4 March 2021

Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

New York Times report on U.S. based intelligence firm Recorded future giving details of Chinese penetration of India’s power grid and its possible linkage to power outage in Mumbai on October 13, 2020 has caused a furor in Indian media.

I decided to strike when iron is hot. I wrote the paper on the next day based on open sources information titled Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage? To be published by any think tank it would taken time because of requirements of peer review and other requirements.

I have published in my own blog site the paper Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage?, for earlier dissemination.

Any feedback is welcome.

---- PKM

Last Exit from Afghanistan

By Dexter Filkins

On the night of August 14th, Fawzia Koofi was on her way home to Kabul from the funeral of family friends. Koofi, forty-five, is one of Afghanistan’s leading advocates for women’s rights—a former parliament member who, in the twenty years since the United States and its allies toppled the Taliban, has carried on a ferocious public fight to reverse a history of oppression. She and her twenty-one-year-old daughter, Shuhra, were riding in an armored car, as they often do. A second car, filled with security guards, trailed behind. The guards were necessary; in 2010, Taliban gunmen had attempted to kill her.

As they neared Kabul, her driver pulled over to get gas, and Koofi decided to switch cars. “Sometimes the armored car feels like a prison,” she explained, when I visited Afghanistan in December. As they left the gas station, she saw a car behind hers, seeming to track its moves; she was being followed. While she watched, a second car veered into the road, blocking the lane. Koofi’s driver accelerated and swerved onto the shoulder, but, before he could get clear of the blockade, men in the other car opened fire. Bullets smashed through the windows and tore through her upper arm. The assailants sped away. Koofi was rushed to the nearest safe hospital, forty-five minutes away, where surgeons removed a bullet and set her shattered bone.

A month later, Koofi was due to represent the government in peace talks with the Taliban—the latest in a decade-long series of attempts to end the Afghan conflict. As she prepared, the mood in Kabul was unusually fraught. A wave of assassinations had begun, which has since claimed the lives of hundreds of Afghans, including prosecutors, journalists, and activists. Officials in Afghanistan and in the U.S. suspect that the Taliban committed most of the killings—both to strengthen their position in talks and to weaken the civil society that has tenuously established itself since the Taliban were deposed. “They are trying to terrorize the post-2001 generation,” Sima Samar, a former chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, told me.

The rivalry between America and China will hinge on South-East Asia

During their 45-year feud, America and the Soviet Union fought proxy battles all across the world. But the cold war was at its most intense in Europe, where the Soviets constantly worried about their satellites breaking away, and America always fretted that its allies were going soft. The contest between China and America, happily, is different from that. For one thing, the two sides armed forces are not glowering at one another across any front lines—although in Taiwan and North Korea each has an ally in a tense, decades-long stand-off with the other. Even so, in the rivalry between the two powers, there will be a main zone of contention: South-East Asia. And although the region has drawn up no clear battle-lines, that only makes the competition more complex.

People across South-East Asia already see America and China as two poles, pulling their countries in opposite directions. Those protesting against the recent military coup in Myanmar, for example, hold up angry placards that attack China for backing the generals and pleading ones that beg America to intervene. Governments feel under pressure to pick sides. In 2016 Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, loudly announced his country’s “separation from America” and pledged allegiance to China instead. China’s claim that almost all the South China Sea lies within its territorial waters and America’s rejection of that assertion have sparked blazing rows in the main regional club, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (asean), which China has attempted to win over.

The World Faces a Choice Between Bad and Worse in Myanmar

By David Hutt

The Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire put it that “washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” And that, I give you, is the myth of ASEAN’s “non-interference.” Is that about to change now that Indonesia has taken it upon itself to try to reach some sort of resolution to the military coup in Myanmar?

The United States has clearly shown it’s unwilling to expend the energy needed to roll back the military’s power, after imposing only targeted sanctions that almost all pundits agree won’t convince the junta to step down. The European Union, even after taking three weeks to merely decide on whether they’ll impose sanctions or not, a decision taken on February 22, has still not announced what those measures will be, but everyone expects them to be even more limited than America’s. China clearly isn’t happy about the events but isn’t about to support the international community pressuring an authoritarian elite to remove itself from power, for very obvious reasons.

Small wonder, then, that the likes of Indonesia and Brunei, as ASEAN chair, sense they might occupy an important position in this vacuum. Things are messy. Earlier in the week, it was leaked to the media that Jakarta might be ready to accept the junta’s promise to hold fresh elections, a revelation that prompted protests outside of Indonesia’s embassy in Yangon and Bangkok by Burmese pro-democracy protesters, who are still demanding that the junta hands power back to the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, which won November’s general election.

Nepal’s Supreme Court Rules to Reinstate Parliament, Adding Twist to Tale

By Sudha Ramachandran

On February 23, a five-member constitutional bench of the Nepal Supreme Court decided unanimously to reinstate the lower house of the country’s parliament. It ruled that the dissolution of the house in December 2020 was “unconstitutional” and called for reconvening parliament within 13 days.

The ruling is a huge setback to Prime Minister Kharga Prasad Sharma Oli. It was on Oli’s recommendation that President Bidya Devi Bandhari dissolved the house and called for fresh elections in April-May. The decision was widely criticized in Nepal and had sparked mass protests by political parties and civil society activists.

The apex court’s ruling overturning Oli’s controversial decision has been widely welcomed. “By passing a judgment in favor of the constitution,” the Supreme Court has “stood by the people, and re-established the notion of an independent judiciary,” the Kathmandu Post said in an editorial.

Indeed the court decision is a triumph for the constitution and enhances the stature of the judiciary. However, it is unlikely to end the political uncertainty in the country. There is little clarity in what lies ahead.

Pressure is mounting on Oli to step down, but he is unlikely to do so. It is likely that he will have to face a no-confidence motion in parliament when it reconvenes on March 8.

Myanmar Crisis Hinges on Stance of Ethnic Political and Armed Organizations

By Philipp Annawitt

More than three weeks after the February 1 coup in Myanmar, in which the military toppled the civilian government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD), all attention is on the struggle between the junta and the disparate Civic Disobedience Movement, which has mobilized hundreds of thousands of (mostly young) people from across Myanmar’s geographical, social, and ethnic spectrum.

The protests have been covered in the international media much in the vein of the various “color revolutions” that have taken place in recent years: as a story of the people vs. the dictator. But a decentralized protest movement is not an actor, it cannot negotiate, and it is by itself unlikely to topple a regime. The reeling NLD is now finding its feet and has started building a shadow administration around the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a collection of parliamentarians elected at November’s annulled election. In addition to setting up a network of local councils, it is reaching out to other domestic groups as well as to the international community.

In parallel, some smaller political parties have formed a General Strike Committee, and some ethnic political and civil society organizations formed a General Strike Committee of Nationalities, both of which supported the successful general strike on February 22. Though these efforts are not in sync with one another we can think of them as the beginnings of a proto-government. With two governments forming now, the junta and the proto-government in opposition, it will be crucial how ethnic political and armed actors align.

China Charges Ahead With a National Digital Currency

By Nathaniel Popper and Cao Li

After joining the lottery through the social media app WeChat, Ms. Huang, 28, a business strategist in Shenzhen, received a digital envelope with 200 electronic Chinese yuan, or eCNY, worth around $30. To spend it, she went to a convenience store near her office and picked out some nuts and yogurt. Then she pulled up a QR code for the digital currency from inside her bank app, which the store scanned for payment.

“The journey of how you pay, it’s very similar” to that of other Chinese payments apps, Ms. Huang said of the eCNY experience, though she added that it wasn’t quite as smooth.

China has charged ahead with a bold effort to remake the way that government-backed money works, rolling out its own digital currency with different qualities than cash or digital deposits. The country’s central bank, which began testing eCNY last year in four cities, recently expanded those trials to bigger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, according to government presentations.

The effort is one of several by central banks around the world to try new forms of digital money that can move faster and give even the most disadvantaged people access to online financial tools. Many countries have taken action as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which has recently soared in value, have become more popular.

Latin American Governments Are Caught in the Middle of the U.S.-China Tech War


For most policymakers in Latin America, the best way to react to growing geopolitical tensions between the United States and China is obvious: Stay neutral. Given Latin America’s geographic proximity to the United States, growing economic dependence on China, and historic aversion to long-standing alliances that limit strategic autonomy, leaders across the ideological spectrum have largely decided to embrace a pragmatic stance and maintain friendly ties with both Washington and Beijing.

With few exceptions, this strategy was largely seen to be a winning formula over the past years. Chile’s right-wing president, Sebastián Piñera, for example, sought to present himself as the region’s most trusted interlocutor for both former U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s center-right former president, and his center-left successor Alberto Fernández have likewise been keen to simultaneously maintain constructive ties with the United States and China. In Colombia, right-wing President Iván Duque preserved Bogotá’s historically close security cooperation with the United States but also made clear his administration had no plans to preemptively exclude Huawei as the country prepares to build its 5G network, a stance surely welcomed in Beijing.

US Intelligence Report Leaves Saudi Arabia With No Good Geopolitical Choices – Analysis

James M. Dorsey 

The Biden administration’s publication of a US intelligence report that holds Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi creates a fundamental challenge to the kingdom’s geopolitical ambitions.

The challenge lies in whether and how Saudi Arabia will seek to further diversify its alliances with other world powers in response to the report and US human rights pressure.

Saudi and United Arab Emirates options are limited by that fact that they cannot fully replace the United States as a mainstay of their defence as well as their quest for regional hegemony, even if the report revives perceptions of the US as unreliable and at odds with their policies.

As Saudi King Salman and Prince Mohammed contemplate their options, including strengthening relations with external players such as China and Russia, they may find that reliance on these forces could prove riskier than the pitfalls of the kingdom’s ties with the United States.

Core to Saudi as well as UAE considerations is likely to be the shaping of the ultimate balance of power between the kingdom and Iran in a swath of land stretching from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Central Asia’s border with China.

Iran: Rouhani Underlines Importance Of Non-Oil Exports In Combating Sanctions

Tasnim News Agency

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on local manufacturers to focus on non-oil exports and expanding access to world markets as an effective instrument for defeating the sanctions.

Speaking at a Sunday session of the Administration’s Economic Coordination Headquarters, Rouhani described non-oil exports as the key to Iran’s participation in the global economy.

“The promotion of non-oil exports is highly significant as a powerful instrument of the resistance economy for countering the US’ cruel and illegal sanctions,” he added.

The president also called on Iranian non-oil producers to improve the quality of products and honor the business commitments to boost exports.

Iran has diversified its exports in recent years to cut off reliance on the petrodollars, particularly after the escalation of the US sanctions in 2018.

The government has formulated plans for the expansion of non-oil exports to stimulate growth in production, employment, and the supply of currency.

Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in the Middle East


This week, Politico ran a story
revealing the Biden administration is deprioritizing the Middle East. It was an interesting read. Yet even without the reporting from Natasha Bertrand and Lara Seligman—two of the best journalists anywhere covering national security and foreign policy—the signs were clear that team Biden was going to try to do what it could not to get wrapped around the axles of Arabs, Israelis, Turks, Kurds, and Iranians. It took four weeks for U.S. President Joe Biden to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then another week or so for him to phone the Iraqi prime minister and the Saudi king. The White House likewise does not seem in a hurry to make calls to the Egyptians, Turks, Emiratis, Qataris, and others.

The National Security Council has adjusted accordingly, downsizing the Near East directorate, and U.S. executive agencies are not hiring as many Middle East hands as in previous administrations. These changes are happening against the backdrop of nonstop, foreign-policy discussions about “great-power competition” and China. If 2001 to 2020 was the golden age of the Middle East analyst, it is clear that Washington is now entering the era of the China expert (and public health specialist). This is a good thing. The Middle East has sucked up a lot—too much—time, attention, and resources of decision-makers who were often chasing unrealistic goals and pursuing poorly thought-out policies. This came at a cost, deflecting attention from other important issues like the implications of China’s ambitions, Russia’s return to the world stage, Europe’s stability, and the impacts of climate change.

How to Make the Iranian Nuclear Deal Durable

by Abolghasem Bayyenat Seyed Hossein Mousavian

The fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or what is more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, is hanging by a thread. As diplomats are jockeying to find a way to revive the nuclear agreement, the bigger question hanging on policymakers’ heads is how to prevent a revived JCPOA or any other similar deal with Iran from suffering the same fate under President Joe Biden or his successors, and ensure its durability. Reaching a grand bargain with Tehran and involving the U.S. Congress in the adoption of the nuclear deal appear as two potential solutions, but they are not practical and realistic. Rather, what can save the Iran nuclear deal, in the long run, is resetting the Iran-U.S. relationship and establishing a modus vivendi between the two countries.

The record of the JCPOA’s enforcement over the past five years demonstrates that the main threat to any nuclear agreement with Tehran emanates in large part from Washington’s desire to preserve most of its economic leverage over Iran and minimize the actual benefits of sanctions removal for the country. This is basically because the core dispute between the United States and Iran is about the region, not just the nuclear issue. Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 and the reimposition of unprecedented U.S. sanctions against Iran clearly bear out this assessment, as they were meant to regain and expand U.S. bargaining power against Iran in the hope of securing a better nuclear deal and addressing the regional issues.

In Armenia, Anger Over Nagorno-Karabakh Comes to a Head

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses his supporters gathered on Republic Square in downtown Yerevan, Armenia, on Feb. 25, 2021. Pashinyan called on the army to fulfill its duty and obey the people after the military called on him to resign.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is facing the most significant challenge to his beleaguered rule, although the outcome of the current standoff and any subsequent impact is likely to remain contained to the country. On Feb. 25, Pashinyan warned of an “attempted military coup” after military leaders called on him to resign following months of protests over his widely criticized handling of last year’s war with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Pashinyan was responding to a letter published earlier in the day signed by Chief of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan and three dozen other military leaders, which stated Pashinyan was “no longer able to make adequate decisions at this current fateful and critical moment” and called on him to resign. Pashinyan also announced that he had dismissed Gasparyan, although that formally requires the approval of the country’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sargsyan, who reportedly has not endorsed the...

U.S. Airstrikes in Syria Target Iran-Backed Militias That Rocketed American Troops in Iraq

By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria against buildings belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militias responsible for recent attacks against American and allied personnel in Iraq.

President Biden authorized the strikes in response to the rocketing in Iraq and to continuing threats to American and coalition personnel there, said John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, who spoke with reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III in California.

A rocket attack on Feb. 15 on the airport in Erbil, in northern Iraq, killed a Filipino contractor with the American-led military coalition and wounded six others, including a Louisiana National Guard soldier and four American contractors.

Iran, Syria Stress Alliance as Joe Biden Launches Airstrikes

David Brennan

The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria spoke by phone on Thursday as President Joe Biden launched his first airstrike against Iranian-linked targets in Syria, discussing the alliance between Damascus and Tehran and options to expand economic cooperation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarid and Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad spoke by phone, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

Iran's state-run IRNA said the two ministers discussed "ways to foil plots hatched by certain Western states in the way of restoring security and stability in Syria," as well as the need for Western powers to respect "sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country."

The call came as the Biden administration launched airstrikes against Iranian-linked militia groups in Syria; retaliation for a deadly rocket attack by an Iranian-backed group in Iraq earlier this month.

A Pentagon press release said the strikes destroyed "multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups." Those included Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada, both of which are Iraqi groups and part of the umbrella Popular Mobilization Forces organization.

US Needs Better Space Defenses, Including Weapons: CSIS


WASHINGTON: The US must make near-term policy, technical and investment decisions about how it intends to defend space assets from growing military threats — including putting ‘active defenses’ such as lasers on satellites, says a new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“If space is to remain a source of economic and strategic advantage, the United States must prioritize and expedite its efforts to improve space defenses. Robust space defenses make conflict in space less likely,” argues Defense Against the Dark Arts in Space: Protecting Space Systems from Counterspace Weapons.

“Many of the architectures and technologies already exist to make space systems more defendable and resilient. Senior leaders in DoD and Congress need to make top-level decisions about which types of defenses to pursue and then provide sustained investments to fund these capabilities to fruition,” the study concludes.

Despite its cheeky Harry Potter theme, the first-of-its-kind study takes a serious look at the technologies available to protect and defend US satellites, and articulates the policy issues that need to be addressed in using them.

How global tech executives view U.S.-China tech competition

Christopher A. Thomas and Xander Wu

The global technology industry is hedging its bets. As the United States and China compete for technological supremacy in advanced semiconductor design and manufacturing, software, and other core technologies, global high-tech companies do not plan to pick sides. Rather, they pragmatically aim to compete in both Chinese and U.S. ecosystems regardless of the extra cost and complexity involved. This is the message from 158 senior business executives working for American, Chinese, European, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean global high-tech firms whom we polled about the impact of U.S-China tensions on their industry. While these executives regard as inevitable that American and Chinese technological spheres of influence will to some extent separate, they also expect Chinese systems and solutions suppliers to continue to rely on globally sourced (rather than Chinese-developed) technologies. In addition, these executives expect multinational companies of all stripes to double down on their efforts to keep competing in the Chinese market.

With core technologies a central issue in U.S.-China relations, the Commerce Department and other agencies have recently placed greater restrictions on the technologies that can be exported to China, as well as added major Chinese tech companies to the blacklist of firms that can purchase American technology or receive U.S. investment. At the same time, the Chinese government has said it seeks “technology independence”—the vague goal articulated in the most recent five-year plan to reduce the reliance of Chinese high-tech firms on non-Chinese suppliers.

The Biden administration now faces hard choices about whether to continue, accelerate, or alter the policies it inherited from the Trump administration seeking to constrain Chinese access to cutting-edge technology. Indeed, the Biden team is currently carrying out a broad review of U.S. policies toward China that is considering how to best approach Beijing on a range of issues that span military, trade, and technology relations.

At the mercy of foreign powers

By Greg Miller, Missy Ryan, Sudarsan Raghavan and Souad Mekhennet

The Soviet-era cargo plane rose from a frigid Moscow runway and banked south toward Syria, landing at a Russian air base on the coast several hours later.

It ascended again three hours later and crossed the Mediterranean Sea. From its transponder signal, the flight could be traced for most of its path. As it approached Libya, however, the signal was lost.

A plane matching that mystery aircraft was spotted hours later at an airstrip 70 miles east of Benghazi disgorging dozens of “Wagners” and “shabiha,” according to a Libyan intelligence operative, using terms for Russian and Syrian mercenaries who have flooded the conflict zone.

This December flight was one of hundreds, including both Russian and Turkish military aircraft, that funneled fighters and firepower to an already war-torn Libya over the past year.

There was no apparent need for Russian reinforcements. The Dec. 7 flight came in the midst of a months-long cease-fire, as Libyan negotiators held talks in Tunisia in hopes of ending the civil war that has killed thousands of Libyans and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

“This is what is so terrifying for the Libyans,” said a senior Western diplomat with access to U.S. intelligence on the conflict. At a time when there is no fighting, and new prospects for peace have taken hold, Russia, Turkey and other countries that have inserted themselves into Libya’s struggle “are burrowing in.”

Ethiopia-Sudan Border Skirmishes Spark Fears of a Wider War

Yasir Zaidan 

In mid-February, Sudan summoned home its ambassador to Ethiopia amid an escalating dispute over a stretch of agricultural land along the two countries’ border. Both sides have accused each other of seizing territory by force, and Sudanese authorities have reported at least a dozen deaths, including some soldiers, due to incursions by Ethiopian militias. There is now an uncomfortably high possibility of an open military conflict between the two neighbors, both of which have grappled with domestic unrest in recent months and are going through their own delicate political transitions. Such a border war would be a serious threat to regional security.

Bilateral tensions have been rising since mid-December, when Sudan’s military announced that one of its border patrol units was ambushed by “Ethiopian forces and militias” in an area known as al-Fashqa, where Sudan’s al-Qadarif province meets the Ethiopian state of Amhara. ...

Semiconductors, minerals: Supply chain review to cover key military tech

Andrew Eversden

WASHINGTON — A new review ordered by President Joe Biden will improve understanding of risks posed by supply chains for semiconductors and other critical military and national security technologies made heavily in China.

Rare earth elements and high-capability batteries are examples of other vital products for war fighting that will get a closer look under the executive order signed Wednesday, part of the government’s push to ensure its goods and weapons system are secure from adversaries.

The secretary of defense has 100 days to review the supply chain for critical minerals, core pieces of fighter jets and satellites, and the secretary of commerce will review the market for semiconductors that are foundational to artificial intelligence, 5G and quantum computing.

U.S. development of those capabilities would be hampered if those supply chains are disrupted, putting the military behind its adversaries.

Semiconductors are “a foundational technology,” said Melissa Griffith, a public policy fellow at the Wilson Center. “That makes it a chokepoint for other technologies that we really are concerned about like 5G networks, 5G devices, artificial intelligence, quantum computing. That makes it a chokepoint, that makes it a single point of failure.”

Each report must review defense-related risks from a disruption or elimination of a supply chain, or from a lack of production domestically. Griffith said that she hopes the report addresses what policy levers and opportunities the U.S. has to “reshape and alter global supply chains.”

Britain's GCHQ cyber spies embrace the AI revolution

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s cyber spies at the GCHQ eavesdropping agency say they have fully embraced artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover patterns in vast amounts of global data to counter hostile disinformation and snare child abusers.

AI, which traces its history back to British mathematician Alan Turing’s work in the 1930s, allows modern computers to learn to sift through data to see the shadows of spies and criminals that a human brain might miss.

GCHQ, where Turing cracked Germany’s naval Enigma code during World War Two, said advances in computing and the doubling of global data every two years meant it would now fully embrace AI to unmask spies and identify cyber attacks.

The world’s biggest spy agencies in the United States, China, Russia and Europe are in a race to embrace the might of the technological revolution to bolster their defensive and offensive capabilities in the cyber realm.

“AI, like so many technologies, offers great promise for society, prosperity and security. Its impact on GCHQ is equally profound,” said Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ.

Younger Military Personnel Reject Vaccine, in Warning for Commanders and the Nation

By Jennifer Steinhauer

WASHINGTON — Americans who go into the military understand the loss of personal liberty. Many of their daily activities are prescribed, as are their hairstyles, attire and personal conduct.

So when it comes to taking a coronavirus vaccine, many troops — especially younger enlisted personnel as opposed to their officers — see a rare opportunity to exercise free will.

“The Army tells me what, how and when to do almost everything,” said Sgt. Tracey Carroll, who is based at Fort Sill, an Army post in Oklahoma. “They finally asked me to do something and I actually have a choice, so I said no.”

Sergeant Carroll, 24, represents a broad swath of members of the military — a largely young, healthy set of Americans from every corner of the nation — who are declining to get the shot, which for now is optional among personnel. They cite an array of political and health-related concerns.

But this reluctance among younger troops is a warning to civilian health officials about the potential hole in the broad-scale immunity that medical professionals say is needed for Americans to reclaim their collective lives.

“At the end of the day, our military is our society,” said Dr. Michael S. Weiner, the former chief medical officer for the Defense Department, who now serves in the same role for Maximus, a government contractor and technology company. “They have the same social media, the same families, the same issues that society at large has.”

The Craft of Wargaming

By Natalia Wojtowicz

Wargaming can provide a decisive edge if used to elicit meaningful results by decision-makers. The time taken to play provides a return through the experiences of participants. Design and deconstruction of strategic choices by players and decision-makers leads to higher performance, which encourages more audiences to pick up wargaming.

Wargaming is a common practice but an uncommon craft. The benefit of having an intelligent enemy check your premises has been proven over time; repeated failure leads to better results. In wargaming, losing is learning, and learning is winning. Despite the increasing popularity of wargaming, academic and professional sources are still scarce. A new book on wargaming is published by the Naval Institute Press and features a robust description of wargaming as implemented by the United States Naval Postgraduate School. It explains the different purposes of wargaming with the main focus on analytic wargames.

A recent book by practitioners from the Naval Postgraduate School reveals details of a long-lasting tradition of wargaming alongside the processes, topics and templates that were used by the authors. The purpose of the book is to “support defense planners and analysts on their journey from wargaming apprentices to journeyman in the craft of wargaming. Our focus is on providing these individuals a window into wargaming, which is a part of their professional development.”[1]


Army EW Targets Foes For Infantry


WASHINGTON: As the Army rebuilds its long-neglected electronic warfare arm, it’s finding simple tools can have a big impact – at the right place and time.

While EW is best known for disrupting radio and radar, recent wargames at Fort Benning showed tremendous tactical value to simply detecting hostile transmissions. EW troops following behind the frontline infantry used portable sensors to detect “enemy” units’ transmissions a kilometer or more away, long before regular soldiers could see them.

“It provides that ground force commander early warning,” said Capt. Bryan McCoskey, Fort Benning’s liaison office from the Army’s Cyber Center. “It gives him more time to make those tactical decisions … than ‘I’m walking thru the woods and I just received contact 300 meters away’” after the enemy opened fire.

That early warning lets the infantry fly a drone to confirm the report, get into prime position for any infantry attack, or artillery Maj. Joe Tague told me, “call up a fire mission and destroy the enemy entirely… before the mission has even started.”

The experiment was part of Fort Benning’s annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE), for which Tague is the senior uniformed officer. Benning, the Army’s center for armor, infantry, and scouts, has previously gotten tech support for its tactical networks from the Army’s Cyber Center at Fort Gordon, on the other side of Georgia. But this is the first time the Cyber Center has sent a tactical EW detachment, combining part of its own Cyber Quest exercise with Benning’s AEWE.

Air Force general busts myth that enemies always try to stop rivals’ communications

Mark Pomerleau

WASHINGTON — A top Air Force general wants to dispel the common assumption that adversaries will always try to cut or jam U.S. troops’ friendly communications.

Instead, they might want to leave those communications intact to use them to spread false and misleading information, for example, said Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, during the Air Force Association virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium on Feb. 25.

To prepare against potential hacking or jamming of systems that could take troops offline, the military is working to harden its communications, electronics and other digital equipment.

While this resiliency is welcome, the military must not ignore other vulnerabilities, O’Brien said.

“If our adversaries are not incentivized to disconnect us for their security, would that perhaps mean they want to maintain that connection in order to inject disinformation or misinformation and take advantage of opportunities that way,” she said. “Would they want to inject counter machine learning or counter artificial intelligence where their capabilities could corrupt ours? Could they attack our data in our algorithm integrity? What capabilities would we require then if we turn that assumption and looked at it from a different perspective?”

Sir Tom Moore’s funeral: Second World War-era plane to fly over ‘spectacular’ ceremony

Daisy Lester

Sir Tom came to international attention last year when he raised almost £33 million for the NHS walking 100 lengths of his garden just before his 100th birthday. In July, he was knighted by the Queen.

The veteran died of Covid-19 on 2 February after contracting coronavirus and pneumonia.

Sir Tom served with the Duke of Wellington regiment during the Second World War with his division later merging to become the Yorkshire regiment.

Last year, the fundraiser celebrated his 100th birthday with a flypast including a spitfire – Sir Tom was captured punching the air as it flew overhead.

To mark his funeral on Saturday, a C-47 Dakota, part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which operates from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, will perform another flypast.

Soldiers from his Yorkshire regiment will carry his coffin while a firing party will perform three rounds in unison. A bugler will play The Last Post and a ceremonial guard from the Arm Foundation in Harrogate will be present, of which Sir Tom was also made an honorary colonel.

Eight members of Sir Tom’s family will attend the private funeral, including his two daughters Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira, four grandchildren and his sons-in-law.