24 December 2022

Can a New Army Chief Pull Pakistan Out of Crisis?

Masom Jan Masomy

Pakistan has experienced political instability throughout history, owing to its dispersed political parties, ethnic divisions, and, most importantly, proactive military involvement in civilian affairs. These factors have significantly impacted Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies. Amid Pakistan’s multifaceted crises, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed Lt. Gen. Asim Munir as the country’s new Army chief for a three-year term.

When Munir assumed command of the Pakistani Army on November 29, he inherited the sordid history of his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, whose six-year, extended term damaged Pakistan’s political image more intensely than any other time in the country’s history by undermining Pakistan’s credibility both domestically and internationally. The new incumbent will face a difficult task in dealing with Pakistan’s complicated uncertainty.

Internal Political Turmoil

Pakistan’s unstable political system has resulted from the military’s dominant interference in Pakistani politics, which has seen it overthrow civilian governments three times and impose long periods of military rule over the years. The current heightened political polarization is primarily due to the Pakistani military’s long-standing influence over politics and, more specifically, the 2018 elections, in which the military reportedly attempted to intervene twice. First, it was accused of installing the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Then, in April 2022, the military was accused of removing Khan from power through parliament in a vote of no-confidence and instead installing the Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition government. The opposition calls Khan’s government a “selected” one and Sharif’s an “imported” one.

Demystifying China’s Role in Sri Lanka’s Debt Restructuring

Umesh Moramudali and Thilina Panduwawala

Currently, Sri Lanka is in the process of restructuring its foreign debt after announcing the country’s first sovereign default on April 12. As the largest bilateral creditor, China is playing a key role in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process.

The topic is not merely a domestic and bilateral matter. Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring, and China’s engagement within it, is receiving global attention given the debt distress across emerging markets and the significant lending China has done to such countries over the past decade or so. During her recent visit to China, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva discussed China’s role in addressing the emerging market debt crisis, with special reference to Sri Lanka and Zambia. According to the IMF, discussions with Chinese authorities were fruitful and the IMF sees space for a platform for more systematic engagement on debt issues, where China can play an active role.

On Sri Lanka specifically, the island-nation is expecting China’s assurance regarding debt restructuring in the coming months, which will pave the way to obtain IMF board approval for the $2.9 billion, four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program. The initial expectation was that Sri Lanka would reach an agreement on financing assurances with its major bilateral creditors (China, India, and the Paris Club, led by Japan) by November or early December and get the IMF Executive Board’s approval in December. China’s approach and assurances are vital in this process, because the other creditors are waiting on China to confirm its own offers. However, no firm financing assurances have been reached with the bilateral creditors so far. The IMF Executive Board’s meeting schedule indicates that it will not discuss Sri Lanka’s EFF in December. Thus, the IMF program can only commence in early 2023.

Taiwan: The key to containing China in the Indo-Pacific

John B. Barranco

China is the pacing challenge for the United States, posing the most consequential global threat to US and allied security. As China flexes its military and economic muscles, Beijing’s increasingly coercive behavior tests the defense of its neighbors—and none more so than Taiwan. Much of the United States’ ability to prevent Chinese power projection in the Indo-Pacific hinges upon its relationship with Taiwan. This paper proposes a US strategy for strengthening the relationship between Taiwan and the United States in order to deter Chinese military aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
Taiwan as a flashpoint for Sino-US tensions

Taiwan offers a key strategic link, both within the Indo-Pacific and on the global stage. The island is strategically situated in the middle of the first island chain off the East Asian coast, making it geo-strategically important to Chinese military ambitions. Taiwan is also the primary supplier of semiconductors (which are used to make microchips underwriting advanced military systems) to the United States and its allies, winning Taipei a spot as a major player in the global economy.

While Taiwan is not a formal US ally due to the “One China” policy—recognizing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legal government of China—Taiwan still falls under the US security umbrella. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s desire to reunify Taiwan is clear, and efforts to test Taiwanese and US resolve on this issue are increasingly bold. Security analysts often point to a potential Taiwan conflict scenario, positing that a failure to deter Chinese aggression could escalate into a war with global consequences.


Aidan L. P. Greer and Chris Bassler

Taiwan and the United States appear to have reached the decade of maximum danger with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While Taiwan has mostly accepted the need to shift to a “porcupine strategy” to deter a potential Chinese invasion—an approach that emphasizes asymmetric capabilities and weapons like antiship missiles and mines—implementation has been slow. And Taiwan has neglected to cultivate the guerrilla-style resistance forces that will be necessary to counter an occupation. With the help of allies like the United States, Taiwan should be doing all it can to prepare for a lethal insurgency, the threat of which may deter Chinese invasion in the first place.

In any conflict with China, Taiwan should play to its strengths and China’s weaknesses. Taiwan should develop a devoted resistance force capable of deploying irregular warfare tactics, separate from the Ministry of National Defense and the reserve forces. Resistance fighters and insurgents have succeeded against large occupying forces with advanced capabilities, and Taiwan could use such principles to take full advantage of its home-field advantage against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). While it remains unclear if or when the CCP will attempt an invasion of Taiwan, Taiwan must examine all options that may bolster its defense capabilities and deterrence posture—and irregular warfare should play a central role among those options.

No, Mauritius Will Not Give China a Military Base on the Chagos Islands

Peter Harris

Is the sun about to set on Britain’s control of the Chagos Islands? This remote archipelago of around 60 islands can be found halfway between East Africa and Southeast Asia. The Chagos group is governed by London as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), one of 14 claimed Overseas Territories that constitute the remnants of the British Empire. Most of the international community, however, regards the Chagos Archipelago as belonging to Mauritius.

Today, Britain and Mauritius are in talks over the fate of the islands. Also at stake is the future of the indigenous population, the Chagossians, who were expelled from their homes in the 1960s and 1970s in advance of the construction of a U.S. military base on the largest island of Diego Garcia. For decades, Britain has blocked the Chagossians from returning to their islands. Under Mauritian sovereignty, resettlement might be possible.

The decision for Britain to exit the Chagos Archipelago should be straightforward. A convincing majority of the international community has spoken that Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos Archipelago belong to Mauritius, not the United Kingdom. Early last year, the case for Mauritian sovereignty was even etched into international case law. Simply put, London’s administration of the Chagos Islands is illegal. It cannot be allowed to persist.

China's Deal with Saudi Arabia is a Disaster for Biden

Con Coughlin

Nothing better illustrates the utter ineptitude of the Biden administration's dealings with the Middle East than Saudi Arabia's decision to forge a strategic alliance with China.

Biden set the tone for his strained relationship with the Saudi royal family during the 2020 presidential election contest when he denounced the kingdom as a "pariah" state over its involvement in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, although there has never any audible distress from the Biden administration over Iran's 2007 abduction and presumed death of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson.

By any standard, the deepening military cooperation between Russia and Iran should serve as a wake-up call to the Biden administration to redouble its efforts to reaffirm its commitment to key allies in the region such as the Saudis, who are committed to resisting any attempt by Tehran to expand its malign influence in the region.

That Riyadh is now moving away from its traditional alliance with the US and strengthening its ties with Beijing is a strategic disaster of epic proportions, and serves as a damning indictment of the Biden administration's careless treatment of the Saudis, for which the president is personally to blame.

Will the headwinds facing China force Xi to rethink his plans to take Taiwan?

Stephen Nagy

The US Navy chief recently warned that China could attack Taiwan by 2024. Others argue that an invasion of Taiwan may occur by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army. Some, including the Asia Society’s Christopher K. Johnson, feel that President Xi Jinping’s China remains wedded to peaceful reunification or at least a non-kinetic approach using coercion and grey-zone tactics to compel Taiwan to become part of the People’s Republic of China. For Johnson, Xi’s new Politburo Standing Committee is not a war cabinet but a leadership team chosen to navigate the very rough geopolitical and domestic storms ahead.

Since October’s 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Taiwan, Japan, the US, Canada, Australia and others have asking themselves what the future holds for Chinese foreign policy under a third term of Xi.

There are at least five observations we can take away from the congress. First, the CCP believes that the strategic competition between the US and China is one between systems that requires a hardening of the party’s political structure at the expense of the Chinese economy.

China In My Back Yard

Carmel Richardson

Texas is going NIMBY. In the latest attempt to protect the sovereignty of American soil for Americans, a Texas state senator has introduced a bill that would ban land ownership by certain foreign entities—including, most notably, the Chinese Communist Party.

Drafted by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, the bill is a simple, one page proposal. While it specifies that aliens still have a right to purchase property in Texas, any governmental entity or citizen of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia would not be permitted to purchase, or otherwise acquire title to, property in the state. This would include companies or entities headquartered in China, whether directly or indirectly held or controlled by China, as well as those the majority ownership of which belongs to Chinese citizens, and individual purchasers who are citizens of China. Which is to say, if you are not an American citizen nor seeking to become one, and if you are a citizen of a country that presents a threat to American national security, you do not have a right to purchase American soil.

In other words, America is for Americans. It’s a simple idea, but enforcement of such simple ideas has become quite complex in recent decades. Consider, for example, the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1978. This law requires foreign entities to disclose any interests in agricultural land in the United States to the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is hardly encouraging to those familiar with the USDA and its priorities; still, the intent, at least, was to limit foreign purchase of U.S. soil by way of accountability.

America Needs More Immigration to Defeat Inflation

Gordon H. Hanson and Matthew J. Slaughter

Consumer prices in the United States rose at an annualized rate of 7.7 percent in October, the ninth straight month above seven percent, thanks to still surging demand and stumbling supply. All eyes are fixed on the U.S. Federal Reserve to cool demand by hiking interest rates. But monetary policy has always worked with long and variable lags, which makes the Fed’s job of trying to shape the decisions of the country’s 122.4 million households, 164.5 million workers, and 35.1 million businesses even more daunting.

There is something else that U.S. policymakers could do to battle inflation, however. They could expand immigration for both skilled and less skilled workers to boost the supply capacity of the U.S. economy. More immigration would help meet today’s excess demand for labor, which over time would limit wage and price growth. In October, there were an astonishing 10.3 million job openings in the United States, 4.3 million more than the total number of unemployed Americans. In the short term, expanding the number of H-1B visas for skilled professionals and H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers would help employers overcome this acute labor shortage. In the longer term, doing so would also help cool inflation.


Despite the sensational headlines about chaos along the U.S.-Mexican border, immigration to the United States has been effectively flat for the last decade. Between 2011 and 2021, the share of the U.S. population that was foreign born nudged up only slightly, from 13.0 percent to 13.6 percent, reflecting a dramatic falloff in foreign labor inflows. Whereas net immigration to the United States was 890,000 arrivals per year during the first decade of the millennium, that number fell by nearly half to 480,000 per year in the succeeding decade.

Washington’s Dubious Syria Intervention Continues

Ted Galen Carpenter

With the world’s attention focused on the Russia-Ukraine War and growing tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan, other worrisome U.S. ventures tend to fly under the radar. A prominent, potentially very dangerous example is the continuing U.S. military presence in Syria. That intervention should be objectionable on constitutional, moral, and strategic grounds, yet it retains widespread bipartisan support in Congress and the foreign policy establishment.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify that mission on any basis. Positioning U.S. occupation forces in northeastern Syria, the one region of the country with significant oil reserves, hardly seemed coincidental and has raised understandable suspicions about Washington’s motives. Moreover, the principal U.S. client in that region, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is something less than a paragon of democracy. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have repeatedly come under attack, usually by pro-Iranian militias based across the border in Iraq.

As if those problems weren’t enough to cast a pall over the mission, the presence of U.S. troops is causing growing difficulties with NATO ally Turkey. Ankara launched a new round of airstrikes against Kurdish targets in northern Syria in November 2022. One attack came within 300 meters of a U.S. military base, leading to complaints from the Pentagon that such tactics were needlessly endangering the lives of U.S. personnel.

The cyber strategy and operations of Hamas: Green flags and green hats

Simon Handler

Executive summary

Cyberspace as a domain of conflict often creates an asymmetric advantage for comparably less capable or under-resourced actors to compete against relatively stronger counterparts.1 As such, a panoply of non-state actors is increasingly acquiring capabilities and integrating offensive cyber operations into their toolkits to further their strategic aims. From financially driven criminal ransomware groups to politically inspired patriot hacking collectives, non-state actors have a wide range of motivations for turning to offensive cyber capabilities. A number of these non-state actors have histories rooted almost entirely in armed kinetic violence, from professional military contractors to drug cartels, and the United States and its allies are still grappling with how to deal with them in the cyber context.2 Militant and terrorist organizations have their own specific motivations for acquiring offensive cyber capabilities, and their operations therefore warrant close examination by the United States and its allies to develop effective countermeasures.

While most academic scholarship and government strategies on counterterrorism are beginning to recognize and address the integral role of some forms of online activity, such as digital media and propaganda on behalf of terrorist organizations, insufficient attention has been given to the offensive cyber capabilities of these actors. Moreover, US strategy,3 public intelligence assessments, and academic literature on global cyber threats to the United States overwhelmingly focuses on the “big four” nation-state adversaries—China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Before more recent efforts to address the surge in financially driven criminal ransomware operations, the United States and its allies deployed policy countermeasures overwhelmingly designed for use against state actors.

The Climate Change – Security Interface

Christine Eriksen, Andrin Hauri, Joane Holliger, Simon J. A. Mason, Fabien Merz, 

Climate change is increasing the frequency and scope of security challenges. This calls for greater collaboration across formerly often siloed policy fields, as illustrated in the context of climate change adaptation by Swiss Civil Protection and Switzerland’s priorities on the UN Security Council.

Space-Imagery Firm Maxar to Go Private


Maxar Technologies unveiled its current identity and branding to the world five years ago as a pure-play, publicly traded space company whose business touches nearly all aspects of it.

That name and five decades of history behind it is about to enter a new phase with Friday's announcement that Maxar has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Advent International for nearly $4 billion in cash, or $53.00 per share.

After including debt, the enterprise value becomes $6.4 billion in a transaction all parties expect to close in mid-2023.

Earth imagery, the satellites that transmit those pictures, geospatial data and analytics, and other software solutions related to mapping are all in Maxar's wheelhouse. Images of what is taking place on the ground in Ukraine often come from Maxar, for instance.

U.S. government agencies, satellite network operators, and GPS navigation service providers all acquire imagery and other data from Maxar. Revenue for Maxar's most recent fiscal year totaled nearly $1.09 billion, of which nearly 64% came from U.S. government agencies.

Maxar has long been the main provider of commercial satellite imagery to the U.S. government over multiple decades.

Defending Ukraine: the World’s Frontline of Freedom


OPINION – Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a video meeting with the Russia Presidential Council for Human Rights and Civil Society, a group with whom he usually meets once a year. The meeting was broadcast on Russian national television and judging from that fact and the content of Putin’s remarks, the audience was the Russian people, not the Council.

Members of the Council were warned in advance not to pester the Russian President with questions about the conflict in Ukraine and his remarks were consistent with a pattern of his public remarks stretching back several years. They show a leader clearly divorced from the reality of what is happening in Ukraine, to his country, his military, and to Russia’s standing in the world. Some commentators have noted Putin seems to be living in an alternate universe.

If Putin’s remarks were a “one off” set of comments designed to boost the morale of the Russian people and solidify support for the war, that would be one thing, but Putin’s has now repeated his distorted interpretation of history and his own imperial greatness so many times, there is no alternative to believing that he means what he says and therefore, the west should act and treat him accordingly.

How Much Can U.S. Patriot Missiles Help Ukraine?

The reported U.S. plan to provide Ukraine with the Patriot air defense system will impede Moscow's strategy of pressuring Kyiv into negotiations by destroying the country's critical infrastructure. But outstanding questions regarding the delivery of the system and Ukraine's needs for other military hardware mean it will also not give a decisive edge to Ukraine. On Dec. 13, U.S. media reported that Washington was preparing to provide the Patriot surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine. Patriot systems could reportedly arrive in the war-torn country in a matter of weeks once Ukrainian troops finish training to use them in an accelerated program at a U.S. military base in Germany. The Patriot has different models of varying capabilities, but can have up to eight launchers that can each hold four missiles with the capacity to strike targets as far away as 99 miles (approximately 160 kilometers), depending on the model. On Dec. 15, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the United States had ''effectively become a party to the war'' by supplying Ukraine with the defense system, and vaguely warned that the move ''would mean even broader involvement of military personnel in the hostilities and could entail possible consequences.'' U.S. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder responded later that day by noting the United States was ''not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine,'' adding that it was ''ironic and very telling'' for Russia to call the provision of the Patriot system provocative given Russia's invasion of Ukraine and air campaign targeting civilian areas. Russian officials have periodically raised concerns about the Patriot system in Eastern Europe. In March 2011, more than a decade before the Ukraine invasion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia had strategic concerns regarding NATO's deployment of the Patriot system eastward, claiming its ability to shoot down Russian strategic nuclear weapons was alarming for Moscow and could necessitate ''military and technical measures.''

Putin’s Last Stand: The Promise and Peril of Russian Defeat

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine was meant to be his crowning achievement, a demonstration of how far Russia had come since the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991. Annexing Ukraine was supposed to be a first step in reconstructing a Russian empire. Putin intended to expose the United States as a paper tiger outside Western Europe and to demonstrate that Russia, along with China, was destined for a leadership role in a new, multipolar international order.

It hasn’t turned out that way. Kyiv held strong, and the Ukrainian military has been transformed into a juggernaut, thanks in part to a close partnership with the United States and Western allies. The Russian military, in contrast, has demonstrated poor strategic thinking and organization. The political system behind it has proved unable to learn from its mistakes. With little prospect of dictating Putin’s actions, the West will have to prepare for the next stage of Russia’s disastrous war of choice.

War is inherently unpredictable. Indeed, the course of the conflict has served to invalidate widespread early prognostications that Ukraine would quickly fall; a reversal of fortunes is impossible to discount. It nevertheless appears that Russia is headed for defeat. Less certain is what form this defeat will take. Three basic scenarios exist, and each one would have different ramifications for policymakers in the West and Ukraine.

How Greenland’s Mineral Wealth Made It a Geopolitical Battleground

Regin Winther Poulsen

Angutitsiaq Isbosethsen, 21, sits on a small hill close to Kangerluarsuk, a deep-frozen fjord in Kujalleq in South Greenland. His hometown, Narsaq, with 1,346 inhabitants, is 20 minutes away by boat. Isbosethsen works as a substitute teacher and a tour guide, taking foreigners around South Greenland’s archipelago. And since April 2021, he has been a member of the municipal council of Kujalleq, the largest municipality in South Greenland, for the governing party, Inuit Ataqatigiit, or Community of the People.

The view from the hill is emblematic of the political dilemma in his country, which is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, as superpowers compete for its natural resources and a foothold given its strategic geopolitical location.

On his right, he sees a fjord where he says the locals fished hundreds of metric tons of cod in 2020. To his left is Killavaat Alannguat, known in Danish as Kringlerne, a mountain that is a potential rare-earth mining site. Tanbreez, an Australian company belonging to geologist and miner Greg Barnes, owns the mine.

Who Can Guarantee Russian Security?

President Macron’s observation early this month that once the war is over Russia will need to be offered security guarantees was greeted with incredulity. Russia is the country attempting to conquer another, not the other way round. It is the aggressor not the aggrieved. Because of past Macron statements, such as last June’s urging that Russia not be ‘humiliated’, he has fuelled suspicions among the more hawkish NATO states, as well as Kyiv, that he is inclined to be far too conciliatory to Moscow. To be fair to Macron in the same speech he made it clear that he fully understands that Kyiv has to take the lead in any peace negotiations. On 13 December he again stated that ‘It is up to Ukraine, a victim of this aggression, to decide on the conditions for a just and lasting peace.’

There is an issue to be addressed about how relations with Russia are to be managed in the future. Macron is not alone in worrying that Russia is too large and powerful a country to be ignored. German Chancellor Scholz has also spoken of the need to restore cooperative relations, to go back to the prewar ‘peace order’ even though this may not be possible with Putin in charge. In the unlikely event that Putin renounces armed aggression and accepts that on the other side of its borders ‘there are open-minded societies, open societies, democracies’, then, suggests Scholz, ‘all questions of common security’ could be resolved. There are some big ‘ifs’ here.

The Top Ten Global Risks of 2023

Mathew Burrows,  Robert A. Manning

Drawing on our many years of experience in forecasting global risks and trends at the U.S. Intelligence Community’s National Intelligence Council, where we were tasked with providing U.S. leaders with long-range analysis and insights, we have identified the top global risks in 2023 from a U.S. and global perspective. Our track record is pretty good based on the risks we identified for 2022. COVID variants were indeed a source of concern, particularly in China, holding down Chinese economic growth, as we also predicted. We forecasted a Russian invasion of Ukraine and oil prices reaching $100 a barrel, which occurred earlier this year, although energy prices have declined somewhat in the second half of 2022. Food shortages, economic crises, and growing debt problems among developing countries were all highlighted last year, as they are this year. Some economists anticipate the debt crisis may not be as widespread as we and others have projected, but low- and middle-income countries, such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan, are already facing this reality. Last year’s prediction about a shortfall in fighting climate change was borne out at the underwhelming COP27 gathering in Cairo, Egypt, in November; we assess this trend will continue in 2023. Finally, owing to the growing tensions surrounding Taiwan, as well as the U.S. embargo on the export of high-end semiconductor designs and equipment, Sino-U.S. differences will persist in 2023.

Centre for Military, Security and Strategic

StudiesJournal of Military and Strategic Studies, 2022, v. 22, no. 2 
  • Special Issue on the War in Ukraine
  • ‘Now or Never’: The Immediate Origins of Putin’s Preventative War on Ukraine
  • How likely is it that Vladimir Putin will be able to Claim some sort of Victory in Ukraine? An Assessment based on Events from February - early November 2022
  • The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and the (Un)Changing Character of War
  • War in Ukraine: The Clash of Norms and Ontologies
  • At War with the West: Russian Realism and the Conflict in Ukraine
  • The Case for Neutrality: Understanding African Stances on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Key Flaws Hamstring Russia Oil Price Cap

John Hardie
Source Link

The G7, European Union (EU), and Australia formally adopted a mechanism to “cap” the price of Russian oil exports earlier this month, aimed at squeezing the Kremlin’s coffers while avoiding a spike in oil prices. However, the mechanism’s high price ceiling and its inability to compel Russia’s top customers to respect the cap undermine its ability to deprive Moscow of substantial revenue to fund its aggression against Ukraine.

In June, the EU decided to ban both seaborne imports of Russian oil and the provision of services facilitating Russian oil shipments, most notably insurance and reinsurance, industries which EU and British companies dominate. The Biden administration, which had already banned direct imports of Russian oil, feared the EU ban would cause oil prices to skyrocket by shutting in large volumes of Russian exports.

Instead, Washington proposed a ban on the provision of services facilitating seaborne exports of Russian crude oil and petroleum products — unless the purchasers paid a price below a predetermined ceiling. As originally devised, the idea was to set the cap high enough to incentivize continued Russian oil exports while minimizing Moscow’s oil revenue, the backbone of Russia’s federal budget. Although Moscow threatened to cut supplies to participating countries, the cap’s proponents argued Russia was bluffing, pointing to its dependence on oil revenue.

Military Spending Surges, Creating New Boom for Arms Makers

Eric Lipton, Michael Crowley and John Ismay

WASHINGTON — The prospect of growing military threats from both China and Russia is driving bipartisan support for a surge in Pentagon spending, setting up another potential boom for weapons makers that is likely to extend beyond the war in Ukraine.

Congress is on track in the coming week to give final approval to a national military budget for the current fiscal year that is expected to reach approximately $858 billion — or $45 billion above what President Biden had requested.

If approved at this level, the Pentagon budget will have grown at 4.3 percent per year over the last two years — even after inflation — compared with an average of less than 1 percent a year in real dollars between 2015 and 2021, according to an analysis by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments for The New York Times.

Russia’s New Cyberwarfare in Ukraine Is Fast, Dirty, and Relentless

SINCE RUSSIA LAUNCHED its catastrophic full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the cyberwar that it has long waged against its neighbor has entered a new era too—one in which Russia has at times seemed to be trying to determine the role of its hacking operations in the midst of a brutal, physical ground war. Now, according to the findings of a team of cybersecurity analysts and first responders, at least one Russian intelligence agency seems to have settled into a new set of cyberwarfare tactics: ones that allow for quicker intrusions, often breaching the same target multiple times within just months, and sometimes even maintaining stealthy access to Ukrainian networks while destroying as many as possible of the computers within them.

At the CyberwarCon security conference in Arlington, Virginia, today, analysts from the security firm Mandiant laid out a new set of tools and techniques that they say Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency is using against targets in Ukraine, where the GRU’s hackers have for years carried out many of the most aggressive and destructive cyberattacks in history. According to Mandiant analysts Gabby Roncone and John Wolfram, who say their findings are based on months of Mandiant’s Ukrainian incident response cases, the GRU has shifted in particular to what they call “living on the edge.” Instead of the phishing attacks that GRU hackers typically used in the past to steal victims’ credentials or plant backdoors on unwitting users’ computers inside target organizations, they're now targeting “edge” devices like firewalls, routers, and email servers, often exploiting vulnerabilities in those machines that give them more immediate access.

The Pentagon says it has helped Ukraine thwart Russian cyberattacks.

Julian E. Barnes

FORT MEADE, Md. — The Pentagon’s Cyber National Mission Force has been supporting Ukraine’s digital defense with daily consultations, a collaboration that has helped unearth thousands of warning indicators of potentially compromised Ukrainian computer networks, a top U.S. cybercommander said on Monday.

The United States had a team of nearly 40 people from the force in Ukraine to help the country shore up its defenses before all U.S. troops were withdrawn from the country before the Russian invasion.

But Maj. Gen. John Hartman, the force’s commander, said on Monday that the United States had continued to conduct operations from inside the United States to assist Ukraine and stop Russian hackers.

The Cyber National Mission Force was created in 2012 as part of the U.S. Cyber Command — the nation’s cybermilitary organization, headquartered in the National Security Agency’s complex in Fort Meade, Md. There are 2,000 service members assigned to the force, organized into 39 teams charged with shoring up allied defenses, stopping Russian hackers, defending American elections and other operations.

Software Power: The Economic and Geopolitical Implications of Open Source Software

Etudes de l'Ifri

Open source is at the heart of the Internet infrastructure, of the software used by individuals or governments, and of the innovation processes of tech companies. Faced with threats to the security and sustainability of the open source model, governments are getting a hold of the topc, which is becoming increasingly geopolitical.

Open source plays a central role in software : it is the foundation of critical software bricks, and has become a major factor for companies’ innovation processes. It is also an attractive alternative to proprietary solutions.

However, open source is a victim of its own success. It suffers of a lack of resources dedicated to the maintenance of open source components, even though vulnerabilities in open source code can have serious consequences, as illustrated by the Log4Shell vulnerability in December 2021.

DARPA’s explorations in quantum computing search for the art of the possible in the realm of the improbable


To discuss the state of quantum computing and its military applications, we talked with Joe Altepeter, a program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO). Altepeter manages two of DARPA’s three main quantum programs — including the (US2QC) program, which is about uncovering new, novel, and overlooked avenues in quantum exploration.

Breaking Defense: Quantum computing is talked about as something that can be both offensive in the sense that it has the capability to break all known encryption, and defensive to prevent adversaries from breaking US encryption. Which is the priority for the US government? Or is it both?

Joe Altepeter is program manager of DARPA’s quantum program called Underexplored Systems for Utility-Scale Quantum Computing.

Altepeter: I’m going to choose secret option number three. The interest in quantum computers took off in 1995 when Peter Shor discovered an algorithm for efficiently factoring large numbers. I’m not an encryption expert, but I don’t think that breaks all kinds of encryption, though it certainly breaks some like RSA. That’s why NIST and agencies like that are developing alternative means of encryption that are resistant to the kinds of quantum attacks that you’re talking about.

Cyber Warfare Is Getting Real

In 2022, an American dressed in his pajamas took down North Korea’s internet from his living room. Fortunately, there was no reprisal against the United States. But Kim Jong Un and his generals must have weighed retaliation and asked themselves whether the so-called independent hacker was a front for a planned and official American attack.

In 2023, the world might not get so lucky. There will almost certainly be a major cyberattack. It could shut down Taiwan’s airports and trains, paralyze British military computers, or swing a US election. This is terrifying, because each time this happens, there is a small risk that the aggrieved side will respond aggressively, maybe at the wrong party, and (worst of all) even if it carries the risk of nuclear escalation.

This is because cyber weapons are different from conventional ones. They are cheaper to design and wield. That means great powers, middle powers, and pariah states can all develop and use them.

More important, missiles come with a return address, but virtual attacks do not. Suppose in 2023, in the coldest weeks of winter, a virus shuts down American or European oil pipelines. It has all the markings of a Russian attack, but intelligence experts warn it could be a Chinese assault in disguise. Others see hints of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. No one knows for sure. Presidents Biden and Macron have to decide whether to retaliate at all, and if so, against whom—Russia? China? Iran? It's a gamble, and they could get unlucky.

The Effectiveness of an Air War

George Friedman

The Russians have initiated a concentrated air attack on Ukraine focused on the use of drones. The target is civilian and industrial infrastructure, primarily electrical and related systems. The intent of the attack is to undermine survivability in cities by limiting the transport of food, heating and so on, in order to compel the Ukrainians to surrender or to so weaken their defenses that a ground attack can successfully penetrate and seize territory. Failing that, the attack can also have a psychological dimension, inflicting significant civilian casualties, creating intense hardship and causing individual cities or even the country as a whole to surrender. It’s intended to be a lower-cost and more efficient strategy than the use of massed infantry.

The problem with this strategy, however, is that it has been tried before and consistently failed. The Germans sought to force British capitulation through the concentrated bombing of London early in World War II. The damage and casualties were substantial, but the British did not surrender. Later in the war, the Americans and the British launched combined air attacks intended to break civilian morale and destroy German infrastructure. They failed. Indeed, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey conducted after the war showed that German production actually rose during and after air assaults.

The sanctioning of warfare: Early lessons from the EU’s geoeconomic response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Kim B. Olsen

When Russia launched its military aggression against Ukraine in February 2022, the EU and its western partners responded with unprecedented economic and financial sanctions. This policy report investigates the early lessons learned in different EU institutions and Member States during the period of this ‘sanctioning of warfare’.

Through an analysis of the various phases of the EU’s ‘sanctions policy cycle’, the report demonstrates how the EU’s seemingly strong geoeconomic response to Russia’s military aggression was challenged by a lacking intra-EU agreement about the sanctions’ overall objectives, a series of crucial implementation obstacles as well as a non-comprehensive risk assessment of the sanctions’ possible economic and non-economic unintended consequences.

Based on an examination of different experiences and perceptions found among the EU’s geographical ‘frontliners’ and ‘rearguards’ to Russia and Belarus, the report presents a series of recommendations for how the EU can improve its use of geoeconomic instruments when confronted with acute security threats.

Our tanks are kaputt, German general warns


BERLIN — Maybe it’s a good thing Germany refused to send Ukraine tanks after all.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht called an emergency meeting with her generals on Monday to discuss the latest crisis to befall Germany’s beleaguered military: broken tanks.

The emergency meeting follows the leak of an email from a senior commander to the head of the Bundeswehr armed forces, in which he laments the sorry state of his division’s infantry fighting vehicles.

“Even with the best preparations, the question of the vehicles’ readiness has become a game of lottery,” Major General Ruprecht von Butler wrote his boss, according to a copy of the email quoted by Der Spiegel over the weekend.