17 June 2022

The West has a chance to wean India off Russian weaponry

Joint weapons production between India and the West has a long and chequered history. Consider the Tejas fighter jet, whose development was approved in 1983 by Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of the day, to replace ageing Soviet-made migs. Two years later, her son, Rajiv, persuaded Ronald Reagan to provide “fly-by-wire” technology allowing pilots to control the plane electronically. Keen to erode Soviet influence in India, America supplied engines too. French engineers were sent to help an Indian state-owned defence company design the new aircraft. Yet the Tejas only entered service in 2016, around 20 years later than planned and in much smaller numbers. India’s navy cancelled its order when it transpired that the plane was too heavy to take off from aircraft carriers fully fuelled and armed. An updated model looks more promising, but won’t be ready in time to address India’s shortfall of more than 100 fighter jets over the coming decade.

Lawmakers Want Social Media Companies to Stop Getting Kids Hooked

ALEXIS TAPIA OPENS TikTok every morning when she wakes up and every night before she goes to bed. The 16-year-old from Tucson, Arizona, says she has a complicated relationship with the social media app. Most of what flashes across her screen makes her smile, like funny videos that poke fun at the weirdness of puberty. She truly enjoys the app—until she has trouble putting it down. “There are millions of videos that pop up,” she says, describing the #ForYou page, the endless stream of content that acts as TikTok's home screen. “That makes it really hard to get off. I say I’m going to stop, but I don’t.”

Scrutiny of kids, particularly teens, and screens has intensified over the past months. Last fall, former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen told a US Senate subcommittee that the company’s own research showed that some teens reported negative, addiction-like experiences on its photo-sharing service, Instagram. The damage was most pronounced among teenage girls. “We need to protect the kids,” said Haugen in her testimony.

Is It Too Late to Stop the Spread of Autonomous Weapons?

Zachary Kallenborn

The congressionally appointed National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence recently concluded that “we can expect the large-scale proliferation of AI-enabled capabilities.” The recent Libya conflict seems to validate that conclusion about artificial intelligence (AI), with soldiers loyal to Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar employing a Turkish-made Kargu-2 drone that “hunted down and remotely engaged” retreating forces, according to a United Nations report. It’s not clear whether the Kargu-2 employed its autonomous capabilities, but the Turkish government acknowledged it can field that capability. Likewise, Russia has employed the KUB-BLA loitering munition and reportedly the Lancet 3 during its invasion of Ukraine. Again, the details are murky—some analysts are skeptical that the KUB-BLA possesses AI-enabled autonomous capabilities, and the claims of Lancet 3 usage come from Rostec, the Russian state-owned defense conglomerate that includes the Lancet 3 manufacturer, not from independently-verified battlefield images. Adding to the confusion: in each case, autonomous operation is clearly an option, although it may not be exercised. That makes verification quite hard.

What’s far less murky is the need for the United States to think through policy regarding non- and counter-proliferation of autonomous weapons. Such a policy needs to be nuanced and risk-informed based on a specific weapon’s military value, effects on regional and global competition, and ease of acquisition. In some cases, the United States should treat autonomous weapons as just another tool in the foreign policy chest: share the weapons broadly to bolster allies and weaken adversaries. In other cases, the United States should aggressively pursue non- and counter-proliferation to even include adopting binding restrictions on American use of certain autonomous weapons.

Can the United States Kick Its Afghanistan Syndrome?

Niranjan Shankar

America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last fall has often been compared to the collapse of Saigon in 1975, and not without good reason. Images of desperate Afghans clinging to transport planes bear an uncanny resemblance to scenes of helicopters airlifting U.S. personnel and terrified South Vietnamese officials from the Saigon. In both cases, the failure to coordinate an effective exit strategy, the swift defeat of U.S.-trained military units, extensive civilian casualties, and ensuing humanitarian crises significantly dented Washington’s standing in the world and were widely seen as a sign of American decline. And just as the debacle in Indochina instilled in Americans a strong aversion to military action known as the “Vietnam syndrome,” some analysts have made a compelling case that the ignominious end to America’s longest war marked the onset of an “Afghanistan syndrome” that will hinder U.S. policy for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there are limits to such analogies. U.S. casualties in Vietnam amounted to over 50,000 dead and 150,000 wounded, in contrast to around 2,500 fatalities in Afghanistan, and the conflict in Indochina was also far more controversial due to the military draft. Nevertheless, Washington’s failure in both cases to achieve grandiose ambitions of “nation-building,” despite enormous costs and commitments, exposed the limits of military power and fueled isolationist sentiment. Indeed, the widespread support among the American public for the withdrawal, President Joe Biden’s own rhetoric, and skepticism among allies of U.S. commitments to their security all suggest that the Afghanistan syndrome has already taken its toll.

The US Can Halve Its Emissions by 2030—if It Wants To

YOU CAN’T SEE them or hear them, but there are huge, hidden forces propelling the United States into the energy future. Last year, the Biden administration committed to eliminating half the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a critical step in fighting climate change. Half sounds like a lot—and it is—but scientists think it’s doable.

Different teams have modeled how exactly this decarbonization might play out—by rolling out more solar and wind energy, for example, and more electric vehicles—and landed on several paths to cutting emissions in half in the next eight years. A new paper in the journal Science took six of these scenarios and found that they share several major points: the keys to a clean-energy future. “Reducing our emissions by 50 percent is technically feasible, it's economically viable, and there are massive additional benefits,” says Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory energy economist Nikit Abhyankar, a coauthor of the paper. “So this is what we call a no-regrets strategy.”

China’s J-20: A 5th-Generation Fighter The U.S. Should Not Dismiss

Harrison Kass

China’s J-20 stealth fighter, explained: The Americans are not the only nation with a homegrown, fifth-generation fighter jet. China, a nation rising in all respects, unveiled its answer to the F-22 and F-35 in 2021.

Nicknamed the “Mighty Dragon,” the Chengdu J-20 is indeed a capable aircraft. It is not only one of China’s most advanced weapons systems – the J-20 is actually one of the most advanced systems in the world.

The J-20 Seems Suspiciously Familiar

At a glance, the J-20 looks quite similar to the F-35 – so much so that claims of Chinese industrial espionage seem plausible. The J-20 features a bubble canopy, canards, delta wing, forward-swept leading edges, and low-observable intakes.

The New China Baseline: Washington Warms Up to Beijing’s Cold War

Matthew Pottinger

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s long-awaited speech on China last month confirmed a key American trend: the bipartisan focus on rivalry with Beijing is not a transient fixation but a new baseline that will guide US policy for years to come.

In his set-piece speech on 26 May, 2022, Secretary Blinken was unambiguous about Washington’s top national security challenge: "Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order - and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China.... China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it".

Blinken underscored that Washington has given up trying to change China - effectively jettisoning a core objective of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama policies, which had been to liberalize China through trade and broad-based engagement. As Blinken said: "We do not seek to transform China’s political system. Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunity, advance human dignity; that the future belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion".

Would Russia Attack The West?

Alexander Motyl

Would Putin dare attack the West? The question is alarmist, but it needs to be asked, especially as the Kremlin turns increasingly desperate in Ukraine and the rhetoric of Russian policymakers and propagandists turns increasingly harsh.

Two possible scenarios need to be considered. First, it’s possible that the West might cross some Russian red line and thereby provoke a severe Russian response. Second, frustrated by his inability to win a war against a significantly weaker foe, Russian President Vladimir Putin might decide that the only way to save his regime from collapse would be a military diversion against some Western weak spot.

Russian policymakers have generally stated that their response would be harsh only if the West attacked Russia or if some combination of events were to endanger the Russian state’s existence. It’s in that light that they’ve claimed that Russia would be threatened existentially if Ukraine were to join NATO and/or Western missiles were to be deployed on Ukrainian territory. What a harsh response would entail has always remained unclear, and the Russian use of the modifier “military-technical” has done little to reduce the confusion. Of course, lack of clarity is the point, as it enables Moscow to consider a large array of potential moves and leaves its neighbors and rivals flat-footed and guessing.

Russia Is Taking Over Ukraine’s Internet

WEB PAGES IN the city of Kherson in south Ukraine stopped loading on people’s devices at 2:43 pm on May 30. For the next 59 minutes, anyone connecting to the internet with KhersonTelecom, known locally as SkyNet, couldn’t call loved ones, find out the latest news, or upload images to Instagram. They were stuck in a communications blackout. When web pages started stuttering back to life at 3:42 pm, everything appeared to be normal. But behind the scenes everything had changed: Now all internet traffic was passing through a Russian provider and Vladimir Putin’s powerful online censorship machine.

Since the end of May, the 280,000 people living in the occupied port city and its surrounding areas have faced constant online disruptions as internet service providers are forced to reroute their connections through Russian infrastructure. Multiple Ukrainian ISPs are now forced to switch their services to Russian providers and expose their customers to the country’s vast surveillance and censorship network, according to senior Ukrainian officials and technical analysis viewed by WIRED.

‘Chinese Checkers’ – Xi Jinping Passes Decree To Conduct ‘Special Military Ops Other Than War’ Overseas

Sakshi Tiwari

According to Chinese experts, the outlines will standardize and give a legal basis for Chinese forces to conduct operations like disaster relief, humanitarian aid, escort, and peacekeeping, as well as protect China’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests.

However, the order has caused concern among China’s rivals, with analysts arguing that Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the legal groundwork for expanding the Chinese military’s engagement in other countries just weeks after signing a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, ABC News reported.

While the order’s language is benign, with little details on what actions would prompt Chinese action to protect ‘sovereignty’ or ‘development interests,’ the experts in Canberra are suspicious.

China’s growing footprint in the Pacific and a spate of development agreements signed with Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have irked Canberra and its allies in the West, with concerns that Beijing might gain a permanent foothold in the region by giving massive loans under the Belt and Road Initiative.File Image: Xi-Jinping

Electronic warfare and drone swarms: Here’s the Army’s plan for EDGE 22


NASHVILLE, Tenn.: The US Army will be “working heavily” with electronic warfare and experimenting with large drone swarms as part of an upcoming sensor-to-shooter experiment in the Utah desert, according to a senior Army aviation official.

The US Army plans to include seven international allies for its second Experimental Demonstration Gateway Exercise that begins at the end of the month.

“We’ll basically be scrimmaging with our partners and allies,” Maj. Gen. Walter Rugen, director of the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team, said during his presentation at the Army Aviation Association of America conference in Nashville, Tenn.

EDGE is a risk reduction event ahead of Project Convergence, the Army’s annual experiment in Arizona, during which the service ties disparate sensors and shooters together to test capabilities vital for multi-domain operations and Joint All-Domain Command and Control

Satellite jamming ‘normal’ by militaries during conflict, not peacetime: State Dept. official


WASHINGTON: The Russian military’s jamming of GPS signals and communications satellites in Ukraine is considered by the US government as essentially a routine wartime activity, according to a senior State Department official.

Judging from actual real world actions during recent conflicts around the globe, Washington and Moscow appear to be on the same page with this issue — a good thing for avoiding conflict between the two nuclear powers. But there may be a growing disconnect between the two sides on the question of satellite interference outside of direct conflict, with a senior Russian official earlier this month making the surprising claim that doing so is an act of war.

During a March 17 virtual conversation at the National Security Space Association, Eric Desautels, acting deputy assistant secretary for emerging security challenges and defense policy in State’s Arms Control, Verification and Compliance bureau, explained that the US military has its own jamming capabilities for use in conflict zones.

Why hasn’t Russia used its ‘full scope’ of electronic warfare?


WASHINGTON: Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is now a month old, and Ukraine’s stiff resistance has exposed wide issues with Russia’s perceived military dominance. While Russia’s military challenges are pervasive, one surprising situation sticks out to puzzled experts: the apparent lack of widespread use of advanced electronic warfare capabilities.

At the beginning of March, a senior defense official said that the Russian military had yet to use its “full scope” of EW, but stated that “we do have indications that in some places they have used EW to their advantage, particularly in jamming, at a local level.” Weeks later, the Pentagon still assesses that Ukrainian forces retain command and control of their military.

“The Ukrainians still have good command and control over their forces in the field in ways that the Russians actually don’t have,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on March 22.

How India’s new taste for homegrown whisky is shaking up the global drinks market

Charu Sudan Kasturi

For years, Mohinder Singh’s trips outside India meant an obligatory stop at the airport duty-free liquor store, where he would join long queues to stock up on imported single-malt whisky. Then three years ago, he came across a brand – Paul John – that he had never heard of, at a tasting event a few miles from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he teaches politics. It was an Indian single malt; its smoky smell was rich, the taste was even better. Singh was hooked.

“That was a gamechanger for me,” he says. Singh introduced his friends to the brand, which is now their drink of choice when they meet. “Everyone loves it.”

They are not alone. Drinkers in India, the world’s most lucrative whisky market – worth $18.8bn (£15bn) last year – have traditionally clinked glasses of blended whiskies or imported single malts. Now several Indian single malts that were launched internationally a few years ago – led by Paul John, Amrut and Rampur – are grabbing a major share of the domestic market. It is a seismic shift for the global whisky industry.

Open source intelligence key to fighting Russian disinformation during Ukraine war

Claudia Glover

Open source intelligence can be vital in the fight against disinformation, according to a study released today which assesses the impact of novel and emerging technologies on the spread of false information during the Ukraine war. While open data can be harnessed positively to fight disinformation, those deploying it must also be aware of the risks, security experts say.

The report, entitled ‘The Information Battlefield: Disinformation, declassification and deepfakes‘ was released today to mark the launch of the Centre for Emerging Technology and Security (CfETS), a new research centre at the Alan Turing Institute for artificial intelligence which aims to boost the UK’s security by giving policy makers better information about emerging technologies.

CfETS will aim to take an ‘innovative approach’ in a bid to help ‘maintain the UK as a leading voice in international security’.

“The launch of this centre comes at a crucial time – technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate and emerging technologies present both opportunities and threats to UK national security,” said Sir Adrian Smith, director of The Alan Turing Institute. “Our centre will bring together defence and security expertise from around the world to ensure that policymakers have access to the highest quality analysis and research. It will provide us with new opportunities to keep the UK safe.”

China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin Pledge 'Mutual Support'


President Xi Jinping of China and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, renewed support for each other's core interests in a telephone conversation on Wednesday as the war in Ukraine entered its 16th week.

"China stands ready to promote the stable and long-term development of pragmatic bilateral cooperation with Russia," Xi told Putin, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry readout.

"China stands ready to continue mutual support with Russia on issues concerning core interests and major concerns, such as sovereignty and security, and to deepen strategic coordination between the two countries," he said.

In return, Putin threw his weight behind Xi's "global security initiative" and backed Beijing's opposition to interference on "domestic affairs," among them Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Chinese-language press release said. The comments built on glowing remarks by Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, earlier this month.

In Moscow, Shoppers Feel Far Less Pain than Americans from Ukraine War


As the Russian army intensifies its artillery assaults in eastern Ukraine, life in the Russian capital remains relatively unchanged. Despite the exodus of Western brands from the Russian market, the parks and cafes of Moscow remain as crowded as ever.

"I haven't noticed any change in consumer behavior," Iakov Yakubovich, head of Moscow's Tsverskoy Municipal District, told Newsweek. "Other than the obvious rise in price of many goods and services, there's no difference that's visible to the naked eye."

On the streets themselves, Moscow's annual season of bicycle-lane installation and sidewalk enlargement is already underway.

Saudis Want Biden to Counter Iran, Forget Khashoggi in Gas Crisis Bargain


As President Joe Biden prepares for his meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful Saudi crown prince known worldwide simply as "MBS," the plans of his visit are overshadowed by a mounting energy crisis that is likely to dominate their discussions next month in the coastal city of Jeddah.

With the national average price of gas in the United States now surpassing an unprecedented $5 a gallon and still rising with no clear end in sight, domestic frustration threatens to derail Biden's foreign policy agenda at a time when the president is looking to continue rallying the country and its allies in support of tough measures against energy titan Russia in response to its ongoing war in Ukraine.

Perhaps no other person at this moment in time has as much power to influence the dynamic of the world oil market as Prince Mohammed, a man whom Biden has called "a pariah" due to allegations of human rights abuses. The crown prince's de facto leadership within his country's absolute monarchy grants him the ability to increase his wealthy kingdom's energy production, bringing down the price of oil worldwide.

Rethinking what conflict involves in the age of exponential data


The dismaying events on the European Plain make it clear the Department of Defense (DoD) has hard decisions ahead that are necessary to adapt to the rapidly changing digital character of war. While much of the attention on those events has rightly focused on Russian conventional forces’ performance via territorial gains and losses, the DoD must not become distracted from the pacing threat.

Future victory will go to the side that most quickly applies overwhelming force while dispensing truth to maintain an honest global representation of events. The DoD must move faster with a common understanding there are now totalitarian adversaries building massive digital arsenals across their diplomatic, informational, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement institutions.

US sends another $1 billion in weapons for Ukraine, including truck-mounted Harpoon systems


WASHINGTON: The White House today announced another $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, including for the first time two Harpoon coastal defense systems that will be mounted on trucks — a capability not currently in US inventory.

In addition to the Harpoon systems, the package includes 18 Howitzers, more ammunition for the HIMARS long-range rocket systems, thousands of secure radios, night vision systems and funding for everything from training to administrative costs, according to a breakdown provided by the Defense Department.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that the rocket systems and artillery, in particular, are the weapons “the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas” in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. overestimated Russia’s military might. Is it underestimating China’s?


The U.S. failure to correctly predict how the Russian and Ukrainian militaries would perform in the early stages of their ongoing war is fueling fears in Washington that America may have major blindspots when it comes to the fighting force of an increasingly powerful adversary: China.

The concerns are rising as American spy agencies are reexamining how they assess foreign militaries, and, according to a Biden administration official, are a key driver of a number of ongoing classified reviews. U.S. lawmakers are among those who’ve requested the intelligence reviews, and some have concerns about China in particular.

China’s communist government is secretive about many of its military capabilities, and it is believed to be closely watching and learning from Russia’s botched opening act in Ukraine. The post-9/11 U.S. emphasis on counterterrorism and the Arab world has undercut efforts to spy on China, former officials and analysts say, leaving some agencies with too few Mandarin speakers. Beijing also has dismantled some American intelligence networks, including reportedly executing more than a dozen CIA sources starting in 2010.

Afghanistan’s Warlords Prepare Their Comeback

Lynne O’Donnell

Exiled warlords, power brokers, and ethnic leaders who fled Afghanistan last year ahead of the Taliban’s victory are threatening civil war unless the Islamists start negotiating to let them return home and reclaim their power and authority as an alternative to the nihilistic rule of the terrorists currently in charge.

The band that broke Afghanistan in the early 1990s and hobbled it for years after is, in other words, getting back together. Unlike their first time around in power—right after the Soviet pullout in 1989—this time the warlords might even seem appealing, so awful is the Taliban regime that took over in August of last year.

The back-to-the-future moment for the old guard came in May when 40 of the like-minded converged in the Turkish capital, Ankara, to meet with Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and his hangers-on. Dostum, like some of his fellow warlords, used the wealth accumulated during the 20 years of the U.S.-backed Afghan republic to build his own patronage network, the coin of the realm in Afghanistan’s political landscape. At the time, Dostum and men like him supported the reconstruction effort funded by the United States and allies and encouraged education for women, including the dispatch of thousands of Afghan students abroad to study.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

Edward Alden

One of the remarkable things about the global economic order since World War II has been the flexibility of governments in responding to serious crises. From stagflation and the collapse of the Bretton Woods currency regime in the 1970s to the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s to the global financial crisis in this century, the world’s major economies have proven surprisingly adept at finding ways to cooperate to address serious challenges.

This time around, that lucky streak may finally break. The current concatenation of problems—the Russia-Ukraine war, inflation, global food and energy shortages, unwinding asset bubbles in the United States, debt crises in developing countries, and the lingering impacts of COVID-19-related shutdowns and supply chain bottlenecks—may be the most serious crisis of them all, not least because central banks can’t print wheat and gasoline. Yet there are few signs of the collective responses that will be needed to meet these challenges. Global cooperation has never been more urgent—and seemed less likely.

Fraying cooperation is, ironically, mostly a consequence of past successes. The world’s past ability to manage crises, transcend disruptions, and restore the trajectory of global growth means that many more countries today have become rich enough to wield influence and demand their interests be considered. Others are pursuing territorial or ideological goals they consider more urgent than immediate economic priorities. As a result, consensus has become almost impossible to find. The upshot is that in this crisis, the world will be condemned to a series of competing and partial responses rather than again finding a way to come together to address the challenge.

Europe Can Learn From Germany’s Experience With Migration’s Impact

Alexander Clarkson 

They were noticeable for seeming slightly lost at the train stations where they arrived and were greeted by volunteers providing assistance. A call from friends trying to find a place to stay for a recently arrived family would lead to a collective scramble to contact local welfare agencies. In the months that followed, chance meetings at a bar, football match or the workplace would lead a circle of friends to extend invitations to some of the newcomers, who in time would become familiar faces.

Germany in the summer and autumn of 2015? Yes, but not only. And when traveling around the country at that time, it was jarring to see media coverage claim that what was taking place was unprecedented, when the same urban spaces had seen similar scenes play out repeatedly in the preceding 30 years. The mass influx of refugees that year from societies experiencing war and economic collapse caused a profound shock to German society and shook the political fortunes of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel. Yet this was not the first time Germany had experienced a sudden surge of migration in recent memory, nor would it be the last.

Russian Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

Elina Treyger, Joe Cheravitch, Raphael S. CohenRelated Topics:

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.

Many Hands in the Cookie Jar

Quentin E. Hodgson, Yuliya Shokh, Jonathan Balk

Cyber-enabled espionage against the United States has been a challenge for more than 20 years and is likely to remain so in the future. In the aftermath of the 2020 SolarWinds cyber incident that affected U.S. government networks, policymakers, lawmakers, and the public asked: "Why does this keep happening, and what can the United States do to prevent it from reoccurring?" It is these questions that motivate this effort. Specifically, this report summarizes three cases of Russian cyber-enabled espionage and two cases of Chinese cyber-enabled espionage dating back to the compromise of multiple government agencies in the late 1990s up to the 2015 compromise of the Office of Personnel Management. The purpose of this inquiry is to address whether U.S. responses have changed over time, whether they led to changes in adversary behavior, and what the United States can learn from these cases to inform future policymaking. The authors show that policymakers typically consider a narrow set of response options, and they often conclude that not much can be done beyond trying to improve network defenses, because the United States "does it too." The authors suggest that the U.S. government could broaden its policy response options by increasing focus on diplomatic engagement, including working with partners and allies to call out malicious cyber behavior; expanding the use of active defense measures to root out adversaries; and employing more-sophisticated counterintelligence techniques, such as deception, to decrease the benefits that adversaries derive from cyber espionage.

Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence

James Ryseff, Eric Landree, Noah Johnson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar

Artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key capability for enabling the U.S. military to maintain its military dominance. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s engagement with leading high-tech private sector corporations, for which the military is a relatively small percentage of their customer base, provides a valuable conduit to cutting-edge AI-enabled capabilities and access to leading AI software developers and engineers. To assess the views of software engineers and other technical staff in the private sector about potential DoD applications of AI, a research team conducted a survey that presented a variety of scenarios describing how the U.S. military might employ AI and asked respondents to describe their comfort level with using AI in these ways. The scenarios varied several factors, including the degree of distance from the battlefield, the destructiveness of the action, and the degree of human oversight over the AI algorithm. The results from this survey found that most of the U.S. AI experts do not oppose the basic mission of DoD or the use of AI for many military applications.

How to Avoid Extremism on Social Media

She's a policy researcher at RAND. Her recent work has focused on the growing threat of online extremism—work that has required long days immersed in violence, racism, misogyny, and hate. It led her and fellow extremism researcher Heather Williams to oversee the creation of a scorecard to help social media users—or parents, or advertisers, or the social media companies themselves—avoid the kind of content they've seen.

That's not as easy as it might sound. Extremist groups have been trolling the internet for decades, and they have learned to temper their words and disguise their intentions. Nazis and hard-right militia members don't always shout their fury at the digital masses. Sometimes, they whisper.

“There's this idea that there's a dark part of the internet, and if you just stay away from websites with a Nazi flag at the top, you can avoid this material,” Evans said. “What we found is that this dark internet, this racist internet, doesn't exist. You can find this material on platforms that any average internet user might visit.”

China and Russia are building bridges. The symbolism is intentional

Simone McCarthy

Hong Kong (CNN)For decades the Amur River has separated modern China and Russia -- its waters cutting though more than 1,000 of their roughly 2,500 border miles. But it's always lacked one thing: a vehicle bridge.

Now -- as Russia's economic isolation in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine pushes it closer to Beijing -- that is changing, with fanfare.

Last Friday, Beijing and Moscow feted the launch of another new link -- what state media on both sides have called the first highway bridge over the Amur -- with rockets trailing colorful smoke bursting overhead, and local officials applauding from the riverbanks, while their superiors beamed in from Moscow and Beijing on giant television screens specially brought in for the day.

A second crossing, the only railway bridge to connect the countries across the river, is expected to open soon.

China’s State Key Laboratory System

Emily S. Weinstein, Channing Lee and Ryan Fedasiuk

Executive Summary

Since the early 1980s, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has built a system of State Key Labs charged with driving innovation in the defense and commercial sectors. Over time, SKLs have become an increasingly important component of China’s larger innovation base—conducting cutting-edge basic and applied research, attracting and training domestic and foreign talent, and promoting global academic exchanges. China’s oversight of SKLs and the opaqueness of its laboratory system pose national security challenges for the United States and its allies, especially for policymakers, academics, and industry leaders interested in collaborating with Chinese counterparts. Understanding China’s SKL system and the role these laboratories play within China’s broader innovation ecosystem is critical for navigating and managing risks from technology transfer and global technology competition.

This report assesses a CSET-curated dataset of 469 SKLs. Our findings include:China maintains at least 184 enterprise SKLs and 285 government-run SKLs housed at different state ministries, including the Ministry of Education, which oversees more than half of the government SKLs in our dataset.

What the “Bad Guys” Teach Us About Contemporary Conflict—An Opinion Essay

Max G. Manwaring

A new and dangerous dynamic is at work around the world today. The new dynamic involves the migration of political power (i.e., the authoritative allocation of values in a society) from the traditional nation-state to unconventional non-state actors such as transnational criminal organizations, Maoist-Leninist insurgents, militias, private armies, enforcer gangs, and other modern mercenaries. These actors promulgate their own rule-of-law and have the capability to seriously threaten the security and well-being of the global community. That hegemonic activity must inevitably result in an epochal transition from the traditional Western nation-state system and its values to something else dependent on the values—good, bad, or non-existent—to the winner.[2] It is past time to take this threat seriously.

The Threat

Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan have identified an important shift in state form that is generated by various violent and non-violent disruption, destabilization, and conflict processes. They warn us that resultant quasi-states, focos, zones, risk areas, alternatively governed spaces, or mal-governed spaces operating within a traditional nation-state are known to promulgate their own policies and laws—and impose their criminal values on societies and parts of societies all around the globe.[3] At the same time, these quasi-states “create a bazaar of violence where criminal entrepreneurs fuel the convergence of crime and war.”[4] Further, Ambassador David C. Jordan argues that this disruption and destabilization is a prime mover toward failed state status. The threat, however, is not instability or even state failure. The ultimate threat is the coerced transition of extant values of a given society to the values of an antagonist.[5] This is the cruel human reality of where it is that the “bad guys” lead.[6]