8 December 2022

The AIIMS cyberattack reflects India’s critical vulnerabilities


The frequency and targets of cyberattacks on India are becoming increasingly serious. Earlier in the month of November, Central Depository Services (India) Limited (CDSL) detected a malware in some of its internal machines though the CSDL claimed that “there is no reason to believe that confidential information or investor data has been compromised.” In the latest such attack, just a week ago, one of India’s top medical institutions—the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi—came under cyberattack. Though India has been paying greater attention to cyber security, the rising number of attacks on India should be very worrying to Indian security managers.

Though India has been paying greater attention to cyber security, the rising number of attacks on India should be very worrying to Indian security managers.

Sustained Cost Declines in Solar PV and Battery Storage Needed to Eliminate Coal Generation in India

Rahul Tongia


Unabated coal power in India must be phased out by mid-century to achieve global climate targets under the Paris Agreement. Here we estimate the costs of hybrid power plants—lithium-ion battery storage with wind and solar PV—to replace coal generation. We design least cost mixes of these technologies to supply stylized baseload and load-following generation profiles in three Indian states—Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu. Our analysis shows that availability of low cost capital, solar PV capital costs of at least $250 kW−1, and battery storage capacity costs at least 50% cheaper than current levels will be required to phase out existing coal power plants. Phaseout by 2040 requires a 6% annual decline in the levelized cost of hybrid systems over the next two decades. We find that replacing coal generation with hybrid systems 99% of the hours over multiple decades is roughly 40% cheaper than 100% replacement, indicating a key role for other low cost grid flexibility mechanisms to help hasten coal phaseout. Solar PV is more suited to pairing with short duration storage than wind power. Overall, our results describe the challenging technological and policy advances needed to achieve the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

Pakistan’s New Army Chief Faces Tough Internal Security Challenges

Abdul Basit

In this Aug. 3, 2021, file photo, Pakistan Army troops observe the area from hilltop post on the Pakistan Afghanistan, in Khyber district, Pakistan.Credit: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File

Pakistan’s new army chief Gen. Asim Munir took office on November 29 amid great political and economic tumult in the country. The risk of economic default is looming over the country again amid shrinking foreign exchange reserves, which currently stand at just $7.4 billion. Political turbulence is likely to increase further in the coming weeks and will challenge the military establishment’s apolitical approach.

The internal security situation is poised to worsen, too. A day before Munir took office, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended the June ceasefire and urged its fighters to carry out attacks across Pakistan. On November 30, a TTP suicide bomber targeted a police van protecting the polio vaccination team in Balochistan.

The Media in Afghanistan: Local Perceptions of Regional Players

Nitika Nayar

In this edition of Sambandh Scholars Speak, Nitika Nayar interviews Hazrat Bahar, on his book chapter, “Image of China in Afghan Media,” published in China and South Asia: Changing Regional Dynamics, Development and Power Play (ed. Rajiv Ranjan and Guo Changgang), Routledge, in 2022.

‘Telling China’s story well’ has become integral to China’s efforts to shape international opinion in support of its global ambitions. There has been a growing body of scholarship in South Asia that examines how China influences local institutions, including the media, to steer domestic narratives in a favourable direction to secure its interests. Much less attention, however, has been paid to how China is reported on and portrayed in these countries. Bahar’s research is a notable exception.

Using a framing conceptual framework to analyse media stories published by mainstream news outlets in Afghanistan, Bahar’s research examines how China is represented by the Afghan media. His findings are based on coverage of China by three news outlets, namely Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN), Hasht e Sobh (HeS), and The Kabul Times (KT), over one year between 2018 and 2019 – a time before the Taliban takeover of Kabul, when the democratic government in power still guaranteed press freedom.

Filling the Geopolitical Void in Central Asia

Bruce Pannier


new era in foreign policy is starting for the five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—in which the role of former colonial master Russia is significantly diminished as Moscow concentrates its attention and resources on the debacle it created when it started a war on Ukraine.

China also has considerable influence in Central Asia, but China has not indicated it is willing to fill the vacuums Russia is leaving in Central Asia’s security, finances, or trade.

The Central Asian states of necessity are seeking new partners, but it is possible that as the Central Asian states develop new foreign partnerships, they will create new divisions regionally, and the case of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is possibly an example of what is come for Central Asia.

Interpreting Chinese Economic Policy: Another Brief Guide

Derek Scissors


China’s economic policymaking receives far more attention than it did 15–20 years ago. The obvious reason is the country is more important to the world. Also, its economy has struggled in various ways since roughly 2014, and announced policy change in China is more frequent. Less obvious, but important in the past few years, is that Chinese companies have seen an influx of foreign capital,1 and foreign analysts are now much more aggressive in touting supposedly meaningful developments.

The additional attention has not translated to additional insight. Instead, as with many assessments of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) economic performance, observers tend to rely on government claims or implicitly treat the economy and financial system as similar to those of the US or EU. Questionable analysis ranges from touting pledged large-scale spending as effective stimulus to anticipating a financial crisis to frequently forecasting that the value of the renminbi is about to plummet.2

Better interpretation would be valuable. Beijing typically insists contemporary indicators are stable, and those official measurements of real-world conditions can be less informative than policy implementation. Monetary and fiscal policy are the PRC’s primary management tools, and data pertaining to them are more reliable than those for economic outcomes. Beyond suggesting how the country’s economy is truly faring, the two tools bear on debt accumulation, a crucial factor in long-term growth.3 Bank lending and value-added taxation are the key individual indicators for them.

With pro-market reform off the table for 15 years and counting,4 policy options are narrow. China’s impressive gross numbers work for and against it, as its economic size now resists course corrections from seemingly large-scale intervention. Outside observers should be skeptical of the impact of apparent policy shifts, such as incentives for inward investment.

China can’t afford to ban Taiwan’s semiconductors

Min-Hua Chiang

In recent years, China has attempted to prevent Taiwan from developing ambitions for independence by enforcing economic embargoes. But Taiwan has grown its manufacturing strength and economic resilience while China has failed to advance its semiconductor industry. It is becoming increasingly clear that Beijing’s ability to wield an economic club over Taiwan has significantly weakened.

In early 2021, China banned the imports of several agricultural products from Taiwan. China’s anger over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022 has led to more products being added to the embargo list. But for Taiwan, China’s import prohibition represents much thunder and little rain.

The agricultural sector only accounts for a small portion of Taiwan’s economy — less than 2 per cent of Taiwan’s gross domestic product. Given the small size of the sector, embargoes are not likely to significantly impact Taiwan’s economy. They are a political gesture that shows the Chinese leadership’s concerns over Taiwan pulling away from the mainland.

The Problem With Zero: How Xi’s Pandemic Policy Created a Crisis for the Regime

Yuen Yuen Ang

The Chinese people’s frustration with their government’s “zero COVID” policy has reached a boiling point. Starting on November 26, protests erupted across multiple cities, with people taking to the streets and demanding an end to harsh lockdowns. Many held up pieces of blank white paper, protesting wordlessly against censorship. A few others went beyond criticizing public health restrictions, taking aim at the authoritarian political system. “We don’t want COVID tests! We want freedom!” a group of demonstrators in Shanghai chanted, repeating words from an earlier lone protestor who unfurled a banner on a bridge in Beijing. It has

Why China Is In Crisis (And Might Never Be A Superpower Afterall)

Doug Bandow

A month ago China’s Xi Jinping reigned triumphantly. He choreographed the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to cement his position as his nation’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. And his rule looked to be forever, or at least as long as he lives.

Rather like Winston Churchill, Xi offered the Chinese people nothing but “blood, toil, tears and sweat,” only on behalf of the ruling party rather than the country. He insisted “that the party will never change in quality, change its color, or change its flavor.”

Yet it is now evident that many Chinese don’t like the CCP’s quality, color, or flavor. The rapid, spontaneous spread of demonstrations against the regime reflected deeply popular dissatisfaction. For a moment people were no longer afraid to speak out. Demonstrators took over the streets in a dozen cities and four score universities and focused their anger on what had become a totalitarian zero-COVID policy. Even more astonishing, people attacked the system – Xi, the CCP, and dictatorship – and called for freedom, democracy, and human rights. As videos of protests flooded forth Beijing’s vast censorship system was overwhelmed.

BRICS and BRI: China Aims for Strategic Alignment



At the 14th Leaders’ Meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries held virtually on 23 June 2022, China dwelt on the issue of expanding the group beyond its five existing members to include more emerging economies. It had first raised the subject during the BRICS Xiamen Summit in September 2017. At a time when China-India relations are at a low point, the proposal has raised concerns in New Delhi. As India deliberates its stance on this contentious issue, it is important to understand China’s approach towards BRICS.

For China, it is the grand strategy that is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that threads its many engagements: BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) where it is not directly a member, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Although BRICS as an entity, has not signed any memorandum of cooperation with the BRI, nor has it ever jointly published any statement of intent about participating in China’s flagship project, in Chinese strategic thinking, the BRI and BRICS are deeply connected.

The humbling of Xi Jinping

Tom Mitchell, Thomas Hale, Sun Yu and Edward White

For Chinese football fans watching World Cup matches on television, the first sign there was something amiss was when they realised they could hear the crowds in the stadium, but could not see them on their screens.

As nationwide protests against President Xi Jinping’s draconian zero-Covid policy gathered pace last weekend, the censors decided it was too embarrassing to see fans enjoying themselves in crowded stadiums in Qatar, with no one wearing a mask. So after every goal, Chinese television feeds focused only on the players and coaches on the pitch and ignored jubilant fans embracing each other in the stands.

It was just one of the many absurdities that, alongside three years of constant lockdowns, mass testing and detention centres for the infected, finally caused public frustrations to boil over.


Ken Klippenstein

IN MID-NOVEMBER, the Biden administration recommended to a U.S. judge that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman be granted immunity in a lawsuit over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The White House immediately sought to distance itself from the decision, insisting that it was an administrative matter handled by the State Department, not the executive office. For its part, the State Department insists the ruling was a consequence of legal precedent. It had nothing to do with the “merits of the case,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said nearly a dozen times in a single press conference.

“This — again, not to sound like a broken record, but this has nothing to do with the merits of the case,” he said. “And this designation stems from the fact that [MBS] is a head of government, which is consistent, long-standing international law, and they have no bearings on the bilateral relationship, on our views of the relationship, and no bearings on the merits of the case as well.”

Given the deference that courts are supposed to show to the government in such cases, the ruling means that the judge is all but certain to dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks to hold the de facto Saudi ruler responsible for Khashoggi’s gruesome murder.

U.S. Not Seeking Decoupling From China, Commerce Chief Says

Yuka Hayashi

WASHINGTON—The U.S. isn’t seeking to decouple from China, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday, even as she emphasized steps the U.S. is taking to safeguard its technology to ensure its economic competitiveness.

Ms. Raimondo spoke Wednesday on U.S. competition with China at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At a briefing with reporters in advance, Ms. Raimondo highlighted the importance of promoting trade and investment in areas outside of core economic and national security interests.

As an example, she pointed to a new Commerce Department initiative to promote American personal care products in China, which she said would generate significant revenue for U.S. businesses and help project America’s soft power through its well-known brands.

“It’s important that we get the bilateral economic relationship right, not just by protecting but also by actively promoting our economic interests in trade,” she told reporters. “We are not seeking the decoupling from China.”

Dispatch from Kherson: Inside Ukraine’s battle to win the infrastructure war

Neil Hauer

When Ukrainian forces swept through Kherson last month, the news ricocheted across the country and the world. It was Ukraine’s greatest success, the first major city to be retaken from the Russians. Celebrations carried into the night among those still left in the battered provincial capital and spread across the country.

Grid visited Kherson just three days after the liberation. The signs of occupation were still fresh: Half-torn Russian propaganda posters hung on billboards throughout the city, proclaiming the city’s return to “its Russian motherland” and that “Russia is here forever.” In the streets, people waved blue and yellow Ukrainian flags — flags they had kept hidden throughout the occupation — and sang the country’s national anthem. Few seemed fazed by the conditions in the city — Russian troops had damaged local water, power and heating infrastructure on their way out — and they hardly budged at the regular sounds of artillery hitting Kherson from Russian positions just a few kilometers away, on the other side of the river.

Can France take on China by itself?

Jonathan Fenton Harvey

Like the United States, France has stressed the need to counter China’s militarization in the South and East China Seas and more widely Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.

President Emmanuel Macron’s first meeting with President Joe Biden this week saw the French premiere pledging to uphold the “unwavering” U.S.-French alliance. This included the two presidents reportedly pledging to continue coordination “regarding China’s challenge to the rules-based international order,” suggesting they will shelve past differences amid mutual concern over Beijing’s rise.

This came on the heels of November’s G20 summit in Bali, where Macron expressed Paris’s aspirations to relaunch its strategy in the region.

But there are differences in the way Washington and Paris want to handle things, as the latter has sought to empower the European Union to counterbalance the apparent regional dominance between China and the United States.

Europeans Have Weapons but Aren’t Warriors

Alexis Carré

Europe’s military leaders have been aware for some time that high-intensity military conflicts and even major wars are a real possibility for the continent. Europe’s gradual rearmament, accelerated by the war in Ukraine, bears witness to that. It would be unfair to say European leaders are unrealistic about the threats they face. But they have made the mistake of believing that a material response to those threats will suffice.

Armaments are only one aspect of Europe’s problem. NATO already has at its disposal military means that are vastly superior to Russia. But that did not stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from carrying out his aggressive plan against Ukraine, which Europe has clearly declared an important interest in.

That was because he understood the moral and political realities behind the veil of material imbalance. Putin knew that, despite its material strength, Europe was incapable of embracing the possibility of an open conflict. The weapons that Europe has at its disposal cannot become a threat to anyone so long as the continent’s democratic societies won’t demonstrate a capacity and determination to make use of them.

US intelligence expects slower pace of Ukraine war to continue

The slowed pace of fighting in Ukraine is set to continue over the next several months and the United States sees no evidence that Ukraine’s will to resist Russia has diminished, despite Moscow’s crippling attacks on the Ukrainian power grid, a senior US intelligence official said.

Avril Haines, director of national intelligence in the Biden administration, also said on Saturday that she believed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been surprised that his military had not achieved more in its war on Ukraine.

“We’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict … and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” Haines told the annual Reagan National Defence Forum in California.

Addressing Climate Change Will Not “Save the Planet”

Christopher Ketcham

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY FINDS itself in a terrifying place today, witness to mass extinction, helpless to stop the march of industrial Homo sapiens, the pillage of habitat, the loss of wildlands, and the impoverishment of ecosystems. Many of its leading figures are in despair. “I’m 40 years into conservation biology and I can tell you we are losing badly, getting our asses kicked,” Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Barack Obama, told me recently. “There are almost no reasons to be optimistic.”

This might explain the discipline’s desperate hitching of its wagon to the climate movement. Climate, after all, is the environmental cause du jour, eclipsing all other sustainability concerns, increasingly attractive as a rallying cry for a public that has canonized it as one of the major political, social, and economic issues of our time. Mainstream climate activism of the Bill McKibben variety points toward a grandly hopeful end within the confines of acceptable capitalist discourse: decarbonization of the global economy, with technologies driven by profit-seeking corporations subsidized by governments. Taking up this banner of optimistic can-do-ism, the environmental movement has convinced itself, and sought to convince the public, that with a worldwide build-out of renewable energy systems, humanity will power its dynamic industrial civilization with jobs-producing green machines while also — somehow — rescuing countless species from the brink.

Science and technology as a tool of power

Paola Fusaro, Nicolas Jouan, Lucia Retter, Benedict Wilkinson

This Perspective examines the UK Government's ambition to use science and technology (S&T) as a tool of power and an integral part of the national security strategy, as stated in the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. The commentary highlights the authors' reflections on critical enablers for a successful realisation of this ambition, including conceptual, practical and financial levers.

First, this commentary considers how, from a conceptual perspective, the objectives and boundaries surrounding the concept of 'S&T superpower' will need to be fleshed out to give the term a unified meaning that can bring together relevant stakeholders and guide implementation. Second, the authors reflect on the fact that, from a practical perspective, the UK government will need to marshal a cohesive S&T strategy and put in place effective policy levers to deliver it. Third, the authors argue that, from a financial perspective, and given its finite resources, the UK government will need to rely on an integrated approach to S&T investments that coheres public and private actors, and nurtures collaborative international partnerships in pursuit of scientific excellence and technological capability, despite barriers to cooperation.

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Better Together: How the Quad Countries Can Operationalise 5G Security



The advent of 5G provides the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—or the Quad of the United States (US), Japan, Australia and India—a unique opportunity to demonstrate how democracies can engage in effective technology collaboration. Recognising the risks that companies like Huawei, which is connected to the Chinese Communist Party, pose to telecommunications networks, each member country of the Quad has taken steps to ensure secure and resilient access to 5G.

Australia, for one, banned Huawei from its 5G rollout in 2018 and did the same with ZTE, citing national security concerns. For its part, the US has been raising concerns about Huawei since 2012, and doubled-down on its efforts in 2019 by adding Huawei to the Entity List.[1] Japan, meanwhile—a long-time leader in the telecommunications space—has accelerated its efforts to create ‘Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN)’, which promote vendor diversification and competition for better solutions. And India took what it called a “step towards the new era” by deploying its first 5G services in select cities in October 2022; it is aiming to extend the network across the country over the next few years.[2] India is unlikely to include Huawei in its networks, given the clash with Chinese forces in Galwan Valley in June 2020[a] and concerns about vendor trustworthiness.[3]

Quad Vadis? A Risk Assessment of the Quad’s Emerging Cybersecurity Partnership



Various countries in the Indo-Pacific region are witnessing an increase in the number and intensity of their cybersecurity threats. Emerging challenges include threats to national security and international supply-chain vulnerabilities as well as the weaponisation of cyberspace by state and non-state actors. Responding to these challenges, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad, comprising India, Australia, Japan, and the United States) is emerging as a key leader in shaping security norms and alignments. As one of several new plurilateral formats in the region, the Quad was initiated to meet growing international challenges in the Indo-Pacific, particularly those pertaining to China’s rise as a great power.[1]

Choosing plurilateral cooperation as a means to achieve national cybersecurity interests bears as many promises as potential pitfalls. The fundamental reasons why plurilateral platforms can prove effective include their flexibility in shaping norms and standards, a relative simplicity of knowledge exchange, the presence of trust-building opportunities, and their possible deterrence effects. On the downside, however, earlier plurilateral platforms have rarely succeeded in shaping international politics in a significant way. From IBSA[2] to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), plurilateral cybersecurity efforts have had little geopolitical impact, if at all. Such previous experiences raise pertinent questions on the resilience of the Quad cybersecurity cooperation and possible challenges the platform is likely to encounter in the next years.


Sam Biddle

TRUST LAB WAS founded by a team of well-credentialed Big Tech alumni who came together in 2021 with a mission: Make online content moderation more transparent, accountable, and trustworthy. A year later, the company announced a “strategic partnership” with the CIA’s venture capital firm.

Trust Lab’s basic pitch is simple: Globe-spanning internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube so thoroughly and consistently botch their content moderation efforts that decisions about what speech to delete ought to be turned over to completely independent outside firms — firms like Trust Lab. In a June 2021 blog post, Trust Lab co-founder Tom Siegel described content moderation as “the Big Problem that Big Tech cannot solve.” The contention that Trust Lab can solve the unsolvable appears to have caught the attention of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm tasked with securing technology for the CIA’s thorniest challenges, not those of the global internet.

“I’m suspicious of startups pitching the status quo as innovation.”

Irregular War's War on Thinking About War

CDR Salamander

Building a coherent intellectual foundation of an effective military force to be ready to defend the nation and its interests never ends. As a levee against a large and turbulent river must be constantly monitored, maintained, and reinforced – so too must support for reasoned, reality-based, up-to-date, and sound arguments continue against the constant erosion from doe-eyed “war is new” and sharper “this is my hobby horse” idea/concept sellers looking to grow an empire or to reinforce their world view.

For every “New Model Army,” “AirLand Battle” or “War Plan Orange,” there is a “New Look” or “Transformationalism.”

Let me just put this marker out there: what we call “Irregular Warfare” is about as “Regular Warfare” as can be. There is nothing “new” here. There is nothing “exciting” here … but there is danger in selling it too hard or worse, bureaucratize the entire concept.

Defense Budget Transparency and the Cost of Military Capability

Elaine McCusker

Executive Summary
As the defense budget approaches $1 trillion per year in the next decade, the public and policymakers should be prepared to discuss what constitutes national security and what national security actually costs.

The definition of national security, and thereby defense, has expanded to include numerous nondefense federal functions and missions. As a result, the Pentagon and its budget have become an “easy button” to address problems that are not part of the defense core mission and function. Some of these activities may seem small in the scheme of the overall budget, and many are worthy efforts. However, they artificially inflate the defense budget and distract from true defense priorities.

As national policymakers continue to insist on budget agreements that mandate parity between defense and nondefense accounts in discretionary spending, which are the appropriations other than entitlements and government debt service, they are looking at an inaccurate picture of that balance from the start. If the data underpinning this first assumption are incomplete, masked, or just plain wrong, all the assumptions and decisions that follow will be flawed.

U.S. Military Bases Are Literally Falling Apart

Mackenzie Eaglen

Today, the US Navy maintains some of their fifth-generation fighters with advanced avionics in pre-first-generation—World War II—aviation maintenance facilities. One naval air station in the U.S. has power for just two of their eight hangar bays for aircraft upkeep.

This is due to more than one-third of the Navy’s aviation depot square footage having been built in the 1940s, according to the GAO. The same organization found that outdated facilities have “electrical systems built for different weapon systems, historical preservation requirements, and suboptimal layouts.” Their bottom line: it is difficult to maintain complex, modern weapon systems with facilities that were designed for less complex systems.

Seems pretty obvious. Yet the US military’s hangers, barracks, motor pools and depots that help keep the military running and ensure readiness are falling apart. One of the primary reasons for this is that money for facilities is a favored “bill payer” when budgets are squeezed.

Realising the promise of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy in R&D and exports

Rebecca Lucas, Lucia Retter, Benedict Wilkinson

The UK's Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) published in March 2021 marked a meaningful shift in the UK's defence industrial policy. The new strategy dispensed with several core principles for defence acquisition that had been the backbone of UK defence industrial policy over much of the last decade, principally the 'competition by default' from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2012 National Security Through Technology White Paper.

Instead, the DSIS represented a real effort to bring defence acquisition in line with wider UK defence policy by incorporating key concepts from the cross-government Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. Prominent examples include the language of achieving 'strategic advantage through science and technology' (S&T), as well as an emphasis on promoting prosperity and wider social value. Importantly, the DSIS also recognised the defence sector as a strategic capability in its own right.

This Perspective provides a brief overview of the core principles of the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) published in March 2021, before reflecting in more detail on two aspects underpinning the Strategy's assumptions: research and development (R&D) and exports. This commentary draws on a body of RAND Europe research on the UK defence industrial base, R&D and technology and provides the authors' reflective perspective on areas of emerging challenges for DSIS implementation

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The Russo-Ukrainian War and the Principles of Urban Operations

Amos C. Fox

The Russo-Ukrainian War provides an overwhelming amount of information for the curious researcher and analyst. Wading through the information is a daunting task because of the surfeit of open-source information. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that much of the conflict’s detailed information, to include policy decisions, military strategies, planning documents, casualty counts, and detailed accounts of battles, are secreted away in secure information storage networks.


To not fall victim to the traps of incomplete information, this paper analyzes the conflict’s urban operations at arm’s length and does not over-infer from existing information on tactical activity. This paper broadly examines urban operations in Ukraine through the lens of DOTMLPF-P (doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel, facilities, and policy). This paper does not examine the entire scope of DOTMLPF-P, but uses the conflict’s character to examine Western doctrine, training, and organization considerations. This paper does not use every urban battle from the conflict, but instead focuses on the battle of Kyiv and the siege of Mariupol as data points.

Strong Deterrence Enables U.S. to Ensure Global Rules, Rights

C. Todd Lopez

With many hotspots around the globe creating uncertainty, the United States will need more than the assistance of Congress and American industry to build, maintain and strengthen the deterrent capability needed to defend democracy and maintain a free and open global world order.

"These next few years will set the terms of our competition with the People's Republic of China, and they will shape the future of security in Europe, and they will determine whether our children and grandchildren inherit an open world of rules and rights, or whether they face emboldened autocrats who seek to dominate by force and fear," said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III during a keynote presentation Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

Deterrence is at the heart of the National Defense Strategy, which the Defense Department released just last month, Austin said.

Putin’s Disaster: The Russian Military Is Bleeding To Death In Ukraine

Stavros Atlamazoglou

For the Russian military, the month of November was the deadliest in the war in Ukraine so far.

According to the official Ukrainian numbers, the Russian forces lost more than 15,000 troops killed and hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces, and other weapon systems in the past 30 days or so.
Russian Casualties in November in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense assesses that in November alone, its forces killed more than 16,400 troops, which means that the Ukrainians wounded between 32,800 and 49,000 Russians, if we go off from the standard one killed for three wounded formula.

Moreover, the Ukrainians claim to have destroyed or captured 371 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 286 vehicles and fuel tanks, 216 tanks, 172 artillery pieces, 147 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 134 cruise missiles, 13 anti-aircraft batteries, 12 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 9 special equipment platforms, 4 fighter, bomber, and transport aircraft, and 4 helicopters.

How Argentina Came to Love Lionel Messi at the World Cup

I have to confess, not without shame, that I slept through the first game Argentina played in this year’s World Cup, in Qatar. When I woke up on Tuesday, at 6:30 a.m., I found my husband and my son in front of the TV, staring at the screen in a weird silence. The impossible had happened: Argentina, the country we are from, was losing to Saudi Arabia. The final score in what the Times called “one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history” was 2–1. I drove a bereaved eleven-year-old to school that morning. When I asked if he was O.K., as I dropped him off, he replied that he would be if we won the following games. I knew that everyone in Argentina was feeling the same pain, and an image of every town in the country drowning in sadness followed me through the day.

Four days later, in a match against Mexico, when Lionel Messi, playing for Argentina, scored the first goal, in the sixty-fourth minute of the game, my husband and son cheered jubilantly. On the screen, Messi ran toward stands draped in blue and white, the colors of the Argentinean flag, his arms stretched open, his face pure joy. His teammates mobbed him, while the fans burst into screams and tears. Argentina went on to win 2–0, escaping elimination. What else is winning in soccer? Winning is to be loved.