30 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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Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

It’s Time to Formalize an Alliance With India

Nikki Haley and Mike Waltz

In February, U.S. President Joe Biden declared, “diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy” and “we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.” Nine months into his presidency, the opposite has happened—and the United States’ adversaries are taking advantage of the situation.

Consider our allies: We witnessed ministers in the British Parliament publicly rebuke Biden in the aftermath of our disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. France recalled its ambassador in an extraordinary move. We’ve isolated our Eastern European allies by capitulating to Germany over the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Meanwhile, our adversaries are growing bolder, especially following the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. An axis of terror is forming from Hamas to Iran to the Taliban. Pakistan has stepped up its engagement with Iran. China has increased its incursions into Taiwan’s air identification zone to record levels. Russia is increasing its influence in Belarus and further threatening Ukraine.

Tajikistan-Afghanistan Tensions a Hurdle for Russia-Taliban Relations

Syed Fazl-e-Haider

The governments of Russia and Pakistan are uneasy over the continued tensions between Tajikistan and the Taliban-led Afghanistan, and they are urging both neighbors to exercise restraint.

The exchange of fiery statements between Dushanbe and Kabul, combined with recent friction along the Tajikistani-Afghan border, have particularly stoked Moscow’s apprehensions. Russia has officially implored both sides to resolve any dispute in a mutually acceptable manner. After the Taliban deployed thousands of their fighters to Takhar, the northeastern province of Afghanistan, adjacent to Tajikistan, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexei Zaitsev declared, “We observe with concern the growing tensions in Tajik-Afghan relations amid mutually strong statements by the leadership of the two countries” (Dawn, October 1).

In addition to Russia, Pakistan is also playing an active role in responding to the tense situation between Tajikistan and Taliban-led Afghanistan. On October 2, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stepped in to defuse this ire by holding a telephone conversation with President Em­o­m­ali Rahmon of Tajikistan.“The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact with a view to further coordinating their efforts in support of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said a statement issued from the prime minister’s office in Islamabad (Dawn, October 3).

America Needs an Independent Pakistan Policy

Touqir Hussain

At a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on September 13, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours.”

Whether it was over Afghanistan or other issues, the United States has always lived with these conflicts, and the U.S. relationship with Pakistan has vacillated between conflict and cooperation. However, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has been defined by Washington’s short-term need for Pakistan’s cooperation to serve some critical security and strategic interests and Pakistan’s long-term need for American economic support and security assistance, has not come without cost. Even when their interests converged, their policies, perceptions, and politics often did not; They could not build the organizing principle of a long and lasting relationship based on a conceptual framework, shared vision, and continuity.

The pendulum gradually swings towards international engagement with the Taliban

James M. Dorsey

The Taliban and Pakistan, both viewed warily by the West and others in the international community, appear to be benefitting from mounting concerns about the humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan.

The European Union, in a move that could put the United States in an awkward position, is close to reopening its mission in the Afghan capital and offering member states to use it as an operational base for their own diplomats.

The move would enhance European engagement of the Taliban but stop short of diplomatically recognizing the group as Afghanistan’s new rulers. The Taliban government has yet to win recognition from anyone in the international community.

The EU, its member states, and the United States had moved their diplomatic missions to the Qatari capital of Doha in August as they evacuated Kabul in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the city.

Maleeha Lodhi on the tortured Pakistani-American relationship


IN THEIR VERY first exchange after 9/11, Pakistan’s most senior leaders urged their American counterparts not to invade Afghanistan. Instead, they said, consider targeted action against al-Qaeda. In several high-level meetings that I attended then as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Pakistani officials gave warning that military action would not work. America should distinguish between al-Qaeda, the group responsible for the terror attacks, and the Taliban, who needed to be engaged.

Traumatised by the tragedy, leaders in Washington were in no mood to listen. Twenty years later, when America at last withdrew from Afghanistan, it had learned the hard way how to end its longest war. Doing so required negotiating a deal with the Taliban, but this came many years after al-Qaeda had been crushed.

Although close US-Pakistan co-operation achieved the shared goal of eliminating al-Qaeda, the course of the war strained a relationship already characterised by cyclical swings between intense engagement and deep estrangement. Long before the terror attacks of 2001, geopolitical concerns had shaped America’s regional alignments and its priorities. Bilateral ties passed through different phases. First, in the cold war, came the goal of containing communism. Pakistan became known as America’s “most allied ally”. Then came the pressing need, after 1979, to roll back the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. A subsequent phase involved defeating al-Qaeda in the “war on terror”.

China’s Security Infrastructure Continues to Grow in Tajikistan

Catherine Putz

New details have emerged regarding plans for China to build a paramilitary base for Tajik forces in Tajikistan. Much remains unclear, particularly with regard to what Chinese and Chinese-built security infrastructure already exists in Tajikistan, but also about the latest developments. At the same time, any and all movement in this space draws considerable attention not just in the region but from further abroad.

On October 13, the Tajik news site Asia-Plus ran a story citing an “exchange of letters” between China and Tajikistan in which the Chinese side agreed to provide 55 million renminbi (around $8.5 million) for the construction of a paramilitary base under the Tajik Ministry of Internal Affairs. The letters had been sent to the Tajik parliament for approval. They reportedly outlined the project, to include 12 buildings. The Chinese side, the report said, would undertake responsibility for the survey and design, providing equipment (including office furniture and computers) and direction to engineering and technical personnel. Asia-Plus did not report on the planned location of the base.

How BRI Debt Puts China at Risk

Jessica C. Liao

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has once again become a lightning rod for criticism following AidData’s newly released report, which found China’s overseas lending was worth $843 billion, including $385 billion of “un- and under-reported debt.” Media headlines seized on BRI’s “hidden debt” and news articles evoked the “debt trap diplomacy” slogan that political pundits and the Trump administration popularized in commentary critical of BRI.

Whether Beijing seeks to use debt as a tool to expand its influence and leverage over other countries remains under debate. However, what is mostly absent from the current discourse on BRI is discussion on the historically high risk plaguing all international creditors and the specter of this risk for China as it faces new challenges in sustaining its debt-fueled state-led growth model. Understanding this point can help Washington turn its stale narrative on BRI into a more convincing argument and be more effective in persuading other countries, as well as China, to shift course on BRI.

‘It Did Circle the Globe’: US Confirms China’s Orbital Hypersonic Test


A hypersonic missile that China launched into space this summer “did circle the globe,” a U.S. official confirmed to Defense One, and the Pentagon is still working through the implications of the surprise test.

The July 27 launch, first reported by the Financial Times, took place as top U.S. military leaders were focused on the rapid fall of Afghanistan and then the 17-day sprint to evacuate more than 124,000 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Senior leaders are now focused more directly on the launch and its implications, the U.S. official said.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said of the hypersonic launch, “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention.”

Chinese Censorship Is Going Global

Suzanne Nossel

In late September, the businessman Bill Browder received an unusual alert from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office. Browder, an activist who champions sanctions against government officials complicit in human rights abuses in Russia and around the world, was warned not to travel to countries that honor extradition treaties with Hong Kong. The places he was warded off from included democracies such as South Africa and Portugal. British officials told the activist that, under the terms of a 2020 Hong Kong law, Browder could risk arrest, extradition, trial, and even punishment by the Chinese regime. Browder’s ostensible crime in such a scenario would be his public call for Britain to push back against human rights abuses in Hong Kong.

The ominous warning to Browder comes amid a quickening pattern of Chinese influence over free speech in the West. Two LinkedIn users recently reported that their accounts were disabled by the Microsoft-owned platform, apparently because they spotlighted work on human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. After coming under pressure from rights groups, LinkedIn announced it would close down its service on the mainland due to concerns over free expression, offering Chinese users a stripped-down version of the networking site without social media features. Just this week Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter’s outspoken support for a free Tibet prompted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to pull the team’s games from Chinese television.

Drone Attack In Syria May Be Warning Of Things To Come


TEL AVIV: With the US now pointing the finger at Iran as the source of last week’s armed drone attack against American forces in Syria, government sources here are casting the situation as part of a broader Iranian-led expansion campaign in Syria — with armed drones serving as the main weapon.

US officials told the Associated Press that as many as five drones, equipped with explosive charges, hit the al-Tanf military base in Syria on Oct. 20. According to the AP report, Iran “resourced and encouraged the attack,” but the drones were not launched directly from Iranian territory. No American forces were killed in the attack.

Israeli sources have also pointed the finger at Iran-backed militias; those same sources are raising concerns that American forces in Syria and, to some extent, in Iraq are not equipped properly to deal with the growing number of armed drone strikes, which have emerged as a regular tactic for Iran over the last year.

Iran Wanted U.S. Out of Afghanistan. It May Be Sorry the Wish Came True.

Farnaz Fassihi

For 20 years, Iranian officials have said they wanted the U.S. military out of Afghanistan. Iran supplied Afghan insurgents with weapons to use against American soldiers. It sheltered Al Qaeda’s top leaders in Tehran. It courted the Taliban with diplomatic visits, covertly and then publicly.

But when the United States finally left Afghanistan in August, the swift Taliban takeover caught Iran off guard.

Suddenly, Iran, a Shiite Muslim theocracy, had a militant Sunni theocracy on its border that is widely seen as anti-Shiite. The upheaval has also sent a flood of Afghan refugees into Iran, has led to fears that Afghanistan will again become an incubator for terrorism, and has trapped Iranian leaders in a diplomatic tangle in dealing with a Taliban government seen as both a potential enemy and partner.

The episode has turned into a classic lesson in “be careful what you wish for.”

Iran’s president says cyberattack meant to create ‘disorder’


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s president said Wednesday that a cyberattack which paralyzed every gas station in the Islamic Republic was designed to get “people angry by creating disorder and disruption,” as long lines still snaked around the pumps a day after the incident began.

Ebrahim Raisi’s remarks stopped short of assigning blame for the attack, which rendered useless the government-issued electronic cards that many Iranians use to buy subsidized fuel at the pump.

However, they suggested that he and others in the theocracy believe anti-Iranian forces carried out an assault likely designed to inflame the country as the second anniversary of a deadly crackdown on nationwide protests over gasoline prices approaches.

“There should be serious readiness in the field of cyberwar and related bodies should not allow the enemy to follow their ominous aims to make problem in trend of people’s life,” Raisi said. State television later aired footage of the president visiting a gas station in central Tehran.

No More Trans-Atlantic Love Fest as Biden Heads to Europe

Daniel Baer

To many watchers of trans-Atlantic politics, U.S. President Joe Biden’s successful European grand tour in June was a scene out of a geopolitical rom-com. Estranged for four years under the Trump administration, the two sides were like a reunited couple. Back together at last, they laid out a robust and forward-looking agenda for the U.S.-European Union partnership. Biden reassured jilted NATO allies that the United States was committed to the alliance’s next chapter. Together with other G-7 partners, Biden and European leaders charted a common approach for addressing COVID-19’s public health and economic consequences. And at every stop, U.S. partners underscored the importance of democratic governance and expressed concern for the behavior of authoritarian states, such as Russia and China.

The trans-Atlantic bonhomie was punctuated by Biden’s repeated statement that “America is back.” It was a quintessentially U.S. pronouncement: totally earnest and sincere—he really means it, by golly!—yet the kind of gushing declamation that makes many Europeans squirm with embarrassment.

Terror Groups in Afghanistan Could Attack US Next Year, Pentagon Policy Chief Says


Islamic State terrorists in Afghanistan could be able to launch attacks against the United States within as few as six months, the Pentagon’s policy chief told senators Tuesday.

Lawmakers at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing expressed concern at the short timeline, and asked Colin Kahl what the Pentagon is doing about it. Kahl, the defense undersecretary for policy, declined to answer in detail during the unclassified portion of his testimony. Broadly, he assured senators that the Defense Department is working to make sure the terrorist group and others do not regain their ability to attack abroad.

The 3,000 or so members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, have already been launching attacks in Afghanistan for some time; 13 Americans died in an August suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport.

Preparing for Tomorrow’s Threats: Overcoming Obstacles to Organize, Adapt, and Innovate

Preparing for future threats is a vital concern for US strategists. Innovation is one way to confront the threats we may face in the future, but achieving innovation presents organizational, cultural, decisionmaking, and technological challenges. To help strategists and policy-makers navigate these obstacles, CNA’s National Security Seminar (NSS) convened three experts to share their perspectives from their service at different offices within the Pentagon: General James T. Conway (US Marine Corps, ret.), the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps; Dr. Jamie M. Morin, former Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) at the Department of Defense; and Dr. Francis G. Hoffman, Distinguished Research Fellow at National Defense University, who was instrumental in authoring the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). The discussion, moderated by CNA’s Dr. Carter Malkasian, was divided into two parts: the first identified obstacles to innovation, and the second looked at how to overcome those obstacles. The event was recorded and is available online.

Obstacles to innovation

General Conway underscored that innovation must contribute to the overall effectiveness of the joint force; must be feasible, interoperable and deployable across theaters; and must be timely—it cannot struggle through an endless development process. Proposals for innovation should be vetted against these standards. He noted that the barriers to innovation can be entirely legitimate—like “wickets” that must be passed through to ensure a project’s usefulness. He provided examples of large quantities of money being expended on poorly conceived innovation that failed either to come to fruition or to be useful to the force. General Conway, overall, underlined the need for practicality in the face of the inherent uncertainty involved in innovation.

DHS Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change

Executive Summary
The impacts of climate change pose both an acute and a systemic threat to the safety, security, and prosperity of the United States. This human-induced warming has already led to changes in the environment, such as rising ocean temperatures, shrinking sea ice, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. As our climate continues to warm, the Nation will experience even more extreme climate change related disasters, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, coastal storms, and inland flooding. These hazards often disproportionately affect the Nation’s most vulnerable communities.

As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to support and coordinate across the homeland security enterprise to address impacts of climate change, the Department will also model best practices to mitigate our own carbon footprint and build resilient capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. This Framework provides the overarching goals, principles, and lines of effort for the Department to counter the effects of climate change on the homeland and join in the global effort to mitigate climate change.

How Climate Activists Caused The Global Energy Crisis

Michael Shellenberger

Over the last decade, climate activists have successfully pressured governments, banks, and corporations to divest from oil and natural gas companies. At first such efforts appeared to be strictly symbolic. But in recent years years climate activists succeeded in driving public and private investment away from oil and gas exploration and toward renewables. The result is the worst energy crisis in 50 years.

Under-investment in oil and gas exploration is not the only cause of today’s energy crisis. The economic comeback from the covid pandemic has pushed up demand. Lack of wind in Europe meant higher demand for both natural gas and coal. And a drought in Brazil meant it had to import natural gas.

But the main cause of energy shortages is the half-decade-long under-investment in oil and gas driven by climate concerns.

The EU’s impotent rage at Putin’s gas games


Russian President Vladimir Putin is happily needling the EU over sky-high energy prices, but the bloc doesn’t really have any instruments to force a change of behavior in Moscow.

Putin's latest jab came earlier this week during the Valdai conference in Sochi, where he ridiculed the EU for dropping long-term gas contracts with Russia, trotted out an old Russian folk tale where he compared the bloc to a hapless wolf with its tail frozen in an ice hole thanks to a canny fox — and added he could help by sending the EU the extra gas it needs, if regulators would only approve his pet project, the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Poland, for one, has had enough.

In a letter that reads like a laundry list of complaints over failure to supply enough gas ahead of winter, seen by POLITICO, Warsaw demanded that EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager initiate an investigation into Russia's state-backed Gazprom for market manipulation and abuse of dominance on energy markets under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

Africa Is Central to the Modern World’s Future—and Its Past

Howard W. French

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind.

Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about 800 million people and is currently estimated at 1.2 billion, is projected to rise to 2 billion people by the middle of this century. Naturally, the further into the future one projects, the more uncertain such things become, but by this century’s end, Africa could potentially have as many as 4.5 billion people, according to the United Nations, making it more populous than two Chinas and an India combined.

The pandemic stimulus has backfired in emerging markets

Ruchir Sharma

From the start of the pandemic, many emerging nations watched the US and other large developed countries “go big” on economic stimulus, and wished they could afford to follow. It turns out they were lucky if they couldn’t and wise if they chose not to.

Emerging markets that stimulated most aggressively got no pay-off in a faster recovery, owing in part to the downsides of overindulging. The big spenders tended to suffer higher inflation, higher interest rates and currency depreciation, at least partly cancelling out the sugar high of stimulus.

Scanning data on the top emerging and developed markets for a statistical link between the scale of their 2020 stimulus programmes and the strength of the ensuing recovery, I found none. Even after correcting for the deeper downturns, which often produce a higher bounceback in growth, aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus added nothing discernible to the recovery.

Space Stations and International Politics

Aleksander M. Lubojemski

The first space station, Salyut 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1971. Although it was only in orbit for a little over 170 days, it began a stream of newer and better versions over the years – from Skylab to Tiangong. These stations have become a feature of space exploration, forever transforming our views on how humans can interact outside of Earth for longer periods of time. Simultaneously they have broadened our understanding of biology, physics, astronomy and engineering. Space stations are not only objects of scientific interest. As with many aspects of the social world, they are objects of great power competition, social relations and cooperation. This article will focus on the intertwining of global politics and space stations, attempting to determine how space stations have influenced international politics. The International Space Station (ISS) and Tiangong as the primary case studies for three reasons. First, they are the most recent examples of functional permanent space stations in Earth orbit. Second, through its lifespan and influence, the ISS is arguably the most important space station that has existed. Through the changing nature of the international system, especially the rise of China, it is also a necessity to examine what role the Tiangong station plays, or will play, in global politics. Third, both are, or will be, based on broad international cooperation in general or specific aspects.

Protests as a Vehicle for Political Change

Marnix Middelburg

Protests fueled the ‘Glorious Revolution’ (1688) in England and the French Revolution (1789) in France, historical events which shattered the existing political regime and paved the way for the creation of a new system (Robinson & Acemoglu, 2012). Protests against the war in Vietnam, the murder of George Floyd (2020), and climate change are recent examples of how organized protests influence the political landscape in the Western world. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the nature, relevance, and impact of popular protests in the West is mirrored in other parts of the world. In (semi)authoritarian societies, protests are the ultimate form of non-violent resistance, as exemplified in Russia (2021), Hong-Kong (2019–2020), and Belarus (2020–present). These protests allow individuals from all layers of society to collectively stand against their government, which has the power to violently disperse these protestors. Individuals have less power to influence the politics of their country in situations like these, due to frequently rigged elections. It is thus reasonable to assume that the nature, relevance, and impact of protests differs according to the environments in which they occur. Scholars and media have devoted a lot of attention to protests in the aforementioned countries, but research shows that Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed a tremendous increase in the amount of protests since 2011 (Mueller, 2018, p. 2).

Why Russia is talking to the Taliban

Ido Vock

Russia will host multilateral talks about Afghanistan on Wednesday 20 October. The talks, to which neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and China have been invited, are notable because they will also include Afghanistan’s de facto rulers, the Taliban. The group was not invited to last week’s G20 talks on Afghanistan.

A “large Taliban delegation” will be present in Moscow, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told the media. The summit will be one of the first to include the Taliban since it seized control of Afghanistan in August, even as no government has so far recognised the group as the country’s legitimate rulers.

The talks are likely to focus on rebuilding Afghanistan’s economy, currently in ruins. Most of the foreign aid it depends on was suspended after the Taliban takeover. Trade and the country’s financial system have been frozen since the new authorities took power. Ninety-five per cent of Afghans aren’t getting enough to eat, according to the UN’s World Food Programme. Some parents, pushed into utter destitution, are selling their children to settle debts.

The Problem with Deterrence

Cyber and Cyber deterrence featured heavily in the Integrated Review published recently, with 114 individual mentions. The review emphasises the UK’s ambition to the deter, disrupt and deter adversaries in cyberspace. Along with repetition of previously announced developments, like the creation of the National Cyber Force and the establishment of a “cyber corridor” across the North, there was one statement which has prompted some shocking headlines in the press.

“Britain could respond to future cyber attack with nuclear strike” was how the Times covered the issue. The review actually stated a change in UK policy to allow for the use of nuclear weapons in the face of “weapons of mass destruction”, including “emerging technologies” that may have comparable impact to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Conflation of these issues in the press indicates a lack of understanding of international cyber strategy and how cyber operations are deployed. This article aims to cover the key differences between traditional deterrence theories and the newer concepts associated with cyber deterrence, before highlighting some of the issues surrounding deterrence in the cyber domain then concluding on how the UK can demonstrate effective cyber deterrence through capability and credibility.

Reimagining Defense Strategy

This event continued a conversation begun at CNA’s September 16, 2021, National Security Seminar, titled “Planning for Tomorrow’s Threats: Overcoming Obstacles to Organize, Adapt, and Innovate.” In this event, we heard insights on defense strategy from Christian Brose, Chief Strategy Officer of Anduril Industries, a defense technology company. Mr. Brose shared his perspective as a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee under Chairman John McCain. He is also the author of The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare. Dr. Carter Malkasian, from CNA, moderated the discussion. Dr. Malkasian previously served as Special Assistant for Strategy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The event was recorded and is available online.

Central arguments of The Kill Chain

Dr. Malkasian and Mr. Brose started off with a discussion about the title of The Kill Chain and its central arguments. In Brose’s view, the logic of a kill chain demonstrates the actual purpose of military power and the ability to generate deterrence: that is, convincing an opponent of their inability to secure objectives by disrupting their capacity to sense, decide, and act. In the book, Brose argues that the US defense enterprise model needs to overcome its preoccupation with legacy platforms and start worrying about command and control (C2); intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); enabling technologies such as autonomy; and the ability to strike the opponent over a long range. The term kill chain is not new; in fact, kill chains and OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loops have long-standing currency among defense practitioners.

Army Seeks ‘Cutting Edge’ Network-Aided PNT Technologies For Battle


WASHINGTON: The US Army Applications Lab is seeking network-aided capabilities that would let soldiers know exactly where they are, how to get where they’re going and when to move on the battlefield, even when — especially when — they can’t depend on GPS.

A special notice posted online on a federal procurement site on Oct. 19 says, “The intent of this special topic is to develop Network Aided devices, including component, sub-component, and associated technologies, to allow dismounted Soldiers to continue to operate without utilizing standard GPS signals.”

The notice is part of a larger push in the Army to develop new tools for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) that allow soldiers to operate in extremely remote environment or in places where adversaries could interfere with GPS. Last week Breaking Defense reported about one potential option: the use of extremely detailed global 3D terrain mapping that would allow soldiers to know their position by analyzing their own surroundings.

Ready to Fight Tonight? Not So Much, Some Army Troops Say

Jack Detsch

It’s an age-old adage: The Pentagon has said for years that the U.S. Army forces stationed on the Korean Peninsula are ready to “fight tonight” if a war breaks out between North and South Korea—or almost anywhere else. But not everyone in the Army is so sure about that, according to an internal survey obtained by Foreign Policy, especially the grunts who could be doing most of the fighting—and dying.

In a survey of more than 5,400 soldiers and civilians of different ranks conducted by the U.S. Army in July and August 2020, 14 percent of respondents said their unit would be ready to deploy, fight, and win anywhere in the world immediately. Some 13 percent of those surveyed said they would need more time, while 3 percent said they would be ready to go in a week, and 4 percent in a month. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said the question didn’t apply to them, likely owing to the fact that the majority of respondents were civilians.

But the figures are far more striking when broken down by rank. Under 20 percent of warrant officers, highly specialized enlisted troops who have deployed to Afghanistan and other U.S. battlefields during America’s post-9/11 wars, said they were confident their unit could win today. While fewer generals responded to the survey, about 40 percent of them were confident they could immediately deploy and win.