13 December 2022

China’s Super Hydropower Dam and Fears of Sino-Indian Water Wars

Genevieve Donnellon-May

In November 2020, Beijing announced plans to build an enormous “super hydropower dam” in Tibet on a section of the Brahmaputra River near India. The construction of what would be the world’s biggest dam on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo river in the foothills of the Himalayas was included in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), which sets out the country’s national socio-economic and development goals.

Although the exact details are not publicly available, media reports note that Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE), and the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government will construct a 50-meter-high hydropower dam on the Great Bend of the Brahmaputra, in Medog, Tibet, near the Indian border. The dam is expected to generate 60 gigawatts of electricity annually – more than three times the electricity produced by the Three Gorges Dam.

India has responded to the proposed dam with great alarm and remains seriously concerned. Delhi has also announced that it is considering constructing a 10-gigawatt dam to mitigate the impact on water flows from China’s mega project.

Taliban Turn to Shariah to Justify Executions, But It’s Not That Simple

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

On Wednesday, December 7, most of the Taliban regime’s top leaders, including their diplomatic officials, took center stage in a soccer stadium in the Western province of Farah. The event was not related to soccermania induced by the ongoing World Cup in Qatar. Instead, the Taliban leadership and hundreds of spectators were in the stadium to witness the brutal execution of a person.

According to eyewitness accounts, the Taliban asked people to attend the public execution of two men and the stoning to death of a woman. However, and thankfully, due to undisclosed reasons the stoning either did not happen or was carried out in a more discreet location, and only one man was executed. After the execution, the regime’s spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, announced that the Taliban had acted righteously under divine law.

At a time when the regime is seeking international recognition to lessen the prevailing humanitarian, political, and security crises Afghanistan faces, the return of the regime to the barbarity of public executions and stonings to death challenges such efforts. However, the group may resort to concepts of jurisdictional sovereignty and cultural relativism, i.e. Shariah or Islamic law, to justify their barbarity. Already, Mujahid suggested that those who criticized the execution “still do not have a proper knowledge and understanding of Afghanistan.”

Islamic State Khorasan Brings War With Pakistan to Afghan Soil

Lucas Webber

On December 2, multiple gunmen attacked Pakistani Chargé d’Affaires Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani in Kabul. Nizamani was walking inside the embassy compound when militants in a nearby building fired upon him. The assassination attempt ultimately failed; however, one of the accompanying bodyguards was reportedly shot in the chest and both legs.

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack targeting “the Murtadd Pakistani Ambassador and his Guards,” saying two “Khilafah soldiers” shot at them using medium-range weapons and sniper rifles. Days later, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the arrest of “a foreign country national and a member of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State]” allegedly involved in the shooting.

Islamic State Khorasan’s Grievances With and War Against Pakistan

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is a transnational network that largely grew out of Pakistan and violently expanded its operational footprint into Afghanistan. The group is now Afghan-centric but remains active in parts of Pakistan. ISKP’s wars against the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban governments are comprised of interconnected kinetic insurgent campaigns and media warfare efforts.

China and the challenge to global order

Bruce Jones and Andrew Yeo


For two decades, China sought to profit from key arrangements of the global political and economic order. Now, in several (though not all) domains, China seeks to subvert these long-standing arrangements and prevent the emergence of new ones, in order to broaden its scope for action. It has also started to propose new arrangements under Chinese diplomatic leadership, starting to seek a role as an ordering power. In response, the United States and its Western allies must adapt their strategies. That does not mean refusing to cooperate with China in areas of common interest (for example, nonproliferation); but in most domains, the United States must not just look to the leading democracies but also to a wider constellation of states willing to act in defense of the core purposes of the order.


A rising power may shape its own ambition, but not just as it pleases; it does not choose the world into which it will rise.[1] The balance of power in its region, the overall international balance, and simple geography are inescapable factors that shape a country’s choices as it grows. Other factors include the structure of the global economy, access to natural resources, and the sources of international finance.

China’s Deepening Ties to Africa in Xi Jinping’s Third Term

Paul Nantulya

Xi Jinping enters his third term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Having evaded the two-term limit upheld by all Chinese leaders since Mao, Xi emerges from the 20th National Congress of the CCP with his protégés fully in control of the 205-seat Central Committee and its 25-seat Politburo, which includes the Politburo’s 7-member Standing Committee—China’s top leadership body.

Factions loyal to former presidents, the late Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, have no meaningful representation for the first time since 1992. Xi was named “core leader,” with near-absolute authority on policy matters. A compendium of his policy ideas, called “Xi Jinping Thought,” is codified in the party and state constitutions. The Congress reiterated the CCP’s core mission, to create a conducive environment to make China the pre-eminent global power by enhancing China’s “comprehensive national power” (zōnghé guólì, 综合国力) and “taking an active part in leading the reform of the global governance system” among other goals.

“The Congress reiterated the CCP’s core mission, to create a conducive environment to make China the pre-eminent global power.”

Understanding the Broader Transatlantic Security Implications of Greater Sino-Russian Military Alignment

Max Bergmann, Andrew Lohsen
Source Link

The leadership of both China and Russia recognize that they have a shared goal of working together to challenge what they perceive to be a Western-dominated world order that is structured to constrain their long-term strategic goals. However, there still remain impediments that prevent this cooperative relationship from morphing into a wholehearted alliance. This report examines the writings of Chinese and Russian strategic thinkers to explore Sino-Russian cooperation across four main areas: arms sales and technology transfers, military exercises, space and cyber warfare, and hybrid tactics. The core sources used for this report have never before been translated into English.

Strategic thinkers in both countries recognize that while Russia currently faces increasing diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation, China's global position and strength continues to grow. This widening gulf between the economic and technological capabilities of each country will increase the inequality in their relationship and in turn impact its bilateral dynamic. While Russia used to be the more advanced partner in terms of arms sales and technology transfers, China's rapid development in these areas has put the two partners on more of an equal footing. China and Russia have increased their engagement in the realm of joint military exercises, and this collaboration is expected to continue. Regarding their work together on issues connected to space and cyber, engagement is more limited and is focused more on technical cooperation and joint diplomatic efforts to oppose perceived moves by the United States to militarize space. While China and Russia each recognize the importance of hybrid warfare in contemporary geopolitics, for now they lack a shared strategy of how best to counter Western hybrid capabilities.

Prospect Of China’s Semiconductor Industry Development In 2022 – Analysis

2022, a turbulent year, is about to turn to its final page. One question is, how does the development of the semiconductor industry, which has become prominent in the global geopolitical game, fare in recent years? What is the situation of China’s semiconductor industry under the measures taken by the United States against it? To answer these questions, it is necessary to review and observe the semiconductor industry for the whole year.

The year 2021 saw an unusual period of prosperity in the global semiconductor industry, which is also a year of high growth rarely seen in the past two decades. This period is characterized by shortages, price increases, and extended delivery cycles. The raging COVID-19 pandemic in the last few years and the continued suppression of China’s semiconductor industry as imposed by the U.S. have jeopardized the once-normal global semiconductor industry chain.

According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the global semiconductor industry grew by 26.2% in 2021, with a total size of USD 558.9 billion, of which the revenue from memory component sales is estimated to be USD 153.8 billion, an increase of 30.9%. Following the strong growth in 2021, WSTS predicted that the global semiconductor market would grow by only single digits in 2022, with a total size of USD 580 billion, an increase of 4.4%. The latest forecast released by WSTS indicates that dragged down by the rapid freezing of the memory chip market, the global semiconductor market will shrink by 4.1% to USD 557 billion in 2023. This is the first time the industry declining since 2019.

Is a Chinese-Led World Order Inevitable?

George Yean

Whether it’s Chinese leader Xi Jinping lecturing Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau about media leaks during the G20 summit, the recent nationwide protests against China’s Covid-19 restrictions, or the nostalgia for a more open China prompted by the death of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s, people are puzzled as to what kind of China we are dealing with. After all, the distinction between “revisionist” and “status quo” is too simplistic.

For decades, scholars have imagined China’s assimilation into the global system, even discussing a future Chinese-led order. If international relations are understood as the structure and socialization of states based on identities and interests, properly identifying China’s “type” is necessary. Identification itself will lead to neither the trap of confrontation nor appeasement. Rather, it is the first step toward realistic policies and understanding China’s often mythical behavior.

Scholars generally accept that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a Leninist organizational structure. This explains Beijing’s ruthless repression at home. Though domestic politics often extend to the foreign realm, there are competing views of China’s foreign behavior: reactive, defensive, offensive, revisionist, revolutionary, etc. There are too many theories about international relations, so the challenge is to identify the best theories, those that are logically coherent and empirically accurate. This is important because theories not only explain but predict.

Does China Have the Military Wherewithal to Match its Ambitions?


OPINION — Last Tuesday’s Pentagon released 2022 Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China deserves a closer look on subjects such as; the threat to invade Taiwan; Beijing’s increase in nuclear weaponry; China’s vulnerability because of the need to import oil and gas and growth of the Chinese military exchanges, that in many ways, appears to imitate a pattern set by the U.S. military.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the Chinese would be playing “a very, very dangerous game to cross the [110-mile wide] strait and invade the island of Taiwan. They don’t have the experience, the background to do it. They haven’t trained to do it yet. They do piece-part training. We watch it very, very closely, how many — how much amphibious capability they have, how much airborne capability they have.”

Last week’s Pentagon analysis provided some details to back up Milley’s statements.

For example, the report said, “The PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is capable of various amphibious operations short of a full-scale invasion of Taiwan,” and supported that by saying, “Large-scale amphibious invasion is one of the most complicated and difficult military operations, requiring air and maritime superiority, the rapid buildup and sustainment of supplies onshore, and uninterrupted support.”

China’s Brute Force Economics: Waking Up from the Dream of a Level Playing Field

Liza Tobin

In 2017, China’s chief justice, Zhou Qiang, told legal officials in Beijing to resist “erroneous” ideas from the West like “constitutional democracy,” “separation of powers,” and “independence of the judiciary.” His statements shocked some Western observers who had watched in cautious optimism as Zhou, a well-educated jurist with a reputation as a reformer, spearheaded efforts to make China’s courts more professional.1 Behind Zhou’s words was a hard truth: Reforms could only go so far before they collided with the reality that, in the People’s Republic of China, the judiciary is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party.

This dynamic matters beyond China’s borders. Cooperative trading relations require a common set of rules or expectations that ensure that economic competition occurs on a level playing field. Beijing’s rejection of the rule of law as a fundamental operating principle means that the normative commercial structures upon which modern trade depends are at the mercy of a powerful and ideologically motivated political party. The Chinese Communist Party’s ruthless pursuit of techno-economic dominance in a range of strategic sectors has distorted activities that are usually thought of as positive sum — trade and technology cooperation — into zero-sum games.

Combating Chinese Dual-Use Infrastructure: Bringing In the Private Sector

Ryan C. Berg

The United States has historically enjoyed immense strategic advantages in the Western Hemisphere. The mostly democratic character of the region; the deeply embedded cultural, linguistic, geographic, and historical links; and economic integration through an architecture of free trade deals inked over the last 30 years, stretching from the U.S. border to the southern tip of Patagonia, have brought the United States immeasurable strategic advantages as it pursued global influence in more far-flung regions of the world.

In the last 15 years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has made significant advances in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) challenging U.S. strategic interests in the region. What began as the pursuit of economic interest and an insatiable appetite for commodities has scaled rapidly to include security engagement, technological exchange, and of course, the building of critical infrastructure. The serious challenge posed by China’s multifaceted engagement in LAC means that the United States can no longer take for granted everything from the sizable influence it historically enjoyed in LAC to the continued democratic character of the region. In short, the last five years have witnessed the return of strategic rivalry. In order to address its vulnerabilities, the United States should begin to take stock of China’s full toolkit of influence and economic coercion.

Losing an arms race with China is much worse than competing in one

Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst & Mark Montgomery

The Pentagon’s annual China Military Power Report published last Tuesday makes clear that Beijing is sprinting to ensure the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) possesses the military means to conquer Taiwan and defeat any effort by the U.S. military to intervene. The good news is that the Pentagon and most members of Congress are finally awake to the danger. They are working to reinforce the eroded U.S. military deterrent and better arm Taipei to deter Beijing from attempting to achieve its political objectives in Taiwan with military force.

The problem is that the pace of American progress remains too slow. It is exacerbated by an insufficient sense of urgency in Washington, stubborn bureaucratic inertia, which makes it difficult to expeditiously field new weapons and reinforce American military posture in the Indo-Pacific, and inadequate defense industrial capacity. Many worry that Chinese military aggression could come into the Taiwan Strait by 2027, a target date for key PLA modernization priorities, the 100th anniversary of the PLA’s founding, and the last year of Xi Jinping’s third term as general secretary.

Jamestown Foundation

  • Keep Calm and Carry On: Xi Jinping Takes a Page from the Book of Jiang Zemin
  • Will Mass Protests Force Xi to Change Course on Zero-COVID?
  • Meloni at the Helm: What Does Italy’s New Government Mean for Sino-Italian Relations?
  • The 20th Central Military Commission: Personnel and Priorities
  • Predicting China’s Next Foreign Minister: Key Factors and Policy Implications
Terrorism Monitor, December 2, 2022, v. 22, no. 23 
  • Jihadists Condemn Qatar and the World Cup with Hostile Rhetoric
  • Muhojir Tactical: A Profile of the Newest Uzbek Jihadist-Linked Tactical Group in Syria
  • Sindhi and Baluch Separatists Team Up to Target Chinese Interests in Pakistan

Japan’s Transformational National Security Strategy

Christopher B. Johnstone

Later this month Japan will announce new national security and defense strategies that will shatter policy norms in place for much of the period since World War II. Tokyo is poised to unveil plans to nearly double defense spending over the next five years, discarding the informal 1 percent of GDP cap that has been in place since 1976. It will set out plans to acquire long-range precision-strike cruise missiles, capable of hitting targets well inside North Korean or Chinese territory, loosening the postwar constraint on military power projection. And it may signal intent to remove much of the remaining limits on defense equipment exports, first adopted in 1967 and loosened in 2014, but to little effect. This package, if implemented, will break with a tradition of incremental change in Japanese defense policies that is rooted in Article 9 of the constitution—and ultimately transform Japan’s defense posture and the U.S.-Japan alliance.

Driving this change is a regional security environment that Japanese officials describe as the most challenging since the U.S. occupation. China is undertaking a sweeping military modernization program and increasing maritime pressure on Japan in the East China Sea, with a near-constant presence of China Coast Guard vessels in waters around the Senkaku Islands; its military exercises around Taiwan in August, which included ballistic missiles launches that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, underscored that a conflict in the Taiwan Strait would directly impact Japanese security. North Korea continues to advance nuclear weapons and missile programs, and in October, launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile that overflew Japan. Finally, after Tokyo joined the G7 in imposing sanctions on Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia labeled Japan an “unfriendly” country and increased military activity near Japan.

Forever Wars Weaken Great Power Crisis Response

Christopher Mott

The dismal end of two decades of failed nation-building in Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 came with howls of protest in the press and a resurrection of Bush Era-style rhetoric that vigilant interventionism was needed lest the U.S. order collapse everywhere. If we don’t fight every fight, the logic goes, we cannot be expected to respond to the wars of choice of others. We must, we are told, “do something.” With the Russian invasion of Ukraine coming barely more than six months after the Afghanistan withdrawal, there is a tendency to conflate these issues as the United States showing weakness in one country somehow leading to a crisis in another, unrelated country.

But what the Ukraine War actually shows is the opposite. Regardless of what one may think about the advisability of U.S. intervention in the war or how important it is to American security interests; the fact of the matter is that the ability to respond to Russia’s incursion by funneling military and humanitarian aid to Kyiv has been facilitated by the lack of an Afghan millstone around the neck of Washington. There is nothing quite like the outbreak of a major conventional war to remind the world that logistics is the ultimate determining factor of power projection.

Beware Putin: Russia is Surprisingly Vulnerable to Bombardment from Ukraine

Julian Spencer-Churchill

Western arms providers have prohibited Ukraine from launching missile attacks into Russia, in part because of the fear of direct retaliation against NATO, but primarily because it could trigger Russian nationalism and increase political support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign. Ukrainian bombardment of Russian civilians would also be wasteful, as the history of Hitler’s vengeance weapons have demonstrated that scarce resources are more usefully expended against military targets which contribute to ultimate battlefield victory. However, a limited and politically calibrated missile and drone operation against Russian military targets, even with the externality of occasional collateral injury to non-combatants, will provoke beneficially irrational but containable responses from the Kremlin.

Thus far in the war, Ukraine’s military leadership has wisely downplayed claims of success in its bombardment strikes against Russian targets. As early as February 25, 2022, two Tochka-U short-range ballistic missiles were fired at Russia’s Millerovo air base near Rostov-on-the-Don. On March 23-24, a BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launcher attacked unknown objectives in Belgorod Oblast. In terms of drone strikes, two Bayraktars were shot down in Bryanks Oblast on April 25, a suicide drone struck the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Rostov Oblast on June 22, and, another attacked an oil depot in Oryol Oblast on November 16. Excluded from this list are two dozen cross-border artillery strikes, assorted false flag attacks that are most likely errant Russian missiles, and those events denied by Ukraine, including an alleged helicopter attack against a fuel depot in Belgorod on April 1, and a Russian claim of having shot down three Tochka U missiles intercepted over Belgorod on July 3.

Russia Map Reveals How Ukraine Drones Attacked Deep Inside Country


Drone strikes deep inside Russian territory reportedly carried out by Ukraine could cause some sleepless nights for those in Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

In the latest audacious attack, an oil storage container at an airfield near Kursk was hit on Wednesday, according to local Governor Roman Starovoit, in what was the second such strike in his region in as many days.

The Kursk oblast borders Ukraine but attacks much further inside Russia have shown that Kyiv could also be looking far from the front lines of the conflict to give Moscow a bloody nose.

Videos and social media posts have shown the aftermath of strikes on Monday at airfields at Dyagilevo in the Ryazan region and Engels in the Saratov region. The Engels air base is around 450 miles from Ukraine, while the Dyagilevo base is around 400 miles from the frontier.

‘It has been machine guns lately’: fighting intensifies in southern Kherson

Julian Borger

The people of Nova Kakhovka on the east bank of the Dnipro River had grown accustomed to constant shelling, but in recent days they have been hearing machine gun fire as the war draws closer to what could be its next major battlefield.

Despite predictions that the conflict would slow down in the winter months, civilians arriving in Zaporizhzhia through the last open crossing point on the frontlines say the fighting is escalating in southern Kherson region as Ukrainian forces seek to keep the Russians on the retreat towards Crimea and beyond.

“It has been machine guns lately, not artillery,” said Anna, a 78-year-old from Nova Khakovka after arriving at a police checkpoint in Zaporizhzhia. “The windows were shaking, the house was shaking. We were afraid that everything could collapse at any moment.”

“The fighting has become more intensive,” said Liudmyla, another woman from the town waiting for her papers to be checked at the Zaporizhzhia checkpoint. Like Anna and other new arrivals, she did not want to give her surname for fear of reprisals against relatives or friends left behind.

The Ukraine Fight Is Just Part of Russia’s War


Many of us held our breath, and then exhaled in nervous relief, as a reported Russian missile strike on Poland turned out to be falling debris from Ukrainian defense systems. But the episode—and a declaration by the Polish military chief that Russia is “escalating” its invasion and getting “closer and closer to the NATO borders”—underline the danger that the shooting war might spill into alliance territory.

Yet the clash of militaries is only part of a wider conflict pressed by Russia against the West.

“The world is now at an inflection point,” the new U.S. National Security Strategy says. “If we do not act with urgency and creativity, our window of opportunity to shape the future of international order and tackle shared challenges will close.”

The countries in Ukraine’s backyard such as Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic states, know as well as any that we are at a before-and-after historical moment. But it bears repeating what is at stake, not just on NATO’s eastern flank, but elsewhere across the world.

The West’s last war-time taboo: Ukraine joining NATO


For many officials, it’s a topic they won’t touch. When pressed, politicians give memorized, terse and robotic answers.

The verboten subject? Ukraine’s potential NATO membership.

It’s an issue so potentially combustible that many NATO allies try to avoid even talking about it. When Ukraine in September requested an accelerated process to join the military alliance, NATO publicly reiterated its open-door policy but didn’t give a concrete response. And last week, when NATO foreign ministers met, their final statement simply pointed to a vague 2008 pledge that Ukraine would someday join the club.

Not mentioned: Ukraine’s recent request, any concrete steps toward membership or any timeline.

The reasons are manifold. NATO is fractured over how, when (and in a few cases even if) Ukraine should join. Big capitals also don’t want to provoke the Kremlin further, aware of Vladimir Putin’s hyper-sensitivity to NATO’s eastward expansion. And most notably, NATO membership would legally require allies to come to Ukraine’s aid in case of attack — a prospect many won’t broach.

No Peace on Putin’s Terms

Kaja Kallas

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has never been solely about Ukraine. It is also about the international rules-based order and the security architecture of Europe. In December 2021, the Kremlin gave NATO and the European Union an ultimatum: end NATO’s open-door policy and limit its right to self-defense by refraining from deploying forces and weapons in countries that joined the alliance after 1997—or risk a war.

Since then, horrors that we thought belonged to history have once again happened in Europe. Russia is waging a genocidal war in Ukraine, shocking the world with the magnitude of its war crimes. It is targeting civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure, and using mass killings, torture, and rape as weapons of war. This is not an accident but rather a feature of the Russian way of war. The Kremlin has made clear that it wants to wipe Ukraine off the map. Its false claim to be pursuing “denazification” comes close to an incitement to commit genocide—a crime whether or not genocide actually occurs. And such incitement is working. In areas that Ukrainian troops have liberated from Russian occupation, there is evidence of mass killings, torture, rape, and deportations to Russia.

Don’t Be Afraid of a Russian Collapse

Kristi Raik

In August 1991, then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush was in Kyiv to counsel Ukrainians against statehood. Only weeks before Ukraine declared independence and only months before the Soviet Union was dissolved, Bush worried about the collapse of Soviet authority. These worries were echoed at the time by other Western leaders, including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Without Moscow’s continued control over its empire, they feared, the country’s future would be marked by nationalism, ethnic conflicts, and nuclear weapons getting into irresponsible hands. These leaders, for all their achievements managing the end of the Cold War, were on the wrong side of history on this fundamental question of self-determination for Moscow’s captive peoples. Luckily, Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics that are now independent did not listen.

Today, we are witnessing similar fears in Western capitals. With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime in a downward spiral due to the Kremlin’s disastrous war against Ukraine, the Russian regime’s collapse and even Russia’s possible disintegration have become a major cause of concern. Support for the war among Russian citizens has decreased, domestic criticism has grown despite harsh repression, and hundreds of thousands of men have fled the country since Putin announced a partial mobilization in late September.

Cyberspace: The New Battlefield of U.S.-China Competition

Marina Yue Zhang

There are 2.8 billion active monthly users on Facebook, 1.3 billion on WeChat, and 1 billion on TikTok. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the netizen population grew rapidly when people and businesses migrated online, resulting in a process of digital transformation. As a result, organizations and infrastructure—from electricity grids, telecommunications networks, and police departments, to banks, hospitals, and schools—are accumulating vast amounts of data to provide value to users.

While digital technology enables connectivity, convenience, and efficiency, the pervasive use of data collection and analytics in the social, financial, industrial, and military sectors has exposed the vulnerability of cyberspace in ways never previously experienced. Cybersecurity threats— whether from an individual, an organization, or a global syndicate—have the potential to damage private and public interests, destabilize the international order and endanger world peace.

The international community has yet to reach a global consensus about a digital order that can deal with issues in this increasingly complex space. Without such a consensus governing cyberspace, a global digital disorder will soon arrive.

SpaceX’s new Starshield program will supply satellite networks to the military


Starlink announced earlier this week the debut of Starshield. This new venture will ostensibly serve as the company’s defense industry counterpoint with the US military as its first customer. First launched in 2019 through Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture, Starlink aims to provide high-speed, reliable satellite internet service virtually anywhere on Earth within the next few years via a satellite constellation numbering in the tens of thousands. Over 3,000 small Starlink satellites are already in low Earth orbit to offer internet connectivity within 40 countries so far, according to the company’s count.

As CNBC reported earlier this week, details are currently vague regarding Starshield’s full scope, although the venture’s official website explains it “leverages SpaceX’s Starlink technology and launch capability to support national security efforts.” The site also lists three areas of “initial focus,” including imagery, communications, and hosted payloads that will allow government contracts to ostensibly hitch a ride on Starshield rockets for separate projects.

Starshield will also offer “inter-satellite laser communications” links that can be joined with partner satellites “so as to connect other companies’ government systems ‘into the Starshield network,’” explains CNBC.

Army must continue to embrace open architectures to win in electronic warfare, undersecretary says

Mark Pomerleau

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — To keep pace against sophisticated adversaries in the electromagnetic spectrum, the Army must continue to rely on its open systems architecture that allows systems to be easily upgraded and plug and play, according to the service’s undersecretary.

“What I was also impressed by was really the adoption of the CMOSS open systems architecture approach for all of our capabilities in the portfolio. I think that really unlocks limitless potential,” Gabe Camarillo told reporters at the Army’s Technical Exchange Meeting on Wednesday, referring to the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C5ISR)/Electronic Warfare Modular Open Suite of Standards. “To me, it is a challenge in the future, not just in terms of providing the defensive and offensive capabilities, but also integrating them onto the wide range of platforms that the Army has.”

CMOSS allows for capabilities to be inserted, updated and swapped on hardware platforms — harnessing the modern abilities of software.



A new crop of service and joint warfighting concepts has sprouted up over the past few years; they are all attempting to find a military operational concept that will work against China. The Army’s entry in the warfighting conceptual fray is Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). Understanding MDO is particularly important now because the Army is turning the concept (how it wants to fight) into doctrine (how it will fight).

Why is this important? Quite simply, the Army is the nation’s principal service that is “organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations on land.”1 At its most basic level, MDO will provide the architectural plans for how the Army will rebuild itself for future challenges in the domains of land, air, sea, space and cyberspace.2 Indeed, the Army has gone so far as to establish its first new four-star headquarters in over 30 years—Army Futures Command—to serve as its architect.

There is, to put it mildly, no broad consensus on what MDO is. A 2019 NATO paper called for clear definitions to “dispel naysayers” who have a “pessimistic and dismissive view of MDO . . . as a mere buzzword, synonymous with joint operations.”3 This lack of clarity leads to claims that, to execute MDO, the Army will require substantial—even fundamental—change from organizations to authorities to overseas posture.4 Essentially, realizing MDO will require more than an Army renovation; it will require a tear-down and rebuild. A more pessimistic charge is that the U.S. military, much less the Army, does not actually have enough process or technological capability to effectively integrate effects across all warfighting domains.5

Elite Russian tank unit defending Moscow falls back on reservists amid ‘heavy casualties’

Verity Bowman

Russia has been forced to patch up an elite tank unit formed to defend Moscow with newly mobilised troops after suffering heavy casualties in Ukraine.

The 1st Guards Tank Army (1st GTA) has been dispatched along the defensive line in Luhansk Oblast but is still well below its usual strength of 25,000 personnel, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in its daily intelligence report on the war on Thursday.

The illustrious unit traces its origins back to the Second World War and fought as part of the Red Army on the Eastern Front and in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Believed to have been made up of at least 500 tanks and other combat vehicles before the war began, the unit has suffered heavy losses in battles around Kharkiv.

Project Overmatch: US Navy preps to deploy secretive multidomain tech

Megan Eckstein and Colin Demarest

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is moving quickly to link its fleet through its Project Overmatch initiative, which has been kept almost entirely secret for two years.

Shielded from public view, the service has undertaken a flurry of work: simulating current pathways for data, writing software code to close gaps, testing it in a lab and at sea, and providing feedback to coders to improve future iterations.

Rear Adm. Doug Small, who leads both Naval Information Warfare Systems Command and Project Overmatch, told Defense News this high-priority effort remains on track for a planned deployment of the new capabilities to a carrier strike group in 2023.

Project Overmatch is the Navy’s contribution to the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort — a push to reliably connect forces across land, air, sea, space and cyberspace as well as enable seamless international collaboration.

Ukrainian ingenuity is ushering in a new form of warfare at sea

On september 21st an odd piece of flotsam washed up on the outskirts of Sevastopol. It was about five and a half metres long and the consensus was that it was a usv (uncrewed surface vessel, essentially a drone boat), possibly on a reconnaissance mission, that had been put together by the ingenious boffins who are to Ukraine what q branch is to James Bond.

On October 29th reality bit. A fleet of the things, accompanied by similarly robotic air cover, attacked Sevastopol’s naval base, the home port of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. According to the Ukrainians, and backed up by video footage apparently shot from cameras on board one of the drones, they scored direct hits on Admiral Makarov, the fleet’s flagship, and two other vessels, damaging all three. That was followed on November 18th by a big explosion at a Russian oil terminal in Novorossiysk, also reported to have been the work of the same type of naval drones.

“For many it [these attacks] marks the start of a new age in naval warfare,” wrote H.I. Sutton, an author, blogger and naval analyst who has studied footage of the Ukrainian drone boat. That could be bad news not only for Russia, but for anyone who does business, naval or civilian, at sea. For its part, Ukraine announced on November 11th that it plans to build 100 of the vessels, paid for, it hopes, by crowdfunding.

What the Joint Chiefs Chairman thinks about a Great Power War


OPINION — “There are a lot of lessons learned coming out of the Ukrainian war. There’s lessons learned for Taiwan. There are lessons learned that we’re learning. There’s lessons European countries are learning, and there’s lessons learned that President Xi and the Chinese military are learning.”

That was Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley last Wednesday, speaking at a joint Pentagon press briefing with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin following a virtual meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group.

The press conference dealt primarily with Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invaders followed by a bit about U.S. military power.

However, it was Milley’s rather frank answers to late questions about China and Taiwan that I believe need more public attention. They provide the best analysis of the Taiwan invasion situation and backup to President Biden’s remark that he did not believe any invasion of Taiwan was “imminent,” which came after his meeting with President Xi Jinping on November 14.