5 April 2022

Casualty of war in Ukraine: The global food supply

Tom Nagorski, Matthew Zeitlin, Nikhil Kumar, Matt Stiles

Ever since the war in Ukraine began, the global cost has been measured largely in terms of casualties, refugees, the need for humanitarian aid, and — when it comes to the global economy — the rise in the price of oil and gas. Far less attention has been paid to other commodities that have less to do with energy and everything to do with feeding hundreds of millions of people all around the world.

A former top U.S. commander’s warning: NATO must do more to defeat the Russians

Tom Nagorski

As the war entered its second month, Grid spoke to an American general who until recently commanded all U.S. forces in Europe.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Hodges served as a brigade commander in Iraq, a director of operations in Afghanistan, and the commander of United States Army Europe and Africa from 2014 to 2018. He is currently the Pershing chair in strategic studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

For India, Putin’s War Starts to Look Like a Gift

C. Raja Mohan

When Russia launched its full-scale war on Ukraine, India first appeared stuck in an unenviable corner. Having edged closer to the West in recent years as an insurance policy against its main adversary, China, New Delhi might have been expected to align with Washington and its allies in the conflict. Yet India has been reluctant to condemn Russia, on which it remains utterly dependent for the vast majority of its military equipment. At the same time, there is a deep reservoir of goodwill in India for Russia as a partner since the 1950s, when Moscow backed New Delhi as Western powers aligned with Islamabad. While India’s ties with the West grew rapidly in the last two decades, the empathy for Russia has endured. Little surprise, then, that India abstained on all the resolutions at the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly censuring the Russian invasion. That India found itself on the same side on this issue as China is a paradoxical effect of the war in Ukraine.

The Fantasy of the Free World

Shivshankar Menon

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provoked outrage and unleashed a barrage of economic sanctions from many Western governments. Some, such as Germany, have boosted their military spending after years of riding on American coattails. In these actions, certain analysts have found a silver lining to the devastation of the war in Ukraine. Writing in Foreign Affairs in March, Michael Beckley and Hal Brands argued that the international reaction to the invasion would reverberate well beyond the current crisis. The concerted response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions could “consolidate a global alliance that unites democracies against Russia and China and thereby secures the free world for a generation to come.” In this view, Russia’s war in Ukraine might be a pivotal episode in a global contest between autocracy and democracy. Chastened by Putin’s gross violation of norms, democracies will band together in a muscular reaffirmation of the liberal international order.

Space Threat Assessment 2022

Todd Harrison, Kaitlyn Johnson

Welcome to the fifth edition of Space Threat Assessment by the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Over the past five years, this assessment has used open-source information to track the developments of counterspace weapons that threaten U.S. national security interests in space. The United States has relied heavily on its space infrastructure since the first satellites were launched to track and monitor nuclear missile launches during the Cold War. Over the past six decades, the United States has grown more reliant on the information, situational awareness, and connectivity provided by military, civil, and commercial space systems. It should be no surprise that these assets are a target for adversaries attempting to gain asymmetric military advantage. The Space Threat Assessment is critical to understanding the changing nature of the space domain and monitoring trends in space and counterspace weapons.


Bernard I. Finel

The war in Ukraine is widely described as a stalemate at this point. This is true from the perspective of limited movement of bodies of troops, but not necessarily an accurate understanding of the situation more broadly. The problem is that much of the discussion has relied on a series of unstated and unexamined assumptions about war termination and escalation. Scrutinizing these assumptions, however, reveals two conclusions. First, Russia does have a plausible path to victory in the conflict, and will likely prevail absent a significant increase in Western military assistance. Second, the Russians do not have an effective counter to increased Western aid to Ukraine.

The future of armoured vehicles: Requirements and capabilities

Norbert Neumann

Judging the military situation in Ukraine and forming an accurate picture of the characteristics of the war is quite difficult due to the information operations carried out by both sides of the conflict. However, the next-generation light-anti tank weapon (NLAW), the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles system and the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone using anti-tank missiles, appear to be quite effective against heavily armoured Russian vehicles.

China Calls U.S. 'Leading Instigator' of Russia, Ukraine Conflict


China called the U.S. the "leading instigator" of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine on Friday.

During a daily press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "As the culprit and the leading instigator of the Ukraine crisis, the US has led NATO in pursuing five rounds of eastward expansions in the next two decades or so since 1999."

Mystery Surrounds Russia Oil Site Strike Blamed on Ukraine, Claimed By None


Abrazen attack against a Russian oil depot in the border region of Belgorod has elicited international attention but few answers, as Ukrainian officials deflected accusations of their country's involvement in the attack and some even alleged Moscow itself had staged the strike.

But one former senior U.S. intelligence officer cast doubt on that explanation.

Shortly after news of the attack on the fuel site roughly 18 miles from the border emerged Friday, Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed the fiery scene was the result of airstrikes conducted by two Ukrainian Air Force helicopters that entered Russian airspace at low altitude.

China’s Hypersonic Weapons: Implications for Deterrence and Crisis Stability

Dean Cheng

Ironically, then, much of the American reaction to the news of the Chinese hypersonic test has been focused on the military implications and has arguably been misplaced. Vehicles are considered “hypersonic” if they exceed Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound or approximately 6,174 km per hour or 1.6 km per second). Notably, the warheads of most intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and even some vehicles such as the now-retired Space Shuttle, go much faster than Mach 5. A typical ICBM warhead, for example, will have a speed of around Mach 20 in its mid-course phase, and around Mach 10 after it initially re-enters the atmosphere. The Space Shuttle, at re-entry, reached speeds of nearly Mach 25.

OSINT in an Age of Disinformation Warfare

Matt Freear

Open-source intelligence is shaping our understanding and response to the war in Ukraine in a multitude of ways.

In the build-up to the invasion of Ukraine, it was publicly available satellite imagery shared online and used in news reports that gave credence to official warnings from the West about Russia’s intended aggression. Since then, self-taught enthusiasts, long-established news organisations, think tanks, NGOs and specialist teams have collaborated and shared to counter an increasingly aggressive and violent Russian information war machine. Designed to confuse and disable effective reactions, it has included a massive disinformation campaign, attacks on foreign news crews, strikes against TV broadcasting masts in Ukraine, and the censorship and sweeping controls placed on Russian media outlets.

To Disclose, or Not to Disclose, That Is the Question

Lindsey Polley

This dissertation is the first publicly available methods-based approach to examining the previously classified Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP)—a federal level policy to adjudicate decisions on whether to retain or disclose newly discovered software vulnerabilities. Since its public acknowledgment in 2014, the benefits and shortcomings of the VEP have been sharply debated in the public arena by media, digital advocacy groups, and academia. The lack of publicly available data on the VEP, however, means that the majority of current public discourse is largely rooted in uninformed opinion. Two key aspects of this debate have focused on the design of the VEP charter itself, and the representation of equities considered during the vulnerability adjudication process.

Russian “Principles of Victory in Combat” and MCDP-1 Warfighting

In 2018, Russia’s most senior military officers published a short manual entitled, The Principles of Victory in Combat (Osnovy pobedy v boiu).2 The manual offered guidance to battlefield commanders on the key ideas that should shape their thinking and actions in combat. The authors – the Chief of the General Staff, the Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and the head of the expert-analytic department of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff – discuss more than a dozen principles that are critical for achieving tactical and operational success in modern warfare. The impetus for this manual arose from lessons learned in the Syrian conflict, which, if applied appropriately, could remedy the fact that “[Russian] exercises conducted in the military districts revealed a number of problematic issues in the training of commanders and staffs at the tactical level”. In the manual, Russia’s top generals were concerned that many Russian commanders rely on classical templates ignoring situational factors, take actions that are straightforward and predictable, are too slow and passive for modern enemies, and avoid risk in decision making.

Outlook 2030: Horizon Scanning and Analysis

NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) is proud to publish a second volume on Horizon Scanning and Analysis, entitled “Cyberspace Strategic Outlook 2030: Horizon Scanning and Analysis”, edited by Piret Pernik.

The book includes foreword by David van Weel, NATO’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges, and six chapters that help inform policy and decision-makers on current and future cyber threats, and possible cyberspace game changers in 2030. The chapters have undergone peer review to ensure their academic quality.

ICIT Research – Playing to Win: Using Strategy to Create Your Cybersecurity Battleplan

Securing U.S. critical infrastructures and democratic institutions requires whole-of-government vigilance, dedicated leadership, and strategic innovation. In many ways, cybersecurity is an asymmetric tower-defense war game where a digital fog of war obfuscates numerous adversaries with unpredictable resources and varying tactics. Organizations begin with the certainty that their systems will be targeted and an accounting of the resources at their disposal to attempt to mitigate attacks or remediate breaches. Proactive strategic planning that incorporates emerging data in real-time and adapts to evolutions in the threat landscape is essential to deter adversaries and mitigate disruptive incidents. However, many organizations fail to recognize the need to modernize their reactive strategies into proactive approaches or adopt a modern strategy altogether. As in physical conflicts, the responsibility of rallying the defense and routing oncoming attackers falls to leaders capable of anticipating adversarial efforts and communicating a comprehensive strategy. This publication will acclimate cybersecurity thought leaders on how to develop and implement effective and proactive strategies to improve the resilience of vital people, data, and systems.

Science & Tech Spotlight: Counter-Drone Technologies

Uncrewed aircraft systems, also known as "drones," are used to take photos, deliver packages, monitor crops, and more. However, drones can pose significant safety and security risks—for example, if they enter airspace near airports or if they're used for illegal activities such as drug smuggling. To reduce these risks, counter-drone technology can detect unauthorized or unsafe drones and, when needed, jam, capture, or disable them.


Tyson Barker, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar

In the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, a great deal of attention, logically enough, has been paid to cyber operations and the threat of massive disruption. After all, the Kremlin and Russian military thinking sees cyberattacks and targeted disinformation campaigns as part of a continuum of warfare that spans from fake news to nuclear assault.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations: Road Ahead

Shrey Khanna

After six months of its takeover, the Taliban has stabilised its interim government in Afghanistan. At the same time, the resurgence of TTP activity in Pakistan and growing tensions along the Durand Line are impacting Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. The growing challenge to the writ of the Pakistani state suggests that, rather than the supposed strategic fortunes emanating from the Taliban victory, it is the deterioration of Islamabad’s strategic environment that will dictate the course of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

China will define the next phase of the Russia-Ukraine war—and the shifting world order

Ana Palacio

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,” said Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov—better known as Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin—during his exile prior to the 1917 Revolution. Today though, the quote describes what Europeans and others in the world are experiencing. The abruptness of the change the world is witnessing—which happened, quite literally, overnight—in conjunction with the violence in Ukraine relayed by the media, generates deep uneasiness and fear. How will this affect the rest of the world?

Beyond this question, we Europeans in particular must ask ourselves why the bombing of Mariupol has been so shocking, when we watched—unperturbed—the atrocities Russian President Vladimir Putin committed in the Chechen capital Grozny in 1999-2000 and in Aleppo, Syria, in 2016.

The Ukraine War's Three Clocks

Raphael S. Cohen

As the war in Ukraine creeps into its second month, perhaps the most common question is: How will it end? Ultimately, the answer comes down to three internal clocks—Ukraine's, which is counting down in years, Russia's, in months, and the United States and NATO's, which is stalled at the moment but could restart quite quickly.

The Two Sides of Deterrence in Ukraine

Benjamin Jensen
Source Link

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been hailed as both a triumph and failure for deterrence. Can both be true? Strangely, yes. This fact necessitates a need to revisit the foundational strategic concept in the drafting of the new National Defense Strategy, which is said to include nested revisions of both the Missile Defense Review and Nuclear Posture Review. Integrated deterrence will need to mean more than technological change and partners to provide a framework for competitive strategy in the twenty-first century.

The Role of Religion in Russia’s War on Ukraine

Aidan Houston; Peter Mandaville

On March 6, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill stood to deliver the sermon that traditionally ushers in the beginning of the Orthodox Lent. However, the most notable theme of his sermon had little to do with the annual period of Christian fasting. Instead, the patriarch chose to address a subject at the forefront of everyone’s minds: the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cryptocurrency’s Role in the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Aidan Arasasingham, Gerard DiPippo

Finance typically plays a major role in wars, but the Russia-Ukraine war is the first major conflict with a prominent role for cryptocurrencies. Since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its partners have levied an unprecedented series of sanctions on Russia. These efforts have raised questions, including in Congress, about whether cryptocurrencies can be used by Russian actors to bypass sanctions. More broadly, the Russia-Ukraine crisis comes at a time when policymakers are trying to decide how to regulate digital assets. This month, President Biden signed an executive order calling for a whole-of-government strategy on digital assets, including to mitigate national security risks and illicit finance. The European Parliament is debating whether to impose energy-use standards on cryptocurrencies that could limit certain types. The prominence of crypto in this conflict could influence global perceptions of the technology, including among governments considering new regulations.

Russia’s Anti-Satellite Weapons: An Asymmetric Response to U.S. Aerospace Superiority

Jaganath Sankaran

Russia conducted a direct-ascent hit-to-kill anti-satellite (ASAT) test on November 15, 2021, striking a Russian satellite and rendering it into more than 1,500 pieces of orbital debris. Reacting to the test, U.S. Space Command commander Army Gen. James Dickinson claimed that Russia is “deploying capabilities to actively deny access to and use of space by the United States and its allies.” He further noted that Russia’s counterspace weapons systems undermine strategic stability.

Yemen’s Houthis and the expansion of Iran’s Axis of Resistance

Katherine Zimmerman

Yemen’s Houthis are part of the Iranian-led informal alliance known as the Axis of Resistance and increasingly threaten regional security in the Middle East. US policy has framed the Houthis as an artifact of Yemen’s war—a local Yemeni movement with local aims or, alternatively, a Yemeni proxy under Iran’s full command. Instead, the Houthis have preserved their autonomy while integrating into Iran’s network of state and nonstate actors opposed to Western influence in the Middle East. Houthi ties with Iran and other Axis members have strengthened significantly during the past eight years of Yemen’s war, and Iranian-sourced capabilities transferred to the Houthis have expanded the conflict beyond Yemen’s borders. US policy has lagged behind these developments and does not reflect an understanding of Houthi or Iranian aspirations beyond Yemen’s civil war.

Developing a Concept of Operations for Joint All-Domain Command and Control with an Embedded Role for Artificial Intelligence Applications

Sherrill Lingel

Before one can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for multi-domain operations (MDOs) as part of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), one must do the grunt work of laying an "information foundation." Laying this foundation—in which data are tagged, securely stored and transported, and easily accessible—requires the mundane and ongoing work of organizing and safeguarding all the information the military needs for C2 across domains, services, and echelons. This same body of information will be the input for AI and ML algorithms. Absent such an information foundation, little progress can be made.

Understanding the Emerging Era of International Competition Through the Eyes of Others

Michael J. Mazarr, Jonah Blank

The U.S. National Security Strategy is built around the expectation of a new era of intensifying international competition that the United States is expected to confront. Yet there is little rigorous analysis of what such an era might look like or how it might unfold. This report is the second describing a study in which researchers evaluated the emerging strategic competition, focusing on the relevant views and policies of key countries around the world (China, India, Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, France, United Kingdom, Iran, Australia, Mexico, Vietnam, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia). This report presents the findings from the second part of that overall study—an evaluation of how the competition looks through the eyes of other major powers, beginning with the primary challengers to the U.S.-led international order. The authors sought to deepen the thinking about the nature of the emerging strategic competition by focusing on the roles and perspectives of the states that will conduct it.

Systemic Cyber Risk: A Primer

David Forscey, Jon Bateman, Nick Beecroft, and Beau Woods

There is growing concern about “systemic cyber risk”—the possibility that a single failure somewhere in cyberspace could cause widening ripples with catastrophic consequences. Whereas most cyber events have a narrowly defined set of victims, a systemic cyber incident could do damage on a national or even a global scale—threatening the digital infrastructure that entire societies, economies, and governments rely on to function. In the last few months alone, two very different events illustrated distinct versions of the problem.

Competition in the Gray Zone

Bonny Lin, Cristina L. Garafola  et al.

Few studies have systematically tracked how China is using gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against multiple U.S. allies and partners. Lacking a foundational empirical baseline, it is difficult to determine patterns and trends in Chinese activities to develop effective counters to them. The authors developed a framework to categorize China's use of gray zone tactics against five U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific and to identify the most problematic People's Republic of China (PRC) tactics that the United States could prioritize countering. Based on open-source material, this report provides a more in-depth understanding of Chinese operations in the gray zone. Among other conclusions, the authors observe that China views gray zone activities as natural extensions of how countries exercise power. China employs such tactics to balance maintaining a stable, favorable external environment with efforts to alter the status quo in China's favor without triggering major pushback or conflict. It has used nearly 80 such tactics on its neighbors, often in relation to territorial disputes.