29 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.

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

We need to look at leveraging the anti-China sentiment: FIEO’s Ajay Sahai

Pranbihanga Borpuzari

The second Covid wave has left the economy in tatters. Amid all the gloomy news, the country’s exports seem to have done well. But are we out of the woods yet? To understand where the country stands in global trade, ET Digital spoke to Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). Edited excerpts of the interview:

ET Digital (ET): The exports numbers have been looking good for the past three months. How is the future looking, according to you?
Ajay Sahai (AS): At the moment, the growth is looking spectacular. But it is on a very low base. We have to keep in mind that we were under lockdown because of the second wave of Covid from the second half of March to May this year. Therefore, these figures might look very impressive, but it is best not to draw conclusions from that. According to the data available with the government in May, India’s exports reached $50.7 billion during the first seven weeks of the fiscal year, 11% higher than the corresponding period in 2019-20.

India Lost a War to China In Less Than a Month

Robert Farley

Here's What You Need to Know: The Chinese-Indian War still has implications for how each country views the other today.

In 1962, the world’s two most populous countries went to war against one another in a pair of remote, mountainous border regions. In less than a month, China dealt India a devastating defeat, driving Indian forces back on all fronts. Along with breaking hopes of political solidarity in the developing world, the war helped structure the politics of East and Southeast Asia for generations. Even today, as Indian and Chinese forces square off on the Doklam Plateau, the legacy of the 1962 resonates in both countries.

Who Fought?

While both the Chinese and Indian governments were relatively new (the People’s Republic of China was declared in Beijing in 1949, two years after the India won its independence), the armed forces that would fight the war could not have been more different.

The Situation in Afghanistan Is Much Worse Than You Realize

Thomas Joscelyn

Just two weeks after President Biden announced on April 14 his decision to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, the Taliban launched a massive offensive. Since May 1, the jihadists have captured a large swath of the country, laying the groundwork for the resurrection of their Islamic emirate. America and its allies have remained mostly indifferent—retreating from the battlefield as the jihadists advance.

This is what a lost war looks like.

Here are four takeaways from recent events.

The U.S. military is downplaying the Taliban’s gains.

While testifying before the House Armed Services Committee this week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley tried to downplay the Taliban’s gains. “There's 81 district centers that are currently, we think, are underneath Taliban control. That's out of 419 district centers,” Milley claimed. “There's no provincial capital that is underneath Taliban control, and there’s 34 of those.”

As America Withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban Are Attacking

Trevor Filseth

In April 2021, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would begin its withdrawal from Afghanistan – as obligated by a February 2020 agreement negotiated with the Taliban – beginning on May 1 and continuing until September 11, the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

In an address regarding the reasons for the withdrawal, Biden described the belief that the United States had entered into “mission creep” in Afghanistan; having defeated the Taliban in the early days of the war, they had begun to pursue other, open-ended objectives such as supporting the Afghan government under Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. While Biden indicated that the decision to withdraw would come with consequences, he underscored that the United States would continue to provide military and financial support to the Ghani administration and the Afghan military.

By most accounts, the U.S. and NATO withdrawal, which began in early May in accordance with the agreement, has been quick and efficient. The Pentagon has previously indicated that all American troops could be gone by July, two months ahead of schedule.

China’s ‘Offensive Deterrence’ and Avoiding War

Brendan Nicholson

Avoiding conflict with China will require a much deeper understanding of how its rulers and military planners view deterrence and coercion, warns a new ASPI report.

To deter the PRC … is written by Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Marcrum, a United States Army foreign area officer specialising in China and Dr Brendan S. Mulvaney, director of the China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI). The report launches a series of essays, workshops and events seeking to improve understanding of what the Chinese Communist Party and its People’s Liberation Army mean by ‘deterrence’.

The series is a joint ASPI–CASI project which will examine how both democratic countries and the People’s Republic of China approach deterrence, what liberal democracies are doing to deter China and what China is doing to deter those nations. It will assess the impacts of those efforts and will draw heavily from original PRC and PLA documents, as well as interviews and personal experiences, to help understand PRC thinking.

China's unrivaled economic power will define Asia's political future

William Bratton

Much of the current Western debate on the future of Asian geopolitics suffers from three major limitations.

The first is that it is often framed within the great power struggle between China and the U.S., with the other Asian nations seen as mere pawns within the broader game. This results in the persistent idea that the region's countries will need to choose sides in an emerging Cold War between the two superpowers, even if such an action results in punitive economic consequences.

The second is the tendency to view the region's current allegiances as fixed and to be maintained by virtue of their existence rather than the reality of the evolving situation. Such a dogmatic view, however, fails to recognize the dynamism of relationships between countries. Allegiances and animosities are rarely permanent but wax and wane depending on the relative strength of influencing factors, as demonstrated by the U.S.'s complicated history in Asia.

New President of the Tibetan Exile Government Hopes to Resume Talks With China

Ashwini Bhatia

The new president of the Tibetan exile government said on Thursday he will do his best to resume a dialogue with China after more than a decade, and that a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tibet could be the best step forward.

The Buddhist spiritual leader “has expressed his wish to go to Tibet to his birthplace, Lhasa and some other places depending on his physical condition,” Penpa Tsering said in an interview with The Associated Press. The Dalai Lama lives in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, where the exile government is based.

Penpa Tsering, 53, said the Dalai Lama is eager to settle the China-Tibet dispute and he “will leave no stone unturned” to achieve that.

China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and hasn’t held any talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010. Beijing accuses the Buddhist leader of seeking to separate Tibet from China, which he denies. Penpa Tsering supports the Dalai Lama’s position.

The Houthis, Saudi Arabia and the War in Yemen

Bernard Haykel

The conflict in Yemen is poorly understood in the United States. The general view in policy and government circles is that Saudi Arabia is the principal cause of the crisis, and that if the Saudis can be made to stop their military campaign against the Houthi rebel movement, the war would end quickly. Furthermore, this conflict is often mistakenly characterized as one between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran or one between Sunnis and Shia Muslims. It is in fact first and foremost a civil war, the most recent of several wars between Yemenis that began in 1962. Thus, it is internal dynamics that drive Yemenis to fight each other, and this war is unlikely to end quickly no matter what Saudi Arabia does or is made to do. After considerable resistance and perhaps willful naïveté, Washington finally appears to be accepting this reality.

Upon taking office, the Biden administration held the view that Riyadh was the principal culprit in the Yemeni war and therefore sought to exert pressure on the Kingdom to end its military intervention. This is a view that many Democrats in Congress also hold. Biden immediately reversed the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, announced a general review of US-Saudi relations, ostracized the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), and declared a moratorium on the sale of offensive weapons to the Kingdom. In other words, Biden believed that America’s pressure on Riyadh would initiate peace talks between the various Yemeni and regional actors in this conflict and that the Houthis would stop their military assault on Ma’rib, a strategically important city in the east of the country. Washington’s moves were indeed soon followed by a Saudi offer of a ceasefire and the lifting of the blockade, something MBS had been preparing for months because he has finally realized the quagmire he is in. Yet, rather than come to the negotiating table, the Houthis--just like the Taliban--doubled down on their military attacks, both on Ma’rib and by firing ballistic missiles and drones inside Saudi territory. Why did the Houthis react aggressively in this way and why do they continue to seem uninterested in ending the war? To understand the Houthis’ rationale, one has to delve into Yemen’s history and the particular ideology and program of this radical Islamist movement.

Hold Hamas Accountable for Human-Shields Use During the May 2021 Gaza War

Orde Kittrie
Source Link

During the May 2021 Gaza conflict, Hamas relied heavily on the use of civilians as human shields. Every time Hamas used civilians to shield its weapons or fighters from lawful attack, the terror group committed a war crime in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and customary international law.1 Despite strong evidence that Hamas and Hezbollah have used human shields extensively in prior conflicts,2 former President Donald Trump never imposed the sanctions required by U.S. law in such circumstances. President Joe Biden should seize the opportunity to do so, both to support America’s Israeli allies and to bolster U.S. and other NATO troops, who similarly face rampant terrorist use of civilians as human shields.

The following section of this memo discusses the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (“Shields Act”), which requires the president to impose sanctions on persons involved in the use of human shields by Hamas or Hezbollah.3 The memo then provides numerous specific examples of human-shields use by Hamas during the May 2021 Gaza conflict. Subsequently, the memo describes how the extensive use of human shields against NATO has hindered the alliance, leading NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe to urge all member states to impose sanctions and take other measures to counter the use of human shields.

Can Turkish Drones Bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank Against Russia?

Can Kasapoglu

Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are becoming popular strategic assets and affordable military modernization solutions on the international arms market. Following Azerbaijan’s dramatic achievements in the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020), whose forces employed advanced Turkish military technologies, including combat drones, Ankara has attracted growing numbers of customers interested in procuring the “Pantsir-hunter” Bayraktar TB-2 (produced by Baykar). As such, some writers have drawn attention to the Turkish drone warfare model’s increasing popularity on Russia’s doorstep, arguing that this trend may help President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration develop further leverage against Moscow (TRT World, June 2).

Ukraine looms particularly large in Turkey’s drone exports portfolio. In 2019, the two countries reached an agreement on the purchase of 12 Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 systems for the Ukrainian Army (Daily Sabah, January 12, 2019; see EDM, February 6, 2019). Subsequently, Kyiv made two additional requests to buy more Bayraktar TB-2s for its Navy (Daily Sabah, October 6, 2020). In fact, the way Moscow reacted to the Ukrainian deal hinted at Russia’s growing concern about Turkish drone warfare solutions spreading across its geopolitical neighborhood (TASS, April 21, 2021; see EDM, December 16, 2020).

Shusha Declaration Cements Azerbaijani-Turkish Alliance

Fuad Shahbazov

On June 15, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid an official visit to Karabakh to meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, thus becoming the first foreign leader to visit the region following last year’s 44-day war. The meeting agenda included a trip to the city of Shusha, where the two leaders signed the “Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations Between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey.” The document is seen as a new bilateral roadmap entailing political and economic cooperation (including in energy, media, diaspora, trade, and other spheres) but particularly regarding defense and mutual military aid (Trend News, June 16).

The location of the signing ceremony was not the only significant aspect of Shusha Declaration. In his speech during the event, President Aliyev emphasized the document’s reference to the Kars Agreement, signed a century earlier, which has significant symbolic meaning for both countries (TRT Azerbaijan, June 15). The still-binding treaty dates to 1921 and established the modern-day border between the three (then-Soviet) South Caucasus republics and the Republic of Turkey; moreover, Kars clarified the status of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave (Report Agency, February 8). The explicit reference to the Treaty of Kars should not come as a surprise since, as a result of that document, the newly declared Republic of Turkey assumed responsibility as the guarantor of Nakhchivan in that period. A hundred years later, Azerbaijan signed another document with Turkey that effectively assigns the latter as the guarantor of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Shusha. The city of Shusha is considered a leading religious, historical and cultural center for Azerbaijanis; though it also holds similar, albeit contrasting, significance for Armenians (see EDM, November 12, 2020).

The First Gulf War: Did America Actually Lose?

Robert Farley

Here's What You Need to Know: In the wake of the war, the near total consensus was that the conflict represented a huge triumph of American arms.

The United States and its coalition partners evicted Iraq from Kuwait over twenty-three years ago. Temporally, the Gulf War is closer to the fall of Saigon than it is to us today. Given the struggles of the past fourteen years, it’s difficult to remember how important the Gulf War seemed in 1991, as the Soviet Union neared its collapse.

The war suggested a bright future. The United Nations, riding the overwhelming power of American arms, could finally meet its true potential as a collective security and peacemaking organization. The thawing of the Cold War opened up political possibilities, while the remarkable effectiveness of American precision-guided munitions meant that warfare no longer demanded the destruction of civilian life and property.

The End of the Islamic Republic


PALO ALTO – Iran’s presidential election on June 18 was the most farcical in the history of the Islamic regime – even more so than the 2009 election, often called an “electoral coup.” It was less an election than a chronicle of a death foretold – the death of what little remained of the constitution’s republican principles. But, in addition to being the most farcical, the election may be the Islamic Republic’s most consequential.

The winner, Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, is credibly accused of crimes against humanity for his role in killing some 4,000 dissidents three decades ago. Amnesty International has already called for him to be investigated for these crimes. Asked about the accusation, the new president-elect replied in a way that would have made even George Orwell blush, insisting that he should be praised for his defense of human rights in those murders.

Never has such a motley crew been chosen to act as a foil for its favored candidate. The regime mobilized all of its forces to ensure a big turnout for Raisi, who until the election was Iran’s chief justice. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decreed voting a religious duty, and casting a blank ballot a sin, while his clerical allies condemned advocates of a boycott as heretics. But even according to the official results, 51% of eligible voters did not vote, and of those who did, more than four million cast a blank ballot. There are already allegations that the announced numbers were doctored, and a powerful movement to boycott the election has already declared the outcome a virtual referendum against the status quo.


Mike Nelson

As twenty years of counterinsurgent wars come to a close with the impending withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States is still trying to make sense of why American efforts failed to reduce violence and stabilize the country. This failure is in part due to deliberate decisions made during the surge in Afghanistan, many of which were based on poorly drawn conclusions about what had occurred in Iraq a few years earlier. Scholars and practitioners alike are familiar with the axiom that one should avoid fighting the last war. It should go without saying, then, that one should also avoid trying to fight two distinct, concurrent wars as though they are the same conflict. While there are guiding principles for counterinsurgency, there is simply no one-size-fits-all template for success.

However, heavily relying on methods from a different conflict is roughly what the United States tried to do in Afghanistan in 2009 with the attempt to replicate the apparent successes of the surge in Iraq. The fatal flaw in this plan was predicated on a misunderstanding of the circumstances and the environment that had created the conditions for reduced violence in Iraq. Perhaps most disappointingly, these plans for Afghanistan were made and implemented by some of the same leaders who earned praise for having turned the Iraq War around when it was at its most bleak.

U.S. can win battles, but needs better strategy to win wars

Harlan Ullman, Arnaud de Borchgrave

Here is a chastening contradiction: Since the early days of the Korean War, the U.S. military has won virtually every battle it fought. But what is the last war the United States really won? The answer is World War II.

After 20 years in Afghanistan, the Biden administration ordered a withdrawal of American (and by extension, NATO) military forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. In plain language, the United States and its allies lost, a prediction made in a 2007 Atlantic Council study on Afghanistan that began "NATO is losing in Afghanistan." But what is new?

The Korean War (1950-53) was, at best, a draw because Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur insisted China would not intervene, which it did with a million soldiers. Vietnam was a disaster. After more than a dozen years, with 58,000 American service personnel and countless Vietnamese dead, in 1975, the last American helicopter lifted off from Saigon, the tragically iconic image of defeat.

How Great Powers Should Compete


MILAN – At the recent G7 and NATO gatherings, China was singled out as a strategic competitor, a calculating trading partner, a technological and national-security threat, a human-rights violator, and a champion of authoritarianism globally. China denounced these characterizations, which its embassy in the United Kingdom called “lies, rumors, and baseless accusations.” The risks that such rhetoric poses should not be underestimated.

Many in the West disapprove of China’s single-party governance structure, just as vocal elements in China disparage Western liberal democracy, which they argue is in terminal decline. The real danger, however, is that officials on both sides seem to have embraced a zero-sum framework, according to which the two sides cannot simply co-exist; one side must “win.”

By this logic, both sides must always be trying to crush the competition. So, for China, the West – especially the United States – must be seeking to reverse its rise (which, in reality, was facilitated in no small part by the US). And, for the West, China is determined to leverage its economic might, including its huge internal market, to reshape the global system in its image and to its benefit.

America and the March Toward Modern Conflict

James Jay Carafano

There is no better example of how history is enlisted to fight future wars than the “principles of war.” This laundry list of how to fight, incorporated in American military doctrine, has been around for centuries. The principles are based entirely on past military experience, yet despite their ancient origins, they retain their relevance for contemporary conflicts.

As states took on a more comprehensive role in organizing societies for war, teaching their militaries how to fight became an increasingly important function. Military leaders were taught doctrine, the same way budding mathematicians were schooled in proofs and doctors were instructed in anatomy. One of the first and most enduring doctrinal constructs to arise in Western warfare was the principles of war.

While historians can trace the origins of thinking about principles of warfare back to the writings of Sun Tzu (544–496 BC), the Western conceptions derived from sixteenth-century European military scholars and others who followed their lead. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote a list of principles, as did Napoleon Bonaparte and Carl von Clausewitz and many others. All of their writings were based on the study of military campaigns. The best history of this intellectual effort remains “The Quest for Victory: The History of the Principles of War” (1982), by John Alger.



The first glimpse humanity got of the world from above was transformative. In 1968, the U.S. astronaut William Anders returned from circling the moon in Apollo 8 with a photograph. It was a simple snapshot of the Earth, the whole Earth, rising above the desolate lunar surface. But it was also momentous, representing the very first time anyone had gotten far enough away to view how fragile the world was. The contrast between the lone blue-and-green marble and the cold emptiness of space was beautiful and shocking. As Anders later remarked, “We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”

Anders’s Earthrise photo provided conservationists with the iconic illustration they needed. On April 22, 1970, 20 million people turned out for the largest civic event in U.S. history: Earth Day.

Today conservationists and other critics are more likely to see space programs as militaristic splurges that squander billions of dollars better applied to solving problems on Earth. These well-meaning complaints are misguided, however. Earth’s problems—most urgently, climate change—can be solved only from space. That’s where the tools and data already being used to tackle these issues were forged and where the solutions of the future will be too.

The Crisis in Space

W. Robert Pearson, Benjamin L. Schmit

Last week, the entire globe nervously gazed skyward, awaiting the uncontrolled reentry of the core booster stage of Beijing’s Long March 5B rocket, which had been launched from China’s Wenchang Space Launch Center on April 29 to deliver a module of the planned Tianhe space station. While the probability that space debris strikes a populated area is always low, the chance is above zero—and it has happened before. This time, we were spared a calamity. China’s rocket debris reentered over the Indian Ocean and splashed down a few hundred miles west of the Maldives on Sunday. But the seriousness of the situation remains. A similar uncontrolled incident involving a Long March 5B was followed by reports that rocket debris had struck buildings in Ivory Coast. Mercifully, no casualties were reported.

These incidents underline the urgency of building out international norms and regulations addressing the dynamics unleashed by the growing list of government and commercial players active in both deep space and low earth orbit. For example, China could have engineered the Long March 5B to remain on a suborbital trajectory or equipped with thrusters designed to control the rocket’s reentry location, according to Jonathan McDowell, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. These practices have been utilized by other space programs like NASA to dramatically lower the probability of endangering humans.


Elias Yousif

Israel is the largest historical recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, totaling more than $146 billion since 1950, equivalent to $236 billion in 2018 dollars, the vast majority coming in the form of military aid. But in the wake of Israel’s recent o΍ensive in Gaza that killed over 243 Palestinians, including 63 children, and wrought untold physical damage on the densely populated enclave, advocates and lawmakers are raising questions about Israeli solider with riȵe. Source: Benjamin Rascoe via Unsplash the wisdom and risks of the current U.S. security partnership with Israel, including the ways in which the partnership contravenes traditional norms, regulations, and statutes governing U.S. arms sales and security sector assistance.

This brief summarizes the exceptional elements of the Israeli military partnership with Washington that pose unique challenges to oversight, accountability, and civilian protection. 

Hard Fighting In The Caucasus: The Azerbaijani Armed Forces’ Combat Performance and Military Strategy In The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes marked more than a bonan-za between two belligerents. In essence, the war was fought be-tween two strategic paradigms, one belonging to the 21st century and the other the remnant of 20th century military thinking. On the one hand, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces showcased the zeitgeist through the systematic use of unmanned systems, net-work-centric operational art and information superiority on the battleground. On the other hand, the Armenian formations relied on heavily fortified defensive positions along a tough landscape, ballistic missiles to escalate the conflict, as well as Soviet-Russian doctrines prioritizing overwhelming fire-power through eche-loned defenses. Eventually, Azerbaijan scored an undeniable vic-tory and the Azerbaijani campaign recaptured a large portion of the occupied territories.

Local Dimensions of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Smolnik, Franziska, Alieva, Leila, Shirinian, Tamar

This issue of the Caucasus Analytical Digest deals with Local Dimensions of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Firstly, Leila Alieva explores the securitization/de-securitization processes and attitudes towards the conflict in Azerbaijan in the periods before, during, and after the 2020 conflict in Karabagh; secondly, Tamar Shirinian discusses the affective connections between the two spectres of soldiers who are missing or who have died in action and the old political economic elite who now threaten to regain power, and the political implications of national trauma on Armenia’s post-war futures; thirdly, John O’Loughlin, Gerard Toal, and Kristin Bakke analyse the somewhat contradictory results of a February 2020 survey of inhabitants of Karabakh concerning the questions of territory and peace. 

Diese Ausgabe des Caucasus Analytical Digest befasst sich mit lokalen Dimensionen des Berg-Karabach-Konflikts. Erstens untersucht Leila Alieva die Ver- und Entsicherheitlichungsprozesse und die Einstellungen zum Konflikt in Aserbaidschan in den Zeiträumen vor, während und nach dem Konflikt in Karabach 2020; zweitens diskutiert Tamar Shirinian die affektiven Verbindungen zwischen den beiden Gespenstern der vermissten oder gefallenen Soldaten und der alten politisch-ökonomischen Elite, die nun droht, die Macht zurückzugewinnen, und die politischen Auswirkungen nationaler Traumata auf die Nachkriegszukunft Armeniens; drittens analysieren John O’Loughlin, Gerard Toal und Kristin Bakke die etwas widersprüchlichen Ergebnisse einer im Februar 2020 durchgeführten Umfrage unter Einwohnern Karabachs zu Fragen von Territorium und Frieden.

Russia Bungles Pre-Planned Intercept of UK Navy Vessel off Coast of Crimea

Pavel Felgenhauer

A shooting skirmish or a deadly collision between Russian and Western warships or aircraft in the Black Sea would almost certainly cause a serious crisis, evolving into a military confrontation, a regional armed conflict and, perhaps eventually, a global war. Such a doomsday scenario appeared to be quickly developing on June 23, 2021—but a far more prosaic reality soon emerged. Namely, the United Kingdom’s destroyer HMS Defender was sailing that day from the Ukrainian port of Odesa to Georgia, which, like Ukraine, aspires to membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While rounding Russian-occupied Crimea’s Cape Fiolent, close to Sevastopol (the main Russian naval base in the region), HMS Defender cut a corner to enter and then quickly leave the 12-mile territorial zone around Crimea. Such an action is known as “innocent passage” under the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). Of course, the main reason for the UK vessel’s chosen route was not just to shorten its voyage by several miles but also to put the Russian side on notice through a deliberate freedom of navigation operation. In response, two Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Guard patrol boats moved in to intercept the Defender as it entered the 12-mile zone, and one opened warning fire, according to Russian authorities and British correspondents aboard the UK destroyer. A Russian Su-24M jet bomber reportedly dropped four high-explosive 250-kilogram OFAB-250 fragmentation bombs; but aboard the Defender, this bomb attack was not noticed or registered. The UK vessel, traveling at over 30 knots, apparently outran the FSB patrol boats and left the 12-mile zone on the other side of Саре Fiolent. The incident reportedly lasted some 40 minutes and was over without any injuries or damage (TASS, June 23).

How Deceptive Techniques Enhance the Capabilities of Cyber Defenders

Dr. Georgianna Shea
Source Link

The Transformative Cyber Innovation Lab (TCIL) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies held a live exercise to demonstrate the usefulness of incorporating deceptive techniques alongside other cyber defense practices. The exercise demonstrated that a decoy account could assist cyber defenders by rapidly notifying them of unauthorized activity on their network. Normally, network defenders receive suspicious-activity alerts and initiate a time-consuming investigation to find the cause of the alert and determine whether it was a false positive or a true indication of unauthorized activity. Since a decoy account has no authorized user, defenders know immediately that any observed activity on the account is the work of hostile parties. By contrast, if the account had an authorized user, the defender would have to determine whether the alert was triggered by that user’s actions or by an unauthorized user who compromised the account. This in-depth investigation can be a very time-consuming process, and its conclusions may still be uncertain or false. A decoy eliminates the need for such an investigation.

Machine Learning and Cybersecurity

Micah Musser, Ashton Garriott

Cybersecurity operators have increasingly relied on machine learning to address a rising number of threats. But will machine learning give them a decisive advantage or just help them keep pace with attackers? This report explores the history of machine learning in cybersecurity and the potential it has for transforming cyber defense in the near future.

Executive Summary

The size and scale of cyber attacks has increased in recent years as a result of a number of factors, including the increasing normalcy of cyber operations within international politics, the growing reliance of industry on digital infrastructure, and the difficulties of maintaining an adequate cybersecurity workforce. Many commentators across government, media, academia, and industry have wondered how cybersecurity professionals might be able to adapt machine learning for defensive purposes. Could machine learning allow defenders to detect and intercept attacks at much higher rates than is currently possible? Could machine learning–powered agents automatically hunt for vulnerabilities or engage an adversary during an unfolding attack? Should policymakers view machine learning as a transformational force for cyber defense or as mere hype?

SOCOM Preparing for ‘Omni-Domain’ Battle

Mandy Mayfield

Special Operations Command’s chief data officer is looking beyond the military’s multi-domain operations strategy for the best way to manage a deluge of data and information.

The Defense Department is currently developing a vast network of “internet-of-things” devices that will connect the services’ platforms, preparing them for multi-domain operations across air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. Joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, is envisioned as a way to better link the armed forces’ sensors and shooters on the battlefield in support of the concept.

However, “multi-domain is really omni-domain,’’ said Thomas Kenney, SOCOM’s chief data officer. “Information is coming from all directions these days, [so] multi-domain is just not enough of a thought process as we think about data and where we’re going.”

SOCOM is focused on how it will manage and leverage the large amounts of information being created, Kenney said in May during the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, which was organized by the National Defense Industrial Association.

Army, Navy satellite operations to consolidate under Space Force

Sandra Erwin

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force later this year will begin to take over the operation of 11 Navy narrowband communications satellites. It also will absorb Army units that currently operate military communications payloads, a Space Force official said June 23.

The transition, scheduled to begin in October, will create a more integrated U.S. military satcom enterprise which for decades has “largely been a loose federation,” said Col. Matthew Holston, commander of Space Delta 8 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Holston spoke about the upcoming reorganization at the SMi MilSatCom USA virtual conference.

Space Delta 8 operates communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites from Schriever and from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

Emerging Technology Horizons: U.S. Must Remain Committed to Hypersonics

Rebecca Wostenberg

On Oct. 1, 2019, the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary with full authoritarian pomp and circumstance. Amongst the pageantry of the massive military parade, China publicly flaunted the Dongfeng-17, a medium-range missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle.

Although the U.S. was aware of the existence of the DF-17, the parade highlighted two significant questions: first, why do hypersonic weapons matter, and second, how did China beat the United States in fielding a hypersonic capability? The answers are complicated and include over 60 years of boom-and-bust cycles in America.

Hypersonic weapons, including maneuvering missiles flying at least five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5, within the Earth’s atmosphere, can deliver long-range lethal effects on short time scales. In other words, if an adversary is launching missiles that take minutes to reach their target while U.S. missiles take hours, we will be at a significant disadvantage. Similarly, speed limits the decision time for adversaries, thus getting inside their decision-making process or “OODA” loop.