21 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.


Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

China and India are heirs to the two oldest civilisations of the world. China and India are the two largest human populated states in the world. Together they have 38.1% of the world's population. China and India have the third and seventh largest landmass of the world. On GDP (PPP) basis, China and India with 27.31 and 11.2 trillion dollars are the world's two largest economies. China and India have the two largest armies of the world. Their armed forces are strong in all domains of warfare. Both emerged in their present form after World War II. India became independent in 1947 and the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. They share one of the world's longest borders, about 4000 kms, across the Himalayas. Both are nuclear-weapon states. China's missiles can reach anywhere in the world.

Calls for Fencing the India-Myanmar Border Gather Steam Again

Rajeev Bhattacharya

An ambush of an Assam Rifles convoy in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on Saturday morning, which killed a commanding officer, his wife, and their 5-year-old son as well as four other security personnel, has set alarm bells ringing about the security situation in the border state.

Two separatist groups, the People’s Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga People’s Front, have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attacks, which also left at least six other personnel injured, have turned the spotlight on the decades-old insurgency in Manipur.

Apparently, the attack was planned and executed from their camps based in Myanmar. This has triggered calls for erecting a fence along the India-Myanmar border to curb the increasing cross-border criminal activities between the two countries.

Pentagon Quietly Puts More Troops in Taiwan

Jack Detsch

The Biden administration added more U.S. troops to Taiwan over the past few months, according to newly published Defense Department data, leaving nearly 40 troops on the embattled island to protect the de facto U.S. embassy and train Taiwanese troops.

The small but steadily growing U.S. footprint—now nearly twice as big as last year—could represent increased concern in the White House and the Pentagon over the island’s fate. While most military officials don’t believe China has made the decision to invade just yet, as Beijing builds up its amphibious forces and hypersonic missiles to potentially soften up Taiwan’s defenses, the temperature has continued to rise, especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s virtual coronation in a major party plenum this month. Chinese officials are increasingly outspoken about restoring what they see as a renegade province—by any measure.

“Achieving China’s complete reunification is an aspiration shared by all sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts. That said, should the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’ provoke us, force our hands, or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said this week.

Xi's need to overtake Deng poses big risk for Taiwan


About a quarter-century after his death, former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping remains widely revered for enriching China. His policy of "reform and opening-up" lifted millions out of poverty.

After the Chinese Communist Party adopted its "third resolution on history" last week, the big question remains: Has Xi Jinping, the party's general secretary and Chinese president, truly overtaken Deng in terms of achievements?

Many party members have no choice but to keep their mouths shut about this extremely sensitive question, which is no doubt on everybody's mind.

Indeed, the communique, issued after the party Central Committee's sixth plenary session, devotes more space to Xi than to the three top leaders before him, Deng, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

A Case for China’s Pursuit of Conventionally Armed ICBMs

Roderick Lee

The growing inventory of at least 200 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos across three silo fields in Guazhou, Hami and Hanggin Banner renewed discourse on China’s evolving nuclear strategy. This narrative culminated with the U.S. Defense Department’s 2021 “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” report stating that China is “implementing a launch-on warning posture.”

But what if these ICBMs, and potentially other strategic launch systems that China has on hand, have a conventional strike role? The United States has at least considered the idea of using ICBMs for conventional strike missions for decades and China has never openly dismissed the possibility.

The idea is not without its criticisms, many of which revolve around cost and escalation concerns. However, these are China’s weapon systems to use as it sees fit. As such, we should base our assessments of how China might intend to use its growing arsenal on the way China thinks about the use of force; not how the United States or other external actors think about it.

Bhutan-China Border Negotiations in Context

Jianli Yang

The People’s Republic of China has maritime or land border disputes with many of its neighbors: Brunei, Bhutan, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Bhutan shares over 400 kilometer-long border with China. Recently, Bhutan and China signed a MoU “for expediting the Bhutan-China Boundary” negotiations. It is believed that the roadmap had been finalized during the 10th expert group meeting in Kunming in April 2021. The roadmap might include setting up a framework first, confirming the specific disputes with an exchange of maps, and then a resolution stage.

The Bhutanese Embassy in India did not comment on the details of the roadmaps, indicating the process of negotiations was “sensitive.” It is also important to note that Bhutan and China have held discussions on the border dispute for the past 37 years.

Border Talks Between Bhutan and China

Xi Jinping’s Terrifying New China

Michael Schuman

China’s social media was briefly aflutter this fall about an impressive feat in the popular online fantasy game Honor of Kings. A player had completed a “pentakill,” or five kills in a row, but something just smelled wrong: The user in question was 60 years old, according to the verified account information—hardly the type to be an expert gamer. Even more mysterious, why was this person brandishing digital weaponry at 3 a.m.? Was the player in fact a teenager sneaking online in the wee hours of the morning?

Under normal circumstances, the speculation might have ended there. But these days are far from normal in China. Deeming video games a distraction from the hard work of serving the motherland, President Xi Jinping’s government mandated in August that youngsters could play just three hours a week, and only at specified times. Thus, the anonymous gamer, whoever he or she was, might have been violating the law and the great leader’s wishes. The matter got so much attention that the game’s operator, the Chinese tech giant Tencent, investigated and in a formal statement confirmed that the game-obsessed insomniac was indeed a perfectly legal 60-year-old. (The company employs facial-recognition software to match users to their accounts.)

The Biden-Xi Summit Was Actually Kind of a Big Deal


The outcome of the Biden-Xi summit wasn’t exactly the stuff of banner headlines, but it was more significant—potentially even pathbreaking—than the shrugs of many pundits indicated.

Back in June, Joe Biden outlined three reasons for holding a meeting with another world leader, Vladimir Putin, despite the dim chances of producing major results. First, he had long felt there was “no substitute for face-to-face dialogue among leaders.” Second, he and Putin, as possessors of vast nuclear arsenals, shared “a unique responsibility” to maintain “stable and predictable” relations. Third, “we should be able to cooperate when it’s in our mutual interests,” while minimizing the chance of conflict when our interests differ.

At a briefing Tuesday morning, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave a nearly identical explanation for Biden’s virtual conversation with Xi Jingping on Monday night—though he noted America and China’s role as the two largest economic powers, rather than their nuclear arsenals, as the source of their obligation to stabilize relations.

A Memoir From the Head of Saudi Intelligence

Bruce Riedel

Prince Turki AlFaisal Al Saud has produced an insightful and engaging memoir of his 24 years as head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID). His focus is on Afghanistan, where he was a central figure. He provides much new information on the Saudi role between the Soviet invasion in 1979 and the start of the American war in 2001.

Half of the book is devoted to the war against the Soviets. After the invasion, President Carter quickly organized the coalition to support the Afghan mujaheddin fighting against the Russians and their Afghan communist allies. Saudi Arabia and the United States would fund the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), which would provide sanctuary, weapons, advice and other assistance to the rebels. The British also helped, sending commandos into Afghanistan to help the mujaheddin (no Americans crossed the border). The CIA bought arms for the mujaheddin, chiefly from China and Egypt.

Turki had just become GID chief two years earlier. He got the job because his predecessor had failed to predict and prevent Egyptian President Anwar Sadat from making his historic trip to Jerusalem in November 1977, a trip the Saudis regarded as gravely weakening the Arab coalition against Israel and its occupation of Arab territory, including East Jerusalem.

The Fourth Saudi State

Hilal Khashan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has fundamentally changed the Saudi system of governance established by his grandfather decades ago. In his drive to succeed his ailing father, King Salman, MBS, as he’s commonly known, eliminated the Wahhabi clerical establishment’s position as an influential force in Saudi politics and society. He also canceled the system of checks and balances among the Saudi royals and evicted them from the centers of Saudi power. Through these and other changes, he has imposed a fundamentally different political system that’s indistinguishable from other Arab absolute monarchies and radical republics.

Foundations of Saudi Arabia

Modern Saudi Arabia, also referred to as the Third Saudi State, was established in 1932 by ibn Saud, the father of current King Salman. Ibn Saud built the kingdom based on a balance between the Saudi royals and the custodians of Wahhabism, a sect of Islam that came to dominate Saudi Arabia. He brought peace and stability even to remote parts of the country, delegated different responsibilities to his children and treated the business class with respect and appreciation. After his death in 1953, his children committed to preserving the system of governance established by their late father, even during a turbulent period in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They maintained a system of checks and balances where none of the top princes surrounding the king could dictate Saudi policies. Saudi kings ensured that Cabinet decisions were made by consensus, protecting the unity of the royal family.

Breaking Up Is Bad for the United States

Stephen M. Walt

What is the United States’ greatest advantage relative to other countries? Is it the country’s large and still innovative economy? No doubt economic strength is important, but how did the U.S. economy get so big? Is it America’s well-armed, well-trained, and far-flung military? Military power is obviously valuable, but what allows Washington to deploy these forces all over the world and worry relatively little about defending the homeland? Or is the secret ingredient the United States’ array of allies? Guess again: Some U.S. allies add to its strength, others create more problems than they solve, and others are more like protectorates rather than meaningful additions to U.S. power.

In fact, America’s unique advantage has been its status as the only great power in the Western Hemisphere—and thus, the only “regional hegemon” in modern political history. By expanding across North America, assimilating incoming immigrants, and maintaining high birth rates for many years, what were originally 13 weak and loosely connected colonies grew into the world’s largest economy in little over a century. With no powerful rivals nearby, the United States also enjoyed a level of “free security” other great powers could only dream of.

What the Pentagon Must do to Defend Itself from Cyber Attacks

Dan Goure

Here's What You Need To Remember: The U.S. Congress has twice in recent years directed DoD to move forward with implementing the C2C capability. While the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, as well as a few other DoD components, have moved forward with implementation of this program, most of DoD has not.

The proliferation of devices on the Internet is becoming a tidal wave. In addition to your phone, computer, video game console and television, the Internet now connects practically everything that has electronics and sensors: household appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, cars, airplanes, ships, industrial robots, public utilities, home security systems, children’s toys and medical devices. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be at least 75 billion connected devices in what is being called the “Internet of Things” (IOT). With advances in microprocessors, sensing devices and software, pretty soon anything that can be connected will be connected.

Why Congress Should Stop Targeting Big Tech

Dan Goure

It seems that one of the few things on which Democrats and Republics in Congress can agree is they want to put constraints on the U.S. technology sector. Members of both the House and Senate have put forth at least five bills directed at limiting how large technology companies operate. The most notable of these efforts is the American Innovation and Choice Online (AICO) Act.

Rather than seeking to create a more open and competitive environment in online business, this bill targets a small number of large tech companies, threatening them with draconian penalties for vague and hard-to-prove violations of arbitrary standards of competitiveness. These are precisely the firms that have led the way in creating the modern IT economy. Their products and services are used by most Americans and millions of large and small businesses. This misguided effort to shackle some of our best-performing companies will threaten U.S. economic recovery and national security.

After nearly two years of antitrust hearings on so-called Big Tech companies, both the House and Senate have put forward multiple bills seeking to prevent what members feel is monopolistic behavior by these companies. Some of these proposed laws are draconian, others downright silly. For example, one such bill would require large tech companies to prove their acquisitions were lawful, a reversal of the traditional notion of innocent until proven guilty.

Italy Is Becoming More Important To U.S. Security. Here Are Five Reasons Why.

Loren Thompson

As China’s economic and military power has surged in recent years, U.S. defense preparations have become heavily focused on the Western Pacific.

However, the United States is a global player with security concerns in other regions.

Europe is arguably the area of greatest geopolitical importance to Washington, because it is the cradle of Western civilization and its geography makes the region far more susceptible to cross-border aggression.

In the years ahead, great-power conflict involving U.S. forces is at least as likely in Eastern Europe as it is in the Western Pacific.

Washington is not formally committed to the defense of Taiwan if that nation is attacked; it is committed by treaty to the defense of several NATO nations sharing a common border with Russia.

As China Rises, the US Builds Toward a Bigger Role in AI

FOR DECADES, THE US government has let the private sector and the free market do their thing, betting this is the surest way to spur innovation and conjure up the advances needed to keep the American economy on top of the world.

Now, with China ascendant, the approach is starting to change. Washington is taking baby steps toward something closer to central planning—seeking to inspire, guide, and protect advances in key areas like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing.

The latest evidence of a shift in thinking is the final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). The commission was created by the Pentagon in 2018 to study the national security implications of AI and related technologies, and outline a plan to keep the US ahead.

“If we keep things the way they are, China will surpass us,” says Gilman Louie, a venture capitalist who cofounded In-Q-tel, the investment arm of the CIA, and member of the NSCAI. “We lack that national strategy.”

Britain’s New Swing Voters? A Survey of British Indian Attitudes


The British Raj might have exited the Indian subcontinent nearly seventy-five years ago, but the people-to-people connections between India and the United Kingdom have proven resilient.

The Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom—now the largest immigrant group in the country—is young, fast-growing, and relatively well educated. It is one of the highest earning ethnic groups in the country.1 As their numbers have grown, so too has the community’s political stature—two of the four most prestigious ministerial berths in the present government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson are held by persons of Indian origin.

The community’s growth has been accompanied by changes in its political leanings. Historically, the British Indian community has strongly supported the left-of-center Labour Party, but anecdotal evidence and limited survey data suggest that it has been slowly gravitating toward Labour’s principal rival, the right-of-center Conservative Party. Where do British Indians’ partisan leanings reside today? How does the diaspora view Britain’s political leadership? And what are the principal policy issues that undergird the community’s political preferences?

North Korea’s Push for Reunification Isn’t Just Empty Rhetoric

Benjamin R. Young

In the final months of his single term in office, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is making a strong push to formally end the Korean War. As part of his efforts, Moon is reportedly seeking a summit between the leaders of the four main participants in the conflict—the United States, China and the two Koreas—to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In response, the North has signaled its openness to the proposal, provided its conditions are met.

Setting aside for a moment the policy debate over whether that would be a good idea, it is worth considering the logical end of such a peace treaty: Korean reunification. While many in the West assume reunification of the two Koreas would occur on Seoul’s terms, history and recent developments on the peninsula suggest that might not be the case. Since the Korean War ended with a truce in 1953, North Korea has never given up its goal of reunifying the peninsula on its own terms.

How to Stop Moscow From Squeezing Ukraine’s Energy Sector

Eugene Chausovsky

As the world contends with growing energy challenges—from climate change to rising oil and natural gas prices to politically motivated supply risks—such challenges are particularly acute in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have recently warned about a brewing energy war with Russia, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke against Moscow’s “attempt to use energy as a weapon” following a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart in Washington on Nov. 10. However, with concerted help from the United States and European Union, Ukraine can both benefit from and contribute to energy security throughout the European continent.

Ukraine’s energy sector faces several major challenges and vulnerabilities. First and foremost is the role of Russia, which has traditionally provided Ukraine with the vast majority of its energy imports. However, Russia poses a significant geopolitical threat to Ukraine, not only in terms of the energy sector but across the political, economic, and security spectrums. Russia frequently uses energy as a geopolitical tool in Ukraine—whether as a punitive measure in the form of natural gas cutoffs, such as those in 2006 and 2009 under the pro-Western Ukrainian government of Viktor Yushchenko, or as a reward for political loyalty, such as when it lowered natural gas prices for the pro-Russian administration of Viktor Yanukovych in 2010.

Confronting the Kremlin's New Hybrid War in Europe


STOCKHOLM – As winter approaches, the Kremlin is instigating trouble in Europe. Its latest machinations include a gas war against Central and Eastern European countries; a migration crisis along Belarus’s borders with Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland; a renewed military mobilization on Ukraine’s eastern border; and agitation for Serbian secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Although this campaign has multiple objectives, a common thread runs through it: the Kremlin’s desire to divide and weaken the European Union. That means acquiring Germany’s approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as fast as possible; disrupting the EU gas market, with a view to returning to Soviet-style long-term contracts, with gas prices tied to oil; and weakening Ukraine and forcing Moldova to abandon its European Association Agreement and join Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union instead.

The Kremlin tends to send up trial balloons to see what it can get away with before hitting hard if the opportunity arises. That means the West – the United States, the EU, and the United Kingdom – will need to act fast to head off whatever is coming next. The biggest mistake one can make in responding to Russian provocations is to do nothing, or to react too slowly and too softly. As Keir Giles of Chatham House argues, the West must recognize “that confrontation with Russia cannot be avoided because it is already happening.” History shows that “Russia respects strength and despises compromise and accommodation.”

Key Takeaways From the Glasgow Climate Pact

Mark Nevitt

Nearly 200 nations signed the Glasgow Climate Pact on Nov. 13. Acknowledging the increasingly strong connection between climate change and its role as a threat accelerant, the pact explicitly states that climate change is a “social, economic and environmental threat.” It also called on world leaders to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.”

Climate change is the ultimate environmental and security destabilizer, exacerbating extreme weather, drought, wildfires, and sea level rise. Climate change is already destabilizing many parts of the world. This new climate-security reality was brought home just last month in the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate and other U.S. climate-security reports. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activity is now inextricably linked to broader security concerns.

The Glasgow Climate Pact consists of 94 paragraphs and eight thematic subparts. In what follows, I highlight the key takeaways, some surprises, and what to look for in the future.

Agile Multilateralism Is Needed to Address Cybercrime Safe Havens

Graham Kennis, Laura Bate, Mark Montgomery

With the Treasury Department’s announcement of sanctions against the cryptocurrency exchange SUEX and the 30-nation summit led by the White House, the past few weeks have served as a reminder that in a particularly busy year for cybersecurity, important policy opportunities reside in work with international organizations and allies and partners.

The particular issue that has captivated such sustained attention is the harm caused by ransomware, which has reached critical levels both domestically and abroad. Broadly speaking, leaders are facing three interwoven challenges when dealing with ransomware. The first is the need to strengthen the resilience of digital infrastructure writ large. Basic business cyber hygiene can go a long way to addressing cyber vulnerabilities. For example, if hospitals, schools, police forces and municipal water authorities all implemented multi-factor authentication, ransomware would be far less of a problem. The second is disrupting criminals, for example, through arrests or inhibiting the financial flows that enable their operations. The third challenge is denying criminals a physical location from which they can conduct their operations, generally by empowering and pressuring governments to crack down on cybercrime emanating from within their borders. We point readers interested in building resilience to a robust body of analysis and work on the topic (including from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, where the authors work). This post will focus on the second and third of these challenges, the success of which hinges on deliberate international engagement.

An Unlikely Threat to the Western Alliance

Tom McTague

Asimple analysis about the unfolding crisis in Northern Ireland has established itself as settled wisdom among almost all informed observers across Europe, the United States, and even Britain: It’s all London’s fault.

The story is convincing. It was Britain that voted for Brexit despite warnings about the threat it posed to peace in Northern Ireland; Britain that imposed Brexit on Northern Ireland even though the people there voted to remain in the European Union; Britain that chose the hardest possible version of Brexit, one that it knew would be the most disruptive for Northern Ireland; and, finally, Britain that signed a treaty with the EU that it is now threatening to partially revoke over issues in Northern Ireland. All of these charges are true.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is publicly committed to unilaterally abandoning core parts of the 2019 Brexit deal he signed unless he can negotiate significant changes, insisting that the move is necessary because the practical impact of the agreement is undermining the fragile social, economic, and political consensus in Northern Ireland established by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But with trust having collapsed between Britain and the EU over Brexit and a raft of other related issues, the EU believes that Johnson is acting in bad faith and has threatened to retaliate, up to and including scrapping the entire Brexit agreement.

The world is worried Putin is about to invade Ukraine. Here’s why

Holly Ellyatt

President Vladimir Putin is being watched closely by experts and officials who fear Russia might be planning a military escalation with its neighbor Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have reportedly gathered at the border with Ukraine, and experts fear Russia could be about to stage a repeat of its 2014 invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which prompted global outrage and sanctions on Moscow.

“We all should be very worried, to be honest, I do share this assessment,” Michal Baranowski, director and senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Warsaw Office, told CNBC when asked if Russia could be about to embark upon military action against Ukraine, describing Russia’s highly tense relationship with Ukraine as being a conflict “under the threshold of war.”

“This assessment is shared by many here in Warsaw and in Washington, D.C.,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Wednesday, adding “we are seeing very significant buildup in threats on the border with Ukraine. So it’s really a key moment for the West to step up pressure against Putin.”

Germany Can Learn From Japan’s China Strategy

Noah Barkin

One of the biggest foreign-policy challenges for a new German government will be to find the right balance among economic priorities, national security interests, and the defense of democratic values in its relationship with China. In doing so, Germany can learn a lot from Japan, another country with deep economic ties to China that has grown increasingly wary of Beijing’s authoritarian shift at home and growing assertiveness abroad under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Germany and Japan have much in common beyond their complex relationship with China. Both emerged defeated and devastated from World War II to become leading economic and technological powers. Both have strong pacifist currents running through their foreign policies. And both rely heavily on the United States for their security.

There are also crucial differences. Germany was on the front line of the old Cold War. Japan is on the front line of what may be a new one. Because of this, Japan has been quicker than Germany to adapt its national security approach to a new era, where the lines between trade, technology, security, and human rights are increasingly blurred.

4 Key Takeaways From COP26

Christina Lu

​​​​The latest United Nations climate summit, or COP26, officially concluded Saturday, bringing an end to two long weeks of grueling negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, among almost 200 countries. Deliberations dragged on a day later than scheduled, and the final deal that was struck—the Glasgow Climate Pact—was weakened by stubborn, last-minute compromises, such as one inserted by India that gives coal a second lease on life.

So what came out of Glasgow, really? Scientists and many policymakers stress that action on climate change now is urgently needed, especially as the dire impacts of warming have thrown entire countries into disarray. Just this summer, heavy flooding ravaged central China, killing more than 300 people; across the western United States, a searing heat wave strained power grids and the water supply. In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reviews climate science under the auspices of the U.N., warned that the world was experiencing unprecedented levels of warming that could produce irreversible damage—not just heat waves, floods, and shrinking glaciers but sea level rise that will continue for centuries regardless of what policymakers decide in the next few decades.

Managing the Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities of Artificial Intelligence

Jim Dempsey

Last week, Andy Grotto and I published a new working paper on policy responses to the risk that artificial intelligence (AI) systems, especially those dependent on machine learning (ML), can be vulnerable to intentional attack. As the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence found, “While we are on the front edge of this phenomenon, commercial firms and researchers have documented attacks that involve evasion, data poisoning, model replication, and exploiting traditional software flaws to deceive, manipulate, compromise, and render AI systems ineffective.”

The demonstrations of vulnerability are remarkable: In the speech recognition domain, research has shown it is possible to generate audio that sounds like speech to ML algorithms but not to humans. There are multiple examples of tricking image recognition systems to misidentify objects using perturbations that are imperceptible to humans, including in safety critical contexts (such as road signs). One team of researchers fooled three different deep neural networks by changing just one pixel per image. Attacks can be successful even when an adversary has no access to either the model or the data used to train it. Perhaps scariest of all: An exploit developed on one AI model may work across multiple models.

DIA details push to modernize top-secret network amid 150% uptick in cyber threats


WASHINGTON: The Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief information officer detailed today the extensive modernization initiative underway for the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, or JWICS, which is the top-secret network for the entire federal government and probably the DIA’s most recognizable brand.

Doug Cossa, who has been in the DIA CIO role for six months, said the agency is currently involved in significant “investment in and recapitalization of [the JWICS]” focused on updating equipment, building out cybersecurity tools, and optimizing use cases.

JWICS is the government’s network for hosting Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information, where the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community store their most confidential intelligence. The general public gained wider awareness of the JWICS in 2010, after Chelsea Manning took highly sensitive information off the network and then leaked it to WikiLeaks. The next year it was the network that allowed then-President Obama and his team to keep up with the raid against Osama bin Laden in real time.

UK fighting hacking epidemic as Russian ransomware attacks increase

Dan Sabbagh

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it tackled a record number of cyber incidents in the UK over the last year, with ransomware attacks originating from Russia dominating its activities.

The cybersecurity agency said it had helped deal with a 7.5% increase in cases in the year to August, fuelled by the surge of criminal hackers seizing control of corporate data and demanding payment in cryptocurrency for its return.

Paul Chichester, director of operations, said that “ransomware has certainly dominated a significant portion of year” and that the hacking epidemic had become “global as a story in the last 12 months”.

Criminal hackers, based in Russia or in nearby Russian speaking territories, successfully targeted organisations such as the London borough of Hackney and the celebrity jeweller Graff in the UK in the past year.


Travis Pike

There’s a reasonable argument to be made that firearms technology has stalled ever so slightly in recent decades. Not much has changed. Ultimately, until a new propellent, projectile material, or cartridge design offers significant advantages over the current market, the stall will likely continue. However, that doesn’t mean that the technology around the gun can’t change. In fact, it’s in that realm that we’ve seen most of the most significant advances since the 1960s.

But it’s not just about what’s currently on the market, it’s about what capability these technologies bring to the warfighter. While most tend to think this sort of technology trickles down from the military, that isn’t always the case. New gear is expensive, after all, especially when you have to buy enough of it to outfit hundreds of thousands of troops. Individual consumers, on the other hand, can buy themselves snazzy new gear that just isn’t yet economically feasible to be general issue.