7 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.

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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State Department: Thousands of U.S. Residents Still Stuck in Afghanistan

Jack Detsch, Kelly Kimball, and Robbie Gramer

The State Department believes as many as 14,000 U.S. legal permanent residents remain in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy has learned, as the agency faces increasing scrutiny from Congress about the status of U.S. citizens and green card holders that are still stranded in the Taliban-controlled country.

The finding, disclosed by a congressional aide familiar with the matter, has been transmitted by the State Department to aides on Capitol Hill in private, but officials demurred on revealing the figure when questioned by Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, insisting the agency doesn’t track the figure.

“Isn’t the operating assumption about 14,000?” Republican Rep. Chris Smith asked Brian McKeon, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, at a hearing on Wednesday, referring to the figure briefed in private.

“We don’t track [legal permanent residents],” McKeon responded. “It’s a good question why we don’t,” he added, suggesting the lack of clarity might be because the State Department does not require Americans and legal permanent residents traveling abroad to report their whereabouts.

Why shouldn’t the Taliban win?

Dr. Asim Yousafzai


With much less than anticipated difficulties, the Taliban came roaring back to Kabul, 20 years after they were dethroned by the US forces in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attack. Ironically, the Taliban flag was hoisted on Kabul on the 20th anniversary of the most horrific attacks on the US soil. At the twilight of US presence in Afghanistan, the horrendous attack by ISIS-K killing hundreds of Afghans and 13 US service members at Kabul airport is a grim reminder to the world that the war in Afghanistan is far from over.

US-backed President Ghani fled to Tajikistan, Rashid Dostum and Atta Noor fled to Uzbekistan and millions would be fleeing to the neighboring countries in the coming weeks and months. The scene was left wide open for Taliban to take over and they have announced an interim government in Kabul. Ashraf Ghani has been replaced by Abdul Ghani Baradar. Worried Afghans have seen this movie several times in the past four decades. Afghanistan has been pushed back to darkness, yet again.

China Moves to Quash Online Rumors That Taiwan War Looms

Chinese state media have sought to quiet online speculation that a conflict with Taiwan may be imminent, in a sign of how heated rhetoric between Washington and Beijing was feeding public concern about the risk of war.

Chinese social media networks have seen a flurry of chatter about a possible Taiwan crisis in recent days, seemingly fueled by Beijing’s call for citizens to stockpile food and an unrelated message claiming to show the nation was preparing to mobilize military reserves. The surge came after a report by China’s state broadcaster saying that Taiwanese were hoarding their own survival supplies.

On Tuesday, the Economic Daily published a commentary urging the public “not to over read” a Ministry of Commerce statement encouraging families to stock up on some daily necessities due to supply-chain concerns. Then, late Tuesday, a social media account affiliated with the official People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper denounced the mobilization rumors as a “vile” and “malicious fabrication.”

“It will not only cause negative impact to the state, the military and society, it could also lead to severe consequences,” said the account, Junzhengping. One screenshot of a text message widely circulated on social media urged reserves to “get ready for being recalled at anytime” because “the Taiwan issue was very grim.”

China’s Generation of Only Children Wants the Same for Their Kids

Helen Gao

When China released the results of its most recent census in May, the numbers showed a problem the government already knew about but whose magnitude it might not have expected. China’s fertility rate—the number of children a woman is expected to have over her lifetime—stood at just 1.3, one of the lowest in the world. (For comparison, the rate was 1.64 for the United States and 2.2 for India in 2020.)

Since then, state media has kept up a flow of reports parsing the decline’s causes, which articles argue range from improved living standards to advancements in women’s education. Notably absent, however, is a factor the government is not keen to bring up—especially amid current talk of promoting child-friendly social policies—but one that has deeply shaped the way Chinese families think.

The one-child policy, which was imposed by the Chinese Communist Party in 1980 and lasted just over three and a half decades, was one of the world’s largest experiments in social engineering. Expert opinions differ on the extent of the policy’s impact on China’s long-term fertility rate, but they agree it accelerated the decline in fertility that came as a result of the country’s economic development. Japan and South Korea, where fertility also declined as people grew richer, both had higher fertility rates than China’s when their GDP per capita were around China’s current level. The Chinese government claims the policy prevented 400 million births, although the impact is debated.

China’s advice to stockpile sparks speculation of Taiwan war


BEIJING (AP) — A seemingly innocuous government recommendation for Chinese people to store necessities for an emergency quickly sparked scattered instances of panic-buying and online speculation: Is China going to war with Taiwan?

The answer is probably not — most analysts think military hostilities are not imminent — but the posts on social media show the possibility is on people’s minds and drew out a flurry of war-mongering comments.

Taiwan is a self-governing island of 24 million people China regards as a renegade province that should come under its rule. Tensions have risen sharply recently, with China sending a growing number of warplanes on sorties near the island and the U.S. selling arms to Taiwan and deepening its ties with the government.

Most residents interviewed in Beijing, the Chinese capital, thought war was unlikely but acknowledged the rising tensions. They generally favored bringing Taiwan under Chinese rule by peaceful means, the official position of China’s long-ruling Communist Party.

Chinese People Think China Is Popular Overseas. Americans Disagree.

Brian Wong

The Carter Center-RIWI published a joint survey of Chinese public opinion earlier this month. The results reveal two significant findings – the first, is that the attitudes of the Chinese public (at least, its netizens) toward the West, specifically the United States, have considerably soured over recent years; the second, is that a vast majority of the Chinese population remains convinced that China’s international reputation is broadly, if not very, favorable.

These findings must be situated within the backdrop of two broader trends. The first concerns the worsening perceptions of China across vast swathes of the global community. A Gallup poll in February 2021 suggested that the percentage of Americans who viewed China as the United States’ greatest enemy surged to 45 percent, doubling of the 2020 figures. Unfavorable views of China have climbed in countries ranging from Australia, the Netherlands, to the United Kingdom, with many expressing skepticism toward the Chinese leadership’s ability to “do the right thing” internationally.

Israel’s Cyber Capabilities Are Superior to Iran’s, but It Has a Soft Underbelly

Yossi Melman

Humiliation has a boomerang effect. And in the case of Israel’s cyber quarrel with Iran, which is being fought below and above the surface, it only strengthens the desire of the ayatollahs’ regime to respond in kind and seek revenge.

Moreover, the offensive cyberwarfare that Israel is encouraging attests to the fact that it is finding it difficult to understand the codes that guide the Iranian leadership. Like a stubborn mule, Israel is entrenching itself and insisting on repeating its past mistakes, at the same time as it is experiencing cybersecurity failures in protecting its own facilities.

During the first Lebanon war in 1982 and the second one in 2006, Israel’s political and military leadership believed it would succeed in subduing the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hezbollah, respectively, by force and establishing a new order. Logic – which proved false – dictated that military-economic pressure would lead to a chain reaction. Lebanese citizens would be harmed, would suffer and then would, together with the government, oppose the terror organizations.

Turkish Drone Doctrine and Theaters of War in the Greater Middle East

Ridvan Bari Urcosta


Turkey has an advantage in drones in the military-technological revolution. It is a short period when one country is gaining an advantage in the technology and new type of warfare hence any nation has limited time for smart use of this advantage and superiority for geopolitical gains. Neighbors and adversaries eventually catch up, setting a military and technological equilibrium that would constrain geopolitical adventures of any power.

Drones since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 are attributes of prestige and a symbol of the advanced level of military technologies. During the Cold War, only a few could allow themselves such technology: thetwo superpowers and Israel. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, for two decades the United States and Israel enjoyed full superiority over the UAVs' cutting-edge technologies. In the recent decade, the advanced UAV technologies proliferated far beyond Israel, the U.S., and the West, at large. Nevertheless, recently to this club joined two powers China and Turkey. Turkish and Chinese drones are competing now in Libya for the Third World markets. If in the case of China nobody was surprised but the Turkish leap into the league of the drone powers was a stunning event for many experts and politicians. Some even labeled Turkey as “drone great power”, “drone superpower” or that Turkey introduced the new military drone doctrine. Turkey now has 110 Bayraktar TB2, 24 ANKA drones and 10 include Israeli Heron UAVs.


William Alan Reinsch

Subsidies are not a new issue. The first U.S. countervailing duty law was enacted in the 1890s. (For newbies, “countervailing duties” is the term used to describe tariffs that a country puts on imports to offset the benefit the imports have received from subsidies from their home government. Trade wonks often use the abbreviation “CVD,” which means the same thing. Note that the duties are intended to offset the benefit a subsidy provides; they are not penalties designed to punish the recipients. That means a good bit of research and investigation goes into calculating the amount of a subsidy being provided in order to make sure the countervailing duty accurately offsets it.)

If you are an economist, you probably regard most if not all subsidies as pernicious distortions of the market designed to provide an unfair advantage to domestic producers. And, of course, you would be right. They do distort the market, although the intent is not always to provide an unfair advantage. Sometimes their purpose is simply defensive—to support domestic industries under attack from cheaper imports. Exporting is not really the objective; it’s about survival.

US probe of undersea sub collision raises doubts


Did nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) hit an uncharted underwater massif while patrolling in the South China Sea on October 2?

That is what US Navy investigators concluded early this week, but not everyone is buying into that story— in particular, Chinese state media outlet, The Global Times.

Other questions are also being asked: Did the collision result in a nuclear leakage that the US is trying to conceal? And what were they doing there in the first place.

A Beijing-based think tank said last week it had satellite evidence showing that US spy planes, including a “nuke sniffer,” recently flew over the South China Sea, according to the South China Morning Post.

The U.S. Risks Catastrophe if It Doesn't Clarify Its Taiwan Strategy


At a recent CNN town hall, President Biden strongly and directly promised to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, saying bluntly “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” when asked about the situation. But the U.S. very specifically does not have such a commitment. In fact, for decades our policy has been one of so-called “strategic ambiguity,” i.e. choosing not to be definitive as to how the U.S. would respond to an invasion from the mainland of what Beijing regards as its renegade province. Recently, the presence of U.S. troops on the islands became public, provoking angry protests from China.

The White House and the Pentagon promptly walked back the president’s comments, saying the he did not want to signal a change in U.S. policy, and that “strategic ambiguity” remained the policy of the U.S. Ironically, that policy flows from the 1979 Taiwan Relations act, essentially a carefully worded law that allowed the U.S. to support Taiwan in many ways while still recognizing Beijing. This is the heart of the “one China” policy, something then Senator Joe Biden supported while on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee as a junior member.

More Democracy, Not Authoritarianism, Is Key to Progress on Climate Change

Nithin Coca

World leaders are gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, for what many consider the most important climate change talks in global history. COP26, as this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference is known, is the largest diplomatic gathering since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The negotiations are meant to be based on scientific findings and policy proposals—not entirely apolitical, but less politically tinged than, say, discussions concerning transnational migration or human rights violations. That’s because, when it comes to climate change, countries are judged on the merits of their plans, not their political systems or their respect for civil liberties. While it is widely recognized that how a nation organizes itself has a direct bearing on its human rights record and its approach to freedom of the press, climate action and democracy generally aren’t seen as connected.

Powering Innovation: A Strategic Approach to America’s Advanced Battery Technology

Nadia SchadlowArthur Herman & Brayden Helwig

Executive Summary
Changing consumer preferences and government policies point toward widespread future adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Advanced lithium batteries are the primary power source for EVs. Unfortunately, China dominates today’s battery supply chain, from the extraction and processing of critical minerals like lithium to the production, packaging, and recycling of battery cells. In today’s era of great power competition, control of the supply chains for advanced technologies such as lithium batteries will have a direct impact on national power.

Advanced battery technology will go a long way toward determining economic leadership in the EV market. The automobile industry is one of America’s largest manufacturing sectors and accounts for some 3% of US GDP. But EVs and advanced batteries also have important military applications. EVs will function as mobile energy nodes on the battlefield, providing power for unmanned systems, communication links, electromagnetic warfare systems and more. These capabilities will help the US military conduct more decentralized operations in contested regions.

Cyberwar Is the War of the Future

Micah Halpern

Cyberwar is the war of our future.

Before an all out cyberwar, there will be battles. The battles are called cyberattacks. The best we can do about these attacks is to arm ourselves with proper protection.

Cyber-warriors are hard to find. Anonymity is one of their prime objectives. They are ideologues. They are guns for hire. There is no specific age or M.O.

These attackers do not fit into a neat system of organization. They range from nations to special interest groups to corporations to governments to clubs to solo practitioners. Sometimes, several clusters join together to perpetrate their attacks, sometimes they collaborate and sometimes they work against for other.

For some cyberhackers, it’s a game. They are thrill seekers. For some of us, it’s all too real. For some of us – from individuals to nations, cyberattacks bring about ruination.

The Quantum Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Canada

Eric Miller

Executive Summary
The world is on the cusp of a revolution in quantum technologies. Countries and private investors around the world are deploying hundreds of millions of dollars to advance research and develop quantum technologies for defence and commercial applications.

This interest is driven by what quantum technologies can do relative to their “classical” counterparts. Quantum technologies function by harnessing the key characteristics of the theory of quantum mechanics, including superposition, entanglement and uncertainty. The resulting technologies are expected to be diverse and far reaching. For example, quantum computers are expected to overcome most “public key encryption” systems, presaging a radical change in cybersecurity. Given its aptitude for navigating complexity, quantum tools are expected to shave years off the time to market for medicines. Secure, efficient communications among drones and other autonomous vehicles will underpin safety and operational effectiveness in the crowded skies of the future. Of course, these nearer terms examples will be joined by applications barely yet imagined as the technology matures.

The Anti-Submarine Warfare Component of China’s Sorties in Taiwan’s ADIZ

Olli Pekka Suorsa

The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) air intrusions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) have raised a lot alarm and encouraged unsupported claims about the rationale and purpose of these sorties. The most common claim suggests these flights are directed at Taiwan and constitute part of China’s broader “gray zone” activities against the self-ruled island. As I have opined elsewhere (see here and here), Taiwan is often only indirectly touched by these incursions, with most of the large-scale intrusions likely directed against the United States and/or formal U.S. engagement with Taiwan.

The most common incursion type has involved a single KQ-200 maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (MP-ASW) aircraft. The near daily presence of the KQ-200 denotes an operationally significant rationale, one that has little to do with Taiwan directly. Since entering service within the Eastern Theater Command in 2018 and the Southern Theatre Command a few years earlier, the aircraft has filled an important capability gap, providing the PLA Naval Air Force (PLANAF) a capability to persistently monitor foreign submarine and surface ship activity at or near critical maritime chokepoints and sea lanes of communication along the First Island Chain.

Needed: A Military Strategy for China

Seth Cropsey

‘Strategic ambiguity” is the longstanding U.S. policy toward Taiwan, but President Biden’s approach has been more ambiguous than strategic. Asked at an Oct. 21 town hall whether he would defend the island nation against a Chinese attack, Mr. Biden replied, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.” The White House then “clarified” his answer by reasserting its commitment to ambiguity.

All this begs the question: What should the U.S. do in defense of Taiwan? And it raises a broader one: What should the U.S. do to counter China’s military challenge?

These two inextricable questions are united by U.S. policy makers’ failure to answer either. China’s strategic objective is to monopolize the South and East China seas and use the resulting economic power to reshape the global order. But doing so requires breaking the U.S. Indo-Pacific alliance system, which in turn requires shattering the First Island Chain, which runs through the Japanese archipelago, Luzon in the Philippines, and Borneo, terminating with the Vietnamese coastline. The First Island Chain limits China’s maritime exit points into the Philippine Sea and the Indian Ocean, making control central to Chinese strategy. Taiwan lies at the center of the First Island Chain.

SOCOM Head On Global Terrorism: ‘I Think It’s Spread’


WASHINGTON: The commander of US special operations forces believes that the global terrorist threat has “metastasized” and counterterrorism operations remain a requirement for his forces, even as the Defense Department shifts its focus to the Pacific.

“The threat — I think a good description is metastasized,” Army Gen. Richard Clarke told the Oct. 29 Military Reporters and Editors Association conference. “It’s gone into areas of Africa, where they could seek sanctuary and where there may be some areas of sanctuary that we have to look at. And when I say it is not diminished, I think it’s spread.”

Clarke’s comments come just a few months after the United States’ frantic withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending nearly two decades of war against the Taliban and resulting in the Taliban’s takeover of the country. As the US military pivots to focus on the threats posed by China and Russia, SOCOM’s need to undertake counterterrorism operations “is still a requirement,” Clarke said.

Marine Corps Seeks ‘Fundamental Redesign’ to Recruiting, Retention, Careers


The Marines, long known for their high turnover rate, can no longer afford to let so many experienced troops leave, the commandant said in a new report that says the way the Corps handles personnel is “overdue for a fundamental redesign.”

In the 20-page “Talent Management 2030,” released Wednesday, Gen. David Berger said the Corps’ personnel system can’t supply the troops needed for the vision he laid out in his Force Design 2030 document from 2020. Distributed maritime operations and expeditionary advanced base operations require Marines to be strategic decision makers and able to fill multiple roles in remote environments.

“Technology is changing, the human marketplace is changing at such a rate that…our system will break on itself at some point in the next few years, and I don’t know when, where we wouldn't be able to recruit, we wouldn't be able to retain the talent that we need,” Berger told reporters at the Pentagon ahead of the report’s release.

Competition with China requires the Marine Corps to improve how it invests in its force.

SOCOM Commander: Navy SEALS to Focus on Strategic Reconnaissance, Working with Partners

Richard R. Burgess

ARLINGTON, Va. — The commander of the nation’s special operations forces said the Navy’s SEALs will have an important role in the future in enabling commanders to understand the enemy’s capabilities and intentions.

The SEALs, along with the special operations forces of the other U.S. military services, have had a super-sized role in the Southwest Asian wars since 9-11, serving at the forefront of U.S. and coalition forces in the low-intensity conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other locations.

With U.S. focus on deterring a future conflict with China and shifting the focus to high-end operations, the 70-000-strong special operations forces (SOF) also are shifting focus.

Speaking to the Military Reporters and Editors at a symposium in Arlington, Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, said the SOF are “more integrated than ever before,” including with inter-agency partners.

Reducing Civilian Harm in Urban Warfare: A Commander’s Handboo

The handbook identifies the extent of civilian harm resulting from combat taking place in urban areas. It highlights those aspects of the Law of Armed Conflict which are particularly relevant in urban areas. It presents to military commanders at brigade and battalion level a series of examples of good practice to reduce civilian harm, grouped under the headings of doctrine; training; planning and conduct of operations. It also offers specific guidance on operations that might not be conducted routinely by armed forces, such as planning and conducting evacuations and the screening of populations. It is relevant to commanders in state armed forces worldwide, particularly those involved in writing doctrine, overseeing training or planning for combat in urban areas.

“It’s Time to Stop Using the Term Exit Strategy”

Michael Forsyth

In recent decades every time the United States’ political and military leaders discuss the use of force to deal with complex issues in the international security environment the conversation inevitably turns to the need for an exit strategy.[i] Such discussions of exit strategies have had a deleterious effect on the development of strategy because the exit has become an end unto itself. Thus, senior leaders have lost sight of the need to win when using force in order to secure political objectives. The focus on exit strategy ignores the need to conduct messy consolidation operations to secure victory and ultimately translate this into political success. Once military victory has secured the stated political objectives, then it is appropriate to discuss redeploying committed forces. This essay offers that the focus on exit strategies is a factor that has led to strategic incompetence and therefore, it is time to discard the use of the term exit strategy as a necessary step to regain strategic competence. This paper will discuss the origin of the term exit strategy, how it has affected policy and strategy formulation, and offer suggestions for regaining strategic competence.

Gaza Conflict 2021

Jonathan Schanzer
Source Link


The May 2021 conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas generated headlines around the world. However, much of the reporting ignored the history, funding, political dynamics, and other key components of the story. Hamas initiates conflict every few years. But the reporting rarely improves. Social media has only further clouded the picture. Hamas is rarely held responsible for its use of “human shields,” blindly firing rockets at civilian areas in Israel, or diverting aid that should benefit the people of Gaza.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, has been the primary patron of Hamas since the group’s inception in the late 1980s. Hamas has received additional assistance over the years from Qatar, Turkey and Malaysia. These countries are fomenting conflict, while others, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have tried to minimize it. Gaza is therefore ground zero in a struggle for the future stability of the Middle East.