opportunity,” Khalilzad said.

After recent violence, is Afghanistan’s peace process dead?

Vanda Felbab-Brown

Aset of brutal attacks in Afghanistan on May 12 has thrown the very idea of a peace process into question. Many are asking whether that process is dead before it ever got under way. Yet it was always unlikely that intra-Afghan negotiations among the Afghan government, powerbrokers, the Taliban, and perhaps — under the luckiest of circumstances — Afghan society would be a linear continuation of the U.S.-Taliban deal or significantly reduce violence.

This week’s violence may well be a much more accurate, if terrible, preview of what is to come: on-and-off negotiations, suspended for lengthy periods amidst protracted violence and devastating bloodshed well past the departure of U.S. forces from Afghanistan (scheduled to be completed by July 2021).

Nonetheless, the Afghan government and elites — as well as the international community, in spite of the U.S. military withdrawal — can still shape the country’s future. Even though they have not had success so far, they should continue to press for violence reduction on the battlefield, with a focus on minimizing the most brutal targeting of civilians.


Asia’s Cyberwar Goes Viral

by Patrick M. Cronin

China’s alleged attempt to purloin or disrupt a vaccine in the middle of a life-or-death struggle with a pandemic is a sad commentary on the state of major power relations. But not to be lost among the headlines about the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warning that China and others may be tampering with the US public health system is that Asia is increasingly at the center of cyber and information warfare.

China’s apparent attempt to pull off a cyber heist of critical medical and laboratory data occurs against the backdrop of dueling narratives about the origins and handling of COVID-19. These two issues highlight Asia’s new era of cyber and information warfare.

The Asia-Pacific region is now the primary theater for a cyber competition that is flaring up in public because of the coronavirus. Before the pandemic, regional powers were already furtively caught up in a maturing cyber arms race that appeared muted because of the opaque nature of the domain. However, faced with a genuine national security health emergency, leaders are demonstrating some of their hidden digital assets and operations as they fight to shape the narrative and be first to conquer the coronavirus.

U.S. moves to cut Huawei off from global chip suppliers as China eyes retaliation

David Shepardson, Karen Freifeld, Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Friday moved to block global chip supplies to blacklisted telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, spurring fears of Chinese retaliation and hammering shares of U.S. producers of chipmaking equipment.

A new rule, unveiled by the Commerce Department and first reported by Reuters, expands U.S. authority to require licenses for sales to Huawei of semiconductors made abroad with U.S. technology, vastly expanding its reach to halt exports to the world’s No. 2 smartphone maker.

“This action puts America first, American companies first, and American national security first,” a senior Commerce Department official told reporters in a telephone briefing on Friday.

Huawei, the world’s top telecoms equipment maker, did not respond to a request for comment.

News of the move against the firm hit European stocks as traders sold into the day’s gains, while shares of chip equipment makers such as Lam Research and KLA Corp closed down 6.4% and 4.8%, respectively, in U.S. trading.

Opinion | Think we have military primacy over China? Think again.

Here’s a fact that ought to startle every American who assumes that because we spend nearly $1 trillion each year on defense, we have primacy over our emerging rival, China.

“Over the past decade, in U.S. war games against China, the United States has a nearly perfect record: We have lost almost every single time.”

That’s a quote from a new book called “The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare,” the most provocative critique of U.S. defense policy I’ve read in years. It’s written by Christian Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a close adviser to late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). The book isn’t just a wake-up call, it’s a fire alarm in the night.

Brose explains a terrible truth about war with China: Our spy and communications satellites would immediately be disabled; our forward bases in Guam and Japan would be “inundated” by precise missiles; our aircraft carriers would have to sail away from China to escape attack; our F-35 fighter jets couldn’t reach their targets because the refueling tankers they need would be shot down.

“Many U.S. forces would be rendered deaf, dumb and blind,” writes Brose. We have become so vulnerable, he argues because we’ve lost sight of the essential requirement of military power — the “kill chain” of his title — which means seeing threats and taking quick, decisive action to stop them.

Can China win the stealth contest?

by David Axe 

Here's What You Need To Remember: If there's one thing that might hold back the JH-XX's development, it's the new plane's engine, just as problems integrating a Chinese-built engine reportedly have slowed development of the J-20 and FC-31 fighters.

The Chinese air force is expanding its fleet of J-20 radar-evading stealth fighters while also preparing to field FC-31 stealth fighters and H-20 long-range stealth bombers, the U.S. Defense Department warned in the 2019 edition of its annual report on Chinese military developments.

China’s stealth expansion isn’t without hiccups, as Beijing’s engineers still struggle with certain key technologies. But the Pentagon doesn’t expect technological challenges to halt the Chinese air force’s transformation into a stealthy, “fifth-generation” force.

Modernizing the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF, is a top priority of Chinese military leaders. “The PLAAF, in particular, has received repeated calls from its leadership to become a truly ‘strategic’ air force, able to project power at long distances and support Chinese national interests wherever they extend,” the Pentagon reported.

The U.S. Must Beat China at its Own Game in South China Sea

by Michael Rubin

Mike Pompeo’s greatest legacy as Secretary of State may be as the first chief diplomat to stand up systematically to Chinese propaganda, Beijing’s underhandedness, the communist regime’s rampant theft of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of international property, and the country’s general flouting of international norms. Previous administrations may have had an occasional tough word for China, but few sustained them or moved beyond the rhetoric. China’s economic might, trade importance, and military potency gave prior administrations pause. All knew something needed to be done but, like those American officials who place hopes in Iranian reformists never mind that such a gamble has never paid off, they placed all their bets on the idea that China’s political moderation would follow its economic liberalization. They believed China would embrace the post-World War II liberal order rather than seek to defeat it.

Obfuscation about the origins of the COVID-19 crisis is a symptom of Chinese political culture, but it was a reactive response to a crisis rather than proactive strategy to foment one. The same cannot be said about China’s actions in the South China Sea where it is increasingly engaged in an unprecedented grab of maritime territory. If President Xi Jinping successfully fulfills his ambition to transform low-tide elevations and rocks into islands and claim not only a 12 nautical mile territorial sea around each one, but also a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, the total territory China now seeks to control puts it on par with European powers’ nineteenth-century imperial grabs.

The Precarious Triangle: China, Taiwan, and United States

By Zoe Leung

On May 20, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen will be sworn in for her second term, while strains in the tripartite relationship between China, Taiwan, and United States reach unprecedented levels. Taiwan continues to be used as a ploy in the political games between the world’s two superpowers, with both sides turning up the heat in the Taiwan Strait. Tsai’s inauguration coincides with U.S. lobbying efforts to help Taiwan secure observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO)’s 73rd World Health Assembly, as well as increased pressure from Beijing to have more say in the self-ruling island’s status. Though it is likely that Tsai will maintain her track record of capably preserving the cross-strait status quo, U.S.-China competition may emerge as a potential game changer in the unresolved Taiwan Strait crisis, especially with the U.S. presidential election drawing closer.

Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) she represents won a landslide victory in the January election, which was widely seen as a referendum on the future of Taiwan and its relationship with China. Over 8 million voters cast their ballots for Tsai, placing confidence in her ability to defend Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty. The election took place when Taiwan’s heightened sympathy for Hong Kong’s fight for democracy was juxtaposed against the precipitous erosion of the “one country, two systems” formula, originally developed for Taiwan by former Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping and only later adopted for Hong Kong. Three decades after the formula’s conception, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s overture to the Taiwanese about “inevitable” reunification has been quickly dismissed and the prospect of Taiwan returning to China is a taboo subject for Taiwanese politicians. Not surprisingly, the Kuomintang (KMT) opposition party is still licking its wounds from the electoral defeat that was driven, in no small part, from its struggle to move past its Beijing-friendly position.

Yemen in Crisis

by Zachary Laub and Kali Robinson

Yemen faces its biggest crisis in decades with the overthrow of its government by the Houthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement, and the resulting offensive led by Saudi Arabia. The fighting, and a Saudi-imposed blockade ostensibly meant to enforce an arms embargo, has had devastating humanitarian consequences, causing more than one million people to become internally displaced and leading to cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages, and threats of famine. The United Nations calls the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “the worst in the world.”

While the Saudi-led coalition and pro-government forces have recaptured some territory, the Houthis retain control of the capital, Sanaa, and the ongoing chaos has allowed al-Qaeda’s Arabian Peninsula franchise to establish a foothold. The Saudi intervention is driven by Iranian backing of the Houthis, and the involvement of other outside powers, including the United States, raised worries that the conflict has become a proxy war. With numerous armed factions at odds over any potential settlement, UN-led efforts to broker a halt to the fighting have faltered.

Iran Is Increasing Its Military and Cyber Activity, Report Says

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Few countries were hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as Iran, which has seen more than 114,000 confirmed cases. But in recent weeks, open-source intelligence gleaned from Persian- and Arabic-language sources, as well as commercially available location data from mobile devices, suggests that Iranian military activity did not drop off as severely as civilian activity, according to data analytics company Babel Street. Both types of activity picked back up in May, and Iran’s support for offensive cyber operations and proxy forces in Yemen and Iraq didn’t show any signs of waning at all.

Babel Street’s analysis drew on commercial telemetry data, or CTD, gleaned from things like apps that collect users’ locations. They compared the data year-on-year in March, April, and May at facilities in Bushehr and the Strait-of-Hormuz port of Bandar Abbas, including air bases, naval bases, and the Bushehr nuclear facility.

In a report released Thursday and obtained exclusively by Defense One, they found that civilian activity dropped more than 90% during parts of March and April, as measured from data collected at the Tehran Grand Bazaar and elsewhere. Military activity dropped 30% to 50% compared to last year.

The Era of Offshoring U.S. Jobs Is Over

By Robert E. Lighthizer
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Some say crises don’t so much alter the course of history as accelerate changes already underway. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic and the offshoring of American jobs.

In recent years, businesses have been rethinking the way that overextended, overseas supply lines expose them to unacceptable risks, a reassessment that got a boost from President Trump’s reorientation of U.S. trade policy. A lemming-like desire for “efficiency” had caused many of them to move manufacturing over the past two decades to China, Vietnam and Indonesia, among other places.

They did so to save on labor costs or to avoid environmental standards, but that wasn’t the whole story. Offshoring was a trend that morphed into a craze. Egged on by Wall Street analysts and management consultants, or simply swept up by the herd mentality of their peers, businesses came to see offshoring as something they were expected to do to serve the interests of shareholders. Many failed to weigh independently the long-term costs or meaningfully consider alternatives.

This is the effect COVID-19 will have on global poverty, according to the World Bank

Forecasts suggest COVID-19 is likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998.

Using the most recent data, the World Bank has predicted coronavirus is pushing 40-60 million people into extreme poverty.

The areas most affected depend on the impact of the virus on economic activity and the number of people living close to the international poverty line.

COVID-19 is taking its toll on the world, causing deaths, illnesses and economic despair. But how is the deadly virus impacting global poverty? Here we’ll argue that it is pushing about 40-60 million people into extreme poverty, with our best estimate being 49 million.

Nowcasting global poverty is not an easy task. It requires assumptions about how to forecast growth and how such growth will impact the poor, along with other complications such as how to calculate poverty for countries with outdated data or without data altogether. All of this goes to say that estimating how much global poverty will increase because of COVID-19 is challenging and comes with a lot of uncertainty. Others have tried to answer the question using general equilibrium models or by exploring what will happen if all countries’ growth rates decline a fixed amount. Here we’ll try to answer the question using household survey data and growth projections for 166 countries.

What the Pandemic Tells Us About the State of U.S. Cybersecurity

by Mark Montgomery and Robert Morgus
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Widespread disruption to critical infrastructure. Fundamental shifts in the way we live our lives. Growing uncertainty about the stability of the U.S. economy. At the start of the year, if you asked national security professionals what they thought the most likely cause of a crisis fitting that description would be, many would have answered “cyber.” As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded over the intervening months, the United States has experienced a significant trauma, prompting a national conversation about disaster prevention, as well as crisis preparedness and response. While the new coronavirus is the root cause of today’s crisis, a catastrophic cyber incident could be the cause of the next.

That was the kind of calamity envisioned by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and other members of Congress when they authorized the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission in August 2018. Fashioned after Dwight Eisenhower’s “Project Solarium” to develop a strategic approach to counter the Soviet Union, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission was authorized by the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to “develop a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States… against cyber attacks of significant consequences.”

The commission, where we serve as executive director and director of research and analysis, respectively, spent a year crafting a strategy to ensure the United States is optimally positioned to both prevent a catastrophic cyber incident and withstand, respond, and recover from one, should it happen. The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is scheduled to hold the first of a series of hearings tomorrow on the resulting report, with testimony from co-chairs Senator Angus S. King Jr. (I-ME) and Representative Michael “Mike” J. Gallagher (R-WI) and other commission members.

The Beginning of De-Globalization

By Alexander Jung
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Corona is here, and it won't be leaving anytime soon. Which means that hopes for a return to normal are likely to be in vain. Furthermore, everybody has become hyper-aware of the dangers of infection and it is a fear that will stay with us.

Social distancing will continue to guide our personal interactions, restaurants will leave every second table empty, open-plan offices are being divided up and only two, maybe three, people will get into the elevator at a time, and each will be facing a different corner. Such is our new reality, and such are the changes coming to the world of work. More than that, companies are trying to make themselves more resistant to sudden economic shocks and resilience is the new guiding principle.

Industrial machine producers, of the kind that make a huge contribution to the German economy, have begun shifting priorities from making the supply chain as cheap as possible to making it as secure as possible. Wholesalers have turned to video chats when making large sales rather than flying halfway around the world as they used to. Airlines, meanwhile, find themselves fighting for survival and many have had to take public-sector bailouts.

The ‘war’ on COVID-19: What real wars do (and don’t) teach us about the economic impact of the pandemic

By Gary Pinkus and Sree Ramaswamy
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The specter of war is frequently invoked in discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Heads of state and government leaders from Donald Trump to Emmanuel Macron have employed wartime rhetoric to describe the crisis—“we are at war,” Macron declared in his March television address announcing a nationwide lockdown, while Trump has tweeted about the virus as “the invisible enemy.” And as the death toll rises in the United States, many have made comparisons to the number of those killed in the Vietnam War.

The past is not prologue, and the comparisons to war have limits and detractors (Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for one, has said the pandemic is not a war but rather a “test for humanity”). Still, wartime analogies can be useful for an understanding of the potential economic consequences of this crisis. Wars last longer than downturns, and the economic cycle in which we suddenly find ourselves is unlike any peacetime cycle we have experienced in the past half century—including during the Vietnam War and in the aftermath of 9/11. In some key ways, the period we are going through resembles the fully immersed experience of a mass mobilization, wartime economy. While some European countries and parts of the United States are now starting to loosen lockdown measures, the duration of this “war” will be dictated by the time it takes to defeat the virus with effective treatments, vaccines, and immunity, and its depth will be dictated by how much and how effectively we mobilize.

Here are seven insights from a sweep through history highlighting parallels and some differences with today’s pandemic:

Former FDA Commissioner: Here’s the Testing Strategy We Need to Safely Reopen America

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Dr. Gottlieb is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a board member of Illumina and Tempus Inc.; he was commissioner of the FDA from 2017 to 2019

Everyone wants to know when we’ll be safe from COVID-19. The answer is we’re probably in for a long fight. We’ll face a persistent risk, maybe until we get a vaccine, or even after. But that risk can be managed, and reduced, if we focus on helping those at the greatest threat of getting the disease.

Reliable tests for the presence of antibodies (which tell who has had the disease) will be very important. But we also need tests that reveal who is carrying the virus to find the illness in our communities and get people access to care before individual cases turn into outbreaks and outbreaks into a new epidemic. We have the technology and public-health tools to achieve these goals, and new capabilities are being quickly developed to scale faster testing.

A critical element going forward is the ability to bring accessible, dependable and affordable testing to people who have symptoms or are at risk of contracting the disease. That doesn’t mean we need to screen everyone all the time. But for those who are symptomatic or were exposed to the illness—or for those people who work in professions or live in communities where there’s a higher chance for spread—we need to make sure that testing is available.

What Is the World Doing to Create a COVID-19 Vaccine?

by Claire Felter

The race to find a vaccine for the new coronavirus is well underway. Governments and researchers are aiming to provide billions of people with immunity in eighteen months or less, which would be unprecedented.

A global race is underway to develop and mass-produce an effective vaccine to counter the new, deadly, and highly infectious coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which has brought much of the world to a standstill. Many governments have warned that daily life cannot return to normal until their populations have built up antibodies to fend off the virus. Some clinical trials are already underway, but vaccine development often takes years. 

Developing a successful vaccine is not enough. Many countries also face the looming challenge of producing quantities necessary to provide immunity to all their citizens, and competition is already emerging over who will have access once a vaccine is ready.
What is the status of a COVID-19 vaccine?

There are more than one hundred vaccines in preclinical development by pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and others. More than seventy of these are being tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO) [PDF]. Eight vaccine candidates, across four countries, are already undergoing clinical trials. While several of these candidates are already spurring hope, experts warn that it’s too early to determine if any will be successful in later-stage trials.

How the Coronavirus is Killing the Middle Class

By Eliza Griswold
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Kelly Bates is a forty-one-year-old single mom who lives with her nine-year-old daughter, Danielle Lucky, in Collingdale, Pennsylvania, a middle-income neighborhood of aging red-brick row houses a few miles from the Philadelphia airport. Bates, who is willowy, with large brown eyes, had grown up in South Philadelphia in the seventies and eighties, as part of the city’s burgeoning African-American middle class: her father was a heating contractor, and her mother worked for the Bell Telephone Company. But over the decades crime in the neighborhood increased, and, in 2015, Bates bought a three-bedroom house in Collingdale for seventy thousand dollars, hoping to escape the violence. “I wanted Danielle to go outside and play and not worry about getting shot,” Bates told me recently. Since 2016, Bates has worked as an assistant director at Kinder Academy, a chain of five child-care centers around Philadelphia. Through her work there, she received a grant to earn a bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education, and is about a year away from graduating. “Babies are my passion,” she told me. “I’m part mom, part dad, part therapist, part doctor, and part food-program officer.”

On March 16th, as the coronavirus spread in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses, including child-care centers, to shut down indefinitely. That evening, Leslie Spina, Kinder Academy’s fifty-four-year-old owner, decided that she was going to have to lay off all hundred of her employees. The state had allocated some money to support child-care centers, but Spina didn’t think it would last more than a month or so. She also worried that the longer she waited to let her employees go, the longer the line would be for unemployment. She’d known most of her employees for decades and had helped raise their children at the centers. “The decision almost broke me,” Spina said. “It’s not like other businesses. They are my family.” One of the workers she had to lay off was her own mother, Debby, who is seventy-three.

Whither Oil Prices?


MEXICO CITY – With oil prices at historic lows, many are desperate for some idea of what will happen next in energy markets. As a wise oil expert once advised me, we should never try to predict the future price. But we can shine a light on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting oil markets today, and what their prospects are.

Until a few weeks ago, the world was producing and consuming around 100 million barrels per day (b/d). But social-distancing rules and movement restrictions aimed at curbing COVID-19 infections have caused global oil demand to plummet. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that global liquid fuels consumption will average 92.6 million b/d in 2020, down 8.1 million b/d from 2019. In June, OPEC crude oil production could fall below 24.1 million b/d.

At the same time, countries’ oil inventories are at or near full capacity. Typically, OECD countries hold about a 60-day supply of crude oil. Today, they are holding an 85-day supply. The EIA expects that global oil inventories will grow this year at an average rate of 2.6 million b/d – the largest annual buildup in the 40 years the EIA has tracked international data. Simply put, the world is running out of space to store oil.

An Expert Answers Your Questions About Bitcoin

by Andrew Urquhart

Bitcoin, the first and leading cryptocurrency in terms of trading volume and market capitalisation, went through its third “halving” on May 11 2020. This major adjustment to how the cryptocurrency operates has only happened twice before and happens every four years. But what does this actually mean and what impact will it have?

Q: how does bitcoin work?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that makes use of blockchain technology to store and record all transactions. First proposed in a white paper published online in 2008 by a mysterious person (or group of people) called Satoshi Nakamoto. The unique features of bitcoin compared to fiat currencies like dollars or pounds are that there is no central authority or bank. Each member of the network has equal power. This decentralised network is completely transparent and all transactions can be read on the blockchain. At the same time it offers privacy in terms of who owns the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins are created (or mined) by so-called miners who contribute computing power to securing the network, as well as processing transactions on the network by solving complex mathematical puzzles through computational power. These miners are rewarded for their work processing the transactions on the blockchain with bitcoins. But to combat inflation, Nakamoto wrote into the code that the total number of bitcoins that will ever exist will be 21 million. Right now there are 18.38 million.

The Geostrategic Importance of Outer Space Resources

by Alex Gilbert Morgan Bazilian

The world may be heading towards the greatest mining rush in history—in outer space. Falling costs and greater access to space launch services, coupled with new technologies, are leading to the establishment of numerous companies in this nascent industry. 

A new Executive Order (EO) by the Trump Administration issued in early April promises to accelerate that rush. The EO declares that outer space is not the “global commons,” asserts American rights to use space resources, and attempts to discourage foreign countries from embracing the Moon Agreement. It has sparked immediate concerns that the United States is trying to privatize or assert sovereignty over outer space to the detriment of other nations, with Russia notably comparing its claims to colonialism. It also has echoes of Trump administration rhetoric in other sectors, such as the claim of “energy dominance”. 

At the center of interest in space resources is the ability to extract and process materials at a mining site. In the case of outer space activities, this means that resources can be prospected, mined, and processed to support missions.

Foreign Military Sales: Strategic Interests and the Supply Chain


The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program has become arguably the nation’s preeminent tool for building and solidifying relationships with foreign nations. FMS facilitates training and interoperability with coalition partners, helping to undergird America’s strategic priorities while influencing the actions of allied nation states. Foreign Military Sales are a huge benefit for allied nations, as the U.S. government offers favorable financial terms and access to some of the most advanced and effective military technology in the world.

Navigating the FMS process and its companion Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) program can be difficult to understand. There are many benefits potential partners may not know about. In this Breaking Defense E-Brief we explore the role of FMS/DCS, how it works, the role that Congress plays, how the DoD and State Department can help partner nations develop and sustain capabilities, and the role of U.S. companies and the American subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Bang! The High-Tech Way the Army Hopes to Kill Enemy Drones

by Kris Osborn

The Army and Raytheon are now accelerating the development and deployment of an upgraded counter-drone weapons system designed specifically to address close-in small drone threats. The integrated counter-drone system uses a Ku band mobile, 360-degree ground radar called KuRFS—in conjunction with a suite of specific countermeasures, called effectors. KuRFS can provide threat information for ground commanders who can then opt to use laser countermeasures, EW, High-Powered Microwave weapons or a kinetic energy interceptor missile-drone called Coyote Block 2. However, before any threat can be destroyed, it must first be identified or “seen.”

KuRFS began as an Urgent Operational Need request from the Pentagon to address an immediate and pressing need to counter enemy drones, rockets, mortars and other airborne threats—including lower flying helicopters, Raytheon developers said.

“A complete c-UAS (Counter UAS) solution needs to be able to automatically detect the intrusion of potentially multiple UASs, identify their type and possible payload, and track their movement consistently inside the monitored area. We have a holistic end to end kill chain which includes early warning,” James McGovern, Vice President, Business Development, Mission Systems & Sensors, Raytheon Integrated Defense, told Warrior.