11 May 2021

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

Ten Years After Bin Laden, We Still Need Better Intelligence Sharing


It was a typical Sunday afternoon at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida. As the senior intelligence officer for the command, I was at work and we were monitoring the conclusion of an operation in Yemen. As I left the small operations room, I saw Gen. Jim Mattis, the CENTCOM commander, and our operations officer, Vice Adm. Kevin “Kid” Donegan, at the end of the hallway. As I approached General Mattis, he looked at me in a very factual and unemotional way, and said, “We just got bin Laden.”

While we all felt a sense of justice for the nation, we knew the aftermath meant increased risk to Americans globally, our deployed troops, and our partners and allies. Where would al Qaeda strike next? How would they strike? What force protection measures needed to be increased, and where?

As a career Army intelligence officer, with years working in CENTCOM and Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, and nearly a decade after 9/11, I knew immediately our ‘indications and warning’ network would be flooded with data in aftermath of the operation. No high-fives — it was time to focus on the task at hand.

That was then. Today, we constantly discuss how harnessing data and applying artificial intelligence will be integral to great power competition. Fortunately, we have a solid foundation to build upon. The last two decades of counterterrorism operations were built on a high-speed, data-driven ecosystem. Initially and largely built under the leadership and vision of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led JSOC before serving as commanding general of the Afghanistan War, the fusion of intelligence and operations provided a base model for the new era of competition and confrontation.

Teamwork Led Us to Bin Laden and Can Keep America Safe


Osama bin Laden didn’t have time to react. At 12:30 a.m. local time on May 2, 2011, bin Laden and his family were sound asleep when two dozen operators from America’s elite counterterrorism teams swooped into his compound and made their way up to his bedroom on the third floor of a large villa in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Within moments, America’s most wanted terrorist was dead, the culmination of a 10-year manhunt by U.S. intelligence that pinpointed his precise location on that moonless night.

CIA had converted the director’s Seventh Floor conference room into a command center where we watched the raid unfold. When the initial helicopter lost lift and crash landed into the compound, our hearts were in our throats. The conference room fell dead silent. But the professionals of the teams working for Joint Special Operations Command’s Adm. Bill McRaven didn’t hesitate, carrying out the mission as if nothing had gone wrong. A backup helicopter was called in and the mission was carried out successfully.

As we look back on the events of late April and early May a decade ago, three lessons stand out.

First, the operation was the result of unprecedented cooperation between our military and intelligence agencies. We have had the honor of helping to lead at both CIA and the Pentagon, and we can vouch for the fact that they are very different organizations — one is small and tightknit; the other is huge with 3 million people and thousands of offices under one department. They are different culturally, organizationally, bureaucratically, and operate under differing authorities, policies, and rules of engagement.

ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s Sub-Saharan Affiliates Are Poised for Growth in 2021


Once considered a backwater for jihadists, sub-Saharan Africa is now at the forefront of the counterterrorism landscape. With core ISIS and al-Qaeda reeling from sustained Western counterterrorism campaigns, attention has shifted from former jihadist bases in the Middle East and south Asia, respectively, to the Sahel and Nigeria, the Horn of Africa, and, most recently, the continent’s southeastern Swahili coast. ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates throughout sub-Saharan Africa are well-positioned to expand their influence, garner new recruits, spread propaganda, and in some cases, capture territory.

As weak states give way to weak regions, overmatched security forces are being upstaged by well-armed jihadists capable of mounting complex and coordinated operations that increasingly resemble those of core ISIS and al-Qaeda themselves. These terrorists have taken advantage of porous borders throughout Africa and, in opportunistic fashion, have capitalized on fraught political transitions and lack of security sector accountability in countries like Mali and Mozambique, working to further destabilize already fragile states.

No ‘Boogeyman’: Why the Bin Laden Raid Might be the Last Unifying Moment for US Foreign Policy


When Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, crowds gathered at the White House with American flags, chanting “U-S-A!” to celebrate the successful Navy SEAL raid that killed the leader of al Qaeda and mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Ten years later, America and the threats it faces are fundamentally different. Some of the greatest dangers to the country, such as cyber security attacks from China or election interference from Russia, don’t have a face and a name that people see every night on the evening news, analysts say. And with a country that’s more divided than ever, it can be difficult to get Americans of different backgrounds to agree on who the enemy even is.

Because of this, analysts predict, it’s unlikely America will pursue another foreign policy goal that the entire nation can get behind, that, like the capture of bin Laden, unites the country and sends people flooding into the streets.

“We don’t have a single boogeyman in the way that bin Laden really became this FBI most wanted figure,” said Jenna Ben-Yehuda, a former State Department official who is president of the Truman National Security Project. “It becomes harder to unify around a single threat, because the nature of the threat has changed and is more diffuse. We have this low-level warfare really playing out through disinformation and persistent hacking that just doesn’t look like kinetic action in war as we know it.”

Is Pakistan’s cyber security strong enough to protect the country?

By Amna Tauhidi

With the growth and spread of connected digital technologies, cyber threats have become an inescapable reality. According to the World Economic Global Risk Report 2019, massive data fraud and theft were ranked the number four global risk in terms of likelihood, with cyber-attacks at number five.

The same report published in 2020, listed cyber-attacks on critical infrastructures as the fifth top risk. This elucidates the growing potential of the cyber realm where governments, political groups, non-state actors, and corporations can engage in espionage, warfare, and terrorism using this domain.

According to multiple governments as well as privately documented reports, there is an ever-growing threat of cyber-based attacks on crucial infrastructure systems.

Critical infrastructure systems, being the lifeline of the modern world, hold paramount importance for both national and economic security as their reliable and secure operation is crucial for the smooth working of a state. Recognizing it as a global and national security concern, all modern states undertook emergency measures to consolidate their cybersecurity.

The cyber-attack on K-Electric

Western Amnesia and the Trauma of Taliban Rule

By Lauryn Oates

In the 1990s, Afghanistan became one of the most isolated countries in the world. Millions of people had fled. With virtually no functioning telecommunications, severe restrictions on the few remaining NGOs that had stayed behind, and being difficult and dangerous to access for journalists, information was escaping the country only in small snippets. But in 1998, Physicians for Human Rights managed to get a team of researchers into the country, and published a carefully documented report based on a survey of over 1,000 Afghans living in Afghanistan and in Afghan refugee camps, giving the world a small glimpse of what was going on within Afghan borders.

The survey responses, collected from ordinary Afghans, painted a bleak picture of life in a place where people had been stripped of their most basic rights, with a special emphasis on relegating women and girls to the margins of a society so under duress, life itself was becoming increasingly untenable. The dense web of rules under which Afghans lived were being imposed by a regime that only properly described as totalitarian. That regime was the Taliban.

The consequences, as found by PHR’s survey, were a population living through a mental health crisis, where it had become the norm for people to be experiencing severe levels of depression and anxiety, and where an alarming number of people reported having suicidal thoughts. The overwhelming majority of women living in Afghanistan indicated that their declining physical and mental health was directly attributable to Taliban policies.

When life imitates art: US, China & a geo-political war

by Thomas L. Friedman 

What has made this even more dangerous is that, in each country, it is married to state-led industries — particularly military industries — and it’s emerging at a time when America’s democracy is weakening.

If you are looking for a compelling read, I recommend 2034 by James Stavridis, a retired admiral, and Elliot Ackerman, a former Marine. The book is about how China and America go to war in 2034, beginning with a naval battle near Taiwan and with China acting in a tacit alliance with Iran and Russia.

I’m not giving it all away to say China and the US end up in a nuclear shootout and incinerate a few of each other’s cities, and the result is that neutral India becomes the dominant world power. (Hey, it’s a novel!)

What made the book unnerving, though, was that when I’d put it down and picked up the day’s newspaper, I read much of what it was predicting 13 years from now: Iran and China just signed a 25-year cooperation agreement. Vladimir Putin just massed troops on the border of Ukraine warning the US that anyone who threatens Russia “will regret their deeds.” As fleets of Chinese fighter jets, armed with electronic warfare technology, now regularly buzz Taiwan, China’s top foreign affairs policymaker just declared that the US “does not have the qualification … to speak to China from a position of strength.”

Yikes, that’s life imitating art a little too closely for comfort. Why now?

Taiwan accuses Beijing of waging economic war against tech sector

Taiwan’s government has accused China of waging economic warfare against the Chinese-claimed island’s technology sector by stealing intellectual property and enticing away engineers, as its parliament considers strengthening legislation to prevent such alleged activity.

Taiwan is home to a thriving and world-leading semiconductor industry, used in everything from fighter jets and cars to smartphones, and the government has long been worried about China’s alleged efforts to copy that success, including by industrial espionage.

Four Taiwanese policymakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party are leading a proposal to amend the commercial secrets law to widen the scope of what is considered a secret and toughen penalties.

In a report to Parliament published on Wednesday about the proposed amendments, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau blamed China for most cases of industrial espionage by foreign forces discovered in recent years.

“The Chinese Communists’ orchestrated theft of technology from other countries poses a major threat to democracies,” it said.

“The aim of the Chinese Communists’ infiltration into our technology is not only about economic interests, but also has a political intention to make Taiwan poorer and weaker.”
Claims and counter-claims

China Moves Toward a Permanent Space Presence

By Namrata Goswami

In this November 24, 2020, file photo, a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang’e 5 lunar mission lifts off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang in southern China’s Hainan Province.Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

On April 29, China launched the first piece of its space station’s core module, Tianhe (heavenly harmony), on its Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province. This is the first of 11 such launches planned, to complete construction of China’s permanent space station by end of 2022.

This year, there will be four more launches for construction of China’s space station. The next one is scheduled for May with the launch of the Tianzhou 2 cargo space craft once the Tianhe core module is in place, followed by the launch of three astronauts to study life support systems during a stay of three months in low Earth orbit (LEO). This will be followed by the launch of the Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft and the Shenzou 13 spacecraft later this year, with three astronauts who will stay six months in LEO – by far the longest stay in space by Chinese astronauts. Space station construction will be complete by the end of 2022 with six other launches scheduled that year.

Bai Linhou, the deputy chief designer of the planned Tiangong space station at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), explains:

As Drought Worsens Chip Shortage, Taiwan Fights Brain Drain to China

By Nick Aspinwall

Taiwan’s labor ministry has ordered online job boards to remove all listings by Chinese employers attempting to recruit Taiwanese engineers to their semiconductor firms, an escalation in an intensifying technology standoff as the world looks to Taiwan to alleviate a global chip shortage.

The move comes as Taiwan continues to withstand a historic drought that has threatened the speed of chip production, which requires lots of water.

In an official notice, the Ministry of Labor said it would increase the enforcement of existing laws that prevent Taiwanese job sites from listing advertisements from Chinese firms.

The ministry, in the notice, accused China of stealing Taiwan’s chipmaking technology and poaching its talent, according to the job recruiting website 104 Job Bank.

104 Job Bank told Nikkei Asia it was asking clients individually to close their job vacancies in China. The platform said job listings in China had already fallen by half by Thursday night, from 3,774 listings to 1,872, Nikkei Asia reported.

Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain manufactures the chips used in iPhones, cars and laptops, and the world is heavily dependent on Taiwanese chip production.

Raffaello Pantucci on China’s Presence in South Asia

By Catherine Putz

As the United States embarks on its withdrawal from Afghanistan, some wonder what China will do given the country’s critical interests in South and Central Asia. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative is merely the latest articulation of a strategic narrative that imbues the South and Central Asian region with critical importance to China. As Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), explains in the following interview, China has long-running interests in the wider region. While Beijing is not poised to follow the Soviet Union and now, the United States, into the “graveyard of empires,” those interests remain important to China.

What interests in the wider South and Central Asia region most draw Beijing’s attention?

China is most worried about security problems it perceives as being based in South and Central Asia which might threaten domestic stability. Principal amongst these is a fear that the region might become a staging ground for Uyghur dissidents or militants to create instability in Xinjiang. A secondary group of concerns emanates from a fear of threats to Chinese economic investments and interests in the region. In Beijing’s conception these investments are also linked to Xinjiang as well, as their success is in part linked to prosperity and growth in Xinjiang, which China sees as the key to longer-term stability within its borders.

China urges U.S. to restrain frontline forces in nearby seas

The Chinese defence ministry urged the United States on Thursday to rein in its frontline forces which Beijing has said have become more active in the air and seas near China this year.

China has frequently maintained that a U.S. military presence in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait is the main destabilising factor in the region. The United States has said it has freedom of navigation in these areas, which China regards as its geo-strategic backyard.

Since U.S. President Joe Biden U.S. took office in January, operations of U.S. warships in the seas around China have risen by 20%, while the activity of U.S. reconnaissance aircraft has risen by 40% compared with last year, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press briefing on Thursday.

"We urge the U.S. side to strictly restrain its frontline forces, abide by regulations including the Rules of Behaviour for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and prevent similar dangerous incidents from happening again," Wu said.

An Asymmetric Defense of Taiwan

by Michael O'Hanlon 

In recent months, as China’s threats against Taiwan have mounted, strategists and policymakers have been debating whether it is time for a change to the somewhat tortured method by which the United States has sought to preserve stability across the Taiwan Strait since the late 1970s. The current policy of “strategic ambiguity” seeks to keep everyone guessing as to whether America would militarily counter a Chinese attack on its much smaller neighbor. Washington’s specific response would depend on how a crisis began and unfolded. That is because America has had multiple, sometimes conflicting goals—to deter China from attack, to preserve good U.S.-China relations, and to discourage pro-independence forces within Taiwan all at once. Some now favor discarding this elaborate balancing act in favor of an unambiguous commitment to Taiwan’s security.

There is just one problem with this way of thinking. A promise by America to defend Taiwan does not mean that it could defend it. That is especially the case if one considers a protracted Chinese blockade of the island, and imagines that the United States would try to break the blockade directly. Such an attack would employ China’s quiet submarine fleet and perhaps some use of precision missiles. The goal would likely be to strangle Taiwan into capitulation, as Germany almost did twice against Britain in the world wars. Taiwan has just increased its military budget 10 percent, to about $15 billion a year, but it is dwarfed by China’s total, which is more than fifteen times as great. At that level of investment, Taiwan may be able to fend off an outright Chinese invasion attempt with a “porcupine” defense featuring sea mines, anti-ship missiles launched from shore batteries and helicopters, and concentrated resistance wherever China tries to come ashore. But it would likely fare less well against a more indirect Chinese strategy.

Illegal Fishing Is a National Security Problem


According to UN estimates, 90 percent of global fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, meaning that fish are being caught faster than they can reproduce. As global demand for fish continues to draw from an already dwindling supply, recent reports demonstrate that nearly a third of ocean fishing is illegal, unregulated, or unreported, which has devastating effects on global fish stocks and long-term economic ramifications for coastal nations. The UN estimates that one in ten people worldwide rely on fishing or aquaculture for their livelihoods – a collapse of worldwide fisheries would be disastrous to them and the estimated three billion people who rely on seafood as their primary source of protein. But combating illegal, unregulated and unreported, or IUU, fishing isn’t just about saving fish, it’s also a security issue. Chinese fishing fleets have been a trojan horse for the de facto seizure of territories in the South China Sea and have engaged in “systemic violati[ons] of sovereign nation rights” off the coast of Latin America and Africa. As the Biden administration sets its national security priorities, it should include combating IUU fishing among them.

China is the largest contributor to IUU fishing worldwide and poses a geopolitical threat to economic stability in the Indo-Pacific and abroad. As Chinese fleets deplete fisheries in Northeast Asia and the South China Sea, they venture further afield in search of fresh fish stocks and ultimately infringe on the exclusive economic zones of coastal countries around the world. While Beijing officially acknowledges a distant-waters fishing fleet of 2,500 vessels, independent researchers estimate it could be as large as 17,000 vessels. Smaller African nations such as Ghana are a primary target for the large Chinese fleets because they have weak maritime law enforcement abilities and lack the resources to adequately defend against these incursions. In some cases, vulnerable countries like Gambia have turned to non-governmental organizations like Sea Shepherd to help them police their fisheries against Chinese exploitation. But despite some success, these organizations are simply too small to effectively combat IUU fishing at scale.

Why Tackling Corruption Is So Urgent—and So Difficult

The world is constantly reminded that corruption knows no geographic boundaries. In South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma remains embroiled in court cases involving corruption allegations that helped remove him from power. In Malaysia, former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison last year over the fraud and embezzling charges that precipitated his downfall. A money laundering investigation launched in Brazil in 2008 expanded to take down a vast network of politicians and business leaders across Central and South America over the course of the following decade. And former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was plagued by officials who used their offices for private gain and were forced to resign.

The impact of actual corruption is devastating, whether it siphons money from government coffers or drives policy that is not in the public interest. The effects can be particularly pernicious in developing countries, where budgets are tight and needs are vast. The United Nations estimates that corruption costs $2.6 trillion in losses every year.

America Must Become the Vaccine Arsenal of Democracy

By Joaquin Castro

As President Joe Biden and Congress lead a historic effort to distribute vaccines and rebuild the U.S. economy, the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind most Americans. Yet worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is worse than ever. The unprecedented surge in India alone means there are now more cases of COVID-19 in the world today than at any other point since the pandemic began. With rich countries’ controlling a disproportionate number of vaccines, many of the hardest-hit nations have insufficient supplies. As much as 25 percent of the world’s population will not have access to vaccines until 2022 at the earliest. This is an unacceptable situation, on both moral and strategic grounds.

The global surge of COVID-19 is an immediate national security risk to the United States. It would take the emergence of only one vaccine-resistant strain of the virus to quickly reverse all the hard-fought progress we have made at home. The more COVID-19 spreads uncontained, the greater the danger of such vaccine-resistant strains emerging. We are already witnessing new mutant strains that are emerging amidst India’s outbreak moving into neighboring nations such as Nepal. And as we learned last year, the United States cannot wall itself off from the rest of the world. With the pandemic in retreat in the United States, but spiraling out of control abroad, this moment calls for American leadership. The United States must expand its historic vaccination campaign around the world, and work with allies and partners to fight the virus abroad before it can once again wreak havoc at home.

The Missing Pieces of the US Cyber Strategy of ‘Persistent Engagement’

By Mark Manantan

The new U.S. cyber strategy of Persistent Engagement rests on two fundamental pillars: first, the pre-emptive “defend forward” imperative. This underpins the U.S. Cyber Command’s increasingly offensive posture to operate everywhere and anytime, encompassing both benign and proactive cyber-enabled operations outside U.S. networks. Second is an awareness of the changing strategic competition in cyberspace, which largely occurs below the threshold of armed conflict. Underscored by the interconnected and interactive nature of the cyber domain, Persistent Engagement views malicious cyber activities as part of more effective and interlinked campaigns that are not isolated or episodic, but instead are exploitative and cumulative.

First announced in 2018, the Persistent Engagement strategy is the Trump administration’s alternative to the defense-oriented cyber strategy developed during the Obama era, anchored in operational restraint and a norm-based, deterrent approach.

For the U.S. Persistent Engagement strategy to succeed, the U.S. Cyber Command recognized that Washington could not do it alone. The strategy’s success requires collaborative partnership across government, industry, and academia, and most importantly, alongside efforts from allies and partners aimed at advancing collective cybersecurity.

A Complex Approach Is Needed to Win Cyber Wars

By Kevin Tonkin

The massive cyber attack on the United States via information technology vendor SolarWinds continues to send shockwaves through the departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security as well as other agencies. Damage assessments are ongoing. If the U.S. government in general and Defense Department in particular are to successfully defend against attacks by well-funded, patient and highly motivated enemies, they will need to change their approach to defending their networks and systems.

First detected in December 2020, the Sunburst attack was quiet and insidious. Hackers injected malicious code into SolarWinds’ information technology management suite, Orion, providing a toehold into 18,000 of their customers for nine months before it was discovered. By late January 2021, investigators began to think the hackers also had exploited weaknesses in additional supply chain vendors, including Microsoft’s Office 365 and VMware. U.S. intelligence agencies believe SVR, Russia’s intelligence agency, directed the hackers, who are variously called Dark Halo or Cozy Bear.

Much is still unknown, but it is no coincidence that the recent attacks targeted cybersecurity companies that often have valuable tools and remote access to customers’ networks. Attackers know that if they compromise these firms’ security infrastructure or applications, which is embedded deeply in the heart of multiple clients’ systems and running with the highest level of permissions, they effectively have the keys to the kingdom.


Addison McLamb 

The 76ers’ erstwhile GM Sam Hinkie could be an impressive Army doctrine writer. Hinkie’s leadership mantra—“trust the process”—headlined the Philly NBA team’s operational overhaul in 2013, but resulted in his leaving ignominiously soon after the team’s 1-21 2015 start. Like Hinkie, the Army’s military intelligence (MI) branch canonizes its four-step analytical process of “intelligence preparation of the battlefield.” Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of developing creative, inductive frameworks for more abstract or asymmetric situations.

The Army’s tactical intelligence analysis manual does not contain the word “creative” nor the phrase “critical thinking.” “Think” itself (including conjugations) gets just nine mentions over the 228 pages. “Product” is strong at 128 hits, although “process” (203 hits) and “step” (330) pull ahead. And if deliverables are unclear at any point, Appendix A’s fifty-nine different checkboxes assist users in hand-railing the sequence to completion. The manual as a whole reads like a black box focused on practitioners’ efficiency in iterating inputs and outputs rather than their efficacy in solving problems. On the whole, intelligence preparation of the battlefield, or IPB, is a very basic framework for entry-level analysts. It’s a chrysalis—something to be grown out of—not an end-all liturgy to be perfected for its own sake.

The U.S. Military Needs to Stay Out of the Information Warfare Game

By R. Jordan Prescott

Last October, Cyber Command tweeted a picture of a Russian bear dropping a Halloween candy bucket full of its latest malware trick or treats. From conception to deployment, the effort took 22 days.

The American military may be the finest in the world but its social media skills are embarrassing. (In true government form, the number of days spent producing the image was one less than the number of pages in the report detailing the exercise.)

If America is to succeed in the contested information space, then it should leave the mission to the nation’s civilian agencies.
The History

Once upon a time, the United States was extremely capable of information operations and influence campaigns.

During the Cold War, the United States applied an array of diplomatic and intelligence resources to counter Soviet information activities. Through coordinated campaigns in print, on radio, libraries abroad, and a roster of speakers, the U.S. successfully introduced foreign audiences to American interests and values. When necessary, American also covertly funded friendly parties and unions in other countries and created front organizations to expose communist atrocities. When given a choice between their regime’s state media and Radio Free Europe, oppressed Eastern Europeans chose the latter.