12 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..... 

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey


Indian Americans are the second-largest immigrant group in the United States. As the number of Indian-origin residents in the United States has swelled north of 4 million, the community’s diversity too has grown.

Today, Indian Americans are a mosaic of recent arrivals and long-term residents. While the majority are immigrants, a rising share is born and raised in the United States. Many Indian immigrants might have brought with them identities rooted in their ancestral homeland, while others have eschewed them in favor of a nonhyphenated “American” identity. And despite the overall professional, educational, and financial success many Indian Americans enjoy, this has not inoculated them from the forces of discrimination, polarization, and contestation over questions of belonging and identity.

There is surprisingly little systematic data about the everyday social realities that Indian Americans experience. How do Indian Americans perceive their own ethnic identity? How do they respond to the dual impulses of assimilation and integration? And how might their self-conception influence the composition of their social networks?

Don’t Expect Pakistan to Host US Military Bases

By Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

Washington is looking to maintain a counterterrorism infrastructure in the region following its withdrawal from Afghanistan. Officials from both sides, including U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, confirmed that Pakistan and the U.S. have held talks on the matter. While Sullivan stressed that discussions have been constructive, Pakistani interlocutors have ostensibly refused to host drone bases for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In response to a flurry of speculations regarding the prospect of Islamabad giving military bases to the United States, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi categorically stated Pakistan would not give any military base to the United States. He went on to say Pakistan would look after its own interests, indicating that granting basing rights to the U.S. is not considered advantageous.

While the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan will likely compel Washington to repeatedly cajole Islamabad to revisit its stand on the issue, Pakistan will likely not succumb to U.S. inducements and pressures. There are three factors that will account for Pakistan’s perseverance and inflexibility on extending basing rights to the United States.

US Pullout From Afghanistan Half Done, But Questions Remain

By Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is more than half done, and U.S. officials say that while it could be completed by July 4, the final exit of equipment and troops more likely will be later in the summer.

As early as this week, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, Gen. Frank McKenzie, will give Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a range of military options for securing the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and providing counterterrorism support from outside the country once the withdrawal is complete, officials said. The number of American troops needed for the overall security missions inside Afghanistan will depend on a variety of requirements, and could range from roughly a couple hundred to a bit less than 1,000, officials said.

McKenzie’s deliberations are a reminder that much about U.S. post-war support for Afghanistan remains uncertain, including how to protect Afghans who worked with the U.S. government from reprisals and how to avoid an intelligence void that could hamper U.S. early warning of extremist threats inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Taliban Monster


NEW DELHI – The late head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, was fond of boasting that when Afghanistan’s history came to be written, it would record that the ISI, with the help of America, defeated the Soviet Union. And next, he would slyly add, historians would state that the ISI, with the help of America, defeated America.

Gul’s boast was not the sort of empty rodomontade that military men are notorious for once they hang up their uniforms and recall their past as being more glorious than the details might warrant. He was right to argue that it was the ISI’s tactic of sponsoring militants and terrorists – amply armed, supplied, and financed by the United States – against the Red Army in Afghanistan that forced the Kremlin to withdraw ignominiously.

Subsequently, using the same approach and initially many of the same personnel and methods, Pakistan created and sponsored a mujahideen group calling themselves the Taliban, or “students” of Islam, who swiftly took over Afghanistan and ruled it as a wholly owned ISI subsidiary. Things were rosy for Gul and his ilk until Osama bin Laden, a former mujahideen fighter who enjoyed the hospitality of the Taliban’s new “Islamic Emirate,” ordered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the US from his Afghan hideout.

Was Taiwan Ever Really a Part of China?

By Evan Dawley

The actor and professional wrestler John Cena recently made news around the world for first referring to Taiwan as “the first country” where people would be able to see his new movie, “The Fast and the Furious 9,” then apologizing for an unspecified error in that statement when it brought a backlash from people within China.

Not to criticize Cena – indeed, I applaud him for his rare decision to learn Chinese and interact with native speakers in their own language – but these events nevertheless reveal important and persistent misunderstandings about Taiwan.

Cena’s apology highlights two things: the power of ideas – in this case, the idea that Taiwan is an “integral part of China’s historical territory” – and the geopolitical and economic power of countries like China to shape opinions and actions both domestically and around the world. These two forms of power coincided in these recent events. Let’s take this opportunity to better understand the history that lies behind such ideas, at a moment when Taiwan has received much deserved attention for its successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Could Russia and Japan Finally Find Peace in the Pacific?

By Gabriel Gavin

Last month, thousands of troops, tanks, and rocket launchers paraded through Moscow’s Red Square, marking 76 years since the end of World War II, which claimed the lives of around 24 million people across the former USSR. But, more than 7,000 kilometers to the east of the Russian capital, the Kuril Islands continue to hamper efforts to draw a line under the bloodshed and finally sign a peace treaty with Japan. Until the status of the volcanic archipelago is settled, Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union remain, technically at least, in a state of war.

Soviet troops landed on the territory in August 1945, just five days before Tokyo’s representatives signed their declaration of surrender aboard the USS Missouri. The Yalta Agreement, penned by the Allies months before the Red Army set off, had promised the archipelago to Moscow, in exchange for entering the war in the Pacific against the Axis power.

Since then, though, Japan has sought to overturn the terms of the deal, insisting that the four southernmost islands, which it refers to as its “Northern Territories,” were not actually covered by WWII-era treaties. Tokyo claims that they had not previously been considered a part of the Kurils, as described in the document, and should therefore be handed back to Japanese control.

Chaos in Myanmar Is China’s Nightmare

BY: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

The suspicion that China approved the military coup against Myanmar’s elected government runs deep among Burmese resisting their new dictatorship. Perhaps proof of such meddling will emerge someday. For now, what seems clear is that China would not have chosen to knowingly embroil its interests in Myanmar in the chaos that has followed the army’s power grab. On virtually every front, from public health to national security, China now faces new threats created by the post-coup breakdown in governance and the rule of law. As these consequences come into focus, Beijing will have to decide whether to maintain its tacit acceptance of the generals’ regime or take a different policy tack to protect investments in its neighbor to the south.

The coup and the country’s chaotic state touch every aspect of Sino-Myanmar relations. Critically, and predictably, a decade-long Chinese cultivation of elected leaders has — at best — been undermined. Then there is the mounting, unanticipated threats: an explosion of COVID-19 along the border; the risk that a multitude of new and resurgent conflicts could upend prospective projects; rising anti-Chinese sentiment among a majority of the population; and a surge in criminal activity aimed at China or organized by Chinese criminal networks.

How Chinese Unmanned Platforms Could Degrade Taiwan’s Air Defense and Disable a US Navy Carrier

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The question as to whether Taiwan can or should be defended by the United States in the event of Chinese military aggression has caused considerable debate in recent months within the U.S. defense and foreign policy communities. Discussions on this subject have been made more difficult as a result of emerging military technologies, especially in artificial intelligence (AI), cyber, robotics, and hypersonic systems, and questions about how they will impact both the quantitative and qualitative cross-strait military balance between China and Taiwan, as well as between China and the United States.

To help better understand the potential impact of these technologies on military power in East Asia, this short article aims to present a distinct scenario involving possible future military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan in 2030. The scenario discussed below involves the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) employment of unmanned-aerial-vehicle (UAV) swarms to degrade Taiwanese air-defense systems, and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to target a U.S. Navy carrier strike group (CSG) in the Philippine Sea. The fictitious scenario in 2030 describes the emerging technological capabilities alongside novel operating concepts and highlights the role of senior decision-makers in determining the character of future conflict. A second section of the article aims to analyze the emerging technological capabilities’ current state of development in China. It should be understood that the scenarios are meant to be illustrative of emerging technological capabilities, operational concepts and leadership choices rather than resolving real political problems or predicting the character and place of actual warfighting in the 2030s.

How China Steals US Tech to Catch Up in Underwater Warfare


In late April, Massachusetts-based businessman Qin Shuren became the latest person to plead guilty in the Justice Department’s crackdown on the illegal export of strategic technologies. Qin’s company, LinkOcean Technologies, falsified documentation to send a Chinese military-affiliated university some $100,000 worth of equipment, including hydrophones, sonobuoys, side-scan sonars, and even an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The case is just one part of a long trail of open-source evidence that illustrates a larger issue: U.S. technology being used to advance Chinese military ends.

The trail begins with the Justice Department’s press release, which says that Mr. Qin was working at the direction of Northwestern Polytechnical University, in the northwest Chinese city of Xi’an. NWPU is one of the “Seven Sons of National Defense,” a group of universities known for particularly close ties to the People’s Liberation Army and which contribute a high proportion of China’s defense workforce and research. For two decades, NWPU has been on the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List, the group of foreign organizations and individuals to which the export of certain U.S. strategic technologies is restricted.

Exploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Manipulation Against Taiwan

By: Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Jessica Drun

Much has been written about China’s social media manipulation in Taiwan following the 2018 nine-in-one local elections, but both Taiwanese and Western analyses have skewed heavily towards the impact of this disinformation, overlooking how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) developed its interest in social media manipulation, its planning and preparation against Taiwan specifically, and the evolution of its tactics over time.

This article seeks to address a gap in the current policy discussion and provide evidence of PRC planning for covert manipulation of Taiwanese social media. So far, too much of the academic and policy conversation in Taipei and elsewhere has focused on the outputs of PRC disinformation (purported examples of PRC disinformation and local reporting on the consequences), instead of exploring the inputs of PRC thinking, conceptual framing, and planning and technical preparation for executing social media manipulation campaigns. While this emphasis on outputs stems in part from well-documented difficulties in attribution of inputs, it is nonetheless dangerous to overlook these PRC primary sources, because a lack of understanding of the most likely perpetrator’s thinking is a disservice to broader efforts to combat disinformation.

An Arrangement in the Gaza Strip: The International Dimension

Oded Eran

Israel should strive to change the post-fighting political, security and economic reality in the Gaza Strip, in order to avoid a recurrence of the situation that prevailed in the region on the eve of Operation Guardian of the Walls. The previous three rounds of confrontation between Israel and Hamas failed to jumpstart an arrangement that would change the reality in the embattled area. In order to promote change that improves Israel's strategic environment vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip, Israel will need to decide on an overall strategy – not just find provisional solutions for isolated issues. This strategy should include principles for cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, Arab states that have normalized their relations with Israel, and other states and international entities. The main goal should be the comprehensive reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, a significant improvement in the population’s standard of living, and a complete cessation of all violent actions from Gaza toward Israel, through three integrated international efforts – political, economic-reconstruction, and military-security. Given the absence of any real chance of a change in Hamas's orientation, and certainly not toward democratic processes, the establishment of this complex international mechanism would presumably help, albeit indirectly, to weaken the organization's power.

US, France, Arab Allies Rush Help To Floundering Lebanese Armed Forces


DUBAI: Ravaged by 110 percent inflation, the Lebanese military has run out of money to feed its troops and troops salaries have plunged in value to the point where they are no longer enough to cover the cost of living.

The dire conditions prompted LAF commander Gen. Joseph Aoun to ask global powers, friends and allies for help. He spoke with senior U.S. military and government officials in virtual meetings early last May. He later flew to Paris to meet with senior defense officials and President Manuel Macron in a rare move that reflects the severity of the situation in Lebanon.

In response to these overtures, the United States and its Western and Arab allies are scrambling to boost aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). How bad are things? A captain in the LAF’s monthly salary has shrunk from about $2,340 at end of 2019 to $270 at end of May 2021, leaving him and his colleagues unable to pay for food, housing and other essentials.

‘Fear and Vigilance’: Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Face a Fall from Power

By Isabel Kershner

JERUSALEM — Still reeling from bearing the brunt of Israel’s coronavirus pandemic, then a deadly stampede at a religious festival, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews now face the prospect of losing the power they have wielded in government — a setback that could relax some of the strictures on life in Israel.

The heterogeneous coalition that is emerging to replace the 12-year rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spans the Israeli political spectrum from left to right, including secular parties, modern Orthodox politicians from the religious Zionist camp and even a small Arab, Islamist party.

Missing are the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, a Hebrew term for those who tremble before God. Their political representatives have sat in most, though not all, governments of Israel since the late 1970s, when the right-wing Likud party upended decades of political hegemony by the state’s socialist founders.

Over the years, the two main Haredi parties have forged a tight alliance with Mr. Netanyahu, the Likud leader, and leveraged their role as linchpins in a series of governing coalitions. There, they have wielded what many critics view as disproportionate power over state policy that became apparent as they successfully fought or, in the case of some sects, simply refused to follow pandemic restrictions.

Should the United States Enter a ‘No-Spy’ Agreement with Germany and Other EU Partners?

James Andrew Lewis

The last few years have opened fissures in the transatlantic relationship. Even staunch European transatlanticists like Carl Bildt talk about how to reduce reliance on the United States, and the French see events as an opportunity to further their long-standing aim for a European security architecture independent from the United States. These strains shouldn’t be overstated—President Biden’s office has been greeted by goodwill (and relief) —but the United States also shouldn’t assume automatic European support in key areas, such as contesting the efforts of an aggressive China, without further measures to restore trust.

Digital technology can be a focal point for rebuilding the transatlantic relationship, but there are difficult issues to address involving data flows, digital content, competitiveness, taxation, and privacy. A central element for these issues is the widespread European belief that the United States is engaged in massive surveillance against its citizens. The Snowden revelations (and the restrained U.S. response to them) helped motivate Europe to pursue “digital sovereignty” and reduce reliance on U.S. technology and online platforms. While an economically strong Europe remains in the best interests of the United States, European digital sovereignty does not. Allegations of U.S. surveillance hamper the United States’ ability to make progress on issues like privacy and digital trade. Many Europeans believe that U.S. actions violate their privacy rights by exposing them to indiscriminate, bulk U.S. surveillance, an accusation that drives the disputes seen in the Schrems cases, whose result has been to invalidate agreements between the United States and Europe that allow for transatlantic data flow.

USG Should Beware Exaggerated Threat To GPS: RAND


WASHINGTON: Reports citing dire threats to GPS resulting in severe economic loss should be considered with a large grain of salt, a new RAND study on the resiliency of US positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) infrastructure says.

While the study’s scope does not cover DoD requirements for the Global Positioning System during wartime and in theaters abroad, experts say the findings on threat and consequence analysis are applicable to Pentagon decision-makers as they consider future PNT needs.

“I’ve made many of those same points about how unrealistic a physical attack on GPS would be,” noted Secure World Foundation’s Brian Weeden. “The risks are real, but are not quite as bad as some have claimed in some of the hypothetical ‘day without space’ scenarios.”

The study, “Analyzing a More Resilient National Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Capability,” was commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security as a partial response to a mandate in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

America’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge

By Michèle A. Flournoy

For almost a decade, U.S. defense officials have deemed the return of great-power competition to be the most consequential challenge to U.S. national security. In 2012, during the Obama administration, the Defense Department announced that “U.S. forces will no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations,” such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, marking a sharp departure from the United States’ post-9/11 defense strategy. In 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter highlighted a “return to great-power of competition.” And in 2018, the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy crystallized this shift: “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” it declared, with a particular focus on China as the pacing threat.

Yet despite such a widespread and bipartisan acknowledgment of the challenge, the U.S. military has changed far too little to meet it. Although strategy has shifted at a high level, much about the way the Pentagon operates continues to reflect business as usual, which is inadequate to meet the growing threats posed by a rising China and a revisionist Russia. That disconnect is evident in everything from the military’s ongoing struggle to reorient its concepts of operations (that is, how it would actually fight in the future) to its training, technology acquisition, talent management, and overseas posture. Some important steps have been taken to foster defense innovation, but bureaucratic inertia has prevented new capabilities and practices from being adopted with speed and at scale.

Hungarian Policy Toward China Might Be Facing a Seismic Shift

By Richard Q. Turcsanyi and Matej Šimalčík

Many observers were stunned to see pictures from Hungary of thousands of people marching in the streets, protesting the government plan to build an overseas campus of Fudan University in Budapest using taxpayer money. Only days before, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony attracted international attention when he renamed the streets around the campus site with such names such as “Dalai Lama Street,” “Free Hong Kong Road,” “Uyghur Martyrs’ Road,” and “Bishop Xie Shiguang Road.”

Over the previous years, Hungary under Viktor Orban has become one of the most China-friendly EU countries, repeatedly preventing the EU from adopting critical remarks on China (which require consensus among the the bloc’s members). That might be about to change, however. For the first time in a decade, Orban is facing the possibility of losing to the opposition in parliamentary elections next year. And the opposition is finally expressing very different thoughts about China ­– thoughts that are actually more aligned with Hungarian public opinion.

A Curse Worse than Cash


CAMBRIDGE – Ransomware – a type of malicious software that restricts access to a computer system until a ransom is paid – is not a good look for cryptocurrencies. Proponents of these digital coins would rather point to celebrity investors such as Tesla founder Elon Musk, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, star football quarterback Tom Brady, or actress Maisie Williams (Arya in Game of Thrones). But recent ransomware attacks, and cryptocurrencies’ central role in enabling them, are a public relations disaster.

The attacks include last month’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which drove up gasoline prices on the US East Coast until the company paid the hackers $5 million in Bitcoin, and, even more recently, an attack on JBS, the world’s largest meat producer. Such episodes highlight what for some of us has been a longstanding concern: difficult-to-trace anonymous cryptocurrencies offer possibilities for tax evasion, crime, and terrorism that make large-denomination bank notes seem innocuous by comparison. Although prominent cryptocurrency advocates are politically connected and have democratized their base, regulators cannot sit on their hands forever.

The view that cryptocurrencies are just an innocent store of value is stupefyingly naive. Sure, their transaction costs can be significant enough to deter most ordinary retail trade. But for anyone trying to avoid stringent capital controls (say, in China or Argentina), launder illicit gains (perhaps from the drug trade), or evade US financial sanctions (on countries, firms, individuals, or terrorist groups), crypto can still be an ideal option.

The Forever Virus

By Larry Brilliant, Lisa Danzig, Karen Oppenheimer, Agastya Mondal, Rick Bright

It is time to say it out loud: the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away. SARS-CoV-2 cannot be eradicated, since it is already growing in more than a dozen different animal species. Among humans, global herd immunity, once promoted as a singular solution, is unreachable. Most countries simply don’t have enough vaccines to go around, and even in the lucky few with an ample supply, too many people are refusing to get the shot. As a result, the world will not reach the point where enough people are immune to stop the virus’s spread before the emergence of dangerous variants—ones that are more transmissible, vaccine resistant, and even able to evade current diagnostic tests. Such supervariants could bring the world back to square one. It might be 2020 all over again.

Rather than die out, the virus will likely ping-pong back and forth across the globe for years to come. Some of yesterday’s success stories are now vulnerable to serious outbreaks. Many of these are places that kept the pandemic at bay through tight border controls and excellent testing, tracing, and isolation but have been unable to acquire good vaccines. Witness Taiwan and Vietnam, which experienced impressively few deaths until May 2021, when, owing to a lack of vaccination, they faced a reversal of fortune. But even countries that have vaccinated large proportions of their populations will be vulnerable to outbreaks caused by certain variants. That is what appears to have happened in several hot spots in Chile, Mongolia, the Seychelles, and the United Kingdom. The virus is here to stay. The question is, What do we need to do to ensure that we are, too?

Synthetic Bioweapons Are Coming

By Michael Knutzen

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical weaknesses in the human domain of warfare at just the moment technology has emerged that gives bad actors new power to exploit those weaknesses. Developments in synthetic biology will create next-generation bioweapons, “human-domain fires” that will fundamentally change the strategic environment and create a threat naval planners must consider now, before it is encountered at sea.

A Human-Domain Plague

In a March 2020 press release praising the effectiveness of its preventative medicine, the Navy proudly declared: “No cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed aboard any U.S. 7th Fleet Navy vessel.”1 One week later, cases were spreading so rapidly, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) effectively became a “mission-kill.”

COVID-19 has demonstrated that biological threats are almost entirely unaffected by sophisticated kinetic, cyber, and electromagnetic defenses. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle reported in April 2020 that 60 percent of her crew was infected with COVID-19. French Admiral Christophe Prazuck warned “that the [medical] measures onboard were ‘obviously circumvented’ by a ‘stealthy, insidious virus.’”2 It can be debated whether the U.S. or French carriers would have stayed in the fight if COVID-19 had broken out during wartime. But a more lethal, deliberately devised, weaponized agent could eviscerate a fleet.

The Artemis Accords and Global Lunar Governance

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

NASA, the U.S. civil space agency, announced the Artemis Accords in October 2020. It is an agreement for lunar exploration and beyond, with participation of both international partners and commercial players. The program envisages the landing of the first woman on the Moon by 2024. The Artemis Accords are guided by key principles of peaceful exploration, transparency, interoperability, emergency assistance, registration of objects, release of scientific data, preserving outer space heritage, preventing harmful interference, and safe disposal of space debris. These are also principles enshrined in the existing international space law including the foundational legal instrument, the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967, and the accords thus can reinforce the existing international space regime.

On May 31, New Zealand became the 11th country to sign the Artemis Accords. A few days earlier, on May 24, Republic of Korea signed the accords. These two countries join Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, and the United States. The U.S. lead on this issue is important, but many important space powers, including Russia, China, and India, are yet to sign on to the accords. With more countries and industries pursuing lunar missions, there is a need for basic rules governing these activities that will minimize damage and evolve a set of good practices that would contribute to responsible behavior during lunar operations. Nevertheless, developing new governance measures to guide such activities is not going to be an easy matter.

African Migration to Europe Is a Lifeline, not a Threat

Howard W. French

As it has unfolded over the past several years, the migration crisis linking Europe and Africa has revealed many facets.

At its simplest, it is one of the worst ongoing human tragedies in the world today, but one that only commands the attention of a broad public under specific circumstances. One is when it is discovered that a large number of Africans have died at sea while trying to reach Europe, whether from thirst or after their boat capsizes. ...

Somaliland’s Moment of Reckoning

Matthew Gordon

On May 18, the people of Somaliland celebrated the 30th anniversary of their decision to unilaterally declare independence. Like the 29 such occasions before it, the jubilant fanfare was tempered by a cloud of formal diplomatic exclusion. The government of this self-ruling republic in the Horn of Africa has yet to be recognized by any United Nations member state, despite offering functional, peaceful and inclusive leadership to its citizens.

However, this time feels different. While Somaliland’s final status remains in limbo given its existence within the internationally recognized territory of Somalia, geopolitical conditions have changed, opening up unprecedented political and economic opportunities. As great power competition heats up between the United States, China and Russia, and as the Gulf Arab states race to outmaneuver rivals like Turkey and Iran for influence in East Africa, Somaliland’s strategic location—with its 860 kilometers of coastline along the Gulf of Aden—is beginning to seem like a bigger prize than the traditional Somali center of gravity, Mogadishu. ...

U.N. report cites new intelligence on Haqqanis’ close ties to al Qaeda


The Taliban and al Qaeda “remain closely aligned and show no indication of breaking ties,” according to a new report issued by a U.N. monitoring team. The U.N.’s member states “report no material change to this relationship, which has grown deeper as a consequence of personal bonds of marriage and shared partnership in struggle, now cemented through second generational ties.”

This and other findings are consistent with previous analyses prepared by the U.N. Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. However, the most recent report cites new intelligence as well.

The most intriguing claim is that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy emir of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is also a member of al Qaeda’s leadership. This intelligence is cited in a footnote, which states that in addition to being a Taliban leader, Sirajuddin “is also assessed to be a member of the wider al Qaeda leadership, but not of the al Qaeda core leadership (the Hattin Shura).”

Hacking for Defense @ Stanford 2021 Lessons Learned

By Steve Blank

We just finished our 6th annual Hacking for Defense class at Stanford.

What a year. With the pandemic winding down, it finally feels like the beginning of the end.

This was my sixth time teaching a virtual class during the lockdown – and for our students, likely their 15th or more. Hacking for Defense has teams of students working to understand and solve national security problems. Although the class was run completely online, and even though they were suffering from Zoom fatigue, the 10 teams of 42 students collectively interviewed 1142 beneficiaries, stakeholders, requirements writers, program managers, industry partners, etc. - while simultaneously building a series of minimal viable products.

At the end of the quarter, each team gave a final "Lessons Learned" presentation. Unlike traditional demo days or Shark Tanks, which are, "Here’s how smart I am, and isn’t this a great product, please give me money,” a Lessons Learned presentation tells the story of a team’s 10-week journey and hard-won learning and discovery. For all of them, it's a roller coaster narrative describing what happens when you discover that everything you thought you knew on day one was wrong and how they eventually got it right.

Building an Inclusive Digital Future


SEOUL – The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to a digital economy, which will hold the key to future growth and opportunities. That is why, as we prepare for the post-pandemic era, we must acknowledge that the digital economy’s potentially limitless benefits will not be equally distributed unless we take the right steps now.

Mobile devices, the internet, cloud computing, and other innovations have created a hyper-connected global space in which billions of people can work and pursue more dynamic ways of life. Digital platforms have changed the way we consume, work, and create economic value, and digital assets such as computers, communications equipment, and software have helped firms reduce production costs and enhance efficiency.

The digital transformation will continue to accelerate with the wider adoption of big data and the convergence of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Already, a McKinsey Global Survey finds that the pandemic has led businesses to accelerate “the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years.”


Alan Estevez, Kelly Marchese, Adam Routh and Joe Mariani

It is 2034. Tensions are on the rise in the Taiwan Strait. A small US reconnaissance team equipped with first-generation smart radios designed to operate in contested information environments is inserted onto a small island inside the adversary’s antiaccess / area denial zone. Simultaneously, other US forces begin to deploy in the area of operations with covert mobile precision-strike systems. The plan is to string together a dispersed sensor and precision-strike network to blunt adversary attacks and deter escalation.

Freedom of navigation operations during the crisis go awry and quickly escalate into a shooting conflict. But for those that need to do the shooting, the first few hours of the conflict do not go well. Sending and receiving information between the recon teams, other sensors, and the fire support assets does not happen. Something has gone terribly wrong.

A previously unknown Assassin’s Mace capability has disrupted radio signals, leaving only unintelligible static. The good news is that analysts in theater are quickly able to understand the nature of the interference and realize that a small adapter can be added to the antenna to restore communications. But now comes the difficult part: determining how to design and build tens of thousands of these completely new parts and distribute them to US forces like the small reconnaissance team cut off in a denied environment.

Army Network Gets Most 2022 Modernization $


WASHINGTON: Despite cuts to Army modernization writ large, funding to upgrade battlefield networks is up 25 percent in the service’s 2022 budget request, rising $537 million to a total of $2.7 billion. That’s more money than requested for any of the Army’s other modernization priorities, said the Army’s acting assistant secretary for acquisition, Doug Bush, in remarks to industry this morning.

The Army has six broad priority areas, and the network is, nominally, number four. It comes in after long-range missiles & artillery, ground combat vehicles, and high-speed aircraft. But the ability to share tactical data securely over long distances is essential to all types of forces, especially long-range artillery, which must engage distant targets spotted not by their own sensors but by drones, satellites and forward observers.

Another reason for the big network spend is that while new missiles, vehicles, and aircraft are largely in prototype, the Army is already buying new network tech in bulk. It’s currently fielding an upgrade called Capability Set 21 to light infantry units, with further upgrades for other forces scheduled for 2023, 2025 and 2027.