19 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.


Aadil Sud

In recent years, hybrid warfare has developed into a major regional and national threat, and threatens to become a global challenge. Hybrid warfare refers to a combination of conventional and unconventional warfare capabilities, used by non-State actors, along with non-military operations, which challenge mainstream military practice and strategic thinking.[1] These capabilities consist of, but not are limited to, actions such as applying diplomatic pressure, economic manipulation, and the use of non-State actors.[2] Hybrid warfare actors tend to escalate vertically or horizontally activities. ‘Vertical escalation’ refers to the ‘intensity’ of actions when using any one of the five instruments of power, namely, ‘military’, ‘political’, ‘economic’, ‘civil’, and ‘informational’ (MPECI), while ‘horizontal escalation’ refers to the usage of more than one of these instruments. The choice of which (and how many) MPECI instruments are used by a hybrid warfare actor depends “on the capabilities of the hybrid warfare actor and on the perceived vulnerabilities of its opponent, as well as the political goals of the hybrid warfare actor and its planned ways to achieve those goals. As with all conflicts and wars, the character of hybrid warfare depends on the context”.[3] It has been observed that horizontal escalatory activities create a larger overall impact as compared to the vertical escalation of any given instrument. Hybrid warfare leads to a loss of control by centralised authorities in the region, causing a rise in conflict and regional instability, which can directly affect countries and partners that operate in the affected areas. Some of the most severely affected areas are West Asia and East Africa, which happen to be especially important for India’s energy supply. Much of India’s energy originates from West Asia, passes along the Arabian Peninsula, or traverses the Mozambique Channel. This paper will view the expression ‘security of energy’ as the physical and fiscal security of the actual flow of energy and attempt to analyse how national and regional instability caused by hybrid warfare has impacted India’s approach to ensuring the more commonly encountered expression, ‘security of energy’.

On Afghanistan, China should join India — for a change


Under normal circumstances, a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a precursor to the larger heads of State gathering in September, would have generated marginal interest, except in terms of what the Indian and Chinese ministers would possibly say to one another at a time of border conflict. This time, however, because of the prevailing situation, the meeting will garner eyeballs. The Taliban are knocking at the doors of not just Central Asian States, but also China. And as the US exits, the role of China and its friends and allies suddenly looms large, as does the forum’s itself.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The SCO, formed in 2001, may not seem much at first sight. After all, apart from China, its other seven members are India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — not really the greatest of power centres, barring a former superpower fallen on bad times and an aspirational power hit badly by the pandemic. But take a look at the total territory on the map. The countries comprise a very large area of the globe. And this doesn’t even include the four Observer States of Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia, and six ‘Dialogue Partners’ Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. NATO pales in comparison to this sheer vastness.

Taliban Controls Afghanistan’s Northern Borders, Unsettling Countries Near and Far

Paul Goble

With the ongoing withdrawal of the United States’ military forces and the consequent weakening of the Afghan government, the Taliban now controls much of the territory of Afghanistan and most of its northern borders, posing a threat to its three immediate northern neighbors (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), other countries in the region (Kazakhstan and China), and even the Russian Federation. The buffer zone these countries had enjoyed is gone. Despite Taliban promises about respecting borders and the difficulties the militant group still faces in establishing total control domestically, the governments and experts in other regional states are worried. Indeed, those nearby are already taking military moves, and those further away are issuing warnings or seeking to advance their own interests in Central Asia by playing up the Taliban threat; whereas, some argue that only an alliance with the Taliban can provide protection.

Even the voices in these countries discounting the possibility that the Taliban will move north, into former Soviet territory, say that the Islamist movement’s success in Afghanistan is driving others from that country to move to Central Asian states as far afield as Kazakhstan as well as to Russia and China, where there is the danger that they will destabilize the situation just by their presence or by linking up with home-grown radicals (Russian Monitor, July 7). Given the weaknesses of the three immediate neighbors and the fears of Islamism in both Russia and China, such concerns are understandable. However, they may be overblown in some commentaries, especially as both Moscow and Beijing have long presented themselves as guarantors of Central Asian security and are again doing so now, particularly after Washington asked Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to take in some 9,000 anti-Taliban refugees (Informburo, July 2).

As Allied Forces Leave Afghanistan, The Taliban Keep Up Its Surge

Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the Taliban have begun a new phase of the conflict in Afghanistan. Their objective is to seize the entire country.


U.S. forces and their allies may have largely left Afghanistan. But the country's four-decade-long war continues. NPR's Diaa Hadid reports.

DIAA HADID, BYLINE: This is, perhaps, the moment when the Afghan conflict entered a new phase - in April, when President Biden announced American troops were withdrawing.


PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It's time to end America's longest war.

Leon Panetta: The Afghanistan war lessons that we cannot forget

Leon Panetta

(CNN)I was on Capitol Hill on September 11, 2001, when I first learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center. As I was driving away from the Capitol, I saw the smoke from the plane that struck the Pentagon. With air traffic halted, my flight home was canceled, I struggled to get a rental car to drive across the country to get home to my family in California. As I drove on I-80 through our nation, I witnessed the American spirit -- homemade signs of God bless America, flags on display, and the strength and determination of the American people to never allow such an attack to happen again.

And for the past 20 years, America fought back -- with its troops, diplomats, intelligence and development professionals working tirelessly to ensure that Afghanistan would never again be used as a safe haven to attack our homeland. The US has had successes in Afghanistan, including the establishment of a democratic government, expanded rights for women, improved education, and successful operations to decimate core Al Qaeda and bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. And America has suffered losses, with more than 2,200 of its war fighters killed in action, seven CIA officers killed by a suicide bomber in 2010, and countless civilian deaths in a long and frustrating war.

Total War: This Is Taiwan’s Only Chance of Stopping China

Mark Episkopos

Here's What You Need to Remember: Taiwan will seek to inflict the most damage on the invading forces in the littoral zone, where their home-field advantage is the greatest. Taiwanese forces will then shift to preventing the PLA from establishing beachheads. If the PLA gets boots on the ground, then not just the army but also the civilian population will be mobilized for a whole-of-society guerilla effort to prevent the occupying forces from advancing inland and establishing re-supply chains.

In the midst of an unprecedented wave of threats and provocations from Beijing, Taipei is rapidly reforming its armed forces and modernizing key parts of its military. Taiwan’s ongoing efforts run parallel to a new holistic approach known as the Overall Defense Concept (ODC). But what exactly is the ODC, and how does it seek to change Taiwan’s defense posture?

Now that US withdrawal has been achieved, China will move slowly on Afghanistan


As the US gets ready to withdraw from Afghanistan, I am reminded of another historic moment — the end of the Cold War — when people readily floated conspiracy theories. The American departure looks sudden because a lot of people did not want to think about it. It will leave a certain political, geo-political and emotional imbalance that many are trying to fill — by imagining a new future for the region. One assertion is that Afghanistan’s future will now be dominated by China. Indubitably, Beijing has ample cash in its pocket to compete with the US or the European Union but that does not necessarily mean it is ready to pour in resources in a conflict-ridden country, or step into American shoes. Most likely, what we are looking at are numerous pairs of shoes – some will get filled, some won’t. But eventually, what we may observe will be an Afghanistan with lesser Western influence.

Beijing may not be in a hurry to take on the responsibility of minding the Afghan house ridden with conflict, though there is a general trend developing to report Afghanistan taking this particular direction.

China’s Space Program Is More Military Than You Might Think


On the 4th of July, China celebrated its taikonauts’ first-ever space walk outside the country’s first permanent space station, the Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”). The extravehicular activity marked yet another major step for the country’s ambitious space program, and a vivid sign of what is to come. In the next five years, China intends to collect samples from a near-Earth asteroid, conduct two lunar polar exploration missions, and finish construction of its 60-ton space station.

This remarkable growth has led to a spate of recent international space cooperation programs with China, including European Space Agency and taikonauts training together and a reported 42 applications of interest for joint research programs. Some are urging the U.S. and China to collaborate in space as a means to dampen great power tension, though the Wolf Amendment has since 2011 effectively barred NASA from such cooperation.

Poll: China’s Influence Is Not Inevitable

Samantha Custer, Rodney Knight, Amber Hutchinson, Vera Choo

Amid the growing U.S.-China rivalry, foreign aid has become a venue for global competition. U.S. President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders recently launched the Build Back Better World initiative to rally like-minded democracies to help close the infrastructure gap in low- and middle-income countries. Build Back Better World intends to counter China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, which Chinese President Xi Jinping recently said would build a “new type of international relations” marked by mutual benefit and high-quality development instead of “zero-sum games.”

These statements speak volumes about how the United States, its allies, and China deploy foreign aid to advance national interests and win friends abroad. But how do these overtures translate into influence and partnership with foreign leaders and publics?

In June, AidData, a research lab at the College of William & Mary’s Global Research Institute, published the results of a survey of public, private, and civil society leaders from 141 countries who were asked to identify which foreign actors they had worked with and how they would rate their influence and helpfulness. The results we report below are based on the responses of 6,807 leaders who shared their views between June and September 2020, as compared to a previous AidData survey in 2017.

Can Israel’s New Center Hold?

Yohanan Plesner

Until the recent formation of a new coalition government, Israel’s political system—and with it the entire country—had spent the past two years in a state of paralysis. Four inconclusive elections and repeated failures to form stable governments had left senior cabinet posts and civil service positions unfilled, put long-term policy planning on hold, and left Israel without an approved budget in the midst of one of the worst health and economic crises in its 73-year history. Most alarming, May’s explosive escalation in Israel’s long-simmering conflict with Hamas was managed by an interim government headed by a caretaker prime minister.

While the unprecedented spectacle of Israel’s powerful, long-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on trial for corruption undoubtedly exacerbated the turmoil, the root causes of the crisis include deepening social divisions that have helped to expose the inadequacies of Israel’s constitutional structure. Despite Netanyahu’s ouster (he and his family finally vacated the Israeli prime minister's official residence on July 11, nearly a month after the new government was formed), most of these issues remain unresolved, and all will require difficult but necessary structural reforms. Making these reforms must be the top priority for Israel’s

Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Claims Nagorno-Karabakh No Longer Exists

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has declared that Nagorno-Karabakh no longer exists, and that Zangezur – the southern part of Armenia – is the “historical territory” of Azerbaijan, Haqqin.az reports

“A new era of construction – a post-conflict period – has begun. I have repeated many times, I want to say again that the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been settled,” Aliyev said.

“This conflict was resolved by the state of Azerbaijan. We have resolved this conflict unilaterally. If someone begins to say that the issue must be resolved or that this conflict is still not settled, they are on a wrong and dangerous path.”

Aliyev made the remarks at the ceremony of presenting apartments and cars to families of Karabakh war victims and disabled veterans.

The legacy of 9/11

Stephen Wertheim

Twenty years after terrorists infiltrated the world’s sole superpower, turned passenger aircraft into guided missiles and reduced the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon to rubble, has the truism of that moment—that 9/11 “changed everything”—proven to be false?

For all the solemn odes to the day’s significance that will be heard on its looming 20th anniversary, the truth remains: September 11 did not, as it turned out, inaugurate a new age of massive terrorist attacks in the United States. Even the initially unimaginable scale of the attacks themselves has slowly come to look less shocking. The 2,977 souls lost now rank alongside the successive tolls of Hurricane Katrina and the coronavirus pandemic. The latter has claimed well over half a million American lives already. According to official statistics, on 38 individual days of the pandemic more Americans died from Covid-19 than perished on 9/11.

Nor was September 11, lest we forget, what sent the US military into the Middle East. A full decade earlier, in the wake of its first war against Iraq to liberate Kuwait, the United States had already begun to station tens of thousands of troops in the region, a grievance cited by Osama bin Laden when he declared war on America in 1996. America’s pursuit of military dominance—dividing the region into friends and enemies—would have happened regardless of 9/11, albeit to less deadly effect.

The United States Can’t Afford the Brutal Price of Chinese Solar Panels

Henry Wu

In a remote desert near the Tibetan Plateau in Northwest China, millions of solar panels produce enough electricity to power a midsize American city. This project, one of the largest solar farms ever built, uses raw materials, solar panels, and battery technologies that are produced in China. In 2019, China made 80 percent of the world’s supply of solar panels.

But buying Chinese solar panels to reduce emissions is like using gas to put out a fire. To manufacture critical raw materials like polysilicon, Chinese firms rely on coal-powered electricity in Xinjiang. Without even accounting for the energy impact of transporting the final products, a solar panel made in China has about double the carbon footprint as a similar panel manufactured in Europe.

This is also about fundamental U.S. values. On June 24, the Biden administration blocked a Xinjiang-based polysilicon manufacturer due indications of forced labor. According to recent research, human rights abuses are not isolated to a single company—the issue is systemic. Every single one of the polysilicon manufacturers in Xinjiang has links to coercive Chinese Communist Party-backed “labor transfer” programs.

The Next War’s ‘Butcher’s Bill’ Will Match WWII’s—Unless the US Adapts, Milley Says


New technologies are so altering the “character of war” that the United States and allies who don’t hold the advantage may suffer another slaughter on par with World Wars I and II, warned the U.S. military’s top officer.

“If we don't get there first-est with the most-est, and we don't put the pedal to the metal and do this right over the next 10 to 15 years, we are condemning a future generation to what happened 76 years ago,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday, at the NATO’s new operational headquarters, Joint Force Command Norfolk in Virginia.

The mission of the now fully operational command is to fight a future Battle of the Atlantic, if necessary, and deter another great power war like those of World War I and World War II, which killed 150 million people globally.

Sharper strategic thinking will help Germany mend fences with US

Constanze Stelzenmüller

It is a measure of the respect Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany enjoys in this White House that she is the first European head of government to visit U.S. President Joe Biden this week. Merkel, the Western world’s longest-serving leader, is stepping down after the German elections in September, following 16 years in office.

Donald Trump, Biden’s predecessor, nursed an epic grudge against Merkel and Germany. Richard Grenell, his ambassador to Berlin, publicly courted her conservative foes. Merkel outlasted them both. Her trip to Washington is at once valedictory and a victory lap.

The Biden administration has been at pains to heal the rift. U.S. troop levels in Germany have been increased. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said: “The U.S. has no better friend than Germany.” Overruling bipartisan opposition in Congress, the White House has even waived sanctions on the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 bypasses the key gas route through Ukraine to connect Russia and Germany directly. Critics worry that it may undermine Ukraine’s security and open other central and eastern European countries to Kremlin bullying. Blinken pointedly told Der Spiegel magazine that “waivers can be rescinded.” The next congressionally mandated report on sanctions against the pipeline is due in mid-August.

Facebook Is Still Putting Profits Ahead of Security

Candace Rondeaux

There are a few things Facebook executives don’t want you to know. They don’t want you to know that some of its engineers have breached company rules about accessing users’ personal details to stalk women online. They don’t want you to know that members of their security team watched Russian hackers game Facebook’s algorithms and fleece its users for months before the FBI announced its investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They would prefer that you not think about the fact that it has failed to appoint a single computer science expert to its Oversight Board, the so-called Facebook Supreme Court.

In fact, there are so many ugly truths Facebook doesn’t want you to know, it is surprising that it offered users a special search tool, CrowdTangle, that allows anyone with a bit of patience to measure just how broken Facebook’s business model is. For years, CrowdTangle has allowed journalists and researchers to track just how much hate speech, disinformation and misinformation appears on Facebook. So critics of Facebook were probably not too surprised to learn this week that the Silicon Valley tech giant is effectively shutting it down. The quasi-independent team that oversaw CrowdTangle has been disbanded, and the job of managing the tool will be absorbed by Facebook’s exiting “integrity team.” ...

How technology can bridge the gap between climate talk and action

Luiz Avelar

After setting climate targets, countries and companies will need to quantify, reduce and monitor their emissions.

This process can be complex, time-consuming and prone to errors, especially for novices.

The right technology can simplify this process and make it more efficient, transparent and effective.

Here are three ways technology – particularly AIoT – can help.

As society pressures leaders for a more environmentally-friendly agenda, governments responsible for 63% of world emissions have committed to net zero with corporate net-zero commitments covering 12% of the global economy (representing $9.81 trillion in revenue).

Asian universities are on the rise. This is what it means for the rest of the world

Phil Baty

Asia has increased its representation in the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings from just over a quarter of all ranked universities in 2016 to almost a third today.

Recent data also shows that the world’s most dynamic and exciting younger universities are heavily concentrated in East Asia.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, the world’s most pressing grand challenges will only be addressed through a collaborative, open and diversified global higher education system.

The data does not lie: in successive editions of the annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Western nations have been losing ground while the East rises.



The EU is embarking on a historic first: a plan to transform a large, industrialized economy into a sustainable low-carbon, circular one. Its ambition is laudable—and overdue—given the short ten years that climate scientists say humanity has left to make all its activity sustainable and within planetary boundaries.

However, the European Green Deal is designed for the EU’s internal transition, not the rest of the world. As such, external factors are still being treated as add-ons to the EU’s core climate policy, and this is causing problems in how it is being implemented and communicated globally.

The analyses in this compilation fill important gaps in policymaking that are preventing the EU from developing an effective and holistic climate security agenda. The authors explained how the EU got to this point—by primarily acting as a regulatory power that generates policy solutions as problems arise—and how its climate measures and energy policies have been too narrow so far. They then explained why setting a much wider agenda of ecological diplomacy to achieve environmental sustainability and regeneration is so vital. The authors shed light on the links between security and conflict, ecosystems and decarbonization, and the current economy and future systemic change.

South Africa’s Protests Reveal a Clash of Political Cultures

James Hamill

South Africa is in flames over its graft-plagued former president. After the 79-year-old Jacob Zuma turned himself in to authorities to begin a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court on July 8, violent protests and riots erupted in parts of the country, and at least 72 people have been killed in the unrest so far. Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the military to the worst-hit parts of the country.

Underneath the riots and looting, Zuma’s prison sentence—which the Constitutional Court handed down in late June after he refused to testify before the official commission of inquiry charged with probing the corruption that blighted his decade-long presidency—captured the best and worst aspects of post-apartheid South Africa. It reaffirmed a core principle of democratic government: No one, whatever their past or present station, is above the law. ...

How Should Countries Study Viruses Safely?


It has been almost a year and a half since the new coronavirus was first detected in the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China. The precise origin of the virus remains obscure. While some scientists believe that the virus jumped from an animal host to humans, others believe that the new pathogen was accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). To understand the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) organized an international team of scientists who visited Wuhan early this year.

The team was unable to make a firm conclusion. Its report stated that the virus “most likely” originated from natural sources and the possibility of a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” The director general of the WHO observed in a public address that “[f]inding the origin of a virus takes time and we owe it to the world to find the source so we can collectively take steps to reduce the risk of this happening again. No single research trip can provide all the answers.” With the WHO beginning the next phase of its origin study, it is important to understand whether and how finding the source of this pandemic matters as India and other countries revisit their public health preparedness strategies and plans.

We need a better defense — and tougher offense — to combat Russia's hacks


Cyber attacks are now front and center for the American public. In the past two months, we’ve seen an attack on an East Coast pipeline, resulting in lines at gas stations in the South, fears that an attack on a food producer might lead to shortages of beef, and more recently, an attack on a security provider that put more than a thousand small businesses at risk of having their operations brought to a halt.

In many ways, what we are seeing is escalation into what amounts to a “pandemic” in the cyber domain. It is critical that the government and industry unite to address this threat and make clear to our adversaries that the United States no longer will be an easy target for such attacks.

Ransomware is not new. Over the past year alone we’ve seen police departments, schools and hospitals grind to a standstill as ransomware attacks have increased in frequency and scale. We’ve likewise seen large amounts of sensitive information leaked as attackers leverage their access to government and private sector systems to gain an advantage. And yet, the past few months have been different. The nature of these new attacks now threatens the daily lives of Americans as the businesses they rely upon are targeted for attack.

Could the United States Still Lead the World if It Wanted to?

Stephen M. Walt

If there’s one idea that still commands a broad consensus inside the foreign-policy community, it’s the United States is and should remain the leader of the free world. That view stood front and center during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, and it remained largely intact (if somewhat muted) during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s ill-informed and incoherent effort to put “America First.” When U.S. President Joe Biden says “America is back” and his foreign-policy team seeks to unite the world’s democracies against a rising authoritarian tide, these goals reflect the rarely questioned belief that the United States is uniquely positioned to perform this leadership role.

The strongest argument in favor of this view is essentially negative: No other democracy has sufficient economic or military power to exercise decisive “leadership” (however one defines it), and no other democracy really wants the job. But the lack of a plausible alternative isn’t enough: We still need to ask if the United States is presently capable of exercising the role that advocates of U.S. global leadership recommend.

To do so requires defining exactly what we mean by “free world” and exactly what we mean by “leadership.”

Much Of Russia Now At Risk Of Turning Into A Dust Bowl – OpEd

Paul Goble

The combination of climate change and the failure of the Russian authorities to insist on environmentally safe farming is already producing dust clouds over some major Russian cities and risks turning a large portion of the country into something like the dust bowl in the United States in the 1930s, Russian and international experts say.

In fact, they point out, Russia has faced warning signs of this before, to which it has sometimes reacted but more often not. Immediately after World War II, much of the Soviet Union suffered a massive famine as a result of drought. But the dust storms that followed killed thousands (nplus1.ru/material/2021/07/09/wind-erosion).

The Stalin regime responded by setting up a monitoring system and imposing tight controls, but with time monitoring and controls were both reduced. As a result, when Khrushchev carried out his Virgin Lands campaign in the late 1950s, dust bowl conditions spread outward from Kazakhstan. More dust storms happened with the drying up of the Aral Sea.

SecDef Teases New Deterrence Strategy, Vows Billions More for AI


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin teased a new vision for deterring adversaries and announced a $1.5 billion commitment to the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub over the next five years.

At a summit event Tuesday hosted by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which released its final report last March that found the U.S. is unprepared for AI competition with China, Austin said preventing conflict requires a new vision. That vision, he said, is called integrated deterrence.

“I’ll have more to say about this in the weeks to come, but basically, integrated deterrence is about using the right mix of technology, operational concepts, and capabilities—all woven together in a networked way that is so credible, and flexible, and formidable that it will give any adversary pause,” Austin said.

Forget the Iron Dome: This Israeli Laser Is Changing Air Defense

Mark Episkopos

Here's What You Need to Remember: Iron Beam’s highly limited range means that it can never replace Israel’s existing missile defense architecture. It can, however, become a cornerstone of the IDF’s capacity to destroy very short-range missiles in general and counter mitigate saturation strikes in particular-- that is, if Israel gets around to completing it.

Iran’s bold summer campaign against U.S. allies and interests in the Persian Gulf-- including military support for Houthi rebels and an alleged drone strike against Saudi Arabia--has alarmed Jerusalem to the prospect of an imminent Israel-Iran conflict, shining a critical spotlight on the core pillar of Israel’s defensive deterrent against Iran: its anti-air systems.

The operational and logistical flaws in the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) technically impressive, but expensive and unwieldy four-tiered missile defense shield have reignited Israeli interest in laser technology.

A Strong Ally Stretched Thin

Stephanie Pezard, Michael Shurkin, David Ochmanek

Research Questions

To what extent is preparing for a large-scale conventional war a French priority? How does it compare with other contingencies?

What is France's level of readiness for such a conflict, and what would France's comparative advantages be in this conflict?

Which future programs (planned or potential) would be most likely to increase France's capabilities for a high-intensity conflict?

Which internal or external factors might constrain the development of France's military capabilities and its ability to use them in a European large-scale conventional war scenario?

The War That Made Our World

Ross Douthat

Two hundred and sixty-six years ago this month, a column of British regulars commanded by Gen. Edward Braddock was cut to pieces by French soldiers and their Native American allies in the woods just outside today’s Pittsburgh. The defeat turned into a rout when Braddock was shot off his horse, leaving the retreat to be managed by a young colonial officer named George Washington, whose own previous foray into the region had lit the tinder for the war.

This was the beginning of the French and Indian War (also known, much less poetically, as the Seven Years’ War), which I thought as a boy was the most interesting war in all of history.

I had encountered it originally through a public television version of “The Last of the Mohicans,” but I soon found that the real conflict exceeded even James Fenimore Cooper’s romantic imagination: the complexity of forest warfare and the diversity of the combatants on both sides, colonial, European and Native; the majesty of the geographic setting, especially the lakes, mountains and defiles of upstate New York; the ridiculous melodrama of the culminating battle at Quebec, with a wee-hours cliff-scaling that led to a decisive showdown in which both commanders were mortally wounded, James Wolfe in victory and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm in defeat.