28 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.

Rising-Power Competition: The Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy of China and India

by Shiming Yang

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the daily life of people around the world and changed the shape of global politics. Health diplomacy, which had attracted limited attention compared to political, economic, and military diplomacy, has gained new importance over the last year. Unlike during previous crises, however, rising powers are playing increasingly central roles in health diplomacy, especially in the developing world. China and India, in particular, have been proactive in using medical supplies and, more recently, vaccines to advance their diplomatic goals. This essay examines each country’s approach to vaccine diplomacy and analyzes the potential implications for the new normal in Asia.


Being the country where the Covid-19 virus first broke out, China initiated vaccine research in January 2020, before cases appeared in many other countries. Vaccine development teams featured public-private partnerships that combined state research institutions’ resources and pharmaceutical companies’ manufacturing capabilities. These teams gained significant financial, institutional, and infrastructural assistance from the government. Four vaccines have been approved in China and at least one foreign country (BBIBP-CorV by Sinopharm and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CoronaVac by Sinovac Biotech, Convidecia by CanSinoBIO and the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and ZF2001 by Zhifei Longcom and the Chinese Academy of Sciences).

$88 billion and 20 years later, the Afghan security forces are still no match for the Taliban


Over the past two decades, the United States has invested more than $88 billion to build, train and equip Afghan troops and police – and yet the Taliban is clearly a superior fighting force.

As President Joe Biden considers finally withdrawing the roughly 3,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, no one has any illusions that the Afghan security forces will be able to avoid being defeated by the Taliban, especially if the United States stops paying the salaries for Afghan troops and police.

John Sopko, the brutally honest inspector general for reconstruction in Afghanistan, has been sounding the alarm for years about how corruption, waste, and fraud was effectively neutering the U.S. government’s effort to breathe life into the Afghan security forces.

“The Afghan military – and particularly the Afghan police – has been a hopeless nightmare and a disaster,” Sopko warned Congress in January 2020.

Task & Purpose asked Sopko why the Afghan security forces are still so reliant on the United States and NATO nearly 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

There isn’t a simple or easy answer, he said.

H.R. McMaster: Afghanistan is America's longest war – it's time for the delusion about it to end

By H. R. McMaster 

Both the U.S. and the Taliban are expected to visit Turkey in the coming weeks to discuss the proposals. National security analyst Rebecca Grant provides insight.

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Watch Gen. McMaster discuss this topic and more on "Fox News Primetime" on March 22 at 7 p.m. EDT.

Since the end of the Cold War and the lopsided military victory in the Gulf War in the early 1990s, American foreign policy and national security strategy have been beset by what we might call strategic narcissism, the tendency to define challenges and opportunities abroad only in relation to the United States.

America’s self-referential view of challenges abroad assumes that its leaders’ decisions determine outcomes and thereby undervalues the influence and authorship that others – especially rivals, adversaries, and enemies – have over the future.

Strategic narcissism produces policies and strategies based on flawed assumptions, wishful thinking, and short-term approaches to long-term problems.

The paragon of strategic narcissism is America’s longest war; the war in Afghanistan has not been a 20-year-long war, it has been a one-year war fought 20 times over.

It is understandable that many Americans, frustrated with flawed and inconsistent wartime strategies are calling for an end to what many are calling "endless wars." But the agreement negotiated with the Taliban under the Trump administration is based on the narcissistic assumption that wars end when America decides to disengage.

Imran Khan’s Visit to Sri Lanka has Broader Implications

Tridivesh Singh Maini

While Sri Lanka and Pakistan share cordial ties, in South Asia the China factor cannot be ignored, and both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are heavily dependent upon China and their accumulated debts to Beijing. Sri Lanka needs to strike a fine balance between New Delhi on the one hand and the Islamabad-Beijing alliance on the other.

Key Points

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka was important for more than one reason.

Sri Lanka is only the second South Asian country that Khan has visited since taking over as PM.

While Sri Lanka and Pakistan share cordial ties, no one can ignore the China factor in South Asia, and both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are heavily dependent upon China and their accumulated debts to Beijing.

Apart from the discussion of bilateral issues, Khan’s reference to regional co-operation was also important. The visit was thus important not just bilaterally, but in the regional context as well.


Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, embarked upon a two-day visit to Sri Lanka on 23 -24 February, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari and a group of 40 businessmen. Khan is the first Pakistani PM to visit Sri Lanka since 2016, when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the country. Interestingly, Sri Lanka is only the second country that he has visited in South Asia, having visited Afghanistan in November 2020, after taking office in 2018.


Bilateral Relevance

The Current Situation in Burma

Following 10 years of gradual progress on political and economic liberalization—and a landslide victory for the NLD in the 2020 election—the Burmese army took power in a coup on February 1, 2021, just hours before the newly elected members of Parliament were set to convene. The army has quickly reversed hard-won progress toward democracy and human rights in Burma. It has arrested elected officials, activists, and journalists, done away with even the most basic civil and political rights, blocked access to social media, and, intermittently, to the internet entirely.

USIP’s Work

Since 2012, USIP has supported locally driven efforts that help resolve conflicts in nonviolent ways, build support for a more inclusive national identity, promote democratic norms, and increase understanding among policymakers, practitioners, and the public about key conflict dynamics in Burma. USIP’s recent work includes:

Peace Education

What’s Behind China’s Dangerous Incursion into the East China Sea

Thomas Joscelyn

On Thursday, Biden administration officials traveled to Alaska to conduct their first face-to-face meeting with representatives from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Biden team has inherited multiple national security challenges, just as Obama bequeathed a messy world to Trump, Bush to Obama, and so on. But no issue is more pressing than the rivalry between America and the CCP. The world’s two largest economies are at loggerheads in many ways. The U.S. has objected to the CCP’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet, its crackdown on speech in Hong Kong, its menacing rhetoric toward Taiwan and generally aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, among other military and economic issues.

Here’s one topic that you may not have heard as much about: The CCP has been asserting itself in the East China Sea as well, threatening Japanese-controlled territory and waters for much of the past decade.

On Wednesday (March 16), the day before the sit-down in Alaska, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo. The U.S. “reaffirmed” its commitment to Japan’s security.

Shortly after the meeting, the State Department released a statement that was aimed squarely at Beijing. “The United States and Japan acknowledged that China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military, and technological challenges to the Alliance and to the international community,” the statement reads. The two allies pledged to maintain the “rules-based international system” against any nation—namely, China—inclined to employ “coercion and destabilizing behavior toward others in the region.”

Advancing Effective U.S. Policy for Strategic Competition with China in the Twenty-First Century

For this hearing, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will follow guidelines developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP), the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Senate Rules Committee to protect the health of members,witnesses, staff, and the public. This includes maintaining six-foot social distance spacing in the hearing room.

Accordingly, press seating is limited. All media must RSVP to your respective gallery to reserve a seat, and only Hill-credentialed media will be permitted to attend.

Per CDC guidelines, press should wear a mask. Masks and other PPE, as well as sanitation supplies, will be available at the entrance to the hearing room.

Pursuant to guidance from the CDC and OAP, Senate office buildings are currently not open to the public other than official business visitors and credentialed press at this time. Accordingly, other in-person visitors cannot be accommodated at this hearing.

STRATEGIC FORESIGHT IN CHINA The other missing dimension

Paul Charon

Over the last few decades, analysis of international relations and strategic issues has developed rapidly in China, both within the Chinese Communist Party– state apparatus and in think tanks and universities. However, the richness of this field of study is in stark contrast to the absence of any real open reflection on the question of foresight. If, like other nations, China is committed to understanding the world in which it is evolving and to identifying possible changes, the function of foresight has not been conceptualised or institutionalised to the same degree as in the West. Foresight analysis in China is marked by several salient features: firstly, it remains almost non-existent in Chinese institutional frameworks dedicated to the analysis of international relations; secondly, the concepts of the ‘black swan’ and the ‘grey rhino’ have made a significant breakthrough, particularly in economics, before being cannibalised and politicised by the Party; and thirdly, the reading of the horizon remains essentially informed by the Party’s vision, fears and obsessions.

Caution and Ambition Inform China's New Five-Year-Plan

Francesca Ghiretti*

Throughout the years, the annual “Two Sessions” meetings in China have moved from being the most important political event in the country to one of the most followed political appointments in the world. The reason is straightforward, China’s global weight is growing, and with it, its internal policies and plans are assuming greater and greater relevance internationally. Nonetheless, the attention reserved to this year’s Two Sessions is extraordinary.

On the one hand, the 2021 Two Sessions are meant to celebrate China’s achievements, such as the “elimination” of poverty or the realisation of a moderately prosperous society.[1] On the other, this year signals the beginning of a new cycle of China’s planned economy, including discussion on Beijing’s 14th Five-Year-Plan (FYP).

There is a reason why this appointment is called “Two Sessions”. The event sees the gathering of two major political bodies: the Chinese People’s Political Consultive Conference (CPPCC), which is a sort of representative body, and the National People’s Congress (NPC), where policies and laws are discussed and then adopted by the NPC Standing Committee. Despite the NPC’s avowed utility to provide a space to debate policy proposals, the truth is that it is little more than an organ formalising decisions already taken by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This year, the NPC met between 5–11 March. If the Two Sessions attracted widespread attention globally, the Five-Year-Plan is perhaps the most closely scrutinized item on the agenda.

Industrial Policy versus a Strategic Investment Plan

What is the role of government in promoting the strength of its economy? Every country has wrestled with this question. This issue traces back even to the early founding of the United States. Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists battled Thomas Jefferson and the Democrats (a different party than from today) over this question—one data point in the long history of countries imposing tariffs to protect domestic industries. A good deal of debate in our early years as a country involved building infrastructure to promote economic growth. Governments, after all, can create instruments and organizations to loan money to businesses to subsidize commercial activity. The United States has had its history of industrial policy, long before that label was ever used.

In modern times, the term industrial policy became a partisan debating point. President Jimmy Carter, facing a stagnant economy, formally launched an official U.S. industrial policy in August 1980, just months before he was defeated by Ronald Reagan. President Reagan wasted no time in repudiating it in the early months of his presidency. And thus, the term “industrial policy” was thrust into the vortex of partisan politics. For Republicans, it has become a tribal totem to condemn industrial policy. Democrats have not found a way to make it attractive as a political slogan. It remains stuck in a conceptual limbo, with psalms of condemnation chanted almost immediately when the term is uttered.

The concept of a national strategy to guide the economy has become far more topical during the past two years as policymakers and Americans generally awaken to the enormous competition that lies ahead with China. In 2015, the Chinese government (through Premier Li Keqiang) issued a now-famous master plan called “Made in China 2025.” The Chinese government announced its goal to transform itself from the world’s producer of low-cost inputs and low-quality products to become the global master of the most advanced technologies. The race is on. China now has a strategy, and the United States does not.


Alex Hollings 

After nearly two decades of counter-terror operations around the world, the United States military has recently begun shifting its focus away from this form of asymmetric warfare and back toward the potential for near-peer conflicts with nations like China or Russia.

Despite maintaining the most powerful military apparatus on the globe, this pivot won’t be without its challenges. Over the past 19 years, the United States military has funneled the majority of its funding into combat operations and new technologies that support the counter-terrorism endeavor. During this time, national opponents like China have had ample opportunity to observe the way America’s military operates, and find cost-effective methods of countering the U.S.’ most significant strengths.

In 2015, for instance, both China and Russia established space-specific branches of their armed forces tasked with replicating some of America’s orbital strengths (like a GPS satellite constellation), but also with finding ways to mitigate America’s established orbital dominance. Put simply, it’s cheaper and easier to interfere with or destroy technology than it is to replicate it, and America’s enemies have leveraged that simple logic to great effect in recent years. Today, it’s believed that both Russia and China operate semi-autonomous orbital assets that can already spy on or potentially even destroy satellites that are currently in orbit.

An Exit from Boko Haram? Assessing Nigeria’s Operation Safe Corridor

In 2016, Nigeria launched a program to help Boko Haram defectors reintegrate into civilian life. Rare interviews with the “deradicalisation” facility’s graduates reveal some encouraging signs but also troubling patterns that – if not addressed – could endanger the initiative’s future.

What’s new? Operation Safe Corridor, Nigeria’s home-grown program for providing recruits with a voluntary exit route from Boko Haram, has had some success. But it still faces resistance among the political class and ordinary citizens alike. It also suffers from serious problems that are testing donors’ confidence and likely deterring potential defectors.

Why does it matter? Operation Safe Corridor reflects Nigerian authorities’ growing recognition that they cannot beat Boko Haram by military means alone. Improving the program would serve the federal government’s objective of facilitating the defection of recruits. But unless its problems are fixed, the program could lose external support and domestic viability.

What should be done? Authorities should improve intake procedures to filter out civilians who do not belong in the program. They should take urgent steps to ease conditions of confinement and do more to smooth program graduates’ reintegration into society while winning more public support, including by prosecuting some jihadists captured by security forces.


Jamestown Foundation

Directions Forward for Chinese Rare Earths After the Two Sessions

China’s NPC and CPPCC: Xi Defies the West by Boosting Technological Self-Sufficiency And Crushing Hong Kong’s Freedoms

A New Step Forward in PLA Professionalization

China’s Xinjiang Propaganda and United Front Work in Turkey: Part Two

Is the Growth of Sino-Nepal Relations Reducing Nepal’s Autonomy?

The New Concert of Powers

By Richard N. Haass and Charles A. Kupchan

The international system is at a historical inflection point. As Asia continues its economic ascent, two centuries of Western domination of the world, first under Pax Britannica and then under Pax Americana, are coming to an end. The West is losing not only its material dominance but also its ideological sway. Around the world, democracies are falling prey to illiberalism and populist dissension while a rising China, assisted by a pugnacious Russia, seeks to challenge the West’s authority and republican approaches to both domestic and international governance.

U.S. President Joe Biden is committed to refurbishing American democracy, restoring U.S. leadership in the world, and taming a pandemic that has had devastating human and economic consequences. But Biden’s victory was a close call; on neither side of the Atlantic will angry populism or illiberal temptations readily abate. Moreover, even if Western democracies overcome polarization, beat back illiberalism,

Hard power or soft power? Quad opts for ‘smart’ power


The recent meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue aimed at promoting the democratic values shared by the US, Japan, India and Australia can be regarded as scoring a personal point for Joe Biden’s diplomacy, since despite all the odds, he succeeded in bringing the leaders together to highlight the significance if the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan celebrated the gathering as “a big day for American diplomacy.” President Biden stressed that “the Quad is going to be vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.” His remarks dovetailed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement about friendly relations within the grouping and its labeling as an “important pillar of stability in the region” and “a force for global good.”

The “Spirit of the Quad” statement calls the Indo-Pacific a region “unconstrained by coercion” – a notion that has been widely applied by the leaders of the four states when describing Beijing’s diplomatic maneuvers in the region. During the grouping’s second ministerial summit held in Tokyo last October, then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo appealed to the Quad states to rally against Chinese “exploitation, corruption and coercion.”

Although the joint statement following this month’s summit lacks any direct reference to China, one is still recognizable by reading between the lines.

Meet the Russian 'Information Warrior' Seeking To Discredit COVID-19 Vaccines


The Biden Administration issued an open threat on March 8 to several Russian media outlets. Over the last few months, the U.S. had been monitoring their campaign of “disinformation” about COVID-19 vaccines, and it now intended to push back “with every tool we have,” the White House said. But that statement did little to deter its most prominent target: an obscure operation called News Front, which has styled itself as a group of “fighters in the information war.”

The site’s editor, Konstantin Knyrik, says the warnings from the White House had little effect, other than to draw some fresh attention to his platform. “We’re growing. We’re posting. We’re reaching new audiences,” Knyrik says in a phone interview from Moscow. “We’re not backing down.”

In the days since the threat, News Front has continued to pump out the same set of narratives: wildly exaggerating the dangers of vaccines made in the West, and offering paeans to the safety and efficacy of Russia’s alternative, Sputnik V. “Real Danger of Western Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines,” News Front blared in a typical headline on March 12. The article refers to the “horrific consequences” of taking these vaccines. It neglects to mention that both vaccines have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration after scientific studies found them to be highly effective and safe.

Shared Burden Of A New Vision For The Asia Pacific – Analysis

By Nick Bisley*

The relief is palpable. After four years, Washington’s Asian allies have got what they hope is their old partner back. US President Joe Biden won’t shake down Japan and South Korea, hector Australian prime ministers or fawn over Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strongman tactics.

Yet the eagerly anticipated return to normality will not be a reversion to the status quo ante. Each ally in the region is concerned not just with how the 46th president will approach their bilateral relationship, but also with the broader question of Biden’s strategy toward the region.

For Australia, this is a highly consequential period. Its Asia strategy lacks coherence. It upended a long-term approach of developing positive relations with all the major regional powers by shifting to a confrontational approach to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) without a risk mitigation plan or substantive support from Washington. Given the centrality of the US alliance, the direction Biden takes will be critical to Australia’s ability to chart a successful foreign policy over the coming years. In the lead up to the US–China summit in Alaska, Kurt Campbell revealed the kind of support the Biden administration will provide Australia in its dealings with China, which, if sustained, will be of significant benefit to Canberra.

Lessons Learned From Non-State Soldiers – Analysis

By Dr. Mustapha Kulungu

The modern world is more interconnected than before due to the impacts of modernization and technological changes globally. Security has become an international concern due to non-state soldiers. For example, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, and others have dominated contemporary conflict globally, raising global security challenges (Rassler, 2017). There have been increased concerns from various states and countries regarding establishing foreign entities to formulate strategies and techniques to intensify non-state soldiers’ interactions. The non-state soldiers have developed intelligence to gather and share information and employ tactical flexibility in their operations. Also, these groups utilize effective clearing operations, thus win local battles easily. Therefore, in this paper, I will explore the foundation of non-state soldiers. Also, I discuss a few groups such as Left-Wing Militancy, Understanding Chechens and Vietcong, Non-State Soldiers of Africa, Sunni Crescent, Shia’s Crescent, and Ethno Nationalists and Criminal Enterprise Armies.

Popular discontent with modernization, industrialization, and rapid changes in socio-economic conditions is the basis of existing non-state soldiers. Talk about freedom fighters, terrorists, militia, gangs, revolutionaries, guerrillas, paramilitaries, and quasi-state bodies all exist due to global unrest because of industrialization (Jones, 2019). Non-state soldiers are religious-affiliated, ethnic groups or foreign militants not affiliated to the sovereign state whose purpose is to control the state through degradation, destruction, or defeat of the country. These groups possess unique features that make them survive and accomplish their heinous acts. Such characteristics include the application of guerrilla tactics such as avoidance of direct contact and conflict with state forces, concealment, deception, spying, and reliance on a covert realm to survive, operate and gather information. Also, the groups recruit people into their groups forcefully through population leverage. Thus, non-state soldiers utilize the population to effectively communicate, dispatch weapons and food to their groups, recruit, and as a sanctuary to train. However, technological changes, communication networks, travel networks, and growing media have reinforced ideologies, operations, and non-state soldiers’ recruitment globally.

Cruise missile proliferation: Trends, strategic implications, and counterproliferation

Fabian Hoffmann 

This report seeks to inform public debate about the proliferation of cruise missiles and their strategic implications. It provides a detailed discussion of the technology behind cruise missiles, analyses how the proliferation of cruise missiles has proceeded and considers the strategic implications of cruise-missile proliferation on the European continent. The paper also outlines several policy recommendations intended to curtail the proliferation of cruise missiles and mitigate their adverse strategic consequences.

A proactive attitude is required in order to counter the negative strategic implications of cruise missile proliferation and to reverse the dangerous proliferation trends outlined in this report. 

The report concludes that:

Over the decades, dozens of cruise-missile systems have come into existence, using a large variety and blend of subsystems. This makes it difficult to provide a general definition of the term ‘cruise missile,’ a fact that may be particularly problematic in the context of potential arms control agreements.

Several trends with regard to cruise-missile technology are discernible: for the near future, liquid-fuel turbojet and turbofan engines will likely remain the dominant propulsion systems used in cruise missiles. The increased adoption of solid-fuel ramjets is a possibility. Improved guidance, especially the large-scale adoption of two-way datalinks will allow cruise missiles to fly more complex missions, including swarm attacks. In addition, the increased adoption of multi-effect warheads will render cruise missiles more destructive.

Labs over Fabs: How the U.S. Should Invest in the Future of Semiconductors

The U.S. semiconductor industry faces an existential competitive threat. China’s efforts to catch up and eventually overtake the U.S. in semiconductor technology is not only an economic challenge—it is also a security threat. The Trump administration’s decision to pressure Huawei by cutting off its access to critical semiconductor technologies has only intensified China’s commitment to developing its own ability to design and manufacture computer chips without reliance on foreigners. China has spent billions of dollars in state subsidies, and plans to spend billions more in the coming years. At risk is not just the U.S. industrial base, but also the complex supply chains that link U.S. firms to customers and suppliers in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and several European countries.

On February 24, 2021, President Biden ordered a 100-day review aimed at “securing America’s critical supply chains.” The executive order focused on the semiconductor industry, declaring that “over the years we have underinvested in production—hurting our innovative edge—while other countries have learned from our example and increased their investments in the industry.”

While production certainly has its place, it would be dangerous for the U.S. to focus solely on the fabrication of semiconductors at the expense of other parts of the chip production process—including design, software, and production machinery—where the U.S. is currently stronger. There is a case to be made for supporting the construction of manufacturing facilities (“fabs”) for certain types of specialized chips, such as those needed in the defense sector. But reshoring most or all production is not a realistic goal. Moreover, the tens of billions of dollars that such a policy would cost are better spent elsewhere.

Research Brief – ‘The Carrier Strike Group 2021’11th March 2021

By Rob Clark

“Just three days after the Brexit transition period came to an end on 1 January 2021, the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 2021 (CSG21) deployment reached a significant milestone itself; it had reached Initial Operating Capability (IOC). This status denotes that all elements of the group, from fighter jets to radar systems to anti-ship weapons, have been successfully brought together and operated. It followed the successful North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Joint Warrior Exercises held last autumn, in which the UK-led multinational deployment focussed on incorporating all elements of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) with 13 of the UK’s allies, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Japan, UAE and the US. Furthermore, Exercise Joint Warrior saw the largest number of aircraft on a British Royal Navy carrier since 1983, as well as the most F-35B jets at sea across the globe.

The vessels will now undergo final preparation checks and maintenance, as they prepare for their last exercise as a group, Exercise ‘Strike Warrior’, taking place off the west Hebrides range in May 2021, before departing Portsmouth to embark upon its maiden operational deployment in the weeks after. The first likely stop will be to conduct exercises with NATO partners in the Mediterranean, before heading east of Suez. Charting the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, and Pacific Ocean, this deployment, the largest of any European naval power in 20 years, should be framed within the appropriate analytical frameworks for broader clarity of what precisely this deployment represents.

Henley Putnam University

Journal of Strategic Security, 2021, v. 14, no. 1

International Competition Below the Threshold of War: Toward a Theory of Gray Zone Conflict

Psychological Casualties as a Source of Friction During War and a Mediator of Coerced Peace Efforts

Training Foreign Militaries for Peace – U.S. IMET and Militarized Interstate Disputes 1976-2007

Major or Minor?: For What Audiences are Intelligence Studies Programs Best Suited

Strategic Security in Northern Europe: The Implications of Russian Anti-Access/Area Denial

Strategies in Developing Complex Threat Environments

A Flying Threat Coming to Sahel and East Africa? A Brief Review

Analytical Standards in the Intelligence Community: Are Standards Professionalized Enough?

Big Breakthrough For ‘Massless’ Energy Storage

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have produced a structural battery that performs ten times better than all previous versions. It contains carbon fibre that serves simultaneously as an electrode, conductor, and load-bearing material. Their latest research breakthrough paves the way for essentially ‘massless’ energy storage in vehicles and other technology.

The batteries in today’s electric cars constitute a large part of the vehicles’ weight, without fulfilling any load-bearing function. A structural battery, on the other hand, is one that works as both a power source and as part of the structure – for example, in a car body. This is termed ‘massless’ energy storage, because in essence the battery’s weight vanishes when it becomes part of the load-bearing structure. Calculations show that this type of multifunctional battery could greatly reduce the weight of an electric vehicle.

The development of structural batteries at Chalmers University of Technology has proceeded through many years of research, including previous discoveries involving certain types of carbon fibre. In addition to being stiff and strong, they also have a good ability to store electrical energy chemically. This work was named by Physics World as one of 2018’s ten biggest scientific breakthroughs.

Final Recommendations of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence

Washington D.C. (Mar. 10, 2021)—On Friday, March 12, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, will hold a joint hybrid hearing with the House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems about the final report released by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI).

America’s adversaries are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to outpace U.S. technological capabilities. The hearing will examine how the United States should harness the power of AI to strengthen and enhance U.S. military and intelligence systems against AI-enabled threats, or risk falling behind China and other strategic adversaries. The hearing will also consider how the U.S. government can build and sustain an “AI ready” workforce, while also establishing appropriate oversight mechanisms to protect the civil liberties of American citizens.Chairman Lynch's Opening Statement [PDF]

What Did the U.S. Military Learn in the First Year of the Pandemic?

Military metaphors suffuse discussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a “wartime effort.” Many commentators, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, wanted to “send in the military” and appoint a “military czar.” This report considers two questions. First, how has the military coped with ensuring its own readiness during the pandemic? Second, how do militaries best support the civilian response to the pandemic? Answers to these questions will not just help the United States prepare for the next public health emergency—natural, accidental, or intentional—but they will have global applications as well.

This report is a product of the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. DOWNLOAD THE REPORT


Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston and John Spencer

Recent articles—including one by Capt. Kristen Griest published by the Modern War institute and another in the New York Times—have triggered a major conversation about the Army’s continued development and implementation of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). We commend all soldiers who have participated in this discussion—one that must continue.

The test has evolved since its inception, and it will (and should) continue to do so. Yet, any decision about its future development will only be made based on facts and data. We don’t have all the data yet, and we must gather it. If you are a leader in the Army, at any level, we need your help to get it.

The Army is a learning organization and the ACFT is the biggest Army-wide change to occur in over four decades. It is a far superior assessment of soldier fitness and combat readiness than its predecessor, the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). It will improve soldier and unit readiness, transform the army’s fitness culture, reduce preventable injuries and attrition, and enhance soldiers’ mental toughness and stamina.

The Army has been actively developing the ACFT for over ten years. Early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cases emerged of soldiers not being able to conduct critical basic drills—firing their weapons, moving to cover, providing first aid, and others. As a result, in 2003, the Army unveiled the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, a series of several dozen basic soldier tasks that everyone—from infantrymen to surgeons—needs to be able to do. In 2009, the Army took further action aimed at ensuring that its physical training program was sufficient to prepare soldiers for combat when it began developing the Army Physical Readiness Training field manual (now FM 7-22, Holistic Health and Fitness).