7 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.

Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


On Feb. 28, 2021 The New York Times (NYT), based on analysis by a U.S. based private intelligence firm Recorded Future, reported that a Chinese entity penetrated India’s power grid at multiple load dispatch points. Chinese malware intruded into the control systems that manage electric supply across India, along with a high-voltage transmission substation and a coal-fired power plant.

The NYT story1 gives the impression that the alleged activity against critical Indian infrastructure installations was as much meant to act as a deterrent against any Indian military thrust along the Line of Actual Control as it was to support future operations to cripple India’s power generation and distribution systems in event of war.

EU-India trade relations: assessment and perspectives


Following the EU-India summit in May 2021, talks on both an EU-India trade and an investment agreement have resumed. This analysis provides background on where EU India economic relations stand and why it is important to maintain momentum following this breakthrough, despite a somewhat unpromising domestic political environment in India.

This new impetus largely reflects a transformed geopolitical landscape since the last round of EU-India talks were abandoned in 2013. The increased tension between India and China, as well as the EU’s intent to reduce its reliance on Chinese manufacturing have created the conditions for changes in policy by both parties. However, many of the issues that bedeviled the 2007-2013 negotiations remain unresolved. In this analysis, we provide an overview of EU-India trade and investment relations as well as the major topics in these negotiations. The impact of key global initiatives on climate change and WTO reform that will shape the negotiations is also briefly discussed.

Based on this analysis, we discuss three potential ways forward for EU-India trade and investment negotiations: a comprehensive agreement similar to that reached between the EU and Vietnam; a limited investment deal primarily focused on manufacturing; and a reinforced status quo with trade and investment relations growing organically under the existing multilateral umbrella.


Tom Parker

In 2003 I was a special adviser in the Coalition Provisional Authority, working to recover evidence of atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. I had signed up believing that our intervention would symbolize the triumph of the rule of law and liberal democracy over tyranny. However, this narrative was soon drowned out by the scandal of detainee abuse in Abu Ghraib, which communicated a very different message to many in the Islamic world—that the United States might not, in fact, be any better than Saddam had been.

My experience in Iraq gave me a profound appreciation for the critical role that legitimacy plays in successful military operations—and this is especially true in the field of counterterrorism. In the twenty years since the 9/11 attacks, most of the military and security studies literature reflecting on the US-led post-9/11 wars has focused on battlefield tactics, the challenges of nation building, or major political inflection points. But there has been very little consideration of what one might call the “moral battlespace,” and the profoundly negative impact that far-reaching decisions to depart from established moral and legal standards early in the conflict had on the success of American arms in the field. Heavy-handed reactions in counterterrorism almost always prove to be counterproductive in the long run. This principle is true in the American experiences over the past twenty years, as operating counter to our avowed values undermined our legitimacy, drowned out our messaging, and weakened our partnerships with allies.

The Elusive Quest for Victory in War

Colonel Thomas C. Greenwood

Fighting terrorists and insurgents for two decades has made it difficult for the U.S. military to transition from thinking about regional “wars amongst the people” to potential conflict between major nuclear powers.1 This challenge is exacerbated by fading Cold War memories and having to cope with COVID-19 at the same time U.S. global supremacy is being challenged by China and, to a lesser degree, Russia. Managing these competitors in a way that preserves American hegemony while avoiding conflict—the “Thucydides Trap” that befell Sparta and Athens during the Peloponnesian War—will not be easy.2

The narrative that national security professionals use to discuss warfare in the second nuclear age opens a window into the richness of strategic thinking about deterrence, escalation, and war termination. Thus, the continued focus at U.S. war colleges and combatant commands on designing a theory of victory to defeat great power adversaries seems ill-suited for big wars in the 21st century. Conceptualizing war in terms of winners and losers, rather than achievement of more modest political objectives, risks strategic overreach and ignores warfare’s historical trend toward gray inconclusiveness.3

Three Reasons The Afghanistan Hearings Were A Disaster

James Jay Carafano

America failed 38 million Afghans. In two days of hearings about that failure, Washington failed 331 million Americans.

To be exact, Washington failed us three times over. Here’s how.

Failure #1. The president failed us. President Biden made terrible decisions and then lied about them. He thought he could run away from the mess in Afghanistan and not pay a price. He figured the US could get out before Afghanistan collapsed. He assumed Americans didn’t care about Afghanistan. He thought he could handle the problems left behind after America left. He figured wrong on all counts.

The most visible and egregious of Biden’s shortfalls proved to be the series of decisions he personally made on how to conduct the withdrawal. These decisions endangered Americans and allies, abandoned the people of Afghanistan, and led to a chaotic, humiliating retreat that cost the lives of hundreds,including 13 U.S. military personnel.

Afghanistan Isn’t Good Terrorist Real Estate

Paul R. Pillar
Source Link

As U.S. military forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, much attention has been given to the monitoring of, and possible action against, any terrorist activity inside Afghanistan. CIA Director William Burns stated in congressional testimony in April that the military withdrawal would diminish “the ability to collect and act on threats” in Afghanistan. In testimony last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concern that foreign terrorist groups “will have an opportunity to reconstitute, plot, inspire in a space that’s much harder for us to collect intelligence and operate against than was the case previously.”

The heads of U.S. agencies responsible for collecting information on terrorist groups will focus, understandably and appropriately, on the challenges of such collection. But the fear of, in Wray’s words, a terrorist “safe haven to be recreated” in Afghanistan is an artifact of Americans’ traumatic history with the 9/11 attacks. To the extent that a terrorist group may find a geographic haven useful, there is nothing special about Afghanistan. If such a group is looking for a conflict-ridden place with some local sympathizers where outlaws can hang out and the group can pitch a tent, there are numerous other locations in the world from which to choose.

The Defender's Dilemma

Elisabeth Braw

While much of the West worries about a physical invasion, gray-zone aggression is taking place every day — and it is hard to detect because it often looks like the normal bustle of daily life.

Gray-zone aggression is happening because it is exceedingly easy to attack liberal democracies in the gray zone between war and peace. Indeed, it is distinctly advantageous to use nonmilitary means of aggression. Doing so brings the attacking side the benefits it seeks, which may be industrial prowess rather than territorial gains. It makes the defender’s task harder; indeed, the aggression is extremely difficult to deter. For years, Western governments and businesses have worked to strengthen their defense against cyberattacks. Many have strengthened their offensive cyber capabilities. Governments and the wider public in Europe and North America have experienced the effects of disinformation campaigns against their societies, and myriad government and civil-society initiatives are trying to limit the spread of disinformation and make the public more resilient to such content. Yet the aggression continues, often by simply taking on new guises.

This book is intended as a resource for policymakers, members of the armed forces, industry leaders, and wider civil society. Western governments cannot simply impose gray-zone deterrence. Instead, it is in the interest of all members of society to play a role in gray-zone defense and deterrence, as everyone stands to benefit. By extension, so does each country.

Turkey and the European Union: a difficult but critical relationship

Manuel de la Cámara

On April 7th, 2021, Turkey and the European Union (EU) held a meeting in Ankara, led respectively by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and European Council, and EU Commission Presidents, Charles Michel, and Ursula von der Leyen. After the meeting, the leaders moved to a room where Erdoğan and Michel sat in two chairs, while von der Leyen was left standing and had to sit on a side sofa, opposite the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The images were beamed around the world and went viral on social networks. This incident happened shortly after the announcement (on March 20, 2021) that Turkey would be withdrawing from the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women, which was signed in Istanbul in 2011. At the Ankara meeting, von der Leyen expressed concern about the withdrawal.

An issue of great importance to the EU that was discussed at the meeting, was the extension of the controversial March 2016 Joint Declaration on Migration, which eased the return to Turkey of Syrian refugees. The Commission’s spokesperson, Eric Mammer, stressed that Mrs. von der Leyen should have been seated exactly like Michel and Erdoğan, but that the EU did not want to create an incident over the issue. When asked about the incident the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, responded that it was behaviour characteristic of a dictator, but that there was no other option than to collaborate with Turkey to preserve our interests. The Commission’s mild reaction and Draghi’s comments show that, while relations between the EU and Turkey can at times be stormy, pragmatism can also prevail.

America Cannot Take On China And Russia Simultaneously

David T. Pyne

In a previous article, “Russia and China are Already Winning the Nuclear Arms Race,” I discussed the dangers to U.S. national security from the breathtaking advances by China and Russia in expanding the size of their nuclear arsenals to a level far in excess of the size of the current U.S. nuclear arsenal. The more that Russia’s and China’s superiority over the United States in terms of nuclear and other unconventional weapons such as super-Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and cyberweapons, as well as in terms of overall nuclear war survivability, continues to increase, the greater their temptation will be to engage in increasingly brazen international aggression abroad. We have already seen examples of this happening with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, China’s occupation of disputed islands in the South China Sea over the last several years, and what appears to be an increasingly imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

In March-April 2021, Russia reportedly massed 100,000-150,000 troops along Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders poised for a possible invasion. In response, the United States raised its alert status to Defense Condition (DEFCON) Three for the first time since September 11, 2001. Moreover, U.S. European Command raised its watch level to “potential imminent crisis” in fear that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might be followed by a Russian attempt to overrun frontline NATO states including the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It was this crisis that caused President Joe Biden to propose the June 2021 Geneva summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin to reduce tensions and improve U.S.-Russian relations, which were then at their worst since the end of the Cold War. More disturbingly, Russia’s achievement of nuclear supremacy over the United States could potentially enable it to coerce or blackmail U.S. leaders to do its bidding and unilaterally disarm or, far worse, launch a catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland with a comparatively low risk of effective U.S. military retaliation. Such an attack would essentially have the effect of erasing the United States from the geopolitical map much as the Allies did to Germany at the end of World War II.

China’s Economic Crisis and Its Foreign Policy

George Friedman

China has reached a critical point that many countries often reach and that, however painful, is cleansing in the long term. Consider what happened to the mighty United States during the Great Depression. Tragic though it was, it cleared the way for a new economic and social model. The crisis started through optimism – a new economic dynamic emerged that was so successful it created the illusion that it was eternal. Eternity bred recklessness and thus created massive imbalances. The economy reached the limits of one model and then passed through the crucible that led to the emergence of a new one.

Such crises tend to belie the underlying social and political problems at work. The cycle works like this: A great deal of wealth is lost by people who nevertheless remain wealthy. Much less is lost by the lower classes, but their loss is existential. The lower classes, we learn, need to be cushioned. The political system must assure social and political stability while at the same time managing capital allocation. As it manages capital, it appears to favor the rich, thereby increasing unrest. The New Deal generated a massive populist movement demanding that the rich be soaked. The upper and upper-middle classes see such programs as a violation of their principles and interests. In the U.S., it is not clear what would have happened had World War II not generated state-driven industrialism and thus ended unemployment.

Investing in China: myths and realities

Uri Dadush, Pauline Weil

China holds a paradox: Western policy-makers and many firms decry discriminatory business practices — concerns that have culminated in a trade war between the US and China — yet foreign direct investment (FDI) in China continues to thrive. In the first quarter of this year, FDI into China soared by 40% compared to the same period a year prior and, as reported by Unctad, the country overtook the US as the top destination for overall foreign investment in 2020. China’s trade in goods and services, in which value chains animated by foreign investors play a crucial role, is also as buoyant as ever.

Investing in China

In a recent paper, we tried to reconcile these contrasting realities. Although tensions over human rights, security and geopolitics clearly play a big role in relations with China, we focused solely on the economic and business aspects of the situation.

Chinese Military Dynamics and Evolving Strategy: Graphic Net Assessment

Anthony H. Cordesman

This assessment provides an updated overview of the key developments in China’s growing civil and military capabilities to compete with the United States and other powers. It shows that the challenges posed by China are complex and involve a growing fusion of civil and military capabilities. It shows that the Chinese approach to competition is also global, rather than centered in one area like Taiwan or the South China Sea, and it is often a competition where China’s increasing ability to influence and deter may well be a more important goal than its ability to fight. As a result, competition with the United States takes many different dimensions and is rapidly changing in many key areas of military force, economics, and politics.

The assessment provides a wide range of graphs, maps, and tables that provides a diverse view of the summary data on a wide range of China’s strategic and military capabilities where these can be summarized in quantitative form or by using maps and selected quotes. It also provides summary comparisons of the civil, economic, and technological trends in China and the U.S., recognizing that the estimates are often different and controversial.

It relies heavily on the U.S. Department of Defense’s annual report on Chinese Military Power, which seems to be the most reliable and balanced official unclassified source available. However, it also includes reporting by the Congressional Research Service; U.S. combatant commands; and Japanese, Taiwanese, and South Korean official reporting, and it draws on a wide range of other think tanks, media, and expert sources in an effort to illustrate the wide range of different official and expert estimates as well as the major uncertainties in any assessment of China and how it compare with the U.S. and other nations.

There Will Be a U.S.-China Cold War

Paul Heer

Many scholars and commentators have declared that the United States and China are heading toward—or are already engaged in—a new cold war. In their analysis, the term applies to the bipolar strategic competition between the two nuclear superpowers and their ideologies. It will replicate the U.S.-Soviet Cold War as a contest for global supremacy that will oblige other countries to choose sides between democracy and autocracy. But the war will remain “cold” because neither side seeks direct military confrontation or conquest. Indeed, the U.S.-China cold war will be waged primarily in the economic, technological, and political realms.

Other observers, however, have declared with similar confidence that there will be no U.S.-China cold war because Washington and Beijing are not in fact engaged in an ideological struggle for global supremacy. China does not seek world hegemony or the destruction of capitalism and the American way of life. Nor will the rest of the world divide itself into American and Chinese camps. Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said comparing the U.S.-China competition to the U.S.-Soviet Cold War risks “misdiagnosing the nature of the threat” and “misunderstanding the nature of the competition.” And as historian Melvyn Leffler said, the Cold War happened “because of the specific circumstances confronting the United States after 1945. The historical context in which the United States operates today, the prevailing configuration of power in the international arena, and the ideological appeal of the rival regime are all entirely different.”

‘Global Strike From Space;’ Did Kendall Reveal Chinese Threat?


WASHINGTON: When Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall used his Sept. 20 keynote speech at the annual Air Force Association conference to claim that China is developing the ability to launch “global strikes from space” against US targets, it raised more than a few eyebrows and sent military analysts scrambling.

After all, the decision to bring up the potential for a space-based strike against terrestrial targets couldn’t have been casual. In a speech focused on Chinese threats, this line stood out: new PRC capabilities, Kendall said, include “precision weapons with steadily increasingly range … including the potential for global strikes, strikes from space.”

That’s a major claim, and one Kendall had to know would make waves at the conference. Some analysts believed Kendall, an unapologetic China hawk, was hyping the Chinese threat. Others felt that he was just trying to send a broad message about the speed with which the People’s Liberation Army is developing and fielding weapons.

China Brief,

Jamestown Foundation

Xi Facing Opposition on Different Fronts in Run-Up to Key Party Plenum

Evidence of the Chinese Central Government’s Knowledge of and Involvement in Xinjiang’s Re-Education Internment Campaign

Beijing’s Growing Influence on the Global Undersea Cable Network

Divide, Depoliticize, and Demobilize: China’s Strategies for Controlling the Tibetan Diaspora

What Does It Take To Out-Maneuver Enemy Drones?

A small quadcopter, just like the ones they sell for a few hundred dollars at big-box stores, flies against a cloudless blue sky. On the ground, atop a dune buggy, a glass-paned turret pivots in the drone’s direction.

Inside the vehicle, there’s a motorized whirr. Moments later, flames start to flicker near a microscopic hole in the center of the drone’s wings, and the hard plastic begins to melt. A few seconds later, it crashes to the ground.

This is what it looks like when , a Raytheon Technologies business, demonstrates the use of lasers to defeat hostile drones. Counter-UAS lasers such as RI&S’ give military service members and public-safety officials a relatively inexpensive way to defeat swarms of cheap, weaponized drones.

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.

U.S. Signals No Thaw in Trade Relations With China

Ana Swanson and Keith Bradsher

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration offered its strongest signal yet that the United States’ combative economic approach toward China would continue, with senior administration officials saying that President Biden would not immediately lift tariffs on Chinese goods and that he would hold Beijing accountable for trade commitments agreed to during the Trump administration.

Comments on Monday by Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, and other officials provided one of the first looks at how the Biden administration plans to deal with a rising economic and security threat from China. They indicated that while Mr. Biden may have criticized the Trump administration’s aggressive approach, his White House will continue trying to counter China’s economic threats with trade barriers and other punitive measures.

That includes requiring China to uphold commitments it agreed to as part of the initial trade deal that it signed with the United States in January 2020, as well as pressing China on the issue of subsidies it offers to give its industries a competitive edge. So far, China is on a pace to fall short of its 2021 purchasing commitments by more than 30 percent, after falling short by more than 40 percent last year, according to Chad P. Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who tracks the purchases.

The Czech President Eyes a Post-Election Power Grab

Tim Gosling

PRAGUE, Czech Republic—President Milos Zeman’s decision last week to sign legislation that blocks Russia and China from involvement in the Czech nuclear industry came as a surprise given Zeman’s efforts to deepen ties with Moscow and Beijing. The move was likely a tactical retreat by the cunning head of state, who expects upcoming parliamentary elections on Oct. 8 and 9 to hand him significant influence over the next government.

Although polls suggest the country is split down the middle, with support divided equally between illiberal populist and pro-democratic forces, Zeman has already said he plans to use the constitutional power of his office to reappoint populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Can climate change be tackled without ditching economic growth?


Higher levels of economic activity tend to go hand-in-hand with additional energy use and consumption of natural resources. As fossil fuels still account for 80 percent of the global energy mix, energy consumption remains closely related to greenhouse gas emissions and hence to climate forcing. This paper explores whether decarbonisation and economic growth are compatible or whether the world economy needs to grow less to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to reach net zero in 2050. The literature provides profoundly different answers to this question, with scholars positioning along a spectrum that extends from the most optimist version of ‘green growth’ theories to sceptical ‘degrowth’ theories.

While globally, CO2 emissions per unit of GDP are declining, the decoupling rate from 1995 to 2018 was only -1.8 percent annually. To achieve net zero by 2050, the rate would have to accelerate to -8.7 percent, assuming population and GDP growth projections as given, or by a factor of almost five. To keep GDP growth and population at their projections and thus reject the proposition of de-growth, decoupling would have to accelerate massively. Two avenues are crucial: reducing the energy intensity of production and/or the emissions intensity of energy. The huge fall in the price of renewable energy provides hope that decoupling can accelerate. Decoupling rates have accelerated in the last decade and decoupling is substantially faster in the European Union. In the EU, we estimate that decoupling only has to accelerate by a factor of 2.5.

We do not think degrowth propositions advanced in the literature will be pursued and therefore focus on the main challenges that must be tackled to achieve decoupling. Unprecedented efforts are required to achieve green growth. But hoping for humanity to sacrifice growth appears unrealistic.

How to Make Sure Peace Endures Once the Fighting Ends

The need for peacebuilding in post-conflict societies grew out of the realization that signing agreements to bring fighting to an end is a necessary but insufficient step toward true and enduring peace. Peacebuilding is now conceived of as a multistage process to strengthen the peace accord and begin unifying communities through approaches ranging from governmental capacity-building and economic development to reforms of the legal and security sectors. Each initiative is intended to be a step toward improving human security, and the process often includes a transitional justice mechanism to foster societal healing and reconciliation.

Peacebuilding is often a laborious and expensive process—and one that can easily be undone. Witness Brexit’s triggering of the long-dormant fault lines between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland. Moreover, as peacebuilding has evolved, there is still no consensus on who should lead these efforts. In the wake of Sept. 11, the United Nations introduced a Peacebuilding Commission, intended to push for the adoption of post-conflict interventions and then aid and track their implementation. But it lacks enforcement capacity, and key member states can block its activities. Regional bodies, including the European Union and especially the African Union, have shown an interest in prioritizing post-conflict peacebuilding, but their track records are mixed.

International Institutions Must Keep Politics Out of Their Data

Richard Gowan

Can we trust international institutions to give us impartial information about the state of the world? This question is at the heart of a controversy currently roiling the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is likely to haunt other multilateral organizations in the future, too. .

North Korea’s Mysterious Cryptocurrency Ambitions


One of the most reclusive and restrictive places in the world, North Korea isn’t easy to visit, but it’s not impossible. For the blockchain conference, there was an application process. The fee was €3,300 ($4,800), flying from Beijing—North Korea welcomes few foreigners directly, and most trips have to start from China, its ally and biggest trading partner. The bulk of the fee was to be paid in cash upon arrival, and €800 ($1,200) of it prepaid. The available payment methods? Either a wire to some obscure financial institution in Estonia or a transfer of Ethereum’s Ether, the most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. I chose the latter because it was less painful, and fortuitously for North Korea, Ether appreciated by as much as 50 percent in the ensuing two months, resulting in a 50 percent profit from simply doing nothing. All of that perfectly illustrates the curious link between North Korea and cryptocurrency, which critics say threatens global stability—a connection built entirely on what that dictatorship is and its place in the world.

Formed after the Second World War, North Korea has never played well with most of the world, pursuing nuclear weapons against the West-led order and being accused of rampant human-rights violations and criminal behaviour. The West’s response? Hit North Korea with economic sanctions, which in the postwar decades have become the favoured way to show displeasure. But that can be devastating to a country’s economy. If the international banking community shuns a country, it becomes hard for that country to send and receive payments and conduct trade. In 2016 and 2017 alone, the United Nations sanctioned North Korea more times than in the previous twenty years.

Europe is under attack from Putin’s energy weapon

Sergiy Makogon

Nord Stream 2 is not yet operational, but the Kremlin’s tightening grip on energy supplies is already being felt across Europe. The price of gas futures continues to hit record highs and has increased by over 600% in a matter of twelve months.

What we are currently witnessing in Europe is a rerun of the oil shocks America experienced in the 1970s. The commodity is different, the safeguards are stronger, but the underlying dynamics are the same. It was not a lack of oil tankers that pushed up prices of crude and triggered an economic recession in the US almost 50 years ago, but politically motivated decisions by the dominant oil producers to withhold supplies.

As Ukraine’s gas transmission operator and a reliable partner for Europe, GTSOU has offered transit capacities at every auction, but Russia has repeatedly failed to book them. On September 15, Gazprom announced that its gas production has increased 19% this year, but Europe has seen no increase in supplies.

Commercial GEOINT Raises Questions About NGA, IC Roles, Says Gordon


WASHINGTON: As the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) expands its efforts to tap into, integrate and disseminate imagery and analysis from commercial providers, it also increasingly is running into an existential question: With so much data widely available, where does the government’s go-to GEOINT provider go from here?

Intelligence Community representatives are gathering for the annual GEOINT Symposium this year in St. Louis, Mo., where the issue of how to handle the explosion of available commercial imagery, 3D maps, visualization tools and analytics will be on the agenda, especially as some of the NGA’s customers — particularly within the military — have shown they’re eager to simply buy commercial services directly.

A Push to Elevate Open Source Intelligence

Steven Aftergood

Open source intelligence — which is derived from open, unclassified sources — should be recognized as a mature intelligence discipline that is no less important than other established forms of intelligence, the House of Representatives said last month in the FY 2022 defense authorization act (sec. 1612).

The House directed the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to develop and implement “a plan to elevate open-source intelligence to a foundational intelligence for strategic intelligence that is treated on par with information collected from classified means (for example, human intelligence, signals intelligence, and geospatial intelligence).”

Considering that those classified disciplines have large dedicated agencies of their own (CIA, NSA, NGA), it would seem to be a major undertaking to “elevate” open source intelligence to the same level and to treat it comparably.

Significantly, the House directive is driven not by some abstract preference for open sources but by “the intelligence priorities of the commanders of the combatant commands.” The thinking appears to be that open source intelligence — that can be shared widely or even (sometimes) publicly disclosed — offers practical advantages to military commanders that other, highly classified forms of intelligence typically lack.

Researchers Warn Of ‘Dangerous’ Artificial Intelligence-Generated Disinformation At Scale


WASHINGTON: Researchers at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) are raising alarms about powerful artificial intelligence technology now more widely available that could be used to generate disinformation at a troubling scale.

The warning comes after CSET researchers conducted experiments using the second and third versions of Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT-2 and GPT-3), a technology developed by San Francisco company OpenAI. GPT’s text-generation capabilities are characterized by CSET researchers as “autocomplete on steroids.”

“We don’t often think of autocomplete as being very capable, but with these large language models, the autocomplete is really capable, and you can tailor what you’re starting with to get it to write all sorts of things,” Andrew Lohn, senior research fellow at CSET, said during a recent event where researchers discussed their findings. Lohn said these technologies can be prompted with a short cue to automatically and autonomously write everything from tweets and translations to news articles and novels.

Is Another ‘Friction Point’ Emerging Along the India-China Border?

Sudha Ramachandran

On August 30, over 100 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers reportedly crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Barahoti in Uttarakhand, according to a recent report in Economic Times. The Chinese soldiers entered some 5 km into territory on the Indian side of the LAC. Although they remained here for 3 hours and damaged infrastructure, including a bridge, Indian troops did not challenge them or force them to leave.

The Indian government has not issued an official statement on the incident yet.

Such a major incursion should have prompted a response from Indian troops on the ground or at least prompted a statement from government officials. It did not.

But the official silence is not surprising. With regard to border tensions with China over the past year, denial and silence has been an important component of the Narendra Modi government’s strategy. This is quite unlike its aggression, often excessive, when it comes to Pakistan undermining India’s national security.

In April last year, China began a build-up of its troops in the western sector of the LAC in eastern Ladakh and followed that up with incursions several kilometers into the Indian side of the de facto border at several points. Although reports in the media were drawing attention in May to the rising presence of Chinese soldiers, heavy weaponry, and tents on the Indian side of the LAC, the Indian government dismissed the reports. Indian Army chief General Manoj Naravane described the growing crisis as “temporary and short duration face-offs.”

Indeed, even after a bloody face-off at the Galwan Valley on June 15 resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told an all-party meeting that the Chinese had neither “intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them.”

In his attempt to score points over the opposition and portray himself as being on top of the situation at the border, he was endorsing China’s occupation of Indian land, weakening India’s position at talks.

“Today, we possess the capability that no one can eye even one inch of our land. India’s armed forces have the capability to move into multiple sectors at one go,” he thundered at the all-party meeting.

But the reality on the ground is different as India is ceding territory to the Chinese along the border.

Twelve rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders have taken place so far. While they have led to disengagement of troops at a few friction points, the process is going against India’s interests. The two sides are establishing no-patrolling buffer zones but these are coming up in territory that has been under Indian control. At Galwan, for instance, the LAC has shifted a kilometer in China’s favor.

India has not played its cards well at the negotiations, either. It handed over the heights of the Kailash Range at Pangong Tso – it captured the strategic heights here from the PLA in August – to get the Chinese to disengage from the north bank of Pangong Tso. By returning Kailash Heights, India surrendered its “sole bargaining chip” early in the negotiations. It could have leveraged this instead to get the Chinese to clear out of Depsang Plains, which is vital to India’s national security.

While the two sides have disengaged from the south bank of Pangong Tso and Gogra and have set up buffer zones in Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso’s north bank, they are yet to begin talks on Hot Springs, Demchok, and Depsang. Meanwhile, with the incident at Barahoti in August, yet another friction point looms, this time in the LAC’s middle sector.

While incidents of Chinese “transgressions” in the middle sector are not new – at the height of the crisis in Doklam in 2017, for instance, PLA soldiers breached the LAC at Barahoti – “there is an increase in the number of PLA troops coming in” here of late, defense ministry officials told The Hindu. During the recent incident at Barahoti, not only did PLA soldiers come in from “multiple locations within the Barahoti bowl,” but also this time around, the transgression was “on a much higher scale,” the officials said.

The PLA could be putting pressure on India in the other sectors to win concessions in the western sector in the ongoing military talks. It could also be testing India’s military preparedness in other sectors and its resolve to push back Chinese soldiers entering the Indian side. Its probing missions in other sectors could be aimed at extending its aggression further across the LAC.

India has sent out a signal of weakness by not challenging the PLA intrusion at Barahoti. Did Modi government raise the matter through diplomatic channels? Or does it propose to object to such transgressions in the 13th round of talks, which are expected to take place early this month?

Delhi’s stony silence on the incident so far does not bode well. In his preoccupation with projecting a tough image to voters at home, Modi may prefer to simply ignore the incident or deny it happened.

New Army Pilot Program To Test Armored Brigade Mobile Communications


TAUNTON, Mass.: The US Army is planning a pilot effort for early next year to learn more about future on-the-move communications needs of armored brigades, as the service continues to modernize its network in preparation for more distributed operations of the future.

The pilot effort, which will feature both mature and immature mobile technologies, will collect technical data and soldier feedback to help inform Capability Set ‘25, a future set of network upgrades that will deliver advanced network tools to armored brigades in fiscal year 2025, Army officials told reporters last week.

The Army’s tactical network team — made up of the Network Cross-Functional Team and its acquisition arm Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical — is modernizing the Army’s tactical network for infantry, Stryker and armored brigades through the capability set program.

Army officials at the General Dynamics facility in Taunton, Massachusetts, Sept. 21, 2021. (Amy Walker/Army via DVIDS)

Last week, General Dynamics Mission Systems, which will serve as the systems integrator for the pilot, hosted reporters at its Taunton, Mass. facility, where it will integrate potential future network technology onto the vehicles. They will then be shipped down to Fort Stewart, Ga. for the pilot with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division, which takes place early next year. (Breaking Defense, like other outlets, accepted travel accommodations from GDMS for this visit.)

The Army will use 12 M1068 mobile command posts as surrogate vehicles and four high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles to provide feedback for future integration onto the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose vehicle.

“The pilot intent is not intended to be a material selection down-select, so that’s key to this,” Col. Shane Taylor, project manager for tactical networks at PEO C3T, told reporters here. “This is an opportunity to look at a variety of technologies across maturity levels, and then … from a CONOPS [concept of operations] perspective of how we would employ the kit, how we would execute the kit, it’s an opportunity to get after that.”

The U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command and Raytheon Intelligence & Space are enhancing mission management and mission-data processing to shift the focus of GPS operations from satellite command and control to basic, user-oriented effects-based operation.

The pilot is testing three separate network configurations that could potentially be fielded across armored brigades in the future. From these different configurations, the Army will draw lessons learned from different use cases and feedback on what different capabilities soldiers will need in the future, especially taking into account the ease of use for the soldiers.

Ultimately, what the Army’s tactical network team wants to determine is the adequate distribution of networking tools — SATCOM, tactical servers, radios, etc — is, without burdening users.

“It’s kind of informing where that sweet spot is as we go forward, right? So from a unit perspective … the more capability I give them, the more complex the system is going to be,” Taylor said. “Where over here I can give them less capability, more simple to use. And so where is that sweet spot? And so that’s, that’s part of the things that we’re going to get after with the pilot.”

The three network configurations will include M1068s that function as an S6 vehicle, S2 (intelligence), S3 (operations) and fires support. The pilot will test mixes of beyond-line-of-sight and satellite communications capabilities. The first course of action is the most capable, with each vehicle regardless of its role receiving satellite and line-of-sight communications.

The second iteration will include a satellite connection for the S2, S3 and fires support vehicle, but won’t carry a line-of-sight connection. The third will have a line-of-sight connection but no SATCOM capabilities. In each course of action, the S6 vehicle maintains a SATCOM and line-of-sight connection. Each configuration has its pros and cons, both in terms of capability, affordability and operational relevance.

“Satellite has the advantage of being able to reach out to the rest of the world, but you have to have a satellite dish on top of your vehicle and you also need to have an actual satellite connection,” said Col. Greg Napoli, the unified network lead at the Network Cross-Functional Team. “Line-of-sight has the ability that costs you nothing. As long as I see you, we have line-of-sight, but of course unless I have some sort of connection to that satellite, be it direct or indirect, I can’t get up and out. I can just talk to you and no one else.”

He continued, “These concepts of employment will show different mixes of that beyond-line-of-sight and line-of-sight capabilities with the ‘so what’ of providing … connection to the appropriate staff entity [S2/S3/Fires] while they are on the move.”

The service will gather data from the pilot on the effectiveness, suitability and survivability of each configuration to inform future network design plans for armored brigades.

Members of the “Spartan Brigade” visit the General Dynamics facility in Taunton, Massachusetts, Sept. 21, 2021. (Amy Walker/US Army via DVIDS)

While the pilot will serve as an opportunity to collect soldier feedback, the Army tactical network team also received feedback ahead of the pilot design. Soldiers told the modernization team to keep new network tools simple, Taylor noted, in order to minimize the amount of space new kit takes up inside the vehicle and not to interfere with the fighting functions of the vehicle.

“What we want to be careful about is, I don’t need somebody engaged in a fight and then at the same time having to manage their network, so how do we keep the complexity out of the fighting platform,” Taylor said.

It is still the early days of network design planning for Capability Set ‘25. Capability Set ‘21 has been fielded to several infantry brigades. Capability Set ‘23, which is focused on network tools for Stryker brigades, will undergo critical design review in April.

The pilot also serves as a chance for the Army to test a wide range of potential future network tools, including mesh radios, tethered drones, various antennas, satellite communications and other futuristic technologies. Some may not be ready for Capability Set ‘25, but may be mature for CS27 or 29. The pilot doesn’t have a standard baseline and mixes up vendors for each course of action. That will give the Army a better sense of where the technology is headed in the future.

“We’re trying to let the technologies drive the requirements as opposed to traditionally where the requirements somewhat drove the technology,” Taylor said. “What that does is allow us to take advantage of all the domain expertise that resides in industry instead of us telling them you know, what we think is the right technology.”