23 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.

The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)


Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

U.S.-India Insight: U.S.-India Climate Cooperation: Help Where It Hurts

Richard M. Rossow

The India-focused policy community is largely enthused by the recent bilateral and quadrilateral meetings in Washington, DC. Climate change cooperation figured prominently in these talks, notably India’s robust target of achieving 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030. Yet, India’s interim target of 175 GW by the end of 2022 is likely an impossible target. Pressing for stronger commitments from the central government is insufficient. The United States and global partners need to expand state-level engagements with India—with particular attention to those states that are furthest from meeting their individual renewable energy targets.

India’s electricity sector is very decentralized. State governments play the dominant role in determining the makeup of generation within their own grids. Decisionmaking is a mixture of the state’s political leaders, state finance ministries, the tariff-setting electricity regulatory commissions, and the distribution companies. And some states have multiple distribution utilities.

The 175 GW national renewable target is broken down into sub-targets for each state, which are further broken down by generation source. 100 GW is to come from solar; 60 GW from wind; 10 GW from biopower; and 5 GW from small hydropower.

Towards a jihadist neo-sanctuary in Afghanistan?

Jean-Luc Marret
Source Link

It seems likely that the American evacuation of Afghanistan, with its procession of traumatic "happenings", was constrained by the calendar of 9-11 commemoration. The aim of the Biden administration was to end a twenty-year record unfavorable in many aspects: the failure of democratization efforts in Afghanistan, a lack of security, and the collapse of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

In fact, the constant international, political, humanitarian, and security effort since 2001 has had the ironic result of enabling the Taliban to control a country whose development level is far greater than it was in the past. This is not without consequences, in particular for the sustainability of the new Islamic "emirate," or more broadly, the viability of "global Jihad."

If the appearance of a new "terrorist sanctuary," to borrow a term from the 2000s, is not impossible, attracting militants and sympathizers from all over the world, as was the case after the Soviet withdrawal, another scenario is plausible, too: an "emirate" tolerated, although not recognized internationally in general, partly integrated to globalization through the exploitation of its natural resources, legally or not, and which would take into account the potentially harmful consequences for its survival of the application of a too visibly intransigent sharia.

Promoting “soft connectivity”: China’s standards-setting reforms and international ambitions

Antoine Bondaz

The words recently pronounced by the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are not meaningless and underline an explicit national strategy aiming to give China a key role in setting international standards by seeking to integrate what is now officially described as “Chinese wisdom in international standards.”
Although there is no public address by Xi Jinping on standardisation, certain statements are reported by Tian Shihong (田世宏), Director of the Standardisation Administration of China. In 2016, as the country had just initiated a reform of its standards-setting system, the General Secretary is reported to have called for “promoting patenting of technology, standardisation of patents and industrialisation of standards” and “the internationalisation of Chinese standards”, presenting them as “strategic resources” at the centre of international economic and scientific competition.

Beyond the rhetoric and stated ambitions, some Chinese companies are experiencing real success. Huawei has become the symbol of China’s technological achievements. However, the company is equally the symbol of the nation’s ambitions in terms of setting standards. It is indeed highly active in international organisations, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) study group on fixed and mobile network protocols, with almost a quarter of the members coming from the company.

A Dangerous Decade of Chinese Power Is Here

Andrew S. Erickson

U.S. and allied policymakers are facing the most important foreign-policy challenge of the 21st century. China’s power is peaking; so is the political position of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) domestic strength. In the long term, China’s likely decline after this peak is a good thing. But right now, it creates a decade of danger from a system that increasingly realizes it only has a short time to fulfill some of its most critical, long-held goals.

Within the next five years, China’s leaders are likely to conclude that its deteriorating demographic profile, structural economic problems, and technological estrangement from global innovation centers are eroding its leverage to annex Taiwan and achieve other major strategic objectives. As Xi internalizes these challenges, his foreign policy is likely to become even more accepting of risk, feeding on his nearly decadelong track record of successful revisionist action against the rules-based order. Notable examples include China occupying and militarizing sub-tidal features in the South China Sea, ramping up air and maritime incursions against Japan and Taiwan, pushing border challenges against India, occupying Bhutanese and Tibetan lands, perpetrating crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and coercively enveloping Hong Kong.

Understanding China’s Military Spending

Richard A. Bitzinger, James Char

AYEAR into the global pandemic, China’s Two Sessions declared that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government was increasing the country’s official defense budget by 6.8 percent in addition to declaring a gross domestic product (GDP) target of plus 6 percent for 2021. At a time of increasing Sino-U.S. tensions, it was reported that China’s top generals also called for greater military spending in order to confront the “Thucydides Trap” with the United States.

As usual, most of the media attention was focused on the increase in the official defense budget—now approaching $209 billion—compared to last year’s rise of 6.6 percent. Given these continued increases in military expenditure, many have inferred that Beijing is becoming more and more inclined to utilize force (or threaten the use of force) to realize its national ambitions.

What is missing in these unsettling inferences that “war is on the horizon” is the larger context. Recent trends in Chinese military expenditures, along with the CCP’s other contemporary pronouncements on national defense, make it clear that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sees the present period more as a strategic window whereby it can reorganize and restructure its forces.

China’s Economy Continues to Slow, Rattled by Real Estate and Energy

Keith Bradsher

BEIJING — Steel mills have faced power cuts. Computer chip shortages have slowed car production. Troubled property companies have purchased less construction material. Floods have disrupted business in north-central China.

It has all taken a toll on China’s economy, an essential engine for global growth.

The National Bureau of Statistics announced on Monday that China’s economy increased 4.9 percent in the third quarter from the same period last year; the period was markedly slower than the 7.9 percent increase in the previous quarter. Industrial output, the mainstay of China’s growth, faltered badly, especially in September, posting its worst performance since the early days of the pandemic.

Two bright spots prevented the economy from stalling. Exports remained strong. And families, particularly prosperous ones, resumed spending money on restaurant meals and other services in September, as China succeeded again in quelling small outbreaks of the coronavirus. Retail sales were up 4.4 percent in September from a year earlier.

Iran Fortifies West Hemisphere Ties, Will Sign 20-Year Deal with Venezuela


Iran and Venezuela have announced plans to finalize a 20-year strategic agreement, fortifying the Islamic Republic's ties to the Western Hemisphere and bringing together two foes of the United States and its pressure campaigns against them.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia Gonzalez met Monday in Tehran, where they "discussed bilateral issues and the expansion of cooperation between the two countries," according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The pair "decided to hold a joint economic commission of the two countries in the near future and to compile and finalize a comprehensive plan for the 20-year economic cooperation between the two countries."

That same day, Plasencia sat down with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi "to advance towards the deepening of diplomatic relations," according to the Venezuelan side. The Iranian leader "expressed the will of the Islamic Republic to build a road map for the coming years, and strengthen the historical ties that unite both nations."

The Taliban Is Just as Bad as It Always Was


From the moment when scores of Afghans were filmed clinging to an American aircraft in a desperate bid to escape Taliban rule to the day of the departure of the last American soldier, international attention was trained almost exclusively on Afghanistan—until it wasn’t. By mid-September, just weeks after the Taliban took control of Kabul, the sense of crisis that had galvanized the world’s focus began to wane. Today, Afghanistan has all but disappeared from daily headlines.

This is the opportunity that the Taliban has likely been waiting for. In the initial days and weeks that followed the group’s recapture of Kabul, it reaffirmed its commitment, set out in a 2020 peace deal with the United States, to leave its old way of doing things in the past. The Taliban pledged that under new leadership, women, who were once subject to some of the group’s most hard-line restrictions, would have their rights respected (albeit within a strict interpretation of Islamic law). The press would not be inhibited from doing its work so long as it didn’t go against “national values.” Those who had worked with the former Afghan government, or alongside the U.S. and other NATO forces, would not be subject to reprisals.

The Only Man Who Could Have Stopped The Iraq War Is Dead

Spencer Ackerman

THERE’S A SCENE IN WATCHMEN #2 that I imagine playing out between Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. The Comedian murders a Vietnamese woman carrying his child. As he pulls the trigger, the omnipotent Doctor Manhattan lamely tells him not to kill her.

“Blake, she was pregnant. You gunned her down,” Manhattan says, one Vietnam veteran to another.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. Pregnant woman. Gunned her down. Bang. And y’know what?” The Comedian retorts. “You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury… You coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia… but you didn’t lift a finger!”

Colin Powell couldn’t rearrange matter or teleport. But he was an absolute national hero in 2002, a symbol of military integrity during an era of military fetishization. Powell, like Doctor Manhattan, saw a disaster unfold before his eyes. Unlike Doctor Manhattan’s apathy, Powell chose, in the crucial moment, to portray the disaster as necessary, however unfortunate that necessity might be, to stop a dire threat to international security. It is as if Doctor Manhattan acted as a character witness for the Comedian after the murder.

Turkey: Unopposed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Mark Bhaskar

The re-emergence of Turkey as a major military power has altered the dynamics of the Mediterranean, bringing together a diverse set of allies whose interests are threatened by prospective Turkish expansion. However, the gap in military power between Turkey and its adversaries is growing with few demonstrable measures taken by Mediterranean powers to compensate and rebalance the regional system. The imbalance is acute in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, where Turkey seeks to redraw maritime boundaries and repudiate treaties to enable its surveys for potential undersea hydrocarbons to address its rising energy demands.

Over the last two years, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has developed a capable, expeditionary military force able to project power abroad into areas under the influence of modern great powers such as the United States and Russia. Turkey inflicted a strategic defeat on the former in October 2019, when a Turkish incursion severed the ground lines of communication of U.S. forces operating northeastern Syria, forcing American troops to retreat approximately 250 km to the eastern extremities of the country where they remain in small enclaves around Syria’s oil fields. Washington’s influence in Syria has never recovered. A few months later, the Turkish military fought the combined forces of Russia, the Syrian government, and Iran in Idlib Province in northwestern Syria. Though Ankara lost some ground, the Turkish military retained Idlib city center and has strengthened its position in the province to deter future attacks. In Libya, Turkey’s military intervention on behalf of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord ended the siege of Tripoli, defeating Russian and UAE mercenaries. Finally, in just over a month Turkey enabled Azerbaijan’s recapture of nearly half of Armenian-held Nagorno-Karabakh. Only the intervention of Russia prevented the wholesale destruction of Armenian forces.

The U.S. and China Face Off in the Far East

Georg Fahrion, Katharina Graça Peters, Alexander Sarovic and Bernhard Zand

First come the strains of the "Internationale,” and then the roar of the fighter jets. Six warplanes circle above the southern Chinese port city of Zhuhai before individual fighters break off from the group. One climbs upwards and flips upside down, two others swoop below. With the red, yellow and blue smoke shooting out of their tails, they draw fantastic patterns in the sky, the thunder of their engines mixing with the military band and the shouts of onlookers.

On the roof of a building at the edge of the airfield sits a glass enclosure in the baking hot midday sun. Inside are two men in uniform talking about the show outside. Only Russia and the U.S., they say, possess comparable fighter jets of their own production. "It shows the power of a vast country,” one of them says.

It is October 1, China’s National Day. Normally, the Zhuhai Airshow takes place every two years, but because of the pandemic, last year’s show was postponed. The spectacle is a powerful demonstration of the achievements of China’s arms industry – the perfect stage for the message that China’s deputy air force commander, Wang Wei, wants to send. In Washington, he says, they claim they need to invest more money to "scare” China. Wang’s response from Zhuhai: "If they are not scared of us, let us meet in the sky.”

Learning the Right Lessons from the War in Iraq and Syria: Archives of the Key Metrics from 2004-2019

Anthony H. Cordesman

The U.S. has a poor history of making effective efforts to learn the lessons of its recent wars, and it is already focusing on other strategic issues and the crises that are following the break-up of the ISIS “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. It will be all too easy for U.S. policymakers and the Congress to ignore the need to learn from the years of conflict and to fail to preserve the data and institutions necessary to learn as much from the war as possible.

The U.S. also has a long history of learning too little and too late. The U.S. failed to provide a timely analysis of the lessons of the Vietnam War, although outside historians and analysts have since written some excellent work, and the later volumes of the 33 volumes in the U.S. Army’s official history of the Vietnam War eventually covered many key areas in depth. For example, Jeffrey J. Clarke’s Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973 should have been required reading for every officer and official going to both Iraq and Afghanistan, although it clearly suffered from a lack of full access to sensitive data that never became public after the war.

Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way

William Alan Reinsch

One of my favorite T-shirts from the ’80s featured a very large ferocious-looking dog and the slogan that is the title of this column: “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way.” That is appropriate advice for the Biden administration regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ambassador Tai is on a bit of a roll—she gave an important speech on China at CSIS on October 4 and then gave another one in Geneva on the WTO on October 14.

The latter is noteworthy because it is the first time a U.S. trade representative has shown up in Geneva since 2015, the Trump administration having had little use for the WTO, but, like her China speech, it represents a triumph of slogans over substance. She wants reforms at the WTO so that trade becomes a force for good—“a race to the top” rather than the bottom, which is straight out of the administration’s 2020 campaign playbook. Unfortunately, she offered little explanation of what that means or how specifically to achieve it beyond a goal to create a “more flexible WTO, change the way we approach problems collectively, improve transparency and inclusiveness, and restore the deliberative function of the organization.”

Colin Powell: An American Life

Richard Haass

How to think about Colin Powell, who passed away this week at the age of eighty-four? He was many things: a quintessential American; a son of immigrants; an inveterate optimist who advised not to “take counsel of your fears or naysayers” and that “perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Full disclosure: I worked with Powell at the Defense Department in the Jimmy Carter administration and again when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I was on the National Security Council staff under President George H.W. Bush. I worked for him when he was secretary of state and I headed up his policy planning staff under President George W. Bush. He was a good friend for more than four decades.

Powell believed that public service is an honorable calling. He should be viewed as a soldier-statesman in the tradition of Dwight D. Eisenhower and George C. Marshall. Like the two of them, he was a man of moderation and pragmatism, not ideology. He moved seamlessly between the civilian and military worlds and between the worlds of politicians and career civil servants. He understood that military force and diplomacy were not opposites but rather complementary national security tools.

Can Wall Street Trust the People's Bank of China?


China's second-largest property developer and one of the world's most indebted companies, the Evergrande Group, faces a Saturday deadline on its 30-day grace period to pay off debts owed on a dollar bond that was due on September 23. Should the company be unable to make payment, it will default.

This deadline arrives alongside recent announcements by China's other property developers signaling that they have faced economic upheaval as well. Sinic Holdings warned it could not repay its offshore bonds; China Properties Group said it defaulted on a loan; Fantasia announced it could not make its recent payments. A number of other institutions also saw their credit ratings drop.

Despite these events, the People's Bank of China, the country's central banking authority, urged creditors to stay calm, with Governor Yi Gang saying that while the issue "casts a little bit of concern," the government has the situation under control.

"Economic growth has been slowed down a little bit, but the trajectory of economic recovery remains unchanged," Yi said on Saturday. "Overall, we can contain the Evergrande risk."

Why the Pentagon Should Abandon ‘Strategic Competition’

Becca Wasser

Nearly every child is taught when making a request to “say the magic word”: please. The U.S. Defense Department has recently been taught it too needs to say the magic word in every force, capability, or resource request. But the magic word isn’t please; it’s the phrase “strategic competition.”

The National Defense Strategy (NDS) sets U.S. military priorities and is produced every four years to align with a new administration. As the Pentagon develops the next NDS, scheduled to be delivered in February 2022, it has an opportunity to right where the last strategy went wrong: the concept of strategic competition.

The 2018 NDS ushered in an era in which long-term “inter-state strategic competition” with China and Russia reigned. Further complicating matters, Trump administration officials often interchangeably used the phrase great-power competition to describe this development. The concept became a priority mission without a clear definition of what it meant, the actions that comprised it, or what “winning” the competition looked like. Although this might seem innocuous, the establishment of this broad, undefined mission for the Defense Department has had deleterious effects and undermined the strategy’s original intent.

Road Rules: Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Leadership

Steven Matthew Leonard

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

Most leadership philosophies are built around a list that captures the essence of how a specific leader actually leads. My own philosophy was built around ten rules that probably soundly like something from a David Letterman episode. General Paul Funk, the commanding general of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, uses a list of around 40 rules captured in “Funk’s Fundamentals.” “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the coalition that liberated Kuwait during the Gulf War, had his own list of 14 rules on leadership. If nothing else, lists are a simple way to convey not just how you lead, but what matters most to you.

Colin Powell was no different. In his 2012 memoir, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership, Powell drew on personal collections of lessons and anecdotes to share the wisdom of a lifetime in service to the nation. The book itself is a terrific read, something you can consume in a few short hours. But the true value of the book comes in the first few pages, in the list he uses to open the book – his 13 Rules.

Setting a new bar for online higher education

Felipe Child, Marcus Frank, Mariana Lef, and Jimmy Sarakatsannis

The education sector was among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools across the globe were forced to shutter their campuses in the spring of 2020 and rapidly shift to online instruction. For many higher education institutions, this meant delivering standard courses and the “traditional” classroom experience through videoconferencing and various connectivity tools.

The approach worked to support students through a period of acute crisis but stands in contrast to the offerings of online education pioneers. These institutions use AI and advanced analytics to provide personalized learning and on-demand student support, and to accommodate student preferences for varying digital formats.

Colleges and universities can take a cue from the early adopters of online education, those companies and institutions that have been refining their online teaching models for more than a decade, as well as the edtechs that have entered the sector more recently. The latter organizations use educational technology to deliver online education services.

The Russian Hackers Playing 'Chekhov's Gun' With US Infrastructure

OVER THE LAST half a decade, Russian state-sponsored hackers have triggered blackouts in Ukraine, released history's most destructive computer worm, and stolen and leaked emails from Democratic targets in an effort to help elect Donald Trump. In that same stretch, one particular group of Kremlin-controlled hackers has gained a reputation for a very different habit: walking right up to the edge of cybersabotage—sometimes with hands-on-the-switches access to US critical infrastructure—and stopping just short.

Last week the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published an advisory warning that a group known as Berserk Bear—or alternately Energetic Bear, TEMP.Isotope, and Dragonfly—had carried out a broad hacking campaign against US state, local, territorial, and tribal government agencies, as well as aviation sector targets. The hackers breached the networks of at least two of those victims. The news of those intrusions, which was reported earlier last week by the news outlet Cyberscoop, presents the troubling but unconfirmed possibility that Russia may be laying the groundwork to disrupt the 2020 election with its access to election-adjacent local government IT systems.

Russia is the world’s leading exporter of instability

Iuliia Mendel

We live in an era of great geopolitical transformation. As the rules and certainties of the past are exposed as outdated and discarded as redundant, the only thing we can forecast with any degree of confidence is more instability.

This turbulence is being driven by a range of factors, including the disruptive role of new technologies and the unpredictability of black swan events like the coronavirus pandemic. However, when it comes to fueling and exploiting today’s rising tide of international instability, one country in particular stands out.

Russia has emerged over the past two decades as the world’s leading exporter of instability. This has become a central pillar of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, allowing Moscow to undermine potential opponents from within while enabling the Kremlin punch well above its true geopolitical weight.

Africa’s Youth Unemployment Crisis Is a Global Problem

Audrey Donkor

Africa has the world’s youngest population, with a median age of 19.7 years. Such a large youthful population might ordinarily symbolize an ample and energetic workforce, a boon for the development prospects of any region. But the dire employment situation for young people across Africa continues to snuff out their potential. According to the African Development Bank, in 2015, one-third of Africa’s then 420 million young people between 15 and 35 years old were unemployed, another third were vulnerably employed, and only 1 in 6 was in wage employment.

Although Africa has the lowest unemployment rate globally on paper among youth ages 15 to 24 (10.6 percent in 2021, according to the International Labor Organization), the majority of Africa’s youth work informally, and many are underemployed or remain in poverty despite working due to low wages and the lack of a social safety net, making it difficult to compare African countries to more advanced economies.

The African Development bank reports that while 10 million to 12 million youth enter the workforce in Africa each year, only 3 million formal jobs are created annually. African youth have no choice but to work, because most countries on the continent have little or no social protection. According to the African Development Bank, it is therefore common to see humanities and social sciences graduates driving taxis in Algiers and Cameroonian engineers ferrying passengers on commercial motorcycles in Douala.

Russia’s Energy Strategy and Gas Disputes

Lakshmi Priya Panicker

Today, Russia’s transition from a state-controlled economy to a mixed economy posed existential questions to the new state and its fragile economy. Fortunately, Russia is a resource-rich country, specifically gas and oil, and was able to rise from the economic stagnation and enter the golden decade of economic growth and rapid development. Russia’s recovery from the collapse of the Soviet Union was cushioned by the oil and gas exports. In fact, Russia has a greater scope and range of natural resources, greater than that of the U.S and, is the second-largest producer and exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia. It also is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. Russia’s reserve of oil and gas has helped its growth, reversing the budgetary starvation of its army and a further increase in oil prices in 1998, allowing Russia to boost its military spending and revenue allocations (Gidadhubli, 2003). In this context, energy resources for Russia have been a boon, helping its economy riddled with corruption, mismanagement and unemployment, giving it an impetus for growth. While energy resources have helped its economy, oil and gas have also helped Russia to maintain its influence and power. Energy diplomacy or Russian gas pipelines have hence become an important aspect of its soft power (Tynkkynen, 2016).

British defence strategy is undergoing a naval tilt

In a country of grand titles, no official holds a loftier one than Britain’s first sea lord, the head of the Royal Navy, whose office predates that of the prime minister. Now Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the incumbent, has been handed dominion over not just the oceans, but also land, air and space. On October 7th the government announced that he would become the next chief of defence staff, the country’s most senior military officer, to replace General Sir Nick Carter on November 30th.

Admiral Radakin, a trained barrister born in Oldham, in the north of England, will be the first naval officer to hold the top job in almost two decades. That is no coincidence. After 20 years of grinding land warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan—the latter concluding in disastrous fashion in August, with the fall of Kabul—British defence strategy is once more acquiring a pronounced naval flavour.

In March the government published a review of foreign policy that emphasised Britain’s role as a “maritime trading nation”. It promised to deepen the country’s connections to Asia, Africa and the Gulf and set out a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. A subsequent defence review said that the armed forces would be designed for “permanent and persistent global engagement”, not just preparing for big wars.

How Police Can Crack Locked Phones—and Extract Information

SMARTPHONE SECURITY MEASURES have grown increasingly sophisticated in recent years, evolving from passcodes to thumbprints to face recognition and advanced encryption. A new report from the Washington, DC-based research nonprofit Upturn uncovers how police have maintained access to suspects’ phones even as these defenses grow more complex: by contracting with digital forensic firms that specialize in bypassing locks and accessing and copying encrypted data.

Law enforcement in all 50 states have contracted with vendors like Cellebrite and AccessData to access and copy data from locked phones, according to the report. While police have relied on the evidence uncovered from these phones to close high-profile cases, the authors of the Upturn report say the practice is largely secretive and risks an “unacceptable threat to Fourth Amendment protections” against overbroad searches.

Between 2015 and 2019, Upturn found almost 50,000 instances of police using mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs). The report’s authors argue the tools provide information about people’s lives far beyond the scope of any investigation, and few police departments limit how or when they can be used. The team sent public-record requests to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country and found that more than 2,000 agencies have at some point used an MDFT.

Strategic Calculation: High-Performance Computing and Quantum Computing in Europe’s Quest for Technological Power

Études de l’Ifri

Computing power plays a key role in enabling machine learning, for scientific research, and in the military domain. Therefore, the race for computing power has become a key element of the US-China technological competition, and it is also a strategic priority for Europe.

This study focuses on two complementary segments of computing: high-performance computing (HPC, also known as “supercomputing”), and quantum computing. HPC has for several decades been used in scientific research, meteorology, and the military. While states continue to drive the needs for massive computers, the field is also witnessing a diversification of uses in industry. Meanwhile, quantum computing is still at an experimental stage but has highly disruptive potential, as it promises to multiply computing power exponentially. As such, it has become a focal point for government, industry and investors around the globe.

In the global race, European countries are seeking to pool resources by encouraging the development of federated computing services, data infrastructures, and a local industry. Of course, Europe faces multiple challenges (the design and production of processors, energy consumption constraints, and scarce private investment) and risks (such as export restrictions and company takeovers). Yet, today, quantum computing does offer an opportunity to learn lessons from past developments in the field of classical computing, and to take the right actions early on, to reap the societal, economic and security benefits of this technology.

Strategic Calculation: High-Performance Computing and Quantum Computing in Europe’s Quest for Technological Power DOWNLOAD

Testing Cybersecurity Effectiveness: The Importance Of Process Validation

Brian Contos

Understanding the effectiveness of your company's security stack is critical when it comes to strengthening cyber defenses. This is best achieved by validating security controls through emulation of real attacks, not simulations, based on intelligence showing which threats are most relevant to your organization. To gain a complete picture of security effectiveness, validation efforts must be aimed at three areas: technology, people and process.

I've written about validation of technology performance in the past. I've also written about how validation of people, when applied to hiring and training, can help close the cyber security skills shortage by giving you a better understanding of an individual's relevant experience and skills beyond looking at just their years of experience and list of accomplishments.

Testing the effectiveness of process is also critical. Processes are the backbone of any corporate security program and tie together how technology and people perform. Testing how processes work in light of technological changes, such as moving from on-premises to the cloud or application updates and environmental drift, is critical to ensuring the organization's cyber readiness.

Lasers of the Future are on the Warfare Horizon

Kris Osborn

Warfighters will one day be able to fire lasers from fighter jets while in combat and strike enemy hypersonic missiles in space and incinerating enemy drones from armored combat vehicles.

Lasers and other laser technologies—such as rangefinders and spotters—are already used in many applications and are even deployed on Navy ships. At the same time, the Pentagon and military services are moving quickly to develop newer, stronger, and increasingly mobile laser weapons. Much of this includes what is known as “laser scaling” and altering the size, weight and power of the lasers so that they can be used by fighter jets and ground vehicles. They might even be used to destroy enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles in space or fast maneuvering cruise missiles.

The Army has enlisted the services of several defense industry contractors to create a high-energy laser (HEL). For example, General Atomics-Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) is engineering a HEL able that can fire anywhere from a 100-kilowatt-class to a 300-kilowatt-class laser with integrated thermal management, beam direction and precision tracking software. The GA-EMS prototype HEL laser is a smaller version of the seventh-generation distributed gain design that the company has already demonstrated. The laser system employs two seventh-generation laser heads in a compact and lightweight package. Recent architectural improvements have enabled single-beam distributed gain lasers to achieve comparable beam quality to fiber lasers via a simple design that doesn’t require beam combination.

The Objectives of War: Glory and Justice, Advantage or Annihilation?

Kimberley Burton

The Cold war is a defining war as it ostensibly birthed a new and enhanced peaceful international system. As a result, the post-Cold War world created is depicted as a nonviolent and prosperous environment due to the culmination of fighting and the territorial expansion of liberalism. With the promotion of democracy and the rise of multilateral international institutions across nations, many predicted a change in warfare due to the evolution of arms control constraint during the Cold War or the obsolescence of war itself due to rising nuclear disarmament in the new unipolar world (Cox, 2011). While the 21st Century has not become the peaceful era many foretold, and the nature of warfare has significantly changed, the goals which actors seek to achieve or preserve continue to remain constant. According to Hans Speier (1941), three types of war exist: absolute war, instrumental war, and agnostic fighting, which are orientated respectively toward the objectives of annihilation, advantage, glory, and justice. Thus, in this essay, I argue that while the modes of warfare and actors involved have evolved in the post-Cold War world, the critical military objectives of war Speier’s identified have remained the same. A critical examination of the prevalence of the annihilation and absolute war follows, followed by advantage and instrumental wars, and finally glory and justice in agnostic fighting.