20 June 2020

Locust Invasion in India

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

It has been a double whammy. As the nation is reeling under the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, India has to fight another menace: locust invasion. Massive swarms of desert locusts have devoured crops across seven states of western and central India including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The locust population might grow 400 times larger by end June 2020 and spread to new areas without action. It would be disrupting food supply, upending livelihoods and require considerable resources to address. India is facing its worst desert locust invasion in nearly 30 years.

China’s Indian Ocean ambitions

Joshua T. White

China has significantly expanded its engagements in the Indian Ocean region over the past three decades, raising fears among American and Indian strategists that its growing naval presence, together with its use of so-called “debt-trap diplomacy,” might provide it with meaningful military advantages far from its shores.

Although China’s ultimate aims in the Indian Ocean remain somewhat ambiguous, it is clear that the Chinese leadership is actively pursuing capabilities that would allow it to undertake a range of military missions in the region. This paper explores five such mission objectives — ranging from relatively “benign” activities to those that would be more alarming to U.S. and Indian policy planners — and describes the kinds of defense and economic investments that China would require to carry them out. These objectives are: 1) conduct non-combat activities focused on protecting Chinese citizens and investments, and bolstering China’s soft power influence; 2) undertake counterterrorism activities, unilaterally or with partners, against organizations that threaten China; 3) collect intelligence in support of operational requirements, and against key adversaries; 4) support efforts aimed at coercive diplomacy toward small countries in the region; and 5) enable effective operations in a conflict environment, namely the ability to deter, mitigate, or terminate a state-sponsored interdiction of trade bound for China, and to meaningfully hold at risk U.S. or Indian assets in the event of a wider conflict.

Why Are India and China Fighting?

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In a major setback to recent measures to de-escalate tensions, India and China engaged in a deadly skirmish along their border on Monday night. While details of the clash are still emerging, the incident marks the first combat deaths in the area since 1975.

An Indian Army statement acknowledged the death of an officer and two soldiers, with subsequent reports attributed to officials confirming 17 other soldiers succumbed to injuries—reports that Foreign Policy has not independently verified. Both sides confirm that Chinese soldiers were also killed, but the number is unknown. (China is traditionally reluctant to report casualty figures, and it erases some clashes from official history.) Critically, neither side is reported so far to have fired actual weapons, since both Chinese and Indian patrols in the area routinely go unarmed in order to avoid possible escalation; the deaths may have resulted from fistfights and possibly the use of rocks and iron rods. It’s also possible, given the extreme heights involved—the fighting took place in Ladakh, literally “the land of high passes”—that some of those killed died due to falls.

What is the origin of the conflict?

Despite their early friendship in the 1950s, relations between India and China rapidly degenerated over the unresolved state of their Himalayan border. The border lines, largely set by British surveyors, are unclear and heavily disputed—as was the status of Himalayan kingdoms such as Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Nepal. That led to a short war in 1962, won by China. China also backs Pakistan in its own disputes with India, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative has stirred Indian fears, especially the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of large infrastructure projects.

Don’t Believe the China Hype


The coronavirus pandemic seems to cement the notion that China is replacing the United States as the world’s premier economic superpower.

Should we have expected anything else? After all, as the conventional wisdom goes, the Chinese make everything; Americans just pack the stuff into Amazon boxes. Beijing plays the long game; we can’t think beyond the next election or quarterly earnings report. China cracked down hard to grapple with the coronavirus and now appears to be on the mend; the U.S. is still languishing, as the death toll mounts and anti-racism protests grip the country.

Well, maybe not: With China, things aren’t always what they seem. Many apparent Chinese strengths—including education, manufacturing, and technology—aren’t quite as strong as many Americans believe. And neither are China’s chances of surpassing the U.S., something policy makers and pundits in Washington should keep in mind as they fret over Beijing’s ostensibly growing might.

The US Wants to Intimidate China with Hypersonics, Once It Solves the Physics


A set of small, uninhabited Pacific islands, very close to China, may be the destination of some of America’s most sophisticated and controversial future weapons: hypersonic missiles that remain nimble even at five times the speed of sound. On Friday, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the still-in-development weapons would likely change the future of war.

The Army — along with the Air Force, Navy, and Missile Defense Agency — has been advancing work on a variety of hypersonic capabilities. The Army expects to begin testing aspects of its Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon this year, with full flight testing expected in 2023.

Speaking at a Brookings Institution event, McCarthy said hypersonics would be key to a new kind of multi-domain task force that he was rolling out. These highly mobile units will be deployed to attack enemies at long ranges with electronic warfare, cyber attacks, and long-range munitions such as hypersonic missiles. He said the new units could be deployed to the Senkaku or Ryukyu island chains.

“You could put it down somewhere in the South China Sea” to help nullify Chinese anti-access/area denial capabilities: defenses to keep U.S. forces out of specific areas, he said.

China Has Increasing Sway in US Science, JASON Report Says

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Alarmed about how the Chinese government is chilling the political speech of athletes like LeBron James? Wait until Beijing starts influencing U.S. scientists. A new report from the Defense Department’s JASON research group says U.S. scientific research can be threatened when Chinese nationals who come to the United States for post-graduate degrees in science and technology return home and are pressed to cooperate with China’s intelligence and security services.

The report, out this month, looked at research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. It found that “actions from Chinese government and its institutions…are not in accord with U.S. values of science ethics.” Specifically, the report says that the Chinese government just doesn’t get something essential about the way scientific research is done in the United States and in the West: that conflicts of interest have to be spelled out very clearly. In the case of the Chinese students, it’s a legal obligation to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party’s security and intelligence services, as laid out in the 2017 National Intelligence Law.

It’s the same law that allows Chinese authorities to obtain any and all information Huawei has on customers, as well as data on technical vulnerabilities in Huawei products. The law even warns citizens against telling others that they have helped the government. “Many U.S. citizens would view this law as particularly vexatious and some, perhaps many, would refuse to comply,” the report says.

US Reliance on China Is a ‘Hard Problem’ for AI Efforts, Commission Says


But despite concerns, Eric Schmidt and Bob Work warn that decoupling from China 'will hurt the United States.'

The importance of artificial intelligence to national security is a rare area of consensus between America’s political right and left, and between Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. But disagreement is emerging around the issue of tech talent and the large number of Chinese students studying in the United States and getting jobs in the tech industry. 

That finding and more were unveiled Monday by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former Defense Deputy Secretary Bob Work in a new report for Congress. Since March, their National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has been looking at how the U.S. can retain an edge over China and other AI-seeking rivals. 

The good news out of the report is that policy-makers and defense leaders are addressing the bad news, which is that the United States’s position of tech leadership in AI is dissolving rapidly, said Work and Schmidt. The government still isn’t spending enough on AI research and development, despite some recent increases, and there is too much red tape around the Defense Department, they tell lawmakers. The Defense Department currently has about 600 artificial intelligence projects and is working to unite them under the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The report applauds many of the military’s small, pathfinding projects but says the department has yet to scale them up successfully. In other words, Schmidt and Work’s key concerns are ones with which most Defense Department leaders and politicians would agree. 

China’s New Aircraft Carrier Disappears

H I Sutton
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China is building a new large aircraft carrier, the Type-003 Class. The ship will be a closer equivalent of the U.S. Navy’s carriers than the two ships already in service with the Chinese Navy. Open-source intelligence analysts have recently spotted something surprising however. The unfinished vessel has disappeared from its construction site in Shanghai. Based on analysis of publicly available satellite imagery we can determine that it was moved between May 25 and May 28.

Robot vs. Robot War? Now China Has Semi-Autonomous Fighting Ground Robots

by Kris Osborn

The Chinese Army is preparing to deploy small, new, tracked war-robots armed with machine guns, night vision, missile loaders and camera sensors to conduct attacks while leaving manned systems at safer stand-off distances. 

Citing a China Central Television segment on the robots, People’s Online Daily reports that the “thigh-high robot looks like a small assault vehicle. Target practice results showed the robot has acceptable accuracy.” 

While the report stresses that the robot will be controlled or operated by human decision-makers, it is not clear if the robot is merely remote-controlled or if it operates with some measure of autonomy. As a small tracked vehicle, the robot is built to traverse rugged or uneven terrain and operate as a forward-positioned weapons “node” for ground attacks.

The U.S. military has long-been operating combat robots, ranging from teleoperated sensors and IED-detonators to small, semi-autonomous unmanned systems programmed to respond to specific cues or sensor input. At the same time, the U.S. Army’s drones are increasingly capable of much greater levels of autonomy and, according to its current technological modernization strategy, expects to operate most of its combat formations with robotic systems functioning alongside or in tandem with manned platforms. Deploying forward-positioned command and control nodes, weapons and supply transporters, reconnaissance-oriented robots and even armed attack unmanned platforms are all part of the Army’s modernization calculus. 

China’s Health Silk Road Is a Dead-End Street

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With little fanfare, the National People’s Congress—the annual convening of China’s top legislature and the country’s premier political event—rubber-stamped a $1.4 trillion infrastructure six-year spending plan on May 28, with fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks as its backbone. Undeterred by the devastation that the pandemic has wrought on China and countries globally, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stepped up with full force—by way of its tech champions—with a vision of what a post-pandemic world powered by 5G could look like.

On Jan. 25, as China was still reeling from COVID-19, China Mobile launched 5G base stations to provide the world a high-definition live broadcast of the construction of the Huoshenshan hospitals at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan. It was an act of deft public diplomacy, as Chinese-state media platforms such as People’s Daily telegraphed the content overseas. The livestream garnered more than 490 million views online, as many marveled at the hospital almost completely built in just 10 days.

Huoshenshan hospital staff then used 5G networks to connect front-line health care workers and patients to medical experts in Beijing’s remote consultation platforms, while 5G-enabled robots took patients’ vitals to minimize human contact. Beyond the walls of the hospital, an army of hundreds of driverless vehicles sanitized the streets of Wuhan. Meanwhile, 5G-powered drones dispatched face masks in Beijing. While it is unclear the extent to which these technologies actually aided the government’s response to the crisis, the resulting visuals were compelling and bolstered a narrative of Chinese technological leadership.

The Art of War: How Concerns About Chinese Drones Could Propel the Commercial Drone Industry to New Heights

*The views and opinions in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those the DOD, do not constitute endorsement of any organization mentioned herein and are not intended to influence the action of federal agencies or their employees.

Editor’s Note: Our recent webinar saw numerous audience questions come in that were focused on how United States-based operators and organizations can move forward with the adoption of foreign-made drone technology in light of heightened security concerns. To explore these issues and indirectly answer these questions, we reached out to three experts for their perspective. Below is an “American drone industry” perspective. You can also read a “user” perspective as well as a “foreign-made drone manufacturer” perspective that are designed to provide essential context around how operators and organizations can consider such things as they move forward with drone adoption in 2020 and beyond.

Over the past several years, the heat has been on Chinese drone manufacturing giant Da Jiang Innovations (DJI). Numerous U.S. government agencies have instituted policy bans on DJI and Chinese drone purchases and use including the Departments of Defense (DoD), Department of Justice (DoJ), Interior (DoI), and presumably Homeland Security (DHS), who has been issuing warnings to others over the past year. Add to this a draft Executive Order that’s purportedly making its rounds in D.C. Meanwhile, Congress continues to mount its own offensive to ban Chinese drones. Some have decried these efforts as unwarranted political maneuvers that will kill public safety drone programs and in turn, the commercial drone industry. How legitimate are these concerns, and do they actually represent an opportunity in disguise for the market?

U.S.-China Tensions and Pandemic Fallout Collide in the Race to Lead the WTO

Kimberly Ann Elliott 

The global, rules-based trading system that the United States helped to create after World War II is in deep trouble. President Donald Trump had already spent the past three years sparking trade wars and undermining the World Trade Organization. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, hammering economies and sharply reducing trade flows worldwide. Panicked governments, including in Washington, have imposed export restrictions on critical medical supplies and, in some cases, food. To make things even worse, the White House has blocked the normal process for settling trade disputes, just when it is needed most.

Because of the concerns about hosting large events while the novel coronavirus is still spreading, the WTO in April cancelled its biennial ministerial conference scheduled for this month. It is where members typically make important decisions and set the agenda for the next two years. In a further disruption, in May, the WTO’s director-general, Roberto Azevedo of Brazil, announced that he would be leaving his post at the end of August, cutting his second term short by a year. ..

Bias busters: War games? Here’s what they’re good for

By Hugh Courtney, Tim Koller, and Dan Lovallo

Despite their best intentions, executives fall prey to cognitive and organizational biases that get in the way of good decision making. In this series, we highlight some of them and offer a few effective ways to address them.

There’s usually a steep price to pay when you fail to anticipate competitors’ actions and reactions, or who the competitors even are. France, for instance, spent ten years and billions of francs to erect a collection of concrete forts, obstacles, and weapons installations—called the Maginot Line—to stop German forces from invading with tanks. But French military leaders didn’t anticipate that, in the period between World War I and World War II, Germany would change course and adopt a blitzkrieg strategy, increasing its use of air strikes and invading through neutral countries like Belgium. French out­posts and citizens were left open to attack (exhibit).

The fate of a nation was not at stake, but a maker of medical equipment similarly faltered because of competitive blind spots. It was first to market in the 1970s with groundbreaking computed-tomography (CT) scanning technology, but it didn’t anticipate how many other innovators would enter the market, find new uses for its technology, and build high-level sales and product-marketing capabilities around the applications. The medical-equipment manufacturer eventually ended up exiting the business because it couldn’t keep up with the specialized competitors.1

War on Autopilot? It Will Be Harder Than the Pentagon Thinks


MCLEAN, Virginia — Everything is new about Northrop Grumman’s attempt to help the military link everything it can on the battlefield. One day, as planners imagine it, commanders will be able to do things like send autonomous drones into battle, change attack plans midcourse, and find other ways to remove humans and their limitations from decision chains that increasingly seem to require quantum speed. Northrop’s Innovation Center in McLean, Virginia, looks so new it could have sprung up in a simulation. Its Washington metro rail stop doesn’t even appear on many maps yet.

Northrop is hardly alone. Over the last few months, various weapons makers have begun showing off all sorts of capabilities to reporters, while military officials detail their own efforts to link up jets, tanks, ships, and soldiers. As they describe it, it’s a technological race to out-automate America’s potential adversaries. 

But real questions remain about the Pentagon’s re-imagining of networked warfare. Will it ever become more than glitzy simulations? And have military leaders thought through the implications if it does?

The Pentagon Will Use AI to Predict Panic Buying, COVID-19 Hotspots


The coronavirus pandemic has revealed that “just-in-time” supply lines don’t always operate as they should. Fortune 500 companies use predictive analytics to improve their ability to deal with the unexpected — and now so do planners with U.S. Northern Command. 

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, or JAIC, has built a prototype AI tool that uses a wide variety of data streams to predict COVID-19 hotspots and related logistics and supply-chain problems. “You have to be looking a little in the future,” said Nand Mulchandani, chief technical officer at the JAIC. 

Dubbed Salus, for the Roman goddess of health and well-being, the tool can work on a scale as wide as the entire nation but can also drill down on specific zip codes and, in some cases, individual stores, said Mulchandani.

Its initial deployment interacts with the information systems of Northern Command and the U.S. National Guard, which are supporting FEMA’s coronavirus response. These systems already have geolocation data that allow them to do mapping, resource allocation, etc.

Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance

Michael E. O’Hanlon

President Trump has approved a plan, hatched more by his ambassador in Berlin than by the Pentagon, to further downsize the United States military presence in Germany, according to some recent reports. The change was disturbingly motivated out of his spite at Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The 35,000 American troops in Germany would be reduced by 10,000, as some would come home and some would possibly head to Poland. While there is nothing wrong with increasing the modest United States military presence in Poland, this must not be at the expense of a strong foothold in Germany, where American forces stood in the hundreds of thousands amid the Cold War and have been reduced in the last few decades.

American forces in Germany are mostly Army and Air Force units. They include an armored brigade and a fighter wing, then logistics, supports, and headquarters capabilities that facilitate any massive reinforcements that could be needed to defend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in war. If there were a crisis in the Baltic region, the United States would be unlikely to send most of its forces directly to Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. These small exposed countries have only a few major ports and airfields between them, and are all dangerously close to Russian firepower.

Trump’s Vacuous West Point Address and the Revolt Against It

By Robin Wright
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President Trump has enraged the U.S. military—from top to bottom. On June 11th, an angry and mournful letter signed by hundreds of graduates of West Point—spanning from the Class of 1948 to the Class of 2019—was posted on Medium. It addressed the Class of 2020. It cited the current “tumultuous time” in America: more than a hundred thousand deaths from a new disease with no known cure, forty million newly unemployed people, and a nation “hurting from racial, social and human injustice” after the murder of George Floyd. “Desperation, fear, anxiety, anger and helplessness are the daily existence for too many Americans,” the signatories wrote. They warned bluntly of leaders who “betray public faith through deceitful rhetoric, quibbling, or the appearance of unethical behavior.” They reminded students of the cadet honor code, which dictates not to “lie, cheat, or steal,” and not to tolerate those who do. Without naming names, they cited their fellow-graduates who are now in senior government positions and failing to uphold their oath of office. (The Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, both graduated in the West Point Class of 1986.) They wrote that their appeal “is not about party; it is about principle.” And, after welcoming the newest class to the Army tradition of the “Long Gray Line,” they concluded, “Our lifetime commitment is to the enduring responsibility expressed in the Cadet Prayer: ‘to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.’ ”

The letter was timed to Trump’s commencement address at West Point, on Saturday, Donna Matturro McAleer, of the Class of 1987, told me. She was one of a half-dozen co-authors who talked for weeks—on social media and Zoom—about the many issues that intersected with Trump’s first graduation appearance at the hallowed institution, which is formally known as the U.S. Military Academy. The pandemic forced West Point to send cadets home in March; they completed the semester online. After Trump announced that he would speak at commencement, more than a thousand cadets had to return to campus two weeks beforehand to quarantine, so that the President, who has not worn masks in public and often does not observe social distancing, would be safe.

Europe Must Stand Up to China Before It’s Too Late

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Europe’s prosperity depends on an orderly system that ensures the global flow of goods, services, capital, and—however much populists object—labor. But 2020 is turning out to be a very bad year for the rules-based international order.

Europe finds itself caught between a Chinese leadership that believes in order but not rules and a U.S. president who believes in neither. The European Union cannot assume that either Xi Jinping or Donald Trump will leave the scene or change his views in the near future. It should begin planning for a world in which the United States is no longer the main bulwark of international order and European security and in which China’s economic power is backed up with global military might.

The EU needs to start the slow process of becoming a more independent international actor, able to stand up to its rivals and to defend its values and interests. So far, the EU’s response to China’s assertive authoritarianism has been too weak.
So far, the EU’s response to China’s assertive authoritarianism has been too weak. Its stance is to some extent understandable. After all, trade with China is vital to the European economy—and it will be hard to get 27 countries to agree on credible policies.

American ‘Battlespace’: The Military’s Reckoning With Racism and Politicization

Alice Friend, Daniel E. White 

The past two weeks may have marked a turning point in American civil-military relations. President Donald Trump threatened to deploy active-duty troops to subdue domestic political protests; the secretary of defense suggested governors should “dominate the battlespace” of major U.S. cities, only to later walk back his remarks; and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, the country’s highest-ranking military officer, appeared alongside Trump at a photo-op near the White House after National Guard troops had helped forcibly clear the area of protesters. Milley later apologized, saying he “should not have been there.”

Although these events may seem sui generis, they are consistent with two ongoing trends. First is the increasing involvement of the military in partisan politics over the past four decades. Second is the legacy of racism in the military itself. These trends openly collided recently, raising questions about whether and how the military will be involved in domestic political contests and debates in the years to come.

Recession or Depression

By George Friedman

In March, we declared our 2020 forecast null and void. The COVID-19 pandemic had essentially rendered it irrelevant. The question we posed in March was whether the disease and the steps taken to manage it would lead to a recession or a depression. A recession is a cyclical financial process inherent in the business cycle. It is inevitable, stabilizing and somewhat painful. A depression is entirely different. It includes myriad financial dimensions as well as an added element of physical economic damage. It can destroy businesses and dramatically increase unemployment and thus transform our very existence. I would encourage you to read Studs Terkel’s “Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression.” The greatest effect of a depression is on the existential reality of daily life. In that sense, we must all care about what this is.

The answer has not yet emerged – I will explain why below – but the numbers are ominous. We are close to completing the second quarter of 2020 and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is predicting a 48.5 percent decline in gross domestic product. Others are speaking of a 30-40 percent decline. Unemployment is at 15 percent and climbing. Even the more optimistic numbers are staggering not simply because of the size of the contraction but because of the speed with which it is happening. In the United Kingdom, the economy contracted by 20 percent in May alone. Germany expresses the most confidence: a 10 percent contraction in the second quarter. Most countries are expecting more modest declines in the third quarter, and then recovery in the fourth quarter.

Was the Coronavirus Outbreak an Intelligence Failure?


As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, it’s clear that having better information sooner, and acting more quickly on what was known, could have slowed the spread of the outbreak and saved more people’s lives. 

There may be finger-pointing about who should have done better – and President Donald Trump has already begun laying blame. But as a former naval intelligence officer who teaches and studies the U.S. intelligence community, Ibelieve it’s useful to look at the whole process of how information about diseases gets collected and processed, by the U.S. government but also by many other organizations around the world.

The U.S. intelligence community has for many years considered the possible threat of disease among the potential risks to national stability and security.

For instance, then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress in January 2019 that a large-scale outbreak “could lead to massive rates of deathand disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.” 

Toward a War With Fewer Radio Calls

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A recent Air Force test that data-linked an F-35 and an F-22 promises to move and combine data automatically.

The biggest change in the way the United States wages war over the next decade may be a lot more action and a lot fewer radio calls. A recent test that connected the computers of two stealthy Air Force aircraft — an F-22 Raptor and an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — allowed them to share data automatically, so that their pilots can spend less time talking to each other and more time assessing the data and acting on it. 

It’s part of a plan to digitally stitch together virtually everything on the battlefield, allowing data to move quickly and seamlessly between jets, drones, ships and soldiers via a massive interconnected digital architecture called the Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS.

The 5th-generation fighters transferred only a small amount of data in the December test, which was conducted with U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, William Roper, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics, told reporters on Tuesday. But Roper said the test nonetheless marks a milestone in a multi-year transformation.

What Big Tech Wants Out of the Pandemic

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Long before the coronavirus pandemic, the tech industry yearned to prove its indispensability to the world. Its executives liked to describe their companies as “utilities.” They came by their self-aggrandizement honestly: The founding fathers of Big Tech really did view their creations as essential, and essentially good.

In recent years, however, our infatuation with these creations has begun to curdle. Many Americans have come to view them as wellsprings of disinformation, outrage, and manipulation—and have noticed that the most profitable companies in human history haven’t always lived by the idealism of their slogans.

Now an opportunity for the tech companies to affirm their old sense of purpose has arisen. In the midst of the pandemic, Google Meet has become a delivery mechanism for school. AmazonFresh has made it possible to shop for groceries without braving the supermarket.

The government has flailed in its response to the pandemic, and Big Tech has presented itself as a beneficent friend, willing to lend a competent hand. As Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, wrote in April, “The challenges we face demand an unprecedented alliance between business and government.”

DoD ‘Agile’ Software Development Still Too Slow: GAO


Soldiers use their IVAS goggles to view replays and analysis of a training exercise. IVAS is one of a handful of weapons programs GAO says are using private-sector best practices for agile software development.

WASHNGTON: As the Pentagon struggles to catch up to Silicon Valley, top officials have loudly embraced the private-sector software development strategy known as “agile.” But in the GAO’s annual survey of 42 major weapons programs, while 22 claimed to be using agile methods, only six actually met the private-sector standard of delivering software updates to users every six weeks — at most.

While GAO didn’t publish this data for all programs, we were able to find it for 10 of them. Of those, just three programs – one of them since cancelled – met the six-month timeline. The other seven had update cycles ranging from three months to more than a year.

Experts Decry Lax Rules For 5G Sat Networks

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WASHINGTON: As satellite operators scramble to join the 5G revolution, there is growing concern that weakness in US regulatory standards for cybersecurity could mean commercial networks could be full of holes for hackers to exploit.

DoD currently requires that all satellite operators who sign contracts encrypt their data links to ground stations using NSA-approved methods.

But as the US military looks for increased bandwidth to support its vision for a 5G-wired force to underpin global All-Domain Operations, it may find itself faced with having to rely — at least in the near-term — on providers of space-based Internet connectivity who are not practicing good cyber hygiene.

“Many satellites run on Linux and communicate over commonly hacked channels, including VHF, UHF and S-band. Some satellite communications transmissions are encrypted, some are not. This lack of security is leaving the door wide open for potential satellite attack. We’re developing this perfect storm of IoT devices in space with little thought for security and potentially disastrous consequences,” Ray Petty vice president of software firm Wind River Systems, said.