6 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 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..... 

US to hand Bagram base to Afghan forces in 20 days, says official

The US military will hand over its main Bagram Air Base to Afghan forces in about 20 days, an official said Tuesday, as Washington presses on with withdrawing the last of its troops from the country.

The vast base, built by the Soviets in the 1980s, is the biggest military facility used by US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, with tens of thousands of troops stationed there during the peak of America's military involvement in the violence-wracked country.

"I can confirm we will hand over Bagram Air Base," a US defence official told AFP without specifying when the transfer would take place.

An Afghan security official said the handover was expected in about 20 days and the defence ministry had set up special committees to manage it.

In Washington, the Pentagon indicated that the pace of the withdrawal was picking up. As of Monday, US Central Command estimated it had completed 30-44 percent of the so-called "retrograde" process.

Accountability Bargains in Pakistan

Poor and marginalised citizens rarely engage directly with the state to solve their governance issues in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings, as these settings are characterised by the confrontational nature of state–citizen relations.

Instead, citizens engage with, and make claims to, intermediaries some of them public authorities in their own right. What are these intermediaries’ roles, and which strategies and practices do they use to broker state–citizen engagement? We argue that in Pakistan intermediaries make themselves essential by:
Being able to speak the language of public authorities;
Constantly creating and sustaining networks outside their communities; and
Building collectivising power by maintaining reciprocity relations with their communities.

In doing so, households and intermediaries engage in what we are calling ‘accountability bargains’: strategies and practices intermediaries and poor and marginalised households employ in order to gain a greater degree of security and autonomy within the bounds of class, religious, and ethnic oppression.

Civil War in Myanmar

Military installations have been attacked in various towns in Myanmar’s interior over the past few days. Among other things, military airfields that the air force had used to attack ethnic minority rebel bases in the east and north of the country were fired upon. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but it can be assumed that they are connected to the newly formed alliance between the former democratic government and ethnic minorities. In view of this development, the violent conflicts in Myanmar threaten to spread from the border regions to the entire country, in­cluding large urban centres. If the violence were indeed to escalate in the coming weeks, Myanmar would be further destabilised politically, economically, and socially.

Since its independence in 1948, Myanmar (which was called Burma until three de­cades ago) has experienced a series of bloody civil wars in its border regions. The opponents have been the central government – dominated by the largest ethnic group, the Bamar – and various armed groups recruited primarily from ethnic minorities. More than two dozen “ethnic armed organisations” (EAOs) emerged over time – some with only several hundred members, others with tens of thousands – waging guerrilla warfare against the central government and the military, the Tatmadaw. Ethnic minorities predominantly live in the inaccessible mountainous terrain of Myanmar’s hinterland. They perceive themselves to be marginalised politically, socially, and economically and exposed to brutal crackdowns by the security forces, which often target the civilian population. Against this background, the civil wars in the country’s hinterland, which are often interlinked with illicit economic activities, have been perpetuated for decades.

Understanding China’s Aerial Incursions Into Taiwan’s ADIZ

By Adrian Ang U-Jin and Olli Pekka Suorsa

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen sufficiently for The Economist to declare on the cover of its May 1, 2021 edition that Taiwan is now “the most dangerous place on Earth.” According to this narrative, Beijing has invested heavily in military capabilities that it can now bring to bear in a confrontation over Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province. The Chinese Communist Party has never forsworn the use of force to achieve Taiwan’s unification with the mainland. To that end, China has only merely ramped up economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, but dispatched aircraft across the previously-mutually respected median line, intruded into the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) with ever-increasing numbers of incursions and sorties, deployed its naval forces to conduct “combat drills” off the coast, and increased fiery rhetoric.

For many observers, these actions constitute ipso facto “proof” that the Chinese military threat to Taiwan is at its highest point since the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait missile crisis. However, we maintain that Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ serve multiple purposes beyond saber-rattling toward Taiwan: signaling Beijing’s displeasure at Washington’s diplomatic engagement with Taipei; surveillance of sea and air traffic in the strategically important Bashi channel; as a countervailing show of force against U.S. Navy operations near Chinese waters and the northern South China Sea; and a demonstration of a “new normal” as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) expands its training and exercise routines farther from its coast and over open sea. We argue that Chinese air incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ have had the U.S. in their crosshairs more often than Taipei.

Improving China's participation in resolving developing-country debt problems

Martin Chorzempa and Adnan Mazarei

The COVID-19 shock has exacerbated the struggles of many emerging-market and developing economies (EMDEs) to repay their external debt. One of the most urgent challenges relates to debt owed to China, whose lending spree under its Belt and Road Initiative and other programs has played an outsized role in what amounts to a crisis for many countries. The scope of the problem is striking. China is owed more than $100 billion, or 57 percent of all debt owed to official creditors by the countries that need help the most. China is not a member of the Paris Club of official creditors, which coordinates, within a multilateral framework, the resolution of general sovereign illiquidity or unsustainable external debt of EMDEs. There is an urgent need to put in place more effective, long-term solutions to help durably lower the risks of prolonged debt difficulties in EMDEs. These problems could be partly addressed by creating creditor committees to coordinate debt relief with China. The Group of Twenty (G20) has taken some steps to include creditor committees in the context of the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), but only for low-income countries that qualify for the DSSI and only for official creditors. To better address debt distress, it needs to extend the approach, especially to middle-income debtor countries.

Murky Waters in the East China Sea: Chinese Gray-Zone Operations and U.S.-Japan Alliance Cooperation

Jonathan W. Greenert

This report from the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies examines key obstacles for the U.S.-Japan alliance in responding to Chinese gray-zone operations. The four essays shed light on the nature of China’s gray-zone capabilities and discuss policy options for improving allied responses and mitigating the potential for a larger conflict in the East China Sea.

Can There Be Freedom, Prosperity, and Democracy for Gaza?


Bomb, rebuild, repeat—this has been the pattern for Gaza for more than a decade. What will it take to break it? After the May 21 Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended eleven days of high-intensity violence, the U.S. administration promised to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza and support for reconstruction. As a first step, the U.S. Agency for International Development has dispatched a humanitarian adviser to Jerusalem to work with the Palestinian Authority (PA). But the PA’s administration stops at the fringes of the West Bank enclaves where Israel has permitted it some limited autonomy, and Hamas remains a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. That means the United Nations and others will have to lend a strong hand in delivering the aid.

Even if this effort is successful, however, Palestinians in Gaza will need much more than humanitarian assistance to achieve long-term stability. They require a sustainable development plan, the ability to trade, job opportunities, and remediation for the environmental damage and degradation caused by successive Israeli military bombardments, as well as more access to water and sanitation.

Most important, Palestinians need “equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” as U.S. President Joe Biden stated, suggesting that perhaps his administration might pursue a rights-based approach to conflict resolution. Yet centering rights now after decades of U.S. policy that deprioritized Palestinian rights and security will require reimagining U.S. engagement on Gaza and the United States’ bilateral relationship with Palestinians.

A Military Assessment of the Israel-Hamas Conflict

by Grant Rumley, Neri Zilber

After eleven days of fighting, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza under Egyptian auspices. By most measures, this round of escalation was the worst since 2014. Over 240 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were reportedly killed; the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also maintain that at least 200 Gazan militants were killed, including 25 senior Hamas commanders.

Whereas previous confrontations were driven by Hamas demands for economic relief or a loosening of Israeli restrictions around Gaza, this round was fueled by the group’s apparent desire to assert its leadership over the Palestinian cause. On the heels of canceled legislative elections and Jerusalem protests, Hamas saw an opportunity to cast itself as the holy city’s protector at the expense of its Fatah rivals. And once intercommunal unrest and clashes broke out inside Israel and the West Bank, the group believed it had a chance to enflame the entire Palestinian arena.


Eva Kahan

Key Takeaway: ISIS escalated attacks during Ramadan 2021 despite sustained counterterrorism pressure. ISIS maintains its ability to recruit, conduct attacks, exploit gaps, and in some areas replace weakened governance systems. Local and international security forces are unlikely to fully defeat ISIS in its “core terrain” in Iraq and Syria in the short term due to competing priorities among counter-ISIS actors and decreasing international interest.

ISIS aims to expand insurgencies against the Iraqi government, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), pro-Assad regime forces, and Turkish-backed forces in Iraq and Syria to maintain ideological coherence and leadership security. In pursuit of expanding these insurgencies, ISIS seeks to increase control zones and deep support zones, reconstituting key capabilities, generating new revenue streams, maintaining external lines of support (to Turkey, possibly Jordan, and Iran), and demonstrating its ability to rival other jihadist groups active in Syria.

ISIS must maintain its insurgent activity in Iraq and Syria – its “core terrain” – to guarantee its legitimacy and leadership security. The ISIS affiliates in Africa carry out faster-paced and larger-scale attacks than their Iraqi and Syrian counterparts, providing useful propaganda and justifying the ISIS argument that they are a global organization. However, ISIS groups in Africa are less clearly ideologically orthodox due to their lasting connections with their pre-ISIS networks.[1] ISIS’s core terrain in Iraq and Syria presents a fallback option if affiliates further afield are defeated or diverge from central ISIS messaging. ISIS’s teleological ideology depends on the reclamation of a territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria, which they claim will set conditions for the end of days.[2] ISIS leaders depend on known routes through the vast ungoverned areas of the Central Syrian Desert between Iraq’s Anbar Desert and Syria’s salafi jihadist-dominated Idlib Province. ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria is likely vital to maintaining connections between the organization’s global cells. Were ISIS completely incapable of leading from Syria and Iraq, cells in Africa, southeast Asia, and elsewhere could be forced to decentralize similar to how al Qaeda has done in the past.

For Whom Should America Fight A Nuclear War?


Most Americans are horrified by the prospect of nuclear war. Yet during his recent summits with the leaders of South Korea and Japan, President Joe Biden reaffirmed Washington’s willingness to use nuclear weapons to defend both nations. Even though the U.S. risks nuclear attack in return.

“Total” conventional war is horrific. Nuclear weapons greatly magnify the threat. The U.S. and Russia could destroy each other and the rest of the planet. The realization of how close Washington and Moscow came to nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis fuels present efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. However, mankind has opened Pandora’s Box and the deadly knowledge is out.

Thankfully, none of the other nuclear powers—including Russia, China, and even North Korea—have any reason to target America by itself. Their sometimes-serious disputes with the U.S. still are not important enough to trigger nuclear conflict. A much greater danger exists, however, because of Washington’s commitment to often nonessential, always cheap-riding, and sometimes reckless allies.

DoD Seeks $2.3B To Bolster US Chip Making


WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is seeking $2.3 billion to improve its ability to make specialized semiconductors for military use, as well as to fund next-generation chip innovation.

Semiconductors, used in almost every advanced weapon, are especially critical to enabling a range of defense “disruptive technologies,” such as hypersonics, AI, and 5G — all of which receive significant funding in the proposed 2022 budget.

Currently, the Defense Department works with US commercial partners to design and manufacture (i.e., fabricate) semiconductors for military use. Semiconductors for DoD’s specialized use cases and most sensitive programs — such as nuclear command and control and the Intelligence Community — are entirely fabricated in US-based foundries (specialized facilities for making chips) through the Trusted Foundry Program. But this is only a small percentage of the overall number of chips DoD uses, according to Hudson Institute expert Bryan Clark. (Clark co-authored an op-ed for Breaking Defense on the need for a US microelectronics strategy.)

US Must Strengthen Israel’s Deterrence


President Biden's public pledge to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome would boost Israeli defenses, but is insufficient to deter another war. To minimize the potential for another conflict, Israel needs further upgrades to its air defenses and access to advanced U.S. precision weapons.

Since the last major war between Israel and Gaza in 2014, Iron Dome has been upgraded to better intercept drones and large barrages of mortar fire. In March, the air defense system intercepted about 1,600 of the 4,360 Palestinian rockets and mortars that would have struck populated areas. With the Iron Dome’s protection in place, the IDF has greater freedom to choose how and when to respond to aggression.

Yet Palestinian militants significantly increased their rate of fire in this latest conflict to try and overpower Israel’s defenses and bolster their image. Palestinians launched 3,600 rockets in 11 days last month, compared to 3,700 over the fifty-day war in 2014. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad demonstrated that they can occasionally penetrate the Israeli system’s protection by simultaneously launching large barrages of projectiles at a single target.

Reassessing Homeland Security Intelligence

By Christian Beckner

The discipline of intelligence has been a central element of the homeland security enterprise over the past two decades since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security emphasized “intelligence and warning” as one of the six “critical mission areas” of homeland security, and later that year, when Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, it created a new intelligence-focused directorate as one of two startup offices amid the broader reorganization of border security and emergency response agencies.1 That office—named since 2004 as the Office of Intelligence and Analysis—originally was envisioned to be the nexus of intelligence activities related to threats to the homeland, in partnership with the FBI and foreign intelligence agencies.

But since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has often struggled to live up to this vision. It remains a junior member of the intelligence community. It has found it challenging to influence and integrate intelligence-related activities across the components of DHS. And it faces difficulties in explaining its role to Congress and to the general public, leading at times to mistrust and confusion.

Official Talks DOD Policy Role in Chinese Pacing Threat, Integrated Deterrence


Kahl spoke to an all-hands meeting of the policy office in the Pentagon last week. He spoke about "getting China right," emphasized the importance of integrated deterrence, and called on members of the office to be flexible as they deal with a complicated, messy and often violent world.

The top priority for the department is getting China right, Kahl said. Austin has described China as America's pacing threat, and the undersecretary spelled out what this means to members of the DOD. "It means that China is the only country that can pose a systemic challenge to the United States in the sense of challenging us, economically, technologically, politically and militarily," he said.

Kahl was quick to point out that this does not mean an inevitable spiral into conflict between the U.S. and China. "It does mean that we will have a more competitive and, at times, … adversarial relationship with Beijing," he said.

The Declaration Of Independence: A ‘New’ Framework For U.S. Foreign Policy?

By Andrew Bibb

To be human is to experience limitations, and no limitation is as tangible as one’s finite ability to know.

To surmount these cognitive limitations, one makes assumptions based on what is already known, trusting that in the process of exploration one will learn whatever is needed to reach his or her ultimate goal. But behind and underlying these assumptions is a philosophy that constitutes the reason for acting in the first place. Assumptions have their place in foreign policy and strategy, but only if they are securely nested within a clear and cohesive philosophical framework.

For American foreign policy professionals, that framework is and ought to be the principles articulated in our Declaration of Independence.

Strategic Assumptions

2020 Public Attitudes on US Intelligence


A final Trump-Era survey confirms broad popular support for the intelligence community and reveals opportunities for greater transparency.

May 2021

The University of Texas-Austin’s 2020 survey reaffirmed Americans’ broad-based belief that our intelligence agencies are vital to protecting the nation and effective in accomplishing their core missions.1 Our fourth annual poll was the last conducted during Donald Trump’s presidency. The high levels of public support for the intelligence community (IC) recorded over the life of this project have proven stable and remarkably resilient to the persistent public criticism by the former president and his political allies. Close examination of the survey data may help inform a strategy aimed at further enhancing the IC’s democratic legitimacy through increased openness and renewed public engagement. Indeed, a majority of the participants in our 2020 survey agreed that the IC could share more information with the American people without compromising its effectiveness.
Key Takeaways from the 2020 Survey:

Ahead of NATO summit, France urges Europe to muscle up


PARIS ­— Listen closely to French Defense Minister Florence Parly and it almost sounds like France is going to miss Donald Trump’s bullying at June’s NATO summit.

It’s not that Parly, or her president, Emmanuel Macron, don’t welcome the United States’ return to diplomatic form under President Joe Biden. They are “delighted,” she says.

However, France is also worried the renewed transatlantic lovefest will slow, or even halt, an awakening among Europeans on the need to spend more on defense — something Trump encouraged at higher, harsher volume than his predecessors.

“In the Euro-Atlantic relationship there’s a constant, which is that the Europeans must handle more of their security themselves,” Parly told POLITICO in an interview in her office in Paris.

“The very brutal discourse on burden-sharing that President Trump had, it was brutal in form but it also expressed a reality,” she said. “I’m absolutely sure that the Biden administration also considers that the Europeans must take on more.”

The Future is Now (Collaboration with students from King’s Centre for Strategic Communications at Kings College London)

By: Paula-Charlotte Matlach, Monika Gill, Quentin Wight

In the summer of 2019, the KCSC-NATO StratCom COE Summer Academy was launched in an innovative venture that brought together the worlds of theory and practice.

An international group of twenty Masters students from the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications at Kings College London joined experts at the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga, Latvia. The aim of this project was to expose students pursuing the academic study of Strategic Communications to the everyday concerns of those engaged in policy making, practice, and research in the field.

The timing was important. In June 2019, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence played host to its Riga StratCom Dialogue which each year brings together nearly a thousand experts and observers from all over the world. The Masters students were to benefit from hearing and interviewing participants while pursuing their own applied research and writing.

Revisiting the Perils of Forecasting

Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Reasons for Revisiting: 2021 appears to be shaping up as a year for media retrospection, whether in missing key developments, misinterpreting emerging trends, or simply failing at efforts to predict. Part of the criticism is that journalists have become less willing to break with prevailing interpretations and narratives. It may be useful, therefore, to re-engage with a point raised by Robert Kaplan about the mindset of contemporary journalists versus the approach taken by intelligence and business analysts.

In the Winter 2021 issue, Kaplan observed:

The intelligence and business communities tend to be much more seasoned and thorough in their analyses of ground-breaking paradigms. That’s because they are not involved in public grandstanding about their own cleverness to the degree that some journalists and academics are. It is also because intelligence agencies and corporations are on a mission to try to get the future right: whether for reasons of national security or the commercial profit motive. Intelligence services and businesses also know that forecasting a middle-term future of five-to-fifteen years is essential, and yet they are aware just how difficult it is. They know that linear thinking is hard to escape from, since extrapolating from current trends is often all one ever has to go on. So they are understanding of attempts at non-linear analysis, even when flawed.

Is JBS cyberattack a dry run?

By Michael Ruiz

'The Capitalist Comeback' author Andy Puzder weighs in on the uptick of cyberattacks across the US

A Russia-based hacker group victimized JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, in a ransomware hack this week, according to the FBI.

Other hackers, based in Russia and elsewhere, struck the Colonial Pipeline and other infrastructure, water-treatment plants, small businesses, Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and even hospitals.

With easily accessible hacking tools and hard-to-trace financing amid the rise of cryptocurrency, cybercrime is soaring around the world, experts say.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said as much last month, adding that ransomware attacks cost victims a combined $350 million last year.

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins


I. A Group Called DRASTIC

Gilles Demaneuf is a data scientist with the Bank of New Zealand in Auckland. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome ten years ago, and believes it gives him a professional advantage. “I’m very good at finding patterns in data, when other people see nothing,” he says.

Early last spring, as cities worldwide were shutting down to halt the spread of COVID-19, Demaneuf, 52, began reading up on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. The prevailing theory was that it had jumped from bats to some other species before making the leap to humans at a market in China, where some of the earliest cases appeared in late 2019. The Huanan wholesale market, in the city of Wuhan, is a complex of markets selling seafood, meat, fruit, and vegetables. A handful of vendors sold live wild animals—a possible source of the virus.

What Do We Know About Chinese Lending in Africa?


It is no doubt that China is a global power. Although it only crossed the $10,000 GDP per capita mark as an upper middle-income country recently, China is the world’s second-largest economy. For many countries, from Asia to Africa to parts of Europe, China has become the most important economic partner. In 2009, the country eclipsed the United States to become the biggest trade partner for African countries in aggregate. It is the largest bilateral lender for public sector loans across the African continent (see figure 1). Despite this large economic footprint, there is often very little information on the specifics of its lending and investments in the public domain.

However, two different data sets on Chinese lending for development projects recently became available. The first is the Chinese Loans to Africa (CLA) database by the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS-CARI), which is now managed by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center. This database covers a twenty-year period, from 2000 to 2019, during which “Chinese financiers signed 1,141 loan commitments . . . with African governments and their state-owned enterprises.” In the second dataset, How China Lends, a team of researchers at Aid Data at the College of William and Mary studied one hundred loan agreements between Chinese government entities and twenty-four different low- and middle-income countries; 47 percent of the contracts in the sample are with African borrowers. Together, these two datasets shed light on the volume, distribution, terms, and entities involved in the relationship between Chinese financiers and sovereign jurisdictions in Africa.

Violent Extremism: The Ghost or the Machine?

By Lydia Khalil

The Australian parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is currently holding an inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia. It is only the second issues-based inquiry that this particular committee has conducted; the first was into the politically charged question of foreign interference. The hearings indicate the importance that parliament has placed on addressing concerns around violent extremism, an issue that is challenging many democracies around the world.

The threat of terrorism and the nature of violent extremism has shifted substantially in the two decades since the 11 September 2001 attacks, which led to the establishment of most of the present crop of programs, departments and paradigms for counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. While the threat from international and homegrown jihadist actors remains, increasing polarisation and disinformation has contributed to the growth of a diverse array of extremist movements across the ideological spectrum, particularly among the extreme right. The inquiry’s terms of reference will allow the committee to examine whether government’s current policy settings and legislation are adequate to address a diverse, complex and decentralised violent extremist landscape.

Army Cyber Institute (ACI)

Cyber Defense Review, Spring 2021, v. 6, no. 2

Achieving Systemic Resilience in a Great Systems Conflict Era: Coalescing against Cyber, Pandemic, and Adversary Threats

Seven Cybersecurity Lessons the Coronavirus Can Teach the Armed Forces (and Us All)

Unleash the Dragon: China’s Strategic Narrative during the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 and Cyber – Foreshadowing Future Non-Kinetic Hybrid Warfare

Cybersecurity within a Pandemic Environment

This Long-Awaited Technology May Finally Change the World

Ella Alderson

Envision this: there is a technology currently undergoing testing that, when released to the public, will become a long-awaited revolution in energy. This new technology promises to be safer and more efficient than anything we have on the market now. It will affect that which we consider mundane — power tools, toys, laptops, smartphones — and that which we consider exceptional — medical devices, spacecraft, and the innovative new vehicle designs needed to wean us off of fossil fuels. We have known about this technology for centuries, yet until now we have only been able to take small steps towards its creation. Billions of dollars are pouring into research and billions more will be made once the technology has been perfected and released.

This description may sound a lot like that of fusion power. Yet it’s actually referring to the upcoming innovations in the realm of battery technology — specifically that of solid-state batteries. And while both fusion power and solid-state batteries have been labeled technologies of the future but never of today, advancements and investments in solid-state materials have increased tremendously over the years. Today not only are there many major companies and credible researchers involved, it seems we may finally start seeing these batteries released in just the next few years.

Cybersecurity:Federal Agencies Need to Implement Recommendations to Manage Supply Chain Risks

Fast Facts
The supply chain for information and communication technologies can be an access point for hackers. Compromised SolarWinds Orion network management software, for example, was sent to an estimated 18,000 customers.

We testified about the government's SolarWinds response and agency efforts to reduce supply chain vulnerability.

The response included a coordinated effort to help agencies find and remove the threats to their systems.

In a 2020 report, we noted that none of 23 reviewed agencies had fully adopted identified practices to reduce supply chain risks.

Federal information security has been on our High Risk List since 1997.

‘Liminal or hybrid warfare is not going to result in great tank battles in the Fulda or Suwalki Gaps’

Interview by Octavian Manea

SWJ Q&A with Admiral (Ret.) James Foggo, a distinguished Fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Over the last decade in Naples, Italy, he served in multiple major commands as Commander, Naval Forces Europe/Africa; Commander Allied Joint Force Command, Naples; Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet; Commander, Submarine Group 8; and Commander, Submarines, Allied Naval Forces South.

OM: Seven years after the Crimea annexation, the Black Sea remains what has been called the ‘soft underbelly of NATO’. How do you see the transformation/the changes in the Russian way of warfare and what worries you about them? There is a term that I found very useful in this context coined by David Kilcullen in his most recent book where he talks about a special type of warfare that of liminal warfare - essentially ‘riding the edge’, exploiting the ambiguity of blurred lines of conflict to challenge an established order and exert control on key parts of the regional commons - practiced in a certain ecosystem, a geographical area ‘transitioning between two states of being…that are in limbo, that have ambiguous political, legal and psychological status’.

Microwave weapons that could cause Havana Syndrome exist, experts say

Julian Borger

Portable microwave weapons capable of causing the mysterious spate of “Havana Syndrome” brain injuries in US diplomats and spies have been developed by several countries in recent years, according to leading American experts in the field.

A US company also made the prototype of such a weapon for the marine corps in 2004. The weapon, codenamed Medusa, was intended to be small enough to fit in a car, and cause a “temporarily incapacitating effect” but “with a low probability of fatality or permanent injury”.

There is no evidence that the research was taken beyond the prototype phase, and a report on that stage has been removed from a US navy website. Scientists with knowledge of the project said that ethical considerations preventing human experimentation contributed to the project being shelved – but they said such consideration had not hindered US adversaries, including Russia, and possibly China.