17 July 2020

Cyber Wargame - An Indian Scenario

Immediately after the first gulf war in the early 1990’s the theories of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Information Warfare were being studied all over the world as a new kind of warfare. During that time, a course on Information Warfare was conducted at the National Defense University of USA. The course participants were from senior officers of the armed forces, representatives of Department of Defence and Department of State and policy makers from the government. Rand Corporation of US was conducting this course. Continue reading.......

How a Tiny Indian Ocean Island Could Force a US-UK Rift

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Mauritius does not usually make headlines in the United States, but this small island state off the east coast of Africa could force the U.S. to rethink operations in the Middle East and Asia — and strategic policy around the globe.

The country has recently notched victories at the International Court of Justice and UN General Assembly in its battle to take from Britain its sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago. The largest of these islands, Diego Garcia, has for decades been a key logistics, reconnaissance, and operational base for U.S. forces. While many factors are at play, including discussion about the Chagossian people, the Diego Garcia case reveals two critical dimensions that warrant attention by U.S. policymakers now.

The first is alliance management. The UK is arguably the United States’ closest alliance partner, given their strong diplomatic, military, and intelligence ties. So far, the Chagos dispute has been framed by the UK and U.S. governments as a bilateral dispute between the UK and Mauritius. The UK, which has claimed sovereignty over Diego Garcia and the wider Chagos Archipelago since 1814, recently reasserted this through a statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Washington supports its ally’s sovereignty claim. 

However, a UN General Assembly resolution in May 2019 found the UK, U.S. and a handful of other countries in a striking minority of world opinion on the issue. By a 116-6 margin, the UN General Assembly voted to support the ICJ advisory opinion that the UK leave the Chagos Archipelago. 

As the Sino-Indian rivalry heats up, watch Bangladesh carefully

by Ali Riaz

The ongoing tensions and stalemate between India and China in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has brought not only the Sino-Indian rivalry into the spotlight, but also India’s relationships with its neighbors. Unlike previous instances, when India used to enjoy unqualified support from all its neighbors save Pakistan, the clash with Beijing has produced a deafening silence. Worse, the Nepalese parliament chose this as the moment to approve a revised map of the country, including three areas it disputes with India. In Bangladesh, the government received an offer from Beijing for tariff exemptions for 97 percent of Bangladeshi products with immediate effect.

Rather than focusing on the merits of Beijing’s offer or the recent clash in Ladakh, Bangladesh has been focused on the Indian media’s coverage of the tariff deal, particularly a report which used a derogatory term to describe recent Chinese engagements with Bangladesh. The report suggested that China is offering ‘charity’ to woo Bangladesh. Public outrage, particularly in social media, forced the newspaper to apologize and the Bangladeshi foreign minister to weigh in.

Coronavirus By the Numbers: COVID-19 Cases Reach 12 Million Worldwide Amid Increases In US, Brazil And India

As the race to find a novel coronavirus vaccine continues across the globe, Russia has reportedly become the first country to complete clinical trials of a vaccine candidate, with the potential to be distributed from around mid-August.

A vaccine could be rolled out across the U.K. by the first half of next year, while Australia began a human trial of its vaccine candidate in Queensland on Monday.

There are at least 160 potential novel coronavirus vaccines being developed by researchers in the U.S., Europe, China and Australia. They include 21 vaccine candidates in clinical evaluation and 139 under preclinical evaluation, according to the latest July 6 report from the World Health Organization.

Here we take a closer look at some of the recent COVID-19 vaccine developments.

The results of human clinical trials completed at Russia's Sechenov University were reported to have proven the effectiveness of its vaccine candidate, according to Elena Smolyarchuk, the head and chief researcher at the university's Center for Clinical Research on Medications, Russia's TASS news agency reported Monday.

"The research has been completed and it proved that the vaccine is safe. The volunteers [of the clinical trials] will be discharged on 15 July and 20 July," Smolyarchuk told TASS.

The participants of the trials will remain under medical supervision on an out-patient basis after they are discharged, Smolyarchuk noted.

All Roads Need Not Lead To China

SINGAPORE — It all starts with roads. Upon the conclusion of China’s civil war in 1949, China began a decades-long campaign to push westward into restive and contested terrain. Roads and railways began to inch westward along the Yellow River and through the narrow Gansu corridor, the ancient northern Silk Road passageway between the more inhospitable Mongolian and Tibetan Plateaus, into Xinjiang, land of the Muslim Uighurs, terrain labeled East Turkestan on many maps that depicted the Anglo-Russian maneuverings of the fabled 19th-century “Great Game.” By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chinese roads were well positioned to expand across once frozen Cold War borders and reshape the trade relations of the half-dozen newly independent Central Asian republics. China’s plan to win the new Great Game was to build new Silk Roads. 

Throughout China’s turbulent decades under Mao Zedong, the same domestic power play was unfolding in Tibet. When Tibetans resisted the convulsive campaigns of the Great Leap Forward, their 1959 uprising was crushed and the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India. In the 1962 Sino-Indian war, China seized parts of India’s Arunachal Pradesh (which China considers part of “South Tibet”) as well as Aksai Chin, a disputed region in the western Himalayas abutting India’s state of Ladakh. 

Buddhist Tibet and Muslim Xinjiang are China’s two largest provinces, yet they are mutually distinct cultural universes. The only thing that connects them is a road: the Western Highway, Highway 219, which goes through Tibet along the Nepali border, over Aksai Chin’s rugged passes and then descends into Xinjiang’s forbidding Taklamakan Desert. 

Within the Taliban, clashing views of Afghanistan’s future

By Susannah George and Aziz Tassal 

MARAWARA, Afghanistan — In talks in Doha and in Kabul, the Taliban’s leaders have struck a conciliatory tone: Issues of human rights, democracy and power sharing are open for discussion, they said, and will be worked out during peace talks with the Afghan government.

But here, in one of the militant group’s long-held districts in eastern Afghanistan, Taliban commanders and fighters speak not of peace but of toppling the Afghan government in Kabul. They boast of a hard-fought “military victory” over American forces in the country.

“We will only accept 100 percent of power in Afghanistan,” said Yaser, a 26-year-old Taliban fighter from Marawara district, whose comments were echoed by his commander and others in the district. Yaser, like many Afghans, goes by a single name.

The competing visions of a postwar Afghanistan within the Taliban’s ranks reveal the difficult task facing the group’s leaders as they seek to rally support for an agreement with the government in Kabul ahead of long-awaited formal talks. Many fear that even with a peace deal, a fractured Taliban could lead Afghanistan back to a period of perpetual violence.

Why has the pandemic spared the Buddhist parts of South-East Asia?

Cambodia, Laos
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Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

One of the bigger riddles of the global pandemic lies in South-East Asia. Despite being close to the source of covid-19, in China, and to one of the current hotspots of the outbreak, India, the partly or largely Buddhist countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have scarcely sneezed.

Vietnam is the standout: with 97m people, it claims no deaths from covid-19. Thailand, with 70m, has seen just 58 fatalities and no local transmission in over 40 days. Impoverished Myanmar claims just six deaths from 317 cases, while Cambodia (141 confirmed cases) and tiny Laos (19 cases) also have no deaths apiece and no local transmission since April. Compare that with the nearby archipelagic nations of Indonesia (some 68,100 cases and 3,400 deaths) and the Philippines (50,400 cases and 1,300 deaths), where the pandemic still rages.

Set aside karmic grace as an explanation, especially given that Vietnam’s communist dictatorship is atheist. Vietnam’s success, indeed, is easiest to explain. The country has a suspicion of its big northern neighbour, China, rooted in millennia of historical interaction. At the start of the year it instinctively distrusted China’s reassurances about the disease and even launched cyber-attacks to get better information on the epidemic’s course. It closed its border and used authoritarian powers to lock down the population and trace and isolate cases. That, in essence, is what China’s communist authorities were also doing.

U.S. Preparing to Suspend Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

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The Trump administration is readying plans to suspend the U.S. extradition treaty with Hong Kong following China’s imposition of a sweeping new national security law that hamstrings the judicial independence of the onetime British colony.

The pending decision—which former officials and congressional aides told Foreign Policy could be made in a matter of weeks—is just the latest escalation in tensions between the United States and China. U.S. President Donald Trump said in May that the administration would begin altering the United States’ relationship with Hong Kong—including the extradition treaty, export controls, and trade relations—as it fell under tighter control from Beijing. The abrogation of extradition would come as the United States and China trade diplomatic blows over the coronavirus pandemic and the mass internment of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang and amid still simmering trade tensions and tariffs. 

The administration is already escalating its showdown with Beijing in another novel way. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would reject some of Beijing’s specific territorial claims over the strategically important South China Sea, a departure from past practice. China “has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region. Beijing has offered no coherent legal basis for its ‘Nine-Dashed Line’ claim in the South China Sea,” he said in a statement.

China bluff exposed: Beijing would be 'foolish' to enrage UK with cyber attack


Director of the China Centre at Oxford University, Professor Rana Mitter, argued China would lose many benefits if it launched a cyber attack on the UK. While speaking on LBC, Professor Mitter argued that not enough emphasis has been made on how much China benefits from working closely with the UK. He added that threats from China would quickly subside despite its international aggression, as Beijing realises it would be foolish to risk losing these benefits by attempting to intimidate the UK.

Professor Mitter said: "China doesn't have to be a threat if we don't want it to be.

"What I am worried about is the conversation is becoming very fearful.

"It is all about what China might do to the UK.

"I would be very surprised if the Chinese would be foolish enough to launch a massive cyber-attack on the UK immediately after a Huawei decision.

China news: China bluff exposed: Beijing would be 'foolish' to enrage UK with cyber attack 

The Truth About the US-China Thucydides Trap

By George Friedman

We remember Thucydides as a historian thanks to his documentation of the Peloponnesian War, but we often forget that he was also a philosopher. And like all great philosophers, he has many things to teach us, even if his teaching is inappropriately applied. Thousands of years after the war was fought between Sparta and Athens, observers argued that it showed that an authoritarian government would defeat a democracy. This was widely said in the early stages of World War II and repeated throughout the Cold War. In truth, what Thucydides said about democracies and oppressive regimes was far more sophisticated and complex than a simplistic slogan invoked by defeatists.

Jacek Bartosiak, who wrote of the Thucydides trap for us last week, is never simplistic, but I think he is wrong in some respects. The error is the idea that China is a rising power. He is certainly correct if by rising he means it has surged since Mao Zedong died. But he is implying more: that China is rising to the point that it can even challenge the United States. The argument that the U.S. may overreact is based on this error. The U.S. is choosing to press China hard, but the risk of doing so is low.

The most important thing to understand about China is that its domestic market cannot financially absorb the product of China’s industrial plant. Yes, China has grown, but its growth has made it a hostage to its foreign customers. Nearly 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product is generated from exports, 5 percent of which are bought by its largest customer, the United States. Anything that could reduce China’s economy for the long term by about 20 percent is a desperate vulnerability. COVID-19 has hurt and will continue to hurt many countries. But for China, if international trade collapsed, internal declines in consumption would come on top of the loss of foreign markets.

UK to purge Huawei from 5G by end of 2027, siding with Trump over China

Paul Sandle, Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027, risking the ire of China by signalling that the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker is not welcome in the West.

As Britain prepares to cast off from the European Union, fears over the security of Huawei have forced Johnson to choose between global rivals the United States and China.

He had been under intense pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, while Beijing had warned London, which has sought to court China in recent years, that billions in investment would be at risk if it sided with Washington.

Reversing a January decision to allow Huawei to supply up to 35% of the non-core 5G network, Johnson banned British telecoms operators from buying any 5G equipment from Huawei by year-end and gave them seven years to rip out existing gear.

“This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” digital minister Oliver Dowden told parliament.

“By the time of the next election, we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks”.

Sabotage in Iran Is Preferable to a Deal With Iran

Eli Lake

Whoever wins the U.S. presidency in November, there is a good chance he will try to negotiate a stronger nuclear deal with Iran in 2021. But events of the last few weeks show that there are better ways to frustrate the regime’s nuclear ambitions.

Both President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, favor talking with Iran. “I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it,” Biden told the New York Times last winter. Trump, meanwhile, was on Twitter last month urging Iran to “make the Big deal.”

The logic of a deal goes like this: Except for war, the only sustainable way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to reach an agreement with its leaders. That has been the basic assumption underlying U.S. nuclear policy on Iran for the last 20 years. With the right mix of carrots and sticks, the thinking goes, Iran will negotiate away a potential nuclear weapon.

But a nuclear deal with Iran would have to rely on a partnership with a regime that oppresses its citizens, preys on its neighbors, supports terrorism on three continents and has shown contempt for international law. And the alternative to a deal is not necessarily a costly and dangerous war. The West can delay and foil Iran’s nuclear ambitions by other means.

How Many Ways Can Israel Wage War on Iran Before the Media Reports Israel Is Waging War on Iran?

by Ted Snider

On July 2, 2020, two explosions erupted in Iran, and both seem to have been ignited by Israel. Neither explosion attracted much reporting, and what reporting there has been remains thin and confused.

The first report came out on the afternoon of July 3. The Jerusalem Post picked up a story from Kuwait’s Al-Jarida, reporting that a fire had broken out at Iran’s civilian Natanz nuclear enrichment site. The Kuwaiti report says that an unnamed senior source informed them that the fire was caused by an Israeli cyber attack. They suggest that Iran will need about two months to recover from the attack. Iranian officials have since confirmed that, though none of the underground centrifuges were damaged, the above ground damage is extensive, and that their centrifuge program has been substantially set back.

The second attack exploded near Parchin, at a site claimed to be a missile production facility. Citing the same Kuwaiti paper, The Times of Israel attributed the Parchin explosion to missiles dropped by Israeli F-35 stealth fighters.

The Parchin story has drawn little further attention and remains undeveloped, but the Natanz story has confusingly evolved. Though unnamed Iranian officials seemed at first to side with the cyber attack theory, some experts sided with a different theory: that the Natanz explosion was not a cyber attack but an actual, bolder physical attack. In a rare piece of mainstream reporting, The New York Times seems to confirm the physical attack theory. Relying on a “Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode,” the Times reports that the Natanz nuclear complex was not hit by a cyber attack, as it has been previously, but by a “powerful bomb.” The intelligence official added that “Israel was responsible for the attack.” The Times report supports the intelligence source by adding that a “member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was briefed on the matter also said an explosive was used.” According to the Revolutionary Guards source, it is likely that someone carried the bomb into the building.

The US Needs a Global Coalition to Defeat COVID


Only a multinational effort can meet this unprecedented threat, say the authors, who led U.S. troops and international coalitions in the Middle East and Asia.

As our nation adapts to the challenge of the coronavirus at home, we must urgently confront the disruptive impacts of the pandemic around the world and the serious risks to our safety and national security. This will require forward thinking and U.S. leadership to mobilize our allies and partners around a comprehensive global health security response to a disease that does not recognize borders. Such an effort will save lives at home and around the world, protect and defend our national interests, and ultimately guarantee our way of life.

We cannot isolate ourselves from the impacts of this pandemic in a globally connected world. If America doesn’t lead, others will step into the void who bring a different vision for the world and one that does not reflect our values or our interests.

Confronting COVID-19 and strengthening our global health security is critical for our national security because what happens in other countries will undoubtedly echo back into our own. This will require strong leadership from Washington and resources that look at the challenges around the world that are coming — and coming quickly.

How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic

By Jane Mayer

On June 22nd, in the baking heat of a parking lot a few miles inland from Delaware’s beaches, several dozen poultry workers, many of them Black or Latino, gathered to decry the conditions at a local poultry plant owned by one of President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign contributors. “We’re here for a reason that is atrocious,” Nelson Hill, an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, told the small but boisterous crowd, which included top Democratic officials from the state, among them Senator Chris Coons. The union, part of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., represents some 1.3 million laborers in poultry-processing and meatpacking plants, as well as workers in grocery stores and retail establishments. Its members, many defined as “essential” workers—without the option of staying home—have been hit extraordinarily hard by the coronavirus. The union estimates that nearly thirty thousand of its workers in the food and health-care sectors have contracted covid-19, and that two hundred and thirty-eight of those have died.

For the previous forty-two years, a thousand or so laborers at the local processing plant, in Selbyville, had been represented by Local 27. Just two years earlier, the workers there had ratified a new five-year contract. But, Hill told the crowd, in the middle of the pandemic, as the number of infected workers soared, the plant’s owner, Mountaire Corporation—one of the country’s largest purveyors of chicken—conspired, along with Donald Trump, to “kick us out.”

The Anti-American Century

In 1941, Henry Luce—the founder of Time magazine and its sister publications Life and Fortune—famously announced that “the 20th Century is the American Century.” With unparalleled power and unquestioned resolve, the United States would make the world “safe for the freedom, growth and increasing satisfaction of all.” And it would do so because of a combination of American power and prestige that would engender a near-universal “faith in the good intentions as well as the ultimate intelligence and ultimate strength of the whole American people.”

The remainder of the century saw the United States bestride the world as the dominant power, sometimes for better and often for worse. But Luce was correct that it was the American Century (or at least half-century). As of 2020, though, the 21st century has become “the Anti-American Century,” an identity already well-advanced before the pandemic but certainly accelerated and cemented by it.

The Anti-American Century may turn out to be aggressively hostile to the United States, but for now it is anti-American mostly in the sense of being antithetical to the American Century. The three pillars of American strength—military, economic, and political—that defined the last century have each been undermined if not obliterated. In this moment, those failures may seem like profound negatives. In his most recent book, the writer Robert Kagan laments that, without American leadership around the world, the jungle will grow back. In the United States’ absence, Beijing may be able to define a less liberal world order. In terms of domestic politics, the left and the right are oddly united in their despair at the erosion of the American Century, as the left bemoans the failure of the American experiment in an age of racial divisions and government ineptitude and the right defends to the hilt “Make America Great Again” redux.

Trump Has Exposed the Hollow Vision of an Integrated North America

Edward Alden 
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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador went to Washington last week to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and celebrate this month’s official launch of the updated and rebranded North American Free Trade Agreement, now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Critics of Lopez Obrador, including former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan, called the visit “a colossal error, electorally, diplomatically and strategically.” His supporters said Mexico has little choice but to curry favor with Trump despite the insults he has hurled at the country and his determination to build a wall across the southern border. In the face of unrelenting pressure from Trump, AMLO—as Lopez Obrador is popularly known—has protected his country from a crippling trade war by backing away from his own pledges to take on Trump, and even deploying Mexican troops to the border to crack down on Central American asylum-seekers

A New Understanding of Herd Immunity


Edward Lorenz was just out of college when he was recruited into World War II. He was assigned to be a weather forecaster, despite having no experience in meteorology. What Lorenz knew was math.

So he started experimenting with differential equations, trying to make predictions based on patterns in data on past temperatures and pressures. One day, while testing his system, he repeated a simulation with a few decimals rounded off in the data. To his surprise, a radically different future emerged.

He called this finding “the butterfly effect.” In a complex model, where each day’s weather influences the next day’s, a tweak in initial conditions can have wild downstream consequences. The butterfly effect became central to the emerging field of chaos theory, which has since been applied to economics, sociology, and many other subjects, in attempts to deconstruct complex phenomena. That field is now helping predict the future of the pandemic—in particular, how it ends.

Chaos theory applies neatly to the spread of the coronavirus, in that seemingly tiny decisions or differences in reaction speed can have inordinate consequences. Effects can seem random when, in fact, they trace to discrete decisions made long prior. For example, the United States has surpassed 125,000 deaths from COVID-19. Having suppressed the virus early, South Korea has had only 289. Vietnam’s toll sits at zero. Even when differences from place to place appear random, or too dramatic to pin entirely on a failed national response, they are not.

Despite Advances in Women’s Rights, Gender Equality Lags Around the World

Despite progress in codifying women’s rights into law, advances in gender equality around the world have been halting, at best. This, despite the additional attention that the #MeToo movement brought to incidents of sexual assault and harassment in parts of the Global North.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa made news in mid-2019 when he appointed a Cabinet that included as many women as men. Later the same year, the European Commission also achieved the European Union’s self-imposed goal of gender parity. The thinking behind gender parity in government is that with greater levels of representation, women policymakers and legislators will pay more attention to issues that are often ignored by men, like gender-based violence or inheritance laws that discriminate against women.

Quotas are not a panacea, though. Even with increased representation, policymakers must figure out how to turn good intentions into change on the ground, so that removing restrictions on education, to take one example, actually leads to improved school attendance rates for girls and young women. Rwanda, for instance, also has gender quotas for political representation, but the increase in political gains has not necessarily translated to social advances for women, as efforts to promote gender equality have not fostered an understanding of its importance, particularly among men.

Cyberwarfare: The changing role of force

Novel malware, computer code and clandestine digital access are some of the unconventional weapons various countries are currently amassing and deploying. Whether used as a force multiplier for disinformation operations, for stand-alone projections of power or carefully calibrated escalations of conflict, cyber weapon use is growing on the international stage.

Take as example the most recent cyber skirmishes between Israel and Iran: Iranians targeted a water treatment plant, caused a port shutdown, defaced websites and mounted influence operations. For every incident that makes headlines, we have to assume that many more are happening behind the scenes.

As global tensions continue to grow and cyber weapons mature, it seems evident that this digital iteration of international conflict is occurring with few to no agreed upon (or even informally understood) laws of cyber conflict, increasing uncertainty, the potential for collateral damage, and the likelihood of unintended escalation.

The complexity of attacker attribution further complicates existing geopolitical tensions. A third-party actor could conduct a false-flag attack to increase tensions between adversaries or to provoke an escalation of conflict. And as the world embraces 5G technology, the consequences, scale, and scope of digital assaults will only grow.

These are among a few of the issues that led the World Economic Forum to name cyber-attacks the greatest non-environmental threat to mankind. WEF’s 2018 Global Risks Report warned that “the use of cyber-attacks to target critical infrastructure and strategic industrial sectors (…) could trigger a breakdown in the systems that keep societies functioning,” and the warning was repeated in the 2019 and 2020 reports.

Cyber Warfare is the New Warfare

Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

In the last few months we’ve seen a number of examples of the increasingly blurred line between conventional force and cyber attacks. After Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone the U.S. disabled Iranian missile capabilities by hacking their computer systems. In response to a conventional missile attack, the U.S. deployed a cyber attack. An example of the opposite played out earlier this year when Israeli forces used missiles to destroy a Hamas controlled hacking den.

These two examples are part of a larger trend in the use of computers as weapons of war. Hackers are no longer confined to the world of intelligence and espionage. Instead, we can expect a future where cyber attacks will routinely be a component of conventional warfare and where the hackers who deploy these attacks will be increasingly subject to retaliation in the form of conventional weapons. The continued internetification of everything from missile systems to electric grids has resulted in an attack surface too juicy for military actors to ignore.

The Future of Command and Control: Four Models to Provoke Thought

By Will Meddings
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In 2019’s second Agile Warrior Quarterly an article considered the idea of the Conceptual Force (Land) 35, the ‘CF(L)35’. This capstone concept proposes new capabilities, a new way of operating, and a new force design for the period 2030-2035. The same edition of Agile Warrior Quarterly also looked at future command and control (C2), which it described as “a range of C2 approaches from fully autonomous decision-making at speed to directive C2 that can better ensure C2 survivability, flexibility and efficiency in the context of mission accomplishment”. It described a transformation of C2. I recommend it to anyone considering how we, the British Army, might lead in the future.

Yet command and control is – at least for the moment – a human endeavour. Technology may change, but as the commanders of today move towards 2035 they will remain products of their training and experience. It is almost certain their move towards CF(L)35 will be an iterative one rather than a transformative one.

In March 2020 the British Army’s Agile Warrior symposium also considered the future of C2. This time, instead of looking to 2035 it looked at the bridge between 2020 and 2035. The presentations at the symposium compared the CF(L)35 command model with the NATO Edge C2 model and with the experiences of a contemporary Battlegroup commander. This article shares the discussion held at the symposium: what is Edge C2? Which command and control approaches are best suited to which situations? How might commanders and staff better collaborate? And how can we build the trust needed to give us genuine Edge C2?

Pentagon AI Gains ‘Overwhelming Support’ From Tech Firms – Even Google


WASHINGTON: Despite some very public blow-ups, “we have had overwhelming support and interest from tech industry in working with the JAIC and the DoD,” the new acting director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Nand Mulchandani, said Wednesday in his first-ever Pentagon press conference. Speaking two years after Google very publicly pulled out of the AI-driven Project Maven, Mulchandani said that, today, “[we] have commercial contracts and work going on with all of the major tech and AI companies — including Google — and many others.”

Nand Mulchandani

Mulchandani is probably better positioned to sell this message than his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, an Air Force three-star who ran Project Maven and then founded the Joint AI Center in 2018. While highly respected in the Pentagon, Shanahan’s time on Maven and his decades in uniform created some static in Silicon Valley. Mulchandani, by contrast, has spent his life in the tech sector, joining JAIC just last year after a quarter-century in business and academe.

Cyberwarfare: The changing role of force

Novel malware, computer code and clandestine digital access are some of the unconventional weapons various countries are currently amassing and deploying. Whether used as a force multiplier for disinformation operations, for stand-alone projections of power or carefully calibrated escalations of conflict, cyber weapon use is growing on the international stage.

Take as example the most recent cyber skirmishes between Israel and Iran: Iranians targeted a water treatment plant, caused a port shutdown, defaced websites and mounted influence operations. For every incident that makes headlines, we have to assume that many more are happening behind the scenes.

As global tensions continue to grow and cyber weapons mature, it seems evident that this digital iteration of international conflict is occurring with few to no agreed upon (or even informally understood) laws of cyber conflict, increasing uncertainty, the potential for collateral damage, and the likelihood of unintended escalation.

The complexity of attacker attribution further complicates existing geopolitical tensions. A third-party actor could conduct a false-flag attack to increase tensions between adversaries or to provoke an escalation of conflict. And as the world embraces 5G technology, the consequences, scale, and scope of digital assaults will only grow.

U.S. Army researchers pursue tactical edge in electronic warfare

“The overall goal of the program is to drive a revolutionary change in the way that the Army uses electronic warfare from a single exquisite platform to a distributed, disaggregated and heterogeneous set of offensive and defensive capabilities,” said Dr. Matthew Higgins, FREEDOM program manager (Picture source: U.S. DoD)

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory designated several research programs as essential for future Soldier capabilities. Of these major flagship programs, the Foundational Research for Electronic Warfare in Multi-Domain Operations, or FREEDOM, Essential Research Program recognizes the value of electronic warfare competencies as a necessary requirement for success in large-scale combat and multi-domain operations.

During World War II, jamming missions conducted by Allied forces successfully disrupted German command and control systems and navigation capabilities. When adversaries used radio-controlled improvised explosive devices to attack ground forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Army defended its Soldiers with newly developed tools that jammed radio-activated triggers.

“The overall goal of the program is to drive a revolutionary change in the way that the Army uses electronic warfare from a single exquisite platform to a distributed, disaggregated and heterogeneous set of offensive and defensive capabilities,” said Dr. Matthew Higgins, FREEDOM program manager. “We are looking to demonstrate research prototypes that prevent the adversary’s ability to actively or passively find, classify and geo-locate U.S. forces.” According to Higgins, Army researchers in the program examine a wide spectrum of complex issues, such as the need to optimize secure communication among allied forces and the development of techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of electronic attack techniques.

WWIII: Cyber conflicts - war by other means

By Chris Edwards

A decade ago, Russian tanks rolled into South Ossetia, a northern province of Georgia. Even before they started moving, a ‘third force’ had already embarked on an exercise of hacking into government computer networks and local news agencies.

A few weeks before the Russian forces arrived on 8 August 2008, hackers performed a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on the website of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. In early August, Georgian internet traffic wound up being routed through servers in Russia and Turkey where much of it was blocked. As the tanks arrived, hackers stepped up their DoS attacks on local news-agency and government websites.

The Russo-Georgia cyber conflict stayed in the virtual world. This stepped up a notch in the capture of Eastern Ukraine by Russian-backed forces. For this round, hackers went after infrastructure as well. Malware adapted from that originally developed to attack Georgia’s communication networks was used at the end of 2015 in a coordinated attack on Ukraine’s power grid. The attack succeeded at three regional electric power distribution companies, cutting power to a quarter of a million people for up to six hours and wiping out some of the power companies’ databases.