13 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 

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


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

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

India Responds to New Kashmiri Militant Factions’ Campaign Against Civilians

Animesh Roul

After a period of relative dormancy, India’s restive Kashmir region has been struck by violence again, witnessing an increase in the targeted killings of civilians. In October alone, there were 45 deaths, including 13 civilians and 12 security force personnel. With the killing of a well-known pharmacist, Makhnalal Bindroo, and street vendor, Virender Paswan, in Srinagar on October 5, militants from newly emerging factions have triggered a new cycle of violence.

Several days after the killings of Bindroo and Paswan, armed militants shot dead the principal and a teacher of a government school in Srinagar after identifying them as Hindus and separating them from Muslim staff (Tribune India, October 8). A week later, on October 16 and October 17, three more civilians, all from Bihar State, were killed in Srinagar and Kulgam (India Today, October 18; Hindustan Times, October 16).

Kashmiri militants have also targeted Muslims who have been working with local Hindu communities or Hindus who have moved to Kashmir for work. For example, a Muslim carpenter from Uttar Pradesh was shot dead by militants on October 16 in Pulwama. As this spree of “point-blank” killings continued into November, local Kashimir-Hindu communities, which are calledPandit; non-local Hindu and Sikh settlers; and non-local Muslims who were mistaken as Hindus have been on the receiving end of militants’ violence in Kashmir (Kashmir Observer, November 8).

India and China Can Quit Coal Earlier, But the World Must Work Alongside Them

Beibei Yin

According to reports, China and India jointly gutted a keenly anticipated global agreement to phase out coal at the COP26 United Nations climate summit last month.

The reality was however messier than many headlines suggested. Arguably there had never been the prospect of a global agreement to begin with – not when the world’s three biggest coal consumers, China, India, and – notably – the U.S., were not prepared to take the plunge.

However, there are good reasons why it is difficult for China and India to wean themselves off coal. Coal remains the largest single fuel in the energy mix in both China and India according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In addition to generating electricity to power factories and homes, coal is also vital to both countries’ heavy industries, such as iron and steel production. For both countries, moreover, coal is more than an engine of economic development: It also represents energy security and sovereignty, given that they both have some of the world’s largest coal reserves.

Yet the counter-argument could hardly be clearer. Coal continues to be the single largest contributor to energy-related carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, accounting for around 44 percent of such emissions in 2018, according to the IEA. China and India’s reliance on coal is not merely one of the biggest obstacles to their pursuit of decarbonization, but presents a global challenge.Expert assessment of a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report found that a global coal phase-out by 2040 is essential if the world is to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius of heating above pre-industrial levels and avoid the most catastrophic climate change impacts.

Community’s Obligation to Protect the Human Rights of Afghans

Christopher Fitzgerald

The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban culminated in the capture of Kabul and the collapse of the US-supported democratic government in August 2021. This was a rapid and unexpected development for the international community as well as for international media outlets and humanitarian organisations[1]. With the Taliban back in power, concerns have been raised regarding the human rights of Afghanistan’s citizens, including women and children, people with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, civil society groups and those connected to the previous Karzai and Ghani administrations[2]. These concerns stem from the notorious actions of the Taliban during their previous reign from 1996–2001 when they undertook extrajudicial killings and executions and oppressed women and girls under the premise of strict sharia law. The Taliban have also attacked civilians, journalists, human rights advocates and civil servants, resulting in one of the highest civilian death rates in the world[3]. The withdrawal of NATO forces, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and human rights groups raises legitimate questions about how the international community can protect the human rights of Afghan citizens moving forward. In the absence of an effective, inclusive government within Afghanistan, the international community has obligations through the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to protect the human rights of Afghans.

Chinese mining groups scour Afghanistan for opportunities

Edward White and Fazelminallah Qazizai

Chinese mining groups are scouting opportunities in Afghanistan to access the country’s lithium and copper deposits, as Beijing steps into the void left by the US and its allies just months after the Taliban seized power.

A group of mining industry representatives has visited Afghanistan in recent weeks, according to a senior official in Kabul and a representative from a Chinese industry association.

China’s efforts to secure mining rights comes as Afghanistan faces an acute financial and humanitarian crisis following the exit of US and coalition forces in August and after Beijing and Taliban leaders held talks before the American withdrawal.

“China has managed to maintain a direct line of communication with the Taliban since August 2021 and being among the first few countries to send aid definitely boosted its relations with the Taliban which are eager for finances to stabilise the Afghan economy,” said Claudia Chia, an analyst at the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies.

Leading economies are rushing to secure access to lithium and copper, crucial resources used to develop technologies such as electric vehicle batteries and smartphones. Some reports have said Afghanistan’s lithium deposits could rival those of the world’s biggest known reserves in Bolivia, according to Nomura.

Talks were held over recent weeks with the Taliban over access to Mes Aynak, south-east of Kabul, one of the world’s biggest copper deposits which Chinese groups previously had a licence to mine.

At least one Chinese private sector group also travelled to the eastern Nangarhar and Laghman provinces to research access to other minerals, according to people with knowledge of the trip.

But the talks were at an early stage and did not guarantee that Chinese miners would return to tap Afghanistan’s minerals, the people said.

The Chinese industry association said dozens more companies have made inquiries over the potential for exploring Afghanistan’s resources, including lithium.

Nomura analysts said in a report that as “tier-1 lithium players”, the companies would be “unlikely” to be involved in Afghanistan given concerns over environmental, social and governance problems.

Two Chinese miners mentioned in the report — Ganfeng Lithium, the world’s largest lithium producer, and Tianqi Lithium, one of China’s biggest listed lithium miners — both denied any involvement in the latest trip.

Mining projects in Afghanistan have long been riddled with immense logistical and security challenges. Laghman, for example, is the birthplace and final stronghold of Isis-K, an Isis-inspired militant group fighting a low-level insurgency against the Taliban.

China has been worried over the approach of the Taliban to Xinjiang, the western region which borders Afghanistan and where Beijing has detrained more than 1m Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

Any mining and production would hinge on the Taliban ensuring security guarantees for Chinese investments, analysts said.

“The Taliban may consider providing security personnel for Chinese projects, similar to what Pakistan did for CPEC projects,” Chia said, referring to Beijing-backed infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

“Alternatively, Chinese private security companies, who already have a presence in Central Asia and Pakistan, could be hired to provide security . . . That being said, security on the ground would still be hard to manage,” she said.

China has called for the lifting of economic sanctions on Afghanistan and for the Taliban to be given access to billions of dollars in frozen foreign exchange reserves held by multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF.

Saving Afghanistan Despite the Taliban


WASHINGTON, DC – The Afghan economy is in free fall. Public-sector employees –teachers, health-care workers, bureaucrats, police – are not being paid, the currency has lost a fifth of its value, and shortages of food, medicines, and everyday products are growing. Even when these items are available, many households cannot afford to buy them.

It was inevitable that the country’s takeover by the Taliban and the withdrawal of American and allied forces would leave most Afghans economically worse off and personally less free. Still, few anticipated the speed and scale of the humanitarian catastrophe now taking shape.

While the international community decides how to calibrate its response – or if it should respond at all – life in Afghanistan is becoming more difficult. Aid flows, which financed 75% of the country’s national budget before the Taliban seized power, have mostly dried up. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have halted their substantial funding. Afghanistan’s $7 billion of reserves in the United States have been frozen by President Joe Biden’s administration. And fear of violating sanctions has stopped banks and businesses from engaging even in permitted activities.

Trends In Terrorism: What’s On The Horizon In 2022? – Analysis

Colin P. Clarke

With the world still reeling from the global COVID-19 pandemic, nearly two years in the making, few know what to expect terrorism trends to look like heading into 2022. However, certain trends from previous years seem likely to continue and may grow more severe. The terrorist threat is arguably more diverse than at any point in recent memory, with the threat posed by far-right extremists and jihadists joined by a growing roster of political and socio-cultural motivations, including ‘technophobia’ or neo-Luddite terrorism, violent anarchists, and extreme misogynists, especially those following the so-called ‘Incel’ ideology. ‘Salad bar’ ideologies, those that combine a sampling of different ideologies, sometimes diametrically opposed to one another, are also on the rise and are best exemplified by neo-Nazis growing fetishization of jihadist ideology. And while the most lethal terrorist threats are likely to remain jihadism and far-right extremism, it is important to think about how recent developments could shape patterns of terrorism over the coming year.

The recently discovered Omicron variant of the coronavirus is already forcing vaccine mandates and new waves of lockdowns in countries worldwide, fueling violent protests from anti-vaxxers and anti-government extremists, respectively. In Italy, anti-vaxxers have linked up with far-right extremists, a combustible mix likely playing out in many other countries, not just in Europe but also in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Even good news related to the pandemic is likely to be a double-edged sword. If significant progress can be made against the virus in 2022, lifting restrictions could provide extremists with a range of new potential targets, especially soft targets where crowds may begin to congregate, including sporting events, concert venues, and farmers’ markets.

Xi Jinping’s New World Order Can China Remake the International System?

Elizabeth Economy

Xi Jinping savored the moment. Speaking before China’s annual gathering of nearly 3,000 representatives to the National People’s Congress in Beijing in March 2021, the Chinese president took a post-pandemic victory lap, proclaiming that his country had been the first to tame COVID-19, the first to resume work, and the first to regain positive economic growth. It was the result, he argued, of “self-confidence in our path, self-confidence in our theories, self-confidence in our system, self-confidence in our culture.” And he further shared his pride that “now, when our young people go abroad, they can stand tall and feel proud—unlike us when we were young.” For Xi, China’s success in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus was yet more evidence that he was on the right track: China was reclaiming its historic position of leadership and centrality on the global stage. The brief official history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that was published the following month reinforced his assessment. It claimed that Xi had brought China “closer to the center of the world stage than it has ever been. The nation has never been closer to its own rebirth.”

China already occupies a position of centrality in the international system. It is the world’s largest trading power and greatest source of global lending, it boasts the world’s largest population and military, and it has become a global center of innovation. Most analysts predict that China’s real GDP will surpass that of the United States by 2030 to make it the largest economy in the world. Moreover, as the evolution of the pandemic has illustrated, China’s response to global challenges has profound implications for the rest of the world.

Decoding Xi Jinping How Will China’s Bureaucrats Interpret His Call for “Common Prosperity?”

Yuen Yuen Ang

In the seven decades during which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been in power, its leaders have often articulated their visions and signature platforms using lofty rhetoric and vague slogans. In the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping spoke of pursuing “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” In the first decade of this century, Jiang Zemin sought to build a “socialist market economy.” Early in his tenure, Xi Jinping referred to his bid to restore China’s historical status as a global power as “the China Dream.”

These exercises in the elliptical art of Chinese Marxist phraseology have often left foreign observers scratching their heads. That has also been the case with the most recent slogan to emerge under Xi: “common prosperity.” The term gained prominence this past summer as Chinese authorities aimed a barrage of new regulations at private businesses, including a number of major tech companies, in the name of rectifying the excesses of capitalism and restoring the CCP’s original mission of serving the masses. The new rules effectively wiped out an estimated $1.5 trillion from those firms’ stock valuations. Ever since, investors and others have been scrambling to decipher common prosperity and grasp its implications for China’s future policies and economic prospects.

Don't Forget: China and the United States Have Already Gone To War

Robert Farley

In November 1950, China and the United States went to war. Thirty-six thousand Americans died, along with upwards of a quarter million Chinese, and half a million or more Koreans. If the United States was deeply surprised to find itself at war with the People’s Republic of China, a country that hadn’t even existed the year before, it was even more surprised to find itself losing that war. The opening Chinese offensive, launched from deep within North Korea, took U.S. forces by complete operational surprise. The U.S.-led United Nations offensive into North Korea was thrown back, with the U.S. Army handed its worst defeat since the American Civil War.

The legacies of this war remain deep, complex and underexamined. Memory of the Korean War in the United States is obscured by the looming shadows of World War II and Vietnam. China remembers the conflict differently, but China’s position in the world has changed in deep and fundamental ways since the 1950s. Still, as we consider the potential for future conflict between China and the United States, we should try to wring what lessons we can from the first Sino-American war.

Microsoft Seizes Domains Used by a Chinese Hacking Group

MICROSOFT SAID IT has seized control of servers that a China-based hacking group was using to compromise targets that align with that country’s geopolitical interests.

The hacking group, which Microsoft has dubbed Nickel, has been in Microsoft’s sights since at least 2016, and the software company has been tracking the now-disrupted intelligence-gathering campaign since 2019. The attacks—against government agencies, think tanks, and human rights organizations in the US and 28 other countries—were “highly sophisticated,” Microsoft said, and used a variety of techniques, including exploiting vulnerabilities in software that targets had yet to patch.

Down but Not Out

Late last week, Microsoft sought a court order to seize websites Nickel was using to compromise targets. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted the motion and unsealed the order on Monday. With control of Nickel’s infrastructure, Microsoft will now “sinkhole” the traffic, meaning it’s diverted away from Nickel’s servers and to Microsoft-operated servers, which can neutralize the threat and allow Microsoft to obtain intelligence about how the group and its software work.

At Both Ends of Eurasia, the Era of ‘Pax Americana’ Is Coming to an End

Howard W. French 

There are any number of ways to measure one of the great secular transformations of our time: the decline of the United States’ power relative not only to a rising rival like China, but to the rest of the world generally.

From 1960 to the present, the American share of global economic output has declined from 40 percent to less than a quarter in recent years. And compared even to the fairly recent past, say during the presidency of Barack Obama, the influence and prestige of the American political model has withered under the corrosive effects of Trumpism as well as the political division and paralysis so evident in his wake. The failure to stem the spread of COVID-19, both domestically, where it has infected nearly 50 million people, and worldwide, where the United States was once a much more effective provider of public health goods, has also strongly diminished the country’s global image.

American technology companies still look like global leaders, but when one considers frontier industries, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, there is no assurance their lead can be maintained. One need only look to the skies, where other countries’ space programs, led most impressively by China, are steadily making big new breakthroughs.

My Worry for America


OPINION — I was a Brigadier General 30 years ago, assigned in Europe as the head of intelligence. Most of the time I was looking at the Balkans because there was a war going on. Yugoslavia lasted for 72 years and then it was gone; it fell apart.

These were bitter rivalries. Many people were killed. There were multiple civil wars. It lasted 10 years; it’s hard to say, but we think 130,000 to 140,000 actually died. The hardest hit was Bosnia where maybe 100,000 people died, mostly Bosniaks (Muslims). Sarajevo in Bosnia had hosted the Olympics just a few years before.

I went to Sarajevo many times. It was a modern city. It was small and picturesque, on the banks of the Miljacka river.

The First World War began in Sarajevo. And in the 1990s, war returned. Sarajevo was a war zone. And I was in Bosnia, watching it happen. What was going on? Why were they doing this?

The Middle Kingdom Meets Higher Education

Craig Singleton
Source Link


Confucius Institutes (CIs) are Chinese government-sponsored organizations offering Chinese-language, cultural, and historical programming at the primary, secondary, and university levels worldwide. CIs are also a key element in China’s “united front,” a network of groups and key individuals that seek to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).1 CIs further serve as platforms that advance facets of China’s military-civil fusion (MCF), a national strategy aimed at acquiring the world’s cutting-edge technologies — including through theft — to achieve Chinese military dominance.2 China’s CI-enabled initiatives include the establishment of academic and research partnerships between top-tier American institutions and Chinese universities supporting Beijing’s military-industrial complex.

Between 2018 and 2021, the number of CIs operating in the United States fell from 113 to 34. Only four of these 79 closures were attributed to national security concerns, despite ample evidence that China leverages relationships with U.S. universities to acquire the technology and talent Beijing needs to win its strategic competition with the United States.3 CI closures began in earnest only after Congress passed legislation that bars universities hosting CIs from receiving certain types of funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The universities that have resisted shuttering their CIs are ones that do not receive federal funding jeopardized by this new legislation.

China Aims to ‘Revise the Global Rule Set,’ Top U.S. General Says

Nancy A. Youssef

WASHINGTON—China is expanding its military in a bid to “revise the global rule set” and undo the post-World War II national security framework, the highest ranking military officer said Tuesday.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said China’s investment in its navy, hypersonic missiles, cyber and other technologies are designed to ensure that it, along with Russia and the U.S., are world-leading nations. Such a rise would end a post-World War II era in which Russia and the U.S. were the only superpowers.

“We are going into a world that is more complex geo-strategically,” Gen. Milley said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “We are entering into a world in which technology is advancing at a rate and speed that has never been seen in human history. So it’s much more complex, potentially more unstable.”

Gen. Milley said that while the U.S. currently is ahead of China militarily, “the question is going forward.” He said the U.S. must modernize to stay ahead.

Echoing Hyten, Grady says Pentagon should stop over-classifying info


WASHINGTON: Adm. Christopher Grady, President Joe Biden’s pick to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Senate lawmakers today that he would work to counter the Pentagon’s habit of over-classifying information, picking up a pet issue often bemoaned by his predecessor.

“In the end, I think we need to work hard to always push that down — the classification down — but still remaining sensitive to sources and methods that you correctly point out,” the admiral told Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

The senator sought Grady’s opinion about classification in response to a classified hearing lawmakers received Tuesday about Russia’s military buildup at its border with Ukraine. Blumenthal said the information Congress received was “deeply sobering” and “scary.”

Can Biden and Putin Avert War Over Ukraine?

Mark Episkopos

President Joe Biden held a virtual summit meeting that lasted two hours with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday amid mounting military tensions over Ukraine. Though the Biden administration has been eager to focus on China rather than Russia, Putin is adroitly ensuring that Moscow remains a central player in world politics. The summit itself was a potent sign of the Kremlin’s influence.

“Greetings, Mr. President!” Putin reportedly said at the start of the call. “Good to see you again,” Biden responded. “Unfortunately last time we didn’t get to see one another at the G20. I am hoping next time we meet we do it in person.”

Biden “voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the U.S. and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,” according to a White House readout of the talks. The U.S. president “reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy,” added the readout. As of the time of writing, the Kremlin has not yet published its official summary of the phone call.

Germany’s New Government Will Try to Deliver Change Without Disruption

Dave Keating

Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party, or SPD, was sworn in yesterday as Germany’s ninth chancellor, ending the 16-year tenure of Angela Merkel and her center-right Christian Democratic Union, or CDU. But while in other countries a swing from the right to the left might herald significant change politically, this is unlikely to be the case in Germany, which is known for its preference for pragmatic, consensus-oriented political leadership.

A key point to note is that Scholz was a member of the previous government, serving as vice chancellor and finance minister in Merkel’s fourth and final Cabinet, as part of a grand coalition between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. And even though he is from a different party, Scholz has been positioning himself as representing continuity with Merkel, including by alluding to their shared origins from northern Germany at yesterday’s handover ceremony.

But a crucial distinction between the two leaders is that Scholz, unlike Merkel, is not in a grand coalition with his party’s main opposition. Instead, the SPD formed a government with the Greens and the pro-market Free Democratic Party, or FDP. This means that there will likely be some policy changes ahead. One such shift may come in the arena of foreign policy, given that the Greens—who negotiated for and got the Foreign Ministry portfolio during government formation talks—are regarded as more hawkish on Russia and China, and much more ambitious on foreign policy more broadly, than either the SPD or the CDU.

2021 war alert


Information about the build-up of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border and gloomy forecasts about the timing of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine made the headlines in the autumn and winter of 2021 and was first mentioned last spring. Apparently, as many as 100,000 troops have been redeployed to and amassed at the border. Indeed, under the existing circumstances, Moscow seems to have little hope for the implementation of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements (Minsk II) on Russian terms. On the one hand, the leaders of France, Ukraine and Germany who concluded the agreement have been replaced. On the other hand, the global agenda has also changed, and the problem of Donbass has been almost forgotten.

Moreover, Ukraine has grown accustomed to a ‘neither war nor peace’ state of affairs and the seeming freezing of the conflict suits it given the current political and economic situation. These factors could allegedly provoke Moscow to a full-fledged offensive. However, the reality is more complex, as is the rationale behind Russia’s actions.

Is this how World War III begins?

John Storey

In October, Facebook and its related social media platforms went down in mysterious circumstances for six hours. On the same day, China sent 52 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence zone, the largest and most provocative incursion yet. If military theorists are correct, headlines like these will be the precursor to World War III.

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is a scenario that many fear will be the catalyst for the next major international war. And most pundits believe cyber warfare will play a major role in such a conflict, or indeed any future international wars. So a cyberattack that knocks out the American media to hide or distract attention from a Chinese move against Taiwan is not unrealistic.

To be clear, there’s no suggestion that the Facebook outage and the Chinese incursion were linked. But it’s a timely reminder of how vulnerable our networked world is to cyberattack. What role would cyberwarfare play in a future conflict, and is it as important as traditional ‘kinetic’ military operations?

Taming the “Grey Zone”

Megan Price

Grey zone tactics are generally understood as coercive activities which do not reach the threshold of conventional military warfare, enabling the perpetrator to avoid risks associated with escalation. The concept rose to prominence in the West in response to developments such as Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, and perceptions of an increase in proxy warfare in the Middle East.

In Australian foreign policy and defence circles, a dizzying array of action has been grouped under the label of grey zone tactics. Speaking at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in 2019, Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell made the grey zone a synonym for political warfare. Quoting George Kennan, he declared that “Political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives”. The Defence Strategic Update is similarly sweeping, defining grey zone tactics as military or non-military, including measures such as interference, disinformation campaigns and economic coercion. Grey zone tactics have even featured in discussions of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Integrating deterrence across the gray — making it more than words

Katie Crombe, Steve Ferenzi and Robert Jones
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Much over the course of the past year has been said (and re-said) about “integrated deterrence.” From our point of view, deterrence is fundamentally about shaping adversary decision calculus which requires, inter alia, communication. Communication is about messaging and perceptions. Yet, in today’s discussions on integrated deterrence, we are losing sight of this important relationship. Integrating deterrence is not so much about developing the perfect strategy that incorporates allies or the interagency, and even less so about working across every military domain. This is nothing new. Instead, right now it is more about articulating what is missing — the political, cognitive, and irregular spaces of the gray zone where China, Russia, and Iran (among others) are actually advancing their interests. While we are not trailblazing a new idea here, it is important to revisit certain fundamentals. The gray zone was a side show during the counterterrorism era, and we cannot afford to let it fade another shade lighter now. The military must remain proactive in competition, and ready for crisis and conflict, not just one of them.

Irregular warfare is not the panacea, but it is perhaps the best opportunity space to shape adversary decision calculus in ways that other military tools cannot. The exhaustive argumentation over defining integrated deterrence, “strategic competition,” or any other moniker is not where we should spend time. A “good enough” answer is visible, and we must act to prevent further erosion of our advantages. This good enough answer involves two practical aspects: expanding the aperture beyond a traditional understanding of deterrence to account for irregular warfare and acknowledging the unique role that special operations forces play in campaigning to deter states in the gray zone. Special operations forces do this now and look to expand their strategic effectiveness in the future.

Metals Demand From Energy Transition May Top Current Global Supply – Analysis

Nico Valckx, Martin Stuermer, Dulani Seneviratne, and Ananthakrishnan Prasad

The clean energy transition needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change could unleash unprecedented metals demand in coming decades, requiring as much as 3 billion tons.

A typical electric vehicle battery pack, for example, needs around 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of lithium, 35 kilograms of nickel, 20 kilograms of manganese and 14 kilograms of cobalt, while charging stations require substantial amounts of copper. For green power, solar panels use large quantities of copper, silicon, silver and zinc, while wind turbines require iron ore, copper, and aluminum.

Such needs could send metal demand and prices surging for many years, as we outlined in a recent blog based on our research for the October World Economic Outlook and a new IMF staff paper.

Metal prices have already seen large increases as economies re-opened, highlighting a critical need to analyze what could constrain production and delay supply responses. Specifically, we assess whether there are enough mineral and metal deposits to satisfy needs for low-carbon technologies and how to best address factors that could restrain mining investment and metals supplies.
Supply constraints

Under the International Energy Agency’s Net-Zero by 2050 Roadmap, the share of power from renewables would rise from current levels of around 10 percent to 60 percent, boosted by solar, wind, and hydropower. Fossil fuels would shrink from almost 80 percent to about 20 percent.

Replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon technologies would require an eightfold increase in renewable energy investments and cause a strong increase in demand for metals. However, developing mines is a process that takes a very long time—often a decade or more—and presents various challenges, at both the company and country level.

The first question is how far current metals production is stretched and whether existing reserves can provide for the energy transition. Given the projected increase in metals consumption through 2050 under a net zero scenario, current production rates of graphite, cobalt, vanadium, and nickel appear inadequate, showing a more than two-thirds gap versus the demand. Current copper, lithium and platinum supplies also are inadequate to satisfy future needs, with a 30 percent to 40 percent gap versus demand.

We also examined whether production can be scaled up, by looking at current metal reserves. For some minerals, existing reserves would allow greater production through more investment in extraction, such as for graphite and vanadium. For other minerals, current reserves could be a constraint on future demand—especially lithium and lead, but also for zinc, silver, and silicon.

Importantly, however, metal reserves and production are not static. Firms can expand reserves through innovation in extraction technology and further exploration efforts may lead to increasing the future supply of metals to meet future demands.

Moreover, metals recycling can also increase supplies. Reuse of scrap metals only occurs on a large scale for copper and nickel, but it’s now increasing for some scarcer materials like lithium and cobalt.

One complicating factor is that some important supplies are generally very concentrated. This implies that a few producers will benefit disproportionately from growing demand. Conversely, this lays bare energy transition risks from supply bottlenecks should investments in production capacity not meet demand, or in case of potential geopolitical risk inside or between producer nations.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, accounts for about 70 percent of cobalt output and half of reserves. The role is so dominant that the energy transition could become more difficult if the country can’t expand mining operations. Similar risks apply to China, Chile, and South Africa, which are all top producers for some of the metals most crucial to the energy transition. Breakdowns or disruptions in their institutions, regulations, or policies could complicate supply growth.

Financing concerns

A related challenge is insufficient financing for metals and mining investment due to growing investor focus on environmental, social, and governance considerations, or ESG. Mining involves environmental impacts and fuels global warming, albeit just a fraction of coal and gas generation, as pointed out by a World Bank report on the mineral intensity of the energy transition.

Reduced access to financing by firms with lower ratings could constrain production, adding another potential supply-chain bottleneck. In response, miners are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. An S&P Global analysis shows that the ESG average score of the S&P Global 1200, an index representing about 70 percent of global stock-market capitalization, stood at 62 out of 100, while the metals and mining sector’s score rose to 52 last year from 39 in 2018. This may indicate miners are catching up with other sectors to become more attractive to global investors seeking to build more responsible portfolios.

Commitment to better environmental scores could help unlock more green financing for mining firms. This is supported by our analysis of S&P 1200 firms, which shows that mining companies that raised their ESG ratings from 2018 to 2020 also saw an increase in debt and equity financing. More generally, the effort to unlock more green financing is also aided by global efforts from, among others, the World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Initiative and IMF support for greening the recovery and promoting green finance.

The world needs more low-carbon energy technologies to keep temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the transition could unleash an unprecedented metals demand. While deposits are broadly sufficient, the needed ramp-up in mining investment and operations could be challenging for some metals and may be derailed by market- or country-specific risks.

Japan is Becoming a Military Powerhouse Again

Peter Suciu

Eighty years ago, the Empire of Japan had one of the world's most powerful navies, and its armies began a massive campaign against much of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Its territory stretched across much of China, and its military seemed to be unstoppable – yet less than four years later, its cities were destroyed, and its army and navy vanquished. Today, Japan is a major ally of the United States and could be a crucial partner in a war against the People's Republic of China.

The humbly named Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) were established in 1954. Yet, owing to the Japanese constitution, which forever renounced war as an instrument for settling international disputes, the JSDF was intended for defensive purposes only. It grew out of the 75,000-member lightly armed National Police Reserve created just after the Korean War began in 1950.

Currently, the JSDF's active personnel numbers almost 250,000 active personnel, and one percent of Japan's GDP goes towards the defense budget.

Broader Risk: Russian Control Over the Ukraine and Belarus

Anthony H. Cordesman

President Putin’s motives in deploying the equivalent of an invasion force on the border of the Ukraine may be limited to an effort to stop the expansion of NATO and U.S. military aid to the Ukraine. They also, however, may have a much broader set of long-term strategic goals. This commentary examines how the Russian effort to expand its influence in the Ukraine and to deny it membership in NATO or any added U.S. military support may be part of a broader effort that includes Belarus and presents a much more serious longer-term challenge to NATO.

The Strategic Impact of the Breakup of the Former Soviet Union (FSU)

A broader look at the map of Europe before and after the break-up of the FSU and the Warsaw Pact in 1991 makes it clear why Putin may see Russian efforts to gain influence or control over Belarus and much of the Ukraine as a major strategic objective.

Map One shows the level of de facto Russian control before the breakup of the FSU. Russia then dominated Eastern Europe in areas which allowed it to pose a major threat of invasion to all of Europe, including to the most developed states in the region. Moreover, even if one excludes key Warsaw Pact states like East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria, Russia’s control over Belarus and the Ukraine gave it strategic access to the entire Central Front in Europe as well as control over the Baltic states.

Japan Must Go Beyond a Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics 2022

Masato Ushio

“Exchanges between Japan and China have become rare in recent years, partly due to COVID-19. With the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations occurring next year, the two nations are united on the goal of boosting exchanges — both economic and those involving people.”

2022 will indeed mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Yet, no matter how hard the Kishida Cabinet tries with its “boost,” exchanges involving people will not make any progress.

Many Chinese people have become victims and suffered due to the pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China. However, the Chinese government is being uncooperative with probes into the origins of the virus at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to have exchanges with a country that has this sort of government.

Number Of Cyberattacks Against Organizations Up By 13%, Noticeable Rise In Attacks Targeting Mobile Devices

Eurasia Review

Research from Orange Cyberdefense, Europe’s largest managed security services provider, Thursday reveals that there has been a 13% increase in cyberattacks on enterprises over the past 12 months, with a rise in ransomware incidents and, for the first time, a noticeable wave of attacks against mobile devices.

The Security Navigator 2022 provides a detailed analysis of more than 50 billion security events analyzed daily over the past year (October 2020 to October 2021) by Orange Cyberdefense’s 18 Security Operation Centers (SOCs) and 14 CyberSOCs across the globe.

Monitoring showed that of the 94,806 incidents flagged as being potential threats, analyst investigation confirmed 34,156 (36%) to be legitimate security incidents – a 13% increase on the year before. More than a third (38%) of all confirmed security incidents were classified as malware, including ransomware – an increase of 18% on 2020.

Renewable Energy Is Great—but the Grid Can Slow It Down

SAY YOU WANT to build a wind farm. You find a nice empty knoll in northern Vermont, where the breeze blows steadily and the neighbors don’t complain about sullied views. (A damn miracle, in other words.) You line up investors, get the right permits, and prepare to install your turbines. Then you hit snag: power lines. There aren’t enough in rural Vermont; they’re all in Boston, along with the people and their Teslas. So you’ve got a problem. The wind is blowing here, but there’s no way to get its green energy there.

Since 1889, when the US got its first long-distance power line (it traversed a whopping 14 miles), the grid largely has been set up for energy that’s consumed relatively close to where it is produced. There are exceptions—like hydropower that reaches cities from far-flung dams—but for the most part, it has been a century of linking coal and gas plants with people living nearby. But now, with wind farms dotting mountain ridges and solar plants sprawling in the desert, distance is more common.

‘Golden Hour’ needs to become the ‘Golden Day,' Army medical leaders say

Todd South

ARLINGTON, Virginia – The Army is working on all kinds of ways to defeat, destroy and kill the enemy in what leaders believe will be the next fight — a large-scale ground combat operation with multi-domain implications.

But an even more vexing problem than defeating high-tech enemies is how to handle what most experts agree will be a number of casualties like the United States hasn’t seen since World War II.

At an Association of the U.S. Army forum held Tuesday, top leaders in the Army medical field laid out some of the challenges they’re facing.

“The future battlefield is one of isolation, without the ability to evacuate casualties or get resupply,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony McQueen, commanding general of the Army’s Medical Research and Development Command.

McQueen noted some key demands that need solutions, including more blood on the battlefield to treat higher numbers of wounded, more oxygen and perhaps more medically-trained soldiers to increase the “holding” capacity of keeping wounded in place as the force fights for safe evacuation options.

A Networked, High-Tech Alliance Makes an Attractive Target for Cyberattacks

Eunwoo Lee

“Our military is the target of increasing hacking attempts, with heightened intensity before and during allied cooperation,” says In Jun-beom, a cybersecurity specialist at South Korea’s armed forces headquarters, Gyeryongdae.

Although the bulk of these attacks are minor misdeeds easily flagged and foiled, offensive cyber capabilities have soared in importance. A litany of cyberattacks prompted the U.S. and its allies to issue a joint statement underlining China’s reckless cyber behaviors as “a major threat to U.S. and allies’ economic and national security.” The problem of cyberattacks for the military is growing ever more acute and insidious.

An anonymous source within South Korea’s Cyber Operations Command notes the alacrity with which “the weapons and force support systems come with embedded software” that lays bare more vulnerabilities to cyber intrusion. The military’s reliance on network software makes the consequence of hacking all the more damning for the daily running of its logistics, infrastructure, and operations. Hackers can induce “structural paralysis through network severance, and disruption of computational calculations that regulate weapons systems,” the source said. Data storage and algorithms linked to munitions can simply evaporate. During a conflict, the flight paths of drones and satellites can be hijacked to crash at targeted sites, or assets could be made implode via dormant virus vectors eventually activated in times of war.