28 May 2021

China’s Cyber-Influence Operations

  Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd) 

The digital era has transformed the way we communicate. Using social media like Facebook and Instagram, and social applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram, one can be in contact with friends and family, share pictures, videos, messages, posts and share our experiences. Social media has become an effective way of influencing human society and behavior, and shaping public opinion. By sharing a post, tweeting an idea, contributing a discussion in a forum and sharing a sentimental picture, we can influence others and sometimes convince into with our opinion.

Use of cyber tools and methods to manipulate public opinion is called ‘Cyber Influence Operation’. In the present day, many countries use cyberspace, especially the social media, to accomplish Cyber Influence Operations as a part of Information Warfare. Most of these operations are done covertly. It is difficult to differentiate between legitimate or malicious influence operations. Continue Reading..... 

Defining China’s Intelligentized Warfare and Role of Artificial Intelligence

 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

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. Continue Reading.... 

What Is Happening to India’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program?



In October 2020, India’s minister of health and family welfare announced that the government planned to receive and use 400 to 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 200 to 250 million people by the end of July 2021. As of May 16, 2021, India had reported administering 182 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and 41.6 million people in India had received both doses of the vaccine. The original target appears to have been revised, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned a vaccination target of 300 million people (which means 600 million doses)—focusing primarily on the elderly and those with comorbidities—during his address at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Dialogue earlier this year. As things stand, India is likely to fall short of either target.

The biggest cause for concern at the moment is the rapidly dropping vaccination rate. India began vaccinating its population on January 16, 2021. But the country has gone from a daily average of 3.65 million doses being administered from April 1 to April 10 to an average of 1.8 million doses a day in the month of May (calculated using data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Cumulative Coverage Reports of COVID-19 Vaccination from May 1–16).

Kabul School Bombing Reinforces Fears Over Post-Withdrawal Security

BY: Belquis Ahmadi; Fatema Ahmadi

For the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul, home to the Hazara minority group, the devastating May 8 bombing outside a school is part of a disturbing trend of attacks in the area. The bombing killed at least 85 and injured around 150 — mostly young girls — and coincided with concerns of escalating violence as the United States withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State group (ISIS) has perpetrated similar attacks in the past and many suspect it was again responsible.

USIP’s Belquis Ahmadi and Fatema Ahmadi look at the implications of this attack on the peace process, how it has impacted the Hazara community and what the United States and international community can do to help protect the gains Afghan women and minorities have made in the last 20 years.
Although attacks like this are all too commonplace in Afghanistan, what is the significance of the May 8 bombing amid the withdrawal of foreign troops?

Sustaining China’s Sovereignty Claims: The PLA’s Embrace of Unmanned Logistics

By: Eli Tirk, Kieran Green

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has tested the use of unmanned vehicles (UAVs) to perform logistical missions such as transportation and resupply since 2018. In academic explorations of border defense and logistics modernization, PLA logistics officers argue that UAVs can dramatically increase the efficiency of the PLA’s supply chain in addition to improving the military’s ability to supply forces operating in hostile environmental conditions or in contested areas. Such advantages could provide an important advantage to China as it seeks to bolster its military presence in areas of potential crisis such as Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea.

PLA troops operating in these areas must ensure that their supply chains are robust enough to function in the event of a border skirmish, and at the same time often negotiate difficult or inhospitable terrain. Under normal circumstances, maintaining and expanding operations in these areas would require significant applications of manpower and transportation resources to keep forward-deployed troops well-supplied and in fighting shape.

Low Fertility Trap Fears Cloud China’s Release of 2020 Census Data

By: Elizabeth Chen

The results of China’s seventh national census were released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on May 11, after more than a month’s delay. NBS commissioner and deputy leader of the State Council Leading Group for the Seventh National Population Census Ning Jizhe (宁吉喆) announced at a press conference that China’s population was 1.41 billion, marking a slight increase of 72.06 million from the results of the sixth national population census in 2010 (NBS, May 11). The data reflected an average annual growth rate of 0.53 percent, down from 0.57 percent in the previous decade.[1]

Looming over the 2020 census results was a growing sense that the severity of China’s population decline was worse than previously thought. As recently as last December, a paper published by the government-affiliated China Population and Development Research Center (中国人口与发展研究中心, zhongguo renkou yu fazhan yanjiu zhongxin) predicted that China’s population would peak in 2027 (State Council Development and Research Center, December 23, 2020). Following the release of census results, even previously bullish experts revised their analyses to predict that China’s population would likely decline “as early as 2022” (Global Times, May 11).

Opinion – Former China-Premier Wen Jiabao’s Censored Essay

Klaus Heinrich Raditio

In April 2021, Wen Jiabao, who served as the Chinese Premier from 2003–2013 published an essay titled ‘My Mother’ as a tribute to his mother who had recently passed away. The essay took Chinese social media by storm before it got censored to prevent netizens from disseminating it. Another interesting fact is that it was published in Macao Herald which suggests that no mainland’s media was willing to publish it due to the sensitivity of the content. If read in its entirety, the essay conveys certain nuances that are worth pondering, particularly if one puts them in the context of Chinese political climate under current President, Xi Jinping.

Wen begins with the depiction of his parents’ humble background. They are the representation of Chinese people’s struggle in dealing with social and political upheavals from the Japanese invasion, the Chinese civil war, and the Cultural Revolution. Wen wrote that his father, who was a teacher, suffered mental and physical torture during the Cultural Revolution – a subject that might be considered sensitive to the Communist Party. Unlike Xi, Wen is not a princeling – a designation for the children of first-generation communist veterans. Wen forged his political career through the Communist Youth League (tuanpai).

Adopting a Multifaceted Policy Toward U.S.-China Security Competition


China’s growing influence and presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have raised concerns in Washington and around the world about Beijing’s long-term intentions and the implications for great-power competition in the arena. The MENA region has become increasingly important for Beijing’s economic interests and its quest for global influence, and many regional states have embraced China’s offerings as a means to diversify their great-power relationships. China will continue to deepen its economic and diplomatic footprint—and, to a more limited extent, its military engagement—in the MENA region over the coming years, albeit at a slower pace than the previous decade due to its renewed attention to internal development amid global uncertainty. China, however, neither seeks to nor is likely to replace the United States as the dominant security player in the region for the foreseeable future and will likely maintain its self-interested policy of neutrality in the region’s complex rivalries and local conflicts.

China’s growing geopolitical weight poses serious challenges to certain U.S. objectives, such as promoting democratic norms and strengthening human rights, in a largely illiberal arena in which states prefer partners like Beijing who do not question their governance models and domestic transgressions. At the same time, the United States and China also share common interests in the MENA region, including preserving stability and the free flow of trade.

Three Myths About the Laws of War and the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Charli Carpenter

After 11 days of rocket fire and air strikes, a tenuous cease-fire has brought to a close, at least for now, the latest outbreak of violence between the Israeli government and the armed group Hamas in Gaza. As in previous rounds of fighting between them, narratives about which side was to blame and whether either or both were committing war crimes were rampant in media coverage, social media debates and commentary on the conflict.

These narratives included a number of misconceptions about or mischaracterizations of the nature of the conflict as well as of belligerents’ obligations under international law more generally. Three in particular warrant closer examination because of how common and widely shared they have become. ...

Congratulations on the ceasefire. Now the hard work begins

Tamara Cofman Wittes

As I noted last week, it’s well past time to dispel any illusions that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was simmering quietly on a back burner, or mitigated by new Israeli-Gulf diplomatic openings. But after two weeks of horrific violence, including intercommunal violence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens inside Israeli cities and hundreds of deaths in an already-miserable and COVID-19-ridden Gaza, what now?

The roots of this crisis lie in the diplomatic vacuum created by the long, slow death of the Oslo peace framework. This vacuum was exploited by politicians inside and outside the region for short term gains, and gave extremists every incentive to indulge their worst impulses. This crisis is just an alarming taste of what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can look like when the parties (aided by the Trump administration in recent years) walk away from negotiated compromise. This vacuum was obvious and worrying long before May 2021, and that’s precisely why I argued, in a December Center for a New American Security (CNAS) report with Ilan Goldberg and Michael Koplow, for the incoming Biden-Harris administration to move out with alacrity on a new diplomatic approach.

Gaza: Morality and Reality

By George Friedman

Fighting is intensifying between Israelis and Palestinians, though it would be a mistake to think of this as another war. The war had been waged before Israel was formally a state, and continued even after the rest of the Arab world lost interest in the conflict. Each side thinks itself the victim and debates who started this particular episode in a time-worn conflict.

The Palestinian position is simple. This is the land they occupied when foreign settlers took it from them and instituted a government that marginalized them. The Israeli position is that after the Holocaust, they had nowhere in the world to go that would grant them the right and power to prevent another Holocaust, so they returned to their ancient homeland.

The moral argument has become more complex and bitter over time. The Palestinians argue that they should not pay the price for a European genocide. The Israelis argue that there has never been such a thing as a Palestinian state, that it was, at most, always a province of other powers. Their arguments are not meant for each other but for the rest of the world. At its founding, Israel needed other nations to accept its moral argument so that the state could exist. Now it is the Palestinians who demand outside support. Both received sympathy at their time from a world that cared nothing for their fate but used their claims for cynical political or geopolitical reasons. It’s easy to condemn one side or another when you don’t share either’s fate. If the Israeli-Palestinian war is a moral issue, and moral issues are regarded as defining action, then it seems that there is much fighting left to do. Moral stances that do not include personally taking the risk are the eternal, irrelevant background noise of geopolitics.

Sustainable States: Environment, Governance, and the Future of the Middle East

The importance of environmentally sus­tainable public utilities in the Middle East is an improbable topic for a Washington think tank study. Yet, many countries in the Middle East face serious challenges providing utilities in any manner to their populations, and the failure to do so is an increasing flash point for public dissatisfaction. This study finds that providing more environmentally sustainable services in the Middle East would be an effective way to address many citizens’ grievances which go be­yond the reliability of those services. It would also help ameliorate deep dissat­isfaction with the quality of governance and help build trust between citizens and their governments.

This study examines three sectors—power, water and sanitation, and solid waste—in Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. While the three countries are different in many ways, each faces increasing challenges providing services to their citizens. Providing these services in an environmentally sustainable way would also crucially increase each country’s re­silience and diminish their vulnerability in a chronically unstable region.

Jordan has the most centralized system of providing these services. Efforts to en­sure service provision have often locked the government into arrangements that are expensive and protect elite interests at the expense of sustainability. In the case of water, the issue is existential for the desert country.

Lebanon has a very decentralized sys­tem, but aspects of it have been captured by sectarian actors and business inter­ests who prioritize maintaining their economic and political power.

10 Steps Washington Can Take After the De-escalation of the War on Gaza

BY: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, President Biden said he was supportive of a cease-fire amid the continued violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. As ongoing Hamas rocket barrages and Israeli airstrikes add to the rising death toll, there are immediate, short-term measures needed to stave off more violence. But, a cessation of the current hostilities will not address the long-term issues that have prevented a resolution to the decades-long conflict. How can Washington break through the long-standing status quo that has stymied efforts to forge a peaceful settlement?Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts rockets launched into Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip, May 16, 2021. (Corinna Kern/The New York Times)

The recent crisis offers several reminders about why the status quo cannot be maintained. This spate of violence shows that any attempt to separate Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem is an illusion. Jerusalem is the central flashpoint where violence and discord can fester and explode, so taking it “off the table” is impossible. Continuing and intensifying violence against Palestinians and ongoing marginalization of Arab citizens of Israel will exacerbate the situation. Israel, as strong as it is, remains vulnerable. And while the Middle East is preoccupied with other priorities, this conflict remains at the core of achieving stability in the region.

What Explains America’s Antagonism Toward China?


SHANGHAI – Last month, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee officially backed the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, which labels China a strategic competitor in a number of areas, including trade, technology, and security. Given bipartisan support – exceedingly rare in the United States nowadays – Congress will most likely pass the bill, and President Joe Biden will sign it. With that, America’s antagonism toward China would effectively become enshrined in US law.

The Strategic Competition Act purports to highlight supposed “malign behaviors” in which China engages to attain an “unfair economic advantage” and the “deference” of other countries to “its political and strategic objectives.” In truth, the bill says a lot more about the US itself – little of it flattering – than it does about China.

The US used to take a sanguine view of China’s economic development, recognizing the lucrative opportunities that it represented. Even after China’s emergence as a political and economic powerhouse, successive US administrations generally regarded China as a strategic partner, rather than a competitor.

Noah Feldman: Big cyber-attacks should be handled by nations, not lawyers


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On New Year’s Eve of 1879, Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” premiered, featuring lovable corsairs relegated to the eponymous Cornish seaside resort. It marked quite an image makeover from the beginning of the century, when — in 1801 and again in 1815 — the U.S. fought two naval wars in the Mediterranean against piracy, known as the Barbary wars.

How piracy went from menacing seaborne threat to charming comic opera over the course of the 19th century should give policymakers some clue about how to prevent attacks by cyber pirates, like the ransomware attack that crippled the Colonial Pipeline [last] week. Whether the pirates are in Russia or North Korea or elsewhere, the U.S. is going to have to engage in some old-fashioned hard-power geopolitics to change those government’s incentives.

It’s no exaggeration to say that ransomware attacks have quietly become an industry. But it’s one that’s managed to maintain a low profile until now, because neither victims nor pirates are eager to share information on the scale or frequency of hacks. (That reticence could be one reason the FBI reports numbers that are almost laughably low.) Now, with the latest attack causing a pipeline shut-down and raising east coast gas prices, the national security side of the phenomenon is front and center.

When will America protect itself against EMP, cyber and ransomware attacks?


“A long-term outage owing to EMP could disable most critical supply chains, leaving the U.S. population living in conditions similar to centuries past, prior to the advent of electric power. In the 1800s, the U.S. population was less than 60 million, and those people had many skills and assets necessary for survival without today’s infrastructure. An extended blackout today could result in the death of a large fraction of the American people through the effects of societal collapse, disease and starvation. While national planning and preparation for such events could help mitigate the damage, few such actions are currently under way or even being contemplated.” — Congressional EMP Commission (2017)

The people of Rangely, Colo., are not waiting for Washington to protect them from a Great American Blackout caused by a solar superstorm or cyber warfare or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Like several other Western municipalities, Rangely, a town of 2,300 in northwest Colorado, home to a community college, has rolled up its sleeves and, in the best traditions of Western pioneering spirit, independence and self-sufficiency, is building redundant microgrids so they can survive anything.

Germany Without Merkel

By Inga Kristina Trauthig, Marcel Dirsus

On Sept. 26, Germany will hold national elections that will determine Angela Merkel’s successor. After dealing with a known quantity for 16 years, Germany’s allies are wondering where Berlin will go from here. A stark policy change is unlikely. In the most probable scenario, economic considerations and Germany’s postwar identity will continue to dominate foreign policy.

Merkel has outlasted most of her international counterparts (Putin being a rare exception), which means she carries diplomatic weight and accumulated influence built over her many years in power. And while Merkel has won praise for her steady hand and reliability, allies have grown frustrated with Germany’s hesitancy and inaction. German officials give grand speeches, but when solidarity means expending military resources, they rarely keep their promises. As a consequence, Germany is routinely accused of freeloading—for example, by its NATO allies.

Provoking to Avoid War: North Korea’s Hybrid Security Strategies

Sico van der Meer

So-called ‘hybrid’ security strategies, sometimes also labelled ‘hybrid warfare’, are much discussed among military and security experts in recent years. Russia is often mentioned as employing such hybrid security strategies, yet there are more states that use them successfully, and, in some cases, for many decades already. North Korea is one of those examples. If one defines a hybrid security strategy as the integrated deployment by states of various means and actors in order to influence or coerce other states with the aim of achieving strategic objectives while avoiding actual armed conflict, North Korea offers an interesting example of how successful such strategies can be in the longer term.

This article concisely analyses the North Korean experience with hybrid security strategies. First, the aims of the North Korean strategy will be discussed. Next, the evolving set of policy tools being used will be described, as well as some special characteristics. The article will conclude with a few general observations and lessons that could be learned from the North Korean case.

Is China’s Digital Currency a National Security Threat? What You Need to Know

Virginia Allen 

Imagine a currency that can expire, or that the government can require citizens to use only for specific purchases. Imagine no further because that is the power the Chinese government holds through its newly tested digital currency.

China’s digital currency is backed by China’s central bank, but unlike traditional bank accounts, users cannot withdraw physical cash. The Chinese government has the power to direct the way users spend the money or how quickly they spend it because the currency is fully digitalized. The money is accessible through an app on users’ phones.

“I think it’s very likely that the Chinese will push into place a digital currency that will first partner with, and eventually probably supplant, paper money,” Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, tells The Daily Signal.

There are serious national security and global economic concerns should China choose to embrace a fully digital currency, Cheng says.

The UN Struggles to Make Progress on Securing Cyberspace


The stability of global financial, healthcare, and security systems is increasingly at risk from cyber threats. As more critical infrastructure and industrial control systems are connected to the internet, a growing number of state and nonstate actors have developed, purchased, and deployed tools, weapons, and strategies to deter and disrupt cyberspace. The WannaCry, NotPetya, and SolarWinds hacks represent a few examples of recent cyber attacks with significant geopolitical consequences. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has precipitated new attacks against critical medical organizations (such as ransomware attacks against hospitals).

Businesses and government agencies around the world, including in Georgia, India, Iran, Israel, and the United States, have reportedly been compromised by state-sponsored cyber attacks. Receiving less media attention is civil society, which faces the same persistent threats experienced by states and major corporations, yet lacks the resources needed to defend itself. These trends illustrate that the proliferation of information technologies that facilitate digital attacks is threatening the security and integrity of the internet, as well as internet users’ safety and privacy, which should be of concern to governments worldwide.

The Colonial pipeline ransomware hackers had a secret weapon: self-promoting cybersecurity firms

by Renee Dudley, Daniel Golden

On January 11, antivirus company Bitdefender said it was “happy to announce” a startling breakthrough. It had found a flaw in the ransomware that a gang known as DarkSide was using to freeze computer networks of dozens of businesses in the US and Europe. Companies facing demands from DarkSide could download a free tool from Bitdefender and avoid paying millions of dollars in ransom to the hackers.

But Bitdefender wasn’t the first to identify this flaw. Two other researchers, Fabian Wosar and Michael Gillespie, had noticed it the month before and had begun discreetly looking for victims to help. By publicizing its tool, Bitdefender alerted DarkSide to the lapse, which involved reusing the same digital keys to lock and unlock multiple victims. The next day, DarkSide declared that it had repaired the problem, and that “new companies have nothing to hope for.”

“Special thanks to BitDefender for helping fix our issues,” DarkSide said. “This will make us even better.”

Know This: Hack Attacks are Acts of ‘Unrestricted Warfare’

by John Rossomando

Constant cyberattacks against U.S. military and civilian targets from foreign adversaries need to be treated as acts of war and addressed comprehensively, not in isolation.

Cyberspace is a global battlefield that blurs national boundaries. The current fragmented state of U.S. cyber defenses is a hacker’s dream. Before 9/11, the nation’s effort against Al Qaeda was siloed between the CIA and the FBI without communication. A similar situation persists in U.S. cyberdefenses.

An improved response requires integrated cooperation among the Defense Department’s Cyber Command, Department of Justice, states, and industry to formulate a comprehensive strategy to harden our infrastructure and protect state secrets from intruders.

Meme Warfare: AI countermeasures to disinformation should focus on popular, not perfect, fakes

By Michael Yankoski, Walter Scheirer, Tim Weninger

Despite several alarming headlines in the press last year like “Deepfakes are coming for American Democracy” (Hwang and Watts 2020), the sophisticated, artificial intelligence- (AI-) generated images and videos called “deepfakes” didn’t end up influencing the presidential election (Simonite 2020), and they haven’t yet shaped major world events. Rather, as with the case of the viral video that appeared to show Joe Biden wearing a wire on the presidential debate stage (it was a shirt crease), cruder manipulations and simple misrepresentations can be far more effective and influential.

Researchers are only just beginning to understand the threat posed by multimedia (that is, visual and audio) disinformation. From QAnon conspiracy theories to Russian government-sponsored election interference, social media disinformation campaigns are a daunting front in online life, and identifying these threats amid the posts that billions of social media users upload each day is a challenge. To help sort through massive amounts of data, social media platforms are developing AI systems to automatically remove harmful content primarily through text-based analysis. But these techniques won’t identify all the disinformation on social media. After all, much of what people post are photos, videos, audio recordings, and memes.

Don’t Vilify Insurers Over Ransomware Attacks


The search for answers to the ransomware epidemic in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack has turned up an unlikely scapegoat: insurance. The assertion that the “explosion of ransomware cases has been fueled by the rise of cyber insurance” has quickly become accepted wisdom among commentators and, more worryingly, policymakers. The prominence afforded cyber insurance belies its still modest scale: despite several years of rapid growth, dedicated cyber risk policies are purchased by relatively few organizations (33 percent in the United States, according to one survey), and globally only a “tiny minority” of cyber risk is insured.

The payment of ransom through insurance does raise important questions for public policy and risk management, but the analysis should approach insurance as a vital part of the solution to managing cyber risk, not a root cause of the problem.


Failed States and Terrorism: Engaging the Conventional Wisdom

Luigi Paoli Puccetti

Failing states have potentially favorable conditions which can facilitate the settlement of terrorist groups. However, the failure and the weakness of a country do not automatically entail the existence of a causal link with terrorism, nor are the failures and the weaknesses of a country sufficient conditions for the settlement of a transnational terrorist organization. Terrorist organizations could not have interests in establishing a base in failed and weak states. Further strategic and socio-cultural elements are necessary to understand the settlement of such organizations in both failed and weak states. The objective is to assess and review the enduring and controversial conventional wisdom that all failed states constitute safe havens for terrorists. The first paragraph will expose such conventional wisdom. The second paragraph will engage this issue through the study of the main works that have approached the subject so as to offer a proper view on the debate. This essay will concentrate its attention on international terrorism, rather than both domestic and international terrorism. The reason for this focus is that today there are numerous organizations and factions that are labelled as terrorist because of political reasons. Consequently, indication of domestic terrorism could be based on arbitrary motivations rather than objectives terms (Newman, 2007). Besides, domestic terrorism has become a widespread tactic in civil conflicts by both the governmental and insurgent parties (Coggins, 2015; Arsenault, Bacon, 2015). Therefore, it would appear more significant to pay attention just to transnational terrorism, given also the fact that the interest on such matters has gained traction with the 9/11 attacks perpetuated by an international terrorist group. International terrorism is defined as the use of indiscriminate violence against civilians and militaries for political purposes perpetuated by individuals or groups within foreign territories during both peace and war time (Sperotto, 2011; George, 2018).

Space Organizations Partner To Boost Cybersecurity


WASHINGTON: Two prominent aerospace industry groups are cooperating on cyber information sharing, awareness, education, and outreach to improve the security of space operations.

The agreement between the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center comes at a time when recent cyber incidents in other industries have highlighted a deficit of info sharing. The apparent lack of info sharing has recently been raised numerous times by Congress and others, as well as addressed for defense contractors and federal entities in the recent cyber executive order.

This agreement is noteworthy because the space industry is proactively moving ahead on cyber info sharing instead of waiting to be compelled to act by the government through law or regulation. There is broad consensus across the cybersecurity industry, key federal agencies (e.g., CISA), and Congress on the need for and benefits of improved cyber info sharing, but such initiatives can stall on sticking points of how, precisely, to do so. This partnership could serve as a model of what’s possible for other industries on cybersecurity info sharing, awareness, education, and communication.


Emma Schroeder, Simon Handler and Trey Herr

Editor’s note: This article is the tenth in a series, “Full-Spectrum: Capabilities and Authorities in Cyber and the Information Environment.” The series endeavors to present expert commentary on diverse issues surrounding US competition with peer and near-peer competitors in the cyber and information spaces. Read all articles in the series here.

Special thanks to series editors Capt. Maggie Smith, PhD of the Army Cyber Institute and MWI fellow Dr. Barnett S. Koven.

The Sunburst hack was a cyber-espionage campaign, not the opening gambit of a new cyber war. Clarifying the intent of malicious cyber campaigns is critical because many cyber-espionage capabilities and points of access are indistinguishable from those required for destructive or disruptive ends. Currently, the cyber domain is marked by an ongoing intelligence contest, involving consistently engaged adversaries seeking to gain leverage over one another. By taking advantage of the interconnectedness of digital networks, malicious actors can place sectors of society under threat with relative ease. Often blending in with normal network traffic, malicious actors ultimately force network defenders to distinguish adversarial from friendly elements within the general online user population. The United States is therefore not at war but is instead locked in a persistent competition with countless adversaries pursuing their strategic goals in and through cyberspace.

Gaza's hybrid war

By Ilan Pomeranc

Asymmetric kinetic attacks, psychological and economic warfare, cyber-attacks, the manipulation of the media and public opinion, disinformation and misinformation, embedment in, and leveraging of, the civilian population- these are all the fundamental hallmarks of what has been labeled by militaries and intelligence agencies worldwide as "hybrid warfare."

This, whether we realize it or not, is the type of conflict that the Islamist terrorist group Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, mounted against Israel, not only in May of 2021 but on a number of occasions over the past few years, since initially taking over the Strip in 2006.

Hybrid warfare was designed to allow for an inferior enemy – whether in size, capabilities, or otherwise – or one with no just cause or clear casus belli, to make significant gains or even achieve victories against a far more superior, legitimate, and moral opponent. In Israel's case, these tactics, as deployed by Hamas and the PIJ, also create consequences far beyond our borders, namely a flood of semi-legitimized, excused, or ignored antisemitism on top of an already existing surge.

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does the United Kingdom have in 2021?

By Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda

Of all the nuclear weapon states, the United Kingdom has moved the furthest toward establishing a minimum nuclear deterrent. The United Kingdom has a stockpile of approximately 225 nuclear warheads, of which up to 120 are operationally available for deployment on four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). This estimate is based on publicly available information regarding the size of the British nuclear arsenal, conversations with UK officials, and analysis of the nuclear forces structure. The SSBNs, each of which has 16 missile tubes, constitute the United Kingdom’s sole nuclear platform, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) comprise its sole nuclear delivery system. The United Kingdom is the only nuclear weapon state that operates a posture with a single deterrence system (Table 1).

Future of Warfare, Strategy Will Dictate Special Ops Action


The future of warfare will dictate how special operations forces operate, Army Gen. Richard Clarke, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said Tuesday.

Warfare "is going to be multi-domain, it's going to be partnered. And it's going to be contested in every step," he told the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa. "Our goal is to maintain a strategic advantage."

Special operators will be in demand even as U.S. strategy moves to a world of near-peer competition with China and Russia, Clarke said.

Special operators shone in actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. They led the way onto Afghanistan in 2001 and will be among the last troops to leave the country at the end of the retrograde. Clarke, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division in 2002 and with the 1st Ranger Battalion in 2004 in Afghanistan, understands that world quite well. But times have changed.