18 November 2020

Five priorities for corporate India in the next normal after COVID-19

By Rajat Dhawan

The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious effect on the lives and livelihoods of people in India. Daily counts of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 deaths have continued to rise, although lockdown measures imposed in late March helped slow the spread of the disease. As in other countries, these lockdown measures have curtailed economic activity and increased unemployment. McKinsey estimates that India’s GDP in the first quarter of the 2020–21 fiscal year could shrink by 20 percent, compared with the same quarter last year. The World Bank projects that full-year GDP will contract by more than 3 percent. India’s unemployment rate, which stood at 8.4 percent before the lockdown, rose to 27.1 percent in April.

The beginning of May saw the government cautiously lift certain restrictions so that some businesses could reopen. This helped bring the unemployment rate down to 24 percent by mid-May. And when McKinsey surveyed global executives on their economic views in early May, almost half of respondents in India said that they expect economic conditions in India to be substantially or moderately better in six months’ time.

Nevertheless, a sober, pragmatic outlook emerges from our discussions with dozens of CEOs and senior executives in recent weeks. Executives are planning for a prolonged economic downturn—and for an uncertain “next normal” that could follow an eventual recovery.

The PLA’s Pursuit of Terahertz: Facts and Fallacies

By: Marcus Clay

Successful military operations depend upon freedom of action in the warfighting domains of air, space, ground, sea, and cyberspace. Today, effective command and control and situational awareness depend upon radio communications and sensors. Domination of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) enables joint force commanders to gain tactical, operational, and strategic advantage over a potential adversary.[1] EMS is broken down into frequency bands defined by certain physical characteristics, which include radio waves, microwaves, millimeter waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays.

Over the past decade, defense establishments around the world have been assessing the feasibility of sensors, radar, and communications operating in the terahertz (THz) portion of the frequency spectrum. The U.S. Department of Defense’s efforts are particularly focused on technological breakthroughs in the microelectronics that would drive THz emitters (DARPA, undated).

The PLA has long believed that modern warfare hinges upon “the fifth domain of the EMS space (第五维电磁空间,di wu wei dianci kongjian),” and that THz is “unquestionably” a key technology to dominate the EMS and gain an edge in military competition. (PLA Daily, April 10). [2] EMS domination is seen as the key to “muting the adversary’s communications, blinding its radars, and paralyzing its networks” to win modern wars. (Civilian Staff WeChat, April 11). Military and civilian resources, both in terms of funding and human capital, have been invested in China’s pursuit of THz technologies as early as the 2005 Xiangshan Science Conference (香山科学会议, Xiangshan Kexue Huiyi), although the exact quality of China’s THz research and development (R&D) remains unclear (XSSC, November 21; THz Applications WeChat, January 29). The majority of “outputs” of such R&D programs show promise, albeit with seemingly limited military value. Nevertheless, over the past fifteen years or so, China has created a state-led innovation ecosystem to sustain both basic and applied research of THz.

The Trans-Himalayan ‘Quad,’ Beijing’s Territorialism, and India

By: Jagannath P. Panda

Connectivity linkages between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and trans-Himalayan countries have taken on a new hue with the recent Himalayan ‘Quadrilateral’ meeting between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal (MOFA (PRC), July 27). Often referred to as a “handshake across the Himalayas,” China’s outreach in the region has been characterized by ‘comprehensive’ security agreements, infrastructure-oriented aid, enhanced focus on trade, public-private partnerships, and more recently, increased economic and security cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The geopolitics underlying China’s regional development initiatives, often connected with its crown jewel foreign policy project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have been highly concerning—not just for the countries involved, but also for neighboring middle powers like India, which have significant stakes in the region.[2]

At the Himalayan Quad meeting, foreign ministers from all four countries deliberated on the need to enhance the BRI in the region through a “Health Silk Road”. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and PRC President Xi Jinping’s ‘Community of a Shared Future for Humanity’ was cited as justification for facilitating a “common future with closely entwined interests,” and the ministers agreed to work towards enhancing connectivity initiatives to ensuring a steady flow of trade and transport corridors in the region and building multilateralism in the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote a “global community of health” (Xinhua, July 28).

Winning the New Cold War

By Jeremiah Rozman & Eugene Irby III

China’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its extensive other aggressions and abuses, demonstrate it to be an adversary. Its rise imperils global liberty, threatens stability, and weakens the standing of international norms and law. Competition with China poses a greater challenge than ever posed by the Soviet Union (USSR) during the Cold War. The U.S. was slow to recognize China’s adversarial rise. Its economy has swiftly grown to rival that of the U.S. in size and is increasingly globally interconnected. It is building a formidable military, a skilled propaganda apparatus, and coercive economic leverage. Alarmingly, a nation that explicitly espouses hostile intentions, and is rapidly enhancing its already formidable coercive capabilities, has become a preeminent source for industries critical to U.S. national security. These include rare earth elements (REE), pharmaceutical products, and 5G telecommunications vulnerable to Chinese espionage. Regardless of which administration is in power, the U.S. must end its strategic reliance on China. It should use China’s culpability in the spread of COVID-19 to galvanize domestic and international support for difficult but necessary competition.

China’s Culpability in the COVID-19 Pandemic

For a critical two-months, China deceived the world by denying that COVID-19 could be transmitted between humans. Instead, it used its influence in the World Health Organization (WHO) to block credible Taiwanese research, which disputed that narrative.[i] By the time China publicly admitted human-to-human transmission, over five million people had left Hubei province, spreading the virus worldwide.[ii] Throughout that time, China imposed a domestic, but not an international travel ban.[iii] To date, the pandemic has killed over a million people, left millions more permanently impaired, and crippled economies globally.[iv]

What Should China’s Biden Policy Look Like?

By Brian Wong

The past four years of Donald Trump’s presidency have seen the U.S.-China relations take a drastic turn for the worse. From the unprecedented trade war to the dog-whistling rhetoric employed by Trump against Chinese nationals and students, to the staunch rebuking of journalists and authors perceived to be affiliated with the West by Beijing, relations between the world’s two largest economies have sunk to new lows.

A Legitimacy Dilemma

Accounting for the escalating tensions requires a closer examination of bilateral relations. Both Chinese and American investment in expanding and consolidating, respectively, their presence in the Pacific, has increased significantly in recent years. China’s defense spending rose by $11 billion this year (its fifth-highest increase ever), in preparation for the expansion of its Indo-Pacific sphere of influence and consolidation of its naval presence in the South and East China Seas. On the other hand, Trump repeatedly slashed domestic programs in order to prop up his hike in defense spending, avidly pursuing – contrary to his rhetoric – a continuation of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. In 2018, Trump pledged to deploy several thousand Marines to strengthen naval activity in the East China Sea, while renewing economic and political ties with key regional players including the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. One may thus be tempted to conclude that a classic security dilemma is at work – where both countries seek to one-up each other in military capacity, in an attempt to preempt and deter each other from engaging in total war.

China’s Evolving Approach to Media Influence: The Case of Czechia

By Ivana Karásková

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that media in democratic countries are indeed strategic industries, serving as a principal means of communication between governments and citizens. Yet, the recent crises also show that hostile foreign powers can use the same channels of communication to influence narratives, spread disinformation, and contribute to panic or social unrest.

The People’s Republic of China is a recent addition to the plethora of actors who seek to influence media across the world, including in Central and Eastern Europe. The Chinese party-state recognizes the value of controlling foreign media as tools for channeling power by fostering a positive image of the country. It influences media content by promoting Chinese Communist Party (CCP) narratives, suppressing critical voices, and managing content delivery systems. In Europe alone, Chinese investment into media amounted to $2.3 billion between 2008 and 2018.

Influence attempts include mergers in and acquisitions of media, placing advertisements in media outlets, hiring PR companies to facilitate the penetration of China’s narratives into the media, or intimidating journalists writing articles labeled as allegedly “anti-China.”

Al Qaeda’s No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Was Killed in Iran

Adam Goldman

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran three months ago, intelligence officials have confirmed.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States, according to four of the officials. It is unclear what role if any was played by the United States, which had been tracking the movements of Mr. al-Masri and other Qaeda operatives in Iran for years.

The killing occurred in such a netherworld of geopolitical intrigue and counterterrorism spycraft that Mr. al-Masri’s death had been rumored but never confirmed until now. For reasons that are still obscure, Al Qaeda has not announced the death of one of its top leaders, Iranian officials covered it up, and no country has publicly claimed responsibility for it.

US-India Relations Under A Joe Biden Presidency – Analysis

By Amitava Mukherjee

The fundamental difference between Joe Biden, the new US president elect, and Donald Trump, the outgoing president, lies in their respective perception of governance and institutions. Biden is a person who orients toward a structured governmental system. Donald Trump, as was his modus operandi over the past four years, views governance in a personalized manner.

India, particularly its Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not only adjusted itself but responded enthusiastically to this kind of US administration. Thus, some readjustments between New Delhi and Washington might be in the offing, although this can’t be expected to snap the chain of continuity that already exists.

For India, the election of Biden as the next US president has its satisfactory and unsatisfactory elements. The first aspect which is sure to keep policymakers in New Delhi on tenterhooks is Biden’s outlook on the peace process in Afghanistan. The United States has already concluded a treaty with the Taliban which enjoins the US to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghan soil. There is no reason to conclude that Biden will backtrack from this arrangement. At best he may bargain for retaining a very small number of US troops there. This will mean no qualitative difference in the Afghan situation, and Pakistan will get the strategic depth it’s seeking.

Three Easy Foreign Policy Wins for Biden in His First 100 Days

Candace Rondeaux 

To say President-elect Joe Biden has his work cut out for him when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and national security would be a gross understatement. China, Russia, Iran and North Korea all loom large, right alongside climate change and the still-worsening coronavirus pandemic. Yet with a persistently polarized American electorate and a possibly divided Congress, it will be hard for his administration to make significant progress on the biggest security challenges facing the United States. Whatever happens with the messy transition period leading up to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the Republican Party’s obstructionism and Donald Trump’s decapitation of Pentagon leadership this week certainly will not help. There are, however, some easy wins that Biden’s administration could still conceivably secure within its first 100 days, without having to charge straight into major political headwinds.

Despite the many obstacles Biden’s national security team will confront, there are nevertheless viable options to deliver quickly on Biden’s promise to “restore American leadership abroad” and repair international alliances. A Biden White House could better the odds for more stable U.S. relations with the world by taking three simple steps in the first quarter of 2021 to demonstrate America’s recommitment to the defense of human rights and promotion of international legal norms. Not one will require a hard sell to Congress, and all three would likely receive broad bipartisan support across the foreign policy community in Washington.

U.S. Versus Chinese Powers of Persuasion

by Bonny Lin, Michael S. Chase, Jonah Blank, Cortez A. Cooper III

U.S. policymakers and experts are focused on two central questions about long-term strategic competition between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC): How do we assess how well the United States is doing relative to China, and which country has more influence in the Indo-Pacific region?

RAND Project AIR FORCE researchers addressed these two questions by first defining what influence means in the context of great-power competition and creating a framework to measure U.S. versus PRC influence. The result brings into focus a well-defined picture of the United States and China's strengths and weaknesses in third countries in the Indo-Pacific—in short, a snapshot of whether the United States or China is "winning" the competition for influence and where.

To understand whether the United States or China is "winning" the competition for influence, RAND researchers traveled to nine countries in the Indo-Pacific in late 2018 and early 2019 and interviewed and consulted with more than 100 U.S. and partner government officials and academic experts. Researchers analyzed official documents, academic reports, and data on U.S. and Chinese activities to answer these four questions:

Postelection Forecast: More Polarization Ahead


Last week’s elections brought to a brutal head how politically polarized the United States is. U.S. President Donald Trump’s relatively strong showing dashed the hope held by many of his critics that the election would constitute a repudiation of Trump, and in so doing, open the door to some kind of de-escalation of the country’s profound ideological divide. Instead, as George Packer wrote immediately after the election in an article in the Atlantic entitled “Face the Bitter Truth,” “we are two countries, and neither of them is going to be conquered or disappear anytime soon.”


Soberingly, more polarization appears probable, in three overlapping phases. First, as Trump keeps railing against the election, feeding the flames of conspiratorial thinking about imagined electoral fraud, he will further inflame partisan anger. His relentless attacks over the past four years on truth, institutions, and the legitimacy of his opponents have prepared the ground for this final, desperate campaign. With no substantial factual ground to stand on in his objections to the elections, he appears to hope that by bringing America’s partisan cauldron to a peak boil, some kind of crisis can be provoked that will break in his favor. He will undoubtedly cling to this approach long after he leaves office, defining his post-presidential political life as a sustained tirade against the election.

A Joe Biden Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown: Would it Work?

by Rachel Bucchino

President Donald Trump has labeled presumptive President-elect Joe Biden as a lawmaker who “wants to shut down the country” to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Although Biden has rejected these claims, he’s insisted that he plans to “listen to the scientists” to build a cohesive COVID-19 mitigation strategy -- one that might involve a multi-week economic shutdown.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of Biden’s new coronavirus task force and director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, floated the idea of a nationwide lockdown to tame the unmanageable infection surges across the country, as case numbers are averaging 120,000 each day for the month of November.

Osterholm added that the government would borrow funds to help supply lost income and wages to Americans who would be out of work due to the shutdown. 

Waiting for Biden

Most international leaders have congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden, and many welcome the prospect of reviving moribund multilateralism once he takes office in January. But how can Europe and other US allies best engage with Biden's administration on key global issues, and how should America wield its declining relative power in an increasingly complex and polarized world?

In this Big Picture, Josef Joffe of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, who sits on Die Zeit’s editorial board, argues that Biden will not completely reverse America’s inward turn, which predates President Donald Trump. At a minimum, says former Spanish foreign minister Ana Palacio, convincing the US to resume its international leadership role will require the European Union in particular to demonstrate a greater willingness to share burdens.

To that end, the Brookings Institution’s Kemal Derviş and Sebastián Strauss urge EU leaders to work closely with the Biden administration on issues such as climate change, defense, and trade. Likewise, former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel and John B. Emerson, a former US ambassador to Germany, call for renewed US-German cooperation – not least to provide an economic counterweight to China.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Ethnic Armenians set fire to their homes rather than hand them to Azerbaijan

By Anelise Borges

In the town of Karvachar in Nagorno-Karabakh, Vahe Mkrtchyan watched his home burn down.

He set fire to it himself after learning that it now lies in a region ceded to Azerbaijan in a ceasefire brokered by Russia to end recent hostilities with Armenia.

“I don’t want to leave something for terrorists - who killed my brothers and sisters and who stole my home from me," Vahe told Euronews.

Other ethnic-Armenian residents in the town did the same thing, taking what belongings they could manage then setting fire to their own homes rather than hand them over to Azerbaijan.

On November 9, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to cease armed hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh the following day.

As part of the settlement, Azerbaijan gained control over several territories that include the town of Karvachar.


The Middle East and North Africa region is increasingly dominated by non-state armed groups wielding significant military and governance power. European governments need a deeper engagement strategy to draw these powerful actors into inclusive political processes and power-sharing structures that can help stabilise the region.

Julien Barnes-Dacey, Ellie Geranmayeh, Hugh Lovatt

Inna Rudolf

Amal Saad

Emadeddin Badi

The Karabakh War Ends as Russian Troops Move In

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

The second Karabakh war, which began on September 27, 2020, ended this week, with Armenia soundly defeated and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan forced to accept the ceasefire demands made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The accord to end the war was signed by Pashinyan, Aliyev and President Vladimir Putin on November 9. Both sides agreed to a timetable for Armenia’s withdrawal from what it has called its “security buffer zone” around Karabakh. By November 15, all Armenian forces must be out of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar District; by November 20, from parts of the Agdam and Gazakh districts; and by December 1, from the Lachin District. All the other previously occupied lands of the “security buffer zone” were liberated by Azerbaijani forces over the past month and a half of fighting. Some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers will move into Karabakh to guarantee the ceasefire, supervise the execution of the trilateral agreement and to assert control over the so-called “Lachin corridor”—a highway from Armenia to Karabakh, through the city of Lachin. The return of refugees to Karabakh and the formerly occupied surrounding districts will be supervised by the United Nations. Moreover, a land corridor through Armenian territory will be established from the Azerbaijani exclave bordering Turkey—the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic—to mainland Azerbaijan. The transit of goods and people from Nakhchivan to mainland Azerbaijan will be supervised by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Guards (Interfax, November 10).

Can Putin Change Russia’s Role From Spoiler to Global Power?

Russia occupies an unusual position on the world stage. Under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has repeatedly demonstrated that it has the capacity to destabilize the international order, but not the capacity to fill the vacuum it is creating. While Russia lacks the military strength to challenge U.S. supremacy, no one—particularly not the NATO alliance—is ignoring its capabilities. Moscow’s use of arms sales and military engagements to build ties to countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and especially the Middle East has also attracted attention. And its massive exports of fossil fuels to Europe offers Russia additional leverage.

Even as Moscow maintains an outsized influence on the global stage, discontent is brewing at home. Putin has dominated the Russian political scene for more than two decades, but his popularity is waning amid a slowing economy and following a deeply unpopular pension reform effort. That didn’t stop him from engineering a way to hold onto power after his current presidential term ends in 2024, despite a constitutional term limit. But it may open space for Putin’s long-suffering political opponents to call attention to the corruption and violence that have marked his tenure.

With its sanctions on Russia, the United States has added to Putin’s problems. And American officials, including members of Congress, still see Russia as an enemy that meddled in U.S. elections and is continuing to work against American national security interests around the world. For reasons that are difficult to determine, U.S. President Donald Trump has proven resistant to measures that could deter future Russian meddling, even as his efforts to undermine NATO and other international blocs plays into Putin’s hands. Now bilateral relations have entered another period of uncertainty as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.

The World Is Tackling Climate Change, With or Without America


In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he intended to take the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change—one of many indications that the country was vacating its leading role as a supporter of multilateralism and the norms-based order. In July of the same year, the world’s biggest iceberg ripped from the Antarctic shelf and started drifting in the Scotia Sea, south of Chile.

On November 4, 2020, as the world still anxiously awaited the results of the American elections, the United States officially left the Paris Agreement. Concurrently, the same A68a iceberg entered its final collision course with the British overseas territory of South Georgia. The iceberg is now most likely days away from an irremediable crash into the island and its biodiverse colonies of penguins and seals. And at nearly the same time, a message was just literally released from the Arctic. On Sunday, November 1, a time capsule that an icebreaker had placed in the ice floe in 2018 was just found in the northwestern tip of Ireland. It contained the following message: “Everything around is covered by ice. We think that by the time this letter will be found there is no more ice in the Arctic unfortunately.”

The situation is not that bad yet. But scientists have just had a panicked realization that the Arctic is, for the first time in recorded history, not yet freezing this year and leaving open waters in the Laptev Sea.

U.N. Peacemaking in the Age of Plague

By Colum Lynch

COVID-19 cases are soaring in Geneva, the site of the European headquarters of the United Nations, making Switzerland one of the harder-hit countries on the continent. But the international organization is still pressing ahead with plans to host Afghan and Syrian peace conferences later this month, fueling concerns among some U.N. staffers and diplomats that the coronavirus may spread further within the ranks of the international civil service.

In recent months, Tatiana Valovaya, the director general of the U.N. office in Geneva, has sought to keep the work of international diplomacy alive, hosting international meetings on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and running a series of cultural conferences and exhibitions.

The policies on access to the U.N.’s Palais des Nations in Geneva have been consistent with Switzerland’s laws, but they have left the organization struggling to keep the virus at bay. Since March, a total of 128 new Geneva-based U.N. staff have been infected with the coronavirus, including 46 people in the U.N. Office in Geneva and 20 in the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees—including the high commissioner himself, Filippo Grandi—according to internal figures. In August, four Syrian nationals tested positive for the coronavirus when they arrived in Geneva for talks, feeding concerns that the U.N. has been too lax.


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Volume 20 Issue 20November 12, 2020

China’s Vaccine Diplomacy Revamps the Health Silk Road Amid COVID-19 

“Helmsman” Xi Jinping Primed to Rule Until At Least 2030s

The Trans-Himalayan ‘Quad,’ Beijing’s Territorialism, and India

The PLA’s Pursuit of Terahertz: Facts and Fallacies

Mongolia’s Economic Recovery from COVID-19 Dependent on China 

Cyberattacks and the Constitution

By Matthew Waxman

The United States has one of the world’s strongest and most sophisticated capabilities to launch cyberattacks against adversaries. How does the US Constitution allocate power to use that capability? And what does that allocation tell us about appropriate executive-legislative branch arrangements for setting and implementing cyber strategy?

The term “cyberattack” is often used loosely. In this essay, I define a cyberattack as action that involves the use of computer code to disrupt, degrade, destroy, or manipulate computer systems or networks or the information on them. I am not including cyber operations that are purely for information gathering or to map foreign networks in preparation for future cyberattacks.

This definition of cyberattack still includes a wide array of operations. On one end are attacks on computer systems that have effects—including kinetic, sometimes violent ones—outside those systems. Examples include the Stuxnet attack that brought down some of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and the 2017 NotPetya attack, widely attributed to Russia, that targeted major Ukrainian companies and government agencies but spread widely and disabled computers—as well as commerce dependent on them—around the globe. At the other end are the types of low-level and often discrete attacks that appear to be contemplated by the United States “Defend Forward” concept. Examples include infiltrating adversary networks and deleting or corrupting data, or US Cyber Command’s operations that disrupted the networks of Russia’s infamous “Internet Research Agency” troll farm in the run-up to the 2018 US midterm elections. There are of course many possibilities in between.

Chinese military eying AI to gain cyber, space dominance: Japan

By Reito Kaneko

The Chinese military is aiming to utilize cutting-edge technologies like private sector-developed artificial intelligence to enhance its offensive capability in domains such as cyberspace and outer space, a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday.

Beijing aspires to match the United States' overall military capacity by transforming its People's Liberation Army into a world-class fighting force with the help of advanced technologies, the National Institute for Defense Studies said in its annual report on China's security strategy.

The report said that until the Chinese catch up with the American military, "the PLA will build up its interference and strike capabilities to prevent the United States' military use of both the cyber and space domains."

The China Security Report 2021 was released as the rivalry between Washington and Beijing has been intensifying, as has competition for technological hegemony.

Military AI: In Deep Learning We Trust?

By Abhijnan Rej

Perhaps no other technology animates the imagination of defense policymakers and analysts as much as artificial intelligence (AI), or more precisely, a subfield of AI called machine learning. The Pentagon is no exception, with the Trump administration having pushed an AI agenda for the military, including through the creation of a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) in 2018. But while military gains from AI technologies are substantial, the way policymakers involved in military AI hard sell its potential often gives observers pause.

Speaking virtually at a think tank event on November 6, JAIC’s director Lieutenant General Michael Groen compared the military risks the United States faces today to 1914, when World War I broke out, marking the beginning of industrialized warfare. BreakingDefense quotes Groen as saying that “the Information Age equivalent of… lancers riding into machine guns” is using traditional command and control (C2) systems against an adversary equipped with AI. Groen, a Marine Corps intelligence officer whose tours of duty included Iraq and who became JAIC head on October 1, also pointed out the inefficiency of current processes integrating intelligence to kinetic action, in terms of a persistent lag between collation and analysis and engagement even in asymmetric conflicts.

Chinese Special Forces Are Low-Profile - But Deadly

by Michael Peck

Here's What You Need To Remember: The Chinese special forces units have racked up an impressive series of successes. In 2015, they successfully evacuated Chinese nationals from Yemen, and in 2017, they stormed a freight liner hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Some special force units get all the attention. America’s Delta Force, Russia's Spetnatz and Britain's SAS have glamorous reputations.

When was the last time you heard about China's commandos?

But Chinese special forces exist, and they have been growing in size, sophistication and global reach, according to the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Their command structure has been streamlined and training has become more realistic.

China put these changes to this summer during the first comprehensive assessment of its special forces. The exercise, Ingenious Special Operations Soldier-2018, "tested all levels of command, including brigade, battalion, company, element and squad levels," FMSO said. "While media coverage of the exercise emphasized tests of special forces skills, such as fast-roping from helicopters, night operations and sniper attacks, the underlying point of the exercise is likely to be the test of command capabilities."

Lots of Missiles: How China and Russia Could Win a War Against America

by Michael Peck

Here's What You Need To Remember: The technology that exists - notably the THAAD system - has been deployed on America's west coast, to protect the mainland from an ICBM from Asia. Our military bases abroad, however, are much more vulnerable.

U.S. missile defense has focused so much on stopping ballistic missiles from hitting the American homeland, that it has neglected another pressing threat.

Massed salvos of cruise missiles and armed drones could devastate U.S. overseas bases, those vital bastions, such as Guam, that provide airfields, ports and supply bases. While the United States has fretted over the possibility of a few North Korean ballistic missiles hitting the West Coast, China and Russia have amassed huge stockpiles of guided weapons that endanger American bases.

“For most of the post–Cold War era, DoD (Department of Defense) focused its missile defense priorities on fielding ground-based and sea-based kinetic weapons to intercept ballistic threats,” says a new study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, DC. “With the exception of the Navy, no other Service has fielded major new capabilities to counter cruise missile salvos.”