12 August 2020

China's dams in Tibet may pose threat to India's water supply | Satellite images explain

Col Vinayak Bhat Abhishek Bhalla 
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China's rapid pace of dam constructions that includes at least eight new ones on the Brahmaputra River in Tibet has sparked concerns about the Chinese attempting to tame India's water supply. The proposed dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in Tibet are close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh.

In this region, the Chinese have managed to construct three dams within a distance of 24 km on the Brahmaputra River over a period of 10 years. This construction of dams at an unprecedented pace and scale has taken place in Tibet's Sangri Lokha. Construction of a similar 'triplet dam' has been observed on the Nyang river near the town of Nyingchi in Tibet's Nyingchi county.

Lokha, also known as Shanan lies in the northeast of Bhutan and south of Lhasa while Nyingchi is further east, both bordering Arunachal Pradesh.

The China Challenge and America's Founding Principles

By Peter Berkowitz 
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Between June 24 and July 22, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a series of speeches on the China challenge. In mid-July -- after the national security adviser’s and FBI director’s speeches but before the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s speeches -- the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights released a draft report

The report examines the implications of the American Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the place of human rights in American foreign policy. Focusing on principles rather than concrete policy controversies, the report provoked considerably more partisan rancor than the series of speeches by high-ranking administration officials about the need for the nation to address the Communist Party of China’s resolute efforts to marshal its dictatorial powers to undercut American interests and transform world order. 

Perhaps the relatively restrained reception of the four speeches is a good sign: It may suggest an emerging national consensus about the urgency of the China challenge. Yet awareness of a daunting problem does not guarantee the capacity to deal with it effectively. The controversy over the commission’s report -- indeed, the indignation and scorn directed by many politicians, pundits, professors, and NGOs at the very idea of allocating taxpayer dollars to regrounding U.S. diplomacy in America’s founding principles and constitutional responsibilities -- reflects the nation’s disunity, a disunity that thwarts the planning and implementation of foreign policy. 

China’s Art of Strategic Incrementalism in the South China Sea

by Patrick Mendis Joey Wang

The neighboring South East Asian countries of the highly volatile and busiest waterways of the South China Sea (SCS) have overlapping claims of sovereignty. The largest and most powerful of these claimants is China, which asserts that the region within a vaguely defined Nine-dash Line, covering nearly 80 percent of the SCS is, by its historical rights, sovereign Chinese territory. 

This claim was rejected in July 2016 by the international tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. The court concluded that the Nine-dash Line violates international law, not least the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

While the United States takes no position on the competing claims in the SCS, Washington flatly rejects Beijing’s claim and, for the second time in a month, deployed two Carrier Strike Groups in dual-carrier operations through the contested waters. Punctuating this position is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who recently announced that China’s claims were “completely unlawful.” Similarly, Australia rejected the Chinese claims and declared at the United Nations in late July that Beijing’s consolidation of the Spratly Islands and the Parcel Islands were “invalid” as they were “inconsistent” with the UNCLOS. 

Banning TikTok and WeChat: Another Primer

By Robert Chesney 

On the evening of August 6, President Trump issued a pair of executive orders involving Chinese companies operating in the United States, one targeting TikTok and another targeting WeChat. As any teenager can tell you, some form of action against TikTok has been anticipated for a while. Indeed, I wrote a primer on the potentially-relevant legal frameworks for Lawfare on Sunday, August 2. Consider this a sequel, picking up the story where the primer left off.

1. Previously on Lawfare…

Of course, like any good sequel, we should begin with a look-back sequence. In my previous piece, I described two legal frameworks that might be the basis for some form of executive branch action against TikTok.

One of these involved the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS for months has been conducting a retrospective review of the propriety of the transaction in which the Chinese company ByteDance bought the Chinese company Music.ly—which it later rebranded as TikTok—a few years before. The committee has statutory authority to block (or impose conditions on) corporate transactions involving the foreign acquisition of “U.S. entities” where the committee determines there is sufficient threat to U.S. national security interests—and the phrase “U.S. entities,” it turns out, is defined so broadly in the statute that it reaches a foreign-owned company with a substantial U.S. business presence. CFIUS, in short, might one day have determined that ByteDance must divest itself of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

U.S. and allies must confront China's quest for world domination

By Nathan Picarsic and Emily de La Bruyere
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Here are things that have happened, so far, in 2020. The Earth recorded its hottest January ever. Australia burned. A pandemic killed more than half a million people and left their funerals unattended. Tens of millions of people, perhaps the largest social movement in U.S. history, took to the streets — and transformed, in the process, America’s perception of itself. Then, there were the murder hornets.

Here are other things that have happened, so far, in 2020. The second-largest financial contributor to the World Health Organization (WHO) lied for months about an emergent virus, allowing it to morph into a devasting global pandemic. Then, that same country reportedly stockpiled medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) while concealing the virus, leaving the rest of the world vulnerable.

Next, the authoritarian state subverted a democratic government in Hong Kong, violating an international treaty with the United Kingdom. After that, its ambassador to the U.K. tried, and failed, to explain away devastating footage of Beijing implementing a slow-motion genocide against a religious minority; of blindfolded, shackled Uighurs being loaded into trains.

China’s Emerging Middle Eastern Kingdom

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American policymakers have long assumed that Chinese and American goals in the Middle East are largely complementary. Beijing, so the prevailing wisdom holds, is fixated on commerce, with a special emphasis on oil and gas. “China’s strategy in the Middle East is driven by its economic interests,” a former senior official in the Obama administration testified last year before Congress. “China … does not appear interested in substantially deepening its diplomatic or security activities there.” According to this reigning view, China adopts a position of neutrality toward political and military conflicts, because taking sides would make enemies who might then restrict China’s access to markets.

This oft-repeated shibboleth ignores clear signs that China is very actively engaged in a hard-power contest with the United States—a contest that the Chinese occasionally acknowledge and are capable of winning. In 2016, Xi Jinping toured the Middle East for the first time in his capacity as president of the People’s Republic of China, visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran. Chinese propaganda hailed the trip as a milestone. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a white paper on its Arab policy, the first of its kind. “We will deepen China-Arab military cooperation and exchange,” the paper read. “We will … deepen cooperation on weapons, equipment and various specialized technologies, and carry out joint military exercises.”

The US military has options against China


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is worried — worried about the U.S. Navy’s prospects during a war against Communist China in the Western Pacific. Last week, Sen. Gardner, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, told the Washington Examiner that Chinese ballistic missiles could compel “all of our planning, all of our equipment, all of our systems” to “basically vacate” the region at outset of fighting. Both large bases and ships riding the waves, he noted, are vulnerable to missile attack.

Sen. Gardner joined a group of Republican lawmakers to coauthor the “STRATEGIC Act,” a bill aimed at restoring deterrence and U.S. combat supremacy. To oversimplify, the act’s framers envision spreading out U.S. bases across the region, deploying new weaponry to make things tough on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and rejuvenating U.S. alliances and partnerships around the exterior crescent that sweeps from Japan westward around the Asian periphery toward India. Their goal: to convince Chinese Communist Party (CCP) potentates that attacking America’s friends and allies would be a hopeless cause or, failing that, that the effort would cost China more than the gains were worth to Xi Jinping & Co.

Either way, Beijing should forego aggression.

A Chinese-Built Airport Next Door to a Key Australia-U.S. Naval Base?

By Thomas Shugart

Manus Island is a vital strategic location. Why is a Chinese company being paid to upgrade its airfield?

Judging by recent satellite imagery, it appears that significant progress is being made on an expansion and upgrade project at Momote Airport, the nearest airfield to Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The runway’s usable length has been extended by about 200 metres, precision landing aids appear to have been added to at least one runway, and the apron area has been expanded significantly, with more work clearly in progress.

the interpreter via Googe Earth

Within the scope of the sharpening competition between China and its liberal democratic strategic competitors in the Pacific, Manus Island occupies a key location. While known most recently as an outpost for Australia’s asylum seeker policy, it was used extensively as an air and maritime base of operations during the Allied campaign in the southwest Pacific during the Second World War. Manus sits squarely astride the northern approaches to New Guinea (and thus to Australia), as well as lines of air and naval communication between US bases in the Marianas and the Antipodes.

Deception Is Key to Chinese Military Strategies

Aaron Jensen
The role of deception in military operations has long been valued by Chinese military leaders and strategists. Despite this long tradition, few studies on Chinese military power touch on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s use of deception. China regards deception as a key component of national security policy and military planning, and PLA leaders continue to emphasize the widespread use of deception. This is particularly evident at the tactical level, where the PLA actively employs a range of deception measures. While most of the PLA’s deception practices are hidden from view, Chinese military and civilian media sources do provide some insight into how the PLA practices military deception.


One of the primary methods of battlefield deception for PLA ground forces is the use of decoy targets. A decoy, sometimes referred to as a “dummy,” is defined by the U.S. Army as, “an imitation in any sense of a person, object, or phenomenon that is intended to deceive enemy surveillance devices or mislead enemy evaluation.” Decoys have long been used in warfare and have proven their effectiveness in modern combat. They support a wide range of functions on the battlefield for both defense and offense.

TikTok Is Inane. China’s Imperial Ambition Is Not.

Niall Ferguson

I spent half an hour trying to make sense of the endless feed of video snippets of ordinary people doing daft things with their dogs or in their kitchens or in the gym. I figured out the viral memes of the moment: animals dancing to Tono Rosario’s “Kulikitaka,” the suspenseful unveiling of hunks or hounds to the repeated words, “Please don’t be ugly.” I asked my eight-year-old son what I should look out for. He recommended the dancing ferret. I never found it.

Thirty minutes of TikTok left me with just one burning question: How can this thing be a threat to U.S. national security?

And then I had the epiphany. TikTok is not just China’s revenge for the century of humiliation between the Opium Wars and Mao’s revolution. It is the opium — a digital fentanyl, to get our kids stoked for the coming Chinese imperium.

I Used My Bomb Training to Report on the Beirut Explosions

By John Ismay
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Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

Journalists don’t always need years of schooling in a subject to be able to report effectively on it. You don’t have to be a graduate of Juilliard to profile a cellist. You don’t need to have played in the N.F.L. to cover the Jets. But sometimes, the backgrounds we bring to our reporting fields can be invaluable. I cover armed conflict for The Times Magazine’s At War section, and during these past few weeks, my experiences as a former naval officer have come in handy in helping colleagues across the newsroom cover three breaking stories.

The first story was about a fire that broke out on July 12 and then burned out of control for four days on the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard, a large amphibious assault ship that was docked in San Diego. The firefighting training I received after getting my commission in 1999, combined with my subsequent experience working on a destroyer, allowed me to ask informed questions and dig deeper into how such a blaze might have erupted. I found people who had served on the Bonhomme Richard as firefighting leaders, and in talking shop, we were able to explore a reasonable series of conditions that may have contributed to the devastation of the ship.

In Portland, Ore., when a reporter’s cellphone video captured a man named Christopher David being beaten after walking up to federal law enforcement officers during a protest on July 19, I spotted something familiar. As Mr. David turned away from his attackers, I instantly recognized his sweatshirt: It is issued to new midshipmen on their first day at the U.S. Naval Academy. I reached out to him via Twitter and found we shared an alma mater — he was in the class of 1988. Our common language helped me understand Mr. David’s argument when he called the federal officers’ behavior a “failure of leadership,” and I contributed that perspective to our coverage of the protests. We later expanded the interview into its own article the next day.

Moscow boosts ties with Tehran as US-Iran tensions escalate

Daniel Hoffman
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Moscow last month for the third time in the past six months for meetings with senior Russian officials. Although they have often been adversaries since first establishing diplomatic relations in the 16th century, Iran and Russia are purposely seeking to develop an increasingly close bilateral relationship.

Currently the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East and with its economy in shambles after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and applied a “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran rejected the US offer to negotiate lifting sanctions in return for a new agreement that would remove nuclear program sunset clauses and address Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism and ballistic missile program. 

Iran chose instead to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and engage in state-sponsored terrorism, with an eye toward inducing the other JCPOA signatories to support its demand for a return to the flawed JCPOA as a precursor to negotiations.

Iran began escalating attacks on the United States and its allies in summer 2019 by attacking oil tankers in the Gulf, seizing the Stena Impero oil tanker, shooting down a US drone and launching a missile attack against Saudi Aramco. 

Beirut’s Blast Is a Warning for America

By Thomas L. Friedman

When I first heard the news of the terrible explosion in Beirut, and then the rampant speculation about who might have set it off, my mind drifted back some 40 years to a dinner party I attended at the residence of Malcolm Kerr, then president of the American University of Beirut.

During the course of the dinner, someone mentioned the unusual hailstorms that had pelted Beirut the previous two nights. Everyone offered their explanations for this extreme weather event, before Malcolm, tongue in cheek, asked his guests, “Do you think the Syrians did it?”

Malcolm — a charming man and brilliant scholar, who was tragically murdered a few months later by unidentified assassins — was being both humorous and profound. He was poking fun at the Lebanese tendency to explain everything as a conspiracy, and, in particular, a conspiracy perpetrated by Syria, which is why we all laughed.

But he was also saying something profound about Lebanese society — that, alas, also applies to today’s America — the fact that in Lebanon then, and even more so today, everything, even the weather, had become political.

Europe Must Stand Up for Belarus

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Russia watchers are fond of talking of an “August surprise,” with the month’s rich pedigree of shocks like the 2008 Georgian War. This year that surprise could easily come from Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where veteran authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, battered by his mishandling of the pandemic that has caused almost 70,000 cases in a country of fewer than 10 million people, has been rocked by mass protests and a sudden surge in opposition confidence.

The elections this week could just as easily see the pro-democracy movement establish itself, fizzle out, or even trigger a Russian power play—at which the arrest of so-called Russian mercenaries in Minsk might hint. Seizing on the concept of such Kremlin-deployed “little green men” to paint himself as the savior of Belarusian independence, Lukashenko has warned that “an attempt to organize a massacre in the center of Minsk is already obvious.”

But amid this crisis, Western foreign policy is missing in action. The failure to act decisively in Belarus, in fact, clearly shows the decline of Western influence. A profoundly erratic Washington, which seemed on the verge of offering material help to the Lukashenko regime to distance itself from Russia when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited in February, is now nowhere to be seen. The United States previously had a long-term strategy, however flawed, to support the post-Soviet states by proactively seeking to distance them from Russia: Under Trump, this is no longer the case.

Sustaining the case for European ‘sovereign’ air capability

Sustaining European sovereign combat-air capabilities and the defence-aerospace industrial base underpin both multinational Future Combat Air System projects now underway, explains Douglas Barrie. 

Team Tempest, the British industry team pursuing development of the United Kingdom’s future combat-air capability, has expanded to include a further seven companies, mainly first-tier suppliers, adding to the core four launch firms. Spreading the Team Tempest industrial footprint – or, arguably, circling more industrial wagons – appears judicious as a potentially far-reaching defence review nears conclusion, particularly when military spending and requirements are under scrutiny owing to budgetary pressures and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting Europe’s future requirements

The additional team members were announced by UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace on 20 July, as part of the launch event for the virtual Farnborough International Air Show (the COVID-19 pandemic had meant that the actual show had been cancelled). The original four industry partners – BAE Systems, Leonardo, Rolls-Royce and MBDA – have now been joined by Bombardier, Collins Aerospace, General Electric UK, GKN, Martin-Baker, QinetiQ and Thales. This move arguably broadens the support base for the project across the UK aerospace sector, particularly at a time when companies involved in commercial aerospace have been battered by the impact of the pandemic.


By John McLaughlin

In the world of intelligence — my former profession — the most difficult thing to detect is the point in global events when barely noticeable incremental changes accumulate like a snowball rolling downhill, achieve critical mass and suddenly produce something unexpected. This usually catches most everyone by surprise. It can be a revolution, a coup, an economic collapse or even a new alliance.

Such things rarely happen overnight and when they do burst into view, many people hasten to label it an “intelligence failure” — the default reaction when something unexpected happens in the world.

A perfect illustration of this was the Arab Spring that exploded in 2011. Pressures for change had been building for years in the Arab world, but it took an obscure Tunisian fruit seller in late 2010 to provide the spark — quite literally. When he set himself on fire to protest treatment by Tunisian authorities, it triggered a chain reaction of upheaval in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Syria — the latter three turning into still-hot civil wars.

My point is that there is a lot going on in the world right now that is either too complicated, unsettled or obscure to pull our focus away from COVID-19 dangers rightly commanding our attention. Yet, international politics and competition go on — with much less direct involvement or influence from the U.S. than at any time in the last 70 years. This will all leave a legacy that Washington will have to confront at some point. From a a long list of cases, here are just three examples: first a country, then a partnership and then a global trend.

What Now?

The wheel has come full circle. In 1972, President Nixon used China policy to reassure his re-election. In 2020, President Trump is using China policy to reassure his re-election. Sadly, Trump’s campaign aims to end the reconciliation that Nixon began.

Many recognize that Sino-American relations are at their lowest point in half a century. Those who recall the grim period that followed June 4, 1989 might quibble. Yet, at that time, despite Deng Xiaoping’s huge provocation that shocked American and world opinion, President George H.W. Bush immediately sent Brent Scowcroft on a secret mission to retain the ties that had been assiduously developed over two decades.

By contrast, three decades after Bush’s unpopular but wise move, Trump has sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Cabinet officers on a public mission to destroy those ties. This campaign, by mobilizing a nationalistic “whole country” response to the blatant depredations of what may soon again be called “Red China,” may prove popular because of its titillating patriotic appeal. Yet it is dangerous.

Fortunately, Trump’s China folly has begun to stimulate debate. Although details and emphases vary, critics of the new crusade largely agree that what is needed instead is a balanced, nuanced China policy. My own short-hand formulation calls for “The Four C’s: Cooperation, Competition, Criticism, and Containment.” Both Washington and Beijing should adopt this slogan.

Avoiding the Japanification of Europe


BOLOGNA – As monetary and fiscal authorities have acted aggressively to blunt the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact, public debt and central-bank balance sheets have swelled rapidly. In the European Union, this trend is compounded by a new €750 billion ($886 billion) COVID-19 recovery fund, which includes the issuance of so-called “recovery bonds” guaranteed by the EU’s multiyear budget and, possibly, by Europe-wide taxation.

From Latin America’s lost decade in the 1980s to the more recent Greek crisis, there are plenty of painful reminders of what happens when countries cannot service their debts. A global debt crisis today would likely push millions of people into unemployment and fuel instability and violence around the world.

This is a whole new world for all advanced countries except one: Japan. It is not the “nice” world of the 1990s, characterized by stable inflation, steady output, fiscal prudence, and a narrow central-bank focus on manipulating short-term interest rates to meet inflation targets. But nor does our turbulent world resemble that of the 1970s, marked by high inflation, volatile output, fiscal profligacy, and excessively accommodative monetary policy.

What Next?


Imagine this: You have a friend who has never saved a penny for his retirement. You ask him about it when he is in his twenties, and he says, “No problem — I’m going to win the lottery.” Years go by. You ask him about it in his thirties, in his forties, in his fifties, etc., and get the same answer. At age 64, he has no savings, and on his 65th birthday, he walks into a 7-Eleven, buys a lottery ticket, and wins $100 million.

Question: Is hoping to win the lottery a good retirement plan?

Donald Trump won the lottery the day he was born, and so it is in a sense difficult to fault him very much for his magical thinking about the coronavirus — “just disappear,” etc. — and many other similar problems, because just muddling through has worked out brilliantly for him in the past: For all the business failures and bankruptcies, the adultery and tabloid scandals and divorces, the legal problems, and the rest, things mostly have turned out pretty well for Trump.

But that is no way to run a country.

Yes, Emissions Have Fallen. That Won’t Fix Climate Change

IT’S BEEN ONE of the few slivers of hope as we’ve trudged through the Covid-19 catastrophe: As industries shuttered and we all sheltered in place, we’ve stopped spewing so much planet-warming gas. One analysis by the climate group Carbon Brief in April calculated that emissions could fall by 5.5 percent this year. That seems like a tiny tally until you consider that until 2020, emissions had been steadily ticking up year after year, and that the 2008 economic collapse brought about only a 3 percent reduction.

I am here to snatch that sliver of hope away from you—and potentially replace it with a new sliver of hope. Writing today in the journal Nature Climate Change, an international team of scientists calculates that the coronavirus lockdown may only cool the planet by about 0.01 degree Celsius by the year 2030. (The rough math is that 1 degree Celsius equals 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.) But. They also argue that if humanity would aggressively fund renewables in the aftermath of the pandemic, we could avoid an overall increase of 0.3 degrees by 2050—that’s 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That could keep the planet within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming from pre-industrial levels, the goal set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Harvard lecturer: ‘No specific skill will get you ahead in the future’—but this ‘way of thinking’ will

Vikram Mansharamani
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Many of us have been told that deep expertise will lead to enhanced credibility, rapid job advancement, and escalating incomes. The alternative of being broad-minded is usually dismissed as dabbling without really adding value.

But the future may be very different: Breadth of perspective and the ability to connect the proverbial dots (the domain of generalists) is likely to be as important as depth of expertise and the ability to generate dots (the domain of specialists).

The rapid advancement of technology, combined with increased uncertainty, is making the most important career logic of the past counterproductive going forward. The world, to put it bluntly, has changed, but our philosophy around skills development has not.

Today’s dynamic complexity demands an ability to thrive in ambiguous and poorly defined situations, a context that generates anxiety for most, because it has always felt safer to generalize.

Just think about some of the buzzwords that characterized the business advice over the past 40 to 50 years: Core competence, unique skills, deep expertise. For as far back as many of us can remember, the key to success was developing a specialization that allowed us to climb the professional ladder. 

Technology is driving another global power shift

Joseph S. Nye
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Since 2017, America’s national security strategy has focused on great-power competition, and today much of Washington is busy portraying our relationship with China as a new cold war. Obviously, great-power competition remains a crucial aspect of foreign policy, but we must not let it obscure the growing transnational security threats that technology is putting on the agenda.

Power transitions among states are familiar in world politics, but the technology-driven shift of power away from states to transnational actors and global forces brings a new and unfamiliar complexity. Technological change is putting a number of issues—including financial stability, climate change, terrorism, cybercrime and pandemics—on the global agenda at the same time that it tends to weaken governments’ ability to respond.

The realm of transnational relations outside of government control includes, among others, bankers and criminals electronically transferring funds, terrorists transferring weapons and plans, hackers using social media to disrupt democratic processes, and ecological threats such as pandemics and climate change. Covid-19, for example, has already killed more Americans than died in the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars, yet we spent little to prepare for it. Nor will Covid-19 be the last or worst pandemic.

GPS Anti-Jam M-Code Takes Two Steps Forward


GPS III satellite 

WASHINGTON: DoD’s long-awaited M-Code secure channel for GPS signals is making slow but steady progress toward becoming a reality, with a fourth GPS III satellite slated to launch next month and final upgrades to the Air Force’s OCS ground control stations.

The highly encrypted M-Code to protect GPS signals from jamming and spoofing currently is enabled on 22 GPS satellites of various generations; 24 are needed to bring the M-Code to full operational capability.

“Right now we’ve got 22; SV-4 makes 23; and once you reach that magic number of 24, that gives you global M-Code coverage,” Chris Pettigrew, spokesperson for GPS prime contractor Lockheed Martin, told Breaking D today.

Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) announced last night that the fourth Global Positioning System III satellite, Space Vehicle-4 (SV-4), was delivered to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 14, where it will undergo pre-launch preparations. This includes integration with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which also was used to launch GPS SV-3 on June 30.

How the Army plans to use space and artificial intelligence to hit deep targets quickly

By: Nathan Strout   

That’s the problem Willie Nelson is trying to solve as director of the Army’s Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing (APNT) Cross-Functional Team. In that role, Nelson is integrating the Army’s efforts to locate beyond-line-of-sight threats and delivering accurate targeting data to weapons systems in a timely manner. In order to do that, his team is leveraging space-based sensors, artificial intelligence and a new scalable ground system that can connect to all of the Army’s weapon systems.

Of course, the first part of the problem is finding the threats.

For Nelson, the clear answer is satellites. While aerial platforms can provide that sensing capability, that’s only realistic in a scenario with air superiority. That’s not always the case.

“In essence, the deeper and deeper you go, you can’t assume air superiority … so really, quite frankly, the only avenue we have is to sense from space,” said Nelson.

The growing exploitation of low Earth orbit for imagery and sensing has opened new doors for the Army, said Nelson. It’s now possible to put deep sensing sensors on orbit that can collect that data without even alerting the adversary.

“Quite frankly, that is a gamechanger,” said Nelson.

Cyber Sovereignty Cuts Both Ways

By Elliott Zaagman

The White House's approach to managing the potential security threats posed by TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese-owned apps is hardly a model of procedural justice. Without a clear legal or regulatory framework, the Trump Administration has issued executive orders banning transactions with the apps’ respective parent companies (Bytedance and Tencent).

China’s leaders have not minced words in expressing their displeasure with U.S. actions, referring to those against TikTok as a “smash and grab” in a China Daily editorial, vowing retaliation and even going so far as to suggest that Beijing could block a future sale.

Yet despite its displeasure, Beijing seems to be witnessing the global adoption of a norm for which it has long advocated. Ironically, it may do them more harm than good.

For years, China has promoted the concept of “cyber sovereignty.” Although somewhat nebulous in definition, the term has been used to legitimise censorship, surveillance and localised control of data that make up what is often referred to as China’s “Great Firewall.” Broadly put, it is the notion that the government of a sovereign nation should have the right to exercise control over the internet within its own borders, including political, economic, cultural and technological activities.

The adoption of cyber sovereignty as a global norm could now prove to be one of the greatest impediments to China’s peace, prosperity and development.