7 June 2022

Beijing Eyes New Military Bases Across the Indo-Pacific

Craig Singleton

On a small, sandy atoll smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies a rundown airstrip that served as a critical U.S. staging and supply hub during World War II. Today, this 6,000-foot runway in the Pacific island country of Kiribati is once again on the front lines. This time, China has its eyes on this prized piece of geopolitical real estate—one located around 1,800 miles from sensitive U.S. military installations in Hawaii.

Beijing is hardly content to limit its military basing pursuits to the South Pacific. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is already making serious headway securing new bases in Cambodia, Tanzania, and the United Arab Emirates, among other locales. Whether or not Washington can derail Beijing’s plans is anyone’s guess. Either way, U.S. policymakers and military brass could soon wake up to a changed world, where the PLA can project its power far beyond the tense Taiwan Strait.

Russia’s government website hacked with pro-Ukraine message displayed instead

Pascale Davies 

A Russian government website appears to have been hacked over the weekend, causing an Internet search for the site to lead to a "Glory to Ukraine" sign in Ukrainian.

Russia's Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities website was targeted after many of the country’s state-owned companies and news organisations suffered hacking attempts since the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Russia's state news agency RIA quoted a ministry representative on Sunday as saying that the site was down but users' personal data were protected. The website was working as normal by Monday.

Russia's Cyber Warfare Reputation Lies In Ruins As Anonymous Hacktivists Raid Central Bank Again

Nica Osorio

The war between Ukraine and Russia continues to rage, causing loss of lives on both sides and inflicting immense structural damage. Anonymous, a decentralized international hacktivist and activist collective, launched a cyber war against the Kremlin following the invasion, and staying true to its promise that it will not stop its crusade until the war ends, launched another attack on Russia.

This time it has directed its fury at the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR). And in what is seen as a slap on Russia's supposed prowess in the cyber warfare space, the collective has managed to — yet again — intrude into the bank's cyber innards.

CBR, whose primary responsibility is to protect the stability of Russia's national currency, the ruble, has taken cyber damage courtesy of the hacktivist Rootkit_sec. Unlike previous attacks, the Anonymous operative's latest exploit allowed them to gain control of the "Russian software system" used in running the CBR.

Could Russia Move First to Halt Oil Exports to Europe?

Alexandra, Prokopenko

While the EU discusses (with varying success) the possible parameters of an embargo on Russian oil, Moscow is using the breathing space to regroup and prepare for further steps. Although it is widely believed that its European energy exports are the last thing Russia will give up, the drawn-out conflict in Ukraine and the expansion of Western sanctions increase the likelihood of Moscow making the first move to do just that.

After all, manipulating energy supplies is Russia’s most powerful weapon for putting pressure on Europe. Moscow has already stopped gas deliveries to Bulgaria, Poland, and Finland after they refused its demand to start paying for supplies in rubles. It has also imposed sanctions on Gazprom’s European subsidiaries.

Russia is the biggest exporter of oil and oil products to the EU, supplying 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and 1.2 million bpd of oil products, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has estimated that oil exports provide Moscow with $1 billion a day.

How the West Can Win the Peace in Ukraine

Tomasz Wroblewski James Jay Carafano

Wars capture the imagination of historians. They also shape the treaties signed after the fighting ends. Those pacts help determine the political, social, and economic order for years to come. Treaties should set the foundation for a peaceful future. But when written haphazardly, they can sow the seeds of the next conflict.

In Ukraine, the fighting and dying continues. Even so, it is time to start thinking about how to shape a future that promises the transatlantic community a new era of stability, peace, and prosperity.

Despite the many differences among the family of Western nations, there is a universal consensus that a free, thriving, and secure Ukraine benefits us all. How likely is that to happen?

The Longer-Term Impact of the Ukraine Conflict and the Growing Importance of the Civil Side of War

Anthony H. Cordesman

The Ukraine conflict is already providing a wide range of lessons about the role of modern military forces in modern war, but it is also providing equally important lessons about the future of the civil side of war. Barring some massive political changes in Russia, the conflict is a warning that the civil side of war is becoming far more dangerous. Furthermore, it is yet another example that the kind of civil conflicts and crises that have emerged from the Iran-Iraq War, the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars, and the wars the U.S. and its allies have fought against extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan are now the rule and not the exception.

It is also clear that even if the war can end in some kind of compromise, settlement, or ceasefire – but any decisive end to the fighting now seems uncertain – it is likely to be an important catalyst in shaping a lasting civil confrontation between Russia and NATO, the EU, and the United States.

US Remains Leader in Emerging Technologies, But China Makes Some Gains, Study Finds

Greg Hadley

When it comes to key emerging technologies like additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and space, the U.S. remains the leader in innovation, according to a new study prepared for the Air Force.

Analyzing hundreds of million of patent applications from across the world, the report from the RAND Corp. found that in six areas—Additive manufacturing (AM), AI, space, quantum, ceramics, and sensors—where there have been surges in interest over the past few decades, U.S. inventors have typically been “first to file in areas of technological emergence, far more often than other countries,” the report states.

That lead in patent applications has held up even against China, which Pentagon and Air Force officials have repeatedly called their pacing challenge and main priority.

AI in Fiction and the Future of War

David C. Benson

An unidentified Danish Parliamentary wit once claimed, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” Nowhere are predictions more challenging than in national security. Outcomes in war can bear little relation to expectations. Despite difficulties in predicting the future, our future will be a product of human imagination today. We can look to fiction to help predict the future, but we must be careful about what we internalize.

As a society, our fears and hopes about the future often manifest themselves in science fiction (sci-fi). Less than a decade after the Hunley became the first submarine to sink another ship, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea anticipated the influence submarine warfare would have in the 20th century. H.G. Wells’ War in the Air predicted air war years before WWI. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Flash Gordon reflected the general optimism about technology in the early 20th century. In contrast, real-world fears of nuclear apocalypse in the 1950s found expression in films like The Day the Earth Stood Still. Movies like War Games and The Day After reflected concerns about international politics, and even affected domestic policy.

The Evolution of Russia’s Ukraine Strategy

Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco

The 2004 Orange Revolution, a wave of street protests that fueled the rise of a pro-Western government in Kiev, will likely be remembered by future historians as the very first modern episode in the drama that would eventually lead to the current Ukraine War. This turning point was enthusiastically supported by the West as a meaningful ideological victory for liberal democracy and ‒ above all ‒ as a geopolitical milestone in the Eastward march of both NATO and the EU. Needless to say, the shockwaves were powerfully felt in the Kremlin. Until then, Boris Yeltsin and his successor, Vladimir Putin, had been seeking some sort of accommodation with the West. Moscow offered flirtatious overtures to NATO, unilateral diplomatic concessions, and even support for the American military intervention in Afghanistan. Such gestures were seen in Washington and Brussels as a sign of weakness. After all, conventional wisdom dictated that, in the post-Cold War era, Russia was rapidly fading into irrelevance so disregarding what it had to say or what it wanted was an affordable luxury. Considering that Russia was a mere shadow of the impressive power once held by the Soviet Union, Moscow was not being taken seriously anymore.

Ukraine: A War Of Maneuver Or Attrition?

Robert Farley

Plenty of experts are saying that we’ve shifted from a war of maneuver to a war of attrition in Ukraine. That may be true, but it’s worth unpacking those two concepts, both in terms of their history and in their application to the current conflict.

A decisive battle of maneuver either inflicts a strategic defeat without destroying the fielded forces of the enemy or destroys those forces in rapid engagement or series of engagements; think Austerlitz or Pearl Harbor or the 1940 Ardennes Offensive. Wars of attrition have a longer time frame, with the objective of grinding enemy capabilities down to either weaken the foe in general terms or to improve one’s position sufficiently to launch a new maneuver campaign. These are of course ideal types and it takes some conceptual stretching to apply them to naval, air, and financial warfare, but the concepts remain useful. It is not precisely true that all wars of attrition are failed wars of maneuver (Egypt’s War of Attrition against Israel in the late 1960s, and arguably the Donbas conflict since 2014 had attrition as the primary strategic purpose) but it is perhaps more true than the Russians or Ukrainians would like.

Why China Threads the Needle on Ukraine

Andrew J. Nathan
Source Link

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine falters, Moscow has many opponents and few backers. Even China, Moscow’s closest diplomatic partner other than Belarus, maintains a studied distance—on the one hand blaming the West for its supposed threat to Russian security and condemning the United States for imposing sanctions while on the other hand reaffirming its principled support for the territorial integrity of sovereign states and calling for a negotiated resolution of what it calls “the Ukraine crisis.” Why does China neither endorse nor condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war?

The answer lies in what has become the first principle of Chinese foreign policy: distrust of the United States. For decades, China has embarked on a quest to assume what it regards as its historically mandated position as the dominant power in Asia. As strategic realists, Chinese leaders always expected the United States to push back, seeking to protect its legacy status as the region’s dominant power. And in Beijing’s view, the United States has done just that. As China’s power and ambitions have burgeoned, Beijing assesses that Washington has assaulted the Chinese Communist Party on ideological and human rights grounds; sought to undermine Chinese control of peripheral territories like Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong; perpetuated the division of Taiwan from the mainland; opposed China’s assertion of its rights in the South China Sea; colluded with U.S. allies and partners in thinly disguised coalitions to contain China, such as the U.S.-India-Japan-Australia Quadrilateral Security Dialogue; and used tariffs to try to force China to open its economy and change what the Communist Party views as its successful economic model.

What Is Hezbollah?


Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim political party and militant group based in Lebanon, where its extensive security apparatus, political organization, and social services network fostered its reputation as “a state within a state.” Founded in the chaos of the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-backed group is driven by its opposition to Israel and its resistance to Western influence in the Middle East.

With its history of carrying out global terrorist attacks, parts of Hezbollah—and in some cases the entire organization—have been designated as a terrorist group by the United States and many other countries. In recent years, long-standing alliances with Iran and Syria have embroiled the group in the Syrian civil war, where its support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime has transformed Hezbollah into an increasingly effective military force. But with Lebanon’s power brokers facing public discontent as the nation verges on failure, Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon could change.

A Fault Line in the Pacific The Danger of China’s Growing Sway Over Island Nations

Charles Edel

The last time most Americans paid attention to the Solomon Islands was in the middle of World War II, when the United States and Japan waged a prolonged naval battle in the waters and skies surrounding Guadalcanal. That grinding fight had outsized strategic effects—halting the Japanese advance into the South Pacific, ensuring that allied nations such as Australia and New Zealand were neither surrounded nor cut off from supply by hostile forces, reversing the war’s momentum in the Pacific, and providing a base to launch a counteroffensive against a totalitarian enemy. Pointing to the hundreds of small islands spread across the Pacific, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt explained to the American public that while they might “appear only as small dots on most maps . . . they cover a large strategic area.”

That large strategic area, key to fighting and winning World War II, suffered from considerable neglect over the last several decades as U.S. strategy and policy focused elsewhere. That now must change. In April, the government of the Solomon Islands announced that it had signed a tentative security pact with China, and in late May, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to the region in an effort to secure more agreements from Pacific Island countries. The Solomon Islands security pact contained vague and expansive language that appears to open the door for China to play a role in quelling internal unrest in the Solomon Islands by allowing Beijing to deploy Chinese police and military forces at the Solomon Islands’ request to “maintain social order.” The pact, and potential future deals with other Pacific Island states, could undermine regional security by extending the reach of the Chinese military, giving it access to a critical maritime chokepoint, and thrusting the Pacific Islands into the middle of a globe-spanning geopolitical competition.

U.S. intelligence agencies review what they got wrong on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Nomaan Merchant and Matthew Lee

WASHINGTON (AP) — The question was posed in a private briefing to U.S. intelligence officials weeks before Russia launched its invasion in late February: Was Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, made in the mold of Britain’s Winston Churchill or Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani?

In other words, would Zelenskyy lead a historic resistance or flee while his government collapsed?

Ultimately, U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated Zelenskyy and Ukraine while overestimating Russia and its president, even as they accurately predicted Vladimir Putin would order an invasion.

Unregulated U.S. Firearms Are a Global Problem

Robert Muggah

The United States is the indisputable mass shooting capital of the world. But in the wake of the recent horrifying incidents in Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa and over 230 other communities in 2022, it is worth recalling that the U.S. not only has the highest rate of gun deaths and gun possession among wealthy countries. It is also the world’s preeminent arms merchant. In fact, the U.S. is responsible for more than 40 percent of all reported arms exports globally over the past five years.

About half of U.S. sales between 2017 and 2021 were directed to clients in the Middle East, with the rest scattered across more than 100 countries, including many with a record of serious human rights violations. The most valuable exports include fighter jets and guided missiles, but it is the millions of small arms, light weapons and ammunition that exact the higher human toll. Man-portable air-defense systems, machine guns, semi-automatic rifles, handguns and small arms ammunition make up an estimated $228 billion of the more than $1.3 trillion in U.S. arms export authorizations issued since 2009.

Modi’s Multipolar Moment Has Arrived

Derek Grossman

In every crisis, someone always benefits. In the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that someone is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By refusing to condemn Moscow and join Western-led sanctions, Modi has managed to elevate India’s global stature. Each of the other major powers—the United States, Russia, and China—are intensely courting India to deny a strategic advantage to their adversaries. Relishing the spotlight, Modi and his Hindu-nationalist government will surely look to keep the momentum going. Their likely goal is to carve out an independent superpower role for India, hasten the transition to a multipolar international system, and ultimately cement its new status with a permanent United Nations Security Council seat for India.

None of this negates the fact that the United States has become India’s most important strategic partner. The two nations have made enormous progress in recent years. Since 2018, New Delhi and Washington have held annual summits and signed numerous groundbreaking security agreements. Both nations are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (known as the Quad), along with Australia and Japan. At the Quad summit in Tokyo last month, Modi met U.S. President Joe Biden in person for the second time, complementing the two nations’ ongoing virtual discussions. New Delhi also joined Washington’s recently unveiled Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, which aims to intensify economic relations in the region short of a formal trade treaty. Throughout their blossoming partnership, India and the United States, as the world’s two largest democracies, have pledged to channel their shared values (and strategic interest in containing China) into upholding the rules-based liberal international order.

Trouble in Middle Kingdom: Xi-Li tussle comes to the fore

Srikanth Kondapalli,

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is a worried man these days. He is now at the forefront of the “people’s war” to counter the pandemic but also to restore the economy battered by Communist Party chief and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “zero-Covid” lockdowns and curbs on booming economic powerhouses.

This is in sharp contrast to how Li was feeling when I, as part of a group of scholars and think-tankers, met him only a few years ago. In a 90-minute extempore presentation to us, Li was upbeat about the “medium-high growth” targets and the economic pivoting to domestic consumption and services. He was only concerned about the falling purchasing power in the rural areas and to the growing income disparities.

Li’s confidence seems eroded now with the massive fall in the economy in the past two years, triggered by mass lockdowns, stringent border controls and quarantine procedures. These were aggravated by a sudden crackdown last year on big businesses such as Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan, while allowing the free fall of real-estate giants like Evergrande and others. Alibaba chief Jack Ma went into hiding after he made comments on the country’s banking system. Its shares tumbled.

FBI 'Laser-Focused' On Russian Cyberactivity, Director Says

The director of the FBI has told a gathering of cybersecurity professionals that the U.S. law enforcement agency is "laser-focused" on Russian cyberactivities and is monitoring them in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Director Christopher Wray said the recklessness the Russians had shown with human lives since they launched their invasion "carries over into how they act in cyberspace," and the agency was "watching for their cyberactivities to become more destructive as the war keeps going poorly for them."

Is China facing a period of uncertainty?

As China adamantly sticks to its zero-Covid policy, the economic cost has become huge, and the public is seething with discontent. Beijing’s extreme lockdowns have led to protests and clashes between authorities and residents forced to stay home for weeks without normal access to food and medical supplies. In what some observers saw as a public act of defiance to Xi Jinping's zero-Covid policy, Premier Li Keqiang was seen on a much-publicized inspection tour in Yunnan without wearing a mask. He has also appeared to diverge from Xi’s confidence that his anti-Covid policy “will stand the test of time.” The Premier has called for more government aid for the economy, emphasizing that support for businesses is a good antidote to Covid-induced economic slowdown.

But an economic crisis does not automatically translate into leadership struggle – and the media highlighting Premier Li for a day doesn’t make a coup. Xi has spent a decade eliminating opposition and alternative factions at the center of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has attained considerable control over the security services and armed forces. This means that Xi as yet can contain the severe loss of citizens’ trust in government stemming from often chaotic lockdowns even in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Online protests are quickly being censored and physical protests quelled by China’s enormous security apparatus. If anything, China’s zero-Covid policy reminded the urban middle classes that the CCP can and will intervene in their lives if need be.

Buying Cheap Russian Oil, China and India Help Putin Blunt West's Sanctions


The United States and its European allies have launched a devastating campaign of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, cutting Moscow off from critical energy markets at a time when it needs capital to fuel the ongoing conflict.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin has been thrown a lifeline from Asian economic titans China and India, which have refused to join the sanctions, but have yet to be targeted for their dealings with Moscow, and have moved to buy more Russian oil than ever before.

The premise is simple: China and India buy what the European Union has largely banned, and at a lower rate. Just how much the two powers, themselves rivals in the region, are willing and able to offer, however, remains the subject of debate among experts.

Daniel Fried, a former U.S. ambassador to Poland who also served as coordinator for former President Barack Obama's sanctions program against Russia in the wake of the first outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine eight years ago, told Newsweek that, when it comes to Moscow's sanctions workarounds, it is "absolutely right to focus on China and India with respect to oil."

The New Cold War and Ukraine

Euripides Evriviades

Is the world today in a more dangerous state than when the two nuclear armed superpowers went ‘jaw, jaw’ during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis – when the US and Soviet people, together with the rest of the world, held their breath in those 13 days of October?

The answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Prominent old hands in the West – practitioners, scholars and commentators – insist that yes, this evolving new Cold War is definitely more dangerous than the old one; and that yes, the war in Ukraine is more dangerous than the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. To buttress their arguments, they cite repeated Russian warnings and actions (such as the recent ICBM test by Russia, and statements by Putin and Lavrov) indicating that Moscow wants to deter the West and NATO from direct involvement in Ukraine. Even worse, they argue that Moscow and Putin may do so out of ‘desperation’ about losing the war, or even merely to avoid losing face. And if tactical nuclear weapons are used in Ukraine, then all hell may break loose.

The Death of Gorshkov’s Navy: The Future of the Russian Surface Fleet

Dr Sidharth Kaushal

The sinking of the Slava-class cruiser Moskva garnered understandable international attention given its symbolic and tactical significance within the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The event was also a watershed in another way, however: it marked another waypoint in the disappearance of the fleet of large surface combatants that was Russia’s inheritance from the USSR’s naval build-up overseen by Admiral Sergei Gorshkov. Going forward, Russia is unlikely to replace this fleet, and its navy’s surface fleet will increasingly become a littoral force built around smaller surface combatants which operates close to Russian-held shores.

Despite Russia’s ambitious naval policy and plans to field a new generation of destroyers, its shipbuilding industry has shown few signs that it can deliver on Russian leaders’ aspirations. The weaknesses of Russia’s naval shipbuilding sector have been visible even in the delivery of smaller, less complex vessels, and will be especially acute if Russia does pursue large surface combatants. By 2020, the Russian Navy had received just 33% of the frigates planned under Russia’s State Armament Programme for 2011–2020, and only 20% of the corvettes. This reflects several deficiencies in Russia’s maritime sector. Due to a combination of bureaucratic sclerosis and the lack of access to Western technology since 2014, Russian shipbuilders have not adopted practices such as the use of computer-aided design tools and the assembly of hulls from large prefabricated sections – practices that were adopted in the 1980s and 1990s in the West and which made shipbuilding significantly more efficient. Russian shipbuilders still construct vessels from the hull up – substantially increasing both construction times and costs. This is compounded by bloated corporate structures in entities such as Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, leading to inefficient practices such as the use of shipyards to both produce tools and construct vessels (rather than merely the latter task, as in Western countries).

Implications of the Pandemic for Terrorist Interest in Biological Weapons

John V. Parachini, Rohan Kumar Gunaratna

Some policymakers and analysts have expressed concern that weaknesses in responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will motivate terrorists to seek biological weapons. However, an examination of the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda narratives about the pandemic reveals no causal relationship between the pandemic and any heightened interest in biological weapons. A review of the historical pursuit of biological weapons by the IS and by al-Qaeda reveals that both groups evinced some interest, but ultimately each employed conventional forms of attack instead. Despite limited IS use of chemical agents that challenged the taboo against the use of poison as a weapon, there are formidable hurdles that nonstate actors must clear to develop, produce, and use biological agents as weapons.

Although the prospect of the IS and al-Qaeda pursuing biological weapons is not zero, it is unlikely, given both the difficulties and the much easier and readily available alternatives that meet their deadly objectives. In the wake of the pandemic, several measures can enhance capabilities to address both public health and military challenges. These measures reduce the possibility of and improve the response to a future naturally occurring pandemic while also helping to deter, prevent, and respond to any possible terrorist acquisition and use of biological weapons. Focusing unduly on the potential, but unlikely, terrorist use of biological materials as weapons skews resources to unique military and counterterrorism measures and away from measures that are useful in both events. In the post-pandemic period, governments need to rebalance their efforts.

The Semiconductor Effect


When it comes to the $590 billion global semiconductor industry, Newport Wafer Fab is a true minnow. Yet the future of this small, loss-making chip-making company based in South Wales, U.K., has become the center of an international storm. On May 25, Britain’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng — the equivalent of the U.S.’s secretary of commerce — announced the government would undertake a full national security assessment of a deal struck in July last year — widely reported to be worth $79 million — in which ownership of Newport Water Fab was transferred to Nexperia, a Dutch company ultimately owned by Chinese technology firm Wingtech.This is a preview of the Wingtech corporate ownership page from WireScreen, the data division of The Wire. It's a subscription only service but this single page is unlocked for magazine subscribers. Kwarteng’s decision to review this relatively small deal, over which the British government initially had few concerns, comes after.

Biden’s Asia Maneuvering to Offset China

David Shambaugh

Coming on the heels of convening his “Special U.S.-ASEAN Summit” at the White House on May 12-13, attended by ten ASEAN leaders, U.S. President Joseph Biden spent five days in South Korea and Japan—his first physical visit to the region since becoming president. The trip was intended to signal his administration’s often-stated prioritization of the Indo-Pacific region, although the trip came under the shadow of the ongoing Ukraine war and crisis.

Although Biden’s stops in Seoul and Tokyo were bilateral state visits, while in Japan he also participated in another head-of-state summit among the four “Quad” countries (Australia, India, Japan, United States). Newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended within 24 hours of being sworn into office.

NASA is about to launch a CubeSat trial balloon for its moon mission reboot

Jordan McDonald

NASA is channeling its inner Hollywood exec and embracing the reboot. Now that private companies have mastered the, uh, “easy” parts of space (see: getting there), the legendary US space agency has set its sights on going to the moon…again.

The space agency’s next big project is a series of moon missions, dubbed Artemis, culminating in a manned journey to the moon by 2025.

But before it can hurl its next trailblazing astronauts to the moon, it needs to test out the route to get there, as well as the lunar orbit the astronauts will use above it. Enter the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, a 55-pound CubeSat. The satellite will test out the new route to the moon and subsequent lunar orbit ahead of NASA’s Gateway lunar-orbiting space station, a forward operating base for the upcoming Artemis moon missions. CAPSTONE is scheduled to launch from New Zealand on or after May 31.

'They're Jamming Everything': Putin's Electronic Warfare Turns Tide of War


As Russian forces push for territorial gains in eastern Ukraine, they're turning to a military capability they've largely forgone during the war but is expected to give them an edge: electronic warfare.

After earlier failing to topple Ukraine's government, Russia's military has focused its offensive on the country's eastern Donbas region, which is home to a large population of Russian speakers. New reporting shows Russian forces are increasingly intercepting the Ukrainian military's communications while jamming navigation and guidance systems.

"They are jamming everything their systems can reach," an official with the Aerorozvidka, a Ukrainian agency that develops unmanned aerial vehicles and other military capabilities, told the Associated Press in a report published Friday. "We can't say they dominate, but they hinder us greatly."

Securing 5G A Way Forward in the U.S. and China Security Competition

Daniel Gonzales, Julia Brackup, Spencer Pfeifer, Timothy M. Bonds

Fifth-generation (5G) networks are being deployed in the United States and globally and, one day, will replace many older, third- and fourth-generation cellular networks. 5G will provide much higher data rates and lower message latency than older cellular networks. 5G could also provide or support a variety of new applications, such as holographic communications, autonomous vehicles, and internet-of-things communications. However, security concerns have been raised about 5G networks built using Chinese equipment and 5G phones made by some Chinese companies. The United States is reliant on foreign suppliers for 5G infrastructure and key microchips that go into every 5G phone.

This report describes 5G security issues, the 5G supply chain, and the competitive landscape in 5G equipment and mobile device markets. It describes where U.S. and Chinese companies have technology or market advantages in the emerging 5G security competition between the United States and China. The report provides recommendations for securing U.S. 5G networks and mobile devices and those used by U.S. allies and foreign partner nations.

How Harmful Is Social Media?

Ari Liloan

In April, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published an essay in The Atlantic in which he sought to explain, as the piece’s title had it, “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid.” Anyone familiar with Haidt’s work in the past half decade could have anticipated his answer: social media. Although Haidt concedes that political polarization and factional enmity long predate the rise of the platforms, and that there are plenty of other factors involved, he believes that the tools of virality—Facebook’s Like and Share buttons, Twitter’s Retweet function—have algorithmically and irrevocably corroded public life. He has determined that a great historical discontinuity can be dated with some precision to the period between 2010 and 2014, when these features became widely available on phones.

Boots on the Ground, Eyes in the Sky

Erik Lin-Greenberg

Days after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered an emotional address to the European Parliament, pleading for support. That same day, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, took to Twitter to announce a more targeted—but no less urgent—plea to the executives and corporate board members of commercial satellite companies. Specifically, Fedorov appealed to several leading private satellite firms to provide high-resolution imagery “in real time” to the Ukrainian armed forces to assist them in fending off Russian aggression.

As we wrote in 2021, commercial satellite imagery is dramatically changing the information landscape, particularly when it comes to national security. Gone are the days when only governments could collect advanced intelligence about their rivals and when militaries could keep information about battlefield developments concealed from public view. Now, members of the public can use commercial satellite imagery to reveal activities some governments would rather keep hidden. They have documented North Korea’s expanding nuclear arsenal and exposed human rights abuses such as China’s detention of the Uyghur population in internment camps. In Ukraine, a multitude of actors, including private satellite firms, think tanks, journalists, and amateur sleuths, have used commercial satellite imageryalongside other forms of open-source intelligence to reveal and verify information about military maneuvers, battlefield losses, and Russia’s targeting of civilians.

The Growing Role of Europe in Asia

Ashton B. Carter, Mathieu Duchâtel, Alexandra Sakaki

Key U.S. allies in Europe have upgraded their strategic policy focus on and have been deepening defense cooperation with regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region. From training and exercises with French amphibious warfare forces, to hosting a visit from the UK's newest aircraft carrier, to welcoming the German naval frigate Bayern, Japan has been the center of much of Europe's growing attention. At the same time, Tokyo has sought to expand its own engagement with European partners on security affairs, including joint defense industrial development. What factors are driving France, Germany and the UK to reach out to Japan? Why is Japan reciprocating, and with what goals? Where are these trends heading? And what are their implications for Europe, Japan, the United States, and the U.S.–Japan alliance?

On November 2, 2021, the RAND Corporation hosted experts from academia, peers at other research organizations, and former U.S. government officials to discuss the growing role of Europe in Asia. This video of the full proceedings of the event includes a keynote from Ashton B. Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.