11 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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India fortifies Ladakh in military infrastructure race with China


LEH, India -- China and India are engaged in an infrastructure war along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where a brutal hand-to-hand clash in the Galwan Valley in June last year left 20 Indians dead while China refused to disclose its casualties.

In the area of Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, China is thought to have built at least 10 new air bases.

India has responded by constructing 73 "operationally significant" pieces of infrastructure -- roads, bridges and tunnels -- along its tense border with China. New Delhi's expected budget to increase connectivity in the region is 1.4 trillion Indian rupees ($18.8 billion).

A strategic, all-weather road has been built to facilitate Indian troop and artillery deployment. Along its route is the 14.5 km Zoji La that cost 46 billion rupees and was built by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure.

Could a New Agreement Diffuse India-China Border Tensions?


The India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, which began about a year and a half ago, looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

After thirteen rounds of high-level military talks, the two countries have failed to resolve the deadlock at Hot Springs, a point where Indian and Chinese soldiers continue to face off against one another. Instead of deescalating or disengaging, both sides have only hardened their positions. Indian and Chinese soldiers could remain forward deployed to Ladakh for a second consecutive winter.

India and China have signed a series of agreements intended to resolve tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two countries. But the current standoff has already lasted eighteen months—an indication that the current controls may not be sufficient.

With border incidents along the LAC increasing over the last few years, New Delhi might consider the need for a new border agreement. According to reports, preliminary discussions in India’s China Study Group indicate that India and China could soon start working toward a new border agreement if the current impasse is resolved.

When It Comes To The Taliban, Washington Has Little Leverage

Albert Barro

It’s been nearly two months since the Biden administration’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, and while the unceremonious U.S. exit from America’s “longest war” has largely receded from public view, behind the scenes officials in Washington are still struggling with what, precisely, to do about the country and its new rulers.

Last month, the United States quietly engaged the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, to begin discussions on an array of issues, ranging from the resumption of badly-needed humanitarian aid to the country to the need for the Taliban to refrain from allowing terrorists from reestablishing a foothold in the country, as they had in the past. The United States, of course, reiterated demands that the Taliban respect human rights, especially women’s rights, in the country. And while Administration officials were quick to reassure observers that the talks were “not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy,” the issue remains an elephant in the room. Yet, as this unstable, adversarial relationship plays out, the United States is liable to find that it has less leverage than it needs to compel the Taliban to change course.

The BRI in Bangladesh: ‘Win-Win’ or a ‘Debt Trap’?

Shaikh Abdur Rahman

Bangladesh, an emerging Asian economic power, has sustained strong economic growth in recent years. The country has now set itself an ambitious GDP growth target of 7.2 percent for the fiscal year 2021-22. At the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina echoed the promise to revive the country’s economy in the post-COVID “new normal” and achieve developed nation status by 2041. Infrastructure and communications are the two major components to achieve this goal.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to strengthen regional cooperation by creating tantamount economic partnerships by linking the subregions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Though the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor – one of the six corridors of the BRI – has proven dead on arrival due to India’s concerns about China, Bangladesh can still harness the opportunities for enhanced commerce and connectivity through the BRI.

Who Wants to See a War Over Taiwan?

Mu Chunshan

To be honest, I have never paid much attention to the Taiwan Strait situation. I have always believed there is a basic strategic balance in the area. As long as all parties are rational, that balance will not be easily broken. But recently almost all the foreign media and experts are discussing the possibility of war in the Taiwan Strait, which pushed me to re-examine the situation. What has happened here, and what will happen in the future?

I would like to raise a question first: Who on earth wants to see a war break out in the Taiwan Strait? Is it the Chinese Communist Party? The Biden administration? The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government in Taiwan?

I don’t think any of three parties currently in control of the situation really want to fight a battle at any cost. For obvious reasons, they all have a lot of worries about the possibility of war and will not easily launch a conflict.

The U.S. Is Getting Taiwan Ready to Fight on the Beaches

Jack Detsch, Zinya Salfiti

U.S. military forces have been present in Taiwan for more than a decade, according to multiple people familiar with the deployments and a review of Defense Department data by Foreign Policy.

According to a Foreign Policy review of Pentagon data produced by the Defense Manpower Data Center, an in-house Pentagon organization, the United States has kept small contingents of troops on the island dating back to at least September 2008—the last year of the George W. Bush administration. The numbers also show a small surge of U.S. Marines to Taiwan earlier this year, consistent with the Wall Street Journal’s earlier reporting about American training of Taiwanese boat patrols.

The U.S. military presence on the island is part of an effort stretching over several administrations to bolster Taiwan’s ability to fight off any potential Chinese invasion, but it also risks further inflaming tensions between Washington and Beijing. U.S. and Taiwanese policymakers are already wary of a Chinese lunge across the Taiwan Strait sometime this decade.

Hindsight Is 20/20: Was the Vietnam War Winnable?

Robert Farley

Here's What You Need to Remember: In an utterly banal sense, the United States could have won the Vietnam War by invading the North, seizing its urban centers, putting the whole of the country under the control of the Saigon government, and waging a destructive counterinsurgency campaign for an unspecified number of years.

Mark Moyar, the scholar of U.S. foreign and military policy, a few years back had the opportunity to update an older argument on the viability of the Vietnam War. Moyar argues that the historical consensus on the war is wrong on several points, and that in fact the United States could have won the war and preserved the Saigon government at acceptable cost. While Moyar’s argument is worth consideration, he still fails to make his case against the long-standing consensus on the war.

T-DAY: The Battle for Taiwan

David Lague and Maryanne Murray

Seventy-two years ago, the Communist Party seized control of China after a bloody struggle. The defeated Nationalist government fled to Taiwan, frustrating Beijing's desire to capture the island. Since then, China has arisen as a superpower rivaling America; Taiwan has blossomed into a self-governing democracy and high-tech powerhouse with Washington's backing. Now, after decades of tenuous stalemate, there is a renewed risk of conflict. While it is impossible to know how this long rivalry will play out, in some respects the battle for Taiwan is already underway.

As Reuters reported in December, the Chinese military – the People’s Liberation Army – is waging so-called gray-zone warfare against Taiwan. This consists of an almost daily campaign of intimidating military exercises, patrols and surveillance that falls just short of armed conflict. Since that report, the campaign has intensified, with Beijing stepping up the number of warplanes it is sending into the airspace around Taiwan. China has also used sand dredgers to swarm Taiwan’s outlying islands.

Military strategists tell Reuters that the gray-zone strategy has the potential to grind down Taipei’s resistance – but also that it may fall short, or even backfire by strengthening the island’s resolve. They are also envisioning starker futures. While they can’t predict the future, military planners in China, Taiwan, the United States, Japan and Australia are nonetheless actively gaming out scenarios for how Beijing might try to seize the prized island, and how Taiwan and America, along with its allies, might move to stop it.

China looks to Tajiks to spy Afghan terror risks


When Tajikistan’s parliament said on October 28 that China will finance the construction of a “security outpost” near its border with Afghanistan, the announcement lifted the lid on a security relationship that has quietly evolved in recent years with an eye on checking Islamic terror and militant groups.

The post, to be located near Vakhon village in Tajikistan’s eastern Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in the Pamir mountains that border on China’s sensitive Xinjiang province and Afghanistan’s volatile Badakhshan province, will nominally be used for Tajikistan police special forces and managed by the ministry of internal affairs.

Analysts and observers say the facility is a spy station all but in name. Tajikistan’s parliament, which is symbolically housed in a building constructed and donated by Beijing, has insisted that Chinese troops will not be stationed at the US$8.5 million facility, which will reportedly be made up of 12 buildings.

To Steer China’s Future, Xi Is Rewriting Its Past

Chris Buckley

The glowing image of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, greets visitors to museum exhibitions celebrating the country’s decades of growth. Communist Party biographers have worshipfully chronicled his rise, though he has given no hint of retiring. The party’s newest official history devotes over a quarter of its 531 pages to his nine years in power.

No Chinese leader in recent times has been more fixated than Mr. Xi on history and his place in it, and as he approaches a crucial juncture in his rule, that preoccupation with the past is now central to his political agenda. A high-level meeting opening in Beijing on Monday will issue a “resolution” officially reassessing the party’s 100-year history that is likely to cement his status as an epoch-making leader alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

While ostensibly about historical issues, the Central Committee’s resolution — practically holy writ for officials — will shape China’s politics and society for decades to come.

Saudi Arabia and Israel Tiptoe Toward Overt Security Cooperation

Bradley Bowman , Maj. Lauren Harrison and Ryan Brobst

Israeli and Saudi fighter jets participated in the same patrol mission (albeit at different times) on Oct. 30, accompanying a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber circumnavigating the Arabian Peninsula and attempting to send a deterrence message to Tehran.

Riyadh's willingness to join a military mission involving Israel is the latest indication that the actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran are incentivizing some Arab capitals to tiptoe toward overt security cooperation with Israel.

The B-1B is a bomber capable of carrying a larger payload of conventional weapons than any other aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory. The aircraft's flight path makes clear the mission's purpose: assuring America's allies and partners in the Middle East while sending a deterrence message to Tehran.

The CIA in Tibet, 1957 -1969.

Patrick Anders

In 1950, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet. The People’s Republic of China (written as China for simplicity) took control of Tibet, but the Tibetan government remained largely autonomous and could preserve traditional Tibetan socio-economic systems.[i] In 1956, China instituted land reforms and began dismantling monasteries, severely limiting Tibetan self-governance.[ii] A rebellion led to the formation of the militia Chushi Gangdruk, which fought against the PLA.[iii] Upon learning of the insurgency, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) decided to support the Tibetan resistance.[iv] This support arose in the context of American foreign policy during the Cold War seeking to contain communism, oftentimes through CIA covert operations. Aiding Tibetans in their fight against communist China fit into this strategy.[v]

The CIA Tibet program lasted from 1957 to 1969 and consisted of supplying and training Tibetans to disrupt Chinese activities, aiding Tibetans in broadcasting their struggle to the world, and undertaking related operations.[vi] The program's goals were to (1) prevent the spread of communism, (2) to collect intelligence on Chinese strategic planning, and (3) to keep the spirit of an independent Tibet alive.[vii] This essay assesses whether and to what extent the CIA program achieved its goals.

Can American democracy and soft power be restored?

Joseph S. Nye

At a recent meeting of trans-Atlantic foreign policy experts, a European friend told the group that he used to worry about a decline in American hard power but felt reassured. On the other hand, he now worried more about what was happening internally and how that would affect the soft power that underlies American foreign policy. Are his fears justified?

Smart political leaders have long understood that values can create power. If I can attract you and persuade you to want what I want, then I don’t have to force you or pay you to do what I want. If the United States (or any country) represents values that others find attractive, it can economise on sticks and carrots. US soft power rests partly on American culture and foreign policies when they are attractive to others; but it also rests on our values and how we practise democracy at home.

As international polls show, President Donald Trump’s term in office wasn’t kind to American soft power. This was partly a reaction to Trump’s nativist foreign policy, which shunned allies and multilateral institutions, as well as to his administration’s incompetent response to the Covid-19 pandemic. But even more damaging to US soft power was Trump’s effort to disrupt the orderly transition of political power after he lost the 2020 election. And on 6 January 2021, as Republican Senator Ben Sasse described the invasion of the US Capitol, ‘the world’s greatest symbol of self-government … was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard—tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution’.

What Experts and Senior Officials Have Said About Adopting a No-First-Use or Sole-Purpose Nuclear Declaratory Policy

Patty-Jane Geller

The Biden Administration is reportedly considering changing the U.S. nuclear declaratory policy of calculated ambiguity to “no first use” (NFU) or “sole purpose.” Under an NFU or sole-purpose policy, the United States would pledge never to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, including in response to chemical, biological, cyber, or massive conventional attacks. In a spring 2020 Foreign Affairs article, then-candidate Joe Biden said that he would “work to put [sole purpose] into practice, in consultation with the U.S. military and U.S. allies.” If President Biden follows through on his commitment to consult with the military and our allies, he should reach the same conclusion as they and previous Presidents have reached: to oppose an NFU or sole-purpose policy.


President Biden is reportedly considering changing U.S. nuclear declaratory policy of calculated ambiguity to one of “no first use” (NFU) or “sole purpose.”

Relations with Ukraine

A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. Relations between NATO and Ukraine date back to the early 1990s and have since developed into one of the most substantial of NATO’s partnerships. Since 2014, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas.

Dialogue and cooperation started when newly independent Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991) and the Partnership for Peace programme (1994).

Relations were strengthened with the signing of the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) to take cooperation forward.

The 2009 Declaration to Complement the NATO-Ukraine Charter mandated the NUC, through Ukraine’s Annual National Programme, to underpin Ukraine’s efforts to take forward reforms aimed at implementing Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, in line with the decisions of the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest.

Would Russia Go To War To Stop Ukraine From Joining NATO?

Constantine Atlamazoglou

In his recent visit to Ukraine in late October, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that “no third country has a veto over NATO’s membership decisions.” His comment came as a response to a journalist’s question about Russia’s opposition to Ukraine joining NATO.

“Ukraine has a right to decide its own future foreign policy, and we expect that they will be able to do that without any outside interference,” Secretary Austin continued.

This is not only the opinion of the United States. At the June 2021 NATO summit, the allies reiterated their decision that “Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process.” MAP is the guiding document for any country’s NATO accession.

The Ukrainian people also seem to be in favor of such a move, with 64% expressing their approval in a recent survey conducted by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF).

Central Asia Is Turning Back to Moscow

Lindsey Kennedy, Nathan Paul Southern

On the sleeper train from Tashkent to Nukus, a drunk Uzbek army officer wants to know where we’re from. “England” is met with a noncommittal shrug. On hearing “Scotland,” though, his face lights up. “Scotlandia!” he slurs, miming bagpipes. “Braveheart!” In a mix of fluid Russian, broken English, and animated mime, he expresses a sentiment we hear again and again, all across the country: Scotland is to the United Kingdom as Uzbekistan is to Russia—only in Uzbekistan’s case, independence was won. Then, with no apparent sense of irony, the officer takes out his phone and shows us his background of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He gives a thumbs-up. “Putin, I love.”

This is all the more jarring given that we’re on our way to Karakalpakstan, one of Uzbekistan’s bleakest regions. Here, stranded husks of rusting fishing boats and a smattering of seashells are a lasting testament to Soviet mismanagement that redirected the area water supply to the overstretched cotton industry. The Nukus city museum of art banned under communism abounds with paintings of fishermen on the once vast Aral Sea, but the real sea has shrunk to nothing.

Why oil politics will remain as important as ever


The global push for net-zero climate emissions may end up amplifying oil politics, not removing it completely.

The current juxtaposition of high energy prices and the ramping up of investment for and commitments to more sustainable sources of power is a handy illustration of what the future might look like, as the world presses forward to deliver on the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Natural gas prices, which are linked to crude, have nearly doubled this year, as several parts of the world, particularly Europe, experience shortages. This, in turn, is a spur to inflation and a risk to the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil politics was on display on the eve of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, when US President Joe Biden said his applying pressure on producers to increase the supply of oil and gas while simultaneously urging an acceleration of the energy transition was not “inconsistent”.

Twilight of the Kims?


ATLANTA – Nearly three years after his failed bromance with Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is once again angling for US attention. North Korea has tested a new, high-tech missile and hinted that it may agree to restart talks with South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in desperately wants to resuscitate his moribund outreach to the North. But if Kim is expecting a positive reaction from US President Joe Biden, he shouldn’t hold his breath. With issues like China and the rebuilding of US alliances topping Biden’s agenda, overtures to Kim are unlikely.

Kim’s dog-eared script is not helping his cause. The latest drama has unfolded all too predictably. In Act One, Kim Yo-jong, Kim’s sister and the North’s spokesperson on North-South affairs, averred that the regime might be interested in discussing a peace treaty with South Korea – an idea that Moon himself had proposed in September. She hastened to add, however, that South Korea will have to distance itself from US demands for nuclear disarmament and end joint military exercises with US forces.

The predictable saber-rattling came a few days later, in Act Two. Following the announcement that the regime had launched a new hypersonic missile and carried out a half-dozen other tests, Kim took to the podium (with his missilery in the background) to tout the North’s “world class defense capability.” Although the Biden administration had sent “signals that it is not hostile,” he declared that the North has “no reason to believe it.” By challenging US credibility, Kim was all but asking the United States to respond, ideally by following its Korean ally’s lead and publicly throwing a bone his way.

Sodium Batteries May Power Your New Electric Car

HALF A CENTURY ago, the battery of the future was built out of sodium. The reason has to do with why the seas are salty. Sodium is a light element that ionizes easily, giving up one of its electrons. In a battery, those ions shuttle back and forth between two oppositely charged plates, generating a current. This looked like a promising way to power a house or a car. But then another element crashed the party: lithium, sodium’s upstairs neighbor on the periodic table. In 1991, Sony commercialized the first rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which was small and portable enough to power its handheld video cameras. Lithium was lighter and easier to work with than sodium, and so a battery industry grew up around it. Companies and research labs raced to pack more energy into less space. Sodium faded into the background.

So it was surprising this summer when China’s CATL, one of the world’s largest battery makers, announced sodium would play a role in the electrified future. CATL, like its competitors, is a lithium company through and through. But starting in 2023, it will begin placing sodium cells alongside lithium ones inside the battery packs that power electric cars. Why? Well, for one thing, a CATL executive pointed out that sodium is cheaper than lithium, and performs better in cold weather. But it was also hedging against an issue that was difficult to imagine in 1991. By the end of this decade, the world will be running short on the raw materials for batteries—not just lithium, but also metals like nickel and cobalt. Now that electrification is actually happening on a big scale, it’s time to think about diversifying. A CATL spokesperson tells WIRED it started thinking about sodium 10 years ago.

Despite Advances in Women’s Rights, Gender Equality Lags Around the World

Despite progress in codifying women’s rights into law, advances in gender equality around the world have been halting, at best. This, despite the additional attention that the #MeToo movement brought to incidents of sexual assault and harassment in parts of the Global North—and increasingly in the Global South.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa made news in mid-2019 when he appointed a Cabinet that included as many women as men. Later the same year, the European Commission also achieved the European Union’s self-imposed goal of gender parity. The thinking behind gender parity in government is that with greater levels of representation, women policymakers and legislators will pay more attention to issues that are often ignored by men, like gender-based violence or inheritance laws that discriminate against women.

But where quotas are used, they have failed to achieve parity for women in all but a few cases. Nor are they a panacea. Even with increased representation, policymakers must figure out how to turn good intentions into change on the ground, so that removing restrictions on education, to take one example, actually leads to improved school attendance rates for girls and young women. Rwanda, for instance, is know for its high level of political representation for women, but that has not necessarily translated into social advances for women, as efforts to promote gender equality have not fostered an understanding of its importance, particularly among men.

Missiles are the Key to Conflict Against Russia and China

Sebastien Roblin

Here's What You Need to Remember: Several years ago, Russia demonstrated how it could use cargo containers as launch pads for Klub cruise missiles. This would make the weapon easy to transport—or even employ from a ship—while concealing it from detection and pre-emptive strikes.

On July 12, 2018, the USS Racine met her grisly fate.

The 522-foot long tank landing ship was struck by four different types of guided missiles, one of which triggered a massive explosion that sent shards of debris spraying across the sea and ripped open part of her hull, exposing the inner decks. Finally, a Mark 48 torpedo struck the forty-six-year-old vessel beneath the waterline and nearly snapped off her bow. An hour later, the five-thousand-ton ship sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean fifty-five miles north of Hawaii.

At least four different military services participated in the Racine’s ritual sacrifice on the altar of the Pacific Rim (or RIMPAC) exercise known as SINKEX. Participants included P-8 Poseidon patrol planes of the Australian Navy, Type 12 surface-to-surface missile batteries of the Japanese Self Defense Ground Force, the U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class submarine Olympia, and artillerymen and helicopter pilots from the U.S. Army.

If America Can Have Cutting Edge Weapons Why Not North Korea?

Doug Bandow

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which contemplates legal matters involving the United Nations, North Korea’s Ambassador Kim In-chol denounced the United States and double standards. He accused America and the world of demonstrating rank hypocrisy.

He noted that America was seeking to develop hypersonic missiles, without the criticism leveled at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and that North and South Korea were treated very differently when both recently tested missiles. Even sharper was his assault on Washington’s deal with Australia over nuclear submarines. “The United States, with a permanent seat in the Council, has laid bare its double-dealing attitude as ringleader of nuclear proliferation through its decision to transfer technology for building a nuclear-powered submarine to Australia,” Kim Jong-un complained.

Secure the Data, Not the Device

Dr. Georgianna Shea
Source Link

Executive Summary

Ransomware attacks are a lucrative practice for hackers. In just one attack in June against meat processing company JBS, hackers extorted an $11 million payment.1 In the wake of the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said, “More than $350 million in losses are attributable to ransomware attacks this year. That’s a more-than-300 percent increase over last year’s victimization of companies. And there’s no company too small to suffer a ransomware attack.”2

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the target’s files and data or even its entire system, preventing users from accessing the data until they pay the ransom. After receiving payment, the hacker provides the decryption key in the form of a password. The hacker may also engage in double extortion, threatening to leak the stolen data if the victim does not pay.

Prevalent strategies for dealing with ransomware emphasize defensive measures, even though experience shows that one cannot thwart a well-resourced adversary determined to penetrate a target’s system.3 To the extent that current strategies seek to build resilience, they call for maintaining system backups, which may not prevent substantial data loss. For example, the ransomware best practices guide from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) begins with an admonition “to maintain offline, encrypted backups of data and to regularly test your backups.”4 The CISA guide then turns to cyber hygiene measures for preventing infections.5

2021 China Military Power Report: Everything You Need To Know

James Holmes

So the Pentagon released its latest report on Chinese military power this week, under the splashy title Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China. As usual, the report is interesting and, on the whole, authoritative. Four comments:

First, the document’s framers give scant treatment to China’s maritime territorial claims, devoting under two pages in a 192-page report. (They do consider the plight of Taiwan separately and at greater length.) Territory, however, lies at the heart of China’s “dream” of national rejuvenation, and seems to merit more extensive coverage.

For example, the report seems to say that Beijing’s “nine-dashed line” claims in the South China Sea are entirely about the islands located within the nine-dashed line, chiefly the Spratlys and Paracels. But China’s 2009 letter to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf—to which the nine-dashed-line map was attached—proclaims that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters as well as the seabed and subsoil thereof.”


Andrew Maher

The Irregular Warfare Initiative’s inaugural conference was conducted on September 10, 2021, and brought together almost nine hundred participants. This conference builds on the mission of IWI—to bridge the gap between scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to support the community of irregular warfare (IW) professionals. A conference medium aims to complement the podcast series and written pieces, providing an interactive means of discussing topics of interest to this community.

Within this conference, IWI sought to bring together small groups of leading researchers and practitioners for subject-based, focused conversations on the lessons learned from the past twenty years of IW. We brought this select group into six breakout room sessions, the essence of which is distilled as follows for the broader community of IW professionals.

Based upon the clear demand for additional engagement opportunities on these issues, IWI is planning a series of future events to continue to bridge the gap and address the broadest range of IW challenges.

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

Nadia Schadlow, Arthur 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.

Modernizing the Nuclear Triad: Decline or Renewal?

Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.

Executive Summary

The United States is planning to modernize its strategic nuclear deterrent for the first time since the Cold War ended over thirty years ago. The deterrent comprises three main components, or “legs”: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), distributed in hardened silos throughout the northern Midwest; fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operating from two bases, one on each coast; and long-range bombers positioned at three air bases in the continental United States. These three legs are known collectively as the triad.

This study analyzes the United States’ plans for modernizing the land, sea and airborne legs comprising its strategic nuclear force triad. This force has been charged primarily with deterring a nuclear attack on the United States, its allies, and security partners (“extended deterrence”), and mitigating the consequences should deterrence fail.