24 December 2021

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.

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.

It’s time for the West to engage with the Taliban

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Rory Stewart, and Obaid Younossi

The Taliban won the war in Afghanistan. Perhaps it was inevitable, perhaps it was not. But it is in any case a reality. And the consequences of the international withdrawal are horrifying. Half of the nearly 40 million people in Afghanistan are now at risk of famine and starvation. COVID-19 has spread across a country with next to no vaccination or medical ventilator capacity. The economy is broken. Prices and unemployment are soaring. Health care systems are disintegrating. And there is no coherent long-term strategy to prevent a major terrorist threat from reemerging.

Yet all is not lost. Despite the debacle this summer, the war’s end came with remarkably little bloodshed. That was not the result of any U.S. or NATO policy but it was a welcome and surprising outcome. Moreover, despite having been bitter enemies for two decades, NATO and the Taliban found a modus vivendi this summer, as the latter even helped us (imperfectly) evacuate more than 120,000 people at risk as Kabul fell. That tacit cooperation suggests a path forward for counterterrorism policy as well.

Alas, these silver linings to the withdrawal are both at dire risk. It will prove little solace that civil war and massive revenge killings were averted this year if many hundreds of thousands of Afghans suffer preventable deaths from starvation and privation this winter. Moreover, if we refuse to engage with the Taliban at any meaningful level, its leadership might have less and less motivation to rein in terrorist movements that could again take root there. And economic collapse and isolation risk provoking deeper instability, insecurity, and repression.

The crucial need to secure the location data of vulnerable populations

Faine Greenwood

As the Taliban moved in on the Afghan capital of Kabul with unexpected speed earlier this year, foreign aid workers, diplomats, and military personnel attempted to destroy reams of sensitive data that they’d collected over the decades-long U.S. occupation. The information included photos of smiling Afghans shaking hands with U.S. colleagues and vast stores of biometric data, which could be used to precisely identify individuals. Highly detailed biometric databases built with U.S. funding and assistance had been used to pay police and military and, in the hands of the Taliban, threatened to become a potent weapon. Afghans who’d worked with foreign governments rushed to scrub their digital identities and hide evidence of their online actions, afraid of the Taliban using cheerful social media posts against them.

In just a few short days, the Taliban’s advance transformed these vast stores of data collected in the name of development and security from valuable asset to deadly liability. It’s a tragic tale, and from the perspective of experts on data security and privacy, it’s even more tragic because it was almost entirely predictable. For years, specialists have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of collecting and failing to secure data on the world’s most vulnerable. Despite an ever-growing list of ostensibly benevolent data collection going wrong, like the recent revelation that the United Nation’s refugee agency shared un-consenting Rohingya refugees’ data with a government that has repeatedly tried to kill them, data advocates’ concerns are too often brushed off as paranoia or tiresome bureaucracy.

How China Uses Economic Coercion to Silence Critics and Achieve its Political Aims Globally

The People’s Republic of China uses a variety of coercive economic measures to silence criticism and influence discussion of its human rights violations in the United States and internationally. For example, recently China has stoked domestic boycotts of international brands that condemned forced labor in Xinjiang, and it continues to wage a high-profile, comprehensive campaign of economic coercion against Australia in response to criticism China deems sensitive. In addition, China recently has sanctioned individuals and companies, including Members of Congress and academic researchers, and taken significant steps to provide a legal basis for further measures.

The Commission will hold a hearing that examines these challenges and developments in the context of China’s international efforts to stifle criticism and achieve its political aims globally, spotlights the costs of China’s economic coercion, and solicits recommendations from expert witnesses for further action by Congress and the Administration.

The hearing will be archived on the CECC’s YouTube Channel.

China’s approach to global economic governance

Dr Jue Wang, Michael Sampson

China’s trade and development finance objectives and Western concerns about these have remained relatively consistent over the last two decades. However, as China’s economy and influence have expanded, the response of the international community has become more robust and less flexible.

To achieve its goals, particularly when facing opposition within multilateral institutions, China has adopted a multifaceted approach to global economic governance. This strategy is driven by domestic needs, strategic concerns and the country’s development experience. In particular, Beijing has sought to use multilateral and bilateral mechanisms to stimulate internal reforms in global institutions, and to increase China’s influence in developing rules and norms.

China has established itself as a crucial participant in international institutions over the last 20 years, particularly in the World Trade Organization and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Its increasingly complex engagement in global governance will continue to simultaneously create tensions alongside opportunities for deeper cooperation.

2 Chinese rare-earth giants join forces as Beijing calls shots


BEIJING -- Two major Chinese rare-earth companies will work together to bolster a supply chain for industrially vital metals that can be used to put economic pressure on the U.S. and other nations.

China Northern Rare Earth (Group) High-Tech, a state-owned enterprise, has agreed to form a strategic partnership with Hong Kong-listed private-sector counterpart China Rare Earth Holdings. China Northern announced the deal on Sunday.

The timing of the announcement suggests the partnership is in line with a government plan to create a rare-earth supergroup by merging state assets. This highlighted a meeting on Saturday by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

China produces 60% of the world's rare earth metals, according to data from the United States Geological Survey, giving the country a grip on the supply of essential ingredients in powerful magnets and other components of both consumer and military technology.

Buying Influence: How China Manipulates Facebook and Twitter

Muyi Xiao, Paul Mozur and Gray Beltran

Flood global social media with fake accounts used to advance an authoritarian agenda. Make them look real and grow their numbers of followers. Seek out online critics of the state — and find out who they are and where they live.

China’s government has unleashed a global online campaign to burnish its image and undercut accusations of human rights abuses. Much of the effort takes place in the shadows, behind the guise of bot networks that generate automatic posts and hard-to-trace online personas.

Now, a new set of documents reviewed by The New York Times reveals in stark detail how Chinese officials tap private businesses to generate content on demand, draw followers, track critics and provide other services for information campaigns. That operation increasingly plays out on international platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which the Chinese government blocks at home.

The documents, which were part of a request for bids from contractors, offer a rare glimpse into how China’s vast bureaucracy works to spread propaganda and to sculpt opinion on global social media. They were taken offline after The Times contacted the Chinese government about them.

China’s PLA Is a Peasant Army No More


In a recent interview, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley declared that the People’s Liberation Army had transformed “from a peasant-based infantry army that was very, very large in 1979 to a very capable military that covers all the domains and has global ambitions.” Indeed, just the last six months have seen Beijing make great leaps forward—from rapidly constructing hundreds of missile silos to successfully testing a nuclear-capable Fractional Orbital Bombardment System equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle. Moreover, both advancements took America’s China-watchers by surprise. While comparisons to a “Sputnik moment” are hyperbolic, the harsh reality is that for nearly three decades China has undertaken a massive military buildup to offset America’s advantages—with notable success.

The shift in the balance of military power has been so dramatic that American strategists must now ask whether, in the most likely scenario of military conflict between the U.S. and China—a hot war over Taiwan—America might actually lose. When Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and her colleagues on the National Defense Strategy Commission examined this question in 2018, they concluded: maybe. In their words, America “might struggle to win, or perhaps lose a war against China.” Indeed, if China were to launch an attack to take control of Taiwan—an island as close to the Chinese mainland as Cuba is to the U.S.—it might succeed before the arrival of U.S. forces that could make any material difference. As former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James Winnefeld and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell wrote last year, China has the capability to deliver a fait accompli to Taiwan before Washington would be able to decide how to respond.

New Characteristics for Chinese Socialism?

Rana Mitter

During the communist era in East Germany, the ruling elite adopted a song with the uncompromising line Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer recht (“The Party, the Party, which is always right”). Today’s Chinese Communist Party is not quite so blunt. A resolution on China’s history issued by the CCP in November strikes a more nuanced note: “The Party is great not because it never makes mistakes, but because it always owns up to its errors, actively engages in criticism and self-criticism, and has the courage to confront problems and reform itself.”

The Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party Over the Past Century is only the third statement of its kind. The CCP issued similar documents in 1945 and 1981 under Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, respectively, intended to forge an official narrative of the party’s past—and define its orientation and trajectory in the present. Leaders within the party debate at length about the draft, which CCP researchers must revise repeatedly before it emerges as an official proclamation. The verdicts of these resolutions are regarded as definitive and reappear widely, including in media articles, school textbooks, and speeches by lower-level officials.

The Iranian and Houthi War against Saudi Arabia

Seth G. Jones, Jared Thompson, Danielle Ngo and Brian McSorley

The number of Houthi attacks against predominantly civilian targets in Saudi Arabia doubled over the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to new CSIS analysis. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah have played a critical role in providing weapons, technology, training, and other assistance to the Yemen-based Houthis. In response, the United States needs to provide Saudi Arabia additional aid to defend the country against stand-off attacks.

Iran and Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), better known as the Houthi movement, have conducted a campaign of high-profile attacks against civilian Saudi Arabian and coalition targets in the Gulf, beginning after the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in 2015.1 On December 6, 2021, for example, Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile above Riyadh, causing shrapnel to fall in several residential districts. In November 2021, Houthi militants fired over a dozen unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with explosives at several Saudi cities, including oil refineries in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia responded by targeting Houthi weapons depots, air defense systems, and UAV infrastructure in Yemen.2 In September 2021, a Houthi missile struck Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, injuring two children and damaging several homes.3 In March 2021, Houthi militants launched multiple UAVs and missiles at the southern city of Jazan, striking a facility of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco (see Figures 1a, 1b, and 1c). Saudi Arabia’s military has also intercepted thousands of Houthi ballistic and cruise missiles, UAVs, and other stand-off weapons.4

10 key events and trends in the Middle East and North Africa in 2021

Paul Salem, Brian Katulis, Gerald M. Feierstein

1) A transition in America occurs as the landscape shifts in the Middle East

The center of gravity for the Biden administration’s overall policy was on domestic issues, with a sharp focus on the pandemic and economic crisis at home. On the foreign policy front, the three C’s — China, climate change, and COVID-19 — along with efforts to rebuild ties with democratic allies in Europe and Asia, dominated the agenda.The transition of power in the United States from the Trump administration to the Biden administration was one of the year’s most important events for the broader Middle East and North Africa, as it resulted in significant shifts in U.S. policy that had ripple effects across the region. The most consequential of these moves were the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the attempt to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Nevertheless, many of the most important trends in the Middle East remain driven by its governments and people, as well as the impact of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and migration on the regional landscape. Yet, for all of the talk about U.S. disengagement from the region and the rise of China and Russia, the United States remains the most influential outside actor, given its broad network of relationships and ability to influence dynamics.

Silicon Valley warns the Pentagon: ‘Time is running out’


REAGAN NATIONAL DEFENSE FORUM: On Dec. 3, top Pentagon leaders, military brass and defense CEOs flocked to California for the annual Reagan National Defense Forum. The Davos-style event, which brings the power brokers of the defense world out to California, has increasingly become a venue for meetings with the young Silicon Valley-based tech founders and venture capitalists eager to break into government markets.

This year, there was an air of foreboding served alongside the free drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

“Time is running out with Silicon Valley,” said Katherine Boyle, a partner with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, in a series of tweets published the day before the event. “We have, at most, two years before founders walk away and private capital dries up. And many, many startups will go out of business waiting for DOD to award real production contracts.”

China and Russia Turn Deeper Ties into a Military Challenge for Biden

Jack Detsch

Deepening military and diplomatic cooperation between Russia and China is worrying U.S. defense planners, who fear the two frenemies that share military technology and many foreign-policy goals will complicate the Biden administration’s plan to reassert U.S. leadership.

China is carefully monitoring Russia’s military buildup near the border with Ukraine, which the U.S. Defense Department said this week is larger than the 2014 deployment, with an eye to its own pressure campaign on Taiwan and the South China Sea. Last week, China dispatched a record number of bombers and fighters into Taiwan’s air defense zone in a display of dominance; top U.S. military officials warn Beijing could try to seize the island by force in the next six years.

“Our sense is that [China] is paying very close attention to what’s going on as they did initially with things in the Ukraine,” the senior defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I think it’s fair to say that they are looking closely to determine how they might leverage lessons learned into their own national interests.”

The Biden administration weighs backing Ukraine insurgents if Russia invades

David Ignatius

The Biden administration is studying whether and how the United States could support an anti-Russian insurgency inside Ukraine if President Vladimir Putin invades that country and seizes substantial territory.

The planning, described Sunday by a knowledgeable official, includes ways to provide weapons and other support to the Ukrainian military to resist invading Russian forces — and similar logistical support to insurgent groups if Russia topples the Ukrainian government and a guerrilla war begins.

The weapons the United States might provide include shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles. The CIA’s delivery of such weapons, known at the time as “Stingers,” had a devastating effect on Soviet forces during their 10-year war in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989.

The administration task force, which includes the CIA and other key agencies, has been studying how insurgencies were organized against the Soviets in Afghanistan and Russian-backed forces in Syria — and also against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s an ironic example of turning the tables, weighing whether and how to inflict harm similar to what U.S. forces have suffered in recent years.

Next year’s global challenges are the most daunting in decades. Biden must prepare for them.

Frederick Kempe

Brace yourself for 2022, a year of living dangerously.

Many of the world’s most profound gains of the post-World War II era will be tested. The security of Europe and Asia, the resilience of democratic governance, the advance of open markets, the sanctity of individual rights, and the certainty of human progress all are in the balance.

Never in the thirty years since the Cold War’s end has a US president entered a new year confronting such an explosive brew of geopolitical and domestic political uncertainty. They are intertwined like a Gordian knot that only bold action can untangle.

The convergence of these external and internal perils, amid deep US political divisiveness and international diffidence, raises the difficulty level for any effective response.

Country Reports on Terrorism 2020

Country Reports on Terrorism 2020 is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act.


During 2020 the United States and its partners made significant major strides against terrorist organizations; however, the terrorism threat has become more geographically dispersed in regions around the world. Together with international partners, the United States has responded to the evolving threat, including by expanding the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which now counts 83 members. The Defeat-ISIS Coalition worked to consolidate gains in Iraq and Syria, while broadening efforts to counter the growing ISIS threat in West Africa and the Sahel. In March the United States designated the new leader of ISIS, Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). U.S.-led military operations in 2020 resulted in the deaths of Qassim al-Rimi, the emir of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and of senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) leaders in Syria. The United States continued to address threats posed by state-sponsored terrorism, sanctioning Iran-supported groups such as Iraq-based Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar. Nine countries across the Western Hemisphere and Europe took significant steps in 2020 to designate, ban, or otherwise restrict Hizballah — following the lead of four other governments that took similar actions the previous year. Reflecting the growing threat from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE), the Department of State also designated a white supremacist terrorist organization for the first time in 2020, imposing sanctions against the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) and three of its leaders in April.

Hoover's China Leadership Monitor

China Leadership Monitor, Winter 2021, no. 70

U.S. and Britain Help Ukraine Prepare for Potential Russian Cyberassault

David E. Sanger and Julian E. Barnes

WASHINGTON — In the closing days of 2015, the lights went out across a swath of Ukraine as Russian hackers remotely took over an electric utility’s control center and flipped off one power station after another, while the company’s operators stared at their screens helplessly.

The next year, the same thing happened, this time around Kyiv, the capital.

Now the United States and Britain have quietly dispatched cyberwarfare experts to Ukraine in hopes of better preparing the country to confront what they think may be the next move by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as he again menaces the former Soviet republic: Not an invasion with the 175,000 troops he is massing on the border, but cyberattacks that take down the electric grid, the banking system, and other critical components of Ukraine’s economy and government.

Russia’s goal, according to American intelligence assessments, would be to make Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, look inept and defenseless — and perhaps provide an excuse for an invasion.

Japanese Aversion To Digitization Derailed Investment In India – Analysis

Subrata Majumder

Japan has been pioneer in boosting automobalization in India, which has now become one of the important pillars for modern Indian economy. Hitherto India was dependent on a natural resource base industrial economy. Japanese investment, particularly in the automobile industry, transformed the economy into being technology oriented. This was subsequently followed by IT software development in the country. Japan became the second and third biggest foreign investor during the five years ending 2019-20. Against these backdrops, the sudden downswing in Japanese investment thereafter has raised eyebrows, plunging to half of its average flow in the preceding year. Japanese investment fell by 39.6 percent in 2020-21, which was one of the steepest drops in foreign investment in India. The reasons attributed to the fall were the COVID 19 pandemic and the lockdown in pan India.

In contrast, total FDI surged in India during the COVID 19 pandemic. It increased by 19.3 percent in 2020-21. The sole reason for growth was USA investment, which increased by 227.3 percent in 2020-21, followed by UK with 43.6 percent. The spur in US FDI was mainly due to Google’s flow of equity capital in digitization in India. This foretells India’s new generation as a technology oriented economy, which the USA and UK could cope with India’s new vision, while leaving Japan on the back foot.

China’s new military base in Africa: What it means for Europe and America

Michaël Tanchum

In one of Africa’s smallest countries, one of the largest shifts in China’s global strategy appears to be under way. Unnamed US officials are reported to have warned that Beijing plans to establish a permanent military installation in Equatorial Guinea. If true, beyond the obvious strategic challenges posed by China possessing a naval base on the Atlantic for the first time, the move signals a new phase in the country’s Africa policy. This holds far-reaching geopolitical implications.

Africa is the largest regional component of China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to reconfigure the architecture of global commerce. The 46 African nations that have signed onto the BRI represent over 1 billion people and cover about 20 per cent of the Earth’s landmass. The consolidation of Chinese military power on the continent in the form of such new bases – combined with the expansion of Beijing’s already considerable economic influence – would shift global power dynamics, eroding US dominance, and relegating Europe to the sidelines of international affairs.

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2021

James M. Lindsay

One good thing can be said about 2021: it wasn’t as tumultuous as 2020, which put in a claim to be the worst year ever. That, however, may be damning with faint praise. Yes, the past twelve months did bring some good news. Indeed, for a moment in early summer it seemed that COVID-19 was in the rearview mirror. However, it isn’t. And 2021 brought other bad news. So here are my top ten world events in 2021. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories will continue into 2022 and beyond.

10. The AUKUS Deal Debuts. On September 15, President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson jointly announced a new trilateral security partnership named AUKUS. The most significant part of the deal was the U.S. pledge to provide Australia with technology to build eight nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) submarines. The only other country to receive similar access to U.S. technology is the United Kingdom. The statement announcing the pact justified it as necessary to “preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.” Although none of the three leaders mentioned China by name, AUKUS was widely seen as a response to growing Chinese assertiveness. Not surprisingly, Beijing denounced the pact as “extremely irresponsible” and “polarizing.” But China wasn’t the only country unhappy with deal. France fumed because AUKUS terminated a $37 billion agreement it struck with Australia in 2016 to build a dozen diesel-electric powered submarines. As a result, Paris recalled its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington, a move without precedent in bilateral relations with either country. Biden subsequently admitted that the announcement of the pact had been “clumsy,” while France used the incident to press its case for “strategic autonomy,” that is, the ability of the European Union to act independently of the United States in world affairs. Doubts remain about whether the new Australian submarines will ever be built; they come with a hefty price tag and won’t become operational for more than a dozen years.

The National Security Index: The Cognitive Campaign in the Digital Age

Zipi Israeli, Ruth Pines

The specific issue of the cognitive campaign in the digital age arose in connection with the events of May 2020, especially during Operation Guardian of the Walls, but it is a larger issue of increasing importance, given the nature of Israel’s military conflicts today. This issue combines various elements, including the perception of victory in a military conflict, the changing theaters in military conflicts, and the increasing relative importance of the cognitive, media, and social media arenas. Has the perception of victory become solely cognitive? Does victory belong to those who have declared it? Is it possible to talk about victory without relating to the cognitive element? Feelings and perceptions regarding these aspects play a central role in shaping the Israeli reality. This article discusses these perceptions from the perspective of the Israeli public, based on findings from a public opinion study conducted by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in October 2021. The study was carried out among a representative sample of the adult population of Israel (age 18 and up) and included some 800 participants. Its main findings are presented here.

EPA Misses Mark With Proposed Cybersecurity Standard

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery
Source Link

Water sector groups raised concerns earlier this month with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the agency’s pursuit of a new cybersecurity requirement without prior consultation and collaboration with the water sector. While the EPA’s cybersecurity support for the water sector is sorely needed, the agency would greatly benefit from collaborating with water sector experts.

In a letter to Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox, representatives from five water sector associations raised issues about the EPA’s proposal to add cybersecurity to state governments’ sanitation survey assessments, calling it a “top-down, one-size-fits-all” approach that will be “ineffective at improving cybersecurity at water systems.” The letter warns that the approach will likely “fail to have a decisive impact on water sector cybersecurity” and “lack[s] input by water sector subject matter experts.”

As we concluded in a November report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the EPA is not equipped to perform the sort of cybersecurity assessment that its own directive would require. The same is true for the state government agencies responsible for sanitation surveys.

Learning the Art of Counterintelligence from CIA’s best

Keefer Patterson

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- In a report to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, World War II bomber legend Gen. James Doolittle wrote:

“It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of “fair play” must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us.”

Air Force Global Strike Command’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate recently visited with James M. Olson, former Chief of CIA Counterintelligence and Professor of Practice at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, to discuss the art of counterintelligence and the threats associated with spying.

If govt heads can be targeted by hackers so easily, what chance do common people stand against any form of cyber-attack?

In a report dated August 18, 2021, a private US-based cyber forensic laboratory said that it has found evidence of Pegasus surveillance software on a mobile phone belonging to Rona Wilson, an accused who is currently in prison for an alleged role in the 2018 Elgar Parishad case.

Recently, Facebook’s newly formed parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., announced that it is conducting a major crackdown on surveillance companies that have used its social media websites to spy on people in more than 100 countries.

Interestingly, Meta reportedly identified six companies from India, Israel, North Macedonia, and an unknown city in China, which it (Meta) claimed was indulging in ‘indiscriminate’ surveillance on thousands of people. The Mueller Commission in its report has also stated that Russian hackers indulged in large-scale hacking during the 2016 US Presidential and had a major impact on the outcome of the elections. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s online profile, emails, etc were allegedly hacked by a hacker or a group of hackers named ‘Guccifer 2.0’.

The Ethical Use of AI in the Security, Defense Industry

Wayne Phelps

Artificial intelligence already surrounds us. The odds are that when you type an email or text, a grayed-out prediction appears ahead of what you have already typed.

The “suggested for you” portion of some web-based shopping applications predict items you may be interested in buying based on your purchasing history. Streaming music applications create playlists based on listening histories.

A device in your home can recognize a voice and answer questions, and your smartphone can unlock after recognizing your facial features.
Artificial intelligence is also advancing rapidly within the security and defense industry. When AI converges with autonomy and robotics in a weapons system, we should ask ourselves, “From an ethical standpoint, where should we draw the line?”

Air Force pilot Col. John Boyd developed a decision-making model referred to as the OODA loop — observe, orient, decide, act — to explain how to increase the tempo of decisions to outpace, outmaneuver and ultimately defeat an adversary. The objective is to make decisions faster than an opponent, compelling them to react to actions and enabling a force to seize the initiative. But what if the adversary is a machine?

Drones Take Center Stage in U.S.-China War on Data Harvesting

Bruce Einhorn and Todd Shields

Yet that’s how the U.S. is increasingly viewing him and thousands of other Americans who purchase drones built by Shenzhen-based SZ DJI Technology Co., the world’s top producer of unmanned aerial vehicles. Miller, who bought his first DJI model in 2016 for $500 and now owns six of them, shows why the company controls more than half of the U.S. drone market.
“If tomorrow DJI were completely banned,” the 21-year-old said, “I would be pretty frightened.”

Critics of DJI warn the dronemaker may be channeling reams of sensitive data to Chinese intelligence agencies on everything from critical infrastructure like bridges and dams to personal information such as heart rates and facial recognition. But to Miller, consumers face plenty of bigger threats to the privacy of their data. “There are apps that track you on your smartphone 24/7,” he said.

That attitude is a problem for American officials who are seeking to end DJI’s dominance in the U.S. On Thursday, the Biden administration blocked American investment in the company, a year after President Donald Trump prohibited it from sourcing U.S. parts. Now, lawmakers from both parties are weighing a bill that would ban federal purchases of DJI drones, while a member of the Federal Communications Commission wants its products taken off the market in the U.S. altogether.

Converging Ways of War: Russian, China and America

Peter Layton

Thinking about major war is back in fashion as forever wars shuffle off and near-peer conflicts become considered plausible. Counter-insurgency is giving way to postulated high intensity wars between technologically advanced great powers. The operational level concepts that describe in an abstract manner how military forces might be used in such battlespaces are being dusted off and revised.

Such concepts have long lineages and have progressively evolved. This process means that the modern operational concepts of most nations are more alike than different. In many respects they converge around the same ideas, some first elaborated by Soviet inter-war military thinkers. In a future major war, the two opposing sides may then work off similar foundational ideas and, even if not fully realising it, be set on waging somewhat symmetrical operations. In this regard, Russian, Chinese and US operational concepts are interesting to discuss to throw up commonalities and differences in emphasis between their thinking, and also where one might be stumbling towards the next evolutionary step.

After taking in Afghan commandos, the British military may try to build another elite special-operations force


In the final days of the hectic withdrawal from Kabul, US and Coalition forces evacuated tens of thousands of their citizens and Afghans who had worked with them.

Among those evacuated were Afghan special operators who fiercely fought the Taliban and faced brutal deaths if captured. The UK, which has taken in several hundred Afghans, is considering setting up a special-operations unit of former Afghan commandos in the British Army.

It wouldn't be the first time the British military has done that. There is already a specialized unit of foreign fighters serving in the British Army.

The ‘Ulcer’ Strategy: How The US Military Could Wage War On China

James Holmes

David Berger wants to give Xi Jinping an ulcer. Early this month the U.S. Marine Corps commandant signed out the “Concept for Stand-in Forces,” a strategic directive that outlines how small marine units will operate along Asia’s first island chain in concert with the U.S. Navy fleet to make things tough on China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) during a conflict in the East China Sea, Taiwan Strait, or South China Sea.

Think of the “Concept for Stand-in Forces” as a statement in the ongoing armed debate that is the U.S.-China strategic competition. In strategic competition, each competitor develops and flourishes implements of armed might in an effort to convince audiences able to sway the competition’s outcome that it would be the victor should a dispute come to blows.

If successful a competitor deters or coerces its antagonist, persuades the antagonist’s allies and partners to desert what looks like a losing cause, and woos allies and partners into rallying with what looks like the winning cause.