27 June 2021

The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime. 

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

China’s Cyber-Influence Operations

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

… With its growing assertiveness in the international arena, China uses new technologies to achieve its foreign policy goals and project an image of responsible global power … spending billions on influence operations across the world ... fits in with China’s larger aim of expanding its soft power alongside its growing economic and military power … reach of Beijing’s overseas media is impressive and should not be underestimated. But the results are mixed ...

India Drops a Bombshell

Sumit Ganguly

In mid-June, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh announced the Indian cabinet had decided to abolish the Ordnance Factory Board, the national body that oversees the production of defense equipment ranging from ammunition to armored vehicles. The existing 41 factories, dispersed across India, will now be folded into seven units. Each new and consolidated entity will focus on a particular element of military production. The Vehicles group, for example, will be responsible for the development of tanks, infantry combat vehicles, and mine-protected vehicles. The Ammunition and Explosives group will produce ammunition and explosives, both for domestic needs as well as for export.

This reform, once it is implemented, will be dramatic. It would effectively terminate an organization with an over 300-year history, hearkening back to the days of the East India Company, which preceded formal British colonial rule in India. Under its aegis, a gunpowder factory was created in the present-day state of West Bengal as early as 1787. To this day, a government-run factory that manufactures rifles for both the armed services and civilians exists at that spot. Under the British, 18 more factories were built under the Ordnance Factory Board, and a host of others were built after India’s independence in 1947.

Bilateral Bond Between Pakistan and Russia Deepening

Niha Dagia

In the past decade, Pakistan and Russia have made concerted efforts to establish the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship amid deteriorating regional security and dramatically shifting geopolitical competitions.

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi agreed to work closely for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict. The phone call came two months after Lavrov’s trip to Islamabad – the first visit by a high-level Russian official in nearly a decade.

Both Islamabad and Moscow suffered an economic crisis and diplomatic fallout in the aftermath of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Yet, bilateral ties remained strained due to Pakistan’s proactive pursuit of the United States’ strategic objectives and Russia’s continuing strong ties with India.

Can the UN Push Afghanistan and the Taliban Back to the Negotiating Table?

Catherine Putz

“There is only one acceptable direction for Afghanistan – away from the battlefield and back to the negotiating table,” the U.N.’s top envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said in briefing this week to the U.N. Security Council.

Lyons, who heads the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) urged the council, in conjunction with countries in the region, to “do all it can to push” the Afghan government and the Taliban back to the negotiating table.

“The tragic history of conflict need not repeat itself — but left to its own and our inertia it just might.”

President Joe Biden decided in April to finally end the U.S. war in Afghanistan by removing American troops by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this September. But the war in Afghanistan won’t end with the U.S. withdrawal.

The April announcement, Lyons said, “sent a seismic tremor through the Afghan political system and society at large.” Although the decision was expected, the speed of the withdrawal was not.

The Global Taiwan Brief Volume 6, Issue 12

Fujian’s Role as the Nexus for “Integrated Cross-Strait Development”

By: I-wei Jennifer Chang

I-wei Jennifer Chang is a research fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute.

During an inspection tour of the southeastern province of Fujian (福建) in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) called on Fujian, the closest province to Taiwan, to do more to build links with the island democracy. Xi told Fujian provincial authorities to “be bold in exploring new paths for integrated cross-Strait development.” He also urged Fujian to implement policies, namely economic incentives, that would enhance Taiwanese people’s livelihoods as a means to promote economic and social integration on both sides of the Taiwan Strait—with the ultimate goal of achieving “reunification [sic] of the motherland.” Indeed, Fujian Province is a front-line actor that promotes China’s preferential policies targeting Taiwanese people. The Fujian government’s “soft power” tactics to attract Taiwanese to live and work in the province, coupled with Beijing’s mega-infrastructure plans to physically connect Fujian and Taiwan, pose challenges to Taipei’s ability to manage China’s multi-pronged strategy to foster pro-China support among the island’s citizenry.

Mapping China's Tech Giants: Reining in China’s technology giants

Fergus Ryan , Audrey Fritz & Daria Impiombato
1. Introduction
Since the launch of ASPI ICPC’s Mapping China’s Technology Giants project in April 2019, the Chinese technology companies we canvassed have gone through a tumultuous period. While most were buoyed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, which stimulated demand for technology services around the world, many were buffeted by an unprecedented onslaught of sanctions from abroad, before being engulfed in a regulatory storm at home.

The environment in which the Chinese tech companies are operating has changed radically, as the pandemic sensitised multiple governments, multilateral groups and companies to their own critical supply-chain vulnerabilities. The lessons about national resilience learned from the pandemic are now being applied in many sectors, including the technology sector, where a trend towards decoupling China and the West was already well underway. As the geopolitical rivalry between the US and China has heightened, both sides increasingly see any reliance on the other for strategic commodities, such as rare-earth minerals and semiconductors, as dangerous vulnerabilities.

Complicating China’s Rise: Rural Underemployment

Scott Rozelle, Matthew Boswell

China’s economy has doubled in size every eight years since 1979, making it over 32 times bigger now then it was then and the second largest in the world today.1 Four decades of growth have ushered more than 400 million people in China into the global middle class.2 According to the World Bank, China is currently an upper middle-income country. The country is the only major economy on earth to report growth in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.3 What are the prospects for China to continue its spectacular economic rise and become a high-income country? In this article, we aim to draw attention to an underappreciated factor that we believe may complicate China’s continued economic ascent: hundreds of millions of poorly educated, increasingly underemployed workers hailing from China’s rural hinterland.

Will Israel’s New Coalition Be a True ‘Government of Change’?

Avner Inbar

The sight of thousands of secular, liberal, cosmopolitan Israelis descending on Rabin Square in Tel Aviv last week to celebrate the appointment of a religious, conservative nationalist as their new prime minister perfectly captures the peculiar state of Israeli politics today. One can only imagine the horror that would have swept over those demonstrators had Naftali Bennett been elected under any other circumstances. But such is the political mood in Israel as the new government takes the helm: Settlers mourn the election of the former head of the Yesha Council—the umbrella organization of Jewish settlements in the West Bank—as prime minister, while leftists rejoice as staunch opponents of peace and civil equality return to their erstwhile posts in top government ministries.

A single common cause inspires the eight-party coalition government—the most ideologically diverse in Israeli history—that was sworn in on June 13: to free Israel not only from the personal sway of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—popularly known in Israel by his nickname, Bibi—but also from the toll that his efforts to cling to power have taken on the country’s political norms, public institutions and social fabric. ...

US-Russian Contention in Cyberspace: Are Rules of the Road Necessary or Possible?

Lauren Zabierek, Christie Lawrence, Miles Neumann and Pavel Sharikov

In recent years, as news of U.S.-Russian tensions in the cyber domain has dominated headlines, some strategic thinkers have pointed to the need for a bilateral cyber “rules of the road” agreement. American political scientist Joseph Nye, a former head of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, wrote in 2019 that, even “if traditional arms-control treaties are unworkable” in cyberspace, “it may still be possible to set limits on certain types of civilian targets, and to negotiate rough rules of the road that minimize conflict.” Robert G. Papp, a former director of the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, has likewise argued that “even a cyber treaty of limited duration with Russia would be a significant step forward.” On the Russian side, President Vladimir Putin himself has called for “a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on preventing incidents in the information space,” comparing it to the Soviet-American Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents on and Over the High Seas. Amid joint Russian-U.S. efforts, the Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations recommended several elements of an agreement in 2016, among them that Russia and the U.S. agree “on the types of information that are to be shared in the event of a cyberattack” (akin to responses to a bio-weapons attack) and prohibit both “automatic retaliation in cases of cyberattacks” and “attacks on elements of another nation’s core internet infrastructure.” Most recently, in June 2021, a group of U.S., Russian and European foreign-policy officials and experts called for “cyber nuclear ‘rules of the road.’”

Building a 21st Century Congress: A Playbook for Modern Technology Assessment

Mike Miesen, Laura Manley

Executive Summary
The current generation of emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, synthetic biology tools, and more—is expected to change societies in profound ways as the tools mature and are increasingly used by governments, businesses, and individuals. The next generation of emerging technologies is primed to do the same.

How these technologies are developed, distributed, and managed will affect how societies reap their benefits and mitigate their costs. Together, we need to imagine the future of these technologies and plan ahead.

Societies will also need to look to the future to imagine future crises and the technologies that might protect against them, then fund the basic and applied research that could help these technologies come to fruition. For example, the first two COVID-19 vaccines to be widely distributed in the United States are mRNA vaccines, which rely on scientific discoveries funded by the federal government over decades.1 Some future crises, like the effects of climate change and the likelihood of future pandemics, are clear enough; others will require structured foresight. In either case, identifying the potential innovative new technologies that could ameliorate harm from these crises is vital.

Hicks Will Send AI/Data Experts To Combatant Commanders


WASHINGTON: This morning, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks announced a new Artificial Intelligence & Data Acceleration (AIDA) initiative to help the military’s 11 inter-service Combatant Commands.

The COCOMs command operational forces around the world, so their involvement is central to the military’s plans for a Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2) meta-network linking forces across land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. AIDA will be a centrally directed DoD effort to help the COCOMs, contrasting with the disparate service-led initiatives on AI and data.

AIDA’s objective is to help the COCOMs understand what data they use to make decisions, automate the data flow and create AI tools to streamline decision-making. The plan is to make use of already-scheduled COCOM experiments and exercises to try new capabilities in real-world environments; whatever works best will be left in place permanently for the command to use.

China has declared information warfare against America — Biden must respond vigorously


China has taken great umbrage as the Biden administration continues its predecessor’s pushback against Beijing’s decades of barely-disguised aggression and significantly expands outreach to allies and security partners.

After the visits by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Biden’s third major outreach effort was directed toward America’s European allies and economic partners. His team managed to obtain language for the first time from both the G-7 and NATO organizations expressing the same concern over Taiwan it had extracted from Tokyo and Seoul, while also taking Beijing to task over its human rights record.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his colleagues saw each multinational statement supporting universal principles as an anti-China affront requiring a stern response. After the G-7 meeting, China flew the largest number of aircraft ever through Taiwan’s airspace. That followed a 10-day hiatus in such flights that some observers had wishfully viewed as Chinese moderation induced by the Suga and Moon visits. The incursion by 28 military aircraft told a different story.

America’s Window in Libya


After years of fighting and upheaval, Libya may again finally have a tenuous opening to a more stable future. The Second Berlin Conference on Libya, held on June 23, 2021, is an important milestone on Libya’s path out of years of civil war and political gridlock. Convened by the German government and the UN, the international talks were focused on implementing the terms of a UN-negotiated peace agreement reached last year by seventy-five Libyan delegates, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. One key output from Berlin by Libyan and international attendees was a renewed commitment to hold national elections in late December 2021 to replace an interim government in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba. Another one was an affirmation that foreign military forces in the country, especially Turkish- and Russian-affiliated mercenaries, need to depart. That said, Ankara has introduced a “reservation” in the text of the final communique that its military forces were excluded, since they were there at the invitation of the government in Tripoli.

There is cause for limited optimism. Unlike during the First Berlin Conference in January 2020, Libya is not in a state of open war. Outside meddlers have tactically shifted from overt military intervention to behind-the-scenes maneuvering. And (in contrast to former president Donald Trump’s endorsement of eastern-based warlord Khalifa Haftar and his foreign backers) the United States under President Joe Biden is displaying more principled and even-handed leadership. But pitfalls remain, and the risk of renewed conflict is still high.


The dangers of another false start are far from moot. Libya’s recent history since the 2011 downfall of dictator Muammar Qadhafi is replete with examples of internationally backed political processes that have either produced greater polarization or collapsed into war. Consider the July 2012 elections for Libya’s national legislature (the General National Congress), the 2014 elections for a follow-on body (the House of Representatives), and the 2015 UN-brokered peace agreement in the Moroccan town of Skhirat, which was supposed to end a previous round of the civil war but really only produced an interregnum.

What Does Pashinyan’s Victory Bode for Armenia and the Region?

Kirill Krivosheev

The results of Armenia’s parliamentary elections surprised observers both at home and abroad. Despite Yerevan’s devastating defeat in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war under his leadership, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan secured a decisive electoral victory. His Civil Contract party won more than half of the votes (54 percent), compared to only 21 percent for Armenia Alliance, led by his main rival, former president Robert Kocharyan.

Armenian pollsters had predicted a tight race, or even a Kocharyan win. Instead, Pashinyan will remain prime minister, form a single-party government, and have a constitutional majority in parliament. Of course, this also means that he will take sole responsibility for continuing the difficult negotiations with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and for crafting a new Armenian foreign policy.

Voting patterns in different regions of Armenia shed light on the reasons for Pashinyan’s success. Civil Contract enjoyed particularly high support (65 percent) in Shirak Province, the home region of the Armenian soldiers taken prisoner by Azerbaijan in December 2020. This shows that the locals aren’t craving revenge, which is associated with Kocharyan; rather, they want peace.

Boris Johnson’s ‘Sausage War’ Was Deadly Serious

Caroline de Gruyter

Tensions have risen again between the United Kingdom and the European Union in recent weeks, this time over the import of sausages and other chilled meats from the rest of the U.K. into Northern Ireland. It looks like a technical dispute that can be solved with some flexibility on both sides. But make no mistake: This “sausage war,” as the British press calls it, is deeply political. The U.K. is challenging the rules-based order that is the raison d’être of the EU, and is trying to force the EU into accepting that the Brexit deal does not need to be adhered to when the U.K. does not like its legal provisions. Two fundamentally different worldviews are colliding here, head-on.

The latest move started in mid-June, when the U.K. asked the EU to extend the grace period that covers the import of chilled meats into Northern Ireland from June 30 to Sept. 30. This would provide “a bit of breathing space,” as U.K. minister and former Brexit negotiator David Frost said, for the standoff between London and Brussels about full implementation of the rules for chilled meats that, according to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland of December 2020, are supposed to come into force on July 1.

Brussels has apparently granted the request. But the EU was of two minds. The fact that the British asked for the extension this time was considered, in a way, progress. In March, London had prolonged grace periods for other imported goods unilaterally, in violation of the agreement, without asking the EU. The EU subsequently went to court for breach of treaty.

Egypt Maneuvers Back to Center Stage

Mohamed Elerian

During his first four months in office, U.S. President Joe Biden did not speak with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi—a notable departure from precedent given the history of close security ties between the two countries. But after months of silence, Biden spoke with Sisi twice over the course of five days in May, extending his “sincere gratitude” to Egypt “for its successful diplomacy” in securing a cease-fire that ended 11 days of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian faction that runs the Gaza Strip.

Two days later, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Egypt and Jordan as part of a regional tour to cement the cease-fire. Cairo’s key role in securing the truce propelled it into the diplomatic spotlight once more, allowing the Sisi administration not only to reassert itself in the region and check the rising influence of rival powers, but also to improve its initially sour relations with the Biden team in Washington. ...

The Real Reason Europe Needs The EU

Niall McCarthy

Last Saturday, Pope Francis put Robert Schuman on the path to sainthood. His work was instrumental laying the groundwork for the creation of the modern European institutions and the Vatican has now recognised the "heroic virtues" of the French statesman in preventing another war on the continent. There is one final step on the road to beatification, however, and that is the small matter of the church attributing a miracle to him.

That might not be as difficult as it seems given the amount of conflict and violence Europe found itself embroiled in up to the mid 20th century, a level of death and destruction that has fallen dramatically thanks to unifying figures like Schuman. Whether the disappearance of violent European wars is a miracle in itself has proven controversial, particularly when the matter was raised when the UK voted to leave the EU.

Before and after Brexit, Remain voters in the UK frequently made the point that lasting peace in Europe needs to be considered one of the primary achievements of the EU. How valid is that claim? In order to find out, we analyzed Peter Brecke's Conflict Catalog which documents violent deaths in 3,708 conflicts going all the way back to 1400. The result is the following infographic which estimates the number of violent deaths in wars in Europe between 1800 and 2016.

The Pandemic Proves Only Technocrats Can Save Us

Parag Khanna

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage parts of the world, the blame game is already well underway to pinpoint why it wasn’t better contained. Throughout 2020 and up to the present day, hardly a single aspect of the pandemic response—whether mask wearing, lockdowns, vaccine production, or school openings—has been free from politicization. Among the public and experts, debates have swirled around who made the most accurate guesses about the number of COVID-19 casualties or its impact on the stock market.

Meanwhile, scientists at the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) were mapping viral proteins, Operation Warp Speed was disbursing funds to biotech companies to ramp up vaccine development, and a wide global public-private coalition was launching COVAX to ensure vaccine distribution to poorer nations. Other than NIAID director Anthony Fauci, few of those involved would be recognized by any member of the public or chattering class. But if and when COVID-19 is finally eradicated, we’ll have these technocrats to thank.

What differentiates all three Asian states—and others with ultra-low COVID-19 death rates—is they are highly technocratic.

Gaza and Nagorno-Karabakh Were Glimpses of the Future of Conflict

Jason Crabtree

In 2020, a war in the Caucasus, invisible to most Americans, killed some 6,000 people, wounded tens of thousands, and displaced many others. From September to November, an intense series of battles between invading Azerbaijani forces and Armenia, in the mountains of the long-disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, pulled in fighter jets from Turkey and missile defense systems from Russia. The fighting also veered dangerously close to a critical new oil pipeline between Russia and Europe. When it was over, several thousand Russian troops were keeping a complicated truce, and governments around the world started learning difficult lessons. This May, Israel and Hamas engaged in a widely scrutinized and intense 20-day campaign. Hamas launched thousands of missiles into Israel, subjecting the Iron Dome missile defense architecture to a severe stress test, while Israel used precision airstrikes, guided by, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says, significant advances in data science, imagery and geographical intelligence, and technical collection.

These short conflicts offer some provisional lessons about the future of combat, particularly in the use of air power—F-16 fighters on loan to Azerbaijan from Turkey, a new drone fleet against an Armenian military more constrained by gravity, and Israel’s claim to have used artificial intelligence to drive targeting.

They Relied on Chinese Vaccines. Now They’re Battling Outbreaks.

Sui-Lee Wee

Mongolia promised its people a “Covid-free summer.” Bahrain said there would be a “return to normal life.” The tiny island nation of the Seychelles aimed to jump-start its economy.

All three put their faith, at least in part, in easily accessible Chinese-made vaccines, which would allow them to roll out ambitious inoculation programs when much of the world was going without.

But instead of freedom from the coronavirus, all three countries are now battling a surge in infections.

China kicked off its vaccine diplomacy campaign last year by pledging to provide a shot that would be safe and effective at preventing severe cases of Covid-19. Less certain at the time was how successful it and other vaccines would be at curbing transmission.

Opinion: We Don't Need A Biden Doctrine Dividing The World Into Good And Bad


Listening to President Biden these days, one can be forgiven for believing that the world is locked into a historic struggle between autocracies and democracies and that the fate of the 21st century — if not the planet itself — will be decided by the will and resolve of democratic nations to win that battle largely under America's leadership.

"It is clear, absolutely clear," Biden said in March, "that this is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies." He has repeated such remarks so often that they've begun to assume the worrisome form of a doctrine.

Biden's rhetoric is certainly understandable given his belief in U.S. leadership and the four years his predecessor spent undermining America's values, cavorting with dictators, dissing democratic allies and dumping all over multilateral institutions.

Russia-Europe Relations Depend on Moscow Confronting the Past


To mark the eightieth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a commentary in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

Putin’s commentary is an attempt to woo Germany back to its once-cozy relationship with Russia, blame NATO expansion eastward for undermining European security, and point the finger at the United States for the “armed coup” in Ukraine in 2014.

With a German audience in mind—and especially with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron now anxious to reset EU relations with Russia—Putin presses all the right buttons.

He praises how West Germany “concluded the deal of the century” by agreeing to a long-term gas deal with the Soviet Union back in 1970. It was, he wrote, the foundation for “constructive interdependence” despite serious misgivings and criticism by the United States.

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline that brings Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea is a continuity of that interdependence, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized during his talks with Merkel in Berlin on June 23.

Novavax Offers U.S. a Fourth Strong Covid-19 Vaccine

Carl Zimmer

Novavax, a small American company buoyed by lavish support from the U.S. government, announced on Monday the results of a clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States and Mexico, finding that its two-shot inoculation provides potent protection against the coronavirus.

In the 29,960-person trial, the vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 90.4 percent, on par with the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and higher than the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. The Novavax vaccine showed an efficacy of 100 percent at preventing moderate or severe disease.

Despite these impressive results, the vaccine’s future in the United States is uncertain and it might be needed more in other countries. Novavax says it may not seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration until the end of September. And with a plentiful supply of three other authorized vaccines, it’s possible that the agency may tell Novavax to apply instead for a full license — a process that could require several extra months.

The Challenge of a Nuclear North Korea

Though North Korea’s nuclearization efforts have faded from the headlines, the country has continued to improve its capabilities. North Korea can now plausibly reach any location in the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, even as Pyongyang has diversified its delivery systems for launching long-range missiles, making its arsenals more likely to survive attack. In the absence of a deal to curb its nuclear and missile programs, North Korea’s arsenal will only grow more lethal.

Striking that deal was at the forefront of former President Donald Trump’s early foreign policy agenda. But despite a period of improved relations between North and South Korea and two unprecedented face-to-face meetings between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, no clear progress was made toward denuclearizing North Korea. Instead of scoring his own foreign policy win, Trump handed Kim a monumental victory. In engaging with Trump, the North Korean leader not only avoided a military confrontation, but also won concessions—including the suspension of some joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises—and international legitimacy.

Charting a new course in US-Africa relations: The importance of learning from others’ mistakes

Liz May and Andrew Mold

This is an exciting time for Africa. In early January 2021, the first shipments traded under Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) preferences left Ghana bound for Guinea and South Africa. Since its signing in March 2018, the rapid implementation of the agreement raises hopes of a more inclusive and prosperous future for the continent. How global trading partners support this project could set the tone of relationships for decades to come.


The Biden administration is applying a healthy dose of fresh thinking to a number of Africa-relevant policy areas, from global taxation to intellectual property. In terms of trade, United States Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai has already signaled a welcome new direction, stressing multilateral solutions over bilateral ones and emphasizing the importance of incorporating climate action in discussions on trade policy.

When it comes to U.S. trade with Africa, two linked items are on the agenda:

Achieving an Additive Manufacturing Breakthrough

Andrew Philip Hunter, Asya Akca, Emma Bates
Source Link

The Issue
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a promising technology that many AM practitioners believe is on the precipice of a breakthrough. This breakthrough would be realized when AM is incorporated into supply chains and manufacturing processes throughout the economy and when innovators use AM to re-architect existing systems and reshape entire industries. AM has been expanding in recent years, with annual growth rates averaging over 20 percent and several billion dollars annually in both parts produced and AM services provided. It has penetrated multiple industries, especially aerospace and defense, medical devices, and tooling, where it is primarily used to improve existing systems. This approach has led to impressive growth but has not generated the widespread adoption that characterizes a true breakthrough. Forty years after some of AM’s foundational technologies were patented, its prevalence in manufacturing is growing but modest. A collection of business, technical, and workforce issues explo[red in this brief have served as barriers to an AM breakthrough. These barriers have limited the pace of AM adoption, as has the scarcity of investment capital for AM developers seeking to carry methods for overcoming these barriers across the notorious development cycle “valley of death” between research and commercialization. AM developers, manufacturers, and policymakers should work to comprehensively lower these barriers and unite around identifying and achieving an AM breakthrough in mission-based applications—“moonshot”-type problems—that only AM can enable.

Research and Books

Military Deception in Large-Scale Combat Operations

Volume 1

Edited by Christopher M. Rein

Volume 1, Weaving the Tangled Web: Military Deception in Large-Scale Combat Operations surveys twelve cases of MILDEC from World War I through Desert Storm focusing on how armies have successfully used preconceptions to either immobilize an opponent or force the expenditure of energy in unproductive directions. The case studies span the major wars of the twentieth-century from the perspectives of several great powers and offer both a primer for planners of military deception and a caution for all military personnel to remain constantly on guard for practitioners of this ancient art.

Published: September 2018

Bombers Best Bet For Aussie Deterrence Of China


The Chinese, who have been conducting economic and political warfare against Australia for several months, are now directly threatening Australia with a military strike.

In response, the Australian government has clearly indicated that it will build up its long-range strike inventory.

The recent G-7 statement about China is nice, but we have suggested that the Biden Administration do something more concrete with regard to deterrence, namely, to fly two B-2s into Northern Australia as part of an enhanced support to our core ally and to provide a concrete contribution to escalation control.

But now the question for Australia is what long-range strike capabilities it should develop or purchase from other countries, and when, how and what deterrent impact are they likely to have?

MDA Sees EW, Cyber For Future Missile Defense


WASHINGTON: The US is moving away from a Missile Defense Strategy centered on hit-to-kill anti-ballistic missiles to a hybrid force that includes directed energy weapons and electronic warfare/cyber options, according to Vice Adm. Jon Hill, who heads the Missile Defense Agency.

“The future will be a mix of kinetic and non-kinetic, it will be a mix of hard kill and soft kill, because of where the threat is going to. The threat will drive us to do something different,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today.

Hill would not specify exactly what kinds of ‘non-kinetic’ and ‘soft-kill’ technologies MDA might be investing in, citing secrecy restrictions, but confirmed that investments are being made.

“We are making investments in that area — most of it’s in an area where I can’t talk about here — but the future of missile defense will be different because of the threat,” he said.