13 June 2022

Gchine Coverup Part 3: Involvement of Amad and MOD

David Albright and Sarah Burkhard

Timeline of Iran’s Deception about the Gchine Mine and Mill~1999 – 2003: Iran secretly builds Gchine mine and mill as uranium source for the Amad nuclear weapons program under Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), contracting Kimia Maadan (KM) for early design and construction work.

December 22, 2001: Kimia Maadan is dissolved; further construction of Gchine remains under military control.

~August 2002: Gchine mine and mill appears near completion.

March 18, 2003: As ordered by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC, chaired by Hassan Rouhani, later president) and approved by Gholam Reza Aghazadeh (then head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI)), Iran starts to transfer control of Gchine from MODAFL to AEOI.

The Evolving Political-Military Aims in the War in Ukraine After 100 Days

Philip Wasielewski


Russia and Ukraine are locked in a bloody war that is hemorrhaging men and materiel at a rate unseen in Europe for over 75 years.[1] The Kremlin’s dreams of quick victories have ended, and the conclusion to the conflict may not come soon. Whenever it’s over, this 2022 war will likely lead to changes on the continent as consequential as those of 1989 or 1945.

This article will attempt to provide the reader an understanding of the war’s current state and a sense of what strategic direction it may take in the near future. Since war is essentially a political action conducted through organized violence, this report will first examine the political objectives of both parties and how changes on the battlefield have morphed into changes of war aims. It will next examine the battle in Donbas and how the tactical fight affects the strategic situation. Two possible radical changes to the strategic situation will be considered: The disintegration of the Russian army and the Russian use of nuclear weapons. This article will conclude with a summary of the war’s possible strategic direction and its growing strategic meaning.

Russia’s Use of Cyberattacks: Lessons from the Second Ukraine War

Mitchell Orenstein

Russia, probably more than any other leading power, launches cyberattacks against other countries as a matter of routine. Sometimes, Russian cyberattacks accompany military action, as in the current war in Ukraine. At other times, Moscow uses cyberattacks to disrupt or weaken societies, for instance during the 2016 US Presidential election. Russia also uses its formidable cyber arsenal to threaten governments in response to a specific event, for instance when Finland welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak at its parliament in April.

What do Russian actions during the Second Ukraine War (which started in February 2022) reveal about Moscow’s approach to cyberattacks? Do officials in the Kremlin think about cyber activities differently in wartime versus peacetime? What might these differences say about Russia’s vaunted cyber arsenal going forward?

Engagement Reframed #7: Defending democracy and countering China requires US and Western support for a beleaguered developing world

Mathew Burrows

The war in Ukraine, combined with the lingering effects of the pandemic, means that 2022–23 has become a watershed moment for the growing gap between rich and poor countries. Owing to the increased political instability in many regions, the democratic backsliding that has occurred in Africa, Latin America, and other regions throughout the developing world in recent years is likely to intensify. The stakes are high for the West: China will be the default winner unless Western countries do more to support developing countries. Bearing little responsibility for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the developing world should not be victimized by it. Nor can the West afford to see its own weakening economic growth prospects exacerbated by the collapse of developing economies.

At least 107 developing countries—home to 1.7 billion people—are now being threatened by at least one of three crises: food, energy, and/or finance. Sixty-nine countries, or 1.2 billion people, are severely affected by all three crises, according to a report by the Deputy United Nations (UN) Secretary-General. The World Bank now predicts that a quarter of a billion people could be pushed into extreme poverty this year—an upwards revision of 77 million—due to the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Lessons from Afghanistan for Western state-building in a multipolar world

Abdul Waheed Ahmad and Dr. Gabriella Lloyd

The emergent multipolar world has created new challenges for Western liberal democratic diplomats and leaders. Among these challenges is how to continue to support developing allies in a political landscape where these allies are facing growing, existential threats from powerful, authoritarian anti-liberal states.

A never-before-shared internal document developed by the National Security Threat Assessment and Policy interagency committee in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the days before it collapsed highlights these challenges. The purpose of the National Threat Assessment (NTA) was to identify global and regional trends and power shifts that could pose existential threats to the state, so the government could craft a response, presumably in coordination with its Western allies. The NTA was based on information and intelligence gathered by the Afghanistan Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense and the National Directorate of Intelligence (NDS) through their foreign and domestic collection capabilities. It achieved the former, but the latter never materialized. Instead, the West exited, and Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. However, the NTA can still help the West navigate its other relationships with weak allies in this increasingly multipolar world.

A Refreshed Autonomous Weapons Policy Will Be Critical for U.S. Global Leadership Moving Forward

Lauren Kahn

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced its intention to update its keystone directive on autonomous weapons systems (AWS). The directive “establishes DoD policy and assigns responsibilities for the development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems” with the aim to reduce the possibility of accidents from the use of these weapons, including those that might lead to unintended conflict or inadvertent escalation.

First published in 2012, the directive remains “one of the only publicly available national policies” on weapon systems that present higher degrees of autonomy. With the directive coming up on its tenth anniversary, the directive must either be updated or canceled—in keeping with the Department’s issuance policy—and it is perfect timing. Given advances in artificial intelligence and autonomy technologies, as well as changes within the Department, DoD has an opportunity to update the policy and sustain responsible U.S. global leadership.

Why Turkey Is Imperiling NATO Enlargement


ISTANBUL – One of the key geopolitical consequences of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has been the return of hard security concerns to mainstream European politics. In some European countries, like Germany, Putin’s invasion has triggered a commitment to increase defense expenditures. In traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden, a surge in public support for NATO membership was followed by applications to join the alliance. NATO’s Madrid summit at the end of June has thus quickly been transformed into a milestone event heralding the alliance’s further enlargement.

But NATO enlargement requires the consent of all member countries, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that his country is “not of a favorable opinion” regarding the Swedish and Finnish applications. Erdoğan’s negative stance, which he justified on the grounds that the two countries are harboring Kurdish terrorists, is imperiling further NATO enlargement at a time of great geopolitical uncertainty.

On the other hand, Turkey has traditionally supported NATO’s open-door policy toward potential new members, and Erdoğan’s statement should not be read as a categorical decision to block the two Nordic countries’ accession. In fact, it advances two other objectives.


Many experts frame the debates around AI technology as a great power rivalry between the U.S. and China.[1] Indeed, by most measures, the United States and China lead the world in AI innovation. Yet focusing solely on the United States and China elides global AI adoption dynamics and yields an incomplete picture about how and why countries acquire certain emerging technologies.[2] While the U.S. and China undoubtedly matter when it comes to fostering AI innovation, cultivating AI talent, generating technology exports to emerging markets, and advancing AI global standard-setting, a diverse range of countries also exert significant influence on AI acquisition and adoption trends.

Countries such as India, Singapore, and Israel, have vibrant AI ecosystems, including substantial investments in R&D, strong commercial applications, and conducive operating environments.[3] These countries represent not only important markets for AI technology exports but also budding centers of AI innovation. In certain respects, this makes innovative middle powers almost as crucial as the superpower competition between the United States and China.[4] To that end, analyzing and understanding middle power technology adoption trends and capabilities constitutes an important sub-topic in the broader “emerging technology-international competition” debate.

Russia’s War on Ukraine: Four Lessons From the First 100 Days

Thomas Spoehr

Friday marks the 100th day of the war between Russia and Ukraine. When Russian tanks rolled across the border on Feb. 24, most anticipated a brief conflict, ending with either a Ukrainian surrender or some type of negotiated peace.

Those assumptions proved false. Ukraine withstood the initial onslaught, and the war has now entered a bloody, protracted phase with no easily predictable end.

These 100 days have taught us a few things about war, peace and leadership in the modern world. Here are four of them.

Keeping the Peace in the Indo-Pacific with Nuclear Weapons

John Yoo

With China rising and a wounded U.S. retrenching after the Afghanistan debacle, the Biden administration inadvertently has re-opened the question whether our closest democratic allies should develop their own nuclear deterrents in the Indo-Pacific.

While all eyes were on Afghanistan, the nuclear race between the U.S. and its rivals has only accelerated. The State Department called China’s nuclear buildup concerning, with China soon to surpass Russia’s nuclear arsenal. The International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korea restarted its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. Iran continues progress toward a nuclear weapon. Given that the international community cannot stop these rogue regimes as they develop nuclear options, America’s interest may actually be in expanding its allies’ ability to deter and defend themselves.

Nevertheless, President Biden promises to “work to bring [the U.S.] closer to a world without nuclear weapons”—a longstanding aim of the United States promoted even by Cold War Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. In theory, the world would of course be a better place without nuclear weapons.

A long war in Ukraine could bring global chaos

Hal Brands

The war in Ukraine has become a brutal, grinding contest of attrition. As the conflict drags on, the question becomes, which side does time favor? Kyiv is betting that its leverage will increase as an isolated Russia comes face to face with economic and military ruin. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wager is that he can devastate Ukraine even with a weakened army, while using the threat of global economic chaos to sever Kyiv’s lifeline to the outside world. Each side is trying to bleed and batter the other into submission, a dynamic that will fuel far-reaching instability — and present the US with nasty challenges.

In recent weeks, the fighting has occurred primarily in eastern Ukraine. Russia is using hellacious artillery barrages and methodical attacks to slowly seize more territory, in hopes of fully “liberating” the Donbas region. Ukraine is hanging on, inflicting terrible casualties while also suffering, by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s own admission, heavy losses.

Notwithstanding Russian territorial gains, Ukraine still has reason for optimism. Its military power is, in important respects, increasing, as Kyiv receives longer-range artillery and other sophisticated weapons from Western countries. Some of the world’s top intelligence services are also effectively working for Kyiv, providing information that helps Ukrainian military leaders anticipate the enemy’s blows and strike plenty of their own.
Michael Rubin and Ivana Stradner

Speaking at the Davos, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger counseled Ukraine to cede Russia territory in order to end the war. “Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” he said last month. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.” Make no mistake: Kissinger is wrong. Rather than bring peace, his advice would spark future conflict by teaching Russia that aggression brings rewards. Kissinger’s remarks did not come from nowhere, however. He has spent more than two decades excusing Moscow’s abuse of its neighbors while forging a personal friendship with Vladimir Putin.

Kissinger has long been the prince of so-called “realism.” For decades before his secret 1971 visit, Communist China was an international pariah. Kissinger brokered rapprochement, however, to make common cause against the Soviet Union. He later argued China was simply the lesser of two evils. “The difference between [China] and the Russians is,” he quipped, “if you drop some loose change, when you go to pick it up, the Russians will step on your fingers and the Chinese won’t.”

Getting Smart on Intelligence

Klon Kitchen

Hello and happy Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin with the following warning:

As recent acts of violence in communities across the country have so tragically demonstrated, the nation remains in a heightened threat environment, and we expect that environment will become more dynamic in the coming months. … DHS expects the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets. These targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.

The NTAS appears to be responding to multiple threats, including international terrorism, domestic extremism/terrorism, criminal gun violence, and political developments like the expected Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade. You can read the press release linked above for more details. But this got me thinking.

The Navy is broken. Congress must launch a commission to find the path forward.

John G. Ferrari

In 1980, US Army Chief of Staff General Edward Meyer famously testified to Congress that the Army had become “hollow,” the result of too much structure and not enough people, along with outdated equipment, low morale, and untrained soldiers. After decades of tireless efforts in Vietnam, the social upheavals of the 1970s, and the decreased buying power of rampant inflation, Meyer’s “hollow” force was not simply descriptive: it was a plea for help to the political leadership of the country.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday’s testimony before Congress last month about the 2023 budget and posture of the US Navy should have echoed Meyer’s past sentiments. Instead, Gilday sounded more like Meyer’s predecessor, Gen. Bernard Rogers, whose testimony in 1977 gave little to no indication that a mere two years later the Army leadership would publicly admit the Army was in serious trouble.

The Crushing of Tibet

Michael Rosen

The recent depredations of the People’s Republic of China in East Turkestan/Xinjiang have had the unfortunate effect of obscuring and displacing a similar oppression that the Chinese perpetrated in another region: Tibet. More than half a century before it began persecuting the Uyghurs, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) engineered and executed a brutal, enduring domination of Tibet that persists today. But while the Tibetan cause enjoyed its heyday in the West in the 1990s, the region has largely faded from the headlines since.

Jianglin Li, a historian of Tibet, seeks to remedy this forgetfulness. In When the Iron Bird Flies, a masterly account of the CCP’s invasion and subjugation of the Tibetan regions in the 1950s, Li exhumes decades of archival Chinese records and interviews survivors of the onslaught. She tells the story through the eyes of the overwhelmed and ultimately defeated Tibetans, as well as from the point of view of the CCP officials who quelled their hard-fought rebellion.

The Iran Crisis Is Here Biden must abandon his quest for a nuclear deal

Matthew Continetti

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about: This week Iran escalated its war against the West.

On June 8 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution calling on Iran to explain traces of uranium that it found at three undisclosed sites of nuclear activity. Hours before the IAEA vote, Iran disconnected security cameras from one of its declared nuclear sites. Then Iran began taking down IAEA cameras throughout its territory. The world’s nuclear watchdog is flying blind. “When we lose this,” IAEA director Rafael Mariano Grossi told reporters, “then it’s anybody’s guess” what Iran is doing.

But we know what Iran is doing. Iran is playing hardball. For over a year now, the Biden administration and its European partners have attempted to lure Iran back into the 2015 nuclear deal, a.k.a. the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Those negotiations have failed. Iran keeps upping the ante. It wants Biden to drop sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its terrorist army, and to guarantee that future presidents won’t back out of the deal. The first demand is harmful to national security and a political hot potato. The second is impossible. Result: deadlock.

Severodonetsk, Haphazard Allies, and the Russian War Machine

Giselle Donnelly, Dalibor Rohac and Iulia Joja

Iulia joins The Eastern Front from Romania! In this episode, Iulia, Giselle, and Dalibor analyze and banter about a range of factors in Russia’s war against Ukraine such as military strategy, drawing historical analogies, values, sanctions, allied resilience, and more. Iulia offers a situation report from Romania, sharing what she has witnessed about its support for Ukraine and how Romania is experiencing fallout effects from the war. Giselle sheds light on Severodonetsk, a region that has gained unexpected strategic significance in the war, and the losses the Russian military is undertaking to control it. Dalibor offers some credit to the German government for plans to increase defense spending, and all discuss the greater meaning behind former German Chancellor Merkel’s recent comments on Ukraine. Lastly, Dalibor gives a run down on how allied sanctions may not be as effective as intended but are still constraining the Russian economy.

Russian Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

Elina Treyger, Joe Cheravitch, Raphael S. Cohen

Russia is waging wide-reaching information warfare with the West. A significant part of this war takes place on social media, which Russia employs to spread disinformation and to interfere with the internal politics of other countries. Drawing on a variety of primary and secondary sources, expert interviews, and fieldwork in Ukraine, the report describes Russia's information warfare in the social media sphere (as of 2019) and provides recommendations to better counter this evolving threat. Moscow views social media as a double-edged sword — anxious about its potential to undermine Russia's security but aware of its advantages as a weapon of asymmetric warfare. Russia's use of this weapon picked up most markedly in 2014, suggesting a reaction to the West's response to the Ukraine conflict. Although popular portrayals of the Russian disinformation machine at times imply an organized and well-resourced operation, evidence suggests that it is neither. However, even with relatively modest investments, Russian social media activity has been wide-reaching. The impacts of Russia's efforts on the West — and of Western countermeasures on Russia — are difficult to assess. However, this threat can cause a variety of harms and is likely to evolve. Thus, the authors recommend that the U.S. Air Force and the joint force improve defensive measures aimed at raising awareness and lowering the susceptibility of the military and their families to Russian disinformation and propaganda campaigns. This research was completed in September 2019, before the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has not been subsequently revised.

Comparing the Organizational Cultures of the Department of Defense and Silicon Valley

Nathan Voss, James Ryseff

The ability to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and capabilities is viewed as vital to the long-term success of the U.S. military and to the future of national security. Despite the importance of making AI advances, there are concerns that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is not well positioned to engage with the private sector and recruit top AI talent from U.S. technology firms. Unlike previous eras, DoD is no longer the primary driver of research and development investment in these types of advanced technologies. Instead, large software companies that derive the bulk of their revenues from nondefense sources employ the greatest reservoirs of AI talent and invest the majority of capital into improving their AI algorithms. Consequently, DoD has sought to collaborate more effectively with the software companies of Silicon Valley. Although differences in organizational culture are often cited as one of the reasons to be concerned about a potential civil-military divide over AI, no studies have empirically explored this possibility. Accordingly, the authors of this report mapped the organizational cultures of both DoD and Silicon Valley software companies to determine where the two communities have substantial differences and where they might find common ground.

Russia’s Use Of Cyberattacks: Lessons From The Second Ukraine War – Analysis

Mitchell Orenstein

(FPRI) — Russia, probably more than any other leading power, launches cyberattacks against other countries as a matter of routine. Sometimes, Russian cyberattacks accompany military action, as in the current war in Ukraine. At other times, Moscow uses cyberattacks to disrupt or weaken societies, for instance during the 2016 US Presidential election. Russia also uses its formidable cyber arsenal to threaten governments in response to a specific event, for instance when Finland welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak at its parliament in April.

What do Russian actions during the Second Ukraine War (which started in February 2022) reveal about Moscow’s approach to cyberattacks? Do officials in the Kremlin think about cyber activities differently in wartime versus peacetime? What might these differences say about Russia’s vaunted cyber arsenal going forward?

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Why the Russian Public is Tired of the War in Ukraine

Andrei Kolesnikov

One hundred days is too long for something called a “special operation.” As the Ukraine conflict drags on and becomes routine, the interest of the general public wanes. One might think that this works in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favor, but the growing apathy is resulting in demobilization. What Putin needs from the masses is the exact opposite. Furthermore, as the conflict becomes increasingly routine, even his strongest supporters can’t shrug off the endless nightmare that has shattered their past and stolen their future.

One thing we can say for sure is that however the conflict ends, Russians will still be outcasts, equated in Western public opinion to the Germans in 1945. With 14 million people pushed from their homes, a truly staggering number, Russians will continue to face isolation and condemnation.

Public support for the “special operation” remains impressive: in the Levada Center’s May survey, the number of respondents who “definitely support” the “special operation” was a little under half, with the strongest support coming from the “55 plus” age group. Another 30 percent “rather support” it.

It is in the best interests of Ukraine, and the west, to end this war as soon as possible

Christopher S Chivvis

Hawks in Washington continue to press Joe Biden to get even more deeply involved in the war in Ukraine. They want more military equipment for Kiev and more maximalist military and political objectives, which range from pushing Russia entirely out of Ukraine, to carving up Russia, to the removal of President Putin himself. They’re right that Russia should lose the war and that Ukraine should win it. But they’re wrong about how to get there.

Ukrainian and Russian forces are now in a slow, grinding war. Both have taken major losses, but Ukrainian casualties have been especially high. In the coming weeks, Russia might consolidate its position in the eastern Donbas region, Ukraine might scrape back a little more territory, or the fighting might come to a halt.

#RSAC: NSA Outlines Threats from Russia, China and Ransomware

Sean Michael Kerner 

The US National Security Agency (NSA) Director of Cybersecurity Rob Joyce sees two primary adversaries in terms of nation-state cyber-attacks, with Russia and China being particularly active in recent months.

Speaking in a session at the RSA Conference 2022 Joyce, outlined the current state of hacking threats as the NSA sees it. The first threat that he sees is Russia, which is currently at war with Ukraine. Joyce said that starting in January of this year, even before Russia moved troops, it was already engaged in widespread cyber-attacks against Ukraine.

"There were at least seven families of wipers deployed into the theater of operations, all of those were intended to defeat or avoid endpoint security," Joyce said.

Joyce also highlighted the Russian cyber-attack against the Viasat satellite service, which impacted organizations across Europe.

Russia unexpectedly poor at cyberwar—European military heads

LILLE, France—Several European heads of military cyber defense forces agreed on Wednesday that Russia has been far less effective than expected in employing digital combat capabilities in their offensive against Ukraine.

“Among cybersecurity experts we were pretty sure that there would be a cyber Pearl Harbor based on past experience of Russian behaviour and capabilities,” said General Karol Molenda, head of Poland’s National Cyber Security Centre.

But Ukraine was prepared and “withstood attacks from Russia”, Molenda told a meeting of the International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC) held in the northern France city of Lille.

Europe must accept being at war

Jaba Devdariani

Accustomed to post WW2 peacetime, European politicians refuse to think about the war as state and as a process with its own political, social and economic dynamics. This breeds strategic myopia and tactical confusion.

The European Union is a peaceful alliance — yet it is a brainchild of people who understood war intimately. They understood that a moral and political claim of “never again”, which sounded after the World War I had ended, proved insufficient for bringing lasting peace. Instead, they opted to create an underlying system of economic interdependence in strategic resources (coal and steel, first), which, in time, grew a political super-structure fine-tuned to break down the incentive-based components of conflict into bite-size pieces, digestible by European institutions, without engendering armed hostilities.

The resulting political system has brought a considerable period of peace across the western parts of the continent. One is tempted to assume, that the EU’s arcane, slow and technical nature is not a bug, but a feature: fights over the shape of a banana or a size of anchovies are unlikely to escalate into a military conflict. Yet, this ‘bureaucratic peace’ has also bred a generation of politicians that are not accustomed to thinking about war as a political, economic and social process, and — especially — not imagining it happening on their own territory.

Russia learns that (info) war is hell

Alan W. Dowd
Source Link

With Vladimir Putin’s planned two-day war to topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government now in its fourth month, the free world continues to marvel at the tenacity and toughness of the Ukrainian people. Equally important to their success has been their creativity – especially in the information domain.


As the bombs began falling on Kyiv in those first hours of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky was offered a chance to evacuate. His defiant response: “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.” Thanks to Ukraine’s tech-savvy government, that moment went viral, spreading through social media, print media and cable news, galvanizing the Ukrainian populace, and rallying the free world to Ukraine’s side. It was an early indication that Ukraine’s government was going to outmaneuver Russia in the information domain – and was primed to wage and win the information war. If half of Ukraine’s success in stalemating – perhaps checkmating – Russia is a function of Ukraine’s tenacity on the battlefield, the other half is a function of Ukraine’s alacrity in the information space.

Chinese cyber threat actors are widely abusing well-known attacks to infiltrate networks, CISA warns

John Leyden

Chinese state-sponsored attackers are placing a heavy reliance on known but commonly unpatched vulnerabilities to “establish a broad network of compromised infrastructure”, a US federal security agency warns.

While previously unknown (zero-day) vulnerabilities and novel exploits usually grab the most headlines, a joint advisory from the US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI warns that attacking “publicly known” flaws has become a mainstay of Chinese cyber-espionage.
Hit list

The advisory offers a list of network device CVEs most frequently exploited by PRC state-sponsored cyber actors since 2020.

Flaws in small business-focused routers, SSL VPNs, and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices from the likes of Cisco, Fortinet, Netgear and QNAP feature heavily on the list.

America’s Iran Follies

Michael Hirsh

After more than two decades of failed policies—fluctuating wildly between confrontation and cooperation—Washington and the West still find themselves facing down a hostile Iran. And today, though it is in dire shape economically, Tehran may be close to delivering the final rebuff, with experts saying it is just weeks away from achieving nuclear bomb capability.

This week, all but giving up on their fitful attempts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France drafted a resolution to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, criticizing Iran’s lack of cooperation. It passed overwhelmingly on Wednesday. Iran responded angrily by shutting off a number of IAEA surveillance cameras and making plans to upgrade uranium enrichment, in what IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said could be a “fatal blow” to the deal. And even as protests in the streets aimed at Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei are reigniting a decades-old dream of regime change in Tehran, there is likely little hope of that, either.

Russia Crisis Military Assessment: The Impact of Multiple Rocket Launcher Transfers to Ukraine

Benjamin Johnson, Tyson Wetzel & J.B. Barranco

In light of the ongoing Russia crisis, the Scowcroft Center’s Forward Defense (FD) practice will share weekly assessments of the latest force developments surrounding Ukraine, leveraging the expert perspectives of our senior military fellows. The opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied here are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or any other U.S. government agency.
The bottom line

While the transfer of U.S. high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and British multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) will help Ukraine, we assess that the amount of systems and ammunition planned for transfer in the first tranche will only have a minor impact in the fighting.

Russia’s campaign in the Donbas region is reaching a standstill, with its numerical advantage in forces and fires effectively countered by Ukraine’s tactical employment of battlefield intelligence.

Japan Resets on Defense

Lyle Goldstein

Tokyo must move with caution in a dangerous neighborhood.

In April 2022, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party announced that it will seek to double Japan’s defense budget. As a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tokyo’s reasoning has substantial merit. China and Russia appear to be joining ever closer in their bilateral security relationship – underlined most recently by the bilateral strategic aviation exercise in May. There was also the rather provocative joint Russia-China naval sortie through the Tsugaru Strait last October, which was not well received in Japan, to put it mildly. Meanwhile, North Korea has been launching ballistic missiles with ever greater frequency and there is most likely a nuclear test also in the offing.

Some opportunism could also be at work – for sure. It seems likely that Tokyo’s defense establishment has long wanted to break through the traditional 1% rule that has constrained Japan’s defense spending for many decades. When Germany, the other major defeated power from WW2, took the unprecedented move to massively increase its defense expenditures in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Berlin was subsequently praised in Western capitals, especially in Washington, for making an appropriate response to the extant threat. Tokyo can claim, with some legitimacy, that the Russian threat looms much closer even to Japan’s shores than to Germany’s. Thus, Japanese leaders have moved with alacrity to make this major adjustment that many consider long overdue.

The Potential of Integrating Intelligence and Intuition


EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — When I was just starting out at CIA, there was an analyst in my group who worked in a particularly methodical way. As she read all the various intelligence reports, she would type on a sheet of paper (and it was a typewriter then) the excerpts that she considered meaningful. She would then cut the paper into strips, so that each strip contained just one excerpt, and filed them in notebooks. When it came time to write an article about a particular issue, she would pull out the relevant strips of paper, organize them into paragraphs, write connecting and transition language and an occasional topic sentence, and, voila! She had an analytic product.

I am not making this up. On occasion, I would walk by this analyst’s cubicle just when she had laid the strips of paper in the optimum order, and I would be sorely tempted to blow on her desk to scatter the strips hither and yon. I never did that, but I did – even as a junior analyst – ask my bosses whether they approved of this approach to analysis. I certainly didn’t. Even early in my career, I appreciated that reality was not a cut-and-paste operation. I remember them shrugging their shoulders and remarking that they couldn’t argue with the productivity. Our analyst was the most prolific member of the team, churning out analytic content at twice the rate of any of the others. But her intelligence reports, accurate in the details, were uninspiring in their insight.