27 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.

Mitigating the risk of a China–India conflict

Arzan Tarapore

More than a year has passed since Chinese troops began to occupy previously Indian-controlled territory on their disputed border in Ladakh. The crisis has cooled and settled into a stalemate. This report warns that it could escalate again, and flare into a conflict with region-wide implications.

The report assesses the risk of conflict by analysing its likelihood and consequences. A possible war would be costly for both India and China. But a possible war could also risk stirring Indian distrust of its new partners, especially in the Quad – Australia, Japan, and the United States. The report outlines some conditions under which a war would disrupt or dampen those developing partnerships.

The report concludes by offering a framework for policymakers to shape India’s expectations and the strategic environment before and during a possible war

A ‘Life and Death Fight’ Against the Taliban in Central Afghanistan

Lynne O’Donnell

BAMIYAN, Afghanistan—The fight back against a vicious Taliban advance appears to be taking hold in the country’s remote central highlands, where armed residents have joined security forces to defend themselves and their property against insurgent assaults.

Most of the early successes in resisting and repelling the insurgents have been in districts in the region known as Hazarajat, the part of Afghanistan to the west and southwest of Kabul where the minority Hazara people predominate, including Bamiyan province. Bamiyan is known for the 1,500-year-old Buddha statues that were destroyed by the Taliban months before the 9/11 attacks and subsequent U.S. invasion. Districts taken over by Taliban fighters in the neighboring provinces of Ghor, Samangan, Daikundi, and Ghazni have been returned to government control in the past week, said Bamiyan’s provincial governor, Mohammad Tahir Zohair. Two districts in Bamiyan—Saighan and Kahmard—have also been retaken, he said.

A cooperative effort by police and local militias has pushed back the insurgents more than 60 miles from the districts around Bamiyan city, the provincial capital, according to Zohair and militia and police leaders on the front lines. The wins could provide a much-needed morale boost at a crucial time in the battle to turn back a Taliban tsunami that has traumatized the country. In recent months, the insurgents have overrun districts and border points, surrounded cities, disrupted fuel and food supplies, cut off military logistical support, and forced numerous Afghan army and police units into retreat and surrender.

5 reasons the West lost in Afghanistan


As NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by 11 September 2021 in the face of a Taliban surge, a question remains unanswered: Why did the international intervenors fail in their mission to bring stability to Afghanistan?

The Western withdrawal from Afghanistan has gone hand in hand with a narrative of defeat, repeated so often it’s in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Five reasons stand out to explain why the West has failed in its mission:

The West’s best wasn’t good enough: The lives of 3500 international troops plus an estimated 200,000 Afghans has not been sufficient to turn the tide against a highly motivated Taliban. This should not obscure the failure to accept from the outset that this was a strategic undertaking involving more than the toppling of the Taliban as the host of Al-Qaeda, leading to the failure to resource the mission accordingly.

Who Wants the Peace of the Graveyard?

MJ Akbar

THE QISSA KHWANI BAZAAR in Peshawar is one of those urban oases which sidestep progress in favour of romance. It has been a resthouse for travellers laden with stories from Central Asia and the great silk routes, their tales woven into the deep blue of summer twilights as hashish smoke curled away from pipes.

The bazaar seemed comfortably ensconced in the 19th century when I first visited Peshawar more than three decades ago. I wonder if it has changed. Perhaps the majestic Kabuli Gate, which towered over the bazaar, has been painted in some pseudo-modern hue, and little rooms with plastic furniture have replaced shops full of nature’s yield: fruit, food, spices, and dresses made from the earth’s cotton. I had gone to report on refugees who had fled from Afghanistan during the great war between the Soviet army and the Afghan resistance, known as the mujahideen. Refugees lived in a sprawling city of tents across open fields. The fighters had sleeping space in low brick buildings, along with their mid-level commanders.

Pakistan Sees Surge in Silencing of Mainstream and Social Media

Waleed Tariq

Pakistani authorities sent a record 417 content removal requests to Twitter in the second half of 2020 – almost double that in the previous reporting period – the social media site said, as the country is set to roll out strict new rules for tech firms.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said legal demands made by the Pakistani government to remove or withhold content shot up 73 percent compared to the first six months of 2020. Between January and June of 2020, the company received 241 legal demands for removal of content from Pakistan.

Legal demands include a combination of court orders and other formal demands to remove content, from both governmental entities and lawyers representing individuals. Three demands were made through court orders, and Twitter said it complied with 41 percent of the total demands.

Central Asia Braces for Fallout of U.S. Pullout From Afghanistan

Amy Mackinnon

In 1991, when the Soviet Union shattered, 15 countries emerged from the wreckage. Amid a slew of global crises that preoccupied Washington in 1990s, from Rwanda to the Balkans, the newly independent states of Central Asia never rose high up the list of U.S. foreign-policy concerns and continued to be largely viewed through the wider context of relations with Russia.

That all changed when the United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001. Central Asia became an important pillar in the military and logistical networks set up to support the war and to U.S. efforts to cauterize transnational terrorist networks.

“If we were looking at Central Asia through a Russia prism in the 1990s, it very much becomes an Afghanistan prism in the 2000s,” said Brianne Todd, assistant professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

Now, as the United States winds down operations in Afghanistan after almost 20 years of war, Central Asia is positioned to play a key role in the Biden administration’s efforts to contain the fallout of the withdrawal, as the Taliban have beat a hasty path through northern Afghanistan, making unprecedented territorial gains and seizing some two-thirds of the country’s porous and lengthy border with Tajikistan to the north.

Pakistan, Quo Vadis?

Dr. James M. Dorsey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Pakistan’s place in the new world order is anybody’s guess. Recent policy moves suggest options that run the gamut from a state that emphasizes religion above all else to a country that forges a more balanced relationship with China and the US.

The prospective place of Pakistan—a populous, nuclear-armed country whose education system is partially anchored in rote learning and memorization of the Qur’an rather than science—in the new world order is likely to raise eyebrows in both Washington and Beijing.

Pakistan has long viewed its ties to China as an unassailable friendship and strategic partnership, but China has recently been exploring ways of charting a more independent course.

How Taiwan is trying to defend against a cyber 'World War III'

Eric Cheung, Will Ripley and Gladys Tsai

Taipei, Taiwan (CNN Business)As China steps up military pressure on Taiwan, the self-governing island is preparing for the next big frontier of warfare: crippling cyberattacks.
Taiwan's head of cybersecurity told CNN Business this month that it is using dramatic measures to guard against technological vulnerabilities — including employing roughly two dozen computer experts to deliberately attack the government's systems and help it defend against what Taiwanese authorities estimate are some 20 million to 40 million cyberattacks every month.
Taiwan says it has been able to defend against the overwhelming majority of attacks. Successful breaches number in the hundreds, while only a handful are what the government classifies as "serious."

But the enormous number — and where Taiwan thinks they're coming from — has compelled the government to take the issue seriously, according to Chien Hung-wei, head of Taiwan's Department of Cyber Security.

Prepare Now for War in the Pacific

Congressman Michael Gallagher (R-Wisconsin)

When I served in the Marine Corps, I spent most of my time as far away from ships as possible in the middle of the Iraqi desert and as a Middle East expert. In what might have been the only successful pivot in recent U.S. foreign policy, since entering Congress, I have dedicated much of my focus to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.

Since coming to Congress, I have spent a good deal of time speaking and writing on naval topics. I’ve had the privilege of speaking to the Surface Navy Association, CSIS, and the Naval Institute, and writing for War On the Rocks, for example. In these conversations, I have come to realize that we can no longer afford just to preach to the sea power “choir.” As Admiral Phil Davidson, the former Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, recently warned, we may have six years or less before the People’s Republic of China (PRC) takes action against Taiwan. Some have taken to calling this the “Davidson window.” Other senior leaders, including Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday and Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger, agree with his assessment. Think about that for a minute. The United States may only have a few years to prepare for a war that could decide the course of the remainder of this century.

Chinese Airfields In And Around Tibet: A Geographical Overview

Venu Gopal Narayanan

There’s a lot happening in the Indian subcontinent presently. Much of it has to do with China, one way or another.

In Nepal, the Communist government of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli splintered recently, forcing him to vacate his post; the root cause was a needless, overt edging towards Beijing by these Maoists.

The Chinese are constructing military barracks in the Chumbi Valley as if to formally counter the red line India drew during the Doklam standoff there in 2017 (this narrow valley runs north from our Chicken’s Neck at Siliguri, between Sikkim and Bhutan, onto the Tibetan plateau).

The Americans have abruptly vacated Afghanistan after a decades-long war against Islamist terror groups, which achieved no material political objectives. That space is being swiftly filled by the Pakistan-promoted Taliban, who now control the bulk of the country. Analysts fear that the Chinese might ride into the Hindu Kush on the coattails of Islamabad to make strategic gains.

What China’s Vast New Cybersecurity Center Tells Us About Beijing’s Ambitions


China—the country that has stolen billions of dollars in intellectual property and pilfered millions of records from U.S. government agencies, insurance companies, and credit-reporting giants’ records—is just getting started on its plans to become a “cyber powerhouse” (网络强国). Since 2017, it has been building a National Cybersecurity Center (国家网安基地, NCC) as big as its ambitions: a 15-square-mile campus in Wuhan that will serve as school, research lab, incubator, and talent cultivator.

A new report by Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), together with an interactive map of satellite photos, examines the NCC — formally, the National Cybersecurity Talent and Innovation Base (国家网络安全人才与创新基地). The site includes seven centers for research, talent cultivation, and entrepreneurship; two government-focused laboratories; and a National Cybersecurity School.

China Risks Being Pulled Into Afghanistan’s Civil War

Ben Vagle and Chris Rice

On July 2nd, 2021, American troops abandoned Bagram Airbase, the last U.S. military base in Afghanistan, effectively ending 20 years of U.S. military influence in the country. Clearly, the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Afghanistan represents a major shift in U.S. foreign policy and has profound implications for the Afghan people. However, the U.S. withdrawal also creates a precarious regional situation for China. As Afghanistan descends into chaos, China risks being the latest power to be pulled into the country.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has intensified the civil war between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which has caused substantial anxiety amongst Chinese policymakers. This concern can be traced to two reasons: First, Afghanistan is an appealing target for Chinese investment. Already, China has invested billions of dollars into the infrastructure of countries surrounding Afghanistan through its massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Afghanistan—due to its strategic location along the land route from China to the Middle East and Europe—has long been an appealing target for Chinese development. Afghanistan also has an abundance of resources such as gold, platinum, silver, lithium, and aluminum, which China’s vaunted mining industry would be well-poised to develop.

The Dangers of Decoupling


BOSTON – The Chinese government’s crackdown on Alibaba last year, and on the ride-hailing company Didi this month, has generated fevered speculation about the future of that country’s tech industry. Some view the recent Chinese regulatory interventions as part of a justifiable trend paralleling US authorities’ own intensifying scrutiny of Big Tech. Others see it as a play for control of data that might otherwise be exploited by Western countries. And still others, more plausibly, see it as a shot across the bow to remind big Chinese companies that the Communist Party of China is still in charge.

But, most consequentially, the Chinese government’s actions are part of a broader effort to decouple China from the United States – a development that could have grave global implications. Despite steady deterioration in Sino-American economic and strategic relations, few thought the rivalry would turn into a Cold War-style geopolitical confrontation. For a time, the US was overly dependent on China, and the two economies were too closely intertwined. Now, we may be heading toward a fundamentally different equilibrium.

A China for the Han


The CCP’s brutal 21st-century settler colonialism
On May 27, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced that it had discovered the remains of 215 children in an unmarked mass grave on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada. In early June, remains of an additional 715 people were found at another former residential school in Saskatchewan. Residential schools were among the most shameful and brutal aspects of Canadian forced-assimilation policies, and the First Nations had long contended that thousands of native children who were sent to these schools had disappeared — presumed dead from abuse and neglect.

These discoveries were met with shock and outrage not only across Canada but also in other countries where First Nations and indigenous populations had been subjected to similarly brutal “civilizing” policies. Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations called the Kamloops discovery “a national tragedy,” and it was treated as such. The Canadian, British Columbian, and Saskatchewan governments expressed their deep sorrow, and Canadians of all backgrounds were again confronted with the grim legacy of how these forced-assimilation policies had prompted horrific abuses. The First Nations and Canadian authorities pledged to work together to continue investigating the fate of missing indigenous children, building on decades of work that has included a truth-and-reconciliation council and other officially backed efforts at recognition and restorative justice.

Machiavelli and our Wars in the Middle East

Chad M. Pillai

The upcoming twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks and the recent passing of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld require thoughtful attention as the nation completes its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending the longest war in U.S. history. The war in Afghanistan and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Syria have shaped my generation's cultural image, similar to the Vietnam War's generation. In both instances, the U.S. entered the wars believing its martial superiority ensured victory and ended each war wondering what went wrong.

The political, strategic, and emotional rationale for the war in Afghanistan was logically tied to the heinous attacks on September 11th. The world watched as Al Qaeda hijacked commercial airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and one that crashed in Pennsylvania when the passengers revolted. Shortly after the attack, President George W. Bush spoke with first responders at ground zero in New York. He announced, "the world will hear all of us soon!" Within weeks, the CIA and U.S. Special Operations spearheaded our response in Afghanistan that led to the U.S. overthrowing the Taliban government and the displacement of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. The rapid victories represented by the famous "Horse Soldiers" of the 5th Special Forces Group highlighted the nation's martial superiority. They gave strategic leaders like former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the confidence needed to expand the global war on terrorism to Iraq.

Biden’s Dangerous Doctrine

Jonathan Tepperman

Six months into U.S. President Joe Biden’s term, the race is already on to identify a Biden Doctrine: an organizing principle that can explain the president’s overarching foreign policy. In the last few weeks, several pundits have zeroed in on the global contest between democracies and autocracies—and, more specifically, on America’s intensifying showdown with China. As Hal Brands, Thomas Wright, and others have rightly pointed out, only that struggle can explain and link together the administration’s various foreign-policy moves and pronouncements: its emphasis on serving the U.S. middle class, on cooperation among democracies, on defending human rights, on boosting U.S. competitiveness through investment in infrastructure and research and development, and on trade protectionism and industrial policy.

Biden’s choice of target is no surprise. China is the closest thing to a peer competitor the United States has faced in 30 years. It’s led by an increasingly abusive, aggressive, and tyrannical regime. China’s actions, in manufacturing, technology, trade, or cybersecurity, directly affect millions of Americans every day, in a way you can’t say about Russia or any other country. So Biden’s decision to confront Beijing and make that confrontation central to his foreign policy makes political sense.

Biden at Six Months: How Successful Is His Foreign Policy?

Kevin Rudd

When U.S. President Joe Biden entered office, some in Beijing assumed the new administration would move quickly to “reset” U.S.-China relations, scale back trade tariffs, and reduce sanctions imposed over the course of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. They were soon disappointed.

The Biden administration’s Asia policy team rejected Chinese invitations to resume a high-level strategic dialogue and retained virtually the entire sweep of Trump-era restrictions. At the same time, the White House has been driving a comprehensive review of U.S.-China strategy spanning the full spectrum of diplomatic, security, trade, and technology policy. That review should be completed in the fall.

But at the broadest level, the Biden administration has accepted that the concept of “strategic competition”—embraced by the Trump administration—remains the defining framework for the relationship. But within this approach, the Biden team has sought to restabilize the relationship and channel competition into precise forms rather than continue the roller coaster ride of the previous four years. This effort is best summarized by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that the U.S. approach toward Beijing aims to be “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be.”

US Wants To Reclaim Critical Rare Earth Supply Chain


On July 7, Energy Fuels Inc. made its first regular shipment of a rare earth carbonate called monazite from the United States to Europe.

The metal started in a mine in southern Georgia, then was shipped to a Utah processing plant and finally to a rare earth elements separation facility in Estonia.

The 20-ton shipment created a new U.S.-to-Europe rare earth supply chain, and is one of only two current U.S. operations producing and selling processed rare earth metals.

"We didn't even know we had a role to play in the industry until probably a year and a half ago," Curtis Moore, vice president of marketing and corporate development for Energy Fuels, told FreightWaves.

The Hacking War Is an Unequal Contest

Michael Hirsh

The hacking of Microsoft servers by rogue actors linked to Beijing and other recent cyberattacks have led U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to redouble its efforts to forge closer cooperation between the government and private industries to build cyber defenses. But Big Tech is resisting.

Why? As always, U.S. companies don’t want to be seen as instruments of the U.S. government, even when it’s clear the Chinese and Russian governments are deploying their own networks of companies to mount constant hacking operations against U.S. corporations. That makes the hacking war an unequal contest, for now, because many of those U.S. companies are individually vulnerable. Most operate without sophisticated defenses or expert direction from U.S. Cyber Command and other government agencies.

With the Microsoft breach, “we’re looking at a wall with 10,000 other vulnerabilities we can’t yet see, and we’re just patching hole number 57,” said cybersecurity expert Edward Amoroso, the former chief security officer for AT&T.

Cyberwar: How Nations Attack Without Bullets or Bombs

Jordan Robertsonand, Laurence Arnold

Russia, Iran, China and the U.S. are among the world’s leading practitioners of cyberwarfare -- state-on-state hacking to gain strategic or military advantage by disrupting or destroying data or physical infrastructure. Unlike combat with bullets and bombs, cyberwarfare is waged almost entirely with stealth and subterfuge, so it’s hard to know when and where it’s occurring, or whether full-scale cyberwar is on the horizon.

1. What are the hallmarks of cyberwarfare?

A cyberattack that disables essential services, such as telecommunications or electricity, might raise suspicions that a state or its proxies was behind it. So might the sheer scale of an attack, even if the direct target is private industry. Even disinformation campaigns, such as Russia’s targeting the 2016 U.S. president election, can be thought of as a softer but still damaging type of cyberwarfare. One incident that’s become public and is generally agreed to be an act of cyberwarfare was the so-called Stuxnet attack, which was discovered in 2010 and involved computer code that destroyed as many as 1,000 nuclear centrifuges in Iran. The New York Times reported that this was a joint operation between the U.S. and Israel code-named Olympic Games.

Governments Are Using Spyware on Citizens. Can They Be Stopped?


The Washington Post has started running an investigative series, called the Pegasus Project, that describes the expanded use of digital surveillance by governments worldwide. The reports expose how powerful software provided by the Israeli firm NSO Group has been used by states to hack into citizens’ smartphones, track their communications, and acquire incriminating information, sometimes as a prelude to assassination.

This is not a new story—for those of us who follow these issues closely, the proliferation of spyware has been an ongoing problem for years. But the Pegasus Project helps us better understand just how prevalent these practices are. Approximately 50,000 phone numbers appear on a surveillance hacking list containing business executives, human rights activists, journalists, politicians, and government officials. These individuals come from at least fifty countries.

While NSO Group insists that its products are primarily used by law enforcement for legitimate crime-fighting purposes, the information revealed by the newspaper’s investigation shows that NSO Group’s technology frequently targets individuals who have little to do with crime or terrorism. It has become clear that the human rights costs of NSO Group’s spyware far outweigh national security considerations.

Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism: Book Review

William Reber

Paolo Gerbaudo’s Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism is a fascinating and evocative book that is based on the author’s grass-roots experiences during the January 2011 uprising against Mubarak in Egypt, the May 2011 indignados protest in Spain, and the September 2011 Occupy Wall Street movements. He uses his findings to challenge techno-optimists, pessimists, and contemporary social movement mainstream theories. Gerbaudo, Director of the Centre for Digital Culture, argues that techno-theorists do not consider how the use of technology differs based on geography and culture. He contends in his theory of “choreography of assembly” that social media aids in setting the foundations of the nature and type of movement where “soft” leaders emerge within social media communication to guide the emotional and physical nature of a social movement.

Gerbaudo delivers a convincing argument that the use of social media before and during social movements amplifies an activists’ ability to emotionally and physically assemble under the direction of “soft leaders,” who guide online and physical movements. Utilizing his first-hand experience from the three national-level social movements and interviews with eighty participants, he coined the phrase “choreography of assembly”: which he defines as “a process of the symbolic construction of public space which facilitates and guides the physical assembling of a highly dispersed and individualized constituency.” (pg.5) In other words, Gerbaudo asserts that social media communication takes on its own form, which can “lead” or compel individuals to assemble without having one discernible leader. For the uprising against Mubarak in Egypt, Gerbaudo emphasizes Facebook’s contribution to the initial mobilization and its decline as face-to-face communication became more influential. For the indignados protest in Spain, he stresses social media's role as recruitment, mobilization, and sustainment tools to keep activists informed, focused, and physically engaged. Lastly, for the Occupy Wall Street movement, he underscores social media use as a secondary means of communication to build and sustain a common identity.

Germany Is in Shock. Its Politicians Are on Autopilot.

Anna Sauerbrey

BERLIN — Germany, unlike the United States, doesn’t really have a history of natural disasters. Blessed with a moderate climate and fortunate geography, the country knows little of hurricanes, strong earthquakes or heavy rain.

That changed last week: Floods, after exceptionally heavy rainfall, devastated parts of the country, affecting Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, too. Villages, roads, bridges and power lines were destroyed. At least 170 people are dead, and many are still missing. Hundreds have been injured and countless livelihoods lost.

The country is in shock. Images of people waiting on rooftops for help, cars tossed around like toys by the water and entire houses turned to rubble are seared into our minds. Nearly 20 years on from our last major flood, the conclusion is inescapable: Climate change is right here, right now, and it hurts.

Germany Reaches a Crossroads as Merkel Bows Out

James Lamond

Angela Merkel’s achievements are manifold, but Germany’s tough security challenges remain unresolved.

Last week, Angela Merkel came to Washington for what is likely her final visit to the White House as Chancellor of Germany. This was a historic, valedictory moment by any measure. After all, Chancellor Merkel is modern Germany’s longest-serving head of government, other than Helmut Kohl, not to mention the first woman, the first east German, and the first Ph.D. scientist to hold the position.

Merkel oversaw a particularly tumultuous period in U.S.-German relations. When she was first elected to office in 2005, the Iraq War and its fallout were only the most notable and most animating of the disagreements between the U.S. and Germany. There followed the 2008 financial crisis, when Merkel’s austerity agenda drove the response for the entire continent. Six years later, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine. In response, Merkel prodded the European Union (EU) to implement strong sanctions and pushed to recertify them every six months for years afterward. When the Syrian civil war triggered a migration crisis, Merkel made what was perhaps her most historic decision, allowing at least 1.25 million refugees into the country. The bilateral relationship between the United States and Germany also weathered a wiretapping scandal and the multiple indignities from President Donald Trump towards Chancellor Merkel over the years.

Infographic Of The Day: Top 50 Companies Proportion Of World GDP

As global GDP has grown over the last four decades, from $23.6 trillion in 1990 to $84.5 trillion in 2020, the proportional share of the world's top companies by market capitalization has grown over five-fold.

Sovereignty and Data Localization

Emily Wu

Executive Summary
Data localization policies impose obligations on businesses to store and process data locally, rather than in servers located overseas. The adoption of data localization laws has been increasing, driven by the fear that a nation’s sovereignty will be threatened by their inability to exert full control over data stored outside their borders. This is particularly relevant to the US given its dominance in many areas of the digital ecosystem including artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Unfortunately, data localization policies are causing more harm than good. They are ineffective at improving security, do little to simplify the regulatory landscape, and are causing economic harms to the markets where they are imposed. In order to move away from these policies, the fear of sovereignty dilution must be addressed by alternative means. This will be achieved most effectively by focusing on both technical concerns and value concerns.

Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs

No End in Sight: Understanding the Sino-Indian Border Dispute

Putting the Border Dispute in Historical Context

The Pakistan, India, and China Triangle: Pakistan's Place in the Sino-Indian Border Dispute

Tracing the Link between China's Concept of Sovereignty and Military Aggression

India-China Border Disputes and Strategic Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific

The China-India Water Dispute: The Potential for Escalation

China-India Broder Crisis

The Navy Needs a New Way to Write Software

Captains Scot Miller and Charles Deleot, U.S. Navy (Retired), and Manfred Koethe

According to the Consortium for Information and Software Quality (CISQ), in 2020 the United States wasted $2.08 trillion on bad software and its effects—nearly 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product! The naval services’ estimated budget for fiscal year 2021 is about $207 billion, suggesting the Sea Services may lose $20 billion in 2021 to the effects of bad software. If the Navy was wasting $20 billion per year in fuel, then command dismissals, inspector general investigations, and Congressional inquiries would follow.

The Navy’s response to this crisis has been to embrace and implement Development Secure Operations (DevSecOps). In a nutshell:

DevSecOps is an organizational software engineering culture and practice that aims at unifying software development (Dev), security (Sec) and operations (Ops). The main characteristic of DevSecOps is to automate, monitor, and apply security at all phases of the software lifecycle: plan, develop, build, test, release, deliver, deploy, operate, and monitor. In DevSecOps, testing and security are shifted to the left through automated unit, functional, integration, and security testing—this is a key DevSecOps differentiator since security and functional capabilities are tested and built simultaneously.