5 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.

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The character of warfare has changed fundamentally over the last decade. In the past, it was essential for an adversary nation or insurgent to physically bring weapons to bear during combat. That requirement is no longer a necessity. In cyber operations, the only weapons that need to be used are bits and bytes. In this new era of warfare, logistics issues that often restrict and limit conventional warfare and weaponry are not impediments. This new weaponry moves at the speed of light, is available to every human on the planet and can be as surgical as a scalpel or as devastating as a nuclear bomb.

Cyber attacks in various forms have become a global problem. Cyber weapons are low-cost, low-risk, highly effective and easily deployable globally. This new class of weapons is within reach of many countries, extremist or terrorist groups, non-state actors, and even individuals. Cyber crime organisations are developing cyber weapons effectively. The use of offensive Cyber operations by nation-states directly against another or by co-opting cyber criminals has blurred the line between spies and non-state malicious hackers. New entrants, both nation-states and non-state actors have unmatched espionage and surveillance capabilities with significant capabilities. They are often the forerunners for criminal financial gain, destruction and disruption operations. Progressively, we see non-state actors including commercial entities, developing capabilities that were solely held by a handful of state actors.

Rebooting India’s Foreign Ministry

Pranay Ahluwalia

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar addresses a press conference on the performance of the Ministry of External Affairs in first 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new term in office in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, September17, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Indian foreign policy is in a moment of transition. Emerging out of its “aspirational power” chrysalis, India is shedding its non-alignment hangover, embracing its increasingly critical place in the Indo-Pacific, and assertively protecting and projecting its interests abroad.

In recent months, however, India’s foreign ministry has been found wanting. There have been opportunities for Indian diplomacy to step up and shine: the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the aftermath of AUKUS, to name some notable examples. Some commentators, rightly, have called for the Indian government to capitalize on the opportunities these rapidly evolving situations present.

Inside the CIA’s secret Kabul base, burned out and abandoned in haste

Emma Graham-Harrison

The cars, minibuses and armoured vehicles that the CIA used to run its shadow war in Afghanistan had been lined up and incinerated beyond identification before the Americans left. Below their ashy grey remains, pools of molten metal had solidified into permanent shiny puddles as the blaze cooled.

The faux Afghan village where they trained paramilitary forces linked to some of the worst human rights abuses of the war had been brought down on itself. Only a high concrete wall still loomed over the crumpled piles of mud and beams, once used to practise for the widely hated night raids on civilian homes.

The vast ammunition dump had been blown up. Many ways to kill and maim human beings, from guns to grenades, mortars to heavy artillery, laid out in three long rows of double-height shipping containers, were reduced to shards of twisted metal. The blast from the huge detonation, which came soon after the bloody bomb at Kabul airport, shook and terrified the capital city.


The trigger for the Turkish Operation Spring Shield in northern Idlib in February 2020 was to prevent the Syrian conflict – especially extremists and refugees – spilling over into Turkey as the result of a new regime offensive. A deeper driver of the operation was Ankara’s desire to draw a line against further regime advances that might jeopardise Turkish territorial gains across northern Syria. Millions of Syrian internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the Islamist group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) were the main – although unintended – beneficiaries of the operation. Tactically, Operation Spring Shield was a success because of a surge in Turkish military resources in northern Idlib, Ankara’s willingness to use them, and the speed with which Turkey acted. Strategically, it helped a great deal that Russia decided to stand aside for a few days. Russian-Turkish diplomacy resumed after battlefield conditions had shifted in Turkey’s favour and Syrian regime forces were stopped in their tracks.

In the short term, Operation Spring Shield can be considered as having brought a measure of humanitarian and geopolitical stabilisation by clarifying Turkey’s red lines to Damascus, Tehran and Moscow, and by bringing about a new equilibrium between Russiansupported forces and Turkish forces in Syria. The operation did not negatively affect Turkey’s relationship with its NATO partners, the EU or the US. This was in part because the operation highlighted the limitations of the Astana process – a diplomatic initative in which Turkey, Iran and Russia pursue opposing aims vis-à-vis the Assad regime – from which these actors are excluded. In the medium term, the impact of Operation Spring Shield will depend on the permanence of the Turkish presence, the level of Turkish developmental investment and the evolution, as well as the place, of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the future governance of northern Idlib.

Terrorism Monitor,

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Discursive Shift From Global Jihadist Rhetoric to Pashtun-Centric Narratives

Can New Policies Curtail Banditry in Northwestern Nigeria Amid the School Closure Crisis?

The Taliban’s Persistent War on Salafists in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Highlights Link Between Religious Soft Power And Gulf Security – Analysis

James M. Dorsey

When Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Thani this week described the Taliban’s repressive policies towards women and brutal administration of justice as “very disappointing” and taking Afghanistan “a step backwards,” he was doing more than holding Qatar up as a model of Islamic governance and offering the militants cover to moderate their ways.

Sheikh Al-Thani was seeking to shield the Gulf state from criticism should Qatari efforts fail to persuade the Taliban to shave off the sharp edges that marked their rule 25 years ago before they were toppled by US military forces and characterize their governance since they retook control of Afghanistan in mid-August with the US withdrawal.

The minister was implicitly referring to the Taliban’s refusal to allow Afghan female secondary school students to resume their studies two weeks after schools opened for boys and hanging the bloodied corpse of a man accused of kidnapping on a crane in the main square of the western Afghan city of Herat. Elsewhere in the city, three other men were also strung up for public viewing.

What’s Behind Fresh Tensions On Iran-Azerbaijan Border? – Analysis

Golnaz Esfandiari*

(RFE/RL) — Tensions have increased recently between Tehran and Baku over three issues: a joint military drill that Azerbaijani troops conducted alongside their Turkish and Pakistani counterparts some 500 kilometers from the Iranian border; Azerbaijani restrictions on Iranian truck drivers’ access to Armenia and the detention of two drivers; and Azerbaijani ties to Iran’s archenemy Israel.

On October 1, Tehran added to those tensions by launching its own military drills near its northwestern border, days after the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) deployed military equipment to the region.

The move was met with expressions of concern from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who earlier this week said he was surprised by the planned drill.

Western Dependence on Pakistan Is Not Going Away

Rupert Stone

Islamabad played a “double game” during the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan by helping NATO’s military mission while secretly aiding the Taliban insurgency. American pundits and politicians grew increasingly irate at supposed Pakistani perfidy and called for sanctions to be imposed.

But the West depended heavily on Pakistani assistance to pursue its military campaign and could not afford to alienate a key ally. Afghanistan is landlocked, and Pakistan was one of the only available transit routes for NATO supplies.

If Washington pushed too hard, Pakistan may have stopped playing ball, as it did in 2011 when Islamabad temporarily blocked supplies after a skirmish with NATO forces along the Afghan border at the end of that year.

But now the occupation is over: the West no longer needs Pakistan’s support and can surely apply penalties without significant risk of blowback.

Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) in Asia Pacific

Since the start of the Cold War, serious incidents with the potential to escalate to nuclear war have occurred on average once every three years between nuclear–armed states. In each case, NC3 has been integral to the cause of the crisis, contributing to the risk of possible nuclear use. This continues into 2021.

This new report by APLN research director Dr. Peter Hayes, examines the NC3 systems of six nuclear–armed states: the United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Dr. Hayes argues that understanding how these systems work and how they interact is a critical component in the discourse over weapons of mass destruction in the Asia-Pacific.


Anthony Ippoliti

Geopolitics determines the type of cell phone you carry, the car you drive, and the computer you use. The all-consuming power of nation-state actor rivalries in the international arena shapes the structural paradigm that drives trade and politics. This is the invisible hand of the global economy. And so it goes with China, microprocessors, and American national security.

The island nation of Taiwan has a historically fraught relationship with China, and a geopolitical miscalculation here could spell trouble. Much of China’s foreign policy is based on economic and resource security, and China is particularly weak in one area: advanced microprocessors. These are the chips that power smart phones, desktops, laptops, and other devices. Microprocessors are a key component in the world’s infrastructure, and China has been working to develop a domestic capability to produce the most advanced types of these chips. Those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Production of these advanced chips is a highly technical endeavor, and none of the companies in the world that can do it are located in mainland China. A subsidiary of China’s Huawei developed a design for an advanced chip called the HiSilicon Kirin 9000, then outsourced the production of the chip to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which counts itself among a very small number of companies able to actually build a chip based on the Kirin 9000 design. However, TSMC is located in Taiwan, and recent U.S. sanctions effectively ended Huawei’s ability to actually produce the chip that it designed. This is a double-edged sword with China’s national security on one side, and American national security on the other.


Cpt David M. Tillman

Mission command dates back to the mid-19th century, when the Chief of Prussian general staff, Helmuth von Moltke, first conceptualized the decentralized operational framework known as Auftragstaktik.[i] German doctrine adopted Auftragstaktik in 1888, which later served as the foundation for the infamous German Blitzkrieg of WWII.[ii] Today, Auftragstaktik provides the foundation for mission command, which U.S. doctrine defines as having seven key principles: competence, mutual trust, shared understanding, commander’s intent, mission orders, disciplined initiative, and risk acceptance.[iii] These principles are compounding, with each one enhancing the efficacy of the next. This article analyzes MG Ariel Sharon’s effective employment of mission command during the Yom Kippur War, specifically through the principles of competence, mutual trust, disciplined initiative, and risk acceptance.

History is riddled with tragic ironies, not least of which was Israel’s adoption of Auftragstaktik – a byproduct of the failed Third Reich. As a result, mission command in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) “...evolved as a framework within which officers who possessed the necessary skills, could be trusted to operate independently in the chaos of war.”[iv] Despite Israel’s notable use of mission command throughout various conflicts during its formative years, the IDF only officially adopted this operational framework in 2006.[v] The lessons gleaned from Israeli tactics during the 1967 and 1973 Wars exemplified the ‘Apogee of Blitzkrieg,’ and ultimately served as a foundation for future U.S. doctrine.[vi] MG Sharon’s employment of mission command in the Sinai Front of the Yom Kippur War, offers one of the most extensive case studies in modern military history.[vii] The immensely devastating consequences of the conflict, coupled Israel’s nuclear capability and the risk of U.S. or Soviet great power intervention, made this conflict a uniquely complex.

Cyber defense across the ocean floor: The geopolitics of submarine cable security

Justin Sherman


Much of the security commentariat has lately focused the global Internet security conversation on communications technologies deemed “emerging,” such as cloud computing infrastructure, new satellite technology, and 5G telecommunications. However, the vast majority of international traffic traversing the Internet each day, from video calls to banking transactions to military secrets, travels over a much older and far less flashy technology: undersea cables.1 These cables, which lay along the ocean floor and haul data intercontinentally, have been developed for 180 years by private sector firms and international consortia of companies. In recent years, large Internet companies (e.g., Facebook, Google) have gained significant ownership in these cables. Chinese state-owned firms have also greatly increased both their construction (e.g., Huawei Marine) and ownership (e.g., China Telecom, China Unicom) of undersea cables in recent years.

Source: Jayne Miller, “The 2020 Cable Map Has Landed,” TeleGeography Blog,

The undersea cables that carry Internet traffic around the world are an understudied and often underappreciated element of modern Internet geopolitics, security, and resilience. It is estimated that upwards of 95 percent of intercontinental Internet traffic is carried over these cables.2 Without them, the Internet would not exist as it does today. These cables are largely owned by private companies, often in partnership with one another, though some firms involved in cable management are state-controlled or intergovernmental. Submarine cables are, therefore, a major vector of influence that companies have on the global Internet’s shape, behavior, and security.3

China’s New Direction: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy

China is in a greater state of flux in its domestic politics and foreign policy than in any time since the reform era began. China’s domestic and foreign policies have become more autocratic at home and confrontational abroad, with more changes coming. The resulting challenges to the United States and the world posed by China are numerous and rapidly evolving. In response, America and other countries will need to keep revising their strategies toward China.

In a new report, “China’s New Direction: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy,” leading U.S. experts on China weigh in with insights on major changes in China and recommendations for U.S. policy going forward.

“The defining challenge facing the U.S., its allies and its partners is understanding how China under Xi Jinping is evolving in the face of changing domestic needs and external pressures,” the report says. “Accordingly, a major policy risk is that the U.S. will misread or misinterpret what is happening in China and will either overestimate or underestimate the threat China now poses.”

The Secret History of Hambantota

Jonathan E. Hillman

If Chinese loans were cigarettes, Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port would be the cancerous lung on the warning label. Some observers have pointed to the underperforming port and alleged that China is using “debt trap diplomacy,” loading countries up with loans and seizing strategic assets after they cannot repay. Others have argued that Sri Lanka, not China, is responsible for its debt woes. The debate is important for understanding the risks lurking in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, especially as the pandemic pushes more of China’s borrowers to the brink.

Declassified documents tell a more complex story: a port that was conceived as far back as 1910, a Canadian firm that began chasing the project in 1999, and a Sri Lankan government that wisely passed on the project in 2003. This history, largely overlooked and its full details previously undisclosed, helps explain the catastrophe that followed. What gave birth to Hambantota Port was the destructive marriage between two rising forces: Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ascent in Sri Lankan politics and China becoming the world’s largest bilateral lender.

Countries Owe China $385B In Hidden Debts


A new study found under-reported debts of at least $385 billion owed by different countries to China in the past two decades, and that one-third of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative have run into major implementation problems.

The hidden debts, which slipped through the scrutiny of international lenders such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and credit rating agencies, mean borrowing countries may have to repay more than they think.

The findings are from a four-year study by AidData, an international development research lab based at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute in the United States.

“Chinese debt burdens are substantially larger than research institutions, credit rating agencies, or intergovernmental organizations with surveillance responsibilities previously understood,” the study said.

Is China's Drone Air Force as Good as America's?

Kris Osborn

Here's What You Need to Remember: China also appears to be accelerating the development of land and undersea robots to conduct forward surveillance, deliver supplies, search for targets and even launch attacks.

The visible Chinese effort to fast-track new carriers, fighter jets, destroyers and armored artillery vehicles shows no sign of slowing down. Now, a lesser-known but equally impactful commensurate initiative can be seen in China’s apparent attempt to match or exceed the U.S. explosion in the production and development of surface, air and undersea drones.

China also appears to be accelerating the development of land and undersea robots to conduct forward surveillance, deliver supplies, search for targets and even launch attacks. A Chinese newspaper report says the People’s Liberation Army “Pathbreaker” robot is a small, 1.2-ton unmanned vehicle able to hit speeds of thirty kilometers. It is a tracked vehicle, meaning it is configured for rugged terrain and off-road missions and intended for what the Chinese paper calls “armed reconnaissance, fire assault, patrol, search and destroy operations,

Changing Values in the Middle East: Secular Swings and Liberal Leanings

Mansoor Moaddel

Executive Summary

Two momentous events of the past 20 years have shaped debates and policy in the Middle East. Both marked the beginning of a new decade and have since had far-reaching consequences: in 2001, the 9/11 attacks on US soil prompted US President George W Bush to famously ask “Why do they hate us?”1 as he went on to launch what he dubbed the “war on terror”; and in 2011, Arab nations experienced the largest popular protests to sweep the region.

Both events have deepened the desire to better understand Arab and Middle Eastern public opinion. Anecdotal observations, public demonstrations in both 2011 and 2019, and an increase in the availability of survey data from Middle Eastern nations show signs that societies in the region are undergoing a series of transformations that could fundamentally reconfigure both politics and culture over time. But is there evidence the region is moving in a positive direction?

Understanding Hypersonic Weapons: Managing the Allure and the Risks

Source Link

The debate concerning hypersonic weapons has gained increased attention in recent years as the United States has poured billions of dollars—and plans to pour billions more—into accelerating the development of hypersonic weapons and as China and Russia make headway in developing and deploying their own such weapons. The Pentagon is funding no less than eight prototype hypersonic weapons programs with the aim of fielding an initial capability of at least some of those by 2022.

The U.S. rush to field hypersonic weapons merits a more critical examination by the Biden administration and Congress given the many unanswered questions about their rationale, technical viability, cost-effectiveness, and escalatory risks. It is past time for Congress to demand these answers before the military begins fielding the weapons in great numbers.

This new report outlines the scope of the unanswered questions about the case for hypersonic weapons, details the underappreciated risks to stability posed by the weapons, assesses the viability of arms control as a tool to reduce these risks, and suggests recommended action items for Congress to better its understanding about the Pentagon’s plans for the weapons, eliminate potential redundancies in weapons capabilities, and mitigate stability risks.

Is America Making the Right Decisions on Hypersonic Missiles?

Charlie Gao

Here's What You Need to Remember: The U.S. Air Force’s cancellation of HCSW suggests that early, or relatively conventional hypersonic tech doesn’t fit their vision of how hypersonic weapons should perform to be truly useful on the battlefield.

The Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 budget request resulted in a lot of reshuffling among next-generation procurement projects. One of the highest profile cancellations is the US Air Force’s cancellation of the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW). The HCSW was one of the “many” hypersonic weapons Trump referred to in his January statement following the Iranian counterstrike. However, in the context of overall military procurement, the HCSW cancellation makes sense. But it also suggests that perhaps hypersonics are not as big of a deal as many media sources have made them out to be.

The HCSW was one of two hypersonic weapons programs that were ready to enter service in the near term, the other being the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW. The two programs differ significantly: in shape, maturity, and hypersonic characteristics. The HCSW is the U.S. Air Force’s portion of a shared hypersonic “glide vehicle,” called the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). As the Air Force primarily employs their weapons from the air, the HCSW was a rocket motor attached to the C-HGB, meant to be air launched.

Secretary Austin's New 'Integrated Deterrence' Strategy Is Turning Heads

Kris Osborn

Here's What You Need to Remember: The integration focus of the strategy is clearly invested in the need for multi-domain operations and joint U.S.-allied war preparation exercises. If the U.S. military truly strengthens its clear margin of technological superiority and of course solidifies its connection to allies, then it could lead to a potentially effective deterrence strategy.

Massive investment in innovation and new technology greatly strengthened cooperation with European and Pacific allies, and a new dispersed, yet highly networked force are all fundamental elements of the Pentagon’s new “Integrated Deterrence” approach.

The concept was introduced by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during public remarks at the Global Emerging Technology Summit of The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. He explained that new levels of deterrence could be reached through the combined strength of the United States and its many allies, a vigorous commitment to research and development funding, and sustained technological superiority.

Hypersonic Missile are Great, But are They Really Essential?

Michael Peck

Here's What You Need to Remember: Instead of building hypersonic missiles, the Army should be developing defenses against hypersonic weapons. Indeed, the Pentagon is already pursuing defensive solutions, such as interceptor rockets and even lasers.

Does the U.S. Army really need to develop hypersonic missiles?

One expert has – gasp – dared to suggest that the Army shouldn’t jump on the hypersonic bandwagon.

“It is difficult to discern what operational problem the Army has that a hypersonic missile will help solve,” writes Thomas Spoehr in a Heritage Foundation study on Army modernization. “Yet the Army reportedly plans to spend $1.2 billion on a hypersonic missile over the next five years.”

Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general who heads the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, warns against the frenzy for superweapons.

Engaging China Can Produce Real Wins for America (and Avoid War)

Patrick Hulme

Kurt Campbell, the Biden administration’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council, recently declared that “The period [in U.S.-China relations] that was broadly described as engagement has come to an end.” This shift away from a “responsible stakeholder” strategy in dealing with Beijing toward a bipartisan consensus in favor of taking a much more confrontational stance toward the People’s Republic of China is now well recognized. Critics in the Trump administration, for example, painted past efforts at engaging with China as naïve and akin to appeasement. But history shows us that a false dichotomy between appeasement and confrontation is neither accurate nor beneficial to U.S. strategic interests. In actuality, “hawks” have often been quite successful in utilizing “talks” with adversaries to advance American interests and global stability.

Indeed, the poster child of anti-appeasement himself—Winston Churchill—made this specific point to the United States early in the Cold War. Shortly after the defeat of French forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the spring of 1954, the United States faced a difficult strategic decision over how to best advance its interests as communist forces seemed poised to take over all Southeast Asia. Many in the executive branch and in Congress advocated direct American military intervention in the conflict and suggested that negotiating with communist officials in Geneva over the issue would constitute another “Munich,” or naïve appeasement in the face of an insatiable adversary.

Global Migration Is Not Abating. Neither Is the Backlash Against It

The European refugee crisis of 2015 has long since abated, but European nativist and populist parties continue to attempt to stoke the popular backlash against immigrants to fuel their rise. Italy’s Matteo Salvini, the golden boy of Europe’s anti-immigrant populists, even rode the issue into government in 2018, before marginalizing himself with a bid to force early elections in 2019 and, more recently, misplaying the politics of the COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, Europe’s other far-right populists, like France’s Marine Le Pen, continue to hammer on anti-immigrant sentiment, hoping it will remain a potent issue in upcoming elections.

In the midst of a global pandemic, it is not clear it will have the same electoral impact as it did in 2015, when a wave of refugees and asylum-seekers arrived in Europe from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa. Still, the threat is enough to keep centrist governments toeing a tough line on immigration at home, even as they work with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration, thereby driving asylum applications back to pre-2015 levels.

Is the Pentagon's New Hypersonic Missile Enough to Keep Pace With Russia and China?

Mark Episkopos

The Pentagon announced on Monday that the United States successfully tested a new, air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.

The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) trial, held last week, “sought to test vehicle integration and release sequence, safe separation from the launch aircraft, booster ignition and boost, booster separation and engine ignition, and cruise,” according to a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) press statement. The statement added that “all primary test objectives were met.”

“The missile, built by Raytheon Technologies, was released from an aircraft seconds before its Northrop Grumman scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine kicked on. The engine compressed incoming air mixed with its hydrocarbon fuel and began igniting that fast-moving airflow mixture, propelling the cruiser at a speed greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound),” the DARPA press release continued.

The Quad Commits to Regulating Space

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

The first in-person summit of the leaders of the Quad group of countries, comprising of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, met in Washington last week. Outer space governance found significant attention, with the joint statement stating that the grouping will explore ways to collaborate as well as share data for a range of peaceful purposes, including tracking changing climate patterns, natural disaster response and preparedness, and sustainable uses of oceans and marine resources. The group also agreed they would work on developing norms, guidelines, rules, and principles that would ensure the sustainable use of outer space.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden put an emphasis on emerging and critical technologies including space, cyber, AI, 5G, and 6G in their bilateral meeting. Significantly, they agreed to finalize by the end of the year a “Space Situational Awareness Memorandum of Understanding,” which will facilitate data sharing as well as sharing of services in order to ensure long-term sustainability of outer space.

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National Security and the Third-Road Threat: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Information Warfare

Combatting Russian Influence through Improved Security Assistance

Shifting Satellite Control Paradigms: Operational Cybersecurity in the Age of Megaconstellations

Directed-Energy Weapons: An Option for Strategic De-Escalation

Mobilizing Uniformed Scientists and Engineers

F-35 O-Ring Production Functions versus Mosaic Warfare: Some Simple Mathematics

How 30 Lines of Code Blew Up a 27-Ton Generator

EARLIER THIS WEEK, the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against a group of hackers known as Sandworm. The document charged six hackers working for Russia's GRU military intelligence agency with computer crimes related to half a decade of cyberattacks across the globe, from sabotaging the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea to unleashing the most destructive malware in history in Ukraine. Among those acts of cyberwar was an unprecedented attack on Ukraine's power grid in 2016, one that appeared designed to not merely cause a blackout, but to inflict physical damage on electric equipment. And when one cybersecurity researcher named Mike Assante dug into the details of that attack, he recognized a grid-hacking idea invented not by Russian hackers, but by the United State government, and tested a decade earlier.

The following excerpt from the book SANDWORM: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers, published in paperback this week, tells the story of that early, seminal grid-hacking experiment. The demonstration was led by Assante, the late, legendary industrial control systems security pioneer. It would come to be known as the Aurora Generator Test. Today, it still serves as a powerful warning of the potential physical-world effects of cyberattacks—and an eery premonition of Sandworm's attacks to come.

AI Is Throwing Battery Development Into Overdrive

INSIDE A LAB at Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, there are a half dozen refrigerator-sized cabinets designed to kill batteries as fast as they can. Each holds around 100 lithium-ion cells secured in trays that can charge and discharge the batteries dozens of times per day. Ordinarily, the batteries that go into these electrochemical torture chambers would be found inside gadgets or electric vehicles, but when they’re put in these hulking machines, they aren’t powering anything at all. Instead, energy is dumped in and out of these cells as fast as possible to generate reams of performance data that will teach artificial intelligence how to build a better battery.

In 2019, a team of researchers from Stanford, MIT, and the Toyota Research Institute used AI trained on data generated from these machines to predict the performance of lithium-ion batteries over the lifetime of the cells before their performance had started to slip. Ordinarily, AI would need data from after a battery had started to degrade in order to predict how it would perform in the future. It might take months to cycle the battery enough times to get that data. But the researchers’ AI could predict lifetime performance after only hours of data collection, while the battery was still at its peak. “Prior to our work, nobody thought that was possible,” says William Chueh, a materials scientist at Stanford and one of the lead authors of the 2019 paper. And earlier this year, Chueh and his colleagues did it again. In a paper published in Nature in February, Chueh and his colleagues described an experiment in which an AI was able to discover the optimal method for 10-minute fast-charging a lithium-ion battery.

Soldiers after War

Rebecca Burgess

Neither scarcity nor cost primarily fuelled the riotous energy of the crowd hoisting its cudgels to swarm the Capitol in the name of grain. Those were tangible-enough complaints, but food was merely the expression of a deeper-felt injury: the insult of being denied a role in political society. For that injury, the rioting Romans were determined to overthrow the entire government and eliminate the symbol, in their minds, of senatorial rule: Rome’s elite warrior, Coriolanus.

Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s tragic drama, is frequently taught as an Ur-text on civil-military relations, which explores the volatile tensions between the great- or spirited-souled individual on whom the city relies to defend it. A question posed by the play is this: Can an “absolute” warrior live peaceably in a civil society?

But the play also presents a larger Shakespearean argument, which may have more bearing on the situation of today’s warriors than does the character of the protagonist, Coriolanus. In the drama, Shakespeare asks what happens to a society when an identifiable subsection of it is effectively denied a political role within it. Shakespeare suggests that this kind of denial works a type of festering moral injury. But when that festering injury breaks open, politicians will hastily ascribe it to the absence of tangible benefits like money or health care rather than examine the underlying source.

Microwave Weapons: Are they the Future or a Costly Disaster?

Michael Peck

Here's What You Need to Remember: "No matter how well we may shield the cabin, this electronic pulse will get through. And as a human is also, to some extent, a ‘device’ operating on the basis of receiving and transmitting electromagnetic signals, such weapons can cause heavy damage to the health of the pilot."

Russia will arm its sixth-generation combat drones with microwave weapons.

These weapons, which disable an aircraft’s electronic equipment, already exist today “and can hit targets within a radius of tens of kilometers,” said Vladimir Mikheev, a director of state-owned Russian electronics firm KRET, in an interview with TASS.

However, Mikheev suggested that microwave weapons can be as dangerous to the user as to the target. While Russia is developing manned and unmanned sixth-generation aircraft, which are predicted to first take flight in 2025, only the unmanned version will be armed with a microwave weapon. “The electromagnetic pulse fired by the microwave weapon is so powerful that it is extremely difficult to protect the pilot from his own weapons,” Mikheev said. “No matter how well we may shield the cabin, this electronic pulse will get through. And as a human is also, to some extent, a ‘device’ operating on the basis of receiving and transmitting electromagnetic signals, such weapons can cause heavy damage to the health of the pilot.”