4 October 2020

Huge Study of Coronavirus Cases in India Offers Some Surprises to Scientists

By Apoorva Mandavilli

With 1.3 billion people jostling for space, India has always been a hospitable environment for infectious diseases of every kind. And the coronavirus has proved to be no exception: The country now has more than six million cases, second only to the United States.

An ambitious study of nearly 85,000 of those cases and nearly 600,000 of their contacts, published Wednesday in the journal Science, offers important insights not just for India, but for other low- and middle-income countries.

Among the surprises: The median hospital stay before death from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, was five days in India, compared with two weeks in the United States, possibly because of limited access to quality care. And the trend in increasing deaths with age seemed to drop off after age 65 — perhaps because Indians who live past that age tend to be relatively wealthy and have access to good health care.

The contact tracing study also found that children of all ages can become infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others — offering compelling evidence on one of the most divisive questions about the virus.

China Muddies Waters Further in Ladakh by Resurrecting Old Claim

By Abhijnan Rej

In a further sign, as if you needed one, that the India-China crisis in Ladakh is nowhere near to being resolved, the Chinese foreign ministry on August 29 noted that China “does not recognize the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh.” In a separate statement China also noted that the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) is what it proposed on November 7, 1959 – a claim explicitly rejected by India then and since. Together, they suggest that China is in no mood to back down, as Beijing knowingly makes claims that would assuredly irk New Delhi. At the same time, both sides continue diplomatic talks as a matter of liturgy, while the military buildup on the ground shows no sign of letting up.

Soon after India’s decision last year to carve out a separate centrally administered territory, Ladakh, out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, China registered its concerns. It has done so on a few occasions. On August 6, 2019, the day after India announced its decision, the Chinese foreign ministry noted, as reply to a question posed to its spokesperson, “India has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law. Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force,” adding that India should “avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question.” Again in October last year, Beijing reiterated that India’s Ladakh move was “unlawful and void and this is not effective in any way,” and that it “will not change the fact that the area is under Chinese actual control.” (China administers the disputed Aksai Chin, which India claims as part of Ladakh.)

The implication of China’s latest statement about its non-recognition of Ladakh remains opaque. It is, for example, not clear whether China seeks to treat the entirety of Ladakh as disputed – which would be a tremendously escalatory step, rendering the already-tenuous LAC meaningless – or merely set up ground for negotiations about a new status quo around the LAC. Beijing in all likelihood knows that either possibility would be unpalatable for New Delhi. Which brings us to the question of why China would make such an assertion especially when it, simultaneously, repeats the need to “further ease the cooling down” of tensions with India.

What made China intrude in Eastern Ladakh

Brigadier (Retd) LI Singh

Contd from previous issue

(e) Keep India economically embroiled because of counter actions against the intrusions and simultaneously in combating novel Coronavirus, and in the process ensure economic recession to India leading to negative growth.

(f) Cause embarrassment to the ruling Government and ensure change by a weak coalition Government.

(g) Minimise threat to Western Highway in Aksai Chin areas from Eastern Ladakh region by consolidating the intruded areas. Xi is more than sure that India cannot make any physical move to capture Aksai Chin in the foreseeable future.

(h) Test the operational efficacy of Western Theater Command, which was raised in Feb 2016 after merging Chengdu and Lanzhou Military Regions, in coordination with Tibet Military Command and Xinjiang Military Region. This was one of the key Military Reforms as part of modernisation efforts originally planned to be completed by 2049, however, following the 19th CCP National Congress in 2017, CCP General Secretary and General Secretary and CMC Chairman Xi Zinping announced modernisation to be completed by 2035.

Why Taiwan Has Become The ‘Geographical Pivot Of History’ In The Pacific Age

Loren Thompson

At the dawn of the 20th century, British geographer Halford MacKinder proposed that there was a “geographical pivot of history” in central Asia from which a nation such as Russia could potentially dominate all of Eurasia.

MacKinder’s idea was a counterpoint to the writings of his contemporary, American historian and naval officer Alfred Thayer Mahan, who argued that command of the seas was the surest path a nation might follow to global power.

Mahan’s writings have tended to hold up better over time, although the theories of both men were undercut by the advent of long-range air power and other innovations that diminished the strategic significance of geography.

Nonetheless, the notion of a geographical pivot upon which great historical trends might turn retains its value. There are some places in the world that are of such extraordinary military and economic importance that a change in their status might signal the end of an era, or the beginning of a new global order.

Taiwan is the largest land mass between Japan and the Philippines, and thus anchors a chain of islands that U.S. strategists have identified as crucial to containing the rising military power of China.

Beijing Seeks to Evade U.S. Restrictions on Technology Imports

Craig Singleton

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a major speech earlier this month acknowledging how U.S. efforts to restrict Chinese access to critical technology have laid bare systemic weaknesses in Chinese supply chains. To meet this challenge, Xi foreshadowed plans to accelerate and deepen scientific and technological (S&T) innovation in China’s “strategic emerging industries,” thus marshalling domestic development to neutralize Washington’s policies.

Delivered before a scientists’ forum, Xi’s speech emphasized the strategic importance of fast-tracking China’s S&T innovation to promote technological innovation and ensure “high-quality” lives for the Chinese people. Xi further acknowledged that China faces a “domestic and international environment of profound and complex change,” likely a reference both to the economic impact of COVID-19 and to current bilateral tensions with the United States. While Xi emphasized the importance of international S&T collaboration on some niche issues, such as climate change and public health, his prescribed plan of action focused primarily on resolving critical internal barriers constraining Chinese S&T innovation and development.

Consistent with his broader efforts to rally domestic support for his policies, Xi also appealed to the nationalist sentiments of China’s S&T workforce, drawing on historical references, such as Beijing’s “Two Bombs, One Satellite” nuclear weapons program, to argue that science must be harnessed in service of the state. Xi also reiterated his view that “science has no borders, but scientists have motherlands,” an implied justification for China’s theft of intellectual property and academic research around the world.

US slaps trade restrictions on China's top chipmaker

Jon Fingas

The US didn’t waste much time blocking sales to China’s largest chipmaker. According to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, the Commerce Department has added Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) to its entity list, effectively blocking interactions between US suppliers and the Chinese firm. The American companies will need to obtain individual export licenses to do business with SMIC, and those are expected to be rare.

The Commerce Department instituted the de facto trade ban over claims SMIC technology could be used for Chinese military purposes. A US defense contractor, SOS International, claimed SMIC had worked with both one of China’s largest defense firms and that university researchers linked to the military were designing projects based on SMIC technology.

The Department didn’t directly comment on SMIC, but told Reuters it was “constantly monitoring and assessing” possible threats to US security and foreign policy.

SMIC, meanwhile, appeared to have been caught by surprise. A spokesperson said the chip giant hadn’t received any official word of restrictions and reiterated denials of any military link. The company offers chips and services “solely for civilian and commercial end-users and end-uses,” according to the representative.

U.S. at Risk of Being Outpaced by China, a New Intel Committee Report Finds

By Amy Mackinnon

Unless the U.S. intelligence community is overhauled to meet the complex threat posed by China, the United States is at risk of being unable to protect the nation’s health and security and compete with Beijing on the world stage, according to a new report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.

The stark assessment comes amid a wider rebalancing of U.S. national security priorities to contend with renewed great-power competition with Russia and China, as well as ongoing threats from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. But the report also stressed the need for U.S. intelligence officials to become more adept at analyzing nonmilitary threats, such as health, the economy, and climate change.

“The Committee’s central finding of this report is that the United States’ intelligence community has not sufficiently adapted to a changing geopolitical and technological environment increasingly shaped by a rising China and the growing importance of interlocking non-military transnational threats, such as global health, economic security, and climate change,” the committee stated in the report. 

The committee began its review of U.S. intelligence capabilities with regards to China last spring out of concerns that the United States’ laser focus on counterterrorism after 9/11 had let other intelligence capabilities atrophy and amid growing concerns that China poses a “unique and growing strategic challenge to U.S. national security.” 

The U.S. Intelligence Community Is Not Prepared for the China Threat

By Adam Schiff

We are witnessing the resurgence of authoritarianism across the globe, and it poses a growing challenge to the very idea of liberal democracy. China, with its expanding economic, military, and diplomatic might, is at the forefront of this neoauthoritarian challenge. Beijing seeks to build a world in which its ambitions are unchallenged and individual freedoms give way to the needs of the state. The United States must rise to meet this challenge—and that task begins with understanding China’s intentions and capabilities.

The House Intelligence Committee has spent the last two years looking at whether our nation’s intelligence apparatus is properly focused, postured, and resourced to understand the many dimensions of the China threat and preparing to advise policymakers on how to respond. We conducted hundreds of hours of interviews, visited facilities operated by over a dozen intelligence agencies, and reviewed thousands of analytic assessments in order to produce a classified report with a public summary and recommendations.

Why the United States Shouldn’t Sell Jets to the UAE

By Samuel Ramani

Last month, the United Arab Emirates became the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. This milestone, which was formalized through a White House signing ceremony earlier this month, was accompanied by discussions about the imminent sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly opposed the country’s purchase of F-35s, but the Trump administration is working on a compromise that allows the U.S. government to sell the fifth-generation fighter jet to Abu Dhabi without eroding Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. The preservation of Israel’s qualitative military edge—its ability to deter aggression from regional adversaries through technological and tactical superiority—has been a guiding principle of U.S. policy toward the Middle East since the 1960s and a codified tenet of U.S. law since 2008.

The prospective sale of F-35s to the UAE has faced pushback in the United States. The UAE’s alleged war crimes in Libya, which include an attack on a refugee detention center near Tripoli and a drone strike that killed unarmed cadets in Tripoli in January, as well as its oversight of torture facilities in Yemen, have raised ethical challenges to the deal. The country’s tightening relationship with China has provided further grounds for criticism.

There are also concerns about the possibility of Russia and China supplying sophisticated military technology to Iran, in order to counteract the enhancements of the UAE’s aerial capabilities resulting from F-35 transfers. While these countervailing factors are concerning enough, the UAE’s growing strategic partnership with Russia provides an equally compelling rationale for shelving F-35 sales to Abu Dhabi.

Venezuela in Light of Anti-American Parties and Affiliations in Latin America

Lt. Col. Geoffrey Demarest, JD, PhD, U.S. Army, Retired

As the economy in Venezuela collapsed over the course of the last several years, media coverage of the situation increasingly focused on the steep decline in living standards of the general population, the resulting misery, and the emergence of mass refugee flows to neighboring countries. The ruling socialist regime in Caracas (hereinafter, Bolivarian) was reasonably blamed for Venezuela’s tragedy, leading some more assertive opinionmakers to call for senior Venezuelan military leaders to abandon obedience to Nicolás Maduro as their chief executive and instead align their loyalty to the regime’s political opposition, which had gained a compelling share of formal internal and external recognition.1 Although there had been localized mutinies, the military services in general remained notably unresponsive. The central reason for this unresponsiveness is that the senior military leadership is part of the same corrupt hierarchy that caused the catastrophe. Humanitarian concerns among foreign political leaders, especially those of South American countries, resulted in diplomatic measures being taken against the Maduro regime. The hope was apparently to force a regime change by isolating the Maduro administration diplomatically, by strangling its finances, and therewith, by instigating an internal coup of some kind. However, to the general and unwarranted mystification of the media and pundits alike, Maduro showed sufficient political resilience to maintain his position within the Bolivarian hierarchy.

Adding to the complexity and danger of the situation was the direct presence of Russian military forces, with small military contingents deployed to Venezuela. Russian presence operations have also included the periodic visitation of nuclear-weapons-capable aircraft and large warships; the overall intention was evidently to undergird the Bolivarian dictatorship and its resolve—an intention which, in retrospect, was realized.

Fauci and Trump Are at Odds Again Over Masks

Simon Romero

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the leading U.S. official on infectious diseases, hit back at President Trump on Wednesday for what he called the misrepresentation of his stance on using masks to curb the coronavirus.

In the presidential debate on Tuesday, Mr. Trump claimed that Dr. Fauci initially said “masks are not good — then he changed his mind.” And when former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said wearing masks could save tens of thousands of lives, Mr. Trump contended that “Dr. Fauci said the opposite.”

Dr. Fauci, whose relationship with his boss has often seemed tenuous at best, took issue with his claims the day after the debate.

“Anybody who has been listening to me over the last several months knows that a conversation does not go by where I do not strongly recommend that people wear masks,” he said in an interview on ABC News’s “Start Here” podcast. The full interview can be heard Thursday, ABC said.

Dr. Fauci explained that “very early on in the pandemic,” the authorities did not recommend masks to the general public because they were worried about shortages and hoarding. But that changed, he said, as it became clear that asymptomatic transmission was spreading the virus and that masks helped stop it.

The right debate question for Trump, Biden: How do we fight our next war?


The presidential debates are nearly upon us. Inevitably, they will turn to national security: Who are America’s greatest threats? How do we maintain world leadership in an era of “great power” competition? How big should our military be? How should it be used? 

These are important questions, but the wrong ones. Concerns about military might, “combat overmatch,” and “kill chains” are irrational because we already have the best military in the world — even our adversaries know this and avoid open battle. Yet we struggle against lesser foes, from the Taliban to the Kremlin. If we’re honest, the United States has not won a major war since 1945. What’s going on?

Warfare has changed, but we have not, leaving us vulnerable. Our adversaries know and exploit this, which is why the United States struggles against weaker powers; they eschew outmoded paradigms of armed conflict, such as “conventional war” (think: World War II) and embrace new ones. It’s why they succeed.

War is getting sneakier. Armed conflict is going underground, into the complicated shadows. Occasionally it will bubble up into mainstream media and may look “conventional” for a brief time, before returning to the shadows. Russia has mastered this new way of war. During the Cold War, when the Kremlin wanted to put its boot on someone’s neck, it rolled in the tanks. Brute force squashed uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968

Meet Israel’s cybersecurity gatekeeper


Walking into the Tel Aviv office of Israel National Cyber Directorate head Yigal Unna, you immediately notice a very specific memento—a very weighty plaque he was awarded by his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates. Unna was part of the historic delegation that traveled to Abu Dhabi last month after the landmark peace deal between Israel and the UAE was announced, and the plaque sheds light on the deep cyber and technological ties between the two countries.

“The potential vis-à-vis the UAE is endless,” he told Israel Hayom. “We have the knowledge, tools and capabilities that can offer the issues they’re dealing with the best solutions in the world. In terms of cybersecurity, Israel is one of the most protected countries in the world. We want them to be as protected as we are,” he said. 

According to Unna, until now Israeli companies pursued only defense deals in the Gulf. Now that the Abraham Accords are in place, trade can expand to include economic and industrial ventures.

“There are many overtures by Israeli and Gulf companies that want to get started. The cyber sphere connects people and Israel is a powerhouse in this arena—one considerably larger than its physical size or the size of its economy. We have something for every actor in the region, and they all face similar threats as Israel,” he said. 

COVID: Coronavirus Cases Surge In Europe's Second Wave

By Alex Berezow

After the coronavirus crept out of China earlier this year, Europe became the epicenter of the pandemic. In response, nations across the continent implemented fairly harsh lockdowns. I ended up being trapped in Poland for several months because of the travel restrictions.

For the most part, Europe's crackdown appeared to help. The number of new cases fell during the summer. However, across the pond, the U.S. was in chaos. On July 25, the U.S. hit a record daily high of 78,427 cases. By comparison, Europe recorded only 16,175 the same day. Americans then underwent a period of self-flagellation in which we lamented our failure to control the virus compared to Europe's relative success.

Well, that's all changed now. In the graph below, which I generated using data from the European CDC, the trend in new daily cases has clearly reversed: The U.S. (green line) is trending downward, while Europe (red line) is trending upward.

World War 2020 – The Kind War

By Professor John Walker 

Introduction to the New Age of Warfare

It was in Amsterdam 1993 when presenting a paper at the Virus Bulletin 93 Conference, subject – bypassing anti-virus scanners. It was there in the luxurious Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

where I was baptised by Winn Schwartau to a topic which caught my imagination – that topic was ‘Cyber War’. I admit at that time the general opinion of the delegates seemed to be that of rejection of any such concept of adverse cyber-condition could ever materialise with any real-world effect! However, I was consumed by the words delivered by what I saw (see) as a thought leader who was (is) prepared to stand up and tell of what was not in the public domain. From that day hence, I became a disciple of the message, and commenced on a long road which is now approaching a 30 year juncture of reading, conducting research, writing and presenting on this topic at every opportunity – granted along the way, as with Winn, my words have on occasion met rejection and disbelief.

The Game Changer – coronavirus

In this year of 2020 we have seen the arrival of the pandemic in the guise of the coronavirus, and the associated impacting consequence of COVID-19 taking its toll on global societies, human lives, mental stress and illness, and the devastating impact this Chinese bio-export has had on the global economy, not forgetting the mountainous death toll it has created – as has been already commented on a number of occasions, this is unrepresented! As I have written before, the jury is still out on just how the coronavirus pandemic really happened, and what it was born out of, but it would seem there are more snippets of evidence entering the public domain giving an inclination as to the bio’s origination. At Fig 1 below an image showing the Biological Engineering Department situated in Wuhan – you decide!

How China Is Taking Over International Organizations, One Vote at a Time

By Yaroslav Trofimov, 

When China curtailed political freedoms in Hong Kong this summer, two rival declarations circulated at the United Nations Human Rights Council. One, drafted by Cuba and commending Beijing’s move, won the backing of 53 nations. Another, issued by the U.K. and expressing concern, secured 27 supporters.

China’s show of strength was just the latest diplomatic triumph in Beijing’s drive to sway the system of international organizations in its direction. As the Trump administration stepped back from many parts of the multilateral order established after World War II, China has emerged a chief beneficiary, intensifying a methodical, decadelong campaign.

Beijing is pushing its civil servants, or those of clients and partners, to the helm of U.N. institutions that set global standards for air travel, telecommunications and agriculture. Gaining influence at the U.N. permits China to stifle international scrutiny of its behavior at home and abroad. In March, Beijing won a seat on a five-member panel that selects U.N. rapporteurs on human-rights abuses—officials who used to target Beijing for imprisoning more than a million Uighurs at so-called re-education camps in Xinjiang.

Washington has recently attempted to counter this effort at the U.N., cajoling and wooing countries around the world. Those efforts, hamstrung by damaged relationships with partners and allies, have had a limited impact so far.

Is The Vaccine A Panacea? – OpEd

By Dr. Vladimer Papava

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious problems for the global health and the global economy. Specifically, for the healthcare systems it is crucial that Medicine be ready to cure the Coronavirus patients with effective therapies. It is equally important to minimize the risk of getting infected with the Coronavirus which can be achieved once a relevant vaccine is developed and distributed widely.

Practically, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that universal vaccination is a powerful tool to hinder the widespread of the Coronavirus (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgvbQuJb16wIVlM13Ch0iGQWpEAAYASAAEgJ3aPD_BwE).

Both economists and politicians are also hopeful of the universal vaccination opportunity since the economic crisis has developed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is not a ‘typical’ economic crisis which is resulted by the economic causes. This economic crisis stems from the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. As reducing contacts among the community members, and in the best case, maintaining distance is the mechanism to hamper its spread, many businesses have had to suspend their operations.

Accordingly, this ‘atypical’ economic crisis may be referred to as the Coronomic crisis and it will come to a real end when the field of Medicine defeats the Coronavirus. In other words, today the economy is the hostage of Medicine (https://www.eurasiareview.com/29032020-coronomic-crisis-when-the-economy-is-a-hostage-to-medicine-oped/).

For Macron, Being Right on European Strategic Autonomy Isn’t Enough

Judah Grunstein

It’s been a busy few months for Emmanuel Macron. The French president has taken the lead in seeking to resolve a range of crises and conflicts within Europe and on its borders and periphery. That has put Macron where he clearly likes to be: center stage and in the spotlight. But in so doing, he has once again created opposition and resentment within Europe, while underlining the limits to his ability to achieve his desired outcomes.

Macron’s diplomatic hot streak began at the European Union summit in late July, when he helped push through the EU’s groundbreaking collective debt mechanism to fund pandemic relief packages. Then, in early August, he flew to Lebanon to publicly pressure its leaders to implement long-needed reforms in the immediate aftermath of the Beirut port explosion. He subsequently engaged in a very public war of words with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Ankara’s brinksmanship in the Eastern Mediterranean. And this week, he visited Lithuania and Estonia, both EU and NATO members, as part of a trip meant to assuage their misgivings over his recent outreach to Russia. ...

War of the AI algorithms: the next evolution of cyber attacks

Max Heinemeyer

It has now been over three decades since the Morris Worm infected an estimated 10% of the 60,000 computers that were online in 1988. It was the personal malware project of a Harvard graduate named Robert Tappan Morris, and is now widely deemed to be the world’s first cyber-attack.

Fast forward to today, and cyber attacks now stand among natural disasters and climate change in the World Economic Forum’s annual list of global society’s gravest threats. As businesses, schools, hospitals, and pretty much every other thread in the fabric of society have embraced the internet, cyber crime has transformed from an academic research project into a global marketplace of professional hacking services, and on the geopolitical stage, governments have turned to hyper-advanced cyber attack tools as a means of causing physical damage and disruption to their adversaries’ critical infrastructure.

Over the years, hackers have consistently reinforced the old adage: ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. Defenders have inputted new rules into their firewalls or developed new detection signatures based on attacks they have seen, and hackers have constantly reoriented their attack methodologies to evade them, leaving organisations playing catch-up and scrambling for a plan B in the face of an attack. A paradigm shift came in 2017 when the destructive ransomware ‘worms’ WannaCry and NotPetya caught the security world unaware, bypassing traditional tools like firewalls to cripple thousands of organisations across 150 countries, including a number of NHS agencies.

Palmerworm: Espionage Gang Targets the Media, Finance, and Other Sectors

The Threat Hunter Team at Symantec, a division of Broadcom (NASDAQ: AVGO), has uncovered a new espionage campaign carried out by the Palmerworm group (aka BlackTech) involving a brand new suite of custom malware, targeting organizations in Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., and China.

The attacks occurred in 2019 and continued into 2020, targeting organizations in the media, construction, engineering, electronics, and finance sectors. We observed the group using previously unseen malware in these attacks.

Palmerworm uses a combination of custom malware, dual use tools, and living-off-the-land tactics in this campaign. Palmerworm has been active since at least 2013, with the first activity seen in this campaign in August 2019.

Tactics, Tools, and Procedures

Palmerworm was observed using both dual-use tools and custom malware in these attacks.

Eight breathtaking photographs from the Outdoor Photographer of the Year award

Toby Keel

The results of the 2018 Outdoor Photographer of the Year award were announced this week.

The task of whittling down the 20,000 images submitted for the competition to the very best must have been astonishingly tough for the judges, but the pictures which scooped the awards really are wonderful to behold – a celebration of nature in all manner of different forms.

A special mention goes to Robert Birkby, whose picture of sheep huddling together in a snowy Yorkshire scene earned him the Overall Winner prize.

We’re also going to single out Anya Burnell, who was named as a runner-up in the Young Photographer category. Her magnificent image of a common blue butterfly in Devon is featured at the top of this page.

Below is a selection of our favourites, together with a few words from each photographer on how the image was captured. You can see more of the winning images here, while the competition website www.opoty.com will carry details of next year’s competition in due course.

Epic and intimate glimpses of nature from the Sony World Photography Awards

By Johnny Simon

The Sony World Photography Awards, a massive competition that honors the best images from more than 300,000 submissions, has announced its shortlist.

The categories include the natural world and wildlife, culture and travel. Some of the most breathtaking images feature unique and striking views of nature.

From aerials that showcase stunning landscapes, to touching moments between animals. Here’s a look at a sample of the shortlisted images, with captions provided by the photographers.

The Army Rolls Out a New Weapon: Strategic Napping

By Dave Philipps

Turns out Beetle Bailey had it right all along.

The loafing comic-strip Army private has been sleeping on duty for 70 years, to the frequent fury of his platoon sergeant. But on Wednesday, the Army released new guidelines for optimal soldier performance — and they include strategic and aggressive napping.

The recommendation is part of an overhaul of the Army’s physical fitness training field manual, which was rebranded this week as the FM 7-22 Holistic Health and Fitness manual. No longer is the guide focused entirely on grueling physical challenges like long ruck marches and pull-ups. Now it has chapters on setting goals, visualizing success, “spiritual readiness” and, yes, the art of the nap.

“Soldiers can use short, infrequent naps to restore wakefulness and promote performance,” the new manual advises. “When routinely available sleep time is difficult to predict, soldiers might take the longest nap possible as frequently as time is available.”

It is the first update to the manual in eight years, and it reflects growing scientific evidence that peak physical performance includes more than just physical training.

Triangularity Of Nuclear Arms Control: Possible Implications Of China’s Involvement In Nuclear Talks – Analysis

By Alexander G. Savelyev

In December 2019, the United States officially invited China to enter into a strategic security dialogue. The White House said it hoped Beijing’s consent to this proposal might become the first step towards an international agreement encompassing all nuclear weapons of the United States, Russia, and China. As expected, this proposal was rejected. China said its nuclear arsenal was much smaller than those of the United States and Russia, and it would be able to participate in such talks only when their nuclear potentials were brought to parity with its own.

In March 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump once again declared his intention to ask Russia and China to hold such talks with the aim of avoiding a costly arms race (Reuters.com, 2020). The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s response followed virtually in no time. Its spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China had no intention of taking part in the so-called China-U.S.-Russia trilateral arms control negotiations, and that its position on this issue was very clear (ECNC.cn., 2020). He called upon the United States to extend the New START and to go ahead with the policy of U.S-Russian nuclear arms reduction, thus creating prerequisites for other countries to join the nuclear disarmament process. There is nothing new about China’s stance. A year earlier Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, while speaking at a news conference in May 2019, made a similar statement. China refused to participate in a trilateral arms control agreement (Fmprc.gov.2019).

It is noteworthy that while advising the United States and Russia to downgrade their nuclear potentials to its level, China does not say what exactly this level is. One of the rare official statements (if not the sole one) on that score was the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement, published on April 27, 2004, that China’s nuclear arsenal was the smallest of all (Fact Sheet China, 2004). Even in that case the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not specify if it was referring to the quintet of the UN Security Council’s permanent members. If so, China’s nuclear arsenal, according to official statistics, consisted of no more than 190 warheads (Britain’s level that year). Such (understated according to most analysts) estimates, have also been mentioned by a number of experts. For example, Harvard researcher Hui Zhang says China in 2011 had 166 nuclear warheads. There are other, higher estimates. For instance, Professor Phillip Karber of Georgetown University believes that China has 3,000 warheads at its disposal (Karber, 2011), while many other researchers call this in question.

Army Wrestles With ‘Information Advantage’


WASHINGTON: The concept the Pentagon now calls “information advantage” is an ancient one: “If you know your enemy and know yourself,” Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years, “you need not fear the outcome of one hundred battles.” The hard part is applying that precept to fast-moving future conflicts, where malware, jamming, and even social media may be as decisive as any airstrike.

The Army — indeed, the whole joint force — is struggling to define how to actually do this, and the bureaucratic turf wars can be as complex as the technology.

“Stop fighting and start figuring out how to integrate the capability[:] That’s my one request to the force, to all the practitioners, to all the thinkers that are out there,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty told the AOC CEMAlite conference this morning. “You can be critical. Provide that to us in a constructive way and help us continue to build the tradecraft.”

The objective, the chief of Army Cyber Command said, is for future commanders to be able to see what’s happening “in real time — not just the physical effects [e.g. weapons fire], and the physical space within the spectrum [i.e. radio and radar signals], but then also that information space, where ideas are being bounced around like crazy.”