5 October 2022

China Says U.S. Hacked University With 'Drinking Tea' Cyber-Sniffing Weapon


Chinese cybersecurity experts have accused the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) of launching cyberattacks on a university in northwest China with a malware program known as "drinking tea."

The alleged cyberattacks were said to have targeted the Northwestern Polytechnical University in China's Shaanxi Province—an institution known for aerospace and navigation research.

Specifically, the NSA group accused of carrying out the attacks is the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which is the NSA's cyber-warfare and intelligence-gathering unit.

The cyberattacks were announced by the university in June after emails were sent to students and teachers that contained malicious software intended to steal their personal data.

Defining and Achieving Success in Ukraine

Frank Hoffman 

The Post–Cold War era ended with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s series of strategic miscalculations against Kyiv. But the contest is much larger than a border dispute between Russia and Ukraine. A more overt contest has emerged, pitting Russia’s grievances and illusions against the Western democracies and the vestiges of a rules-based order. That contest is most evident in Ukraine, which has passed through a critical turning point after Russia’s attempted coup de main against the President Zelensky government in the capital failed spectacularly.1 As noted in an insightful April 2022 study, Putin’s initial gambit reflected “the death throes of an imperial delusion,” but also indicated that Russia was preparing for a protracted and deadly struggle.2 The West reveled over the former, and overlooked the portents of Moscow’s preparations.

The U.S. strategy being employed in coordination with our Allies has adapted to changing circumstances, gaining both an appreciation for the conflict’s serious consequences to international order and greater optimism about Ukraine’s chances of success and not just its survival. This strategic reassessment is reflected in the policy goals announcement made by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan: “ . . . what we want to see is a free and independent Ukraine, a weakened and isolated Russia, and a stronger, more unified, more determined West.”3 Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin echoed those comments, though his focus on the second policy aim was misunderstood as a unilateral escalation.4 The implications of the policy and the consensus behind these goals is revealed by the accelerated security assistance the United States is providing and by the advance weaponry being supplied. Congress has substantially increased aid to Ukraine for the coming year to over $40 billion.5

The Limits of Victory: Evaluating the Employment of Military Power

Michael L. Levine 

On November 28, 1984, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger appeared before the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to deliver a speech titled “The Uses of Military Power.” The previous year had brought mixed results in the deployment of U.S. combat troops overseas. An invasion of the small West Indies country of Grenada wrested regime control from the one-party socialist People’s Revolutionary Government in favor of a relatively stable democracy. In Lebanon, however, the bombing of a Marine Corps barracks complex in Beirut killed 305 troops and civilians, including 241 Americans, and led to the withdrawal of the multinational peacekeeping force months later. Perhaps most central to Secretary Weinberger’s speech was the Vietnam War, an event that two decades later still struck deep into the institutional fabric of the U.S. military.

The Secretary argued that combat forces should be deployed resolutely with “the sole object of winning” in cases where vital national interests are at stake.1 Moreover, the use of force must meet six criteria: vital national interests, wholehearted commitment, clearly defined political and military objectives, congruent ends and means, domestic support, and last resort. Seven years later, many viewed the U.S. triumph in the Gulf War as a vindication of this doctrine. Today, this way of thinking is known as the Powell Doctrine, in reference to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, President George H.W. Bush gleefully declared, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”2

The United States and China are near-peer competitors in a struggle for global dominance and influence.

Graham Allison, Jonah Glick-Unterman 

A quarter-century ago, China conducted what it called “missile tests” bracketing the island of Taiwan to deter it from a move toward independence by demonstrating that China could cut Taiwan’s ocean lifelines. In response, in a show of superiority that forced China to back down, the United States deployed two aircraft carriers to Taiwan’s adjacent waters. If China were to repeat the same missile tests today, it is highly unlikely that the United States would respond as it did in 1996. If U.S. carriers moved that close to the Chinese mainland now, they could be sunk by the DF-21 and DF-26 missiles that China has since developed and deployed.

This article presents three major theses concerning the military rivalry between China and the United States in this century. First, the era of U.S. military primacy is over: dead, buried, and gone—except in the minds of some political leaders and policy analysts who have not examined the hard facts.1 As former Secretary of Defense James Mattis put it starkly in his 2018 National Defense Strategy, “For decades the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain. We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted.”2 But that was then. “Today,” Mattis warned, “every domain is contested—air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.”3 As a result, in the past two decades, the United States has been forced to retreat from a strategy based on primacy and dominance to one of deterrence. As President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his National Security Council colleague Kurt Campbell acknowledged in 2019, “The United States must accept that military primacy will be difficult to restore, given the reach of China’s weapons, and instead focus on deterring China from interfering with its freedom of maneuver and from physically coercing U.S. allies and partners.”4 One of the architects of the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy put it less diplomatically and more succinctly: “The era of untrammeled U.S. military superiority is over.”5

Digital Infrastructure and Digital Presence

Julia Brackup, Sarah Harting, Daniel Gonzales

Information and intelligence — and the degree of access to and control of the systems within which the data reside — can yield power and influence at scale. These systems and the networks they create collectively make up digital infrastructure (DI). Spawned from internet growth and the interconnectivity of global telecommunication networks, today's DI — and a country's ownership of, access to, and control over it — has emerged as an area of competition between the United States and China. Beijing and Washington rely on DI to support military forces and use its capabilities to expand national power and extend influence globally. Both countries now aim to shape the DI in ways that align with their long-term strategic priorities and interests.

This report defines DI, characterizes the competition for it, and provides evidence showing that how DI evolves carries implications for long-term military competition and conflict. The authors also describe important trends and asymmetries shaping the competition and conclude by discussing the implications and opportunities for the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Understanding Russian Coercive Signaling

Samuel Charap, Andrew Stravers, John J. Drennan

Moscow regularly uses limited military actions — far short of direct aggression but often creating escalatory risks — that have caused concern and consternation in Western capitals. It is, however, far from clear what Russia intends to signal through these actions. Different understandings of Moscow's objectives could lead to dramatically divergent interpretations of events.

In the first comprehensive analysis of Russian coercive signaling toward the United States and its allies, the authors of this report analyze these activities over recent years to provide a better understanding of the drivers of Moscow's behavior and practical guidelines for assessing future events. The authors posit several hypotheses regarding Russian motives and evaluated them using three methods: an examination of Russian strategic writing and leadership statements on the topic, a quantitative modeling effort, and qualitative case studies of specific incidents.

The authors found solid empirical grounds to make judgments about Russia's motives. They suggest that much of the assertive, dangerous, or unsafe Russian activity appears to be directed at shaping specific patterns of ongoing U.S. or allied behavior. Moscow appears to be using coercive signals to send targeted messages regarding activities that it finds problematic. Most Russian proactive activities, such as scheduled exercises or strategic bomber training flights, convey general deterrence signals and do not pose immediate safety concerns. Using their analysis of past Russian behavior, the authors provide tools to discern the possible motives behind future activities.

50 years of Japan-China ties / China sets sights on development of ‘intelligent warfare’ capabilities

Yuya Yokobori 

On Sept. 29, Japan and China marked the 50th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations in 1972. Going forward, how should Japan deal with a China that has risen as an economic and military power and has been behaving in an increasingly coercive manner?

On Sept. 20, China Central Television aired a report on the activities of a military drone unit in a desert area in China’s northwestern region, featuring the Wing Loong-2, an 11-meter-long unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a roughly 20-meter wingspan and a range exceeding 1,000 kilometers, according to the Chinese Air Force.

It was believed to be the first time China’s state-run media had reported details about the drone unit, which was shown striking ground vehicles with the UAV’s onboard missiles.

The Age of Predatory Nuclear-Weapon States Has Arrived


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine makes at least one thing clear: It’s time for us to update how we think about nuclear weapons. For the first time in the nuclear era, one country used loudly issued nuclear threats — repeated just last week — to deter other countries from intervening in a large-scale conventional war of aggression. We have entered the age of “predatory nuclear-weapon states.”

For political analysts and military officials, this is not an unexpected phenomenon. On the contrary, the concept falls under the so-called stability-instability paradox. Because the threat of nuclear war is so terrifying and the risk of annihilation so real, lower-level conflict actually becomes more feasible. One nuclear-armed country can undertake major conventional military action, expecting that its nuclear capability will prevent outside intervention. That is what’s happening in Ukraine.

This is deeply problematic for international security. First, it is profoundly unjust. The world should not tolerate a status quo in which any nuclear-armed country can conduct conventional wars with impunity, slaughter tens of thousands and seize and annex territory, simply because its nuclear arsenal inhibits a strong military response. The international security system should not work that way.

China Reins In Its Belt and Road Program, $1 Trillion Later

Lingling Wei

China has spent a trillion dollars to expand its influence across Asia, Africa and Latin America through its Belt and Road infrastructure program. Now, Beijing is working on an overhaul of the troubled initiative, according to people involved in policy-making.

A slowing global economy, combined with rising interest rates and higher inflation, have left countries struggling to repay their debts to China. Tens of billions of dollars of loans have gone sour, and numerous development projects have stalled. Western leaders have criticized China’s lending practices, which some have labeled “debt-trap diplomacy,” embarrassing Beijing. Many economists and investors have said the country’s lending practices have contributed to debt crises in places like Sri Lanka and Zambia.

After nearly a decade of pressing Chinese banks to be generous with loans, Chinese policy makers are discussing a more conservative program, dubbed Belt and Road 2.0 in internal discussions, that would more rigorously evaluate new projects for financing, the people involved said. They have also become open to accepting some losses on loans and renegotiating debt, something they had been previously unwilling to do.

Breakthrough Army Technologies Inspire New Combined Arms Doctrine


Newer technologies such as long-range sensors, unmanned systems, precision-guided weapons, multi-domain networking and AI-enabled information processing are leading Army weapons developers, futurists and researchers to explore the large extent to which technological change generates a need to adjust maneuver formations in combat. Extending this further, the advent of paradigm-changing technologies is driving the Army to author new “doctrine” to address anticipated challenges expected to emerge in future war.

For instance, the famous Cold War Era Air-Land Battle doctrine is being replaced by modern concepts of Combined Arms Maneuver driven by the use of drones, manned-unmanned teaming, a dispersed battlefield and unprecedented multi domain connectivity.

“With multi domain operations, new doctrines are being rolled out and we are working on the next concepts. Beyond doctrine, we're finding all new, completely new ways to fight with machine or human machine teams, artificial intelligence, and all the things that go with integrating those great human machine teams on the battlefield,” Lt. Gen. Thomas Todd, Chief Innovation Officer, Army Futures Command, told Warrior in an interview.
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In Washington, Everyone Wins if Ukraine Wins

Gideon Rose

The 21st century has been one long catastrophe for U.S. foreign policy. A series of failed military interventions and other mishaps has squandered the country’s power and reputation, even as old rivals such as Russia revived their fortunes and new rivals such as China have continued to rise. In the blink of an eye, the notion of a post-American world has gone from specter to cliché. Contempt for the United States and the West more generally clearly contributed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and opponents of even indirect U.S. involvement in the conflict portray it as yet another example of misguided military adventurism.

In fact, the opposite is true. This time, for a change, somebody else is playing the reckless foreign invader while the United States is sensibly counterpunching and enabling the victim to resist. Washington is picking its allies smartly and working with them closely. Instead of repeating recent U.S. strategic mistakes, the Biden administration is avoiding them, pursuing a fundamentally different approach. And it’s working.

Russia’s Defeat Would Be America’s Problem

Stephen M. Walt

At the end of Pericles’s speech convincing his fellow Athenians to declare war on Sparta in 431 B.C., he declared that he was “more afraid of our own blunders than of the enemy’s devices.” In particular, he cautioned against hubris and the danger of combining “schemes of fresh conquest with the conduct of the war.” His warnings went unheeded, however, and his successors eventually led Athens to a disastrous defeat.

Centuries later, Edmund Burke offered a similar warning to his British compatriots as Britain moved toward war with revolutionary France. As he wrote in 1793: “I dread our own power, and our own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded. … We may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing, and hitherto unheard-of power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin.” Burke’s forecast did not come true, however, in part because Britain’s ambitions remained limited even after France was defeated.

Democracies Need a Little Help From Their Friends

Ronald R. Krebs and James Ron

India may be the world’s largest democracy, but it is also extremely hostile to nongovernmental organizations, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused of everything from hindering economic growth to conspiring to bring down his government. In recent years, a major flash point has been the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Modi is eager to bring electricity to the 300 million rural Indians lacking power, and he sees nuclear plants as the solution. More plants are reportedly coming to other parts of the country, and the government versus NGO battle is likely to heat up.

Indian environmentalists protesting Kudankulam’s expansion are a thorn in the government’s side, and many rely heavily on foreign funding for their operations. Modi accuses these and other foreign-supported groups of preventing him from lifting the nation out of poverty. In a leaked 2014 report, India’s Intelligence Bureau, the country’s internal security service, estimated that environmentalist NGOs were costing the country 2 to 3 percent annually in economic growth. The bureau went on to allege that foreign donors, both governmental and private, were illegitimately fueling the protests.

The Real Reason the Middle East Hates NGOs

Steven A. Cook

In the summer of 2011, a group of Egyptian military officers made their first trip to Washington after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. In public and private meetings at various venues around town, including the Egyptian Defense Office and the U.S. Institute of Peace, the delegation emphasized that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which had assumed executive power, was “preparing the country for democracy.”

It wasn’t true, and the tipoff was the way the delegation responded to questions concerning the onerous restrictions on nongovernmental organizations, especially those that sought foreign funding to pursue their work. Out went the friendly and constructive air of the “new Egypt” in favor of the unmovable “old Egypt.” And when pressed, the head of the officers’ delegation became red-faced with anger. Apparently, laying the groundwork for more open and just politics did not include human rights organizations, good-governance groups, environmentalists, private associations that provide aid to people in need, or other NGOs.

China drops the gauntlet on NSA’s serial cyberattacks


China’s top cybersecurity authority has accused the US National Security Agency (NSA) of stealing information from a top Chinese university through a trojan virus, an allegation that threatens to escalate already high and rising bilateral tensions.

China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center (CVERC) claimed in a recent report that NSA’s Office of Tailored Access Operation (TAO) had used a cyber weapon known as “Suctionchar” to take control of computer servers at Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) in the city of Xi’an.

The CVERC claims to have analyzed over 1,000 NSA cyberattacks on the university and said in a statement that it hoped nations worldwide could use the analysis to prevent themselves from being attacked by the US.

China doubles down on digital target practice as cyber conflict escalates

Damien Black

Since Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine on February 24, much cyber-analysis has understandably focused on that country and other pariah nations such as Iran and North Korea.

But what of China? In refusing to condemn the Russian attack, it has drawn increasing criticism from the US and its allies, who also frequently accuse it of conducting cyber-espionage campaigns at the West’s expense as well as tacitly supporting other forms of cyberattack.

The Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a thinktank based in Georgetown University in the US that claims to provide nonpartisan and evidence-based research on cybersecurity and other tech-based issues, has observed the recent growth in China of “cyber ranges” – facilities where professionals can hone their digital offensive and defensive skills – some of which are linked to government and military installations.

China alleges U.S. spy agency hacked key infrastructure and sent user data back to headquarters

Arjun Kharpal

China accused a top U.S. spy agency of stealing Chinese user data and infiltrating the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, according to a report published Tuesday, which lays out details of the alleged cyberattack method.

Chinese state media last week first reported on an alleged attack by the U.S. National Security Agency on China’s government funded Northwestern Polytechnical University and promised that more details would follow.

Tuesday’s report from China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and cybersecurity company 360, lays out the specific ways the alleged attack was carried out.

Taiwanese citizens prepare for possible cyber war

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An infusion of cash from a Taiwanese semiconductor magnate is helping fund new cyber defense training for Taiwanese citizens.

Why it matters: The goal is to fight online disinformation and hybrid warfare that could accompany a potential Chinese military assault on the self-governed island democracy.

What's happening: Taiwanese tech tycoon Robert Tsao recently pledged approximately $20 million in funding for Kuma Academy, a company founded last year to help Taiwanese people prepare for a potential Chinese invasion.The academy plans to provide civilian military training for three million people over the next three years.
Part of the training includes basic courses in identifying and publicly debunking online disinformation, and the academy plans to launch advanced courses on open-source intelligence gathering (OSINT) taught by volunteer hacking groups.

Biden Lies At The UN – OpEd

It takes a special kind of hubris for a president of the United States to speak at the United Nations, the place where international law is supposed to be upheld and defended. Yet the representative of the worst violator of international law predictably shows up every September when the United Nations General Assembly holds its annual session. The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez got it right when he spoke in 2006:

“Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world. I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation, and pillage of the peoples of the world.”

Chavez is no longer with us, and Joe Biden is the third man to serve as U.S. president since George W. Bush was compared to the devil. But the words are as true now as they were then. This year Biden’s speech was replete with the usual drivel about the United States being some sort of guarantor of peace. Among other things, he said that permanent members of the Security Council should “…refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations, to ensure that the Council remains credible and effective.”

Putin Takes Aim At US, Casts Ukraine War As Existential Conflict For Russia – Analysis

Robert Coalson and Mike Eckel

(RFE/RL) — The speech was expected to be about Ukraine, where Russia’s military is struggling seven months into its invasion and where Moscow is claiming four partially occupied regions as its own in a land grab condemned by Kyiv and the West.

However, the bulk of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nationally televised address from the Kremlin’s opulent St. George’s Hall on September 30 was devoted to a vitriolic attack on the United States and its allies.

Before an audience of ruling elites — both chambers of parliament, regional governors, security and military officials, and others — Putin portrayed the country as defiant in the throes of an existential conflict with a “satanic” enemy bent on destroying Russia, its culture, and what he called its “traditional values.”

Cyber Security Headlines: Russia’s cyber winter, military contractor attack, IRS smishing warning

Steve Prentice

Finnish intelligence warns Russia ‘highly likely’ to turn to cyber in winter

The head of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Suojelupoliisi or SUPO) says it is “highly likely that Russia will turn to the cyber environment over the winter” for espionage due to challenges impacting its human intelligence work. In the unclassified National Security Overview 2022 published on Thursday, SUPO said that Russia’s traditional intelligence gathering approach using spies with diplomatic cover “has become substantially more difficult since Russia launched its war of aggression in Ukraine, as many Russian diplomats have been expelled from the West.” SUPO assessed that Russian citizens who occupied critical positions in Finland were particularly at risk of coercion from the Russian authorities.

Researchers uncover covert attack campaign targeting military contractors

A new covert attack campaign singled out multiple military and weapons contractor companies with spear-phishing emails to trigger a multi-stage infection process designed to deploy an unknown payload on compromised machines. The highly-targeted intrusions, dubbed STEEP#MAVERICK by Securonix, also targeted a strategic supplier to the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Starting in late summer 2022 the infection chains begin with a phishing mail with a ZIP archive attachment containing a shortcut file that claims to be a PDF document about “Company & Benefits,” which is then used to retrieve a stager — an initial binary that’s used to download the desired malware — from a remote server.

IRS warns of “industrial scale” smishing surge

In a news alert yesterday, the tax agency said it had identified thousands of fake domains so far in 2022, used to facilitate the so-called “smishing” scams, and designed to steal victims’ personal and financial information. Spoofed to appear as if sent from the IRS, these text messages often use lures like fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account, it said. They might request personal information or covertly download malware to the user’s device by tricking them into clicking on a malicious link. “This is phishing on an industrial scale so thousands of people can be at risk of receiving these scam messages,” said IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig.

New malware backdoors VMware ESXi servers to hijack virtual machines

Hackers have found a new method to establish persistence on VMware ESXi hypervisors to control vCenter servers and virtual machines for Windows and Linux while avoiding detection. With the help of malicious vSphere Installation Bundles, an attacker is now able to install two backdoors on the bare-metal hypervisor that researchers have named VirtualPita and VirtualPie. Researchers also uncovered a unique malware sample that they called VirtualGate, which includes a dropper and a payload. This attack requires the threat actor to have admin-level privileges to the hypervisor. While this may appear to lower the risk, adversaries often lurk on the victim network waiting for an opportunity to reach valuable assets or extend their presence.

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UN elects first female tech agency secretary-general

Doreen Bogdan-Martin has become the first woman to be elected as secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the main technology agency within the UN. Originally founded in 1865 to manage the first international telegraph networks, the ITU now has an important role in facilitating the use of radio, satellite and the internet, including assigning satellite orbits globally, co-ordinating technical standards, and improving infrastructure in the developing world.

Brave browser to start blocking annoying cookie consent banners

Such notifications are incredibly annoying but have become necessary to do business online to comply with data protection regulations like GDPR. In some cases, however, these banners can serve as trackers themselves, as they engage in a privacy-breaching data exchange before the user even has a chance to opt out. Brave will now proactively detect and block the cookie consent banners, removing both a distraction and a potential privacy risk for users. The roll-out of the new system will begin in Brave Nightly 1.45, scheduled for release in October, and will gradually pass to the stable version on Windows and Android. iOS will follow soon afterward.

Privacy advocates want the FTC to take on invasive daycare apps

The Federal Trade Commission should review privacy and security concerns with daycare and early education apps, the Electronic Frontier Foundation urged in a letter to the agency Wednesday. The letter builds on the EFF director of engineering Alexis Hancock’s research, which uncovered a variety of security concerns including the insecure cloud storage of photos of children. Security researchers have found that more than half of the 42 apps they looked at did not disclose the use of third-party trackers. The FTC is tasked with enforcing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which controls what data companies can collect from children under 13. However, because daycare apps are collecting children’s data directly from parents and daycare providers, those protections have limited application.

Pentagon bug bounty program yields results

Following up on a story we brought you in July, the department’s July bug bounty program, “Hack US,” uncovered 349 were “actionable” reports. Melissa Vice, director of the DoD’s vulnerability disclosure program, said an initial evaluation of the program’s results found that the most commonly identified vulnerability was categorized as “information disclosure.” Other top flaws discovered through the effort included improper access and generic SQL injection.

Cold War Era Emissions Control Could Protect Navy Assets from Cyber Attacks, Expert Says

John M. Doyle

ARLINGTON, Va. — A rediscovered Cold War practice and the U.S. Navy’s unique command and control culture could protect the service’s assets from cyberattack, according to a U.S. Naval Academy cybersecurity expert.

While most information systems across the Defense Department tend to be similar, “the Navy has a different command and control culture,” Martin Libicki, holder of the academy’s Keyser Chair of Cybersecurity Studies, told a live-streamed panel discussion at Annapolis on Cyber Disruption and Disinformation Sept. 29.

Historically, the Navy has put a premium on independent action, “and one of the things navies do to protect themselves against sophisticated adversaries is not communicate. It’s called emissions control. We used to do it a lot in the Cold War, then we forgot it,” he said.

Critical cybersecurity infrastructure: How can countries protect themselves against cyberattacks?

To ensure that during a major cyber attack, people in Germany "can still use railways and receive medical treatment, and that police forces can still operate," the country needs to ramp up its cybersecurity measures, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told government officials from around the world gathered for a conference in Potsdam this week.

"We need stronger and more resilient infrastructure," she said.

Her warning highlighted what officials at the event described as a worrying trend: Countries worldwide report an increase in cyberattacks against some of their critical infrastructure such as power grids, water suppliers, or government agencies — assets so vital to a nation’s security or economy that everything could collapse without them.

The Threats India’s New Aircraft Carrier Will Face

Harshit Prajapati

India’s commissioning of its first indigenously built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, marks a momentous step in its journey to build a formidable navy. The aircraft carrier serving as a mobile airbase enables a country to maintain air superiority in distant waters, away from the range of land-based aircraft. For the modern navies centered around the concept of sea control – like India – a carrier is the prime instrument for projecting power offshore.

However, carriers face constraints in their deployment and operations, especially during wartime. The Indo-Pak War of 1971 and the Falklands War – the only battles involving carriers since the end of World War II – enforce this claim empirically. Therefore, the Vikrant is likely to face constraints in its deployment and operations in an anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) edifice established by China.

The vulnerabilities Vikrant is likely to face are due to structural constraints on its air wing, and the threat from submarines and anti-ship missiles.

The Sino-Indian Border: The Front Line of the Quad

Marcus Andreopoulos

The Quad, rather than a military alliance akin to NATO, has long marketed itself as a forum intent on encouraging greater cooperation between the four democratic member countries of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. The most recent heads of government summit in May 2022, and its resulting joint statement, made this fact abundantly clear, detailing the many ways, aside from the military, in which the bloc of nations hoped to collaborate, from delivering COVID-19 vaccines to addressing climate concerns.

Yet, within such statements, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the veiled messages directed toward China, particularly when discussing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. After all, disputed sovereignty of the Japanese-administered Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, countless points of contention along the 2,167-mile Sino-Indian border, Solomon Island’s closer alignment with Beijing rather than Canberra, and the U.S. role in the ever-escalating issue of Taiwan all firmly direct the individual attention of each Quad nation’s military toward China. Every one of these historic disputes or modern strategic concerns threatens the maintenance of the status quo and must be considered potential catalysts for future conflict.

What Does China Really Want? – OpEd

Collins Chong Yew Keat

The 73rd National Day of China on 1 October brings a new reflection on its global purpose. Its future orientations remain mired in both inevitable challenges and the greatest potential, dictated by the path and spectre of its intention. Its dream of the great Chinese rejuvenation that will signal its comeback to global primacy by 2049, hinges on two indicators. Firstly, is Beijing fully equipped both in its hard and soft power calculations needed to both dislodge America’s position and to readily and capable execute the subsequent obligations? Secondly, will the responses by the other global players apart from the incumbent powers be accepting or otherwise in Beijing’s intent and purpose to create a Chinese led order?

The US and the West were looked up to as the leader and saviour in technological advancement, military dominance and economic progressiveness, with conviction of values and principles during global conflicts and confrontation in the two great wars and the Cold War. The basis of peace, freedom, openness and democracy provided the resonance and hope for large parts of the world during the era of conflicting ideologies.