2 November 2021

India in Space Domain - Pathbreaking Developments

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


India is now a major spacefaring nation. Initially, the Indian space programme was focused primarily on societal and developmental utilities. Today, like many other countries, India is compelled to use space for several military requirements like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Hence, India is looking to space to gain operational and informational advantages.

India has had its fair share of achievements in the space domain. It includes the launch of the country’s heaviest satellite, the GSAT-11 which will boost India’s broadband services by enabling 16 Gbps data links across the country, GSAT-7A, the military communication satellite and the launch of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III-D2, the GSAT 29. The Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test is an intrinsic part of today’s geopolitics and the national security context.

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.

What India Can Bring to COP26

Arjun Gargeyas

As heads of different states and climate researchers head to Glasgow to attend the 26th Conference of Parties organized by the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC), the question of how to tackle the threat of climate change still remains unanswered. The global climate action plan requires a massive revamp, especially following the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a few months ago. India and its active participation at the COP26 summit remain integral in the fight against climate change.

Being a responsible climate leader, India can look to play the role of a mediator between the developing and developed countries. While increasing its own ambitions of reducing net emissions and improving clean energy infrastructure, India can look to support the states that are still dependent on traditional sources of energy to provide basic amenities to their citizens. Consistent efforts to ramp up clean energy production have made India almost achieve the target of 40 percent non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity, with 38.5 percent already having been installed in the country. This timely delivery of climate goals by India can also provide it adequate clout to call out the failure of the developed world to adhere to the agreed-upon climate goals.

Takshashila Discussion Document – Navigating the Geopolitics of International Technical Standards for India


Executive Summary
Strategic technologies serve as a fulcrum of geopolitical and geoeconomic rivalries between technologically advanced states. This discussion document addresses the geopolitics of international standard-setting in the context of emerging technologies that require global integration. It also suggests approaches on how India should deal with these processes. The aspects covered in the document include:

1. The role of standards in the growth and governance of emerging interoperable technologies across the globe. The broad geopolitical implications of influencing the standards-setting process.

2. Approaches for setting standards around the globe. This is in the context of China’s evolving role in influencing international standards in strategic technologies and its potential consequences.

3. The existing framework for setting standards in India and how the framework can be reinvented to match global standard requirements.

AfPak Takes On New Meaning with the Rise of the Taliban

Dr. James M. Dorsey

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The attacks on Kabul’s international airport by ISIS’s Afghan affiliate raise questions suggesting a possible paradigm shift in the drivers and expanding geography of political violence.

The attacks by ISIS’s Afghan affiliate on Kabul’s international airport called into question the Taliban’s ability to maintain security and keep a lid on the activities of the multiple militant groups in Afghanistan. Long at war with ISIS, the Taliban have promised to ensure that neither it nor other groups with which it maintains better relations will be allowed to use the Central Asian state for cross-border attacks in the region.

That may be easier said than done. Al-Qaeda, which launched the most spectacular and successful of all jihadist attacks two decades ago in the US, may turn out to be the least of the Taliban’s jihadist worries.

Afghan Crime Wave Adds to Taliban Dystopia

Lynne O’Donnell

As economic collapse and humanitarian catastrophe stalk Afghanistan, a spike in serious crime and concerns about civil unrest are adding pressure on a population facing a Himalayan winter and already struggling with rising prices, vanishing cash, and unemployment.

Reports are emerging of families selling baby girls to raise money to buy food as poverty and hunger bite deeper and law and order breaks down further. Sources in the capital, Kabul, said kidnappings and extortion are daily occurrences, with Taliban foot soldiers killing on contract to earn cash as they are not being paid.

“It’s $2,000 to kidnap someone and $5,000 to kill someone,” said a former Afghan security official who is closely monitoring the crime wave.

“Crime and poverty are excruciatingly high. The Taliban are not out to stop it, and it’s not that they can’t contain the crime—they are part of it,” he said, speaking on the condition that he not be named. “The rank and file are too poor and corrupt; they can’t get money any other way. It’s just like the warlords in the 1990s.”

Foreign Aid Won’t Moderate the Taliban

Haley Swedlund, Romain Malejacq and Malte Lierl

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, foreign aid has frequently been framed as a possible lever the international community can use to push them to moderate their rule.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres argued after the takeover that “humanitarian assistance is an entry point for effective engagement with the Taliban.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that aid would not be released until the Taliban met the European Union’s conditions, including the promotion, protection, and respect of human rights. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken similarly noted that the Biden administration is looking for ways to use foreign assistance to “successfully incentivize positive actions by the [Taliban] government.”

The logic here is simple: Foreign aid is a carrot. In exchange for foreign assistance, which the Taliban desperately need to prevent economic collapse and ensure their own political survival, donors expect they can extract political concessions.

Kabul University’s New Chancellor Promises an Updated Taliban Outlook

Fazelminallah Qazizai

Alarge group of visitors was waiting for Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat as he arrived at his office clutching a thick gray notepad and pen. It had been a difficult few weeks for the new chancellor of Kabul University and his job would not get easier anytime soon. Under intense scrutiny over the Taliban’s refusal to let young women resume their higher education and misquoted in the international media thanks to a fake Twitter account set up in his name, he was learning that life in government was very different from life as an insurgent. His ability to adjust will affect the futures of thousands of Afghans.

Ghairat epitomizes the current generation of Taliban that came of age during the U.S.-led occupation and are now the vanguard of a political project that is likely to have profound implications not only for Afghanistan and the region, but for Islamist movements everywhere. Winners in a war that dragged on for 20 years before ending suddenly in a matter of weeks, these men are tasked with building a sustainable peace and showing the world that they can govern. Throughout the decades of fighting they continued to believe that victory over the U.S. and its Afghan allies would come, but they were still not prepared when it did. Now, two months on from the fall of Kabul, we are starting to learn who these Taliban really are. It is a complex, contradictory picture.

Afghanistan’s food crisis reaches unprecedented levels as nearly 19 million people are highly food insecure due to prolonged drought, conflict and economic collapse

Source Link

In September and October 2021 (the post-harvest season), nearly 19 million people in Afghanistan experienced high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above), an almost 30% increase from the same season last year (14.5 million people). The main drivers of acute food insecurity include drought and its impacts on crops and livestock, the collapse of public services, a severe economic crisis and increasing food prices. An estimated 6.8 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and 11.9 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) require urgent action to save their lives, reduce food gaps and protect their livelihoods

Between November 2021 and March 2022 (the winter lean season), a further deterioration in food security is expected, with the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above increasing to 22.8 million, a nearly 35% increase from the same season last year (16.9m). Out of 22.8 million people, 14 million will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 8.7 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The number of areas in Emergency is expected to significantly increase in the projection analysis period from 21 to 32 analytical domains. It is likely that household food access between the end of winter and the following spring season will further deteriorate due to: the continuing La Niña climatic episode bringing below-average winter precipitation for the second consecutive year, the impact of high food prices, sanctions on the de facto authorities, growing unemployment and possibly increased displacement. Reduced incomes, lower international and domestic remittances and continuing obstacles to humanitarian assistance (many related to the financial crisis and limited physical access during the winter period) are expected to contribute to the deterioration of food security.

Beijing Changes Its Approach to Economic Expansion in Central Asia

Paul Goble

China has quietly but dramatically changed its economic approach to the countries of Central Asia—a shift with enormous consequences not only for the region but for Beijing’s relationship with Moscow. Until recently, China had provided loans to the countries of the region to build railway routes across Central Asia as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. These routes linked China with Europe, bypassing the Russian Federation (see EDM, March 21, 2019). Now, it has largely ended such projects and, instead, is investing heavily in manufacturing firms in Central Asia. On the one hand, this suggests that China may now plan to use Russian routes more heavily, at least in the short term, something Moscow will certainly welcome. But on the other hand, it means that the Central Asian countries are likely to become both more economically independent of Russia and more closely integrated into China’s growing economic empire, an outcome that will further diminish Moscow’s influence in the region and could even reduce the willingness of Central Asians to move to Russia as migrant workers. Neither of these effects is likely to please the Kremlin.

This shift appears to be less the result of any new Chinese calculation than of Beijing’s recognition that its earlier approach had intensified anti-Beijing attitudes among Central Asian populations—however popular it may have been with some Central Asian elites (see EDM, September 10, 2019 and March 30, 2021). China needs to offer more to the general populations and their governments if it is to maintain and then build on its influence there (Ia-centr.ru, November 11, 2020; Globalaffairs.ru, March 18, 2020).

China’s six wars in the next 50 years

Geoff Wade

In a recent post, I introduced a new PRC book entitled ‘China Is Not Afraid — New Threats to National Security and Our Strategic Responses’. I suggested that the volume is part of a larger PLA strategy to invigorate and bolster the morale of domestic constituencies, both military and otherwise, as well as being intended to serve as a warning to any foreign powers which might seek to constrain or restrict China. It’s perhaps worthwhile further extending this analysis to two other PLA-inspired products, one a film and the other a newsagency article, to explore what sort of agenda these works are promoting.

The Chinese film Silent Contest was controversial as soon as it appeared on Chinese and global websites in October. By the end of that month, the film was being deleted from PRC websites without any official pronouncements as to the reasons for its appearance or disappearance. The film is still available in various iterations (video) on YouTube.

Highly polemical, and set against a rousing soundtrack, the film suggests that the United States is trying to subvert China through five avenues: (1) undermining China politically, (2) engaging in cultural infiltration, (3) warfare in terms of ideas, (4) the training of fifth column agents and (5) the fostering of opposition forces within China. The overall message is that the United States seeks not simply to dismember China but aims to find ways to take it under control. Frank Ching notes a strong anti-Hong Kong democrat aspect in the film, amid an implicit fear that a Hong Kong–Taiwan–US alliance could destabilize the PRC. The film’s intended audiences are certainly the domestic military and civilian constituencies, and it aims to be rousing and to induce indignity and anger. Reactions within China have varied (video), from the obviously supportive to the derisory.

China is definitely on the rise. But don’t write off American dominance just yet

Michael E. O’Hanlon

China is definitely on the rise. But don’t write off American dominance just yet.

Even if the trade wars between the United States and China that dominated the Trump era have receded slightly, many other issues have intensified.

China tested a hypersonic and potentially globe-spanning weapon this summer. It conducted dozens of sorties by combat aircraft that touched on Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification zone and otherwise menaced the island of 23 million (plus much of the world’s semiconductor production capacity) that it claims as its own. The Pentagon’s artificial intelligence guru, Nicolas Chaillan, recently resigned with a warning that the United States is losing the AI race to China. Intelligence and military officials warn that China may be expanding its nuclear arsenal by up to several hundred warheads. And commanders of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii have estimated that China might well attempt to take Taiwan within a half-dozen years or so, given its military modernization trends.

China, 5G, and NATO Security

Julia Pallanch

China now intersects with NATO’s agenda in several ways and occupies a far more entrenched part of the discussion. While NATO is not in a military conflict with China, Beijing remains a key geopolitical competitor to the West. Moreover, the United States sees China as a direct national security threat, and several plausible contingencies could draw the two sides into military confrontation.

The Right Role for NATO

While there are still debates about how far Europe and the United States should be aligned on China, the European NATO members have traditionally assumed part of the U.S. security and defense agenda in exchange for security guarantees. However, China also poses a set of distinctly security risks for Europe, particularly relating to resilience and critical infrastructure and to the considerable dependency of Europe’s digital infrastructure on Chinese technology. The current debate lies in whether NATO is the optimal platform to address those issues, if the EU should take a more active role instead, or if there is an appropriate division of responsibilities between them. For resilience to be the catalyst of closer NATO-EU cooperation, a balance must be found in which the roles of both sides are explicitly defined.

China Rapidly Developing Artificial Intelligence, Officials Warn

Trevor Filseth

Officials at the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned on Friday that China’s pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI) technology could have major implications for the future of the military and economic competition between the two nations. Among other topics, the warnings restated the U.S. warning against private companies in key areas allowing Chinese investment or expertise, urging them to take significant precautions in protecting their intellectual property.

Under the Trump and Biden administrations, relations between Washington and Beijing have steadily become more acrimonious, with increasing consensus from America’s national security agencies that China represents a strategic threat to the United States. Although Biden has made statements advising against the creation of a “new Cold War” with China, and advocated in favor of working together on mutual concerns such as climate change, relations have still remained tense—particularly since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when the United States reproached China over for its failure to share certain information about the virus’s origins. For its part, Beijing has accused Washington of acting in bad faith.

Minxin Pei on why China will not surpass the United States


AMERICA’S CHAOTIC exit from Afghanistan must be seen by Chinese leaders as the latest proof of its irreversible decline. But their euphoria will be short-lived. As consummate realists, they know that President Joe Biden is taking the United States out of the “grave of empires” so that he can conserve America’s power to prevail against China in the next chapter of their contest for global supremacy.

In its essence, the United States-China “strategic competition” is less a confrontation between duelling ideologies than a familiar clash between a hegemonic power and its challenger. It seems reasonable to bet that although China will continue to narrow the gap in most dimensions of power in the coming two decades, it will ultimately fail to surpass America. This may elicit a sigh of relief in some quarters of Washington. But a China that has reached near-parity will nevertheless be a formidable geopolitical adversary.

America has adopted a strategy to thwart China’s rise. Framed as “economic decoupling”, this has featured a trade war to force global supply chains to relocate out of China and a tech war to choke off the flow of critical technologies and know-how to China. Few should doubt the efficacy of these measures—just witness how quickly American sanctions have crippled Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that used to be the leader in 5G technology. But on its own this strategy will only slow down, not stop, China’s advance.

Turkey’s F-16 Gambit Is a Chance to Revive Turkish-U.S. Defense Cooperation


The strained bilateral relationship between Turkey and the United States has come into the limelight once again. At the end of September, Turkey sent a letter of request to the United States, expressing its desire to purchase forty state-of-the-art F-16 fighter jets as well as modernization kits for eighty of its aging planes.

Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have insisted that the request was initially suggested by the United States—but the U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to comment.

This incident was a good reminder of the fragility of Turkey’s relations with its friends. On the U.S. side, bipartisan discontent in Congress with Turkey’s actions on a number of issues adds to the challenge, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration might be reluctant to entertain Ankara’s request. Should the United States oblige Turkey’s request?

Competing with China Requires Engaging the Developing World

Paul Haenle, Sam Bresnick

As the United States has taken steps to improve its coordination with allies vis-à-vis China, many Western analysts have written that Beijing has lost its confidence, is losing its influence, and has even begun “flailing” on the international stage in the face of increasing international pressure. Such negative appraisals of China’s coronavirus-era behavior and trajectory are backed by revulsion against Beijing’s persistent Wolf Warrior diplomacy, increasingly egregious human rights violations, and unwillingness to cooperate on investigating the origins of the coronavirus, among other concerns. Americans and Europeans now view Beijing more negatively than at any point since the 1989 Tiananmen incident.

Since assuming office, President Joe Biden has set out to rally European and Asian allies and partners to his side, leveraging negative views of China to bolster his efforts. The administration has received support from the G7, whose recent joint statement explicitly mentioned the group’s need to respond to Chinese human rights abuses and distortive economic practices. Further afield, Biden has emphasized security cooperation through selling Australia nuclear submarines and reinvigorating the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

How the US can finally close the cyber workforce gap

Wally Adeyemo and Penny Pritzker

For many Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic brought their work into the digital sphere to a far greater extent than ever before—from classrooms to courtrooms to boardrooms, and many others. The shift to online work has increased our economy’s reliance on secure and dependable technology. Maintaining America’s economic competitiveness will require continued investment in the tools needed to compete in the digital economy and the workforce to build and protect these tools from online threats.

The events of the past year have demonstrated that digital opportunities come with digital risks. From gas pipelines shuttered by ransomware to life-saving chemotherapy treatments disrupted by cyber intrusions, we have seen that the same technology systems that enable the modern economy also expose our companies and workers to new forms of attack. Without the resources to prevent and combat these threats, our ability to compete on equal footing with our rivals could be imperiled.

NSA Should ‘Reevaluate’ Massive IC Cloud Contract: GAO


WASHINGTON: The Government Accountability Office said today that the National Security Agency needs to go back and rethink its selection of Amazon over Microsoft in a controversial multi-billion dollar contract, alleging the agency was at times “unreasonable.”

The decision from GAO sustains a protest from Microsoft against the NSA’s decision to award its WILDANDSTORMY single-award cloud contract to Amazon Web Services. The contract is reportedly worth $10 billion.

“GAO found certain aspects of the agency’s evaluation to be unreasonable and, in light thereof, recommended that NSA reevaluate the proposals consistent with the decision and make a new source selection determination,” the GAO statement said.

The WILDANDSTORMY contract would provide the NSA with classified and unclassified computing services. According to NextGov, the contract was awarded to AWS early in the summer, with Microsoft’s protesting the contract on July 21. The GAO’s full decision is classified and little is known about the details of the cloud contract itself.

Nurses Aren’t Like iPhones

Elisabeth Braw

The United Kingdom is struggling with a debilitating lack of nurses: 1 in 10 posts are vacant. The United States, too, is desperately looking for nurses to fill vacancies. In fact, there’s a nursing shortage across the West. For years, Western countries have been solving such shortages through imports, treating nurses like a commodity that can be sourced abroad. It’s a brutal strategy—and a dangerous one—because foreign supply can run low. Treating nurses like iPhones doesn’t work anymore.

Considering nurses are one of the largest professions in any developed country, they’re conspicuously absent from pop culture. Hollywood has featured a few nurses on shows like ER and M*A*S*H, not to mention the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but it’s safe to say these portrayals don’t reflect nurses’ absolutely critical—and positive—role in any country’s daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, demonstrated to everyone how imperative it is that countries have enough nurses.

But how does a country staff a profession people may respect and know they depend on when not enough locals want to work in that profession? Wealthy countries have long depended on nurses from less wealthy countries to come and work for them.

Are France and Italy a Foil to Germany?

Francesco Casarotto

France and Italy plan to sign the Quirinal Treaty, an agreement meant to improve bilateral relations generally and economic coordination and industrial ties specifically, by the end of the year. Originally proposed in 2017, the deal was shelved in 2018, when a more euroskeptic government came to power in Rome. Border issues and migration only made things worse between them. But the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have forced France and Italy to set aside their differences and place the Quirinal Treaty back at the top of their diplomatic agendas.

The timing is no coincidence. By March 2022, the European Central Bank’s emergency bond-buying scheme will end, and by the end of 2022, the eurozone budgetary and fiscal rules that had been suspended to help states cope with the pandemic are expected to be reinstated. France and Italy oppose the return of a pre-pandemic status quo, which pits them against Germany and other northern countries such as the Netherlands and Austria that advocate for tighter eurozone rules. In other words, Paris and Rome are getting closer in the hopes of forming a counterweight to the requests of the so-called frugal EU states. For France and Italy, nothing less than domestic stability is at stake.

‘You Live With a Degree of Paranoia’

Colum Lynch

Aaron Arnold, an American investigating sanctions violations for the United Nations in North Korea, received what seemed to be an innocuous email last October. James Sutterlin, a U.N. official in the office that manages sanctions experts, ostensibly forwarded a link to what was described as the U.N. Security Council’s forecast of its activities for the month, according to a copy of the email reviewed by Foreign Policy. Only, Sutterlin had not written the email, and the link, they would later discover, was part of a phishing attempt by the North Korean government.

Over the past decade, North Korea has developed an elaborate system for evading U.N. sanctions, deploying an army of front companies, secret bank accounts, and ransomware attacks to evade scrutiny and amass billions of dollars in cash revenue. But North Korea’s premier intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, has also taken a particular interest in snooping on U.N. sanctions experts and the U.N. bureaucrats and diplomats who oversee their work.

Sanctions have never been more popular, but the system for enforcing them at the United Nations is breaking down. In this two-week series, FP looks at why that is and what can still be done to fix it.

Keith B. Payne, Cultivating Intellectual Capital – Linking Deterrence Practitioner to Academician, No. 506, October 26, 2021

Dr. Keith B. Payne

I would like to thank General Weidner and Strategic Command for inviting me to participate here today, and General Evans for your kind introduction.

I have long believed that those in government responsible for deterrence and those in academia have much to offer each other. I would like to focus my brief remarks directly on two of our assigned questions in this regard:

First, what might be the challenges to the academic’s collaboration with what I will refer to as the official deterrence community, and how might we overcome those challenges?

And, second, what practical measures would make collaboration with the deterrence community of value to the academic?

I should start by noting that, since the beginning of the nuclear age, there has been considerable de facto collaboration between the deterrence and academic communities. Collaboration in the development of deterrence policy is not new.

Core member of ransomware gang identified

Kai Biermann

The video shows a white yacht bobbing in the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Young people are lolling about on deck, laughing, drinking and jumping into the water. It’s expensive fun: Chartering the yacht costs 1,300 euros per day. The video was shared on social media by Ekaterina K.*, whose account frequently includes such vacation clips. This video is from Antalya, on the south coast of Turkey, but others have come from a five-star hotel in Dubai, from the Crimean Peninsula, or even from the Maldives.

Her husband Nikolay K. often appears in the videos and photos she posts. He seems to prefer T-shirts from Gucci, luxurious BMW sportscars and large sunglasses. For the past several months, he has also been wearing a Vanguard Encrypto on his wrist, a type of luxury watch that has the code of a Bitcoin address engraved into its dial and costs up to 70,000 euros. Nikolay K.’s own account is private, but his motto is open to all and makes clear his faith in cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin – which are how he earns his money.

The Tribalist Threat to Climate Action


HONG KONG – Two global struggles – Cold War II and the fight against climate change – are colliding. By agreeing to hold a virtual summit before the end of this year, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have signaled that they want to prevent relations from deteriorating to the point that miscalculation could lead to armed conflict – a risk that recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait have highlighted. But Biden and Xi must also ensure that their great-power competition does not hamper cooperation on the existential threat of climate change.

The upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow represents a major opportunity for the United States and China to show their commitment to confronting that threat. There is reason for hope. Since 2015, when COP21 delivered the Paris climate agreement, the dangers of global warming have become impossible to ignore, owing to five of the hottest years on record.

Scientists Discover the First Room-Temperature Superconductor

A TEAM OF physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature—a long-sought scientific milestone. The hydrogen, carbon, and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the team reported in Nature. That’s more than 50 degrees higher than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record, set last year.

Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research develop­ments and trends in mathe­matics and the physical and life sciences.

“This is the first time we can really claim that room-temperature superconductivity has been found,” said Ion Errea, a condensed-matter theorist at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who was not involved in the work.

Alert (AA21-076A): TrickBot Malware

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have observed continued targeting through spearphishing campaigns using TrickBot malware in North America. A sophisticated group of cybercrime actors is luring victims, via phishing emails, with a traffic infringement phishing scheme to download TrickBot.

TrickBot—first identified in 2016—is a Trojan developed and operated by a sophisticated group of cybercrime actors. Originally designed as a banking Trojan to steal financial data, TrickBot has evolved into highly modular, multi-stage malware that provides its operators a full suite of tools to conduct a myriad of illegal cyber activities.

To secure against TrickBot, CISA and FBI recommend implementing the mitigation measures described in this Joint Cybersecurity Advisory, which include blocking suspicious Internet Protocol addresses, using antivirus software, and providing social engineering and phishing training to employees.

Russian Military Thought on the Changing Character of War: Harnessing Technology in the Information Age

Roger McDermott

Executive Summary

Russia’s General Staff has long-established interests in the analysis of developments in the means and methods of military conflict. In the early Soviet era, military theory, far from being purely academic, proved decisive in shaping the successful defense and survival of the Soviet Union from the onslaught of the invading Nazi German Wehrmacht. In latter decades, several Soviet military theorists advanced ideas that became known as the revolution in military affairs (RMA). Since the reform and modernization of Russia’s conventional military forces in late 2008, an explosion of discussion and ideas has emerged around the themes of future warfare, how the character of war is changing, and the roles played by high technology in the information age.

Unlike Western militaries, Russian military thought never abandoned its interest in large-scale inter-state warfare, which also features as part of the war types rehearsed and trained for in Russia’s annual strategic military exercises. This focus on the potential for large-scale inter-state conventional military conflict equally translates into Russian military thinking about the wars of the future.

The Converging Technology Revolution and Human Capital : Potential and Implications for South Asia

South Asia is heavily impacted by the devastating loss of lives and human capital from the COVID-19 pandemic and the converging technology revolution sweeping the globe. The Converging Technology Revolution and Human Capital: Potential and Implications for South Asia looks at how the region could capitalize on these technologies to accelerate its development of human capital and promote adaptability and resilience to future shocks. The convergence of technological breakthroughs spanning biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science is driven by artificial intelligence, data flows, computing power, and connectivity. These breakthroughs can improve service delivery, productivity, and innovation, but they can also exacerbate inequalities and eliminate people’s agency and empowerment. This report analyzes these trends in the region, offering a comprehensive agenda to exploit the opportunities offered by converging technologies while minimizing the risks to vulnerable populations. It proposes strategies for building public sector capacity and promoting data and technology governance frameworks in a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

English PDF2.765MB 

These 5 Chinese Weapons are Supercharging Pakistan's Military

Charlie Gao

Here's What You Need to Remember: While China has long supplied Pakistan’s armed forces, the relationship has deepened in recent years, with Pakistan making major purchases of top-of-the-line Chinese export equipment.

As Pakistan’s relationship has soured with the United States in the past two decades, Pakistan’s armed forces have largely looked towards Chinese suppliers for equipment. While China has long supplied Pakistan’s armed forces, the relationship has deepened in recent years, with Pakistan making major purchases of top-of-the-line Chinese export equipment.

Here are some of the most powerful weapons China has sold or licensed to Pakistan.

1. Nuclear Weapons Program