17 November 2022

Biden Sees No Imminent Invasion of Taiwan by China

Katie Rogers and Chris Buckley

BALI, Indonesia — President Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, met for nearly three hours to hash out some of the thorniest issues in their relationship, including tensions over Taiwan, the economy and a return to climate negotiations.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi made a cautious promise to try to improve a relationship that is at its most rancorous point in decades, and he pledged to send his top envoy to China soon.

Mr. Biden warned Mr. Xi that China’s aggressive stance toward Taiwan threatened stability in the region and could ultimately jeopardize the global economy. Mr. Xi replied that Taiwan’s independence was as incompatible to peace and stability as “fire and water.”

Socialized Medicine Is No Cure: Britain's Broken Benefit System

Andrew Ash

"Since the general civilisation of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by silent & gradual encroachment of power than by violence & sudden usurpations." — James Madison

"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine." — Ronald Reagan

Winning the hearts and minds of society is arguably easier to achieve by promising hand-outs. Also, especially in the age of rapid communication, emotion sells -- a handy method for sneaking political takeovers through the back door. So, when it comes to something as fraught with emotion as medicine, it is difficult to argue the downsides for fear of appearing heartless.

This may be a least one reason that socialists seem to think they have the monopoly on altruism. Claiming that conservatives are less compassionate because many basic needs are not offered for free can miss the point. Too often what is offered are words; what is actually ends up being delivered may be sorely lacking -- as disillusioned citizens in places such as Venezuela and Cuba have found out the hard way.

An American strategy for the Indo-Pacific in an age of US-China competition

Richard C. Bush, Tanvi Madan, Mireya Solís, Jonathan Stromseth

The United States is a leading Indo-Pacific power with an abiding interest in sustaining a strong alliance network and maintaining a free and open regional order that delivers peace, stability, and economic prosperity. The Indo-Pacific is a dynamic region experiencing a rewiring of the lines of security and economic cooperation, as minilateral networks continue to grow and mega trade agreements take hold. The most significant development in the Indo-Pacific is the emergence of China as a peer competitor to the United States. Chinese actions that undermine vital U.S. interests include the use of coercion — whether in the form of gray-zone tactics, political interference, economic pressure, or military force — to weaken the U.S. alliance system in Asia, press unilateral territorial claims, and settle international disputes with disregard to international law. China also seeks to undermine democratic resilience in the region and incorporate Taiwan into the People’s Republic of China, even though its people reject the terms offered.

To sustain U.S. interests and efforts in the Indo-Pacific, we offer three sets of recommendations:Deepening alliances, partnerships, and coalitions. The U.S. should deepen its security alliances, enhance minilateral cooperation initiatives such as the Quad, engage actively with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its individual members, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam; deepen relations with India; and redouble efforts to promote trilateral U.S.-Japan-Korea collaboration.

Speculative Design: Welcome to Kaspersky’s Earth 2050

Daniel Pereira

“From cities and transport to food and wearables, design fiction spawns projects that are not only food for our dreams but also an incentive for a better future.”

Speculative Design: “a design practice that is concerned with future design proposals of a critical nature. The term “speculative design” was popularised by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby as a subsidiary of critical design. The aim is not to present commercially driven design proposals but to design proposals that identify and debate crucial issues that might happen in the future. Speculative design is concerned with future consequences and implications of the relationship between science, technology, and humans. It problematizes this relation by proposing provocative future design scenarios where technology and design implications are accentuated. These provocative design proposals are meant to trigger the debate about future challenges. Speculative design proposals might seem subversive and irreverent in nature as they are meant to initiate discussions not to be market products.” (1). For more, see the work of Syd Mead.

As the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) meets in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, we dedicate this installment of the Speculative Design Series to the future of the planet.

Macron: France’s new strategic review to meet ‘dangerous moment’ in the world


PARIS — France’s new strategic review, designed to inform the 2024-2030 military program law (MPL) due to be submitted to parliamentarians early next year, was presented by President Emmanuel Macron in a major speech aboard the Dixmude helicopter landing ship in the Mediterranean port of Toulon.

Speaking for nearly 45 minutes Wednesday to an audience largely made up of military personnel, Macron explained that the MPL “will, through its articles, figures and engagements, have to paint a picture of a united, strong France, autonomous in its appreciations and sovereign in its decisions, robust and credible, respected for its status as a nuclear-power, motor of European strategic autonomy, an exemplary ally in the Euro-Atlantic space, a dependable and credible partner.”

Aboard the newest of the French navy’s three Mistral-class helicopter landing ships (the biggest vessels in the navy after the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier), the president remarked that “the period is not one of calm weather but stormy seas.” And while France’s 2017 edition of the review was updated just last year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced a more radical rethinking.

Preparing for a Post-Quantum Future

Michael J. D. Vermeer

Future quantum computers could create a significant national security risk by enabling attackers to break a foundational element of security in America's networked communication infrastructure. The federal government is engaged in a multi-pronged, coordinated response to address the risks, but the task is just beginning.

Quantum computers may one day break the security behind the current approach to public key cryptography. In 2015, the National Security Agency (NSA) sounded the alarm and announced plans to transition to new quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms. Shortly afterward, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began a multi-year project to standardize such algorithms, calling it post-quantum cryptography (PQC). In 2020, a RAND report explored the national security risks associated with quantum computing and the challenges with transitioning to quantum-safe algorithms, and offered recommendations to the U.S. government to mitigate risk. The report recommended a whole-of-government approach to facilitate and incentivize a migration to PQC, with an emphasis on improving cryptographic agility.

Biotechnology and Today's Warfighter

Timothy Marler and Daniel M. Gerstein

Biotechnology has a broad and often misunderstood scope, one with significant implications for today's warfighter. In many respects, biotechnology—and the bioeconomy more broadly—is still an emerging field, and this can exacerbate the already limited understanding of their scope. Despite a 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study that characterized the bioeconomy (PDF) as more than five percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (or $959.2 billion) in 2016, it is relatively young and often ill defined. It may have far greater potential than even these impressive totals would suggest. Furthermore, just as the technology is emerging, so too are the definitions that govern these areas. Fundamentally, however, biotechnology involves the manipulation of living organisms or their components to produce useful products. Meanwhile, the broader term, bioeconomy, is based on products, services, and processes derived from biological resources (PDF).

In addition to an unclear definition, public awareness (PDF), understanding, and acceptance (PDF) of biotechnology may sometimes be insufficient, and this presents yet another confounding factor. It makes gaining attention for these issues and developing proactive policies challenging. Policymakers may also underestimate what biotechnology entails or how important it can be. Yet, the field can provide a wide range of opportunities to the United States while also presenting challenges and risks. Mitigating these risks and capitalizing on the opportunities could provide substantial competitive advantages for the United States—but only if we better understand what biotechnology is.

Array Of Sensors, Unmanned Systems Creating Data Headaches For Army Commanders


As the U.S. Army fields more advanced technologies in greater numbers, its commanders are on the receiving end of an increasingly powerful firehose of data. It's not necessarily a bad problem to have, senior leaders say, but managing all of that information is critical to operating in a more distributed environment where the service foresees future conflict, like in the vast Pacific region where the "battlefield" could stretch thousands of miles.

With modern unmanned systems, particularly networked flocks of uncrewed aircraft, remote sensors, and satellites, relatively few personnel can draw enormous reams of data about enemy positions and capabilities. Data from various sources can then feed it into a coalition network where the most appropriate available force can act upon it, but commanders must be able to make sense of it all.

Deepfakes are Russia’s new 'weapon of war'

Paul Szoldra

ABOUT A MONTH AGO, Michael McFaul, a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, issued a strange warning. He claimed someone was impersonating him using a phone number with a Washington, D.C. area code, trying to speak with associates on a video call.

“You will see an AI-generated ‘deep fake’ that looks and talks like me,” he said on Twitter, using a term coined in 2017 to describe imagery that has been deceptively edited to alter a person’s identity. The tech has been used to place Vladimir Putin on SNL for laughs among other amusements. Scammers have pretended to be CEOs and Navy admirals to trick people out of cash. But this seemed different; it was a live video call.

“It is not me,” McFaul said. “This is a new Russian weapon of war. Be careful.”

McFaul later said he wasn’t entirely sure who was behind the calls. But given his passionate support of Ukraine in its fight to eject Russia after eight years of war, he believed it was “obviously designed to undermine Ukraine’s diplomatic and war efforts.”

Army Will Fire Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles From Robots & Drive 10-Truck Robotic Convoys


(Washington, D.C.) The Army is preparing to fire Javelin Anti-Tank missiles from 7-ton robots able to surveil forward, high-threat areas, find and track enemy targets such as tanks and heavy armored vehicles and fire weapons when directed by a human.

In a recent Army demonstration at Fort Hood, Texas, soldiers tested the technology to eventually fire Javelins and .50-cal machine guns from robotic vehicle prototypes during a series of war preparation and weapons development exercises.

“We just finished our second large scale operational soldier evaluation done at Fort Hood, Texas, we had 12 robotic platforms with six control vehicles. It's a culmination of about four years of activity. This really, really is a huge learning opportunity for the Army to understand how combat robotics can inform future decisions on how we buy material and how we fight,” 

As part of the evaluation, Army weapons developers placed armed robots in the hands of soldiers to assess weapons, refine tactics and help fast-track a new class of Robotic Combat Vehicles to war. The service is moving forward with three variants, a RCV-Light, RCV-Medium and RCV-Heavy, and each robotic vehicle variant is being developed for a complex, interwoven set of unmanned missions. These include manned-unmanned teaming efforts wherein forward ground drones or robotic vehicles perform reconnaissance and scout missions, deliver supplies and ammo or actually track and destroy targets themselves when directed by a human.

Will The West Point Superintendent Show Courage And Do The Right Thing?

John Hughes

This timeless wisdom from General Douglas MacArthur is both sage and sorely needed counsel for modern American general officers. Twice, MacArthur and officers of his caliber saved the country and the world from tyranny in wars that engulfed the entire world. Though charismatic, he had relevance in US military operations from WW1 to the Korean war not just because of his technical ability to command armies but also because of his moral fiber as a leader. On April 11, 1951, President Truman fired General MacArthur for his public statements regarding how the revered general thought the Korean War should be fought. Taking a stand cost MacArthur his command and his career, but highlighted what was special about one of America’s most famous generals. He was willing to risk his career for what he believed in. That altruistic belief was not about personal promotion or cushy post-military employment (goals that corrupt too many general officers of today). His concern was about the nation. It was about the troops in his command and winning a war.

Fast forward to 2022. The new breed of generals and admirals advance through the ranks but very few if any will be remembered in the history books decades from now. None have been ‘mavericks’ arguing for any new methods of warfare. They presided over a disaster in Afghanistan where no senior leaders were fired or held accountable. A political ideology has consumed the branches of service with little to no pushback from senior military leaders. Nearly 15,000 military servicemembers have been booted from the ranks for a controversial vaccine mandate. From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to Service Chiefs to senior commanders to academy Superintendents, generals and admirals have obediently and faithfully executed the bidding of political masters to the detriment of the force. Recruiting and retention levels are at crisis levels. US military strategic deterrent is a disaster. Admiral Charles Richard recently stated, “We used to know how to move fast, and we have lost the art of that,” the admiral added. The military talks “about how we are going to mitigate our assumed eventual failure” to field new ballistic submarines, bombers or long-range weapons, instead of flipping the question to ask: “What’s it going to take? Is it money? Is it people? Do you need authorities?” That’s “how we got to the Moon by 1969.”

The Retreat from Kherson

Seth Cropsey

The War’s Next Phase Will Be Bloody

Russia’s announced withdrawal from Kherson has initiated a new phase of the war. Out of it come several considerations. Operationally, Ukraine has an opportunity to press retreating Russian forces and destroy them. Strategically, Ukraine must now consider its next offensive steps. And politically, the US and its allies cannot mistake temporary success for long-term strategic stability. Fundamentally, the war’s military factors still militate against a political resolution. If Ukraine is to negotiate a peace favorable to it and the West, the war must continue to a strategic equilibrium.

The Paradoxes of War

Russia’s retreat from Kherson is the greatest Ukrainian victory thus far of the war. It demonstrates the long-term viability of Ukraine’s anti-logistical strategy of corrosion. The terrain and unit frontage in Kherson Oblast made major frontal assaults extremely costly. Hence Ukraine, just as it did in the Donbas, targeted Russian logistics, employing long-range rocket artillery to degrade Russian supply depots far behind the front line, and to hit the bridges over the Dnieper so vital to Russian sustainment.

Saudi Oil Assets At High Risk From New Missile Strikes

Simon Watkins

According to several local and international news sources, Saudi Arabia has informed the U.S. of an imminent attack from Iran. This warning follows a report on Iranian state television showing Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, telling a group of students marking the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that the modern U.S. is “very vulnerable” and that the country is no longer the world’s dominant power. These comments come at a time as well when Iran has been gripped by a wave of popular unrest following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, and when Iran has been censured by the U.S. for supplying drones to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine. What seems to have gone largely unnoticed, though, is that plans were already underway for Iran to launch such a strike against Saudi Arabia back at the beginning of October through its usual channel for such attacks – the Yemeni Houthis – against whom Saudi Arabia (together with support from the UAE, among others) has been fighting a de facto war since 2015. It is not, therefore, a question of whether such an attack will take place against Saudi Arabia, but rather, when, and what will the ramifications of it be?

There are comments from the Houthis themselves, in early October, about what they are going to do, and precedents of their previous Iran-backed attacks on Saudi Arabia to work with. Back on 2 October, Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Saree, wrote: “If the Saudi and Emirati [UAE] coalition continue to deprive our Yemeni people access to their resources, our military forces can, with God’s help, deprive them of their resources.” He added: “As long as the American-Saudi aggression countries are not committed to a truce that gives the Yemeni people the right to exploit their oil wealth in favour of the salary of the Yemeni state employees, the armed forces give oil companies operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to organize their situation and leave.” These comments focusing on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure – the only basis of its global power and the money-making engine that allows it to fight its ongoing war against the Houthis – perfectly align with the targets of previous Houthi attacks on the country. Unfortunately for the Houthis, and for the global industrialised economies that are already trying to deal with rising inflation driven in large part by historically elevated oil and gas prices, such attacks have previously pushed oil prices higher in the short-term. Provided that the Houthi attacks did not completely obliterate Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, which is almost impossible, given their wide dispersal across the country, then Saudi Arabia would benefit ultimately from these higher oil prices, as would Russia, and as would Iran. Only the Houthis would not.Related: Saudi Arabia Cuts Oil Prices For Asia

From Afghanistan to Colombia, the War on Terror Has Failed

Matthew Petti

Lisette is frustrated with her job as a war correspondent in Afghanistan, where she has spent years trying to alert an apathetic American public to their country’s failing war effort. “I remember Raul telling me to find another war, one we’re winning. So I type one sentence, ‘Are there any wars right now where we’re not losing?’” she narrates. “And within 15 minutes he responds with one word. ‘Colombia.’”

So begins the second act of Phil Klay’s 2020 novel “Missionaries.” The book’s characters are the soldiers, mercenaries, journalists and humanitarian do-gooders on the front lines of U.S. counterinsurgency campaigns around the world. Lisette follows some of her special forces contacts from the Middle East to Latin America, where they are helping manage Colombia’s campaign to bring communist rebels to heel.

“Missionaries” is more than a work of fiction. It is a human-scale portrayal of the way U.S. counterinsurgency tactics have moved back and forth across the globe. Latin American battlefields — particularly Colombia — were indeed a laboratory for developing tactics later exported to Muslim countries. Sometimes, the same military officers fought in both parts of the world, swapping tactics; other times, U.S. administrations copied and pasted strategies wholesale. In some instances, the real-life results were more convoluted and brutal than anything Klay depicted in his novel.

Three Fronts

Edward Lucas

Ukraine’s liberation of Kherson comes six weeks early. Western intelligence estimates in September were that it would take until Christmas before the Russians were forced out of the only provincial capital they have occupied. Russian generals badly need a pause, to regroup and refit their battered and demoralized forces, and find boots, orders, and instructors for the newly mobilized reserves. But Ukrainian commanders are in no mood to stop. Options abound. The “land bridge” to Crimea along the north coast of the Sea of Azov is now in range of Ukrainian missile strikes. So too is the peninsula itself. Putin’s great trophy now looks like a hostage. Defending its infrastructure, supply lines, and naval and military bases there will be a persistent headache.

The victory is a game-changer on another battlefield: the contest in the West between sympathy, timidity, and fatigue. The outcome is clear. Contrary to the naysayers’ predictions, military and other support for Ukraine has proved neither futile, nor insanely risky, nor prohibitively costly.

Indeed, we clearly should have done much more and done it much earlier. The lack of contrition or even reflection about this in the West is striking. The price of dithering is that tens of thousands of people are dead, with many times that number maimed and millions of lives blighted. The bill for physical destruction is already close to a trillion dollars, let alone the cost of missed opportunities to deal with climate change, famine, and natural disasters elsewhere. We may be waiting for some time for an epiphany about these failures. But at least the obvious lesson is to do more now.

Can the Ukraine war now end only with Russia’s defeat?

Lawrence Freedman

Russia’s recent military setbacks have led to hopes that the war might be over sooner rather than later, bringing an end to both the continuing death and destruction and the global economic disruption it has caused. What had appeared to be a rather slow-moving confrontation is now more dynamic. In one key respect Ukraine’s successful offensive, in which Kyiv has recaptured thousands of square kilometres of eastern territory in a matter of days, has brought peace a little closer. The only conditions for a stable peace involve Russia withdrawing its forces from Ukraine. The prospect of further battlefield humiliations should encourage the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to seek a dignified exit.

Whether he will is another matter. It was clear what Putin wanted when he started this war: a compliant regime in Kyiv that would accept Ukraine’s subjugation. Once the February invasion faltered he could not achieve this. There were negotiations in March, which fizzled out completely in April, that addressed the issue of Ukrainian neutrality. On that, the talks seemed to make some progress, but they did not sort out what neutrality would mean in practice, especially in the light of Russia’s demand for Ukraine’s demilitarisation. Nor did they fully address the territorial issues.

The enduring power of war memorialsFrom magazine issue

This Sunday, in my village of Etchingham, East Sussex, we will gather around our war memorial. It is a fine monument, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, with the names of the dead inscribed around an octagonal base. There are no famous names upon it: indeed, there is only one commissioned officer, a Second Lieutenant (who had once been a commercial clerk, working from the age of 14). The rest were mostly young farm labourers: the oldest, aged 44, had been a ‘domestic chauffeur’.

The rural working classes leave little in the way of records. These men left no ‘voices of the Great War’. But though mute, they are not inglorious; and one of the most eloquent writers of the era spoke on their behalf. On 28 April 1920, in ‘rain, sleet and bitter wind’, Rudyard Kipling made the speech at the unveiling of the memorial.

It seems fitting to read the speech out again this year, to mark the restoration of the memorial with money from the War Memorials Trust. The Clipsham stonework has been cleaned and repaired and is golden again, as it was on that rainy day in 1920. The work was done by Gordon Newton: war memorials, old and new, have been his life’s calling.

Short of War: Is the World Ready to Defend Taiwan?

Sze Hong Lam Wei Azim Hung

For the first time, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) constitution stipulates its intention to oppose and deter separatists seeking Taiwanese independence. The revised charter takes a more aggressive stance than the language adopted at the 19th National Congress in 2017, which set out to strengthen the unity among all groups within China “to facilitate national unification.” However, the language from the 20th National Congress is arguably nothing new. In March 2005, the 10th National Congress enacted the Anti-Secession Law of which Article 8 states that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures…” in the event that

“Taiwan independence” secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan’s secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted.

America Did Not Cause Afghanistan’s Collapse

Arwin Rahi

The Afghans who benefitted from U.S. presence in Afghanistan have been bashing Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, ever since he signed the Doha Agreement with the Taliban on February 29, 2020, which paved the way for the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. The government of President Ashraf Ghani collapsed less than eighteen months after the signing of the agreement and the Afghans accuse Khalilzad—acting on behalf of the U.S. government—of betraying the former Afghan government (or the Republic, as some call it), and facilitating the Taliban’s return to power. Had the United States not signed the Doha Agreement, the argument goes, the Ghani government would still be in power today.

But the rage directed toward the United States for the Taliban’s return to power is unjustified, albeit understandable, given how a small segment of the Afghan population—mainly based in Kabul—benefitted from the American presence. Many of the Kabul-based, pro-U.S. Afghans who enabled the U.S. presence in Afghanistan—such as former warlords and government officials, and Afghans with dual citizenship or work experience with foreigners—have already been evacuated from the country. It is mostly these above-named Afghans that are trying to shape the narrative that the United States in general and Khalilzad, in particular, are responsible for the Taliban’s swift comeback to power.

Islamic State-Khorasan’s Transition Into a Transregional Threat

Atal Ahmadzai

The rise of the Taliban to power did not bring peace to Afghanistan. Quite the reverse, different forms of political violence have either continued or emerged, including the Taliban regime’s extrajudicial executions, the anti-Taliban armed resistance, and the indiscriminate and targeted violence of the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP). The latter is a cross-regional subsidiary of the previously Iraq and Syria-based Islamic State in the broader historical Khorasan region, which encompasses parts of modern Western, South, and Central Asia. Despite expanding the scope of its operations in these regions since the fall of Kabul in 2021, much information about ISKP is contradictory.

The Taliban regime has continued to downplay the threat of ISKP and claim that they have rooted the organization out in Afghanistan. Similarly, some Western experts assert that the threat of ISKP is modest or is in decline. Regional and global actors, such as Russia, China, and India, as well as U.S. intelligence sources, on the other hand, warn about the growing tentacles of ISKP in the surrounding regions. The striking contrast in insights about the capabilities and potential of ISKP has been persistent. In addition, each stance assumes the truth of the conclusion.

For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test

Lara Jakes

Three months ago, as Ukrainian troops were struggling to advance against Russian forces in the south, the military’s headquarters in Kyiv quietly deployed a valuable new weapon to the battlefield.

It was not a rocket launcher, cannon or another kind of heavy arms from Western allies. Instead, it was a real-time information system known as Delta — an online network that military troops, civilian officials and even vetted bystanders could use to track and share desperately needed details about Russian forces.

The software, developed in coordination with NATO, had barely been tested in battle.

But as they moved across the Kherson region in a major counteroffensive, Ukraine’s forces employed Delta, as well as powerful weaponry supplied by the West, to push the Russians out of towns and villages they had occupied for months.

A Year After Taliban Takeover Afghan Women are Prisoners in Their Homeland


Almost exactly a year ago, the last American troops left Afghanistan and the Taliban regained full control of the country. Since then, Afghanistan has descended into worsening poverty, repression, particularly of women and girls, and international isolation, underscored by the killing last week of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri by an American drone strike in Kabul.

Azra Jafari, an Afghan politician and human rights activist, who was the sole woman co-author of the country's 2003 constitution and in 2008 became her nation's first female mayor, has watched all this from exile in the U.S. with growing despair. "We were a working democracy for 20 years and during this 20 years we were hopeful," she tells Newsweek. "Now, we have nothing. What we worked on for 20 years is reduced to nothing."

Despite an initial public relations push to depict themselves as more moderate than during the 1990s, since retaking power the Taliban have banned women and girls from schools and most workplaces outside their homes. Their dress, speech and movements are tightly restricted. In the worsening economic situation, some poor families have resorted to selling their young daughters into arranged marriages. Arbitrary arrests, disappearances, torture and killings of men and women are widespread. Without an organized pressure campaign from the United States and its allies, Jafari says, nothing will change.

At Project Convergence, data management is Army’s biggest challenge


FT. IRWIN, Cali. — In the past, Army leaders have lamented the lack of data on hand and the inability for what information they had to break across stovepipes. Which makes the big finding out of this year’s Project Convergence experiments an ironic one: the service, officials say, now has too much data to work with. And now Army leadership has to figure out how to better manage it before they drown.

Speaking to reporters Nov. 9 at the “Scenario Bravo” demonstration of Project Convergence, an annual experiment meant to build out the Pentagon’s broader Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said “the problem is not a lack of data, you know, we’re now able to tap into a huge volume of data.”

“So a lot of the challenge is going to be figuring out how…we process that as quickly as we can,” she continued. “And I think we did see some real…improvements in terms of how quickly we were able to take information and change it into sort of what I would call more actionable knowledge.”

Can the Army’s robotics programs build AI the Silicon Valley way?


WASHINGTON — Cost overruns and schedule slips abound in the defense business, but at least the Pentagon has plenty of experience building physical weapons. By contrast, training AI algorithms takes very different skills, which the Defense Department and its traditional contractors largely lack.

That’s why it’s worth noting that, this morning, a small Silicon Valley company called Applied Intuition announced it had won a contract — brokered by the Pentagon’s embassy in the Valley, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), using its streamlined Commercial Solutions Opening process — to provide software tools for the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle program (RCV). (This contract complements the Army’s existing deals with Qinetiq and Textron to build prototypes). While pocket change by Pentagon procurement standards, with a maximum spend of $49 million over two years, Applied’s contract could help bring private-sector innovation in self-driving vehicles to the armed forces.

“Commercial industry has a leg up on this, because they’ve invested a tremendous amount into these efforts,” said David Michelson, a former Army infantryman who now manages autonomous systems for DIU. “The industry also understands how to deploy this stuff and how to get these systems and software actually out in the real world.”

Father of Pentium chip Dham says India will start chip-making in a year

Prasid Banerjee

NEW DELHI : Vinod Dham has signed up to be one of the advisers to the government’s India Semiconductor Mission (ISM). He, along with a group of individuals, will oversee proposals from firms looking to build semiconductor plants in India under the government’s production-linked incentive (PLI). In an interview, Dham, known as the father of the Intel Pentium chip, said he sees great progress on the country’s chip plans and expects some movement to happen within a year. Edited excerpts:

What is different about India’s chip push this time around?

There were actually no trials in the past—there were isolated attempts by private individuals, mostly from abroad, who would work with states, never with the federal government, to launch a fab. It did not materialize for the obvious reason that there are lots of factors involved in building a fab—not just building a fab, but you need to build an entire ecosystem. I know it because I was invited to be a figurehead in those activities many times.


Quantum computing is heating up, as a growing number of entities race to benchmark, stabilize, and ultimately commercialize this technology. As of July 2021, a group from China appears to have taken the lead in terms of raw performance, but IBM, Intel, and other quantum computing developers aren’t far behind. All of that could change overnight, though. At this point, it’s too early to declare a winner in quantum computing, a technology that promises to outperform today’s conventional supercomputers. Google, IBM, Intel, and other quantum computing developers aren’t standing still, and are aggressively devising faster processors. It’s too early to declare a winner, as the technology is still in its infancy. But when it comes down to IBM vs Intel, who will become the Quantum computing leader of the future?

The Basics of Quantum Computing

Quantum computers process data using qubits (represent the probability that their observed state will be either 1 or 0) as opposed to classical computers that use bits (represent a value of either 1 or 0).