1 October 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


The Deterrence Theory was developed in the 1950s, mainly to address new strategic challenges posed by nuclear weapons from the Cold War nuclear scenario. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a survivable nuclear force to present a ‘credible’ deterrent that maintained the ‘uncertainty’ inherent in a strategic balance as understood through the accepted theories of major theorists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, and Thomas Schelling.1 Nuclear deterrence was the art of convincing the enemy not to take a specific action by threatening it with an extreme punishment or an unacceptable failure.

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.

What the Taliban Takeover Means for Food Security in Afghanistan

Jamie Lutz and JacobKurtzer

There is widespread concern within Afghanistan and the international community about how to help Afghan people access food. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced that millions of people could run out of food before the end of the year as winter sets in, adding to the 12.2 million Afghans who are already facing acute hunger and prompting debates on how the international community should respond. To adequately address the growing and acute needs of Afghans, the U.S. government and the international community should remove bureaucratic red tape and refrain from politicizing aid to avoid exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Q1: What was the state of food security in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban takeover?

A1: Afghanistan is experiencing some of the worst food insecurity in the world. The 2020 Global Hunger Index ranked Afghanistan 99th out of 107 countries evaluated. According to the WFP, roughly one-third of Afghanistan’s population was food insecure earlier this year. Due to long-standing economic and security challenges, major droughts, and floods in recent years, hunger in Afghanistan has increased substantially since 2014. More than five million people per year have relied on emergency food aid during this period.

Lessons Learned From Afghanistan: Gen. Mark Milley


WASHINGTON: The Afghan war’s end. It’s harmed relations with America’s allies, who wonder if they can rely on the US as much as they want to. It’s delighted China, which trumpets how America had to withdraw from Afghanistan. It’s given tremendous heartache to veterans, who lost friends and gave so much of themselves to serve. It’s driven Afghans who believed in a democratic state where women could be treated as free human beings to risk their lives to flee to other lands.

Few would disagree that America’s attempt to build a new Afghanistan ended badly, so what lessons did America’s top military leaders learn? What will shape Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley’s — and their successors’ — actions and policies over their terms?

This story is not going to deal with the partisan attacks and defenses that took up much of today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, since readers can find those elsewhere. It’s time to look ahead to the next conflict, because it will occur sooner than anyone wants it to.

Austin, Milley Say White House Was Advised to Keep US Troops in Afghanistan


At a hearing of the Senate Armed Service Committee, members on both sides of the aisle had pointed questions about the evacuation and the longer-term mistakes, and the hearing was the first time that both Milley and U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie were able to publicly state that they had wanted to keep as many as 2,500 U.S. forces in Afghanistan post-withdrawal.

Last month, Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that none of the commanders had advised him to leave a small troop presence in Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Milley testified that commanders’ concerns — that a full withdrawal could hasten Taliban takeover—were conveyed to the Biden White House in the months leading up to the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.

Iran and Pakistan: Bilateral Bonding Over the Taliban

Umair Jamal

Afghanistan is undergoing a significant and fundamental strategic change in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

In the last few weeks, Iran and Pakistan have had a flurry of meetings to discuss Afghanistan’s future amid the emerging situation. Arguably, Pakistan and Iran’s roles in Afghanistan have become pivotal to prevent another civil war among different ethnic and ideological factions.

In the past, Iran and Pakistan have supported different factions in Afghanistan in a bid to preserve their influence and interests. During the 1990s, Iran supported and armed the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. In 1998, Taliban killed at least eight Iranian diplomats and correspondents in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan in retaliation for Tehran’s support to its foes.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has actively supported Taliban for decades. Pakistan was among the three countries that recognized the group’s previous regime. This time around too, Islamabad is actively pushing the international community to work with the current Taliban regime.

The Afghanistan Debacle: 5G And China


How will the ripples from the Afghanistan debacle affect American policy on China? One potential metric will be the number of states that choose to welcome China’s Huawei into their 5G environments. With Washington demonstrating little competency or reliability, Beijing is likely to press countries to include Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications corporations in their 5G networks, lest they alienate Beijing. Should European and other states quietly reverse their previous positions, and choose to allow Beijing in, the ultimate price for the Afghan failure may reverberate for years to come.

Amidst the terrible news coming out of Afghanistan over the past weeks was a little noticed announcement that came out after Secretary of State Antony Blinken approached his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in late August. Even the bland American statement makes it clear that the United States was approaching the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to seek its assistance:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with PRC State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the importance of the international community holding the Taliban accountable for the public commitments they have made regarding the safe passage and freedom to travel for Afghans and foreign nationals.

Why China crushed its tech giants

China's ban on all cryptocurrency transactions, announced on Friday, is just the latest of a series of bombshells that over just one year have profoundly reshaped the country's technological landscape. It is not only bitcoin miners, crypto-traders, or video gamers that have suddenly found themselves in Beijing's crosshairs. By and large it is China's largest internet platforms that have been feeling the heat. One after another, tech giants like Ant, Meituan, and Didi have been targets of antitrust probes. This has intersected with a tightening of data protection regulation, which is seen as a national security issue, and a general drive to curb capitalist excess. Ride-hailing firm Didi, for instance, hasn’t just come under antitrust scrutiny: two days after its New York IPO in June, it was forced to stop accepting new users while regulators investigated suspicions it might leak user data to the US.

Just a few years ago, China’s technology companies used to seem immune to regulation. Their CEOs were idolised. Almost every STEM student in China wanted to work in consumer tech, not hardware. The government favoured these companies, which never would have gotten so big without it. They were allowed to grow in a nurturing policy environment with no competition from overseas tech giants, enjoying what Tiffany Wong, a consultant at China-focused research firm Sinolytics, calls an “experimental Wild West period of growth”.

China Is Borrowing a Page From Russia’s Disinformation Playbook

Emily Taylor

In the pantheon of state-led cyber operations, Russia has historically led when it comes to disinformation and sowing the seeds of social discord, while China was traditionally associated with intellectual property theft. There are signs that is changing, though, with China reportedly stepping up its disinformation campaigns on social media.

Earlier this month, Mandiant Threat Intelligence reported two significant advances in online influence campaigns in support of the People’s Republic of China—one involving the use of accounts in multiple languages across many different social media platforms, and the other involving attempts to physically mobilize protests on the ground, on topics ranging from Hong Kong to COVID-19 conspiracy theories and even support for Scottish independence. ..

It’s China, Stupid


It is rare that foreign policy plays a dominant role in electoral politics on either side of the Atlantic. Typically, it is overshadowed by topics like jobs, the economy, and so-called “kitchen-table issues” that motivate the electorate. After all, “It’s the economy, stupid,” as James Carville famously said. The exception is when one single foreign policy issue rises above the rest in a way that affects the daily lives of citizens, such as terrorism did after Sept. 11, 2001.

The next exception should be China.

Across the West, public awareness and opinion about China is changing fast, but because foreign policy rarely decides elections, this change has affected electoral politics less than one might have expected. And the politics are changing at different rates in different places.

The European public has grown increasingly skeptical of China, with views steadily worsening due to Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, aggressive wolf-warrior diplomacy, sanctions on European organizations and researchers, and its lack of transparency regarding COVID-19. Germans hold these negative views to an even greater degree than many of their neighbors. In an August poll, 58 percent of German voters supported a stronger posture towards China even if it affects economic relations. In addition, 52 percent believe that the EU should strongly criticize China’s human rights violations.

To Get Back Arrested Executive, China Uses a Hardball Tactic: Seizing Foreigners

Chris Buckley and Katie Benner

In a rapid-fire climax to a 1,030-day standoff, China welcomed home a company executive whose arrest in Canada and possible extradition to the United States made her a focus of superpower friction. In getting her back, Beijing brandished a formidable political tool: using detained foreign citizens as bargaining chips in disputes with other countries.

The executive, Meng Wanzhou, landed in China on Saturday night local time to a public that widely sees her as a victim of arrogant American overreach. By the same turn, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians detained by Chinese officials just days after Ms. Meng had been arrested, were released and arrived in Canada.

The exchange resolves one of the festering disputes that have brought tensions between Washington and Beijing to their worst point in decades. But it will likely do little to resolve deeper issues including human rights, a sweeping clampdown in Hong Kong, cyberespionage, China’s threats to use force against Taiwan, and fears in Beijing that the United States will never accept China’s rise.

To Deter China, Relearn The Lost Art of Dissuasion


In its upcoming defense strategy, the Biden administration will attempt to balance challenges from an increasingly capable Chinese military against fiscal constraints imposed by other domestic spending and rising fears of inflation. Congressional authorizers are correct that defense budgets can be higher, but short of continuous wartime mobilization, the U.S. military may soon be unable to prevent Beijing from overpowering neighbors like Taiwan. Chinese leaders are also unlikely to believe the United States would launch nuclear weapons in response to conventional attacks against overseas U.S. territory or allies. The Pentagon’s strategy will therefore need a more sophisticated approach to deterring war than simply threatening denial or punishment.

Strategists have long argued that the United States could dissuade potential adversaries through a combination of raising the costs of aggression, increasing opponents’ uncertainty about their plans, and reducing the potential benefits by making targets less attractive or threatening economic, political, or military repercussions. During the 1950s, this orchestration of efforts was often reframed as deterrence, with the emphasis on nuclear retaliation increasing when NATO forces fell behind their Warsaw Pact counterparts.

The PLA’s New Generals: Security Implications

Ying-Yu Lin

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) promoted yet another four senior officers to the rank of general or admiral in early September. That this most recent round of promotions happened in such a short timeframe – just a couple of months after the last promotions – should be understood as part of the preparations for the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), slated for the fall of 2022.

Incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping, whether he seeks a third term in office or just tries to maintain his political influence behind the scenes, must have been inspired by previous leader Jiang Zemin, who set a precedent by promoting quite a few generals to higher ranks during his remaining days in office. That move had the effect of helping Jiang keep the Central Military Commission (CMC) under his control even after he was no longer in power.

Whether the same thing will happen again during Xi’s likely third term is worthy of note. Whoever controls the military will gain political domination. The CCP, after all, still strongly believes in Mao Zedong’s famous saying: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Will AUKUS Hit China Where It Hurts?

Emma Ashford

Matthew Kroenig: Hi, Emma! I hope you are enjoying the first few days of autumn.

Hey, I have a question for you. I was invited to a small group dinner with France’s ambassador last Wednesday and it was canceled at the last minute. Any idea why he was unavailable?

Emma Ashford: Good morning, Matt! I hate to be the bearer of bad news for Washington’s think tank community, but it looks like the French won’t be hosting gourmet dinners or elegant soirees at the embassy anytime soon. They’re pretty angry at the United States, and it’s all the result of AUKUS.

MK: We really should avoid offending countries that are so good at entertaining.

But, of course, that’s the reason. For those who haven’t been paying attention, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia announced a big, new strategic partnership that includes selling multiple nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. As a result, Australia canceled a preexisting submarine deal with France. France is upset and has recalled its ambassadors to both Canberra and Washington. Fortunately, U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone earlier this week, so there is hope for healing the rift in the relationship—and for future soirees.

Iranian Membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Motivations and Implications

Nicole Grajewski

On September 16, Iran’s newly inaugurated President Ebrahim Raisi will embark on his first foreign trip to attend the twentieth-anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan. Russian special envoy for SCO affairs Bakhtiyor Khakimov has indicated that a major item on the agenda will be moving forward with Tehran’s longstanding application for full membership—an initiative that may proceed despite the notable absence of leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both of whom are isolating due to COVID-19. Although the direct benefits of this decision would be modest for Iran, the news still represents a major diplomatic victory for Raisi at a time when his government faces pressing questions over stalled nuclear talks in Vienna, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and the perpetual challenge of regime survival.

Iran’s Long Road to Membership

The SCO grew out of the “Shanghai Five” format, which involved a series of meetings in 1996-1997 over border issues between China and its neighboring Soviet successor states Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001, Uzbekistan joined them to formally establish the SCO, broadening the bloc’s scope to encompass economic, cultural, and security cooperation aimed at combating what Beijing describes as the “three evils”: terrorism, separatism, and extremism.

Report: Putin Suggested US Use Russian Bases in Central Asia

Catherine Putz

New reporting from the Wall Street Journal suggests that in June, when U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva, even as Russia was cautioning Central Asian states against hosting U.S. forces the Russian president aired the possibility of hosting U.S. forces at Russian bases in the region. The problem is that it’s not at all clear if it was a serious offer.

According to a new Wall Street Journal report, last week U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley discussed the offer with his Russian counterpart, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, when the two met in Helsinki.

The WSJ cites the Russian newspaper Kommersant and U.S. officials in reporting that Putin “floated the idea of hosting U.S. military personnel on Russian bases” in his June meeting with Biden. According to the WSJ, staff on the U.S. National Security Committee were not certain if the offer was genuine and asked “Milley to clarify whether Mr. Putin was simply making a debating point or was hinting at a serious offer.”

Venezuela’s Endless Crisis

Moisés Naím and Francisco Toro

For a glimpse into Venezuela’s future, look at Arauquita, a remote Colombian border town of about 5,000 people. In May, thousands of bedraggled Venezuelan refugees from neighboring Apure State started arriving in Arauquita with grim stories of aerial bombings and house-to-house searches by Venezuelan soldiers. A tiny war had broken out in the region, pitting the army loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro against the Tenth Front—a dissident faction of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Colombia’s Marxist rebel group turned drug trafficking cartel, which years earlier had crossed the border and effectively taken over a section of Apure State.

The reasons for the fighting remain shrouded in uncertainty—it might have stemmed from a dispute over the profits of the Tenth Front’s drug smuggling routes. But the outcome of the clashes has been more revealing, even shocking: the capacity of the Venezuelan state is so limited that it cannot dislodge the FARC fighters. The Tenth Front remains the de facto authority in the area despite the Maduro government’s display of firepower.

The battles in Apure State may be a sign of things to come. The Venezuelan regime is not just a military dictatorship but also a criminal enterprise. Rather than a Weberian rational-bureaucratic state, what Maduro leads is a loose confederation of criminal chieftainships where he plays the role of capo di tutti capi—the boss of bosses. Normally, Maduro is able to arbitrate disputes between his captains. But sometimes, as in Apure, the system breaks down and violence erupts.

The Future of U.S. Leadership in Multilateral Development Institutions: A Playbook for the Next 10 Years

Daniel F. Runde and Romina Bandura

Over the past year, the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development has undertaken a study that evaluates opportunities for the United States to rebuild its leadership role and its influence in multilateral development institutions. The research is based on the idea that member states within multilateral institutions can exert influence in the system through personnel—specifically, by placing qualified candidates in leadership and senior staff positions. Leaders set the direction and agenda of these institutions and have significant decision-making power, particularly over institutional priorities and staff composition. Similarly, senior staff familiar with the inner dynamics of organizations are responsible for implementing the decisions of leaders. Strategically placing people who understand how to exercise power in positions of authority can catalyze greater change in these institutions and can advance good policy decisions that are in the interest of U.S. national security. CSIS' research has found that the United States has been losing influence in multilateral organizations over the past 30 years. Specifically, U.S. ability to compete in leadership races and place qualified representatives in top positions has diminished, and the presence of qualified Americans in staff positions has also declined. This study presents a series of recommendations on how to approach leadership changes and staffing of Americans at multilateral development institutions, as well as strategic direction for the current and future U.S. administrations.

National security on the brink: What Congress and the public need to know


The main event will be a grilling by Republicans and Democrats of these three defense officials over the Afghan withdrawal debacle. That will be accompanied by the cross-questioning of Gen. Milley as to whether he committed treason or other misdeeds in conferring with his Chinese military counterpart as reported in “Peril,” a blockbuster book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Milley is quoted in two phone calls with General Li Zuocheng, first reiterating that despite Chinese intelligence to the contrary the U.S. was not preparing to attack. Then in early January 2021, Milley reportedly told Li that he would forewarn China if any U.S. attack were even contemplated. Most of the initial criticism arose from commentators who had not read the book. I have. If the reporting is accurate, there would seem to be no grounds to question Milley’s actions.

No doubt, the Afghan withdrawal and the conduct of the JCS chairman are very important. But the Afghan miscues do not need much investigation. Presidents err. Kennedy had his Bay of Pigs. LBJ had the Tonkin Gulf incident that launched us into the Vietnam War. Reagan sent 241 U.S. servicemen to Beirut in 1983 and their deaths in the terrorist bombing of their barracks.

Why the United States Is Losing—And Russia and Iran Are Winning

At a press conference in 2015, Barack Obama predicted that Russian intervention in Syria would end in ignominy and Moscow would be “stuck in a quagmire.” 1 Rather than repeat America’s own tough experience in recent Middle Eastern wars, however, the Russian operation helped Syrian president Bashar al-Assad seize the initiative and recapture Aleppo. Since the 9/11 attacks, major American wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have all been strategic failures. During the same period, however, US rivals Russia and Iran achieved significant success during campaigns in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq. Why does the United States lose, whereas Russia and Iran win? The answer does not lie with military spending, given the dramatic US advantage in defense budgets. Instead, the explanation is cultural. War today is primarily civil war, and when states intervene in foreign internal conflicts, cultural factors are a stronger predictor of battlefield outcomes than material resources. That puts the United States at a disadvantage for three reasons. First, America’s idealistic domestic culture encourages a crusading vision of war and unrealistic goals, whereas Russia’s and Iran’s domestic cultures spur a more pragmatic approach. Second, US military culture prioritizes conventional interstate war over intervention in foreign internal conflicts, whereas Russia and Iran have a broader view of the military’s mission. Third, Washington often intervenes in distant countries where there is a chasm between American culture and the target state’s culture, while Russia

A Next Generation National Information Operations Strategy and Architecture

Jack Kiesler

The Reckoning

It is 0400 hours EST on March 27, 2019, and the power goes out. It’s utterly dark across the city. I call my wife to see if she’s heading home from her midnight shift as a registered nurse at a local hospital. However, the dial tone is inaudible. The phone lines are down across parts of northeast United States. In this scenario, I am a liaison officer from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security assigned to the United States Cyber Command. I decide to head into the office quickly. As I pull into Fort Meade, I see the traffic is heavier than usual. The back-up generators power the buildings, and the place is humming with activity, there’s great tension.

I reach my office, which is assigned the responsibility of conducting cyber operations analysis. There’s too much data to quickly attribute the source and the associated tactics. However, one thing is clear. This attack has the signature of the Chinese. It appears they have exploited the loosely monitored acquisition lifecycle to manipulate the electric and power critical infrastructure sector’s supply chain (See Figure One). The Chinese have hacked these proxy servers, in order to quietly hijack, and establish a virtual foothold in the United States. The intent is to lead the United States in believing the attack may be coming from a perceived United States citizen, providing China plausible deniability, as well as exploiting United States intelligence oversight laws.

Germany, Merkel and the Danger of Self-Confidence

George Friedman

Germany held an election to replace Angela Merkel, who led the German government for 16 years – through much of the implementation of the European Union, the economic crisis of 2008 and the immigration crisis of 2015. Compare her tenure with that of Konrad Adenauer. He presided over the redemption of the German soul, accepting German responsibility for the Holocaust but making certain that the Holocaust was not the final word on Germany. He changed the reality and perception of Germany from the incarnation of evil to another nation, part of the West and part of the force confronting the Soviet threat. In short, Adenauer returned Germany to the family of nations.

Above all, Merkel maintained. She oversaw the transformation of Germany into the dominant power in the European Union, a region that had been the heartland of world economic and military power. Under her stewardship, Germany become the fourth-largest economic power in the world, the arbiter of Europe and the engine that drove its economy. Perhaps most important, she did so without conjuring more than the inevitable unease about the reemergence of Germany as a European boogeyman. She helped make Germany merely another, if singularly powerful, European country. She exercised power without generating the utter terror Germany had evoked a few years before she was born.

Clean drinking water

A safe water supply is the backbone of a healthy economy, yet is woefully under prioritized, globally.

It is estimated that waterborne diseases have an economic burden of approximately USD 600 million a year in India. This is especially true for drought- and flood-prone areas, which affected a third of the nation in the past couple of years..

Less than 50 per cent of the population in India has access to safely managed drinking water. Chemical contamination of water, mainly through fluoride and arsenic, is present in 1.96 million dwellings.

Excess fluoride in India may be affecting tens of millions of people across 19 states, while equally worryingly, excess arsenic may affect up to 15 million people in West Bengal, according to the World Health Organization.

Why BRICS Still Matters

Manjari Chatterjee Miller

The 13th BRICS Summit, featuring the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, took place virtually earlier this month. It was chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the leaders of the other BRICS members—Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa—all tuned in. Modi’s speech was avidly covered by the Indian press, and the summit itself drew significant coverage by newspapers in India and China, the two most populous BRICS members.

This attention stood in contrast to U.S. media coverage, where there was noticeable silence. Past BRICS summits have invariably drawn at least a trickle of U.S. media coverage, albeit usually in the form of commentary on the irrelevance, dysfunction, or inevitable demise of BRICS as an institution.

Misinformation Is About to Get So Much Worse

Saahil Desai

For years now, artificial intelligence has been hailed as both a savior and a destroyer. The technology really can make our lives easier, letting us summon our phones with a “Hey, Siri” and (more importantly) assisting doctors on the operating table. But as any science-fiction reader knows, AI is not an unmitigated good: It can be prone to the same racial biases as humans are, and, as is the case with self-driving cars, it can be forced to make murky split-second decisions that determine who lives and who dies. Like it or not, AI is only going to become an even more omnipresent force: We’re in a “watershed moment” for the technology, says Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO.

Schmidt is a longtime fixture in a tech industry that seems to constantly be in a state of upheaval. He was the first software manager at Sun Microsystems, in the 1980s, and the CEO of the former software giant Novell in the ’90s. He joined Google as CEO in 2001, then was the company’s executive chairman from 2011 until 2017. Since leaving Google, Schmidt has made AI his focus: In 2018, he wrote in The Atlantic about the need to prepare for the AI boom, along with his co-authors Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, and the MIT dean Daniel Huttenlocher. The trio have followed up that story with The Age of AI, a book about how AI will transform how we experience the world, coming out in November.

Designing a Research Proposal

Before conducting research, whether this is for an undergraduate project/essay,or a dissertation or thesis, it is important that you design a research proposal first. This will serve as a plan to orient you as you conduct your research and seek to answer the question(s) you have set. Every university (and programme within) will have its own guidelines for this, but the resources below give some accessible overviews on how a research proposal works in general, and then lists some examples the E-International Relations team has found useful from universities around the world.

Doing a Literature Review

An essential part of any proposal is a review of the relevant literature already published on the topic you are researching. This shows that you understand where the existing debates are focused and (for more advanced works) can identify any gaps in the extant research that your work may address. Generally, literature falls into two broad categories: (1) Academic literature – this is books, journal articles and academic PhD theses… anything peer reviewed. (2) ‘Grey’ Literature – essentially anything not peer reviewed but useful to your research. this is a broad category that incorporates Newspaper/Magazine articles, policy or technical reports, government publications/archives, multimedia content (Podcasts, videos etc.) etc. Both academic and grey literature can be online or physical/in print and the distinction is less important than the nature and use of the materials in your literature review.

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Extending the Horizon: Elevated Sensors for Targeting and Missile Defense

Wes Rumbaugh and Tom Karako

From the Gulf War Scud hunts to today’s discussion of targeting missiles “left of launch,” the challenge of countering missile threats has been defined by a competition of hiding and finding.1 Prior to launch, missiles can be dispersed and hidden in shelters or otherwise camouflaged. After launch, modern missiles can evade detection through a variety of means, including speed, stealth, trajectory, and maneuverability through terrain or around radar coverage. With air and missile defense and strike capabilities alike, interceptors and guided munitions are only as good as the sensors that tell them where to go and what to kill.

During her Senate confirmation process, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks highlighted the role of sensors for missile defense and defeat. “If confirmed,” she wrote, the DoD “would assess ongoing efforts to improve national missile defense, with a particular focus on improving discrimination capabilities and sensors for detection of both ballistic and hypersonic missiles.”2 Sensors, discrimination, and network modernization represent critical enablers for missile defense. Surveillance, tracking, and targeting capabilities also help strike assets find and target adversary missiles on the ground. When asked what one capability he would most like to develop and field, General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “overhead sensors that see everything, characterize everything that goes on . . . from a missile perspective, all the time, everywhere.”3 While such an ambitious vision is unlikely to ever be realized, it nevertheless points in the direction of how to fill gaps for integrated air and missile defense.

Army Completes Second Counter-Small Drone Demonstration


WASHINGTON: The Army recently completed its latest demonstration of ground-based aerial denial and handheld solutions to counter small drone threats that the military views as perilous to warfighters.

The demonstration, held by the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO), comes amid high profile deployments of low-cost small drones seen in conflicts in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Folks like to say this is one of the biggest threats since the IED [improvised explosive device],” Col. Greg Soule, director of the acquisition and resources division at the JCO, said on a call with reporters on Friday.

The demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., in late August and early September included both ground-based aerial denial and handheld solutions. Three vendors — Flex Force, Smart Shooter and Northrop Grumman — demonstrated remote-controlled systems that shot down incoming aircraft with bullets of various sized.

Extending the Horizon: Elevated Sensors for Targeting and Missile Defense

Wes Rumbaugh and Tom Karako

From the Gulf War Scud hunts to today’s discussion of targeting missiles “left of launch,” the challenge of countering missile threats has been defined by a competition of hiding and finding.1 Prior to launch, missiles can be dispersed and hidden in shelters or otherwise camouflaged. After launch, modern missiles can evade detection through a variety of means, including speed, stealth, trajectory, and maneuverability through terrain or around radar coverage. With air and missile defense and strike capabilities alike, interceptors and guided munitions are only as good as the sensors that tell them where to go and what to kill.

During her Senate confirmation process, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks highlighted the role of sensors for missile defense and defeat. “If confirmed,” she wrote, the DoD “would assess ongoing efforts to improve national missile defense, with a particular focus on improving discrimination capabilities and sensors for detection of both ballistic and hypersonic missiles.”2 Sensors, discrimination, and network modernization represent critical enablers for missile defense. Surveillance, tracking, and targeting capabilities also help strike assets find and target adversary missiles on the ground. When asked what one capability he would most like to develop and field, General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “overhead sensors that see everything, characterize everything that goes on . . . from a missile perspective, all the time, everywhere.”3 While such an ambitious vision is unlikely to ever be realized, it nevertheless points in the direction of how to fill gaps for integrated air and missile defense.

All That Glitters Is Not Green

Emily Benson and Catherine Puga

Carbon offsets have exploded in popularity as companies and governments make carbon-neutral and net-zero pledges. Offsets are often seen as a win-win situation: emitters can invest in needed environmental projects, and environmental projects can receive the necessary funding, leading to declining greenhouse emissions. However, carbon offsets are often misunderstood and poorly regulated, may not offer advertised carbon benefits, and can disincentivize decarbonization.

Carbon Offsets: An Easier Path?

Emissions and net-zero goals are measured in absolute terms. Carbon neutrality means that for every single ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, one ton either has to be removed from the atmosphere via sequestration or stored in natural carbon sinks such as soil, forests, and oceans. The more an individual, company, or country emits, the more GHG emissions must be captured and sequestered. However, the math requires consideration of which emissions an emitter regards as “theirs.” Scope 1 emissions are those that an emitter is directly responsible for, such as the carbon emissions from fuel combustions in a factory. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, and cooling. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are accounted for when calculating an organization’s total GHG emissions. There is debate about whether the math should include Scope 3 emissions, which are often much harder to measure. Scope 3 emissions cover indirect emissions found along an emitter’s value chain. For instance, a company selling a t-shirt would count the emissions from the factory as Scope 1 emissions, the electricity powering the headquarters and retail locations as Scope 2 emissions, and emissions generated in purchasing the raw cotton and transporting the finished product as Scope 3. The Environmental Protection Agency’s GHG Corporate Protocol does not mandate that organizations disclose Scope 3 emissions, but environmentalists argue that they need to be included, as they often make up the bulk of an organization’s emissions.