23 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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Infrastructure Development in Tibet and its Implications for India

Suyash Desai

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers Tibet an intrinsic part of Chinese territory, which it has controlled since the early 1950s. When the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered the region in 1951, Tibet was sparsely connected, both internally and with China proper. Today, it is well connected by a comprehensive network of highways, railroads, and air routes. This dual-use infrastructure (along with China’s recent military modernization and ongoing PLA reforms) helps China to manage the threats emanating from its unresolved border dispute with India, which is the PRC’s secondary strategic direction after Taiwan and the Western Pacific [1]. Infrastructure development also supports China’s efforts to maintain internal stability within the restive Tibetan region.

This article surveys the civilian infrastructure that China has built in Tibet over the last two decades, including roads, railroads and airports – all of which are dual-use in nature. In doing so, it also briefly discusses the implications of these developments for China’s unresolved border dispute with India.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Tensions Persist After the Taliban Takeover

Rupert Stone

As the United States prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan earlier this year, I wrote that Pakistan should fear a Taliban takeover of the country. In the case of a Taliban takeover, sanctions would likely be imposed on a Taliban regime, impairing trade and investment and giving the already massive Afghan drug trade a further boost.

Pakistan could also face heightened security risks from terror groups harbored by the Taliban, chiefly Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). I predicted that Islamabad’s assistance to the U.S. “War on Terror” and its attempts to pressure the Taliban at Washington’s behest had created bad blood that could rebound negatively on Pakistan if the militants seized power in Kabul.

And, indeed, the first three months of the new Taliban regime have been a rocky ride for Pakistan and Afghanistan’s new rulers. While Pakistan’s support for the insurgency ultimately succeeded in its aim of mitigating Indian influence in Afghanistan, the group’s victory is no panacea for the two state’s bilateral relations.

America Decided to Leave Afghanistan—Now Leave Them in Peace

Cheryl Benard

What went wrong in Afghanistan? How is it possible that we, a superpower bringing nothing but good things—education, development, democracy, equality—were driven out by a ragtag band with medieval views and hardly any resources? There are, undoubtedly, many factors that went into this debacle, but what killed the project is that it was never grounded in reality. It was a venture launched on a fantasy, conducted on wishful thinking, before ultimately concluding in a head-throbbing, stomach-churning hangover that is now causing us to make even more mistakes.

Almost every single premise that guided our Afghanistan policy was not only incorrect, but for each one, we knew or easily could have known the facts but chose to ignore them. We spent twenty years and two trillion dollars with our finger on the Override button. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), our very own governmental watchdog agency, consistently waved giant red warning flags, documenting all the things that weren’t working, from aid projects to the military effort. We muzzled that watchdog. Did anyone ever read any of the reports? Can’t have. I will never forget the first one I read, expecting a bland government document, finding instead a precise and detailed account of a catastrophic failure unfolding, with names and dates and numbers that could not be ignored. But were.

Vietnam Needs to Bolster Its ‘Soft Balancing’ Against China

Pham Ngoc Minh Trang

“We reaffirmed that the 1982 UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones, and the 1982 UNCLOS sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.”

Since 1992, the year ASEAN first issued a Declaration on the South China Sea, the sentence above has only appeared in the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statements in 2020 – when Vietnam was the chair of the organization.

While other ASEAN countries prefer to merely mention the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in their Chairman’s Statements, Vietnam was more decisive in confirming the role of UNCLOS as a solid and comprehensive basis for establishing a legal maritime order. This resolute position runs counter to China’s rhetoric when it comes to the South China Sea dispute.

Understanding China's Sixth Plenum

Nathan Levine

What’s Happening: China’s Communist Party has just concluded its most important event of the year: the Sixth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee. This meeting was especially significant because the Plenum passed a key resolution on Party history. Such history documents have only been produced twice before, by the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) most powerful previous leaders — Mao Zedong (in 1945) and Deng Xiaoping (in 1981) — to enforce an official line on the past in order to solidify control over the future direction of the Party. Xi Jinping's already strong hold on the party has been strengthened further with the Plenum — and he is now moving well beyond a period of power consolidation to the active deployment of that power across the board.

Key Takeaways for Xi Jinping: For Xi, the Plenum served to accomplish multiple key objectives at once. These can be sorted into three broad categories.

What are the Chinese after? Everything.

Danielle Pletka

In 2018, in the tiny northern Italian hamlet of Pordenone, a company known as Alpi Aviation SRL—a maker of light aircraft and mini-drones used by the Italian military in Afghanistan—was taken over by a new Hong Kong company named Mars Information Technology. That’s when the story, reported recently by the Wall Street Journal, gets interesting. Mars, Italian investigators have concluded, was a front company for two Chinese state and local government-owned firms, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., or CRRC, and “an investment group controlled by the municipal government of Wuxi, a city near Shanghai.” What does a railway stock company and a local investment group want with an Italian drone maker?

The same thing the Chinese government wants all over Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and, most importantly perhaps, the United States: artificial intelligence technology, military technology and advanced avionics, surveillance equipment, energy supplies, and more. You name it, Beijing wants it, wants to own it, and much of the time, doesn’t want you to be sure exactly who is using it and what for.

Back to little Alpi. Italian authorities believe the Chinese buyers substantially overpaid for their majority stake in the firm. And a year after its first investment, the now Chinese-owned Alpi transferred a military drone to the PRC, lying on the shipping manifest about both the product (which was not a “radio-controlled airplane model”) and its destination (apparently not an import fair in Shanghai).

Beijing Behind Rise of Chinese Private Security Companies Worldwide

Asim Kashgarian

From Afghanistan to France, Chinese people have been attacked and even killed while living abroad. As security threats to Chinese companies, citizens, projects and investments along the Belt and Road development initiative continue, Chinese companies that used to hire local or Western private security companies have switched to employing more Chinese private security companies, experts said.

Niva Yau, researcher at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, told VOA that China's military reform in 2016 "pushed a lot of former military personnel into the private security sector."

As a result, according to Yau, Chinese private security companies in recent years are expanding to other countries along China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which builds infrastructure projects in Asia and Europe.

Prominent scientist who said lab-leak theory of covid-19 origin should be probed now believes evidence points to Wuhan market

Joel Achenbach

The location of early coronavirus infections in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, suggests the virus probably spread to humans from a market where wild and domestically farmed animals were sold and butchered, according to a peer-reviewed article published Thursday in the journal Science that is the latest salvo in the debate over how the pandemic began.

The article, by University of Arizona evolutionary virologist Michael Worobey — a specialist in the origins of viral epidemics — does not purport to answer all questions about the pandemic’s origins, nor is it likely to quell speculation that the virus might have emerged somehow from risky laboratory research.

Worobey has been open to the theory of a lab leak. He was one of the 18 scientists who wrote a much-publicized letter to Science in May calling for an investigation of all possible sources of the virus, including a laboratory accident. But he now contends that the geographic pattern of early cases strongly supports the hypothesis that the virus came from an infected animal at the Huanan Seafood Market — an argument that will probably revive the broader debate about the virus’s origins.

The WTA cares enough about Peng Shuai to stand up to China. Does anyone else?

It is a fact, a contemptible, milk-weak, sordid fact, that the members of the women’s tennis tour have more clean-principled steel when it comes to confronting China than executives at the International Olympic Committee, the NBA, Proctor & Gamble and the Oval Office, to name just a few shoulder-curlers, shrinkers and cringers who can’t seem to find their duty.

It has been two weeks since Peng Shuai, the 35-year-old tennis player who was once No. 1 in the world in doubles, posted a claim on the social media site Weibo that she was sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier under Xi Jinping and top Communist Party leader. “Even if I’m destroying myself, like throwing an egg against a rock, or a moth flying into a flame, I will still speak out the truth about us,” the now-deleted post said. She has not been seen since. Search engines in China are scrubbed of her. Apparently even text mentions of her are flagged by state surveillance. Her social media account has disappeared. Meanwhile, Olympic sponsors and U.S. companies continue to funnel traitorous billions into abetting the coverups of the China president’s lurid regime.

The only organization that has shown any vertebrae on the matter of Peng’s disappearance is the Women’s Tennis Association. Coca-Cola? They’re apparently fine with the mysterious disappearance of a woman.

Beijing’s propagandists flounder as the world asks, ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’

Fergus Ryan

As international concern about Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai’s whereabouts grows and more of the world’s top tennis stars weigh in, Beijing’s propagandists are floundering.

Hu Xijin, the impish editor of the rabidly nationalistic Global Times newspaper who is usually never short for words, tied himself in knots on Twitter on Friday. ‘As a person who is familiar with the Chinese system, I don’t believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression speculated by foreign media for the thing people talked about,’ Hu tweeted.

The ‘thing people talked about’ that Hu can’t quite bring himself to say is the accusation of sexual assault Peng made against a former high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official in early November. The grim reality is that the former world doubles champion is most likely being held in detention in retaliation for speaking out.

Hu’s limp attempt at an explanation followed an even clumsier one by China Global Television Network (CGTN) the day before, when the party-state media organisation posted what it claimed was an email from the 35-year-old saying that she was ‘resting at home’ and that the allegation of sexual assault was ‘not true’.

Don't Let China Overshadow the Russia Threat

Lawrence J. Haas

Even at this extremely polarized time in Washington, a bipartisan consensus continues to grow that China now represents the biggest threat to the United States.

President Joe Biden is implementing a “pivot to Asia” that President Barack Obama first enunciated, inking a new U.S. alliance with Britain and Australia that will help the latter deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the Pacific. Meanwhile, as Biden and China’s Xi Jinping prepared to chat this week, the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, Mike Rogers, called China’s Communist Party “the greatest threat to our nation today.”

Currently, however, some of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints emanate not from China but from Russia. They remind us that—while we must address China’s multifaceted efforts to supplant America as the world’s leading power—we also need to retain our focus on Russia’s machinations under the leadership of its strongman president, Vladimir Putin.

Oman invests in ports with eye to becoming Gulf gateway

Sebastian Castelier

“We want to significantly improve the contribution of logistics into our economy. … We are actually building the sector for the next generation. That is our responsibility,” Abdulrahman Al-Hatmi, CEO of Oman’s national logistics group, ASYAD Group, told Al-Monitor.

As Oman crude oil reserves dwindle — they could be depleted in the next 25 to 30 years at 2019 production levels — the country targets five sectors, including logistics, to re-energize its economy and diversify government income — 40% of which currently comes from oil revenues.

Logistics could employ 300,000 people in Oman by 2040 as it leverages its location at the center of global shipping routes to emerge as the Gulf’s gateway. For centuries, Oman reigned over a vast maritime trading empire encompassing most of the Western Indian Ocean.

The US must turn the tables on Russia’s psyops

Ivana Stradner

Andrei Ilnitsky, an advisor to the Russian defense minister, maintains that the U.S. is waging a “psychological war” against Russia. If only.

Since the Cold War, America’s use of psychological operations, or psyops, has deteriorated amid a fixation on hard power. Russia, meanwhile, has achieved its greatest successes through psychological warfare. It is long past time for the U.S. military to catch up, update its psyops against Russia for the 21st century, and revive its once-robust tradition of winning hearts and minds.

Moscow’s fixation on psyops stems in large part from its perceptions of the role that America’s soft power played in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They’re right: Psychological warfare, often executed through the spread of American culture across Communist borders, incited dissent in Eastern Europe. During that era, the CIA understood that the best way to combat Soviet influence was through the proliferation of information and culture that worked to counter communist objectives. Most of us who lived in Eastern Europe understand the tremendous clout that American jazz and rock’n’roll, Hollywood films, and modern art had on our worldviews and the fall of the Iron Curtain.

How Biden Should Navigate Palestine’s Succession Crisis

Enia Krivine

After a five-month delay, the U.S. Senate confirmed Thomas Nides as the Biden administration’s ambassador to Israel. An uncontroversial nomination, Nides served as one of Hillary Clinton’s top deputies at the State Department and is a seasoned Democratic Party operator. Once in Jerusalem, Nides will face myriad challenges, including the potential for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to implode if its aged, ailing, and deeply unpopular president, Mahmoud Abbas, departs the scene without a successor in place. To forestall a potential succession crisis, and fend off the worst-case scenario of a Hamas coup, Nides and the rest of Biden’s national security team should learn from the George W. Bush administration’s successes and demand that Abbas lay the groundwork for a predictable succession.

Abbas is a heavy smoker who will turn eighty-six this month. Elected by a landslide in 2005 on promises of reform and transparency, Abbas is now in the sixteenth year of a four-year term. Polling shows that about three-quarters of Palestinians believe Abbas should step down. A prostate cancer survivor, Abbas is reported to have a heart condition and is rumored to suffer from stomach cancer. In 2018, he visited a Baltimore hospital and was hospitalized for tests.

The folly of a no-first-use nuclear policy


The Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), launched in July 2021, is likely to be completed in early 2022. Although it will deal with several issues related to the United States’ nuclear deterrent – including the future size, composition and modernization of the nuclear force – perhaps the most important strategic question it will address is whether to adopt a no-first-use declaratory policy.

In contrast to the policy spelled out in the 2018 NPR, which permits the U.S. to use nuclear weapons first “in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners,” a no-first-use (NFU) policy would prohibit the use of nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack.

Supporters of NFU hope that the ongoing review will recommend abandoning the current nuclear posture in favor of a strategy that relies far less on the use of nuclear weapons. To them, and to many Americans, adopting such a nuclear posture seems like a very good idea.

But it isn’t. In fact, it’s a folly — and a dangerous folly at that.

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.

Reassessing the European Strategy in Afghanistan


With the Taliban back in power, Afghanistan is entering a downward spiral of violence. There is a strong possibility of civil strife developing within the Taliban itself and between the Taliban and other extremist organizations. The Taliban takeover and the U.S. withdrawal have created profound problems for European policy in Afghanistan.

While there has been much reflection and soul-searching over Afghanistan in the United States, the EU still has to acknowledge and address the failures of its own strategies. The main lesson to draw from the last twenty years of policy interventions in the country is that the EU adopted an overly superficial notion of democracy support and counterproductive security strategies. Going forward, as the situation on the ground deteriorates, the EU can do little more than focus on humanitarian aid and offer support to keep independent and rights-based groups active.


The United States bears significant responsibility for the current Afghan crisis. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has outlined what went wrong over the past two decades and what the United States needs to learn. This extensive analysis has identified headline problems with strategy, sustainability, personnel, security, and an overall lack of preparedness. These lessons echo other diagnoses of Washington’s failed policies and the reasons that U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration have given for completing the long-awaited U.S. withdrawal.

The Dangerous Fallout of Russia’s Anti-Satellite Missile Test


Russia has tested a direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against a live satellite target, the third test of its kind by a country since 2007. The test, and the resulting orbital debris, have focused international attention on the rapidly declining sustainability of near-Earth space and the need to constrain this kind of weapons testing.

On November 15, a Russian PL19 Nudol interceptor missile launched in northern Russia struck the now-defunct Soviet-era COSMOS 1408 satellite at an approximate altitude of 480 kilometers (about 300 miles). The intercept has generated a massive debris field in low-Earth orbit (LEO); according to U.S. Space Command, “more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris” have already been detected, and “hundreds of thousands of smaller [fragments]” are likely to surface.

The test represents a serious challenge to space sustainability and immediately increases the collision risk that other human-made objects in LEO face, including human-inhabited objects like the International Space Station and China’s Tiangong space station. This test underscores the pressing need to develop new international norms and rules of behavior in space. It should further galvanize international efforts to ban this sort of weapons testing, which has significant negative consequences for the space environment near Earth.

Striking a new global balance of power with India


If the current global supply shortage is causing both consumers and industries economic pain, then the United States and its allies should prepare for the supply chain calamity that will happen should China make a move on Taiwan or exert greater control of the South China Sea.

Considering that 60 percent of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured by two companies in Taiwan and 20 percent by one company in South Korea, America must develop deeper partnerships with countries not so dependent on China’s geopolitical ambitions. A supply rupture in the semiconductor industry alone would spell disaster in the global economy.

Enter India. As it shares a disputed border with China, India must maintain the economic and military wherewithal to resist bullying by Beijing. India is in effect, like Taiwan, a second front to China. India will soon have the largest population in the world of over 1.4 billion people, half under the age of 25, many of whom will serve in the second-largest military and the world’s seventh-largest navy. Most importantly, India is a stable and well-established democracy accountable to its people through a system of checks and balances and disciplined state and federal elections.

Poor Cybersecurity Makes Water a Weak Link in Critical Infrastructure

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery, Trevor Logan
Source Link

Executive Summary
America’s critical infrastructure is only as strong as its weakest link, and in the United States, water infrastructure may be the greatest vulnerability. The significant cybersecurity deficiencies observed in the drinking water and wastewater sectors result in part from structural challenges. The United States has approximately 52,000 drinking water and 16,000 wastewater systems, most of which service small- to medium-sized communities of less than 50,000 residents.1 These systems operate with limited budgets and even more limited cybersecurity personnel and expertise. Conducting effective federal oversight of, and providing sufficient federal assistance to, such a distributed network of utilities is inherently difficult.

Compounding this challenge, the increasing automation of the water sector has opened it up to malicious cyber activity that could disrupt or manipulate services. This past February, a hacker nearly succeeded in raising the concentration of a caustic agent in the drinking water of a small Florida city one hundred-fold after breaching the system the utility uses for remote-access monitoring and troubleshooting. The automation of such systems reduces personnel costs and facilitates regulatory compliance, but few utilities have invested the savings from automation into the cybersecurity of their new systems.

Is It Time to Consider ‘Migration Interventionism’?

R. T. Howard

How can the Western world respond to the mass migration of desperate refugees and economic migrants into its territory? The challenge seems all the more pressing in the light of the tragic scenes along the Polish-Belarussian border, where Vladimir Putin and Aleksander Lukashenko appear to have “weaponized” migrant flows into the European Union in retaliation for the sanctions against Belarus imposed by Brussels last year.

Such “Migrant Wars”—which I warned about back in 2017—are also taking place elsewhere in the world. The French government appears to be deliberately allowing considerable numbers of refugees to cross the English Channel, launching boats from French soil in a bid to reach English shores, and its likely motive is to retaliate against Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

There are several other, relatively recent, examples of such weaponization. Back in 2010, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had claimed that unless he was given large sums of money, Europe would experience the “advance of millions of immigrants” that would transform it into “another Africa.” His comments were condemned as “unacceptable blackmail” by Italian parliamentarians.

The Politics of War

Jason Smith

“Victory has a 1,000 fathers, and defeat is an orphan,” – John F. Kennedy

On the heels of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is a cacophony of voices looking to lay blame. It is right and healthy to examine U.S. policies and actions and the outcomes that follow, especially if doing so may prevent future mistakes. But all too often, the loud voices and pointing fingers use preconceived ideas for a quick answer to these complicated problems and don’t take the time to properly diagnose what went wrong or discuss the roles and responsibilities of all involved. This often leads to a conclusion that doesn’t wholly identify the problem and can drive the wrong policy changes. In this case, those voices are using a bias towards a military filter to examine the outcomes and attribute the recent failures in the Middle East to the U.S. military’s inability to win wars. It is understandable to view Afghanistan using the military as the focus since, for the past 20 years, military successes, failures, and leadership have been the face of Afghanistan. Additionally, war itself is thought of as the purview of the military. However, I argue this is a lens that misidentifies how war decisions are made and thus won’t provide the necessary lessons learned to ensure future success.

Lukashenko’s Failed Gambit

Andrew Lohsen

The European Union is facing a crisis on its border with Belarus as migrants, primarily from the Middle East, seek to enter the bloc outside formal crossing points with the help of Belarusian authorities. Near the Kuźnica-Bruzgi crossing point at the Polish border, nearly 4,000 people are living in makeshift camps amid freezing temperatures, as Belarusian security officials reportedly refuse to let migrants who are turned away at the EU border leave the area. Several deaths have been reported along the border in recent days, apparently as a result of hypothermia.

EU officials have accused Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko of “instrumentalizing” migration in retaliation for sanctions imposed on his regime following a violent domestic crackdown on protesters, media workers, and dissidents that began last summer following flawed presidential elections and continues to this day. Videos purportedly showing Belarusian security officials pushing migrants across the border and cutting border fences have been cited as evidence of state involvement—as have reports of state-owned tourist operators enticing migrants to Minsk and testimonies of security officials transporting them to border areas. Lukashenko has denied this but also said he would not take action to prevent migrants from entering the European Union.

Vulnerability Disclosure and Management for AI/ML Systems: A Working Paper with Policy Recommendations

James X. Dempsey and Andrew J. Grotto

Almost as rapidly as artificial intelligence is being adopted, there is developing an understanding of how risky it can be. Much attention has focused on the ways in which AI-based systems can replicate or even exacerbate racial and gender biases.1 But increasing attention is now focusing on the ways in which AI systems, especially those dependent on machine learning (ML), can be vulnerable to intentional attack by goal-oriented adversaries, threatening the reliability of their outputs.2 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.

Why China, Russia, and other autocracies may wield an AI advantage in global cyberwars

Jacob Helberg

  • In his new book, The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power, Jacob Helberg outlines the future of cyberwarfare between Western democracies and autocracies like China and Russia.
  • As a senior adviser at the Stanford University Center on Geopolitics and Technology, Helberg proposes that artificial intelligence is a key weapon in "Gray War," his term for the global battle between democracy and autocracy.
  • In this excerpt, Helberg explores some of the advantages that autocracies may have in cyberwarfare
In May 2014, a Hong Kong venture capital firm called Deep Knowledge Ventures appointed a new member to its board of directors. Like the five existing board members, this new director was steeped in the science of health care and aging, the firm’s core areas of investment. Like the others, the newest Deep Knowledge board member got to vote on whether to invest in a given company.

But there was one big difference between the five existing board members and Deep Knowledge Venture’s latest addition—the new board member was an algorithm. The algorithm’s name was VITAL, short for “Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences.” And VITAL’s advanced capabilities made it—you might say—rather vital. Scrutinizing financing, intellectual property, and clinical trial results, VITAL used artificial intelligence to examine prospective companies much like a human board member. Ultimately, the venture firm credits VITAL’s investment insights with helping them avoid bankruptcy. Even better, VITAL had no need to eat, sleep, or charge anything to the corporate AmEx card.

The U.S. Military and the Coming Great-Power Challenge

Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Jr.

For many of the last 30 years, the notion that the United States was locked in direct contest with other great powers seemed as outdated as the Cold War itself. Instead, successive U.S. administrations have pursued collective security on the assumption that the world’s great powers shared a common interest in preserving the existing international order.

By the late 2010s, however, it was increasingly clear that these efforts had failed. Russia seized the Crimea from Ukraine and supported its proxies in occupying parts of that country’s Donbas region. And despite reassurances to the contrary, China militarized the South China Sea islands. This was formalized in the 2017 National Security Strategy, and the challenge was given a full airing in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which prioritized the growing challenge posed by a revanchist Russia and a rising China. Although it identified these threats to the international order, however, the NDS did not advance a robust new strategy to address them.

Simply put, China and Russia had no interest in joining a U.S.-led international order. They had long rejected it. They had only lacked the means to openly contest it.

Countering aggression in the gray zone

Elisabeth Braw
Source Link

In recent years, much has been written and said about conflict in the so-called “gray zone,” often described as conflict below the threshold of combat. Gray zone aggression is an attractive option for Western rivals because it exploits the openness of Western societies. The fact that Western countries are characterized by small governments with limited powers to dictate the activities of their populations and businesses makes these countries even more attractive targets for nonkinetic aggression, ranging from hostile business activities, to cyber attacks, to kidnappings, assassinations, and even occupation by unofficial militias aligned with foreign powers. Resourceful adversaries use such actions to force wedges into the fault lines of open societies. With innovative thinking, however, liberal democracies can develop effective gray zone deterrence while staying within the norms of behavior they have set for themselves.
The Case of Sergey Skripal

On March 4, 2018, former Russian intelligence officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in “an extremely serious condition” on a park bench in the English cathedral town of Salisbury. The UK government’s first task was to determine precisely what had happened to the Skripals and who was responsible. On March 12, then-Prime Minister Theresa May informed the UK Parliament of the findings of the government’s investigation: “It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. . . . The Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.” She continued ominously, “Mr Speaker, there are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on the 4th of March. Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

What’s the advantage of militarizing commercial helos post-sale?

Agnes Helou

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As the aerospace industry attempts to financially recover from the pandemic, some helicopter companies are militarizing commercial variants.

“As Bell, we don’t always sell commercial products to the militaries, but [in] the time of COVID, there are countries that can’t necessarily afford purpose-built military platforms,” Steven Mathias, vice president of global military sales and strategy at the American company, told Defense News at the Dubai Airshow this week. “Hence, they started turning more to commercial platforms for military uses that can be very quickly adapted because of the technologies that can be integrated into them like sensors and weapons.”

He said militarizing a commercial platform is less expensive for customers than buying a war-ready variant — plus the commercial version is more easily exportable and lighter.