20 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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China Sends Bomber Planes to Indian Border in 'Warning' to Country


The Chinese military has deployed long-range bomber planes to its border with India in a move to deter conflict between the two nations.

During the celebration of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force's 72nd anniversary last Thursday, state-run news channel China Central Television (CCTV) reportedly aired footage of H-6K bombers flying near the Himalayas. While typically based closer to Beijing, the jets were moved to Xinjiang province sometime last year, close to a region contested by China and India, the South China Morning Post reported.

These particular bombers are usually outfitted with CJ-20 long-range missiles for land and sea encounters. Speaking to the Post, military analyst Anthony Wong Tong said that positioning such bomber planes near the border is "definitely a warning to India."

"New Delhi is within the combat range of the H-6K and the striking range of the CJ-20," Tong explained.

The Bumpy Road To 5G Rollout In India – Analysis

V Sridhar

India has much to gain from 5G not only due to the high speed data transfers it provides but also from the way the technology will impact agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation and other services. The technology is expected to increase global GDP by about US$2 trillion in key sectors such as healthcare, retail, mobility and manufacturing alone. But the road to 5G rollout is far from smooth.

After a tumultuous few years, the telecom sector in India is bracing up for the deployment and adoption of 5G network services. While the government announced the formation of a high-level panel to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans for rolling out 5G technology in India, it is time to assess the prerequisites and challenges for such a roll-out.

Radio spectrum enables communication between mobile handsets and networks, and it is an essential scarce resource for the operators to provide communication services. In India, the roadmap for the allocation of radio spectrum for providing 5G services remains unclear. There are three spectrum bands that are critical for promoting 5G services across the country. Out of these, the controversial 700 MHz band remained unsold in the last spectrum auctions that were held in 2016 and February 2021, due to high reserve prices fixed by the government. Though the mid-band spectrum (3.3–3.6 GHz) is scheduled for auction early next year, the amount of spectrum to be put on block will depend on the corresponding release by the Department of Space.

Action Needed Now to Address the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Afghanistan

Youssof Ghafoorzai

With the Taliban’s forced takeover of Afghanistan, in violation of international law, the country entered a new phase of uncertainty, complicating what was an already difficult situation. More than half of the country’s population is now facing food insecurity and a lack of other basic services.

This is a direct result of various factors, but primarily the failure to reach a comprehensive political agreement under the Doha talks that were intended to end the four-decade-long conflict and secure a lasting and dignified peace within the framework of a democratic Afghanistan. Such an agreement would have led to a responsible transfer of power, and to broad-based administration, acceptable to the people. We could have been in a position of political stability, national unity, social harmony and prevented the present tragic situation.

But that’s not where we are today. The current situation remains extremely dire from a political, economic, humanitarian, and social standpoint.

In Numbers: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The following is an excerpt from DRI Trendlines “Here Be Dragons? Pakistan’s Economy and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.” Access the full report here.

Post implementation of BRI, Chinese overseas investment commitments in Pakistan surged and reached an all-time high in 2015.

Data: American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation, “China Global Investment Tracker.” Graphics: DRI.

Why Is China's Growth Rate Falling So Fast?


NEW YORK – In early 2021, the consensus forecast for Chinese GDP growth this year among 25 major global banks and other professional forecasters was 8.3%. In contrast, the Chinese government’s own growth target was around 6%, lower than the best guesses of 24 out of the 25 institutional forecasters. Did the government know something that outsiders had missed? Did it plan to do something that it regards as desirable even though it might compromise growth?

More recently, international banks have revised down their full-year growth projections for China as the economy’s expansion has slowed. Third-quarter growth was only 4.9% year on year, down from 18.3% and 7.9% in the first two quarters, respectively. The high first-quarter year-on-year growth came in large part because of the negative growth in the first quarter of 2020 due to pandemic-induced lockdowns. The low third-quarter growth is raising concerns about the growth prospects in the fourth quarter and next year.

Is China's Abandoning Nuclear No-First-Use?

Kris Osborn

Here's What You Need to Remember: “I am reacting to what they are doing, which is significantly increasing their nuclear force with silo-based ICBMs. Several years ago they made a decision to move in the direction of a much larger ICBM force. Policies are declarations of intent, but intent can change very quickly,” Kendall said.

China’s massive and fast-paced push to add more nuclear weapons to its arsenal is fast changing the threat equation for U.S. leaders who see the country’s ongoing large-scale increase in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) as a very “destabilizing” event.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall says China’s move to add hundreds of new land-based, fixed ICBM silos amounts to their developing a “first-strike” capability.

China’s Content Manipulation Reaches New Frontiers

Sarah Cook

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long sought to influence the media and information spaces in other countries, deploying a diverse set of tools to achieve its aims. Yet for many years there was no significant evidence that China-linked actors were engaging in aggressive disinformation campaigns on global social media platforms like the one pursued by Moscow ahead of the 2016 U.S. elections.

Since 2019, that picture has changed. Multiple investigations and large-scale takedowns of inauthentic accounts have demonstrated that pro-Beijing forces are indeed carrying out a broad range of manipulative activities on global social media platforms. Moreover, they are constantly adapting their tactics to maximize efficacy.

A new set of investigations on the topic have been published over the past six months. Collectively, the findings point to an unparalleled scale of activity – surpassing even the Kremlin’s – with important implications for global search results, mobile phone users worldwide, and domestic politics in the United States and elsewhere.

China Locks Down Its History, to Its Peril and the World’s


By revising official history to glorify himself, Xi Jinping is taking a page from China’s earlier rulers, not to mention Russia’s Stalin and Putin. But what may have worked in the past is far more dangerous and destabilizing in our hyperconnected present and near future.

The worshipful tones in official Chinese media coverage of this week’s plenum, or meeting, of the Chinese Communist Party’s Congress recall earlier centuries’ attempts to make the past serve the present. The ruthless emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE) killed hundreds of scholarly critics and torched thousands of books to glorify himself and erase the achievements of predecessors and rivals. Not to be outdone, CCP founder Mao Zedong (1893-1976) quipped that although the emperor Qin “buried 460 scholars alive—we have buried 46,000…we have surpassed Qin Shi Huang a hundredfold.”

After Mao’s passing in 1976, Deng Xiaoping ascended to become paramount leader of the CCP, and therefore of China. He banned “all forms of personality cult” and installed a collective leadership in the place of the previous de facto emperor, Mao. But that was an illusion: in 1989, CCP Secretary Zhao Ziyang publicly revealed that he—on paper, the country’s the top leader—was not really in charge. Final decisions were made by Deng Xiaoping, under a secret order issued two years earlier at the 13th Party Congress. Deng was retired only in form, not in reality.

Chinese threat calls for Five Eyes expansion


If new candidates try to join the Five Eyes spy club they should expect to get a poke in the eye and may end up blinded. That was the crude warning from Beijing, which is worried that the West is working on new and more inventive ways of containing China.

Even so, the moment has come to expand urgently the eavesdropping alliance of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The first new recruit, the Sixth Eye, should
be Japan, a country that has for decades studiously avoided military posturing but which now has reason to fear that its neighbourhood is turning ugly.

Japan has long expertise on China and Russia — it shared military signals with the United States during the 1969 Sino-Soviet

What Xi Jinping’s Elevated Status Signals for Chinese Foreign Policy

Ian Johnson

Why is this year’s plenum by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) significant?

Plenums are major annual meetings held by the CCP. They set the agenda and lay out policies for the coming year. This year’s is especially important because 2022 is when the next party congress, which only happen every five years, takes place. During the congress, officials are almost sure to grant President Xi Jinping an unprecedented third term. (In recent decades, top leaders have held power for only two terms. Xi’s term should be up next year.)

How did the plenum elevate Xi?

This year’s plenum adopted a resolution on history that essentially justifies a third term for Xi. The justification, according to a communiqué issued by the state-run Xinhua news agency, is that China is facing “worldwide changes of a scale unseen in a century” and thus needs a strong leader to see it through. The communiqué also says that Xi is now officially the founder of a third era of Communist Chinese history.

Saudi keeps eye on religious ball in global competition for talent

James M. Dorsey

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has tamed his kingdom’s ultra-conservative religious establishment and made hyper-nationalism rather than religion a pillar of a new 21st century Saudi identity.

But the first beneficiaries of a recent decree to give citizenship to high-end achievers in law, medicine, science, technology, culture, and sports suggests that Prince Mohammed, in contrast to the kingdom’s main competitors seeking to attract foreign talent that include the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Singapore, sees religion as an equally important realm of competition.

The fact that approximately one-quarter of the 27 new citizens are Sunni as well as Shiite religious figures, some of whom are not resident in Saudi Arabia, telegraphs the significance that Prince Mohammed attributes to the religious soft power rivalry between Middle Eastern and Asian Muslim-majority states as well as a powerful Indonesian civil society movement.

Iran's Nuclear Choices and Ours


NEW YORK – Negotiations between Iran and the United States on Iran’s nuclear activities are set to resume on November 29. But while many will welcome this development, they should bear in mind that the talks are unlikely to succeed. And even if they do, any agreement will not resolve Iran’s push for regional primacy – or for nuclear weapons.

First, some history. In 2015, Iran and the US, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, entered into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement that reduced Iran’s stockpile of uranium, the level to which it could enrich its uranium, and the number of centrifuges it could operate. Extensive international inspections were put in place. Iran pledged never to develop nuclear weapons.

Experts estimated that these arrangements meant Iran would need up to a year to produce nuclear weapons if it chose to do so and that inspectors would likely catch it in the process. Most of the constraints central to the 2015 accord, however, included “sunset” provisions, meaning they expire over a 10-15-year period.

No. 2 in U.S. military reveals new details about China's hypersonic weapons test


In an exclusive interview with CBS News, General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the No. 2 person in the U.S. military, revealed new details of last summer's Chinese hypersonic weapons test, which sent a missile around the world at more than five times the speed of sound.

"They launched a long-range missile," Hyten told CBS News. "It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China." Asked if it hit the target, Hyten replied, "Close enough."

Unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles which travel in a predictable arc and can be tracked by long range radars, a hypersonic weapon maneuvers much closer to the earth, making it harder for radars to detect. Combined with hundreds of new missile silos China is building, Hyten believes the Chinese could one day have the capability to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the U.S.

Even Sweden Doesn’t Want Migrants Anymore

James Traub

Earlier this month, Swedish Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson delivered her maiden speech as head of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and thus, the presumptive successor to longtime Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Andersson began, predictably enough, by celebrating the triumph of the Swedish welfare state over the neoliberalism of the “grinning bankers on Wall Street.” Then, in a turn that shocked some loyal party members, Andersson directly addressed the country’s 2 million-odd refugees and migrants. “If you are young,” she said, “you must obtain a high school diploma and go on to get a job or higher education.” If you receive financial aid from the state, “you must learn Swedish and work a certain number of hours a week.” What’s more, “here in Sweden, both men and women work and contribute to welfare.” Swedish gender equality applies “no matter what fathers, mothers, spouses, or brothers think and feel.”

In 2015, Swedes took immense pride in the country’s decision to accept 163,000 refugees, most from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “My Europe takes in refugees,” Lofven said at the time. “My Europe doesn’t build walls.” That was the heroic rhetoric of an all-but-vanished Sweden. The Social Democrats now deploy the harsh language only far-right nativists of the Sweden Democrats party used in 2015. Indeed, a social democratic organ recently noted with satisfaction that since “all major parties today stand for a restrictive migration policy with a strong focus on law and order,” the refugee issue is no longer a political liability.

Russia Isn’t About to Attack Ukraine

Jeff Hawn

Over the last few weeks there has been increased chatter in the Western press about Russian military moves in its southern region. Numerous units including combined arms battalions of the 1st Guards Tank Army have reportedly been deployed to the regions near Ukraine, and the West is so alarmed that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia on Nov. 10 against any renewed aggression against Ukraine.

But is Russia actually about to attack Ukraine? The answer, based on the empirical evidence, seems to be a resounding no. These moves might be disturbing, especially given Russia’s history in Ukraine—but they don’t presage war.

First of all, Russia has made no effort to conceal the movement of these forces, both in transit and when they arrive. Commercial satellite imagery shows military units arrayed in vehicle parks and encampments without any camouflage or concealment. A real offensive would take far more care, and it would have other warning signs such as increased air defense systems deployed and activation of reserve units.

Could the Next 9/11 Be Caused By Drones?


Twenty years after the worst attack to ever occur on U.S. soil, it's not just large, populated passenger planes that keep officials and experts up at night, but also the threat of smaller, readily available unmanned aerial systems capable of carrying deadly payloads through the skies of an unsuspecting nation.

Drones are not tomorrow's weapons of mass destruction. They're here today, and the technology required to fashion such a device is only getting cheaper, smarter and more accessible.

One U.S. military official who requested anonymity paints a potential nightmare scenario involving small drones, referred to as unmanned aerial systems, unmanned aircraft systems, or simply, UAS.

"I kind of wonder what could you do if you had a couple of small UAS and you flew into a crowded stadium," the U.S. military official told Newsweek. "That could cause a lot of damage and it's a scenario that could potentially be in play."

As Challenges Mount, Can Europe Correct Its Course?

The liberal European order that emerged after World War II and spread after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been under attack from both within and without in recent years. The European Union—the ultimate expression of the European project—had long been a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, as anti-EU sentiment was integrated into the broader populist platform of protectionism and opposition to immigration. But the European debt crisis in the early 2010s, followed by the refugee crisis in 2015, fueled the rise of far-right and populist parties across Europe, and for a time raised questions about the union’s long-term survival. The shocking outcome of the U.K.’s Brexit referendum in 2016 added to those concerns.

Although the populist wave that once seemed like an existential threat to the union has since subsided, vestiges of it remain, in part because centrist leaders seem unable to come up with a response to immigration that doesn’t alienate more voters than it unites. Illiberal governments hold power in Hungary and Poland, and far-right parties were briefly part of coalition governments in Austria and Italy.

Moscow Worried by Ankara’s Expansive Vision of ‘Turkic World’

Paul Goble

Since the victory of Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan in the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020), Russian commentators have been concerned about Ankara’s efforts to create a union of Turkic states under its aegis. And that alarm has only intensified now that Turkey has established a Union of Turkic States—a notable rebranding of the organization formerly known as the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, or more simply the “Turkic Council” (Turan Today, November 12; Kavkaz Geo Club, November 13). Yet some commentators in Moscow, like Dmitry Rodionov, say that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a more radical vision: one that involves not just a union of Turkic states but of a broader one of Turkic nations, including those within the borders of other countries like the Russian Federation. While the first of these alleged efforts reduces Moscow’s influence in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the second threatens Moscow’s control of Turkic areas within the current borders of the Russian Federation (Rhythm of Eurasia, November 1; Ia-centr.ru, November 14; Stan Radar, November 8).

In recent months, Moscow has frequently criticized the concept of an alliance of Turkic states, but it has been reluctant to more forcefully speak out against it lest such condemnation attract greater attention to the idea itself, Rodionov continues. Last January, when Erdoğan visited Baku, he declared that ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran are a matter of Ankara’s concern—thus, going further rhetorically than even Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. To be sure, the Russian commentator writes, Erdoğan “has never publicly and directly declared that Iran must give up Southern Azerbaijan [Iran’s West and East Azerbaijan provinces, inhabited by a large ethnic-Azerbaijani community]” just as he has never demanded that Beijing “ ‘free’ Eastern Turkestan [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, populated by Turkic groups including Uyghurs].” Nonetheless, he has said and done things to show that Ankara is focused on Turkic peoples who do not have their own statehood and that the two kinds of Turkic unity are interrelated. That means, the commentator argues, Turkey is concerned about the large Turkic populations of the Russian Federation, ranging from the North Caucasus through the Middle Volga to Sakha in the Russian Far East (Rhythm of Eurasia, November 1).

Was COP26 Cheap Talk?


BARCELONA – “Blah, blah, blah.” That was how the young climate activist Greta Thunberg characterized this year’s climate summit in Glasgow (COP26) – even before it began. She was right, in a way. Talk is cheap whenever international agreements lack effective mechanisms to verify and enforce commitments. Gatherings like COP26 tend to lack credibility, even when they are presented as a “last chance” to prevent the end of the world as we know it. Nonetheless, such meetings help to raise awareness about the problem and potential solutions, and that is better than the denialism of past years.

True, the final agreement produced at COP26 appears weak, considering that the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5º Celsius is now barely alive. Instead of “unabated coal power” being phased out, now it will be “phased down,” a crucial change inserted at India’s insistence (and with China’s acquiescence). While “inefficient fossil-fuels subsidies” will still be “phased out,” the implication is that “efficient” fossil-fuel subsidies remain an option.

Winter of Europe’s Discontent: Belarus Threatens EU With Migrants and Gas Shortages

Lillian Posner

Europe may have thought that with the Nord Stream II pipeline near completion and the resolution of the Moldovan gas crisis that its energy problems were over. Not a chance. Belarusian dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s recent threats to shut down the Yamal-Europe pipeline suggest they are only beginning. Already, thousands of migrants are shivering in the frigid forests on the Polish border, and if Europe can’t manage these twin crises, Europeans, too, may be feeling the cold.

The Yamal-Europe pipeline transits gas through Belarus to Poland and Germany, which makes it a prime lever for Lukashenka to extract concessions from the European Union. Brussels has just announced another round of sanctions against Belarus in response to its orchestration of the migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.  

Since June, Belarusian security personnel have steered thousands of migrants away from the border checkpoint where they can legally claim asylum and towards the now fortified border where they are being met by a force of seventeen thousand Polish border police. Two thousand migrants are now trapped in a freezing purgatory between two armed police forces, unable to enter Poland and unable to return to Belarus. In response to what Poland perceives as a “hybrid warfare attack,” it has threatened to shut down the border altogether. In turn, Lukashenka says he will pull the plug on the gas supply.   

COP26 Finds Its Scapegoats – India and China

Santosh Sharma Poudel

“It’s meek, it’s weak and the 1.5C goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said of the agreement that came out of the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow. It summarized the gains from the meeting.

The Glasgow summit came up with three ways to speed up tackling climate change – by changing timetables; tweaking financial arrangements; and allowing greater multilateralism.

However, the headline on the last day of the fortnight-long meeting was dominated by India and China, who played a role in watering down one aspect of the final pact. They objected to the “phase out” of coal (both the countries rely heavily on coal for energy production) in the text of the agreement and replaced it with “phase down” and on ending subsidies on inefficient fossil fuel.

Is Australia relevant?


Last week, Singapore’s Education Minister Chan Chun Sing addressed the Fullerton lecture series on US-China relations and his own country’s foreign policy. Chan, a leading member of the so-called “4G” or fourth-generation of Singaporean politicians, echoed some familiar refrains about the need for both Beijing and Washington to overcome domestic challenges and exercise global leadership.

Among his more interesting comments, though, was one of several prescriptions for what other countries beyond the United States and China should do to shape the global order: “Taking sides regardless of issues and context breeds irrelevance.”

By this measure, then, Australia must be totally irrelevant. After all, Beijing has frozen ministerial contact with Canberra for almost two years. And Australia hasn’t blinked – continuing to strengthen its bilateral defence alliance with the United States and augmenting it through arrangements such as AUKUS, providing Australia with United Kingdom and United States support to obtain nuclear submarines, and the “Quad”. Defence Minister Peter Dutton even went so far as to say that he could not conceive of circumstances where Australia would not militarily support the US in a conflict over Taiwan.

Former CISA head warns of rivals’ ‘destructive’ cyber capabilities


WASHINGTON: Former top government cybersecurity official Chris Krebs said today that it’s likely just a matter of time before one or more of America’s adversaries turn to more “destructive” cyberattacks, an ominous warning whose manifestation would significantly escalate tensions in cyberspace and between nation-states.

Krebs, the former chief of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, did not provide specifics, but he alluded to the usual suspects Russia and China, as well as a widening group of cyber-capable adversaries.

“It’s a really scary environment when every single country has the ability to develop cyberespionage and domestic surveillance and destructive [cyber] capabilities,” Krebs said.

Krebs noted that, right now, the US has “a significant advantage over every adversary, so what will they do?” He said they will likely, at some point, leverage “destructive capabilities” as an asymmetric tactic.

At Project Convergence, Army ‘struggling’ to see joint battlefield as it heeds ‘hard’ lessons


YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.: In next-generation warfare, the ability of a joint force commander to “see” the battlefield — a single vision with data from disparate battlefield sensors owned by different services — will be crucial, according to today’s military leaders. But in the desolate Arizona desert, some of those Army leaders found out first hand just how challenging that vision is to achieve.

It turns out that such joint “situational awareness” that the Army “thought was going to be the easiest one […] turned out the hardest one,” said Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command.

Or as Col. Andre’ Abadie, co-lead for the Project Convergence operational planning team, put it: “We’re struggling there.”

But failure — and, most importantly, learning from it — is exactly the point at Project Convergence 21, the Army’s annual experiment in connecting sensors and shooters. Over the last few weeks here, the US military gathered to stress test 110 technologies to their limits, and learn how they can be improved for future wars.

Artificial Intelligence Drones May Prove Useful Against China

Kris Osborn

Here's What You Need to Remember: Simply put, when confronted by this kind of high-speed lethal attack, there simply may be no chance for a human to respond with any kind of decision.

What if waves of hundreds of autonomous, integrated artificial intelligence (AI)-capable mini-drones were closing in upon a forward Army unit, Air Force base or Navy ship at staggering speeds, presenting unprecedented complexity for defenders? Perhaps they are programmed with advanced algorithms such that they operate in close coordination with one another? Perhaps hundreds of them are themselves engineered as explosives to close in upon and explode on target?

Simply put, what happens when computerized swarms of enemy drone attacks exceed any human capacity to respond in time?

China May Opt for an Unconventional War

James Holmes

Here's What You Need to Remember: PLA strategists seem to have taken their cue from the Western concept, right down to making the nomenclature their own.

So “systems of systems”—not individual warriors or ships, planes, or tanks—go to war? Good to know. That’s what China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) thinks, at any rate. China’s 2015 Military Strategy, for example, vows to employ “integrated combat forces” to “prevail in system-vs-system operations featuring information dominance, precision strikes and joint operations.” This is how China’s armed forces intend to put the Maoist “military strategic guideline of active defense”—the “essence” of Communist China’s way of warmaking—into practice. They will fabricate systems-of-systems for particular contingencies and send them off to battle. Once there they will strive to incapacitate or destroy enemy systems-of-systems. Firm up your own weak spots while assailing an opponent’s and you shall go far.

The First (and Only) Law of Robotic Warfare

Sorin Matei

Robotic weapons that can autonomously identify the enemy, place firepower in position, and assist in targeting are almost a reality.[1] War waged by intelligent machines conducted by humans ensconced in bunkers or roaming from stand-off command centers at sea or in air can alter the face of the battlefield. Such wars can change the very definition of conflict.

Will the future autonomous fighting systems be a boon or an ultimate threat to humanity?

Change will start with the possibility that vulnerabilities in enemy configuration may be better and faster diagnosed with machine learning algorithms, which can also more accurately decide if the enemy is where we expect it to be and in what strength. Open flanks and weak points can be dynamically discovered using models that predict movement in time and space. Finally, optimal moments of attack or withdrawal can be determined using machine learning, a method that based on past experience can identify what to do next. This second revolution in military affairs will not stop here, though. There is the clear possibility that the collection of data analytic tools will make the next and necessary step: full autonomy.

Russia's Successor to the S-400 Missile System Is Here

Mark Episkopos

Here's What You Need to Know: Initially slated for completion in 2012, the S-500 project has faced a long procession of delays over the past decade.

Following years of anticipation, Russia’s next-generation S-500 missile defense system is being introduced into service.

“The state trials have just completed, and the first supplies of this complex have started,” Russian deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov told reporters. “That is not yet the full range as the Almaz-Antey Concern requires. The configurations of the complex were discussed.” Borisov did not elaborate further and his somewhat hazy statement did not become clearer when interpreted in its original Russian. The implication appears to be that certain components are missing from the handful of S-500 units that are currently being delivered to Russia’s Armed Forces. These could be core components without which the system will not function as intended or additional loadout options like different interceptor missile types. Borisov’s statement potentially suggests something of a soft launch for the new missile system, though the details remain unclear as of the time of writing.