30 December 2021

Taiwan’s Turn – Deterring and Derailing an Existential Threat

Heino Klinck

Potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait has become an almost daily topic in mainstream reporting attracting global attention. Chinese diplomatic arrogance, military aggression, and economic coercion have demonstrated that Beijing’s leadership has jettisoned Deng Xiaoping’s historic 24-character maxim that exulted “hide our capacities and bide our time.”[1] The Department of Defense’s (DOD) just released China Military Power Report highlights that “The PLA also is likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force, while simultaneously deterring, delaying, or denying any third-party intervention, such as the United States and/or other like-minded partners, on Taiwan’s behalf… As part of a comprehensive campaign to pressure Taiwan and the Tsai administration, and signal its displeasure at warming Washington-Taipei ties, China has persistently conducted military operations near Taiwan and military training for a Taiwan contingency.”[2]

Back to the Future: A Misguided Understanding of China’s Nuclear Intent

David J. Trachtenberg

The discovery of hundreds of new Chinese missile silos that could house multiple warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles has left Western analysts scrambling to explain China’s surprising action. This appears to be a blatant Chinese move to flex its military muscle, close the gap with U.S. nuclear forces, and signal a more aggressive nuclear posture by abandoning its oft-stated support for a “minimum deterrence” nuclear force. In fact, a force of some 300 Chinese ICBM silos containing missiles with 10 warheads apiece would amount to a greater number of ICBM warheads than the total number of deployed U.S. strategic nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, some Western observers and arms control enthusiasts have downplayed these developments as the actions of a nation seeking only to enhance the survivability of its own deterrent forces in the face of growing concerns over American nuclear modernization efforts and missile defense capabilities. In other words, they argue, China is merely reacting to an American offensive and defensive arms buildup that threatens China’s national security.

How Does China Aim to Use AI in Warfare?

Yuan-Chou Jing

Having observed U.S. theater operations and war campaigns for more than three decades, the leaders of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are keenly aware of the huge disparity between its capabilities and those of the U.S. military in information and communication technology (ICT), and the gap seems unlikely to be eliminated in the near future.

Aside from ICT, cutting-edge technologies, also called disruptive technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), quantum, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are all becoming relevant to the military domain. AI in particular is seen as a “game-changing” critical strategic technology; increased machine speed and processing power are expected to be applied to military planning, operational command and decision support as part of the “intelligentization” of warfare.

AI is most meaningful to the PLA as it provides an opportunity for Beijing to compete with Washington on an even footing to develop an emerging technology. China’s AI policy was first described in “The Development Plan on the New Generation of Artificial Intelligence,” issued by the State Council in 2017, the plan named using military-civilian fusion (MCF) as one of the “Main Duties” for AI development. MCF is being used as an approach to develop AI on the basis of China’s belief that it can accomplish “corner-overtaking” to surpass the United States.

Confronting China’s International Counterterror Regime: Pay Attention to the SCO

James Jennion

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) may be one of the most confusing international groupings in the world. Its membership includes China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its member states comprise 40 percent of the world’s population and 20 percent of global GDP. Yet the SCO is often overlooked and misunderstood by analysts in the West, despite the size and influence of its members and an increasing desire for Western democracies to grow influence in Asia. Given its possible role as a platform for changing global norms around human rights and governance, it is crucial that policymakers and human rights practitioners understand how the SCO could bolster authoritarian countries’ efforts at transnational repression.

Policymakers should immediately dispense with any notions that the SCO is an “Asian NATO,” or merely a rogues’ gallery of human rights abusers clubbing together to increase their collective impunity. In reality, there are many fissures within the SCO that complicate such a simplistic view. The power imbalance between China and Russia and the rest of its members has historically been a barrier to greater integration. Members are embroiled in all sorts of disputes, such as China’s border dispute with India and the perennial conflicts between India and Pakistan. At the same time, viewing the organization as a wholly anti-Western collective does not work given that India and Pakistan are both close partners of the United States, and the European Union is Kazakhstan’s biggest trading partner.

The continuing war against Islamic State - comment


On December 14, two Typhoon fighter aircraft of the UK’s Royal Air Force were patrolling over Syria and Iraq, when they noticed an unidentified drone flying towards allied troops on the ground at the al-Tanf coalition base, in Syria.

Deeming the drone a threat, the RAF conducted its first air-to-air missile firing in almost 40 years.

The RAF was participating in Operation Shader, Britain’s contribution to the global coalition against Islamic State. The UK’s defense minister, Ben Wallace, said: “This strike is an impressive demonstration of the RAF’s ability to take out hostile targets in the air which pose a threat to our forces. We continue to do everything we can alongside our coalition partners to stamp out the terrorist threat and protect our personnel and our partners.”

The partners that Wallace was referring to are the members of the Global Coalition against Islamic State. The body was formed under US auspices in September 2014, with its sole purpose to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS. The coalition, consisting today of no fewer than 79 countries and five international organizations like the EU, NATO, and the Arab League, is engaged in countering ISIS on all fronts, weakening its financial and economic infrastructure; preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across borders; helping restore essential public services to areas liberated from ISIS; and countering the group’s online presence and its propaganda.

Biden Should Not Embrace New Nuclear Policies

Peter Huessy

Nearly 700 scientists and engineers, some of them Nobel laureates, have written a letter to President Joe Biden urging the United States to adopt four new nuclear policies. The letter asks that the United States and the president pledge not to use nuclear weapons first; receive approval from another senior U.S. government official before using nuclear weapons; unilaterally reduce its deployed nuclear weapons by one-third, from 1550 to 1,000; and stop funding a new land-based missile to replace the current Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force that was deployed in 1970. These steps, the authors say, “will slow the spiraling nuclear arms race with Russia and China” and advance “steps towards disarmament” by making arms control negotiations more credible.

There are four serious flaws in the proposal. Such a policy would allow Russian and Chinese nuclear forces to remain in a sanctuary free from attack. It would also allow China and Russia to attack the United States or its allies with a High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), cyber, or chemical/biological attack—all capable of killing tens of millions of Americans—without fear of nuclear retaliation. Even worse, it would give the United States’ nuclear-armed adversaries an incentive to get in the first nuclear punch, especially if the United States and its allies came to rely upon our adversaries’ similar pledge not to use nuclear weapons first.

Our 'cold war' frame distorts more than just our view of China


To move around Washington now is to hear talk of “cold war” everywhere. The term increasingly seems to be the default characterization for our ever more adversarial relationship with China. Moreover, there is a growing corollary discussion about the term itself, especially as to its applicability and usefulness as a descriptor for that relationship.

It’s easy to see this spike in usage as the revival of a term that lost currency with the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago. However, the fact is that the notion of cold war as a primary reference point or organizing principle for American foreign policy is not a revival — we never stopped using it. If you peruse the strategic literature of the past three decades you will find it replete with references such as “since the Cold War,” “in the wake of the Cold War,” “after the Cold War,” and, of course, the ubiquitous “post-Cold War.”

In short, we never figured out what to call the new (i.e., post-Soviet) strategic environment, so we just continued to refer to it in terms of the former.

Why does it matter what we call it? Well, it matters in a general sense because language influences thought. More specifically, however, it matters because of a psychological phenomenon called “framing.”

Joe Biden in a Multipolar World


HONG KONG – Next year will mark 50 years since US President Richard Nixon traveled to China to meet with Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai – a major step toward restoring relations after decades of estrangement and hostility. A half-century later, the progress they launched has been all but lost, and US President Joe Biden is partly to blame.

The ideological differences between the United States and China in 1972 could not have been starker. But both sides recognized the vast benefits of a détente. By isolating the Soviet Union, they hastened the end of the Cold War. And by enabling China to shift its focus to peaceful economic development, they bolstered global prosperity for decades to follow.

Thanks to a large labor force and abundant land, China became a manufacturing powerhouse, enabling international firms to slash their production costs and deliver more affordable goods to consumers. Over time, Chinese incomes grew, and low-cost production began to move elsewhere. But China’s economic progress – in particular, growing demand from its massive domestic market – has continued to benefit the rest of the world.

From a stock market crash to Covid – what to expect in 2022

George Kerevan


SURPRISE: COVID is not going to disappear. My swift look through the scientific websites reveals a scary lack of predictions regarding the pandemic in 2022 – which suggests nobody in charge has a scooby about what happens next.

This could be the year we finally accept global pandemics are here to stay, at least under our crazy neoliberal insistence on unmanaged free trade. Conclusion: the holiday and entertainment industries will have to change permanently. Perhaps this retreat from mass escapism could mean a return to a more human-scale conviviality.

To Deter China, Think Big

Steven Metz

Under the Communist Party, China has always insisted that it will eventually absorb Taiwan, by force if necessary,[1] but today a direct invasion from the mainland seems more likely than at any time since the early days of the Cold War. Military provocations,[2] exercises,[3] and incendiary rhetoric[4] from Beijing are reaching levels not seen for decades, combining to form grey zone aggression.[5] China continues to expand and improve its armed forces.[6] This is a very dangerous time.

Although it is impossible to know precisely how Chinese leaders expect an invasion of Taiwan to unfold, the dominant narrative in the United States is that the conflict would be short and limited. Some experts believe that if the United States came to Taiwan’s assistance, it could stave off the invasion and China would desist.[7] Other studies and wargames suggest that a massive barrage of Chinese missiles might prevent effective American intervention.[8]

Whether the assessments believe that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would or would not succeed, they have one thing in common: they assume a relatively quick and geographically limited conflict. This leads most supporters of Taiwan to advocate increasing U.S. support to help make that nation a harder target.[9] While this is a good idea it is not enough: deterrence by denial[x] limited to the proximate defense of Taiwan is necessary but not sufficient. An effective strategy to deter China must expand deterrence so that it is global and multidimensional.

Strategic Studies Quarterly

Graham Allison and the Thucydides Trap Myth

More Is Not Always Better: Oversight of the Military

North America’s Imperative: Strengthening Deterrence by Denial

Will Emerging Technology Cause Nuclear War?: Bringing Geopolitics Back In

Sophons, Wallfacers, Swordholders, and the Cosmic Safety Notice: Strategic Thought in Chinese Science Fiction

Six Steps to the Effective Use of Airpower: On "The Drawdown Asymmetry: Why Ground Forces Will Depart Iraq but Air Forces Will Stay"

Cultivating Future Airpower Strategists: On "Developing Twenty-First-Century Airpower Strategists"

A Case for Strategic Design: On "A Diplomatic Surge in Afghanistan"

Leveraging Regional Partners: On "US Grand Strategy, the Rise of China, and US National Security for East Asia"

Outline of Strategic Aerial Culture

Russia, US and Ukraine: The State of Play

George Friedman

When nations negotiate, a quiet settles in before the threats begin. Such is the case now between the U.S. and Russia, which will soon hold talks over the status of Ukraine and any number of other issues. Moscow has published its list of demands – more of a wish list, really – to try to set the agenda. But in the end, agendas are set by reality. A quick recap of Russia’s year is a good place to begin establishing that reality.

Russia has been trying to reclaim the buffers it lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union. These buffers, the most important of which are in Eastern Europe, insulate Russia from potential attack. In the past, these attacks have tended to emerge unexpectedly, so Russia wants to have them before a threat emerges. It doesn’t necessarily need the buffers to be part of the Russian Federation; it just needs to make sure they are not hostile (or occupied by hostile powers).

Thus, Russian activities in the past year were predictable. When war broke out in the South Caucasus between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Russia dispatched a peacekeeping force and, with its enormous influence in the region, constructed a system of relationships dominated by Russia. In Central Asia, Moscow built a network of airfields, a process that only accelerated as the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan. In Belarus, Russia completely dominates Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

AUKUS and Changing Dynamics in the Indo-Pacific

Michael J. Green

This week, Mike unpacks recent developments in the U.S.-Australia alliance, including the AUKUS agreement, with Rory Medcalf, professor and head of the National Security College at Australia National University. The two discuss the second edition to Rory’s book, Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the contest for the world's pivotal region, and how regional dynamics and geopolitics have changed over the past two years. What were the conditions that lead to the AUKUS agreement, and what is its strategic significance in the context of U.S.-China competition? What are the major “hotspots” in the Indo-Pacific that the United States and Australia should be concerned about?

Download Full Transcript Here.

The Russia-Ukraine Crisis: A Scorecard on Biden’s Response

Stephen Sestanovich

With large numbers of Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly issuing new threats, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration faces a genuine danger of war in Europe. How well have the president and his senior advisors handled the crisis? The record is mixed: they have shown diplomatic skill in some elements of their response but have conveyed confusion in others. The administration may yet be able to defuse tensions, but it needs to work harder at exposing the absurdity of many Russian demands—and preserving U.S. freedom of action.

High marks. U.S. policy has been most successful in two important areas. First, it has been able to maintain near-total unanimity within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Meeting in Latvia in early December, the alliance’s foreign ministers condemned Russian military pressures on Ukraine. Subsequent meetings, both in Washington and in European capitals, have shown similar unity. Second, these statements sent the same strong message: a Russian invasion would trigger new U.S. and European sanctions dwarfing those that followed the 2014 crisis, when Russia seized Crimea and started the separatist war in eastern Ukraine. European leaders, many feared, would muddy this message in separate meetings or calls with Putin, but they haven’t done so.

2022 look ahead: Expect more of the same for Asia's economy

William Bratton

One of the challenges when considering Asia's near-term outlook is that the trends shaping its economic, financial and political future are multi-decade affairs. They roll remorselessly forward irrespective of the constraints of the Gregorian calendar, and it is often misleading to assume that the trends over the next 12 months will be materially different from those that typified the years recently passed.

As such, although 2022 may see periods of volatility and heightened uncertainty, it is unlikely to witness substantial changes to existing trajectories. The four significant macro risks: the COVID overhang, higher U.S. interest rates, slower-than-forecast China growth and increased tensions over Taiwan will all prove relatively uneventful over the year, albeit for different reasons.

With respect to the COVID pandemic, for example, it has to be assumed that this will ease through next year, despite the different normalization paths across the region and the current omicron wave.

Is There a Kishida Doctrine?

Jeff Kingston

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is finding it hard to emerge from the shadow of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (2006-07, 2012-2020). Kishida faces high expectations for deft diplomacy because he was Japan’s longest serving foreign minister (2012-2017) in the postwar era, but in reality Kishida never got much of a chance to shine because Abe was de facto foreign minister.

Kishida is probably most remembered for his role in reaching two flawed accords with South Korea in 2015. After much public jousting, Seoul and Tokyo reached agreement on UNESCO World Heritage designation for Meiji Industrial sites, contingent on Japan posting signage affirming that Koreans were forced to work at the sites. This rare feel-good moment in bilateral relations was quickly dissipated by Kishida’s comments at the press conference announcing the deal, where he asserted that being forced to work is not the same as forced labor.

Why Kishida felt compelled to rain on the parade by making this dubious distinction is uncertain, but probably he was concerned that right-wing nationalists in Japan might criticize him. Alas, the glimmer of goodwill evaporated, and Japan looked more churlish than contrite.

Russia Is Playing With Fire in the Balkans

Ivana Stradner

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II. Although the Balkan states moved toward democratic governance and integration with NATO and the European Union in the immediate aftermath of the wars, consistent neglect on the part of the West has contributed to a dramatic backsliding in recent years. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is seizing his opportunity and using the former Yugoslav states as the next battlefield to weaken NATO and the European Union.

Putin’s efforts to push the Balkans to the brink are part of his mission to reestablish Russia as a global power broker. Similar to the Kremlin’s strategy in the Caucasus, Russia’s goal in the Balkans is to ramp up tensions so that it can position itself as the sole regional mediator and security guarantor. It simultaneously aims to demonstrate that neither NATO, the EU, nor their members are credible partners for any of the Balkan countries. As Moscow also continues its military buildup near the Ukrainian border, its influence campaign in the Balkans serves as another theater to challenge the West.

Without Tutu and Mandela, Is South African Moral Exceptionalism Dead?

Eusebius McKaiser

As the world comes to terms with the news of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s death, one question that will dominate headlines in the days to come is whether anyone with a functioning moral compass is left among South Africa’s leaders—or was Tutu the last of his generation to regard ethics and morality as more fundamental than law and politics?

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a statement released Sunday, seemed keenly aware that people at home and abroad were asking such questions. “We pray that Archbishop Tutu’s soul will rest in peace but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation,” he wrote.

There is a very real sense that South Africa, right now, desperately lacks moral leadership when it comes to rooting out corruption and ridding the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), of ethically dubious political appointees. But talk of moral compasses, even with respect to the archbishop, is not a useful way of understanding Tutu’s legacy, nor a useful way of making sense of the moral deficiencies of post-apartheid South Africa.

How Russia Decides When to Invade

Eugene Chausovsky

The world is looking fearfully at the Russian-Ukrainian border and for good reason. Russia has amassed some 120,000 troops on the border, and fighting along the line of contact between Moscow-backed separatists and Ukraine’s security forces has intensified in recent days. Signs at the top are no better. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a draft proposal on Dec. 17 detailing security guarantees between Russia and the United States that explicitly draws a red line on NATO’s expansion eastward to Ukraine and other former Soviet states, and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an ominous warning on Dec. 21 of a “military-technical” response to what he deemed as “aggressive” measures by the West.

U.S. and other Western officials have already deemed many of Russia’s proposals “unacceptable,” though the urgency of the situation has spurred plans for security talks between the United States and Russia in January. While many have tried to read the tea leaves and psychoanalyze Russian President Vladimir Putin as to whether or not he will actually make the decision to invade Ukraine, there is a broader structural framework for understanding and anticipating Russian military interventions in the post-Soviet space that can perhaps be a more useful guide. Despite all the hard words from Moscow, Russia’s record shows that an invasion is unlikely.

Psy Ops as the Key to Understanding What Russia Has Been Doing Lately To Force a US-NATO Capitulationby

Gilbert Doctorow

These days “cyber warfare” is all the rage among those doing military threat analysis in geopolitics. Mutually Assured Destruction by launch of ICBMs is passé, vulnerable to ABM systems, although Russia insists its latest variable range hypersonic missiles Avangard, Tsirkon, and Kinzhal evade interception and will get the job done. The West does not yet possess hypersonic missiles, whereas it is going full blast on cyber, so that is the talk of the town here.

All of the foregoing ignores a much older martial art that also gets the job done without harming a soul. I have in mind psychological warfare, in military slang “Psy Ops.” In what follows below, I argue that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been applying precisely that art on us these past several weeks and months, with some notable successes already scored and likely more to come in his ongoing pursuit of a US-NATO capitulation, meaning the rollback of physical threats to Russian national security from the forward positions at Russia’s doorstep presently obtaining.

Over the past month, every few days I have been publishing commentary on the unfolding crisis around Ukraine as Russia massed at the Ukrainian border what was variously reported in our media as between 75,000 and 150,000 troops. Some of these articles have elicited words of praise from readers of my website or of other sites reposting me including www.antiwar.com and LinkedIn.

Putin Is Only Pretending to Be Crazy on Ukraine

Eli Lake

Watching Vladimir Putin Thursday at his year-end press conference, one is tempted to ask whether the Russian president has gone mad.

Here is a man leading a country that in the last few months has amassed tens of thousands of soldiers and advanced military equipment on Ukraine’s border, now asserting that it is Ukraine which is planning an invasion of Russia. Putin claimed (without evidence) that the U.S. intends to arm Ukraine with hypersonic missiles. “They just have to understand that we have nowhere left to retreat,” Putin said.

Peter Pomerantsev, the author of the 2014 book “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” on the nature of Russian disinformation, told me that Putin sometimes deliberately acts crazy as a way to gain leverage with his adversaries. Launching a new war against Ukraine would indeed be risky for Russia, in part because Ukraine’s own military is better than it was in 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea. Russia would also risk even more devastating sanctions if it moved forward.

20 Companies Profiting the Most from War

Grant Suneson

Though the U.S. has ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending will likely continue increasing. The House overwhelmingly passed a defense spending bill for $768 billion in December 2021. The bill would increase the Pentagon’s budget by $24 billion more than President Joe Biden requested and is expected to pass easily in the Senate.

Some of the main beneficiaries from this spending increase will likely be American military contractors. These companies are tasked with research and development of new arms and defense systems as well as with providing arms, munitions, vehicles, navigational systems, and more to the U.S. military. Worldwide, there are dozens of companies that sell billions of dollars each year in armaments and military services.

To determine the 20 companies profiting the most from war, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Top 100 Arms-Producing Military Services Companies, 2020. Companies were ranked based on SIPRI’s estimates of arms and military services sales in 2020. Some Chinese companies were not considered due to lack of sufficient data. Arms and military services sales figures came from SIPRI. Revenue figures for the latest fiscal year came from financial reports and corporate press releases.

Guardians of Intellectual Property in the 21st Century

Steven Carnovale


The length and complexity, the number of geographically distributed firms, and the number of products that modern supply chains are tasked with delivering to consumers have grown exponentially over the past several decades. Regional supply chains have transformed into global ones with IP and related proprietary information being dispersed across firms’ extended enterprises. Couple these trends with the increase in digitization and the larger presence of internet-enabled technologies, and the number of attack vectors for malevolent actors has outpaced potential protections and safeguards. Succinctly stated, supply chains are vulnerable to IP theft. But questions remain, such as which parts of supply chains are the most vulnerable? What technologies exist to help protect IP? What is missing, and what can be done? The following measures are needed to better protect IP throughout supply chains: (1) the implementation of training for supply chain personnel to match the scale and scope of the increasingly pervasive vulnerabilities of IP in supply chains, (2) the implementation of protocols for traceability and tracking of raw materials at the beginning of the supply chain, and across entities of the supply chain, ideally through an established set of standards for IP protections in the onboarding process, and (3) the establishment of a detection, mitigation, and recovery strategy such that firms have a balanced approach to handling IP theft.

Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy in the Military: An Overview of NATO Member States’ Strategies and Deployment

Maggie Gray, Amy Ertan

The report “Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy in the Military: An Overview of NATO Member States’ Strategies and Deployment” and associated document “Appendix A – Country Profiles” offers a high-level view of the role of AI-enabled and autonomous technologies in the militaries of NATO Allies as of January 2021. It is the first academic work of this kind that focuses specifically on military AI in NATO countries.

The report provides a snapshot of the perspectives and ambitions held by each NATO nation in relation to military AI and outlines their current use of AI technologies. In the Appendix A, the report explores how far each country has engaged with AI in the context of the military and defence, examining national AI strategies and publicly accessible sources on current use of AI-enabled technologies.

The Promise and Perils of Big Tech

Technology has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for the world’s populations, but there are no guarantees it will. Concerns remain about everything from how the growing digital divide risks leaving large swathes of society—and the world—behind, to questions about the security of data and its potential weaponization. And, of course, there is the ongoing debate around how technology and information platforms can be used to undermine democratic processes, including elections.

To address these concerns, a panel of experts assembled by the United Nations in 2019 called for a “multistakeholder” approach that would convene governments, members of civil society, academics, technology experts and the private sector in an attempt to develop norms and standards around these technologies. Even they could not agree on what this structure might actually look like, though, underscoring how difficult it will be to ensure that technology is harnessed for everyone’s benefit.

5G wireless — yet another reason to fear flying


News images of long lines at airports with COVID-19 testing nightmares, delayed flights and exhausted passengers are putting a damper on holiday travel at the busiest time of the year. More than 2,000 flights have been canceled globally on Monday as more airline staff and crew are calling out sick as the omicron variant spreads.

Americans had planned to take to the skies in record numbers, according to the American Automobile Association, which estimated that more than 109 million would travel during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, a 34 percent increase from 2020.

But it’s not just the pandemic that’s threatening airline travel; another safety ghost is hovering. The heads of two major airplane manufacturers – Boeing and Airbus – have warned that new attempts to introduce 5G in early January could threaten the safety of flying.

This makes my head spin: “5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate," wrote the bosses of Boeing and Airbus Americas, Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel, in a recent joint letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

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

Julian E. Barnes
Source Link

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.

Gray Zones or Limited War?

Robbin Laird

Western analysts have coined phrases like hybrid war and gray zones as a way to describe peer conflict below the level of general armed conflict.

But such language creates a cottage industry of think tank analysts, rather than accurately portraying the international security environment.

Peer conflict notably between the liberal democracies and the 21st century authoritarian powers is conflict over global dominance and management. It is not about managing the global commons; it is about whose rules dominate and apply.

Rather than being hybrid or gray, these conflicts, like most grand strategy since Napoleon, are much more about “non war” than they are about war. They shape the rules of the game to give one side usable advantage. They exploit the risk of moving to a higher intensity of confrontation.

The Army fought to balance new capabilities with tight budgets: 2021 In Review


WASHINGTON: This past year was a nervous one for the Army, as Defense Department priorities shifted towards platforms needed in the Pacific, leaving the Army as the potential bill payer. So it’s no surprise Army leaders spent much of 2021 talking up their role in countering China while continuously warning of the damage further budget cuts could do to the service’s multi-billion dollar modernization programs.

Despite budget fears, the service managed to keep modernization efforts moving ahead. Its annual Project Convergence experiment in Arizona taught the service — and broader joint force — that bandwidth constraints could be a limiting factor on the networked battlefield. Its new secretary outlined the land force’s role in the Pacific theater, while leaders also defined how new robots and artillery will change Army formations.

I am new to the Army beat, so what follows are a potpourri of stories from fellow Breaking Defense reporters who covered the service this year, including Sydney Freedberg, now a senior columnist here, and the now-Australian Colin Clark.

Is McKinsey China's Weapon Against America?


Aspat between McKinsey & Company, the world's largest consulting firm, and Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, highlights a critical American national security vulnerability to China.

The consultancy has been caught covering up its work for the "Chinese government." McKinsey denies deception, but the episode suggests it knows its dual representation of the American and Chinese governments does not serve U.S. interests.

"It has come to my attention that McKinsey & Company appears to have lied to me and my staff on multiple occasions regarding McKinsey's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government," Rubio wrote in a December 16 letter to Bob Sternfels, McKinsey's global management partner, in San Francisco.

Rubio contends that in July 2020, the firm told him that neither the Chinese government nor the Chinese Communist Party was ever a McKinsey client. The senator also reported that McKinsey repeated its assertion to his advisors in a March 2021 Zoom conference call. Yet in a September 2020 court filing relating to Valaris, an offshore drilling company, McKinsey disclosed its work for the "Chinese government."