21 June 2022

How Project Convergence is Bringing AI to the U.S. Army

Kris Osborn

The U.S. Army is working with industry partners to quickly enable data transmission technologies to get information more quickly and efficiently to soldiers immersed in high-speed, fast-changing combat environments.

For instance, the U.S. Army is planning to use a number of “gateway” technologies in its upcoming Project Convergence experiment to quickly connect air, ground, and even surface nodes and attack platforms to one another in real-time. One such system slated for Project Convergence 2022 is the Vertex Corporations Gateway Mission Router 1000, a technology that enables interfaces between otherwise incompatible transmission formats.

Using upgradeable commercial-off-the-shelf systems, a Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) consisting of common intellectual property standards, interfaces, and protocols, and a small eight-pound hardware device, Vertex has engineered a vehicle-transportable gateway system able to translate otherwise incompatible formats.

U.S. Influence in Africa Is Being Eclipsed by China, and It Matters

Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Twenty-two years ago, I landed in Washington eager to join a think tank just a few blocks from Capitol Hill to join a team of China analysts eagerly anticipating the U.S. pivot to Asia.

A Texan with little foreign policy experience had just secured the Republican nomination for president, promising to carve out a “humble” role for the world’s lone superpower in global affairs. A self-described “clear-eyed realist,” George W. Bush appealed to Americans yearning to see the United States exercise caution before becoming involved in faraway lands.

Intrastate, civil, and ethnic war had featured prominently in the 1990s with the political science discourse dominated by debates over the tradeoffs associated with the pursuit of national security interests versus humanitarian intervention. Increasingly weary of foreign entanglements during the Clinton years, Americans seemed inclined to refocus their attention on great power politics.

Most in Bush’s orbit expected that U.S. dominance would be challenged in the new century by authoritarian regimes, including resurgent or rising powers—a Russian Federation eager to relive its Soviet glory days, an Islamic Republic of Iran committed to exporting fundamentalism, or a hostile North Korea with nuclear ambitions.

Fujian: China’s New Aircraft Carrier Is Important — But No Game-Changer

James Holmes

This week China launched—meaning deposited in the water for the first time—its latest aircraft carrier, the Type 003. Dubbed Fujian, China’s third flattop will now undergo several years of outfitting before becoming battleworthy come 2025 or thereabouts. Fujian bulks larger than its predecessors, a refitted Soviet carrier and an upgraded, Chinese-built version of the same rudimentary design. The Type 003 is equipped with catapults—reportedly electromagnetic rather than steam-driven—and thus will be able to handle heavier-laden aircraft than her forbears, which depended on ski jumps mounted on the bow to loft warplanes skyward.

Chinese shipbuilders and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) have assayed a leap to parity with the U.S. Navy in carrier aviation. While not there yet, Fujian does feature technologies found on the latest U.S. carrier, the Ford-class, which likewise sports an electromagnetic launch and recovery system. And in terms of physical scale, the Type 003’s proportions are what you would expect from an American supercarrier, somewhere in the 80,000-100,000-ton range when toting a full complement of aircraft, crewmen, and stores and ammunition. Size matters for reasons of national pride as well as combat effectiveness. After all, China has to have the biggest and most of everything, as befits its self-appointed central status in Asia and the world.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Zongyuan Zoe Liu

Chinese policymakers are increasingly convinced that the United States is determined to implement a full-fledged strategy of containment against China. Beijing views the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity as the economic mirror of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and AUKUS, two U.S.-led security pacts that Beijing regards as anti-China coalitions. Chinese officials, academics, and media rhetoric increasingly talk of self-reliance and are preparing for a forced decoupling from the United States. Fang Xinghai, a vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, proposed accelerating the yuan’s internationalization to prepare for the risk of forced financial decoupling. A Shanghai-based academic argued that “the peace dividend is over”—hence, “it is time that China prepare for a full decoupling.” Even the more moderate voices have acknowledged the profound changes in U.S.-China relations behind the “decoupling theory” and called for China to “prepare for the worst but strive for the best.”

While part of the likely response will be the further strengthening of China’s military, the party-state will also tighten two economic strings in its bow. It will double down on pursuing a preexisting self-reliance strategy and sanction-proof the Chinese economy while bolstering its offensive geoeconomic capabilities by reinforcing China’s strategic position in global supply chains and expanding its influence in international commercial sea lanes.

Leaning on Pakistan Can Get Abandoned Afghans to Safety

Philip Caruso

With a new, albeit shaky, government in Pakistan under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the U.S. government has an opening to resolve one of the most pressing issues lingering after its withdrawal from Afghanistan: completing the evacuation of its former Afghan employees who remain at risk under Taliban rule. The rifts that have divided Pakistan and the United States, varying from Islamabad’s long-standing support for the Taliban to Chinese military and economic cooperation, are unlikely to recede in the near term. But such an effort would be a small but important confidence-building step in repairing the relationship.

Many of the U.S. government’s former employees in Afghanistan remain at risk. In August 2021, the U.S. government evacuated around 124,000 Afghans from Kabul. Yet it still, by its own estimation, left at least 60,000 Afghans behind who had worked for the U.S. government and were eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program—a significant population the evacuation was intended to support. Since August, those left behind have faced one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history, with little to no access to food and medicine as they hide from house-to-house searches by the Taliban. Some have been murdered as they awaited evacuation.

Washington Worries China Is Winning Over Thailand

Jack Detsch

The United States has become increasingly worried about Thailand falling under China’s influence, former U.S. military and civilian officials said, with Beijing applying significant pressure on the U.S. ally in Southeast Asia to purchase Chinese-made submarines.

Although the roughly $400 million deal—first inked in 2017 to Washington’s chagrin—now appears to be threatened, with a German-based company refusing to provide diesel engines for the submersible, it shows China’s growing influence with the United States’ nearly two century-year-old treaty ally, part and parcel of Beijing’s increasing reach in Southeast Asia.

Bangkok has grown tired of Washington’s chiding over democratic backsliding and human rights abuses, highlighted by coup attempts in 2006 and 2014, the second of which temporarily led the United States to suspend military aid and put current Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in power. Some in Washington (and inside the Thai parliament) fear that Thailand could veer further toward the path of the Philippines, another long-time U.S. ally that has cozied up to Beijing in recent years.

U.S. Restraint Has Created an Unstable and Dangerous World

H. R. McMaster and Gabriel Scheinmann

The Biden administration failed to deter Russia from its second invasion of Ukraine. Like his predecessors in the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden went to great lengths to placate and reassure Russian President Vladimir Putin in return for stable relations. Biden defied Congress when he refused to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, unilaterally extended U.S. adherence to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty without reciprocation by Russia, and honored Putin with a bilateral summit during his first overseas trip. As Putin amassed his troops on Ukraine’s borders, Biden pulled U.S. naval forces out of the Black Sea, refused to send additional weapons to Ukraine, enumerated everything the United States would not do to help Ukraine defend itself, and evacuated U.S. Embassy staff and military advisors. More broadly, the administration proposed a real cut to the defense budget; sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy; restricted U.S. production capacity for oil, gas, and refined products that might have displaced Russian supplies; and signaled its willingness to overlook Russian and Chinese aggression in exchange for hollow pledges of cooperation on global issues such as climate change. After surrendering Afghanistan to a terrorist organization and conducting a humiliating retreat from Kabul, the administration’s attempts to deter the Russian invasion with threats of punishment were simply not credible.

Changes in technology, politics, and business are all transforming espionage. Intelligence agencies must adapt—or risk irrelevance.

The world of espionage is facing tremendous technological, political, legal, social, and commercial changes. The winners will be those who break the old rules of the spy game and work out new ones. They will need to be nimble and collaborative and—paradoxically—to shed much of the secrecy that has cloaked their trade since its inception.

The balance of power in the spy world is shifting; closed societies now have the edge over open ones. It has become harder for Western countries to spy on places such as China, Iran, and Russia and easier for those countries’ intelligence services to spy on the rest of the world. Technical prowess is also shifting. Much like manned spaceflight, human-based intelligence is starting to look costly and anachronistic. Meanwhile, a gulf is growing between the cryptographic superpowers—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, China, and Russia—and everyone else. Technical expertise, rather than human sleuthing, will hold the key to future success.

In another major change, the boundaries between public and private sector intelligence work are becoming increasingly blurred. Private contractors have become an essential part of the spy world. Today, intelligence officers regularly move into the private sector once they leave government. The old rule that you are “either in or out” has become passé. That shift has allowed some ex-spies to get extremely rich, but it is also eroding the mystique—and the integrity—of the dark arts practiced in the service of the state.

With Jobs Scarce, China’s Graduates Dream Small

Ni Dandan

“If you adjust down your salary expectations, there’s always a job for you.” Speaking from his locked-down college dorm in Shanghai, Qu Fenghua kept coming back to the same idea. It was already late May, but Qu, who would graduate by June, had yet to secure a job.

“Any job that pays more than 5,000 yuan ($750) a month will be fine,” he told Sixth Tone. “The bottom line is earning enough that I can feed myself and save a little bit.”

The business management major is one of 10.76 million students graduating from the country’s institutes of higher learning this month, a record high.

How Ukraine Will Win Kyiv’s Theory of Victory

Dmytro Kuleba

As Russia’s all-out war of aggression in Ukraine drags on for a fourth consecutive month, calls for dangerous deals are getting louder. As fatigue grows and attention wanders, more and more Kremlin-leaning commentators are proposing to sell out Ukraine for the sake of peace and economic stability in their own countries. Although they may pose as pacifists or realists, they are better understood as enablers of Russian imperialism and war crimes.

It is only natural that people and governments lose interest in conflicts as they drag on. It’s a process that has played out many times throughout history. The world stopped paying attention to the war in Libya after former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was toppled from power, in 2011. It disengaged from Syria, Yemen, and other ongoing conflicts that once generated front-page news. And as I know well, the rest of the world lost interest in Ukraine after 2015, even as we continued to fight Russian forces for control over the eastern part of the country.

But Russia’s current invasion is graver than its past one, and the world cannot afford to turn away. That’s because Russian President Vladimir Putin does not simply want to take more Ukrainian territory. His ambitions don’t even stop at seizing control of the entire country. He wants to eviscerate Ukrainian nationhood and wipe our people off the map, both by slaughtering us and by destroying the hallmarks of our identity. He is, in other words, engaged in a campaign of genocide.

Pakistani propaganda on Kashmir has a new launchpad — Erdogan’s Turkey


Indian intelligence agencies have found evidence of a new form of information war over the Kashmir issue with energetic push in Islamic countries. The agencies believe Turkey has become the launch pad for Pakistani propaganda over Kashmir because it suits its larger ambitions against Saudi Arabia and Philia Forum countries.

It’s a well-known fact that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is actively supporting Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir across all forums. In its aspiration to challenge Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the Islamic world, Turkey has been aggressively trying to influence other Muslim nations, peddling many issues, including Kashmir.

The Turkish intelligence agency MIT and Pakistan’s ISI have teamed up to encourage Kashmir’s radical youth to shift base to Istanbul and Ankara instead of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, who have friendly ties with India.

A senior officer with the Jammu and Kashmir Police told me this week in Srinagar that pistols made in Turkey have been recovered from Pakistani terrorists. However, he said, “So far no terrorist from Turkey has been found here.”

Why Race Matters in International Relations

Kelebogile Zvobgo and Meredith Loken

Race is not a perspective on international relations; it is a central organizing feature of world politics. Anti-Japanese racism guided and sustained U.S. engagement in World War II, and broader anti-Asian sentiment influenced the development and structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. During the Cold War, racism and anti-communism were inextricably linked in the containment strategy that defined Washington’s approach to Africa, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. And today race shapes threat perception and responses to violent extremism, inside and outside the “war on terror.” Yet mainstream international relations (IR) scholarship denies race as essential to understanding the world, to the cost of the field’s integrity.

Take the “big three” IR paradigms: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. These dominant frames for understanding global politics are built on raced and racist intellectual foundations that limit the field’s ability to answer important questions about international security and organization. Core concepts, like anarchy and hierarchy, are raced: They are rooted in discourses that center and favor Europe and the West. These concepts implicitly and explicitly pit “developed” against “undeveloped,” “modern” against “primitive,” “civilized” against “uncivilized.” And their use is racist: These invented binaries are used to explain subjugation and exploitation around the globe

Takshashila Doctrine Document - A Techno-Strategic Doctrine for India

Source Link


1. Technology is crucial for India’s development in the Information Age. It is also an important element of national power. The acquisition of advanced technologies is not an end in itself but a means to bring peace and prosperity to all Indian citizens. Unhindered access to state-of-the-art and foundational knowledge is, therefore, in India’s national interest.

2. India seeks a global environment where technology is accessible to humanity. It will also promote a global order where technology strengthens the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the UN Charter.

3. India shall strive for effective technology governance that can contribute to all aspects of human development.

4. India must be prepared for cooperation, competition, and conflict in the areas of knowledge creation, human capital, influence, raw materials, and norms.

Complex Russian cyber threat requires we go back to basics

Matthew Staff

Despite Russia’s cyber threat understandably fading into the background amid the war in Ukraine, there is a longer-term strategy that governments, organisations and industry should be putting in place to prepare for the country’s cyber actors.

Note the word “prepare”, not “panic”. Despite Russia’s very sophisticated cyber capabilities, there is still a common set of techniques and tactics used across its diverse actor matrix. At first glance, it is this variation that causes concern, alongside the general mystery of Russia as an entity. However, reassuringly, it also gives reason for governmental response teams, and cyber security specialists, to be optimistic about future resilience.

If part of the attack strategy is to simply create a sense of fear or uncertainty, then focusing instead on the most rudimentary and robust protection protocols can take some of that indecision away. This is something that Mandiant, a global cyber defence leader, has looked to encourage through its dedicated hardening guide, which has sought to contextualise the real Russian threat.

US Conducts ‘Largest’ Cyber Defense Exercise


The US Department of Defense has conducted the country’s “largest” unclassified cyber defense exercise involving hundreds of American cyber and computer security specialists.

Service members and civilian experts from 20 US states and Guam gathered at the Army National Guard Professional Education Center in Arkansas to participate in the exercise.

According to the National Guard Bureau, the drill focused on performing computer network internal defensive measures and cyber incident response.

The measures are crucial in protecting critical cyber infrastructure such as schools, healthcare facilities, food suppliers, and military networks.

Florida Air National Guard Capt. DeAngela Sword said that the exercise was challenging and allowed them to improve their cyber defense skills.

What the Russia-Ukraine war means for the future of cyber warfare


Russia’s war on Ukraine has been largely defined by indiscriminate shelling and grinding exchange of artillery, but it has also shown how cyberspace will be a central battleground in the future of global conflicts.

Early Russian cyberattacks were a harbinger of a ground war to come, and the battle for hearts and minds is now largely playing out online. And Russia has strategically timed cyberattacks for advantage in its on-the-ground assaults.

Experts said all of these components will likely be present in future global conflicts, with the Russia-Ukraine war cementing cyberspace as an intrinsic component of modern warfare.

“I believe the future of cyberwarfare is going to be more complex, more sophisticated and a lot more destructive,” said Paul Capasso, vice president of strategic programs at Telos, a cybersecurity firm based in Virginia.

2022 Dark Web prices for cybercriminals services

Cedric Pernet

The Dark Web is a small portion of the Internet, but it concentrates many cybercriminals and threat actors who generally exchange ideas, thoughts, tips, tricks and experience through hidden forums.

Many of these cybercriminals also sell various goods and services; Privacy Affairs has published a new report about the average prices of those services in 2022.
Credit cards and financial services

Credit card data can be bought in several forms: The usual credit card number, together with name, expiration date and CVV code. This stolen information is all that is necessary for cybercriminals to buy products or services online on other websites.

The credit card information can be bought individually or at scale – the more cards purchased, the lower the price. The last two elements used to determine the price of the data is the bank’s country of origin, and when known, the balance of the account.

Ukraine Intensifies Strikes Against Russian-Controlled Areas

Yaroslav Trofimov

Ukraine intensified artillery and missile strikes against the Russian-controlled parts of the Donbas region, targeting weapons depots and military bases in an effort to stall a Russian offensive, while Moscow unleashed new salvoes of long-range missiles—some of them shot down by air defenses—on cities across Ukraine.

The city of Donetsk, the biggest in Russian-controlled Donbas, this weekend came under the worst artillery barrages since the conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014. The strikes hit military facilities, according to video footage of burning ammunition depots posted on local social-media channels, but also damaged civilian infrastructure. The Russian-appointed mayor of Donetsk, Aleksey Kulemzin, whose office was also hit by the shelling, said five civilians had been killed.

According to Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer who sparked the violence in Donbas eight years ago by seizing the city of Slovyansk, Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk also destroyed the headquarters of the 1st Army Corps, the official name of the military force of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. The corps commander, Russian Maj. Gen. Roman Kutuzov, was killed by Ukrainian troops earlier this month.

Peter Thiel helped build big tech. Now he wants to tear it all down.

Elizabeth Dwoskin

On a summer morning in 2019, Rep. Matt Gaetz was having breakfast at the Los Angeles mansion of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who would become one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors. At the time, Thiel was locked in a to-be-or-not-to-be debate over whether to leave the board of Facebook. Aware of Thiel’s love of Shakespeare, Gaetz (R-Fla.) playfully dubbed him Hamlet.

Like many Republicans, Gaetz viewed the social media giant as increasingly monopolistic and dangerous. He and another guest, entrepreneur and former right-wing provocateur Chuck Johnson, encouraged Thiel to leave the company. But Thiel demurred, telling the pair that he hoped to change it from within, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

Last month, Thiel finally stepped down from the social network, formally dissolving one of the most powerful partnerships in the history of Silicon Valley. As Facebook’s first outside investor, its longest-serving board member and a close adviser to CEO Mark Zuckerberg since he launched the company as a Harvard sophomore in 2004, Thiel helped alter the direction of the company whose products serve billions.

The US Needs a New Solarium for a New Grand Strategy

James P. Farwell and Michael Miklaucic

The United States and its allies are in a strategic quagmire. Buffeted along the full spectrum of hybrid warfare by peer, near-peer, and nonstate adversaries, they are challenged in every domain of contemporary conflict. Russia’s Ukraine invasion upended the already threatened liberal, rules-based order and down-shifted expectations about the behavioral boundaries within which states might act. China’s unprecedented rise as an economic, technological, and military rival has catalyzed a tectonic shift in the global balance of power. The revival of Sino-Russian alignment further complicates the West’s strategic predicament.

Arguably the U.S. and its allies have not crafted a grand strategy for geostrategic competition since containment and mutual assured destruction forged the bipolar world of the late 20th century. In recent years the collective Western strategic disposition has been reactive, never proactive, and rarely strategically effective.

Today a new grand strategy articulating an enduring strategic vision is desperately needed to meet not only the military threat posed by Russia, but the more comprehensive threat – economic, technological, military, and indeed ideological – from China.

How the US Could Lose the New Cold War


NEW YORK – The United States appears to have entered a new cold war with both China and Russia. And US leaders’ portrayal of the confrontation as one between democracy and authoritarianism fails the smell test, especially at a time when the same leaders are actively courting a systematic human-rights abuser like Saudi Arabia. Such hypocrisy suggests that it is at least partly global hegemony, not values, that is really at stake.

For two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the US was clearly number one. But then came disastrously misguided wars in the Middle East, the 2008 financial crash, rising inequality, the opioid epidemic, and other crises that seemed to cast doubt on the superiority of America’s economic model. Moreover, between Donald Trump’s election, the attempted coup at the US Capitol, numerous mass shootings, a Republican Party bent on voter suppression, and the rise of conspiracy cults like QAnon, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that some aspects of American political and social life have become deeply pathological.

The Return of Industrial Warfare

Alex Vershinin

The war in Ukraine has proven that the age of industrial warfare is still here. The massive consumption of equipment, vehicles and ammunition requires a large-scale industrial base for resupply – quantity still has a quality of its own. The mass scale combat has pitted 250,000 Ukrainian soldiers, together with 450,000 recently mobilised citizen soldiers against about 200,000 Russian and separatist troops. The effort to arm, feed and supply these armies is a monumental task. Ammunition resupply is particularly onerous. For Ukraine, compounding this task are Russian deep fires capabilities, which target Ukrainian military industry and transportation networks throughout the depth of the country. The Russian army has also suffered from Ukrainian cross-border attacks and acts of sabotage, but at a smaller scale. The rate of ammunition and equipment consumption in Ukraine can only be sustained by a large-scale industrial base.

This reality should be a concrete warning to Western countries, who have scaled down military industrial capacity and sacrificed scale and effectiveness for efficiency. This strategy relies on flawed assumptions about the future of war, and has been influenced by both the bureaucratic culture in Western governments and the legacy of low-intensity conflicts. Currently, the West may not have the industrial capacity to fight a large-scale war. If the US government is planning to once again become the arsenal of democracy, then the existing capabilities of the US military-industrial base and the core assumptions that have driven its development need to be re-examined.

Ukraine war could last for years, warns Nato chief

Leo Sands

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the costs of war were high, but the price of letting Moscow achieve its military goals was even greater.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also warned of a longer-term conflict.

And in a stark warning, the newly appointed head of the British Army said the UK and allies needed to be capable of winning a ground war with Russia.

Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, who started the job last week, said in an internal message seen by the BBC: "Russia's invasion of Ukraine underlines our core purpose - to protect the UK and to be ready to fight and win wars on land - and reinforces the requirement to deter Russian aggression with the threat of force."

Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Johnson said sending more weapons would make a victory for Ukraine more likely.

Armies Need, You Know, Soldiers

Mackenzie Eaglen

For the first time in 20 years, the US Army is set to dip below one million troops in the latest budget request. As with resources, there is no magic benchmark to guarantee security, but this decline reveals a worrisome trend for the Army and its sister services. Despite a modest drawdown in the Middle East, demands for Army (and other) combat power remain on the rise.

The president’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request cuts Army active duty levels from FY 2022 authorized levels of 485,000 to 473,000 soldiers. Army leadership stated that the drop is not necessarily an effect of budgetary pressures, but rather recruiting challenges that might not be resolved without either lowering uniformed number goals or recruiting standards—the latter of which the Army Deputy Secretary Gabe Camarillo says the service would not accept.

What is the real cost, if not budgetary? The readiness and sustainability of the present force. For years, Army leadership has stated goals of maintaining and growing end strength while simultaneously reducing operations and unnecessary training (i.e. training to “keep busy” and that which is mission non-essential). In 2020, the Army acknowledged that they have been practicing quite the opposite, as readiness operations with the current force have “resulted in an unsustainable operational tempo and significant demands on units, leaders, soldiers and families and stress on the force.”

Meeting China’s Space Challenge

Dean Cheng

The United States faces its greatest space competitor since the dawn of the Space Age in the form of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In order to secure its interests, both terrestrially and in space, the U.S. needs to sustain its own space efforts, both governmental and commercial, while recognizing the growing competition from China.

Since the beginning of the Space Age, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been intent on making China a space powerhouse. China’s leaders recognize that space is a key domain for international competition and involves not only national prestige, but also economic and financial activity, science and technology, and national security. The most recent Chinese space white paper, “China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective,” lays out China’s space plans for the next five years.1

Ambitious Goals and Major Projects

According to this new space white paper, China is setting an extensive range of ambitious goals that span the gamut of space-related projects from new launch vehicles to expanded space services. Major projects listed in the white paper include:

Russia’s Small Nukes are a Big Problem for European Security

Peter Brookes

With Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, now is a good time to take note of a little-spoken-of, but glaring, imbalance between America’s and Russia’s nuclear arsenals—and how it could affect stability in Europe and the interests of the United States and those of its European allies and partners.

If asked, many Americans and Europeans probably believe that the United States and Russia are pretty evenly matched in terms of the number of nuclear weapons both sides have in their arsenals. While their beliefs are entirely understandable, they are not completely correct.

Under the 2010 bilateral New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty—also known as New START—the United States and Russia have a similar number of deployed strategic (i.e., high-yield and long-range) nuclear weapons: 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads each. But not all of Washington’s or Moscow’s nuclear weapons are covered by New START.

America and Russia Are in a New Kind of War

James Jay Carafano

The war against Ukraine has brought U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point in modern history. Russia is demonstrating that it has no regard for human rights, nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, or nations’ right to determine their own future. Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly has imperialist ambitions. Ukraine did not provoke the war, and Putin likely would prefer to convert Ukraine into Russian territory once again. This is not another Cold War. There is nothing “cold” about naked, violent aggression. This is a new kind of war and the U.S. and its friends allies in the transatlantic community are going to learn how to fight. For starters, the transatlantic community needs to checkmate Putin’s two most important weapons—his military and Russia’s use of energy to blackmail, coerce, and profit.

Strengthening for the Fight

To hold the Russian Federation accountable for its war crimes in Ukraine, support Ukraine, and strengthen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States has taken several actions. (The following list is not exhaustive of all U.S. actions taken since February 24, the start of the war, however.) Washington has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Moscow, sending the Russian economy south. The Russian ruble now is worth less than one cent in the American economy. The U.S. imposed restrictions on transactions with Russia’s central bank and transactions by U.S. financial institutions with Sberbank, and imposed sanctions on Russia’s VTB Bank and four other financial institutions, VEB, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and its chief executive officer, several defense-related entities, Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, several Kremlin-connected oligarchs, and more. It also cut selected Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging system to “ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.” In addition, the United States is providing to Ukraine advanced weaponry, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft systems, additional military assistance including grenade launchers, rifles, pistols, body armor, and helmets, and humanitarian assistance. The United States also sent approximately 14,000 troops to Germany, Poland, and Romania to reinforce NATO’s Eastern flank, in case the war encroaches onto NATO territory.

U.S. Restraint Has Created an Unstable and Dangerous World

H. R. McMaster and Gabriel Scheinmann

The Biden administration failed to deter Russia from its second invasion of Ukraine. Like his predecessors in the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden went to great lengths to placate and reassure Russian President Vladimir Putin in return for stable relations. Biden defied Congress when he refused to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, unilaterally extended U.S. adherence to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty without reciprocation by Russia, and honored Putin with a bilateral summit during his first overseas trip. As Putin amassed his troops on Ukraine’s borders, Biden pulled U.S. naval forces out of the Black Sea, refused to send additional weapons to Ukraine, enumerated everything the United States would not do to help Ukraine defend itself, and evacuated U.S. Embassy staff and military advisors. More broadly, the administration proposed a real cut to the defense budget; sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy; restricted U.S. production capacity for oil, gas, and refined products that might have displaced Russian supplies; and signaled its willingness to overlook Russian and Chinese aggression in exchange for hollow pledges of cooperation on global issues such as climate change. After surrendering Afghanistan to a terrorist organization and conducting a humiliating retreat from Kabul, the administration’s attempts to deter the Russian invasion with threats of punishment were simply not credible.

Dangerous Straits: Wargaming a Future Conflict over Taiwan

Stacie Pettyjohn, Becca Wasser and Chris Dougherty

Executive Summary

Until recently, U.S. policymakers and subject matter experts have viewed the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) forcible unification with Taiwan as a distant threat. But the mix of rapid Chinese military modernization, a narrow window for localized near-parity with the U.S. military, and growing pessimism about the prospects for peaceful unification may lead the PRC to perceive that it has the ability to pursue a successful operation against Taiwan. Beijing’s lessons learned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could prompt the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to adjust its war plans for Taiwan to become more effective and deadly. Coupled together, these developments may suggest an accelerated timeline for seizing Taiwan. It is therefore urgent that the United States, in conjunction with its regional allies and partners, identify ways to deter the PRC from invading Taiwan and prevent a future conflict.

To do so, the Gaming Lab at CNAS, in partnership with NBC’s Meet the Press, conducted a high-level strategic-operational wargame exploring a fictional war over Taiwan, set in 2027. The wargame sought to illuminate the dilemmas that U.S. and Chinese policymakers might face in such a conflict, along with the strategies they might adopt to achieve their overarching objectives. The game was intended to produce insights as to how the United States and its allies and partners could deter the PRC from invading Taiwan and could better position themselves to defend Taiwan and defeat such aggression should deterrence fail.


For more than a decade, successive administrations in the United States have struggled to prioritise the Indo-Pacific. Although President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific Strategy has placed the region at the top of Washington’s global priorities, US rhetoric has been matched only partially with the actions and resources required to transform its regional strategic position following years of underinvestment. Washington must intensify its eff orts on all three elements of US regional defence strategy – prioritisation, posture and partnerships – if it is to have any hope of upholding a favourable Indo-Pacific balance of power amid China’s growing capabilities and assertiveness.

The US can no longer guarantee a favourable regional balance of power by itself. There is a growing consensus in Washington that a collective approach to Indo-Pacific defence strategy is required – one that strengthens US regional capacity for high-end deterrence and war fighting and actively empowers and leverages allies and partners.

It is one thing to outline Indo-Pacific ambitions and another to deliver them amid competing priorities. In 2021 and early 2022, the Biden administration has had to navigate this trade-off in the face of two major crises: its messy departure from Afghanistan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Balancing simultaneous competition with Russia and China will remain a considerable challenge, complicating plans to deploy resources and attention to the Indo-Pacific.