9 January 2021

China-India border dispute: PLA ‘has built frontline observation post’

Minnie Chan

The Chinese military has said for the first time that it has established a fully fledged strategic observation post near its 

A 10-minute report by China Central Television (CCTV) said a platoon of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops held a ceremony this month marking the establishment of the post, based around rocky walls 5,592 metres (18,346 feet) above sea level on Doklam Plateau.

“Compared with their Indian peers who still need to build rock walls as a windscreen in the border area, the PLA troops’ facilities are more advanced and will be combat-ready for any possible fights,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said.

“The ‘5592’ post [had been] a temporary sentry stop in the aftermath of the  2017 border stand-off, but now it is a permanent observation post with 24-hour and all-weather military observers inside.”

India pushes to build roads near Chinese border, in a bid to boost infrastructure in border areas

The post, under the garrison based in Shigatse Military Base in Tibet, is located close to where the 2017 stand-off occurred between Chinese and Indian troops, according to CCTV.

America Already Won in Afghanistan But We Missed the Victory

Jason Criss Howk

America “won” in Afghanistan years ago, but the analysts in think tanks, the press, and the intelligence agencies missed it. Sound confusing? Let me explain. The Afghan security forces and their leadership have always been the key to victory, and the winner of the war was decided when the U.S. and NATO decided to make a long-term investment in a professional security sector—that happened in 2002 and 2003. But claiming an ultimate American or NATO victory has never been important to the war effort.


The Afghan people are the only ones that can assign victory or defeat to this war. They do so by sustaining human rights and democratic principles while constantly building a secure environment for education, healthcare, and other societal advances to occur. This is all enabled by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The ANDSF is the foundation for a peaceful Afghanistan—it always has been.

I saw another evergreen headline recently, celebrating the strength of the Taliban movement, and its ability to “outlast a superpower” in Afghanistan. This demonstrates clearly that the pundits never understood the mission in Afghanistan, and unfortunately that has not allowed American citizens, or Afghans, to fully understand it. This has never been about America or NATO versus the Taliban; it’s about the Afghan people versus those who commit violence and crime in their nation.

From Elections to Ceasefire in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

What’s new? Following vote cancellations in conflict-affected areas of Rakhine state during the 8 November general election, Japan has helped broker an informal ceasefire between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army in order to hold supplementary elections. Both sides say they are in favour, but the civilian government is reluctant. 

Why does it matter? The initiative has halted almost two years of intense fighting and enabled dialogue to resume for the first time since December 2019. Negotiations over elections could be a stepping stone to a formal ceasefire, but the process remains fragile, particularly without civilian government buy-in.

What should be done?  The Arakan Army should release three National League for Democracy candidates it has detained. The civilian government should support elections and – if the Arakan Army lets the captives go – drop its designation as a terrorist organisation. The Tatmadaw should stop insisting that the Arakan Army leave Rakhine under a ceasefire.

China Wages War NOT Competition

By Bob Howard

China at War with the United States

The concept of Great Power Competition (GPC) is flawed. The term GPC leads to an apathetic response by those with a responsibility to act and protect western democratic interests such as businessmen, politicians, intelligence, academia, media, national and international government institutions, and the military.[2] China’s government is waging war against the United States (US); NOT COMPETING.[3]

A frank acknowledgement that the United States and China are now adversaries is a necessary precondition for a realistic strategic accommodation that constrains their rivalry and avoids worst case outcomes. – Dr Alan Dupont [4]

As of late 2020, Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies assessed the following regarding China, “active defense is expected to take on a more offensive nature in the military strategy in the new era. At the same time, it should be taken into account that, as it prepares for these wars, the PLA has proposed warfare methods combining a variety of domains such as “Unrestricted Warfare.” [5]

‘We need a real policy for China’: Germany ponders post-Merkel shift

The country will be key to whether Europe works more with the US to defend democracy or seeks to engage Beijing © FT montage Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Erika Solomon and Guy Chazan in Berlin JANUARY 5 2021 345 Print this page Few people have heard of IMST — a small German company with just 145 employees, specialising in satellite, 5G, and radar technology. That was until last month, when the government in Berlin stopped it being acquired by a subsidiary of Casic, the Chinese arms conglomerate. The deal, concluded the German economics ministry, represented a “serious threat to public order and national security”. “What is being sold? It’s a key technology that the Chinese don’t have . . . Why is it being sold? 

Because there’s a gap the Chinese have to fill,” a German official told the Financial Times. “It’s not just about weapons, it’s also about high tech, different sectors where Germany is a world leader.” The nixing of the IMST deal is symptomatic of a growing mistrust overshadowing the Sino-German relationship. It also provides important pointers to the future direction of German policy on China after Angela Merkel, chancellor for the past 15 years, finally quits the political stage. Ms Merkel personifies old ideals of rapprochement — the principle that ever deepening economic ties with the west would encourage political change in Beijing, and a shift to liberalism and western values. “Wandel durch Handel” — change through trade — was for years a key precept of German policy. 

Refugees Are Victims of Chinese Espionage, Not Accomplices


Since its occupation of Tibet, the Chinese Communist Party has displaced and murdered tens of thousands of Tibetans with genocidal settler colonial policies. As refugees, Tibetan Americans have worked tirelessly to preserve their language and culture. But it’s a small community of about 26,700 people—and treachery inside it hits particularly hard.

Baimadajie Angwang, a now 33-year-old Tibetan American, traveled to the United States on a cultural-exchange visa when he was 17, which he then purposefully overstayed. He claimed that he would be tortured if he was forced to return to China. His name was a Sinicized version of the Tibetan original, Pema Dhargyal Ngawang, and he couldn’t speak Tibetan, but that’s not unknown for young Tibetans in China, the victims of policies designed to destroy their culture and language. Angwang was granted asylum, and eventually citizenship. He became a police officer, serving as a community liaison in New York, as well as a U.S. Army reservist.

In September, the Department of Justice shocked the Tibetan American community when it charged Angwang with espionage. But this case, disturbing as it is, should mean intensified scrutiny of CCP efforts, especially the support given to them through consulates, not of Tibetan refugees themselves. Efforts by some politicians to use the fear of espionage to block the arrival of more refugees are deeply misguided.

Although CCP-backed espionage is documented in India, where the Dalai Lama and large numbers of Tibetans reside, the New York espionage case hit close to home for many Tibetans; New York is home to the majority of Tibetans in the United States.

The United States is well aware of major intelligence breaches instigated by Beijing and is constantly seeking to uproot covert Chinese actors. However, the Angwang case is unprecedented. Dharamshala, the home of the Tibetan Indian community, has been the target of many CCP espionage efforts, but this is one of the first prominent cases against the Tibetan American community.

The Current Situation in Libya

Nine years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya continues to struggle to end its violent conflict and build state institutions. External actors have exacerbated Libya’s problems by funneling money and weapons to proxies that have put personal interests above those of the Libyan people. U.N. efforts to broker a lasting peace have not yet succeeded, overshadowed by competing peace conferences sponsored by various foreign governments. Meanwhile, Libya’s borders remain porous, particularly in the southern Fezzan, facilitating an increase in trafficking and smuggling of illicit materials, including weapons.

At the subnational level, many local conflicts reflect long-standing feuds between various factions, tribes, and ethnic groups. Though Libya’s national conflict has stalled in recent months, prospects for a political solution are complicated by the country’s deep political and tribal divides.


Iran’s Provocations Are a Warning Shot to Biden

James Stavridis

James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates.Read more opinion

Iran’s announcement that it would begin enriching uranium to 20%, well over the limit of 4% set in the 2015 nuclear agreement, sounded a clear warning in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The Iranians followed up on Monday by seizing a South Korean tanker in the Arabian Gulf, claiming it was violating environmental standards — a rich accusation from a nation that has planted mines in the Strait of Hormuz.

The U.S., for its part, recently deployed long-range bombers fitted with cruise missiles to the Gulf, and the aircraft carrier Nimitz is on station (after a brief and perplexing announcement that she would sail for home). The U.S. also has cruisers and submarines with tomahawk land-attack missiles in the region, poised for action.

What is happening in Tehran, and how will U.S.-Iranian relations spin out in 2021?

How Azerbaijan Won the Karabakh War

Simon Ostrovsky

There is a saying in Azerbaijan, the bigger your roof, the more snow falls on it. Last year, Azerbaijan’s roof grew significantly larger when it emerged victorious from a 44-day war against Armenia for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are nestled in the strategically important Caucasus Mountains, a region where Russia, Turkey, and Iran meet. Nagorno-Karabakh is a province whose very name exemplifies the tangled interests that have long vied for influence there: it’s an appellation that combines Slavic, Turkic, and Farsi words. And although Azerbaijan is surely the main beneficiary of its successful campaign to reclaim territory it lost during the first Karabakh war in the 1990s, observers have asked the question: who among the outside powers of the region came out on top at the end of this most recent war?

Armenia’s capitulation on Nov. 9 makes it the clear loser in the conflict. As Azerbaijani forces took Shusha, a major city deep in the Karabakh heartland, Russian President Vladimir Putin used his influence in both the Azerbaijani and Armenian capitals to broker a deal that halted the Azerbaijani offensive and left ethnic-Armenians in control of a much-reduced slice of the region. Armenia was forced to give up its claim not just to areas that it lost in fighting, but also to several other districts of Azerbaijan that surround Karabakh, which Armenians had controlled since 1994. These areas were at the heart of Azerbaijan’s grievance against Armenia, because in the Soviet period they were populated mainly by ethnic-Azeris unlike Karabakh, which was and remained populated predominantly by ethnic-Armenians.

GCC Rift over Qatar Comes to an End

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt announced on January 5 they would lift the embargo they had imposed on Qatar in 2017, and Qatar agreed to drop a slew of cases against those states in international organizations. While the agreement does not restore unity to the Gulf Cooperation Council, it does end an open rupture that had undermined any collective action.

Q1: How did the embargo start?

A1: In June 2017, Qatar television broadcast statements attributed to the emir of Qatar that were pro-Iranian and anti-Donald Trump, prompting Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt to cut ties with the country. The four argued that the comments were the last straw in a long list of Qatari offenses that included support for the Muslim Brotherhood, involvement in terrorism, and close ties with Iran. They were unswayed by an FBI determination that the statements were the result of a hack by Russian nationals; instead, they came up with a list of 13 demands that included shutting down all of Qatar’s regional news outlets, cutting links to any political figures in the region, and pulling back from ties with Iran and Turkey. Many of the complaints about Qatar go back decades, and Qatar has periodically promised its neighbors it would moderate its actions. Regional concerns increased when Qatar developed close ties with Islamist political groups during the Arab Spring.

Q2: Why did this conflict go on so long?

Promoting and projecting stability: challenges and perspectives

The ambition to promote stability and foster peace in an increasingly volatile security environment is an established element of EU and NATO policy. There is a risk that the coronavirus pandemic will increase the demand for stabilisation measures while at the same time complicating their supply. This paper focuses on the role that military and security actors can play in supporting stabilisation efforts.

The ambition to promote stability and foster peace in an increasingly volatile security environment is an established element of European Union and NATO policy. This ambition is also reflected in many of their member states’ national-level policy and strategy documents. The direction and implementation of these policies are influenced by a range of motivations including security worries, humanitarian concerns and historical ties. Stability is a challenging endeavour at the best of times, and there is a risk that the coronavirus pandemic will increase the demand for it while at the same time complicating its supply.


Elizabeth Buchanan and Ryan Burke

66º33′ are the northern and southern latitudinal lines of the Arctic Circle (66º33′ N) and Antarctic Circle (66º33′ S), respectively. Few cross these lines for any reason, though today more are doing so under the pretext of defense and security. Project 6633 is the first global initiative aimed specifically at advancing defense community discussions on security issues (broadly defined) in the polar regions of both the Arctic and Antarctica.

Project 6633 is truly an international collaboration. As specialists from two key yet polar opposite (pun most definitely intended) stakeholders—the United States and Australia—we saw the need for a dedicated intellectual forum to ponder the future security trajectories of the Arctic and Antarctica. Existing forums tend to compartmentalize the two polar regions as distinctly different. Or, those with a truly polar mission inclusive of both poles tend toward economic and societal challenges and away from security dialogue—especially relative to Antarctica, due in large part to the prevailing assumption of Antarctica’s treaty-induced status quo stability and demilitarization. We want to shake it up and tackle the challenge of polar security from a new angle focused on the international challenges posed by and posed within the global polar regions.

JUST IN: Stratcom Revitalizing Nuclear Command, Control Systems

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Photos: Defense Dept.U.S. Strategic Command — which is charge of the nation’s nuclear forces — is working to bolster its aging nuclear command, control and communications, or NC3, systems, the commander of the organization said Jan. 5.

NC3 is what Adm. Charles Richard called “a very complex system of systems,” made up over 204 individual platforms.

Responsibility for NC3’s operations, requirements and systems falls under the NC3 Enterprise Center, which was stood up in 2018 under the direction of then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Acquisition and programming sits with the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, currently Ellen Lord.

While the legacy NC3 system has been performing reliably — particularly in the face of unexpected challenges such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — there is a need to transform it, Richard said during a phone call with reporters hosted by George Washington University’s Project for Media and National Security.

This upgrade, known as NC3-Next Generation, or NC3 Next, is being approached differently than the more high-profile modernization programs of the nuclear triad, he noted. All three legs are undergoing replacements, with the Navy purchasing the Columbia-class boat and the Air Force developing both the B-21 Raider and the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent for its two legs of the triad.

Why America Needs a Strategy for America’s Backyard

by James Jay Carafano Kiron Skinner David Shedd

The Atlantic region has not been a seriously contested space since 1944. That now has changed. With the rise of great-power competition, Washington must develop and then promote a coherent and coordinated strategy to keep America secure from its principal adversaries.

No, this isn’t all about China, although, it has a lot to do with China. From the Arctic to the Antarctic, from the coast of Latin America and the islands of the Caribbean to the beaches of Africa and the Greater Middle East, and even among the partners of the transatlantic community Beijing has sought to extend its power and influence. We should not stand by idly watch that happen. 

The Atlantic region is a huge and geopolitically complex area. From Greenland and Iceland in the north to Antarctica in the south, it covers approximately forty-six million square miles. It touches eighty littoral nation-states and dependent or autonomous territories—all pursuing a diverse set of interests and all confronting diverse geopolitical challenges.

Handling risk in an area this vast and complicated requires a strategy. Unfortunately, there is no other part of the planet where the U.S. government is less well-organized to shape American engagement to benefit these nations or deliver a coordinated response.


OVERVIEWAt the start of 2021, the United States is the most powerful, politically divided, and economically unequal of the world's industrial democracies. China is America's strongest competitor, a state capitalist, authoritarian, and techno-surveillance regime that is increasingly mistrusted by most G20 countries. Germany and Japan are much more stable, but the most powerful leaders both have had in decades are out (former prime minister Abe Shinzo) or on their way out (Chancellor Angela Merkel). Russia is in decline and blames the US and the West for its woes. And the world is in the teeth of the worst crisis it has experienced in generations.

Happy New Year.

You'd hope a global pandemic would prove an opportunity for the world's leaders to work together. That was at least mostly true after 9/11 and the 2008 global financial crisis. Both were smaller in scale but set against a broadly aligned geopolitical order … and politically functional United States. Not so today.

That matters because just as 2020 was overwhelmingly about healthcare responses to Covid-19 (and how much many governments got wrong), 2021 will overwhelmingly be about economic responses to Covid-19's lingering symptoms and scar tissue (debt burdens and misaligned politics), even as vaccines roll out and the healthcare emergency fades. As economic issues come to the fore, there is no global leadership on political models, trade standards, and international architecture to follow.

The Kremlin Faces a Difficult 2021

By Abbas Gallyamov

President Vladimir Putin has exhausted his political agenda. Even his recent referendum to “reset” the political clock hasn’t helped. Putin might physically remain in power for some time, but he has already become a “lame duck” president in the eyes of many people, a leader on his way out the door. Nobody — not even loyalists — has any hope that the country will improve while Putin remains in office. 

The only real questions now are, When will all of this end? and Who will be the next president? In Russia, the prime minister is traditionally the first in line as successor, which is why the appointment of Mikhail Mishustin to that post was one of the most important political events of the year. 

Although Putin can now legally run for re-election in 2024, he might opt to step down and name a successor instead. After witnessing how Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s attempt to remain in sparked widespread unrest this year, Putin knows the same thing might happen here. The Russian people are getting tired of him. 

His trust rating has dipped below 50%, meaning that more than one-half of the population does not want to vote for him. Although short-term bursts of popularity are theoretically possible still, long-term growth is unlikely. The president’s electoral base will continue to dwindle. As someone averse to risk, Putin might prefer to cede some of his power to a successor rather than risk everything as Lukashenko did. 

EU-UK Relations: Time for a ‘New Normal’ post-Brexit

Professor Richard G Whitman

The resolution of the process and terms of the UK’s departure from the EU finally ends what has been an intense preoccupation for both sides since June 2016, characterized by considerable domestic political dislocation in the UK, paralysis in its parliamentary politics, and a shock to the political psyche of the European integration process.

Despite this being a largely parochial affair, negotiations on Brexit and the future relationship engendered a real concern to preserve unity among the 27 member states, and the extent to which the EU and the UK actually share the same geopolitical and geo-economic challenges was a notable absence from the talks.

Now those talks have concluded, the EU and its member states have yet to collectively exercise much imagination in considering how they might want to cooperate with the UK on major international issues with the UK now effectively becoming a ‘third country’ in any discussions.

So far the EU27’s ambitions have been limited to offering nothing more than its standard anodyne third country arrangements, which provide neither meaningful consultation or substantive joint action on foreign and security policy. For its part, the UK has been stymied in formulating a coherent post-Brexit European strategy because its position in Europe’s political economy remained unsettled while the terms of the future trading relationship were undetermined.

Democracy’s Triumph Over Tyranny and Corruption

By Omar G. Encarnación

Nearly three decades have passed since the 1991 publication of the political scientist Samuel Huntington’s The Third Wave, the most important scholarly take on the global democratic transformation that took place in the late twentieth century. The book traced democratic openings around the world, beginning with the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal, which ended the West’s longest dictatorship, and concluding with the democratization of eastern Europe following the collapse of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Between those two landmark events, nearly 30 new democracies emerged.

According to Huntington, this was the third time such a wave had washed over the world; the first arrived in the nineteenth century, with the advent of mass democracy in the United Kingdom and the United States, and the second came in the immediate aftermath of World War II, ushered in by the democratization of West Germany and Japan. He attributed the third wave to a

The EU’s coronavirus vaccine blame game. Why so slow?


The European Commission is being blamed for the slow rollout of jabs across the bloc.
When it comes to getting people vaccinated, the EU is trailing behind the U.K., the U.S. and Israel — and a growing number of critics blames the European Commission.

Over the weekend, Markus Söder, leader of Germany's Christian Social Union, and BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin criticized the Commission for not purchasing enough of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by European regulators.

The Commission fired back Monday, saying it had secured more than 2 billion doses of vaccines from seven producers with member states’ participation throughout the process. 

“I don't think that the issue is really the number of vaccines, it is the fact that we are at the beginning of a rollout,” Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer said. “We're all judging this as if this campaign is over; in fact, the campaign is just starting.”

It's certainly been a slow start. EU countries have vaccinated hundreds of thousands of people collectively, but the numbers differ drastically between countries.

Even Germany, which has vaccinated 265,000 people — more than any other EU country— as of January 4, is still far off from the 1.3 million doses it has available.

How America’s Pandemic Failures Threaten Its International Standing

Howard W. French 

Nothing could be more normal than to regard the ceaseless spread of COVID-19 across the United States as a public health crisis. Indeed, as many commentators have called it, this pandemic is the preeminent public health crisis of the past century. As almost everyone knows by now, not since the 1918 flu pandemic have the lives and livelihoods of so many Americans—or people elsewhere, for that matter—been so gravely threatened by the uncontrolled spread of a single infectious disease.

With the availability of new vaccines, however, this crisis is shifting into a new and completely different phase. The public health challenge is, of course, not going away. But alongside it will come something that most Americans still have little perception of—that the next stage of the pandemic will pose one of the most important challenges to the country’s international standing since the Second World War.

Russia in 2021: Whitewashing Cliffs and Placing Sandbags

By Mark Galeotti

If 2020 taught us anything, it is humbly to acknowledge that any predictions are subject to the whims of fate. We cannot know with any certainty what will come in 2021, either. We can, however, at least try and unpick what appear to be the intentions of the Kremlin and other players in the political game, and extrapolate from that, but this does not give itself to especially upbeat speculation.

Vladimir Putin himself appears increasingly boxed in by his own decisions and above all his assumptions about the world outside the Kremlin walls (and Novo-Ogarevo). Although I would seriously challenge many of the latter, in their own terms, they point to an inexorable logic of increased repression and reduced imagination.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin clearly has a mandate to try and bring greater efficiency and order to the administration, not least to advance the already-delayed National Projects that are at once part of Putin’s political legacy and, if he does stand again in 2024, his platform.

However, the ruble is under pressure, and oil and gas revenues have fallen by a third, just at a time when COVID put increased pressures on government spending and the tax base alike.

Audit Chamber head and one-man Greek chorus Alexei Kudrin, has consistently been making a series of dour predictions, that a third of all small- and medium-sized businesses would close, and that levels of poverty would increase. Nonetheless, this is by no means a disastrous situation. (Indeed, the ruble’s depreciation actually helped in that exports became more valuable and helped replenish the National Welfare Fund, now up to 13.5 trillion rubles, or 11.8% of GDP.)

Deep Dive Debrief: Strategic Stability and Competition in the Arctic

The Issue

This brief is the third in the CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) Deep Dive Debrief series that explores emerging or contentious nuclear challenges. These briefs are based on a series of “deep dive” workshops convened by PONI that bring together next generation technical, operational, and policy experts from across the nuclear community to debate and discuss these nuclear challenges. This brief reflects discussions and insights from a deep dive workshop convened by PONI at Kings Bay Submarine Base on strategic stability and great power competition in the Arctic. This brief focuses on how climate, economic, and political trends in the Arctic region impact U.S. strategic interests, and the implications of these trends for nuclear stability, policy, and posture.

The Arctic is growing in geostrategic importance and potentially becoming yet another zone for strategic competition, as this previously impenetrable territory becomes increasingly accessible to navigation and exploitation. The region is resource rich: it is estimated to contain 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its natural gas reserves.1 Diminishing sea ice coverage is opening travel routes that can significantly shorten travel times between Europe and Asia. Traditionally, the Arctic states have relied on cooperative governance to manage competing interests in the region. However, as Arctic temperatures increase, new economic, scientific, maritime, and political opportunities are raising the question of whether the region will become more militarized and further engage competitive dynamics between the United States, China, and Russia.

Russia—whose military footprint and resources in the region dwarf those of the United States—has reinvigorated its military posture and become more assertive in the Arctic in recent years. Russia’s military modernization across the Kola Peninsula over the last decade, which serves as Russia’s Northern Fleet headquarters and as the primary home of Russia’s sea-based nuclear deterrent, indicates the growing importance of the Arctic to Russia’s power projection capability. In June 2020, the first of Russia’s fourth-generation Borei-A-class submarines (SSBN) entered service with the Northern Fleet.2 These submarines are capable of carrying 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and are stealthier than the aging third-generation Delta III- and Typhoon-class SSBNs. Moscow is also seeking to control and profit from access and transit rights in the region. China also increasingly views itself as an Arctic player, terming itself a “near-Arctic” state and bolstering its regional influence through investments in energy and infrastructure projects throughout the region.

National Cybersecurity Organisation: Germany

Sebastian Cymutta

The country report on national cybersecurity organisation in Germany is part of the National Cybersecurity Governance Series published by the NATO CCDCOE. The aim of the series is to improve awareness of cybersecurity management in the varied national settings, support nations enhancing their own cybersecurity governance, encourage the spread of best practices, and contribute to the development of interagency and international cooperation.

The German country report by Sebastian Cymutta outlines the division of cybersecurity roles and responsibilities between agencies in Germany, describes their mandate, tasks, and competences as well as coordination between them. The report offers an introduction to the broader digital ecosystem of the country and outlines national cybersecurity strategy objectives providing the context for the organisational approach.

This publication is a product of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. It does not necessarily reflect the policy or the opinion of the Centre or NATO. The CCDCOE is a NATO-accredited cyber defence hub focusing on research, training and exercises. It represents a community of 29 nations providing a 360-degree look at cyber defence, with expertise in the areas of technology, strategy, operations and law.

An Experiment in Tactical Wargaming with Platforms Enabled by Artificial Intelligence

by Danielle C. Tarraf, J. Michael Gilmore, D. Sean Barnett, Scott Boston, David R. Frelinger, Daniel Gonzales, Alexander C. Hou, Peter Whitehead

Research Questions

How can researchers experiment with concrete and meaningful representations of AI/ML in tabletop tactical wargames?

What insights into the potential value and limitations of AI/ML capabilities could be explored in subsequent games, analyses, and testing?

How do game players interact with AI/ML systems?

RAND researchers explored the capabilities and limitations of future weapon systems incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) through two wargame experiments. The researchers modified and augmented the rules and engagement statistics used in a commercial tabletop wargame to enable (1) remotely operated and fully autonomous combat vehicles and (2) vehicles with AI/ML–enabled situational awareness to show how the two types of vehicles would perform in company-level engagements between Blue (U.S.) and Red (Russian) forces. Those rules sought to realistically capture the capabilities and limitations of those systems, including their vulnerability to selected enemy countermeasures, such as jamming. Future work could improve the realism of both the gameplay and representation of AI/ML–enabled systems.

In this experiment, participants played two games: a baseline game and an AI/ML game. Throughout play in the two game scenarios, players on both sides discussed the capabilities and limitations of the remotely operated and fully autonomous systems and their implications for engaging in combat using such systems. These discussions led to changes in how the systems were employed by the players and observations about which limitations should be mitigated before commanders were likely to accept a system and which capabilities needed to be fully understood by commanders so that systems could be employed appropriately.