14 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.

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The character of warfare has changed fundamentally over the last decade. In the past, it was essential for an adversary nation or insurgent to physically bring weapons to bear during combat. That requirement is no longer a necessity. In cyber operations, the only weapons that need to be used are bits and bytes. In this new era of warfare, logistics issues that often restrict and limit conventional warfare and weaponry are not impediments. This new weaponry moves at the speed of light, is available to every human on the planet and can be as surgical as a scalpel or as devastating as a nuclear bomb.

Cyber attacks in various forms have become a global problem. Cyber weapons are low-cost, low-risk, highly effective and easily deployable globally. This new class of weapons is within reach of many countries, extremist or terrorist groups, non-state actors, and even individuals. Cyber crime organisations are developing cyber weapons effectively. The use of offensive Cyber operations by nation-states directly against another or by co-opting cyber criminals has blurred the line between spies and non-state malicious hackers. New entrants, both nation-states and non-state actors have unmatched espionage and surveillance capabilities with significant capabilities. They are often the forerunners for criminal financial gain, destruction and disruption operations. Progressively, we see non-state actors including commercial entities, developing capabilities that were solely held by a handful of state actors.

Previewing India-Japan Ties Under PM Kishida

Titli Basu

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio will continue to hold the reins in Japan following his party’s success in the lower house election on October 31. Despite eroding political capital for some Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) heavyweights, including Amari Akira, Japan has avoided gliding back to its legacy of revolving-door prime ministers for the time being.

Domestic political stability is a necessary condition as Kishida stares at difficult policy decisions, be it rewriting the National Security Strategy (NSS) or sharpening economic statecraft. From a changing maritime balance to a fierce missile race, East Asian security is a pressing issue. As Japan recalibrates its strategic calculus, India will continue to be an important pole in Kishida’s pursuit of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).

Way back in 2015, long before FOIP caught the political lexicon and the Quad rose from the dead, let alone the geopolitical shocks of the pandemic, strategic foresight in Delhi and Tokyo culminated in the Indo-Pacific Vision 2025, their collective effort to secure the rules-based order. The objective was to engineer an action-oriented partnership by synergizing collective capacities and charting a collaborative Indo-Pacific agenda. Kishida, then Japan’s foreign minister, served an instrumental role in laying the building blocks of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

Assessing Pakistan’s Nuclear Security Upgrades after ratification of the 2005 CPPNM Amendment

Sitara Noor

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), adopted in 1987, is the primary legal instrument that forms the basis of global nuclear security regime. The CPPNM along with its amendment that entered into force in 2016, are the only legally binding international instruments in the area of physical protection of nuclear material under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Pakistan acceded to the original CPPNM in 2000 after streamlining necessary steps needed to comply with the convention’s commitments. In view of evolving nature of threat and renewed global emphasis on nuclear security with the Nuclear Security Summit process, Pakistan began the preparation for ratification of 2005 CPPNM amendment, and on February 24, 2016, the National Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan approved ratifying the 2005 amendment to the CPPNM—becoming the 94th state to ratify. A little over one month later, following the ratification from Nicaragua on April 8, 2016, the amendment achieved the required number of 102 states and entered into force 30 days later.

How Afghanistan Was Really Lost


CAMBRIDGE – Assume you knew nothing about a particular low-income country except the following facts. Its annual income per capita in 2020 was just $509, the seventh lowest in the world. In the decade to 2019, annual aid inflows had halved, to just $114 per capita, or 31 cents per person per day. As a result, its GDP per capita fell by 14% over this period. Meanwhile, annual per capita imports also fell by half between 2012 and 2020, to $179, or just 49 cents per person per day – one of the lowest levels in the world. Exports per capita, at just under $38, were the world’s lowest. The official poverty rate increased from 38% in 2011 to 47.3% in 2020.

Given these numbers, you would not expect the population to have much enthusiasm for the status quo. Nor would you expect the government to garner significant support or exhibit much capacity to improve matters.

Indeed, aid flows to the country were by no means unusually large. According to the World Bank, the $114 in per capita assistance in 2019 was less than the aid received by 26 other countries, including Somalia ($121), Bosnia and Herzegovina ($141), Yemen ($151), the Central African Republic ($159), Lebanon ($223), Jordan ($277), the West Bank and Gaza ($477), Syria ($600), and the Marshall Islands ($1,122). Clearly, therefore, the reduction in aid was a choice, not an obvious necessity.

Can Taiwan Show China It’s a ‘Porcupine’?

Robbie Gramer and Jack Detsch

Welcome to SitRep, happy Veterans Day, and happy belated birthday to the Marine Corps. We’re back for another roundup of all the biggest national security news to watch this week.

In honor of both those days, read about how Pfc. Jacklyn Lewis became the youngest service member in World War II to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was just 17.

Alright, here’s what’s on tap for the day: a Taiwanese assessment of China’s military might, a showdown on Belarus’s border with Poland, and the Defense Department’s list of U.S. service members whose families are trapped in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

China Beefs Up for Taiwan Challenge

Taiwan released its latest national defense assessment this week, offering one of the clearest open-source assessments yet on the scope of China’s military capabilities and threat to the island.

Xi, Biden call will have Taiwan front and center


US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual meeting as early as next week to discuss topics ranging from bilateral trade relations to rising tremors around Taiwan. It’s not clear to most observers, however, if the call will serve to aggravate or alleviate tensions.

Significantly, the meeting will be held after the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which ends this Thursday and is expected to agree to give General Secretary Xi a third five-year term as president.

Preparations for the plenary prevented Xi from attending the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, or COP26 summit, in Glasgow, United Kingdom this month. On November 2, Biden criticized China as well as Russia for their lack of participation in the summit.

Xi’s third term is not yet a done deal


History is weighing heavily on a hotel in the western suburbs of Beijing this week, as the 300 members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party chart a course for China’s next five-year political cycle.

Not least of the tasks before the ruling Communist elite will be to endorse the consolidation of Xi Jinping’s position as China’s most powerful leader, certainly since Deng Xiaoping and possibly since Mao Zedong himself.

Those deliberations will be rubber-stamped at the 20th National Party Congress to be held next year.

Over the next few days, world attention will turn towards Xi’s anointing and resolutions of this sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee. China scholars, intelligence analysts and diplomatic representatives will scrutinize every last word that emanates from Beijing’s propaganda machine.

When Will China Get Off Coal?

Lauri Myllyvirta, Alex Wang, Ilaria Mazzocco, Philip Andrews-Speed

With COP26 entering its second and final week, Xi Jinping has faced criticism for failing to attend the climate conference in person, and for offering no major new pledges.

China’s latest quarterly economic report shows a significant slowing of growth, with GDP increasing only 4.9 percent compared with 7.9 percent in the previous period. Among the several factors causing this slowdown, perhaps the most significant in a global context is widespread electricity shortages in key manufacturing areas.

As China looks to meet its energy demands, there has been a rush for coal, with prices hitting record highs in October. Despite pledges by Beijing to pull back from fossil fuels, the power crisis has exposed shortfalls in the country’s ability to meet its manufacturing needs. Coal still supplies more than half the nation’s power. When more than 40 countries last week signed a pledge to phase out coal, China (along with the U.S. and India) was noticeably absent.

Red China: Why Beijing Can’t Shake Its Risky Debt Habit

Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca

In March 2021, analysts projected that revenues at Evergrande Group, China’s second-largest real estate developer, would grow by 70 percent this year. In September, however, the property behemoth—with some $300 billion in outstanding debt—missed $131 million in interest payments. When Beijing didn’t come to its rescue, shocked investors were caught flatfooted.

Frothy real estate markets and aggressive corporate borrowing have driven much of China’s growth over the past two decades. Real estate and construction now account for 29 percent of the economy—twice the levels prevailing in developed countries. Other Chinese sectors depend heavily on property values; nearly one-third of

Does Xi Jinping’s Seizure of History Threaten His Future?

Evan Osnos

At a secretive conclave this week, China’s Communist Party is busy excising the unwanted chapters of its history. The resulting portrait—which may shape the future even more than the past—will be enshrined in a pronouncement with a title that leaves no doubt about its emphasis: “The Resolution of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on the Major Achievements and Historical Experiences of the Party’s Hundred-Year Struggle.”

In the argot of Communist politics, the session that began on November 8th is the sixth plenum of the Nineteenth Central Committee. In practice, it’s the last big occasion for the paramount leader, Xi Jinping, to cement his dominance before next year, when he is expected to begin a third term as leader. (He got rid of term limits in 2018.) The meeting this week carries special significance: the Party, for only the third time in its history, will issue a verdict on past events, a maneuver of power politics that George Orwell famously described when he wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

The Resistible Rise of US-China Conflict


CAMBRIDGE – US President Joe Biden’s economic and foreign policies may represent a sharp departure from those of his predecessor, Donald Trump. But when it comes to relations with China, Biden has largely maintained Trump’s tough line – refusing, for example, to reverse Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese exports and warning of further punitive trade measures.

This reflects the widespread hardening of US attitudes towards China. When Foreign Affairs magazine recently asked leading US experts whether American “foreign policy has become too hostile to China,” nearly half of the respondents (32 out of 68) disagreed or disagreed strongly – suggesting a preference for an even tougher US stance toward China.

For economists, who tend to view the world in positive-sum terms, this is a puzzle. Countries can make themselves and others better off by cooperating and by shunning conflict.

China's gray zone threats aimed at 'seizing Taiwan without a fight': MND

Taipei, Nov. 9 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in its latest report Tuesday that China's gray zone threats are an attempt to ultimately seize Taiwan "without a fight."

The "ROC National Defense Report 2021," released simultaneously in English and Chinese for the first time, included a section that detailed the risks of China's cyberwarfare and cognitive warfare threats against Taiwan.

In recent years, China's frequent gray zone threats against Taiwan have become highly diversified and have been orchestrated generally through military and non-military approaches, the MND said in the report.

That military approach has taken the form of frequent intrusions by Chinese aircraft into the southwestern corner of Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and military drills in the vicinity of the Dongsha Islands, the report said.

The U.S. Military Isn’t Ready to Confront China

Richard Aboulafia

Major weapons-related news grabbed headlines twice over the past few months. First, a small horde of light aircraft and other weapons was left behind in the hasty U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Then, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom partnered together in an effort known as AUKUS to create a small fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia’s navy.

These developments illustrate the two ends of the conflict spectrum: counterinsurgency and great-power competition. They also show how global conflict and weapons procurement often follow a cyclical pattern: For centuries, great powers have swung back and forth between these two poles. Now, as its “pivot to Asia” takes shape, the United States is in the middle of exactly this cycle—and its past two decades of prioritizing weapons for counterinsurgency warfare hasn’t done it any favors as the risk of confrontation with China only grows. The Pacific is no place for short-range counterinsurgency systems, after all, and those weapons are useless deterrents against China.

The weapons in Afghanistan are perfect illustrations of what’s needed for one end of the conflict spectrum. Abandoned light military transports, old-model helicopters, tactical unmanned aircraft systems, and propeller light attack aircraft are the kind of relatively inexpensive equipment used for low-intensity conflicts in remote locations—also known as counterinsurgency warfare, nation building, or (way back when) Queen Victoria’s Little Wars. These weapons don’t have any deterrent effect. They are simply used for fighting, and, once abandoned, they have nearly zero use. Their technology is unsophisticated, and without spare parts, they quickly become nonoperational.

Moldova’s Gas Crisis and Its Lessons for Europe

Katja Yafimava

Moldova’s recent gas crisis, which left supplies in jeopardy for several weeks ahead of the winter until a new contract was agreed with Russia’s Gazprom to replace an expiring one, came as a surprise for many observers. Yet several unresolved issues had marred the Moldova-Russia gas relationship, notably accumulated debt, which played a major role in the crisis.

Moldova’s gas consumption is very small at about 2.9 billion cubic meters (bcm), of which right-bank Moldova consumes about 1.3 bcm, while the breakaway republic of Transnistria consumes the rest. Moldova has no gas production of its own, and its national gas company, Moldovagaz, imports 100 percent of the country’s requirements from Gazprom. Moldovagaz owns the gas transmission network, as well as local supply and distribution companies. Gazprom owns 50 percent of Moldovagaz, with the remaining shares split between the Moldovan central government (36.6 percent) and the administration of the Transnistrian region (13.4 percent).

Bosnia could be the next victim of the West’s weakness and polarisation

Jeremy Cliffe

In an essay for the New Statesman ahead of the G7 summit in June, I proposed that we were living in an age of “Westishness”. The West, as a geopolitical entity, is not gone and its governments can still achieve things together. Catastrophising proclamations of its “death” or “collapse” are all-too simplistic. Yet the alliance is clearly weaker, more divided and uncertain about its role than it was around the turn of the millennium. It is absolutely not “back”, as some predictions have put it, in the wake of Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House.

That was most graphically demonstrated by Afghanistan. In 2001, the West had intervened united under US leadership following the 9/11 attacks, which led to the first ever triggering of Nato’s mutual defence clause. Just under two decades later the last troops were withdrawn this summer, with the US failing to coordinate properly with its allies and almost the whole country falling back to the Taliban. With winter closing in, millions of Afghans are now at risk of starvation.

Decoupling from the Belt and Road


It wasn’t too long ago that many at the very highest levels of Western government and business welcomed the peaceful rise of China, as they aspired it to be.

Yes, there were voices who tried to warn of the dangers, but the desire for a 21st Century relatively free of globe spanning power struggles and the very real prospect of a lot of money to be made shifted the risk analysis for many to the point that there were few things that were outside the reach of money from the People’s Republic of China.

Residential property, agricultural land and meat producers, entire factories and manufacturing capabilities – all were offered up for a whole host of reasons. Even infrastructure critical to national and international trade were given over through outright purchase, partnership, or loans usually just a short degree of separation away from influence and control of the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders.

That is what we saw for 40 years, and then at the dawn of the 3rd decade of the 21st Century, in many areas people discovered that they made a mistake.

CYBERCOM has conducted ‘hunt-forward’ ops in 14 countries, deputy says


WASHINGTON: US Cyber Command’s deputy commander said today that its “hunt-forward” operations have been “very effective” in blending offensive and defensive cyber operations, revealing that the command has conducted more than a couple dozen of the operations in 14 countries over the last few years.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles “Tuna” Moore said that since 2018 CYBERCOM has conducted “well over” 24 hunt-forward operations in 14 countries, during which it has discovered approximately 30 new pieces of malware, which the command has shared with US partners.

While CYBERCOM did not respond to Breaking Defense’s request for specifics beyond Moore’s comments, Moore said the new, aggressive stance has prompted increased demand for partnerships from foreign nations.

China invests in artificial intelligence to counter US Joint Warfighting Concept: Records


While there is an ongoing, lively debate about who’s ahead in the artificial intelligence race, it’s clear that both the US and China, in addition to militaries the world over, see the critical advantage the technology could provide in the event of a conflict. In the op-ed below, Georgetown researcher Ryan Fedasiuk explains what he and his colleagues discovered about China’s AI push through public records, and how it might reveal a couple strategic weaknesses.

For the first time on record, earlier this year an artificial intelligence system reportedly beat one of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) top fighter pilots in a simulated dogfight. Chinese state media hailed the achievement as a watershed moment in the country’s military modernization. But almost as significant as the event itself was the fact that it came just months after the US military had achieved the same milestone.

For years, experts have written of China’s plan to wield AI for battlefield advantage, but cited US advantages in hardware and workforce development as enduring sources of US strength.

We Spent a Year Investigating What the Chinese Army Is Buying. Here’s What We Learned.


Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense released its annual report on Chinese military power, mentioning “artificial intelligence” 20 separate times. The report echoed longstanding concerns that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is investing heavily in “intelligentized warfare” — a strategy based on making weapons systems and military operations more networked and autonomous — and that artificial intelligence may be “changing the future of warfare faster than expected.”

The so-called arms race for AI has come to define debates about the competition between the United States and China. The idea that the two nations are racing to dominate in AI — and, in particular, that China is surging ahead in this race — has garnered high-profile supporters as well as skeptics. But while much discussion, including the DoD report, has focused on China’s longer-term grand plans to become an AI superpower, it has been less clear what the country is doing in the short term to make those ambitions a reality.

Digital infrastructure is more than just broadband: What the US can learn from Europe’s open source technology policy study

Frank Nagle

Technology and innovation have long been known to be key drivers of growth allowing companies and countries to better compete. The recent U.S. infrastructure bill aims to foster such growth by providing for investments in digital infrastructure. However, these investments are nearly exclusively focused on better and more accessible broadband. Complementary to broadband, open technologies—those for which the underlying intellectual property, whether it is source code or hardware design, is publicly available—are playing an increasingly important role in the modern economy and companies’ and countries’ ability to innovate. In particular, open source software (OSS) and open source hardware (OSH) have become critical building blocks for both everyday products (cell phones, cars, household appliances, etc.) and cutting-edge emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, big data analytics, etc.). However, since most OSS and OSH is available for free and created through distributed efforts rather than by one particular company, it can be difficult to understand the full economic impact of these critical technologies.

To better understand this problem and work towards a solution, the European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, commissioned a report to measure the importance of OSS and OSH for competitiveness, innovation, and technological independence in the European Union. The full report, for which I was an outside advisor, was released in early September and contains a wealth of information useful for understanding the importance of the open technologies that underly the modern economy. Further, many of these insights can be applied to the United States, although differences between the U.S. and EU environments limit the applicability of some of the report’s findings.

Viewpoint: Four Essential Rules for Developing Revolutionary Networked Capabilities

Tom Maddux

The Defense Department is undertaking a challenging mission to prepare for both limited conflicts and emerging near-peer threats.

This mission will require operating in hostile environments full of cheap commercially produced systems that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and internet-of-things technological breakthroughs. These revolutionary advances will allow enemy forces to make lightning-fast operational decisions based on sensor cognition and allow for real-time data driven force synchronization to supplement human observation and decision making.

These capabilities will allow traditionally weaker forces to seize the initiative and execute the chain of decisions and actions required to neutralize capabilities before the U.S. military can even project force into the operational environments. Weapon systems that cost less than $1 million to procure will effectively eliminate the effectiveness of multibillion-dollar weapon systems like naval carrier groups, manned fighter aircraft and integrated missile defense systems.

How Army special ops can push back against Russian aggression

Meghann Myers

With an ever-diminishing role in counterterror, special operations troops are in transition, moving back toward a traditional supporting role in a larger effort to deter countries with navies and air forces and other capabilities more on par with the U.S.

Army special operations forces in particular have a role to play in countering Russia, according to an Army Special Operations Command-funded Rand Corp. report released Monday, but they’ll need more concrete direction to be useful going forward.

“Although U.S. strategic guidance proclaims that the United States has entered a new era of great-power competition, concepts for succeeding in that competition remain underdeveloped,” according to the report.

So what can Army special operations bring to the fight? By returning to its roots, particularly for Special Forces, Army special operations can work with allies to strengthen their capabilities against foes like Russia, while at the same time giving the U.S. situational awareness of conditions on the ground.

Honor Veterans by Having the Will to Win a War

H.R. McMaster

On Veterans Day, it’s hard to look away from the catastrophe in Afghanistan. The consequences of a war lost through incompetence, delusion and self-defeat will reverberate beyond South Asia. In America, the lack of commitment to win in war, apparent in a humiliating surrender to the Taliban and an ignominious retreat from Kabul, risks eroding trust between servicemen and -women and their civilian and military leaders.

If leaders send men and women into battle without dedicating themselves to achieving a worthy outcome, who will step forward to volunteer for military service? Who will offer to endure hardship, take risk and make sacrifices? Winning in Afghanistan meant ensuring that Afghanistan never again became a haven for jihadist terrorists. America and its coalition partners had the means to do so with a low, sustained level of support for Afghans who were bearing the brunt of the fight on a modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilization.

Army’s SMDC Tech Center races to get space-base capabilities for soldiers


WASHINGTON: The Army’s recent agreement with Capella Space to explore possible use of the firm’s synthetic aperture radar satellites is part of a high-priority service initiative to figure out how to bolster the service’s most critical missions using satellite tech, a top Army official leading the push told Breaking Defense.

“Air and missile defense, long-range precision fires, assured position navigation and timing — all of these rely on space-enabled capabilities and access to space,” said Tom Webber, who heads the Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center. “And so we’re looking at capabilities on all lines of effort, if you will, from [communications] to [radio frequency], whatever it may be, to enable the tactical warfighter.”

Those areas are three of the Army’s six top modernization priorities, spearheaded by Army Futures Command. All are considered by service leaders as crucial to the Army’s ability to implement the US military’s new Joint Warfighting Concept for prosecuting global, information-based warfare with Russia and China across all warfighting domains — air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.

In Defense of Competition

Ryan Shaw

As the Pentagon readies its new National Defense Strategy, the commentariat—unsurprisingly—has some thoughts. While the perspectives are, no doubt, as varied as the array of think tanks and universities from which they spring, there seems to be a significant piling on against both the “Great Power Competition” that animated Trump-era guidance and the (allegedly distinct) “Strategic Competition” terminology advanced by the Biden administration. But “competition” is a rare instance of bipartisan continuity because it speaks to real and important dynamics in the international system, and it has led to important new thinking in our approach to national security. We should not be so quick to discard it.

Rather than abandoning competition, it is time now to double down. The Pentagon strategy should embrace a robust concept of integrated deterrence, and the White House should lead with a National Security Strategy (NSS) rooted in a holistic approach to Competitive Statecraft.

The critics are right that Great Power Competition (“GPC”) has become a vacuous catch-all, a magic word, as CNAS’s Wasser and Pettyjohn tell it, that can justify “every force, capability, or resource request.” But that’s a perennial bureaucratic tendency; the same was true of CT and then COIN in the Bush and Obama years, and probably any number of terms du jour in prior eras. We should always work to minimize these abuses, but we won't eliminate them as long as we use words to describe our priorities. Other critiques are less valid and far less helpful.

Eisenhower and War

George Friedman

In my mind, Dwight Eisenhower was one of the great American presidents, and in particular, he was one of the few presidents who really understood global strategy. That was not a surprise given who he had been. But what is interesting is that his presidency was relatively free of military adventures. He ended the Korean War as his first act, blocked British, French and Israeli operations during the Suez crisis, intervened in Lebanon for a short time and rapidly withdrew after achieving a clear goal, refused to involve the U.S. in Indochina alongside the French, and built significant alliances (he was the first commander of NATO). One of the greatest generals in American history, he was deeply cautious about and even averse to the use of military force. Since he was the only president in the 20th and 21st centuries to have had senior command of a war, his aversion is interesting and worth considering in light of Afghanistan and other conflicts.

We all remember Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex and sometimes misinterpret it as a fear of a conspiracy by the military and contractors. But when he issued his warning, the general who organized the invasion of Europe and defeat of Germany was not seeing the military, or the corporations that produced the weapons that defeated Hitler, as a threat. What he was warning against was that Congress and even presidents were not doing their jobs in overseeing this complex. Generals necessarily want substantial armies and weapons. They are focused on their job and being responsible in that context. Defense companies were indispensable in World War II, and the creation of defense production lines was fiendishly expensive. Of course they wanted to sell weapons to the military. Each was doing its job, but Eisenhower was wary because, while their jobs had to be done, Congress and the president had to understand their imperatives and manage them. His warning was not that they were up to no good, as many read it. It was a warning that the U.S. government had to be aware of their necessarily limited views and management. His fear was that presidents and congressmen would not do their jobs but would allow the military-industrial complex to do its job without controls.

Greening Security: The Military as a Climate Game Changer

Christopher Chen


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in August its latest report on climate change, which paints an exceptionally bleak picture of the future. Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature will increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius within the next 20 years.

The effects of climate change will span the physical environment, ecosystems and human societies. Climate change results in more frequent and extreme weather events and affects natural biological systems. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how shocks emanating from disturbances in life systems and climate change affect people and change societies. Biodiversity loss stemming from climate change can increase the risk of human exposure to both new and established zoonotic pathogens.

The Subversive Trilemma: Why Cyber Operations Fall Short of Expectations

Lennart Maschmeyer


Although cyber conflict has existed for thirty years, the strategic utility of cyber operations remains unclear. A growing body of research explains why cyber operations tend to fall short of their promise in both warfare and low-intensity competition. The mismatch between promise and practice is the consequence of the subversive trilemma theory, which finds that cyber operations’ speed, intensity, and control are negatively correlated. A case study of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict reveals that the trilemma’s constraining effects result in cyber operations delivering limited utility.


Is philosophy just a bunch of nonsense?

Daniel Lehewych

Philosophy, along with mathematics and logic, is one of humanity’s oldest intellectual disciplines. And since its inception — which in the West usually dates back to the Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Thales of Miletus (624/623 BCE – 548/545 BCE) — philosophy has had its skeptics and anti-philosophers. Indeed, throughout the history of philosophy, some of the biggest doubters of philosophy were themselves philosophers.

One notable example from the early 20th century comes from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In both of Wittgenstein’s major works, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (“Tractatus” for short) and the Philosophical Investigations, he makes distinct cases against philosophy as a discipline.

Is philosophy useless?

A central, if not the main, purpose of the Tractatus was to investigate the limits of language. What can and cannot be said? And when considering things which cannot be said, what is their nature? Wittgenstein argues that philosophy essentially makes attempts to speak about things that are impossible to talk about, as such things are beyond the scope of what language can convey.