5 June 2021

Water Security as Part of Non-Traditional Security: Threat - Implications for India

 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Like oil or data, water is an integral part of the world’s economy. Although about 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is water-covered, the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water which is salt water. Freshwater, most of it is frozen in glaciers, accounts for the rest. That leaves less than 1 per cent of the world’s water available to support human and ecological processes. We withdraw 4.3 trillion cubic meters of freshwater every year from the earth’s water basins. We use it in agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of the withdrawals. Industry and households consume 19 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. However, these percentages fluctuate widely across the globe. In the United States, industrial and agricultural usage is almost the same around 40 per cent. In India, agriculture uses 90 per cent of water withdrawals, while only 2 per cent is consumed by industry. Over the past century, rate of withdrawal of available freshwater resources have risen almost six times, outpacing global population growth.

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.

China’s Rare Earth Dominance: Exploring Australia-India Partnership

Ryan Seah, Yogesh Joshi

Recent threats by China to curb exports of rare earths have highlighted the vulnerability many countries face when importing these strategically important minerals. It has prompted like-minded countries like India and Australia, along with their Quad partners, to explore new avenues of partnership to counter Beijing’s monopoly. This paper analyses the geopolitical and geoeconomics influences impacting the supply chains of rare earths.


Rare earth elements (REEs) are 17 metallic elements comprising the lanthanide series and (usually) scandium and yttrium. Deemed strategically critical, REEs are a vital commodity with many industrial applications. For instance, the United States (US) relies on REEs to manufacture sophisticated weaponry, including the F-35 fighter jets and Virginia-class submarines.1 REEs are also required in significant quantities to manufacture everyday items such as smartphones and electric vehicles. As the world heads towards a fourth industrial revolution, with an emphasis on eco-friendlier technologies, countries will require REEs in more significant numbers to ensure technological sophistication.

How China and Pakistan Negotiate


China has become a global power, but there is too little debate about how this has happened and what it means. Many argue that China exports its developmental model and imposes it on other countries. But Chinese players also extend their influence by working through local actors and institutions while adapting and assimilating local and traditional forms, norms, and practices.

With a generous multiyear grant from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie has launched an innovative body of research on Chinese engagement strategies in seven regions of the world—Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through a mix of research and strategic convening, this project explores these complex dynamics, including the ways Chinese firms are adapting to local labor laws in Latin America, Chinese banks and funds are exploring traditional Islamic financial and credit products in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Chinese actors are helping local workers upgrade their skills in Central Asia. These adaptive Chinese strategies that accommodate and work within local realities are mostly ignored by Western policymakers in particular.

Tensions at Sea in East Asia: A Japanese View on Chinese Lawfare Practices

Unilateral actions by China to challenge the status-quo are considered as the main cause of the frictions, if not confrontations, in the two seas. Lawfare – or the bending of the law to acquire geopolitical gains without resorting to violence – is now a key strategy for Beijing to advance its interests in these areas. To discourage such practices, like-minded countries should come together to defend the universality of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
China’s hybrid strategy in the East China Sea

China has at least two objectives in the East China Sea (ECS). One is overtaking the Senkaku Islands from Japan and the other is achieving control over its “extended continental shelf” beyond 200 nautical miles of the Chinese base line.

With greater self-confidence, China has been reinforcing its claim over the Senkaku Islands through a number of state-led actions. The Chinese air force flies over these waters almost every day and intrudes into Japanese air space on certain occasions. Japanese Air Self Defense Forces launch scramble alerts on a daily basis to prevent intrusion. The number of such scrambles against Chinese aircraft jumped from 96 in 2010 to 675 in 2019. China also declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in 2015 over a wide area of the ECS, overlapping with the ADIZ of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This ADIZ includes clauses that stipulate that Chinese authorities could order flights that they find problematic to exit this zone and take necessary means to enforce this. This provision could be highly problematic if implemented unilaterally by Beijing. Japan immediately protested to China, with the US, ROK, Taiwan, Australia, the EU, the Philippines, Canada and Vietnam following suit.

A Survey of the Nepali People in 2020

This survey presents public perceptions on a number of public concerns surrounding personal security, dispute resolution, good governance, identity politics, economic outlooks, and the country’s overall direction. A Survey of the Nepali People in 2020, is based on a nationally representative sample of 7,060 Nepalis, and is representative of the Nepali population, both at the national and provincial levels. Fieldwork for this survey was conducted in February and March 2020, just before the government of Nepal decided to impose a national lockdown to contain Covid-19. As this survey timeframe captured perceptions of Nepalis just before the influence and impacts of Covid-19 in the country, the survey can also serve as a baseline for future research, comparing the national mood before and after the national lockdown.

The overall message from the survey’s findings is that Nepal is stabilizing and federalism is gradually being implemented. About two-thirds of Nepalis believe that the country is heading towards the right direction. Opinions on social, cultural, political, economic, and infrastructural conditions are broadly favorable, indicating that national optimism was trending upwards. More than four-fifths of Nepalis stated that there were no security problems or threats to their personal safety in their locality. There was also a sharp increase in the number of Nepalis willing to choose elected representatives over other mechanisms for dispute resolutions. Production of the this survey was led by Kathmandu University School of Arts, and supported by Inter-Disciplinary Analysts for field work and data collection.

The Taiwan Temptation

By Oriana Skylar Mastro

For more than 70 years, China and Taiwan have avoided coming to blows. The two entities have been separated since 1949, when the Chinese Civil War, which had begun in 1927, ended with the Communists’ victory and the Nationalists’ retreat to Taiwan. Ever since, the strait separating Taiwan from mainland China—81 miles wide at its narrowest—has been the site of habitual crises and everlasting tensions, but never outright war. For the past decade and a half, cross-strait relations have been relatively stable. In the hopes of persuading the Taiwanese people of the benefits to be gained through a long-overdue unification, China largely pursued its long-standing policy of “peaceful reunification,” enhancing its economic, cultural, and social ties with the island.

To help the people of Taiwan see the light, Beijing sought to isolate Taipei internationally, offering economic inducements to the island’s allies if they agreed to abandon Taipei for Beijing. It also used its growing economic leverage to weaken Taipei’s position in international organizations and to ensure that countries, corporations, universities, and individuals—everyone, everywhere, really—adhered to its understanding of the “one China” policy. As sharp as these tactics were, they stopped well short of military action. And although Chinese officials always maintained that they had a right to use force, that option seemed off the table.

China: A Necessary Rival to the US

By Emil Avdaliani

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Ever since America’s rivalry with the Soviets came to an end in the 1990s, the US has struggled to determine what its global position should be. It could be that a rival is necessary for the US to clarify its goals and revitalize its stagnating position on the world stage. China could play the role of necessary rival.

The US went through a long and arduous Cold War with the Soviet Union and served as a security guarantor for smaller liberal countries, which put up with occasional excesses of American power in exchange for protection. While American power was often irritating, it did not cause structural failures within liberal internationalism. The fear of being gobbled up by the rival communist ideology and overrun by Soviet military power served as the glue holding together America-led alliances and structures, including NATO and financial bodies of the period.

Much of this has changed since the 1990s. The great motivator—the threat of communism—that enabled a smoothly functional and cohesive form of international liberalism has receded. The exclusive liberal order has become globalized, which, through the extremely rapid pace of inclusion of new members, has drained the system of the efficiency that once characterized it.

Mapping China by the Numbers: Ambitions and Threat Vectors


On 25 September 2017, the board of UK-based Imagination Technologies, founded in 1985 (and listed on the LSE in 1994), agreed to a take-over by a Palo Alto-based, Cayman Island-registered private equity firm named Canyon Bridge. The UK’s Guardian newspaper described Imagination as a global leader in designing graphics processors found in Smart phones and other electronic devices.

As part of a week-long series on Mapping China’s Ambitions, The Cipher Brief is partnering with Jamie Burnham to explore China’s Ambitions and threat vectors, how it is organizing to win, what a government ecosystem looks like and the impact that International Collaboration will have in the future.

The British company, based in Hertfordshire, had been for sale since June after Apple, its largest customer and a major shareholder, had announced that it would stop using its graphics technology on the iPhone. The move reflected the challenges of global competition in the semiconductor industry, and China’s ambition for science and technology dominance.

A Wave of “Smile Oensives” in the Middle East: Why, and How Real?

Regional power politics in the Middle East have, since the Arab Uprisings of 2011-13, played out on two overlapping axes. The older one is a geopolitical and ideological competition between the “Resistance Front” led by the Islamic Republic of Iran and conservative Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

The newer struggle has been an intra-Sunni competition between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt on the one hand and Turkey and Qatar on the other. These states had cordial relations with the United States and with each other, and were part of the U.S. regional strategic architecture, first anti-Soviet and then anti-Iraqi and anti-Iranian. Ties between them deteriorated following Turkish (and Qatari) support of the popular uprisings in the Arab world, and especially of the Muslim Brotherhood, starting in 2011. Turkey was and is viewed by its rivals as pursuing regional disequilibrium and promoting expansionist geopolitical, hyper-nationalist, and religious goals.

Diplomatic moves in the past few months on the parts of Turkey and Saudi Arabia indicate an attempt to de-escalate and manage tensions, as well as to correct errors of strategic overreach.

Turkey: Learning to Play Nicely with Others

Iran and Saudi Arabia Battle for Supremacy in the Middle East

Over the past decade, the struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for dominance in the Middle East has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers that could involve the U.S. Now both sides seem to be seeking a diplomatic offramp to confrontation, amid a broader shift toward lowering tensions across the region.

Saudi Arabia ramped up its regional adventurism after Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful son of King Salman known as MBS, was appointed crown prince in 2017. From the Syrian civil war to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, that has meant proxy conflicts with Iran-backed regimes and nonstate armed groups that have on several occasions veered dangerously close to direct hostilities between to two rivals. A precision missile and drone strike on Saudi oil facilities in 2019 was widely blamed on Iran. And the Trump administration’s confrontational approach to Tehran brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war in January 2020, with direct implications for Riyadh.

Netanyahu’s On the Way Out. Here’s What Biden Can Expect Next.


For the first time in more than a decade, it looks as though Benjamin Netanyahu will soon be out of power in Israel. What many assumed would play to the longtime prime minister’s advantage and scuttle efforts to replace him — the recent mini-war with Hamas — has instead led to one of the most surprising turns in Israeli politics in years.

Just before midnight Israel time on Wednesday, Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid informed Israel’s president that he had formed a coalition comprised of eight parties — including, for the first time, an Arab-Israeli party. According to the coalition agreement, Naftali Bennett of the Yamina party will serve first as prime minister, followed by Lapid in 2023. The next step is for the Knesset to vote to approve the deal, and there are still some outstanding questions remaining. But barring any unforeseen developments, Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure will end within a fortnight.

The new government will be a welcome respite for a U.S. president busy with domestic politics and eager to avoid a fight with Israel. The new prime minister, the right-wing Bennett, will be preoccupied with managing an unwieldy coalition. He’s likely to lower the temperature with Washington, temporarily subvert Netanyahu’s obsession with blocking the Iran nuclear accord, and try to refrain from provocative actions toward Palestinians certain to rile his centrist and left-wing partners and collapse the fragile government.

Defusing Military-Civil Fusion

Emily de La Bruyère, Nathan Picarsic
Source Link

The People’s Republic of China, led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has emerged as America’s primary strategic competitor. Both parties in Washington now recognize this reality. Leveraging growing economic, technological, and military means, the CCP is expanding China’s power and influence internationally – including by revising international norms and institutions.

Beijing’s strategy of military-civil fusion (MCF) (军民融合) plays a core role in this global campaign. MCF entails the fusion of military, civilian, and commercial investments, actors, and positioning to increase China’s comprehensive national power.1 The strategy is tailored for the globalized commercial ecosystem: MCF leverages the international integration of Chinese military companies – both private and state-owned – in order to acquire resources and leverage.

Since 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has identified 44 Chinese companies that operate in the United States and have ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). (See Appendix B for a full list.) They include traditional Chinese defense contractors as well as companies that specialize in information technology (IT), engage in commercial business, and operate in legacy industrial domains. Most are state-owned enterprises. All are state-supported. Every one of the 44 companies deploys internationally in accordance with Beijing’s global “Go Out”2 offensive to acquire strategically important technology. They also develop infrastructure and supply chains through which China projects coercive power.

Israel to ask U.S. for $1 billion in emergency military aid

Barak Ravid

Israel will ask the U.S. for $1 billion in additional emergency military aid this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday and Israeli officials confirmed.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say the aid is needed to replenish the Iron Dome aerial defense system and to purchase munitions for the Israeli air force — mainly precision-guided bombs. But several congressional Democrats have argued against providing additional weapons to Israel after at least 256 Palestinians were killed during last month's fighting in the Gaza Strip, mainly by Israeli airstrikes.

The Iron Dome system was used to intercept thousands of rockets from Hamas during the 11 days of fighting, and Biden has already said the U.S. would replenish it.

Driving the news: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will arrive in Washington on Thursday for talks with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Gantz’s office said. The aid request will be the focus of Gantz's visit, Israeli officials say.
While in Washington, Gantz will also discuss the Iran nuclear deal, the Gaza ceasefire and reconstruction efforts, and the situation in Lebanon.

Defending the Rules

William Reinsch
Source Link

From time to time in this column I’ve complained about groups trying to use trade agreements to achieve other purposes. This is another one of those times. Last week, 16 public interest groups wrote the president urging him not to include liability shield language for tech companies in trade agreements. This is a reference to the now-infamous Section 230 (of the Communications Decency Act of 1996), which prevents tech platforms from being held liable for the content of others posted on their sites. This has become controversial in the United States due to opposition from both the left and the right, albeit for different reasons, and there have been frequent calls in Congress to amend it.

The central argument of the public interest groups is that including similar language in trade agreements will prevent Congress from changing U.S. law at some later date. The more pernicious argument is that liability shield language has been slipped into trade agreements by big tech companies in pursuit of their own agendas. Lori Wallach of Public Citizen, one of the organizations signing the letter, said, “A big monopolizing industry sneaks its demands and desires and fantasies into binding trade agreement policy and then handcuffs domestic legislatures and policy-making procedures,” ignoring the fact that many of the companies the groups are concerned about either did not exist in 1996 or were certainly not monopolies and can hardly be blamed for the original language.

Three Big Questions Biden’s National Security Strategy Has to Answer

by James Jay Carafano

Strategy is the “guiding lifeline” for approaching monster challenges. To deliver a strategy that fits the challenges of the modern era, the Biden team will have to answer some questions. Their answers will tell us a lot about how well this team is equipped to deal with the trials of great power competition.

Strategy Matters

Strategy is about making hard, decisive choices on how to handle major, complex problems. As problems change, so must strategies. Often, that requires doing something dramatically different. At the onset of World War II, the United States ranked twentieth as a military power. The decision was taken to gear up to fight a global conflict and win by forcing the unconditional surrender of all Axis powers. That was a radical change in U.S. strategy.

Post-modern government strategies have been more milquetoast than muscle (though to be fair Trump’s was remarkably decisive). The strategists seem to proceed by compiling a list of stuff they are already doing, then tossing in some aspirational goals they have no hope of delivering on.

Facebook says U.S. is the top target of disinformation campaigns

Sara Fischer

Of the 150 disinformation campaigns that Facebook has caught and removed in the past four years, the U.S. has been the most frequent target by far, according to a new threat intelligence report from Facebook.

Why it matters: While most of the campaigns targeting the U.S. have originated abroad, Facebook found that a significant number of campaigns targeting people in the U.S. have originated from inside the U.S.
"I think it's significant that while we saw a lot of foreign targeting of the U.S. ahead of 2020 election, there was also a lot of domestic targeting," says Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy.
One campaign the company points to was the network operated by a U.S. based marketing firm, working on behalf of its clients, including a pro-Trump organization.

By the numbers: In total, the company said there were 16 takedowns of coordinated inauthentic behavior networks, or disinformation campaigns, ahead of the 2020 elections.
Of those 16 networks, five originated in Russia, five originated in Iran, and five originated in the the U.S. One originated in China.

Russia in the Mediterranean: Here to Stay


Russia’s strategy in the Mediterranean is an integral part of its strategy for the wider European theater, which has long been the principal arena of its foreign policy triumphs and setbacks. Europe’s dominant position on Russia’s foreign policy agenda is a product of its strategic culture, which is in turn shaped by geography, historical legacy, and an elite worldview that considers the West a threat to the domestic political order. It is impossible to understand Russia’s current posture in the Mediterranean without viewing it within this larger context and against the backdrop of the country’s centuries-old involvement in the region and retreat from it during the quarter century that followed the end of the Cold War.

Since Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria, alarms have been sounded about the Kremlin’s ambitions and military capabilities in the Mediterranean. These alarms have been unfounded.; Russian capabilities in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region are modest, and the Kremlin’s ambitions there are constrained by geography and geopolitics, limited resources, a transactional approach to relationships, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) formidable force posture on its southern flank. As much as Russia may aspire to regional domination, it lacks the means to achieve this goal.

The EU’s Deforestation Package: A Test for Taking the Green Deal Global

Olivia Lazard

The World Meteorological Organization has just warned that the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold could be reached, temporarily, as early as 2025.

Words fail to express this looming catastrophe. Shifting energy systems is urgent, to say the least. This has taken the lion’s share of attention when it comes to climate action. But protecting natural ecosystems that help to regulate the global climate regime, host biodiversity, and provide humans with critical ecological services such as food and water security is just as crucial. That is why the EU’s announced deforestation package is of the utmost importance.

A 2021 World Wide Fund for Nature report revealed that the EU is actually the second biggest importer of deforestation after China. In 2017, it still accounted for about 16 percent of overseas deforestation and its associated greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a drop from earlier figures. In 2008, the EU accounted for more than a third of global deforestation linked to agricultural products. The union bears an enormous share of historical responsibility for the conversion of natural ecosystems for industrial agricultural purposes.

Digital European Economic Sovereignty? The Case of Semiconductors


The notion of European ‘strategic sovereignty’ is increasingly important in debates about the European Union. Given rapidly shifting global geopolitical and technology trends, and the seeming fragmentation of the multilateral order, the EU is being forced to confront its own position in international affairs. A number of concepts have been given life because of the deteriorating international scene including “European sovereignty”, “strategic autonomy”, “digital sovereignty”, “technological sovereignty” and “open strategic autonomy”. However defined, there is a need to move beyond concepts and focus on the nature of economic interdependence, multilateralism and strategic partnerships.

This online workshop, requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, zoomed in on each of these elements with case studies that centre on semiconductors, the Iran nuclear deal and EU security and defence. Within the frame of this workshop and webinar, Guntram Wolff presented expert testimony to the committee on 23 March 2021.

The EU and the Eastern Mediterranean: how to deal with Turkey

Eduard Soler i Lecha

The stakes of an adversarial relationship
Can a NATO ally and candidate for accession also be an adversary? EU leaders and institutions have always seen Ankara as a difficult partner. In 2019, the members of the FEUTURE research project argued that the EU–Turkey relationship seemed to be advancing towards a state of conflictual cooperation. Yet, an increasing number of countries and individual leaders in the EU are starting to treat Turkey no longer as a difficult partner but rather as a hostile actor or even as a geopolitical rival. The same is happening in Ankara’s decision-making circles. This adversarial relationship may either solidify or be replaced by a policy of tenacious engagement which, despite all the grievances, rediscovers the benefits of cooperation.

Nowadays, EU leaders and institutions may disagree on the best way to deal with Turkey, but they share the feeling that the EU is surrounded by a ring of instability, that the Eastern Mediterranean is part of that ring and that Turkey’s leadership has contributed to igniting it. Turkey, meanwhile, also feels encircled. A good example are the statements by the foreign affairs minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, describing the Philia (Friendship) Forum organised by Greece in February 2021 as an “attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey”. The forum gathered Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Cyprus and Greece – countries that share bilateral disputes with Turkey or with its president.

Germany’s—and the West’s—Insufficient Reckoning With the Herero Genocide

Howard W. French

A decade ago, while researching a book about Chinese migration to Africa, I made an extended stay in Namibia, then one of a small number of African countries I had never visited in a lifetime of writing about the continent.

To get to know the place as well as I could, I rented a car and drove with my brother, James, throughout much of the country, a land more than twice the size of Germany. The reference here is appropriate, because it was Germany, a relative latecomer to European imperialism in Africa, that colonized Namibia toward the close of the 19th century.

One route took us far to the north, all the way to the border with Angola, but it was two other trajectories—first west and then east of the capital, Windhoek—that connected us with the terrible but little-discussed history of this country, once known as Southwest Africa, as the site of the first genocide of the 20th century.

Protecting the environment during armed conflict: From principles to implementation

Conflict-related damage to the environment has become widespread and causes sustained harm to public health, ecosystems, and peacebuilding.

The International Law Commission (ILC) will finalize its work on new principles for the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict (the PERAC principles) in 2022. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published an updated iteration of its Guidelines on the Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict in 2020.

International momentum is gathering for states to implement these frameworks. However, independent mechanisms to monitor the implementation are currently lacking.

The international community and civil society actors need to ensure transparent monitoring mechanisms that enable stakeholders to pressure states into compliance.

Images of burning oil fields and bombarded industrial plants have made it clear that armed conflict always causes environmental damage. In parts of Eastern Ukraine, for instance, hazardous substances have leaked into rivers and groundwater due to the destruction of vital infrastructure and hazardous industries. In Syria, the breakdown of the oil industry has led to severe pollution that threatens the health of nearby inhabitants and may have rendered some areas unfit to live in. Yet environmental damage has usually had a low policy priority in conflict settings, overshadowed by the urgent need to reduce human suffering.[1] The environment and nature are often seen as property or a resource. So the idea of the environment as a subject with rights remains a radical idea.

Countering Violent Extremism Interventions: Contemporary Research

Executive Summary
The evidence base informing countering violent extremism (CVE) interventions is limited. However, there has been an increase in empirical research exploring the design and delivery of interventions in recent years. These studies are complemented by a growing body of research analysing processes of engagement in, and disengagement from, violent extremism which can help inform interventions. This report reviews the key themes emerging from these two related literatures over the past 12 months, as well as lessons drawn from international case studies. These themes are:

The use of former extremists in interventions and radicalisation research

The social ecology of interventions

Community reporting

Online interventions

Intervention practice: lessons from international case studies

Emerging research agendas: gendered approaches to intervention; idiosyncratic and emerging ideologies; and the impact of COVID-19 on counter-terrorism and CVE practice

Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data

Executive summary
The advancing speed, scale, and sophistication of new technologies and data capabilities that aid or disrupt our interconnected world are unprecedented. While generations have relied consistently on technologies and tools to improve societies, we now are in an era where new technologies and data reshape societies and geopolitics in novel and even unanticipated ways. As a result, governments, industries, and other stakeholders must work together to remain economically competitive, sustain social welfare and public safety, protect human rights and democratic processes, and preserve global peace and stability.

Emerging technologies also promise new abilities to make our increasingly fragile global society more resilient. To sustain this progress, nations must invest in research, expand their digital infrastructures, and increase digital literacy so that their people can compete and flourish in this new era. Yet, at the same time, no nation or international organization is able to keep pace with the appropriate governance structures needed to grapple with the complex and destabilizing dynamics of these emerging technologies. Governments, especially democratic governments, must work to build and sustain the trust in the algorithms, infrastructures, and systems that could underpin society. The world must now start to understand how technology and data interact with society and how to implement solutions that address these challenges and grasp these opportunities. Maintaining both economic and national security and resiliency requires new ways to develop and deploy critical and emerging technologies, cultivate the needed human capital, build trust in the digital fabric with which our world will be woven, and establish norms for international cooperation.

Air Force Research Institute (AFRI)

Strategic Studies Quarterly, Summer 2021, v. 15, no. 2

Civil-Military Relations: “What Does It Mean?”

Civil-Military Relations in the United States: What Senior Leaders Need to Know (and Usually Don’t)

The Line Held: Civil-Military Relations in the Trump Administration

An “Unprincipled Principal”: Implications for Civil-Military Relations

Through the Looking Glass: Trump-Era Civil-Military Relations in Comparative Perspective

Maximum Toxicity: Civil-Military Relations in the Trump Era

Trump’s Generals: A Natural Experiment in Civil-Military Relations

Uncivil-Military Relations: Politicization of the Military in the Trump Era

Truth, Lies, and Automation : How Language Models Could Change Disinformation

Ben Buchanan, Andrew Lohn, Micah Musser, Katerina Sedova

Growing popular and industry interest in high-performing natural language generation models has led to concerns that such models could be used to generate automated disinformation at scale. This report examines the capabilities of GPT-3--a cutting-edge AI system that writes text--to analyze its potential misuse for disinformation. A model like GPT-3 may be able to help disinformation actors substantially reduce the work necessary to write disinformation while expanding its reach and potentially also its effectiveness.

For millennia, disinformation campaigns have been fundamentally human endeavors. Their perpetrators mix truth and lies in potent combinations that aim to sow discord, create doubt, and provoke destructive action. The most famous disinformation campaign of the twenty-first century—the Russian effort to interfere in the U.S. presidential election—relied on hundreds of people working together to widen preexisting fissures in American society.

Since its inception, writing has also been a fundamentally human endeavor. No more. In 2020, the company OpenAI unveiled GPT-3, a powerful artificial intelligence system that generates text based on a prompt from human operators. The system, which uses a vast neural network, a powerful machine learning algorithm, and upwards of a trillion words of human writing for guidance, is remarkable. Among other achievements, it has drafted an op-ed that was commissioned by The Guardian, written news stories that a majority of readers thought were written by humans, and devised new internet memes.

The Fundamentals of Tech Transformation: Making the Revolution Work for All Paper

Sophie Tholstrup

The tech revolution is enabling step changes – in access to markets, delivery of healthcare, advances in food production, provision of education – that were unimaginable five years ago. The traditional development paradigm – Global North to Global South, incremental change, zero-sum – has been turned on its head. Innovations are emerging across the world, with many countries in the Global South leapfrogging legacy systems and digitising faster than those in the Global North. The impact this will have on global inequalities – levelling the playing field or widening the divide – will be determined by the critical infrastructure and the supporting policy frameworks that countries have in place.

Who reaps the benefits of digitalisation will depend on who has connectivity, who is equipped with the skills to take advantage of emerging opportunities, who has the credentials to access digital services, and where the regulatory environments are in place to promote innovation and ensure people’s safety and privacy. In the best-case scenario, access to opportunity is no longer determined by geography, historical inequalities in education across regions and access to markets are dissolved, the potential benefits of digitalisation accrue to all, and we see the emergence of a fairer, more equal world order. In the worst case, we see a widening divide between digital haves and have-nots, with those already underserved by basic services left further and further behind.


Maggie Smith and Jonathon Monken

On May 7, 2021, the company that operates the 5,500-mile-long Colonial Pipeline shut it down—for the first time ever. As a major supplier of gas to the East Coast, the shutdown sparked concern over pipeline security and critical infrastructure security in general. The operational disruption occurred after Colonial’s corporate information systems were hit by ransomware, a form of malware that encrypts data until the intended victim pays. Even as production resumed, President Joe Biden warned that bringing the pipeline back online would take time, explaining that, “this is not like flicking on a light switch.” Linked to the online ransomware outfit DarkSide, the hack held a key pipeline at risk and marks a concerning development in the era great power competition. It highlights the asymmetry of criminal activities taken in and through cyberspace and how nation-states can use proxy actors to influence, manipulate, degrade, and disrupt key infrastructure operations—all below the threshold of conflict.

Deterrence through denial: A strategy for an era of reduced warning time

By Paul Dibb and Dr Richard Brabin-Smith AO

Australia now needs to implement serious changes to how warning time is considered in defence planning. The need to plan for reduced warning time has implications for the Australian intelligence community, defence strategic policy, force structure priorities, readiness and sustainability. Important changes will also be needed with respect to personnel, stockpiles of missiles and munitions, and fuel supplies. We can no longer assume that Australia will have time gradually to adjust military capability and preparedness in response
to emerging threats. In other words, there must be a new approach in Defence to managing warning, capability and preparedness, and detailed planning for rapid expansion and sustainment.

This paper addresses those issues, recognising that they’re a revolutionary break with the past era of what were much more comfortable assumptions about threats to Australia. Considering the complexity of the issues involved, we have identified further areas for research, including at the classified level.