15 July 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 Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

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

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

Eyes in the sky: Exploring India’s evolving drone ecosystem


On June 27 last month, India unexpectedly woke up to a technological and cultural phenomenon, which has existed in the country for more than two decades - drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Security agencies reported the first ever drone attack, carrying out two low intensity explosions in the technical area of the Jammu Air Force station.

The drones used in the Jammu attack are expected to be low cost, modified commercial drones, experts suggest. The attack has raised concerns over the advanced warfare means used by terror outfits and their operators across the border.

With investigation still underway, the role and involvement of the drone operators involved in the attack are yet to be established. However, preliminary findings reveal that the use of explosives in the attack are likely to have had their origins in Pakistan, as per media reports.

“Even though there is no evidence so far on where the drones took off from or returned to, a Jammu Kashmir Police officer said multiple past investigations have suggested that similar drones used to drop weapons in earlier cases, were flown from locations across the border,” Moneycontrol reported on July 4. The report also suggests several instances of drone sightings in the last one month along the border region in Jammu.

Taliban advances as U.S. completes withdrawal


The Taliban has made dramatic gains since President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. The time lapse map, which is dated from April 13 to today and was created by FDD’s Long War Journal, shows the jihadists’ swift advance since Biden made his announcement.

The current Taliban and al Qaeda offensive was planned far in advance. The jihadists laid the groundwork for seizing large parts of the country years ago by directly challenging the Afghan government and military in rural districts. The insurgents seized more rural ground after the NATO handed over primary security responsibilities to the Afghan government in 2014. The Taliban’s strategy was downplayed and dismissed by U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan, who touted population control over territorial control. But the Taliban and its al Qaeda allies slowly but methodically took control of remote districts, using them as bases of operations to project power in neighboring districts as well as recruit, train, and indoctrinate future fighters.

Regional powers and the Afghanistan question

C. Raja Mohan

The speedy withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has been matched by the swift advance of the Taliban across the nation. While Washington has confirmed that 90 per cent of the withdrawal is done, the Taliban leadership has claimed that it is in control of 85 per cent of Afghan territory. Whether the Taliban claims are accurate or not, there is no doubt that it is gaining military ground.

Together, the two developments have moved Afghanistan into the court of regional powers that now have the burden of managing the military vacuum created by the US retreat. The idea of a regional solution to Afghanistan has always had much political appeal. But divergent regional strategic perspectives limit the prospects for a sustainable consensus on Afghanistan.

A regional conclave of foreign ministers taking place in Dushanbe this week under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation should give us a sense of the unfolding regional dynamic on Afghanistan. Geography, membership and capabilities make the SCO an important forum to address the post-American challenges in Afghanistan.

What Does The Taliban’s Ascendancy Mean For Tajikistan? – Analysis

Kamila Ibragimova*

(Eurasianet) — Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan has fallen almost completely – if not fully – under Taliban control. How and when did this happen?

Nationwide Taliban offenses surged as soon as U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan declared in May that they intended to pull out by the end of summer. The collapse of Afghan government defenses across the provinces has been rapid. The Taliban look to have focused their strategy heavily on seizing areas on the country’s periphery.

On June 22, they captured the Shir Khan Bandar crossing into Tajikistan, a location around 60 kilometers north of the Afghan city of Kunduz. This was a particularly humiliating blow as the $37 million, 700-meter bridge that replaced the ferry boats that used to ply the Pyanj River was completed in 2007 with U.S. government funding. Now, the Taliban are using the bridge to levy informal customs fees and fund their own operations.

On July 8, Anatoly Sidorov, the head of Joint Staff at the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization defense bloc, of which Tajikistan is a member, said that almost the entire Afghan-Tajik border was now in Taliban hands.

The Top Five Debriefing Questions About Afghanistan

Stephen M. Walt

As it draws to an ignominious close, the long war in Afghanistan stands as a stunning indictment of the U.S. foreign-policy establishment. The war was waged by two Republican presidents and one Democrat—George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump—and none of them managed to win or end it. The U.S. military never devised an effective strategy for prosecuting the war and never explained to their civilian overseers why their stated war aims could not be achieved. Instead, they repeatedly offered upbeat forecasts they knew were false. Had it been left to them or other representatives of the foreign-policy Blob, we’d still be toiling on with no end in sight and no prospects for improvement.

But don’t just blame the U.S. Defense Department. It was our civilian leaders who gave the military an impossible mission and refused to take responsibility for the war’s strategic direction. Congressional leaders kept authorizing funds to keep the war going without asking tough questions about the prospects for success, even as evidence that the war was not going well began to accumulate. Diplomats, development experts, and the public at large never came to terms with the fatal contradictions in the U.S. effort and refused to accept there might be limits to what U.S. power could accomplish. Those who favored disengagement have little to be proud of either, insofar as they failed to convince the relevant officials or the broader body politic to heed their advice until now.

Taro Aso’s Taiwan Slip Was Likely Deliberate

William Sposato

Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso is 80 years old, and in his 42 years in politics he’s often stumbled into trouble. But when he last week blurted out support for Japan coming to Taiwan’s aid in the case of a Chinese invasion, it may have been less of a gaffe than a deliberate signal—one with enough plausible deniability for the Japanese government to get away with it.

Under its post-World War II constitution, Japan is prohibited from military conflict except for self-defense. But Aso reckoned that an attack on Taiwan, just 70 miles from some small islands under the jurisdiction of Okinawa, could represent an “existential threat” to Japan’s security. The southernmost prefecture is home to more than half of U.S. forces in Japan. “If a major incident happened, it’s safe to say it would be related to a situation threatening the survival [of Japan]. If that is the case, Japan and the U.S. must defend Taiwan together,” Japanese media quoted Aso as saying.

His remarks produced not only the expected anger from the “wolf warriors” of Beijing but also the textbook recitations from Tokyo and Washington that everyone stands by the “One China” policy, under which Beijing is diplomatically recognized over Taipei. Tokyo and Washington’s interpretation of this has always been sharply different from Beijing’s—not least because the United States, while not a formal ally of Taiwan, has always strongly opposed any prospective Chinese military action against it. But Japan has traditionally been more neutral on the issue, despite the long-standing ties with Taiwan, once Japan’s “model colony” in Asia.

A Sea Change Brewing over the Taiwan Strait?

Thomas J. Shattuck

One of the most impressive developments over the course of President Joseph Biden’s recent summits with foreign leaders has been the consistent attention on the Taiwan Strait. The first joint statement to include such language occurred during the April 16 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. Its inclusion appears to be the beginning of a new U.S. emphasis on Taiwan, cross-Strait relations, and the Taiwan Strait in dealings with foreign leaders.

The U.S.-Japan summit—the first formal, in-person visit by a foreign leader under Biden’s leadership—broke through a dam bottling up nations’ fears or reticence about mentioning the issue, one that is critical to regional and global security and economics. The U.S.-Japan joint statement was the first of many such statements in only a few months. The statement released after Biden’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in emphasized the “importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” To date, Biden is two-for-two when serving as host at the White House.

A similar pattern has emerged in multilateral summits. The communique and statement released after the Group of Seven and European Union summits also included language about the Taiwan Strait. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization did not, but called out how China’s “assertive behaviour present[s] systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.”

Becoming Strong

Yan Xuetong

In March, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, made headlines when he told U.S. officials at a summit in Alaska that they did “not have the qualification . . . to speak to China from a position of strength.” Even after years of heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington, the remark seemed unusually harsh, especially coming from a seasoned diplomat. The setting, too, was noteworthy: Yang was speaking at the first high-level diplomatic meeting between China and the United States since U.S. President Joe Biden entered the White House. It seemed like an unmistakable warning to the new administration.

At home, Yang’s comment circulated widely on social media, resonating with the belief of many Chinese that their country has found its voice on the global stage. International media read the statement as reflective of a post-pandemic China: ambitious and outspoken in its claim to global leadership.

China Warns It Will Take ‘Necessary Measures’ as U.S. Blacklist Grows

Barbie Latza Nadeau
Source Link

China’s Ministry of Commerce warned on Sunday that it “will take necessary measures to safeguard China's legitimate rights and interests,” after the U.S. added 23 Chinese companies to its economic blacklist over human rights violations. Beijing denies any abuses and said it “resolutely opposes” the expansion, which it calls a “serious breach of international economic and trade rules.” On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce added a tranche of companies “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass detention, and high technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” It also added five Chinese companies that the U.S. claims directly support China’s military modernization programs related to “lasers and battle management systems.”

China’s Aggressive Data Push Worries Military Intel Officials


As Chinese IT and telecom products and services flood marketplaces around the globe, and Western companies rush to gain access to the vast Chinese market, China is gaining access to new streams of data that could help the country better and more quickly engineer new artificial intelligence capabilities, according to the head of intelligence for Indo-Pacific Command.

The growing market for Chinese tech goods has key military and intelligence benefits for the government in addition to financial ones for Chinese companies, said Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, the director of intelligence for INDOPACOM, this week during an INSA event.

As Chinese IT “proliferates around the planet...the access that they have to data allows them to have a larger set of data that they can run, to be able to actually allow machine learning to learn faster,” he said.

China Is Weaker Than Xi Will Admit – OpEd

Ivan Eland

Xi Jinping, China’s strongman leader, recently gave a strident speech on the centennial of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. Predictably, he focused on achievements of the Party and left out significant blemishes—for example the catastrophic Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, the sanguinary Cultural Revolution from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, and the suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He also obliquely threatened the interventionism of the United States and the West by saying that foreign powers would “crack their heads and spill blood” if they tried to stop China’s rise. Yet Xi’s bravado hides significant weaknesses that afflict his country.

Ironically, much of the U.S. foreign policy and national security establishment is also using Xi’s speech to help the Chinese leader magnify China’s strengths as a threat to the United States and minimize that country’s weaknesses. What more could a potential adversary ask for? Curiously, in the American political system, interest groups need a potent threat, whether domestic or abroad, to attract public attention and therefore extra cash to their proposed policy program. As during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the U.S. foreign policy establishment is happy to overstate the threat that China poses to American security while minimizing U.S. strengths and China’s weaknesses.

How Many Bridges Can Turkey’s Erdogan Burn?

Since his sweeping overhaul of Turkey’s political system in 2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cemented his near-total control over the country. Despite the worst electoral setback of Erdogan’s career in the Istanbul mayoral election in June 2019, as well as a tail-spinning economy exacerbated by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, he continues to maintain his grip on power, even if he must destabilize Turkey’s democracy to do so.

At the same time, Erdogan has pursued an adventurous and bellicose foreign policy across the Mediterranean region, putting Ankara increasingly at odds with its NATO allies. After Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air-defense system in July 2019, Washington suspended Turkish involvement in the F-35 next-generation fighter plane program. In October 2019, the Turkish incursion into northeastern Syria targeting Syrian Kurdish militias raised tensions with the U.S. Congress—which fiercely defended the Syrian Kurds, America’s principal partner on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State—even if former U.S. President Donald Trump seemed oblivious to their plight and subsequently received Erdogan at the White House. Turkey’s repeated incursions into waters in the Eastern Mediterranean claimed by Cyprus, as well as its standoffs with Greek and French naval vessels in the region, have further raised tensions and alarmed observers.

Saudi Arabia and Syria: Calculating a New Route?

Yoel Guzansky, Carmit Valensi

Leading Arab states, foremost among them Saudi Arabia, have hesitated thus far to normalize their relations with the Assad regime, conditioning this step on Syria’s progress toward a political solution based on Security Council Resolution 2254. However, with President Biden's entry into the White House and the accelerated negotiations between the US administration and Iran in the background, a change in the Saudi position on Syria seems possible, including based on reports of Riyadh’s contacts with Iran. Renewed relations with the Assad regime could help Arab countries buy influence over Syria and the direction of its policies, thus balancing Iran's power and reducing its influence there. Despite doubts about the prospects for this dramatic move, which could challenge the US administration, normalized relations between Riyadh and Damascus may affect the architecture of the region and serve the interests of those seeking to curb Iranian influence in Syria, led by Israel.

March 2021 marked a decade of war in Syria. Despite Bashar al-Assad's ostensible victory in the war thanks to help from Iran and Russia, Syria is a destroyed country. Assad controls only about 60 percent of its territory, the economic crisis plaguing Syria continues to deepen, and there is no prospect of a political settlement in the foreseeable future. In many ways, the crisis in Syria is a "frozen conflict." However, in recent months a change can be identified regarding relations between some in the Sunni Arab states and Syria. In early May, it was reported that a Saudi delegation led by intelligence chief Khaled Hamidan visited Damascus and met with Assad and Syrian intelligence chief General Ali Mamlouk – a first-of-its-kind meeting. According to the report, an agreement was reached on re-opening a Saudi embassy in Damascus as the first step in normalizing relations, followed by a proposal to reinstate Syria in the Arab League. At the end May, a Syrian delegation arrived in Saudi Arabia for the first public visit since 2011, led by Syrian Tourism Minister Mohamad Martini.

U.S. Intellectual Property Is Critical to National Security

Andrei Iancu

America has been the undisputed global leader in science and technology over the past century. But this global order is in flux. China’s extensive investments and years of strategic planning—including strengthening its intellectual property (IP) regimes—have enabled it to catch up to, and in some areas surpass, our capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. Congress is mulling over legislative proposals to counter China’s economic and geopolitical ambitions for technological dominance and the president is getting ready to announce a national AI strategy. IP reform must be a part of this sea change to ready the United States for the AI era.

The newly emerging technologies are vastly different from technologies of the past. AI provides computers the ability to learn on their own and make decisions that have traditionally required human intelligence. And when combined with other emerging technologies, its power will be truly dramatic. Quantum computers, for example, which are based on the behavior of energy and materials on the atomic and subatomic levels, can be millions of times faster than current classical computers. Just imagine military equipment driven by AI and operated by quantum computers. The country that gains the lead in these technologies will enjoy towering national security advantages, including in economic and military power.

The Military, Industrial, Financial And Data (MIFD) Complex

Mike O'Sullivan

There were three events that occurred last week, two of which mirror each other, and that are logically tied up in the third.

The first is the decision of the Chinese internet regulator to suppress the use of the Didi (effectively a Chinese version of Uber or indeed Uber is a Western version of Didi) web application based on concerns over the way it collected personal data and the related potential governance and disclosure shortcomings in the Didi initial public offering.

The second was the decision by US Department of Defence to reopen its JEDI Cloud contract process (note to all arms dealers if you want to convince a government to buy a weapon or weapons system, it needs to have an appropriately convincing name).

The two events are united by a key sentence in President Biden’s midweek speech on the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan where he stated ‘we will be more formidable to our adversaries and competitors over the long run if we fight the battles of the next 20 years, not the last 20 years’. China and Russia have the same idea, and the battles of the next twenty years will be ‘total’ in that they will encompass cyber security, finance, social media, and trade as well as military aspects, and they will have a strong competitive (as opposed to outright conflictual) aspect.

Fallout From Hack of City Law Department Could Linger for Months

Among the thousands of lawsuits New York City faces each year, this case was unexceptional — a man suing the city and several police officers over his arrest during a 2016 demonstration. But last week, the case hit a snag for an unusual reason: The city’s Law Department had been hacked, and lawyers were struggling to gain access to important documents.

“Practically all attorneys from the New York City Law Department still do not have remote access to electronic files,” wrote Jorge M. Marquez, a city attorney, to the judge on July 1, asking for an extension of deadlines in the false-arrest case.

Mr. Marquez noted that attorneys could enter the Law Department’s offices to review files but because of the pandemic, many attorneys, including himself, were not going into work. “It is currently unknown when this problem will be resolved,” he wrote, adding that the city hoped it would be in the coming weeks.

Biden Urges Putin to Give up Russian Ransomware Gangsters, Threatens Unspecified 'Consequences'


U.S. President Joe Biden talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in the wake of yet another devastating ransomware attack carried out by cybercriminals working in Russia. Biden promised “consequences” if Russia doesn’t crack down and name cyber groups using Russia as a safe harbor to perpetuate such attacks against Western targets, but he has not outlined what those consequences would be.

“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it's not, not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” Biden said this morning during a press briefing.

When a reporter asked if there would be consequences for the Russian government failing to crack down on Russian criminal groups, Biden answered “yes,” and left the room.

The Soviet spectre haunting Afghanistan

Mark Galeotti
Source Link

As US and British forces pull out of Afghanistan, further victims of the ‘grave of empires’, Russia is experiencing a mix of satisfaction, exasperation and trepidation.

It has its own bitter memories of the country, after all. In 1979, as a friendly regime was falling back in the face of a mounting Islamic fundamentalist insurgency, Soviet forces rolled into Afghanistan. The idea was that by installing a new leader and mounting a brief show of force, the rebels would be intimidated back into line. Six months, the old men in the Kremlin told themselves, that is all it would take.

And so began a vicious ten-year war that saw the deaths of 15,000 Soviets and hundreds of thousands of Afghans. When the war ended in 1988, it was not because the Soviets had been beaten on the battlefield but because they had been exhausted. Any hope of winning the war depended on a political, military and economic commitment that Moscow simply could not countenance — some generals even talked of deploying a million men.

So too for the United States, and the sight of their withdrawal, similarly exhausted by their own Afghan experience, does provide a degree of Russian schadenfreude, especially for a generation of military officers who remember their own miserable time there.

The Bad Guys Are Winning in the Fight Against Ransomware

Emily Taylor

The recent Fourth of July holiday weekend in the U.S. brought the latest installment in the wearying litany of colossal cyberattacks. The breach of the Miami-based software company Kaseya, which combined a supply chain attack with ransomware, affected hundreds of organizations all over the world—from kindergartens in New Zealand to a Swedish supermarket chain representing 20 percent of the country’s food retailers.

The company at the center of the incident, Kaseya, offers “complete, automated IT management software for [managed service providers] and IT Teams,” according to its website. Put another way, Kaseya software has low-level, privileged access right across the networks and systems of its many customers—the managed service providers who, in turn, have access to their many customers. Instead of breaking into each of those secure systems one by one, the hackers simply breached Kaseya’s software and allowed it to do the work of spreading their malware far and wide. ..

Rethinking U.S. Efforts on Counterterrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades After 9/11

Matthew Levitt*

Nearly twenty years have passed since al-Qaeda terrorists carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001.1 During that interval, the United States has built a counterterrorism bureaucracy to manage, resource, and operationalize the nation’s intelligence, law enforcement, and military response to the threat posed by al-Qaeda in particular and terrorism more broadly. This counterterrorism enterprise has been remarkably successful from a tactical perspective, foiling attacks and disrupting terrorist networks. But it has been less successful from a strategic vantage point, given that more people today are radicalized to violent extremism than in 2001, representing a more diversified and globally dispersed terrorist threat.

Countering terrorism remains one of the country’s top international security priorities, but not the primary one. Domestically, countering terrorism still constitutes a priority for agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security. But when it comes to fighting terrorism overseas, the national mood has shifted toward a focus on those groups presenting threats to the homeland or Americans abroad, while addressing regional terrorist threats through intelligence and action by local partners. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy makes clear, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” 2 This reflects both the rise of Great Power and near power competition as strategic threats to U.S. national security and the success of Washington’s twenty-year investment in counterterrorism and homeland security.

Where Have All the Asian Tigers Gone?


NEW DELHI – This was supposed to be the Asian century, with the ascent of China being only one – albeit a major – part of the story. The rest of it was going to be about other rising regional stars: potentially huge economies like India, rapidly industrializing upper-middle-income countries such as Malaysia, strategically significant exporters of minerals and other raw materials like Indonesia, and some relatively new kids on the block, including Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Many regarded Asia as the world’s most dynamic region, one with relatively favorable demographics and potential for economic diversification, while China’s increasingly gargantuan economy and evolving supply chains would inevitably pull along much of the region. China’s own external trade and foreign investment plans strengthened this belief. The country would provide substantial foreign aid, direct investment, and loans from institutions like the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, and then in a supposedly more structured way through the Belt and Road Initiative. These efforts would develop transportation and energy infrastructure and provide logistical support for enhanced region and global trade. And agreements like the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would later advance the rise of a formidable economic bloc.

Why Cryptocurrency Is Crazy—Like a Fox

Michael Hirsh

If you were worried about your savings at a time of financial uncertainty—say, the looming threat of inflation—would you hand your money over to Elon Musk?

True, the Tesla founder is a brilliant investor and worth a mint, but he is also volatility itself, prone to strange, sudden shifts of opinion. And the fact is if, in recent weeks, you put your money into Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, you were effectively putting your money into Musk, whose many whimsical tweets and off-handed remarks about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin—in which he is a major investor—have helped send them seesawing in value. With his tweets, Musk is “literally making and destroying small fortunes 280 characters at a time,” New York University marketing expert Scott Galloway told CNBC this week.

That, in turn, is proof of what some financial authorities have long been saying: When it comes to being a stable hedge against inflation, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are about as safe a bet as going to your local convenience store and buying a lottery ticket. That became doubly clear in recent weeks when China abruptly announced it was banning its banks from bitcoin transactions, again sending the price plummeting.

A Catch-22 Is Keeping Telemedicine Off the Battlefield


Say telemedicine, and you might imagine two-way video or perhaps haptic sensors and augmented reality—features that need enormous bandwidth. But field studies from a successful telemedicine network built by military doctors show that low-bandwidth chat and text features are often all that’s needed. The real barriers to wider adoption of telemedicine are bureaucracy and misperceptions.

Army Lt. Col. Chris Colombo, the director of virtual health and telecritical care at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington, is one of the brains behind the National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network. It’s an experimental effort to connect doctors and other experts with nurses, field medics, and other care providers who need additional instruction on how to care for a patient. As Colombo and his fellow authors describe in the July issue of Critical Care Medicine, the network is simply a way to connect individuals caring for patients with doctors using mobile applications and elastic cloud computing.

“Our teams have experienced numerous successes,” Colombo writes. They include: “1) treating tension pneumothorax, while local experts were managing a cardiac arrest in a different location; 2) stabilizing respiratory failure, while the local tele-ICU system suffered communications failure; 3) avoiding hospitalizations through remote home monitoring and delivery of home oxygen therapy; and 4) supporting end-of-life care at a small hospital and in a home with a family, both unaccustomed to this experience.”

DISA Seeks ‘Radical’ New Electromagnetic Battle Management System


WASHINGTON: The Defense Information Systems Agency is seeking prototypes “for a radically new set of capabilities” in Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (JEMSO) needed to improve planning, management, situational awareness, maneuverability, and data sharing.

A June 30 DISA white paper request envisions a Joint Electromagnetic Battle Management (EMBM) system to allow JEMSO cells to better operate in “constrained, contested, and congested” electromagnetic operations environments.

The military uses the EMS for a range a capabilities, including communications, navigation, and radar. Adversaries such as China and Russia understand the importance of EMS to US military operations and for years have been investing in and developing disruptive capabilities, known collectively as electronic warfare.

“To prevail in any conflict, the Joint Force must win the fight for EMS superiority,” the request notes.

China Upgrading Fifth-Gen Fighter Capabilities

Jon Harper

Experts say U.S. fifth-generation fighter aircraft — the stealthy F-22 and F-35 — remain the best in the world. However, China is upgrading its J-20 “Mighty Dragon” to try to close the gap.

The J-20A, developed by Chengdu Aerospace Corp., is the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s heavy twin-engine, single seat, low observability, multi-role jet that made its first flight in 2011.

“The PLA’s planned fielding of a fifth-generation fighter force will bolster its air-to-air capability,” the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said in its most recent annual report to Congress, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China: 2020.”

The aircraft has high maneuverability, stealth characteristics, an internal weapons bay, advanced avionics and sensors providing enhanced situational awareness, advanced radar tracking and targeting capabilities, and integrated electronic warfare systems, the study said.

The Promise and Perils of Big Tech

Technology has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for the world’s populations, but there are no guarantees it will. Concerns remain about everything from how the growing digital divide risks leaving large swathes of society—and the world—behind, to questions about the security of data and its potential weaponization. And, of course, there is the ongoing debate around how technology and information platforms can be used to undermine democratic processes, including elections.

To address these concerns, a panel of experts assembled by the United Nations in 2019 called for a “multistakeholder” approach that would convene governments, members of civil society, academics, technology experts and the private sector in an attempt to develop norms and standards around these technologies. Even they could not agree on what this structure might actually look like, though, underscoring how difficult it will be to ensure that technology is harnessed for everyone’s benefit.

The risks are particularly acute under authoritarian regimes, which are more interested in utilizing new technologies to strengthen their grip on power—and stifling dissent—than in having their hands tied by whatever multistakeholder vision ultimately emerges. There are also the questions raised by technological advances in weaponry—particularly the ethical questions and legal concerns surrounding autonomous weapons that remove humans from the decision-making chain.

Cyberspace Is an Analogy, Not a Domain: Rethinking Domains and Layers of Warfare for the Information Age

Michael P. Kreuzer

For ten years, the United States military has defined cyberspace as the fifth domain of war, equating it with the four physical domains of warfare as a core planning assumption.[1] But classifying cyberspace as a domain is fatally flawed both because it obscures the purpose of recognizing the four physical domains, and because it unnecessarily puts cyber into too small a box.[2] The buzzwordification of the term domain has long passed the point of diminishing returns, and nowhere is that a greater hazard than with cyber operations.[3] It’s time to re-think cyber to reflect the realities of modern war, and with it the broader lexicon of what constitutes domains and layers of warfare.

This article proposes the United States re-focus the definition of domains of warfare on the four physical domains, which require distinct organizations and doctrines to effectively control and exploit, while elevating the parallel concept of functional multidomain operations such as Special Operations and Cyber Operations with fixed representation at the Undersecretary of Defense level. This is necessary not because denying cyberspace or information as a domain would diminish its importance, but because it is a flawed analogy that both undercuts the need for the current service structure and would treat cyber as a separate pillar of defense.[4] It implies cyberspace should have an independent service—which is the wrong solution to the growing all-domain challenges of cyber operations.[5]

Escaping the Innovation Bunker

Britta Hale
Source Link

The Department of Defense (DoD) is facing several unprecedented technological advances: Artificial intelligence applications and 5G already are transforming possibilities, and quantum computing is on the horizon. Each of these brings with it advantages as well as both first- and second-order risks. Harnessing innovation has been under the microscope, with special attention on innovation silos; however, analyses often focus solely internally (such as breaking down barriers between combatant commands1) or gaze solely outward (such as initiatives for implementing “a systematic and proactive approach with industry”2). Achieving success in this area is an organizational concern, but the responsibility and potential for it rest across the shoulders of every member. Because the human mind—as powerful as it is—is not singularly equipped to understand and address all of these developments and associated concerns simultaneously, the key to success lies in strategic, interpersonal collaboration.