13 August 2021

Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

  Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

China’s Cyber-Influence Operations

  Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

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

Can the US Isolate the Taliban?

Catherine Putz

U.S Afghanistan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is once again in Doha to deal with the Taliban via their political office in Qatar. A media note from the U.S. State Department ahead of the trip stated that Khalilzad would engage various stakeholders, from countries of the region “and beyond” to multilateral organizations, and “press the Taliban to stop their military offensive and to negotiate a political settlement, which is the only path to stability and development in Afghanistan.”

In the past week, the Taliban have taken control of at least five provincial capitals in Afghanistan. Fighting continues over the capitals of Helmand, Kandahar, and Farah provinces, among others.

Per an Associated Press report on August 10, Khalilzad came with a warning, too: That “there was no point in pursuing victory on the battlefield because a military takeover of the capital of Kabul would guarantee [the Taliban] will be global pariahs.”


Asfandyar Mir

When the political officer of the US embassy in Islamabad met with top Taliban official Jalaluddin Haqqani in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi in May 1999, neither the US government nor Haqqani knew that it would be the last major exchange between the two parties before war between them would break out—a long, ongoing war in which Haqqani would emerge as one of America’s most significant nemeses. As per the US State Department’s declassified cable, the meeting opened with the American diplomat and Haqqani exchanging small talk under the watchful eyes of the Taliban leader’s armed guards. Stroking his long beard and adjusting his white turban, Haqqani engaged his American interlocutor pleasantly. He was willing, he said, to meet with US officials regularly but discreetly. And he fondly recalled the US assistance to Haqqani, among others, during the “jihad against the Soviets and the communists” in the 1980s.

Then the meeting turned to the main issue of interest to the US government: the status of the growing army of Arab militants in Afghanistan. Several months before the meeting, the United States had carried out cruise missile strikes on Haqqani’s compounds in eastern Afghanistan to target Arab militants who had plotted the near-simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The political officer told Haqqani that the US government wanted Osama bin Laden, the Saudi leader of the Arab militants, and his associates expelled from Afghanistan as they were behind the twin bombings in East Africa.

On Afghanistan’s Front Line, There Are No Good Choices

Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Fahim Abed

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — As the first chatter of gunfire began, a police unit tested its heavy machine gun. The gunner pointed the barrel in the vicinity of the Taliban front line and fired in an ear-shattering clap clap clap. Where the bullets landed was anyone’s guess.

The sun was just slipping behind the horizon and the call to prayer began to echo through Kandahar city. The police unit, embedded on the edge of a neighborhood made up of mostly tan, mud brick houses and low-slung shops, prepared for another long night.

At midnight, the 29-year-old police commander said, was when “the real game begins.”

Since the U.S. withdrawal began in May, the Taliban have captured more than half of Afghanistan’s 400-odd districts. And for the past month, Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan, has been under siege by Taliban fighters in what may be the most important fight for the country’s future so far.

As Afghan Cities Fall to Taliban, Brutal New Chapter Unfolds

Christina Goldbaum, Najim Rahim, Sharif Hassan and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban seized three Afghan cities on Sunday, including the commercial hub of Kunduz, officials said, escalating a sweeping offensive that has claimed five provincial capitals in three days and shown how little control the government has over the country without American military power to protect it.

Never before in 20 years of war had the Taliban directly assaulted more than one provincial capital at a time. Now, three fell on Sunday alone — Kunduz, Sar-i-Pul and Taliqan, all in the north — and even more populous cities are under siege, in a devastating setback for the Afghan government.

The fall of these cities is taking place just weeks before U.S. forces are set to complete a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, laying bare a difficult predicament for President Biden.

The Taliban Has a Military Solution for Afghanistan

Thomas Joscelyn
Source Link

As the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies wage jihad to conquer Afghanistan, the Biden administration clings to the fanciful idea that a negotiated settlement to the war is possible. On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price produced a short summary of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s most recent conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

As Ghani’s forces fight for their lives, this is what the U.S. government decided to say:

The Secretary and President Ghani emphasized the need to accelerate peace negotiations and achieve a political settlement that is inclusive, respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, allows the Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders, and prevents Afghan soil from being used to threaten the United States and its allies and partners.

In reality, there are no “peace negotiations.” The Taliban has no interest in a “political settlement,” other than one in which Kabul surrenders and the jihadists’ totalitarian Islamic emirate is resurrected. The Taliban certainly isn’t going to respect “the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities.” There is nothing in the group’s history or current behavior to indicate that is even remotely possible. Instead, the Taliban is waging a violent campaign against Afghanistan’s civil society, attempting to roll back the “rights” ordinary Afghans have enjoyed since the end of the Taliban’s authoritarian rule in late 2001. Nor is the Taliban going to allow the “Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders.” The jihadists reject any form of democracy, because it is anathema to them. And the Taliban remains closely allied with al-Qaeda, which continues to threaten the U.S.

China’s Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America

Lucie Kneip

As millions tuned in last month to watch Lionel Messi secure his first international trophy with Argentina in the Copa America final, flashy football was not the only thing illuminating the pitch. In stark capital letters, the word “SINOVAC” blazed across the perimeter advertising screens. The Chinese vaccine giant’s presence at South America’s biggest football tournament reflects the reality that China is taking a more active role in helping the region, while the United States stands on the sidelines.

Chinese vaccine diplomacy in Latin America has skyrocketed in recent months. In preparation for the Copa America tournament, Sinovac donated 50,000 vaccines to the South American football governing body CONMEBOL. Beijing is investing in vaccine diplomacy to enhance its regional soft power. It’s time for the United States to pay more attention to a region that it often takes for granted.

China’s Presence in Africa Is at Heart Political

Thierry Pairault

For all the talk of China’s growing presence in Africa, its economic engagement is surprisingly limited. In 2020, Africa accounted for 4 percent of China’s trade with the world (4.4 percent for its exports and 3.6 percent for its imports). In 2019, the continent accounted for just 2.9 percent of Chinese direct investment flows in the world. Since Africa is made up of 54 countries, 53 of which recognize Beijing, economic relations are even less important by country.

On the other hand, China accounted for 16.4 percent of Africa’s trade with the world in 2020 (12.8 percent for its exports and 19.2 percent for its imports), but there is no direct African investment flow to China. China was also the source of $153 billion in cumulative loans to African countries between 2000 and 2019.

China is clearly important to Africa, but Africa’s economic importance to China is very modest. So, what part does Africa play in China’s globalization strategy?

China’s CyberAI Talent Pipeline

Dakota Cary

To what extent does China’s cultivation of talent in cybersecurity and AI matter in terms of competitiveness with other countries? Right now, it seems to have an edge: China’s 11 World-Class Cybersecurity Schools offer more classes on artificial intelligence and machine learning than do the 20 U.S. universities certified as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. This policy brief recommends tracking 13 research grants from the National Science Foundation that attempt to integrate AI into cybersecurity curricula.

Executive Summary

China launched a government program to certify World-Class Cybersecurity Schools (WCCS; ) in 2017. The Ministry of Education and Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) have since awarded 11 universities the WCCS designation. Seven U.S. federal agencies, led by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cryptographic School at the National Security Agency, similarly certify qualifying U.S. universities as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in the areas of cyber defense, cyber research, and cyber operations. Receiving a CAE, or WCCS, certification allows a university to promote its program as a rigorous course of study. Students from these institutions can quickly receive recognition on a job application for obtaining an excellent education in cybersecurity. Both the U.S.-CAE and China-WCCS programs set standards of excellence for cybersecurity education and aim to bolster the talent pool for each nation’s respective cybersecurity sector.

China Isn’t Trying to Dominate the Middle East

Steven A. Cook and James Green

The last few years have witnessed a paradigm shift in U.S. foreign policy. The Middle East is no longer Washington’s top priority. Washington has significantly reduced the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to focus on only a small number of objectives in the region. As this retrenchment has proceeded, analysts, columnists, and elected leaders have warned that China is poised to take the United States’ place in a part of the world where Washington has long been dominant. In the Middle East as elsewhere, the argument goes, the United States must counter China’s military power, economic clout, and ideology at every turn, lest Beijing replace Washington as the preeminent global superpower.

Even as the United States pulls back from the Middle East, some in the U.S. foreign policy community believe that the region will be among the places where a so-called great-power competition between Washington and Beijing will play out. These analysts cite China’s investment in the area, its bilateral trade deals with regional powers, its military base in Djibouti, and Beijing’s increasingly close ties to Iran as evidence of new and dangerous threats

Chinese pressure sparks debate on Taiwan’s resilience

Guy Taylor

China’s expanding military provocations toward Taiwan have elevated concern among the United States and its allies that Beijing could be on the verge of using force against the island democracy, which China considers to be an integral part of its sovereign territory.

The pressure on Taiwan and other aggressive actions by the authoritarian communist government in China have also triggered debate over the extent to which the aggression might backfire by boosting Taiwan‘s strong pro-independence forces and prompting the U.S. and others to deliver more robust support for Taipei.

The Biden administration has made rhetorical overtures of support for Taiwan, but analysts say the U.S. is as wedded as ever to “One China.” Under the policy, Washington refuses to formally recognize Taiwanese independence but helps the island defend itself and leaves ambiguous what the U.S. military would do in a shooting war.

Palestinian Authority, Hamas divided on Iran

Ahmad Melhem

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Within just a few days, the Palestinian division became clearly evident. On July 11, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and the PLO’s Executive Committee, participated in the annual general conference of the Iranian Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) resistance group, during which he gave a speech via video conference stressing his support for the Iranian opposition and reiterating the strength of relations between the two sides.

Only a few weeks later, Hamas’ political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement Ziad al-Nakhla took part Aug. 5 in the inauguration ceremony of new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The participation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the inauguration ceremony of the Iranian president is based on strong public relations and punctuated by financial and military support provided by Iran to the resistance factions.

Digital Trade Must be Central to Biden’s ‘Pivot to Asia’

Linh Tong

On July 30, the White House released a statement announcing that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will pay a visit to Singapore and Vietnam this month. This makes Harris the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Asia and the first vice president ever to visit Hanoi. Although the White House has not specified either the exact dates or the specific agenda of the trip, it is expected to apply the final brushes of paint to Washington’s approach toward Southeast Asia, essentially defining the level of ASEAN centrality in Biden’s new-look “pivot to Asia.”

Harris’ visit follows a series of events – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent trip to Singapore, Vietnam, and Philippines; the second Mekong-U.S Partnership ministerial meeting; and the U.S.-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting – which have already covered defense partnerships, development support, and the regional/international challenges of COVID-19, climate change, human capital development, and the Myanmar crisis. Although the White House’s statement on Harris’ visit refers to these general topics of mutual interest, there are reasons to believe that this visit will deliver what previous ones failed to.

US deserves to be called world's biggest anti-pandemic failure, report says

Chinese think tanks jointly released a report on Monday to reveal the truth about US' fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, the first such kind to comprehensively show how the US ended up being a failed country in the battle against coronavirus and how it continues to prompt virus origins tracing terrorism in the world by evading questions and covering up the truth.

The report titled "The Truth about America's Fight against COVID-19" was jointly released by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China (RDCY), Taihe Think Tank and Intellisia Institute on Monday.

It analyzes five major aspects regarding US' failure in response to the pandemic, including its highly politicized partisanship, its anti-science and abnormal measures in the epidemic prevention and control; the growing social inequality exacerbated by the pandemic and its willful destruction of global resistance to the pandemic.

The NBA and the World’s America

Rishabh Chawda

Sport has often occupied the margins in the study of international relations. When it has been enquired upon, the realist perspective[1] has dominated: international sport was seen as another clash of billiard balls, and this clash was studied for its implication on diplomacy, security, military power, etc. (Budd and Levermore 2004: Introduction 8). In recent times, with an increase in the political, economic, and social influence of sport, there has been a diversification of sports actors due to the rise of domestic leagues and sports clubs. This trend urges us to look beyond the nation-state boundary when studying the intersection of sport and international relations. This paper aims to examine one such domestic sports league, the National Basketball Association, through the lens of mediascape[2] and uncover the tactics employed to project it as a global, superior, but American brand. The paper also unpacks the recent controversial interaction between China and the NBA that highlights its unique selling point.

NSA Awards Secret $10 Billion Contract to Amazon

Frank Konkel

The National Security Agency has awarded a secret cloud computing contract worth up to $10 billion to Amazon Web Services, Nextgov has learned.

The contract is already being challenged. Tech giant Microsoft filed a bid protest on July 21 with the Government Accountability Office two weeks after being notified by the NSA that it had selected AWS for the contract.

The contract’s code name is “WildandStormy,” according to protest filings, and it represents the second multibillion-dollar cloud contract the U.S. intelligence community—made up of 17 agencies, including the NSA—has awarded in the past year.

In November, the CIA awarded its C2E contract, potentially worth tens of billions of dollars, to five companies—AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM—that will compete for specific task orders for certain intelligence needs.

Afghanistan Withdrawal 'Compromises the Security of All Americans,' John Bolton Warns


John Bolton, a former U.S. national security advisor, has warned President Joe Biden that he faces one "last chance to reverse his and Trump's erroneous withdrawal policy" in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is resurgent.

Bolton, who served in Donald Trump's administration from April 2018 to September 2019, made his assessment after five regional capitals fell to the militants since Friday. Three of those—including the strategically important Kunduz, a city of more than 350,000 people—were taken within hours of each other on Sunday.

"In Afghanistan, the Taliban has seized three more provincial capitals," he tweeted later that day. "Right now -- is literally Biden's last chance to reverse his and Trump's erroneous withdrawal policy. When the Taliban wins, it compromises the security of all Americans."

Fighting has escalated in recent weeks since Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Central Asian country, a step soon followed by America's allies, before the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.

U.S. Restraint in the Middle East

Jon Alterman: Senator Chris Murphy is a second-term U.S. senator from Connecticut and chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2013, Senator Murphy served for three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in recent years he's established an impressive record as a thinker and writer on the Middle East. Senator Murphy, welcome to Babel.

Senator Chris Murphy: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Jon Alterman: You've spoken and written about how U.S. policies in the Middle East are tied to our past and not either to our present work or to our future. How would you define U.S. interests in the Middle East now and going forward? What should we decide that we really need to try to do something about?

Senator Chris Murphy: My primary worry is that we have not done a present assessment of the threats that are presented to the United States in the Middle East, nor our interests. We still believe it's 1985 when it is not. The Saudis and Emiratis cooperate with the United States on an awful lot, but they are acting very differently today than they were 30 years ago. They are acting contrary to our interest all over the region, and we should reorient our relationship with those countries so that we aren’t empowering their bad behavior.

Opinion: Wall Street is failing to protect American investors from the Chinese Communist Party

Josh Rogin

In the past month alone, the Chinese Communist Party has destroyed hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. investors’ wealth as a side effect of its widening crackdown on its own corporations. But the top Wall Street firms and regulators still won’t do what’s necessary to protect Americans from getting fleeced by Beijing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is dragging its feet on implementing a new law to kick opaque Chinese companies off U.S. exchanges, several GOP lawmakers claim. Meanwhile, leading Wall Street firms continue to funnel U.S. investor dollars to untrustworthy Chinese firms through various investment vehicles even as the risks continue to rise. Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges lost $400 billion in July alone, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the CCP expanded its regulatory attacks on various industries.

First, the Chinese authorities crushed China’s largest ride-share company, Didi Global, just days after Wall Street firms helped it raise over $4 billion in a U.S.-based IPO. Beijing then attacked its online gaming industry, decimating the value of tech giant Tencent, which along with three other of the biggest Chinese tech companies lost an estimated $344 billion of value last month. Then, Chinese officials banned all foreign investment in private tutoring, costing those companies tens of billions in market value.

The Huawei Moment

Alex Rubin, Alan Omar Loera Martinez, Jake Dow, Anna Puglisi

For the first time, a Chinese company—Huawei—is set to lead the global transition from one key national security infrastructure technology to the next. How did Washington, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, fail to protect U.S. firms in this strategic technology and allow a geopolitical competitor to take a leadership position in a national security relevant critical infrastructure such as telecommunications? This policy brief highlights the characteristics of 5G development that China leveraged, exploited, and supported to take the lead in this key technology. The Huawei case study is in some ways the canary in the coal mine for emerging technologies and an illustration of what can happen to U.S. competitiveness when China’s companies do not have to base decisions on market forces.

Crypto Regulation—Let's Begin and Begin Slowly | Opinion


Now that cryptocurrencies are flourishing, with tens of thousands of mainstream investors and blue-chip companies incorporating blockchain technology, policymakers are starting to talk more seriously about creating regulations to protect investors. I share their concerns for consumers who are being buffeted by volatile Bitcoin prices and fly-by-night crypto investment scams. At the same time, we need to be careful how much we regulate such a nascent market. We need some regulation to protect investors, but not so much as to stifle entrepreneurship, innovation and investment.

Like the internet in the early 1990s, the crypto sector is still in its infancy. We don't know what a flash-in-the-pan will be (Google Reader, anyone?) and what will become fundamental to our lives, like social media or the iPhone. Regulating too expansively would be like regulating the internet before we understood how online commerce was going to function in the world. Back in the early days of the internet, Congress could not have predicted the role that personal data mining and political disinformation would play, much less how to protect consumers against it. At the time, the industry was pushing for an open internet where anyone could put up a web page.

#Reviewing The 2021 Global Risks Report

Natasha Fernando

The Global Risks Report 2021 released by the World Economic Forum, is a collective effort by Marsh McLennan, SK Group, Zurich Insurance Group, National University of Singapore, Oxford Martin School, and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processing Center. A global risk is defined as “an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years.” The report is timely and covers a broad range of risks that pose a threat to international security and stability. This article reviews the relevance of the Global Risks Report to corporate and public sectors delving into the risks identified in the report, the methodology used to collect the data, and demographic profiling.

The report has three main parts: global risks, global risk response, and Covid-19 response. The report identifies 35 global risks which include:

A Climate of Catastrophe

The world awoke Monday after a logy August weekend to some alarming news: The climate Apocalypse is nigh, humanity is to blame, and unless the world remakes the global economy, havoc and death are inevitable. Repent of your sins all ye who enter here.

That’s only a mild overstatement of the media’s fire-and-brimstone accounts of the latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a collection of scientists and politicians who purport to offer the best evidence on climate change. Prepare for days of reading what a terrible person you are for using a natural gas stove.

The gargantuan report will take time to plow through, but a read of the 41-page “summary for policymakers” and perusal of the rest suggests that there is no good reason to sacrifice your life, or even your standard of living, to the climate gods. Hot rhetoric aside, the report doesn’t tell us much that’s new since its last report in 2013, and some of that is less dire.

Africa Is a Continent of Contradictions

It makes sense that a continent that is home to 54 countries and 1.2 billion people would also house a mass of contradictory developments. Africa features several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a burgeoning middle class. But much of the continent remains mired in debt, burdened by conflict, and beset by elites clinging to power. Now, although the human cost of the coronavirus pandemic has so far been less catastrophic than many feared, the unfair distribution of vaccines worldwide has left African populations vulnerable to a punishing second wave, even as the pandemic’s economic impact could undo much of the continent’s growth over the past two decades.

Even during the years when economies across Africa expanded, many people were driven to migrate—either within Africa or to Europe and even South America—because of humanitarian catastrophes or because economic opportunities were not coming fast enough for everyone. Those who remained behind at times succeeded in disrupting the status quo. Civilian-led reform movements toppled regimes in Algeria and Sudan in 2019, and recent examples of independent courts overturning fraudulent elections—as well as other signs of democratic institutions taking hold in previously corrupt or authoritarian states—offered hope for the health of democracy in Africa. Yet, a rash of recent elections marred by fraud and violence, including several involving incumbents seeking constitutionally dubious third terms, confirms that the phenomenon of long-ruling authoritarian leaders—known as “presidents for life”—remains a problem.

How to Tame Those Distracting Notifications on Your Computer

WHEN IT COMES to minimizing distractions during the day, we usually think of smartphone notifications: Those pings and buzzes that pull us out of whatever we were doing and demand we turn our attention to something new.

It's not just phones clamoring for our attention though, our laptops and desktop computers do it too. Depending on your office or home setup, you might find that Windows or macOS is even more distracting than your phone.

And those interruptions come with a cost. Every time we're distracted from the task at hand, productivity and concentration suffer, even if we don't look at the notification. Those pop-ups and pings mean you get less done in the same amount of time.

If you're ready to claim back some of those wasted minutes, here's how to go about it—and for the best results, you might want to turn off your phone while you work, too.

‘Climate change is going to cost us’: How the US military is preparing for harsher environments

Andrew Eversden

WASHINGTON — The aftermath of Hurricane Florence dumping 36 inches of rain on North Carolina in 2018 saw three Marine Corps installations flooded, costing taxpayers $3.6 billion in damage. A few weeks later, Hurricane Michael ripped through Tyndall Air Force Base, causing about $4.7 billion in damage at the Florida facility.

Then last year, leaders evacuated Travis Air Force Base in northern California due to nearby raging wildfires.

And today, Arctic Air Force bases hosting radar early warning systems and communication equipment are suffering coastal erosion, which is damaging seawalls, runways and infrastructure. Thawing permafrost and erosion threatens bases in the Arctic, damaging infrastructure. NASA tracks the extent of Arctic sea ice and estimates a declining 13.1 percent rate of change per decade.

“Climate change is going to cost us in resources and readiness,” Joe Bryan, senior climate adviser at the Pentagon, said during a July webinar. “The reality is that it already is.”

Popping signals intelligence vendor lock

While military collection networks process petabytes of intelligence daily, these systems might find it difficult keeping pace in the future because of vendor lock and closed systems. An open-systems architecture approach could improve the military’s ability to meet future signals intelligence data needs.

Each day military collection networks process petabytes of intelligence data from global sensors. While they’re fulfilling today’s demand, these critical systems may struggle to keep pace with expected future collection growth because of the limitations driven through vendor lock and closed systems.

An open-systems architecture approach could significantly improve the U.S. military’s ability to overcome its data processing challenges when it comes to signals intelligence, commonly known as SIGINT.

The Afghanistan Intervention: A Predictable Disaster

Kenneth Maxwell

In October 6th, 2001, l wrote a column for the pioneering Brazilian website “NO: Notícia e opinião.”

It was shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. I was living in New York City at the time. President George W. Bush had by then already initiated the American intervention in Afghanistan where the Taliban ruled and had harbored the principal bases of Al-Qaida and Osama Bin-Laden, the Saudi Arabian mastermind of the 9/11 plot.

My column was entitled “Trap and Blank Check” (“armadilha e cheque em branco”).

It recalled the disasters of earlier foreign interventions in Afghanistan, and in particular the First Afghan War between 1839 and 1842. The British general Sir John Keane had led a 20,000 strong Anglo-Indian “Army of the Indus” into Afghanistan with catastrophic consequences.

How will the Pentagon close the homeland missile defense gap?

Jen Judson

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is examining the possibility of building a layered ballistic missile defense architecture for the homeland that would bolster the current ground-based system in Alaska, all while a next-generation capability is developed and fielded.

The MDA featured its plan in its fiscal 2021 budget request, but there isn’t much of a strategy laid out in its fiscal 2022 funding picture. And so lawmakers want answers before turning on the funding spigot.

Developing such an architecture, even though it would use mostly proven systems, has many hurdles, as MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said last year.

The plan would include establishing layers of defensive capability relying on the Aegis Weapon System, particularly the SM-3 Block IIA missiles used in the system, and a possible Aegis Ashore system in Hawaii. The underlay would also include the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.