25 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.

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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.

India’s Turn Toward Armenia

Lilit Hayrapetyan

On October 13, Ararat Mirzoyan, Armenia’s minister of foreign affairs, hosted his Indian counterpart, Subramanyam Jaishankar, for an official visit. This meeting might be considered a historic occasion – it was the first time in the 30-year history of the Republic of Armenia that the Indian minister of external affairs had visited the nation, despite the amicable relations between the two countries.

While in Armenia, Jaishankar had meetings with the Armenian minister of foreign affairs and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. During the trip, Jaishankar expressed his country’s willingness to deepen ties with Armenia.

Jaishankar was the first Indian foreign minister to visit Armenia, but there have been other high-level visits in the past. In April 2017, a group led by India’s Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari paid a visit to the Armenian capital. The Armenian side described it as an exploratory mission, during which New Delhi aimed to learn more about, assess, and make projections about the potential, depth, and directions of possible cooperation with Armenia.

Catalyzing India’s Climate Ambition

China’s recent commitment to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 means that for the first time ever, India is on track to become the world’s largest emitter. At a time that demands urgent action if we are to stay within the goals of the Paris Agreement, this brings into contrast India’s traditionally bifurcated approach that it has used to guard against taking greater action in light of the responsibility of the developed world to lead the way.

Nevertheless, in recent decades, a political appetite for climate action has been growing in India, including reinforcing its global leadership credentials at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Climate-related disasters have also driven public support for more constructive engagement by Delhi. However, this appetite does not yet match growing international expectations for Indian action, as momentum for global climate action and ambition accelerates rapidly around the world in the lead-up to the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The election of U.S. President Joe Biden and recent commitments to net-zero by other Asian economies such as Japan and Korea underscore the weight of growing expectations on India.

Punishing India For Buying Russian Weapons Would Hurt America And Help China

Loren Thompson

When it comes to foreign relations, Washington sometimes seems to be its own worst enemy.

U.S. political leaders routinely say and do things that seem calculated to alienate allies and other overseas partners.

President Biden is currently approaching a test of whether he can do a better job than his predecessor of staying on friendly terms with countries critical to national security.

The test concerns a decision made by India in 2018 to purchase Russia’s S-400 air defense system, a suite of surface-to-air missiles and radars designed to intercept diverse overhead threats.

The United States has already sanctioned two other countries, Turkey and China, for buying the same S-400 system under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

The Story the Media Missed in Afghanistan

Michael Massing

Since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the American press has focused on the fates of three groups that are of special interest to Western readers. One is the many thousands of Afghans who had worked with the US government and military or other Western organizations and were desperate to leave. In addition to dramatic reports about the evacuation chaos at the Kabul airport, correspondents offered affecting stories about soldiers working to get their Afghan interpreters and fixers out, nongovernmental organizations seeking safe conduct for their Afghan coworkers, and Afghans living in the United States scrambling to extract stranded family members. David Rohde in The New Yorker described his efforts to save the family of the Afghan man who helped him escape his kidnappers in 2009.

Afghan journalists have been another focal point. US news organizations, feeling both a professional bond with and personal responsibility for their Afghan colleagues, have provided extensive coverage of Taliban attacks on them and free expression generally. They have reported on the struggles of Tolo, Afghanistan’s leading broadcaster, to keep operating under Taliban rule; the detention and beating of journalists covering women’s demonstrations; and the fears among artists, musicians, writers, and other intellectuals about the steadily shrinking space for dissent. NPR aired a seven-minute interview with an Afghan woman who had served as one of its producers in Kabul and who was now living in limbo on a military base in Wisconsin, impatiently waiting to begin a journalism and human rights fellowship at UC Berkeley.

A Taxing Narrative: Miscalculating Revenues and Misunderstanding the Conflict in Afghanistan

David Mansfield

The assumption that the Taliban collected significant amounts of money taxing the cultivation of opium, the production of opiates, and on the smuggling of drugs across Afghanistan’s borders is the bedrock on which a narrative of a narco- insurgency was constructed. Allegations of the involvement of some of its senior leadership in drugs trafficking cement this narrative to the point where some Western military leaders have argued that the Taliban was little more than a criminal enterprise whose territorial ambitions were primarily driven by its involvement in the drugs business. Even the Taliban’s prohibition of opium in 2000— described by a senior member of UNODC at the time as “one of the most remarkable successes ever”— is viewed by parts of the UN, western analysts, and some donors as a cynical ploy designed to increase prices and the value of what was believed to be an accumulated stock, due to the belief that the Taliban’s primary source of finance was illegal drugs.This paper reflects a comprehensive empirical account of the monies earned by the Taliban and an appeal that features assessments of funding for the state and non-state actors, not just in Afghanistan but in other fragile and conflict-affected states. The analysis is grounded in strong evidence that is built on appropriate methods.

Pakistan Needs a Homegrown Counterterrorism Policy

Abdul Basit

There are many lessons to be gleaned from the U.S. failure in Afghanistan. Some of the key ones involve counterterrorism: what works, what doesn’t. The answers, however, aren’t the same for every participant, or for every situation. An approach pursued by a distant superpower like the United States—actionable intelligence and superior firepower, all at the service of a nebulous and never-ending “war on terror”—clearly can’t work for a country like Pakistan, which can’t run away when things go bad. That’s why Pakistan urgently needs to revise its counterterrorism policies, away from kinetic operations and toward winning hearts and minds.

As it is, the war on terror—so much a part of the local vernacular that it’s known by its acronym, WOT—has arguably made matters worse for Pakistan, where extremism and terrorism have only become more entrenched.

There’s a longstanding and widespread perception, for instance, that radical militants in Pakistan are generally madrassa-educated youth from tribal and rural backgrounds. That may have once been true. But recent trends indicate extremist ideology has now permeated Pakistan’s educated middle and upper-middle classes. To confront this spread, Pakistan needs to develop a homegrown counterterrorism approach that is more nuanced and holistic—and cleansed of the taint of American involvement.

Russia Hosts Afghan Talks, Calls for Inclusive Government

Vladimir Isachenkov

Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan on Wednesday involving senior representatives of the Taliban and neighboring nations, a round of diplomacy that underlines Moscow’s clout.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the talks and emphasized that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan.

Russia had worked for years to establish contacts with the Taliban, even though it designated the group a terror organization in 2003 and never took it of the list. Any contact with such groups is punishable under Russian law, but the Foreign Ministry has responded to questions about the apparent contradiction by saying that its exchanges with the Taliban are essential for helping stabilize Afghanistan.


William Choong

For about two decades after the end of the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) enjoyed a golden age. The organization’s 10 member states as well as China and the United States saw the bloc as key to the region’s security and economic integration. ASEAN as a collective entity worked hard to put itself at the center of regional architecture through a complex web of security institutions and relationships. At the height of its golden age, ASEAN believed it was in the driver’s seat of the region’s fortunes.

That golden age is over. Last week, ASEAN, which usually needs unanimous agreement to function, was struggling to preserve unity. After an emergency meeting about the crisis in Myanmar on Oct. 15, the bloc excluded Myanmar’s junta leader from an upcoming ASEAN summit, a rare move for the organization. As a loose organization without a clear strategic vision of its own, it is floundering as individual members break ranks and realign in the new U.S.-China rivalry. The recent announcement of the new so-called AUKUS military and technology pact among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States has raised the region’s geopolitical stakes even further, casting yet another spotlight on ASEAN’s strategic paralysis.

Why China-Taiwan Relations Are So Tense

Lindsay Maizland

Taiwan has been governed independently of China since 1949, but Beijing views the island as part of its territory. Beijing has vowed to eventually “unify” Taiwan with the mainland, using force if necessary.
Tensions are rising. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose party platform favors independence, has rebuked Beijing’s efforts to undermine democracy. Beijing has ramped up political and military pressure on Taipei.
Some analysts fear that war between the United States and China could erupt over Taiwan. The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons, but leaves the question of whether it would actually defend Taiwan unanswered.


Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is an island separated from China by the Taiwan Strait. It has been governed independently of mainland China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC), since 1949. The PRC views the island as a renegade province and vows to eventually “unify” Taiwan with the mainland. In Taiwan, which has its own democratically elected government and is home to twenty-three million people, political leaders have differing views on the island’s status and relations with the mainland.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the Indo-Pacific

Jongsoo Lee

What is the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data on societies in the Indo-Pacific? How are countries using AI and big data to enhance their national security and advance their national interests? And what are the major regulatory issues? For a perspective on these and other matters, Jongsoo Lee interviewed Simon Chesterman, dean and provost’s chair professor of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law and senior director of AI Governance at AI Singapore.

What are nations in the Indo-Pacific doing to develop their artificial intelligence (AI) and big data capabilities? Which countries are successful, and which are not?

The importance of technological innovation to economic development has long been a feature in Asian tiger economies. Wealthy, internet-savvy countries like Japan, South Korea, and Singapore leveraged the benefits of high tech and consumers embraced it. More recently, China made AI a strategic priority and that was a game changer.

China’s Overseas Coal Pledge Is Not a Climate Change Gamechanger

Mathias Lund Larsen

To great fanfare at the U.N. General Assembly, Xi Jinping promised that China would not build more coal plants overseas. The global response, including from heads of states, was that this is a historic turning point in the fight against climate change. But it’s most likely not.

In fact, the pledge has already been gradually fulfilled over the last few years as part of broader tendencies that have little to do with Chinese climate policies. The climate impact of the pledge is, therefore, likely to be minimal. Problematically, overly praising the pledge reduces pressure on China to make a similar commitment where it really counts – domestically rather than overseas. With COP26 scheduled to begin in two weeks in Glasgow, international pressure needs to be upheld for China to increase its climate ambitions. Keeping up the pressure requires curbing the enthusiastic response to Xi’s coal pledge and seeing it as part of an underlying context of four main areas.

Can Russia and Mongolia Replace Australia’s Coal Supply to China?

Bolor Lkhaajav

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has faced several unexpected challenges. The trade spat with Australia, the continued South China Sea shipping congestion, and a shortage of coal supply are testing the country’s economic capabilities and problem-solving skills. China has stepped up its efforts to engage Russia, Mongolia, and other third parties to fill their coal shortage.

Exactly a year ago, in October 2020, Chinese state-owned companies were ordered to stop the import of Australian coal, widely viewed as retaliation for Australia’s more critical stance on China. The restrictions on Australian coal naturally pose a new opportunity for other parties in the region, particularly in East Asia and Northeast Asia, to fill China’s coal shortfall.

But apparently it wasn’t enough. In June 2021, Chinese factories began to report power outages and electricity shortages. The Lantou Group’s September 28 report showed the provinces with the most severe power consumption problems to include Xinjiang, Qinghai, Yunnan, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangxi, and Guangdong, where China’s major manufacturing companies are located.

China’s Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Missile: How Should America Respond?

James Holmes

Over at the Financial Times (hat tip: Tyler Rogoway, the WarZone), Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille break the news that China tested a “fractional orbital bombardment system” last August. Such a hypersonic weapon can travel intercontinental distances and maneuver to evade anti-missile countermeasures. It might even elude detection altogether. The implications for U.S. nuclear strategy, premised as it is on early warning and response, could prove profound.

China’s Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Missile: What We Should Think

Three quick points: One, never discount a rising challenger’s potential to spring a technological surprise of substantial amplitude. The Imperial Japanese Navy managed to develop shallow-running torpedoes suitable for use at Pearl Harbor, whereas the U.S. Navy dismissed such a prospect. Until December 7. Hostile weapon systems are black boxes in peacetime. It verges on impossible to peek inside a black box to determine how well a weapon will perform under combat conditions.

The Secret Way China Is Building A Dangerous Military Machine

Ethen Kim Lieser

It appears that China is still tapping into covert techniques to get its hands on next-generation military technology.

For years, the Pentagon has reported that the country has been “leapfrogging” the development phases of complex weapons systems, according to ABC News.

“China uses various means to get these technologies including the use of influence operations against individuals, businesses, media organizations, academic institutions and other communities,” it continues.

One government report from 2019 stated that China is utilizing an array of tools to gain access to military technologies—including “targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals access to these technologies, as well as harnessing its intelligence services, computer intrusions, and other illicit approaches.”

Back in 2018, China was able to use dynamic random access memory, aviation technologies, and anti-submarine warfare technologies to garner such sensitive, dual-use or U.S. military-grade equipment, according to the report.

There is no Russia-China axis

Mark Galeotti

You should be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it, so the old cliché goes. In diplomacy at the moment, it seems you should be careful of the threats you prepare for, because you may end up producing them.

There is a growing trend in the West towards treating Russia and China as some single, threatening ‘Dragonbear’ (a reference to the two countries' national animals). This underrates the very real tensions between Moscow and Beijing, but risks pushing them even closer together.

The most recent case in point was Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg’s interview in the Financial Times, in which he criticised ‘this whole idea that we either look Russia, or to China… because it goes together.’ The implication is that there is a Sino-Russian axis representing a single, coherent challenge to the West.

This is a perhaps understandable position — but also a distinctly problematic one.

Chabahar Port and Iran’s Strategic Balancing With China and India

Soroush Aliasgary and Marin Ekstrom

The construction of a port project in the Iranian city of Chabahar has been gaining increased attention as a potential global trading hub – and an arena for geopolitical competition. India has served as the primary investor in Chabahar port, as New Delhi sees the port as a way to access Afghan and Central Asian markets without relying on Pakistan’s land routes. Furthermore, the port could strengthen Indo-Iranian ties, which could balance out growing Sino-Pakistani cooperation. At the same time, China has been growing increasingly influential in Iran, seeking to gain access to critical natural resources and shipping routes. As for Iran, the port could foster new diplomatic and economic partnerships – and given Iran’s reputation as a pariah state in the West, it desperately needs to find alternative options.

With India and China competing to invest in this harbor, Iran is trying to play the two rivals off each other to boost its own international standing while not becoming dominated by either one of these powers. Chabahar port is thus a key case study in both international collaboration and competition: It could offer a trade revolution in the area, but it could also exacerbate regional rivalries.

Standardizing the future: How can the United States navigate the geopolitics of international technology standards?

Giulia Neaher, David Bray, Julian Mueller-Kaler, and Benjamin Schatz

Executive summary
Standards for data and technology represent a key part of the world’s digital ecosystem, and as such, they can have significant implications for geopolitics. This report, published in partnership with the American Edge Project1, endeavors to study the geopolitical dynamics surrounding technology standards setting to better inform related US policy. The People’s Republic of China recently initiated a systematic strategy to expand its involvement in standards setting for new technologies, in what many US policy makers view as an effort to dominate international standards and work against the United States and its allies. Such an effort could harm the integrity of the standards-setting process, resulting in less accessible or even less functional standards, and threaten the United States’ position as a global technology leader. This work examines China’s engagement with standards setting and asks the following questions: How is China’s strategy for standards setting changing over time? Is there reason to worry that China may disproportionately impact the selection and enforcement of technological standards in the future? And what would that mean for US standards policy?

To study these questions, the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center conducted extensive interviews with leading experts in standards setting, US-Sino relations, and technology policy, and collected a dataset studying the demographics of standards organizations’ members.

Industry panel: U.S. space systems need protection against cyber attacks

Sandra Erwin

WASHINGTON — Satellites in space provide essential services in support of national security and the civilian economy. The U.S. government, however, does not technically consider space systems “critical infrastructure,” which is slowing down efforts to protect networks from cyber attacks, experts said Oct. 19.

“We’re still debating whether space is critical infrastructure,” said Dawn Beyer, senior fellow at Lockheed Martin. Meanwhile, “of all the domains, space is the furthest behind when it comes to cybersecurity.”

The U.S. government spent years debating what the cyber domain should be called and who should be in charge while “Russia was already using it against us in information warfare,” Beyer on a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Aerospace Corp. and the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or ISAC, an industry group focused on the cybersecurity of space systems.

‘Now You’re in a Situation’: Democrats Pressure Biden on Taiwan

Jack Detsch

China’s ramped-up saber-rattling over Taiwan has put the Biden administration in a tricky spot: boxed in between moderates and progressives within the Democratic caucus on the best way to respond to Beijing.

The debate has flared up on Capitol Hill between some centrist Democrats, who worry U.S. President Joe Biden faces legal limits to his war powers in the event of a Chinese invasion of the island, and progressives, who are concerned that a more aggressive U.S. policy could push the situation closer to war. The rhetorical fight has intensified after China conducted a record-breaking number of air incursions near Taiwan earlier this month.

At the heart of partisan wrangling is a proposal floated by House Armed Services vice chair Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat, who—in the Washington Post last week—called for giving the Biden administration war-making authorities that would allow the president to declare a snap authorization on the use of force if China invaded the island. Luria’s concerned that Biden doesn’t have the legal authority to defend Taiwan under a law dating back to 1979, which says the United States is able to arm the island against a potential military threat but can’t formally recognize its government. Unlike agreements with Japan and the Philippines, the United States has no obligation to come to Taiwan’s defense.

The Kremlin Fears Social Media

Ivana Stradner

Facebook’s recent outage elicited strong responses around the world, but none more dramatic than that of the Russian government, which summarily noted that the 6-hour blackout “answer[s] the question about whether we need our own social media and internet platforms.” If Russia’s redoubled attempts to build an alternative internet and a range of off-brand social media platforms seems an overreaction to a few hours spent without Instagram, that’s because it is. But the move masks a deeper reality: the Russian government feels increasingly threatened by a young generation shaped by access to state-independent social media.

The Kremlin’s fears of social media took root in the wake of mass protests that sprang up across Russia in 2012. The protests were facilitated in large part through likes, shares, and tweets. Since that time, President Vladimir Putin has incrementally tightened restrictions to preserve his regime. In 2014, the state’s internet-minding agency, the Roskomnadzor, blocked access to media calling for mass riots, and banned a virtual private network in 2017. In 2020, Putin signed legislation allowing Russia to further restrict social media platforms in order to protect Russia’s so-called digital sovereignty. The new laws theoretically allow Russia to impose fines on platforms that do not block forbidden content such as calls for suicide, child pornography or information on drug use, but critics fear they could be used much more broadly.

Why Germany has less to teach the UK than most think

Andreas Fulda

Martin Fletcher’s recent New Statesman op-ed paints a rather idealised picture of mainland Europe’s economic powerhouse. In his view, the Germans seem to pretty much get everything right: they vote for centrist politicians, enjoy affordable childcare and support the country’s liberal immigration policies. Fletcher’s view of post-Brexit UK is less charitable. He describes British society as deeply polarised, with the economy teetering on the brink of collapse. Much of his chagrin is aimed at the Conservative government under Boris Johnson.

But isn’t the grass always greener on the other side? As someone who has lived in Germany and in the UK for 15 years each, I am not convinced by Fletcher’s juxtaposition. The two countries are less different than he makes them out to be.

Fletcher makes many good observations, but they seldom tell the full story. While it is true that centrist parties won the biggest share in Germany’s last federal election, the far-right AfD still managed to garner 10.3 per cent of the vote. And Fletcher would only need to travel from Berlin to nearby Cottbus to see with his own eyes that there is a serious, ongoing problem with militant neo-Nazis. In 2021, Germany recorded the highest level of right-wing extremism in 20 years.

How the Data Revolution Will Help the World Fight Climate Change

Robert Muggah

Cities are the front line of climate change as perpetrators, victims, and problem-solvers. Urban construction, traffic, and energy use alone account for around 40 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, millions of urban residents die of pollution each year due to the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal, gasoline, and diesel, according to a recent study in Environmental Research. Yet cities are also hubs of innovation and key players when it comes to developing solutions to mitigate and adapt to the world’s fast-changing climate. A growing number of them are already fighting our era’s greatest challenge by leveraging one of its most potent new assets: Big Data.

It is not entirely surprising that cities are mobilizing to take on climate change. After all, they have the most to lose. But while a handful of upper- and middle-income cities are busily planning and preparing for climate shocks and stresses, most have yet to get started. Wealthy cities like Amsterdam; Helsinki; Melbourne, Australia; Oslo, Norway; Paris, Singapore, and New York are actively exploring how to climate-proof their infrastructure, ramp up nature-based solutions, and accelerate a green transition. Yet fewer than half of the world’s cities have inventoried their exposure, much less crafted a climate-proofing strategy. There are green shoots of hope: The C40 coalition of climate-oriented cities has promised to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, with some cities moving even faster. Meanwhile, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a coalition of more than 10,000 cities, is agitating for investment in a green and just economic recovery.

Japan’s Hydrogen Industrial Strategy

Jane Nakano

Key Points
Japan is a highly industrialized country with a severe lack of hydrocarbon resources that sees multiple values in using hydrogen, including energy security, industrial competitiveness, and carbon emissions reduction. In 2017, Japan issued the Basic Hydrogen Strategy, becoming the first country to adopt a national hydrogen framework.

Japan has a broad end-use approach that looks at power, transportation, residential, heavy industry, and potentially refining. Meanwhile, Japan is a leader in fuel cell technology, especially fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), and Japanese leaders would like to export this technology to the rest of the world.

Japan is highly focused on securing access to hydrogen feedstocks. It therefore has begun to test various options for sourcing hydrogen and there is a question about how its diplomacy might adjust to that need.

The Japanese government provides robust funding for research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D), while also keeping its technology options open. Growing competition from European governments and businesses is a major concern to Japan. The national government seeks to increase public spending, technological innovation work, and collaboration with industrial stakeholders to expand a society-wide adaptation of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies

Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 2021, v. 21, no. 1

The 3M Affair in Canada-China Relations, 10 December 2018 – 24 September 2021, and Why for Canada it May not be Over Yet

Changing Participation in War: Is a Paradigmatic Shift Underway?

Syria – A Hybrid War Case Study

Energy Intake, Weight, and Body Composition of Canadian Soldiers Participating in an Arctic Training

The Short Road from the COVID-19 Pandemic to the Information Warfare Pandemic

Algorithmic Warfare: New Navy Task Force Focused on AI, Robotics

Yasmin Tadjdeh

The Navy is planning to put new robotic and artificial intelligence-enabled technologies through their paces in one of its toughest areas of operations.

The Fifth Fleet — which operates in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean — faces congested waterways, threats from nearby adversaries and an inhospitable climate.

However, it is an ideal location to test new technology in harsh conditions, said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.

The waterways in the region — which feature three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait — are ripe for real-world evaluation of unmanned systems, Cooper said during a media roundtable with reporters in September.

Partner Capacity Building Needs a Serious Re-Examination

Michael Miklaucic

The shocking and precipitate dissolution of the Afghan National Defense Forces in August signaled not just the death knell of the U.S.-backed Afghanistan government but revealed a profound flaw in U.S. defense planning. The idea that foreign defense forces trained, equipped, and coached by American forces can hold their own against determined adversaries must be rigorously re-examined.

One of the principal concepts shaping the Coalition’s anti-Taliban war was that we were preparing the Afghan national security forces to defeat the common enemy and secure the country. Over $88 billion were spent in this effort, and many thousands of Western forces took part in this multi-national effort. Lives were lost, but in the end, it was all in vain.

Nevertheless, current U.S. thinking assumes that unless the homeland itself is attacked, partner forces will bear much of the common defense burden abroad so that the U.S. will be spared the costs in blood and treasure alone. The concept is embedded in legislation as well as planning and strategic documents and has been a bedrock of American military thinking dating back to U.S. military advisors training South Korean troops before the Korean War broke out.

'Enemy' Unmanned Ground Vehicles Are Now Facing-Off Against Army Soldiers In Training


The U.S. Army says mock enemy troops, also known as the Opposing Force, or OPFOR, have employed unmanned ground vehicles in an exercise for the first time. The OPFOR used them to help deny access to possible helicopter landing zones and set up blocking positions along roads, among other tasks. This highlights the reality that American forces will only be increasingly likely as time goes on to encounter unmanned systems on the ground, as well as in the air, during future conflicts, especially high-end fights against potential near-peer adversaries, such as China or Russia.

The exercise in question took place at the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk in Louisiana in September. The JRTC's resident OPFOR unit is 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry, which is also known by the nickname Geronimo. This battalion received two General Dynamics Land Systems (GLDS) unmanned Multi-Utility Tactical Transports (MUTT) to help it square off against soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

What about China’s hypersonic missile?

Stephen Bryen

The Financial Times originally reported on October 16 that China had tested a hypersonic nuclear missile in late August that was launched in low earth orbit, circled the earth and then failed to hit its target, although it came close. According to the FT, the weapon was on board a Long March rocket.

China has denied it launched a hypersonic missile, saying that this report was about a routine spacecraft test, used for developing reusable spacecraft technology.

Russia already has a hypersonic glide vehicle that can be carried as part of the payload on one of its heavy ICBMs. Called Avangard, it was first announced by Vladimir Putin in 2018 and first deployed in 2019. The hypersonic glide vehicle itself is not powered and features an ability to maneuver as it heads to its target, making interception difficult. Avangard claims a top speed of 20 Mach (15,348 mph or 24,700 kmph) made possible by the use of new types of ceramic composite materials that can sustain 2,000 degrees centigrade (3,632 degrees Fahrenheit).