17 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.

Terrorism Monitor

Islamic State’s Canadian ‘Voice’ Facing Terrorism Charges in the U.S.

Kyrgyzstan Opens Dialogue with the Taliban Amid Russian Military Maneuvers

TM Interview with Chairman of the Kazakhstan Council on International Relations’ Erlan Karin

Houthi Militants in Ansar Allah Move Toward Marib in Yemen

India’s Cautious and Calculated Approach to the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan

An Afghanistan Evac Flight Was Almost Hijacked, Air Force Reveals


The State Department estimates that “a couple thousand” additional evacuees have been able to depart Afghanistan since Aug. 31, as a rare pairing of Biden administration staff and private organizations try to finish the work of the largest, most chaotic, and most dangerous emergency airlift in U.S. history.

“It’s wild that the State Department and DOD are doing this,” said one of volunteers, a veteran who is in regular meetings with those government officials to keep the evacuation going, through his role in the #AfghanEvac coalition. “It’s the most American thing I’ve ever seen.”

Indo-Pacific-Asia 2021: Ongoing Theater Of Cold War 2.0 And Possibly World War III?

Dr. Subhash Kapila

China’s escalating military belligerence in 2021 from Taiwan to India’s Himalayan Borders with China Occupied Tibet confirm the question I had posed as far back as April 2001 following Chinese fighter aircraft damaging United States EP3 surveillance plane and forcing it to land on Chinese Hainan Island. My O9 April 2001, Paper published by South Asia Analysis Group questioned China’s motives under the heading “Is China Generating a Second Cold War?”.

Pertinent to quote from this Paper was my major observation that: “It is symptomatic of the Chinese brinkmanship at display and portends that while China may not opt for an armed conflict with USA, it will however keep resorting to brinkmanship, keep confronting USA strategically and wear down the United States resolve to continue to be committed to the defence and security of the Asia Pacific and Taiwan in particular.”

Like China, America Can Still Learn from the Gulf War Today

James Jay Carafano

Here's What You Need to Remember: The first Gulf War is perhaps distant enough in time now that it can be reconsidered with less of the angst or adrenaline that often clouds our assessment of current affairs. In that respect, it may offer even more useful lessons now than those America tried to learn 25 years ago—lessons that are as applicable as ever.

In the summer of 1990, U.S. forces began flooding into the Middle East. By the following February, they were on their way home.

The war over how to interpret the war seemed to break out before the troops had washed the sand off the tanks. Twenty-five years later, the squabbling over what history has to teach us continues.

Following the war, the Army appointed Brigadier General Bob Scales to direct the Desert Storm Special Study Group. Its assignment: to deconstruct the liberation of Kuwait and the roll-up of Saddam Hussein’s armed forces. Scales’ assessment appeared in the book Certain Victory. Not to be outdone, the Air Force commissioned the Gulf War Air Power Survey, a massive review edited by Tom Keaney and Eliot Cohen.

The moment of truth over Taiwan is getting closer

Gideon Rachman 

The Chinese air force sent around 150 jets into Taiwan’s air-defence identification zone in the space of just four days this month — a record number that caused the Taiwanese air force to scramble repeatedly. Over the same period, the US and five other nations, including Japan and the UK, conducted one of the biggest naval exercises in the western Pacific in decades.

This flexing of military muscle was accompanied by confrontational rhetoric on both sides. Over the weekend, President Xi Jinping pledged in a speech that the “historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland . . . will definitely be fulfilled”. The Chinese leader stressed that his preference is to take over Taiwan by peaceful means. But, since voluntary surrender by Taiwan is close to inconceivable, that leaves military force.

The CIA has also just announced its formation of a new China Mission Center, describing China as “the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century”. Its most urgent issue will be assessing Beijing’s intentions over Taiwan. Chiu Kuo-cheng, the island’s defence minister, warned last week that China would be able to invade by 2025 and described the current situation as the most dangerous in 40 years.

How to Prevent an Accidental War Over Taiwan

Bonny Lin and David Sacks

China appears to be rehearsing for joint combat operations near Taiwan. In addition to increasing the frequency of its flights, China is integrating a large number of fighter jets with nuclear-capable bombers and assets focused on antisubmarine warfare and air surveillance. China is demonstrating its ability to conduct military operations against Taiwan at all hours, 365 days of the year. It may also be expanding and routinizing these flights to desensitize Taiwan and the United States to Chinese military operations near the island, allowing Beijing to more easily disguise preparations for an actual attack on Taiwan as part of “normal” activities.

China’s increasingly aggressive behavior makes a cross-strait emergency more likely. But the risk of a crisis stems less from the possibility of an immediate Chinese invasion than from an accident or a miscalculation that turns deadly—a midair collision between Chinese and Taiwanese jets, for instance, or a Chinese decision to violate Taiwan’s sovereign airspace that prompts Taiwan to shoot down the plane. Beijing will probably continue to escalate its coercive efforts, sending aircraft closer to Taiwan and possibly even over the island itself. At a certain point, Taipei will be forced to respond—whether with enhanced surveillance and warnings or with military force. The United States must therefore work with Taiwan to preempt and respond to China’s military activities without triggering a crisis. Preparing for a full-scale Chinese invasion of Taiwan is no longer a sufficient U.S. strategy. Washington must also prepare for a blunder or a miscue that has the potential to explode into open conflict.

China-Russia Cooperation

Andrew Radin, Andrew Scobell, Elina Treyger, J.D. Williams, Logan Ma

China and Russia are perceived as major, long-term competitors with the United States. Since 2014, China and Russia have strengthened their relationship, increasing political, military, and economic cooperation. In this report, the authors seek to understand the history of cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, the drivers of and constraints on the relationship, the potential future of cooperation between China and Russia, the impact of the Chinese-Russian relationship on the United States, and implications for future U.S. policy.

The authors find that the main motivations for closer 21st century cooperation between China and Russia are the declining relative power of the United States and the persistent perceived threat from the United States to both China and Russia. If current trends continue, the authors expect the collaborative relationship between China and Russia to be sustained.

Absent major (and likely undesirable) changes in U.S. policy, there is little the U.S. government or Army can do to influence the trajectory of the China-Russia relationship. The U.S. military can prepare for the results of greater Sino-Russian cooperation, including by expecting further diffusion of Chinese and Russian military equipment, additional joint planning and exercises, potential joint basing, and eventually the possibility of joint military operations.

New Tail for China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats

Zhanna Malekos Smith

Chinese president Xi Jinping is gaining a reputation for adapting one of the most famous works of ancient Chinese literature to help legitimize his policies—the Tao-te Ching, commonly attributed to the sixth century BCE sage Laozi. What might the United States learn from President Xi’s use of this philosophical text?

The Tao-te Ching Offers Leaders Guidance on Asserting Force and Appearing to Yield

Understanding how the philosophical concept of Tao—the Way—is interwoven into the historical tapestry of Chinese military and civil strategy can help decisionmakers better assess the strategic long-term implications of the United States’ competitive relationship with China. By drawing upon the teachings of Chinese classics like the Tao-te Ching and I Ching, President Xi “is trying to elevate his policy preference to the level of philosophy, which is the science of all science,” reasons Chen Daoyin, a political scientist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. Studying Tao and its principles of how to exhaust a greater force can shed light on China’s national strategy under President Xi.

Origins of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

In recent years President Xi’s directives and Chinese public opinion have set a more aggressive diplomatic tone, reasons Peter Martin. This assertive diplomacy style, dubbed “wolf warrior,” is named after a 2017 patriotic film series. Ultimately, wolf warrior diplomats seek to “defend China’s national interests, often in confrontational ways.”

Cartels and crypto


If the massive spike in traffic across the U.S.-Mexico border continues at its current pace, total border arrests in 2021 will be the highest since 2000, when nearly 1.7 million illegal border crossers were apprehended by U.S. authorities. Down in Texas’ 23rd District, which encompasses 40 percent of the total southern border, residents are no strangers to the dangers that come with illegal border crossings, specifically those connected to cartel activity. A worrisome new technological development has arisen that can potentially lay the groundwork for these criminal elements to increase their drug and human smuggling operations exponentially.

Latin American cartels have been on the leading edge of technological innovation for decades. Their drones, stealth submarines, and encrypted technologies rival the world’s best intelligence agencies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that cartels have now embraced cryptocurrency as an avenue for currency that cannot be easily tracked or traced.

White House to host virtual ransomware summit with 30 countries — but not Russia

Kevin Collier

The Biden administration is set to host a two-day virtual ransomware summit starting Wednesday, the largest international gathering of its kind to date, with one notable absence: Russia was not invited.

The White House plans for at least 30 countries to attend a series of meetings to be held over Zoom. The summit will be the most concrete step it has taken so far to build an international coalition to address ransomware, an epidemic of cybercrime where hackers remotely lock victims’ computers and demand an extortion payment to fix them.

“We see this meeting as the first of many conversations,” with allies, a senior Biden administration official said on a call with reporters Tuesday. The official requested to not be named as part of the terms of the call.

Gaslighting Nations—Erdogan Makes a Mockery of U.N. General Assembly—Again


The term "United Nations," which U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined in 1942, reflected a commitment, articulated in the Declaration of United Nations, to "defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice." The Declaration formally established the coalition that would ultimately overthrow the Axis powers, bringing an end to the Second World War.

Fast forward eight decades: The world's worst violators of human rights, including China and Russia, now serve on the U.N. Human Rights Council, and the likes of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan make a mockery of multilateralism and international norms by gaslighting nations at the U.N. General Assembly. Roosevelt must be turning in his grave.

Erdogan, in particular, has made a habit of trolling the General Assembly, which meets in September every year, by repeatedly lecturing members that "the world [is] more than five"—a reference to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—suggesting that Turkey should get a permanent seat.

Poles apart: is there any chance of another EU exit?

Robert Tyler

When David Cameron announced his intention to renegotiate the UK’s position inside the European Union, Poland was one of the first countries to express its support.

While those negotiations didn’t go as planned, the calls for EU reform haven’t gone away. Today, Poland continues to be at the front of the debate over national sovereignty and has taken an active role in the Conference on the Future of Europe. However, unlike in the UK, no serious political forces are proposing that Poland leave the European Union.

The governing conservative Law and Justice Party has remained a leading voice for reform, often working with other central-eastern European member states who have begun to share their scepticism when it comes to the increased centralisation of power in Brussels. In particular, Poland has taken an active lead in supporting European energy independence, opposing Russian interference, and updating infrastructure in the region.

The Global War on Chechnya: What Does 9/11 Teach Us About Counterterrorism Cooperation With Russia?

Paul Kolbe

A colleague of mine who worked closely with Russian security services on sharing intelligence in the weeks and months after the 9/11 attacks was fond of pointing out a fundamental disconnect. He noted that while the United States wanted Russia to join the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the Russians just wanted the United States to join in the GWOC, the Global War on Chechnya.

His wry joke perfectly encapsulated the counterterrorism relationship between the United States and Russia as it evolved after 9/11. In the weeks that followed, Russia, shocked by the attacks and worried about its own security, provided the United States with three main lines of support of varying degrees of importance—intelligence, ground and airspace transit permission, and non-opposition to the establishment of critical U.S. bases in Central Asia. In return, Russia hoped for recognition of its status, greater deference to Russian interests and reciprocal intelligence to aid its own bitter counterterror and counter-separatist fight.

Is Erdogan testing Biden with request to buy more F-16s?

Metin Gurcan

Turkey’s request from the United States for 40 F-16 fighter jets and 80 modernization kits for its existing aircraft caught many by surprise last week, coming amid a lingering crisis between the two NATO allies over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems and its apparent intention to advance military cooperation with Russia.

News of the requested purchase, estimated at some $7 billion, broke days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Sochi on Sept 29. Afterward, Erdogan raised the prospect of buying a second batch of S-400s, even as the fate of Turkey’s existing four batteries remains in limbo, as well as further cooperation with Russia in aerospace and submarine and ship projects.

Russia and Its Two “Shared Neighborhoods”


(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) The term “shared neighborhood” is applied when a nation or a group of nations is geographically located between disproportionally larger states, relations with which are critically important for the smaller nations. The major powers are also, for various reasons, fixated on interacting with the smaller in-between nations. Importantly, the two-level game of interactions between the major powers and smaller nations is strongly conditioned by the status and dynamics of relations between the major powers themselves. Presumably, it is a shared neighborhood that can cause the most acute international affairs disagreements and be a battlefield in the case of conflicting relations between powers. In post-Soviet Eurasia, the assorted interests of the major powers often and directly collide over the neighborhood. Russia, thanks to its size, geographical location, and imperial past, has two such primary shared neighborhoods at once: its western neighborhood—Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and partly the Caucasus—predominantly shared with the European Union, and it has its eastern neighborhood—the five Central Asian countries—shared with China.

Who Will Win the Global War for Talent?

Parag Khanna

Three crises are slamming the world at the same time: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a population plateau. But once COVID-19 passes, immigration will surge again as countries seek workers to fill labor shortages and people flee climate-stressed regions in search of stable habitats. Although this may seem improbable amid COVID-19 border restrictions and today’s toxic political discourse, xenophobic populism will soon be jettisoned in favor of an all-out war for young talent.

The only question is which countries realize it first.

The winners in this new round of the global war for talent won’t just be the usual suspects (the United States and Britain)—although, fortunately, despite their harsh responses to crises like the surge in Haitian and African asylum-seekers, these traditional immigration magnets are returning to the expansionist migration policies that pre-date former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brexit.

A Pentagon official said he resigned because US cybersecurity is no match for China, calling it 'kindergarten level'

A senior cybersecurity official at the Pentagon said he quit because he thought it was impossible for the US to compete with China on AI.

Nicolas Chaillan joined the US Air Force as its first chief software officer in August 2018. He worked to equip it and the Pentagon with the most secure and advanced software available.

But Chaillan quit on September 2. In his departing LinkedIn post, he cited the Pentagon's reluctance to make cybersecurity and AI a priority as a reason for his resignation.

Speaking to the Financial Times in his first interview since leaving, Chaillan said China was far ahead of the US.

Reflection: the “war on terror”, Islamophobia and radicalisation twenty years on

Tahir Abbas

As I watched the planes hit the Twin Towers on that historic Tuesday back in September 2001, I knew then that for the foreseeable future the Muslim world and the world of Muslims would remain of keen interest to western foreign policymakers, with potentially severe implications for the numerous Muslim minorities across the global north and Muslim majorities in the global south. Fast forward to today and we have witnessed the securitisation of Muslims through the normalisation of Islamophobia, for example through: legislation that hinders Muslim women’s cultural and religious expression; minaret bans in Europe; cartoons mocking significant Muslim religious symbols for mocking’s sake; and digital surveillance is now the new normal, whether it is online or through the eyes of CCTV cameras everywhere.

In essence, the “war on terror” has normalised the securitisation of Muslims and regularised the existence of Islamophobia. This has increased the likelihood of radicalisation, not reduced it. In terms of foreign policy, Afghanistan remains mired in complex multifaceted conflicts that have much to do with the presence of external actors, even though, twenty years on, the US and its allies have by and large left the country. The invasion of Iraq was motivated by a geo-strategic interest in the Middle East, with non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” used as a justification. Iraq descended into chaos once it was invaded in 2003, with the contagion affecting Syria. It was the necessary precursor to the emergence of the so-called Islamic State just over a decade later. Libya has also been affected by western interests, destabilising the country, bringing more extremism and chaos into play, not less. For many, the “war on terror” has been a unmitigated disaster, but one that was predictable at the outset because the war on Afghanistan was motivated by revenge and a gung-ho mentality supported by unrestrained weaponry.

Toward a T12: Putting Allied Technology Cooperation into Practice

Matthew P. Goodman an Brooke Roberts

The IssueThe Biden administration has sought to expand cooperation with allies and partners on promoting and protecting critical technologies, citing the potential benefits to U.S. and partners’ competitiveness, national security, and global leadership. In a dynamic global environment experiencing rapid digitization, economic nationalism, and a multifaceted challenge from China to existing rules and norms, allied technology cooperation—if it is to be effective—will require thoughtful prioritization and organization of efforts within and among countries.
IntroductionLess than nine months into the Biden administration, three themes have come to define its international economic agenda: competition with China, technology preeminence, and plurilateralism. These themes ran through the president’s first speech to Congress in April of this year. In a little over an hour, Biden reaffirmed that the United States is in competition with China to “win the twenty-first century,” declared that the United States will have to “develop and dominate . . . technologies of the future,” and reestablished that Washington will not lead alone, but with its allies.

Twenty-First Century Warfare: A Conversation with Jim Taiclet

John J. Hamre: Good morning, friends. Welcome. This is John Hamre. I’m the president here at CSIS. And I want to welcome all of you for what’s going to be a very interesting conversation in our Defense Pathfinders Series.

And I’m very pleased to welcome Jim Taiclet, who’s with us today. He’s the CEO of Lockheed Martin. Jim came to Lockheed Martin after a very distinguished career. He first started off as an Air Force Officer. And after serving in the Air Force, he was a pilot, he got into the cellular communications business, and saw the explosion of cellphone technology and digital technology firsthand. He was at the forefront. He’s now the CEO of Lockheed Martin, served on the board, I believe, on Lockheed Martin. And they – when Marillyn Hewson was leaving, they said, well, we’ve got a pretty good guy on this board. Let’s ask him to be the CEO. And he’s in that position for the last year.

I wanted you to know that, because it’ll help you understand the questions that I will ask of Jim, and sort of the conversation we want to have. I’m going to take him back to his origin. His first passion was serving in the Air Force and his love of the country. And, you know, Jim, you’ve been the CEO now of Lockheed for about a year. And you have – I always used to say that, you know, the defense industry is really the sixth service. You say the fifth service. We now have an Air Force – we have a Space Force. But it’s the sixth service. So would you just share with us, how – as a CEO of a, you know, major, major defense company – how do you look at the security landscape America’s facing right now?

What it costs to hire a hacker on the Dark Web

Lance Whitney

To conduct its analysis, researchers at Comparitech examined more than 100 listings from 12 different hacking services. The actual prices for many services are negotiated based on the time, scope, complexity and level of risk, according to Paul Bischoff, author of the post. But Comparitech was still able to find the average prices for many of these illicit services. The selling prices are normally listed in bitcoin, which Comparitech converted to U.S. dollars for its report.

The most expensive item on the menu was a personal attack, usually one involving defamation, legal sabotage or financial disruption. Changing school grades was the next priciest service. All of the hackers demand payment up front, though some promise a refund if the hack fails.

Most of the hackers for hire will accept a job only if they believe they can pull it off. One group found by Comparitech even says on its website: "In about 5-7% of cases, hacking is impossible." Most of the hackers say they can finish the work within 24 hours, though more advanced hacks could take days or weeks.

The High Cost of An Unpredictable Turkey


In 2019-2020, Turkey’s leadership launched a series of foreign policy and military initiatives. Apart from Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia, thanks to Ankara’s military support for Baku, the initiatives didn’t yield much.

Instead—from its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya to the stalemate in Syria’s Idlib province and the attempt to push desperate refugees through the Greek border—Ankara ended up more diplomatically isolated than ever before in the nineteen-year-rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Thankfully, 2021 has been quieter.

At home, the economy is in tatters, the judiciary is politicized, and the leadership is distancing itself from the United States, the European Union, and the Council of Europe on rule-of-law matters. To top it all off, Russian-made S-400 missile systems have become the bone of contention with NATO and the United States.

New InT Paper Calls for Greater Information Sharing

Arlington, VA (October 6, 2021)—The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today released a white paper, The Need for Transparency on Insider Threats: Improving Information Sharing Between Government and Industry, that identifies key policy and statutory changes needed to improve insider threat information sharing between government and the cleared contractor community.

Developed by INSA's Insider Threat Subcommittee, the paper notes that government and cleared industry are partners in ensuring the protection of the national security workforce. However, in order for cleared contractors to fully meet their security obligations and effectively implement mandatory insider threat training programs, they need all pertinent information the government may have regarding risks presented by their employees. Yet the government - often relying on misinterpretations of privacy laws and policy guidelines - generally fails to share such data.