21 October 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


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

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

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

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

Afghan Taliban’s victory boosts Pakistan’s radicals


PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — In Pakistan’s rugged tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan, a quiet and persistent warning is circulating: The Taliban are returning.

Pakistan’s own Taliban movement, which had in years past waged a violent campaign against the Islamabad government, has been emboldened by the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

They seem to be preparing to retake control of the tribal regions that they lost nearly seven years ago in a major operation by Pakistan’s military. Pakistani Taliban are already increasing their influence. Local contractors report Taliban-imposed surcharges on every contract and the killing of those who defy them.

In early September, for example, a contractor named Noor Islam Dawar built a small canal not far from the town of Mir Ali near the Afghan border. It wasn’t worth more than $5,000. Still, the Taliban came calling, demanding their share of $1,100. Dawar had nothing to give and pleaded for their understanding, according to relatives and local activists. A week later he was dead, shot by unknown gunmen. His family blames the Taliban.

Taliban Could Lose Power Amid Governance Struggles, Experts Say


For the Taliban, winning was easy but governing is proving to be harder.

Two months after the terrorist group seized control of Afghanistan, fighters who have spent the past two decades as insurgents are struggling to govern the country’s 40 million residents, experts say. If the Taliban government fails to provide for citizens’ basic needs, including food, water and medical care, it too could find itself pushed out of power sooner rather than later, said Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert at the United States Institute of Peace.

“We might see another collapse over the next six months, maybe 12 months, a little bit down the road. The Taliban are really struggling to govern the country,” Mir said at the Soufan Center’s Global Security Forum in Doha. “It’s a real crisis that is brewing in that country, and I don’t see any international actor having much interest in extending a helping hand to the Taliban.”

The Fall of A Country: The Untold, Eyewitness Story Of Afghanistan’s Collapse

Lynne O'Donnell

On the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, while the names of the dead were being read aloud one by one in a somber New York ceremony of remembrance, the terrorists, child abusers and drug dealers responsible for the atrocity celebrated their victorious return to power in Afghanistan.

It was no coincidence that September 11 was the date the Taliban originally picked to inaugurate their new government in Kabul — but wiser heads in China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan prevailed; even for America’s worst enemies, such blatant contempt was a step too far.

Instead, the Taliban held a flag-raising ceremony inside the tessellated walls and manicured grounds of the presidential palace, “officially” replacing the Islamic Republic’s black, red and green flag with the white banner of their Islamic Emirate. And the new regime’s armed enforcers continued as they began a few weeks before, hunting down opponents to torture and kill.

China tests new space capability with hypersonic missile

Demetri Sevastopulo

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise.

Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.

The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised.

The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation.

“We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person.

Major Power Rivalry in South Asia

Tanvi Madan

During the Cold War, South Asia was largely considered a peripheral theater. U.S.-Soviet competition affected the countries in the region and shaped their choices, but the subcontinent itself was not generally the primary, or even secondary, arena in the superpower rivalry. It was only with the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that the region came into the Cold War spotlight for any length of time.

The landscape today is different. The region is already involved in and affected by competition between the major powers—a dynamic that is only likely to intensify in the future. Significantly, the region is the primary site of one major power competition—that between China and India. Moreover, the crucial global competition expected to define the coming era—U.S.-China rivalry—involves a country abutting South Asia. And Beijing has been increasing its presence and influence in almost every South Asian country and in the Indian Ocean region.

Don’t Commit To Defense Of Taiwan

Ivan Eland

China, under the leadership of strongman Xi Jinping, has become more assertive in East Asia, recently increasing military flights near Taiwan, which it regards as an errant province. Of course, this has spun up the interventionist foreign policy establishment in the United States. For example, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently advocated removing the public ambiguity surrounding whether the United States would defend Taiwan if attacked by China. Yet making this informal alliance an explicit one is an extremely bad idea.

Some allege that Taiwan is strategic to the United States, because in any war with China it would be like having a giant aircraft carrier off the coast of our adversary or because the offshore island is near important trading routes. Although the Chinese want Taiwan reincorporated into China primarily because of domestic nationalist sentiments, their military is probably painfully aware of Taiwan’s potential for use as a large base from which the United States could attack China. This threat is vivid for China, given that it was carved up by Western powers in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries, including the U.S. contribution of forces to Western military suppression of the anti-colonial Chinese revolt labeled the Boxer Rebellion.

China Tested A Fractional Orbital Bombardment System That Uses A Hypersonic Glide Vehicle: Report


Areport from Financial Times' Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille states that China has tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle that goes into space and traverses the globe in an orbital-like fashion before making its run through the atmosphere toward its target. There would be huge implications if such a system were to be operationalized, and according to this story, which says it talked to five officials confirming the test, the U.S. government was caught totally off-guard by it.

The trial flight is said to have occurred around August, with the boost-glide vehicle being lifted into space by a Long March 2C rocket. The launch of the rocket, the 77th of its kind, was undisclosed by Beijing, while the 76th and 78th were—the latter of which occurred in late August. The Financial Times says that the tested hypersonic glide vehicle missed its target by a couple of dozen miles, but that is hardly reassuring considering the capabilities that are apparently in development here.

After 9/11, China grew into a superpower as a distracted U.S. fixated on terrorism, experts say

Dan De Luce

WASHINGTON — Twenty years ago, White House officials were worried about China, and tensions were rising.

On April 1, 2001, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance plane off China's coast, forcing the Americans to make an emergency landing on Chinese territory. The Chinese detained the U.S. crew for 11 days and carefully inspected the sophisticated aircraft before they handed it over. Washington accused the Chinese fighter pilot of reckless flying. Beijing demanded an apology.

The incident reinforced the Bush administration's view that China was America's next major adversary.

But on the morning of Sept. 11, Al Qaeda extremists hijacked four airliners and crashed three of them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. America's attention abruptly shifted to the "war on terror."

Top US envoy to Afghanistan resigns


The Biden administration’s top envoy to Afghanistan tendered his resignation Friday and is slated to be replaced by his deputy.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is leaving his post less than two months after the U.S. wrapped up a chaotic evacuation from the country, capping 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan.

CNN was the first to report Khalilzad’s resignation.

Khalilzad, an Afghan American, served under two presidents as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. He led discussions under the Trump administration with the Taliban that resulted in the Doha Agreement, which committed the U.S. to withdrawing troops by May 2021.

Khalilzad will be replaced by Tom West, who has recently participated in meetings with Taliban leaders and who accompanied CIA leaders on recent trips to Kabul, according to CNN.

Marine who criticized top brass over Afghan policy gets $5,000 fine and reprimand

Mike Glenn

A Marine Corps officer who released videos and social media posts harshly critical of senior military leaders over their handling of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan will receive a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeit $5,000 in pay.

The sentence was handed down Friday to Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller during court-martial proceedings at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. According to local media reports, Col. Glen Hines, the judge in the court-martial, considered docking Lt. Col. Scheller‘s pay for two months, but relented because of time already spent in the brig.

Col. Hines also noted that Lt. Col. Scheller, who pleaded guilty on Thursday to five charges including “contempt towards officials” and “failure to obey an order,” had been an exemplary Marine prior to his critical vidoes and social media posts in late August.

A fast-rising battalion commander with 17 years in the Marine Corps, Lt. Col. Scheller was fired after refusing an order to stop releasing the critical videos and other messages.

Op-ed: Why the U.S.-China duo is the most significant, and potentially the most perilous, bilateral relationship in human history

Frederick Kempe

The U.S. and China represent the most significant – and potentially most perilous – bilateral relationship in human history. Given that reality, neither side is managing their rising tensions with adequate skill or durable strategy.

That’s the way Stephen Heintz of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund put it in a conversation with me a couple of days ago. It is also the subtext of conversations I’ve had with world leaders visiting Washington, D.C. this week for the IMF and World Bank meetings.

U.S.-Soviet relations defined the Cold War, with both sides fielding the unprecedented nuclear capability to devastate each other, and much more. Before that, the Anglo-American relationship was decisive, from intense U.S.-British competition in the 19th century to an alliance that prevented fascist victory during World War II in the 20th century.

Yet Heintz’s argument is compelling that U.S.-Chinese relations have a historically unique significance, based on their multi-dimensional nature that touches on just about every aspect of global affairs now and into the foreseeable future.

China is no threat to people in the US; Wall Street, CIA & the Pentagon are: Analyst

American political analyst and activist Bill Dores says China is no threat to the people in the United States; Wall Street, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Pentagon are.

Dores, a writer for Struggle/La Lucha and longtime antiwar activist, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday after the CIA launched a new mission center to address what it calls “the most important geopolitical threat” posed by China.

CIA Director William Burns said in a statement last week that the new unit, called the China Mission Center, will “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government.”

Burns said that his agency will still focus on other threats as well, including those emanating from Russia, North Korea and Iran.

The CIA’s renewed attention to China is the latest evidence of the Biden administration’s focus on Beijing as its main foreign policy target.

Biden’s ‘Strategic Competition’ Is a Step Back

Cornell Overfield

Recent reporting and public statements by U.S. officials have confirmed U.S. foreign policy has a new guiding creed. As U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration prepares to release its own national security and national defense strategies, officials are settling on “strategic competition” as the guiding idea of policy—especially, though not always explicitly, with China. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s beloved “great-power competition” has been cast aside.

Great-power competition was a flawed and ill-defined organizing principle, and it should be replaced. But “strategic competition” is a poor replacement and will likely exacerbate the worst elements of great-power competition on both inter- and intra-government levels. At the very least, the Biden administration should provide a clear definition of strategic competition that will guide U.S. government policymaking. Ideally, it should replace both “strategic” and “competition” with clearer, less tautological, and more substantive terms. Otherwise, the next step may be to have a strategic strategy of competitive competition.

Although it is not a new term, no one knows what “strategic competition” is meant to be. Although the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) summary announced that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” Trump-era officials and the U.S. Defense Department spoke most often in terms of “great-power competition.” The Biden administration’s interim national security strategy declares its policy will “allow us to prevail in strategic competition with China or any other nation.”

French Ambassador on AUKUS: ‘Every Crisis Is an Opportunity’

Elise Labott

There has perhaps been no greater diplomatic crisis between the United States and France in modern history than last month’s so-called AUKUS deal. Washington announced a strategic partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia to provide Canberra with a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines as a bulwark against China.

The deal upstaged France, which had its own multibillion-dollar submarine contract with Australia, and also upended France’s own strategy to deepen its role in the Indo-Pacific. Furious French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the move something U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, would have done—a comparison on the minds of many of France’s European Union partners who had great hopes for a Biden presidency. For the first time in France’s nearly 250-year relationship with the United States, Paris recalled its ambassador from Washington; Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron later mended fences.

On Tuesday, Foreign Policy spoke with French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne at his residence in Washington, as Biden and Macron prepare to meet later this month in Rome. Etienne didn’t pull any punches about his country’s umbrage—and indeed, confusion—over the submarine announcement. At the same time, he spoke of France’s desire to turn the latest crisis into an opportunity: to chart a future U.S.-Franco relationship that considers today’s challenges, advances Macron’s ideas for a greater degree of European strategic autonomy in defense and security, and above all, prioritizes consultation—and honesty.

Americans Got the Foreign-Policy Blob They Asked For

Nick Danforth

The disastrous failure of the two-decade-long U.S. war in Afghanistan has led to an outpouring of criticism directed at the American foreign-policy establishment, sometimes referred to as “the Blob,” whose hubris and hawkishness supposedly created this catastrophe.

If so, the Blob was simply doing what Americans demanded of it.

U.S. voters have always been clear about what they want from foreign policy: to have their cake and eat it too. They want maximum power, prestige, and protection at minimal cost. The Blob, to its dubious credit, is committed to realizing this understandable but impossible dream. Rather than blaming the Blob for it, Americans should confront the paradox they—we—are all complicit in.

When Americans want a war, they want a military that can fight it and win it. When they don’t want a war, they want a military that can end it without losing it. When they’re angry about an attack on the nation or its values, they want to hit back—they just don’t want that to lead to a fight that goes on too long or hurts too much. Ideally, they’d just like other countries to do what America wants without having to be told twice. After all, they don’t want to be the world’s policeman.

What Can the United Nations Do About Counterterrorism?


In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United Nations Security Council moved swiftly and laid the keystone of an international framework of counterterrorism efforts. Twenty years later, it’s past time to rethink all of them.

Back then, the Security Council obliged states to deny terrorists safe haven and material support through Resolution 1373. The resolution is still unique in its scope, with no limits on its application in terms of groups, geography, or time. To help advance it, Security Council members established the Counter-Terrorism Directorate, or CTED. They have visited over 100 countries to assess compliance and needs, and identified gaps and challenges in their counterterrorism frameworks.

In the following years, despite attempts at reform, the UN’s counterterrorism architecture has grown increasingly Byzantine, with even the states that set it up sometimes unclear on the raft of rules and processes that govern its functions. Today, while the UN has many useful tools to address the evolving terrorist threat, the complexities of form and process mean that few people can find them when they’re most needed.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Puts the Spotlight on Global Health Governance

The novel coronavirus caught many world leaders unprepared, despite consistent warnings that a global pandemic was inevitable. And it has revealed the flaws in a global health architecture headed by the World Health Organization, which had already been faulted for its response to the 2014 Ebola pandemic in West Africa. Will there be an overhaul of the WHO when the pandemic is over?

After the novel coronavirus first emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, its combination of transmissibility and lethality brought the world to a virtual standstill. Governments restricted movement, closed borders and froze economic activity in a desperate attempt to curb the spread of the virus. At best, they partially succeeded at slowing down the first wave, with the second and in some cases third waves that experts warned about now upon us. According to official records so far, more than 240 million people worldwide have been infected, and 4.9 million have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The actual toll of the virus is far worse and will continue to climb.

Left-wing Extremism: A Tentative Pathway to a Solution

Bibhu Prasad Routray

“I request all Hon'ble Chief Ministers to focus on what we term as good governance. The Hon'ble Home Minister has also laid emphasis on this aspect of the management and containment strategy. This would include effective implementation of development programmes, periodic monitoring and ensuring that there are no leakages.” These were the words of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, at the Chief Minister’s Meet on Naxalism on 13 April 2006.

Fast forward to 2021.

On 26 September 2021, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, speaking at the meeting of chief ministers and senior officials of the ten states affected by Left-wing Extremism (LWE) violence, said, “The root cause of dissatisfaction is that development has not reached there in last six decades since independence and now to deal with it, it is very essential to ensure accessibility to fast-paced development so that common and innocent people do not join them.” Fifteen years since Dr Singh’s speech, it seems that New Delhi is still grappling with the basic challenges that sustain the violent internal security challenge.

Despite a Game-Changing Vaccine, the Fight Against Malaria Isn’t Over

Jeremy Youde

No animal on the planet is responsible for more death than the mosquito. They may lack the shark’s sharp teeth, the snake’s poisonous bite or the crocodile’s powerful jaws, but they carry parasites that cause malaria, which sickened 229 million people and killed more than 400,000 in 2019 alone. Reducing the prevalence of malaria has long been a top global health priority, but mosquitos’ ability to develop resistance to insecticides and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains of the disease have continually stymied treatment and prevention efforts.

Humans may have finally found a way to fight back. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially approved the first-ever malaria vaccine, Mosquirix. Developed by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK, the vaccine is intended for use in children and specifically targets Plasmodium falciparum, the single-celled parasite that causes the most dangerous strain of malaria. It is also the most prevalent form of the disease in Africa, where an estimated 94 percent of malaria deaths occur.

When will supply chains be back to normal? And how did things get so bad?

Jon Healey

Wondering why everything from cars and refrigerators to books and toys is in short supply?

Blame the fouled-up supply chain that connects manufacturers around the world with the makers and assemblers of their component parts, as well as with the consumers and businesses that buy the finished goods. The problem emerged shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and it’s seemed to get only worse since then.

How did we get into this mess? And why isn’t it getting better? The Times reached out to some supply chain experts, and here are their answers.

What, exactly, is ‘the supply chain’?

Manufacturers in the U.S. and the rest of the industrialized world have long outsourced the production of common and low-cost products to China and other low-wage countries. But starting in the 1970s, companies outsourced the production of an increasing number of more sophisticated products, often using multiple contractors to produce and then assemble the components.

The West Still Needs Russia’s Energy

Eugene Chausovsky

As natural gas prices have surged throughout Europe and as the United Kingdom has faced fuel shortages, there has been an increasingly heated battle between Russia and the West over energy supply. Officials in the European Union and United States have blamed Russia for purposefully holding back natural gas exports to Europe for political purposes, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of sowing “hysteria and confusion” with its drive toward energy decarbonization. Only in recent days has Moscow hinted at a willingness to raise export volumes to Europe, albeit with strings attached.

There is a long and bumpy road ahead for the global energy transition from existing fossil fuels to alternative energy and suppliers sought by the United States and EU—one that is likely to benefit traditional suppliers like Russia in the interim. This reality will require the West to be both innovative and pragmatic in its policies toward Russia to meet the energy challenges that lie ahead.

Moscow has long used energy as a geopolitical tool. From selective natural gas cutoffs to negotiating long-term contracts with advantageous take-or-pay clauses, Russia has spent much of the past decade making use of its energy resources in its ambitions to divide the West and carve out a sphere of influence throughout the former Soviet periphery and well beyond. Russia has in the past cut off natural gas supplies to pro-Western countries like Ukraine and offered generous price discounts to allied states like Belarus.

Scientists Want Out of Russia

Natalia Antonova

The Russian government recently announced an ambitious project: convincing half a million emigrants to return to Russia by 2030.

For those familiar with lavishly funded projects such as this one, it is clear that it’s yet another financial opportunity for Russia’s spectacularly corrupt elite to utilize a chunk of the state budget.

Many projects conducted seemingly for the good of the people in Russia are giant corruption schemes. Take the corrupt monopoly over burial services in Moscow, which nearly cost the journalist Ivan Golunov his freedom back in 2019. If you’ve ever had to plan a funeral in Moscow—as I have, once—you know exactly how the monopoly, ostensibly created to “clean up the market” and “help the bereaved,” is a cash cow for shady officials.

Corruption in public services in Russia takes many forms, but what all experts can agree on is that it’s extremely high.

Gartner analyst: 12 technologies to accelerate growth, engineer trust and sculpt change in 2022

Esther Shein

CEOs have three priorities for 2022: growth, digitalization and efficiency, and CIOs add value to those with force multipliers, creative technology and scalable foundation. Gartner research vice president David Groombridge announced the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2022 during a session at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo Americas Monday.

CEOs and boards are striving to grow and are willing to spend for digital investments to make direct connections with customers, Groombridge said. He cited 12 technologies that can enhance organizational efforts to accelerate growth, engineer trust and sculpt change.

1. Generative artificial intelligence

A new artificial intelligence coming to market is generative AI, which is the use of machine learning methods that learn about content or objects from their data and use it to generate new, completely original, realistic artifacts.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 12: Calibrating the compass: Hybrid threats and the EU’s Strategic Compass

Rasmus Hindrén

The EU’s Strategic Compass, to be finalized in 2022, should clarify the EU’s assessment of the security environment, define the level of ambition in security and defence, and offer tools to achieve that level of ambition. As the threat picture is more complex than before, a new approach is needed. This Hybrid CoE Working Paper explicates such an approach by looking at the development of the EU’s security and defence dimension and analyzing the threat environment and the concept of hybrid threats; introducing the concept of deterrence in the EU strategies; and looking at ways of improving the EU’s responses.

A medium-length paper covering work in progress. Develops and shares ideas on Hybrid CoE’s ongoing research/workstrand themes, or analyzes actors, events or concepts that are relevant from the point of view of hybrid threats.

The U.S., China, and Artificial Intelligence Competition Factors

As technology continues to progress rapidly, so does its impact on modern warfare. As the world moves deeper into the era of great power competition, this becomes an even more important area to watch. The United States and China are both pursuing high technology very rapidly and with substantial resources. We describe this as a race, but it is one without end (hopefully) and will require endurance, stable policies, and steady funding if the U.S. is to continue to stay ahead of China and all the other competitors around the globe. The field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, exemplifies this requirement. AI is more than just science fiction, it is science fact, and it progresses every single day. And while a ‘generalized AI’ is far off in the future, practical applications of AI continue to grow. From rapidly combing through imagery, deciphering information for pattern recognition, and controlling swarms of UAVs, the applications for AI in the military and security realm abound. That is why CASI is so pleased to present Ryan Sullivan’s work in this field.

Lieutenant Colonel Sullivan is an Army pilot by trade, who lived and studied at the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai, China, as an Olmsted Scholar. He was one of just five Army officers selected that year. Ryan has taken his experience in and knowledge of China and combined that with graduate-level work in the field of Artificial Intelligence to deliver an in-depth study of the critical elements of U.S.-China competition in Artificial Intelligence.

Already recognized and receiving attention from the technologists within the military, up to the most senior levels, we are excited to make this work available to a broader audience, who are concerned with all manner of issues that AI will affect, now and in the future. We know you will find this study useful, and potentially a little unsettling, which is just what we are aiming for.

Army Gets Strategic About Going Digital


The newly crafted Army Digital Transformation Strategy, or ADTS, marks a key component of the branch’s overarching modernization efforts that is meant to reform policies, advance technical capabilities and prepare personnel for the next era of conflict, senior defense officials confirmed.

Army Chief Information Officer Dr. Raj Iyer announced the creation and impending release of the multi-year plan at the annual Association of the U.S. Army meeting in Washington on Wednesday. The strategy aligns with a broader culture and mindset shift, according to him, and is intended to transform the Army into a technology-driven, multi-domain operations force by 2028.

“We're moving from the industrial age to the digital age—the chiefs call it the ‘information age.’ And what this means is, now, us pivoting towards data for decision-making, right? They'll always have platforms. They’ll always have [information technology] systems and they’ll always have the networks,” Iyer explained. “But what's new now, and what's different now, is our pivot to using data as our strategic asset for decision-making.”

We ‘Blew It’ On Battling COVID Disinfo, Say Army's Pandemic Response Leaders


The U.S. Army’s COVID-19 response leaders had plenty to say about its successes in the face of the pandemic, but also readily identified one facet of the operation where they failed.

“We blew it in a lot of ways. And the biggest lesson learned is the value of strategic communications,” Paul Ostrowski said during the U.S. Army Association’s annual conference this week. Ostrowski, who recently retired as a three-star, served on Operation Warp Speed as director of supply, production and distribution for the program.

Ostrowski said OWS staff estimated—from the “politics,” “social media,” and “surveys” —that around half of Americans were going to get the vaccine. Another 20 percent were “anti-vaxxers” who were never going to get the vaccine. And another 30 percent of Americans fell into the “moveable middle.”

“Where we failed was the movable middle, and we’re paying that price today,” he said.

Special Operations Command to Test Fire Sneaky Laser Weapon on AC-130J Ghostrider Gunship

Sebastien Roblin

The Special Operations Command’s AC-130J Ghostrider gunship aircraft are set to test a truly ghostly new weapon: a phantasmal laser that can burn holes into targets from a distance without creating a sound or visible beam, nor leaving any evidence of the assailant.

On October 6, Lockheed Martin announced it had completed factory testing on the Airborne High Energy Laser (AHEL) and delivered it for flight testing. Earlier statements have made clear the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) intends to test AHEL in 2022, which if successful could lead to new research and the development, testing, and evaluation to create an operational capability. In July Lockheed Martin received an additional $12 million five-year contract for “technical services, integration, test and demonstration of AHEL system.”

It may be fun to imagine a brilliant beam of light lancing forth from the 1950s-era C-130 Hercules transportation airplane accompanied by an appropriate “pew-pew” sound. But, in fact, a large part of AHEL’s appeal to SOCOM is its utter lack of such pyrotechnics. It could be used to silently burn holes into equipment and vehicles, potentially causing them to combust without obvious cause and leaving the targeted party without any tell-tale munitions fragments with which to trace the strike back to its origins.