25 December 2021

India in Space Domain - Pathbreaking Developments

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


India is now a major spacefaring nation. Initially, the Indian space programme was focused primarily on societal and developmental utilities. Today, like many other countries, India is compelled to use space for several military requirements like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Hence, India is looking to space to gain operational and informational advantages.

India has had its fair share of achievements in the space domain. It includes the launch of the country’s heaviest satellite, the GSAT-11 which will boost India’s broadband services by enabling 16 Gbps data links across the country, GSAT-7A, the military communication satellite and the launch of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III-D2, the GSAT 29. The Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test is an intrinsic part of today’s geopolitics and the national security context.


Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

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 

India’s Electricity Outlook and the Challenges for Achieving a Sustainable Power Mix

A.K. Saxena and T.C.A. Avni


In recent decades, the electricity sector in India has seen a dramatic transition as the country achieves near-universal electrification, adequate generation reserves, and connectivity through a robust country-wide grid. The sector is also undergoing an ambitious transition toward higher shares of renewables on the back of increasingly competitive costs and commitments to address energy-related CO2 emissions. In order to achieve the flexibility in grid operations required to accommodate the rising share of renewables, systematic changes will be necessary in almost all aspects of the power system—from passing new policies and regulations to building physical infrastructure and from managing demand response and optimal utilization of existing assets to introducing new technologies.


Achieving India’s stated policy goals will require making systematic changes in nearly all aspects of the power system, including supply and demand management, technology deployment, and infrastructure upgradation; resolving legacy challenges and distortions; addressing the social and political ramifications of the transition; increasing domestic manufacturing and supply chain reliability; and providing access to adequate and affordable financing mechanisms.

Fulfilment of past commitments on climate finance and addressing concerns about developmental constraints and technology transfer will be critical to supporting India’s transition.

Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: India


Overview: In 2020, terrorism affected the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in northeastern India, and Maoist-affected parts of central India. Major terrorist groups that have been active in India include Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent, and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. The Indian government made significant efforts to detect, disrupt, and degrade the operations of terrorist organizations within its borders. CT and security cooperation with the United States expanded in 2020. During September the United States and India held the 17th meeting of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and Third U.S.-India Designations Dialogue. In December, India proposed holding another Quad counterterrorism tabletop exercise alongside the United States, Australia, and Japan.

Indian forces arrested several members of al-Qa’ida ally Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind in J&K. Although insurgent groups operate in India’s northeastern states, levels of terrorist violence there are low and decreasing. The many organizations involved in the Sikh separatist (Khalistan) movement have not engaged in significant recent activities within India’s borders.

U.N. proposing paying nearly $6 million to Taliban for security

Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The United Nations is proposing to pay nearly $6 million for protection in Afghanistan to Taliban-run Interior Ministry personnel, whose chief is under U.N. and U.S. sanctions and wanted by the FBI, according to a U.N. document and a source familiar with the matter.

The proposed funds would be paid next year mostly to subsidize the monthly wages of Taliban fighters guarding U.N. facilities and to provide them a monthly food allowance under an expansion of an accord with the former U.S.-backed Afghan government, the document reviewed by Reuters shows.

The plan underscores the persisting insecurity in Afghanistan following the Islamist Taliban’s takeover in August as the last U.S. troops left, as well as a dire shortage of funds hampering the new government because of a cutoff of international financial aid.

Making Indo-Pacific alliances fit for deterrence

Stephan Fruehling and Andrew O'Neil

As great-power competition intensifies, the role of deterrence and the potential for escalation have taken on renewed importance in the security calculations of Australia and other US allies. How to manage deterrence and escalation is an inherently political question. For deterrence to be effective, allies have to find ways to agree and credibly commit to what they are willing to do for each other. And nowhere is this more important than in relation to the role of US nuclear weapons.

Ahead of the highly anticipated release of the Biden administration’s nuclear posture review in early 2022, attention has turned to the role that allies play in US nuclear policy. Recent reporting indicates that US allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific have pushed back against moves by Washington to limit, in declaratory terms, the circumstances in which it would consider using nuclear weapons.

While in the past some US allies expressed sympathy for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, none today is willing to sign it, as their focus has turned to the challenges of deterrence and escalation in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. However, allies can’t afford to simply react to changes in US policy. They must actively prepare for and seek to manage escalation in a broader geostrategic, technological and political context.

Cyprus: The Next Stop of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Mordechai Chaziza
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In November 2021, China and Cyprus formally announced their strategic partnership on the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, which is of milestone significance to bilateral relations. The two heads of state decided to upgrade the China-Cyprus relationship to a strategic partnership during a phone conversation. During the call, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that “the two countries firmly support each other’s core interests and major concerns,” and “have achieved fruitful cooperation in such fields as energy and telecommunications.” In addition, China and Cyprus “are partners in the joint construction of the Belt and Road.”

The Eastern Mediterranean has emerged as a crucial component of the China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI), half of the larger BRI framework. Chinese investments in port facilities and key large-scale infrastructure projects in the Eastern Mediterranean aim to open new trade links between China and the Eurasia-Africa regions. The MSRI is a grand scheme of a sea route running from ports on China’s east coast to the South China Sea and Southeast Asia, then through the Indian Ocean and Middle East area into the Eastern Mediterranean. Chinese investments in key ports and large-scale infrastructure projects in the Eastern Mediterranean region are proportional to the importance of the European market, China’s largest trading partner.

Are Arab militias losing their usefulness for Iran?

James M. Dorsey

Iranian support for Arab militias has long threatened Iran's detractors, unable to develop an effective counterstrategy. Now, the tide may be turning.

A string of events suggests that the usefulness of at least some of the militias in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Palestine is waning as their popularity diminishes and relations with Iran encounter headwinds.

The militias’ changing fortunes and Iran’s seemingly reduced influence challenges fundamental strategic and defence concepts embraced by the Islamic Republic since the clergy-led revolution toppled the US-backed Shah in 1979.

“The overall picture is that Iran’s expansion peaked in 2018 and has since entered a new phase, in which Tehran has not suffered any strategic military set­backs but is hitting a wall. Iran’s biggest fundamental problem is that a majority of its allies … frequently succeed in armed confrontations. Yet they are subsequently incapable of ensuring political and economic stability,” said Middle East scholar Guido Steinberg.

Why the Log4j vulnerability is such a big deal, according to a former NSA hacker

David Kennedy

In a year that has experienced one jarring cyber attack after another — from ransomware disruptions to the U.S. gas supply and food industries to one of the largest crypto heists ever witnessed — it seems only fitting that 2021 should end with yet another major cyber threat.

This time, the threat is called Log4Shell, a serious vulnerability in Apache’s widely used Log4j logging library tool.

While that name may be rather unassuming and even boring to those outside of the techie universe, this threat is anything but. Log4Shell is one of the biggest cyber threats the world has faced in a very long time.

In simple terms, Log4j is an open-source software tool that is used by companies and developers to monitor the performance and errors inside applications, as well as user activity.

US Army conducts first tactical cyber exercise readying teams for operations

Mark Pomerleau

MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. — A group of terrorists is holed up in a governor’s mansion, a smart house riddled with Internet of Things devices. An U.S. military unit wants to force them out, but risking an outright shooting match might not be the best course of action.

On the ground, Army cyber forces are called in to use their skills to hack into the house’s smart devices to gain intelligence on what’s going on inside and potentially use cyber effects to force the terrorists to leave.

This is one example of how soldiers from the 915th Cyber Warfare Battalion tested their skills in a fictitious scenario during a recent exercise, part of validating themselves as a ready unit.

The 915th was created by Army Cyber Command in 2019 under the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade as the result of a pilot program to build tactical, on-the-ground cyber and electromagnetic teams to augment units with cyber, electronic warfare and information operations capabilities.

Bad Idea: Winning the Gray Zone

Sean Monaghan

The next U.S. National Defense Strategy will be about winning the strategic competition with China (and to a lesser extent, Russia). Much of this will play out short of armed conflict, in the ”gray zone” between peace and war. But trying to “win” gray zone competition is a bad idea, for three reasons. First, gray zone competition provides a relief valve in the international system which reduces the chances of war. Second, the gray zone exists due in part to the deterrent effect of U.S. hard power. Any erosion of this through an over-focus on competition in defense strategy increases the chances of war. Third, the United States is uniquely positioned to excel in any competition for influence and advantage. It should extend the competition rather than end it.

1. Gray zone competition is the international system’s relief valve

First, the gray zone offers a relief valve for the pressure of motivated revisionists in the international system which – most of the time – should remain open. Dissatisfied powers often pursue confrontation simply to enhance their status and recognition. Gray zone strategies–if correctly calibrated–are the perfect foil, generating just enough attention for the purposes of status-enhancement while avoiding serious repercussions. These tactics of measured revisionism are also a form of Thomas Schelling’s tacit bargaining – but over the modality of conflict, rather than its outcomes. On some level, such ‘hybrid threats’ are an appeal to restrict confrontation to horizontal escalation across domains rather than vertical escalation within them.

China’s Spat With Lithuania Is a Test for the World’s Democracies

Hal Brands

China’s push for global supremacy is playing out in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, but also in the quieter coercion that Beijing practices every day. The latest target of this pressure is Lithuania, which is paying an economic price for snubbing China diplomatically. The case is a reminder that the democratic world must either unite against Chinese pressure or see countries picked off one by one.

Lithuania is no stranger to great power coercion. The country was swallowed up by Joseph Stalin in 1939, and conquered by Germany two years later. After then being “liberated” by the Red Army, it was held captive by the Soviet Union for nearly half a century. Lithuania finally reclaimed its independence in 1991, only to be threatened today by Vladimir Putin’s Russia — and by Xi Jinping’s China.

The dispute with China began earlier this year when Lithuania withdrew from the “17+1” bloc in Eastern Europe, a subgroup of the European Union that China often uses to divide and influence the EU as a whole. Lithuania then upgraded diplomatic relations with Taiwan, becoming the only European country to permit a Taiwanese representative office (short of a full embassy) on its soil.

Targeted cyber sabotage can bring Russia and China to their knees


Right now, our time and attention seem focused on the growing threat to our nation from within. The constant tearing at the fabric of our democracy that some have described as a “Cold Civil War.”

But let us not forget the alarming, relentless and emerging threat from our old “Cold War” adversary Russia.

We ignore it at our peril.

Russia recently tested a new anti-satellite missile that destroyed one of its own old, outdated satellites by shooting it and thereby creating thousands of pieces of debris. The threat that it poses to American satellites in orbit is obvious.

The missile test comes as Russian troops continue to build up along the border of Ukraine amid rising fears of an all-out invasion.

There’s also the construction of a new gas pipeline between Russia and our European allies that could make them as dependent on Russia as an addict to a drug dealer.

Are Americans aware and ready for armed conflict with Russia, and are we prepared to send our sons and daughters to fight in it? We’ve gotten terrific over the last 20-years at launching drones to rid ourselves of terrorists hiding out in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. But there’s no way for a drone to deal with rising threats in many emerging conflicts.

Is a War Over Ukraine Inevitable?

Dov S. Zakheim

Russian president Vladimir Putin increasingly appears to have adopted a “heads I win, tails you lose” attitude toward NATO in general and the United States in particular. He continues to authorize the buildup of forces near Ukraine—estimates of their current levels range from about 60,000 to 75,000 with at least double that number expected to arrive from other parts of Russia in the next few weeks. He threatens military action if the West continues “a clearly aggressive line,” notably by maintaining an open door for expansion along Russia’s borders. At the same time, his foreign ministry has released two draft documents that seek to alter the current strategic balance in Europe, limit American presence there, and undermine NATO’s cohesion. He seems confident that if he invades Ukraine the West will not resist him; if he does not invade because the West has capitulated to his demands, he will have accomplished far more than simply to restore Kiev’s subordination to Moscow.

Following upon Putin’s conversation with President Joe Biden to establish a mechanism for discussing Russian grievances toward the West, Russia has issued a draft “treaty” that would have America, among other things, “undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the states of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” In other words, not only would the Russian draft have Washington veto Ukraine (and Georgia’s) entry into NATO, but the language could be interpreted to constitute a demand that current NATO members that were once part of the USSR, namely the Baltic states, should be expelled from the alliance.

The Himalayas’ Melting Glaciers Are an Overlooked Casualty of Climate Change

Howard W. French

In 2004, with the aid of a hardy villager who joined me in one of the most arduous physical experiences of my life, I hiked for four hours high in the mountains of Tibet with a group of Chinese scientists who were studying the alarming retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas.

At nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, we reached a formidable ice sheet the scientists had been studying for some time. There, at the receding edge of a steep glacier, had formed a river, newborn in geological time, and yet already raging in a ferocious torrent less than 100 meters from its point of origin

US and UK prepare for Russian cyber war


The Russians are coming

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.

The idea is that he will not invade with the 175,000 troops he is massing on the border, but bring the country to its knees with cyberattacks on the electric grid, 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 defenceless -- and provide an excuse for an invasion.

Checkmate. Putin has the West cornered

Michael Bociurkiw

(CNN)As 2022 nears, the West is trying to figure out Russian President Vladimir Putin's next move on a complex geopolitical chessboard -- and preparing an "aggressive package" of sanctions, should he decide to make another land grab in Ukraine.

Tensions are now at their highest since 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and dispatched "little green men" into Ukraine's Donbas region. An all-out land invasion of Ukraine is now a real possibility.
But let's face it. Putin could care less about the West's threats, sitting as he does in the enviable position of being able to call the shots.

Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis with low reserves. And with Russia supplying some 40% of the European Union's gas imports, the Kremlin has already shown its ability to checkmate the West's harshest sanctions by limiting production and potentially triggering rolling blackouts across the continent.

Putin says Russia has 'nowhere to retreat' over Ukraine

Mark Trevelyan

Dec 21 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had no room to retreat in a standoff with the United States over Ukraine and would be forced into a tough response unless the West dropped its "aggressive line".

Putin addressed his remarks to military officials as Russia pressed for an urgent U.S. and NATO reply to proposals it made last week for a binding set of security guarantees from the West.

"What the U.S. is doing in Ukraine is at our doorstep... And they should understand that we have nowhere further to retreat to. Do they think we’ll just watch idly?" Putin said.

"If the aggressive line of our Western colleagues continues, we will take adequate military-technical response measures and react harshly to unfriendly steps."

Putin’s Ukraine calculation

Carl Bildt

As reports pile up about Russia’s military mobilisation on Ukraine’s border and the Kremlin’s diplomatic demands, questions abound. What is going on? What will come next? Will Russia invade?

In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin is following an eight-year-old script.

In the northern autumn of 2013, Putin’s government launched a multifaceted offensive to prevent Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia from signing free-trade agreements with the European Union. That set off a gradually deepening crisis that would profoundly alter Ukraine’s domestic politics, Russia’s position in Europe and the future of NATO. Less than a year later, Russia annexed Crimea and embarked on a barely disguised effort to dismantle the rest of Ukraine. The Kremlin then launched two more incursions into eastern Ukraine to save the separatist statelets that it had managed to set up there.

Jamestown Foundation

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation: Beijing’s Blueprint for Foreign Relations or Sui Generis?

A New Chinese National Security Bureaucracy Emerges

Borrowed Boats Capsizing: State Security ties to CCP Propaganda Laundering Rile Czech Public

Sri Lanka’s Balancing Act between China and India

End of the Golden Era: Sino-British Relations Enter Difficult Period

National Cyber Director Unveils New Approach at Cyber War College Conference


After almost two years of operating within the COVID-19 environment, Cassandra C. Lewis knew it was time that her organization's annual flagship conference focus on the enduring impacts of the pandemic.

"For many of us, stateside, it appears that the worst of the lockdowns are behind us. However, for much of the rest of the world, which we are a very active participant in, the pandemic is still very much on the forefront of their minds," Lewis said after a recent trip abroad to gather with international alumni of the National Defense University.

Lewis leads the University's College of Information and Cyberspace, as its newest chancellor as of Dec. 17, after having served as interim chancellor for about two years. The college is commonly referred to as "The Cyber War College," alongside its sister senior service colleges that award Joint Professional Military Education Phase II credit to select U.S. military officers.


Dr. Tim Rühlig

China’s rapidly growing footprint in international technical standardization is of particular significance given that its approach to standardization is distinct from European and international practice. This is one of several factors that is leading to increased politicization of technical standardization, which has raised
the risk of bifurcation, fragmentation and decoupling of standards internationally.

Domestically, China is undergoing standardization reform, which has seen its system go from being state-controlled to one that is state-centric. Standards that used to be negotiated exclusively within state institutions are now developed in both state and market tiers. While this is an improvement, it means that direct and indirect mechanisms of state influence continue to exist in standard setting, with China’s industrial policy exerting a strong influence over the direction that standards take.

Countering SIM-Swapping

In this study, we give an overview of how SIM-Swapping attacks work, list measures that providers can take to mitigate the attack and make recommendations for policy makers and authorities in the telecom sector and other sectors. Security of electronic communications networks and services does not only translate to minimising the risk of service deterioration or outage, but also to protecting individual customers, for example against fraud, such as SIM swapping attacksPublishedDecember 06, 2021LanguageEnglish

Emerging & disruptive technologies and nuclear weapons decision making: risks, challenges and mitigation strategies

Katarzyna Kubiak,  Sylvia Mishra

Today, December 7th 2021, marks the 80th anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. This attack, in which new technologies (such as code breaking technology, modified torpedos, and early detection systems) enabled a dramatic element of surprise, changed the course of world history and shaped and foretold military innovations thereafter. Eighty years since the ‘bolt from the blue’ attack, we are at a precipice where emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) individually and in combination threaten to destabilise peace and security in ways that are significantly different from the past. These EDTs pose a paradigm of new challenges whilst also giving rise to opportunities for conflict reduction.

We are at a precipice where emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) individually and in combination threaten to destabilise peace and security in ways that are significantly different from the past.

As we wrestle with the development of EDTs and what this means for nuclear weapons, the ELN and its project partners – the Oracle Partnership, BASIC, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation – hosted a workshop in September 2021 funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The workshop brought together a group of emerging experts to think about the changing landscape of the nuclear policy field and to assess risks, challenges, and mitigation strategies for nuclear weapon decision making under technological complexity.

Report on Use of Force in Cyberspace

From the report

There are no internationally accepted criteria yet for determining whether a nation state cyberattack is a use of force equivalent to an armed attack, which could trigger a military response. Likewise, no international, legally binding instruments have yet been drafted explicitly to regulate inter-state relations in cyberspace. Self-defense and countermeasures for armed attacks are permitted in international law when a belligerent violates international law during peacetime, or violates the law of armed conflict during wartime. However, the term “armed attack” has no universally accepted definition and is still not well-settled with respect to cyberattacks. In addition to what constitutes an armed attack in cyberspace, questions remain over which provisions of existing international law govern the conduct of war in cyberspace.

United States Doctrine

Designed to Prepare for Cyberattacks, a Panel Wraps Up Its Work

Julian E. Barnes

WASHINGTON — A commission created by Congress to develop a more strategic approach to defending against cyberattacks turned out the lights on Tuesday, ending two and a half years of work on policy recommendations, legislative pushes and warnings about malware, ransomware and other threats.

When the Cyberspace Solarium Commission released its first recommendations in March 2020, after a year of research and writing, its members vowed that the panel would work differently from other blue ribbon Washington exercises. Senator Angus King, independent of Maine and a co-chairman of the commission, said the recommendations would not end up dusty on a shelf, like those drawn up by many other well-meaning panels.

The commission’s name was based on the Eisenhower administration’s Project Solarium, which developed new policies for the Cold War. Influential members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees led the commission, allowing its cybersecurity recommendations to be packaged as legislation included in one of the few policy bills that pass each year: the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Cyber Warfare: What To Expect in 2022

C.J. Haughey

Cyberwarfare is not a future threat—it’s a clear and present danger. While the concept of cyber terrorism might sound like something from a fictional movie, our interconnected world is riddled with security flaws that make it an unfortunate reality.

Digital transformation has brought great convenience to consumers with mobile apps and e-commerce. And the evolution of the cloud and shift to remote work environments are a boon for productivity and performance. But for criminals and political activists, the modern internet offers a highway for furthering their cause, whether it be financial gain, government influence or political instability.

Read on as we cover seven cyber warfare and cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2022.
Website Defacing

Website defacement is a low-level form of cyber crime that often targets small sites with poor security and a lack of maintenance. While young amateur hackers without serious ill intentions are often the perpetrators, the propaganda around such incidents is a concerning trend for international relations.

How weather is playing a role in information warfare

Mark Pomerleau

WASHINGTON — Hacks, leaked documents and information operations orchestrated through social media were the pinnacle of information warfare in the last couple of years. But for the U.S. military, there is another sphere leaders are eyeing: weather.

In response, some branches have brought weather units and related data into the information warfare fold.

Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, commander of 16th Air Force, told C4ISRNET in a September interview that environmental intelligence and the service’s weather wing proved to be “incredibly capable [of] handling a lot of big data and then being able to make sense of it, understand how weather is impacting adversary decision-making.”

The 16th Air Force was created in 2019 and is the service’s first information warfare command. It brought the 557th Weather Wing under its purview along with intelligence, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum organizations.

Speed Is the Name of the Game in Next-Generation Warfare

Kris Osborn

Wars in the future may not look like a mechanized force-on-force armored engagement across a linear battlefield. Instead, they may involve dispersed, multi-domain platforms moving at much faster speeds than previously imagined.

Weapons, explosives, guns, and bombs will be extremely important, particularly when it comes to range and precision targeting. But their effectiveness when it comes to achieving a margin of superiority will rely almost entirely upon speed. The speed at which information is gathered, processed, analyzed, and transmitted from sensor nodes to shooters or weapons will likely determine victory in war.

The force that is able to gather, analyze, organize and distribute time-sensitive targeting specifics and get information to weapons and fire faster is likely to prevail. This will of course rely upon the range and precision of a force’s sensor systems. Yet even the most precise long-range weapons may not be extremely effective without targeting data.

Given the range of sensors and the growing extent to which aircraft, ships, ground forces, and even satellites can send high-speed packets of information to one another, warfare will “expand” across vast, otherwise disconnected areas of operations. This anticipated reality is informing senior weapons developers now architecting weapons, sensors, and platforms to fight into future decades. Technologies are being developed with a specific mind to emerging concepts of operation. There is an evolving and entirely new concept of Combined Arms Maneuver warfare.

The Problem with Drones that Everyone Saw Coming


A new trove of Pentagon documents revealed by the New York Times shows once again that drone warfare does the United States more harm than good. U.S. drone strikes, which have killed many hundreds of civilians in the greater Middle East, radicalize enemies, keep the United States involved in wars long past their expiration date, and cause post-traumatic stress for those running the drone program.

The general argument for using drones is that these uncrewed, generally precision-guided weapons can accomplish many of the desired effects of general conventional war at a far lower cost. Proponents argue that drones send a credible signal to adversaries that the U.S. can fight wars indefinitely, that they allow Washington to mostly withdraw from the Middle East, and the reusable nature of new drones keeps U.S. troops out of harm’s way.

This could not be further from the truth. Even if drones do send a credible signal to adversaries, that does not matter unless those adversaries stop fighting. The opposite is true. Because drone strikes kill families and innocent civilians, they lead to radicalization.