28 September 2022

Our Twenty-First Century Eighteenth-Century War

Edward N. Luttwak

Every war must end, but no war need end quickly—neither world war makes it to the top ten in longevity. The nearest parallel to the Ukraine war––the Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648), fought between a smaller but more advanced nation, and the world-spanning Spanish Empire, the superpower of the age––persisted for eighty years because the Spanish kept losing, but there was so much ruination in that declining power.

In our own days, expeditionary wars fought against enemies far away who could hardly fire back, lasted for many years as the different war-ending theories promoted by fashionable generals were tried seriatim to no avail, till the day when evacuation was preferred even if utterly ignominious.

The eighteenth-century wars fought by rival European monarchs who could all converse in French with each other, were enviously admired in the bloody twentieth century, because they allowed much commerce and even tourism to persist—utterly unimaginable even in Napoleon’s wars, let alone the two world wars—and because they ended not in the utter exhaustion of the collapsing empires of 1918, nor in the infernal destructions of 1945, but instead by diplomatic arrangements politely negotiated in-between card games and balls. The 1763 Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years’ war and French America, inadvertently opening the way for the American republic, was not drafted by the victorious British Prime Minister Lord Bute, but by his very good friend the French foreign minister Étienne-François de Stainville, duc de Choiseul, who solved the three-way puzzle left by the French defeat by paying off Spain with Louisiana, Britain with money-losing Canada, and regaining the profitable sugar islands for France, which still has them.

Russia’s Weapons Use Old and Even Western Electronics, Report Shows


Some of Russia’s most high-tech equipment relies on obsolete electronics and parts it can no longer source from the rest of the world. The country’s inability to produce enough semiconductors, essential for the production of modern weapon systems, means it must use older microchips—including commercial chips imported from the rest of the world. This shortage will have serious implications for the future of the Russian military, and for Russian arms exports abroad.

The New York Times reports that experts at Conflict Armament Research (CAR) examined parts from several downed Russian weapon systems. (CAR “identifies and tracks conventional weapons and ammunition in contemporary armed conflicts,” according to the organization’s website.) The parts were recovered from the 3M14 “Kalibr” ship-launched land-attack cruise missile, 9M544 300-millimeter guided rockets from the Tornado rocket launcher system, Kh-59 “Ovod” air-to-ground missiles, and Kh-101 aircraft-launched land-attack cruise missiles.

The scene of a Russian missile attack on central Vinnytsia, central Ukraine. Twenty-three civilians are reported killed after Kalibr cruise missiles launched by the Russian military from a submarine in the Black Sea hit downtown Vinnytsia, July 2022. Kalibr is another Russian weapon that uses Western microchips.Future Publishing//Getty Images

What the West Should Do About Putin’s Increasingly Dangerous Desperation


Vladimir Putin is clearly desperate. The question is whether this is good news or bad news. Another way of putting the question is whether it warrants a U.S. policy of exuberance or caution. The answer, in each case, is probably “a bit of both.” But the proper mix—how much exuberance, how much caution—is hard to calibrate.

The Russian President revealed his desperation all too clearly in his Sept. 21 speech (which he’d originally scheduled for Sept. 20). He played it as a proud, nation-boosting, war-whooping address to the Russian people, but it came off as anything but.

He made three main points:

First, he announced a “partial mobilization” of reservists to “defend our Motherland” against “the neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine and its NATO overlords.

The Executive’s Guide To Artificial Intelligence: What you need to know about what really works and what comes next

Bob Gourley


The megatrend of Artificial Intelligence is transforming the algorithms of business in exciting ways. This reference, aimed at the business decision-maker, will help you make the most of AI in your organization. It provides clear articulations of fundamental concepts, succinct examples of highly impactful use cases, and tips you can put in place to ensure your AI projects stay on track to deliver value. We keep this online reference updated so you will always have access to the best of our thoughts.

This reference is part of a series. Follow it with our special report on When AI Goes Wrong and our report on Artificial Intelligence for Business Advantage.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

The father of AI John McCarthy defined AI this way:

“Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”

This Vote Could Change the Course of Internet History

THIS WEEK IN Romania, a US State Department candidate is facing a Russian challenger in an election for the leadership of one of the most important international technology bodies in the world.

Who wins could determine whether the internet remains a relatively decentralized and open platform—or begins to centralize into the hands of nation-states and state-run companies that may want great control over what their citizens see and do online. Yet, with just days to go before the vote, the race for secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has garnered painfully little attention.

It’s a two-person race: On one side is the American, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, a former Commerce Department expert on telecommunications who joined the ITU in the 1990s. She’s squaring off against Rashid Ismailov, the former deputy minister for Russia’s telecommunications ministry.

Civilian AI Is Already Being Misused by the Bad Guys


Last March, a group of researchers made headlines by revealing that they had developed an artificial-intelligence (AI) tool that could invent potential new chemical weapons. What’s more, it could do so at an incredible speed: It took only 6 hours for the AI tool to suggest 40,000 of them.

The most worrying part of the story, however, was how easy it was to develop that AI tool. The researchers simply adapted a machine-learning model normally used to check for toxicity in new medical drugs. Rather than predicting whether the components of a new drug could be dangerous, they made it design new toxic molecules using a generative model and a toxicity data set.

The paper was not promoting an illegal use of AI (chemical weapons were banned in 1997). Instead, the authors wanted to show just how easily peaceful applications of AI can be misused by malicious actors—be they rogue states, nonstate armed groups, criminal organizations, or lone wolves. Exploitation of AI by malicious actors presents serious and insufficiently understood risks to international peace and security.

Britain’s Golden Era With China Is Well and Truly Dead

Scott Singer and Sam Hogg

Liz Truss’s tenure as Britain’s prime minister will usher in a transformative period for the country’s foreign policy. While Truss will likely continue many of her predecessor’s domestic policies, her administration’s foreign policy will represent a marked departure from the past: most notably, a final break with the idea of a so-called golden era with China.

Long gone are the days of exploring how Britain can develop stronger economic ties with China. Under former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a self-proclaimed Sinophile, the British government briefly saw China as a potential key partner that could replace the European Union and provide significant foreign investment in the post-Brexit era. But as Beijing cracked down on Hong Kong, causing a rupture with London, those hopes faded—and under Truss, they have been replaced with an explicit skepticism of Beijing. Truss has even explicitly declared that China represents a threat to the United Kingdom.

Truss, formerly Britain’s foreign secretary, spent the campaign trail painting herself as a disruptor prepared to break the mold on groupthink, especially in foreign policy. Her China stance is no exception. It has been formed over a number of years and across a selection of senior positions. But even though Truss is a China hawk, she believes Beijing is principally a geoeconomic rather than geopolitical threat. In her view, strengthening the economic heft and leverage of the G-7 and NATO should be the primary means of deterring Chinese aggression.

How Should the West Respond to Putin’s Military Mobilization?

Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig

Matthew Kroenig: Hi, Emma! I just returned from the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Awards on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York. We honored world leaders, like those from Finland and Sweden, for their contributions to global peace, but somehow Russia’s Vladimir Putin missed out on an award this year.

How have you been?

Emma Ashford: You could have awarded him the prize for “biggest strategic blunder of the year,” or perhaps “most unwilling to back down,” or even just “least popular world leader.” After all, everyone just saw him being treated like he had a communicable disease by his fellow leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meetings in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Even China’s Xi Jinping gave him a hard time about the war in Ukraine.

MK: He clearly deserves those awards. We should add those categories next year!

The SCO meetings were interesting. Some doubted whether—in a reverse from the Cold War era—Putin would play the junior partner to Xi’s China. But, in Samarkand, he seemed willing, even eager, to play the supplicant to Xi.

Let’s Be Honest About the Iran Nuclear Deal

Aaron David Miller

“Don’t compare me to the Almighty,” U.S. President Joe Biden is fond of quoting his father as saying. “Compare me to the alternative.” In a parallel universe, that would be good advice for anyone who has ever been in government wrestling with excruciatingly difficult policy choices. But here in our universe, a pernicious polarization prevails, turning just about every issue into a morality play pitting the forces of good against evil and often crowding out more sensible and realistic options.

Take the soon-(or never)-to-be-concluded revised Iran nuclear agreement. To its critics, such as U.S. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, it’s Satan’s finger on earth and will empower and enrich an evil regime; to its defenders, like U.S. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, it will make the United States, the Middle East, and the world a safer place.

The debate about the prospective deal is already a nasty one, and if the deal is ever concluded, it will become even more toxic. We should judge any proposed new nuclear deal not against what a perfect deal would look like (i.e., the Almighty) but against the alternative (no deal). Sadly, like everything else in Washington these days, the debate is likely to be deeply personal. Rob Malley, the U.S. envoy leading the negotiations, has already been subjected to any number of grossly unfair personal attacks. (Full disclosure: Malley is a close friend of mine.) And these are almost certain to intensify.

The US and EU are Teaming Up to Contain Big Tech

LATE LAST WEEK, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s digital competition czar, arrived in New York on a high note. The day before, an EU Court upheld a decision by her office to fine Alphabet for using its Android operating system to hurt competition, setting the penalty at $4.1 billion.

It was a reminder of the power Vestager wields over US tech companies. In 2014, she left her position as Denmark’s deputy prime minister to become competition chief at the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. In Brussels, she took on Apple for evading paying corporate taxes in Ireland, fined Google millions for favoring its own shopping services in search, and called out Facebook’s lack of transparency in its WhatsApp acquisition—leading to her name being floated as a future president of the European Commission. In 2019, she rose to her current role as the Commission’s executive vice president for competition and technology, taking on broad enforcement power over regulating data collection and monopoly-busting within the European Union.

During her visit to the US, Vestager met with officials at the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. She also stopped by WIRED’s New York office to discuss how the US and the European Union can work together to protect privacy and rein in Big Tech. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What Do We Really Know About Russia's Cyberwar Against Ukraine?


Is the Russian-Ukraine conflict "the first cyber world war"? Researchers, scholars and government officials appear divided on the question. Nadiya Kostyuk and Erik Gartzke argue that given the absence of a (known) major or crippling attack, "cyber dogs have yet to bark." Others, such as Thomas Rid, contend that cyber has been and continues to be a major part of the conflict, but that covert operations remain cloaked in secrecy, away from public view.

With warnings issued by the American, British, and Canadian governments of threats to critical infrastructure (from either a direct cyberattack or spillover from Russia's indiscriminate use of its cyber weapons) in the lead-up to the conflict, as well as Russia's history of using malicious cyber activity against Ukraine, the absence of visible cyber activity raises important questions about what "cyberwar" actually is, and how we can know if one is taking place.

Despite the apparent disagreement over whether there is a cyberwar in Ukraine or not, a deeper dive into recent commentary on the topic reveals that both sides of the debate are arguing very similar things.

Putin Is in Trouble

Marlene Laruelle

In the wake of a stunning counteroffensive in which Ukrainian forces reclaimed thousands of square miles of territory, Russia is uneasy.

The country’s political talk shows, usually so deferential, have given the floor to more critical voices. Opponents of the war have weighed in — about 40 officials from municipal councils signed a petition requesting the president’s resignation — and previously loyal figures have begun to mutter about the regime’s failings. In a sign of general discontent, Alla Pugacheva, Russia’s most famous 20th-century pop star, has come out against the war. Six months of consensus has started to crack.

That consensus wasn’t as cast-iron as it might have seemed. While many Western observers tend to view the Russian regime as a monolith, the reality is more complex. Though the war has significantly reduced the scope for dissent, there are still several competing ideological camps within the ruling elite capable of making their voices heard. For example, the so-called systemic liberals, mostly concentrated in state financial institutions and among oligarchs, have expressed concerns about the war’s consequences for the Russian economy. But it is another group, emboldened by the Kremlin’s failure to deliver victory in Ukraine, that is putting ever more pressure on the regime.

More Storm Clouds Gather Over Armenia, Azerbaijan


In normal times, the latest upsurge in violence in the South Caucasus would have attracted a lot more attention.

Nearly 300 soldiers died in a large-scale Azerbaijani incursion into the territory of Armenia on September 13–14. Armenia says that 202 of its soldiers and five civilians died or are missing. Azerbaijan has put its losses at 80 soldiers. Let’s not forget that these are countries with small populations where these awful numbers resonate even more strongly.

A ceasefire has stopped what was by far the worst violence since the forty-four-day war of 2020 between the two countries, but Azerbaijani forces appear to be still in control of territory in border areas of Armenia.

What happened?

The fighting occurred only two weeks after a fourth round of EU-mediated high-level talks in Brussels between the two leaders, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, where progress was being made. Importantly, it followed on the heels of Russia’s military humiliation by Ukraine in the Kharkiv province.

Why Is Putin Upping the Ante in Ukraine?

Alexander Baunov

Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised the stakes in his war against Ukraine, announcing a partial mobilization on September 21, meaning 300,000 reservist troops can now be sent to fight in Ukraine.

The previous day, with no prior announcement, amendments to Russian law were introduced to the Duma and immediately passed in three readings. They stipulate harsh penalties for failing to report for military duty, surrendering, or refusing to fight.

That same day, the Russian-imposed administrations of all the regions of Ukraine currently partially or wholly occupied by Russian troops submitted requests to hold referendums on becoming part of Russia as early as the end of this week.

The message sent to the West by the combination of these three developments is: “You chose to fight us in Ukraine, now try to fight us in Russia itself, or, to be precise, what we call Russia.” The hope is that the West will balk at this.

Book Review: Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century

Joseph Power

On 14 May 2010, a student named Roshonara Choudhry walked up the Labour MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms, smiled at him, moved as if to shake his hand, then plunged into his stomach. Sir Stephen, as he is now known, luckily survived this assassination attempt, and Choudhry was sent to prison.

On the morning of the attack, Choudhry had paid off her student loan and cleared her bank account, fearing that her family would be left with the debt once she was caught (or killed) by police responders, and that British authorities would seize any assets left in her name.In December that year, two men were arrested in a separate incident, ahead of a plot to carry out a Mumbai-style attack against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The suspects, Omar Aboelazm and Munir Awad, had also emptied their bank accounts. Awad later claimed to have given the money to his wife to cover rent and other expenses.

What was significant about these financial transactions, and why were they present in multiple instances of terrorist attacks or plots? Or to put it another way: is there something in that action – clearing debt – that may act as an indicator of an imminent terrorist threat?

The Kaleidoscopic Campaigning of Russia’s Special Services

Dr Jack Watling

In the years leading up to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Western media commentary has obsessively reported on the antics – real and imagined – of Russia’s special services. However, despite a rich assortment of operations revealed, ranging from the audacious to the farcical, little has been written about the structure of these services or how they are conceptualised within Russian theories of conflict. This article seeks to set out in brief the main structures and responsibilities of these institutions.

Firstly, to begin with definitions, Western governments are often guilty of projection in how they describe their Russian adversaries. In the US, there is the Intelligence Community (IC). Western governments tend to describe their adversaries as RIS, or ‘Russian Intelligence Services’. In Russia, however, the community is usually referred to as the ‘Special Services’. This denotes a contrast in purpose. Western agencies are first and foremost concerned with intelligence collection, providing information to policymakers to inform governmental decision-making. Russia’s special services conduct intelligence collection, but this function is subordinate to their primary responsibility, which is political warfare – involving the use of information, manipulation and influence to shape adversary beliefs and behaviours.

How likely is the use of nuclear weapons by Russia?

Dr Patricia Lewis

What is Putin’s nuclear weapons threat?

On 21 February, as part of his televised speech that heralded the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin issued what was interpreted as a threat to use nuclear weapons against NATO countries should they interfere in Ukraine. ‘Russia will respond immediately’ he said, ‘and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history’.

Then on 27 February, Putin ordered Russia to move nuclear forces to a ‘special mode of combat duty’, which has a significant meaning in terms of the protocols to launch nuclear weapons from Russia. According to Russian nuclear weapons experts, Russia’s command and control system cannot transmit launch orders in peacetime, so increasing the status to ‘combat’ allows a launch order to go through and be put into effect.

Putin portrayed this as a defensive response to the imposition of economic sanctions, but outside Russia it is seen as a pathway for Russia to use its nuclear weapons in a first strike surprise attack.

The United States Needs a New Strategy against China’s Disinformation Campaign

Veranika Laputska

In a nutshell: the United States and NATO are posed as the greatest evil. The larger and economically successful Central European countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary have become a testing ground for the most notorious anti-Western and anti-US narratives. Because it views the European continent predominantly as an economic interest, China tries to combine in one strategy the creation of a positive image of itself as an economic power with the demonization of the United States.

Moreover, Western sanctions against Russia create a broad window of opportunities for Chinese economic expansion in Russia, which remains an important economic partner. This is one of the main reasons that China supports Russia’s view on the war and echoes the latter’s accusations against NATO and the collective West. It is the West, as China poses it, that actually provoked Russia in the first place.

On a different note, it is also beneficial for China that Russia becomes gradually more ostracized from the EU, NATO states, and other major democratic countries. This grants China greater leverage over Russia and encourages Russia’s support of China’s foreign agenda. Additionally, China can continue to demonize the collective West, which, in Beijing’s opinion, constantly uses double standards, including against Russia. Consequently, China contends that NATO and the EU have no moral ground to accuse China of violating human rights domestically and international law principles toward foreign territories, such as Taiwan.
Chinese Narratives about Russia

Russian Oil Price Controls: How They Would Work and What They Might Do

Justin Logan and Peter Van Doren

To avoid a large increase in oil prices to European customers that would result from reduced supply, finance ministers from the G‑7 nations recently agreed in principle with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s plan to reduce Russian revenues from the sale of its oil. The plan would limit the price paid to Russia rather than ban the sale of Russian oil to the European Union, as is currently scheduled to take effect in early December. Price caps are aimed at keeping supply roughly constant while reducing Russian revenue.

How would these price controls function? How will markets likely respond? And will throwing another log on the economic warfare fire work?

The new plan relies on the current western quasi‐​monopoly on oil tanker insurance. Western insurers would be banned from offering tanker insurance for Russian crude shipments unless the price paid for the oil was below the price‐​controlled amount. For now, non‐​western insurance substitutes, while they exist, could not realistically fill the void. This would serve to decrease Russian revenue from oil sales.

War And Economics In Ukraine

Niall Ferguson

In a realist perspective, Russia would seem bound to prevail over Ukraine sooner or later. Its territory is 28 times larger; its population is 3.3 times larger; more importantly, its GDP is nine times larger. Western sanctions do not alter the fact that Russia still has significant (if reduced) revenue from exporting its gas and oil, whereas Ukraine is heavily dependent on Western economic and military assistance. Time might seem to be more on Russia’s side than Ukraine’s.

But Russia could still lose this war. Size is not everything. Thirteen American colonies vanquished the British Empire. North Vietnam defeated the United States. The Soviet Union could not win in Afghanistan. Empires decline and new nations break free.

The invader is at an inherent disadvantage in the face of a strong nationalist sentiment. Putin has inadvertently turned the formerly divided and disgruntled inhabitants of Ukraine into the Ukrainian people. And wars of national liberation against declining empires are more often successful than not. That is why there are few empires left.

Why Taiwan Matters to Beijing

Dean Cheng

American national security demands that even as attention is concentrated on Europe and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sufficient attention must be paid to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and especially the Taiwan Strait, to ensure that Beijing does not “burglarize during the house fire [chen huo da jie; 乘火打劫].” Geopolitical, economic, and technological considerations all militate in favor of sustaining American deterrence against any Chinese effort to seize the island.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has been growing concern about the potential for conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Some fear that the West’s attention will be so focused on the war between Russia and Ukraine that China will be emboldened to strike opportunistically.

Even before Putin invaded Ukraine, however, American defense officials had publicly expressed worry about the ability of the United States to deter the PRC should Beijing decide to use force against the island of Taiwan. Outgoing Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) Commander Admiral Philip Davidson indicated that China might be ready to invade the island by 2027.1

China Hit Some Bumps on Its Road to Semiconductor Dominance

David Feith and Rick Switzer

Don’t be lulled into thinking China is failing in its goal to become the world’s biggest semiconductor-chip producer. That’s the conclusion some are drawing from such troubles as the bankruptcy of national champion Tsinghua Unigroup and the high-profile arrests of several officials and executives. If China is failing, the argument goes, why is Washington launching an expensive industrial policy to subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing? This analysis is emblematic of the Western habit to underestimate the strength and resilience of China’s economy, political system and industrial strategies.

But the notion that these arrests and bankruptcy signal China’s failure lacks evidence.

Consider the solar and shipbuilding industries. Similar to semiconductors, solar technology was invented and first commercialized in the U.S., only to be targeted later by China’s state planners. In 2012, after years of massive subsidies and overinvestment, China’s largest solar firms began to suffer high-profile setbacks. Trina and others cut production to maintain profitability. LDK Solar and others were bailed out by local governments while defaulting on foreign bonds. Suntech, the Nasdaq-listed darling of China’s solar sector, went bankrupt in 2013. Fast-forward to the present, however, and China’s solar industry is so dominant that U.S. and European green-energy goals depend on Chinese exports.

Harnessing the Power of Science and Technology Communities for Crisis Response

Patricia A. Stapleton, Daniel M. Gerstein, Henry H. Willis

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has to respond to crises generated by a variety of threats and hazards, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and public health emergencies. When confronted with such challenges in the past, DHS has relied on scientific and technical advice and solutions to identify gaps in its processes and operations. By leveraging this technical advice and support, DHS seeks to improve its understanding of the homeland security threats that it manages and its mission effectiveness.

To enhance DHS's ability to leverage science and technology communities to support the use of science, technology, innovation, and analytical capabilities during crisis response, RAND researchers conducted a literature review and discussions with subject-matter experts to understand how these capabilities have been used during past national security crises and how they could be used in the future. In this Perspective, the researchers offer a conceptual framework for employment of the science and technology communities' capabilities during crisis response. They also present five imperatives that should be considered for providing technical support during a crisis and a concept for how to institutionalize that support. These critical elements form the basis for providing quality technical support to crisis leadership.

Renewing U.S. Security Policy in the Middle East

Shelly Culbertson, Howard J. Shatz, Stephanie Stewart

This report offers a new framing of U.S. national security interests in the Middle East in light of changed political, security, and economic contexts. The authors argue for a new approach to managing U.S. security interests in the region that avoids the pattern of recurring reactive military engagements that have drawn in the United States for decades. This approach recognizes that the Middle East sits at the crossroads of multiple vital U.S. interests and that problems that start in the Middle East spread worldwide.

The authors contend that the United States should not deprioritize or disengage from the Middle East but should instead manage the full range of its interests there. These include the traditional goals of preventing terrorism, protecting global energy markets, and dealing with Iranian nuclear proliferation and other malign activities, as well as additional interests related to addressing great power competition, regional conflicts, the human and financial costs of conflict, civilian displacement, climate change, the well-being of allies, and chronic instability.

Rapidly Detecting and Correcting Degradation of Military Supply Distribution Performance

James R. Broyles, Kenneth J. Girardini, Jason Mastbaum, Marc Robbins, Patricia 

Army units worldwide depend on a complex network of distribution centers, managed primarily by the Defense Logistics Agency, to support equipment readiness and sustainability. Rapid and reliable logistics distribution support is especially important for U.S. Army forces deployed into theaters of operations. There are many factors that can cause performance changes affecting the distribution timeliness to the Army. Currently, distribution problems are detected manually and reactively by Army units once these problems start to affect equipment readiness. This report describes (1) algorithms developed by the authors that monitor the logistics distribution system and automatically detect distribution problems (or potential distribution problems) that might affect equipment readiness, and (2) data visualizations developed by the authors that assist Army managers and analysts to determine the root causes and potential corrective actions related to the detections. The report also provides several case studies illustrating the algorithms' effectiveness.

Key Findings

Current Army distribution metrics are lagging indicators of problems because they focus on requisition wait time, which requires the receipt of the shipment, and require manual monitoring to detect problems.

In several historical case studies of distribution performance degradation, the detection algorithms and metrics could have automatically detected actual or potential distribution problems several months prior to when they were realized by the Army units.

These signs show that China is starting to crack

Sebastian Mallaby

Is China (a) an economic juggernaut, rapidly overtaking the United States in the technologies of tomorrow? Or is it (b) an ailing giant, doomed by demography, failing real estate developers and counterproductive government diktat?

Start with the evidence for juggernaut China. Back in 2000, the country’s spending on research and development, government plus private, was about one-ninth that of the United States, according to Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development statistics. Fast-forward to 2020 and it was 85 percent. Further, by concentrating its resources, China has achieved global leadership in strategic areas. A worldwide ranking of universities, ordered according to how many top-cited papers in math and computing were generated from 2015 to 2018, shows Chinese institutions holding the top seven slots.

Excellence in research has come with dominance in key commercial technologies. Chinese companies lead the world in drones, mobile payments and 5G networking equipment. Chinese consumers’ habit of conducting every aspect of life via smartphones has generated data with an extraordinary density, and cheap Chinese labor allows for the data’s laborious tagging. Combined with double-fisted government subsidies, these two factors give China a head start in the race to train artificial intelligence systems.