16 June 2020

India and the United States: A Bi-Polar Bilateral Relationship?

Tridivesh Singh Maini

There is increasing strategic congruence in the context of the Indo-Pacific between Washington DC and New Delhi.

There are likely to be irritants in the relationship, however, including Indian defence purchases from Russia.

Similarly, while US-Iran tensions are deteriorating further, India cannot afford to ignore Iran given that it is India’s only link to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Economic divergences between both countries are also likely to continue over trade issues.


In a post-Covid-19 world, the India-US relationship is likely to be important, not just in the context of South Asia, but also for the Indo-Pacific region as well as globally. The two countries have strategic commonalities as well as issues related to the pandemic, including not just co-operation on developing a vaccine, but also the push for an inquiry into the origins of the virus. The US and India have assisted each other to deal with the pandemic. While India provided US with hydroxychloroquine, the US provided India with ventilators. In recent months, Washington and Delhi have signalled that they will strengthen defence co-operation. India has signalled that not only would it go ahead with defence purchases of F-21 fighter aircraft and joint defence production, but that it would also progress its defence co-operation with the US, which was initiated when it signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, by also entering into the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement with Washington.

US general: Taliban not yet met conditions for US withdrawal


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Taliban have not yet met conditions required for a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by next May as envisioned in a U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February, the commander overseeing U.S. forces there said Wednesday.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said the U.S. is ahead of schedule for an initial drawdown by July to 8,600 troops. Another U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss details and so spoke on condition of anonymity, said troop levels are now below 9,000, compared with about 12,000 in February.

McKenzie stressed, however, that going to zero troops by May is dependent on conditions.

“Those conditions would be: Can we be assured that attacks against us will not be generated there? And as of right now ... frankly, if asked my opinion, those conditions have not been fully met,” he said in a video conference hosted by the Middle East Institute in Washington. McKenzie spoke from his headquarters in Florida.

McKenzie’s skepticism comes as President Donald Trump focuses on an early troop exit that would fulfill his frequent promise to get the United States out of Afghanistan. Trump has said U.S. troops are acting as police in Afghanistan and should get out of a conflict that is now almost two decades old.

The Pandemic and Political Order

By Francis Fukuyama
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Major crises have major consequences, usually unforeseen. The Great Depression spurred isolationism, nationalism, fascism, and World War II—but also led to the New Deal, the rise of the United States as a global superpower, and eventually decolonization. The 9/11 attacks produced two failed American interventions, the rise of Iran, and new forms of Islamic radicalism. The 2008 financial crisis generated a surge in antiestablishment populism that replaced leaders across the globe. Future historians will trace comparably large effects to the current coronavirus pandemic; the challenge is figuring them out ahead of time.

It is already clear why some countries have done better than others in dealing with the crisis so far, and there is every reason to think those trends will continue. It is not a matter of regime type. Some democracies have performed well, but others have not, and the same is true for autocracies. The factors responsible for successful pandemic responses have been state capacity, social trust, and leadership. Countries with all three—a competent state apparatus, a government that citizens trust and listen to, and effective leaders—have performed impressively, limiting the damage they have suffered. Countries with dysfunctional states, polarized societies, or poor leadership have done badly, leaving their citizens and economies exposed and vulnerable. 

Powers, Norms, and Institutions: The Future of the Indo-Pacific from a Southeast Asia Perspective

Situated at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, Southeast Asia has, in recent years, become the bellwether for the region, including the future of democratic governance. External powers, including the United States and China, have ramped up engagement with Southeast Asia and now compete for influence in the region. Amid these geopolitical shifts, Southeast Asian perspectives on dynamics that will shape the future of the region more than ever before.

In late 2019, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conducted a survey of strategic elites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand as well as Fiji to understand how the region views trends related to power, norms, and institutions. In early 2020, CSIS conducted extensive analysis of the survey data and convened a workshop in Sydney, Australia, to further examine the results with leading experts from the countries surveyed, as well as Australia and the United States. This report presents key findings from the survey and workshop on the strategic landscape in Southeast Asia and the future of power and influence and challenges faced by the region.

China-US Military Confrontation in the South China Sea: Fact and Fiction

By Hu Bo

No one doubts that the military competition and frictions are real and serious between China and the United States in the South China Sea, when they have rivalrous intentions, tit-for-tat strategies, and daily operational confrontations. China is accused of coercing U.S. allies and partners, militarizing disputed features, and seeking regional hegemony, and the United States is considered to be playing the South China Sea card and containing China’s rise as a maritime power. In the context of overall intensified strategic competition between the two countries, the South China Sea is even less likely to be an exception.

But the question remains: how fierce will the competition be? When every day is filled with news of maritime standoffs between China and the United States, many may wonder, will China and the U.S. slip into military conflict?

Both sides have reasons to maintain and expand their military presence in the South China Sea. China is the largest littoral state of the South China Sea, and has important interests at stake: territorial sovereignty, jurisdictional waters, and sea lanes of communication. With China’s military modernization, it is natural that more and more military platforms are active in the area. Meanwhile the United States thinks highly of maritime predominance, freedom of navigation, and security commitments to regional states. Thus, since the end of World War II, the United States has maintained the most powerful military presence and executed a variety of complex military operations in the South China Sea.

After COVID-19, It’s Time for Washington to Embrace a Bolder Taiwan Strategy

By Craig Singleton
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After moving decisively to tighten its grip over Hong Kong, the Chinese government appears eager to ramp up its efforts to intimidate Taiwan. To that end, Beijing’s armed forces have conducted a series of provocative maneuvers around Taiwan and have signaled plans for a large-scale drill simulating the seizure of a strategic island under Taipei’s control.

While China’s actions do not portend a near-term invasion, they are driven, in part, by a sense of fear and embarrassment in Beijing, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cannot accept that Taipei’s democratically-elected government proved more adept at responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than minimize Beijing’s actions as an attempt to distract from the pandemic, the United States and its allies should embrace a bold diplomatic strategy and further knock China off-balance.

Since recognizing mainland China in 1979, the U.S. has carefully side-stepped cabinet-level meetings with Taiwanese leaders. To send an unmistakable signal to Beijing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should lead a senior bipartisan delegation to Taipei for meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen and her cabinet.

Even the Nicest Country in the World Doesn’t Like China


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrive at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, September 22, 2016. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)Beijing’s lack of transparency and veracity around its handling of the coronavirus is a factor in this steep decline in favorability.

Not long ago, Global News of Canada published an analysis on the important question: “Are Canadians really as nice as the world insists?” The article discusses the well-known stereotype from multiple vantage points, including the finding by researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University who even concluded that “tweets originating in Canada . . . tend to be kinder and gentler.”

More generally speaking, Canada is well-described as a tolerant, multi-cultural liberal democracy. That doesn’t require a lot of Twitter analysis. Like its neighbor to the south, Canada is a nation of immigrants. Unlike the United States though, Canada is on an immigration growth trend. Recent analysis in Forbes showed a 26 percent increase in legal immigration to Canada between 2015–2019, against a decline of 7 percent in roughly the same period for the U.S. According to government projections, the mother tongue of 1 in 3 Canadians will be a language other than English or French by 2031, up from 1 in 10 over the prior five decades.

Amid COVID-19, the US Needs to Rethink Its Approach to Host Nation Support Talks

By Jeffrey W. Hornung and Scott W. Harold

Why does the United States maintain a network of alliances in Asia? Recent authoritative U.S. policy documents including the 2017 National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, and the Department of State’s A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision, as well as the Congress’s 2018 Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, describe Japan and South Korea as America’s asymmetric advantages in maintaining regional peace and stability. Skeptics would argue these key American partners are merely free riders on America’s good will, worth defending only to the extent that the United States can squeeze money out of them to offset the costs of such protection. If allies are indeed valued partners in sustaining an order that has supported U.S. global interests and influence for over 70 years — as America’s communist adversaries in Beijing and Pyongyang clearly believe — then what expectations should the U.S. have of its allies in terms of their defense spending and contributions to hosting U.S. forces?

Such questions are critical to answer, particularly in a world grappling with COVID-19. For the past several months, the United States has been negotiating a Special Measures Agreement (SMA) with South Korea, a document that governs how much that country will contribute to the costs of hosting U.S. forces. Washington has had such agreements with Seoul since 1991; the latest one expired at the end of 2019 over disagreements on how much South Korea should contribute going forward. Another such agreement exists with Japan, governing that country’s host nation support for U.S. forces; negotiations over an updated SMA with Japan will be starting later this year. Yet the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected the environment in which such talks take place. It is clear that the disease has the potential to reshape the global balance of power for the post-pandemic world, and the way the United States handles the SMA talks with its allies will play a major part in defining the future of Indo-Pacific security and the role that the U.S. will play in it. Success in these talks, therefore, is critical.

EU-China trade and investment relations in challenging times


This study was prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA). The study is available on the European Parliament’s online database, ‘ThinkTank‘. Copyright remains with the European Parliament at all times. 

This report examines key aspects of the European Union-China economic relationship, including trade, investment and China’s key strategic project overseas, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We conclude that China is, and will continue to be, a major trade and investment partner for EU countries. In this context, it seems clear that regardless of the direction of the United States-China relationship, the EU needs to explore options for fruitful co-existence with China.

Trade continues to be the least problematic aspect of the EU-China economic relationship, although challenges need to be dealt with in a number of areas. There is hardly any EU-China trade in services, and the value added of Chinese exports and competition on third markets is increasing. As for investment, although EU companies have built up more foreign direct investment in China than the other way around, Chinese investment in Europe is growing and has focused strongly on technology. This raises the question of whether the EU should fear losing its technological edge, especially when Chinese state-owned companies might distort competition, not only in China, but also overseas through acquisitions.


by Christopher A. McNally
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With both the US and China facing a long economic slowdown, the bilateral relationship between the globe's two largest economies faces massive challenges. Making matters worse, Washington and Beijing have attempted to divert domestic attention away from their own substantial shortcomings by blaming each other. Given the economic uncertainty, each side has limited leverage to force the other into making concessions. Harsh rhetoric only serves to inflame tensions at the worst possible time. For better or worse, the US and China are locked in a messy economic marriage. A divorce at this time would exact an enormous cost in an already weakened economy.

Taiwan-Marshall Islands Relations: Against the Tide

Larissa Stünkel and Julian Tucker
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The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is among a handful of countries to still recognize the Republic of China (ROC), one of four in the South Pacific. Two of its regional neighbors, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, severed ties with the ROC in favor of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) just days apart in September 2019, raising questions over whether the Marshall Islands might be tempted to follow suit. This was especially acute as the PRC and ROC have been stepping up their tug of war in the region. While the Marshallese government was signing a cultural cooperation agreement with the Taiwanese Council of Indigenous Peoples, local business leaders and the mayor of Rongelap atoll were seeking to establish a “Special Administrative Zone” to attract investments from mainland China.

Spread out over a vast territory the Marshall Islands consist of over 1,100 islands and islets in the South Pacific. While the country’s land area is miniscule, covering only about 180 square kilometers, its sea space covers 1,9 million square kilometers, an area roughly the same size as Mongolia. Its population is comparatively small, just under 60,000 people, but like many South Pacific countries the Marshall Islands is hard-pressed to provide essential services and employment, meaning that many islanders move abroad for work, education, and health care.

The National People’s Congress 2020: The Hong Kong National Security Law and China’s Enhanced Presence

Eyal Propper
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The National Security in Hong Kong Law, adopted recently at the annual gathering of the Two Sessions ("Lianghui") of the People’s Congress in China, reflects Beijing’s interest in preserving Chinese sovereignty in face of “concerns regarding foreign intervention” in territories that are defined as a “core interest.” After the law’s enactment, the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada issued a joint statement expressing deep concern regarding the legislation. Still, their response was relatively moderate and included no practical aspects. President Donald Trump stated that the United States will no longer recognize Hong Kong’s status of a special international trade zone. The law’s significance goes beyond the context of Hong Kong alone; it is a clear message that China will take all measures it deems necessary to maintain stability, unity, and Chinese sovereignty. For Israel, Hong Kong still constitutes a bridge for trade with Asia, as well as an additional commercial gate of entry into China. Thus far, Israel has not made a public statement regarding the disturbances in Hong Kong, and it is advised to continue this reticence.

The annual gathering in Beijing of the Two Sessions ("Lianghui") of the People’s Congress was attended by thousands of representatives from around China and concluded on May 28, 2020. The assembly was postponed from its regular date in early March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its convening constituted a declarative measure by the Chinese government indicating the return to a "new routine." Discussions were conducted amidst concerns regarding a second wave of infection throughout China, deep uncertainty regarding the pandemic’s impact on the economy and society, the widening rupture in relations with the United States, and in particular, a new and significant round of demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong against the intensification of China’s control over the special autonomous region.

Just Another Paper Tiger? Chinese Perspectives on the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy

By Joel Wuthnow 

Key Points

Chinese officials have responded to the U.S. “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy through a regional counternarrative that raises doubts about the motives and sustainability of U.S. leadership in Asia while presenting China as a partner of choice.

Chinese analysts perceive the Indo-Pacific strategy as a form of containment based on stronger U.S. relations with Japan, India, and Australia. They assess that, if left unchecked, the strategy will reduce China’s influence and increase regional tensions.

Chinese observers identify weak regional support as the primary constraint on U.S. strategy in Asia and advocate responding by improving China’s own relations throughout the neighborhood.

U.S. messaging needs to offer assurances of U.S. commitments and evidence of regional contributions. These messages should be regularly reinforced in regional gatherings, even those hosted by China.

Washington needs to maintain key relationships in the region but need not respond in kind to every Chinese overture. The strategy may also create new opportunities to negotiate with China on certain issues from a position of strength.

Seven reasons why President Erdogan looks vulnerable

The Turkish leader is meeting frustrating setbacks both at home and abroad DAVID GARDNER Add to myFT President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s confident display of hard power in Libya masks potential weaknesses © Adem Altan/AFP Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save David Gardner JUNE 11 2020 102 Print this page Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s pugnacious president, would appear to be on a roll, at least abroad. The country’s military intervention in Libya has just turned the tide of the civil war, forcing the retreat of Khalifa Haftar, the warlord backed by Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France. Mr Erdogan will particularly savour the setback to the Arab trio, with whom he has been in escalating conflict since the Arab spring rebellions of 2011 because of Ankara’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and from 2017 because of Turkey’s backing for Qatar after they blockaded the maverick Gulf emirate. 

Turkey’s relationship with Russia, an alliance of convenience over the past few years based on managing their respective interests in Syria, has now deteriorated. In February, their forces and proxies clashed spectacularly in north-west Syria but drew back from the brink. Russian president Vladimir Putin seems to have underestimated Mr Erdogan’s resolve to keep up pressure on Syrian Kurdish separatists across Turkey’s border and prevent a new wave of Syrian refugees fleeing Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, backed by Russia’s air force. “We were absolutely convinced Erdogan was bluffing”, a Russian minister told a senior European diplomat shortly afterwards. The Turkish strongman, in power now for almost 18 years, was not bluffing — in Syria or in Libya. But is this really a position of Turkish strength? Moscow and Ankara are always on the lookout for mutually advantageous diplomatic solutions or, at least, veneers for their use of force. Over the past decade they have emerged as regional powers in the Middle East, outshining traditional western power-brokers: 

Will Insurance Companies Cover All Coronavirus Testing?

by Mary Rose Corkery

Although COVID-19 testing is becoming more readily available, some health care insurers aren’t quick to cover the cost of precautionary testing.

United Healthcare and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City, Mississippi and South Carolina will cover costs for testing if ordered by a health care provider or physician, Axios reported Wednesday. Typically the patients must show symptoms for the testing to be deemed medically necessary.

President Donald Trump mobilized a plan for coronavirus testing, and state-level testing became more available after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease a “global health emergency.”

Aetna, the CVS-owned health care provider, covered costs for “all diagnostic testing” for “any approved testing facility,” Axios continued, citing Aetna’s website. Since CVS owns Aetna, the conditions vary in “select states,” Aetna noted.

The CVS-owned provider tweeted March 6 that the policy was “effective immediately.”

Trump’s Sudden and Dangerous Troop Withdrawal From Germany

By Philip H. Gordon

President Donald J. Trump’s order to withdraw nearly ten thousand U.S. troops from Germany betrays a close ally, undermines confidence in Washington, and makes Europe and the United States less safe.

Why has the Trump administration ordered the drawdown of about one-third of U.S. troops based in Germany? 

The administration has not yet provided its rationale, but President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly complained about North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies—including Germany—not paying what he considers to be their fair share for European defense. The recently departed U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who was reportedly a driving force behind the move, argued on Twitter last year that Americans don’t understand “why Germany isn’t meeting its NATO obligations & helping the West.” The decision to cap the U.S. troop presence in Germany at twenty-five thousand—a reduction from around thirty-five thousand today—seems to be part of Trump’s America First agenda, designed to send a message about the limit of what Americans are prepared to spend to defend foreign borders and, more broadly, uphold world order. 

On the Sidelines: Trump Gives Up the WHO—and Makes America Weaker

On May 29, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would leave the World Health Organization (WHO), a move that will further erode American influence with the organization. The decision also will further empower China, undermining the supposed reason for the American action, and is yet another example of his unpredictable behavior over the past four years. Trump has shown his affinity for “big” moments that undermine American interests at home and abroad.

The speech lambasted the Chinese government’s actions against Hong Kong and malfeasance and cover-up of COVID-19. As has been the case since his election, Trump obfuscated facts and the truth to push aside blame and personal responsibility. The speech itself has largely already been forgotten due to his incitement of violence against protestors over the weekend, but it is a perfect case study for how he has approached foreign policy since taking office. The speech addressed legitimate concerns about the activities and behavior of the Chinese government internationally, domestically, and in Hong Kong—and even the behavior of the WHO; however, his meshing truth with lies and conspiracies calls into question how such steps will be implemented and whether or not the international community will support his moves.

America in Crisis

Marvin C. Ott

It is a truism in international affairs that we live in an era of rapid, often destabilizing, change. That said, the global situation just a few months ago actually looked relatively stable and predictable. A lot that was going on was not pretty. The war in Afghanistan kept grinding on with Afghans dying by the thousands. The bloodletting in Syria and Yemen was, if anything, even worse. Other international disputes including Iran and Israel/Palestine remained acrimonious and bitter, but seemed to be going nowhere. The Trump administration had periodically pronounced a breakthrough regarding one of our most enduring disputes—with North Korea—thanks to the President Donald Trump’s “excellent” relationship with that country’s murderous dictator. However, by the end of last year, it was evident that a Korean peace agreement was a pipe dream. U.S.-China relations blew hot and cold. Here, too, the White House tied U.S. relations to Trump’s rapport with a foreign leader, Xi Jinping. One minute, the White House was touting the President’s “wonderful” relationship with Xi and the prospect of the “greatest trade deal in history” with China. The next, we were condemning China’s hostile efforts to steal U.S. technology. In early 2019, the two countries seemed to have settled into a pattern as “frenemies”—closely linked economically whether we liked it or not.

U.S. relations with Europe and NATO were crudely devalued by the White House, but the Europeans were preoccupied with their own issues involving Brexit and the overall cohesion of the European Union. U.S. relations with Russia had settled into a peculiar twilight zone. Mr. Trump continued to give every indication that he was besotted with Russia generally and with Vladimir Putin in particular. But Trump couldn’t act on his desire to cater to Putin because U.S. sanctions on Russia due to its aggression in Ukraine were set in law. So, relations between Washington and Moscow remained locked into a bizarre state—politically cordial and substantively hostile. Economically, the picture was far brighter. Throughout 2019, the U.S. grew briskly, and unemployment hit historic lows. By the last quarter, growth was beginning to slow, but most economists agreed that the U.S. and the world would avoid a recession through 2020-21. There were concerns, notably an almost obscene wealth gap between rich and poor and spiraling federal debt. But on the whole, it was steady-as-you-go.

Beyond the Digital Tax: The Challenges of the EU's Scramble for Technological Sovereignty

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how critical digital platforms are to the functioning of our economy. Big Tech companies are likely going to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 emergency, due to the massive surge in demand for public, retail and corporate digital services. This megatrend has consolidated the dominant market position of digital multinationals – almost all of them from the US – in the EU markets, raising critical questions ranging from the EU’s ambition for technological sovereignty to the much more urgent issue of how Big Tech’s profits should be taxed. The “digital tax” issue – already the source of a lively international debate before COVID-19 – has gained in prominence as it would be an important instrument for governments in dire need of raising money to finance the post-pandemic economic recovery. With the digital tax included the Next Generation EU recovery fund presented by the European Commission, the EU is expected to further consolidate its global leadership in tech regulations. However, European regulatory activism could also raise barriers to transatlantic trade and investments, thus producing new tensions with the US.

Taiwan-Japan (Unofficial) Relations: In a Sea of Troubles

Niklas Swanström and Lea Heck
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Taiwan (The Republic of China, ROC) and Japan have had a long and vacillating history of engagement mostly consisting of peaceful periods of cooperation yet beset by the Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan from 1895-1945 as well as the atrocities committed during the Second World War. The Taiwan-Japan relationship is a complex one unequivocally entwined with China (The People’s Republic of China, PRC), a country which has been trying to drive a wedge between them. Overall Taiwan-Japan relations remain positive, although they are both constrained by a reluctance to provoke China, which arguably is the single most important external actor in the bilateral relationship. This paper aims to take a closer look at the history of the bilateral and trilateral relations between the states mentioned and to examine in which way China has, and will continue to, influence relations between Taiwan and Japan.

With the reelection of Tsai Ing-wen in 2020, Taipei has taken another step towards a more distanced relationship to the Mainland. The perception of Chinese efforts to undermine the rights provided to Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” principle during the demonstrations against the extradition legislation, spurred anti-Chinese sentiments in Taiwan and translated into increased popular support for Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Taiwanese companies have already begun a gradual exodus from China and have started to reallocate their financial capital towards investments in Southeast Asia, Japan and elsewhere. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this process and Taiwan is increasing its engagement with states outside of Chinas influence, not least Japan.

ICIT Member Perspective – Protecting America’s Defense Industrial Advantages in Cyberspace

In continued support of our mission to cultivate a cybersecurity renaissance that will improve the resiliency of our nation’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors, defend our democratic institutions, and empower generations of cybersecurity leaders, ICIT asked some of the brightest minds in national security, cybersecurity, and technology to author essays communicating their perspective. Our goal is to share their knowledge and insights with our community to shed light on solutions to the technology, policy, and human challenges facing the cybersecurity community. Our hope is that their words will motivate, educate, and inspire you to take on the challenges facing your organizations.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and in no way reflect the official position of the United States Government, Department of Defense, or the Navy.

Essay Authored by Travis D. Howard, CISSP

America’s industrial base is under siege from adversaries who would undermine our military superiority while advancing their own with our technology. Perhaps more alarming is that this cyber threat is not exclusive to critical infrastructure; according to a 2019 article in Fortune, a CNBC poll found that one in five American corporations were the victim of intellectual property theft by China. This represents an existential threat to America’s economic prosperity from another major world power, yet there are no military forces engaged in physical combat. Military strategists such as Sun-Tzu explain how this deceptive warfare is being used against the United States: “display profits to entice them; create disorder and take them.”

Meet the Future Tech the U.S. Army Wants to Use for Its Soldiers

by Kris Osborn

What if AI-enabled algorithms could process sensor data for Army infantry in a matter of seconds, alerting them of targets, enemy movements and relevant moments from drone feeds? Perhaps computer programs could perform real-time analytics on how combat variables compare with prior instances, giving infantry engaged in a firefight a quick range of ideal options for attack? What if a computer program can instantly offer a method of approach that is best for a specific scenario, upon analyzing a wide array of specific quantifiable circumstances? 

AI-empowered programs are increasingly progressing with applications able to analyze terrain, weather, sensor data regarding enemy movements, targeting options and attack maneuvers by comparing them against a vast database to make instant calculations. 

Operating within the strategic context of viewing a “soldier as a system,” the Army is now working with industry to engineer a data-integrated heads-up display to present organized combat information to soldiers in near real time. 

“We have created algorithms that can recognize a human in a video feed and recognize the action they are taking. For example, we could identify someone who is raising a weapon, or determine whether someone is planting an IED or merely digging a hole,” Joe Dillon, Vice President of Soldier Solutions, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Artificial Intelligence Is Making The Army's Armored Vehicles Deadlier Than Ever

by Kris Osborn

Here's What You Need To Remember: The Army and industry are currently developing algorithms to better enable manned-unmanned teaming among combat vehicles. The idea is to have a “robotic wingman,” operating in tandem with armored combat vehicles, able to test enemy defenses, find targets, conduct ISR, carry weapons and ammunition or even attack enemies.

The Army is engineering new AI-enabled Hostile Fire Detection sensors for its fleet of armored combat vehicles to identify, track and target incoming enemy small arms fire.

Even if the enemy rounds being fired are from small arms fire and not necessarily an urgent or immediate threat to heavily armored combat vehicles such as an Abrams, Stryker or Bradley, there is naturally great value in quickly finding the location of incoming enemy small arms attacks, Army weapons developers explain.

There are a range of sensors now being explored by Army developers; infrared sensors, for example, are designed to identify the “heat” signature emerging from enemy fire and, over the years, the Army has also used focal plane array detection technology as well as acoustic sensors.

How Blockchain Technology Can Help Fight Climate Change

by Bernhard Reinsberg

The world has failed to halt global warming. Four years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, most experts predict global warming will exceed the agreed thresholds, with disastrous consequences. As much as the world faces a climate crisis, it also faces a climate governance crisis: we know what must be done to halt climate change but we do not know yet how to get there.

New mechanisms are evidently needed. Blockchain is one technology that has the potential to boost global cooperation for climate action, as I explore in new research. Blockchain is a data structure that stores information as a series of cryptographically linked blocks, which are distributed simultaneously to all participants in a network. The information stored on a blockchain is tamper-resistant. This is useful for generating a single source of truth for any kind of information.

Blockchain technology provides the building blocks for what are known as decentralised autonomous organisations, which have been discussed (and criticised) as potential alternative governance mechanisms at the national level. But the benefits of such a decentralised organisation at the international level would be much higher.

How AI and Networked Drones Will Help America Wage Future Wars

by Kris Osborn

As the Army looks toward future warfare scenarios, it is increasingly emphasizing the need to fully network air and ground drones to one another. This is vital as a way to fully defend advancing armored units in war and to pursue new applications of Combined Arms Maneuver. 

Much of this hinges upon taking new steps with automation and AI systems to not only connect manned vehicles with air and ground drones but also extend command and control options by networking drones-to-drones in combat autonomously. Much of the work is taking place with Army Futures Command’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which is working closely with Carnegie Mellon University. 

“Up at CMU they are working on algorithms to link ground and air vehicles—and it becomes not manned-unmanned teaming but unmanned-unmanned teaming. Go out in this grid square and go identify this threat, so from a ground and air perspective, those vehicles talk to each other. We are collecting training data to train our algorithms,” General John Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command, told TNI in an interview.