11 May 2022

Air University Press

Air & Space Operations Review (formerly Air & Space Power Journal)

 Dealing with Disinformation: The Barriers to Success and a Path Forward  
Taking the Brakes Off Uniformed Scientists and Engineers 
Commercial SATCOM: A Risk Mitigation Strategy
One Team, One Fight: The Department of the Air and Space Forces
POWs in the Age of the Internet
The Joint Targeting Enterprise and the DOD Digital Transformation
Nuclear War Avoidance: Why It Is Time to Start Worrying, Again

Latest weapons package for Ukraine includes jamming equipment


WASHINGTON: For the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States will provide jamming equipment to the Ukrainian military — a signal that electronic warfare activity could be ramping up in the eastern Donbas region of the country.

On Friday evening, the Defense Department announced an additional $150 million tranche of weapons for Ukraine, which includes “electronic jamming equipment” from existing US stocks.

A senior defense official, who spoke to journalists Monday on the condition of anonymity, said the lack of specific information regarding the EW equipment was intentional, and declined to provide additional information about what jamming equipment will be sent to Ukraine.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft Team Up to Vanquish the Password

WE’VE BEEN PROMISED the end of password-based logins on the internet for a very long time, but now it seems that promise may finally be fulfilled.

The FIDO Alliance, an industry group aimed at standardizing authentication methods online, announced that its passwordless sign-on method has received support from the big browser builders: Apple, Microsoft, and Google. That means that later this year you will be able to sign in to your various web accounts across the internet without using a password in all the major browsers.

If you use a modern smartphone, you’ll recognize how this works. Instead of asking you to enter a password, websites will push a notification to your phone that prompts you to verify your identity. You just authenticate using the same method you normally use to unlock your phone. That could be entering a PIN, using your phone’s fingerprint sensor, or using its face unlock system. FIDO’s passkey system alternatively lets you use one of your other existing devices to authenticate by sending the unlock request to that device using Bluetooth. So as long as you have your phone, laptop, or iPad nearby, you can log in with this method anywhere.

How Ukrainians Saved Their Capital

Luke Mogelson

The original St. Michael’s Monastery, in the historic center of Kyiv, was commissioned around the year 1100 by a Christian prince, who dedicated it to the archangel and patron of soldiers after winning a war. The complex, which included a cathedral famous for its golden dome, was pillaged by the Mongols in 1240 and restored a few centuries later. In 1937, Communist authorities demolished it. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kyiv City Council had the buildings reconstructed. On March 1st, I accompanied my friend Anastasia Fomitchova to St. Michael’s. Uniformed men with Kalashnikovs patrolled the perimeter and guarded the gate. Anastasia approached a fence, through which we could see the cathedral. She bowed her head; when she lifted it, she was crying. I asked her what she had prayed for. “My country, my city, and my family,” she replied.

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.

Four Important Thresholds of Russian Nuclear Weapons Use in Ukraine

Julian Spencer-Churchill

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vague threats of nuclear weapons use to counter Western material support to Ukraine, is widely seen to give Moscow a terrifying negotiating advantage. However, on closer examination, the Russian attempt to use its nuclear arsenal to deter foreign involvement, is demonstrably weak for three reasons. First, the U.S. is able to respond proportionately, and thereby deter escalation, at every important threshold. Second, a continuance from one threshold to another never concedes escalation dominance to Moscow, meaning that any action taken by Russia will produce an unavoidable and costly retaliation. Third, as indicated by a recent hemorrhaging of Putin’s coterie of oligarchs, the uncertainty of the firmness of the Russian public’s support, or at least deference, to Moscow, may be accentuated by the threat of nuclear escalation. These limitations are demonstrable in the four following scenarios.

Historian Niall Ferguson details 'Cold War II' — which 'began some time ago'

Aarthi Swaminathan and Michael B. Kelley

The world is currently embroiled in "Cold War II" — and has been for a while — and the path ahead is lined with the geopolitics of nuclear weapons, says one historian.

"And we've now forgotten so much of that history that we don't realize that Cold War II began some time ago," Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson recently told Yahoo Finance's Andy Serwer at the Milken Institute Global Conference (video above).

"Cold War II is different, though, because in Cold War II, China's the senior partner, and Russia's the junior partner," Ferguson explained. "And in Cold War II, the first hot war breaks out in Europe, rather than Asia. This is a bit like the Korean War was, in 1950, where suddenly discovering that cold wars sometimes run hot, but this time, Ukraine is the battlefield."

Russia’s War Has Been Brutal, but Putin Has Shown Some Restraint. Why?

Anton Troianovski and Julian E. Barnes

Russia’s war against Ukraine has leveled cities, killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions of others from their homes.

But quietly, some military analysts and Western officials are asking why the onslaught has not been even worse.

Russia could be going after Ukrainian railways, roads and bridges more aggressively to try to stanch the flow of Western weapons to the front line. It could have bombed more of the infrastructure around the capital, Kyiv, to make it harder for Western leaders to visit President Volodymyr Zelensky in shows of unity and resolve. And it could be doing far more to inflict pain on the West, whether by cyberattack, sabotage or more cutoffs of energy exports to Europe.

To What Extent Is ‘Great Power Competition’ A Threat to Global Security?

Cormac Smith

The concept of global security is in the foremost position in the minds of international relations policymakers and government officials in most countries. However, the maintenance of global security only bears true significance for the so-called ‘great powers’. These powers have the ability to influence the international stage in one direction or another, change the lives of millions, and control the future. In his book The World after the Peace Conference, Toynbee describes the concept of a great power as “a political force exerting an effect coextensive with the widest range of the society in which it operates” (Toynbee, 1926). In other words, a great power is a nation that has enough scope to successfully exert its own influence and interests on the international stage. In a critique of Toynbee, I would argue that not only does a power need to have the necessary resources and political will to exert itself across the world, but also needs to have the recognition of being a great power by other foreign states and societies. As an example, Estonia in the modern-day cannot send troops to remote corners of the world or lead international coalitions at the United Nations, due to its limited resources and lack of ability to do so. By comparison, the United Kingdom does. Metaphorically, it has a seat at the table, and other states recognise the ability of the United Kingdom to impose itself on the international stage, therefore making it a global power.

Small Drones Are Giving Ukraine an Unprecedented Edge

IN THE SNOWY streets of the north Ukrainian town of Trostyanets, the Russian missile system fires rockets every second. Tanks and military vehicles are parked on either side of the blasting artillery system, positioned among houses and near the town’s railway system. The weapon is not working alone, though. Hovering tens of meters above it and recording the assault is a Ukrainian drone. The drone isn’t a sophisticated military system, but a small, commercial machine that anyone can buy.

Since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine at the end of February, drones of all shapes and sizes have been used by both sides in the conflict. At one end of the scale are large military drones that can be used for aerial surveillance and to attack targets on the ground. In contrast, small commercial drones can be flown by people without any specific training and carried around in a suitcase-sized box. While both types of drones have been used in previous conflicts, the current scale of small, commercial drone use in Ukraine is unprecedented.

Is Russia’s Demographic Decline Irreversible?

Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco

In today’s global strategic environment, Russia is one of the international system’s major players along with the US and China. Its national power encompasses formidable military, intelligence, and technological capabilities, as well as the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and an assertive diplomatic projection that relies on asymmetric equalizers and force multipliers. Likewise, the Kremlin has also mastered the esoteric art of hybrid warfare. Plus, it contains vast deposits of natural resources, including fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, metallic minerals, uranium, gemstones, fresh water, and timber, amongst others. Moreover, although its ultimate outcome is still unclear at this point, the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows that Moscow is willing to use military might in order to restore its status as a major force to be reckoned with. However, the country’s long-term demographic prospects look rather gloomy, an issue that represents a critical Achilles’ heel. If this phenomenon is not dealt with, Russia’s fate might be sealed in an unfavorable way. Needless to say, a declining population can potentially compromise Russia’s ambitious revisionist plans and perhaps even its own survival as a national state.

Speech by Defence Secretary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Good morning, and can I just thank the Deputy Director General of the National Army Museum Mike O’Connor for hosting us here today in the National Army Museum. I’m sorry the Director General can’t be here for personal reasons, but I know he too had been very supportive of this event so thank you.

And it is a wonderful museum for anyone who wants to come and visit. I strongly recommend it, although it does make me feel a little old to see some of the exhibits actually above you, that I used to travel in, now sitting in a museum, as indeed the Challenger 1 tank is outside. So if you want to be reminded of your age, it’s a visit to come to.

Maneuvering in the Gray Zone: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Battlespace


Historical discussions of national defense have focused on military size and capacity, measured by hardware and platforms. But, in the modern era of strategic competition, adversaries seek to exploit software and networks, often in advance of formal hostilities erupting on the ground. This proverbial gray zone occurs primarily within the cyber domain.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is a “live” example of how adversaries couple traditional, kinetic tactics with advanced effects delivered through cyberspace and electronic warfare. They use these means to deny, degrade, deceive, destroy, or usurp anyone who threatens their position or ability to carry out operations.

America’s lopsided China strategy: military aid but not enough trade

Demetri Sevastopulo  

Admiral John Aquilino, the top US military commander in the Indo-Pacific, recently held an unusual meeting with the head of US Space Command and deputy head of US Cyber Command — in a remote part of the Australian outback. 

Aquilino and his colleagues, General James Dickinson and Lieutenant General Charles Moore, had flown all the way to Alice Springs, a dusty town in central Australia for sensitive talks on China with top Australian officials at Pine Gap, a spy satellite facility run by the CIA and the Australian government.

The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It

Thomas L. Friedman

If you just followed news reports on Ukraine, you might think that the war has settled into a long, grinding and somewhat boring slog. You would be wrong.

Things are actually getting more dangerous by the day.

For starters, the longer this war goes on, the more opportunity for catastrophic miscalculations — and the raw material for that is piling up fast and furious. Take the two high-profile leaks from American officials this past week about U.S. involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war:

Putin’s Orange Obsession How a Twenty-Year Fixation With Color Revolutions Drove a Disastrous War

Lincoln Mitchell

On March 26, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine took an increasingly brutal turn, U.S. President Joe Biden made a comment that created a brief firestorm in Washington. Coming to the end of a major speech to NATO allies in Poland, he went off script and declared that Putin “cannot remain in power.” Although the statement was hardly controversial—along with Ukrainians, most Americans and their NATO allies would be glad to see Putin go—it seemed to mark a startling departure from the administration’s careful efforts to avoid escalation with Moscow. The president quickly clarified that his comments were personal, not policy, and the country moved on.

Assessing the Benefits of India’s Frustrating Pragmatic Energy

Chandler Myers

Summary: India choosing to fully condemn or support the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations would have negative consequences. India needs Russian military equipment. At the same time, India’s geography requires continual dialogue with China to resolve territorial disputes. With chilling precision, India’s unmistakable neutral position suits their complex, globally-integrated interest.

A Force for the Future A High-Reward, Low-Risk Approach to AI Military Innovation

Michael C. Horowitz, Lauren Kahn, and Laura Resnick Samotin

Gunpowder. The combustion engine. The airplane. These are just some of the technologies that have forever changed the face of warfare. Now, the world is experiencing another transformation that could redefine military strength: the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

Merging AI with warfare may sound like science fiction, but AI is at the center of nearly all advances in defense technology today. It will shape how militaries recruit and train soldiers, how they deploy forces, and how they fight. China, Germany, Israel, and the United States have all used AI to create real-time visualizations of active battlefields. Russia has deployed AI to make deepfake videos and spread disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine. As the Russian-Ukrainian war continues, both parties could use algorithms to analyze large swaths of open-source data coming from social media and the battlefield, allowing them to better calibrate their attacks.

Stay Calm and Consider 5 Steps on Solomon Islands

Peter Leahy

OPINION — In a world of hybrid warfare, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and threats from and through space – geography is still important. Witness the concern when the Solomon Islands recently signed a security agreement with China.

It’s thought that this agreement will allow the presence of Chinese military and police personnel, permission for Chinese vessels to replenish supplies at ports in the Solomon’s and to the extreme worry of some – that it will pave the way for a Chinese military base on the island nation.

Geography, like history – can’t be forgotten or dismissed. The Japanese occupied the Solomon Islands in WWII. Their aim was to protect the flank of their offensive in New Guinea and establish a base for interdicting allied supply lines across the Pacific. Occupation of the broad archipelago to our North and East gave them the opportunity to invade Australia.

The Slippery Slope of Intelligence Sharing with Ukraine


OPINION — More than two months into the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a number of key security developments have emerged, some of which have broken old traditions and created new opportunities.

One of those developments is the unorthodox use of intelligence by the United States and other Western partners that enabled the Ukrainian military to operate more effectively on the battlefield against Russian forces. This tactic included the sharing of information that assisted in more precise targeting in light of the advance of Russian forces.

Western-supplied intelligence also appears to have made positive contributions toward indications and warnings of Russian military operations, propaganda efforts, and possible cyber threats, in addition to the use of intelligence to shape public perceptions based on insights about President Putin’s mindset or other Russian leadership intentions.