30 December 2020

India-Vietnam Virtual Summit Strengthens Partnership

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Modi, during his remarks at the summit, lauded Vietnam’s important role in India’s Act East Policy and as an “important partner of our Indo-Pacific Vision.” He highlighted the “long-term and strategic view” of the India-Vietnam relationship and the breadth and depth of their bilateral ties. He also underlined the importance of their shared purpose of “peace, stability and prosperity” for the Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders also signed a joint vision document, “India-Vietnam Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People.” The document is meant to drive the future of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, based on their “deep-rooted historical and cultural bonds, shared values and interests, and mutual strategic trust and understanding between the two countries.” The two countries also signed a “Plan of Action for period 2021-2023 for further implementation of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” in order to strengthen their bilateral partnership with a clear agenda for the next two years, as well as seven other agreements that cover a number of important areas of cooperation including defense, nuclear safety and radiation protection, petro-chemicals, clean energy, and U.N. peacekeeping.

The fact that India and Vietnam have been at the receiving end of the China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has made the partnership even stronger. Given China’s aggressive behavior in South China Sea, which has remained a significant challenge for Vietnam, the joint vision document devoted attention to it. The very first paragraph of their “joint vision” highlighted a “shared commitment to international law” and agreement to “work towards achieving a peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based region.”

Joe Biden should go slow on Afghanistan. We need patience in this peace process.

John Allen and Michael O’Hanlon

When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, he will face many issues demanding immediate attention. According to some, ending the two-decade-old U.S. and NATO military engagement in Afghanistan should be one of those. Many also argue that the Feb. 29 deal between the United States and the Taliban requires American forces to be out by this May. We disagree with both of these points. Biden should go slow on Afghanistan. 

The frustration of many with the “forever wars” of the Middle East is understandable. Nineteen years since 9/11, we have not found the formula to build a stable and self-sufficient Afghanistan. More than 2,000 Americans have died there. About $1.5 trillion in American taxpayer money has been spent. American allies have lost hundreds and spent hundreds of billions, too. Afghans themselves have been at war more than four decades, ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — when they defeated Soviet forces and helped end the Cold War.

Yet it is worth bearing in mind several key points as the Biden team considers future policy options:

US role is valuable and sustainable

Assessing China's Digital Silk Road Initiative

As part of China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the biggest infrastructure undertaking in the world, Beijing has launched the Digital Silk Road (DSR). Announced in 2015 with a loose mandate, the DSR has become a significant part of Beijing’s overall BRI strategy, under which China provides aid, political support, and other assistance to recipient states. DSR also provides support to Chinese exporters, including many well-known Chinese technology companies, such as Huawei. The DSR assistance goes toward improving recipients’ telecommunications networks, artificial intelligence capabilities, cloud computing, e-commerce and mobile payment systems, surveillance technology, smart cities, and other high-tech areas.

China has already signed agreements on DSR cooperation with, or provided DSR-related investment to, at least sixteen countries [PDF]. But the true number of agreements and investments is likely much larger, because many of these go unreported: memoranda of understanding (MOUs) do not necessarily show whether China and another country have embarked upon close cooperation in the digital sphere. Some estimates suggest that one-third of the countries participating in BRI—138 at this point—are cooperating on DSR projects. In Africa, for instance, China already provides more financing for information and communications technology than all multilateral agencies and leading democracies combined do across the continent.

Gray-zone warfare: What can Taiwan do?


A pilot assigned to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Northern Theater Command navigates his fighter jet while searching for mock attackers during the Golden Helmet competition. Photo: eng.chinamil.com.cn

Months after a crushing challenge to its rule in Hong Kong, China’s “Wolf Warriors” are turning to an even higher-stakes target: the democratic, self-governing island of Taiwan.

The island has been bracing for conflict with mainland China for decades, and in some respects, that battle has now begun, The National Post reported.

It’s not the final, titanic clash that Taiwan has long feared, with Chinese troops storming the beaches. Instead, the People’s Liberation Army, China’s 2-million-strong military, has launched a form of “gray zone” warfare.

In this irregular type of conflict, which stops short of an actual shooting war, the aim is to subdue the foe through exhaustion, The National Post reported.

Beijing is conducting waves of threatening forays from the air while ratcheting up existing pressure tactics to erode Taiwan’s will to resist, say current and former senior Taiwanese and US military officers.

The flights, they say, complement amphibious landing exercises, naval patrols, cyberattacks and diplomatic isolation, The National Post reported.

This past week has seen eight Chinese military aircraft entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), bringing the number of such incidents so far this month to 15. As always, Taiwanese aircraft had to be deployed to escort them out, Taiwan News reported.

Vietnam targeted in complex supply chain attack

By Catalin Cimpanu

The attack, discovered by security firm ESET and detailed in a report named "Operation SignSight," targeted the Vietnam Government Certification Authority (VGCA), the government organization that issues digital certificates that can be used to electronically sign official documents.

Any Vietnamese citizen, private company, and even other government agency that wants to submit files to the Vietnamese government must sign their documents with a VGCA-compatible digital certificate.

The VGCA doesn't only issue these digital certificates but also provides ready-made and user-friendly "client apps" that citizens, private companies, and government workers can install on their computers and automate the process of signing a document.

But ESET says that sometime this year, hackers broke into the agency's website, located at ca.gov.vn, and inserted malware inside two of the VGCA client apps offered for download on the site.

The two files were 32-bit (gca01-client-v2-x32-8.3.msi) and 64-bit (gca01-client-v2-x64-8.3.msi) client apps for Windows users.

ESET says that between July 23 and August 5, this year, the two files contained a backdoor trojan named PhantomNet, also known as Smanager.

The malware wasn't very complex but was merely a wireframe for more potent plugins, researchers said.

Australia is Taking China to Task in the WTO. But it Won't Be an Easy Win

by Weihuan Zhou Lisa Toohey

It is the five-year 80.5% barley tariff China imposed in May that Australia will take to the World Trade Organisation. More than half of all Australian barley exports in 2019 were sold to China, worth about A$600 million a year to Australian farmers.

Chinese authorities began an anti-dumping investigation into Australian barley in November 2018. Anti-dumping trade rules are meant to protect local producers from unfair competition from “dumped” imported goods.

Dumping occurs where a firm sells goods in an overseas market at a price lower than the normal value of the goods. China calculated the normal value of barley using “best information available” on the grounds that Australian producers and exporters failed to provide all information Chinese investigators requested.

The barley tariff will last for five years unless Chinese investigators initiate a review and decide to extend it beyond 2025.

What can Australia hope to achieve from a WTO dispute?

Not a quick and easy win. A formal resolution will likely take years. But it plants a seed, starting a structured process for dialogue. This is an important step in the right direction.

A lengthy process

China’s Military Strategy Against America: Less Attrition, More Precision

by Michael Peck

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” wrote the legendary Chinese strategist Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago.

Now China’s military appears to be adopting a strategy that Sun Tzu might have approved of. The “systems destruction warfare” approach can be described as seeking victory by incapacitating, rather than annihilating, an opponent. Rather than emphasizing firepower and decisive battles between mass armies, China will attempt to paralyze an opponent’s ability to wage war through precise attacks across the land, sea, air, space, cyber, electromagnetic and psychological spheres.

“In the last two decades, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has increasingly recognized that war is no longer a contest of annihilation between opposing military forces, but rather a clash between opposing operational systems,” writes RAND Corporation researcher Jeffrey Engstrom in a new study. “In this new reality, an enemy can be defeated if its operational system can be rendered ineffective or outright unable to function through the destruction or degradation of key capabilities, weapons, or units that compose the system.”

Or put another way, all those high-tech American stealth aircraft, smart bombs and aircraft carriers won’t do much good if they can’t find their targets, get orders from their commanders or coordinate their operations. Modern militaries are packages of tightly integrated systems, including command, communications, targeting and intelligence. Disrupt that integration, and the enemy is reduced a gaggle of flailing limbs.

Counter-Coercion: How to Use the Military to Avoid War with China

by James Siebens

Over the past decade, and especially since 2016, China has rapidly developed its military infrastructure, activities, and capabilities in the South China Sea. This became alarming enough that in 2018, Adm. Phillip Davidson (now Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command) told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.” This September, during Under Secretary of State Krach’s visit to Taiwan, Chinese military aircraft crossed the median line almost forty times in just two days. Such intrusions prompted Taiwan’s president to express alarm: “What we are seeing now is not just a situation across the Taiwan Strait, but a regional situation. China’s recent military activities, especially in the past few days, clearly constitute a threat of force, which is part of their verbal attacks and military threats.” In short, 2020 has witnessed levels of military tension between the U.S., China, and Taiwan amounting to a “Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis.”

But in a military contest where no one is killed, how do we know which side is winning? Do demonstrations of America’s military might—such as presence operations or joint trainings with Taiwanese forces—actually help persuade China to back off from its own intimidation tactics? The evidence shows that U.S. shows of force can indeed help counter China’s “gangster tactics” as long as they are carried out in the right ways and under the right conditions.

At the Stimson Center, Barry Blechman, Melanie Sisson and I recently published a book, Military Coercion and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Use of Force Short of War, in which we studied more than 100 instances when the U.S. resorted to “demonstrative uses of force,” to learn what has worked and what hasn’t in the U.S. experience with military coercion.

China’s Economy Looks Ahead To Stronger 2021 – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

Most analysts expect the country to bounce back from the deadly damage of the COVID-19 crisis with high economic growth rates last seen nearly a decade ago.

Despite the lockdown in early 2020 that dragged the economy into a 6.8-percent contraction in the first quarter, China managed to stage a tentative turnaround with positive growth of 3.2 percent in the second quarter and more solid 4.9-percent expansion in the third, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In October, the International Monetary Fund projected that gross domestic product growth for the full year would reach 1.9 percent, the lowest for China on record but the highest among the world’s major economies.

In the coming year, the IMF expects China’s recovery to soar with an 8.2-percent growth rate, while world output battles back from a loss of 4.4 percent in 2020 to growth of 5.2 percent.

This week, the World Bank confirmed its earlier estimate of 7.9-percent growth next year.

But the forecasts have been heavily qualified with caution in the face of “tremendous uncertainty.”

Joe Biden’s Iran Policy Must Be About More Than the JCPOA

by Amitai Etzioni

Iran is one of the nations that is most likely to try to test Joe Biden’s resolve. It may exploit the confusion caused by the transition. For example, there was just a mysterious explosion of a Singapore-flagged oil tanker that was in port in Saudi Arabia, to which the media paid next to no attention. This is clearly the time to explore what the policy of the United States—and its allies—ought to be toward Iran. 

During his term, President Donald Trump quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but several other nations continued to uphold it. During the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden wrote that, under his administration, “[i]f Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.” Since the election, Iran has indicated that it expects the Biden administration to rejoin the 2015 deal, which suggests that Iran itself is willing to return to full compliance in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions. Critics point out several major defects of the JCPOA and warn against rejoining it. Hence, the focus of the media debate around foreign policy toward Iran is on whether to rejoin or not.

However, even if the JCPOA is perfected and faithfully implemented, Iran will still pose a major threat to peace in the region and beyond.

2021 Will Be a Make-or-Break Year for Multilateralism

Joshua Lincoln 

At the end of a tumultuous and disorienting year for the international community, it seems only fair to take stock of where we stand. The answer is clear: We are between storms.

COVID-19 and climate change—the first a dramatic gale whipping the globe, the second a far deadlier gathering hurricane—have brought fresh urgency to international cooperation. The first injections of coronavirus vaccines have brought hope that the pandemic can be defeated soon, though we are far from out of the woods. Meanwhile, with the United Nations gearing up to take a bolder leadership role, a new U.S. president pledging a return to diplomacy, and the crucial next U.N. climate summit set to take place next November in Glasgow, 2021 is shaping up to be the most significant year for multilateralism in recent memory.

‘Very difficult to defend’: What happens if hackers are inside the Pentagon’s networks?

Andrew Eversden , Joe Gould , and Mark Pomerleau

WASHINGTON — If Russian hackers suspected of a vast cybersecurity breach slipped into the Pentagon or military’s computer systems, the strength of protective network blockades is key to keeping them from burrowing in to try to access increasing amounts of information.

Those protections — in the form of secure network connections — have to stand up to meddling to keep hackers from hopping from network to network to potentially reach sensitive communications or even weapon systems, where they could steal or alter data or cause damage, experts say. However, observers point out that this breach appears so far to be a classic espionage campaign, though with some of the most sophisticated methods seen yet.

“We certainly have a high degree of activity around that right now,” Navy CIO Aaron Weis told C4ISRNET. “We have teams who have acted upon the direct orders from Cyber Command and have executed those things. We continue to engage around that. There are internal meetings that are ongoing where we’re ensuring that we’ve put the right things in place. Absolutely it’s got our full attention.”

Overall, the Pentagon has been largely silent about the breach publicly as it works through the long process to assess fallout from the intrusion, saying early on that no breach had been detected yet, despite media reports that said the agency was among government offices compromised through widely used software from SolarWinds, a network management company.

Why America must retaliate after massive cyberattack from Russia


American government agencies and private companies were victims of an espionage attack last week. Security experts have said the hacker group Cozy Bear, managed by the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia, was responsible. The scope of the breach is considerable and could be the largest spying operation in history against the United States.

It exposes flaws in our intelligence system as numerous federal agencies were targeted, including the Homeland Security Department. This attack by Russia marks a clear existential threat to the United States. The breach needs to be taken as a potential act of war against the United States and necessitates a certain and swift retaliation from the government.

But the action by President Trump has been neither swift nor certain. He has taken a similar regretful posture toward this breach as he has toward other cases of aggression from Russia. Despite the mounting evidence of responsibility, Trump has undercut those assertions by security experts, and even by his own administration officials, that Russia was behind this. Trump also made a baseless assertion that China held responsibility and falsely said the attack affected voting machines in the election.

Joe Biden has already indicated that he will take decisive action against Russia after taking office and work with our allies to counter the threat of its aggression in a way that Trump has mostly failed to do. Biden declared the United States needs to work “with our allies to set up an international system that will constitute appropriate behavior in cyberspace” and “hold any other country liable for breaking out of those basic rules.”

Can Joe Biden Really Overcome America’s Divisions?

by Robert W. Merry

THE MOST pressing imperative facing the incoming president, Joe Biden, is to pacify the ongoing and increasingly tense civil conflict between America’s coastal elites, who are liberal and globalist in outlook, and the nationalist/traditionalist folks of the heartland, who feel beleaguered by those elites. In order to do this, he will have to build a governing coalition that starts with a large segment of his Democratic base but also seeks to draw in more moderate elements of the opposition. If he tries to govern strictly from the Left, as his party will want, the civil conflict will continue and deepen, Biden’s government will seize up, and he will fail.

Donald Trump’s strong popular-vote showing, along with the outcomes in congressional balloting and state-legislative races, makes clear that American politics continues to reside on a knife’s edge of political parity and mutual hostility. There will be no wave of popular support of the kind that Franklin Roosevelt could summon after his strong 1932 election, or that Ronald Reagan commanded after 1980. If Biden is to succeed he must generate his own wave through the delicate art of governing.

Will he do it? Not clear. Can he succeed even if he tries to do it? Less clear. The president-elect’s party, still traumatized by the very emergence of Trump, will want Biden to govern as if the incumbent’s defeat on November 3 places the country back where it was before the vulgar billionaire crashed the political scene four years ago. That would mean policies and pronouncements denoting the party’s continuing view of Trump supporters as “deplorables.”

Biden Should Pursue a Trump 2.0 Foreign Policy

by John O'Sullivan

IF COUNTRIES in the mostly free world don’t respond warmly to whatever U.S. foreign policy Joe Biden offers them, they will be showing gross ingratitude, since ending the unpredictable and impolite oscillations of Trump's foreign policy has been the constant theme of their complaints for the last four years. Biden should be able to manage that easily enough, as he’ll be surrounded by people with advanced Ivy League degrees in making things run smoothly.

In addition, the points in his manifesto that reflect Democratic talking points and the interests of supportive NGOs—for instance, new arms control treaties, toughening global rules on gender violence, liberalizing migration rules for Muslim majority countries—will be popular with the countries concerned, alienate only Republican voters, and give him favorable headlines in The New York Times. He is already on the same page as European Union leaders in Berlin, Paris, and Brussels in wanting “More Europe” policies such as an integrated European defense policy and the rubber-stamping of ambitious financial packages designed to save Europe from both the coronavirus and the endless Euro crisis. And, finally, Biden would win any competition in not being Donald Trump. He is more unlike Donald Trump than any other Democrat except perhaps for those who apparently voted from their graves in Milwaukee. And that’s a foreign policy in itself.

At the same time, Biden takes office at the moment when it’s increasingly respectable to point out that many of Trump’s innovations in foreign policy now look necessary and sensible. Some will say Trump’s obnoxious behavior is to blame for the resistance of America’s allies to seeing the virtues in those policies. But how successful were the many presidents who asked NATO’s European members to increase their defense spending in politely diplomatic terms? It took noisy table-thumping from Trump to change some minds. Come to that, has Angela Merkel’s Germany yet learned the obligations of alliance solidarity either towards Russia over Nord Stream Two or towards China on a range of topics from Huawei to its imprisonment of Uighur Muslims? Germany’s political culture, which is a sort of commercial pacifism heavily scented with anti-Americanism, is a problem for America mainly, but also for those European countries which are perpetually nervous of a Russo-German partnership that would decide key issues “Rapallo-style.”

Here's How the Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021

by Adam Kleczkowski

Vaccines for COVID-19 are now being rolled out, but in some parts of the world, this good news has been tempered by the emergence of new, potentially more infectious strains of the virus. Exactly how the pandemic will evolve has become more uncertain.

Certainly, the next three or so months will be challenging, and a virus-free life is probably some way off. Some things may not return to how they were before.

Predicting exactly how things will play out is difficult, but there are some things we can forecast with a relative degree of confidence. With that in mind, here’s what we can expect from the coming year.

What impact will the new strain have?

There’s currently only limited information about the new viral strain. Although yet to be confirmed, it appears to be more infectious, but not to lead to more severe disease or be able to evade vaccine-derived immunity.

However, the variant suggests the virus is able to produce significant mutations, and further mutations could change the course of the outbreak. Suppressing the pandemic quickly therefore has become an even more urgent task.

Stricter restrictions on behaviour are likely to last well into the new year, and we may need further restrictions to control the virus if it is indeed more infectious.

How long until we see the vaccine’s effects?

In Search of British Exceptionalism Post-Brexit

Srdjan Vucetic

“We are no longer a great power. We will never be so again,” declared Sir John Major on November 9, 2020 at Middle Temple in London. An outspoken critic of Brexit – the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – the former Conservative prime minister warned of a “brutal” future, which he blamed on the negotiating “failures” of the Conservative government of Boris Johnson: “Because of our bombast, our blustering, our threats and our inflexibility – our trade will be less profitable, our Treasury poorer, our jobs fewer, and our future less prosperous.” Furthermore, Brexit increased the “risk of breaking up the UK by increased support for Scotland to leave the Union, and Northern Ireland to unite with the South.” But rather than ending on a wholly pessimistic note, Major proposed a foreign policy recalibration. “Global Britain” – a policy (slogan) introduced by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May – was a good idea, assuming, he said, “we” forswear the fantasy of “British exceptionalism.”

What is this fantasy about, and where does it come from? According to scholars such as Oliver Daddow, British exceptionalism emerged at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when Britain’s elites opted for a policy of “limited liability” to Europe as a means of freeing up resources for empire-building and free trade. To garner support for this policy, they constructed and sustained various “island stories.” Their moral, however, was always the same: “we” are not, and could not possibly be, “just” another European nation. Some members of said elite were in fact rather specific: not “a Spain” (Sir Oswald Mosely, at various points in the interwar period), not “another Netherlands” (Harold Macmillan, speaking as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Suez Crisis), not “another Belgium” (more than a few politicians, from Lord Curzon in 1908 to the current era), and not “sort of poor man’s Sweden” (the governor of Aden Sir Charles Johnston in 1963). The exception to prove the rule was France, of course so long as it managed to sustain its great power bona fides. Here is Sir Malcolm Rifkind, writing in 2010: “The question for the UK and its Conservative led Government is whether it wishes to retain a global approach, or resign itself to the lesser status. Is it still prepared to act like France, or is it content to have influence comparable with that of Spain?”

How Nazi Germany Invented the Blitzkrieg (And Conquered Europe)

by Warfare History Network

The attack was beginning despite the widespread lack of artillery support, engineers, or armor. Normally this would be a recipe for disaster. Clusters of gray-clad German infantrymen braved the torrent of enemy fire, carrying assault boats right up to edge of the Meuse River. On the opposite bank, French soldiers crouched in their bunkers and trenches as German aircraft roared overhead, bombing and strafing, paying particular attention to the French artillery positions within range of the river. The Luftwaffe pilots were determined to keep French heads down with a storm of bombs and bullets. Men on both sides braved fire to accomplish their respective missions on the afternoon of May 13, 1940.

This first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.

On the German side of the river, Lt. Col. Hermann Balck urged his men forward. His command, Panzergrenadier Regiment 1 of the 1st Panzer Division, was tasked to get across the river and establish a bridgehead. The situation was already unfolding against his unit. Earlier in the day, the least German movement drew artillery fire, keeping the German troops pinned in their hastily dug foxholes and entrenchments. Their own artillery was hopelessly mired in a traffic jam rearward and could not get there in time. The boats for the crossing had arrived, but the operators had not. The only thing that had gone right was the Luftwaffe’s air attack. The aviators’ efforts had been so successful the French gunners had reportedly abandoned their guns and refused to return to them.

The Perils of Forecasting

In 2004, Harvard Professor Samuel P. Huntington published his last book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. The book received virtually all bad, in some cases scathing, reviews. Its broad theme was that the continued rise of Mexican immigration, legal and illegal, into the United States, coupled with the ascent of multiculturalism—even while America’s policy elites were turning away from America and becoming more cosmopolitan and global—augured for an epic internal crisis in America. Huntington was startling clairvoyant, of course: foreseeing the battle lines of Donald Trump’s presidency. But 16 years ago, because many of those trends were relatively undeveloped, the book was considered simply alarmist. Because the book’s reviewers were members of the same global elite that the author was criticizing, they were particularly incensed. 

The book was not a publishing success. By the time Huntington’s themes did achieve a heightened reality, he was dead. Huntington was true to his calling right up to the end of his life. As he once told me, the job of a political scientist is not to improve the world, but to say what he or she thinks is going on in it. There is a disturbing lesson here. Outside of the intelligence and business communities, which actively appreciate hard-nosed, non-linear thinking in the Huntington manner, being too far ahead of the curve can be problematic to an academic or journalistic career. For even the most clairvoyant theory can be only, say, 80 percent accurate, and colleagues inevitably will concentrate on the 20 percent that is wrong. That is how reputations suffer. And precisely because the pathologies that the theorist has described are only in their early stages at the time of his or her writing, they lack an obvious context, so that the audience reacts with offense or sheer disbelief (or both) to his work.


The increase in cyber-attacks has threatened the security of the organizations globally. Regularly six out of ten organizations are encountered with an unprecedented situation of cyberattacks. Despite the robust security measures adopted by organizations, cyberattacks have increasingly permeated across the industry. A report by Accenture titled, “Innovate for Cyber Resilience” states that most organizations spend 10.9% of their IT budgets on cybersecurity programs. Despite this on an average, organizations are faced by 27% of security breaches every year, with 11% involving direct attacks. As per a report by IBM the average total cost of a data breach accounts to US$ 3.86 million.

The United States of America is listed amongst the country bearing the maximum cost of US$8.64 million with such data breach and cyberattacks, whereas healthcare is counted as the most expensive industry with an average loss of US$ 7.13 million every year. The average time required for identifying and containing a data breach is 280 days. This implies that most organizations do not have sufficient amount of inputs for preliminary detection of cyberattacks.

Since the year 2020 has been the most straining across organizations, the incidents of cyberattacks, security breach and data breach has also manifolded. Owing to the COVID 19, as organizations shifted to remote working, they are rendered to face an increase in cyberattacks and data breaches. Reports suggest that the cyberattacks, including ransomware and malware, have expedited by more than 200 billion this year. A Verizon report points out that 71% of security breaches are financially motivated, whereas 25% takes place with a motivation of espionage. The 52% breaches feature hacking, 28% involves malware, whereas 32-33% are performed through phishing and social engineering. In 2019, the global average cost of the data breach was recorded to be US$3.92 million.

Kamikaze Drones: The Future of Undersea Warfare?

by Robert Farley 

Imagine a future in which nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) can deploy undersea drones (UUVs) to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs. The U.S. Navy, at least, is taking steps to make this a reality. What impact could this have? On the one hand, UUVs could shake modern antisubmarine warfare (ASW) to its core, making existing platforms vulnerable or obsolete. On the other hand, the development of UUVs could reinforce existing hierarchies; in contrast to popular understanding, established organizations are often the best at adapting to disruptive military innovations. The future of the U.S. Navy depends to great extent of which of these becomes a reality.


In a sense, submarine launched drones have existed for quite some time; even in World War II, navies used pattern following or acoustic homing in order to find their targets. Wire guided torpedoes were introduced in the 1960s, allowing the submarine a measure of control over how the weapon approached its target. These torpedoes are suicidal drones in the same sense as cruise missiles; weapons that can be launched, then directed to their target either through autonomous mechanisms or by user interface.



In the rapidly evolving digital age, the organisations responsible for the defence and security of the western world face growing and ever changing threats. Our likely adversaries have mastered the use of social media and its wider platforms to advance their goals.[1] In contemporary warfare, actors carry out significant actions in the information domain. ISIL in Iraq and Syria used social media to recruit, target, finance and even orchestrate attacks with deadly effect. [2] In the Ukrainian conflict, Russian operatives took advantage of operational security breaches to exploit and target Ukrainian military personnel.[3] Our threat grows in size and sophistication across cyber space. This once linear threat has become more fluid, with the ability to move through physical barriers, across borders and influence any target with relative ease and little cost.


We live in a fast moving, highly connected, digitised world, where almost everyone has access to endless amounts of information accessible from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. Smartphones are one the biggest contributors to data collection and dissemination on social media through the upload and sharing of images, video, opinions and personal content. 41% percent of the world’s population have access to smart phones[4], with a new generation of young people now reliant on technology more than ever there were more than 3.1 billion social media users recorded in 2018 able to log and update their lives instantaneously. In the Middle East eight in ten (79%) people check in to social media at least once per day and seven in ten (69%) use social media more frequently - checking in multiple times per day, sharing media and making public comments. [5]

We often share more publicly through social media than we would be comfortable sharing with a colleague in conversation. As the percentage of people using smartphones and social media increases so does the information base, potentially allowing immediate access to photographs, video or comments in areas of interest around the globe. Although the intent is benign, this now public information can be used for security and intelligence purposes. For example, an image posted publicly of a city street, provides a date stamped snapshot of road conditions, pattern of life, urban density, infrastructure, stakeholder activity, specific environmental factors and even insight into threat groups. This raw data can then be reviewed, analysed and distilled into intelligence products for use by the tactical commander.


The sound of history: Let's put on our work boots and engage the world


Washington is burning, the nation is divided, and some are still fighting over a settled presidential election, ignoring the real crises confronting the U.S. and the international community. The pandemic has changed the world in ways we have yet to understand. Nonetheless, existing problems must be confronted, albeit in a pandemic-altered environment.

Here are a few of the existential problems facing the Biden administration as it prepares to take office in January:

The pandemic will be the primary focus of the new administration. Resources, financial and human, will be issue No. 1 domestically and globally. Some estimates predict global GDP will decrease by 4.5 percent in 2020. The World Bank estimates that the global extreme poverty rate could be as high as 9.4 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2020, and the World Food Program has indicated that as many as an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the point of starvation as a result of the pandemic. These issues will impact everything from trade to a burgeoning refugee problem, to a rise in autocratic governments taking advantage of the complications the pandemic has created for governing.


Paul Barnes

As a single-volume history of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ben Barry’s Blood, Metal and Dust is currently unrivaled; its analysis of Western military capability, organizational transformation, and doctrinal development since 9/11 is simply exceptional. But in attempting to tell the story of those campaigns in just one volume, Barry seeks to do the impossible; that he produces such a readable and informative book is testament to his ability as an analyst and writer.

Like the wars themselves, Blood, Metal and Dust is incomplete in chronology and content; it lacks both the perspective of the West’s opponents and access to unreleased and as yet confidential primary sources. Furthermore, the character of the book leads Barry to make conclusions that remain matters of conjecture. For example, his assessment of Iranian strategy throughout the period in question concludes that it has been successful; this may appear compelling through the lens of 2020, but as an ongoing project, that strategy may look far less impressive with greater hindsight.

Barry’s overarching narrative is one of capable, innovative, and adaptable militaries ultimately failed by poor political judgment and weak strategy. Superficially, particularly for those of us who fought in these campaigns, this is a comforting perspective, but at a deeper level it is rather troubling. To be sure, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic failed dismally, but so did soldiers. The parallels with the mythology of the Vietnam War are abundantly clear: the book suggests that military lessons were learned coherently and that the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq could have been fought to a successful military conclusion if only politicians had listened to the accumulated wisdom of soldiers.

The Army is Interested in an Electric, Unmanned Combat Vehicle

by Caleb Larson

Here's What You Need to Remember: Change is coming for ground troops, and if the technical hurdles inherent to all-electric vehicle technology—namely range and recharge times—can be overcome, robot combat vehicles could become the silent killers of the future.

Textron Systems is the aerospace and defense manufacturing firm responsible for developing a wide range of vehicles and weapon systems including the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushions. The company is also a contender for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon competition and has been developing yet another interesting platform.

Their Ripsaw M5 is an unmanned, multi-mission Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) that has gone through several prototypes and is currently in its fifth-generation. Textron currently manufactures the Ripsaw in two variants, a 7.5 ton light variant, as well as a larger 10.5 medium variant. Both the light and medium variants can be equipped with conventional diesel engines, or with a hybrid electric drivetrain.

Textron touts the Ripsaw as a multi-mission, multi-domain platform, capable of performing a variety of missions, including breaching/mine clearing, reconnaissance and surveillance, as well as direct-action missions. To those ends, it can be equipped with a heavy machine gun remote weapon station, a turret for a medium caliber cannon, or anti-aircraft missiles. Armor, suspension, and drivetrain are modular, and can be customized to mission requirements.