20 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.

Al Qaeda successfully played ‘long game’ in Afghanistan, FBI and UN officials say

Jerry Dunleavy

Al Qaeda has been "strategically patient" and successfully "played the long game" in Afghanistan through its close relationship with the Taliban and Haqqani network, according to two key international security officials from the FBI and the United Nations.

Charles Spencer, the assistant director of the FBI’s international operations division, and Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the UN’s analytical support and sanctions monitoring team concerning the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban, made their comments about al Qaeda’s resilience during an interview with U.S. journalist Peter Bergen at the Soufan Center’s Global Security Forum on Tuesday.

“I think they are smart. They played the long game. They did play the long game, I think, knowing — I mean, if you go all the way back to the ‘90s, I mean, bin Laden pledged allegiance to the Taliban, and I think the Taliban has been a support of al Qaeda for all this time,” Spencer said. “And they knew if the Taliban came back in, I believe those allegiances, I believe those understandings will still be there. I think externally, whether the Taliban says it will embrace it or not, I think the underlying, the long-standing relationship they’ve had, will carry through.”

Robert Gates: Afghanistan withdrawal 'probably did not need to have turned out that way'


Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “probably did not need to have turned out that way,” pinning blame on both former President Trump and President Biden.

Gates — during an interview with “60 Minutes” that is set to air on Sunday — said watching the U.S. pull troops from Kabul sickened him.

“It was really tough… I actually wasn't feeling very well… And I was just so low about the way it had ended,” Gates told Anderson Cooper.

“The other feeling that I had was that it probably did not need to have turned out that way,” he added.

Gates served as Defense secretary from 2006 until 2011, overseeing the war in Afghanistan under former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama. He also served as the director of the CIA between 1991 and 1993.

CENTCOM disputes Air Force account of attempted hijacking at Kabul airport during Afghanistan evacuation

Oren Liebermann

Washington (CNN)US Central Command, which oversaw the US evacuation from Afghanistan, disputed an Air Force account of an attempted hijacking of a commercial flight from Kabul international airport during the final weeks of the evacuation from the country.

In a statement to CNN on Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Central Command said they are "unaware" of an attempted hijacking.

"I am unaware of any attempt to hijack a plane at Hamid Karzai International airport," said US Central Command spokeswoman LT Josie Lynne Lenny in a statement Thursday afternoon.

"During the Afghanistan evacuation mission, an intel tip indicated the possibility of a plot to highjack a particular flight that was preparing to depart the airfield. Ground traffic controllers diverted the plane to a safe location on the airfield where security forces boarded the plane and determined that there was no active attempt to hijack the aircraft."

The Air Force account which detailed an attempted hijacking of a commercial airliner was published Tuesday on the Air Force's website and was written by Lt. Col. Kristen Duncan, a public affairs officer for the 23rd Wing, which deployed to Afghanistan this summer. During the evacuation operation, as US Air Force C-17s began steadily arriving at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Duncan wrote that airmen from the personnel recovery task force began tracking passengers departing the airport.

Violence Undermines China’s Plans in Afghanistan, Risks Luring it Into Quagmire

Paul D. Shinkman

China's top national security decisionmakers are stunned by a devastating suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan last week reportedly carried out by a Uighur Muslim, sources say, provoking Beijing to either disrupt its march toward greater investments in the Taliban government or to commit further to the quagmire that has stymied other superpowers for decades.

The Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-K, quickly claimed responsibility for the deadly attack at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Kunduz on Friday. But in an even more brazen and rare move, it also provided a crucial detail about the attacker, specifying that the bomber was of the ethnicity that largely originates from China's restive Xinjiang Province. Beijing's attempts to stamp out violent extremists among its Uighur population has emerged as perhaps its most sensitive problem at home and nearby, as shown through the lengths it's willing to go to quash the threat it perceives.

Why Taiwan must prepare for war

Jerome Keating

An old Latin adage reads: Si vis pacem, para bellum. Translated it means: “If you wish peace, then prepare for war.” This adage has many variants and claims to authorship, but what is most important is its message for a peaceful Taiwan.

Why should Taiwan prepare for war? The reasons are many and obvious.

Certainly, such preparation is not because Taiwan wants war or is a warlike nation. Instead, the answer is found in its neighbor, China.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a one-party state, is ambitious and troubled — and that combination makes war a viable option, as the above Latin adage ironically has a flip side.

That flip-side is similar in phrasing, but different in application. It comes from Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. In critiquing imperialism, Lenin translated certain lines from a novel and misattributed them to the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. They read: “The empire, as I have always said is a bread and butter question... If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialist.”

The Flawed Tzu of ATP 7-100_3 Chinese Tactics

Thomas G. Pledger

Applying Sun Tzu’s sage advice about knowing your enemy, the U.S. Army recently published ATP 7-100.3 Chinese Tactics. Unfortunately, rather than an honest assessment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), it appears the U.S. Army was looking at a dirty mirror and seeing a distorted version of itself. These include such simple misunderstandings of internal processes as stating the PRC is moving towards a capitalistic free market system.[i] Or more dangerous mirroring that the PRC wants to be a good neighbor endeavoring for cooperation with India and other neighbors.[ii] The 7-100.3 more dangerously discounts our shared history when the U.S. military fought the PLA during the Korean War. Although poor claims are made, the 7-100.3 cannot be wholly discounted; valuable insights exist. The 7-100.3’s failure to honestly represent the PRC and the PLA could have severe implications on the U.S. Army’s professional education, the design of training events, and leader development with the possibility of serious repercussions.[iii]

One aspect of a nation’s character extends from the interaction of its political and economic systems; these two systems influence everything from business and industry to international relations. ATP 7-100.3 alleges that the PRC is moving towards a capitalistic free market system.[iv] The 7-100.3’s claim that the PRC is moving towards a capitalistic free market system is outdated and harkens back to a misunderstanding and Western aspiration over thirty years old. The PRC instead established and operates under a system of state-directed capitalism.[v] State-directed capitalism is a system in which the government directs, influences, and resources the nations and business economic planning and development.[vi] Though the 7-100.3 bypasses a discussion on the PRC’s political structure, it does address the complex interplay between the PLA, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the PRC; reinforcing the PLA’s support of the CCP, with the PLA’s goal of maintaining the stability of the PRC.[vii] The interplay of the PLA support to the CCP and state-directed capitalism gives the CCP and arguably the PLA an immense amount of direct control in guiding and directing business.

Why Is China Looking to Establish Banks in Nigeria?

Oluwatosin Adeshokan

During the commemoration of the 2021 Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun announced that he was in talks with some of China’s big banks to establish operations in Nigeria. Cui talked up Nigeria and China’s growing links and spoke about the importance of banking and banking systems in the development of both countries. He then spoke about potential conversations with Nigeria’s Central Bank and the Nigerian central government in Abuja about establishing a substantial banking presence in Nigeria.

This new proposal of deeper financial links is a solidification of China-Nigeria relations. In 2018, Nigeria and China signed an initial three-year currency swap agreement that saw Nigeria move some of its foreign reserves to China. The size of the swap deal was put at 15 billion renminbi or 720 billion naira.

The University of Hong Kong Takes a Page From the Taliban’s Playbook

Eli Lake

The Chinese Communist Party — with the help of an international law firm headquartered in the United States — is erasing the history of the Chinese democracy movement and the countless students, writers, artists and underground activists who gave their lives for the cause of freedom.

Today, the sculpture Pillar of Shame, a monument to the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre that rises more than 26 feet and features the bodies of 50 protesters mowed down by Chinese troops, is slated to be removed by the University of Hong Kong, where it is housed.

The university, which is state-run and, for all intents and purposes, an extension of Beijing, is represented by the Hong Kong office of Mayer Brown, headquartered in Chicago.

Most American firms that do business in China sell things like cars or iPhones or sneakers or movies to ordinary Chinese. By contrast, Mayer Brown is selling its services to a university bending to the will of the Chinese state.

Can the U.S. and Chinese Militaries Get Back on Speaking Terms?

Chris Li and Eric Rosenbach

Nearly nine months into the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, Washington’s relationship with Beijing has sunk to a historic low. After a high-level diplomatic meeting in March that devolved into an ugly exchange of insults, fruitless visits to China by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and virtual climate talks that failed to produce clear deliverables, the world’s two great powers have reached a dangerous impasse.

By forming a new trilateral security pact with the United Kingdom and Australia, the United States has made it clear that it is serious about defending its allies in Asia and countering China’s territorial claims. But while the move has been hailed by some Western commentators as a stroke of strategic brilliance, it has also sharply increased military tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

During a phone call last month, Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the “responsibility of both countries to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.” History suggests that open communication is the best way for the two great powers to uphold that responsibility, but Xi and Biden’s recent call was their first conversation in seven months. More alarming, neither U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin nor Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has yet met with his or her Chinese counterpart. Although the Pentagon’s first reported contact since Biden’s inauguration took place on August 27 and was followed by video conferences at the deputy assistant secretary level in September, no communication has occurred at the senior-most levels of military leadership.

Shaping US Middle East policy amidst failing states, failed democratization and increased activism

James M. Dorsey

The future of US engagement in the Middle East hangs in the balance.

Two decades of forever war in Afghanistan and continued military engagement in Iraq and elsewhere in the region have prompted debate about what constitutes a US interest in the Middle East. China, and to a lesser degree Russia, loom large in the debate as America’s foremost strategic and geopolitical challenges.

Questions about US interests have also sparked discussion about whether the United States can best achieve its objectives by continued focus on security and military options or whether a greater emphasis on political, diplomatic, economic, and civil society tools may be a more productive approach.

The debate is coloured by a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other. President Joe Biden has disavowed the notion of nation-building that increasingly framed the United States’ post-9/11 intervention in Afghanistan.

Will America Come to Taiwan’s Defense?

William A. Galston

The West won the Cold War without firing a shot, but the intensifying struggle with China may not end so well. The record number of Chinese military aircraft flying near Taiwan last week raised alarm bells—and questions.

For decades China’s leaders bided their time, knowing that a military confrontation with the U.S. would end badly. But during the past quarter-century, China steadily ramped up its investment in the People’s Liberation Army. Between 2010 and 2020, spending rose by 76%, and the PLA’s war-fighting ability has vastly improved. In recent years, the Pentagon has staged multiple war games testing U.S. ability to defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The American team has lost nearly all of them.

This increase in China’s capabilities has coincided with shifts in outlook. Statements from President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders characterize the U.S. as a declining power mired in division and dysfunction. They doubt America’s will to use force overseas, a mindset not discouraged by our disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. Beijing believes that China is within reach of replacing the U.S. as the world’s dominant power.

Order Before Peace: Kissinger’s Middle East Diplomacy and Its Lessons for Today

Martin Indyk

The ignominious end to the U.S. war in Afghanistan dramatically underscored the complexity and volatility of the broader Middle East. Americans may try to console themselves that at last they can turn their backs on this troubled region since the United States is now energy self-sufficient and thus much less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Washington has learned the hard way not to attempt to remake the region in the United States’ image. And if American leaders are tempted to make war there again, they are likely to find little public support.

Nevertheless, pivoting away from the broader Middle East is easier said than done. If Iran continues to advance its nuclear program to the threshold of developing a weapon, it could trigger an arms race or a preemptive Israeli strike that would drag the United States back into another Middle Eastern war. The region remains important because of its geostrategic centrality, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Israel and Washington’s Arab allies depend on the United States for their security. Failing states such as Syria and Yemen remain a potential breeding ground for terrorists who can strike the United States and its allies. And although the United States no longer depends on the free flow of oil from the Gulf, a prolonged interruption there could send the global economy into a tailspin. Like it or not, the United States needs to devise a post-Afghanistan strategy for promoting order in the Middle East even as it shifts its focus to other priorities.

Blinken Affirms Softening of U.S. Policy Toward Assad Regime

David Adesnik

Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday became the first Cabinet-level official to confirm that the United States will no longer stand in the way of Arab states pursuing the diplomatic rehabilitation of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. This reversal marks an important gain for Assad and for his sponsors in Moscow and Tehran, who have struggled to restore the regime’s legitimacy despite overcoming all military threats to Assad’s hold on power.

Blinken sought to leave an impression of continuity in U.S. policy by insisting Washington will not encourage the Assad regime’s return from isolation. “What we have not done and what we do not intend to do is to express any support for efforts to normalize relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad,” the secretary stated. This framing obscures the critical point that the United States had, until this summer, actively — and effectively — sought to deter Assad’s rehabilitation by employing a combination of diplomatic pressure and sanctions.

The first clear sign of a change in U.S. policy was the Biden administration’s mid-August decision to approve Syrian participation in a four-country energy deal also involving Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Crucially, the U.S. ambassador in Beirut provided explicit assurances that the White House would not let U.S. sanctions derail the project. According to The Washington Post, the Biden administration even advised the deal’s participants on how to structure their agreement to avoid such consequences.

The American Way of Counterinsurgency: Lessons for Great Power Competition

Robert S. Burrell

The recent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and resulting takeover of governance by the Taliban has caused significant doubt in America’s ability to conduct long-lasting and effective counterinsurgency operations. However, a historical analysis into America’s small wars (or dirty wars) over the past two centuries offers an indispensable perspective. The United States has been at war for about 226 of its 245 years, the vast majority of these conflicts have been prosecuted short of traditional war, and many came as a result of great power competition. During this same period, the United States has developed its own unique methods of addressing insurgency. This essay illuminates the evolution and adoption of America’s double-edged reward and punishment approach to addressing insurgency, from the Plains Indian Wars through the Vietnam War, the lessons of which are essential to consider before embarking upon tomorrow’s conflict.

The Plains Indian Wars, 1830 – 1880

Will Europe Ever Really Confront China?

Stephen M. Walt

The Biden administration has made no secret of its desire to enlist America’s extensive array of allies in the “strategic competition” against China. This approach makes good sense in Asia: Most Asian countries have ample reason to worry about a Chinese drive for regional hegemony, and the United States cannot counter such an attempt without extensive cooperation from Japan, Australia, South Korea, India, and others. Managing these relationships effectively will require attentive U.S. diplomacy, but in the Asian context the common interest in balancing China is obvious.

U.S. President Joe Biden & Co. would also like America’s European partners to be part of this effort, however, and that’s a rather different kettle of herring. I’m not referring to the recent defense agreement among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, which has little to do with a European effort to balance China and everything to do with Britain’s desire to preserve its so-called special relationship with America and Canberra’s interest in deepening its own ties to Washington. Following America’s lead has been a knee-jerk response for every British prime minister since Winston Churchill, but it remains to be seen if London will put more than a token effort into the new partnership.

Can Putin Change Russia’s Role From Spoiler to Global Power?

Russia occupies an unusual position on the world stage. Under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has repeatedly demonstrated that it has the capacity to destabilize the international order. While Russia lacks the military strength to challenge U.S. supremacy, no one—particularly not the NATO alliance—is ignoring its capabilities. Moscow’s use of arms sales and military engagements to build ties to countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and especially the Middle East has also attracted attention. And its massive exports of fossil fuels to Europe offers Russia additional leverage. But for all its ability to upend power dynamics in places like Libya and Ukraine, Moscow has so far not demonstrated the capacity to fill the vacuums it creates.

Even as Moscow maintains an outsized influence on the global stage, discontent is brewing at home. Putin has dominated the Russian political scene for more than two decades, but his popularity is waning amid a slowing economy and following a deeply unpopular pension reform effort. That didn’t stop him from engineering a way to hold onto power after his current presidential term ends in 2024, despite a constitutional term limit. But it has opened space for Putin’s long-suffering political opponents to call attention to the corruption and violence that have marked his tenure. The most prominent among them, Alexei Navalny, almost paid for his life for doing so, and is now paying with his freedom.

Raising climate ambition at COP26

Anna Åberg, Antony Froggatt, Rebecca Peters

COP26 is a crucial opportunity to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change and uphold the credibility of the Paris Agreement. To have a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C, emissions of greenhouse gases must halve by 2030 and reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. Every additional increment of warming escalates the risks to people, ecosystems and communities.

National emission reduction targets submitted in 2015 were not ambitious enough to keep the rise in the global average temperature to ‘well below’ 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. And across the world, countries are grappling with increasingly severe and more frequent climate change impacts. COP26 needs to be a turning point. For a positive outcome in Glasgow substantial progress is needed in three main areas: in raising the ambition of countries’ 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDCs); on providing support for climate-vulnerable developing countries; and on agreeing the remaining details of the ‘Paris Rulebook’.

U.S.-Africa Policy Monitor

Climate Change
Climate Week NYC occurred last week from September 20-26 and was hosted by the non-profit organization Climate Group in conjunction with the United Nations, the City of New York and the upcoming COP26 under the theme of “Getting it done.” The week was dedicated to fulfilling and increasing commitments on climate change made by businesses, governments and organizations especially ahead of the COP26.

2021 has seen some of the most destructive natural disasters recorded, and it is just the beginning. According to NASA, the global temperature has risen 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880 and carbon dioxide levels have risen by 416 parts per million (the highest it has been in 650,000 years). These changes, among many others, have negatively impacted the environment and self-revving ecosystem. Climate change was first recognized to be a serious issue by the United Nations in 1992, which was then followed by a couple notable documents such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Accord in 2015. However, world leaders have failed to slow the global temperature rise and have failed to fulfill their pledges particularly as it pertains to aiding at risk countries.

With an eye on China, Japan’s ruling party makes unprecedented defense spending pledge

An unprecedented election pledge by Japan’s ruling party to double defense spending underscores the nation’s haste to acquire missiles, stealth fighters, drones and other weapons to deter China’s military in the disputed East China Sea.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) included a goal of spending 2 percent of GDP--about $100 billion--or more on the military for the first time in its policy platform ahead of a national election this month.

Experts don’t expect new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to double spending anytime soon, given Japan’s debt-saddled public finances and a pandemic-stricken economy. But it is a sign that the pacifist nation could over time abandon a commitment to keep military budgets within 1 percent of GDP--a number that for decades has eased concern at home and abroad about any revival of the militarism that led Japan into World War II.

“LDP conservative leaders want the party to give it up,” said Yoichiro Sato, an international relations professor at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, referring to the de facto spending cap, which he called “sacrosanct for Japanese liberals.”

Less ‘prestigious’ journals can contain more diverse research, by citing them we can shape a more just politics of citation.

Shannon Mason, Margaret Merga
Source Link

Drawing on their recent analysis of journals in the field of Higher Education Studies, which shows that journals with lower impact rankings are more likely to feature research from diverse geographic and linguistic contexts, Shannon Mason and Margaret K. Merga argue that researchers should adopt more careful citation practices, as a means to broaden and contextualise what counts as ‘prestigious’ research and create a more equitable publishing environment for research outside of core anglophone countries.

The ‘top’ journals in any discipline are those that command the most prestige, and that position is largely determined by the number of citations their published articles garner. Despite being highly problematic, citation-based metrics remain ubiquitous, influencing researchers’ review, promotion and tenure outcomes. Bibliometric studies in various fields have shown that the ‘top’ journals are heavily dominated by research produced in and about a small number of ‘core’ countries, mostly the USA and the UK, and thus reproduce existing global power imbalances within and beyond academia.


Sam Biddle

TO WARD OFF accusations that it helps terrorists spread propaganda, Facebook has for many years barred users from speaking freely about people and groups it says promote violence.

The restrictions appear to trace back to 2012, when in the face of growing alarm in Congress and the United Nations about online terrorist recruiting, Facebook added to its Community Standards a ban on “organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity.” This modest rule has since ballooned into what’s known as the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, a sweeping set of restrictions on what Facebook’s nearly 3 billion users can say about an enormous and ever-growing roster of entities deemed beyond the pale.

In recent years, the policy has been used at a more rapid clip, including against the president of the United States, and taken on almost totemic power at the social network, trotted out to reassure the public whenever paroxysms of violence, from genocide in Myanmar to riots on Capitol Hill, are linked to Facebook. Most recently, following a damning series of Wall Street Journal articles showing the company knew it facilitated myriad offline harms, a Facebook vice president cited the policy as evidence of the company’s diligence in an internal memo obtained by the New York Times.

‘Absolutely Not True’: Army CIO Answers Claim US Has Already Lost To China In AI


AUSA: In the face of bold claims by a former senior Air Force official that the United States has “no competing fighting chance” against the Chinese military, the Army’s CIO rejected the idea when asked about it here.

“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” the former first chief software officer of the Air Force, Nicolas Chaillan, in an interview with the Financial Times.

Chaillan told the FT that the US failure to tackle Chinese advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cyber capabilities was “putting his children’s future at risk.” Some US cyber defense efforts were, he said, at “kindergarten level.” (Chaillan later took to social media to say he “never said [the US] lost” already, but would if it didn’t take action.)

“It’s absolutely not true,” the Army CIO, Raj Iyer, said, rejecting Chaillan’s assessment.

The Inventor of the Taser and the Body Cam Wants to Put Them on Drones


Rick Smith, whose inventions changed the way millions of people understand modern policing, now wants to send them to war.

Smith invented the Taser, the stun gun that is often the first thing police officers reach for when things get tense. As public concern mounted that cops were maybe a bit too eager to tase people, Smith invented the police-worn body camera, which has become a staple of U.S. police departments and plays a starring role in our national conversation about police reform.

So what’s next? Smith says AI and robotics will dramatically change how police departments do what they do. They could also reshape the American way of war.

Smith’s company, Axon, is already using machine learning on body camera footage. The company has access to huge amounts of body-camera video because police departments pay Axon to host it on Microsoft Azure. “Basically every big department you can think of, NYPD, LA, Chicago, D.C., we host all their data in the cloud for them,” Smith said during the recent AUSA conference in Washington, D.C.

Northrop Grumman Eyes Next-Gen SIGINT For Army


AUSA: Fresh off winning a contract to design a new signals intelligence sensor prototype for the Air Force, Northrop Grumman is now looking to leverage the same high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to enable the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations.

The defense contractor last week announced the Air Force selected it to design a prototype for new SIGINT sensing and payload tech, dubbed GHOST (Global High-altitude Open-system Sensor Technology). GHOST operates within Northrop’s SAGE, a cloud-based SIGINT systems architecture. (SAGE, the company said, is not an acronym.)

Northrop thinks SAGE could be adopted by the Army as the service looks to modernize and bolster ISR capabilities as part of its Concept for Intelligence 2028. An element of the Army’s vision includes Multi-Domain Sensor Systems, or MDSS, which “will deliver the right information at the right time to the right decision makers as a critical enabler for [long-range precision fires], [electronic warfare], cyber effects, and [command and control] functions,” according to the 2028 document.

Missile Defense and the Space Arena

Steven Lambakis

Interest by political and military leaders in the United States in adopting the view that space, like the land, sea, and air, is a warfighting domain is growing.[1] This shift in opinion in the nation’s governing and defense-planning circles about the importance of space to national security has led to the reorganization of the Joint Force (establishment of a Space Force) and command structure (reestablishment of U.S. Space Command) to protect U.S. space assets and mature U.S. spacepower. The Missile Defense Agency and its predecessor organizations have understood the importance of leveraging space to accomplish the ballistic missile defense mission since President Ronald Reagan introduced his Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. Even before then, Army, Navy, and Air Force missile defenders looked to space for a tactical advantage.[2] Is space important to missile defense? If one is observant of history and understands what steps must be taken to destroy in-flight offensive missiles, potentially armed with weapons of mass destruction, then the answer is, “yes, of course.”

Where is the Urgency?

Over the past three decades, the ballistic missile threat, especially from North Korea and Iran, has continued to grow with the development and deployment of more missile systems, systems with global reach, increased speed and maneuverability, greater accuracy, and improved countermeasures. Hypersonic and cruise missiles, which fly very differently from ballistic missiles, are also a growing concern. Russia and China operate advanced ballistic and cruise missile forces, and they are developing and deploying advanced air- and surface-launched long-range cruise and hypersonic missile capabilities. Importantly, hypersonic missiles are being developed to bypass perceived U.S. missile defense capabilities. Regional hypersonic missiles are capable of holding deployed U.S. forces, allies, and partners at risk, so that hypersonic glide vehicles delivered by ballistic missile boosters will pose new challenges to U.S. regional missile defenses.[3]

The Army’s Future Is Here—and It Has Robot Dogs With Guns

Jack Detsch

Alright, here’s what’s on tap for the day: High-tech gizmos and flashy new missiles are at the U.S. Army’s annual conference, China hones its hybrid warfare skills, and a former top Islamic State deputy is captured.

Welcome to the Military-Industrial Complex (We’ve Got Guns and Games)

The show floor of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington was a literal assault on the senses: The Walter E. Washington Convention Center’s aisles teemed with wide-eyed soldiers, defense contractors, and convention-goers dodging remote-controlled robotic dogs that could be armed with rifles and sent into combat. Vendors advertised artificial intelligence products that could “strategically transform the battlefield”; drones rigged with so-called loitering munitions that can hover over targets for hours; and a smorgasbord of missiles, guns, and next-generation kits presented to convention-goers in rows of booths, flea-market style.

For the Army, which doesn’t always win the title of most forward-leaning military service, leaders wanted to make one thing clear: The future is coming. “The future is a lot closer than some of us think,” said Army Secretary Christine Wormuth in her Monday address to the convention.


William D. Hartung

The Pentagon and the Department of Energy are ramping up a three-decades-long plan to build a new generation of nuclear-armed bombers, submarines and missiles, along with new warheads to go with them.1 The price tag for operating existing weapons and building new ones could reach a staggering $2 trillion.2 The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that, in the next decade alone, the cost of nuclear weapons deployment, development, and procurement could reach $634 billion.3 The major beneficiaries of these expenditures will be the prime contractors for new nuclear delivery vehicles and the operators of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex.

The nuclear weapons budget has already begun to climb over the past few years, from $37.2 billion in FY2020 to $43 billion in the Biden administration’s proposed budget for FY2022. The figure for FY2022 includes $27.7 billion for nuclear activities at the Department of Defense and $15.5 billion at the NNSA.4 This figure will grow dramatically as the nuclear weapons modernization plan ramps up over the next decade and beyond. For example, the CBO estimates that the major elements of the Pentagon’s nuclear modernization plan will cost tens of billions each over the next decade, including $145 billion for ballistic missile submarines, $82 billion for the new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), and $53 billion for the new nuclear-armed bomber.5 And the costs will not end there. For example, the estimated lifetime cost of building and operating the new ICBM is $264 billion

New Artillery Round Promises Higher Speed, Extended Range

Stew Magnuson

A Boeing-led industry team next summer is aiming to demonstrate for the Army a new air-breathing munition that developers say will greatly improve speed and range compared to conventional artillery rounds.

The Ramjet 155 achieves longer distances and greater speed because it doesn’t have an oxidizer onboard, explained Dan Palmeter, capture team lead for Boeing Phantom Works’ Ramjet 155. Boeing is part of an industry team that includes BAE Systems and Norway-based Nammo.

“It's definitely something the Army has not seen before. We think we have something that can really help them in their long-range precision fires No. 1 modernization priority,” Palmeter said in an Oct. 13 interview from the Association of the United States Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C.