10 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.

Chinese Cyber Exploitation in India’s Power Grid – Is There a linkage to Mumbai Power Outage?

  Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


On Feb. 28, 2021 The New York Times (NYT), based on analysis by a U.S. based private intelligence firm Recorded Future, reported that a Chinese entity penetrated India’s power grid at multiple load dispatch points. Chinese malware intruded into the control systems that manage electric supply across India, along with a high-voltage transmission substation and a coal-fired power plant.

The NYT story1 gives the impression that the alleged activity against critical Indian infrastructure installations was as much meant to act as a deterrent against any Indian military thrust along the Line of Actual Control as it was to support future operations to cripple India’s power generation and distribution systems in event of war.

Witnesses to the End

Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt

The Marines at Abbey Gate were racing against time. The crowd at the gate didn’t know it, but the Marines had been told to close it at 6 p.m.

That left just 30 minutes for Capt. Geoff Ball, 33, commander of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines’ Ghost Company, to pluck out a few more people with that elusive combination of affiliation and luck that would get them onto a plane out of Afghanistan. Just 30 more minutes for Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, to grab another child out of the sewage canal where hundreds jostled. Just 30 minutes for Capt. Andres Rodriguez, 31, to scan the crowd for men who fit the descriptions in dozens of text messages from people in the United States trying to save their interpreters.

The plan for the final “retrograde” of the American war in Afghanistan was clear: On Aug. 26, the British troops stationed at the nearby Baron Hotel would fall back. A few hours later, the 82nd Airborne would take up the Marines’ forward positions, allowing Ghost Company to fold into the terminal. And, finally, the 82nd Airborne would fall back to the airport, to waiting planes, ending America’s longest war.

Afghan Military Pilots, on the Run, Feel Abandoned by U.S.

David Zucchino

As Kabul was falling to the Taliban in August, the young Afghan Air Force pilot flew his PC-12 turboprop from Afghanistan to neighboring Tajikistan to escape. Like other Afghan officers who fled in dozens of military aircraft to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the pilot had faith that his American military partners would rescue him.

“We believed in the U.S. military and government — that they would help us and get us out of this situation,” said the pilot, a lieutenant, who, like other pilots in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

The lieutenant is among 143 Afghan pilots and crew members now detained by the Tajik authorities. They are English speakers trained by the U.S. Air Force, and they are counting on the American government or military to evacuate them, and also to help evacuate their families back home in Afghanistan.

South Asia replaces the Middle East as the epicentre of Muslim religious ultra-conservatism

James M. Dorsey

As Middle Eastern states attempt to manage their political and security differences, Muslim-majority countries are regrouping along a fault line that separates proponents of varying concepts of an authoritarian but religiously and socially more tolerant, ‘moderate Islam’ from those advocating stricter adherence to intolerant, non-pluralistic strands of the faith.

The fault line gains significance as various Muslim-majority states compete with one another in their efforts to define Islam in the 21st century in what is as much geopolitical as it is an ideological struggle. The battle’s importance is further magnified by the fact that diplomacy, economics, public affairs, and soft power increasingly take centre stage as countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iran seek to manage their differences in a bid to prevent them from spinning out of control.

The fault line by default divides proponents and detractors of political Islam and shifts the epicentre of religious ultra-conservatism in the Muslim world from the Arab to the non-Arab Middle East and expands it into South Asia.


Jon Schwarz

RECENTLY A REPUBLICAN college student asked President Joe Biden during a town hall on CNN if he could “vow to protect Taiwan” from China. “Yes,” Biden responded.

Anderson Cooper, who hosted the town hall, followed up with Biden, asking, “Are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked?”

“Yes,” Biden said, “we have a commitment to do that.”

There are several problems with this. First, the U.S. does not, in fact, have a commitment to do that. Second, the policy we do have is deliberately ambiguous, requiring that the U.S., China, and Taiwan pretend that certain aspects of reality do not exist. Third, the lifespan of this delicate situation may be drawing to a close, yet the most sensible way of resolving it will always be opposed by America, since it would crack the foundations of the worldwide U.S. empire.

Satellite images show China built mock-ups of US warships

BEIJING (AP) — Satellite images show China has built mock-ups of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer in its northwestern desert, possibly for practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations.

China has massively upgraded its military in recent years, and its capability and intentions are increasingly concerning to the United States as tensions rise over the South China Sea, Taiwan and military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific.

The images captured by Colorado-based satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies dated Sunday show the outlines of a U.S. aircraft carrier and at least one destroyer sitting on a railway track.

Maxar identified the location as Ruoqiang, a Taklamakan Desert county in the northwestern Xinjiang region.

How Lies Go Viral

Gordon G. Chang

So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the UnitedStates does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” said China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan at the now-famous showdown in Anchorage last March. 

Yang’s words, part of a long tirade, were immediately amplified by Chinese state and Communist Party media. His comment was carried for weeks, first by reporting and then by analyses. Foreign commentators picked up the storyline that the Americans in Alaska were taken by surprise, thereby giving credence to Beijing’s narrative of Chinese strength. It appears that Yang’srant and its coverage were planned well in advance. Blinken and Sullivan were, in short, ambushed. 

Is Chinese propaganda effective in enhancing Beijing’s strategic objectives? The answer, evident from this tactically brilliant and seamless operation, is yes.

China’s Energy Conundrum

Melinda Liu

Even in normal times, power outages and natural disasters in China alarm people as temperatures plummet. But this year has not been normal. A sudden energy crunch shuttered factories in northeast China and cut power to residential compounds. Pregnant women and older adults found themselves trudging up long flights of stairs in darkened hallways. Earlier weather “anomalies” reduced wind- and solar-powered generation capacity. Then China’s coal belt suffered heavy flooding. When freezing temperatures arrived three weeks earlier than usual, anxious officials urgently demanded an “all-out” boost in coal production. Some coal mines, mothballed in a bid to curb emissions, abruptly roared back to life, churning out the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

All of this made for terrible optics when global leaders gathered this month for the U.N. climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26. But Chinese President Xi Jinping was a no-show. U.S. President Joe Biden criticized the absence of China’s leadership—“a gigantic issue, and they walked away”—and sniped at China’s unwillingness to sign onto his big pledge to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, green policy gurus hoping for bold new commitments from Xi have been mollified with lip service and incremental shifts. Top Chinese climate change negotiator Xie Zhenhua defended his government’s updated national climate plans, pointing out that Beijing now vowed to reach peak carbon “before 2030” and carbon neutrality “before 2060,” rather than “by” those dates.

China has numerical and possibly tech advantage over US military, top Marine says

Joel Gehrke

China will not just have more people — it also may have better technology should a war with the United States break out, according to the general who leads the Marine Corps .

The bleak assessment from Marine Corps Commandant David Berger came Thursday amid increasing Chinese belligerence. But Berger did offer some hope that the U.S. might yet have some military advantage against the world's most populous nation.

“It may not be true, but I assume that, in the future, we will not enjoy a technological advantage or a numerical advantage,” Berger said. “So if we don't have those two, then it comes down to the individual intellectual edge that we need, which is what we have to bank on.”

That foreboding has spurred Berger to attempt a revision of the Marine Corps composition and positioning as he anticipates a need for older and more skilled Marines deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific in advance of any conflict. And the outcome of that crisis could depend on whether U.S. forces, up and down the chain of command, can outthink an adversary that has claimed advantages enjoyed by the U.S. in previous major wars.

GT investigates: Hacking China's medical institutes at COVID-19 outbreak, targeting aerospace firms during China's space missions – Cyberattacks from India disclosed

Evil flower in South Asia, lure of beauty, ghost war elephants roaming the Himalayas … To many people, these fantastic code names could only be heard in thrilling hacker movies.

It turns out that they are real groups from India with possible intelligence background and state support. Investigations conducted by several of China's leading cybersecurity companies have revealed a sophisticated network: they have constantly attacked defense and military units as well as state-owned enterprises in China, Nepal and Pakistan over the past few years, and such attacks are on the rise under new disguises of international trendy topics.

These groups are normally known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) organizations made up of hackers with government support which focuses on persistent network attacks against specific targets. APT organizations are spread in the world, with many having been active in attacks against key infrastructure and government departments for years.

Chinese cybersecurity analysts and diplomatic relations observers often mention that the next world war will be fought not on the ground, or in the air or under water, but virtually in the cyberspace.

Why China is losing the global talent war and what India can learn from this

Anirban R Banerjee

The last two decades of my professional journey has given me some interesting insights. One such experience was during my tenure with an American MNC, where I had the opportunity to get to know my Chinese counterparts. My interaction with our Chinese colleagues taught me many valuable lessons. First, China always keeps a close eye on India. Second, it keeps track of India because we have strength around our human capabilities, the capabilities that can create a potential challenger to its desire for global hegemony.

I have closely observed the India and China story in the last two decades of my professional career. China’s approach is based on gaining control over resources, and management of organisations across sectors within and outside China. The Chinese competitive advantage is more about its ability in gaining control of resources that are of value and gives its advantage over other nations. The Chinese value proposition is about its ability to its resource edge and thereby giving it an advantage in global supply chain, logistics, influence cost and pricing. For China, the Human Resource is a need only from the prospective execution of its larger plan to create organisations as an instrument of domination. For example, its telecom, cyber warfare, belt and road, and mining. China’s poor track record on global norms on trade secrets practices, patents and technology is a concern for all ethical business organisations. I have observed that China has and will continue to build organisations as machines where humans will just be one more resource for its drive towards global dominance. This Machiavellian order where an oligarchy aims to control business in a way that human resources are driven by the power of the free human mind, the creativity of talent and diversity of opening, and ideas are to be replaced with workforce efficiency and speed of execution.

The Future of Digital Innovation in China: Megatrends Shaping One of the World’s Fastest Evolving Digital Ecosystems

Lambert Bu, Violet Chung, Nick Leung, Kevin Wei Wang, Bruce Xia, and Chenan Xia

In a relatively short span of time, China has transitioned from a technological backwater to become one of the world’s largest digital economies.

On the back of its base of nearly one billion internet users, China’s ecommerce sales grew to $1.7 trillion in 2020, a number that is equivalent to 30 percent of all retail sales in China.

But this is not just a story of size. It is, above all, a story of innovation and disruption. In omnichannel retail, social media, on-demand services, mobility, fintech, healthtech, and other domains, the country is developing many “China-first” innovations.

In this report, we take a close look at these innovations, and the forces, trends, and technologies that enable them. We then identify six megatrends that are shaping the future of digital innovation in China.

Finally, we pose a series of quick questions that corporate leaders should consider when crafting their digital strategies in China. By asking the right questions, executives can set their priorities and allocate their resources.

China crosses the Rubicon: a scenario for war over Taiwan

Admiral Qian Lihua looked at the sky from the deck of the Shandong, China’s newest and flagship aircraft carrier. Even though dawn was now breaking, the dark grey colour of the sky made it barely indistinguishable from the ocean below. Some of my ancestors might have seen this as a bad omen, he thought. But he was confident that this would be one of the most glorious days of the People’s Republic. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) had grown into a formidable force.

For days now, a barrage of several hundreds of ballistic and cruise missiles had saturated the island’s defence bubble. Most Taiwanese ports, air bases and unprotected communication centres were rendered unusable. The relentless assault was accompanied by electro-magnetic attacks which crippled Taiwan’s ability to defend itself. Only the northern part of Taipei was preserved for fear of accidentally bombing the National Palace Museum, which hosted the most precious Chinese historical artefacts and had been transferred hastily to the island in 1949. A massive cyber-attack followed even as underwater cables were cut off.

This was no strategic surprise, and tactical surprise had disappeared the minute the first missile had landed on the island. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was implementing its playbook, entitled ‘Joint Island Attack Campaign’.

China State Media: 'Military Showdown Will Come' if Taiwan, U.S. Don't Change Course


As tensions persist between the U.S. and China over the future of Taiwan, Chinese state media has warned a "military showdown will come" and described the possible scenario as "a life-and-death struggle" between the nations.

The Global Times, which is published by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, shared the opinion article on Friday after U.S. military officials have increasingly warned about China's threat to Taiwan's autonomy. The editorial highlighted remarks from U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who expressed concern this past week about the "rapid expansion" of China's navy.

Taiwan, an island nation, is claimed by China under its "one country, two systems" constitutional principle. However, the democratically-run East Asian country has operated with autonomy and the support of the U.S. for decades. In recent years, analysts have increasingly warned that Beijing could move militarily to take control of the island by force.

U.S. Policymakers Are Misreading Iran

Sina Toossi

The U.S. and Iranian governments are at a critical juncture in their long-running feud. After months of delay, Iran’s new conservative presidential administration has said it will return to negotiations over restoring the 2015 nuclear deal on Nov. 29. This comes as the U.S. government and its allies have grown increasingly concerned that Iran is not serious about those talks succeeding, and they are raising prospects of a plan B to step up pressure on the Iranians. But in this period of uncertainty, many in Washington are misreading the signals out of Tehran and enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy that can doom diplomacy.

A recent piece for Foreign Policy by Dennis Ross blames a “loss of Iranian fear” for Iran’s expanding nuclear program. He argues diplomacy can only succeed if this fear is restored and the Biden administration applies “pressure far more effectively.” For Ross, this would come in the form of making it clear to Iran that it “risks its entire nuclear infrastructure” if it “makes a diplomatic outcome impossible.”

Ross rings the alarm bell about Iran’s nuclear expansion, which is undoubtedly a proliferation risk, but ignores any mention of the U.S. policy that led to this situation. Iran was fully complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), until the Trump administration reneged and pursued a “maximum pressure” campaign of severe economic sanctions. Even then, Iran remained in line with the deal’s terms for one more year and only began reducing compliance with its nuclear restrictions after Europe failed to abide by its commitments in the deal in the face of U.S. secondary sanctions.

A Colombian Drug Lord’s Victims Protest His Extradition to the U.S.

Christina Noriega

BOGOTA, Colombia—In the next five weeks, Dairo Antonio Usuga, Colombia’s most-wanted drug lord who was captured on Oct. 23, is expected to be extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges filed in New York and Florida, according to Colombian authorities.

As head of the notorious drug cartel Clan del Golfo, Usuga—more commonly known by the alias “Otoniel”—is accused of steering an international criminal enterprise, processing and shipping more than 160 tons of cocaine each year to the United States and Europe, and wielding control over large swaths of Colombian territory, where his men imposed their own laws using terror and violence.

Washington had issued a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Otoniel, who faces two separate indictments in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York—where he is charged with a litany of crimes including support for narcotics trafficking, cocaine distribution and conspiracy to commit murder—and one indictment in the Southern District of Florida for drug trafficking. As Colombian media outlets have reported, guilty verdicts in his crimes could see him sentenced to life behind bars.

Rising to the challenge: Navigating competition, avoiding crisis, and advancing US interests in relations with China

John R. Allen, Ryan Hass, and Bruce Jones


The Brookings – China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Dialogue began in 2019 against the backdrop of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. By that time, it already had become clear that the previous framework for managing bilateral relations was fraying, and that a form of strategic rivalry was the new baseline reality of the relationship.

In the intervening two years, American policymakers and analysts have laid out two main alternative frameworks for the management of U.S.-China relations for the coming decades. One is a strategy of omni-directional containment, seeking to confront and constrain China — limiting China’s expanding capacity in the military, technological, economic, developmental, normative, and multilateral spheres; undermining the legitimacy of its governance and economic models; and seeking to blunt China’s diplomatic gains. Although there is a coherence to this approach, it also carries costs and risks. It could limit buy-in from key allies and partners, inhibit calibrated U.S.-China coordination on the provision of critical global public goods, and diminish the capacity of both major powers to manage tensions. As an alternative, some voices in the United States have argued for a return to a variation of the preTrump administration status quo, where an effort to secure cooperation on global issues like climate change is prioritized alongside efforts to expand access to the Chinese market.

U.S. Response to China Will Define 21st Century

Kimberly Underwood

The Middle Kingdom poses the largest threat to the international order.

The People’s Republic of China is engaging in coercion, lawfare, militarization, human rights violations, imperialism and cyber espionage, say experts. These actions are part of a well-funded and well-organized whole-of-government thrust to be the dominant power in the world, and how the United States addresses these efforts may well determine the status of the world in the 21st century.The threat to the Indo-Pacific region, to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the United States and its allies should not be underestimated, says Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, foreign policy advisor, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, or INDOPACOM.

“I’ve been following this for many years, and it is clear from their actions and from their statements that [China] believes that it should be, and will be the dominant country, not only in the region, but in the world,” states Galt.

Through close coordination between the State and Defense departments, such foreign policy advisors are stationed at each one of the U.S. combatant commands, as well as at the component commands, service secretary offices and the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Peter Maass

AROUND MIDDAY ON August 15, the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was told by an adviser that Taliban fighters had entered the presidential palace and were looking for him room by room. This was not true, but Ghani, aware that ousted presidents do not have long lives in his country, hurried himself and his wife to a military helicopter and fled for Uzbekistan. Without time to fetch any personal belongings, he left Kabul in plastic sandals and a thin coat, according to a Washington Post account of that day.

Afghanistan was supposed to be the “good war” after 9/11, the one with a legitimate purpose and a happy ending. That also didn’t turn out to be true, but while the war’s momentum favored the Taliban for years, its final act had the suddenness of a guillotine, with a lot more pain. At Kabul’s airport, desperate Afghans clung to the sides of a departing U.S. cargo plane. Panicked families tried to get onto the diminishing number of evacuation flights. And 13 U.S. troops helping keep the airport open were killed in a suicide bombing. Just before midnight on August 30, the last U.S. aircraft and the last U.S. soldier got out of Kabul.

CIA Director had rare conversation with Putin while in Moscow last week

Jim Sciutto and Natasha Bertrand

(CNN)CIA Director Bill Burns held a rare conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, to convey "serious" US concerns about Russia's military buildup along the Ukrainian border and to attempt to determine Russian intentions, two sources with direct knowledge told CNN.

Putin's spokesperson also confirmed there was a discussion.

"Yes, such a conversation took place via telephone," Putin's spokesperson Dimitry Peskov told CNN on Monday

CNN reported Friday that Burns' visit to the Russian capital took place at a time of growing concern among some US officials about the possibility of an expanded Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

One source told CNN that the US has "serious concerns" about the Russian build-up, adding, "It would be foolish for us not to be considering the possibility of an invasion or incursion."

Computational Propaganda: Challenges and Responses

Federico DAlessio

In recent years, the world has experienced a substantial rise of cybercrimes across many countries, and especially as a result of the digitalisation of jobs due to the various lockdowns implemented in 2020 (Riley, 2021). Technological progress will make online criminality more sophisticated and thus even more dangerous and harder to defend against. Thus, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to fight this phenomenon by adopting a variety of techniques from social and computer sciences. This essay will focus on computational propaganda, and more precisely on the use of bots on social media. The paper will first define what computational propaganda is, while highlighting its main features from different perspectives. It will later examine the challenges faced when countering online propaganda. Lastly, the essay will critically analyse and evaluate the possible responses and solutions to this issue.

Understanding computational propaganda

Computational propaganda can be described as an “emergent form of political manipulation that occurs over the Internet” (Woolley and Howard, 2018, p. 3). It is carried out particularly on social media, but also on blogs, forums and other websites that involve participation and discussion. This type of propaganda is often executed through data mining and algorithmic bots, which are usually created and controlled by advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning. By exploiting these tools, computational propaganda can pollute information and rapidly spread false news around the internet (Woolley and Howard, 2018).

Opinion – Are Peacemakers Really Blessed?

Mukesh Kapila

A recent listing identified 27 active armed conflicts worldwide , of which six are inter-state or territorial disputes, three are transnational terrorism, and the rest various forms of civil wars and domestic unrest. In past days, a 28th joined the list: resurgent instability in Sudan following a military coup. This is just the tip of the iceberg of conflicts. For every country embroiled in violence, there are several others inciting or arming one side or other – or profiting in myriad ways. Such conflicts display the properties of an ‘infectious’ disease. They spill out to infect neighbours and then go geopolitical, akin to a ‘pandemic’. Palestine is a familiar example. The impact is like a ‘chronic’ ailment (think Syria), or indeed transmitted inter-generationally like a ‘bad gene’ (think Afghanistan).

With no vaccine against war, world doctors – United Nations and regional organisations such as the African Union – prescribe their favoured elixir. This is a cocktail of condemnations, exhortations, sanctions, and dribbles of humanitarian aid (Ethiopia/Tigray/Eritrea). Over time, the medicine loses potency (Iran) and needs something stronger – known as ‘peace-keeping’ (Mali). This remedy may help temporarily (Darfur) but make matters worse in the longer-term (DRC). When all else is failing, it is time for the healer-magician to come in. With a grand title such as ‘Special Envoy’ or High Representative’, their job is to negotiate or mediate peace. This is big business nowadays with scores appointed by the UN, AU, European Union, ASEAN and other regional bodies, or governments.

National self-interest cannot govern global vaccine distribution


As Australia emerges from its local state-based lockdowns – largely due to its high vaccination rates – many low-income countries in Southeast Asia and Africa remain at risk of further outbreaks of Covid-19. Despite a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, Australia has achieved double-dose vaccine coverage of close to 80 per cent of the population, setting the country on the path to effectively managing the spread and severity of the virus. In contrast, fewer than 4 per cent of people in low-income countries, including Yemen, Madagascar and Liberia, have received a single vaccination dose. At the current rate, most low-income countries will not attain a 70 per cent vaccination rate until 2030.

Wealthy nations have consistently made use of their economic and political leverage to acquire surpluses of vaccine supplies. This was demonstrated by Australia’s purchase in August of 500,000 Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX facility, designed to facilitate vaccine access for developing countries. Low-income countries have had little capacity to obtain enough vaccines for their populations, and endured shortages of essential resources such as syringes, while assistance from the international community has produced limited success. For many of these nations, this has occurred against the backdrop of mass political instability and other humanitarian crises.

Armenia and the Future of the South Caucasus

In September 2020, the decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict flared up, leading to the worst violence the area has seen since the early 1990s. The six-week war, reportedly killing around 7000 soldiers and civilians in the disputed territory and along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, ended in military victory for Azerbaijan. A Russia-brokered trilateral declaration on ceasefire formalized the control taken by Azerbaijan over about one third of the region. In the remainder of the region, Russian peacekeepers replaced Armenian forces. They now guarantee Karabakh’s de facto statehood and security.

This report sheds light specifically on Armenia’s position in the region and the world more broadly. It advances an understanding of the various ways in which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey, the European Union and the United States and other actors could work towards peaceful resolution. In the absence of conflict ripeness, resolution of the dispute remains very unlikely. However, steps can be taken by parties directly and indirectly involved to manage the conflict.

The world in 2030: the challenge of reality versus unreality

Chris Kremidas Courtney

Imagine being an 82-year-old grandmother confined to a wheelchair and being able to experience climbing to the summit of Mont Blanc. Or picture sitting in a meeting with people you’ve never met before but remembering all of their names and backgrounds because you can read a summary of their CV, visible just above their heads through the glasses you are wearing – then walking to yet another meeting using visual navigational directions projected within those same glasses. While walking over, you read the news and check your email, complete with advertisements and social media inputs – all this within the same wearable device.

Around the same time, the stock price of a major leading European technology company crashes to record lows, which was later discovered to have been caused by a sophisticated large scale disinformation campaign disguised as tens of thousands of ‘angry customer’ commenters who seem as real as your own neighbours.

All of these scenarios are possible in the near future as new technologies are changing not only the information landscape, but our cognitive one as well.

Inertia is the enemy of cybersecurity


Human beings are creatures of habit, and digital systems have “humans in the loop” who inherently want to do things the way they always have. It’s a rate-limiting step for digital transformation, and a massive and under-appreciated barrier to improving cybersecurity.

It’s the simple human preference for doing tomorrow what you did yesterday that leads users to repeat passwords, delay installing patches, and stick with old software because they’re comfortable with it. Cyber-attackers know this behavioral inertia is often the weakest link, so they exploit it. Phishing attacks work because an email seems to come from a familiar friend or business, and fake web pages that host malware fool people because users recognize the look and feel and just click through or enter data without thinking.

It’s not just individual behavioral inertia that makes it easy for bad actors. Organizational inertia is equally a problem, and it’s often the largest organizations that are most stuck in their ways.

Did The U.S. Marines Really Get ‘Crushed’ By The Royal Marines?

Brent M. Eastwood

British media reported last week that their Royal Marines “dominated” an October war game in California against a unit of the U.S. Marine Corps. But is that what really happened?

The Royal Marines reportedly did leverage some effective unconventional tactics like wearing U.S. uniforms and using store-bought scanners to listen in on American communications. The training was supposed to test unconventional tactics, so the Royal Marines did an excellent job in that respect. But U.S. Marines say there was no evidence of a “surrender.”

The Media Makes It Sensational

First, let’s get the point of view and perspective from the British media about this training exercise.

Joint Chiefs’ Information Officer: US is Behind On Information Warfare. AI Can Help


The United States needs a better strategy and more advanced tools for information operations, Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the Joint Staff’s chief information officer, said Thursday.

The government has become slower and less confident in its approach, a reticence it can’t afford as artificial intelligence drastically increases the pace of messaging and information campaigns, said Crall, who is also the Joit Staff’s director for command, control, communications, computers, and cyber. .

“The speed at which machines and AI won some of these information campaigns changes the game drastically for us. If we study, if we're hesitant, if we don't have good left and right lateral limits, if every operation requires a new set of permissions...We're never going to compete.”

Crall made his remarks at the NDIA conference for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, or SOLIC.

Letters for Nov. 6: It’s time to dial back aircraft carriers and focus on cyber warfare and missiles

Rethink war

Re “USS Gettysburg’s 6-year overhaul is finally over; cruiser has brand new combat system” (Oct. 22): The Virginian-Pilot reported on the USS Gettysburg, which took years to build, is only 30 years old and just had a six-year restoration done at a cost of $147M. She’s seen little to no action.

Re “Virginia is second in nation for defense spending, personnel” (Oct. 25): Soon after, The Pilot reported the state of Virginia enjoyed a 47% increase in defense spending in the past five years.

Re “Milley: China’s weapon test close to a ‘Sputnik moment’” (Oct. 28): The Pilot reported that China launched a hypersonic missile, an event some have called another “Sputnik moment” for the U.S. This should be a wake-up call showing how far behind we are in modern warfare. Much of the defense budget is spent on building or rebuilding the same old tanks, planes, subs, ships and weapons of bygone years.