27 March 2021

Defining China’s Intelligentized Warfare and Role of Artificial Intelligence

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd), Consultant, VIF

China feels that U.S. is its main adversary ... China is trying to match U.S. technological capabilities with its own strength in AI as a leap frog technology and a new concept of war ... But there will be lot of problems in implementing this concept of Intelligentization Warfare to reality. However, President Xi Jinping has thrown the gauntlet, and it is up to the U.S. the other adversaries and the rest of the world to follow this concept keenly.

Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh: Geopolitical Implications

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd), Consultant, VIF

The geostrategic sensitive region of region of Nagorno-Karabakh lies at an intersection of political, ethnic and religious borders of Iran, Turkey, Russia and Georgia. On September 27, 2020 the war broke out with Azerbaijan launching an offensive retake Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding previously Azerbaijani-populated regions. The war was won by Azerbaijan.

Russia brokered a peace deal with Armenia and Azerbaijan agreeing to a Russian-mediated settlement to end the six-week war. The cease-fire is seen as a victory in Azerbaijan and as a capitulation in Armenia. Russia’s leading role in stopping the fighting also shows that Moscow continues to be the most influential player in the southern Caucasus.

This monograph provides the background of the conflict, its geopolitical dimensions, details of the cease fire deal and the role of different stakeholders in this conflict.

China’s Himalayan Salami Tactics


NEW DELHI – Emboldened by its cost-free expansion in the South China Sea, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime has stepped up efforts to replicate that model in the Himalayas. In particular, China is aggressively building many new villages in disputed borderlands to extend or consolidate its control over strategically important areas that India, Bhutan, and Nepal maintain fall within their national boundaries.

Underscoring the strategic implications of China’s drive to populate these desolate, uninhabited border areas is its major buildup of new military facilities there. The new installations range from electronic warfare stations and air defense sites to underground ammunition depots.

China’s militarized village-building spree has renewed the regional spotlight on Xi’s expansionist strategy at a time when, despite a recent disengagement in one area, tens of thousands of its troops remain locked in multiple standoffs with Indian forces. Recurrent skirmishing began last May after India discovered to its alarm that Chinese forces had stealthily occupied mountaintops and other strategic vantage points in its northernmost Ladakh borderlands.

Why the US should care about the China-India 'blackout war'


The future usually arrives before anyone is ready for it, especially in warfare. China apparently blacked out Mumbai, India recently by cyber-attack, credibly threatening that Beijing could plunge all of India into darkness through cyber warfare. Experts warn that national electric grids are a technological Achilles heel.

The Mumbai blackout could be one of those “Monitor v. Merrimack” moments in military history when a revolutionary new way of warfare suddenly becomes recognizable, even to the dullest. New military technologies that can change everything are often laughingly dismissed by establishments that are too busy planning for “business as usual.”

From machine guns at the Somme (1916), panzer divisions in France (1940) and (Japanese) carrier aviation at Pearl Harbor (1941), nations have learned the hard way. Obsolete thinking prevails until someone gets hammered, usually by an aggressor.

The Mumbai cyber blackout, like Russia’s cyber blackouts of Ukraine, and blackouts in Mexico (2013), Yemen (2014) and Pakistan (2015) caused by terrorist sabotage of electric grids, are a new category of warfare. These “blackout wars” foreshadow an existential threat that could end our civilization and kill millions of Americans.

Why did Beijing blackout Mumbai?

The Road from Galwan: The Future of India-China Relations


On June 15, 2020, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a brawl that left twenty Indian soldiers dead while causing an unspecified number of Chinese casualties. The clash is a part of a broader border standoff along the Galwan River between the two forces on the Line of Actual Control that is yet to be resolved. The Indian strategic community is broadly in agreement that this border dispute marks an implacable decline in India-China ties. They argue that the very basis of relations that emerged after former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Beijing in 1988 has been shaken, if not destroyed. Yet, how did the two countries manage to reach this nadir in ties, and furthermore, what does the Galwan clash signify for the future of Sino-Indian relations?

This paper argues that, long before the present border dispute occurred, Sino-Indian relations had been steadily declining due to rampant misperceptions of the other side, contributing to a lack of trust. The most fundamental misperception between the two countries is the inability to comprehend each other’s international ambitions, yielding the fear that their foreign policies are targeted against the other. This paper traces the impact and development of these misperceptions on Sino-Indian ties through three different phases before considering the future of the relationship after the Galwan dispute.

The first phase is the period immediately after the 2008 financial crisis, when China reoriented its foreign policy to accommodate its growing global ambitions. As China expanded its global role, it did not consider the implications of its actions on India. As a consequence, its new foreign policy was not well received in New Delhi, sparking a fear that China was attempting to undermine India’s interests. In turn, New Delhi’s counter to these policies fostered an antagonistic response in Beijing, which did not understand how its new foreign policy affected India’s international interests. This set of interactions marked the first indication of the growing misperceptions and ensuing lack of trust characterizing Sino-Indian relations.

China Developing Hypersonic Swarms To Overwhelm Missile Defenses

David Hambling

Chinese researchers are working to network hypersonic weapons into a smart swarm for coordinated attacks. Such swarms would be far more dangerous than the individual missiles that comprise them, multiplying the power of the high-speed weapons.

Hypersonic missiles, cruise missiles that travel inside the atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound (over 4,000 mph) are shaping up as the next wave of military innovation. While they may be slower than ballistic missiles, their comparatively low-level flight means there is much less warning of hypersonic missiles’ arrival, and they are far more challenging to intercept. They could deliver nuclear warheads, or deliver devastating surprise attacks against aircraft carriers or airbases. No wonder China is developing them to counter U.S. superiority in other areas, and the Pentagon is devoting so much effort to defense against such missiles.

A new study from the Beijing Institute of Technology titled ‘Network for hypersonic UCAV swarms’ seeks to multiply the power of hypersonic weapons by having them work together. UCAV is short for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, a term usually employed for armed drones, but applied in this case because they are more than missiles – the members of the swarm will carry sensors and communications.

The benefits are a shared situational awareness, for example alerting other swarm members where defenses are located, being able to simultaneously hit targets with multiple weapons coming from different directions, and co-operatively searching for elusive or moving targets. A swarm could comprise several waves, with each one advising the next which targets have already been destroyed or where holes have been made through defenses.

The Coming Demographic Collapse of China

by Gordon G. Chang

China this century is on track to experience history’s most dramatic demographic collapse in the absence of war or disease.

Today, the country has a population more than four times larger than America’s. By 2100, the U.S. will probably have more people than China.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics typically releases population data for the preceding year in early March. This year, NBS delayed its announcement because the central government is scheduled next month to announce preliminary results of the 7th national census, conducted in November and December.

The image of Chinese economic and geopolitical dominance will be severely dented when Beijing releases census data. Xi Jinping may believe “the East is rising and the West is declining”—the money line from one of his speeches late last year—but that view will be exceedingly hard to maintain.

The Chinese take great pride in being part of the world’s most populous state. Beijing reported China’s population in 2019 hit 1.4 billion in 2019, up from 1.39 billion the previous year.

Young People in China Are Losing Faith in the West


Since the fall of the Qing dynasty more than a century ago, young Chinese have repeatedly pressed their country’s leaders to learn lessons from the West. In 1919, the student-led May Fourth Movement demanded a break from old Confucian ways and an embrace of women’s rights and individualistic social values. In 1989, student protesters in Tiananmen Square built a Statue of Liberty out of papier-mache and called on the Chinese Communist Party to adopt democratic political reforms

More recently, a generation of Chinese graduates from foreign universities have returned home and used virtual private networks to read foreign news, check Facebook, and stay plugged into the outside world. But today, many young Chinese citizens are not only angry about U.S. foreign policy—they are also expressing growing disdain for the West’s most fundamental social and political ideas. This is an epochal shift, and it will have profound implications for China’s future and for the U.S.-Chinese relationship.

Chinese youth have raised two main critiques of the Western model. The first is that the recent spate of hate crimes against ethnic Chinese in the United States, which has received intense attention in China, reveal the “white supremacy” at the heart of Anglo-Saxon culture: a fear of ethnically Chinese people and a contempt for Chinese values. The second is that Western countries’ abject failure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic proves that liberal democracy is inferior to Chinese meritocratic, one-party rule. This is a potent combination.

Europe Can Play a Role in a Conflict Over Taiwan. Will It?

Antoine Bondaz, Bruno Tertrais 

In early February, France revealed that one of its nuclear-powered attack submarines had completed a mission in the South China Sea. The rare announcement, two years after the passage of the frigate Vendemiaire through the Taiwan Strait, was a clear signal of a growing French, but also European, interest in the sensitive region.

European awareness of its strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific is a slow train coming. Even for France and the U.K.—which, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and nuclear powers with a tradition of power projection, have long been interested in East Asia—there has been a quantum leap in recent years in their appetite for involvement in the region. ...

The US and China finally get real with each other

Thomas Wright

Thursday night’s very public dustup between United States and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Biden administration’s first official meeting with China, may have seemed like a debacle, but the exchange was actually a necessary step to a more stable relationship between the two countries.

In his brief opening remarks before the press, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would discuss “our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.”

Blinken’s comments seemed to catch the Chinese off guard. The last Strategic & Economic Dialogue of the Obama administration, in 2016, began with a conciliatory message from then–Secretary of State John Kerry and resulted in a declaration identifying 120 different areas of cooperation.

The Belt and Road Initiative after COVID: The Rise of Health and Digital Silk Roads

Challenges the BRI faced after the COVID-19 pandemic

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has connectivity at its core. The BRI was launched to expand physical connectivity from China to Eurasia by constructing infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and pipelines in partner countries. In that sense, during the Great Lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BRI faced three serious challenges, including restrictions on the cross-border movement of workers and logistics, China’s growing financial burden due to the worldwide economic downturn, and rising anti-Chinese sentiment all over the world.

Rise of the Health Silk Road and Digital Silk Road

Amidst the chaos and upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, China has rapidly accelerated the Health Silk Road (HSR) and Digital Silk Road (DSR) as a basis to expand the BRI. This has been facilitated by factors such as the prolonged pandemic, the vacuum of global leadership, the rise of a digital economy, and developing countries’ need for technological support. As a result, China has seen this as an opportunity to strengthen the HSR and DSR because it was able to bring the virus under control domestically faster than other countries.

Analysis Academics, AI, and APTs How Six Advanced Persistent Threat-Connected Chinese Universities are Advancing AI Research

Dakota Cary

Six Chinese universities have relationships with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) hacking teams. Their activities range from recruitment to running cyber operations. These partnerships, themselves a case study in military-civil fusion, allow state-sponsored hackers to quickly move research from the lab to the field. This report examines these universities’ relationships with known APTs and analyzes the schools’ AI/ML research that may translate to future operational capabilities.Download Full Report

Turning cutting-edge research into operational capabilities is the currency of cyber operations. The vulnerability no one else knows about, one found by someone with highly specific knowledge of a program or coding language, opens a backdoor into an adversary’s most sensitive vault. A better understanding of one technology or technique can give cyber operators an advantage over opponents. Governments benefit from compressing the timelines from discovery to exploitation, more rapidly using the insights of researchers for operations.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and its current dominant paradigm, machine learning (ML), almost certainly will not fundamentally alter competition in cyberspace. That said, AI systems will provide both new terrain for cyber operations—as targets that can themselves be hacked—and new tools of cyber operations, as ML aids offensive and defensive efforts. China’s military-civil fusion strategy takes a holistic approach to development and aims to seamlessly incorporate private resources and developments for state use, with the goal of shortening the pathway for non-governmental research on AI and cybersecurity to strengthen and diversify government operational capabilities.1

Europe’s geostrategic sovereignty and Turkey

by Bahadır Kaleağası

A more positive relationship between the European Union and Turkey is a decade-long project of advocates from all over Europe and across the Atlantic. Drawing on history, witnesses see how this relationship can be an excellent win-win algorithm, as much as it can rapidly turn out to be a lose-lose situation or even a triple win-or-lose equation—with political, economic, and social resonance reaching far beyond the Continent.

The challenge is to upload this historically well-tested algorithm into the twenty-first century: rebooting a version 5.0 of Turkey’s European integration with updates on democratic conditionality, foreign policy cooperation, and an economic framework, as well as on the digital, green, and social dimensions.

The Turkey debate’s focal point is “Europe’s geostrategic sovereignty.” Turkey should evolve to be a net contributor to Europe’s security and global competitiveness. No matter how significant today’s drawbacks, such as freedom of expression and tensions like the life-consuming Cyprus imbroglio, the guiding question for the EU ought to be: “how can Turkey, in the near future, become a country that is progressively in convergence with the values and interests of European citizens?” This includes citizens of the Turkey as well.

Turkey Signals Sweeping Regional Ambitions

By Dr. James M. Dorsey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A nationalist Turkish television station with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has dug up a 12-year-old map that projects Turkey’s sphere of influence in 2050 as stretching from southeastern Europe on the northern coast of the Mediterranean and Libya on its southern shore across North Africa, the Gulf, and the Levant into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Buoyed by last year’s defeat of Armenia by Azerbaijan, TGRT, a subsidiary of Ihlas Holding, a media and construction conglomerate that has won major government tenders, used the map to advance a policy that has long constituted the agenda of some of Erdoğan’s closest advisors.

The broadcasting of the map, first published in a book authored by George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor, an influential American corporate intelligence group, followed calls by pan-Turkic daily Turkiye, Ihlas’s daily newspaper (with the fourth-largest circulation in Turkey), to leverage the Azerbaijani victory to create a military alliance of Turkic states.

In a country that ranks second only to China as the world’s foremost jailer of journalists, Ihlas Holding would not be pushing a pan-Turkic, Islam-laced Turkish regional policy without tacit government approval at the very least.

The media group’s push reflects Turkish efforts to capitalize on the fact that Turkey’s latest geopolitical triumph with Azerbaijan’s Turkish-backed victory is already producing tangible results. The military victory has positioned Azerbaijan, and by extension Turkey, as an alternative transportation route westward that would allow Central Asian nations to bypass corridors dominated by either Russia or Iran.

Why Russia Is the Problem From Hell

by Robert D. Kaplan

In 1812, his army exhausted and overwhelmed by the Russian steppe, and watching Muscovites desert and burn their city rather than see it handed to his troops, Napoleon was reported to exclaim in desperation about the Russians: “What men they are! They are Scythians!” The reference was to the nomadic horsemen of antiquity whom no one could conquer, reason with, or pressure in any way. Indeed, by the turn of the twentieth-century, the historian Henry Adams observed that the intractable Russia problem had always been the key to modern Europe and that, therefore, “The last and highest triumph of history would…be the bringing of Russia into the Atlantic combine.”

In other words, the West’s struggles, frustrations, failures, and dreams regarding Russia are part of an old story, and one that will continue into the future. Russia’s ability to shape our geopolitical world is not new. It was Russia’s defeat at the hands of Wilhelmine Germany that precipitated the Russian Revolution which, in turn, dramatically altered the twentieth-century. The Soviet Union’s victory at Stalingrad in 1943 led eventually to Hitler’s defeat and the Cold War division of Europe. The Soviet Union, in terms of blood price, was fundamental to the outcome of World War II in a way that the United States clearly was not. It was the Soviet Union’s internal collapse that brought the Cold War to a triumphal conclusion for the West. And it was the West’s failure in the 1990s to aggressively remake a defeated Russia in its own image, politically and economically—a failure that in terms of scale equaled Napoleon’s—that led directly to Vladimir Putin’s revanchist authoritarian regime.

Hell hath no fury like a superpower in decline

Graham E. Fuller

The U.S. leadership must have set some kind of new record in managing to personally insult the leadership of the two other great powers of the world within 48 hours of each other in these early days of Biden administration foreign policy. Almost as if they were graduates of “The Donald Trump Charm School.”

It is simply astonishing that in approaching a new course of relations with Russia, President Biden should have called Vladimir Putin “a killer” and lacking “a soul.”

It is similarly astonishing to have chosen an important opening moment in our delicate relationship with China to employ derogatory language. Did Blinken believe that flashing testosterone at the first high-level meeting of Beijing’s foreign policy leadership would help achieve the diplomatic goals Washington seeks? One wonders who the secretary of state was trying to impress — Beijing or a U.S. domestic audience?

The United States undoubtedly has its own grievances towards China, and China likewise possesses many grievances towards the United States. But surely this name-calling and accusatory language are immature and counterproductive in terms of future U.S.-China or, for that matter, China-Russian relations.

No, Russia and Ukraine Are Not About to Come to Blows

By Ekaterina Zolotova

Fighting has resumed between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels in Donbass who accused the government in Kyiv of preparing for a large-scale offensive. Troops in the region were, indeed, put on high alert, and when asked, a representative to the peace talks said Kyiv would not rule out the possibility of war. To be clear, Ukraine has reason to want to provoke Russia. Doing so would perhaps breathe life back into the talks for implementing the Minsk Agreement, which was signed back in 2015. Kyiv wants to bring the United States into the talks, and Russia’s participation in some kinetic activity in Donbass, Kyiv figures, might do the trick. After all, the events in southeastern Ukraine are not just a Ukrainian problem or even a European problem but a truly global problem, or so argues Ukraine.

What’s more, the government there is extremely unstable. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s popularity is falling. Only about 22 percent of Ukrainians said they would vote for him in 2021. Pandemic-induced economic damage only makes matters worse. Demonizing Russia – even potentially drawing it into a conflict in which Kyiv can accuse it of being the aggressor – would be a welcome distraction. Ukraine hopes that this, too, might tempt Washington to insert itself more into the conflict. It would need to be a short and decisive conflict, but played the right way it could really benefit Kyiv.

America Can—and Should—Vaccinate the World

By Helene Gayle, Gordon LaForge, and Anne-Marie Slaughter

After a virtual “Quad summit” last Friday, the leaders of the United States, India, Japan, and Australia announced that they would cooperate to deliver one billion vaccine doses in the Indo-Pacific, directly countering China’s lead in distributing vaccines to the region. The agreement brings together Indian manufacturing and U.S., Japanese, and Australian financing, logistics, and technical assistance to help immunize hundreds of millions of people by the end of 2022. Headlines over the weekend proclaimed that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden was preparing to catch up in global vaccine diplomacy. Yesterday the administration took a further step in this direction, leaking to reporters that it would lend four million AstraZeneca doses to Mexico and Canada.

These initiatives come not a moment too soon. In tackling the worst global crisis of a lifetime, the United States has so far been upstaged. Russia and China have aggressively marketed and distributed their vaccines to foreign countries, largely to advance foreign policy goals. Russia is using the jab to bolster its image and investment prospects and to drive a wedge between EU countries. China is donating doses to gain leverage in territorial disputes and expand its influence under the Belt and Road Initiative. Both Moscow and Beijing have moved to undercut the United States in its own backyard by supplying vaccines to Latin America.

A New Vision For The US Climate Agenda

by Ian Parry

Over the next decade, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 25 - 50 percent to be on track for meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of containing global warming to 1.5 - 2°C.

The United States intends to do its part. Its climate plan pledges US carbon neutrality by 2050, with a 2030 emissions target to be announced shortly.

The United States will need to act decisively to help deliver the global emissions reductions needed over the next decade.

The plan envisions stronger energy efficiency standards, clean technology subsidies, and $2 trillion of public funding over ten years for clean energy infrastructure and critical technologies, such as green hydrogen.

This blueprint is an excellent start. Our new research highlights specific fiscal actions that would help curb emissions and broaden support for policies to tackle climate change.

It’s Time to Fold America’s Nuclear Umbrella


A recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “
Preventing Nuclear Proliferation and Reassuring America’s Allies
,” took a small step in a rather surprising direction. The title captures its main theme perfectly: To discourage its allies from acquiring their own nuclear weapons, the United States needs to counter doubts raised during the Trump administration and reassure its allies about the strength of the United States’ commitment to their security.

Given that the report was written by a multinational group of well-known foreign-policy insiders, most of their findings and prescriptions are unproblematic. But the following recommendation caught my eye:

“Europe needs to build up the nuclear dimension of its defense efforts, including by retaining and modernizing capabilities for existing NATO nuclear missions and by France and Britain working together to extend their nuclear deterrents to their European allies.”

Why is this statement so intriguing? Because it shows the authors of this report recognize that Europe as a whole might be more secure if it could rely on a locally based deterrent instead of continuing to shelter under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. And if that is true for the nations of Europe, then it might well be true for others. Although the report’s authors are opposed to new states joining the nuclear club (Britain and France are already members), their statement clearly implies that deterrence would be strengthened if states facing serious external threats had a nuclear guarantee that didn’t depend on Uncle Sam.

Cyber warfare will grind Britain’s economy to a halt


The Integrated Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy Review published this week is not as radical or as detailed as it might have been had the pandemic not struck. It reflects current concerns and previously announced initiatives rather than providing a longer-term framework for our national resilience. Designing something more comprehensive during a once in a hundred year event would have been quite a feat.

I was struck by the lack of detail on how vulnerability can be reduced at home. Too often the focus of government and commentators when considering national security has been on the military and the security agencies rather than the industries that deliver vital services, or the departments and regulators that oversee them. In this high-level document, that looks to be happening again.

The emphasis is on detect, disrupt and deter, but not so much on practical security at home. The pandemic has shown how dependent we all are on core systems and infrastructure for society to function. Their resilience is fundamental to our strength as a country. At the heart of that resilience must be security.

It was my job to support prime ministers and the National Security Council on what the US call homeland security: national resilience, crisis response, cyber security and counter terrorism. We worked at the interface of government and business with a particular focus on critical national infrastructure (CNI). In that role, I became all too aware that the nature of hostile attacks on our country was changing.

US plans ‘aggressive’ cyber offensive against Russia in retaliation for SolarWinds attack

By Ryan Daws 

The Biden administration is planning an “aggressive” cyber offensive against Russia in retaliation for the devastating SolarWinds attack that was traced back to the Kremlin.

According to The Telegraph, the attack is expected within the next fortnight and will not target civilian structures or networks.

Both US government agencies and private companies were infiltrated as part of the large SolarWinds attack that was detected late last year—the full extent of which is still being uncovered. Security researchers traced the cyberattack back to Russia.

The planned cyber retaliation by the Biden administration signals a major policy shift away from that of his predecessor’s which was oft-criticised for being weak in the face of increasing aggression from Russia and China while causing friction with historic allies.

“[The cyberattack is] designed as a direct challenge to Mr Putin, Russia’s President, and his cyber army,” wrote The Telegraph.

The White House confirmed it will take “a mix of actions” that are both “seen and unseen”.

Speaking to the New York Times last week, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said:

The Resupply of Duffer's Drift

William C. Latham Jr.

Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov famously observed: “If you want new ideas, read old books.” The following narrative provides a fresh take on an old book, Ernest Dunlop Swinton’s The Defence of Duffer’s Drift. The 1904 novella recounts a series of dreams in which a British junior officer tries and fails to defend a critical river crossing, until he finally absorbs the lessons and accomplishes the mission. In light of the US Army’s renewed emphasis on platoon leader development, this updated story borrows from Swinton’s original work to illustrate core principles of small unit leadership in the twenty-first century.

Fresh from his basic course, Second Lieutenant Anderson reported to his first assignment just as Krasnovian forces invaded Palukistan. With the entire division preparing to deploy overseas, Anderson barely had time to in-process and rent an apartment before signing in as a platoon leader in the brigade support battalion’s distribution company. Now, nine weeks after graduating from Fort Lee, Anderson found himself on the ground in a combat zone halfway around the world, responsible for forty soldiers, twenty cargo trucks, and an arsenal of rifles, machine guns, and grenades.

Anderson had little time to shave that morning, much less sit down and eat a meal. Breakfast was coffee and an energy bar; lunch was a Snickers. While his soldiers spent the day pulling guard duty at the initial staging base (ISB) and shuttling equipment from the port, Anderson seemed stuck in a series of endless meetings, first with the company commander, then with the battalion commander, and then at a brigade rehearsal that took most of the afternoon.

At dinner, he ate a lukewarm plate of chicken cacciatore with his senior noncommissioned officer, Sergeant First Class Carroll, and shared as much information as he could recall while scribbling notes on the status of the platoon’s soldiers and equipment. Another commander’s meeting that evening took longer than expected, and it was nearly midnight before Anderson got back to his barracks room, brushed his teeth, and crawled into bed.
The First Dream: Troop Leading Procedures

Elliot School of International Affairs

International Affairs Review, Winter 2021, v. 29, no. 1

Economic Recovery from Coronavirus as a Response to the Climate Change Crisis

Frontier Urbanization: Potential for Development or Violence on the Periphery?

The Tale of Two Countries: Parallel Societies, the Clash of Civilizations, and Jihad in France

The Indo-Pacific Stability-Instability Paradox

A Changing Security Landscape: NATO and Russia in the Arctic

Is Social Media the New Crack?

by Bev John Martin Graff

If you spend hours of the day on your phone checking social media, you’re not unusual. The average internet user spends two hours a day on various social media sites. But does your habit of checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok every few hours make you a social media “addict”?

The term “social media addiction” is being increasingly used to describe people who spend a lot of time on these websites and apps. Doing so can be harmful to people in a variety of ways – causing low self esteem, bad sleep and increasing stress.

The main focus when considering addiction to substances tends to be on three key elements: compulsion (or loss of control), tolerance (needing to increase amount to achieve the same effect) and withdrawal (unpleasant side effects when use stops). Other factors to consider relate to craving, preoccupation and continuing use despite it causing obvious problems. It’s easy to see how these factors apply to drugs, but what about shopping, gambling or, indeed, social media use?

‘Land Forces Are Hard To Kill’: Army Chief Unveils Pacific Strategy


An Army M109A6 Paladin armored howitzer under camouflage during wargames in Germany.

WASHINGTON: The future Army will fight as a tough, intractable “inside force” — a term usually associated with Marines — forward-deployed in adversaries’ backyards, says a new strategy paper from the service’s Chief of Staff. This approach, Gen. James McConville writes, has already shown promise in joint wargames.

In pop culture terms, the Army’s casting itself as Bruce Willis’s iconic action hero/survivor John McClane, in a new production you might call Die Hard In the Pacific.

Ranges of Chinese land-based missiles. (CSBA graphic; click to expand)

Released today, “Army Multi-Domain Transformation” calls for long-range, land-based missiles on West Pacific islands to threaten targets deep within China’s “Anti-Access/Area Denial” defenses. (The approach could work in Eastern Europe as well, but the document only mentions the Pacific by name). Rather than deploy from the US in response to an attack – a deployment that enemy missiles, submarines, sabotage, and cyber warfare can disrupt – these forces will be pre-deployed in peacetime or rapidly deployed in crisis, setting up inside the areas the enemy hope to deny access to. Once on the ground, these nimble, logistically lightweight units will avoid destruction by using cover, concealment, camouflage, decoys and frequent relocation.

Defence review: British army to be cut to 72,500 troops by 2025

The size of the Army is to be reduced to 72,500 soldiers by 2025 as part of a move towards drones and cyber warfare.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said "increased deployability and technological advantage" meant greater effect could be delivered by fewer people.

He set out plans for new capabilities such as electronic warfare and drones in the Commons.

Labour has warned that "size matters" when it comes to defence.

Announcing a major overhaul of the armed forces, Mr Wallace said it marked a shift from "mass mobilisation to information age speed", insisting they must be able to "seek out and understand" new threats to the country's security.

He said the government was increasing the UK defence spending by £24bn over the next four years.

Mr Wallace said it was tempting to use the "shield of sentimentality" to protect "outdated capabilities" but doing so would put lives at risk.