4 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.

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

 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)


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

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

New India Finds an Old Role in a Changing Middle East

C. Raja Mohan

When the United States, India, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates set up a new joint working group to coordinate strategy earlier this month, the four-country combination inevitably drew comparisons with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—the Indo-Pacific Quad that joins the United States and India with Australia and Japan.

It will surely be a while before the new Middle East quad—so far, it’s only a working group among foreign ministers—reaches the intensity and purposefulness of its eastern counterpart that already had two leaders’ summits this year. But the Indo-Pacific Quad also began as a modest exercise among senior officials back in 2007. Summing up the new quad’s objective, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pointed to the four countries’ many overlapping interests in “energy, climate, trade, [and] regional security.” The new format would leverage “complementary capabilities in very many areas” to get new things done in the Middle East, he said.

What makes this group remarkable, of course, is the inclusion of India. In his remarks at the first meeting, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar told his interlocutors that his country’s ties with the three nations “are among the closest relationships we have, if not the closest.” That India considers the United States, Israel, and the UAE among its closest strategic partners, is willing to acknowledge that publicly, and is ready to work with them in the region is a reflection of how fundamentally India’s foreign policy in the Middle East has shifted. Keeping its distance from the United States, Israel, and the Persian Gulf states on regional issues has long been India’s default mode in the Middle East.

U.S. Must Lead International Efforts to Block Recognition of Taliban as Afghan Government

Luke Coffey and Jeff Smith

In August 2021, as the Biden Administration was pursuing a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban seized control of the country with a rapid military offensive. Now, the Islamist fundamentalist group is seeking international recognition. At the time of this writing, no country in the world has formally recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan—although China, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia have signaled varying degrees of openness to doing so.

The Taliban has also been pressing the United Nations to receive a new representative from Afghanistan to replace the existing one. The “caretaker” Taliban government is comprised of hardliners and officially designated terrorists. The U.S. should lead international efforts to block any recognition of the Taliban as the formal government of Afghanistan.

A Terrorist Government

The Taliban announced its so-called caretaker government in September. One thing is clear: The “new Taliban” looks a lot like the old Taliban. Not only were no women appointed, the country’s women are once again living in fear, and forced to cover up to Taliban satisfaction when outdoors. While a small number of ethnic minorities received a few relatively junior positions, no leaders of Afghanistan’s significant minority groups—the Uzbeks, the Tajiks, and the Hazaras—were included.

As Afghanistan Nears Collapse, Taliban ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’

Lynne O’Donnell

Since Afghanistan collapsed to the Taliban on Aug. 15, the country has nose-dived into poverty, hunger, misery, conflict, and uncertainty. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled, and many more are trying to escape. Law and order is disintegrating. Afghanistan has no friends in the international community, and the Taliban, themselves riven by factional disputes, have no diplomatic partners.

Foreign Policy spoke with Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), about the challenges facing the country. Nabil left former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government in 2015, dissatisfied with his divisive policies and tolerance of corruption, but keeps a close eye on Afghanistan and the region. He spoke with Foreign Policy about challenges facing the Taliban, growing resistance, and accountability for former officials who looted the country and now live abroad.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Xi Hasn’t Left China in 21 Months. Covid May Be Only Part of the Reason.

Steven Lee Myers and Chris Buckley
When the presidents and prime ministers of the Group of 20 nations meet in Rome this weekend, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, won’t be among them. Nor is he expected at the climate talks next week in Glasgow, where China’s commitment to curbing carbon emissions is seen as crucial to helping blunt the dire consequences of climate change. He has yet to meet President Biden in person and seems unlikely to any time soon.

Mr. Xi has not left China in 21 months — and counting.

The ostensible reason for Mr. Xi’s lack of foreign travel is Covid-19, though officials have not said so explicitly. It is also a calculation that has reinforced a deeper shift in China’s foreign and domestic policy.

China, under Mr. Xi, no longer feels compelled to cooperate — or at least be seen as cooperating — with the United States and its allies on anything other than its own terms.

A Green Deal at COP26 Can’t Be a Green Light for China

Jacob Helberg

The Biden administration has set high expectations for itself as the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26, begins. During his presidential run, Joe Biden’s campaign website declared that there was “no greater challenge facing our country and our world” than climate change.” The U.S. president’s climate envoy, John Kerry, recently called the summit the world’s “last best hope” to avoid disaster. Activists are calling for dramatic action: the young climate campaigner Greta Thunberg said that it is time to “uproot the system,” fundamentally overhauling the domestic and foreign policies of countries everywhere.

Yet the Biden administration needs to tread carefully, lest it stumble into a trap. At COP26 and after, the administration will face pressure—from within and without—to make diplomatic concessions to China as the price of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cooperation on climate. If Biden does so, he risks exposing the United States to a danger as significant as that posed by a changing climate: losing an intensifying conflict with Beijing. America is already confronting a new cold war that could well become a hot war, and winning that contest must be its guiding priority.

Huawei and China’s ‘Hostage Diplomacy’

Mercy A. Kuo

The Diplomat author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Van Jackson, professor at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, is the 296th in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

What does the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and the Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor reveal about China’s “hostage diplomacy”?

Something we’ve known about the Communist Party of China for a while is that it stresses holism and linkages in dealing with foreign policy issues. It really is the valence of the larger relationship that dictates everything else. So China’s turn toward hostage diplomacy should be seen as one of many tactical expressions of rivalry. This also means law does not prevail above political expedience; it is subordinate to it.

Can China and the United States Cooperate Fully in Tackling Climate Change?

Paul Meao

Cooperation between China and the United States on climate change issues is widely regarded as one of the few areas in which the two countries have common interests, against the backdrop of increasingly fierce competition, continued coldness in diplomatic relations and growing hostility. Thus, there are greater expectations for this sector than any other. Some even argue that climate cooperation can become the modern equivalent of “ping-pong diplomacy” between China and the United States, serving as an entry point for breaking the deadlock. However, this view may be too optimistic.

This article analyzes the prospect of Sino-U.S. cooperation on climate change from the perspective of the governments as well as businesses.

The Political Perspective

From the perspective of government or politics, it is difficult for China and the United States to cooperate on tackling climate change smoothly and achieve substantial results. The idea that climate cooperation will drive cooperation in other fields seems too simple.

Chinese Enterprise: Contracting Security Abroad

Jonathan Hall

For many years, China’s national security strategy could be summarized by Deng Xiaoping’s “24-Character Strategy,” which translates to “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.” Although certain characteristics of this strategy remain, modern-day China has an overwhelmingly different view of its position in the world. With interests already spanning the globe, the 2013 announcement by President Xi Jinping for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides an idea for the scope of China’s desired global economic position. Projected to involve over $1 trillion USD in more than 60 countries, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) must sort out not only funding and logistics, but also security if it is to reap the benefits of this massive undertaking.

Through Boom and Bust, China’s Economy Matters

Desmond Lachman

Napoleon famously remarked that when China awakes the world will shudder. Now that China’s economy has awoken and storm clouds are gathering over its economy, Napoleon might well have said that when the Chinese economy stumbles the world economic recovery will stutter.

There can be no doubt that China now constitutes a key part of the world economy. As a result of many years of consistently high economic growth, China is now the world’s second-largest economy and accounts for over 16 percent of world output. In addition, China has been the world’s main engine of economic growth. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), over the past decade, China has accounted for around one-third of that growth.

In recent years, China’s rapid economic growth has been a particular boon to the Latin American and African commodity-dependent emerging market economies in that it has contributed to a super-cycle in the international commodity market. It has also been an important driver of the economies of its Asian economic partners, of capital good exporters like Germany, and of coal and iron exporters like Australia.

Sudan’s Coup Is a Gamble That Nobody Will Care

Rebecca Hamilton

On Monday, the Sudanese military seized power from Sudan’s transitional government. Announcing the coup on state television, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s commander in chief, dissolved the civilian-military power-sharing arrangement in place since the Sudanese people overthrew Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year dictatorship in 2019.

Burhan claimed military action was necessary to avert a civil war and that the military plans to take the country through to democratic elections in July 2023. As Sudanese civil society well knows, these are lies. The future of Sudan, the region, and hope for democratic movements worldwide depend, in part, on the ability of those outside of Sudan to reject the false narrative Burhan is peddling.

In 2019, for an article for Foreign Policy, I interviewed Burhan at the Sudanese presidential palace. In his pressed uniform, surrounded by the trappings of statehood, he spoke in a manner that exuded reasonableness. Burhan likes to see himself as a steward of the people. He would like to frame his power grab as a palatable alternative to democracy or—at the very least—as staving off chaos in a tough neighborhood.

Iran looks to Russia to confront cyber threats


Iran had admitted that it has been under cyber attack recently, laying the blame at the feet of the US and the “Zionist regime.” Iran may also be looking to Russia and other countries to improve its cyber capabilities. An article at Tasnim News noted that Iran believes Russia is one of the countries that have taken the “correct” path in understanding the need for “cyber sovereignty.”

What is Iran’s interest in learning from Moscow? It believes that Russia made the right choice in trying to move to cyber independence away from what Iran calls US “cyber hegemony.”

It points to a December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications that took place in Dubai. Russia joined China and India at the time in proposing that “international resources be under global scrutiny and that the United States hand over Internet control to the United Nations.”

Sudan and the UAE: Pulling Sudanese strings

James M. Dorsey

Sudan is the exception to the rule in the United Arab Emirates’ counterrevolutionary playbook.

In contrast to Egypt or Yemen, where it went out of its way to help roll back the achievements of popular revolts, the UAE was happy to see the back of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

Mr. Al-Bashir was toppled in April 2019 by the country’s military as mass anti-government protests demanded regime change. The military ensured that the transitional power-sharing arrangement that was negotiated with political and civil society groups was slanted in its favour.

The UAE and the United States agreed at the time that it was time for Mr. Al-Bashir to go. But they likely disagreed about what should succeed him. The United States pushed for transition to a civilian-led democracy. UAE leaders have repeatedly dismissed democracy as a suitable model of governance.

The US Can’t Compete With China Without Tackling Climate Change


The current mantra in U.S. defense circles is that China is the “pacing threat” against which to measure the U.S. capability to influence the Indo-Pacific region and defend American interests globally. But there’s a major “shaping threat” at play as well: climate change. U.S. defense strategists will be unable to keep pace with China unless they fully take into account how climate change is reshaping the physical and geopolitical environments.

Indeed, China is already gaining influence and strategic advantage through its response to climate change impacts outside its borders. For example, Beijing is attempting to build soft power in countries threatened by climate hazards. In 2019, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati both cited support from China for tackling climate risks as reasons they had strengthened their relationship with Beijing. Another example: China controls many of the headwaters of key Asian rivers, and will be increasingly able to monopolize water resources for domestic needs—leverage that will become more acute as the climate continues to change. The just-released U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on climate security notes that Chinese dam building on the Mekong River is already a flashpoint, because it “threatens the smooth flow of water for agriculture and fishing on which other countries rely heavily, particularly Cambodia and Vietnam.”

This Group Pushed More AI in US Security—and Boosted Big Tech

ORACLE, GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, and Amazon are archenemies in the competitive cloud computing market. But in late 2018, top executives from the four companies, including future Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, teamed up on an unpaid side gig: advising the president and US Congress on how artificial intelligence can bolster national security.

The executives were named to the National Security Commission on AI, created by Congress. Its chair was Eric Schmidt, previously CEO of Google, who later said it would help the US “harness this transformative technology to benefit both our economic and national security interests.”

Schmidt, Jassy, and the other commission members from Big Tech also had an economic interest in the topic. Their companies compete for Pentagon contracts, like the $10 billion JEDI project that is now being reworked after a lawsuit from Amazon. Schmidt sat on the board of Google parent Alphabet until 2019 and has since invested in Pentagon contractor Rebellion Defense.

US develops game-changing nuclear sensors for warheads

Josie Ensor

The US has developed sophisticated electronic sensors for its ballistic nuclear missiles which allows them to better time detonations, in a major advancement in the global arms race.

The sensors have been buried in hundreds of the most powerful American warheads, which experts say gives them an improved ability to destroy Russian and Chinese nuclear-tipped missiles.

The technology will also allow them to hit some of the world’s most challenging targets, such as hardened silos or mountain sanctuaries, and storage bunkers in North Korea.

The new components - which determine and set the best height for a nuclear blast - cost the US some billions of dollars and were completed in July for installation on missiles aboard navy submarines.

Allies lobby Biden to prevent shift to ‘no first use’ of nuclear arms

Demetri Sevastopulo

US allies are lobbying Joe Biden not to change American policy on the use of nuclear weapons amid concern the president is considering a “no first use” declaration that could undermine long-established deterrence strategies aimed at Russia and China.

The lobbying — by treaty allies including Britain, France and Germany in Europe, and Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific — comes as the Biden administration is in the middle of a “nuclear posture review”, a congressionally-mandated inter-agency process that sets US policy on nuclear weapons.

Although some allies believe Biden will refrain from setting a “no first use” policy in the review, most remain concerned he is considering a policy known as “sole purpose”, which would make clear the US would use nuclear weapons only in a narrowly-prescribed set of circumstances — such as to deter a direct attack on the US, or to retaliate after a strike.

“This would be a huge gift to China and Russia,” one European official said.

Pentagon rattled by Chinese military push on multiple fronts

Robert Burns

WASHINGTON (AP) — China’s growing military muscle and its drive to end America predominance in the Asia-Pacific is rattling the U.S. defense establishment. American officials see trouble quickly accumulating on multiple fronts — Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal, its advances in space, cyber and missile technologies, and threats to Taiwan.

“The pace at which China is moving is stunning,” says Gen. John Hyten, the No. 2-ranking U.S. military officer, who previously commanded U.S. nuclear forces and oversaw Air Force space operations.

At stake is a potential shift in the global balance of power that has favored the United States for decades. A realignment more favorable to China does not pose a direct threat to the United States but could complicate U.S. alliances in Asia. New signs of how the Pentagon intends to deal with the China challenge may emerge in coming weeks from Biden administration policy reviews on nuclear weapons, global troop basing and overall defense strategy.

Prof. David Silbey Analyzes How and Why the U.S. Lost its Longest War in Webinar

Juliette Egan

On Tuesday, Prof. David Silbey, history, discussed how America lost the longest war it has ever fought in a virtual event.

Silbey unpacked the American approach to combat as informed by previous military conflicts, positing several cultural reasons why the War in Afghanistan dragged on as long as it did.

At the beginning of the talk, Silbey posed a question: “How did the world’s largest superpower, whose military dwarfs the rest of the world, get so humbled by a small, fairly nondescript country?”

The historian outlined two main weaknesses that American military ventures in Afghanistan suffered, which mirrored those in Vietnam.

The first was an inability to handle small-scale, unconventional warfare. The last “irregular war” that the U.S. won was the Philippine-American War in 1902, which relied on local and tribal alliances and the recruitment of Filipinos.

New InT Paper Calls for Greater Information Sharing

Arlington, VA (October 6, 2021)—The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today released a white paper, The Need for Transparency on Insider Threats: Improving Information Sharing Between Government and Industry, that identifies key policy and statutory changes needed to improve insider threat information sharing between government and the cleared contractor community.

Developed by INSA's Insider Threat Subcommittee, the paper notes that government and cleared industry are partners in ensuring the protection of the national security workforce. However, in order for cleared contractors to fully meet their security obligations and effectively implement mandatory insider threat training programs, they need all pertinent information the government may have regarding risks presented by their employees. Yet the government - often relying on misinterpretations of privacy laws and policy guidelines - generally fails to share such data.

“Many individual contractors work full-time at government facilities, so only government agencies have the opportunity to identify suspicious or malicious behavior,” said Larry Hanauer, INSA’s Vice President for Policy. “Contracting firms cannot assess whether their on-site employees pose a security risk unless the government shares what it has observed.”


George Barros

Serbian President Alexander Vucic exploited Kosovo’s implementation of a new border crossing law to frame Kosovo Serbs as victims of ethnic discrimination and provoke a regional crisis on September 20, 2021. Kosovo’s government-imposed license plate regulations requiring Serbian cars entering Kosovo to receive temporary Kosovar license plates – a reciprocal measure of how Serbian authorities have regulated Kosovar cars entering Serbia for several years – on September 20.[1] Kosovo ethnic Serbs blocked two border crossings with Serbia in northern Kosovo to protest this policy on September 20. Kosovar riot police deployed to the roadblocks and reportedly used tear gas against Serb protesters on September 20.[2] Vucic decried Kosovar police uses of force against ethnic Serb protesters, claiming that Serbs in Kosovo suffered a “brutal attack.”[3] Likely ethnic Serb protesters committed arson against a Kosovo vehicle registration office that did not cause casualties on September 25.[4]

Serbia carried out provocative military demonstrations to escalate the situation. Serbia’s defense minister said Serbian troops were ready to protect ethnic Serbs, raised Serbia’s Armed Forces to its highest readiness level, and paid a high-profile visit to Serbian Army elements near the Serbia-Kosovo border on September 23.[5] Serbian forces deployed several elements near the Kosovar border from September 23 to 27, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, jets, and helicopters, likely as part of a force demonstration.[6] Serbian military aircraft approached Kosovo’s border for the first time since the end of the Kosovo War in 1999.

Media and Narrative: Managing Conflict in Polarised Societies

The rise of digital platforms and social media has transformed the media sector and affected which narratives are widely circulated and how. Focusing primarily on news-related content, this discussion paper outlines the role of different types of media, including social media, in promoting simplified narratives that drive conflict in deeply divided societies. In addition to measures for promoting accurate and unbiased content that counters disinformation, it proposes practical approaches for ensuring that the media amplifies diverse and complex stories to nurture a richer narrative landscape, which encourages engagement across groups in polarised contexts.

Based on extensive IFIT research and in-depth consultations with experts in narrative theory, journalism, communications, internet governance and conflict, this paper offers guidance to a range of stakeholders – civil society, policy makers and donors, among others – on understanding narrative dynamics and working with narrative in the media to help manage and mitigate conflict at the national level.

Africa Is a Continent of Contradictions

It makes sense that a continent that is home to 54 countries and 1.2 billion people would also house a mass of contradictory developments. Africa features several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a burgeoning middle class. But much of the continent remains mired in debt, burdened by conflict and beset by elites clinging to power. Now, although the human cost of the coronavirus pandemic has so far been less catastrophic than many feared, the unfair distribution of vaccines worldwide has left African populations vulnerable to a punishing second wave, even as the pandemic’s economic impact could undo much of the continent’s growth over the past two decades.

Even during the years when economies across Africa expanded, many people were driven to migrate—either within Africa or to Europe and even South America—because of humanitarian catastrophes or because economic opportunities were not coming fast enough for everyone. Those who remained behind at times succeeded in disrupting the status quo. Civilian-led reform movements toppled regimes in Algeria and Sudan in 2019, and recent examples of independent courts overturning fraudulent elections—as well as other signs of democratic institutions taking hold in previously corrupt or authoritarian states—offered hope for the health of democracy in Africa. Yet, a rash of recent elections marred by fraud and violence, including several involving incumbents seeking constitutionally dubious third terms, confirms that the phenomenon of long-ruling authoritarian leaders—known as “presidents for life”—remains a problem. And a recent resurgence of military coups, including in Mali, Guinea, Chad and Sudan, has underscored the fragility of democratic governance across the continent.

U.S. Eyes Russian Military Movement Near Ukraine

Amy Mackinnon

U.S officials are closely monitoring Russian military activity near the border with Ukraine, which has sparked concern about Moscow’s intentions after months of escalating tensions between the two countries.

Videos and public satellite imagery that began circulating online in late October show a substantial quantity of Russian military equipment being moved near the border with Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have waged war against the Ukrainian military since 2014. The purpose of the equipment movements is not clear, but it echoes a massing of troops along the border this past spring.

The last equipment movement was initially interpreted as a bid by Moscow to test the mettle of the new Biden administration. But equipment movements and bellicose rhetoric from Moscow has led some experts to believe Russia is taking an increasingly hawkish line with its neighbor. “March and April appears not just to be a coercive deployment but a bit of a dress rehearsal,” said Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military with the CNA think tank. “If we look over the course of the year, it appears as if the Russian military has been told to prepare for a much larger scale contingency with Ukraine.”

Why Is It So Hard for the World to Quit Coal?

Aniruddha Ghosal

Every day, Raju gets on his bicycle and unwillingly pedals the world a tiny bit closer to climate catastrophe.

Every day, he straps half a dozen sacks of coal pilfered from mines — up to 200 kilograms — to the reinforced metal frame of his bike. Driving mostly at night to avoid the police and the heat, he transports the coal 16 kilometers to traders who pay him $2.

Thousands of others do the same.

This has been Raju’s life since he arrived in Dhanbad, an eastern Indian city in Jharkhand state in 2016; annual floods in his home region have decimated traditional farm jobs. Coal is all he has.

This is what the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland, known as COP26, is up against.

As machine learning becomes standard in military and politics, it needs moral safeguards


Over the past decade, the world has experienced a technological revolution powered by machine learning (ML). Algorithms remove the decision fatigue of purchasing books and choosing music, and the work of turning on lights and driving, allowing humans to focus on activities more likely to optimize their sense of happiness. Futurists are now looking to bring ML platforms to more complex aspects of human society, specifically warfighting and policing.

Technology moralists and skeptics aside, this move is inevitable, given the need for rapid security decisions in a world with information overload. But as ML-powered weapons platforms replace human soldiers, the risk of governments misusing ML increases. Citizens of liberal democracies can and should demand that governments pushing for the creation of intelligent machines for warfighting include provisions maintaining the moral frameworks that guide their militaries.

How to Fix Social Media

It’s not just Facebook’s use of personal data that makes it dangerous, it’s the lengths to which the company will go to keep users online. Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, showed us how its algorithms are designed to promote content that incites the most reaction. Facebook knows that the more time users spend on its platforms, the more data it can collect and monetize. Time and time again, it has put profits over people.

For too long, social media companies essentially have been saying “trust us, we’ve got this,” but that time of blind trust is coming to an end.

“We need transparency—and action—on the algorithms that govern so much of our lives.”

While my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are committed to reform, these are complicated problems. We have to come at this from multiple angles—starting with data privacy. We need to make sure that Americans can control how their data gets collected and used. When Apple gave its users the option to have their data tracked or not, more than 75 percent declined to opt in. That says something. We need a national privacy law now.

Curbing methane emissions: How five industries can counter a major climate threat

As global temperatures continue to rise and physical climate hazards become increasingly frequent and intense, more and more organizations are committing to lower their greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon dioxide commands much of their attention, but methane emissions from human activity are the second-largest driver of global warming, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the temperature increase from preindustrial levels. Curbing emissions of methane, therefore, will be critical to solving the net-zero equation—that is, reducing GHG emissions as much as possible, and counterbalancing any remaining emissions with GHG removals—and stabilizing the climate.

The bad news is that methane emissions have risen by about 25 percent in the past 20 years. The current trajectory is far off the 2 percent annual decline that would be required to meet the 1.5°C or 2°C warming objectives of the Paris Agreement.1 However, there are reasons for cautious optimism. New McKinsey research shows that five industries could reduce global annual methane emissions by 20 percent by 2030 and 46 percent by 2050—enough for a significant shift toward a 1.5°C warming pathway. What’s more, these reductions could be achieved largely with established technologies and at a reasonable cost.

Missile Defense and the Space Arena

Steven Lambakis

Interest by political and military leaders in the United States in adopting the view that space, like the land, sea, and air, is a warfighting domain is growing.[1] This shift in opinion in the nation’s governing and defense-planning circles about the importance of space to national security has led to the reorganization of the Joint Force (establishment of a Space Force) and command structure (reestablishment of U.S. Space Command) to protect U.S. space assets and mature U.S. spacepower. The Missile Defense Agency and its predecessor organizations have understood the importance of leveraging space to accomplish the ballistic missile defense mission since President Ronald Reagan introduced his Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. Even before then, Army, Navy, and Air Force missile defenders looked to space for a tactical advantage.[2] Is space important to missile defense? If one is observant of history and understands what steps must be taken to destroy in-flight offensive missiles, potentially armed with weapons of mass destruction, then the answer is, “yes, of course.”

Where is the Urgency?

Over the past three decades, the ballistic missile threat, especially from North Korea and Iran, has continued to grow with the development and deployment of more missile systems, systems with global reach, increased speed and maneuverability, greater accuracy, and improved countermeasures. Hypersonic and cruise missiles, which fly very differently from ballistic missiles, are also a growing concern. Russia and China operate advanced ballistic and cruise missile forces, and they are developing and deploying advanced air- and surface-launched long-range cruise and hypersonic missile capabilities. Importantly, hypersonic missiles are being developed to bypass perceived U.S. missile defense capabilities. Regional hypersonic missiles are capable of holding deployed U.S. forces, allies, and partners at risk, so that hypersonic glide vehicles delivered by ballistic missile boosters will pose new challenges to U.S. regional missile defenses.[3]