3 December 2021


 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Microsoft released its second annual Digital Defense Report, covering July 2020 to June 2021. This year s 134 pages report is quite detailed, with sections on cybercrime, nationstate threats, supply-chain attacks and Internet of Things attacks. The report includes security suggestions for organizations with remote workforces. It has a section describing the use of social media to spread disinformation. The report is a compilation of integrated data and actionable insights from across 

Social Media in Violent Conflicts – Recent Examples

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


Alan Rusbridger, the then editor-in-chief of the Guardian in his 2010 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, stated, “News organisations still break lots of news. But, increasingly, news happens first on Twitter. If you’re a regular Twitter user, even if you’re in the news business and have access to wires, the chances are that you’ll check out many rumours of breaking news on Twitter first. There are millions of human monitors out there who will pick up on the smallest things and who have the same instincts as the agencies—to be the first with the news. As more people join, the better it will get. ”

The most important and unique feature of social media and its role in future conflicts is the speed at which it can disseminate information to audiences and the audiences to provide feedback.

Afghanistan Is Starving


Reports of a growing humanitarian crisis are emerging from Afghanistan, as tens of millions face death by starvation.

Some parents are selling their children in order to feed the rest of their family. CNN reports on a nine-year-old sold to a stranger as a child bride.

The BBC interviewed a mother of two twin boys, both of whom are dangerously malnourished. “Only God knows what I go through when I look at them,” she said.

“Two of my children are facing death because we don’t have any money. I want the world to help the Afghan people. I don’t want any other mother to see their children suffering like this.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the World Bank is working to deliver up to $500 million from a frozen Afghanistan aid fund to humanitarian agencies but that it “remains complicated by U.S. sanctions.” The Washington Post explains:

Before the militants took over in August, foreign donors — largely wealthy Western countries led by the United States — paid for up to 80 percent of all Afghan government expenses. Since then, donors have frozen all funding, as leverage to press the Taliban to meet demands including rights for women, girls and minorities, an inclusive government, and freedom from reprisals and of movement.

It’s a high-cost strategy. Interruptions to foreign aid don’t just hurt the Taliban — but also millions of innocent men, women, and children.

Should NATO Open Its Doors to Georgia?


Central to many of the thorny geopolitical issues that have surrounded Georgia since it gained independence three decades ago is what happened at NATO's 2008 summit in Romania.

President George W. Bush, attending his final NATO summit before leaving office, arrived in Bucharest intent on nudging his fellow leaders toward accepting Georgia into the fold. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia had pursued closer ties with Europe and the U.S. It was a key American ally during the early years of Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, contributing hundreds of troops to the effort and allowing the U.S. to use its airstrips. Why not make the relationship official?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy led the opposition. Inviting Georgia to join NATO or even suggesting that it was the alliance's long-term plan to do so, they warned, would needlessly spur Russian aggression. And Georgia's location—next to Russia, in the Caucasus, outside the existing NATO borders—created a major vulnerability for the rest of the alliance, with little to be gained from the addition.

Ethiopia’s Breakup Doesn’t Have to Be Violent

Teferi Mergo, Kebene Kejela

Ethiopia—a multinational state of considerable contradictions—is once again in the news for tragic events. The outside world, which tends to hold a romantic view of the country, is only beginning to understand these divisions. The country is plagued by identity-based civil wars, currently between the central government, which is widely perceived to champion a unitary state, and many groups that are vying for different degrees of autonomy.

The Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) are the most prominent representatives of those fighting against the central government for the right to self-determination for their respective nations (Tigray and Oromia), with Amhara political groups rallying behind the government to defend Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s vision of a centralized state.

The 1994 Ethiopian Constitution was the first serious attempt to resolve the country’s many contradictions, by offering different groups some degree of cultural, linguistic, and economic autonomy. However, that experiment fell significantly short of its promises, primarily because the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) maintained a tight grip on the country economically and politically between 1991 and 2018, denying other groups substantive space to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to run their affairs.

The World Has No Answer for Migration

Stephen M. Walt

We didn’t need a confrontation between Belarus and the European Union over the fate of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa to remind us that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was a brutal dictator with scant regard for human suffering—we knew that already. Instead, the real lesson of the crisis is what it says about the ability and willingness of states to address the complex problems created by large-scale movements of people.

Writing in Foreign Policy last week, Humza Jilani provided a good summary of some of the issues involved and underscored the limitations of current policies on migration. Here I want to step back and focus on some of the broader questions that this troubling episode has revealed.

Let’s start by recognizing that what Lukashenko has been doing is not new. Not only did he play a similar game back in 2002 and 2004—threatening to send a flood of refugees into Europe if it didn’t meet his demands—plenty of other states have exploited displaced peoples and refugees in order to extract concessions from others. In her pathbreaking 2010 book, Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy, the political scientist Kelly Greenhill identifies at least 56 cases of what she calls “coercive engineered migrations” since 1951 (plus another eight borderline episodes). Unfortunately, this tactic seems to work most of the time it is used: Greenhill found that the coercing state achieved at least some of its objectives in 73 percent of these cases and virtually all of its goals in over half (57 percent).

China's birthrate just hit another record low. But the worst is yet to come

Nectar Gan and Steve George

Hong Kong (CNN)China's birthrate in 2020 has hit another record low -- and there's no indication things are about to pick up anytime soon.

There were only 8.5 births per 1,000 people in China last year, according to the latest yearbook released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics in late November.

That's the lowest not only since yearbook records began in 1978 -- but also since the founding of Communist China in 1949, according to official data.

The birthrate, which has now fallen to single digits, is the latest troubling sign of China's worsening population crisis, as the country of 1.4 billion people begins to lose its youthful edge.

The country's once-a-decade national census revealed in May that just 12 million babies were born last year -- an 18% plunge from 14.65 million in 2019.

Demographers have long predicted China will begin to experience a population decline into the decades ahead, however, some experts now worry it may come much sooner than expected.

Threatening Taiwan Gets China More Than Invading It Would

A.A. Bastian

When responding to threats against Taiwan, U.S. leaders generally assume that Chinese leaders actually want to annex the island—as a recent report by the congressionally mandated U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded. And Beijing has expressed numerous times that it considers any means justified in taking Taiwan. But over the last few decades, threatening Taiwan has been advantageous for China, often gotten it what it wanted, and has been more fruitful—and far less costly—than seizing the island by force would have been.

In March 2000, I walked along a normally busy street in Taipei as dusk deepened into night, unaware that lights were flickering off in office buildings, shops emptying, and the crowd far thinner than usual. A man striding across my path paused and then pointed to the serene sky and asked why I wasn’t more anxious when China might attack at any moment. His words stick with me less than the concern that wrinkled his face. I didn’t share his fear. As the daughter of an Air Force pilot, I was confident in the U.S. military’s preparedness, partnerships, and force strength and in its deterrence power. But for him, and many others, the threat was still very real — and that’s useful for Beijing.

China increases cyberwar tactics

Paul Budde

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I mentioned that China’s social code will also be expanded to companies who want to deal with China.

I have come across information that shows that China is indeed serious about this.

China’s cyberspace regulator has proposed requiring companies pursuing share listings in Hong Kong to apply for cybersecurity inspections if they handle data that concerns national security.

Large internet platforms planning to set up headquarters, operating or research centres abroad will have to submit a report to regulators.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has called for public comment on internet platforms formulating privacy policies or amending rules that could significantly affect user rights and interests.

Who’s to Blame for Asia’s Arms Race?

Thomas Shugart; Van Jackson

China’s military buildup is undeniable. It has built hundreds of long-range and precise ballistic missiles, launching them for years at mockups of U.S. ships and bases in Asia. It has constructed the world’s largest navy in terms of the number of ships, vastly exceeding the U.S. Navy’s rate of warship production in recent years. As Beijing has grown stronger, it has also become increasingly belligerent: it bullies neighbors that have had the temerity to use their own natural resources, and its state-controlled media routinely threaten Taiwan with invasion.

But in “America Is Turning Asia Into a Powder Keg” (October 22), Van Jackson argues that an “overly militarized” U.S. approach is to blame for increasing the risk of war and worsening negative regional trends. Although Jackson concedes that Washington is not “the cause of these troubling trends,” and “should not be blamed for the actions of China and North Korea,” his article leaves the opposite impression. Furthermore, he makes his case by presenting facts that are at times misleading, mischaracterized, or inaccurate. He portrays as recklessness what is in fact a rational U.S. and allied response to a dramatic expansion of China’s offensive military capabilities.

Rising to the challenge: Navigating competition, avoiding crisis, and advancing US interests in relations with China

John R. Allen, Ryan Hass, and Bruce Jones

The Brookings – China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Dialogue began in 2019 against the backdrop of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. By that time, it already had become clear that the previous framework for managing bilateral relations was fraying, and that a form of strategic rivalry was the new baseline reality of the relationship.

In the intervening two years, American policymakers and analysts have laid out two main alternative frameworks for the management of U.S.-China relations for the coming decades. One is a strategy of omni-directional containment, seeking to confront and constrain China — limiting China’s expanding capacity in the military, technological, economic, developmental, normative, and multilateral spheres; undermining the legitimacy of its governance and economic models; and seeking to blunt China’s diplomatic gains. Although there is a coherence to this approach, it also carries costs and risks. It could limit buy-in from key allies and partners, inhibit calibrated U.S.-China coordination on the provision of critical global public goods, and diminish the capacity of both major powers to manage tensions. As an alternative, some voices in the United States have argued for a return to a variation of the preTrump administration status quo, where an effort to secure cooperation on global issues like climate change is prioritized alongside efforts to expand access to the Chinese market.

Washington Needs a Better Message in Africa Than ‘Don’t Trust China’

Henry Tugendhat and Kamissa Camara

Chinese leaders are meeting this week with Africa’s political, military, and civil elites in Dakar, Senegal, for the eighth gathering of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). More African leaders have chosen to attend FOCAC than did the United Nations General Assembly, drawn to the former’s emphasis on cultivating partnerships based on national agendas.

For a long time, the United States’ main message to African countries was “We’re not Europe,” but since at least the early 2000s, China’s message to Africa has been “We’re not the United States.” China has made significant process in Africa by speaking loudly and carrying a small stick. Its public diplomacy campaigns focus on relationship-building with African counterparts and broad media coverage of all forms of cooperation, while simultaneously keeping sanctions and security engagements minimal.

In contrast, U.S. President Joe Biden recently announced that Ethiopia, Mali, and Guinea would be ineligible for duty-free trade access to the United States starting Jan. 1, 2022, due to human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and unconstitutional military rule in both West African nations.

America Needs a Grand Strategy

Robert Wilkie


The Anglo-American tradition of grand strategy in foreign policy has been essential to success against major threats. Currently, the U.S. does not have one.

America’s inherited role as the leader of the liberal world gives it a unique advantage and responsibility to defend the free and open global commons.

The Biden Administration has been weak in its support for allies and resistance to threats. It’s time for a strategy that shows America is not in decline.

Dwight Eisenhower famously said, “The plan is nothing, planning is everything.” In other words, a nation must create a conceptual framework from which international actions and answers will flow. Grand strategy is just that, a reference from which a nation’s historical, cultural, economic, diplomatic, and military thought is brought to bear to create a strategic synthesis. The English military theorist Sir Basil Liddell Hart opined that “grand strategy forces policymakers to look beyond the war to the subsequent peace.”

Grand strategy is the highest level of national statecraft that establishes how states prioritize and mobilize sources of power to ensure what they perceive as their interests.

How diplomacy can (and can’t) solve the world’s cybercrime crisis


It's hard to crack down on cyberattacks when nations can't even agree on what a cyberattack is.

Experts in the field are now saying the world needs multilateral cyber diplomacy so all parties can at least come to a mutual understanding of what constitutes a cybercrime.

“If you don’t have a doctrine that says, ‘We do our best to define some things that are acceptable and unacceptable,’ you don’t really have deterrence,” Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Tuesday, adding that breaches like the one at SolarWinds will continue to occur without one. “We’re all just playing goalie all the time. Even with the best goalies, sometimes the puck gets in the net.”

When asked what a diplomatic doctrine would look like in practice, Mandia noted the inherent difficulties. First, so much of the critical infrastructure of cyber command and control is held by the private sector; the government would need more access to get it right. Second, it’s hard to draw a red line in cyber.

2 US defense officials say Israel hacked Iran’s gas system last month — NYT


Israel carried out a cyber attack against Iran’s nationwide fuel system last month, two United States defense officials told the New York Times in a report published Saturday.

Days later, Iran-affiliated hackers breached an Israeli LGBTQ dating site and released details of its users in a cyber attack that roiled Israel.

The exchange points to a new trend of targeting civilians in the shadow war between Israel and Iran. The two attacks appear to be the first that caused widespread harm to civilians, auguring an escalation in the cyber conflict as softer targets are drawn into the line of fire.

The hack of Iran’s gas distribution system began on October 26, shutting down civilian gas pumps and broadcasting digital messages blaming Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The cyber attack brought all of the country’s 4,300 fuel distribution stations to a halt, resulting in traffic jams, long lines at gas stations and other transportation problems.

Russia Is Right on the Middle East

Anatol Lieven

A dominant public narrative has been created in the United States and much of Europe that Russia is a “revisionist” power, seeking to overthrow the existing status quo, challenge the “rules-based order,” and generally act as a “spoiler” in international affairs—and in the lands of the former Soviet Union, there is a considerable element of truth in this portrayal.

In the greater Middle East, however, there is something seriously weird about this image of Russian behavior. In this region, over the past 20 years, it is in fact the United States that has acted as a disruptor of the existing status quo, and Russian opposition to U.S. policies on key issues has proved in retrospect to be objectively correct, from the point of view not only of Russia and of the region but also of the United States and the West.

Of course, Russian policies were designed to serve Russian interests. All the same, the fact that they turned out to correspond to Western interests as well was not purely accidental. These Russian policies were founded on an analysis by the Russian foreign-policy and security establishment of Middle Eastern states that has turned out to be correct in itself—and is also very close to those of many in the U.S. establishment.

NATO Expansion Is a Bugbear for Both Russia and the West

Fyodor Lukyanov

Russia's relations with the West have come to a head. NATO expansion, which Putin brought up again in a recent speech, is a well-known issue for Russia. What is not often mentioned is that this is also an issue for the bloc.

When decisions were taken in the 1990s, it was not considered that expansion would require a real extension in safety guarantees for a large number of new countries. It was presumed that Russia would either integrate somehow into the general order, or simply would not pose a threat for a long time. This did not materialize, partially due to the preservation of NATO, and the fact that Russia's recovery occurred faster than expected.

As a result, decorative institutes which imitated cooperation between Russian and the alliance crumbled. Now a militarized standoff has recurred, and NATO must be held accountable for its promises.

But the willingness of allies to carry out dangerous missions is, to put it mildly, low. Defending a string of countries that joined at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century is difficult from a military standpoint. Moreover, the multiplicity of opinions within the bloc is incomparable with what existed previously.

Green Upheaval The New Geopolitics of Energy

Jason Bordoff and Meghan L. O’Sullivan

It is not hard to understand why people dream of a future defined by clean energy. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow and as extreme weather events become more frequent and harmful, the current efforts to move beyond fossil fuels appear woefully inadequate. Adding to the frustration, the geopolitics of oil and gas are alive and well—and as fraught as ever. Europe is in the throes of a full-fledged energy crisis, with staggering electricity prices forcing businesses across the continent to shutter and energy firms to declare bankruptcy, positioning Russian President Vladimir Putin to take advantage of his neighbors’ struggles by leveraging his country’s natural gas reserves. In September, blackouts reportedly led Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng to instruct his country’s state-owned energy companies to secure supplies for winter at any cost. And as oil prices surge above $80 per barrel, the United States and other energy-hungry countries are pleading with major producers, including Saudi Arabia, to ramp up their output, giving Riyadh more clout in a newly tense relationship and suggesting the limits of Washington’s energy “independence.”

Proponents of clean energy hope (and sometimes promise) that in addition to mitigating climate change, the energy transition will help make tensions over energy resources a thing of the past. It is true that clean energy will transform geopolitics—just not necessarily in the ways many of its champions expect. The transition will reconfigure many elements of international politics that have shaped the global system since at least World War II, significantly affecting the sources of national power, the process of globalization, relations among the great powers, and the ongoing economic convergence of developed countries and developing ones. The process will be messy at best. And far from fostering comity and cooperation, it will likely produce new forms of competition and confrontation long before a new, more copacetic geopolitics takes shape.

Only a Truly Global Vaccination Campaign Will End the Pandemic

Howard W. French

As he watched his country flail early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nobel laureate economist Paul Romer argued that only by taking a dramatic, concerted step, carried out simultaneously nationwide, would the United States be able to stop the spread of the virus and contain its spiraling costs.

At the time, in April 2020, Romer said that the United States should commit an estimated $100 billion dollars to a crash national testing program that would allow the quarantining of people who were positive and thereby stop the spread of the pathogen to others. This, he argued, was a pittance compared to the $2 trillion the government had already committed by then to a series of ill-coordinated pandemic response measures that seemed ever-doomed to remain at least one step behind the virus.

An awful lot has changed since the time of Romer’s proposal, not least the idea that the coronavirus can be effectively combatted in a single country, unless it is a rare nation like China, which combines a strongly authoritarian government, formidable systems of surveillance and enforcement, and no public sphere in which anyone can loudly object to infringements on personal freedoms.

Biofuels and the Water-Energy Nexus: Perspectives for the United States

Alexandre Strapasson, Henry Lee and Jack Schnettler

This paper focuses on liquid biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol, and the energy-water nexus. It examines the implications of potential land area expansion for increased biofuel production and on water supply availability. Given the potential expansion of the use of irrigation in crop production for biofuels, the associated water footprint can be challenging in some areas, depending on the assumptions and trends considered in the projections. On average, biofuels are among the most water-intensive energy products. Producing a gallon of conventional gasoline requires 3 to 7 gallons of water, whereas a gallon of corn ethanol requires from 11 gallons up to 160 gallons of water in extreme situations. Thus, these impacts vary according to the production system and region.


To date, biofuel production in the United States has not been limited by water availability.
Some simulations show that it is possible to expand corn-based ethanol nationwide over the next ten years without using additional water and land resources. Conventional ethanol production could reach approximately 19 billion gallons in the 2030-31 crop year, representing a 28% increase from current levels, based on yield growth on existing acreage and without changing the annual corn exports and internal stocks.

Doubling current ethanol production in ten years without an acreage expansion, achieving about 32 billion gallons in 2030-31, would require the reallocation of corn from other uses. Otherwise, an increase in existing corn area might be required, which could exacerbate water scarcity in some areas, if precautionary measures are not addressed.

Policies and regulations should establish clear incentives to reduce agricultural water withdrawals in water stressed areas in favor of rain-fed crops. To the extent possible, they should also account for changing climatic conditions.

Future policies should support sustainable water management and develop markets for advanced biofuels, aiming to minimize both irrigation and carbon intensity.

How climate change will impact national security

Christina Pazzanese

Rising temperatures and intensifying weather due to climate change, along with the unlikelihood of meeting the 2030 emissions goals of the Paris Agreement, will exacerbate geopolitical tensions, social instability, and the need for humanitarian aid, according to a joint report by the U.S intelligence community last month. The National Intelligence Estimate lays out the likely security implications over the next two decades of the mounting climate crisis. Calder Walton is assistant director for research at the Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project, which organized Harvard Kennedy School’s first conference on climate change and national security last spring. He spoke to the Gazette about the report and the important role the intelligence community should play in addressing the crisis. Interview is edited for clarity and length.

Calder Walton

GAZETTE: We hear about the threats posed by climate change from an environmental standpoint, but rarely about the risks and threats it poses to national security. How does the U.S. intelligence community view climate change, and is this a new domain?

Rich Countries’ Climate Policies Are Colonialism in Green

Vijaya Ramachandran

With natural gas prices at record highs in Europe, Norway is raking it in. The country is Europe’s second-largest gas supplier after Russia—and has just agreed to increase natural gas exports by 2 billion cubic meters to alleviate the continent’s acute energy shortage. Its neighbors, such as Britain, are grateful for every dollop of gas as winter approaches.

Yet even as wealthy Norwegians count their kroners thanks to rising prices and booming exports, their government is working hard to stop some of the world’s poorest countries from producing their own natural gas. Along with seven other Nordic and Baltic countries, Norway has been lobbying the World Bank to stop all financing of natural gas projects in Africa and elsewhere as soon as 2025—and until then only in “exceptional circumstances,” as an unpublished statement by the group, seen by Foreign Policy, details. At COP26, 20 countries went even further, pledging to stop all funding for overseas fossil fuel projects beginning next year. Instead, the Nordic and Baltic countries suggest, the World Bank should finance clean energy solutions in the developing world “such as green hydrogen and smart micro-grid networks.”

Nordic Countries Aren’t Actually Socialist

Nima Sanandaji

Nordic countries are often used internationally to prove that socialism works. It’s true that social democratic parties are enjoying success in this part of the world. Yet while Nordic countries are seeing a partial comeback for social democratic parties, their policies aren’t in fact socialist, but centrist.

Nordic nations—and especially Sweden—did embrace socialism between around 1970 and 1990. During the past 30 years, however, both conservative and social democratic-led governments have moved toward the center. Today, the Nordic social democrats have adopted stricter immigration policies, tightened eligibility requirements for welfare benefit systems, taken a tougher stance on crime, and carried out business-friendly policies.

The Nordic welfare system that people like to point to as a flourishing example of socialism was developed around 1970, when there was a policy shift throughout Nordic societies toward higher taxes and generous public benefits. In the century preceding that turn, Nordic countries had combined small public sectors and free markets to achieve strong economic growth. From around 1870 to 1970, for instance, Sweden’s per capita GDP increased around tenfold, the highest growth rate in all of Europe. It was after this period of rapidly growing prosperity that there was a shift to high-tax policies. The public remained skeptical of direct tax raises, and the shift largely occurred through gradual rises in the indirect payroll tax.

Russia Is Right on the Middle East

Anatol Lieven

A dominant public narrative has been created in the United States and much of Europe that Russia is a “revisionist” power, seeking to overthrow the existing status quo, challenge the “rules-based order,” and generally act as a “spoiler” in international affairs—and in the lands of the former Soviet Union, there is a considerable element of truth in this portrayal.

In the greater Middle East, however, there is something seriously weird about this image of Russian behavior. In this region, over the past 20 years, it is in fact the United States that has acted as a disruptor of the existing status quo, and Russian opposition to U.S. policies on key issues has proved in retrospect to be objectively correct, from the point of view not only of Russia and of the region but also of the United States and the West.

Of course, Russian policies were designed to serve Russian interests. All the same, the fact that they turned out to correspond to Western interests as well was not purely accidental. These Russian policies were founded on an analysis by the Russian foreign-policy and security establishment of Middle Eastern states that has turned out to be correct in itself—and is also very close to those of many in the U.S. establishment.

Ransomware vs. Cities: A Cyber War

Justin Fier

Some of the most significant ransomware attacks of the past year were waged against US cities and local governments, resulting in critical data being encrypted and vital services disrupted. The recent spate of ransomware attacks have brought to the fore the vulnerabilities that connected infrastructure and public services face in the wake of increasingly sophisticated and fast-moving threats.

Today’s automated malware often strikes at machine speed, rendering city officials justifiably concerned that an attack – even one that breaches just a single smart device – could move laterally to encrypt or hijack an entire network in minutes.

The prospect that our cities could be crippled by ransomware is a frightening one, but it’s a threat that many smart cities are already prepared for.

If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable

What was once the concrete jungle is fast becoming the Internet of Things (IoT) jungle. Across smart cities and municipalities around the world today, smart devices are streamlining trash collection, improving energy distribution and air quality, and reducing traffic congestion.

Belfer Center’s International Security Journal Honored for Impact

International Security, the quarterly journal edited at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and published by The MIT Press, received top rankings for impact in 2019 based on the high number of times the journal's articles were referenced in other publications

Ash Carter, Director of the Belfer Center, said, “International Security has a long history of being a leader in its field. The journal’s mission - to publish and promote insightful analyses of global security issues - is vital to strengthening our understanding of a range of policy challenges.”

International Security is America’s leading peer-reviewed journal of security affairs. It provides sophisticated analyses of contemporary, theoretical, and historical security issues. International Security is edited at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is published by The MIT Press.

A Closer Look at China’s Missile Silo Construction

Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen

The images provide a vivid and rare public look into what is otherwise a top-secret and highly sensitive construction program. The Chinese government has still not officially confirmed or denied that the facilities under construction are silos intended for missiles and there are many uncertainties and unknowns about the nature and role of the facilities. In this article we use words like suspected, apparent, and probable to remind the reader of that fact.

Yet our analysis of hundreds of satellite images over the past three years of the suspected missile silo fields and the different facilities that are under construction at each of them have increased our confidence that they are indeed related to the PLARF’s modernization program. In recent analysis of new satellite images obtained from Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies, we have observed almost weekly progress in construction of suspected silos as well as discovered unique facilities that appear intended to support missile operations once the silo fields become operational.

In this article we describe the progress we have observed. We first describe the shelters, then what we see under the shelters, unique support facilities, and end with overall observations.

Military service principal cyber advisors take root

Lauren C. Williams

Congress established principal cyber advisors within the military services in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act as part of an effort to better synchronize oversight of the military’s cyber activities. The new civilian positions involve coordination and oversight, rather than direct authority over budgets and systems.

Terry Mitchell, the Army’s principal cyber advisor, told FCW that navigating the service’s missions and components has been the main focus for the first year of the new position.

“I think that's where Congress wants us to basically look: between the gaps and the seams and the no man's land and see what's being missed. What are things that are not being seen because they don't have somebody to advocate for it or to fight for it,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who was named to his post in September 2020, said that too many messages to Congress when it comes to cyber can lead to not having a message at all. “So what they're looking for is a message, a person to come talk to...to bring all the people together to have one voice,” Mitchell said, “and that's really important from a funding point of view, but it's also kind of important from a DOD point of view.”

The Marine Corps wants junior Marines to have a say in who their leaders are


Junior Marines could help determine whether officers and senior enlisted leaders are selected for promotion as part of the Marine Corps’ efforts to revamp its evaluation process.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger is calling for promotion boards to incorporate “360-degree feedback” into their decisions about which leaders will be selected to advance to the next rank.

Berger’s direction on using 360-degree feedback is part of his Talent Management plan, which was released on Nov. 3. The plan also requires the Marine Corps to retain more first-term Marines and creates the possibility that civilians with critical skills could bypass boot camp to join the service.

Currently, promotion boards largely base those decisions on Marines’ fitness reports, which only include notes on their performance from two of their supervisors, Berger wrote. In some cases, those supervisors do not serve in the same location as the Marines they are evaluating or don’t interact with them often.

The Best Books We Read in 2021

FP Staff, FP Contributors
Source Link

Foreign Policy staffers and columnists do a lot of reading as part of our jobs to stay on top of both the news happening around the world and the conversations and debates taking place among experts, practitioners, activists, and everyday folks. But we do plenty of reading for pleasure, too, to enrich our understanding of the world we live in. Here is a roundup of the best books we read this year, from historical nonfiction to thrilling sci-fi to poignant novels and beyond.

Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World

This compelling biography begins in the least promising way possible: with a tax return. In January 1801, a Buddhist priest named Emon lived in a Japanese village called Ishigami; 200 years later, Amy Stanley, a historian at Northwestern University, pored over Emon’s financial records and realized he saved hundreds of letters from his daughter Tsuneno that documented her extraordinary, rebellious life.